Saturday, 9 May 2009

so 13 % das terras de Belem sao acessiveis aos palestinianos

fonte:Times of India

NEW YORK: Continued expansion of Israeli settlements and their outposts, along with other measures, have significantly reduced the availability of land for Palestinians restricting their livelihoods and development, a new report by the UN humanitarian affairs agency has said.

Israeli expansionist measures have reduced to 13 per cent the availability of land in Bethlehem for Palestinian use, limited the area's access to resources and restricted its potential for development, said the report by the UN Office for Coordination on Humanitarian Affairs (UCHA).

"The space available to the Palestinian population in the Bethlehem governorate has been significantly constricted by Israeli measures such as the continued expansion of Israeli settlements and their outposts," it said.

These measures have reduced Bethlehem's development space, limited its access to resources, severed Bethlehem's historic links to Jerusalem and restricted the urban area's potential for residential and industrial expansion, it said.

The report noted that the traditional mainstays of the Bethlehem economy such as work in Israel, tourism, agriculture herding and the private sector have been undermined.

While only 13 per cent of land in Bethlehem is available for Palestinian use, and much of it is fragmented. In addition, Israel retains security control and jurisdiction over building and planning in 66 per cent of the governorate.

Also, the fenced barrier being constructed by the Israeli government already reaching 10 kilometres into the West Bank, if completed, will cut off some of the most fertile cultivated land in the governorate as well as 21,000 Palestinian villagers from the urban centre, the report said.

As of now, the report said, around 175,000 Palestinians live in the Bethlehem governorate. Since 1967, some 86,000 Israelis have also been settled there, and they live in 19 settlements and 16 settlement outposts.

OCHA also outlines steps that can be taken to prevent further deterioration, including halting construction of the Barrier inside the West Bank, opening closed military areas and nature reserves for sustainable Palestinian development, and freezing settlement construction.

Segundo festival da literatura palestiniana


Second annual Palestine Festival of Literature launches this month
Announcement, Palestine Festival of Literature, 3 May 2009

The second Palestine Festival of Literature will take place from 23-28 May 2009.

Because of the difficulties Palestinians face under military occupation in traveling around their own country, the festival group of 17 international writers will travel to its audiences in the West Bank. It will tour Ramallah, Jenin, al-Khalil/Hebron and Bethlehem. To mark Jerusalem's status as Cultural Capital of the Arab World for 2009, the festival will begin and end in Jerusalem.

Michael Palin will be taking part in the festival this year together with Suad Amiry, Victoria Brittain, Carmen Callil, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Suheir Hammad, Nathalie Handal, Jeremy Harding, Rachel Holmes, Robin Yassin-Kassab, Brigid Keenan, Jamal Mahjoub, Henning Mankell (accompanied by his wife, Eva Bergman), Deborah Moggach, Claire Messud, Alexandra Pringle, Pru Rowlandson, Raja Shehadeh, Ahdaf Soueif and M G Vassanji.

The inaugural Palestine Festival of Literature in 2008 traveled to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem reaching audiences of thousands. Author Andrew O'Hagan, who was involved in the 2008 festival, said:

"I had come as one of the writers attending the first ever Palestine Festival of Literature. Thousands of people turned out: they wanted to believe that Palestine is not just a cause but also a culture and a country, a place not simply for stone-throwing but for ideas and for modernity."

Chair and Founder of PALFEST, Ahdaf Soueif said: "We were overwhelmed by the responses of both our audience and our authors last year; so we can't wait to go back. We found that Palestinian cities -- even in the extraordinarily cruel circumstances in which they find themselves -- manage to produce brilliant art and top class education. PALFEST aims to help them carry on doing that."

The Palestine Festival of Literature was inspired by the call of the late great Palestinian thinker, Edward Said, to "reaffirm the power of culture over the culture of power." The Festival Patrons are Chinua Achebe, John Berger, (the late) Mahmoud Darwish, Seamus Heaney and (the late) Harold Pinter.

PALFEST 09 is organized in Cooperation with Yabous Productions, and in partnership with the British Council.

Sandra Hamrouni, British Council, Director, Palestinian Territories said:
"PALFEST is a remarkable initiative with great reach to bring people together through creativity and shared experience. The British Council is pleased to support the Festival for the second year running, as part of the legacy of our New Writing Project which aims to create relationships and opportunities for collaboration between writers, readers, publishers and translators, in the Arab world and the UK."

Rania Elias, Director, Yabous Productions Festival, said:
"Palestinian life is jailed behind barriers, held up at checkpoints, but it insists on being part of the wider world; this is why the Palestine International Festival of Literature enjoyed packed houses last year. Yabous is delighted to be PALFEST's Palestinian partners for this year here in Jerusalem, the capital of Arab culture for 2009."

The latest from AIPAC: quem é o próximo alvo de Israel?


a direita em Israel e sua política errada

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Israel's Right-Wing Wrong Politics

'Netanyahu will have to accommodate this new US administration.'

By Joharah Baker – Jerusalem

When Likud Party leader and right-wing politician Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel's new prime minister, nobody on this side of the fence broke out the bubbly. In the United States, President Barack Obama remained diplomatic, saying his country would deal with any Israeli government regardless of the formation. However, the ominous cloud hovering over the prospect of any move towards peace was unmistakable. Not only is Netanyahu the premier, his second hand man, the foreign minister, is none other than Russian-immigrant and shameless West Bank settler Avigdor Lieberman. For the Palestinians, this was a match made in hell.

