Updates March 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.  

Click here for comments made over the years by Israeli leaders


Last update: 31 March 2010 12:30:20 -0700


Please click on links below for complete story


Mar. 31, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Israeli soldiers ransack Palestinian homes and damage


On March 31, the Israeli Special Police Forces entered the Palestinian
village of Tuba, immediately east of Ma'on settlement, and destroyed
household belongings in two homes in the village. The police forced Tuba
residents from their homes and told them that they were searching for two
goats which settlers from the outpost of Havat Ma'on had reported missing.
The police also accused the villagers of possessing weapons, and while
questioning nearly a dozen villagers, the police upended nearly every
belonging in both homes. The police ransacked three bedrooms, a kitchen,
and a storage unit. International activists and Tuba residents reported
that the police left the scene without confiscating any weapons or sheep
and without making any arrests. During the search police personnel
refused to let international activists observe the search of the homes or
the interrogations of the residents....


Mar. 31, 2010

Los Angeles Times: Rachel Corrie's family takes case to court in Israel

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who represents the Olympia area, said the family had been subjected to an ugly counter-campaign for pursuing their daughter's case. He and others say it's a pattern that's increasingly common.

"Any questioning of Israel is met with hostility, no matter who asks the questions -- a congressman, a journalist or even the president of the United States," said Baird, adding that his support of the Corrie family had cost him campaign donations.


Mar. 31, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme: Invite an Accompanier

Invite an accompanier

Accompaniers participating through the EAPPI-US program have come from cities and states across the country, from Iowa to New Jersey, Oregon to Texas.

Many of the 27 accompaniers available to teach and preach in churches or speak at events. Invite them to share their experiences and speak about peacemaking in Israel and Palestine. Please click here for a list of accompaniers and their direct contact information.


Mar. 31, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme: The privatisation of security by EA in Tulkarem

It is just before three in the morning and the first women have arrived at Ephraim checkpoint, outside the West Bank town of Tulkarem. It’s pouring with rain but there’s no roof and the thermometer shows five degrees. They huddle together extra tightly this morning. In order to get to their jobs inside Israel without standing in the crush with over 1,500 men, they position themselves close to the turnstiles. When the guards open the warehouse-like terminal at 4.30, they are ready to run. Today they are lucky and the terminal opens on time. It takes an hour to get through.


Mar. 31, 2010

Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme: Defying the Wall, Palm Sunday demonstrators break out of Bethlehem by Kimmy and Stefan, Ecumenical Accompaniers in Bethlehem

The march was to protest the limitations placed upon Palestinians - Christians and Muslims - to travel to Jerusalem for worship at the holy sites in the city.

The march was supposed to have stopped at the checkpoint, but once the group reached the checkpoint gate for vehicles, approximately 100 protesters made their way through the gate. Apparently the security guards were unprepared:  they were far too few to be able to stop the demonstrators who managed to walk through the second gate and on to the road to downtown Jerusalem, still being led by the donkey and the horse. 


Mar. 31, 2010

National Council of Churches: National Council of Churches urges Israeli government

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary, said he understood Israel's need to provide strict security during the religious holidays, when law enforcement agencies are particularly vigilant.

"But I hope the Israeli government realizes that it is unacceptable to us that Christians be denied the right to worship in Jerusalem, especially Christians whose roots in the region go back to the time of Christ."


Mar. 31, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal:

Here's a disturbing report from BBC News pasted below.

BBC News: US and France vow to push for new sanctions on Iran

Note President Obama: One could get the impression that you are showing signs of caving in to pressures from AIPAC and CUFI I write to caution you to beware of politically motivated hype The American people are still wondering where the faulty intelligence information about Iraq's WMDs originated.  I write to encourage you to keep your focus on the central problem facing the world today which is, of course, the Palestinian-Israeli crisis.  Is Peace Out Of Reach?  --Roy Hayes


Mar. 31, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal:
The United Nations recommends that Jerusalem be placed under a special international regime, a corpus separatum, but envisions the city eventually becoming the capital of two states, Israel and Palestine.[11]
The UN does not recognise Israel's proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel [12] and any actions taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the city are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.

Mar. 31, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Inspiring images of resistance to apartheid

We now have three videos up on YouTube for the historic march that breached the apartheid walls on Palm Sunday insisting on right of freedom of movement for Palestinians. Ten people of the original 16 are still held by the occupation forces (as were the donkey and horse used in the event!).


Mar. 31, 2010

Note from a Berkeley Catholic: "This video [link and commentary below] reminds me of LBJ's order to the Admiral of the 5th fleet to call back the planes he had sent to assist the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967. To which country have they sworn an oath of allegiance?"


You Tube: Treason by Members of the United States Congress


It must have been realised that the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, signed by nearly 300 members of the U.S. Congress, affirming their commitment to Israel, would be widely publicised and fall into the hands of that illegal Apartheid State, so the writing and signing of that letter should be considered an act of treason.

The letter has totally undermined the power of the President of the United States by virtually telling Israel: "It does not matter what you do to the Palestinians, how many illegal structures you build on the territory you stole from them; how you behave towards the Lebanese, or what you have in mind for Iran, we, the signatories on this letter are with you, all the way."

I am not a citizen of the United States, I am a citizen of a world that is being ruined by Zionism and its practitioners' thirst for power and greed for land that does not rightly belong to them. Having goaded the United States to attack Iraq, it is now attempting to draw it into a pre-emptive attack on Iran, while continuing to lie about the reason. The Iranian president did not threaten to "Wipe Israel off the map". Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at University of Michigan who reads Persian, has explained that President Ahmadinejad actually stated (quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini): "The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."

What Israel and the perverse mainstream media has turned this into can be compared to a Farsi speaker saying: "Nothing lasts forever." And having this turned into, by the likes of the BBC and CNN and the press: "I'm going to kill you."



Mar. 31, 2010

Electronic Intifada: Stuck between a wall and an occupation by Nora Barrows-Friedman writing from Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem


When Bilal Jadou's grandmother was sick last year, and in need of immediate medical care, the family called the Jerusalem emergency service and requested an ambulance -- only to hear on the other end of the line that no Israeli ambulances would be permitted to reach the house without permission from the Israeli military. "Try the Bethlehem ambulance service," the emergency dispatcher told Jadou. When he called the Bethlehem ambulance, they told him to have his grandmother meet them at the other side of the main Bethlehem-Jerusalem checkpoint because they weren't allowed to cross. Jadou's house is on the other side of the sprawling apartheid wall, separated from his community and the West Bank, and in a permanent state of oppressive bureaucratic and administrative limbo as nearby settlements are intended to spread onto his land.

The Electronic Intifada correspondent Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Jadou, 26 years old, about his situation. They spoke inside Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem.


Mar. 30, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: No Partiality by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Mennonite


Peter proclaims, only God serves as “judge of the living and of the

dead” (v. 41). The one criteria God will use? “In every nation anyone who fears

[God] and does what is right.”


Unfortunately we as Western Christians have too often promoted the view

that there is a chosen people in the Middle East and have used that belief to

support unjust policies.


Peter’s message should prod us to take a different approach: one that lends

our energies and support to all who meet the criteria of fearing God and doing

what is right, including the many Israelis and Palestinians who work for peace,

speak out against injustice and uphold the dignity of all human beings.


Mar. 30, 2010

End the Occupation: Two Simple Actions for Land Day


Today is the second annual Land Day international day of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) action.  Palestinian Land Day commemorates Israel's March 30, 1976 killing of six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were nonviolently protesting for their rights to land.  Today, Land Day is marked by Palestinians living within Israel, in the occupied territories, and in Diaspora. In honor of Land Day, the Palestinian BDS National Committee has called for a variety of actions, and the US Campaign has answered that call. Will you join us?


Mar. 30, 2010

Sabeel: Cornerstone, Spring 2010


  • The Israeli Occupation and Theological Thinking by Naim Ateek

  • Theology and the Unfolding Tragedy of the Palestinians by Mary Grey

  • The Sabeel 3rd Ecumenical Clergy Conference

  • Reflections on the Palestinian Kairos Document by Patriarch Michel Sabbah

  • Glimpses of Our Activities

  • Our Land Has a Universal Mission, Excerpt from the Kairos Document

  • Ana Falstini Yahudi by Mark Braverman


Mar. 30, 2010

Sabeel: Sabeel Easter Message


Could we be approaching a decisive time in the conflict when the truth, the reality, and the facts are becoming so transparent they cannot be ignored anymore? The foundations of injustice and oppression are shaking....


Mar. 30, 2010

Latin Patriarchate: Parishioners from Madaba on a pilgrimage in Jerusalem


Today, Wednesday, March 10, a group of 35 parishioners from Madaba (Jordan) on a pilgrimage to Palestine and Israel under the leadership of their pastor, Father Yacoub Rafidi, came to visit the Patriarchate. This is the third year that such a pilgrimage is organized. The parishioners have spent three days in Galilee, where they were able to visit the holy places in Nazareth and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. They are now for four days in Judea, where they will pray on the holy sites of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. all May all the faithful of the diocese soon be able to freely come and pray in the holy places!


Mar. 30, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: Members of UK's Parliament are calling for their government to ensure that military equipment sold to Israel is not used in the occupied territories. 



Mar. 30, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: Support the Administration's Efforts to Get Israelis & Palestinians Serious about Negotiations


The need for the resumption of meaningful negotiations to achieve a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is more urgent than ever. Just this week, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Petraeus said, "The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR (area of responsibility)… Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas."

Tell your Representative that, as a Christian, you appreciate the Administration's efforts to encourage both parties to get serious about meaningful negotiations.


Mar. 30, 2010

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


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

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


Mar. 30, 2010

Stolen Beauty: Take Action at AHAVA stores!

Ahava promises “Beauty Secrets from the Dead Sea.” But the real secrets it keeps are an ugly truth—its products actually come from stolen Palestinian natural resources in the Occupied Territory of the Palestinian West Bank, and are produced in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem.


Mar. 28, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, writes: Here's what secular Christians say about Jerusalem. There's a song titled If we only have love... (04:02) [Unitarian Universal Choir of Fort Wayne, Indiana] which you and I can learn to sing.  Johnny Mathis sings it like an artist.
A Poem by Jacques Brel
If we only have love
Then tomorrow will dawn
And the days of our years
Will rise on that morn
If we only have love
To embrace without fears
We will kiss with our eyes
We will sleep without tears
If we only have love
With our arms open wide
Then the young and the old
Will stand at our side
If we only have love
Love that's falling like rain
Then the parched desert earth
Will grow green again
If we only have love
For the hymn that we shout
For the song that we sing
Then we'll have a way out
If we only have love
We can reach those in pain
We can heal all our wounds
We can use our own names
If we only have love
We can melt all the guns
And then give the new world
To our daughters and sons
If we only have love
Then Jerusalem stands
And then death has no shadow
There are no foreign lands
If we only have love
We will never bow down
We'll be tall as the pines
Neither heroes nor clowns
If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail
To be born once again
Then with nothing at all
But the little we are
We'll have conquered all time
All space, the sun, and the stars. 
Other artists:

Mar. 28, 2010

Henry Norr writes: It’s been almost two weeks since I wrote to National Public Radio’s senior Washington editor, Ron Elving, and to the network’s ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, to ask why Elving used an Israeli formulation – "disputed" area – to characterize East Jerusalem, instead of calling it "occupied," the term used by the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and virtually every other international body. So far, neither has replied.
While I wait, I’ve spent some time looking a little more deeply into NPR’s coverage of East Jerusalem since Israel’s announcement of plans to build 1,600 new housing units there put the area in the spotlight. The network posts transcripts of all its stories, interviews, and talk shows on the Middle East (and nowadays most other stories, too) on its website, and it has a pretty good search engine, so it wasn’t hard to review all 22 broadcasts that have discussed East Jerusalem since the controversy exploded. (NPR doesn’t transcribe its hourly headlines, so they’re not included. Neither are the Associated Press reports and Foreign Policy articles it posts on its website but doesn’t read over the air.)
Here’s [follow the link below] some of what I found anyone depending on NPR for information about the issue would have gathered about East Jerusalem:

Mondoweiss: When it comes to E Jerusalem, ‘NPR’ misleads and misinforms by Henry Norr


Mar. 28, 2010

International Middle East Media Center: Child Dies Due to The Siege on Gaza

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a 5-year-old child died on Saturday at a local hospital due to the ongoing illegal Israeli siege on the coastal region.


Mar. 28, 2010

International Middle East Media Center: Rendered Homeless, Family Ordered To Pay Its Expulsion Expenses

The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economical Rights (JCCER) reported that the Israeli police handed Wednesday a Palestinian family from East Jerusalem an order to pay 13.000 NIS, demanding family members to pay the expenses of their expulsion from their home.


Mar. 28, 2010

Wallwritings: Holy Week 2010: Sumoud, Check Points, Home Demolitions by the Rev. James M. Wall, Methodist

Sumoud is an Arabic word meaning “steadfastness”.  The occupied Palestinian people who live in Jerusalem this Holy Week, 2010, face check points, home demolitions, and the depressing news that the Congress of the United States sings the praises of a visiting Israeli prime minister who tells the world that ALL of Jerusalem belongs to Israel for the ages.

Translation: Get ready, folks, for a permanent occupation until you Palestinians agree to live as prisoners in cantons, or even better, move away to Jordan, Lebanon, or Kansas.

John Wesley was the 18th century founder of the denomination to which I belong, the United Methodist Church.  He did not do enough to confront the evil of slavery in his day. No one ever does enough, but there is a sentence in one of his biographies in which we Methodists can take, not pride, but at least, solace: John Wesley was among the first to preach for slaves rights, attracting significant opposition....


Note: Click on the link above and play the 5.5-minute audio-visual presentation: "Understanding Israel's Increasing Grip on Jerusalem" adapted from data from the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, and the Foundation for Middle East Peace.


Mar. 28, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Human Rights: The apartheid walls of Jerusalem breached on Palm Sunday

Wow, what a day: over 100 native Palestinian Christians and Muslims and  internationals including Israelis, breached the tight security separating the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem from the occupied city of Jerusalem. Donkeys and people arrested!


Mar. 28, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: "The US usually blocks UNSC Resolutions criticizing Israel.  Obama promised change, but he'll need grassroots support:  Contact the White House."


BBC News: US 'may not veto UN resolution on Jerusalem'


The US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, the BBC has learned.


Mar. 28, 2010

Shalom Center: U.S. -- and We! -- Should Now Act Boldly for Middle East Peace by Rabbi Arthur Waskow


The wisdom of the Torah and the testimony of an American general come together to say: There must be bold new American action, not speeches alone, to secure peace for Israel, Palestine, the Arab world, and America itself.


Mar. 28, 2010

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: LWF Executive Committee Welcomes Middle East Quartet Statement


The Executive Committee of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) welcomed the "clear and forceful language" used by representatives of the United Nations, the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union --known as the Middle East Quartet -- in denouncing new settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


Mar. 27, 2010

Ynet: Uri Avnery, MK Barakeh attend 'Land Day' rally in Qalqilya


Palestinian Authority marks 1976 Arab demonstrations against 'expropriation of millions of dunams of Palestinian land in Israel'. PM Fayyad: Those who call for intifada do not know meaning of word.


...Barakeh urged the Palestinians to seek unity, while Avnery called for Israeli-Palestinian cooperation to advance peace. 


Mar. 27, 2010

Gush Shalom: On The Road To Canossa  by Uri Avnery


That is not just a “crisis” anymore. It is something really momentous: a basic change in the policy of the US. The American ship in the Middle East is making a large turn, and this is taking a long time. There have been many disappointments for peace-lovers on the way. But now it is happening at last.


Mar. 27, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Israeli army subjects Palestinian school children to verbal abuse and fails to safely escort them to and from school


For three consecutive days Palestinian school children from Maghayir al Abeed and Tuba were subjected to unprofessional conduct by Israeli soldiers. Army personnel did not show up at the appropriate time, forcing children to wait in unsafe areas were they have experienced past attacks. When the army did finally arrive they proceeded to yell at the children. On one occasion the army failed to complete the escort, resulting in harassment of the children by settlers....


Mar. 27, 2010

The Corner Store Documentary

SEE THE FILM - Join us in March for our benefit screening copresented by our NGO partners!

Preview the film with the community and participate in a Q&A discussion moderated by Arab Film Festival Executive Director Michel Shehadeh with the protagonist Yousef Elhaj and Director/Producer Katherine Bruens.

March 27th at 3pm and 7pm.

The Victoria Theater 2961 16th Street (@ Mission) San Francisco, CA 94114


Mar. 27, 2010

BBC News: Israeli tanks 'enter Gaza' after deadly clashes


Speaking to Reuters news agency, Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida is quoted as saying: "This was our work, but was carried out for defence."


Comment from the Reverend Roy Hayes: "Palestinians have the right to resist Israel's occupation.  People who live in Gaza have the right to resist Israel's blockade.  There's a short video (00:39) at BBC's website." 


Mar. 27, 2010

Rachel’s Tomb – An Alien in her Hometown? Perceptions from the Other Side of the Wall


Rachel’s Tomb changed its character significantly only within the past few years. Since 2005 the whole site has been cut off from Bethlehem by an Israeli government built 30 foot high Wall which has turned Rachel’s Tomb into a fortress to which no Palestinians from the West Bank have access any more. This process of expropriation of such an important religious and cultural heritage site from Muslims and Christians in Palestine, and in Bethlehem in particular, is now culminated in the unilateral declaration from the Israeli government to include Rachel’s Tomb / Bilal-Ibn-Rabah Mosque, and also the Cave of Machpelah / Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, in the list of Israeli Cultural Heritage sites.


Mar. 27, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Human Rights: Follow-up on Omar, Land Day, and more

The Israeli military doctor that Omar was brought to see was merely making fun of him. When Omar would try to show him the bruises on his side, the "doctor" would look at his arm and so on, telling him to shut up. This is not the first or last Palestinian to be treated this way. In fact, I was reminded by a friend that another Omar was also beaten, this one a young journalist from Gaza of exactly the same age as our friend Omar from Al-Masara (see story in Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/999330.html).


