Updates August 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


31 August 2010 22:01:20 -0700


Aug. 31, 2010

World Council of Churches | Christian Leaders Offer Words of Hope and Encouragement to President in Advance of Peace Talks

Dear Mr. President,

As leaders of American Christian faith communities deeply concerned with the need to end the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, we are pleased with the success of your diplomacy in bringing the Prime Minister of Israel and the President of the Palestinian Authority together in Washington September 1-2 to restart direct negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement on final status issues within the coming year. We fully support your goal of ending the occupation that began in 1967 and achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace with a viable Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

At the same time we have no illusions about the difficulty of the task ahead. Both sides hold deep convictions contrary to those held by the other. Although many issues have been clarified in past negotiations, major compromises by both sides will be needed at considerable political risk and cost. Without your help it seems unlikely that an agreement can be reached. Time is short. If an agreement is not reached within the coming year, it may not be reachable at all.       Read more


Aug. 31, 2010

Common Dreams | On Eve of Peace Talks, Four Israelis Killed in Occupied West Bank

The military wing of Hamas has claimed responsibility for a shooting that killed four Israelis near Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

[Israeli rescue services said the victims were two men and two women. (Reuters)]Israeli rescue services said the victims were two men and two women. (Reuters)

At least one gunman opened fire on a car driving on Highway 60 near the Kiryat Arba settlement on Tuesday.        Read more

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: "I especially note the response of Hanan Ashrawi.  Please bear in mind that Hamas has a military wing and a political wing.   Peace, Roy 

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told Al Jazeera that the timing of the attack "is related to the beginning of talks".

"There seems to be a pattern each time there is an advance [in the peace process] or the commencement of talks, attacks happen," she said.

"The situation here is unstable, unsecure, and people pay attention when there is violence against Israelis, while the violence Palestinians face at the hands of Israelis on a daily basis goes unnoticed."


Aug. 31, 2010

My Faith My Voice | My Faith My Voice Public Service Announcement

MY FAITH MY VOICE is a grassroots effort by American Muslims from across the country looking to present their voice on issues affecting Muslims and Islam in America. It is an independent network with no affiliation to any one organization or school of thought. It is a platform for you, me and any one else who wants to reach out and talk directly to America.        Read more


Aug. 31, 2010

End the Occupation | President Obama: Negotiate on the Basis of Human Rights, International Law, and UN Resolutions

On August 20, the Obama Administration announced that it will reconvene under its auspices direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations beginning on September 2. However, the United States is not insisting on any terms of references for the negotiations, meaning that they are likely to result in similar failed negotiating efforts.       Read more


Aug. 31, 2010

The Magnes Zionist | Beyond Moderates and Militants - How Obama Can Chart a New Course in the Middle East - by Rob Malley

How would the Obama's administration Middle East policy look different if they had left Dennis Ross and Dan Shapiro out, and brought Rob Malley in? Part of an answer can be found in an excellent article appearing in Foreign Affairs which Malley has co-authored with Peter Harling. It is simply one of the best policy diagnoses and prescriptions ever. It's a long read, but worth the time spent.        Read more


Aug. 31, 2010

New York Times | In Israel, Settling for Less - by Gabi Taub

WILL Israel remain a Zionist state? If so, what kind? These are the important questions in Israeli politics today, and will be looming over the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority scheduled to begin Thursday in Washington.

The secular Zionist dream was fundamentally democratic. Its proponents, from Theodor Herzl to David Ben-Gurion, sought to apply the universal right of self-determination to the Jews, to set them free individually and collectively as a nation within a democratic state. (In fact, the Zionist movement had a functioning democratic parliament even before it had a state.)

This dream is now seriously threatened by the religious settlers’ movement, Orthodox Jews whose theological version of Zionism is radically different. Although these religious settlers are relatively few — around 130,000 of the total half-a-million settlers — their actions could spell the end of the Israel we have known.       Read more


Aug. 31, 2010

World Council of Churches | Loving your neighbour in the Middle East

Military checkpoints are a way of life for Palestinians in Palestine and Israel. Each day tens of thousands of Palestinians move patiently through turnstiles and narrow caged walkways to go to work, school or home. It is a humiliating experience.

For the Israelis, it could be said that the checkpoints are also indirectly a part of their daily life. It is their sons and daughters who watch as the Palestinians move through the checkpoints to go home, to work, school or worship.

Some of the checkpoints, like the barrier at Shuhada Street in Hebron, lead to an empty, abandoned street with shuttered shops and empty apartments above the street. Palestinians can go only a certain distance along the street before they are turned back.

The checkpoints also carry a metaphorical notion tearing at any sense of neighbourliness that might have been part of the familial and religious upbringing of those entering the turnstiles and those watching them.

Deeply embedded in the religions of the Abrahamic tradition in this region, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, is the sense of loving your neighbour as being rooted in the adoration and love of God.      Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

Zenit | Egypt's Few Christians: Interview With Coptic Catholic Patriarch

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, AUG. 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Though Egypt is a Muslim country with a small Christian minority, harmonious coexistence is often the norm, according to the patriarch of the Coptic Catholic Church in the country.

Patriarch Antonios Naguib is the leader of the main Catholic community in Egypt. In addition to Coptic Catholics, there is also the group of Catholic Orthodox and also Coptic Evangelical, or Protestant, communities.

In this interview given to the television program "Where God Weeps" of the Catholic Radio and Television Network in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need, Patriarch Naguib speaks about peaceful coexistence in Egypt, while acknowledging the particular challenges Christians face.     Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

LA Times | Enthusiasm for Palestinian prime minister isn't shared by Palestinians - by Ali Abunimah

...Chasen may be pleased that Fayyad barely uses the word "occupation," but that doesn't make the occupation any less real for the millions of Palestinians who suffer under it. As B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, reported last month, Israeli settlements now control 42% of the West Bank. Virtually all of the Jordan Valley is off limits to Palestinians as Israel tightens its grip under the cover of a "peace process" that perpetually goes nowhere. In July alone, Israel demolished 141 homes and buildings belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank, the highest number since 2005, according to Human Rights Watch.     Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

New York Times | Hamas, the I.R.A. and Us - by ALI ABUNIMAH

GEORGE J. MITCHELL, the United States Middle East envoy, tried to counter low expectations for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by harking back to his experience as a mediator in Northern Ireland.

At an Aug. 20 news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, announcing the talks that will begin this week, Mr. Mitchell reminded journalists that during difficult negotiations in Northern Ireland, “We had about 700 days of failure and one day of success” — the day in 1998 that the Belfast Agreement instituting power-sharing between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists was signed.

Mr. Mitchell’s comparison is misleading at best. Success in the Irish talks was the result not just of determination and time, but also a very different United States approach to diplomacy.    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

The Reverend James M. Wall, Methodist, Wallwritings | Bibi Controls The Summit; Can He Control Israeli Women Smugglers?

The latest round of peace talks between Israeli and Palestine leaders begins Wednesday night with a White House dinner. President Obama will be the host, but Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will be in control.

In addition to Obama and Netanyahu, also at the dinner and the peace summit that follows will be Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and Jordan’s King Abdullah III. three important Arab allies in the US Middle East empire.

In preparation for the summit meeting, which will not include Hamas, the White House arranged an off the record conference call during which White House Middle East advisor Dennis Ross (pictured below) assured American Jewish leaders, “the White House will pressure the Israelis and Palestinians to sign off on a peace agreement within a year.”    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

MIFTAH | The 'Banality of Evil' Must Not Take Root Here - by Leah Hunt-Hendrix

Within the space of several hours, I received two emails with the same subject heading, requesting signatures for an online petition against the destruction of Bedouin houses by the Israeli army. One was from an aunt in Boston and the other from my father in New York. My father’s email included a question, “Is this really happening? This sounds so terrible, but you never know if you can trust the media.” While I am often skeptical of the media as well, I responded that, unfortunately, this time, the story was true.    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

MIFTAH | For Jerusalem, True Devotion - by Joharah Baker

This was the first Friday in Ramadan that I happened to see the Qalandiya checkpoint in the early morning hours and I was shocked at the scene in front of me. On my way to the Allenby Bridge for a short trip abroad, I was already on the West Bank side of the crossing but needed to go around it towards the Jericho road. As soon as the taxi approached the Qalandiya refugee camp about half a kilometer away from the actual checkpoint, the traffic began to pile up. Literally dozens of buses were lined up on the side of the roads filled with determined and faithful Muslims who most likely showed up at the crack of dawn for a chance to reach the coveted Al Aqsa Mosque for Friday Ramadan prayers. At the actual checkpoint – which Israeli soldiers close off completely to traffic on Fridays in the holy month – there were even more people. Throngs of men, women and children stood under the hot sun, parcels in hand and waited for Israeli soldiers barring the way to let them through.

The checkpoint scene is unfortunately all too familiar to me - Palestinians crammed up against the iron bars in the hopes of crossing quickly; or machine gun-toting Israeli soldiers wielding their authority over men and women old enough to be their mothers and fathers barking out orders or nonchalantly waving a person across, or worse, turning them back. But what I was not familiar with were the tens of hundreds of people who were willing to brave the heat, thirst and hunger (since they are fasting) just for a chance to pray at Al Aqsa.   Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | Modern-day Racism: A Mixture That Calls for Some Clarification - by Anne-Ruth Wertheim

Propagators of modern-day racism, which is often called Islamophobia in an effort to take off the edge, claim that all they are doing is warning people about what they see as the danger of Islam, and that it has nothing to do with racism. But it is a misconception to think that racism only pertains to the physical features people are born with. Throughout history, cultural characteristics that people develop in the course of their lives have also been grounds for maligning and excluding certain groups. The competition racism that mercantile minorities all across the globe have been, and still are, confronted with, as well as the anti-Semitism in pre-WWII Europe, were imbued with cultural prejudices, and never failed to include the item of religion.

Nonetheless it is understandable that people feel confused. Modern-day racism is a mixture of two types of racism, exploitation or colonial racism and cultural or competition racism. Thus, while focusing primarily on a cultural aspect of the group, such as Islam, their religion, there still exists a focus on the group’s physical features. I will try to explain this in my article.   Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | Netanyahu Reneges on Freeze, Rabbi Calls for Plague to Kill all Palestinians; On Eve of Obama’s Peace Talks Palestinian protester

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced his bad faith as he began the first direct talks between Israel and the Palestine Authority in 2 years, implying that he would call off the 8-month freeze on new settlements in the West Bank. His negotiating partner, President Mahmoud Abbas, had made cessation of new settlements a prerequisite for direct talks, on the sensible grounds that you can’t really negotiate with someone who is actively stealing from you. After Netanyahu’s statement, Abbas is left looking like a fool for having agreed to come to Washington for this parley.    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

BBC News | EU rebukes Israel for convicting Palestinian protester

The European Union has criticised Israel for convicting an organiser of weekly Palestinian protests against the West Bank separation barrier.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was "deeply concerned" about Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, who now faces several years in prison.

She said he was a "human rights defender" committed to non-violent protest.

Israel's foreign ministry described her statement as highly improper.    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

BBC News | Israel rabbi calls for 'plague' on Mahmoud Abbas

A senior rabbi from a party within Israel's coalition government has called for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to "vanish from our world".

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Shas, spoke out as Middle East talks are poised to begin in Washington.

The United States condemned the remarks as "deeply offensive".    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

SF Gate | Fire at proposed Tenn. mosque site probed by feds

Supporters from across the country have called to give encouragement to a suburban Nashville mosque where a fire was the latest setback for a planned new building, officials said Sunday.    Read more


Aug. 30, 2010

newstimes | NYC mosque debate will shape American Islam - by Rachel Zoll

Adnan Zulfiqar, a graduate student, former U.S. Senate aide and American-born son of Pakistani immigrants, will soon give the first khutbah, or sermon, of the fall semester at the University of Pennsylvania. His topic has presented itself in the daily headlines and blog posts over the disputed mosque near ground zero.

What else could he choose, he says, after a summer remembered not for its reasoned debate, but for epithets, smears, even violence?

