"Al-Bushra"

Seeking truth and justice

U.S. financial regulations increase starvation among Syria’s children

Posted on May 27, 2016 in Christians, Ecumenism, Human rights, Iraq, Lebanon, NGO, Syria, Turkey, World

Syrian children who fled with their families from the violence in their village, sit on the ground at a camp in the Syrian village of Atmeh, near the Turkish border with Syria Photo: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

 

by Franklin Lamb

Beirut, May 18, 2016 – As of May 15, 2016, according to Save the Children and an assortment of UN agencies and NGO’s, nearly 7 million people are displaced within Syria, half of them are children and more than two million of the youngsters are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. In rural areas of Damascus one in 20 children is severely malnourished with 14 per cent classed as acutely malnourished. The charity’s chief executive Justin Forsyth recently told the UK Independent recently that “There is no room for delay or argument: Syria’s children must not be allowed to go hungry!”

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The suffering of Syria’s Christians taught him how to be a priest

Posted on May 27, 2016 in Christians, Syria, World

Destroyed buildings in Homs, Syria. Credit: Chaoyue PAN via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

(CNA/EWTN News) Madrid, Spain, May 18, 2016 / 12:25 am – Father Rodrigo Miranda is a priest from Chile. But it was in Syria, among the oppressed Christian community, that he learned what it really meant to be a priest.

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United Methodists Answer: “What Does It Profit?”

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Israel, Justice, Middle East, Palestine, World

gc2016-sidebar-logoby James M. Wall, Wallwritings

Sixty-two years after the U.S. Supreme Court banned racial segregation in U.S. public schools, the United Methodist Church ended its 2016 General Conference by voting 559-157 to continue investing its funds in U.S. corporations profiting from operations in illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

This do-not-divest vote rejected an effort by some delegates to the UMC General Conference to halt all investments in three American corporations profiting from Israel’s immoral and illegal behavior.

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Pope Francis: In the face of Islamic terrorism, we should question ourselves about how Western democracy has been exported

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Christians, Interreligious dialogue, Islamic State, Middle East, Muslims, World

In an interview with French Catholic newspaper “La Croix”, the Pope spoke again about the immigration phenomenon caused by the wars going on in the Middle East and Africa and by underdevelopment. He also talked about arms trafficking and integration. Regarding euthanasia and civil unions, he said that when the State approves a law, it must respect people’s consciences. Conscientious objection is a human right of public officials too.

French Catholic newspaper “La Croix” interviews Francis (Photo courtesy of La Croix- L’Osservatore Romano)

Andrea Tornielli

Vatican City, May 16,2016 – “In the face of Islamic terrorism, it would therefore be better to question ourselves about the way in which an overly Western model of democracy has been exported to countries such as Iraq”. Francis said this in an exclusive interview with French Catholic newspaper La Croix, in which he spoke about immigration, war and laicity.

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What Can the U.S. Learn from Radicalization in the French-Speaking World?

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Islamic State, Israel, Jews, Middle East, Muslims, World

[Meserole’s[ running theory was that radicalization took advantage of two central French political ideas: “laïcité et liberté.” France and Belgium forced secularization on Muslims, but also gave them the freedom to organize against it.

A woman at a meeting of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, northeast of Paris, in May. PHOTOGRAPH BY MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / GETTY

* by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker, May 18, 2016

Late last fall, just a few weeks before the coördinated attacks in Paris, a Brookings Institution researcher named Chris Meserole assembled all the data he could find about which countries ISIS fighters came from, and began to run programs looking for correlations. Much of the scholarship in the evolving field of terror analysis emphasized jihadists’ networks and their psychological profiles, but Meserole and his collaborator, Will McCants, were interested in a separate line of questions. What was the social position of Sunni Muslims in each country that sent jihadis to Syria, and did any aspects of that position seem to correspond with the number they sent? Meserole thought that some new analytics techniques could help cut through the data, and once he applied them he found several correlations. Two were not especially strong or surprising: countries where Sunni Muslims were densely concentrated in cities, and where they had especially high rates of youth unemployment, tended to produce more ISIS fighters. But the third was striking. The most powerful variable by far in predicting how many jihadis a country would produce was whether the people in that country spoke French.

