Updates February 2010

 

 

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  We seek to keep you literally "updated" on movement in terms of truth and justice in the Middle East in general with a particular eye on Palestine.  The links below will take you to various articles and websites that offer the perspective of leaders in the religious, NGO, and human rights communities. Additionally, Al-Bushra, ever vigilant, provides links to regular reporting as well as opinion pieces by journalists. The dates given here indicate when the link was posted; the most recent posting is at the top. Check the article itself for the date of publication.  
     
 

Comments made over the years by Israeli leaders

 
     
 

Last update: 28 February 2010 16:30:43 -0800

 
     
     
 
 

Feb. 28, 2010

Jordan Times:  'World must stand up to Israeli violations of holy sites'

His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday said the international community needs to take immediate and effective steps to protect the holy places in East Jerusalem from Israel’s unilateral measures.

These serious, provocative measures seek to alter the real identity of the city and threaten all efforts to achieve peace in the region, the King noted during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In his meeting with Abbas, His Majesty cautioned against the dangerous repercussions of Israel’s provocative actions and its acts of aggression against Al Aqsa Mosque, according to a Royal Court statement.

King Abdullah stressed Jordan’s rejection and denunciation of Israel’s recent announcement that it will add the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and Bethlehem’s Bilal Ben Rabah Mosque to a list of Israeli heritage sites.

 

Feb. 28, 2010

Jordan Times: Palestinian Christian priests call for non-violent resistance by Daoud Kuttab

“All the people of the world are God’s children and we are obliged to follow the words of our Lord,” he said with confidence, knowing full well that most of his listeners will have a hard-time digesting that reply. The Catholic priest, who also teaches theology at Bethlehem University, said that Christ was also a champion of the oppressed. He said that Palestinians are oppressed today and Jesus clearly stands by Palestinians, and that was what led him and other Christian leaders to sign the Kairos Palestine document.

Another caller asked the Christian leaders if they supported the concept of resistance. The radio guests answered said that the group does indeed support resistance, albeit in its non-violent forms. Still another caller wanted the Christian leaders to detail the forms of non-violent resistance they will support.

“Boycotts and divestments are among some forms of resistance we support,” said Kassis, noting that already some Christian churches in the US have begun divestment campaigns.

It is true that the issue of divestment has been discussed by Presbyterians and Methodists, and in some cases the followers of these denominations began a divestment campaign ŕ la South Africa. But for leading Catholics to call from the Holy Land for worldwide divestment is rather new. Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. On the kairospalestine.ps website, the 16 Christian leaders whose names are listed insist that this the moment of truth. They state boldly: “We Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity.”

 

Feb. 28, 2010

Gush Shalom: Squatter on his own land 

 

The detained Bedouin human rights activist Nuri el Okbi will be brought to the Be'er Sheba Magistrate's Court (Shalom Court) tomorrow (Mon. March 1) at 12.00 noon.

 

...The charges make no sense as the land is his, or is at least disputed. He is conducting a lengthy civil suit in the Beer Sheba District Court to prove his ownership, Nuri is almost 70 and has heart problems – he should not be arrested.

 

Feb. 28, 2010

Gush Shalom: White Lie by Uri Avnery

 

According to the official doctrine, the State of Israel cannot recognize an “Israeli” nation because it is the state of the “Jewish” nation. In other words, it belongs to the Jews of Brooklyn, Budapest and Buenos Aires, even though these consider themselves as belonging to the American, Hungarian or Argentine nations.

 

Feb. 27, 2010

Huffingtonpost: U.S. Can't Afford Military Aid to Israel by Josh Ruebner

 

During the Bush Administration, Israel killed at least 3,107 innocent Palestinian civilians, according to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. Israel also injured thousands more innocent Palestinians and destroyed billions of dollars of Palestinian civilian infrastructure including homes, schools, factories, government buildings, and even Palestine's only airport. The severity and scale of this killing and destruction were made possible by hi-tech U.S. weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense.

And during Obama's first year in office, Israel continued to misuse its stock of U.S. weapons to entrench its apartheid policies toward Palestinians by maintaining its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip -- collectively punishing its 1.5 million Palestinian residents by severely restricting the flow of humanitarian relief -- and building illegal Israeli-only colonies on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Comment by the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: "The U.S. cannot afford military aid to Israel.  It's a matter of morals as much as money."

 

Feb. 27, 2010

Press TV: Israel OKs another 600 homes in E Al-Quds

 

Tel Aviv's green light to the settlement expansions comes in contrast to a 10-month moratorium announced in November under breaking pressure from the international community.

The temporary ban — largely seen as a strategic ploy — does not apply to occupied East Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and allows construction of schools, synagogues and what Tel Aviv deems as community centers.

The construction activities have been a major obstacle to resumption of Middle East peace talks with the Palestinians, who have been demanding a permanent and full freeze on Israeli settlement expansion projects in the West Bank and Jerusalem (Al-Quds).

Palestinians are denied Israeli citizenship in Jerusalem (Al-Quds), which Israel occupied during the six-day war in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

The International Court of Justice, the legal arm of the United Nations, has ruled all the settlements Israel has built in occupied territory to be illegal under international law.

 

Feb. 27, 2010

MIFTAH: Israel Claims Palestinian Holy Sites

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stirred up the pot yet again when he declared two West Bank holy spots as new sites on Israel's heritage list on February 21. The Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, which is already a major point of contention between Palestinians and Israelis, along with Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, which Muslims refer to as the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, were named by Netanyahu as one o the 150 other Israeli heritage sites, which the government will pour money into for renovation. Jerusalem's Old City walls were also included on the list.

 

Feb. 27, 2010

MIFTAH: Prevent Palestinian Cultural Genocide

 

MIFTAH thus calls on the international community to halt this Israeli threat to forge history and claim sole Jewish significance on sites located in Palestinian territory. It is the duty of the United Nations, UNESCO and all other relevant cultural bodies concerned with the preservation and integrity of cultural and religious sites to hold Israel accountable for its attempt at confiscating this culture and history from the Palestinians and preventing cultural genocide.

 

Feb. 27, 2010

Media Matters Action Network: Israeli Government Unhinged by J Street by MJ Rosenberg

 

As it becomes increasingly clear that maintaining the occupation, expanding settlements and continuing the blockade of Gaza not only seriously harms Palestinians but also Israel's prospects for survival, Israel's supporters are bound to look for ways to support Israel other than simply playing lemming.

That is why defenders of the status quo are suddenly on the defensive.  Take a look at this from Wednesday's New York Times: "The Israeli government, deeply worried about the country's declining international image, began a campaign on Wednesday to turn every Israeli -- and ultimately every Jew -- into a traveling public relations agent." 