As he writes, Zulfiqar frets over the potential fallout and what he and other Muslim leaders can do about it. Will young Muslims conclude they are second-class citizens in the U.S. now and always?    Read more


Aug. 29, 2010

BBC News | Bishop of Colchester backs bid to twin with Bethlehem

The Anglican Bishop of Colchester has backed a bid to get the town twinned with the holy city of Bethlehem.   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

Ynet News | Artists to refuse to perform in Ariel culture hall

Prominent actors, directors, playwrights send letter to boards of Israeli theaters in protest of plans to put on shows in news culture auditorium beyond Green Line. Yesha Council vows harsh response to 'vile, anti-Zionist' letter.   Read more

See also Haaretz | Israeli theater actors refuse to perform at new West Bank cultural center

Poem by Uri Avnery


In Czechoslovakia,
The actors,
Led by a playwright,
Started the revolution
That freed
Their country.

In Israel,
The major theaters
Decided this week
To perform in the

How shameful!


Aug. 28, 2010

Adam Keller, Crazy Country | But can he?

A glittering event, a magnificent photo opportunity. The President of the US, The Prime Minister of Israel, the Head of the Palestinian Authority, assorted Arab leaders, very many TV cameras. A festive launch of the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. And a clear deadline - within a year the negotiations will be concluded, and there will be an agreement, and there will be peace.

It has happened before. In November 2007, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convened the leaders at Annapolis, and the speeches were delivered, and the cameras clicked and transmitted everything live all over the world. And then Bush left the parties alone, to talk to each other, and lay down for a good nap after an excellent meal prepared by the White House cooks. And the parties talked and talked and talked, and meantime the bulldozers worked full steam and the settlements grew apace and the occupation continued to trample the Palestinians to the ground. And a year after the grand conference, there was no peace to be signed. One year after Annapolis, the government of Israel launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip and killed 1300 Palestinians, including hundreds of children.   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

Zenit |Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan: "Christians Are Spiritually Close to You During These Days"

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is a text published today by the Vatican of a message sent to Muslims by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The message was sent on the occasion of the end of Ramadan.

* * *

Christians and Muslims:

Together in overcoming violence among followers of different religions

Dear Muslim Friends,

1. 'Id Al-Fitr, which concludes Ramadan, presents, once again, a favorable occasion to convey to you the heartfelt wishes of serenity and joy on behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Throughout this month, you have committed yourselves to prayer, fasting, helping the neediest and strengthening relations of family and friendship. God will not fail to reward these efforts!   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

Zenit | Holy Land Contemplatives: E-mail Us Your Petitions: Embrace Mission to Intercede for Society

JERUSALEM, AUG. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Several contemplative communities in the Holy Land are now accepting e-mailed prayer requests.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem announced that it set up this service whereby people worldwide can request prayers from the religious communities that reside in the Holy Land.

In a communiqué, the patriarchate acknowledged that these prayer intentions "may be very important to you and this is the reason why you want to entrust them to the people who have devoted their life to God and who live and pray in the Holy Land."

The communiqué also quoted from the instrumentum laboris (working document) of the upcoming synod of bishops for the Middle East, which states that "the first mission of the monks and moniales is the prayer and intercession for society."   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

Zenit | Israeli Wall Blocks Children From School

JERUSALEM, AUG. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A kindergarten run by Combonian sisters of Jerusalem is at risk of closure because the Israeli separation wall has blocked the children from reaching it.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem reported this week that some 50 children of the kindergarten of Bethany (Shayyah) Jerusalem will not be allowed this year to reach the school through a small opening in the wall. They come from the Aizaria area, a Palestinian compound beyond the wall.   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

Zenit | Vatican to Muslims: Let's Fight Violence Together, Stress Importance of Education Toward Respect

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sent a message to Muslims, underlining the need for a joint effort against violence.

The message, published today by the Vatican, was sent to all Muslims on the occasion of the end of Ramadan, which this year will take place Sept. 10.

"Throughout this month, you have committed yourselves to prayer, fasting, helping the neediest and strengthening relations of family and friendship," the message affirmed. "God will not fail to reward these efforts!"   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal writes:


In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun."
Mary Poppins
      As we all know, Palestine and Israel are sending delegations to Washington on Thursday, 2 September to resume the long-stalled peace negotiations.  Some of us are hopeful about the next round of talks, but have you noticed?  The Internet abounds with essays that are pessimistic.  Some people are writing:  "We've been thru all this before" which, unfortunately, is true.  But of one thing we can be certain.  If a critical mass of people remain pre-convinced that nothing good will come from the talks, nothing good will come from them.
      "Naysayers" remind me of the Senior Citizen who had the habit of driving her car with one foot on the accelerator and with her other foot on the brake.  She kept one hand on the steering wheel while her other hand was clutched tightly around the emergency brake.  Peers, there's a lesson we can learn from what happened to that poor woman:  YouTube - When to Take a Senior Citizens License Away (01:26).
      I write today to encourage all the pessimists.  Do you have a Bible?

Aug. 28, 2010

Uri Avnery, Gush Shalom | Red and Green

Channel 10, one of Israel's three TV channels, aired a report this week that surely frightened a lot of viewers. Its title was "Who is Organizing the World-wide Hatred of Israel Movement?", and its subject: the dozens of groups in various countries which are conducting a vigorous propaganda campaign for the Palestinians and against Israel.

The activists interviewed, both male and female, young and old - quite a number of them Jews - demonstrate at supermarkets against the products of the settlements and/or of Israel in general, organize mass meetings, make speeches, mobilize trade unions, file lawsuits against Israeli politicians and generals.   Read more


Aug. 28, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: Here's another link to the FGM's new video:  YouTube - Happy Birthday Free Gaza (08:05).   Peace, Roy

He forwards this message from Greta:

When we wrote the text for Happy Birthday, Free Gaza, our wonderful video producer, Paola, asked if she could design a video tribute to Free Gaza. It is here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAMFRkATYX0

Many of you have also sent birthday wishes to us as we get ready to sail again in the fall. To all of you... thank you. None of this could have been done without the support from around the world. Below are just some of the birthday wishes:

  • Happy Birthday, all our love. Free Gaza is much more that what you do, it is in its spirit pure , loving, extreme well-considered, and highly intelligent. Free Gaza is for us a symbol of how we citizens should always behave, in daily life as whether it comes to your own family or the world family. Neils and Marie, Denmark

  • Happy Birthday Free Gaza :) you guys are true freedom fighters..very inspiring in a world gone mad, that's for sure. Sean, California

  • Happy Birthday Free Gaza!! You have achieved such a lot in such a short space of time. You should be very proud of all you have achieved. Excellent job :) All the best for now. Hanan, UK

  • Great Text..this is the spirit…Happy Birthday. Ton, Netherlands

  • Happy Anniversary! Thanks for letting me be a first! One day, Gaza will be free! Kathleen, California

  • Happy Birthday Free Gaza to everyone! And I wish everyone a Free Palestine! Mahmoud, Gaza

  • The flotillas will grow, more and more boats and ships, thousands of people will board the boats and tens of thousands will demand to board. The people of the world say enough is enough - Free Palestine Now! Tear down all the Apartheid Walls Now! Right of Return for all Palestinians. Donna, California



Aug. 28, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Popular Resistance suppressed by Israel and the Palestinian authority

Saturday started out by some work at the university with students (research in biology) then taking a group of visitors on a tour of the area of Bethlehem that shows the impact of the wall and settlements. We also went to one of the weekly demonstrations and on this third Friday of Ramadan both here and Bilin and other places showed several injuries and use of excessive power by the Israeli occupation/apartheid army. The demonstrations commemorated the assassination of famous Palestinian Cartoonist Naji Al Ali and of the leade of the PFLP Abu Ali Mustafa. It also came in solidarity with the "conviction" by Israel's apartheid courts of Abdullah AbuRahma on charges of organizing nonviolent demonstrations in Bilin. I posted 5 minute of the video I took of the event here (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkToniKnWEs ). Please watch this especially the unprovoked abduction of Kobi, an Israeli peace activist and the unprovoked attack with gas canisters that injured people.   Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

New Stateman | The NS Interview: Haneen Zoabi - by Samira Shackle

“I was not elected to keep silent or to sit at the table and clap” - Haneen Zoabi, Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset.      Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

Huffington Post | "Palestinian Gandhi" Convicted for Protesting; U.S. Silent - by Robert Naiman

This week, an Israeli military court convicted Abdallah Abu Rahmah, whom progressive Zionists have called a "Palestinian Gandhi," of "incitement" and "organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations" for organizing protests against the confiscation of Palestinian land by the "Apartheid Wall" in the village of Bilin in the West Bank, following an eight month trial, during which he was kept in prison.

The European Union issued a protest. But as far as I am aware, no U.S. official has said anything and no U.S. newspaper columnist has denounced this act of repression; indeed, the U.S. press hasn't even reported the news. To find out what happened, someone could search the wires where they'll find this AFP story, or go to the British or Israeli press.      Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | 2-Nilin weekly demonstration 27.08.2010 - by Iyad Burnat, Popular Committee

7 people got arrest among them the medical team and 2 photographers for the second time and Dozens suffer from the tear gas inhalation in thr third demonstration in ramadan and people of nilin village continue their struggle under the hot wither also its ramadan. after friday prayers under the olive trees near the land which is confiscated by the israeli military ,the demonstration began with international peace activests and the israeli activests who came in solidarity with the people of nilin heading towards the area of the wall to protest against the buliding of the aparthied wall on their lands,and the demonstrators carrying the weels(tires) to fire it at the gate of the wall to show the blake color and the sadness of the people of nilin about their lands inside the wall which they never reached....     Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | Four civilians injured Bil'in Weekly Protest-27/8/2010 - by Iyad Burnat, Popular Committee

This demonstration was held on the third Friday in Ramadan was the 9th anniversary of the assassination Abu Ali Mustafa, the former secretary general of the PFLP (Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine). The popular committee for resisting the wall organized the demonstration, which began after the Friday prayer. They were supported by villagers and number of international supporters. They included members of International Women's Peace Service from the United States, Association France-Palestine Solidarite and Euro-Palestine from France, Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East from Britain and dozens of Israeli supporters.Chairman of the Popular Resistance Committee, Iyad Burnat.    Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

World Council of Churches | WCC delegation seeks just and inclusive peace in Palestine and Israel

At a time when there are signs of hope emerging from the churches in the Middle East around the conflict in Palestine and Israel, a World Council of Churches (WCC) delegation led by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit will be travelling to the region to emphasize the need for a “just peace”.

While planning for the visit was initiated several months ago, it now coincides with the start-up of peace negotiations 2 September in Washington, D.C., United States.

“The purpose of this visit is to support the churches in the region and to encourage all actors involved to make needed changes to the situation there,” Tveit said prior to the visit.      Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | The Islamic Center and the “Pearl Harbor” Analogy - by Scott Kurashige

In May 2007, George W. Bush welcomed Queen Elizabeth II to the White House, hosting a ceremony attended by 7,000 guests followed by the first white-tie state dinner of his presidency. If we abide by the twisted logic of some “Ground Zero mosque” opponents, we must now view this affair as controversial, explosive, and offensive.     Read more


Aug. 27, 2010

Mondoweiss | Top ten reasons for skepticism on Israeli-Palestinian talks - by Josh Ruebner

On August 20, the Obama Administration announced that it will reconvene under its auspices direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations beginning on September 2.

While a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace is in everyone's interest, there are profound reasons to be skeptical about the likelihood of success for the following reasons (not necessarily listed in order of importance).      Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Council on Foreign Relations |  Is a Mosque Near Ground Zero A Bad Idea?

Plans by the Cordoba Initiative to build a community center that includes a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York have sparked a heated national debate. Some argue vehemently that the group--started after 9/11 to promote religious and cultural understanding--should not attempt to build a mosque so close to the site of the 9/11 attacks, while others see it as an affirmation of American values.    Read more

Also: The Debate Over the Proposed Community Center in Downtown Manhattan (Audio)


Aug. 26, 2010

VoteVets.org |  Sign our Open Letter on the Muslim Community Center

Since the debate erupted, we’ve kept out of the argument over the planned Community Center for Muslims in Lower Manhattan (falsely called the “Ground Zero Mosque”). Initially, we believed this was a local issue for New Yorkers to discuss. But, we can no longer stay silent. We need your help. Please take a moment to sign the open letter below to the developer of the site, supporting the right of Muslims to build a community center on property they lawfully bought. This is too important an issue for us to stay silent on any longer.     Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Brave New Foundation |  Glenn Beck is NOT Martin Luther King Jr.