Mar. 27, 2010

Latin Patriarchate: Number of Christians in the Holy Land


The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem recently published a statistical survey of the number of Christians in the Holy Land.

At the end of February 2010, Father William Shomali, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem published a statistical survey of the number of Christians in the Holy Land (Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Cyprus – the four countries that make up the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem).


Mar. 26, 2010

America, the US Catholic weekly: Strategic Divide


Before Vice President Biden’s ill-fated visit to Israel last month, the handwriting was already on the wall. Anyone watching day-to-day events would not have been surprised that U.S. hopes of reopening the Mideast peace talks during Mr. Biden’s visit would have been upended by the announcement of Israeli plans for the construction of 1,600 homes in Arab East Jerusalem. For many months the Israeli police have looked away as Jewish settlers expelled Arab residents and occupied their homes in East Jerusalem. Elsewhere on the West Bank the military has seized more land and demolished homes for expansion of Israel’s security wall. Once-shared religious shrines have been declared Jewish heritage sites; nonviolent protests have been suppressed; and Israeli human rights activists have been harassed by police.


Had the United States chosen to listen, it did have a prophet interpreting events. In January, General David M. Petraeus, chief of the U.S. Central Command, which includes most of the Middle East and Central Asia, had warned the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Israeli policies and its obduracy in the peace process were harming U.S. strategic interests. As long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes unresolved, the general counseled, Arab and Muslim governments across the region will distrust U.S. initiatives there.


The rift between the United States and Israel that occurred after the Biden snub now goes far deeper than diplomatic niceties over the timing of an unhelpful announcement. It is a seismic clash of strategic visions. American commitment to the Israeli people may be strong, but the alliance between the two nations is pulling apart.


Mar. 26, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes: Below is an encouraging bit of news.


PR Newswire: US Department of Justice Asked to Regulate AIPAC as a Foreign Agent of the Israeli Government


According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep {Institute for Research: Middle East Policy], the case for reregulating AIPAC as a foreign agent immediately is compelling.  "AIPAC was designed to supplant the American Zionist Council  as the arm of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United States after the DOJ ordered the AZC to register as a foreign agent.  As such, Americans should have full public access to biannual FARA registrations detailing AIPAC's publicity campaigns, lobbying expenditures, funding flows,  activities of its offices in Israel and internal consultations with its foreign principals - particularly over such controversial issues as illegal settlements and US foreign aid."


Mar. 26, 2010

BBC News: Fear and foreboding in the Middle East  by Jeremy Bowen


What is even more serious is that it is centred on the future of Jerusalem, which is about the single most emotive issue in the entire Middle East.


Mar. 26, 2010

BBC News: Israeli PM says Jerusalem policy will not change


The Israeli prime minister says his policy on Jerusalem will not change - a sign that a row with the US over settlement building remains unresolved.


Mar. 26, 2010

BBC News: Netanyahu hopeful of compromise at end of talks in US


"Informed speculation suggests that the Americans are pushing for extension of the so-called (because partial) settlement freeze in the West Bank and a genuine freeze in new construction in East Jerusalem. But the Israeli interior minister, a member of the right-wing religious party Shas, has already declared that he will be "proud" to authorise thousands of new housing units.

"Mr Netanyahu must now choose between a widening breach with his most vital ally, the US, or a serious row with his coalition partners, perhaps even the fall of his government."

-- Paul Wood


Mar. 26, 2010

Reuters: Israel says it will still build in East Jerusalem by Allyn Fisher-Ilan


Israel insisted Friday it would not change its policy of building homes in East Jerusalem, keeping the Jewish state at odds with Washington on how to renew stalled peace talks with Palestinians.


Mar. 26, 2010

Time: U.S. and Israel Square Off over Jerusalem Settlements by Andrew Lee Butters


Meanwhile, extremists on all sides are using the deadlock between Israel and the U.S. to fan the flames in Jerusalem and turn the political conflict into a religious one. Israeli police are having increasing difficulty maintaining the delicate status quo that governs the Old City, whereby each religious group has control of and the exclusive right to pray at their respective holy sites. At moments of political tension, and on religious holidays, radical Israeli groups have been calling for Jews to go and pray on the Temple Mount - which Muslims call the Haram al-Sharif, and is under their control. Jerusalem cops recognize that such a move would be treated by the Palestinians as an extreme provocation.


Mar. 26, 2010

Reuters: Mideast Conflict Slide show


285 slides with captions


Mar. 26, 2010

World Council of Churches: World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 29 May - 4 June


The week calls participants to seek justice for Palestinians so that both Israelis and Palestinians can finally live in peace. It is now more than 60 years since the partition of Palestine hardened into a permanent nightmare for Palestinians. It's more than 40 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza overwhelmed the peaceful vision of one land, two peoples.


Yet the dream of one nation cannot be fulfilled at the expense of another.


The action week's message is that now:

  • It's time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace.

  • It's time for freedom from occupation.

  • It's time for equal rights.

  • It's time for the healing of wounded souls


Mar. 25, 2010

Informed Comment: Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis  by Juan Cole


Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Council on Monday that "Jerusalem is not a settlement." He continued that the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel cannot be denied. He added that neither could the historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. He insisted, "The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today." He said, "Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital." He told his applauding audience of 7500 that he was simply following the policies of all Israeli governments since the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

Netanyahu mixed together Romantic-nationalist clichés with a series of historically false assertions. But even more important was everything he left out of the history, and his citation of his warped and inaccurate history instead of considering laws, rights or common human decency toward others not of his ethnic group.

So here are the reasons that Netanyahu is profoundly wrong, and East Jerusalem does not belong to him.
[Click on link above.]


Mar. 25, 2010

The Daily Californian: ASUC President Smelko Vetoes Divestment Bill by Zach E.J. Williams


ASUC President Will Smelko vetoed a bill Wednesday that called for the University of California to divest from companies that have provided war supplies to Israel.


Mar. 25, 2010

God's Politics, a blog by the Rev. Jim Wallis: Video: Fr. James Martin, SJ, Sets Stephen Colbert (and Glenn Beck) Straight on Social Justice by Ryan Rodrick Beiler


Interview with Father James Martin, SJ, on social justice in response to Glenn Beck's comments


God's Politics, a blog by the Rev. Jim Wallis: Video: What Catholics Can Teach Glenn Beck about Social Justice by John Gehring

Mr. Beck views social and economic justice as “code words” that obscure a sinister agenda once sought after by both Communists and Nazis. Even after leading Catholics, evangelicals, and mainline Protestants immediately lined up to remind our gentle scold that seeking justice for the poor and most vulnerable is not some ideological agenda rooted in lefty politics but central to biblical values and specifically the gospel teachings of Jesus, Beck came out swinging. When more than 50,000 Christians (and counting) responded to Rev. Jim Wallis’ call to write to Mr. Beck and “turn themselves in” as social justice Christians, the implacable host turned his rhetorical guns on Rev. Wallis and the good people at Sojourners:

So you go ahead and you continue to do your protest thing, and that’s great. I love it. But just know — the hammer is coming, because little do you know, for eight weeks, we’ve been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it’s going to be hammering hard and all through the night, over and over…

The hammering started last night, and Rev. Wallis has already responded to the first blows. Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, author, and culture editor at America magazine, has pointed out with his usual wit and wisdom that Mr. Beck is, well, off his rocker. Watch him on the Colbert Report reminding viewers that social justice is central to Catholic teaching and deeply connected to Christian values....


Mar. 25, 2010

Sojouners: Jesus-Focused Conversations in Occupied Bethlehem by Lynne Hybels


I don’t know what Americans are hearing on the news about current events in Jerusalem. Whatever you’re hearing, I hope you’re praying for protection for innocent people on all sides of this conflict, for the silencing of people on both sides who are encouraging violence, for wisdom for elected officials everywhere who have the power to impact events in Israel-Palestine, for our Christian brothers and sisters throughout this region — as well as Muslims and Jews, and for the women and children who always fare the worst when violence invades a community. I hope you’re praying for peace in the Holy Land.


Mar. 25, 2010

Wallwritings: They Differ on Health Care But Never, So Far, on What Bibi Wants by the Rev. James M. Wall


Step one for Obama was the cool reception he gave Bibi in the White House.

Whatever follows this latest Bibi-Barack encounter, this much is certain: Obama has said to Bibi, the Congress and AIPAC, I run US foreign policy, you don’t.


Mar. 25, 2010

Uruknet: Kairos and Lent in the 'Holy Land' ny Timothy Seidel


May the voices of our Palestinian sisters and brothers that are so often dismissed, silenced and dehumanized speak loudly to us this Lenten season, providing both a meaning and a challenge for Easter.


Mar. 25, 2010

National Times: Israel has friends in Christian places


Question: Who said the following: ''Israel has no better friends in the world than Christian Zionists. This is a friendship of the heart, a friendship of common roots, and a friendship of common civilisation.''

It wasn’t a pastor at a local church. It was Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu speaking at a conference of American evangelicals in Jerusalem in April 2008.

In a 2008 poll taken in the US, more than 80 per cent of Christians stated that they had a ‘‘moral and biblical’’ obligation to love, pray and support Israel, while 62 per cent of evangelicals said that Jerusalem should remain Israel’s undivided capital.

Baffling? Only to those who don’t understand a controversial end-time theology that began in 19th century Britain and which divides history into eras (dispensations). According to this theology, Israel’s creation and the 1967 war were galvanising signs that God’s hand moves in history and the clock of prophecy had started up again. Driven by a literal interpretation that prophesies Israel’s establishment as a prelude to the second coming of Jesus, tens of millions are now convinced they are living in the final days as described in the Book of Revelation. They are often called Christian Zionists. 

This intense passion was given a boost with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s 1970’s blockbuster book The Late Great Planet and continues today with Tim LaHaye’s prophetic Left Behind Series that has sold 70 million copies....


Mar. 25, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Al Khalil/Hebron: Soldiers invade home, detain 13-year-old girl

Israeli soldiers detained a thirteen-year- old girl from her home in the Old City of Hebron on Tuesday the 23rd of March.  At about 5:45 PM, CPTers followed four soldiers as they entered the girl’s home and ordered the entire family to the roof.  Once on the roof, a fifth soldier from a permanent post on a neighboring Israeli settler home ordered the family’s three teenage daughters to one side of the roof.  The soldier singled out the thirteen-year- old and accused her of throwing a stone.  The girl’s mother protested saying that minutes before she had notified this soldier of settlers throwing stones at her as she hung her laundry and that he had seen settlers throwing stones.  She was dumbfounded that the soldier’s response was to call another unit of soldiers to detain her daughter. 

Two more units of soldiers arrived at the house before escorting the girl out of her home.  The girl’s aunt attempted to prevent the soldiers from taking the girl by linking arms with her and refusing to let go.  After a five-minute stand off, soldiers stated that the aunt could accompany the girl and the group of eighteen soldiers escorted them both away to a military jeep.  Israeli police arrived, arrested the girl and took her and her aunt to a police station for questioning and fingerprints.  The girl was released later that evening.  Photo


Mar. 25, 2010

Ann Hafften, A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Middle East Peace: USAID will purchase cancer equipment for LWF Jerusalem Hospital

Movement and access into Jerusalem from the West Bank and Gaza is also a concern, said Nasser.

"This is paramount to us, because Palestinians cannot get to the hospital. We have to work on advocacy to secure the rights of patients and to secure that the environment is conducive to quality patient care," he said.

"People are invested in Augusta Victoria Hospital from all over the world," said Nasser. "Augusta Victoria Hospital is a beacon of hope," he said. It represents a much larger story than just being a place that delivers medical care. It represents a successful Christian presence in the Middle East, an institution that is experiencing success and growth there, and it is a place where interfaith dialogue occurs, he said.

"Success is a powerful way to overcome human oppression, even under economic, political and societal failure. We can still produce stories of human success, something every Lutheran should be proud of," said Nasser.

While in the United States, Nasser visited with USAID and members of Congress to express thanks for the purchase and to "convey the importance of development and diplomacy, and how it should speak to the people and not just the government."


Mar. 25, 2010

Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum: Christians in the Holy Land respond to Israeli police restrictions during Easter celebrations

Christians in the Holy Land, after hundreds of years of celebrating Easter in Jerusalem as the most important and significant holy week for Christianity, are again being denied freedom of worship during this period by the Israeli occupation police. In response to these unilateral and discriminating Israeli actions, Palestinian Christian organizations in occupied East Jerusalem have initiated a legal process “to preserve the right to freely access our churches and shrines”. The legal actions on the Supreme Court level will be against everyone who is involved in this discriminatory policy, including the Israeli police and the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality.


Mar. 25, 2010

Reuters: Palestinians await Israeli nod on West Bank project

Observers say, however, the frozen state of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and tensions over Israel's expansion of settlements on lands Palestinian seek for a state do not bode well for the project in the near term. "While economic development is not a substitute for the political process, economic prosperity in the future Palestinian state is important for peace and it has to be important for Israel too," Mustafa said. "This is our contribution toward a sustainable peace, through economic development," he said.


Mar. 25, 2010

Reuters: Israel awaits word but signs are no housing deal with U.S.

Palestinians want a complete settlement freeze in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. Citing biblical and historical links, Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, a claim that has not won international recognition.

...The European Union issued a statement saying it "condemns the recent decision of the Israeli authorities to authorize construction around the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem."

"The international community is making every effort to facilitate the resumption of peace talks. Settlement construction in East Jerusalem is illegal and undermines these efforts," it said.


Mar. 25, 2010

Reuters: U.N. rights council condemns Israel, U.S. opposes

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed three resolutions on Wednesday condemning Israel over its policies in occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, but the United States voted against them all.


Mar. 24, 2010

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: Below is the link to an article by Ali Abunimah. I admire Ali enormously, but he and I don't always see eye-to-eye.  From my perspective, folks who write articles like this one unknowingly ... i.e., unconsciously ... i.e., inadvertently and unwittingly ... play directly into the hands of the people who want President Obama's peacemaking efforts to fail.  From my perspective, it's time to support Obama and to hold him accountable at the same time.  Instead of joining the never ending commentary to undermine Obama, let's Contact the White House and ... for example ... encourage him to allow the Goldstone Report to be referred to the UN Security Council at the appropriate time.  There are numerous positive things we can do.  We can encourage the Palestinians to forge a unified government as soon as possible.  Please read on.

CCN: Mideast peace effort is a charade by Ali Abunimah


Mar. 24, 2010

Reuters: Israel, undeterred, to build in East Jerusalem

Undeterred by turbulence in its ties with the United States and Britain, Israel on Wednesday confirmed further plans to expand the Jewish presence in occupied East Jerusalem, with more building freshly approved.

Comment by the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: The underlying causes of anti-Semitism must sooner or later be addressed.  Thanks to Reuters for using the word "occupied" instead of the word "disputed" when referring to East Jerusalem.


Mar. 24, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Human Rights: Omar Released after beating and Fatenah Animation
  • Yesterday, after 6 days of kidnapping and beating our friend Omar Mousa Ala'eddin from the village of Al-Ma'sara, the Israeli occupation authorities released him broken and battered.

  • Fatenah is a 27-year-old woman living in the Gaza Strip. Her life is similar to the lives of many other women in Gaza. Her life changes the day she discovers she has breast cancer.


Mar. 24, 2010

Calvin College: Unity Within Diversity: Myth or Reality? Speech by Archbishop Elias Chacour


As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. The townspeople were proud of their ancient Christian heritage and lived at peace with their Jewish neighbors. But in 1948 and ’49 their idyllic lifestyle was swept away as tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million were forced into refugee camps. As an exile in his native land, Elias began a years-long struggle with his love for the Jewish people and the world’s misunderstanding of his own people, the Palestinians. He is convicted by the haunting words of the Man of Galilee: “Blessed are the Peacemakers”. Father Chacour has become an ambassador for non-violence. He has a vision and passion to build peace through education and is the founder of the Mar Elias Educational Institutions, open to all the children of Israel; Jewish, Christian and Muslim. He has received many international peace awards and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions. He is the author of Blood Brothers and We Belong to this Land. Father Chacour is the Archbishop of the Melkite Catholic Church in Haifa, Israel.

Order Blood Brothers        Order We Belong to This Land


Mar. 24, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Reflection: Reading and Writing, Dignity and Resistance by Joy Ellison


The bravery and determination of the school children of Tuba and Magher
Al Abeed and their parents always impresses me. But as I watched all
twenty-one the kids make their way home that day, I realized just how
highly these families value education. When these children go to school,
they're learning more than reading, writing, and math. They are learning
what they will have to do to live with dignity. They are learning the
meaning of resistance.

Mar. 24, 2010

New Yorker: Special Relationships by David Remnick


Without the creation of a viable contiguous Palestinian state, comprised of a land area equivalent to all of the West Bank and Gaza (allowing for land swaps), and with East Jerusalem as its capital, it is impossible to imagine a Jewish and democratic future for Israel. There is nothing the Israeli leadership could do to make the current fantasy of an indifferent American leadership become a reality faster than to get lost in the stubborn fantasy of sustaining the status quo.

Mar. 23, 2010

Muzzlewatch: Is the U.S. Consulate Cooperating in Silencing Palestinian Activists?

Mohammed Omer, the Gazan journalist and photographer, is scheduled for a U.S. speaking tour together with Ali Abunimah.  The U.S. consulate in the Netherlands, where Omer now resides, has put an extended hold on his visa application, effectively cancelling the tour.   Omer has lived in the Netherlands since 2008, after he was detained and severely beaten by the Shin Bet when he returned to Gaza from London, where he had been awarded the prestigious Gellhorn Award for Journalism.

A similar silencing happened earlier this month in the Bay Area where I live, when the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem never responded to the visa application of Mohammed Khatib, founder and leader of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall.  He was scheduled to speak at the Sabeel Conference and at universities throughout the area.  He had been arrested by Israeli forces in 2009 on charges of throwing stones (this 36-year-old Catholic High School teacher), and later released when it was proven that that he was abroad at the time of the alleged incident. He was arrested again in January, this time charged with possession of “incitement materials.” We never got to see him. By not responding, the U.S. Consulate effectively cancelled his trip. 