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United Methodist General Conference Calls on Israel to End Unjust Practices Toward Palestinians

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Israel, Justice, Palestine, Peace

Despite fierce opposition, which included calls to delegates from Israeli ambassadors and consulates, the United Methodist General Conference passed strong measures calling for an end to Israel’s unjust practices toward Palestinians.

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Colonial Creations: Sykes-Picot and the making of the modern Middle East

Posted on May 26, 2016 in Human rights, Iraq, Islamic State, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, World

Map of Sykes–Picot Agreement showing Eastern Turkey in Asia, Syria and Western Persia, and areas of control and influence agreed between the British and the French. Royal Geographical Society, 1910-15. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

by Elias D. Mallon

(America Magazine, the National Catholic Review) May 17, 2016 – The Sykes-Picot Agreement, one of the most fateful pacts in modern history, was signed 100 years ago on May 16, 1916. It is not an anniversary to be celebrated. An agreement made between Great Britain and France to divide up the Turkish Ottoman Empire after the end of the First World War, it was negotiated by the Englishman Mark Sykes (1879-1919) and the Frenchman François Georges-Picot (1870-1951).

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Peace for Israelis, Liberation for Palestinians: Bringing the New Jerusalem

Posted on May 25, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Interreligious dialogue, Jews, Justice, Muslims, Narrative, NGO, Palestine, Peace, World

Mark Braverman

by Mark Braverman, May 15, 2016

I was in Santa Cruz, CA to speak at a conference organized by Friends of Sabeel North America, an ecumenical organization devoted to bringing the voice of Palestinian Christians to the United States, and to mobilizing the church to work for the liberation of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis both from the evil of apartheid in our times.  See this article for the story surrounding that conference — not an uncommon one these days, but the good news is that times are changing as the controversy heats up.

I was asked to stay on an extra day to preach at a local Presbyterian church.  Yes, I’m Jewish but so far the invitations to speak at synagogues have not been forthcoming, much less preach from the pulpit.  But since my return from Israel and the West Bank in 2006 and what has become, apparently, my ministry to help Christians take a faithful stand for human rights on this issue, despite the very real risk (well, really the inevitability) of being charged with committing or supporting anti-Semitism, the invitations to preach on Sundays have continued to come.  See my website for a selection of sermons. Of all my writing, I think these have given me the most pleasure.  I may have been exiled from the synagogue, but not from my love of scripture and my penchant for homiletics.

In this case, even though the pastor was very willing for me to preach, several people in the Session blocked this, saying that my voice would be too “political” and the topic too “controversial.”  As a compromise I was invited to present a “Moment for Mission.”

So I preached.

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Pope Francis launches “Garden of Mercy” to help the poor and refugees in Jordan

Posted on May 24, 2016 in Christians, Human rights, Interreligious dialogue, Iraq, Jordan, Muslims, NGO, Peace, Vatican

(abouna.org) May 10, 2016 – The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in Amman, in cooperation with Caritas Jordan–the social arm of the Catholic Church– and the Latin Vicariate in Amman, intends to launch a new garden offered by His Holiness Pope Francis personally. The new garden, to be located at the Our Lady of Peace Center in Amman, will be named “the Garden of Mercy”. The Garden of Mercy is designed to restore dignity to the forcibly displaced Iraqis who live in Jordan and to provide aid to needy families.

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Syrian crisis poses challenges in Palestinian refugee camps

Posted on May 24, 2016 in Christians, Ecumenism, Jordan, Middle East, Muslims, NGO, Palestine, Syria, World

Dr Farah Atallah, Virgine Nasrawi and Fares Swais. (Photo: WCC)

*By Claus Grue

(World Council of Churches) May 18, 2016 – During the 29 years Virgine Nasrawi has worked in the Talbiah refugee camp, located 40 kilometers south of Amman, the Jordanian capital, she has witnessed many changes.

And the sudden influx of refugees from neighbouring Syria, caused by the devastating civil war in that country, is the most dramatic.

Talbiah is a small camp by current standards, housing 8,000 Palestinians and 3,000 Syrians.