 

Feb. 26, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: Christians Should Work With Jews for Holy Land Peace, a message from Warren Clark, Executive Director

 

CMEP's grassroots support has increased dramatically in recent years.  The greater the role we play, the more push back we can expect from those attached to the status quo. Much work remans to be done to organize public opinion nationally behind strong U.S. leadership for a two state agreement.       

CMEP, J Street and other groups share the objective of a viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace with a secure Israel.   Christian groups and others interested in effective political advocacy for peace should seek opportunities to work together with the growing number of like-minded persons in the American Jewish and Arab-American communities.

 

Feb. 26, 2010

Jonathan Cook: Israel’s new ‘attack on freedom of speech’

“We are seeing the evaporation of the last freedoms of speech and organisation in Israel,” said Amal Jamal, head of politics at Tel Aviv University and the director of Ilam, a media-rights organisation that would be targeted by the new legislation. The Israeli political system, he added, was being transformed into a “totalitarian democracy”.

Leading the charge against human-rights groups – most of which are officially described as “non-governmental organisations” – has been a self-styled “watchdog group” known as NGO Monitor. Its activities have won support from the government following the international censure faced by Israel for its attack on Gaza.

 

Feb. 26, 2010

American Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Porphyry of Gaza, Feb. 26

 

We go far back in history today to learn a bit about a saint whose name is not familiar to most of us in the West but who is celebrated by the Greek and other Eastern churches.

Born near Greece in the mid-fourth century, Porphry is most known for his generosity to the poor and for his ascetic lifestyle. Deserts and caves were his home for a time. At age 40, living in Jerusalem, Porphyry was ordained a priest.

If the accounts we have are correct, he was elected bishop of Gaza—without his knowledge and against his will. He was, in effect, kidnapped (with the help of a neighboring bishop, by the way) and forcibly consecrated bishop by the members of the small Christian community there. No sooner had Porphyry been consecrated bishop then he was accused by the local pagans of causing a drought. When rains came shortly afterward, the pagans gave credit to Porphyry and the Christian population and tensions subsided for a time.

For the next 13 years, Porphyry worked tirelessly for his people, instructed them and made many converts, though pagan opposition continued throughout his life. He died in the year 421.

 

Feb. 26, 2010

Salem News: An Encounter with Israeli 'Police' by Mazin Qumsiyeh

...a private car with yellow license plates (Israeli) cut in front of me and I had to hit my brakes hard not to hit him.

He drove later in front of me for bout a kilometer, stopped in front of me in the middle of the road and then two heavily armed Israeli "police" walked out of the car. Gruffly and in Arabic they asked for ID cards and from my wife they asked in English for her passport.

They refused to answer any questions after that in any language and insisted on speaking only in Hebrew to give us two citations 1) for me to go to a military court in the settlement of Ofer (not even a simple fine) and 2) for my student for sitting in the back seat without fastening her seat belt (250 shekels, roughly US $70 for her, nearly a month's salary).

I checked with a lawyer later, who told me that the police regularly pick on Palestinian drivers with extremely large fines; mine is likely to be in the range of $500 if not more after the "trial" or worse.

So we will get to see an Israeli military judge choose between believing three in my car telling the truth, or two Israelis in the Israeli car with a grudge against Palestinians (I will let you know).

 

Feb. 26, 2010

Fighting Father Dave Smith, Anglican: Christians and Moslems can be friends!

 

Yes, it's true! Christians and Moslems can be friends.
  • Has the media led you to believe that your Islamic neighbours are out to get you?
  • Have people been telling you that the Moslem community is trying to take over?
  • Did you buy into the propaganda that all Arabic people are your enemies?
Prejudice arises out of fear, and fear thrives upon ignorance!

 

 

Feb. 25, 2010

Zenit: Anglican Leader Visits Holy Land Christians

 

The leader of the Anglican Communion has joined his voice to the chorus of those defending Christian presence in the Holy Land and urging peace so that Christian emigration will stop.

On a four-day tour of the Middle East, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury met with the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Latin patriarchs, and with leaders of the Jewish community.

In each meeting, there was affirmation of the need to do everything possible to support the Christian churches in the Holy Land, serving not only their own best interests but also those of all the Middle East peoples.

 

Feb. 25, 2010

Zenit: Muslims in Catholic Schools - Interview With Director of St. Dominic's Institute of Rome

 

We have attempted to develop ideas of education and to put them in writing. This will constitute a base that will inspire the whole of our pedagogical projects.
 
Here are some examples [of our goals]: to live our profession with a spirit of service and not as power, to accept without conditions and without a possessive character, to break false hierarchies, to uphold advice that rejects seclusion and labeling, to accept individual and atypical itineraries, to impose punishments that do not humiliate or wound, to develop the study of the present time, philosophical research, and to value experience and its revision.

 

Feb. 25, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Israeli military respond with tear gas to Open Shuhada Street demonstration

 

Although there was brief localised stone throwing by Palestinian boys watching the demonstrators walk through their neighbourhood, the Palestinian leadership was determined that the demonstration would be free from violence.  Despite the Israeli military’s prolonged and repeated use of tear gas and percussion grenades, the demonstrators’ discipline held and the action remained non-violent throughout.  Tear gas was fired in succession at different points into and beyond the crowd, in some instances blocking off routes of escape for those attempting to leave the scene.  Several demonstrators and passers-by suffered ill effects from the tear gas and were taken to hospital in Palestinian ambulances in attendance.  There are unconfirmed reports that the military detained two Israeli activists.  Towards the end of the action, Israeli special forces rushed into the crowd and detained an international activist.

 

Feb. 25, 2010

Sojourners: J Street: Pro-Peace = Pro-Israel by Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Often when Sojourners addresses issues relating to Israel and Palestine, we’re accused of anti-Israel bias. This often comes from those who are unable to separate criticism of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, or of the Israeli military’s disproportionate lethal responses to terrorist violence, from the kind of anti-Semitism that questions the very existence of the State of Israel.

Thankfully, there are strong, clear Jewish voices in the U.S. and Israel that are capable of making those distinctions, and offering their own courageous criticisms of policies that are counterproductive for the true peace and security of Israel. One such voice is Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of J Street, a relatively new progressive Jewish organization that  describes itself as “the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.”