On August 28th, I will stand with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a just, diverse and equal society. I do not stand with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and their attempt to destroy and distort King’s vision.

Your First Name and Last Initial will be posted on the signatures page.     Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment |  Maddow on Manhattan Mosque

Rachel Maddow talks to Sohail Khan of the Conservative Inclusion Coalition about the most embarrassing non-Justin Bieber related obsession of today, the rightwing campaign against mosque building in Manhattan.    Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment |  Republican National Committee Slashes New York Muslim Cabbie

...I don’t understand why Abdul Rauf doesn’t sue for libel (that was how the early 20th century Jewish community got industrialist Henry Ford to back off his similar campaign of ethnic vilification in the 1920s; unfortunately Jewish groups like CAMERA and the David Project are now actively involved in promoting anti-Muslimism, i.e. have sided with Ford this time.)    Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Sojourners |  A Different Idea for Ground Zero  - by Lavonne Neff

Here’s an idea for people who are unhappy about having an Islamic Center near the site of the World Trade Center, especially if those people are Bible-believing Christians and/or defenders of the U.S. Constitution. What if American Christians got together and offered to build an interfaith memorial instead?    Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Sojourners | Are Christians the Only Children of God? - by Aaron Taylor

...Think about all the crimes perpetrated in the name of Christ throughout Church history, or even the suffering inflicted on others today when Christian faith is mixed with blind nationalism. When it comes to formulating an appropriate response to Islamic terrorism, too many Christians schooled in the classic us/them dichotomy of American evangelicalism have little choice but to resort to a theology that says convert them or kill them. Is this really the best way to read the Scriptures?    Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Jim Wallis, Sojourners | Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Social Justice Christian

This coming Saturday, August 28 will mark the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” Glenn Beck has chosen this day to deliver his own speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.

On that same morning I will be speaking at the dedication ceremony of a work of public art that commemorates the words and legacy of King. It is not a protest. Rather, it is an opportunity to reflect on what this great American had to say and is still saying to our country today. Whenever we take the time to collectively consider what that dream was, we all benefit.

My picture has graced the Glenn Beck blackboard a number of times over the past year. I am quite sure that if the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would have been on Glenn Beck’s blackboard long before I would have ever been considered. That is because Martin Luther King Jr. was clearly a Social Justice Christian — the term and people that Beck constantly derides. If the Christians of King’s era had listened to Glenn Beck, they would have been forced to walk out on MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech. If they were to heed his advice to turn in social justice pastors to the church authorities, they all would have had to turn in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.    Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Washington Post | Still striving for MLK's dream in the 21st century - by Martin Luther King III

Forty-seven years ago this weekend, on a sweltering August day often remembered simply as the March on Washington, my father delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. A memorial to him is being erected at the Tidal Basin, not far from where he shared his vision of a nation united in justice, equality and brotherhood.

This weekend Glenn Beck is to host a "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial. While it is commendable that this rally will honor the brave men and women of our armed forces, who serve our country with phenomenal dedication, it is clear from the timing and location that the rally's organizers present this event as also honoring the ideals and contributions of Martin Luther King Jr.

I would like to be clear about what those ideals are.   Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Hebron: Soldiers Practice Break and Enter

At 3:30 pm on August 24, 2010, 34 soldiers gathered on Chicken Street in front of the CPT apartment. Five soldiers lined up at the entrance to the street to keep the onlookers back while the others were breaking open shop and apartment doors along the street. When the CPTers asked what they were doing, the soldiers said they were practicing how to break into shops. They broke open or damaged at least five shop or apartment doors along the street. They started to break into three other shops, but stopped when a shopkeeper hurried up to them, unlocked the shops, and persuaded them not to break into the shops. At one point some of the soldiers went back to their base and were replaced with another group of soldiers who could then learn how to break into Palestinian shops. The soldiers left the area at 5:00 pm after unsuccessfully trying to break into an apartment door that a Palestinian family had formerly welded shut in an attempt to prevent raids by the soldiers. As the soldiers left, a shopkeeper asked them who would pay for the damaged locks, but they did not answer.   Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

The Rector of St. Paul's Memorial Church,  Fiat Lux | Our Christian Response to the Proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero

I've been asked by a few parishioners about the proposed Islamic Center near "Ground Zero" in New York. One parishioner asked me "What should the Christian response be?" I would like to share with you today the gist of my reply:

Our Christian response should always be guided by compassion, love and striving to understand "the other."   Read more


Aug. 26, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle | Jon Carroll: Hallowed be thy coat factory

What is hallowed ground, exactly? The word derives from "holy," so it has something to do with the blessings of God. Abraham Lincoln used it best, I think, in his Gettysburg address:

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

In other words, all we can do is say nice things; it was the blood of martyrs that made the ground holy. And the ground he was talking about was a battlefield, not the town of Gettysburg or a sandwich shop five blocks away.   Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

Dr. Maria Khoury of Taybeh | Honoring the Mother of God

It was a beautiful and solemn procession at four in the morning (August 25th) to walk the icon of the Theotokos, the Holy Mother of God, from the monastery next to the Holy Sepulchre all the way down the via Delorosa to reach the empty tomb of the Virgin Mary at the bottom of the hill below the Russian Orthodox Convent at the Garden of Gethsemane.

According to the old calendar, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary falls upon the New Calendar day of August 28th. Thus, as is customary in the Holy Land, three days prior to this solemn celebration, the icon is brought to the Tomb of the Holy Mother of God with multitudes of bishops, priests, pilgrims and local Palestinian Christians except this year there were hardly any local Christians attending. It was heartbreaking not to see your friends who you might usually see at special occasions.

How sad, these restrictions of needing a permit to get into Jerusalem are getting worse than ever. And how do you explain to the Israeli Authorities the ancient unbroken Christian traditions that should be carried out for pure witness and faith. I mean, my Muslim and Jewish colleagues did not even put me in the conversation this week. They are hosting meetings and speaking about the Holiday Season in Israel and Palestine and the discussion only includes the meaning of Ramadan and the Jewish holidays. And, the first thing in my mind is what about my ancient Christian traditions and the fact that some Christians are still here and trace their roots to the holy apostles and are experiencing holy days every day? I cannot understand being wiped out of the discussion when we are making huge efforts to peacefully survive in the land of our Lord’s birth, crucifixion and resurrection.   Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart | The Parent Company Trap

Fox News is either evil or stupid for not mentioning that Alwaleed bin Talal is News Corp.'s largest shareholder.   Click for video


Aug. 25, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes:

There is an orchestrated effort underway in the US to demonize Islam.  Watch FOX News for confirmation.  One is forced to wonder who's responsible for the hate rhetoric and why. 
An essay by Karen Armstrong is once again making the rounds on the Internet:  TIME.com - Why Jerusalem was central to Mohammed.

Aug. 25, 2010

America Magazine | Weekly Commentary: In Search of the Real Islam

A new book on the early years of Islam paints a more complex portrait of the movement's beginnings   Click for video commentary


Aug. 25, 2010

BBC News | Arabic to become compulsory in Israeli schools

The Israeli authorities are introducing a new scheme to make Arabic-language classes compulsory in state schools.

The programme, which will start in 170 schools in northern Israel, will make lessons mandatory for fifth graders.

Education officials hope the scheme, called "Ya Salam", will turn language into a cultural bridge and promote tolerance between Jews and Arabs.

Arab students currently are required to learn Hebrew while Jewish children can take Arabic as an additional language.   Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

Agence France Presse on Google | UN rights probe into Israel flotilla raid heads to Turkey

GENEVA — A UN human rights inquiry into Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has begun a two-week visit to Turkey and Jordan to interview witnesses and government officials, the UN said Monday.   Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | Matthews Takes Down Lazio over Half-Truths and Scapegoating of Muslims

Chris Matthews of Hardball takes down New York gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio for his scapegoating of Muslims and aggressive, manipulative tactics, suggesting that the meanness is a calculated attempt to come back from being 30% behind his Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo in the polls. Watch Matthews catch Lazio misquoting Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who said that the US did not deserve what happened on 9/11 but that US policies abroad were an accessory to that crime. Lazio quoted only the second half.    Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | Stewart: Fox Smears Owner Alwaleed bin Talal!

Jon Stewart points out that Fox News anchors and guests are vilifying Saudi prince and financier Alwaleed bin Talal as a financial backer of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim-American clergyman who seeks to build a community center in lower Manhattan. The problem: Alwaleed bin Talal is part owner of Fox News. Stewart’s special correspondents debate whether Fox is just pure evil or terminally stupid. I vote for both.    Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

The National | Israelis risk jail to smuggle Palestinians - by Jonathan Cook

NAZARETH, ISRAEL // Nearly 600 Israelis have signed up for a campaign of civil disobedience, vowing to risk jail to smuggle Palestinian women and children into Israel for a brief taste of life outside the occupied West Bank.

The Israelis say they have been inspired by the example of Ilana Hammerman, a writer who is threatened with prosecution after publishing an article in which she admitted breaking the law to bring three Palestinian teenagers into Israel for a day out.    Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

Muzzlewatch | Hudson’s co-founder, the Israeli academic purge and the subversion of US Middle East policy

Evidence is mounting that the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS) — an Israeli NGO at the forefront of an ongoing campaign to purge Israeli Universities of faculty and programs deemed “left-wing” — is a creature of The Hudson Institute, a major Washington based neoconservative think-tank, which played an active role in shaping the Bush administration’s Middle East policies.   Read more


Aug. 25, 2010

The Daily Beast | Obama's Silent Jewish Majority  - by Eric Alderman

Pundits claim Jews are abandoning the president. But the truth is, he remains more popular with Jewish voters than any other ethnic group, save blacks. Eric Alterman on the perpetual myth of the Jewish rightward shift.   Read more


Aug. 24, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Hebron:  Open Shuhada St. Action Changes Tactics

The regular Saturday Action "Open Shuhada St." changed tactics this August 21, 2010. Since the police had threatened two of the organizers with large fines and a possible ten-year imprisonment if the demonstrations continued, the organizing group felt it better to use a new approach during the remainder of Ramadan.   Read more


Aug. 24, 2010

Boston Globe | Supporters: Church ignored in NYC mosque furor

NEW YORK—Supporters of a Greek Orthodox church destroyed on Sept. 11 say officials willing to speak out about a planned community center and mosque near ground zero have been silent on efforts to get the church rebuilt.   Read more


Aug. 24, 2010

Common Dreams | Israel's Choice is Settlements or Peace, say Palestinians

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - Israel must chose between "settlements or peace," Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Monday ahead of the September 2 restart of negotiations in Washington.

Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, pauses as he speaks in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel must chose between "settlements or peace," Erakat said on Monday ahead of the September 2 restart of negotiations in Washington.(AFP/Abbas Momani)]Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, pauses as he speaks in the Israeli occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel must chose between "settlements or peace," Erakat said on Monday ahead of the September 2 restart of negotiations in Washington.(AFP/Abbas Momani)

"The choice of the Israeli government is settlement or peace, they cannot have both," he said at a news conference in Ramallah, the political capital of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

But he also said he believed agreement could be reached within one year.   Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

Zenit | Association Calls for Action to Help Iraqi Christians: Prelate Laments Lack of Law

ROME, AUG. 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- An institution that works to defend religious freedom appealed to the Iraqi government to assure with deeds, and not just words, the fundamental rights of Christians in that country.

The Italian Salvaimonasteri (Save the Monasteries) Association, which is based in Rome, stated this in a communiqué in which it commented on public statements of the new ambassador of Iraq to the Holy See, Habeeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al-Sadr.       Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

Guardian UK | Israeli army's female recruits denounce treatment of Palestinians - by Harriet Sherwood

Facebook images of an Israeli servicewoman posing with blindfolded Palestinians have caused a storm. Now two former female conscripts have spoken out about their own experiences.      Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

Electronic Intifada |Canadian Boat to Gaza to break siege, overcome "aid traps" - by Stephen Zhou

Canadian activists looking to assist in the breaking of the siege of Gaza plans to launch a Canadian Boat to Gaza this fall. However, this Canadian version of the Freedom Flotilla that seeks to break the siege has a twist.