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French Prime Minister Valls Meets Patriarch Twal

Posted on May 23, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Iraq, Israel, Justice, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Syria, World

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls meets Patriarch Fouad Twal (Photo : © LPJ / Thomas Charrière)

by Myriam Ambroselli, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – On Monday, May 23, 2016, the Prime Minister of France, Mr. Manuel Valls, currently visiting in Israel and Palestine, came with his delegation to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to speak with the Patriarch Fouad Twal about the French initiative, which would relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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Lebanon Shows Christians and Muslims Can Live Together in Peace in the Middle East

Posted on May 23, 2016 in Christians, Human rights, Interreligious dialogue, Lebanon, Muslims, Narrative, NGO, Peace, Syria

Syrian refugee children stand outside their school in Zahle, Lebanon, in the country’s Bekaa Valley April 12. The international Catholic charity Caritas has been instrumental in helping Syrian refugees attend Lebanese public schools to continue their education. (CNS photo/Dale Gavlak)

by Gerard O’Connell

(America Magazine, the National Catholic Review) May 5, 2016 – “It has been an explosive situation in the Lebanon for the past four years. But I’m amazed that while Lebanon is on the brink of an explosion the miracle is that there is no explosion,” Michael Zammit, S.J., Jesuit Refugee Service regional director for the Mideast and North Africa, told me in Beirut last week.

His words reflect the fact that the land of the cedars, after experiencing a 16-year civil war (1975-92), finds itself today in the midst of a geopolitical conflict, which is being fought with particular ferocity in neighboring Syria but also by proxy in Yemen. But the fact is the Sunni-Shiite conflict has not spilled over to Lebanon in any significant way so far; the local political forces have not wanted this to happen.

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How solar brought Muslims and Jews together in one West Bank village

Posted on May 23, 2016 in Human rights, Israel, Jews, Justice, Muslims, NGO, Palestine

One nonprofit looks beyond politics to bring contentious groups together in the West Bank.

 

A Palestinian worker in a date grove that is watered by a pump, powered by solar panels, in the West Bank town of Auja. The solar project was financed by Build Israel Palestine, a group involving both Muslims and Jews in the United States. Credit Uriel Sinai for The New York Times

by Lonnie Shekhtman, Christian Science Monitor

A solar project funded and operated by both Jews and Muslims is shining some light on Auja, a small Palestinian town located in one of the most controversial territories on Earth.

The $100,000 project is harnessing solar energy to power the drawing of water from deep underground to irrigate a grove of palms growing the prized Medjool dates. It is the first large project to be funded by both Jews and Muslims in the United States – including former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg – and to be operated by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims on the ground.

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Berrigan’s witness to nonviolence challenged church and nation

Posted on May 22, 2016 in Christians, Human rights, Israel, Justice, Middle East, Narrative, NGO, Palestine, Peace, Vatican, World

While many peace activists at that time would avoid the often divisive issue of Israel and Palestine, he decided to address it head on.

Jesuit Fr. Daniel Berrigan, right, and actor Martin Sheen, third from right, join the annual School of the Americas protest in 1999 at Fort Benning, Ga. (CNS/Quirin, The Messenger)

by Stephen Zunes, National Catholic Reporter

The first time I met Berrigan was in October 1973 during the Arab-Israeli War, when I was 16 years old, at a talk he gave in Washington, D.C. While many peace activists at that time would avoid the often divisive issue of Israel and Palestine, he decided to address it head on. Unlike many liberals of that era who opposed U.S. militarism but rationalized for Israeli militarism, he could not defend militarism by anybody. His analysis was blunt and he did not try to be “balanced,” but it was basically an accurate and honest assessment. In short, it was typical Dan Berrigan.

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New Film Looks at Israel’s Public Relations Wars in the U.S.

Posted on May 22, 2016 in Human rights, Israel, Palestine, World

The Occupation of the American Mind – Israel Public Relations War in the United States

Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and its repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor. The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people — a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel’s increasingly right-wing policies. (Running time: 85 mins)

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Caritas Jerusalem: Health Education for a Healthy Lifestyle

Posted on May 21, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Israel, Muslims, Narrative, Palestine, World

Caritas Jerusalem runs three health centers: two in the West Bank villages of Taybeh and Aboud and one in Gaza.