 

Feb. 25, 2010

Sojourners: A Profound Choice for Israel and the World’s Jews by Jeremy Ben-Ami

I think the choice for world Jewry is similarly profound and stark.  As a people, do we line up with those who seek to hang on to all of “Greater Israel” and watch our Jewish and democratic values erode in Israel and in our community, or do we stand up urgently for territorial compromise and for behavior in Israel and in our community that reflects our cherished and long-held values?

More than ever, it’s clear to me that we’re not fighting simply over Israeli or American foreign policy.  We’re in a larger and more significant battle over who we are as a people in this new century and how our people are defined collectively for ourselves and for others by the behavior of the country that serves as our national expression.

 

Feb. 25, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Israeli settlers intimidate Palestinian school children after Israeli military neglects escort

 

The children of these villages require the military escort because of Israeli settlers' repeated attacks and harassment, year after year. Whenever the soldiers fail to meet them promptly before and after school, the children wait in dangerous areas under "de facto" settler control. For the month of February, this was the fourth recorded incident of settler violence upon the children.

 

Feb. 24, 2010

Media Monitors: American Jews seriously rethinking their relationship with Israel

 

While noting that he continues to “love” Israel, Michaelson declared that Israel “does not deserve the kind of love—unconditional, unwavering—that many in our community demand. This is so not because we are unfaithful, but because our lover has become abusive...Fortunately, I think the American Jewish community is at a tipping point on these issues...I think one reason my little personal essay struck such a chord is that, between J Street, President Obama, and these shifts in the American Jewish community, there’s an understanding that the tide has begun to turn...I loathe the company we Zionists are forced to keep: ethnocentrists, know-nothings, warmongers and worse; that angry pseudo-majority whose Disney-fied myths eclipse the region’s messy realities, who dehumanize Arabs and furiously lob the words ‘anti-Semitism’ and ‘Holocaust’ like rhetorical hand-grenades. What they love is not what I love.”

 

...It is difficult to cite another example of a foreign government wielding its influence in such a direct manner to direct the policy positions of an American religious organization. The words and actions of Ambassador Oren and Mr. Sharansky show how seriously Israel takes the emerging new American Jewish majority which rejects the notion that American Jews must support Israeli policies which they believe to be contrary to the interests of a real and just Middle East peace.

 

Feb. 23, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Netanyahu statement on Ibrahimi Mosque leads to unrest in Al Khalil/Hebron

On 21 February 2010 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the Israeli government's intention to designate as Jewish heritage sites Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al Khalil/Hebron.  Netanyahu’s statement has led to considerable concern and outrage in the Palestinian community.  The Ibrahimi Mosque is one of the most important Muslim sites, and is the one most accessible to West Bank Palestinians. The prospect of these sites becoming closed to Muslim worshippers has been particularly keenly felt in Al Khalil/Hebron, where the Ibrahimi Mosque regularly draws large numbers of Muslim worshippers and was the site on 25 February 1994 of the massacre of 29 Muslim worshippers by Dr Baruch Goldstein, an extremist Jewish settler.

There is international concern too.  In a statement, Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he was concerned by Israel's announcement regarding the Hebron holy site. ‘I call on Israel not to take any steps on the ground which undermine trust or could prejudice negotiations, the resumption of which should be the highest shared priority of all who seek peace,’ Serry said.

 

Feb. 23, 2010

Shalom Center: Standing together against slander & hate; standing together for open debate by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

J Street rented the space for the launch from Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania. About 250 Philadelphians came to hear Jeremy and to take part in work groups for planning the next steps for action to get the US government to lead the way to a Middle East regional peace settlement guaranteeing security and self-determination to Israel, Palestine, and all Arab states.

All OK so far? Yes! — BUT — On the front page of this week’s Philadelphia Jewish Exponent was a major article reporting that a number of members of the board of Penn Hillel had protested against Hillel’s allowing J Street to hold its meeting there.

This effort –- sensibly and bravely resisted by Rabbi Jeremy Brochin, director of Penn Hillel — was by no means the first effort to choke off free debate and discussion of Israeli government policy by American Jews.

It behooves all of us who believe in free and decent debate within the Jewish community — whether we agree with J Street’s specific policies or not — to support and take part in such gatherings, to make clear that we support not only the right of J Street but the need of the Jewish community to freely debate the issues J Street raises.

 

Feb. 23, 2010

Alternative Information Center: Israel Compensation Payment to UN Ignores Rights of Gaza Victims

 

Amnesty International has said it is concerned that the United Nations (UN) accepted US$10.5 million compensation from Israel for UN buildings damaged during last year's Gaza conflict without securing compensation for any of the actual victims of the attacks.

The UN announced on 22 January that it had received the compensation from the government of Israel after an investigation into Israeli attacks on UN personnel and buildings, set up by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last February. The UN said that, with this payment, the financial issues relating to the attacks examined by the investigation were "concluded".

However, the investigation's report had specifically recommended that the UN seek compensation not only for UN personnel and civilians killed or injured in attacks on UN premises, but also for civilian victims of other attacks during the fighting.

 

Feb. 23, 2010

EJJP on Billboard.info: European Jews for Just Peace Ships to Gaza

 

We are a group of German jews who want to send a ship with goods and musical  instruments to Gaza. We intend to cooperate with a European project that is sending supplies in the spring of 2010.

 

We are acquiring a ship, loading it up in Germany, then picking up passengers (Jewish and non-Jewish, German and non-German) at a Mediterranean port.

Among the goods being shipped will be urgently needed things like medicines, baby food, bedding, children's clothes, school materials; also painting equipment and especially musical instruments.

 

Feb. 23, 2010

IslamOnline: Open Letter to Obama's Envoy to the OIC --he US Has to Repair a Long History of Mistrust by Khalid Amayreh

 

...I urge you to go about carrying out your mission with utmost care, wisdom, and sagacity. I also want to remind you that several American envoys to the Muslim world have effectively failed to achieve what they were supposed to achieve, namely fostering healthy relations between Muslims and America that would be based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship.

My impression, which I believe is shared by many Muslims, is that these honorable men and women did not correctly diagnose the serious ailments plaguing America's relations with the Muslim world. In truth, past American envoys to the Muslim world acted very much as Public Relations emissaries, whose central concern was that Muslims misunderstood America.

In short, they thought that America was only having an "image problem" in the Muslim world, and that if only the United States worked a little bit harder in terms of presenting itself and its policies more skillfully, that tarnished image would be rehabilitated and Muslims would fall in love with Uncle Sam.

 

From our vantage point, the real problem besetting America's relations with Muslims goes far beyond the image problem. We truly feel that the US government is "tormenting" Muslims in many parts of the world, such as Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq , Pakistan, Lebanon to mention some examples.