Mar. 23, 2010

Maan: Ashkenazi: Hamas wants Gaza, not violence


Hamas fighters were not behind the recent projectile launches from Gaza, Israel army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told Knesset members on Tuesday, Israeli media reported.

...Nonetheless, he added, Hamas "could do more to stop the rocket fire." This was also Ashkenazi's justification for why "the IDF retaliates against Hamas targets... because we regard them as the sovereign group [in the Strip]."


Mar. 23, 2010

Occupation Magazine: Palestinian Organizer Tortured in Israeli Jail by Jonathan Pollak


Omar Alaaeddin from the village of alMa`asara was nabbed from the Container Checkpoint on Sunday the 14th. He was released yesterday with no charges pressed against him. Alaaeddin reports having been tortured in the Israeli Russian Compound Jail in Jerusalem.


Mar. 23, 2010

J Street: New Poll of Jews Views on Israel


There is solid support in the Jewish community for J Street's position that peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a core Israeli and American interest and that the United States should take an active leadership role in achieving peace.


Mar. 23, 2010

Jewish Voice for Peace: Statement on U.S.  SETTLEMENT FUNDERS


As an organization that focuses on the critical role of the United States in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jewish Voice for Peace is deeply concerned by the ongoing activities of U.S. organizations whose 501c3 (non-profit) status enables them to raise money from American donors to support and maintain settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.


Mar. 22, 2010

Yahoo/Agence France Presse: Top US lawmaker: Iran sanctions coming soon

The US Congress will soon take "final action" to approve tough new sanctions on Iran over its refusal to freeze its suspect nuclear weapon, a top Democratic lawmaker said Monday.

"We can't expect a change of heart from a regime founded in violence, and in violent disregard for world opinion -- but we can demand a change of behavior," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the potent AIPAC pro-Israel lobby group.

Comment by the Reverend Roy Hayes: Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak to AIPAC's Policy Conference tomorrow (Tuesday).  Netanyahu will attempt to divert public attention away from the settlements issues ... away from the situation in Gaza ... and onto Iran.  US lawmakers seem anxious to prepare the way for him.


Mar. 22, 2010

Middle East Children's Alliance: Clean Water for Children in Palestine

There is a growing water crisis in Palestine that affects agriculture, industry, and the health of virtually every adult and child. The water crisis in the Gaza Strip has been building for decades but has reached a critical point. Climate change, population growth, and Israeli policies have limited the supply of water and contaminated the ground water that is available.

In 2007, children at the UN Boys' School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza were asked what they most wanted for their school. The children requested clean drinking water. The Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) and our partner in Gaza responded to the children's request and built a water purification and desalination unit for their school. We have sent funds to provide clean drinking water to 15 schools in Gaza so far and hope to complete at least 200 more purification and desalination units at Gaza schools.

Please help MECA continue to meet the needs of children in Gaza by:


Mar. 22, 2010

Common Dreams: Besieged Gaza Denied Water

Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has brought immense sufferings to Palestinians living in the coastal territory.

The siege even impedes the supply of water, the most basic need for human survival.

Now - 80 per cent of Gazans lack access to clean water.

The head of Gaza's water authority says he has plans and the means to import water from other countries until self-dependency is reached, but Israel's blockade is the only thing in the way.  

Al Jazeera's Casey Kauffman reports from Gaza


Mar. 22, 2010

Zenit: Iraqi Catholics Answer Violence with New School by Genevieve Pollock


"As a diocese, and a community, we need to rebuild everything," the archbishop said.

This process of rebuilding will begin with a new school, he affirmed, in "the ancient Chaldean Catholic village of Karmless."

This village, he explained "is located in a secure area of the diocese, and is overflowing with internally displaced Catholics who have taken refuge there."

Archbishop Nona sent out an appeal for aid "to build this new diocesan school, named after our patron, Mar Adday."

He noted that ground-breaking for the school will take place in January, and that it plans to "welcome students of all faiths, Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis, from Karmless and surrounding areas" in Fall 2011.


Mar. 22, 2010

BBC News: UN chief says Gaza suffering under Israeli blockade

"My message to people of Gaza is this: the United Nations will stand with you through this ordeal," he said.

Among a list of criticisms of the blockade by Israel and Egypt, Mr Ban said the blockade was counter-productive as it prevented legitimate commerce and encouraged smuggling and extremism.

Mr Ban urged all Gazans to "choose the path of non-violence, Palestinian unity and international legitimacy".


Mar. 22, 2010

BBC News: Israel launches economic plan for Israeli Arab towns

The Israeli cabinet has backed a $214m investment plan for Israeli Arabs, who have long suffered inequality and a history of discrimination.

Israeli-Arab groups gave the news a cautious welcome but said some of the money just made up for cuts last year.

  • About 1.2m, a fifth of Israel's population, are Israeli Arabs
  • They are citizens of Israel, but face widely documented discrimination
  • Former PM Ehud Olmert said there was "no doubt" Israeli Arabs had faced discrimination for "many years"
  • Israeli Arabs own 3.5% of Israel's land, get 3-5% of government spending and have higher poverty levels than Jewish Israelis*
  • There are 13 Israeli Arabs in the 120-seat Knesset, 10 representing [primarily] Arab parties
*Source: Mossawa Center

Mar. 22, 2010

Click for cartoon


This is a breakthrough cartoon by one of America's leading cartoonists and speaks to the only issue which will get Americans to move and which frightens the Zionists there and here. --Jeff Blankfort to the Reverend Roy Hayes


Mar. 22, 2010

Counterpunch: Why Israel always prevails by Jeff Blankfort

In January 2009, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert publicly boasted that he had “shamed” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by getting President Bush to prevent her from voting for a Gaza cease-fire resolution at the last moment that she herself had worked on for several days with Arab and European diplomats at the United Nations.

Olmert bragged to an Israeli audience that he pulled Bush off a stage during a speech to take his call when he learned about the pending vote and demanded that the president intervene.

 “I have no problem with what Olmert did,” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Forward. “I think the mistake was to talk about it in public.”

That episode and Foxman’s comment may have summed up the history of US-Israel relations.


Mar. 22, 2010

Ann Haften: A Texas Lutheran's Voice for Peace: Two articles

Health and wellness in the Middle East
Whether it is from a hospital bed on the Mount of Olives, the Peace Center for the Blind in Jerusalem or a youth-empowerment program for Sudanese refugees in Cairo, the ELCA is helping the blind to see, the broken to heal and the oppressed to become empowered and free from violence in the Middle East. ELCA mission personnel work hand-in-hand with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL, http://www.elcjhl.org/) the Lutheran World Federation (LWF, http://www.lwfjerusalem.org/) in Jerusalem and St. Andrew’s Refugee Services in Cairo.  Please click and then go to page 4

New resources for Peace Not Walls campaign
At the newly designed Web page - www.elca.org/peacenotwalls/resources


Mar. 22, 2010

J Street: Ad in the New York Times


Friendship between Israel and the United States is based on common interests and shared values. Friendship demands respect for each other’s needs. And, sometimes, friendship means telling hard truths — particularly if we’re going to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution.

For the U.S., it’s a matter of national security. So says the commander of American forces in the region, General David Petraeus.

For Israel, it’s existential — the only way Israel can remain both Jewish and democratic. So says its Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

This is no time for a business-as-usual peace process — no time for politics as usual. It’s time for the Obama administration to seize the opportunity for bold leadership — putting concrete plans for a two-state solution on the table with the sustained commitment of the United States behind them.

It’s time for the Palestinians to end incitement to violence.

It’s time for Israel to stop allowing extremist settlers and their sympathizers to endanger not only the friendship of the United States, but also the very future of Israel.

Time is running out.


Mar. 22, 2010

BBC News: Hillary Clinton warns Israel faces 'difficult' choices

"Guaranteeing Israel's security is more than a policy position for me. It is a personal commitment that will never waver," she said.

But, she added, it is Washington's "responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed".

Comment from the Reverend Roy Hayes: "Listen to every word [of the 2:33-minute video]. Notice how her speech was received."

Jeremy Bowen, Middle East editor, BBC News: Analysis

In the end there was no booing, which some had expected. The audience of 7,500 activists from one of the strongest political lobbies in America interrupted Secretary Clinton's speech with applause more than 25 times.
They liked her tough words about Iran. But they were largely silent as she explained why the US had condemned Israel's latest plans to build for Jews on occupied territory in Jerusalem. She presented the Obama administration as an unshakeable friend of Israel, unafraid to give it straight advice about its best interests.

The status quo, she said, was not sustainable, even if some in Israel thought that it was. Without going into too much detail, she sketched out the settlement the US wanted - a Palestinian state alongside Israel, living in peace, with borders based on the ceasefire line that held until Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.

Jerusalem, at the centre of the recent row between the US and Israel, needed a solution that would realise the aspirations of both sides, she said. That's code for a Palestinian capital as well as an Israeli one. Easy to talk about, very hard to achieve.


Mar. 22, 2010

Uruknet: Amir, ten years old, abducted by Israeli soldiers from his bed by Nora Barrows-Friedman

Amir al-Mohtaseb smiled tenderly when I asked him to tell me his favorite color. Sitting in his family's living room last Thursday afternoon, 4 March, in the Old City of Hebron, the ten-year-old boy with freckles and long eyelashes softly replied, "green." He then went on to describe in painful detail his arrest and detention -- and the jailing of his 12-year-old brother Hasan by Israeli occupation soldiers on Sunday, 28 February.


Mar. 22, 2010

National: Israel admits it has an image problem by Jonathan Cook

A new government campaign to train Israelis in how to use propoganda in order to improve their country’s image when they are abroad has been condemned for advancing a right-wing agenda.

The public relations drive, which includes giving travellers tips on how to champion the country’s illegal settlements, is the government’s latest attempt to shore up support abroad following the harsh criticisms of Israel’s attack on Gaza last year made by the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report, which produced evidence of war crimes.


Mar. 22, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Human Rights: Why protest building a synagogue?

The density of population inside the Green Line is now 1/8th that of areas of the West Bank and Gaza that are designated reservations/ghettoes for native Palestinians. If Jews want to live in the old Jewish quarter of East Jerusalem and build the synagogue there, why not allow the Palestinians to return to the old neighborhoods of West Jerusalem and rebuild the many churches and mosques there?


Mar. 22, 2010

Mazin Qumsiyeh: Human Rights: Mothers' Day in Palestine

Today was mother's day in Palestine. It was not a good day for my mother. In the morning my sister took her to an eye doctor in Hebron as her sight is affected by her diabetes.  On the way back, my sister was slapped by an Israeli policeman with a ticket of 500 NIS (roughly $120) for making what he considers an illegal turn.  The stress made my mother forget a pot of syrup on the stove and it burned through with smoke all over the house as she was visiting with my brother in law who has cancer.  I felt bad because instead of being with them most of the day, I was in two popular resistance events in Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.


Mar. 22, 2010

SF Gate, Associated Press: Squeeze Israel by Cutting US Aid? Not likely  by Karoun Demirjian


The diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Israel has sent a tremor through their alliance, but one key part of the bond seems virtually untouchable: the roughly $3 billion a year in U.S. military aid.
Israel's harsher critics often call for aid cuts to twist Israel's arm. Yet amid the uproar of recent days over plans to build 1,600 new homes for a Jewish neighborhood in a disputed part of Jerusalem, there has been no serious talk of using aid as a club.

One reason may be the potential backlash from Israel's supporters in the U.S. Another is that the overwhelming part of the money cycles back into the American economy.

Israel is the biggest recipient of American aid after Afghanistan. But unlike most other countries, Israel's aid is earmarked entirely for military spending. Under an agreement between the two allies, at least three-quarters of the aid must be spent with U.S. companies.


Mar. 22, 2010

Eureka Street: Israel's rogue behaviour by Michael Mullins


When former US President George Bush was compiling his celebrated list of 'rogue nations', he wasn't thinking about Israel. Last week our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were unnerved by news that Israeli officials almost certainly forged Australian passports in order to carry out a Mossad killing. When Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said it 'was not the action of a friend', he could have been thinking that it was the behaviour of a rogue nation.


Mar. 21, 2010

Wall Writings: Who Gave Bibi Permission to Own Palestine? Where Do We Start? by James M. Wall


...Christian Zionists have consistently demonstrated a distinct lack of interest in the human rights of  all those Palestinians who remain locked down in their Israeli-enforced prison.


...[Tom] Friedman does not say the land he wants Bibi to agree to swap was stolen, and continues to be stolen, from Palestinians in violation of and utter disregard for, international law.

So, please, liberal friends, no more praise for Friedman until he is ready to confess that he has been a crucial part of the Israeli strategy to conquer Palestine.

He is not going to confess that, short of a mid life religious conversion to the values of the Hebrew bible. Besides, he does not want to give up his precious professional access to Israel’s power elites who run the state’s “economic and security” agendas, an elite that he visits regularly and for whom he has even been known to deliver formal lectures.


Mar. 21, 2010

We Are Wide Awake: Message from Eileen Fleming


I will be taking an LOA from WeAreWideAwake to work on my third book. Until I return, I leave you with an excerpt from my first, KEEP HOPE ALIVE.

Only a few of the characters within KEEP HOPE ALIVE are fictional- but everything they say is true-and almost everything actually happened.

"Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow; I would plant an olive tree today." - St. Francis of Assisi

On June 1, 2009, Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate wrote:

"I have just finished reading your wonderful book ‘Keep Hope Alive’. I found it most inspiring and can see in your story the influences of your Spiritual journey – Merton, Dorothy day, Fox, St. John of the Cross, Francis!!  All of whom I share as they are, I believe, great guides to the Spiritual journey.  The book brought me closer to you Eileen – and I was moved by your great heart and compassion for all those who suffer – Especially the Israelis and the Palestinians and people of Gaza. Thank you for your faithfulness to them (and for helping to provide and plant so many olive trees – a real symbol of hope for the Palestinians." 

Ordering information


Mar. 21, 2010

LAist: Should California Divest from Israel? by Zach Behrens


...the Public Employees’ Retirement System and State Teachers’ Retirement System would be verboten from "investing in companies doing business in Israel," according to the proposition's language. Continued: "Requires these funds to sell existing investments in companies that continue to do business in Israel. Requires divestment to comply with fiduciary responsibilities." Some investments would be excluded, such as humanitarian, health and educational efforts.


Mar. 21, 2010

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: The Twin Challenges of Terror and Israel  by Patrick Seale

It is often said that the resolution of the Palestine problem lies in a choice between a two-state solution and a one-state solution—between a small Palestinian state living side by side with Israel, and a single state in which Israelis and Palestinians share joint citizenship.

But this is not the real choice. Most Israelis are adamantly opposed to anything resembling a one-state solution. They want to get rid of the Palestinians, not to incorporate them within their borders. The real choice, therefore, is between a two-state solution and a Greater Israel—a large Jewish state “between the river and the sea,” from which the Palestinians would be driven out. If some managed to remain, they would be forced to live in isolated enclaves, much as the unfortunate inhabitants of Gaza live now.

Obama says he is unwaveringly committed to a two-state solution. But will he confront Netanyahu? This will be the greatest test of his statesmanship in the coming year.


Mar. 21, 2010

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: U.S. Placates Israel and Opens New War Front While Ignoring Palestinians by Rachelle Marshall


It seems certain that neither far-flung wars nor improved body searches will keep Americans safe as long as the U.S. policies in the Middle East continue to arouse popular outrage. The time bomb Americans have to fear most are the pictures of grieving families and bomb-shattered buildings caused by U.S. firepower—scenes that evoke the same horror whether they take place in Kunar province or in Gaza.


Mar. 21, 2010

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: Israel Responds to Palestinian Nonviolence with Violence and Repression by William Parry


Juma reportedly was back at work the day of his release, and quick to call for continued international pressure to guarantee the rights and freedom of other nonviolent Palestinian activists still imprisoned. “Like the other Palestinian human rights defenders in Israeli jails,” he noted, “there was never a case in the courtroom. Not a single charge has been put forth. The reason for my arrest was purely political—an attempt to crush Stop the Wall and the popular committees against the wall. Therefore, the reasons for my release are also outside the courtroom: the impressive support of international civil society has moved governments and used the media to an extent that made our imprisonment too uncomfortable…[T]he latest arrests and continuous repression show that we have not yet defeated the Israeli policy as such, as Israel remains determined to silence Palestinian human rights defenders by all means.”


Mar. 21, 2010

Gush Shalom: The Doomsday Weapon by Uri Avnery


In other words: Israeli-Palestinian peace is not a private matter between the two parties, but a supreme national interest of the USA. That means that the US must give up its one-sided support for the Israeli government and impose the two-state solution.


Mar. 21, 2010

Associated Press/Yahoo: Israel: No building restrictions in east Jerusalem by Mark Lavie


Israel will not restrict construction in east Jerusalem, Israel's prime minister said Sunday hours before leaving for Washington, despite a clear U.S. demand that building there must stop and a crisis in relations between the two longtime allies.


Mar. 21, 2010

BBC News: UN chief says Gaza suffering under Israeli blockade

Among a list of criticisms of the blockade by Israel and Egypt, Mr Ban said the blockade was counter-productive as it prevented legitimate commerce and encouraged smuggling and extremism.


Mar. 20, 2010

Al Jazeera English on You Tube: Interviews during "Apartheid Week"

A controversial campaign in the Western world links Israel's treatment of Palestinians to the treatment of blacks in apartheid South Africa, called the Israeli apartheid week. Inside Story asks: Is criticism of specific Israeli policies raising doubts about Israel's right to exist? And is Israel now on the PR offensive to fight back?


Mar. 20, 2010

BBC News: UN chief Ban Ki-moon demands Israel settlements halt

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said Israeli settlement building anywhere in occupied territory is illegal and must stop.


Mar. 20, 2010

BBC News: In pictures: Jerusalem's African quarter

Twelve photos with captions...


Mar. 20, 2010

YMCA/YWCA Joint Advocacy Initiative: JAI Calls partners and friends to act defending Ush Ghrab

Ush Ghrab locates in the east of Beit Sahour, that was used by the Israeli army as a military base after 1967. This base caused much destruction to the neighborhood and to the entire town during 2000-2002.