In partnership with the Free Gaza Movement (the group behind numerous boats to the Gaza Strip), the Canadian Boat to Gaza initiative, headed in part by Canadian activist Sandra Ruch, seeks to also take goods out of Gaza. In this way, the Canadian activists hope to assist Palestinians in Gaza by helping them, as declared in their mission statement, "assert their right to export, trade and provide for themselves rather than be at the mercy of international aid." It is often forgotten that the siege of Gaza, intensified after the Hamas elections victory in 2006, prohibits all exporting from the Strip. This is the other half of the siege, which helps to corrode the economic independence of the Palestinian people.      Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

Zenit | Bishop Notes Key Points for Israeli-Palestinian Talks, Expresses Hope for Return of Christians

ROME, AUG. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The division of Jerusalem and the Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories are two key points for the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks, according to Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The prelate made this claim over the weekend on Vatican Radio regarding the beginning of a new round of talks between the Israel and the Palestinian Authority, orchestrated by U.S. President Barack Obama, which will be held at the White House in Washington, D.C.      Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes in an open letter to Joharah Baker:


Greetings and best wishes. I'm circulating your essay this week with highlights. Every word you've written is true, but please be optimistic. For there's something else that's true. The International Community is involved in the negotiations scheduled to begin on September 2nd. Nobody wants the Middle East to develop into another world war. The world's diplomats ... led by President Obama, Secretary Clinton and George Mitchell ... are aware that what you've written here is true. (They're also aware that Israel has nukes.) Meanwhile, let's do all we can to encourage Fatah and Hamas to reconcile despite Netanyahu's objections ... because ... as you've written in other essays ... there must be unity inside Palestine. I'm adding a postscript for our allies.



P.S. Peers, let's all of us find ways to keep hope alive in the Holy Land. One thing we can do that will make a difference is plant more Olive Trees.


MIFTAH | Direct Talks, a Tragic Road to Nowhere, editorial by Joharah Baker

No two-way situation can be fruitful if one party has everything to gain while the other party gains almost zero. If nothing else, it is unsustainable because the unfortunate side will eventually grow frustrated enough to call it quits. It would seem that the Palestinians should know this by now after so many years of failed negotiations. However, this week, President Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO's Executive Committee, gave their approval to enter direct talks with Israel on September 2.

The question of the hour is why? The most obvious reason is pressure. President Abbas' West Bank government has been under excruciating US pressure for months to transition from proximity talks and enter direct talks with Israel. At one point even Abbas admitted that, "Never in my life have I experienced such pressure." And while the United States has repeatedly denied it, media reports have speculated more than once that the US would "punish" the Palestinians by holding back funds for not agreeing to direct talks.     Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

Justice for Jerusalem by Hind Khoury

Note: Hind is back in the country.  She was the Palestinian  Ambassador to France, and before that she served as a minister for the Jerusalem affairs.  She is also on the Sabeel board.  A very nice and gentle woman.  In my book of rhymes, I have one for her 50th birthday.  Samia

There is a sad irony surrounding the city of Jerusalem . The Holy City is central to all three of the monotheistic religions - all of which extol the need for justice - and yet the city is rife with severe injustice.

For more than 38 years, the Palestinian Christians and Muslims of Occupied East Jerusalem have been victimized by an Israeli strategy to claim as much Palestinian land as possible with as few Palestinians as possible. This strategy is most dramatically evidenced by the construction of Israel ’s Wall around East Jerusalem . The Wall’s route extends well beyond Jerusalem ’s Israeli defined municipal borders and is being used by Israel to redefine and expand Jerusalem ’s borders. While the Wall effectively annexes Palestinian land, entire Palestinian communities are left in ghettos, often with a single road or tunnel as their only means of accessing other Palestinian areas. More than 100,000 Palestinians with Jerusalem residency rights will be effectively cut off from the Holy City , forced to access schools, hospitals and even families through Israeli military “gates”.    Read more


Aug. 23, 2010

Intifada Palestine | An Open Letter to Israel From: Lauren Booth, UK

Note: Lauren Booth was one of 44 passengers on the first ad\id flotilla, August 23, two years ago

This morning I set out to write a piece about the looting of the aid Flotilla to Gaza, by your soldiers. As you may have read, an Israel Defense Forces officer, has been remanded by a military court, suspected of stealing laptop computers from passengers. Interestingly, Haretz newspaper, now refers to the fleet as an ‘aid flotilla.’ Which it was. Rather than the ‘terror’ fleet your leaders would have had you call it. But I digress.

So, there I was, all ready to write my piece, when I came across an article on ynetnews. It sought to spell out the shock perhaps felt by some about the looted goods. A senior Israel Defense Forces officer said of the flotilla thefts: ‘there must be a serious problem in the IDF in terms of values.”

I looked at those words for a long time. And, instead of writing my piece, decided to write to you instead. Because I can’t help wondering, who on earth still has any reserves of ‘shock’ to spare for the behaviour of your military? I mean really, come on guys. Beyond the comfortable avenues of Tel Aviv, the rest of the world finds the phrase ‘Moral Army,’ when applied to the IDF, nothing short of a huge, (sadly catastrophic), global sized joke. One on the same level as, say, climate change denial or George Bush’s presidency.

Now, here I’ve done it again. I’ve made you really mad at me. But please, just give me a moment or two to explain why I’m writing this letter. Because I didn’t set out to, nor do I want to insult you. Certainly not anymore than I have in the past. I’m sat here with washing up undone and housework piling up, to ask you one question. As a mother and as a fellow human being I need to know why you don’t see the evil that’s being done in your name?     Read more


Aug. 22, 2010

Al Jazeera | Israel and anti-Muslim blow-up by M.J. Rosenberg

I don't know why I am at all surprised that the American Right - including the Republican Party - has decided that scapegoating Muslims is the ticket to success. After all, it's nothing new.

I remember right after 9/11 when the columnist Charles Krauthammer, now one of the most vocal anti-Muslim demagogues, almost literally flipped out in my Chevy Chase, Maryland synagogue when the rabbi said something about the importance of not associating the terrorist attacks with Muslims in general.

It was on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, but that did not stop Krauthammer from bellowing out his disagreement with the rabbi. Krauthammer's point: Israel and America are at war with Muslims and that war must be won.     Read more


Aug. 22, 2010

BBC News | Netanyahu says securing peace difficult but possible

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said reaching agreement with Palestinians will be "difficult but possible", in his first comments about planned direct talks between the two sides.

But Mr Netanyahu insisted that the negotiations could only be successful if Israel's interests were protected.

He said Palestinians must accept Israel as the state of the Jewish people and its security must be guaranteed.       Read more

See also these articles by Martin Asser in the BBC News:


Aug. 22, 2010

Center for American Progress | Obama Gets More Open About His Religion - by Mike Luckovich from the Cartoonist Group

Obama Gets More Open About His Religion      Read more


Aug. 22, 2010

Counterpoint | Hurt Feelings and the Ground Zero Mosque - by GARY LEUPP

Here is the order of events producing this bizarre “controversy.”

2009: A Muslim organization having arranged to purchase an abandoned Burlington Coat factory on Park Place in Lower Manhattan plans to build a 13-story Islamic community center. It will feature a culinary school, conference hall, basketball court, swimming pool, and place of worship among other things and while principally servicing the Muslim community be open to all. It is to be called the Cordoba House, an apparent allusion to Muslim Spain in which Islam flourished alongside Christianity and Judaism from the eighth century up to the “Reconquest.”      Read more


Aug. 22, 2010

Sad news from Maria Khoury of Taybeh

I was blessed to see another amazing sunset in the beautiful hills of Taybeh with all the purple, pink and orange colors but today was one of the most darkest days I have experienced here since Taybeh buried one of its sons, our cousin, Yousef, 24 years old, who tragically lost his life in a drowning accident in Louisiana and following sixteen days of  Israeli bureaucracy, at least, permission was granted for his body to be buried in his birthplace today with His Beatitude Theophilos, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and over nine priests, two of his uncles, Fr. David and Fr. Yacoub, officiating  at our St. George Church.  Archbishop Aristarchos who is always  very helpful to me personally from the patriarchate also attended.      Read more


Aug. 21, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Viva, Viva Negotiations!

Returning from the Friday demonstration in Al-Walaja in unbearable heat (new video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pftDUGV9RY) we note that the talks about the talks about the peace talks are to resume in Washington September 2nd. The Obama administration decided not to spend any political capital challenging the Israeli lobby. In fact the US politicians want to blunt Republican criticism ahead of midterm elections by chalking out a diplomatic “success” in form if not in substance. Direct talks will lead to more erosion of Palestinian rights especially when conducted in Israeli-occupied Washington between Abbas whose mandate as president of the Palestinian bantustan in the West Bank expired last January and Mr. Netanyahu, a known terrorist and war criminal leading the most extreme right-wing government in the history of the apartheid state of Israel. I believe most Palestinians (Abbas included) are neither optimistic nor pleased about this development. But few of us believe it was necessary for Abbas to yield yet again. Most (including large segments of Fatah) believe it is a huge mistake that just set back the real cause for peace. I challenge those who think otherwise to public debates on the issues.   Read more


Aug. 21, 2010

Mondoweiss | Peace talks in the shadow of demolitions - by Badil Resource Center

The BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, an independent, community-based non-profit organization mandated to defend and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs, released the following statement today:

While President Barack Obama pressures Palestinians to re-engage in direct peace talks, and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu loftily counsels President Mahmoud Abbas not to miss the opportunity, recent demolitions within the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel continue unabated and unaddressed.        Read more


Aug. 21, 2010

Zenit | Iraqi Bishop to US: Leave Peace in Your Place

Calls for Sowing an Education in Democracy

BAGHDAD, Iraq, AUG. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- U.S. troops are leaving Iraq, but the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad wants them to leave peace in their place.        Read more


Aug. 21, 2010

MIFTAH | Direct Talks Back on in September [August 15 – August 21]

September 2 will mark the start of direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis upon invitation – and tremendous pressure – by the United States. According to statement made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on August 20, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas would meet with US President Barack Obama on September 1 before the official kickoff of the talks the next day.         Read more


Aug. 21, 2010

MIFTAH | When You Say No - by Uri Avnery

...LATELY, ASSOCIATIONS for the defense of Zionism have been springing up like mushrooms after rain. Poisonous mushrooms.

All kinds of American Jewish multi-millionaires – many of them Casino kings, brothel moguls, money launderers and tax evaders - are financing “patriotic” Israeli groups in Israel, to fight the holy war for “Zionism”.

The assault takes place along all the fronts. Jewish organizations aim at cleansing the universities of post-Zionists. They threaten to induce other donors to withhold their donations, they terrorize presidents and rectors and frighten professors and students.

Americans may be reminded of the sinister era of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who blighted the life of thousands of intellectuals and artists, pushing many of them into exile or suicide. Europeans might be reminded of the days when “Aryan” professors informed on their treasonous colleagues, and students in brown shirts threw their Jewish colleagues out of the windows.        Read more


Aug. 20, 2010

Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | Arrest of International and Israeli activists at Bilin Weekly Demo 20-08-2010 - by Iyad Burnat

Bilin Weekly Demo 20-08-2010 Arrest of International and Israeli activists, journalist wounded and dozens of cases of injuries from teargas inhalation. Despite the intense heat and high temperature, on the second Friday in Ramadan, a sizable march organized by the Popular Committee commenced from the center of the village right after the Friday prayers.        Read more


Aug. 20, 2010

BBC News | UN urges Israel to loosen Gaza restrictions

A UN report says the Israeli military has increasingly restricted Palestinian access to farmland in the Gaza Strip and fishing zones along its shore.

The Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Gazans were never informed of the exact nature of such restrictions, and the Israeli army used live ammunition to enforce them.       Read more


Aug. 19, 2010

Sojourners | The Implications of Calling Cordoba House a “Mosque” - by Melvin Bray

Islam did not attack America on Sept. 11 — terrorists did. Peace-loving, law-abiding American Muslims suffered losses as great on 9-11 and in the months that followed as any honored with the moniker “9-11 families.” Not only did Muslims lose loved ones in the towers and as passengers on the planes that crashed that fateful day, but they also suffered the psychic trauma of all Americans. Furthermore, their losses were compounded by the absurd demonization of persons perceived to be Muslim, which resulted in a dramatic rise in random hate crimes, racial profiling, indiscriminate detention, and extraordinary rendition. Now, nine years later, American Muslims suffer by being branded unworthy of First Amendment rights because murderers once perpetrated unspeakable acts in blasphemy of the Muslim faith.      Read more


Aug. 19, 2010

Hassan Fouda, Northern California Sabeel, writes:

The tragedy for Palestinians comes to focus when you know they are at the receiving end of armed18 year olds with utter disregard for human life. The tragedy for Israel is the brain washing and racist education of whole generation of Israelis. The tragedy for the international community is the gullible people who internalized the Israeli propaganda that reverse the truth claiming that it is the Palestinians who teach their kids to hate. For a glimpse of racist Israel education, I recommend the work of Israeli Prof. Nurit Peled Elhanan.