 

In occupied Palestine, America has been enabling and empowering Israel — a state that has much in common with Nazi Germany — to kill us, destroy our homes, steal our land, and banish us from our ancestral land. Moreover, whenever we sought to redress that bad situation at the UN Security Council, America would just veto any resolution that would have given us a modicum of justice.

 

...Whenever we sought to redress that bad situation at the UN Security Council, America would just veto any resolution that would have given us a modicum of justice. 

 

Feb. 23, 2010

Mark Braverman: Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land - Order pre-publication copy directly from the author

 

Excerpt from pages 9-10:

 

One of the most striking features of this discourse in the United States is the preoccupation with the need for a "balanced" perspective. Here is how this typically plays out: you may not give out information about the abridgment of human rights in occupied Palestine, or talk about targeted assassinations, house demolitions, humiliating and life-threatening restrictions on movement, or any other examples of Palestinian suffering, without presenting what is usually termed the "other side." The "other side" is the recognition of the suffering of the Israelis, who are faced with terrorist attacks and the threat of annihilation. What is important here is not the apparent reasonableness of this argument. Of course, here in America, we are committed to fair play and the airing of all viewpoints. Rather, what is significant is the political context. In my experience, the demand for "balance" is almost always a way to invalidate and neutralize scrutiny of those actions of Israel that are, in my view, the root cause of the threat to its own well-being and survival.

The discourse, therefore, is handicapped by the seemingly unassailable position that there are "two sides:" the Israeli (or Jewish) and the Palestinian (or Arab). The world is thus divided into two camps, the "pro-Israel" and the "pro-Palestine." One must belong to one camp or the other. I am frequently assigned to the "pro-Palestinian" camp because I criticize Israel and talk about the abridgment of Palestinian rights. I reject this designation. This is not a struggle between good guys and bad guys, with the Jews as villains and the Palestinians as blameless victims, any more than it is the opposite. The issue is justice. The issue is the fact that there will never be an end to the conflict until there is full recognition and redress of the massive abrogation of human rights that accompanied the birth of the State of Israel and that continues to the present day. To tell the story correctly, you have to include the story that until recently has not been reported in our media, or from the pulpits of our churches (for the most part) or our synagogues. It is a story in which the power difference between the two parties to the conflict is painfully apparent, and the evidence of Israel's systematic project to accomplish the goal of ethnic cleansing and political and economic control over the non-Jewish inhabitants of historic Palestine is horrifyingly
clear....

 

Feb. 23, 2010

Christian Peace Team: CPT-Palestine endorses Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

 

CPT-Palestine has decided to endorse formally the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as called for by Palestinian NGOs, because sixty years of negotiations and diplomacy have only enabled Israel to solidify its military occupation of Palestine. The international community has long called for Palestinian society to resist the violence of the Occupation nonviolently, so we, as members of an international peace organization, believe that when Palestinians mount nonviolent campaigns against the Occupation, we are morally obligated to support them.

We affirm the words of Palestinian Christian leaders in their Kairos Document: "These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly and sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice. The aim is to free both peoples from extremist positions of the different Israeli governments, bringing both to justice and reconciliation. In this spirit and with this dedication we will eventually reach the longed-for resolution to our problems, as indeed happened in South Africa and with many other liberation movements in the world."

 

Feb. 22, 2010

Rev. Jim Wallis, Methodist, Wall Writings: Israel Linked to Dubai Murder: Take That, Judge Goldstone

As evidence and strong speculation builds toward absolute certainty that Netanyahu ordered, and Mossad carried out, the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, should we expect the Israeli government to apologize, as it was forced to do when then (and once again) Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu ordered an assassination attempt on Hamas leader Mishal Khalidi in 1997?

Times have changed since 1997. Israel, the major military power in the region, now dictates the rules of engagement.

 

Feb. 22, 2010

AEI Pax Christi: Christmas Wishes and Prayers

 

An overview of the hundreds of Christmas wishes and prayers, including some regarding Palestine, received until deep in January, bringing a worldwide message of solidarity and hope

 

Feb. 22, 2010

LA Times: ISRAEL: 'Avatar' and the Palestinian blues

 

"No one dares to make the real analogy. 'Avatar' is one of the bravest films made. It portrays the occupation, but people aren't making the analogy. Many would like to be like the blue people but don't understand the meaning. This is why people got angry at the movie theater. It is no secret that I think the Israelis are occupiers and the Palestinians occupied. Israel sits forcefully on lands that belong to others and this is exactly what the movie is talking about." -- Filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis

 

Feb. 21, 2010

Zenit: Lebanon: A Message for East and West, an Interview with Director of Pontifical Mission Society

The future of peace in the Middle East hinges on creating a society in which Jews, Muslims and Christians co-exist peacefully. 

Lebanon carries particular promise in this effort, and yet it has suffered wave after wave of terror and war played out within its borders, often the consequence of foreign interference.

In this interview given to the television program "Where God Weeps" of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need, Father Paul Karam considers the unique situation of Lebanon and why there is reason for optimism.

 

Feb. 21, 2010

Huffington Post: How Settlers Prevented The Construction of a Palestinian Hospitalby Hagit Ofran, Director the Settlement Watch project of the Israeli Peace Now movement

Once again, even Americans can not stand up to a small group of settlers, who show - more often than not - that they have the last word on what takes place in the West Bank. This time, a small group of settlers insisted, and succeeded, to squash a plan for building a hospital for Palestinian children at "Oush Grab" ("the Crow's Nest") east of Bethlehem.

The sequence of events in this case is a good example of the way things work in the Occupied Territories: the settlers apply political pressure (as well as threats of violence), the army gives in, and that is how Israel's official policy is made. If you want to understand why it is so hard for the Israeli government to remove a checkpoint, let alone illegal outposts, [click on the link above to read the story].

 

Feb. 21, 2010

Joint Advocacy Initiative: Injustice in Beit Sahour by Kairos Palestine

(Jerusalem 20.03.2010) As described by town residents, Ha'aretz, Ma'an News, and other sources in recent days, Israeli soldiers and bulldozers arrived on February 10 at a family recreation park in Beit Sahour – a town slightly east of Bethlehem in the West Bank, and the site of the former army base Osh Grab, which was abandoned by the IDF in 2006 – and declared it a closed military zone.

KAIROS Palestine condemns this action and calls upon churches worldwide to advocate for the Christians and all residents of Beit Sahour and intervene in the damage, present and projected, wrought upon their home.