The Israeli army left the base and the area in 2006 and the residents with the municipality started to use this area (some 700 dunums) for public purposes and established a park that is called the Peace Park where there is a children and kids’ garden, and people can have celebrations, BBQ, have theatre and performances and play sports.

In 2008 the Israeli settlers started to target the area in an attempt to build a settlement there as they claim it has a biblical significance! The settlers with permission from the Israeli army use to have gatherings almost every Friday and have a prayer or a lecture made by fanatic Jews.


Mar. 20, 2010

Al-Haq: Open Letter: Palestinian, Israeli and International Human Rights NGOs Deplore Politically-Motivated Claims Aimed at Discrediting Human Rights Defenders

The Board of Directors of Rights & Democracy, a not-for-profit organization created by Canada‘s parliament in 1988 to encourage and support human rights around the world, recently voted, with substantial objection, to repudiate grants given to Al Haq and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, two well-known Palestinian human rights organizations located respectively in the West Bank and in Gaza

The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Rights and Democracy, Mr. Aurel Braun, was quoted (in The Globe & Mail) as criticizing both organizations for being two "of the most vitriolic anti-Israeli organizations" and for "their accusations against Israel‘s human rights violations. Further, the article reports that Braun had said that "there is no way to ensure that some of the money given to groups in Gaza does not go to the banned terrorist organization Hamas". He also led a personal attack against Al Haq‘s general director – the well-known human rights defender Mr. Shawan Jabarin – for allegedly being an activist in a PLO faction (ibid). These remarks made by the chairperson of Rights and Democracy are extremely grave as they seem to support the Israeli government‘s policy of silencing human rights‘ defenders.

In recent years, Israel‘s attempts to silence any voice of opposition regarding its human rights violation, have reached alarming levels. In addition to arrests of activists and the closing down of organizations, Israel has also denied many human rights defenders the possibility of effectively advocating for human rights by the imposition of travel bans. A new tactic used by Israel, supported by right-wing groups, is to go after the funders of human rights organizations. In this context, it came as a shock to us – Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations – that instead of advocating for and defending human rights defenders, who work to counter Israeli violations of human rights and ensure respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, the board of Rights & Democracy has instead chosen to join the side of the violator....


Mar. 20, 2010

TLAXCALA: I Want to Tell the World a Story by Nahida Izzat

I want to tell the world a story ...about a home with a broken lantern...and a burnt doll...and a picnic that wasn't enjoyed...and....

Now light a little candle for Palestine.

A picture is worth one thousand words. --Chinese saying


Mar. 20, 2010

Doug Minkler: Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions Poster


"Non-cooperation with evil is as much a responsibility as operation with good." --Mohandas Gandhi


From Doug: You have my permission to use this work.  Using my graphic is not dependent on a fee---but if your budget allows please send financial compensation so that I can continue to send you these high quality masterpieces.  Website   Email


Mar. 20, 2010

Bikya Masr: US citizen shot, hospitalized at West Bank demonstration

During a demonstration in An Nabi Saleh today, US citizen and International Solidarity Movement volunteer Ellen Stark was shot from less than four meters away with a rubber bullet, which lodged in her arm left arm, breaking her wrist. Omar Saleh Tamimi, Amjad Abed Alkhafeez Tamimi and International Solidarity Movement co-founder Huwaida Arraf were arrested as they asked Israeli military personnel to stop firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at Stark as she was helped to safety. Alkhatib Mahmud Tamimi, 87, was hit with a rubber bullet in the arm and Nariman Tamimi, mother of four, with a gas canister. Both were treated in ambulances on site. 17-year-old Raaft Ahmad was shot above the eye with a rubber bullet later in the demonstration and is currently in the hospital.

The group was standing away from the main demonstration area with two medics when a military jeep sped up the main road and stopped in front of them. Soldiers jumped out of the jeep and targeted the un-armed, peaceful group with a barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets from a dangerously close range.

According to Ellen, “we were standing on Palestinian land, in support of the village who’s land has been confiscated but we weren’t even demonstrating yet. We were standing with medics who were also shot with tear gas.” Eyewitness Robin Brown helped Stark to safety. He said “the soldiers started shooting from just three meters away. We did nothing to provoke the attack.”


Mar. 20, 2010

ynet: Turks protest Israeli housing plans


Hundreds of Turkish protesters torched Israeli flags in protest against plans to build new housing in east Jerusalem.


Mar. 20, 2010

Newsweek: A Third Muslim-World War? by Christopher Dickey

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would do anything to protect Israel—as long as he doesn't have to believe in peace.


Mar. 20, 2010

Salem News: She was an American girl, Rachel Corrie by Tim King

The Israeli-influenced big corporate media groups have mostly kept this from Americans; Israeli 'settlers' have been squatting on Palestinian land, destroying family dwellings and encroaching more and more over the years on the tiny amount of remaining Palestinian land that has not already been taken by Israel.

Between 1947 and 1967, Israel took almost all of it.

Israel is guided by an extremist religious philosophy also widely taught in America called 'Zionism'. This is the belief that the Israelis are somehow entitled to take all of the land from its previous owners, over a Biblical prophecy. The idea stands in stark contrast to the spirit of a separate church and state, which the United States' government is founded upon.

U.S. politicians like Hillary Clinton, as recently as this week, confirmed the unwavering U.S. support of Israel. That, as Israel is investigated by a United Nations Tribunal for very serious international war crimes allegations stemming from the war in Gaza that Israel launched over the winter of 2008/2009.

Clinton would have you believe Rachel Corrie died in vain, not that she has probably ever recognized Rachel's life or death.


Mar. 20, 2010

Salem News: Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reports the latest military action by Israel's military toward Palestinian civilians. A number of shootings are reported.

They say that during the reporting period, 31 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 5 women, were wounded when IOF used excessive force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall and settlement activities in the West Bank.


Mar. 20, 2010

Salem News: The Complicated Faces of Anti-Semitism by Dr. Alan Sabrosky

I cannot speak for the situation elsewhere, but in the US, I doubt if there is a another definable group that equals or surpasses Jews in their achievements in so many different fields, their support for civil liberties and civil rights, and their philanthropy or general support of charitable causes.

But when Israel enters the equation, those truly admirable qualities are often set aside. Israeli bigotry, atrocities and crimes against humanity are largely ignored, excused or vociferously supported, and Jewish-dominated institutions such as the mainstream media pointedly refrain from publishing or reporting blatant contemporary examples of Israeli misconduct.


Mar. 19, 2010

The Independent: The Big Question: What are Israeli settlements, and why are they coming under pressure?


"Imagine the effect on the peace process in Northern Ireland if the British government continued moving thousands of Protestants from Scotland into Ulster and settling them, at government expense, on land confiscated from Irish Catholics..."

Mar. 19, 2010

Wikipedia: Israeli settlements

Palestinians are often the victims of violence committed by Israeli settlers. There is continual conflict between settlers and Palestinians over land, resources and perceived grievances. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and settler evictions in other areas have triggered settler rioting and attacks against Palestinians in protest. Extremist settlers using a tactic called Price Tagging, if the Government sends police or soldiers to dismantle an outpost that is being built, the settlers make the Palestinian population pay the price. [105]

Human rights group B'Tselem says that the violence is "a means to harass and intimidate Palestinians" and that the evacuations are a necessary part of the peace process. According to B'Tselem that when a building is evacuated by the Israeli government, settlers lash out at Palestinians because they're "easy victims" and as a means to widen the area under settler control.[106]

Unlike Palestinians, Israeli civilians living in the Palestinian Territories are not subject to military or local law, but are prosecuted according to Israeli penal law. [107] Haaretz has stated "Israeli society has become accustomed to giving lawbreaking settlers special treatment", noting that no other group could similarly attack Israeli law enforcement agencies without being severely punished [108].

Olive farming is a major industry and employer in the Palestinian West Bank and olive trees are a common target of settler violence. [109]

There are a number of extremist groups associated with the settler movement. Gush Emunim Underground was a terrorist organization linked to the settler activist group Gush Emunim. They carried out attacks against Jewish students and Palestinian officials, attempted to bomb a bus and planned an attack on the Dome on the Rock.[110][111]

According to B'Tselem 45 Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians between 2000 and 2008 [112], of which the vast majority would be settler-related. B'Tselem also keeps a record of incidences of settler violence of which there have been 2 so far in 2009 [113].


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC News:Fresh Israeli air strikes wound 11 in Gaza Strip

At least 11 people have been injured by Israeli air strikes targeting Gaza's airport, Palestinian officials say.

The Israeli military confirmed the missile strikes near Rafah, in southern Gaza, which it said targeted militants.

It was the second night of Israeli raids since a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip killed a worker on an Israeli farm on Thursday.

Earlier, the international Middle East Quartet called for Israel to freeze all settlements in Palestinian territories.

In a strongly worded statement, the Quartet condemned Israel's announcement last week of planning permission for 1,600 new homes in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967.

That move undermined efforts to restart indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks.  


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC News: Women in Gaza: Life under Hamas


Five middle-class Palestinian women in Gaza City discuss how life has changed in Gaza since Hamas won elections in January 2006 - and later seized control in June 2007.



...Economic pressures have been building on both men and women for a long time. The closure of Gaza creates the perfect conditions for breeding an extremist mentality. I am not optimistic about the coming generation, unless Gaza opens up.

...Life for woman really hasn't changed much under Hamas. In my opinion the main problem that women in Gaza face is because of the closure. The economic situation affected women in that they were trying to find work, or ways to help support their family, so a woman has to go out and find a job, and that means leaving her home and children.

...The biggest problem I see is unemployment. However much you improve yourself, you need to belong to a certain political group to get work.

...There are shortages of water, electricity and cooking gas. It is very difficult to leave Gaza for medical treatment. And after the war in Gaza last year, things got worse because many women lost their husbands. Women lost lives too, of course. You can't imagine how hard it is to be a disabled woman in this society. Or a widow.

...Life in Gaza for women is all a bit harder than it should be, not only because of the internal Fatah-Hamas conflict, but because of everything, the siege, the war. When it comes to the rules, such as Hamas making girls wear long dresses in school, or forbidding wearing trousers, it didn't last very long. People here didn't accept it because this is personal freedom. Even some men in Gaza refused.


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC Video Interview: Blair says 'confidence building' key to resolving tensions

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Israelis and Palestinians need more confidence in each other before tensions can be resolved there.

There has been continued violence between Israeli forces and protestors in the West Bank, over Israel's plans to build new homes in disputed East Jerusalem.

Mr Blair is special envoy to the international Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, who have now called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

Mr Blair said the focus should be on giving both sides confidence in each other.


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC Video Interview: Hillary Clinton confirms Israel commitment

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has told the BBC that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed his commitment to further negotiations.

Ms Clinton indicated that hardening the tone with Israel had paid off, with the talks now back in prospect.


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC Video Interview: Baroness Ashton on Quartet talks and dealing with Hamas

The international Quartet of Middle East peace mediators has met in Moscow.

The talks were attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, EU High Representative Baroness Ashton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Baroness Ashton has spoken to the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes about the prospects for the peace process, and her recent visit to Gaza.


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC Video Interview: Quartet urges Israel to 'freeze' settlement building

The international Quartet of Middle East peace mediators has called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Israeli-Palestinian talks should lead to a peace agreement within 24 months.

Senior US, EU and Russian officials have met Mr Ban in Moscow to try to push forward the stalled talks.


Mar. 19, 2010

America, Catholic weekly: U.S.-Israel Relations Hit Low; Peace Process Derailed Again

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan might seem a strange place for a human rights protest, but on March 9 some 400 people walked in single file in a slow, silent procession. Holding signs calling for “Justice for Gaza,” the demonstrators were protesting what was taking place inside—a $1,000-a-plate dinner hosted by the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. Inside the Waldorf the event raised $20 million for I.D.F. veterans while the marchers on the street outside tried to raise awareness of the Gaza blockade. The event’s keynote speaker was the I.D.F. chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Ashkenazi was likely also key to discussions just a few avenues away at the United Nations, where Operation Cast Lead, the incursion into the Gaza Strip that he led during December 2008 and early January 2009, was being scrutinized for possible instances of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Mar. 19, 2010

J Street: 40,000 Actions in Support of the Obama Administration

The pro-Israel, pro-peace movement is stepping up strong this week, sending over 40,000 messages to the White House and Congress in support of the Obama Administration's strong leadership in the Middle East.

On Monday, J Street leadership delivered over 18,000 signatures to White House officials demonstrating that large numbers of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans agree with the Vice President when he says "sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth," and urging the Administration to turn this crisis into an opportunity for progress on two states.

And now we're continuing to show Congress the deep support in our community for the Administration's leadership, sending over 25,000 messages to the Hill in the campaign's first few days.

The Obama Administration can turn this crisis into an opportunity to tackle a core issue at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians - the need to establish a border between Israel and the future Palestinian state.

Too much time has already been lost in getting the two sides into negotiations. We cannot let any single provocative Israeli announcement of construction in East Jerusalem, no matter how infuriating, delay progress towards a two-state solution. Bold American leadership is needed now to turn this crisis into a real opportunity to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Mar. 19, 2010

Think Progress: Poll: Majority of Israelis find Obama ‘fair’ or ‘friendly.’


The poll is the latest evidence rebutting conservative claims that Obama is unpopular in Israel. In December, a poll (pdf) commissioned by the New American Foundation found that 52 percent of Israelis “believe that Obama’s election is good for addressing the world’s problems,” and that Obama had an overall 41 percent favorable/37 percent unfavorable rating, which was stronger than Israeli opinions toward the Israeli Defense and Foreign Ministers.


Mar. 19, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: Tell your Representative: "I Support the Administration's Efforts to Hold all Parties Accountable!"

This is an important moment in the struggle to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land that allows Israel to exist in security and the Palestinian people to have a viable, secure and sovereign state of their own.

Last week's announcement by Israel to build 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem threatens to derail the resumption of proximity peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians just announced days earlier by US Special Envoy George Mitchell.

Please use the form to contact your Representative to say: "As a Christian, I appreciate the Administration's efforts to encourage both parties to get serious about the resumption of meaningful negotiations."


Mar. 19, 2010

BBC News: Middle East Quartet urges Israeli settlement freeze


Recalling that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognised by the international community, the Quartet... condemns the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. -- Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General


Mar. 19, 2010

Jewish Voice for Peace: Don't let AIPAC speak for you

Tell Congress that AIPAC doesn't speak for you, no more unconditional aid.

AIPAC's annual Washington DC policy conference takes place next week, and thousands of members will be telling Congress that the Obama administration and Hillary Rodham Clinton are too hard on Israel. Why? Because the US dares to insist that Israel freeze illegal settlement expansion.

Now is the time to let Congress know that AIPAC doesn't speak for you. Demand full accountability. Ask Congress to withhold aid to Israel until it agrees to abide by international law--including ending settlement construction and lifting the blockade on Gaza.

Mar. 19, 2010

France 24/Agence France Presse: Israel rejects Jerusalem settlement halt ahead of Quartet meeting


On the eve of Middle East Quartet talks in Moscow, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has rejected international pressure to halt Jewish settlement construction in mainly Arab East Jerusalem, describing the demand as "totally unreasonable".


Mar. 19, 2010

Gush Shalom: "Demands" by Uri Avnery




Stop all settlements
In East Jerusalem.

Negotiate about
Jerusalem, borders,
Settlements and refugees.

These are the demands
Of Hillary Clinton.

These are the demands
Of Israelis
Who care for their country.


Mar. 19, 2010

New York Times: Bibi’s Tense Time-Out  by Maureen Dowd



Reader Comment #92 from an international lawyer in San Francisco:


A quick point: Israel's settlement policies in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank are not a "domestic zoning issue." The entire world regards East Jerusalem and the West Bank as occupied territory, as affirmed repeatedly by the Security Council, the World Court, ICRC, and others, and notwithstanding Israel's claims to the contrary. Israel's construction of housing for Israelis in that territory, along with its system of incentives for encouraging Israelis to settle in that housing, is consequently a violation of humanitarian law (Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention) -- and, accordingly, a matter of international concern. The Obama administration does itself no favors by skirting this legal reality and characterizing the building of Israeli settlements as merely an obstacle to peace. Settlements are also a violation of the laws of war, and we would do well to remember that those laws were crafted by the international community after World War II in an attempt to prevent precisely the situation we're facing in the occupied Palestinian territory -- i.e., one in which transfers of population by an occupier not only infringe upon the political and property rights of the occupied population but also make achieving a political resolution of the conflict all the more difficult.


Mar. 18, 2010

Common Dreams: Israel Raids Target Children by Nora Barrows-Friedman

Muslem Odeh, 10, tells IPS that he was taken by Israeli forces on Mar. 11 at 3 am, after police broke into the family's home in Silwan's Bustan neighborhood and pepper-sprayed his father who attempted to protect him. "They were banging on the door, and demanded I come with them. They told me that I had thrown stones at a settler. But I never threw stones."

Guards inside the interrogation center took Muslem around the jail and showed him the cells, threatening to hold him in one of them if he did not confess to throwing stones. At one point during the six-hour interrogation process, Muslem asked a guard if he could go to the bathroom. The guard refused. "I said, 'would you let me go if I were a Jewish child?'" Muslem tells IPS. "And the guard was ashamed. He finally let me use the toilet."


Mar. 18, 2010

Council on Foreign Relations: Conversation with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

It would be an incredible act of -- well, yes, I think courage -- of course, it's not easy in the United States, as you know -- I mean, each time you try to speak on this issue and you speak about human rights and so on, almost always you are shut up by -- or attempt to shut you up by being accused of being anti-Semitic, which is -- which is a pity.

But, I mean, you know, it's wonderful when you go to Israel and you see the number of -- especially young people who are feeling, I mean, that this is not something right.

Some of you might know about Bi'lin where they have demonstrations every Friday and the lawyers will support the demonstrators, they're young, bright, Israeli lawyers. It makes you feel good about human beings.