See also the 2nd article about the soldiers’ theft of personal belonging of Gaza Flotilla activists. The se soldiers clearly understand what their uniform represents: Theft, murder and racism.


Aug. 19, 2010

Ann Hafften, A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Middle East Peace | Churches for Middle East Peace [CMEP] Bulletin: Negotiations for Direct Talks Heating Up

There are intense negotiations going in this week between Israel, the United States and the Palestinians, as well as with the Quartet (the US, the EU, the UN, and Russia) over terms under which direct negotiations would resume between Israelis and the Palestinians.

Israel continues to insist that it wants to begin direct negotiation as soon as possible but without preconditions. Palestinians fear that without an agreed framework, Israel with its stronger position would be able to allow negotiations to drag on while Palestinians would remain under pressure of Israeli expansionism into the West Bank and east Jerusalem. President Abbas is insisting that there must be some agreed framework and timetable for the talks, such as the statement issued by the Quartet on March 19 - http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/409607B6476A9116852576EB004854B6       Read more


Aug. 19, 2010

Foreign Policy | Why America is going to regret the Cordoba House controversy - by Stephen M. Walt

Apart from a brief post praising New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's forthright stance on the Muslim community center controversy, I haven't said much about this issue. I had naively assumed that Bloomberg's eloquent remarks defending the project -- and reaffirming the indispensable principle of religious freedom -- would pretty much end the controversy, but I underestimated willingness of various right-wing politicians to exploit our worst xenophobic instincts, and some key Democrats' congenital inability to fight for the principles in which they claim to believe. Silly me.       Read more


Aug. 18, 2010

YMCA Joint Advocacy Initiative | Keep Hope Alive - The Olive Tree Campaign

The Olive Tree Campaign (OTC) seeks to replant olive trees in areas trees have been uprooted and destroyed or in areas where the fields are threatened to be confiscated by the Israeli military Occupation and settlers.

Since the year 2001 Israel through its military and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza has uprooted, burnt and destroyed more than 548,000 olive trees that belong to Palestinian farmers and land owners, most of these trees have survived hundreds and thousands of years. We know that we will not replace the life of such olive trees, nor the stories and life lived around them, but we try to overcome such barbaric, irresponsible and careless practices by providing a The Olive Tree Campaign (OTC) seeks to replant olive trees in areas trees have been uprooted and destroyed or in areas where the fields are threatened to be confiscated by the Israeli military Occupation and settlers. We know that we will not replace the life of such olive trees, nor the stories and life lived around them, but we try to overcome such barbaric, irresponsible and careless practices by providing a sign of hope that future generations might than us for.      Read more


Aug. 18, 2010

The Reverend James M. Wall, Methodist, Wallwritings | Right Wing Blogger Provoked Attack On Islamic Center

The conservative anger that arose in the land last summer with the false furor over the “Kill Grandma” panels, has returned in a new form.

After smoldering for many months, this year’s conservative wild fire roared into full flame after the White House iftar dinner where President Obama spoke of the right of Muslims to build an Islamic community center in New York City, two city blocks away from the site where the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed on 911.

The political right rushed forward to throw gasoline on the wild fire, shouting “sacred space” as their ancestors might have shouted, “death to the infidels.”

Sacred space became a modern day battle cry. Leading the way was a previously unknown right wing blogger named Pamela Geller.     Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

ROBERT MACKEY, The Lede | Israeli Ex-Soldier Defends Her Facebook Snapshots

Snapshots taken by Israeli soldiers of captured or killed Palestinians were posted on Facebook by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli human rights group on Tuesday.

...Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority said in an interview with the BBC, “This picture of an Israeli soldier enjoying humiliating Palestinian prisoners is an example of the day to day life of the Palestinian people under occupation. It indicates that occupation is [a] cause of suffering, and humiliating, for the Palestinian people every day and it is an indicator [of] the fact that occupation also corrupts the Israelis.”    Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

Electronic Intifada | US military aid to Israel violates domestic, international law  -  by Nahida H Gordon

[April 7, 2010] The Middle East Study Committee of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has published "Breaking Down the Walls", a report to be submitted to the church's 219th General Assembly this July.

Some of the report's 39 recommendations have drawn harsh criticism. The Simon Wiesenthal Center declared in a 22 February action alert that "adoption of this poisonous document by the Presbyterian Church will be nothing short of a declaration of war on Israel and her supporters" ("Presbyterian Church USA Ready to Declare War Against Israel: Take Action Now").

Such attacks make exaggerated claims and misrepresent the recommendations. The Committee's intent is not to make war but rather peace.

One factually misleading claim is the Simon Wiesenthal Center's assertion that "the report calls for the US to withhold financial and military aid to Israel." In fact, the report "calls on the US government to exercise strategically its international influence, including the possible withholding of military aid as a means of bringing Israel to compliance with international law and peacemaking efforts" (p.53).   Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

Vision | Peace Team Takes Effort

Saint Francis of Assisi encourages us to pray so that we might understand rather than be understood, says Sister Paulette Schroeder, OSF. As a Franciscan sister, she's putting those words into practice through her work [in Hebron] with Christian Peace Making Teams [CPT], an ecumenical that promotes non-violence in crisis situations and militarized areas of the world.    Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Hebron :  "Captain, Where Is Your Sense of Decency?" - by Paulette Schroeder, OSF

Backed up by 30 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli policemen, you, Capt.Bassem, cleared the way for your soldiers to weld shut three Palestinian shops on the same site as the Saturday weekly “ Open Shuhada St .”Action. Though the shopkeeper who worked these shops had nothing to do with this nonviolent weekly Action of the Palestinian activists, you made him "an example” of your intention to forcibly stop this resistance movement. After arresting one international and four Palestinians, one very brutally, you sealed the shops through your final orders to the soldiers.    Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

Palestinian Chronicle | Harakiri: Israeli-Style - by Uri Avnery

If God wills, even a broomstick can shoot – so I wrote after the appointment of the Turkel commission. I was quoting the Jewish saying in the hope that in spite of everything, something would come out of it.

The commission was born in sin. Those who appointed it were not interested in discovering the truth but in preventing the setting up of an international inquiry commission or an Israeli State Board of Inquiry. The “terms of reference” that were dictated to the commission were extremely narrow. At the beginning, the commission was not even empowered to compel witnesses to testify.

In short: a commission without wings, a broomstick without the brush.   Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

Palestinian Chronicle | Christian Zionism: The Root of All Evil? - by Tammy Obeidallah

It is common knowledge that many so-called Christians throw unconditional, unyielding support behind the Jewish state. Known as Christian Zionists, or more recently “Israel-firsters”—indicating their degree of loyalty over and above the interests of their own country—it is estimated they are over 50 million strong in the United States alone. By stripping biblical passages out of their proper context and ignoring historical perspective, Christian Zionist leaders have convinced the masses that Jesus Christ will return when all Jews are gathered in Palestine, even if it means the systemic destruction of the Palestinian people.    Read more


Aug. 17, 2010

Jonathan Cook | Israel should not keep its history behind lock and key

History may be written by the victors, as Winston Churchill is said to have observed, but the opening up of archives can threaten a nation every bit as much as the unearthing of mass graves.

That danger explains a decision quietly taken last month by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to extend by an additional 20 years the country’s 50-year rule for the release of sensitive documents.

The new 70-year disclosure rule is the government’s response to Israeli journalists who have been seeking through Israel’s courts to gain access to documents that should already be declassified, especially those concerning the 1948 war, which established Israel, and the 1956 Suez crisis.

The state’s chief archivist says many of the documents “are not fit for public viewing” and raise doubts about Israel’s “adherence to international law”, while the government warns that greater transparency will “damage foreign relations”.    Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

Counterpunch | What the Presbyterian Statement Didn't Say About Israel  - by N. H. GORDON

...There is much that is good in [the] recommendations; however there is much that is not said.

All settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. An immediate freeze both on the establishment or expansion of settlements is not sufficient. Military aid to Israel should be contingent on not only Israel’s creation of new West Bank settlements but also on its continuation of the occupation, its ignoring of United Nations Security Council resolution including resolution 194 calling on the right of return or compensation of Palestinian refugees.    Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

Corner Store | Summer Fundraiser to Recut the Documentary for TV

In order to appeal to broadcasters we need to re-cut the film to broadcast length.

Be a part of this important step and receive any number of thank you gifts!   Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

Haaretz | Mideast peace needs prophets, not yes-men - by Margaret Atwood

If a modern prophet saw the future of the Middle east he would see seven possible scenarios; if leaders are wise they will chose the seventh future.

“After I visited Israel and wrote “The Shadow Over Israel” for Haaretz, many people asked me what “my position” was. “Position” is a military term and spatial metaphor, and space and time and functions of each other: positions alter as events unfold — but “my position” is that I wish the best outcome for all. But what is that outcome, and what are the alternatives?

Picture a minor prophet. Perhaps he’d be working today as an astrologer. He’s looking towards Israel and Palestine, consulting his charts and stars, getting a handle on the future. But the future is never single -- there are too many variables – so what he sees is a number of futures.    Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

Ma'an News Agency | Jerusalem man on hunger strike over residency rights

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Jerusalem resident entered day 20 of a hunger strike Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin, in protest over the Israeli Interior Ministry's decision not to give his daughter an ID card.

Firas Al-Maraghi was forced to apply for "family reunification" so his daughter Zeinab would receive residency rights in Jerusalem and be included on the population registry, which was rejected by Israel's Interior Ministry.

Unlike citizens of Israel, Palestinians from Jerusalem are required to prove their residency in order to maintain rights and ID cards, often the only form of identification they possess. Families whose children are born abroad must apply for family reunification in order for their children to be recognized as Jerusalem residents.   Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Invasion of the body snatchers

The ‘news’ that is transferred to masses in the West through controlled media are so disconnected from reality that it is shameful. Fortunately the spreading of real news by decent people through the internet and other alternative media is shaking the foundations of oppression (which are ignorance, apathy, racism). Thus, an anonymous ‘US official’ is quoted as threatening Turkey if it does not start towing the line in opposition to Iran and support of apartheid Israel. And the Israeli government statements about the removal of a wall in Gilo are printed as if they are facts (the wall was actually erected to keep residents of an illegal colony of Gilo afraid and supportive of apartheid rather than to protect them and since polls show that Israelis have developed fear of gentiles to paranoia levels, it is no longer needed). And the Quartet (US, UN, EU, Russia) is unwilling to challenge the fascist government of Israel so it pressured Abbas to go to direct negotiations (already 19 years of that produced only expanded colonies and shrinking Palestinian lands). But the Zionist controlled media does not dare publish reality: what is happening on the ground to people. The popular resistance is all but ignored by the self delusional right wing Zionists and their managed media outlets.   Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

Coteret | Knesset outsources US campus public diplomacy to militant Christian Zionists

An article in this morning’s Yediot (full translated text at the bottom of this post) reports that that a bi-partisan group of MKs has partnered with a Christian Zionist organization to recruit evangelical students to represent Israel on US campuses....   Read more


Aug. 16, 2010

The Reverend James M. Wall, Methodist | A Good-to-Go “Sermon” Is Now Available To Combat Hate Talk

If I were pastor of a local church, by now I would have installed a video player and a means to project a video in a darkened sanctuary.

Then I would be ready to share unexpected gifts of grace with my congregation, like this good-to-go “sermon” which arrived this weekend in video and print form.   Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

Note from Mazin Qumsiyeh: ...the Israeli government statements about the removal of a wall in Gilo are printed as if they are facts (the wall was actually erected to keep residents of an illegal colony of Gilo afraid and supportive of apartheid rather than to protect them and since polls show that Israelis have developed fear of gentiles to paranoia levels, it is no longer needed).