 

Feb. 20, 2010

Christian Peacemaking Team: Al Khalil/Hebron January 17-31 2010 Update

General situation:  There continues to be a heavy Israeli military presence in the Palestinian city of Hebron.  ID checks at checkpoints are a daily occurrence, as are army patrols through the Old City.  The movement restrictions placed on Palestinians make direct contact between them and the illegal Israeli settlers a relatively rare occurrence.  One exception to this is the settler-led tour through the Palestinian Old City each Saturday.  There was heavy rain on several days during this period. The rain is essential for local agriculture.

CPT’s work:  Throughout the second half of January the CPT team continued with morning school patrols at the Ibrahimi Mosque and Qitoun container checkpoints.  The team also undertook a daily programme of patrols around checkpoints mid-morning, late afternoon, and in the evening.  The team continued with its regular after-school patrols in the village of Bweireh (near Harsina settlement.)  As part of its relationship- building, CPTers made further visits to families and shopkeepers in the Old City. Although the team is attempting, where possible, to have Hebronites lead tours of the city, the team continued to host individuals and groups seeking information on CPT’s work and the opportunity for a guided view from the CPT building roof.

 

Feb. 20, 2010

You Tube: Al-Masara 19 Feb 2010 [7-minute video]

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, videotapes soldiers disrupting a peaceful demonstration: "Today there were demonstrations and confrontations in a number of locations in the occupied West Bank with three enduring particularly vicious Israeli attacks: Ni’lin, Bil’in, Al-Ma'sara.  It is impossible to be in many places at one time so I chose to go to Al-Ma'sara for their weekly demonstration. There, the demonstrators decided to go on the main street and as soon as we got there, the occupation army attacked the peaceful demonstrators. There were no warnings but immediate volley of concussion grenades and tear gas canisters.  The soldiers chased people into the village and continued firing. I stayed close to the soldiers and tried to reason with them. In one instance they used a stun grenade to prevent me from talking to soldiers who are mindlessly obeying officers. I could not help think of Nazis and Apartheid soldiers. I persisted in trying to reason with them. As we were leaving, a higher ranking military intelligence officer stopped me and did get my name and coordinates."

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: Rep. Delahunt Statement on Churches for Middle East Peace

We are particularly delighted to be visiting Israel and the region with the pro-peace and pro-Israel group J Street and with Churches for Middle East Peace. We and many of our colleagues from both political parties have been very supportive of the emergence of this new pro-Israel voice with its deep support in the American Jewish community.

...We were puzzled that the Deputy Foreign Minister has apparently attempted to block our meetings with senior officials in the Prime Minister’s office and Foreign Ministry – questioning either our own support of Israel or that we would even consider traveling to the region with groups that the Deputy Foreign Minister has so inaccurately described as "anti-Israel."

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Relief Web: No peace without Palestinian refugees solution: UN by Agence France Presse

 

The fate of refugees is one of the thorniest issues in the stalled Middle East peace process, as Israel rejects Palestinian demands to allow their return to lands they fled in 1948 when the state of Israel was created.

The cash-strapped UNRWA provides assistance to about 4.7 million Palestinian refugees, many of whom have settled in camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

 

Feb. 19, 2010

J Street: Rep. Delahunt statement on J Street Education Fund CODEL

The J Street Education Fund sponsored its first Congressional Delegation to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories this February 12th to 18th, traveling with Reps. Lois Capps (CA-23), William Delahunt (MA-10), Bob Filner (CA-51), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), and Donald Payne (NJ-10).

The following statement was issued by Rep. Delahunt on February 17, 2010 in response to media reports of an Israeli Foreign Ministry "boycott" of the Delegation. 

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Facebook: Aid to the Church in Need - Canada: Iraq – Archbishop gives dire warning as killings continue in Mosul by John Pontifex, ACN UK and adapted by Amanda Griffin, ACN Canada

 

Archbishop Amil Shamaaoun Nona of Mosul has warned that a campaign of violence and intimidation against Christians threatens to wipe out those left in the city. Emphasizing the growing alarm within the population, the archbishop described how a sudden rise in killings sparked more emigration of Christians, raising concerns for the survival of a local Church which dates back to biblical times.

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Common Dreams: Israeli Women Soldiers Break the Silence by Ira Chernus

What's it like to be a woman serving in the Israeli occupation force in the West Bank? Is a woman's experience as an occupier any different than a man's? Yes indeed, say some women who have just broken their silence and offered a glimpse into the grim reality of the occupation.

"A female combat soldier needs to prove more," one explains. "A female soldier who beats up others is a serious fighter...When I arrived there was another female [who] was there before me...Everyone spoke of how impressive she is because she humiliates Arabs without any problem. That was the indicator. You have to see her, the way she humiliates, the way she slaps them, wow, she really slapped that guy."

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Guardian: Talk to Hamas by Arik Diamant and David Zonsheine

 

"As Israeli soldiers we hang our heads in shame over last year's attack on Gaza's civilian population. Dialogue, not war, is needed."

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Norman Finkelstein's book: This Time We went Too Far

 

Pulse: Norman Finkelstein talks about his book, This Time We Went Too Far [four minutes]

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the UN investigation headed by Richard Goldstone, in documenting Israel's use of indiscriminate and intentional force against the civilian population during the invasion (100 Palestinians died for every one Israeli), have had an impact on traditional support for Israel. Jews in both the United States and the United Kingdom, for instance, are beginning to voice dissent, and this trend is especially apparent among the young.

Such a shift, Finkelstein contends, can result in new pressure capable of moving the Middle East crisis towards a solution, one that embraces justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike. The seeds of hope were thus sown in the bitter anguish of Gaza. “This Time We Went Too Far”, written with Finkelstein’s customary acuity and precision, will surely advance the process it so eloquently describes.

 

Feb. 19, 2010

Information Clearing House: Finkelstein vs. Gissan [video 25 minutes]

 

On Peter Lavelles' CrossTalk, Israel critic Norman Finkelstein faces off against a formidable spokesperson of Israel's "soft power."

 

Feb. 18, 2010

San Luis Obispo Tribune: US Congressman says Israelis snubbed him by Aaron Heller, Associated Press

The snub appeared aimed at J Street. Israel's government has been critical of the group's programs, which are more dovish than those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hawkish government.

Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Delahunt said he was surprised and disappointed to read an Israeli newspaper report that he was being boycotted by the Foreign Ministry for his affiliation with J Street and identified Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as the culprit.

 

Feb. 17, 2010

Holy Land Institute: Pilgrimage October 3-19, 2010

 

Read the Bible in the land of the Bible and meet local Christians in their homes on both sides of the Jordan River. Visit ancient sacred sites and also schools and other places where people are doing good work today. Renew your baptismal vows at the Jordan. You will have a private room with bath in hostels and hotels operated by local Christians. Number of pilgrims limited to 16.