Click for video                  Click for audio


Mar. 18, 2010

Rabbarian's Blog: A Day at the Corrie Trial


On Tuesday this week, exactly seven years ago, Rachel Corrie, an ideallistic young woman and human rights activist from Olympia, Washington, was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to protect the home of Dr. Nasrallah, a pharmacist, and his family in Rafah, Gaza, from demolition.  Yesterday, I spent the morning in a small courtroom in the District Court in Haifa, sitting next to the Corrie family, Cindy and Craig, Rachel’s parents, and her sister, Susan, in the hearing of their civil suit against the State of Israel.   First, we listened to the cross-examination by the State’s lawyers of one of Rachel’s fellow activists, who was with her on that day. Following this, Husein Abu Husein, the Corrie’s lawyer,  cross-examined Elad (a pseudonym to protect his identity), an Israeli man, one of the three people who conducted the Israeli military investigation into Rachel’s death.   What emerged from this cross-examination  was shocking.  It was a window into the whole process of Israeli military investigations which has been so fiercely debated over the past year in response to the Goldstone report.


Mar. 18, 2010

UC Berkeley Student Senate Passes Divestment Bill in Response to Israeli Occupation


According to Emiliano Huet-Vaughn, co-author of the bill, “This vote is an historic step in holding all state and corporate actors accountable for their violations of basic human rights. The broad cross section of the community that came out to demand our university invest ethically belies the notion that the American people will tolerate the profiting from occupation or other human rights abuses.” Student Senator Emily Carlton, co-sponsor of the bill, agreed, adding, “This action will only be historic if it is repeated throughout the country and the world; I hope that student governments all over America will see in this a sign that the time to divest from war is now.”


Mar. 18, 2010

Courier Journal, Louisville: Presbyterian report on Mideast stirs controversy


A report on the Middle East by the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is drawing criticism from major Jewish organizations and support from pro-Palestinian groups around the nation.


Mar. 18, 2010

Presbyterian Church, USA: "Breaking Down Walls" by the Middle East Study Committee


Our voice is one, which is priestly, prophetic, and pastoral. The first voice that will be heard in this report is a priestly voice speaking of our theological understanding of justice, Zion, the land, and reconciliation. The next voice is both prophetic and pastoral. Prophets and pastors are called first and foremost to truth telling. From the vast experiences and study of the members of this committee, from numerous meetings with people and leaders of diverse communities throughout the Middle East (including Iraqi and Iranian church leaders), from meetings with political and religious leaders in Washington and New York with a wide spectrum of perspectives, from debating and challenging one another, and from traveling together for two weeks in the Middle East3, we strive in this report to tell the truth as we see it and understand it. Based on this, we are compelled to speak pastorally to ourselves as a denomination and our partners in the region, and prophetically to other powers engaged in this ongoing conflict.


Mar. 18, 2010

Friends of Sabeel, North America: Presbyterian report on Mideast stirs controversy by Peter Smith

A report on the Middle East by the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is drawing criticism from major Jewish organizations and support from pro-Palestinian groups around the nation.

Major points of conflict include the report’s calling the Israeli occupation of lands claimed by the Palestinians the root of the Mideast conflict and urging an end to U.S. aid to Israel until it halts expansions of settlements in occupied territories.

The 172-page report by the church Middle East Study Committee, based on nearly two years of deliberations and travel to the region, was released piecemeal between March 5 and 10.

To become church policy, it requires approval by the denomination’s legislative General Assembly in July.

The denomination’s stances on the Middle East have stirred international controversies since 2004, when an assembly approved steps toward pulling church investments from Israel — a stance the church changed in 2006 with one calling for the use of church investments to promote regional peace.

“There is some attempt to be a little balanced, but I think it’s a failed attempt at balance,” said Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, U.S. Director for Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee. “The overall blame is still placed on Israel and the occupation. … There’s a same old preoccupation with the same old occupation.”

But the Rev. Richard Toll, chair of the group Friends of Sabeel North America, which supports Palestinian Christians protesting the
occupation, applauded the document.


Mar. 18, 2010

Tikkun: Israeli Left Emerges from Coma Amid Atrocities by Mel Frykberg

Veteran Israeli peace activist and ex-politico Avraham Burg commented in the daily Haaretz on his participation in the protests: "People of truth and morals who refuse to stand idly by while the state of Jewish refugees repeatedly throws Palestinian families
into the street and hands their miserable homes over to bearded, blaspheming thugs."


Mar. 18, 2010

Tikkun: Active NonViolence in Palestine and Israel by David Hartsough

Active Nonviolence is alive and well in Palestine and Israel! The interfaith delegation I co-led to this region witnessed, first hand, many Palestinians who are engaged in active nonviolent resistance to the occupation of their lands in the West Bank.  Weekly nonviolent demonstrations have been held in many villages, including Bil’in, Nil’in, Al Ma’sara, Walaja, as well as in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East. Jerusalem, some for more than five years.  Israelis (including Combatants for Peace and Anarchists Against the Wall), and Internationals, (including Christian Peacemaker Teams, Ecumenical Accompaniment Program and Michigan Peace Teams) actively participate in these weekly actions.  There is a deeply inspiring commitment by Palestinians throughout the region to keep struggling nonviolently even when Israeli soldiers shoot powerful tear-gas canisters and grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, concussion bombs and even live ammunition at the unarmed villagers..


Mar. 18, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Unrest Continues in Hebron

Israel imposed closures throughout the Old City in Jerusalem this past week in preparation for an inauguration ceremony for the newly renovated Hurva synagogue.  Palestinians see these renovations and future expansion as a serious threat to the neighboring Al Aqsa mosque.  Clashes between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli military broke out in various areas around the Old City in Jerusalem. According to Ha’aretz, some 40 Palestinian civilians and nine Israeli security officers were injured.


Mar. 18, 2010

Renee from Palestine: Israeli Soldiers Push Man Off 2nd Floor Balcony

The soldiers take positions on top of some apartment buildings in the refugee camp to shoot at the kids below. Yesterday, the soldiers invaded a home on the second floor of the building and started beating 25 year old Abdullah Lafee.

After they beat him to the point where his face was cut and bleeding, they pushed him off of the balcony–on the second floor. But they weren’t finished yet.

The soldiers went down to where he fell and continued beating him there. He is still alive and in the hospital recovering.


Mar. 18, 2010

The Human Province: Accepting partition by Sean

Let’s be clear here: the decision that Arabs in Palestine were faced with was either losing half of their land or being ethnically cleansed. Why should they be forced into such a choice in the first place? Because someone else’s holy book said that their land was promised to another people thousands of years ago? Because the British, as they were wont to do, had promised land that wasn’t theirs in the first place to three different groups of people? Is that reasonable at all?

But Goldberg and Yglesias tell us it is. Goldberg claims that everything is the Arabs’ fault from the get-go, because Arabs, the rejectionists that they are, refused to sit idly by while a Jewish settler state was built in their home. Whereas Yglesias would have the Palestinians not only come to terms with their ethnic cleansing but also say that for the most part it’s their own fault.

Is this really the level of discourse that we deserve from The Atlantic and the Center for American Progress?


Mar. 18, 2010

BBC News: EU foreign chief Catherine Ashton to visit Gaza strip

The visit has been welcomed by the United Nations, which says the blockade of Gaza has left hundreds of thousands in Gaza living in poverty.

The head of the UN's refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, John Ging, said the people of Gaza were hoping for a single outcome from Baroness Ashton's visit - a lifting of the Israeli siege.

...During the conference [yesterday with Netanyahu], [Ashton] said that Israel must return to the negotiating table immediately.


Mar. 18, 2010

The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem: The Greek Patriarch, his Beatitude Theophilos III, greets the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams on February 21.


We are physically only a few hundred meters away from the church of the Holy Sepulchre and a relatively short travel away from Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Despite this close proximity between the two Holy Sites, the faithful cannot visit one another freely. This situation can only be described as tragic. It is hugely unacceptable when political failures are expressed in restricting freedom of worship, especially at a time when we, religious leaders, push for inter-religious dialogue and the principles of convergence and coexistence.


Mar. 17, 2010

You Tube: Not So Cool Facts about Israel


Forwarded by the Reverend Roy Hughes: Greta has just sent the link to the video to the White House and wonders if they will open it.


Mar. 17, 2010

Contact the White House to share your perspective


From the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: In a letter signed by John Hagee and David Brog of Christians United for Israel, constituents are urged to send a message to the White House to "end the crisis with Israel." Those of us who see the situation differently can use the link above to send a different message.


Update from Rev. Hayes:

Brother Hagee claims that in less than 24-hours, CUFI caused 19,000 e-mails to be sent to the White House, with all of them calling for the defense of Israel.  Sound familiar?  Not many years ago Brother Jerry Falwell orchestrated an e-mail campaign that generated 100,000 e-mails to the White House.  Remember?  Ariel Sharon's tanks were on the rampage in Jenin.  President Bush called for Sharon to withdraw the tanks ... twice ... in public ... and Sharon would not.  Falwell's "Moral Majority" wrote and insisted that Israel be allowed to defend itself, and Bush backed down.  When I learn about these things it makes me want to cuss.  But I've learned from personal experience that cussin' seldom creates change.  But when we think about it, Peers, you and I can Contact the White House anytime we want to.  It's easily done.  Please read on and think about what Pastor Hagee has to say about the matter.


Update from Mark Braverman to the Reverend Roy Hayes:

Take a look again at the statements made by the Members of Congress you reported on in your earlier email titled We'll soon see who directs US Mideast policy.
Compare the wording.  It's taken right from Hagee's email.

Mar. 17, 2010

We Are Wide Awake: Message to Obama on the symptom of the settlements: Israel's settlements are one symptom of the disease which is the occupation by Eileen Fleming


Dorothy Day understood that, "Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing......Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers."


Mar. 17, 2010

TPMCafé: AIPAC Blasts Obama Administration ++ US Military Demanded Crackdown by M.J. Rosenberg


AIPAC statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict always describe a crisis and then explain how it was caused by the Muslims (Arabs, Palestinians, Turks, whatever) and then offers a remedy. The remedy: do whatever Israel wants.


Mar. 17, 2010

Salon.com: U.S.-Israel rift undermining some long-standing taboos by Jeff Greenwald

There's nothing wrong with taking Israel's side per se -- one is and should be free to criticize one's own government in its foreign policy -- but incidents like this make it increasingly futile to try to suppress what is glaringly visible:  that (as is true for numerous groups in the U.S.) a significant segment of the neoconservative Right (which includes some evangelical Christians and some American Jews) are guided in their political advocacy by their emotional, religious, and cultural attachment to another country, and want U.S. policy shaped to advance that devotion.


Mar. 17, 2010

New York Times: The Biden Effect by Roger Cohen

Israel is wrong to mock its constructive critics. They alone can usher the country from the one-state dead end — a vital Israeli interest.


Mar. 17, 2010

Time: Unacceptable Non-Apology by Joe Klein

There can be honest disagreements about middle easy policy--the vast majority of American Jews, including me, would like to see a two-state solution; the American Likudniks, a minority of American Jews, would not. Every American President since Nixon has opposed the expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, and every American President since Truman has fully supported the state of Israel, morally and financially. I'd hope that all American Jews, on both sides of the two-state issue, would agree that an insult directed at the Obama Administration is an insult directed at us all...and that AIPAC members, who I'm sure see themselves as Americans first, will behave accordingly.


Mar. 17, 2010

BBC: Netanyahu's brother-in-law calls Obama 'anti-Semitic'


But despite the rebuke from his sister's husband, Mr Ben-Artzi repeated his criticism of Mr Obama in a later interview with Israel's Channel 2 television.


Mar. 17, 2010

Associated Press: Israel lifts closure of West Bank as tensions calm

The Israelis said the decision to end the lockdown was based on intelligence reports.

Israel also rescinded its closure of the West Bank that had prevented virtually all Palestinians there from crossing into Israel. Thousands of Palestinians enter Israel each day for work, medical care and other services.

...Israel maintains that its annexation of east Jerusalem after capturing it 1967 entitles it to build there, but the Palestinians and the international community do not recognize Israeli sovereignty there.


Mar. 17, 2010

Common Dreams: The Break on Palestine by David Bromwich

The existential threat in the vicinity of Israel is not extermination but expulsion. And Israel is the agent rather than victim of that threat. The project is being carried forward by legalized acts of dispossession, by harassment, by deprivation of useful work, and by the deliberate infliction of misery. The most notable Israeli spokesman for Palestinian expulsion happens not to be a security billionaire or a radio demagogue but the foreign minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman. When Avigdor Lieberman was welcomed last February to the world of nations by Senator Joe Lieberman, the world took note.


Mar. 17, 2010

American Association for Equal Palestinian Rights: Tell Congress to Support Obama Administration Call for End to East Jerusalem Settlements


As the Obama Administration insists that Israel abandon its settlements in East Jerusalem following Israel's announcement that it will build 1,600 more settlement units there, familiar voices in Washington are calling on Congress to brush aside Israel's public insult to the United States and affront to fundamental American strategic interests in the Middle East.

On Sunday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) released a 295-word statement calling on the Obama Administration to work "privately" to address "issues" with Israel. The statement did not mention one important word: settlements. AIPAC has also called on its members to contact Congress to "reaffirm the U.S.-Israel alliance."  


On Tuesday, Rep. Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the United States needed to "disentangle bilateral relations from the peace process."


In short, they want Congress to return to business as usual.


But millions of Americans have had enough, and it is high time that we made our voices heard in Congress!  We ask you to let your member of Congress know that you support decisive American action to end Israeli settlements, once and for all.


Mar. 17, 2010

Churches for Middle East Peace: Letter regarding Gaza closure to President Obama signed by church leaders

[Final paragraph]: The perception of U.S. support for or acquiescence in the closure challenges our reputation for upholding humanitarian values. It deprives 1.4 million Palestinians of a decent, minimum standard of welfare. It restricts the use of the $300 million the United States has committed to rebuild Gaza, is a serious obstacle to restoring hope and making peace, and undermines long term Israeli security. We remain deeply concerned about the people of Gaza, a small percentage of whom are Christian—some of whom operate necessary health and social services for the benefit of all who need these services. We urge your administration to use America’s unique relationship with Israel to persuade it to lift the closure of its border crossings with Gaza now. It is the right thing to do and is in the best interests of both Palestinians and Israelis who long for a just peace.


Mar. 17, 2010

Christian Peacemaker Team: AT-TUWANI VIDEO AND ARTICLE: Israeli soldiers attacking and arresting Palestinian shepherds


On 15 March 2010, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article by Amira Hass which details an attack in At-Tuwani two months ago. During the attack, two squads of Israeli soldiers injured and traumatized several members of a Palestinian family. Footage of that attack, filmed by CPT volunteers, is available for viewing online.


Mar. 17, 2010

Antiwar.com: Israel vs. America: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do by Justin Raimondo


The long arm of the Israelis reaches directly into the US via an active and well-funded lobby, which reflexively defends the actions of the Israeli government and seeks to discredit the Palestinian cause in every venue. Up until recently it was impossible to say this without being called all sorts of nasty names. More recently, however, while the nastiness has if anything escalated, the smear brigade is less successful at driving their opponents to the margins of public discourse. Objective reality – otherwise known as the truth – matters. Dead US soldiers whose demise could have been prevented matter greatly – and that somber reality can be masked by propaganda and "spin" only so long.


Mar. 17, 2010

Antiwar.com: US-Israel Tensions Continue to Percolate by Jim Lobe


According to a widely read article published by ForeignPolicy.com last weekend, the administration’s tougher stance toward Israel and its settlement policies over the past week was due in major part to growing frustration and concern by Petraeus and other military commanders over the loss of U.S. credibility in the region resulting from Washington’s failure to rein in Israel, particularly with respect to the expansion of Jewish settlements.


Mar. 17, 2010

BBC: Photos across Israeli Gaza divide


Photography website where Palestinian and Israeli photographers are invited to share their work online. Founded by teacher Yossi Nahmias.


Mar. 17, 2010

Ma'an News Agency: First planned Palestinian city receives US grant


The US government signed two grant agreements on Monday in support of Rawabi, the first Palestinian planned city outside Ramallah, and to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Finance.


BBC: Building the first 'Palestinian settlement' by Jon Donnison 


The Palestinians control the land on which Rawabi will be built, but not the area through which its access road will have to go.


Israel has yet to grant permission for the road, which will be essential for the project to succeed.


At the moment, the only way to access the site is via a narrow and bumpy back road.

However, the developers got fed up of waiting for Israeli permission for the new road and started building the city anyway.


"Is it hasty? Well perhaps it is," says Bashar Masri, chairman of Massar, the developers of Rawabi.


"But maybe it is our only way of nicely saying to Israel that we are ready, we've been planning, we've invested, we took the risk. We're starting construction. What's next? Give us the road and let us move on."


Mr Masri admits though that if permission for the road is not given, Rawabi will fail.


Mar. 17, 2010

Australians for Palestine: Israel Apartheid Continued by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh


The Israeli military finally constructed the watchtower in Ush Ghrab in the middle of our town of Beit Sahour today.  An ugly reminder to us of the apartheid military power and an eye-sore too.  News also indicates that the army decided to declare areas of Bilin and Nilin as closed military zones on Friday so that they try to prevent the weekly demonstrations.  The occupation army today injured 10 demonstrators including some with live bullets (I always hated this term for neither the bullets nor those who fire them know anything about the value of life).  They also arrested an activist with the Popular Campaign from the village of Al-Masara (Omar Ala’ Edin, 25-year-old).  There is hardly a day that goes by without such injustices that some in the outside world only hears about through the internet and others never hear about it.  But we also see acts of heroism and self-sacrifice daily that go unreported.....