BBC News | Israel demolishes security barrier at Gilo

Israeli troops have begun demolishing a concrete wall erected nine years ago to protect a Jewish settlement on the outskirts of east Jerusalem at Gilo   Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | An Israeli Attack on Iran would reduce Barack Obama to a One-Term President

What should a poor warmongering Neoconservative do? This political grouping includes WASPS such as former CIA director James Woolsey and former UN ambassor John Bolton, but at its core is politically active and extremely wealthy Jewish former Democrats who broke with their party in the 1980s to become war hawks in Republican administrations, and most of whom are rooted in Rightwing Zionism as exemplified in the thought of prominent fascist theorist Vladimir Jabotinsky. (They are almost mirror images of the general American Jewish community, 79 percent of which voted for Barack Obama, which is skittish about foreign wars and liberal on social issues).   Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, notes: "Israel is commonly assumed to have nuclear weapons but refuses to discuss the issue."

Aug. 15, 2010

Sadaka-The Ireland Palestine Alliance | Gaza: Its History, the Siege, and Its Consequences - by Caitlin Ni Chonaill

Gaza (Arabic: غز ة Ghazza, Hebrew: עזה "Azza" ) , also referred to as 'the Gaza Strip', is a narrow piece of land situated in the south-west corner of historic Palestine and bordering on the Mediterranean. It is approx. 41 kms. ( 25 miles ) long, and from 6 to12 kms. ( 4 – 7.5 miles ) wide at its narrowest and widest points respectively. It occupies an area of only 360 sq.kms. ( 1 39 sq. miles, equal in area to the Burren district in Co. Clare ) . It is bounded by Israel to the north, east and south and by Egypt to the south-west. Its capital, for which it was named, is Gaza City.   Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

Business Day | ALLISTER SPARKS: At home and abroad: The chief rabbi owes Judge Goldstone an abject apology

AFTER carrying out its own investigation into last year’s Gaza War, the Israeli military has finally confirmed several of the most serious incidents committed by its troops in that 22-day assault, which a United Nations commission of inquiry, headed by our own Judge Richard Goldstone, reported on last September.

In a low-key report released two weeks ago that seems to have escaped the attention of the entire South African media, perhaps because of its preoccupation with the Fifa World Cup at the time, the military has confirmed that three of the most serious findings of Goldstone’s egregiously vilified report were true.    Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

Haaretz | The Shadow over Israel - by Margaret Atwood

Until Palestine has its own 'legitimized' state within its internationally recognized borders, the Shadow will remain.    Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

Haaretz | Missing the Forest - By Gideon Levy

Does anyone actually know the meaning of the term 'Jewish state'? Wouldn't it be better to live in a just democracy?   Read more


Aug. 15, 2010

Israeli Occupation Archives | Jeff Halper: Ramadan Kareem from the Netanyahu and Obama Administrations

Yesterday [10 August], the day before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, at 2:30 in the morning, workers sent by the Israeli authorities, protected by dozens of police, destroyed the tombstones in the last portion of the Mamilla cemetery, an historic Muslim burial ground with graves going back to the 7th Century, hitherto left untouched. The government of Israel has always been fully cognizant of the sanctity and historic significance of the site.   Read more


Here is another example of how the Israeli government is changing history by destroying any and all artifacts, archeological discoveries, and even cemeteries that are not Jewish. By eliminating all evidence of any other people who may have resided in the land, even centuries ago, the Israeli government is creating its own history of Ha'aretz Israel, the Land of Israel, so that only the Jewish history can be documented in the future. I've seen them do this with my own eyes and I am more than outraged at the abuse and disrespect of not only these graves, but of history itself. Where is the outrage of the rest of the world, and why do we allow our complicity to continue?

Janet [Methodist Missionary in the Holy Land]


Aug. 15, 2010

New York Times | Preaching About a Mosque - by Tobin Harshaw

[The Thread is an in-depth look at how major news and controversies are being debated across the online spectrum.]  The personal is still political. “Michael R. Bloomberg is a former Wall Street mogul with a passion for the rights of a private property owner,” reports The Times’s Michael Barbaro. “He is a Jew whose parents asked their Christian lawyer to buy a house and then sell it back to them to hide their identity in an unwelcoming Massachusetts suburb. And he is a politician who regards his independence as his greatest virtue.”   Read more


Aug. 14, 2010

Vicki Gray writes:

When I was the American Consul in Krakow, Poland, I used to visit Jewish cemeteries throughout Galicia and demand of local officials that they repair the many desecrations found. Will the American Consul General in Jerusalem do the same in Muslim cemeteries?

New York Times | Gravestone Removals Add Fuel to Jerusalem Museum Dispute - by Ethan Bronner

The latest skirmish in the war for every inch of this coveted city focused this week on the dead. Did Israeli government bulldozers, working in the middle of the night, destroy hundreds of historic Muslim graves? Or were the removed tombstones outrageous fakes placed on parkland in a ruse?   Read more


Aug. 14, 2010

BBC News | Lebanese Christians angered by TV show about Christ - by Sebastian Usher

An Iranian-made television series about the life of Christ being shown on two Lebanese channels has been taken off air after complaints from Christians.   Read more


Aug. 14, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Israeli Military and Policemen Shut Three Palestinian Shops in Heron

Every Saturday for the last several months, Youth Against the Settlements has led a nonviolent action -- " Open Shuhada St ."-- at the entrance to the Old City of Hebron. On Tuesday, 10 August 2010 the Israeli military and police forcibly welded shut three stores that stand directly behind the area of the weekly Saturday action and across from the gate of an Israeli military base.   Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

BBC News | The battle over the 'Ground Zero mosque - by Finlo Rohrer

To its backers it is a chance to boost interfaith relations, but to its opponents, building a mosque near the site of the Twin Towers is unacceptable and they have taken their opposition all the way to the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission.   Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Yahoo News | Obama backs mosque near ground zero - by ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer

President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed allowing a mosque near ground zero, saying the country's founding principles demanded no less.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and the nation.  Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Center for American Progress | A Real Zero - Cartoon by Nick Anderson

A Real Zero  See cartoon


Aug. 13, 2010

Faith in Public Life | Festive Muslim holiday falls around Sept. 11 this year; US Muslim leaders fear backlash - by Rachel Zoll

The lunar calendar that Muslims follow for religious holidays is creating a potential for misunderstandings or worse in a year when American Muslims are already confronting a spike in assaults on their faith and protests against new mosques.    Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Washington Post | U.S. State Department sending imam of proposed New York mosque to Middle East - by Matthew Lee

The imam behind controversial plans for a mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks is being sent by the State Department on a religious outreach trip to the Middle East, officials said Tuesday, in a move that drew criticism from conservative lawmakers.    Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

CNN Belief Blog | Interview with 'ground zero mosque' spokesman -

CNN Radio Correspondent Steve Kastenbaum filed this report from New York:

The leaders of the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near New York's ground zero are addressing their critics by vowing to be open and transparent as the project progresses.   Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

New York Times | Mayor’s Stance on Muslim Center Has Deep Roots

Michael R. Bloomberg is a former Wall Street mogul with a passion for the rights of a private property owner. He is a Jew whose parents asked their Christian lawyer to buy a house and then sell it back to them to hide their identity in an unwelcoming Massachusetts suburb. And he is a politician who regards his independence as his greatest virtue.   Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Huffington Post | The Shameful Mosque Controversy - by Dr. David Gushee

The United States is governed by a constitution whose First Amendment guarantees free exercise of religion. Governments at every level have understood that they must not obstruct the construction of religious facilities in their communities, even if those facilities are intended for (tiny, misunderstood, unpopular) religious minorities. This is one of the very best practices of our country. Millions of people have come here through the centuries because of this constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion -- including many, many Christians.   Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Pew Forum on Religion and Life | RNS: Religious leaders blast Gingrich, Palin on New York mosque - by Alfredo Garcia

More than 40 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders say they are "deeply troubled" by the opposition to a proposed Islamic community center and mosque located two blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan.  Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | Rudolph: Can You Pass the Terrorism Quiz?

Can You Pass the Terrorism Quiz?

Misconceptions about terrorism, regularly promoted by the mainstream media, have facilitated harmful US government actions—two wars, domestic legislation that curtailed civil liberties, excessive national security spending. That basic, factual information about terrorism is so rarely reported thus serves to reinforce the power of those who benefit from a fearful population.

It should be banal to read in the mainstream media that the US not only engages in terrorism but often aggravates it; that if the current crop of terrorists in, say, the Middle East were killed, new terrorists would simply arise if the underlying political and social conditions remained unchanged; and, that if a particular country is perceived as actively supporting dysfunctional political and social conditions in a part of the world, it will become the target of anger and, possibly, violence. Yet, instead of such obvious conclusions about terrorism, we are daily exposed to much bias and distortion.

Several years ago my local newspaper, the (very mainstream) Montreal Gazette, published a piece I had written with only one change: Jewish “terrorists” was edited as Jewish “fighters”—needless to say, “Arab terrorists” remained unchanged. To counter such inadequate journalism, I have prepared the following quiz.

Take Jeffrey Rudolph's quiz


Aug. 13, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | First Friday of Ramadan: the 5 second that is five minutes

On the first Friday of Ramadan, thousands of Palestinians tried to reach the Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem for prayers in Al-Aqsa mosque. But only some men above 50 and some women above 45 year old were allowed to enter through the checkpoints in the apartheid wall. Some of those left behind participated in demonstrations. Al-Walaja demonstration was particularly inspiring and faced the might of the apartheid system.  Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Iyad Burnat, Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | Bil'in Demo Friday August 13th 

Dozens of People Suffer from Tear gas, Sound bombs and Rubber Coated Steel Bullets on the First Friday of Ramadan.   Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal,  writes, "International diplomacy is like a game of chess. Whose move is it? The Quartet's. See Reuters' article for confirmation. Peace, Roy."

Reuters | Clinton prods Netanyahu on Mideast peace talks - by Andrew Quinn

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about issues blocking direct peace talks with the Palestinians as the Obama administration boosted pressure for talks to begin, the State Department said on Friday.

Read more


Aug. 13, 2010

Sabeel | Cornerstone - Sabeel's magazine for Summer 2010: Through the Eyes of Women

In this issue we focus on the life of Palestinian women under occupation. The intention is to highlight the important role women have played and continue to play in the struggle against the illegal Israeli occupation. The general impression is that men are the only political players and that women are uninvolved, and at best, play a minor and passive role.

It is true that Palestinian men have been the key players in conducting both the armed struggle and the political negotiations, and that women have had a relatively minor role to play, though some of them have been active in both. Yet when we consider the multiple layers on which the liberation struggle has been conducted and the various fronts on which the resistance has taken place, it becomes clear that Palestinian women have been vanguards in their direct and indirect involvement and especially in its nonviolent aspects, though some have been involved in the armed struggle as well.

Read more


Aug. 12, 2010

Sojourners | Can Muslims Follow the Biblical Christ and Still Be Muslim? - by Aaron Taylor

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the “Insider Movement” which is what missionary experts refer to as Muslims who love and follow Jesus while remaining within the cultural fold of Islam. I can remember before moving to Senegal as a missionary, a thought flashed through my mind, “I wonder if God might use me to initiate a movement of Muslims coming to biblical faith in Christ as part of a Reformation movement within Islam?”   Read more

Note: Aaron D. Taylor is the author of Alone with A Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. To learn more about Aaron’s ministry, go to www.aarondtaylor.com. To follow Aaron on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/aarondtaylor. Aaron can be contacted at fromdeathtolife@gmail.com.


Aug. 12, 2010

Christianity Today | Conservatives Get 'Slap in the Face' - by Tobin Grant

Groups were busy responding to fights over marriage, the Supreme Court, and a mosque near Ground Zero.  Read more


Aug. 12, 2010

Sojourners | Has Hate Corrupted the Church? - by Julie Clawson

...I see the Christians (the National Association of Evangelicals even) asking that the International Koran Burning Day be canceled in the name of Jesus. I see the handful of Christians willing to stand with Muslims as they build the Cordoba House. These are public voices presenting to the world the side of Christianity that isn’t defined by violence and hatred. They may be few, but it is enough to keep believing that the core of Christianity hasn’t been completely corrupted or destroyed.    Read more

Note: Julie Clawson is the author of Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices (IVP 2009). She blogs at julieclawson.com and emergingwomen.us.