 

Feb. 17, 2010

Eileen Fleming, We Are Wide Awake: What You Need to Know so We Can Change the World

 

"For young adults between 18-35 years of age with an open mind and ready for a REALITY TOUR of Israel Palestine and an alternative pilgrimage experience to the Holy Land that emphasizes active engagement with NONVIOLENT Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Israeli Jews, please check it out @ http://sabeel.org/

 

Application deadline is June 1st and you may just qualify for Financial Aid to help pay your way, so don’t delay."

 

Feb. 17, 2010

BBC News: Israel makes life very hard for Palestinians, says International Committee of the Red Cross

"The ICRC has repeatedly called for action to be taken to allow Palestinians to live their lives in dignity," said ICRC head of operations in the Middle East, Beatrice Megevand-Roggo.

"We reiterate our call on Israel to do more to protect Palestinians in the West Bank against settler violence, to safeguard their land and crops, to allow families to repair their houses and to assure that all Palestinians can get to hospital or to school without delay."

 

Feb. 17, 2010

Mondoweiss: Israeli soldiers fire rubber bullets at journalists in East Jerusalem by Philip Weiss

 

We aim to track reports that Israeli society is toughening, it is exhibiting growing intolerance of dissent, debate, and sunlight. Here is a report at a UN site about an incident last week in which Israeli soldiers fired upon journalists who were covering raids in the Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. The camp is walled in.

 

See also the You Tube video: Israeli soldiers fire on Al Jazeera correspondent - 04 Sep 09

 

Israeli soldiers have fired tear gas on Palestinians protesting against the Israeli separation barrier which cuts through their West Bank village. The soldiers also fired tear gas at Jacky Rowla...

 

Feb. 16, 2010

Monthly Review: Zionism Laid Bare by Kathleen Christison

 

The essential point of M. Shahid Alam's book, Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism, comes clear upon opening the book to the inscription in the frontispiece.  From the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi, the quote reads, "You have the light, but you have no humanity.  Seek humanity, for that is the goal."  Alam, professor of economics at Northeastern University in Boston and a CounterPunch contributor, follows this with an explicit statement of his aims in the first paragraph of the preface.  Asking and answering the obvious question, "Why is an economist writing a book on the geopolitics of Zionism?" he says that he "could have written a book about the economics of Zionism, the Israeli economy, or the economy of the West Bank and Gaza, but how would any of that have helped me to understand the cold logic and the deep passions that have driven Zionism?"

 

Feb. 16, 2010

Facebook: Breaking the Law of Return

 

We are Jews from the United States, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel's "law of return."

Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land—a right recognized and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish.

We renounce this "right" to "return" offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may "return" to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.

 

Feb. 16, 2010

Occupation Magazine: IDF Turns To Human Rights Watch for Help by Gal Beckerman

 

As human rights organizations continue to be vilified by an Israeli government still smarting from the effects of the Goldstone Report, the Forward has learned that the Israeli military has been in conversation and even actively working with Human Rights Watch, the international organization that has been often "and loudly " denounced by the Jewish world.

 

Feb. 15, 2010

The Reverend David B. Smith, Episcopal: The final word on the place of modern Israel in Biblical Prophecy

 

...the Christian Zionist position is not logical, it’s not moral, and it’s certainly not Biblical, even if its adherents add ‘because the Bible says’ every time they state their case.

 

Feb. 14, 2010

Stephen Sizer, Senior Pastor of Christ Church, Virgiinia Water, UK: With God on Our Side Film Launch

 

With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God's chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel's security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn't favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.

 

Feb. 14, 2010

Zenit: Negotiations Advance Between Holy See and Israel

 

A Vatican communiqué noted that "the talks were purposeful and held in an atmosphere of great cordiality."

 

Feb. 14, 2010

National Catholic Reporter: Ethnic bias is no longer an option - reviewed by Diane Scharper

The most recent books by Alia Malek, Monica Ali, Marina Nemat, Jhumpa Lahiri and Jehan Sadat -- biography, autobiography and autobiographical fiction -- search inside the lives of immigrants to the United States and Europe from the Middle East, India and Bangladesh. Providing a fresh take on everything from raising children to living a good life, these books are authentic, engaging and well written.

In addition, these authors focus on people, places and circumstances that play important roles on the world stage. As such, their books are high on the list of required reading.

In A Country Called Amreeka, Malek offers vignettes about 10 Arab Americans living in the United States. She believes that Americans -- especially post 9/11 -- know little about their Middle Eastern neighbors and explains that most of the 3.5 million Arab Americans are not Muslims. Most Muslims are not Arabs. Islam teaches that killing is wrong and preaches the Golden Rule.

The daughter of Syrian immigrants and a civil rights lawyer, Malek realized that immigrants’ rights would be better served if they were given a name and a voice, something that she does admirably in this book. It includes the football player who faces racial profiling in Birmingham, Ala.; the homemaker in Baltimore who learns that her family in Palestine is being terrorized by Israeli invaders in the Six-Day War; the pastor of the Maronite cathedral in New York who worries about his flock as he watches the fall of the World Trade Center; and the Arab Marine who is torn between his brother Marines and the Iraqi people who brand him a traitor.

 

Feb. 14, 2010

Ann Haften, a Texas Lutheran: KAIROS Palestine calls occupation `sin against God and humanity'

 

KAIROS Palestine is formally titled, "A moment of truth - A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering." It is an ongoing effort that we can all be part of by adding our names.

 

Feb. 14, 2010

Christian Science Monitor: Briefing: Why Christians are declining in Mideast

 

The Iraq war, a declining birth rate, and discrimination are causing Christians to abandon a region they've lived in for two millenniums. 

 

Feb. 13, 2010

Episcopal Life: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: A Holy Land visit, the wall and 'urgent' need for advocacy for negotiated Israeli-Palestinian peace - 'Jesus will tear down this wall' by Pat McCaughan

It wasn't Bethlehem's separation wall, but a powerful graffiti message on it instead that Bishop Barry Beisner of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California hopes to convey from his recent Holy Land trip.

"Someone had spray-painted 'Jesus will tear down this wall,'" he said.

Beisner was among a 15-member delegation of U.S. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders who visited Jordan, Israel and Palestine's West Bank during the week before Christmas 2009, at the behest of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East or NILI.