Taking care of the physical, medical and psychosocial needs of the children in the Holy Land is essential for Caritas Jerusalem. It is our task to see children stay out of harm’s way during the constant conflicts that are ongoing in the Middle East in general and in the Holy Land in particular. Fr. Raed Abusahlia, General Director Caritas Jerusalem

Sr Bridget Tighe FMDM gives an account of health education activities

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Palestinian Christians celebrate St. George Day in Taybeh

Posted on May 21, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Israel, Middle East, Narrative, Palestine, World

Palestinian Christians in the Israeli occupied West Bank Village of Taybeh celebrate St. George Day in the community with the local Greek Catholic Church (Melkite Practice). Taybeh has one of the strongest Christian communities in Palestine with three churches, Ancient Byzantine Church and several enchanting chapels.

By Dr. Maria C. Khoury

mariakhouryToday, May 6th was a wonderful celebration with Archimandrite Jack-Nobel, our Taybeh parish priest of St. George Great Martyr Church of the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate celebrating the feast of St. George in our village with His Excellency Archbishop Yousef Jules Zerey, Archbishop of Damiat and the General Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem.

Many members of the Greek Catholic community traveled from various locations in the Holy Land to attend today’s beautiful liturgy with over ten priests including our own local priests, Fr. Daoud and Fr. Johnny with the entire Taybeh community. It has been an annual tradition to have the amazing and glorious voice of Jack Rabah of Ramallah for Byzantine chanting.

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‘Mercy’ in Bethlehem: serving others

Posted on May 21, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, NGO, Palestine, World

‘Mercy’ in Bethlehem has added a new eye clinic. Another way to keep the relationship with the territory alive and to offer ‘mercy’ to the most needy.

‘Mercy’, the oldest Christian institution of aid and assistance to those in need, born in Florence in 1244 and present in Bethlehem for several years, is expanding its work in the territory.
The eye clinic recently opened and its purpose is to give simple but essential services, in a gesture of love for others, especially children and families in need.

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Nineteen-year-old Israeli Conscientious Objector Writes from Prison to American Soldier Whose Shirt She Was Issued

Posted on May 20, 2016 in Human rights, Israel, Narrative, Palestine, World

You see, the atmosphere in Israel lately has become more and more violent, racist, and extremist, and our government is responsible for this; but your government continues to caress my government’s head. –Tair Kaminer

Tair Kaminer

 

Dear Mr Smith,

You don’t know me, but I feel as though we are really close. For the past 20 days I have worn your shirt. At least, the shirt that was yours while you served in the American army.

Here’s the thing: I am sitting in an Israeli military prison. And our uniforms, here in the military prison, were donated to my country by your country. Yes, it is really US Army uniforms that we are wearing, the tiger-skinned uniforms, the uniforms of the Marines, and some of them still have the family names of the soldiers sewn on the right and left sides of the shirts. And this time, I received your shirt with your name tag still sewn on the right side of the shirt.

I want to tell you why I am in prison.

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WCC: Israeli treatment of representatives at airport unacceptable

Posted on May 19, 2016 in Christians, Ecumenism, Human rights, Israel, NGO, Palestine, Peace

wcc logo

09 May 2016

After traveling to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv in the last week for a climate justice meeting, World Council of Churches (WCC) staff and partners were detained or deported in a manner that WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit terms both unprecedented and intolerable.

“The WCC protests the excessive, unreasonable and wholly unwarranted treatment by the Israeli authorities of these representatives of WCC member churches and staff traveling to engage in discussions on climate change and environmental stewardship, at the invitation of and hosted by WCC’s member churches in the region,” he said.

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Israeli General: Holocaust Signs “Among Us Today”

Posted on May 18, 2016 in Israel, Jews, Middle East, NGO, Peace, World

by James M. Wall, Wallwritings, May 17, 2016

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan

Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, delivered a public address on the eve of this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

He spoke at Israel’s Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies, which is located at Tel Yitzak Kibbutz.

The General could not have chosen a more auspicious location for what Ha’aretz described as an “unusual speech”.

