Posts tagged ‘Palestine’

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

Picasso To Go Through Israeli Checkpoints

A joint initiative between the West Bank’s International Art Academy Palestine and the Netherlands’ Van Abbe Museum hopes to bring a Pablo Picasso masterpiece to Ramallah for public display in April.

It is believed to be the first time a Picasso masterpiece will go on display in the Palestinian territories, the BBC said.

What began as a simple request to the Dutch museum to borrow Picasso’s ‘Buste de Femme’ (1943) became an “elaborate research on procedure,” organizers said, including re-examination of international business agreements, the Oslo Accords and the context of the Palestinian art scene.

“This all works to highlight the abnormality of the Palestinian reality,” the organizers said in a statement.

The project is also being filmed as part of a documentary.

Complete article via Ma’an News Agency

2011/02/18

US To Support UN Anti-Settlement Vote


Ed. Note: Feb. 19, 2011: Foreign Policy Magazine sucks.

Foreign Policy magazine is reporting that the US has informed Arab governments that it will support a UN Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

The US position signaled a willingness to break with Israel and join others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements.

In the US-backed draft statement, the Security Council “expresses its strong opposition to any unilateral actions by any party, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community, and reaffirms that it does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, which is a serious obstacle to the peace process.” The statement also condemns “all forms of violence, including rocket fire from Gaza, and stresses the need for calm and security for both peoples.”

Complete article via Foreign Policy

2011/02/15

Will Israel Permit Palestinians To Protest?

As Egyptian protesters overwhelmed the streets with celebration at their ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Israel can no longer afford to ignore or stifle the nonviolent, popular resistance movements of the Palestinian people. These groups carry a remarkable message of healing for a region wracked with instability and division – but their ranks are losing hope. And the alternatives for such a deeply frustrated people are not peaceful protests.

Israel should be less concerned with the presence of Palestinian nonviolent demonstration movements than with what it would mean for them to fail.

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2011/02/14

Abu Mazen To Cabinet: Get Out!


Reuters is reporting that the Palestinian cabinet will tender resignations today after which Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will select new ministers at the request of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The shake-up was long demanded by Fayyad and some in Abbas’s Fatah faction, according to the Reuters report.

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2011/02/11

A Free Egypt Can Be Good for Israel

While Israel has legitimate concerns regarding its future alongside an Egypt that will be reflecting the will of its people, democratization could also be to Israel’s benefit. But attention needs to be paid to the opportunity of creating a true peace between two peoples rather than between two governments.

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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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2011/02/08

Rethinking Egypt, Israel Relations

Egypt, Israel And A Strategic Reconsideration
By George Friedman

The events in Egypt have sent shock waves through Israel. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel have been the bedrock of Israeli national security. In three of the four wars Israel fought before the accords, a catastrophic outcome for Israel was conceivable. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, credible scenarios existed in which the Israelis were defeated and the state of Israel ceased to exist. In 1973, it appeared for several days that one of those scenarios was unfolding.

The survival of Israel was no longer at stake after 1978. In the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the various Palestinian intifadas and the wars with Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, Israeli interests were involved, but not survival. There is a huge difference between the two. Israel had achieved a geopolitical ideal after 1978 in which it had divided and effectively made peace with two of the four Arab states that bordered it, and neutralized one of those states. The treaty with Egypt removed the threat to the Negev and the southern coastal approaches to Tel Aviv.

The agreement with Jordan in 1994, which formalized a long-standing relationship, secured the longest and most vulnerable border along the Jordan River. The situation in Lebanon was such that whatever threat emerged from there was limited. Only Syria remained hostile but, by itself, it could not threaten Israel. Damascus was far more focused on Lebanon anyway. As for the Palestinians, they posed a problem for Israel, but without the foreign military forces along the frontiers, the Palestinians could trouble but not destroy Israel. Israel’s existence was not at stake, nor was it an issue for 33 years.

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2011/02/08

Queen Isabella: No Regrets

During a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez came under verbal attack by members of a settler group that had requested to meet with her. Settlers shouted “anti-Semite,” “Israel-hater” and “Get out of here!” as Jiménez left.

The settler group had hoped to persuade Jiménez to help stop the Spanish government’s support for construction of Palestinian apartments in Hebron, near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

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2011/02/05

Who Is Gideon Levy?

Gideon Levy, son of Holocaust survivors and former aide to Shimon Peres, has been a columnist for Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, for nearly 30 years.

An interview with Levy conducted by Robert Hirschfield for In These Times is available here.

An extensive (and very valuable) video interview conducted by author and Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani at an event held at Columbia University in which Levy talks about his coverage of the Israeli occupation of Gaza over the past two decades is available on the Book-TV website here.

2011/02/05

One For You, Fifty For Me, One For You…


Ed. Note: The actual headline read: Netanyahu Commits To Promoting Arab Construction in East Jerusalem. Unfortunately, successive Israeli governments have always made progress in the press. Progress on the ground? That died with the murder of Rabin by Israel’s own terrorist son, Yigal Amir.

My gut tells me this is, like virtually every other “humanitarian” announcement from the Israeli government, all about publicity and not at all about reality. Like the press conference announcing that the children of Gaza can have chocolate –  but two-plus years later they’re still waiting for a handful of M&M’s. Yeah, chocolate can be used in explosives.

Here’s the story anyway, from Ha’aretz of all places, which loyally reported it:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the international community’s Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, announced Friday a series of gestures that Israel will make to the Palestinians, including a promise to support Arab construction in East Jerusalem.

“In respect of East Jerusalem, the Government of Israel has agreed to encourage the implementation of all projects that abide by municipal regulations that will improve infrastructure there for Palestinians, including in particular housing, starting with two projects in East Jerusalem,” Blair announced.

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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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2011/02/01

The Vichy Palestine Papers


The Papers of Opprobrium By Mohamed El Mokhtar

The recent damming documents, consisting of minutes of negotiations, memos, diplomatic correspondences, and maps dating from 1999 to 2010, secretly obtained and publicly released by Al Jazeera satellite TV channel eloquently laid bare the material evidence attesting and conforming, beyond any reasonable doubt, the direct complicity of the Palestinian Authority in the continuing rape and criminal destitution of the Palestinian land and people.

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2011/02/01

Leaked Papers Show Israel Refusing Peace


ED. NOTE: When it comes to assigning blame for the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Americans tend to blame the Palestinian side.

However, recent leaks of highly secret offers made to Israel by Palestinian negotiators provide strong evidence that it has been the Israeli side that refuses to accept peace and is not negotiating in good faith.

Could it be that it is the Israelis who”never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” to make peace? And are Americans ready to reconsider their views of the 44-year old conflict in light of new facts?

The Rest of the Story by James Traub

At a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators on June 21, 2008, Ahmed Qurei, a former Palestinian prime minister, raised a familiar concern: “When will you freeze settlement activity? This will kill us.” Israel’s continuing refusal to stop settlement construction was making the Palestinian Authority look fatally weak in the eyes of Palestinian and Arab public opinion and thus empowering the radicals of Hamas. “You want to help Hamas on our account?” he asked.

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