 

Feb. 12, 2010

Yahoo News: Palestinian protesters pose as Na'vi from "Avatar"

Palestinian protesters have added a colorful twist to demonstrations against Israel's separation barrier, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the hit film "Avatar." ...They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film.

 

Feb. 12, 2010

Yahoo News Video: No sour grapes for Lebanon's wine-making monks

Lebanon has found its niche in the world wine market, with a thriving export market for its top names. But until now only a few vineyards monopolised the market.

 

Feb. 12, 2010

Christian Peacemaking Team: At-Tuwani Reflection: Mona's Party by Joy Ellison

During the afternoon of 11 February 2010 two young adult male Israeli settlers harassed a Palestinian family.  The settlers live in Beit Hadassah settlement, which is right beside the Palestinian family's home.

 

Feb. 12, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: Ask President Obama to Address the Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Gaza

Last week, seven organizations including Churches for Middle East Peace called on the President to address urgently the grave humanitarian crisis affecting the 1.4 million residents of Gaza.

A letter on the same subject of Gaza was recently sent to the President signed by fifty-three members of Congress.
 
Living conditions in Gaza imposed by the blockade are deplorable. Damage to buildings, homes and other critical infrastructure from the war a year ago remain unrepaired because construction materials are prohibited from entering. With no materials for maintenance there are now millions of gallons of untreated waste water being dumped into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. Much of the drinking water is unhealthy. This has negative public health repercussions for Palestinians and Israelis. The complete prohibition of exports has collapsed the local economy and left high rates of unemployment. Gaza's residents have been left without adequate housing, without work, and without hope. This is a dangerous situation that needs urgent attention.

 

Feb. 12, 2010

JTA: Jewish groups sign letter on lifting Gaza closure

Jewish and Israeli groups have signed on to a letter urging President Obama to press Israel to lift its closure of the Gaza Strip.

"Due to Israel’s policy of severely limiting passage of essential goods and materiel through its crossings, the suffering in Gaza continues," said the letter sent to the White House last week and signed by Americans for Peace Now, B'Tselem, J Street and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. "We believe this policy is strategically unsound, harms Israel’s security, and exacts an unacceptable toll on innocent Palestinians. It offends American humanitarian values, and is collective punishment that violates international law."

 

Feb. 12, 2010

Christian Peacemaking Team: At-Tuwani Reflection: Mona's Party by Joy Ellison

“This morning,” my neighbor Mona* explained to me, “I told my husband
that since the kids are out of school and he didn’t need to go into
town, I would cook something special and we would have a party.” Mona
has a wry sense of humor and I started to wonder what the punch line
would be. “We were going to invite you, but instead we had a little
party with the soldiers and the settlers.” Mona cocked her head to one
side and shrugged, smiling ironically.

The “party” we had in At-Tuwani wasn’t nearly as fun as the party that
Mona had planned.

 

Feb. 11, 2010

Jewish Voice for Peace: International activists freed, then their office raided again by IDF by Jesse Bacon

Ha’aretz reports that international activists seized in immigration raids as part of Israel’s crackdown were freed by Israel’s Supreme Court. What was most telling about the decision is that the Supreme Court, while not ruling on the general crackdown on protestors, basically admitted that the West Bank is outside of Israel’s legitimate borders.

 

Feb. 11, 2010

Sojounrers: Beyond a Predictable Script: Dialogue with Comments on My Israel/Palestine Posts by Brian McLaren

It’s one thing to go to the “Holy Land” and see where Jesus worked and walked in the past. It’s another thing to combine that with seeing where the spirit of Jesus is working and walking in the present, teaching people to seek peace and reconciliation with God, neighbor, and enemy.

 

Feb. 11, 2010

United Methodist Church: Doug Smith writes from Beit-Jala

...Soon discussion turns to life under the Occupation. Muneer shares how he lived in peace and friendship with Jewish people before the year 2000 and the Wall. He would travel to Tel Aviv and Haifa often. He entertained his Jewish friends in his home, as they shared laughter, hopes and dreams. That all changed with the Wall. Now he cannot freely go to Jerusalem, which is just minutes away. He cannot visit his Jewish friends … there is no dialogue. How sad that a sense of cooperation and friendship between Jews and Palestinian Christians has been deliberately destroyed.

 

Feb. 11, 2010

Christian Science Monitor: Peaceful Palestinian resistance is paying off

For many, the idea of Palestinian resistance is synonymous with terrorism, conjuring up images of suicide bombings and rockets. This is a distortion shaped by the media and our politicians.

Beyond the headlines, Palestinian resistance has always included nonviolent tactics.

Today, in rural villages from Bilin and Jayyous to Nilin and Beit Ommar, this kind of Palestinian persistence against Israel’s separation barrier and illegal settlements is paying off – and attracting the participation of international supporters and Jewish Israelis.

 

Feb. 11, 2010

Uruknet: No Checkpoints in Heaven by Ramzy Baroud

I still vividly remember my father's face - wrinkled, apprehensive, warm - as he last wished me farewell fourteen years ago. He stood outside the rusty door of my family’s home in a Gaza refugee camp wearing old yellow pyjamas and a seemingly ancient robe. As I hauled my one small suitcase into a taxi that would take me to an Israeli airport an hour away, my father stood still. I wished he would go back inside; it was cold and the soldiers could pop up at any moment. As my car moved on, my father eventually faded into the distance, along with the graveyard, the water tower and the camp. It never occurred to me that I would never see him again.

 

Feb. 11, 2010

National Catholic Reporter: Palestinian Christians urge nonviolent resistance, Israeli occupation must end, Christian leaders say by Claire Schaeffer-Duffy

The leaders of the thirteen Christian communities serving in the Palestinian territories -- including Latin and Orthodox patriarchs -- have declared the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories a “sin against God and humanity” and urged Christians everywhere to nonviolently intervene to end its injustices.

“Today, we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people,” wrote the authors of the Kairos Palestine Document, which was issued last month.

“The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of resolving it," the document says. "The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the church.”

[There's a little mistake in the article's opening; it identifies 13 heads of Christian communities as authors of the document; actually these leaders have signed a letter of support that serves as a preamble to the full statement.]

 

Feb. 10, 2010

You Tube: 1-2 February In Bethlehem.m4v by Justice Wheels

Monday started with the news that the Israeli military has decided to reoccupy part of Ush Ghrab in Beit Sahour after having left it in 2006 and Tuesday saw the army begin clearing land of Ush Ghrab.  Ush Ghrab is part public (Palestinian) land but a major part of it is private lands that was put off limit to their owners for nearly four decades and used as a center for the occupation forces in Bethlehem district.  From this military camp, nearly 300 Palestinian homes were partially or completely destroyed in 2002 and 2003.