Four days later, General Golan was “harshly criticized” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, Ha’aretz reported, told Sunday’s cabinet meeting that Golan’s remarks “were outrageous, unfounded and they wronged Israeli society”.

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Miko Peled, Israeli Jew, discusses Israel/Palestine

Posted on May 18, 2016 in Egypt, Human rights, Israel, Justice, Middle East, Muslims, Narrative, Palestine, Peace, World

Miko Peled is from a famous and influential Israeli Zionist family and was born in Jerusalem. Miko’s father was a famous general in the Israeli army. Miko too has served his time there. When his niece was killed in a Palestinian suicide bomb attack, his family surprisingly placed the blame squarely on the state of Israel. They believed it was the torture, violence and forced eviction from their homes that was driving Palestinians to commit suicide to fight back.

In this honest (see below), ground breaking talk Peled reveals the truth about the terror state of Israel. His talk is based on his father’s insider knowledge on the Israeli war of terror, coupled with his own research. Many Jews and Israel supporters will be deeply shaken by this expose. Some facts from his talk are that the returning Jews are not the original expelled Jews, nor their descendants. He also reveals that until 1947 when Israel launched their illegal terrorist attacks on the people of Palestine, there was no conflict.

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In Israel, It’s Not Your Parents’ Evangelicals

Posted on May 17, 2016 in Christians, Ecumenism, Holy Land, Human rights, Israel, Jews, Justice, World

As more millennial evangelicals work with Palestinians, their understanding of the conflict evolves.

Shira Rubin, Reporter on Israel/Palestine, Middle East.

By Shira Rubin | Contributor, US News, May 16, 2016

TEL AVIV — Hayley Ruth says volunteering in the West Bank city of Bethlehem is her personal religious mission, no matter how controversial it might be back in her hometown in Tennessee, where “this place called Palestine was never really talked about.”

“A lot of friends back home wonder why I’m living alongside terrorists…who are going to attack our chosen people, the Jews,” says the 24-year-old, who requested a nickname out of concern she might have visa problems tied to living in the West Bank. “I’ve been praying on it a lot and trying to understand it, and while I’m not sure how politically involved Christians need to be, I have realized that my compassion for Palestinians does not mean that I want to legitimize any one side.”

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Christian Peacemaker Team, Hebron: Photos April 26-May 12, 2016

Posted on May 17, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Jews, Justice, Middle East, Muslims, Narrative, NGO, Palestine, Peace, World

Kindergarten Detained

Pictured here: During Passover, there are heightened restrictions and closures for Palestinians, and the apartheid path was apparently closed at this time. Not content with merely inhibiting these children reaching their homes, Israeli Border Police initially detained them against a wall, before ordering them to move into one alcove, and again, into another tunnel, before letting them leave after approximately ten minutes. During that time, the Border Policeman stood ‘guard’ at the entrance to the tunnel.

(Christian Peacemaker Team 28/04/2016)

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Churches for Middle East Peace: Tell Congress to Stand for Palestinian Children!

Posted on May 17, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Israel, Justice, Palestine

Palestinian 14-year-old schoolgirl Malak al-Khatib is greeted by relatives after her release from an Israeli jail on February 13, 2015, in the West Bank Palestinian town of Tulkarem. (Photo: AFP)

Photo: Budour Youssef Hassan

As a Christian, the condition of all children is important to you.

Imagine a boy from your family, neighborhood or church playing with friends outside his house. Suddenly he’s dragged away by soldiers. Worried, you and other family members call local police stations trying to locate him, but are unsuccessful.  Hours later the police call and let you know where he is but they refuse release him into your custody until the next day. Now, the playful child you knew is gone replaced by a traumatized little boy who has nightmares at night and is afraid to play outside during the day.

This story is based on the lived experience of too many Palestinian children and their families. There are too many of these stories.

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Tell US Congress to Support Palestinian Children’s Rights!

Posted on May 17, 2016 in Human rights, Israel, Justice, Palestine

The number of Palestinian child detainees has skyrocketed in recent months.

Israel had held an average of 201 Palestinian children in custody each month since 2011. By the end of February 2016, there were 440 Palestinian children in the Israeli prison system. This is a dire situation.