Aug. 12, 2010

Sojourners | Seeking Peace Among the Peoples - by Logan Laituri

Last weekend, Christian leaders and lay persons from all walks of life and just about every denominational body came together for the Peace Among the Peoples conference hosted by the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. The conference brought together scholars, activists, and pastors to overcome the spirit, logic, and practice of violence.  Read more

Note: Logan Laituri is an Army veteran with combatant service in Iraq during OIF II and experience with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Israel and the West Bank. He blogs sporadically and is a co-founder of Centurion’s Guild.


Aug. 12, 2010

Ecumenical Water Network | Newsletter August 2010


* 1) UN resolution recognizes right to water and sanitation

* 2) Coca Cola to be held liable for damages in Plachimada

* 3) Queues and prayers for water and sanitation

* 4) Good practices submitted by EWN and ACT Alliance

* 5) Reformed churches urged to support water as a human right

* 6) 1.4 million in Italy call for referendum on water privatisation law

* 7) Water and sanitation high on the global agenda?

* 8) New resources

* 9) Upcoming events

Read more


Aug. 12, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel | The children of An Nu'man

"When the soldiers don’t do anything to us at the checkpoint, it is not normal," says Samar, a 12-year-old girl from An Nu’man.  Read more


Aug. 12, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel | Closing down Hebron

Hebron, 10 August. Three Palestinian shopkeepers had a visit from an Israel army official who told them they would be evicted from their shops in 1 hour.   Read more


Aug. 12, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel | EAPPI news August 2010

Greetings from Jerusalem. The Middle East is experiencing an intense heat wave and as the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan begins, West Bankers are preparing for a tough period.       Read more


Aug. 11, 2010

Center for American Progress | Thanks for the Light - Cartoon by Signe Wilkinson, Cartoonist Group

Thanks for the light  See cartoon


Aug. 11, 2010

Haaretz | A soldier's word - by Amira Hass

Nighttime raids, pointed guns, arrests often accompanied by beatings, kicks, curses and painful and extended handcuffing. The ordinary behavior of Israeli children in uniform.

Read more


Aug. 11, 2010

Faithful America | Stand with Muslim Americans

Prompted in part by pundits like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment is sweeping the country. Some are even trying to prevent Muslims from exercising their right to worship freely.

Our country is better than that. Our faiths are better than that.   Read more


Aug. 11, 2010

Center for American Progress | I Love New York - Cartoon by Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal Constitution

I love New York  See cartoon


Aug. 11, 2010

Center for American Progress | The Distorted Lens of Islamophobia - by Sally Steenland

Protesters have recently been rallying against a proposed Islamic educational center containing a mosque near Ground Zero, claiming that the proximity of anything Muslim to Ground Zero would contaminate a hallowed place. Protesters claim they aren’t anti-Muslim; they merely want the center and mosque to be built someplace else.  Read more


Aug. 11, 2010

Truth Dig | The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our Tears - by Chris Hedges

When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.   Read more


Aug. 10, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Video blog, Walaja action and Emily follow-up

Some of you wrote encouraging that I use the video blog format of glimpses of life in the occupied territories (Sample snapshots of events, sights, and sounds and expressing my thoughts).  Read more


Aug.9, 2010

Christian Peace Team |  Hebron Reflection: Shuhada Street - Keeping the quiet

“Excuse me!” the Israeli soldier called to us.  “You can’t walk down that street." 

Elizabeth and I turned toward him, questioning.  “We can’t?  But the German tourists here earlier walked this way,” Elizabeth recalled.   

“I walked down the street three days ago,” I added.  “No one stopped me then.” 

The soldier shrugged.  “We can’t let CPTers walk on this street.  That’s the order we’ve been given.”       Read more


Aug.9, 2010

Ann Hafften, a Texas Lutheran |  Greta Steeber writes: We Are Floating in a Sea of Crazy

I wish I could share with you all the marvelous newsletters sent to me in the past year by Greta Steeber, a young friend who lived in Beit Sahour through the Young Adults in Global Ministry program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ameria (ELCA). She taught at the Lutheran school there. Greta sent her reflections in a monthly newsletter, beautifully laid out. I'll include here her message from the last newsletter she sent from Palestine (June 2010).     Read more


Aug.9, 2010

Christian Peace Team |  At-Tuwani Reflection: A Good Thing: Festival of Nonviolent Resistance

The 3rd Annual At-Tuwani Festival of Nonviolent Resistance took place on Saturday, 7 August. That's a good thing. The festival was a celebration. A celebration of the successful completion of the 9th annual summer camp, a celebration of the forthcoming availability to electricity and water for the village, and a celebration of the general success of defeating ethnic cleansing as the people of the South Hebron Hills have

remained on their land for yet another year.     Read more


Aug.8, 2010

The Reverend James M. Wall, Wallwritings |  Tony Judt Dies at Age 62

On Friday (August 6), Tony Judt died.  Read more


Aug.8, 2010

Metro Lutheran |  Palestinian Lutheran pastor addresses Presbyterians

...Raheb argued, the Middle East situation will not change until Western countries pressure Israel to end the occupation.   Read more


Aug.7, 2010

Uri Avnery |  The Elders of Anti-Zion

Israel on August 6 accused Hamas of being responsible for the rocket attacks on Eilat and Aqaba on August 2, saying the commander of its military wing ordered them. Hamas, however, has denied the accusations, saying its organization only operates inside Palestine.     Read more


Aug.7, 2010

MIFTAH | Unrest on Both Sides of the Border [August 1 – August 7]

Israel on August 6 accused Hamas of being responsible for the rocket attacks on Eilat and Aqaba on August 2, saying the commander of its military wing ordered them. Hamas, however, has denied the accusations, saying its organization only operates inside Palestine.     Read more


Aug.7, 2010

MIFTAH | Unrest on Both Sides of the Border [August 1 – August 7]

Israel on August 6 accused Hamas of being responsible for the rocket attacks on Eilat and Aqaba on August 2, saying the commander of its military wing ordered them. Hamas, however, has denied the accusations, saying its organization only operates inside Palestine.     Read more


Aug.7, 2010

Submitted by the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, and other religious voices:

Aug.7, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Ongoing action alert: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions

Palestine, 7 August 2010 - On 23 February 2010 CPT-Palestine endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement (see http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2010/04/19/palestine-cpt-palestine-endorses-boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-movement for complete statement) `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.' Our endorsement followed the KAIROS Palestine document, a statement from Palestinian Christians, who wrote: ` 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.'    Read more


Aug.7, 2010

Mondoweiss | Settlers burn, assault, march, wear black masks, and other news  - by Seham

Israeli settlers set fire to hundreds of dunums of farmland in the northern West Bank village of Beit Furik, locals said. High temperatures, dry earth and a water shortage all caused the fire to spread rapidly, witnesses added, noting a delay in the arrival of Civil Defense Crews. Ghassan Doughlas, a Palestinian Authority settlement affairs officer who monitors the northern West Bank, said the fires started east of the Beit Furik, near the illegal Itamar settlement, an area Palestinians cannot reach because of an Israeli military bridge.    Read more


Aug. 7, 2010

Mondoweiss | Excitement builds over US boat to Gaza - by Philip Weiss

On Thursday this week, the group that is planning a US boat to Gaza is having a sunset cruise in New York harbor to raise money. There is a lot of excitement about the boat (the evolved Times ledeblog has covered it), and so the cruise is almost sold out, 400 passengers. Look at the list of people who are behind the US boat. Phyllis Bennis, Leslie Cagan, the Corries, Russell Banks, Anna Baltzer, Rashid Khalidi, Donna Nevel, Felice Gelman, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Judy Walker, Alice Walker, Noor Elashi, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Iara Lee. Good people.    Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

If Americans Knew | Former Cabinet member Donna Shalala "humiliated" by Israeli officials because of Arab last name

Donna Shalala, Clinton's secretary of health, arrives in Israel in order to fight academic boycott against Israel, claims she was held at Ben-Gurion Airport just because she has Arab last name

This is not how she imagined her visit to Israel. Prof. Donna Shalala, who served as the US Secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years under Clinton and is currently the president of the University of Miami, was held for two-and-a-half hours at Ben Gurion Airport during which she underwent a humiliating security debriefing because of her Arab last name – all this despite the fact that her hosts notified the airport ahead of time that she is a VIP.    Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

Democracy Now | Emily Henochowicz Speaks Out: Art Student Who Lost Her Eye After Being Shot by Israeli Tear Gas Canister in West Bank Protest Discusses Her Life, Her Art, and Why She Plans to Return

"I’m not ashamed of the fact that I lost my eye. I’m proud of who I am. I believed in the cause, and that’s why I came to that demonstration on that day," Henochowicz says. "I’m not going to be the same person that I was before this happened."   Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

Common Dreams | Secretary of State Clinton: Now That the Wedding Is Over, Could You Respond to Requests From American Citizens on the Gaza Flotilla? - by Ann Wright

I am a retired US Army Reserve Colonel with 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves and a former US diplomat who resigned after 16 years in the US State Department in opposition to the war on Iraq.

I was one of fourteen American citizens on the Gaza flotilla.    Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

The Guardian | Gaza aid flotilla to set sail from Lebanon with all-women crew

Arabic singer joins crew of nuns, doctors, lawyers and journalists for humanitarian mission despite Israeli warning   Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

Change.org | Human Rights: Release Mordechai Vanunu

The following letter has been sent by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, and Gerry Grehan, Chair of the Peace People, Northern Ireland, to President Barak Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, other world leaders and prominent personalities, to ask for their help in obtaining the lifting of all restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu and for him to be granted freedom to leave Israel.   Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

Iyad Burnat, Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | Dozens suffer from teargas inhalation

Organized by the popular committee against the wall, in Bil'in, a massive march against the construction of the apartheid wall, occupation and settlements began after Friday prayers from the center of the village.

Participants from the Bil'in day summer camp attended the march along with a delegation of the Palestinian People's Party and dozens of international and Israeli activists.

As they marched through the streets they chanted slogans calling for the end to the policy of occupation in and around Jerusalem, the end to demolition and displacement of the people and condemned the criminal acts against Palestinian communities.

After the marchers had approached the wall and were confronted by soldiers, the Israeli army fired sound grenades and multiple types of teargas canisters at the participants, some of which induced vomiting. Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Al-Walaja follow-up

In my last email message with the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K_-gpgTy_8) showing the assault on peaceful demonstrations in Al-Walaja, I mentioned six Palestinians abducted. There were also Israelis arrested. In total 15 people were abducted and many charged and most had to sign a paper to promise they would not come near the wall again for 60-180 days. Read more


Aug. 6, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Settlers Heat up the Air in Al Bweireh

Since approximately 2000, the Israeli Military and nearby settlers have set in place an iron gate across the road leading to Al Bweireh. They have also positioned a huge several-ton rock perhaps 25 meters from the barrier gate on the same road and another gigantic heap of rock and earth 100 meters up from the second blockade. Three roadblocks and a huge settlement, plus Outpost Hill 86 have all but destroyed the “heaven” these villagers once enjoyed on their beautiful land.  Read more


Aug. 5, 2010

Christian Peace Team | At-Tuwani: Palestinian fence damaged in village

On the morning of Wednesday, 4 August, Palestinians from At-Tuwani found that their fence built between the village and the nearby Havat

Ma'on settler outpost had been partially destroyed during the night. The fence, made from cemented metal supports and barbed wire, was funded by European Commission for Humanitarian Aid, Union of Agricultural Work Committee, and Save the Children UK. At-Tuwani villagers built the fence

in March 2010 with the aim of protecting crops planted in the area, defining the borders of the agricultural land belonging to Palestinians,

and as a response to the ongoing and rapid expansion of the nearby Ma'on settlement and Havat Ma'on outpost.   Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

The Reverend James M. Wall, Methodist, Wallwritings | Karsh Dissembles; Truman Escapes; A Village Disappears

Witnesses told CNN that the Israeli forces arrived at the village accompanied by busloads of civilians who cheered as the dwellings were demolished. They said armed police deployed with tear gas, water cannon, two helicopters and bulldozers. . .

Do Efraim Karsh, the New York Times and the keepers of the Washington Rules really expect us to believe the Palestinian people can trust this current Israeli government?