Mar. 17, 2010

AIPAC: AIPAC Calls Recent Statements by the U.S. Government 'A Matter Of Serious Concern'


"One cannot help but wonder whether our US Senators and the members of the US House of Representatives are satisfied (way down deep) by being 'in the pocket' of the Israel lobby.  They're afraid to speak out.  For a very good reason.  They're afraid they won't get re-elected.  They are honestly afraid.  Please read the following article from today's Jerusalem Post." -- The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal


Mar. 17, 2010

BBC: In pictures: Gaza power shortages


Power shortages in the Gaza Strip mean people rely on generators. Israel tightened its blockade after Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007 and Egypt keeps its border shut most of the time. (Photographs: Karl Schembri for Oxfam)


Mar. 16, 2010

Newsweek: Israel didn't just spit in Joe Biden's face last week. It jeopardized America's willingness to protect it from Iran by Aluf Benn


And Netanyahu turned right. He rallied American Jewish groups against the administration's "dressing down," anticipating a warm welcome at the AIPAC annual conference next week in Washington. His ambassador in Washington called the crisis "the worst in American-Israeli relations since 1975," when then–secretary of state Henry Kissinger announced a "reassessment" of the relationship. And even Netanyahu's key coalition member from the center-left, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, backed the prime minister, securing the prime minister's political position at home.


Mar. 16, 2010

Common Dreams: Rachel Corrie - Interview from March 14, 2003


Footage from Rachel's interview conducted by Middle East Broadcasting Company on March 14th, 2003, two days before she was crushed to death by an Israeli military Caterpillar D9 bulldozer.  


Mar. 16, 2010

Common Dreams: Pentagon Tells Obama to Press Israel for Peace by Ira Chernus


The U.S. is still in the driver's seat here. The question is whether, now driven by military concerns, the administration will steer the Israelis toward a just peace, whether they like it or not.


Mar. 16, 2010

Common Dreams: The Unmaking of the Palestinian Nation by Juan Cole


There is nothing inaccurate about the maps at all, historically. Goldberg maintained that the Palestinians' "original sin" was rejecting the 1947 UN partition plan. But since Ben Gurion and other expansionists went on to grab more territory later in history, it is not clear that the Palestinians could have avoided being occupied even if they had given away willingly so much of their country in 1947. The first original sin was the contradictory and feckless pledge by the British to sponsor Jewish immigration into their Mandate in Palestine, which they wickedly and fantastically promised would never inconvenience the Palestinians in any way. It was the same kind of original sin as the French policy of sponsoring a million colons in French Algeria, or the French attempt to create a Christian-dominated Lebanon where the Christians would be privileged by French policy. The second original sin was the refusal of the United States to allow Jews to immigrate in the 1930s and early 1940s, which forced them to go to Palestine to escape the monstrous, mass-murdering Nazis.


Mar. 16, 2010

BBC News: Jerusalem's flickering tinder-box by Heather Sharp


"If you shut a cat in a room, what will happen? It will fight to get out." --Rida Zamamiri, 25

"The US would never be asked to divide Washington, France would never be asked to divide Paris, why should Israel be asked to divide Jerusalem?" [Netanyahu] asks.

It is not an opinion all Israelis share - but it is a view Palestinians fear currently has the political upper hand.


Mar. 16, 2010

Code Pink: Remembering Rachel Corrie


Seven years ago today, 23 year-old Rachel Corrie of Olympia, Washington was crushed to death by a Caterpillar D-9R bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier.  Rachel was part of an International Solidarity Movement group trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian pharmacist's home in Rafah, Gaza.


Among the links posted on the website of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice



Mar. 16, 2010

Jerusalem Post: J'lem planning c'tee to discuss okaying 56 building projects by Abe Selig


Both the regional planning committee and the Jerusalem Municipality have come under increasing scrutiny with regards to such plans, as foreign criticism continues to build and left-wing groups like Peace Now and Ir Amim have released lengthy reports documenting the planned housing.


Mar. 16, 2010

Shalom Peace Center: Vigorous US insistence on 2-state / regional Middle East peace


"Urge Senators to condemn Israeli government's intrusions on Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as well as condemning Palestinian violence, and to support US insistence on a two-state and regional peace settlement." --Rabbi Arthur Waskow


Mar. 16, 2010

New York Times: Driving Drunk in Jerusalem by Tom Friedman


I am a big Joe Biden fan. The vice president is an indefatigable defender of U.S. interests abroad. So it pains me to say that on his recent trip to Israel, when Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s government rubbed his nose in some new housing plans for contested East Jerusalem, the vice president missed a chance to send a powerful public signal: He should have snapped his notebook shut, gotten right back on Air Force Two, flown home and left the following scribbled note behind: “Message from America to the Israeli government: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And right now, you’re driving drunk. You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences? You have lost total contact with reality. Call us when you’re serious. We need to focus on building our country.”


Mar. 16, 2010

Just Jerusalem: Zero Hour in Sheikh Jarrah


The police then “escorted” the hooligans [right-wing ultra orthodox Jews]  settlersout of the compound, thinking their job was finished. We activists informed them that they were likely to take out their aggressions on other Palestinians in the neighbourhood. We ran after them, and sure enough they started vandalizing cars, attacking Palestinians and throwing huge rocks. By the time we got the police to come several Palestinians had been lightly injured, some cars had been damaged and rocks littered the main road that separates East and West Jerusalem. All this, of course, took place on the hooligans' holy Sabbath day.


Mar. 16, 2010

Jerusalem Post: A free people in 'our' [we added the quotation marks] land by GERSHON BASKIN


Israel will lose the battle. There is no longer a way to prevent the Palestinians from becoming a free people in their land. The only way to ensure that the Jewish people will remain a free people in our land is by making the decision to end its occupation over the Palestinian people. All settlement building must end now, not because of our relationship with the US but because we cannot advance peace until we do so. If we want to continue to build in those areas that will eventually be annexed to Israel, we must first negotiate an agreed border and territorial swaps.


Mar. 16, 2010

The Guardian: Israel's unfair 'law of return' by Abe Hayeem


While British Jews are offered property in the West Bank, Palestinian refugees are still denied the right to return.


The yearly drive to encourage British Jews to emigrate to Israel culminated last weekend in the Israel Property Exhibition in a north London synagogue. "Make your dream come true with your own home or investment in Israel," it urged. Although most of the property for sale is in Israel itself, some is in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Jewish Agency also placed ads in Jewish News and the Jewish Chronicle, which last month included a glossy pamphlet with programmes to "ease and speed up the process of immigration". Free flights and citizenship within 24 hours were on offer, together with generous financial and social benefits and tax exemptions.


Mar. 16, 2010

Haaretz: Settlers' call sends Palestinian shepherd to IDF beating by Amira Hass


Instead they brought an officer who does not have a good command of Arabic and had to use a dictionary all the time. Sometimes the questions that he translated were not understandable.

They say the military policewoman asked them, "Which terror group do you belong to?" Juma answered: "I don't understand." She said: "To Hamas, to Fatah?"

And he replied: "No, I'm in a third group."

"Which?" she asked, her eyes lighting up.

"The group of the small farmers."


Mar. 16, 2010

The Independent: Obama has failed to bring peace to the Middle East by Bruce Anderson

As a result of the suicide bombings, a lot of Israelis came to despise Palestinians, and who can blame them? But it is not a helpful reaction. It encourages that chronic Israeli unreality, entirely understandable and equally entirely unreasonable: the desire for a risk-free peace. That cannot be. The Israelis are condemned to live in a dangerous neighbourhood. Even if there is a Palestinian state including almost all of the pre-1967 West Bank, plus a presence in Jerusalem, plus generous support from the US and the EU – a fair number of Palestinians will hate Israel and Israelis. Some individuals will let that hatred consume them, until they become diabolical agents of fire and death. Israelis will always have to live under threat.

There is only one hope of mitigating that threat. Most Palestinians also want to live in peace. If they had a state where they and their children could prosper and in which they could take pride, they would not permit it to become a cockpit of terrorism and war. This does not mean that all terrorism would be instantly eliminated. But it could mean co-operation between Israeli and Palestinian security services, thus reducing the risk. That is the only sane option for Israel. Yet there is little hope that the Israelis will take it.


Mar. 16, 2010

World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Program: What Olive Trees?


BETHLEHEM:  Israeli Military bull-dozers recently rolled into Beit Jala and flattened anything and everything in their path.


Mar. 16, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Hebron:  Young men disappearing from the Old City by Paulette Schroeder


Our Palestinian neighbor sent her 15yr.old son to buy bread.  Fifteen minutes later, Israeli soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed him, accusing him of throwing stones. The boy insisted he did not throw stone/s at the soldiers. Nevertheless, he is now spending time in the Israeli prison system.  Having spent the first 17 days in Ofir Prison among men who may/ may not have committed serious crimes, he continues to insist on his innocence.  He will spend 4 or 5 months in another Israeli prison until his court case is completed. All for the “crime” of supposedly throwing a stone at soldiers!


Mar. 16, 2010

Reuters: Palestinians, Israeli police clash in Jerusalem


"We have come to throw stones because that's all we have and the situation in Jerusalem is dangerous," one protester said in a confrontation at an Israeli military checkpoint, reminiscent of the early days of a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000.


..."There is an explosive situation. There are Netanyahu's policies, which are tantamount to pouring oil on fire," said Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.


Mar. 16, 2010

BBC News: US envoy George Mitchell postpones Israel visit

US envoy George Mitchell has postponed a visit to Israel amid a continuing row over Israel's decision to build more Jewish homes in Arab East Jerusalem.

Mr Mitchell had been due to meet President Shimon Peres on Tuesday but the trip has now been put off.

The building announcement - made as US Vice-President Joe Biden visited last week to try to kick-start stalled peace talks - angered Washington.

...although the clashes so far are small-scale, no-one has forgotten how the last Palestinian intifada - or uprising - began over the holy sites in Jerusalem.


Mar. 15, 2010

Agence France Presse: Israel vows more settlement building despite crisis with US by Patrick Moser

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday settlement building in east Jerusalem would continue, in a move likely to further heighten tensions with key ally the United States.

Western-backed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas responded by saying he would not return to peace talks without a complete settlements freeze.

The US State Department declined to comment on the hawkish Israeli premier's remarks, saying it was awaiting a "formal" response.


Mar. 15, 2010

Agence France Presse: Ashton: Settlement expansion 'endangers' Mideast talks


EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday that Israel's decision to build new settler homes in east Jerusalem "endangers" indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians.


Mar. 15, 2010

Just Foreign Policy: Support Our Troops: Boycott the Israeli Occupation by Robert Naiman


...The Foreign Policy report suggests that the White House understands how Israel's actions are putting our troops in danger. But you can be sure that apologists for the Netanyahu government in Congress will try to undermine any attempt by the Obama Administration to exert real pressure on the Netanyahu government. That's why President Obama needs our support.


Mar. 15, 2010

Arabic Hour: Video Interview with Maria Khoury of Taybeh followed by an interview with Barbara Whitesides


This 2010 interview with Maria Khoury, Ed.D, offers an update of her experience living in the West Bank, followed by an interview with Barbara Whitesides, Ph.D., author of Sugar Comes from Arabic.  [This video file takes a few minutes to open.]


Mar. 15, 2010

Boston Palestine Film Festival 2009: Degrees of Incarceration


Since 1967, in the occupied territories alone, Israel has detained or imprisoned over 700,000 Palestinians—approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in these areas. The majority of those detained are male, meaning that the number constitutes approximately 40% of the total male Palestinian population in the territories. Today, between 8,000 and 10,000 Palestinians are serving sentences for political charges. Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners have served more than 15 years in prison and dozens have served more than 20 years.


Mar. 15, 2010

Common Dreams: Obama and the Denial of Genocide by Stephen Zunes


The Obama administration, citing its relations with Turkey, has pledged to block the passage in the full House of Representatives of a resolution passed this past Thursday by the Foreign Relations Committee acknowledging the 1915 genocide by the Ottoman Empire of a 1.5 million Armenians.  Even though the Obama administration previously refused to acknowledge and even worked to suppress well-documented evidence of recent war crimes by Israel, another key Middle Eastern ally, few believed that the administration would go as far as to effectively deny genocide.


...As a result, the Obama administration's position on the Armenian genocide isn't simply about whether to commemorate a tragedy that took place 95 years ago. It's about where we stand as a nation in facing up to the most horrible of crimes. It's about whether we are willing to stand up for the truth in the face of lies. It's about whether we see our nation as appeasing our strategic allies or upholding our longstanding principles.


Mar. 15, 2010

Common Dreams: Many Palestinian Protestors Already Use Nonviolent Tactics by Edith Garwood

Israel is escalating its quiet campaign to round up and detain nonviolent Palestinian protesters, from leaders to children, in nighttime raids. And although these protesters remain committed to nonviolence, the world continues to believe the Palestinian struggle is mainly based on violence.

Israeli authorities have been detaining nonviolent protesters for years under the media’s radar, so it’s not commonly known that nonviolent actions happen every day or that Palestinian nonviolent resistance has a long history dating back to the early 1900s.

Recent remarks made by Bono, New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, and President Barack Obama, stating they hoped Palestinians would find their Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi, highlights the presumption that the Palestinian struggle is mainly violent.

This presumption is inaccurate and the dismissal of the people who have sacrificed time, money, and even their lives to fight injustice with nonviolence is callous.


Mar. 15, 2010

Common Dreams: Israeli Crackdown Puts Liberal Jews on the Spot by Chris Hedges


The Israeli government, its brutal war crimes in Gaza exposed in detail in the U.N. report by Justice Richard Goldstone, has implemented a series of draconian measures to silence and discredit dissidents, leading intellectuals and human rights organizations inside and outside Israel that are accused-often falsely-of assisting Goldstone's U.N. investigators. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is attempting to shut down Israel's premier human rights organizations, including B'Tselem, the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. It is busy expelling or excluding peace activists and foreign nationals from the Palestinian territories. The campaign, if left unchecked, will be as catastrophic for Palestinians as it will be for Israel.


Mar. 15, 2010

Common Dreams: The 1,000 Day Siege of Gaza by Ann Wright

This week marked 1,000 days of an Israeli and international siege on Gaza - 1,000 days of an open air prison where "inmates," the civilian Palestinian population of 1.5 million, cannot leave or enter at will - by land, sea or air, the tiny area known as the Gaza Strip. 

60 years after the World War II Nazi military siege of Leningrad that lasted for 900 days and caused the greatest destruction and largest loss of life ever known in a modern city, the Israeli military has imprisoned Gaza for 1,000 days.  The blockade has caused incredible physical and emotional suffering those crowded into an incredibly small space-25 miles long and 5 miles wide-one of the most densely populated areas in the world. 

The siege means that the Israeli government controls the entry of food, medicines, and gasoline and construction materials for the Palestinians.  The purpose of the blockade is to force by blatantly violating international law, a change in the government represented by Hamas, the political organization the people elected.  The siege began in June, 2007, following Hamas' takeover of governmental functions in Gaza.


Mar. 15, 2010

Relief Web: Situation worsens as Gaza blockade nears 1,000-day milestone

The situation in the Gaza Strip is becoming increasingly dire as the Israeli blockade approaches its 1,000th day, allowing an illegal economy to flourish, the new head of the United Nations agency tasked with assisting millions of Palestinian refugees said today.

Filippo Grandi, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, said that the problems faced by Gaza are not just humanitarian, but "encompass every aspect of society."


Mar. 15, 2010

BBC News: Ties between Israel and US 'worst in 35 years'

The Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal, points out [below] "a few of Netanyahu's remarks to the Knesset.  Notice how he distorts the truth.  Notice that he tells lies.  Notice what a cool liar he is."

  • Israel's PM said Jewish settlements did "not hurt" Arabs in East Jerusalem...

    Addressing Israel's parliament, the Knesset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted peace negotiations and hoped the Palestinians would not present "new preconditions" for talks.

  • "No government in the past 40 years has limited construction in neighbourhoods of Jerusalem," he said.

    "Building these Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem does not hurt the Arabs of East Jerusalem or come at their expense."


Mar. 15, 2010

BBC News: Brazil's Lula in Israel at start of Middle East tour

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has arrived in Israel where he begins a tour of the Middle East.

He is visiting Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan ahead of a more controversial visit to Iran in May.

While in the region Lula will throw his country's growing diplomatic weight behind the Middle East peace process.

Brazil has previously said it will not bow to pressure from the US on the issue of further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear work.

Comment by the Reverend Roy Hayes, Episcopal: "Folks who live in South America don't want the Palestinian-Israeli crisis to develop into another world war.  Brazil is seeking a permanent seat on the UN Security Council."  


Mar. 15, 2010

BBC News: Israel closes villages of Bilin and Nilin to protests


The Israeli Defence Force has barred Israelis and foreigners from two West Bank villages, the scene of protests against Israel's "separation wall".


Mar. 15, 2010

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem: La population chrétienne actuelle en Terre Sainte - Msgr William Shomali


(Mise à jour du 01/03/2010) Pour une meilleure connaissance de la vie et de la présence chrétiennes en Terre Sainte, nous publions ici quelques statistiques concernant les fidèles chrétiens en général et ceux du Patriarcat latin en particulier. Le nombre total de chrétiens est donné avec une marge d’erreur d'environ 5%, toutes les églises ne fournissant pas de chiffres précis.


Mar. 15, 2010

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem: The Algerian Church has the same right to spread its message (as Muslims do) by Samir Khalil Samir


Algeria’s Minister of Religious Affairs is incensed when the bishop of Algiers calls for the repeal of laws that limit freedom of conscience and worship in his country, where a Protestant church was recently set on fire. The minister tells him to do what his French predecessors did for years, namely prevent Muslims from converting to Christianity.


Mar. 15, 2010

Wall Writings: Hasbara Worked for Israel Versus Gaza; Next in line, US Churches by James M. Wall

Spinning does not rely on truth. It is a sales strategy that convinces a target audience to buy a product or accept a narrative which the sales person is peddling.

The next assignment for Israel’s hasbara strategy? Spinning the US church public with the same positive slant used to sell the Gaza invasion. That is why, as was noted in a previous posting on this blog, American church gatherings have begun to experience the attack of the Hasbara Spin.

To understand how the selling of Israel to American churches will unfold, we need to look back at how the Hasbara Spin for Gaza was planned and carried out.

Since hasbara is a Hebrew word meaning “explanation”, it is easy to see how hasbara is employed as a spinning tactic to “explain” Israel’s actions to its own public and to publics outside of Israel.