There is an urgent need for bold US leadership on this issue and we now have a rare chance to support an initiative to make this happen.

Representative Betty McCollum (MN-04) has initiated a letter to President Obama urging him to appoint a Special Envoy for Palestinian Children. This envoy would collect and analyze data, monitor developments on behalf of Palestinian children, and work to hold Israeli and Palestinian governments accountable to their obligations under international law.

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Top Three Signs Bill Clinton didn’t kill himself to “give” the Palestinians a State

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Human rights, Israel, NGO, Palestine, Peace

Juan-Cole

Juan Cole

By Juan Cole,Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan | (Informed Comment) |

Former President Bill Clinton on Saturday claimed “I killed myself to give the Palestinians a state,” and maintained that he secured an agreement, which the Palestinians turned down. In fact, no such text was ever presented to the Palestinian side, and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak kept flaking out on commitments previously made, leaving the Palestinian negotiators with nothing to agree to. Negotiator Aaron Miller later admitted, “There was not a formalized, written proposal that covered the four core issues. There was no deal on the table. None of the issues were explained enough in detail to make an agreement, though the Israelis made an interesting argument on Jerusalem.”

No time here to go into the paternalist and colonial language about “giving” the Palestinians a state. They are a stateless people because they are unrecognized; they would get a state by recognizing them as such, not giving them anything.

Here are signs Clinton didn’t put himself out that much:

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Survivors of the Nakba and their descendants remember…

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Christians, Human rights, Justice, Palestine, World

mazin qumsiyeh w175

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

In his message to Palestinian Christians on May 15, 2016, Dr. Mazin Qumiseyeh writes from Bethlehem.

Today is the anniversary of the Nakba (Palestinian catastrophe) which started before the state of Israel was created and continues today.

In 1948, 1.4 million Palestinians lived in 1,300 Palestinian towns and villages all over historical Palestine. More than 800,000 of the population were driven out of their homeland to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab countries, and other countries of the world.

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How Does Israel Make the Desert Bloom? Nakba Remembered and Naksa Ongoing

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Christians, Holy Land, Human rights, Israel, Jews, Justice, Muslims, NGO, Palestine, World

Barbara Erickson, FOSNA

by Barbara Erickson*

Demolitions and Dispossession: The Legacy of Occupation

Israel has sent its wrecking crews to the impoverished Palestinian Bedouin encampment of Abu Nuwar five times this year, destroying homes, sheep pens, latrines, and a school.

In the village of Khirbet Tana the bulldozers have come four times, leaving families and livestock without cover, destroying a school and playground, and even targeting caves now used as homes.

As residents have rebuilt in both communities, the crews have returned to tear down tents and hastily constructed shelters for people and animals, confiscating aid donated to the beleaguered residents. It is all part of a state-sponsored wave of destruction that has hit parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of 2016.

The rate of destruction has tripled in 2016. According to the United Nations, by May 2 of this year, Israel demolished nearly 600 structures, compared with 531 in all of 2015. It had displaced more than 800 Palestinians, many of them children, compared with 688 in 2015.

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A Document with a Mission: The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel

Posted on May 15, 2016 in Christians, Israel, Jews, Jordan, Muslims, Narrative, Palestine

Uri Avnery, Chair of the Gush Shalom Peace Movement

by Uri Avnery, Tel Aviv, May 14, 2016

WHEN DAVID BEN-GURION read out Israel’s declaration of independence (officially: “Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel”) on May 14, 1948, I was in Kibbutz Hulda.

My company of the (still unnamed) Israeli army was ordered to make a night attack on the Arab village of al-Kubab, near the town of Ramleh. It was expected to be a hard fight, and I was busy checking my equipment and cleaning my (Czech) rifle, when somebody said that Ben-Gurion was making a speech which was being broadcast on the Kibbutz dining-room radio.

I was not really interested. We were all convinced that what some politicians in Tel Aviv might be babbling was quite immaterial to our future. Whether our state would survive or not would be decided on the battlefield. The regular armies of the neighboring Arab states were about to enter the war, there would be bloody battles, and the outcome would decide our lives. Literally.

However, there was one detail which aroused our curiosity: What would our new state be called? There were some rumors in the air. We wanted to know.

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