Apparently they do, which just may be a hopeful sign because the world of unreality they have created is showing signs that its days-or years-are numbered. Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

Iyad Burnat, Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | Coordinator of the Popular Struggle Committees denied exit at King Hussein’s Bridge

On August 4, 2010 about 1 PM, Mohammed Khatib from Bil’in was denied exit to Jordan via King Hussein Bridge. Khatib was on his way to Spain via Amman when Israeli border officials prevented him from crossing the border to Jordan. Denying the leaders of the non-violent Popular Struggle to go abroad is clearly an attempt to silence Palestinians who speak about human rights violations committed by Israel. Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

Christian Peace Team | Soldiers and Police Arrest Son and Son in Law in Baqa'a Valley

The farmer reported that the police took his 16-year-old son and his son-in-law to the police station. They were not allowed to put on shoes or shirts before being taken away. The father said that his son and son-in-law had been beaten three different times. He insisted: “We need water. We need food. We need a house. We need education. We need clothes. They take away all mean s of our livelihood. We are human beings!”  Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Watch and be angry and inspired

Today (Wednesday) was another honorable and painful chapter in the struggle of the village of Al-Walaja. Apartheid soldiers assaulted children and adults protesting peacefully, injured many, and arrested six Palestinians. The destruction of the beautiful ancient village land was stopped for over 1.5 hours. I was especially touched by the courage of Omar and his two children, one of them was hit by a soldier with his gun on top of his head. Please see this video and be both angered and inspired by the courage of the Walajans. The villagers need our support in many ways especially to demand Israel release those they abducted. Come join us PLEASE and act. Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K_-gpgTy_8     Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

Mondoweiss | Why I support the Olympia Co-op boycott - by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb

While negotiations, lobbying and dialogue occur, those who have been directly impacted by occupation, the Palestinians, have called upon the world to engage in meaningful nonviolent action to apply pressure upon Israel so that Israel cannot conduct the business of occupation as usual. Have we all not seen and read about life in Palestine under occupation? The Goldstone report, B'tselem, Gisha and many other organizations and individuals have documented the systematic violation of Palestinian human rights in the past several years. How do we both construct peace and engage in non-cooperation with policies that systematically violate human rights on a daily basis. Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

Jonathan Cook, Counterpunch | Israeli Rabbi Preaches ‘Slaughter’ of Gentile Babies

A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children and babies.  Read more


Aug. 4, 2010

Occupation Magazine | New hope in closing battle of the wall; a week in the west bank village of Al Wallaje - by Yotam Wolfe and Joseph Dana

In the cool summer evening air of the Jerusalem hills last Tuesday evening, hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis descended on the small village of al-Walaja for a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary Budrus. The screening was jointly organized by Israelis and Palestinians who are working to non-violently resist the construction of Israel's separation barrier on the village's land. The screening bore special significance for the people of al-Walaja as the film follows the story of a West Bank village's unarmed struggle against the construction of Israel's separation barrier on its farmland and its subsequent success in having the route of the wall changed Read more


Aug. 3, 2010

Huffington Post | Israel to Expel Children of Migrant Workers

Some Israelis complain that illegal migrants are taking jobs away from citizens. Others worry that the non-Jewish workers could upset the Jewish nature of the society.

At the Sunday Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed with the critics. "This is a tangible threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel," he said.  Read more


Aug. 3, 2010

Huffington Post | Israel to Let the UN in...or Not? - by Phyllis Bennis, Institute of Policy Studies

Look at the one time Israel pretended to agree to cooperate with a UN investigation team, in 2002 when the UN was set to examine the killing of civilians in the Jenin refugee camp during Israel's "re-occupation" of the West Bank. That time Israel agreed to accept the team, only to demand more and more concessions, finally reneging on its promise and rejecting the investigation altogether, leaving UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to shamefacedly disband the team, then cooling their heels in Geneva, and send them home.  Read more


Aug. 3, 2010

Juan Cole, Informed Comment | The Closing of the Zionist Mind

It finally happened. The Jerusalem Post has declared archeology itself anti-Semitic.. Read more

Suggestion: Read the comments as well as the article.


Aug. 3, 2010

Responding to LA  Examiner | Florida church sponsors 'International Burn A Koran Day'

  • Monsignor Labib Kobti, Al-Bushra.org, Pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, San Francisco, California - These Christians who do such a things are not Christians at all. Christ did miracles even for Roman soldiers who believed in Jupiter, Minerva and the Emperor as God. He asked us to love each other, to forgive, to love even our enemies. Christ never asked his disciples to kill, to burn, to call anybody evil. He made us all brothers and sisters of the One GOD of all of us, that he called Father in Heaven. As a Christian leader, I can tell you that these are non-Christians, they are antichrists. We, as religious leaders, do not accept them as Christians because as such they are the enemies of the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. They need to be stopped and held accountable for their RACISM. I ask all religious leaders to write and denounce them.


  • Samia, Jerusalem - This is a most unchristian act by somebody who claims to be a Christian. Shame on him and other Christians who would allow Christianity to be abused in such an evil act. Unfortunately the devil must be playing a very important role in all faiths and appears in different ways. Let us not fall into this trap. Very sadly, Samia


  • Kubtan, Florida - I live in Gainesville. This pastor is a few blocks away from where I live. He has made it his mission to harass and insult Muslims like me. A couple of weeks ago, he brought his protestors to our Mosque and they held signs that called us terrorists while we were praying. The community has tried to speak with him, but he is such a bigot. They even sent their children to school wearing t-shirts that read "islam is of the devil"...thankfully, the school asked the students to go home and change. I don't understand how, under the pretext of freedom of speech, a person or group is allowed to spread hate. There's not much we can do. I seek refuge in God from the evil of this group and their religious beliefs.


  • Lissa, North Carolina - Don't you wonder what the people of Gainesville would say if the Islamic community turned out to burn Bibles??? These people call themselves Christians - and show it by desecrating another person's religion???



  • The Reverend Roy Hayes, San Diego, California - The University of Florida is in Gainesville. Surely the educated Christians in Gainesville will challenge Pastor Terry Jones in this matter. Surely the civilized people in Gainesville will condemn his plan. Peace, Roy   P.S.  See also this article by Father David Smith of Australia: Christians and Muslims | “Who is my Brother?” – an article by Father Dave


Aug. 3, 2010

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) |Fifth anniversary of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

Occupied Palestine, 9 July 2010 – On the fifth anniversary of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights,[1] the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) warmly salutes all our local and international partners and supporters, individuals and organizations, who have contributed to the establishment and spectacular growth of what is now a truly global movement for accountability and upholding international law. We call upon all people of conscience to respond to continued Israeli impunity by joining the movement and taking visible and effective BDS actions. After five years of BDS, the movement has proven, indisputably, to be the most effective and morally consistent form of solidarity with the people of Palestine in our struggle to end Israel's occupation, apartheid, and persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned right of return for the Palestinian refugees.  Read more


Aug. 3, 2010

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) | UNESCO: Stop Covering up the Israeli Academy’s Complicity in Occupation and Apartheid

Occupied Ramallah, 11 July 2010 -- The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) condemns the newly announced Master’s program, coordinated by La Sapienza University in Rome, that brings together a Palestinian University, Al Quds, and three Israeli universities, Haifa, Hebrew and Tel Aviv with support from UNESCO and the Italian Development Cooperation (DGCS) in Jerusalem. [1] This latest joint Palestinian-Israeli academic project is a clear violation of the Palestinian criteria for the academic boycott of Israel, which are widely supported by Palestinian civil society.[2] Its timing can only confirm the suspicion that it is intended to relieve Israel's increasing isolation -- after its criminal attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla that led to the murder of humanitarian relief and human rights activists -- and to help whitewash the entrenched complicity of the Israeli academy in Israel's ongoing occupation, colonization and apartheid.  Read more


Aug. 2, 2010

Interfaith Peace Initiative | Global Actions to End Israel Occupation - July 2010

Organizations, governments and businesses worldwide are taking action that can help

bring freedom for Palestinians and an end to the colonization of Palestinian land. The list of such actions is broad and inspiring. It has doubled since May 31, 2010, when Israel attacked a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip. The following review of diverse approaches was initiated by the Palestine-Israel Action Group, a committee of Ann Arbor, Michigan Quakers (piag_@mac.com). As new actions are taken, the list will be updated by the Interfaith Peace Initiative. Information for inclusion is welcome at apassionforpeace@aol.com     Read more


Aug. 2, 2010

Information Clearing House | "Christian-Zionism" Is Trouble for Israel and the USA - by Frank Schaeffer

Some of the nuttiest American religious leaders today (and in the past) have latched on to one form or another of Christian Zionism. These days Reverend John Hagee (pastor of a mega church with thousands of members in Houston) is a leading Far Right Evangelical and ardent fan of Israeli expansion into the disputed West Bank.

And the bestselling books of the Left Behind series of novels have fed the Evangelicals' fixation on End Times prophecy and the "imminent" return of Christ. To put it mildly, the Evangelical theological/biblical "reasons" have deformed US policy and made America act against its self interest. This has also harmed the state of Israel.  Read more


Aug. 2, 2010

Friends of Freedom and Justice Bil'in | Three 14-year-olds Arrested Near the Wall in Bil'in Village

At 12pm on Monday August 2nd, three children who had been walking near the wall in Bil'in village where arrested by Israeli soldiers. The three 14-year-old friends Moatasem Ali Mansor, Majde Burnat, and Mohamad Abu Rahmah often take walks near the wall. Today they were detained by soldiers behind the wall for three hours. While behind the wall their families tried to negotiate for their release to no avail. They were then arrested and taken away in an army ambulance. This happened three hours ago, and no ones knows where they have been taken yet. Soldiers claim that the boys were throwing stones.   Read more


Aug. 2, 2010

The Reverend James M. Wall, Methodist | America (And Israel) Move Down The "Path To Permanent War"

It is time to change the system from within. Is President Obama the Change Agent we had hoped he would be? Still too soon to tell.

There are occasional signs the President knows he is trapped inside the binding chains of the Washington Rules. He needs our help if he is to break the chains which are leading us further along the “path to permanent war”.  Read more


Aug. 1, 2010

 Adam Keller, The Other Israel | Is Israel singled out – and why?

Googling for "Israel singled out" + "anti-Semitism" would immediately get you many thousands of results. All over the world, supporters of the policies enacted by the government of Israel are busily churning out article after article, repeating with minor variations the same message - Israel is being unfairly singled out, harshly criticized for the kind of acts which others are allowed to get away with, and the motive is anti-Semitism.

In a way, this is a second line of defense. There had been a time when this kind of people took the line that Israel can do no wrong. That it is an utterly wonderful place, little short of an utopia, a vibrant democracy and the only one in the Middle East, the home of tireless and dauntless pioneers who made the desert bloom. But this way of looking at things had become increasingly difficult to sustain. There have been too many unsavory TV footages of Israeli soldiers broadcast into every home around the globe, too many nasty revelations, quite a few of them by Israel's own dissident citizens...

It is far easier to freely admit that Israel is not blameless, that some of its actions and policies do deserve criticism - but as a matter of fact, "everybody does it". Many others all over the world also violate human rights and/or international law, others discriminate against ethnic or religious minorities, others launch military offensives which claim the lives of innocent civilians. Muslims, it is quite true, have been killed by other Muslims as well as by Israel. So, why pick on Israel, specifically? Why, if not out of anti-Semitism? "Anti-Israelism is the New anti-Semitism", period.

True, as far as formal international diplomacy is concerned, it is easy to show that - if Israel is singled out at all - it is singled out for a rather lenient treatment.  Read more


Aug. 1, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh, Human Rights | Art Gish, Abu Mazen and more

Palestinian sources revealed a letter sent by Obama that outlines carrots and sticks approach to get Mahmoud Abbas to go to direct and endless negotiations so as to keep the disastrous Oslo cover for the occupation going a few more years. This revealed once and for all that Washington is indeed Israeli-occupied territory.  Read more


Aug. 1, 2010

Max Blumenthal | The “Summer Camp Of Destruction:” Israeli High Schoolers Assist The Razing Of A Bedouin Town

AL-ARAKIB, ISRAEL — On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib, razing the entire village to the ground to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest. The destruction was part of a larger project to force the Bedouin community of the Negev away from their ancestral lands and into seven Indian reservation-style communities the Israeli government has constructed for them. The land will then be open for Jewish settlers, including young couples in the army and those who may someday be evacuated from the West Bank after a peace treaty is signed. For now, the Israeli government intends to uproot as many villages as possible and erase them from the map by establishing “facts on the ground” in the form of JNF forests.  Read more

(See video of of al-Arakib’s demolition here).




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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