Mar. 15, 2010

Wall Writings: “Joe, you shouldda left town and stopped payment on the check.” by James M. Wall

Leaders of the US Congress will attend the AIPAC conference this week. Some will be speakers. All are expected to be laudatory.  After all, this is a pep rally.

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden have already told Bibi Netanyahu what they think about his flagrant foot dragging on the peace front. The AIPAC is a perfect opportunity for the two of them to speak with one voice and tell AIPAC exactly what they said to Bibi.

And this time, why not bring up the matter of that $3 billion annual check from US tax payers.


Mar. 14, 2010

The Day: Syrian ambassador charts route to peace for Israel in Middle East by Lee Howard


...Moustapha said he doesn't want to point fingers. Rather than reliving the turbulent history of the Middle East and quibbling over who wronged whom, he suggested that Arabs, Israelis and Americans put the past behind them.

"The question is do you want to live in peace or do you not want to live in peace?"


Mar. 14, 2010

Harvard Law Review: Noam Chomsky: Iran pursuing nuclear weapons out of fear by Matthew W. Hutchins


Even the most radical conservative can agree with Noam Chomsky on at least one thing.  “No one in their right mind wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”  But to Chomsky, nonproliferation requires reciprocal action, rather than international condemnation.  Chomsky's reputation as a prolific author of books on subjects including linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science, political science, and media might lead one to believe that his views stem from esoteric theoretical arguments, but Chomsky takes a pragmatic view of international relations.  His conclusion is that Iran is developing nuclear weapons out of a rational fear for its national safety because of the systematically threatening posture of the United States and Israel.


Mar. 14, 2010

Desertpeace: Rachel Corrie Remembered with Love


It’s your birthday but you did not blow out the candles…

Around your birthday cake we wait but feel helpless..

Did you have to go so young defending that which is right?

Maybe so; despair not, as your name shines, like a star so bright

And your memory will stay alive in everyone’s living heart

Your courage that some ignorant dared call otherwise

It’s your life you gave up with courage and expected no goodbyes

For injustice and tyranny had no place in your eyes.

And the ignorant and tyrants claim they yearn for peace, yet are in disguise

Like sheep in wolves clothing, they are the unwise.


Mar. 14, 2010

Stop the Wall: Israeli forces test new weapons on the protestors in Nabi Saleh


Eye witnesses recount that the occupation forces were talking to the people of the village via loudspeakers in Hebrew - a language the people of Nabi Saleh don’t understand. After that they exploded two devices at the entrance to the village. None of the witnesses had ever seen the devices before and explained that they were particularly powerful and detonated through an electric wiring system. Nobody in the village knows the reason for the detonation of these devices but they seem to be yet another piece of military equipment aimed at intimidating the population.

The eye witnesses also confirmed the presence of military vehicles stationed on a hill overlooking the village. People believe that these officers stationed on the hill top are the ones that ordered the Israeli attacks on the residents of the village. They may have been positioned there to monitor the functioning of the new experimental explosive devices. Israeli military often tests its latest ‘crowd control’ tools on the Palestinian people before selling them at high profits to governments around the world.


Mar. 14, 2010

Stop the Wall: Dozens suffer tear gas inhalation in Bil’in’s protest to protect Palestinian cultural heritage


After the speeches were over the protesters marched through the streets of the village and then headed towards the wall where a military force of the Israeli occupation army was stationed among the olive trees. When the people of the village arrived in their land the military started launching stun grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas at demonstrators, injuring an 18 year old and a 15 year old child. Dozens of protestors suffered from tear gas inhalation.


Mar. 14, 2010

Desertpeace: Olive Trees and Tears by Mazin Qumsiyeh


The olive young leaves and flower sprouts are denser than ever before.  It promises a great season not only of bountiful agricultural harvest but of bountiful harvest on the activism front. It is true that, as the Palestinian poet stated, if the olive tree knew the suffering of its owner, its oil would turn into tears.  The Israeli apartheid forces have been uprooting olive trees in Beit Jala the last few days. They have also intensified their repression and attempts at intimidation of activists (with help from Palestinian collaborators). But it is also true that the apartheid system is facing grassroots activists everywhere despite all these tactics. Today we joined the demonstration in Beit Jala as we did not have a competing event at Ush Ghrab.  The lack of an event here in Beit Sahour happened because the popular committee decided collectively (over 15 people) to put the actions before the local forces to decide on how (and if?) to support the popular resistance. Yet, we did go to Ush Ghrab in the morning and an Ashkenazi white man wearing a blue shirt entered as we were meeting and drinking coffee, fiddled with his backpack, for a few minutes, then left.  Later, as we were leaving, we notice the Israeli army on the hill and the same man with the blue shirt "briefing" them.


Mar. 14, 2010

University of Michigan Dearborn Underground: Divestment Resolution Passed


Whereas, the University is known to have several million dollars of investment in corporations that sell weapons, goods, and services to Israel—including BAE, Raytheon, Boeing, General Electric, United Technologies, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman, among others–whom in turn uses the weapons, goods, and services inhumanely and


Whereas, any University investments in entities contributing to human rights violations by either Israelis or Palestinians is inappropriate....


Mar. 14, 2010

Jerusalem Post: 'Liberal Protestant churches pose growing threat to Israel' by DAN IZENBERG  


Cooper also warned that there were indications that some Evangelical Christians were also becoming hostile to Israel and that it could mark the beginning of a dangerous trend.

However, he added that it was not too late for Israel and the Jewish community abroad to engage in dialogue with the Protestant churches and rekindle their friendship toward Israel. One of the problems, said Cooper, was that few Israelis were aware of the threat from these churches.


We Hold These Truths: Responding to Rabbi Abraham Cooper's concerns about Christian activists by Mike Bradley


The overwhelming majority of Christian activists in the United States and around the world do not want to destroy Israel.  They want Israelis to change their unjust policies towards non-Jewish Palestinians.  As a Catholic Christian, I try to hold myself to a high standard in terms of how I treat people of any religious faith.  I will not hesitate to criticize my own or any other government if it falls short of those high standards.


Mar. 14, 2010

International Middle East Media Center: Palestinians Demand Entry to Jerusalem without permits during the Holy Week of Easter by George Rishmawi


Palestinian Christian organizations, figures and many other Palestinians from the Jerusalem and the surrounding area have sent a letter on March 4, to the heads of churches in Jerusalem, demanding them to encourage all Christians in Palestine to enter Jerusalem for the Easter celebrations without applying for permits from the Israeli authorities.


The letter also condemns the Israeli measures of preventing many people from entering the vicinity of the church of the Holy Sepulcher during the holy week,and stresses on the right of worship for all human beings in their holy sites.


Mar. 13, 2010

LA Times: Middle East peace efforts: lessons from healthcare reform by Amjad Atallah


It took a year of trying for President Obama to persuade Israelis and Palestinians to enter into "proximity talks" to resolve issues standing in the way of a final peace plan. But as we learned from the stunning announcement this week -- during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region -- that Israel had approved 112 new settlement units in the West Bank and 1,600 new settlement units in East Jerusalem, there is a lot that can go wrong.


Mar. 13, 2010

Washington Post: European Parliament backs UN report on Gaza war by Slobodian Lekic

In a move likely to worsen EU ties with Israel, the European Parliament urged its 27-member states Wednesday to monitor the Israeli and Palestinian probes into alleged war crimes in Gaza.

The parliament also called on Israel to immediately open border crossings with the Gaza Strip, saying its blockade is worsening the humanitarian crisis there.

The resolution backed the findings of a U.N.-appointed expert panel chaired by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, which concluded that both sides committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the war that began in December 2008 and ended in January 2009.


Mar. 13, 2010

Crazy Country: Tombs and Heritage by Adam Keller


When the picture of Rachel's Tomb appeared on stamps published by the British Mandate, nobody opposed it and nobody protested. On the contrary, the British chose this picture especially in order to have a site acceptable to all of His Majesty's subjects in this country, Jews and Arabs alike. Rachel's Tomb had been, for hundreds of years, one of this country's symbols, part of the heritage of all its inhabitants. Some people still remember the days when Jewish and Arab women alike went on pilgrimage to Rachel's Tomb and prayed there, side by side.


Mar. 13, 2010

Crazy Country: Winston Churchill and the Be'er Sheba Court by Adam Keller


Last week, Nuri el-Okbi was held in the detention cell in the basement of Be'er Sheba's Hall of Justice, and the police demanded that he be remanded in custody until the end of judicial proceedings which might last for months or years – on charges of "trespassing". This week he sat, free, in the hall of Justice Sarah Dovrat, on the sixth floor of the same building – in the civil proceedings where he demands of the state to recognize that in the lands of Al-Arakib he is not "a trespasser" but the owner.


Mar. 13, 2010

Peter Collins Show: Voices for justice for the Palestinians, Part 2

Voices for Justice for the Palestinians, Part 2. This is the final episode of interviews from the Sabeel Conference March 5-6 in Marin County, California. Powerful voices who decry Israel’s brutal domination of the West Bank and lockdown of Gaza.

  • Dr. Mads Gilbert, a medical doctor from Norway who has provided health care in Gaza for many years, describes the death, injuries and destruction caused by Israel’s massive assault on Gaza at the end of 2008 and the disproportionate impact on women and children
  • Mark Braverman, an American Jew and former Zionist, talks about his views of the occupation and the way Israel uses its power and influence to continue massive human rights violations. His new book is Fatal Embrace. Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land
  • Dr. Jeff Halper, an American who moved to Israel and founded the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions talks about the dominant framing and language of the conflict, which heavily favors Israel
  • Paul Larudee, founder of the Free Palestine Movement and leader of the successful sea-based challenges to Israel’s blockade of Gaza, talks about new ways to challenge the blockade this year
  • Ms Neha Masri, an American Muslim who was born in Jerusalem, describes in her own vivid way the humiliating experience of being treated as a Palestinian at Israeli checkpoints.

    Please share this podcast with friends, especially those who are staunchly pro-Israel.
    My sincere thanks to the conference organizers, and Tom McAfee, Hassan Fouda and Dr. Walt Davis.

Mar. 13, 2010

Peter Collins Show: Voices for justice for the Palestinians, Part 1

Voices for justice for the Palestinians. Part 1 of a 2 part series of interviews from activists who participated in the Sabeel Conference held March 5 and 6 in Marin County, California. Sabeel means “The Way” in Arabic, and this conference brought a range of participants from around the world. PBC opens the program with an update on concessions from Palestinian leaders, agreeing to hold indirect talks with Israel; just 24 hours later, VP Joe Biden arrived in Israel to a defiant announcement: Israel says it will build 1600 more housing units in E. Jerusalem, ignoring demands from the Obama administration to stop the illegal construction. This podcast features:

  • Prof. Hisham Ahmed of St. Mary’s College, who was born in a refugee camp and became a Fulbright scholar
  • Rev. Don Wagner of North Park U in Chicago, an expert on Christian Zionists
  • Sama Adnan, founder of NewPolicy.org, which has started a political action committee to support Congress members who have a balanced position on Israel-Palestine issues
  • Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel
  • Anna Baltzer, an American Jew and articulate advocate for the rights of the Palestinians

Mar. 13, 2010

The Harvard Crimson: On Kramer’s Statements by John F. Bowman, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, and Abdelnasser A. Rashid

At the Herzliya Conference in Israel last month, Mr. Kramer, who in his own words provides advice on “U.S. policy options in the Middle East,” advocated measures to diminish Palestinian birth rates as a means of population control. Mr. Kramer stated that Israel’s siege on Gaza, which prohibits the entry of crucial humanitarian supplies, helps “break Gaza’s runaway population growth and there is some evidence that they have.” He suggests that this phenomenon “may begin to crack the culture of martyrdom, which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men.” Mr. Kramer’s public call to halt food, medicine, and humanitarian aid—which he calls “pro-natal subsidies”—would read as a cruel joke if it did not so egregiously violate the most basic norms of human decency. Such statements have been echoed by people in power and have even been directed at Israel’s Palestinian citizens: At the same conference in 2003, Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Palestinian citizens of Israel a “demographic threat.”

Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt commented, “What if a prominent academic at Harvard declared that the United States had to make food scarcer for Hispanics so that they would have fewer children? Or what if someone at a prominent think tank noted that black Americans have higher crime rates than some other groups, and therefore it made good sense to put an end to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other welfare programs, because that would discourage African Americans from reproducing and thus constitute an effective anti-crime program?”


Mar. 13, 2010

Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem: Bishop's Page by the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani

Dear colleagues, dear heads of the Churches in Jerusalem and the Galilee, dear delegates of sister faiths, dear representatives of Palestinian and Israeli authorities, dear ladies and gentlemen of the three Abrahamic faiths, we have faced critical times since the year 1948. Our Holy Land is passing through another Via Dolorosa, and we are still searching for justice, peace, and hope.


Mar. 13, 2010

Christian Science Monitor: Clinton call to Netanyahu: Israel settlement move a 'deeply negative signal' by Joshua Mitnick

Scott Lasensky, a Middle East Expert at the US Institute for Peace, says that Washington must ignite a public debate on the future of Jerusalem with high-profile diplomacy, while lowering the profile of isolated battles like the housing project.

"The principal challenge for the US today, at the diplomatic level, is to quickly move forward in the negotiations, put ideas on the table, and get a serious debate going on both sides about what a two-state solution might look like,'' he said in an email. "The unfortunate events of the past week, which are widely viewed in Washington as an affront to the United States, can be dealt with most effectively through private channels.''


Mar. 13, 2010

Newsweek: Chosen Words: A pollster's recommendations on how to sell Americans on the idea of Israeli settlements by Dan Ephron


Made available by Newsweek: The Israel Project’s 2009 Global Language Dictionary


Alternative News: Why Chutzpah is a Hebrew Word by Richard Hoste


How do you sell the American public on the idea that Israel has the right to maintain or even expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank? Be positive. Turn the issue away from settlements and toward peace. Invoke ethnic cleansing.


Mar. 13, 2010

BBC News: Clinton rebukes Israel over East Jerusalem homes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sharply rebuked Israel over its recent decision to build new settlements in East Jerusalem.

She told Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone that the move was "deeply negative" for US-Israeli relations.

The BBC's Washington correspondent, Kim Ghattas, says it was a rare and sharp rebuke from Washington.


Mar. 13, 2010

Gush Shalom: A Matter of Timing by Uri Avnery

SOME WEEKS the news is dominated by a single word. This week’s word was “timing”.

It’s all a matter of timing. The Government of Israel has insulted the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, one of the greatest “friends” of Israel (meaning: somebody totally subservient to AIPAC) and spat in the face of President Barack Obama. So what? It’s all a matter of timing.

If the government had announced the building of 1600 new housing units in East Jerusalem a day earlier, it would have been OK. If it had announced it three days later, it would have been wonderful. But doing it exactly when Joe Biden was about to have dinner with Bibi and Sarah’le – that was really bad timing.

The matter itself is not important. Another thousand housing units in East Jerusalem, or 10 thousand, or 100 thousand – what different does it make? The only thing that matters is the timing.


Mar. 12, 2010

BBC News: UN humanitarian chief criticises Israel over Gaza

The UN's top humanitarian official, John Holmes, has criticised Israel for linking the 2006 capture of an Israeli soldier to its blockade of Gaza.

Mr Holmes also said Israeli actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including expanding settlements, was counter to the peace process.

He urged a relaxation of the blockade, warning Gaza was "de-developing".

It came as Israel ordered the army to seal off the West Bank for 48 hours until midnight on Saturday.


Mar. 12, 2010

Cornerstore, a Documentary Feature: See the film in San Francisco at the Victoria Theatre, March 27, 3 PM and 7 PM


Produced in San Francisco, California, Corner Store introduces the audience to Yousef Elhaj: Yousef left Palestine ten years ago during the second Intifada, forced to leave his wife and children behind as an economic refugee. During the interceding decade Yousef has not only worked alone in the store but has also lived alone in the store in the small room in the back, which also serves as the office and stock room. As his children have grown into young adults, he has only been to visit them once, and then for only ten days. Yet he has put everything into ensuring the success of his business working from eight in the morning until midnight or two in the morning seven days a week and 365 days a year – for ten years.


Mar. 12, 2010

Common Dreams.org: Palestinians Should Now Declare Their Independence by Johann Hari

Could the Israeli government make it any more obvious they have no intention of sharing the Over-Promised Land with its other inhabitants?

This week the Obama administration - who give Israel $3bn a year, more than they dole out to any other nation on earth - made a meek and craven request for Israelis to simply have a pause in seizing even more land, and to sit down with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded with a big concrete slap: the announcement of 1,600 more homes to be built on occupied Palestinian land from which Arabs will be forcibly kept out. He has made it plain he will not loosen his grip by an inch, announcing: "Even if [Palestinian President] Abu Mazen comes along and says he's ready to sign a peace deal on the spot, we will restore settlement construction to its previous levels." No compromise. Never.

How does this look to the Palestinians? Their story is so rarely explained without disinformation that it still seems startling when it is stated plainly. Until 1948, the Palestinians were living in their own homes, on their own land - until they were suddenly driven out in a war to make way for a new state for people fleeing a monstrous European genocide. They lived huddled and dazed in the 20 per cent of their land they were allowed to keep. They hardly fought back: they wept and dreamed of return. Then in the 1967 war, even these small strips were conquered with tanks and platoons.


Mar. 12, 2010

Amzaon.com: Modern Christianity in the Holy Land by the Rev. Hanna Kildani, Ph.D.