 

Feb. 9, 2010

Occupation Magazine: What Israelis read about international grassroots pressures
  • Hagit Klaiman: British academics ask Elton John to read Goldstone
  • Hagit Klaiman: UK assures Ayalon he won`t be arrested
  • Yitzhak Benhorin: Arab students disrupt speech by Israeli envoy to US
 

Feb. 9, 2010

Christian Peacemaker Team: AT-TUWANI: Palestinians plant olive trees to protest settler vandalism, despite Israeli military interventions and arrest of a journalist

On 23 January 2010, Israeli soldiers declared Palestinian land south of the Israeli settlement outpost Havat Ma’on (Hill 833) a closed military zone, and then arrested a Palestinian journalist from Pal Media.  The journalist was reporting on a demonstration organized by Palestinians from the village of At-Tuwani protesting the recent destruction of an olive grove. Despite the Israeli military interventions, the Palestinians successfully planted twenty olive trees during their demonstration.

 

Feb. 9, 2010

Christian Peacemaker Team: AT-TUWANI: Palestinian olive grove destroyed in Khoruba Valley

In the afternoon of 14 January 2010, Palestinians discovered that a family-owned olive grove in Khoruba valley had been recently destroyed.  Twenty mature olive trees were broken at their trunks.  The family believes that Israeli settlers from the Ma’on settlement and Havat Ma’on outpost are responsible for the vandalism.

 

Feb. 9, 2010

Christian Peacemaker Team: AT-TUWANI: Shepherd tortured for five hours by Israeli soldiers and police

On 7 January 2010, soldiers detained Musab Musa Raba’i after attacking him and members of his family as they were complying with the soldiers' order to move their flocks off their family-owned land.

 

Feb. 9, 2010

Christian Peacemaker Team: AT-TUWANI: Israeli soldiers attack and injure Palestinian shepherds and CPTers; arrest Musa Raba’i

On the morning of Thursday 7 January 2010, Israeli soldiers attacked and injured Palestinian shepherds from the Musa Raba’i family, as they grazed their sheep in Humra valley, near the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills.  The soldiers also attacked the CPTers accompanying the shepherds and broke a video camera.  Before leaving the area, the soldiers arrested one of the shepherds, Musab Musa Raba’i.

 

Feb. 8, 2010

Human Rights Watch: Israel: Attacks on New Israel Fund, Critical Groups, Threaten Civil Society

The growing harshness of attacks by Israeli government officials on nongovernmental organizations poses a real threat to civil society in Israel, Human Rights Watch said today.
 
The most recent attacks center on the New Israel Fund (NIF), which supports a wide range of Israeli civil rights and social welfare organizations, including some that provided information to the United Nations fact-finding mission under Justice Richard Goldstone that investigated abuses by both sides in last year's Gaza conflict.
 

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Zenit: An Unheard Voice in the Holy Land, interview with Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal

Although Christian Arabs make up a small minority in the Holy Land, they could be an important bridge in the conflict that has divided the region for too long, says Patriarch Fouad Twal.

The Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem laments, however, that as the international community is slow to take them into consideration, the numbers of Christians are dwindling. Part of the problem, he notes, is that Israel's 20-foot-high wall around the Palestinian territories has made daily life for many almost impossible.

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Haaretz: Israel withholding NGO employees' work permits

The Interior Ministry has stopped granting work permits to foreign nationals working in most international nongovernmental organizations operating in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, Haaretz has learned.

In an apparent overhaul of regulations that have been in place since 1967, the ministry is now granting the NGO employees tourist visas only, which bar them from working.

Organizations affected by the apparent policy change include Oxfam, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, Terre des Hommes, Handicap International and the Religious Society of Friends (a Quaker organization).

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Christian Peacemaker Team: release of As Resident Aliens: Christian Peacemaker Teams in the West Bank, 1995-2005

As Resident Aliens: Christian Peacemaker Teams in the West Bank, 1995-2005 is now available for order.  Beginning with CPT’s initial project in Hebron, the book covers the work of CPT’s Palestine teams over the next ten years as team members adapted to changing political realities and forged relationships with Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals who were nonviolently resisting the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. 

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Redress Information and Analysis: Settlers seek to recruit Indian immigrants by Jonathan Cook

The Israeli government is reported to have quietly approved the fast-track immigration of 7,000 members of a supposedly “lost Jewish” tribe, known as the Bnei Menashe, currently living in a remote area of India. Under the plan, the “lost Jews” would be brought to Israel over the next two years by right-wing and religious organizations who, critics are concerned, will seek to place them in West Bank settlements in a bid to foil Israel’s partial agreement to a temporary freeze of settlement growth.

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Haaretz: Israel's compassion in Haiti can't hide our ugly face in Gaza by Akiva Eldar

...the remarkable identification with the victims of the terrible tragedy in distant Haiti only underscores the indifference to the ongoing suffering of the people of Gaza. Only a little more than an hour's drive from the offices of Israel's major newspapers, 1.5 million people have been besieged on a desert island for two and a half years. Who cares that 80 percent of the men, women and children living in such proximity to us have fallen under the poverty line? How many Israelis know that half of all Gazans are dependent on charity, that Operation Cast Lead created hundreds of amputees, that raw sewage flows from the streets into the sea?

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Bristol News Centre: Bristol Convoy Start to Return from Gaza
 

Sakir Yildirim says of the whole trip "The good-will all along the trip was amazing, the truck was repaired for free, we were given food and accommodation, and people collected money. It was amazing to be driving along with crowds lining the roads cheering and waving flags".

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: What You Can Do to Help Bring Peace to the Holy Land

As Christians we are called to live at peace with our neighbors, to confront evil with justice, and to respect the dignity of every human being. The pain and suffering on both sides must end. Christians must help realize a better future for all Israeli and Palestinian children.

 

Feb. 7, 2010

Mondoweiss: Israel’s crisis by Philip Weiss

The surprise for me is that the indifference of American Jews to this injustice is more than matched by that of the mass of Israelis: They live inside the bubble of their opinion that Israeli society is fair. So this trip has left me pretty depressed, even as it has renewed my sense of ethnocentric purpose: I will do what I can to bring the American Jewish community into the world conversation about the reality of Israel/Palestine.

 
 
       

 

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the Al-Bushra articles and posts are not necessarily those of Al-Bushra or its owners or volunteers, but are solely those of the individual authors. Al-Bushra does not compensate the authors for their contributions and takes no responsibility for the articles and their contents.

 
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28 Feb 2010