"Modern Christianity in the Holy Land" is a modest contribution to the documentation of the history of our country. In the nineteenth century, the structure of the Churches underwent change. Christian institutions developed in the light of the Ottoman Firmans and the international relations forged by the Ottoman Sultanate. At that time, the systems of the millet, capitulation, international interests and the Eastern Question were all interlocked in successive and complex developments in the Ottoman world. Changes to the structure of the Churches had local and international dimensions, which need to be understood to comprehend the realities governing present-day Christianity. At a local level, the first law governing the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was promulgated and the Orthodox Arab issue surfaced. Moreover, the Latin Patriarchate was re-established and the Anglican Bishopric was formed. Most of these events occurred in Jerusalem and their consequences necessarily extended to the various parts of Palestine and Jordan. This history is not restricted to the Churches and the study touches on public, political, social and economic life, Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations, the history of the clans and ethnic groups, the ties that neighboring countries forged with the Holy Land, and the pilgrimage to the Holy Places. This pilgrimage is one of the most prominent features of the Holy Land. Indeed, the Lord has blessed this land and chosen it from everywhere else in the world for his great monotheistic revelations as God, Allah, Elohim. The sources and references of this book are diverse in terms of color, language and roots. One moment they take the reader to Jerusalem, Karak, Nazareth, and Salt and at other times to Istanbul, Rome, London and Moscow.


Mar. 12, 2010

Salem News: Israeli Troops Attack a Sunday Mass and Moral Responsibility by Mazin Qumsiyeh


My thought to the 40,000 people receiving this [video]: If after watching this, you are not outraged, then you have no humanity. If you are outraged and is able to do something about it, but don't, then you have abrogated your moral responsibility.

Doing something about it means joining us next week if you are in the Bethlehem district or, if you are not, pressuring your government and the 101 other ways you know about that can make a difference.


Mar. 12, 2010

New Haven Register: Peaceful protest in Israel can lead to arrest by Mazin Qumsiyeh


Nonviolent resistance to colonization and occupation are consistent with international law and U.S. policies. President Barack Obama has stated that settlement activities in the occupied territories must stop as a prelude to ending the occupation that started in 1967. Yet, Israeli authorities continue settlement activities apace, while intensifying attacks against peaceful vigils and protests against this indefensible behavior.


Mar. 12, 2010

Zenit: Letter on Collection for the Holy Land: "Reinforce the Solidarity That Has Been Shown so Far"


Sensitivity to the needs of the Church in Jerusalem and in the Middle East finds its motivation in the "we" of the Church. This sensitivity becomes help, like the relief sent to the brethren who lived in Judea (Acts 11:29-30); remembrance, like St Paul's invitation in his Letter to the Galatians (2:10), and a collection that responds to precise practical instructions (1 Corinthians16:1-6) and is described as the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints (2 Corinthians 8-9 and Romans 15).

Our appeal this year is inspired by the pilgrimage "in the historical footsteps of Jesus" which the Holy Father Benedict XVI made last May.


Mar. 12, 2010

Americans for Middle East Understanding: Spinning Cast Lead by Jane Adas


Jane Adas has written an essay for Link magazine on the hasbara strategy Israel used to spin a favorable image of its 23-day military assault on Gaza's civilian population.

The Goldstone Report saw through the Israeli spin. The US Congress bought the spin and attacked Goldstone.   For a sample of the anti-Goldstone troops in action, have a look at this update which begins:

On February 24, Representative Ron Klein (D-FL) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to work to prevent the United Nations General Assembly from referring the Goldstone Report to the UN Security Council and, ultimately, to the International Court of Justice.

Jane Adas provides a closer look at  the hasbara spin that made the Gaza invasion so attractive to America's leaders and to the US public.

Her research found that the Gaza assault was carefully planned to include a public relations component, an hasbara strategy that would "explain" Israel's actions in a positive light.


Mar. 12, 2010

World Council of Churches: Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum Editorial: Goldstone report – an opening for justice

For our second issue of Perspectives, we maintain the spotlight on Gaza by focusing attention on the dynamics around the implementation of the findings of the Goldstone report on the Gaza war.

The debate rages on both sides of the divide. On one hand, those who seek justice want action at an urgent pace. Israel, on the other hand, is defying international opinion. The overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly has made no dent in the way Israel sees its moral obligations. It has set up an internal enquiry into its army’s misdoings under a military structure. This has drawn sharp criticism from many quarters.


Mar. 12, 2010

Gush Shalom: The Harlot's Grave

SOME WEEKS ago, Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in Rome, was released after serving 28 years in prison.

The motives for his act have never been clarified. But a Palestinian leader once told me his version: God appeared to Agca in a dream and told him: Go to the Holy City and kill that damn Pole. But the Turk misunderstood, so instead of going to Jerusalem and killing Menachem Begin, he went to Rome….


Mar. 12, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Al Khalil/Hebron Update February 1-14, 2010


It is time to see the writing on the wall - letter, sent to Shraga Brosh, the Chairperson of the Israeli Industrialists' Association and to Danny Katrivas, Head of that association's Foreigh Trade Section


Mar. 12, 2010

Gush Shalom: Industrialists, don't tilt at windmills! 


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


Mar. 12, 2010

Haaretz: Once justice dwelled in Jerusalem, now settlers do by Avraham Burg


Greater, unified Jerusalem is being torn apart. The Israeli - Jewish and Arab - capital is becoming the capital of the hallucinatory, dangerous fanatics. This is not the city of all its residents nor the capital of all its citizens. It is a sad city that belongs to its settlers, its ultra-Orthodox, its violent residents and its messiahs.

The prophet asked, "How is the faithful city become a harlot! She that was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers" (Isaiah 1: 21). We haven't had murders here yet, but the nation's soul is dying here every day before our very eyes. The Israeli spirit of justice is being run roughshod by politicians, settlers and judges. The national soul is being slain with red tape and bureaucratic indifference.


Mar. 12, 2010

Christian Peace Team: At Tuwani Three children detained while gathering herbs


On 6 March, 2010, Israeli soldiers detained three Palestinian boys in At-Tuwani Village in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank. The boys, aged 13 and 14, were gathering herbs above al-Khelli Valley, 300 meters from the Israeli settlement of Ma'on, on land owned by the eldest child's family. At 10:30 am, members of Operation Dove* were accompanying the children and saw soldiers drive a jeep onto the hillside.


Mar. 12, 2010

Christian Peace Team: AT-TUWANI UPDATE: FEBRUARY, 2010


Throughout February, the Israeli military continued to neglect its duty to protect Palestinian school children traveling between their villages of Tuba and Maghayir al-Abeed and their school in At-Tuwani. The military’s negligence included: failing to appear for the escort; refusing to complete the escort and leaving the children unaccompanied in areas of danger from settler attacks; and arriving late for the escort, resulting in the children's tardiness to school.


Mar. 12, 2010

Michael Moore: President Obama: Replace Rahm with Me ...an open letter from Michael Moore

I understand you may be looking to replace Rahm Emanuel as your chief of staff.

I would like to humbly offer myself, yours truly, as his replacement.


Mar. 12, 2010

Michael Moore: 'I saw Israeli bulldozer kill Rachel Corrie' by Donald Macintyre

The final moments of Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist crushed to death beneath a pile of earth and rubble in the path of an advancing Israeli army bulldozer, were described to an Israeli court by an eyewitness yesterday.

The parents of the 23-year-old, who was killed by the bulldozer in March 2003, were present to hear the harrowing account on the first day of hearings in a civil lawsuit they have brought against the state of Israel. The country has never acknowledged culpability over Ms Corrie's death.

Richard Purssell, a British activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM), said he watched in horror as Ms Corrie was dragged four metres by the bulldozer moving forward at a "fast walking pace".


Mar. 12, 2010


First session in Barcelona, 1-3 March 2010

These are the conclusions of the Jury pertaining to the Barcelona session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. However, the contents are subject to the normal processes of editing and corrections before a definitive edition is made public.


Mar. 3, 2010

Christian Peace Team: Al Khalil/Hebron Update February 1-14, 2010


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


Mar. 3, 2010

Desert Peace: Israeli army wants me by Mazin Qumsiyeh


The repression reveals the bankruptcy of the Zionist regime and its excessive paranoia that will IMHO eventually lead to its demise.  It is paranoia inherent in the philosophical underpinnings of the ideology.  That ideology embraced by a subset of Jews (Zionism) simply teaches that “we are God’s chosen people, He gave us this land, we cannot go wrong when behaving against the Goyim especially those who happen to be here when we arrived to reclaim and cleanse our lands, and International law and human rights laws do not apply to us.”  It is self-destructive delusions that are inculcated during early education and perpetuate the myths of uniqueness.  It leads to the kind of behaviors that are now difficult to hide (the ethnic cleansing of 1948 was only a beginning). But even some Israelis are shedding these mythologies and joining the struggle. In the end, we will live together despite all this repression.


Mar. 2, 2010

America-Palestine Report: Sheikh Jarrah and Israel's Emerging Human Rights Movement


Every Friday since November, a few hundred Israeli activists have gathered in Sheikh Jarrah to protest the eviction of Palestinian families and demolition of Palestinian homes. These demonstrations draw hundreds as opposed to hundreds of thousands of activists, but they are a welcome sign to many who bemoan the rightward shift in Israeli politics. Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, recently told AAPER, “What’s good about Sheikh Jarrah is there’s a lot of young people involved in that, that aren’t affiliated with any organization. There’s a whole life amongst young people of the left that isn’t defined with one organization or the other, and they bring out 300 to 500 people per week.” These young, independent activists, says Halper, were never dependent upon the success of the political peace process in the same way that organizations such as Peace Now were. For that reason, “We’ve never died. We’ve always been very active.” While their numbers are admittedly small in comparison to the Peace Now of the 1980s, he says it is the lack of coverage by the mainstream media that is primarily responsible for the perceived notion that the Israeli left had disappeared altogether.


Mar. 2, 2010

Occupation Magazine: For Israel, defiance comes at the cost of legitimacy by Henry Siegman, Financial Times


No country is as obsessed with the issue of its own legitimacy as Israel; ironically, that obsession may yet be its salvation. An international community angered and frustrated by Israel’s disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people, and determined to prevent their relegation to an apartheid existence, may well decide to have the United Nations General Assembly accept a Palestinian declaration of statehood within the pre-1967 borders, without the mutually agreed border changes that a peace accord might have produced. Nothing would challenge Israel’s legitimacy more than its defiance of such an international decision.


Mar. 2, 2010

B`tselem: Israel’s report to the UN misstates the truth

To date, more than one year after the operation ended, all the investigations conducted by Israel have led to the prosecution of a single soldier, who was convicted and sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment for stealing a Palestinian’s credit card. This result is hardly surprising, given that Israeli officials, among them the Minister of Defense and the Chief of General Staff, declared almost from the beginning of the operation that the IDF “is the most moral army in the world.”

B'Tselem again urges Israel to immediately establish an independent investigative apparatus composed of persons from outside the military. The investigation must examine not only the conduct of the soldiers in the field but also the orders given them and the policy that was set by the senior military echelon and the political echelon.


Mar. 2, 2010

Counter Currents: Three More Houses Demolished In Gaza by Eva Bartlett

It’s a lush area, next to a wadi (valley, though the water has long since stopped streaming through, cut off, most say, on the Israeli side before it flows seaward through Gaza). Trees thrive along the road and thrived on the bulldozed, fertile land. The air fresh with moisture, promising rain. What wheat remains is already tall for the season.

Salem Suleiman Awad Abu Said (born 1943), lies on a blanket near the ruins, exhaustion written on his face.

“I was expelled from my family’s land in Beerseba in 1948,” he recalls. “Now our house is destroyed and we have nothing, again,” he says, returning to look inside the ruins of his home.


Mar. 2, 2010

Salem News: Seeking Peace for Palestine by Mazin Qumsiyeh

At a particularly tense moment, an Israeli intelligence officer walked up to me and stated simply "You are Mazin Qumsiyeh, you are going to try to leave to the US today, I advise you not to go!" It was a surreal moment for him to threaten me and let me know that they are keeping taps.

I simply answered that "what I do and don't do is up to my conscience and the rest up to Allah." We continued with our plans and we think the rather harsh response to our presence foretells of the army's insecurity. Arriving to the US safely, I feel I am again in an occupied unsafe land where Zionists like Joseph Lieberman, Wolf Blitzer, and Alan Dershowitz need to be challenged just like our challenge to these Israeli soldiers.


Mar. 2, 2010

Zenit: Muslims, Catholics Discredit Religion-Inspired Violence


Muslim and Catholic representatives have joined their voices in rejecting the manipulation of religion to justify political interests, violence or discrimination.


Mar. 2, 2010

Zenit: Iraqis Fasting Today for End to Killing Spree


“Wiping out Christianity from the region, or forcing [Christians] to follow the Islamic banner, will only lead the country to become more radical.

“Therefore we have chosen to fast and pray in protest against these heinous acts and in solidarity with our brothers, confident that the justice of God is inevitable."

Motives are unclear for the killing spree in Mosul, though Archbishop Sako attributed it to "tension and struggle between political forces."

"It is unfortunate that the country today is going more toward ethnic intolerance, religious and sectarian division," [Archbishop Louis Sako] said.


Mar. 2, 2010

Zenit: Marian Feast Named Holiday for Muslims, Christians


Christians and Muslims in Lebanon are looking forward to sharing the Feast of the Annunciation as a national holiday, says the secretary general of the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue.


Mar. 1, 2010

Christian Peace Team: AT-TUWANI video highlights ongoing soldier-settler collaboration to abuse Palestinian shepherds

On Friday afternoon, 19 February, 2010, Israeli settlers, soldiers and police detained for two hours a 14-year-old boy from the Palestinian village of Saadet Tha'lah, located near the Israeli settlement* of Karmel in the South Hebron Hills. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has published a six-minute video documenting the incident in detail (click on link above).


Mar. 1, 2010

The Nation: Gaza: Treading on Shards by Sara Roy


"Do you know what it's like living in Gaza?" a friend of mine asked. "It is like walking on broken glass tearing at your feet."


The people of Gaza know they have been abandoned. Some told me the only time they felt hope was when they were being bombed, because at least then the world was paying attention. Gaza is now a place where poverty masquerades as livelihood and charity as business. Yet, despite attempts by Israel and the West to caricature Gaza as a terrorist haven, Gazans still resist. Perhaps what they resist most is surrender: not to Israel, not to Hamas, but to hate. So many people still speak of peace, of wanting to resolve the conflict and live a normal life. Yet, in Gaza today, this is not a reason for optimism but despair.


Mar. 1, 2010

Rev. James M. Wall, Methodist: Israel Goes to War Using Anti-BDS Warriors and Smiling Tourists

Coming soon to your US tourist sites and church conferences: Israel’s two new campaign armies: Anti-BDS Warriors and Smiling Tourists.

Israel wants you to forget about the grief and suffering that continues in Gaza. They are telling us the Goldstone Report is so yesterday. Thanks to US pressure, the UN will wait another six months to act on the report.


Mar. 1, 2010

Father David Smith, Anglican: Islamophobia Gone Mad!

It really made me mad!  And I don't get mad very often - not at emails anyway.

As a representative of the church I get more than my fair share of cyber-trash attempting to deride non-Christian religions and cast suspicion on my Islamic neighbours, so I really didn't think there was anything that the smug, white supremacist world could throw at me that would shock me. I was wrong.


Mar. 1, 2010

Al-Jazeerah: Indoctrination of Israelis Versus Tree Planting by Mazin Qumsiyeh


Explaining reality to these young kids (and 18-22 year olds are younger than my son) who are guarding bulldozers engaged in colonization efforts inside a Palestinian is not easy but is doable.  We explain to them things they did not know and some indeed begin to shed the self-imposed chains.  That is why officers have instruction to prevent these kinds of dialogs.  Zionism resulted in dozens of massacres and left 2/3rds of the total population of natives (Christians and Muslims) as refugees or displaced people.  Even Moshe Dayan stated: "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.


Mar. 1, 2010

Democracy Now: Palestinian Families Appeal to UN Over Israeli Construction of “Museum of Tolerance” on Jerusalem’s Historic Mamilla Cemetery


Palestinian families have filed a petition with the United Nations over the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s plans to build a “Museum of Tolerance” over the historic Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. Opponents of the project have long questioned how a monument to tolerance can be built on the remains of the graves of generations of Palestinian Muslims. We speak to Columbia University professor and author Rashid Khalidi, a petitioner whose ancestors were buried at the Mamilla Cemetery; and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the families in their petition.


Mar. 1, 2010

You Tube: "Sleepless in Gaza...and Jerusalem"


Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem is a video diary about four young Palestinian women, Muslim and Christian, two living in Gaza and two in Arab Jerusalem/West Bank

PINA TV Production camera crews will be covering Ashira Ramadan, a broadcast journalist based in Jerusalem; Ashiras friend in Gaza, the documentary film maker Nagham Mohanna; Dona Maria Mattas, a 17 year-old student at the Holy Family School in Gaza who dreams of growing up to be a journalist and Ala Khayo Mkari who works with Caritas in Jerusalem.

The intention of this series is neither rant nor rhetoric. It is rather an opportunity for all of us, who do not live in Gaza, occupied Arab Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank to grasp how these four Palestinian women live out their daily lives, precisely because their lives are stories that journalists are too often told by their editors to think of almost dismissively as human interest and almost necessarily conflict driven.

Sleepless is Gazaand Jerusalem documents how --as human beings -- these four Palestinians can also experience moments of personal and community achievement, and the warmth of friends and family life that in real life is possible even in the most difficult circumstances of siege and occupation.

The series launches on Monday March lst it should be available in the afternoon on the East Coast of the United States and Canada, at night in the UK, late at night in the Middle East and even later going further east. We hope, quite soon, to have a better sense of timing. Each episode runs 26 minutes and will be shot, edited and uploaded each day for six days a week. On Friday, we all rest.

This series is produced by PINA TV Productions for Radiant Circle.

Directed by Ramzi Khoury. Executive producers: Abdallah Schleifer and Walid Sababa.


Mar. 1, 2010

The Link published by Americans for Middle East Understanding:  The Olive Trees by Fr. Edward Dillion


On one of his visits to the West Bank, Fr. Ed Dillon was told by his Palestinian guide "Today we have a whole nation of Naboths." The reference was to Chapter 21 of the first Book of Kings, in which Naboth, a vineyard owner, comes to the attention of King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, and the prophet Elijah. It's a compelling story. But, as Fr. Dillon points out in this Link issue, it's a story that resonates even more grotesquely in our own day.




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Launch website introduction

31 Mar 2010