The winds of change seem to be blowing however, at least in the form of a tiny breeze over Capitol Hill. In the past few weeks, there have been more positive statements coming out of Washington than in the whole eight years of President George W. Bush's term in office. One cannot help but ponder the possibility that the more intransigent the Israeli government becomes vis-à-vis the Palestinians, the more pressure it feels in the opposite direction.

During the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on May 5, US Vice President Joe Biden called on Israel to halt settlement construction and work towards a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

"Israel has to work toward a two-state solution," Biden told AIPAC. "You're not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement."

Netanyahu is infamously known as one Israeli leader that does not explicitly endorse an independent Palestinian state. He is more of a proponent of economic stability rather than political independence and definitely does not encourage any return of land to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. Furthermore, he does not call for a halt to settlements or even a pause in their expansion. On the contrary, since he took office, Israeli government officials have expedited construction in major West Bank settlements including Maaleh Adumim to accommodate even more Jewish settlers on illegally acquisitioned Palestinian land.

Via satellite, Netanyahu told the AIPAC conference that Israel would resume negotiations "without delay and without preconditions" but failed again to mention his government's endorsement of a two-state outcome of these negotiations. Palestinians say Netanyahu is just trying to buy more time with his fancy words.

"Without a political settlement, meaning an end to Israel's occupation and the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state, talk of economic peace will be seen for what it is, namely an attempt to normalize and better manage the occupation," Saeb Erakat, chief Palestinian negotiator said in response to Netanyahu's speech.

Obviously, this American administration must feel somewhat similar. The US is turning the fire up to medium heat on Israel, especially in regards to the Palestinians, perhaps partly because of the former's stubborn resistance pulling the opposite way. The other reason, of course is that compared to Bush, Obama is made of different stuff. He will try to push the envelope with Israel, that's for sure, the first indication of this being this month's meetings with Israeli, Palestinian and Arab leaders at the White House. Obama has already pitched his "gestures plan" that entails a freeze of settlement construction in exchange for Arab steps towards normalization with Israel.

Another indication came last week when Obama's national security advisor James Jones said in Europe that Obama would be "forceful" with Israel. "The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question," Jones said. "We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush."

All of these positive signs come in the face of Israel's continued intransigence and the US's fear that despite Obama's good intentions, Netanyahu is not going to budge. If we look at the situation from this angle, the Israeli prime minister's obstinacy could prove to have positive results for the Palestinians, who have long endorsed a two-state solution. With the Palestinian and US positions so close, Israel may just find itself as the odd man out.

Even Hamas may be changing its tune. In an interview published in the New York Times on May 5, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal said his movement also seeks the establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied in 1967 and a 10-year truce with Israel. When asked about Obama's approach to the conflict, Meshaal admitted that the President is "speaking a different language."

Hamas' sincerity is arguable. Plus, it is doubtful that the United States or the international community as a whole will embrace the Islamic movement merely because its leader is a smooth talker. Still, leaders' words cannot be taken for nothing and if Hamas really embraces a more lenient stance towards conciliation (both internally and internationally) this could have an adverse affect on Israel's influence in Washington. That is, if even Hamas, the one Palestinian movement demonized by the west and branded as the ultimate obstacle to peace, now begins speaking its language, where does that leave Netanyahu and his cronies? With no real leg to stand on.

Nonetheless, Hamas' stance is of marginal importance at this point in the game. What really matters are the changing dynamics in US-Israeli relations. For the past eight years Israel has gotten used to having its cake, eating it and dumping the remaining crumbs all over any efforts for real peace. They got away with it for two reasons. One is because of President Bush and his "with us or against us" mentality (where Israel was clearly on the 'with' side) and the second is because Israel could hide behind the guise of a left-of-center government that formerly called for peace and a two-state solution. Never mind that this government continued with settlement construction and launched the Lebanon War and Gaza invasion that left scores dead and devastation in its wake. To the world, Ehud Olmert wanted peace but could not achieve it because of the lack of a real Palestinian partner.

Today, both those components are gone. Netanyahu will have to accommodate this new US administration (which by the way remains unwavering in its commitment to Israel). Likewise, Obama has his work cut out for him in trying to reach an Israeli government whose top two officials hardly disguise their seething emotions towards their neighbors.

If we're lucky, the refreshing cool breeze coming from Washington will turn into a gust of strong wind and force the hand of this unyielding Israeli government. Maybe, just maybe, all we need for real change is someone like Netanyahu.

- Joharah Baker is a writer for the Media and Information Program at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at (Published in MIFTAH –

Friday, 8 May 2009

No context: Fatah, Hamas e a língua viciada

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

No Context: Fatah, Hamas and Flawed Language

'Mahmoud Abbas controls the West Bank? Is Barzak serious?

By Ramzy Baroud

From a distance, the struggle between Hamas and Fatah appears commonplace, a typical third world country's political scuffle over interpretation of democracy that went out of control, or simply a 'power struggle' between two political rivals vying for international aid and recognition. In fact, the conflict may appear as if it popped out of nowhere and will continue as long as the seemingly power-hungry Palestinians carry on with their self-defeating fight.

Therefore, it’s typical to read such deceptive news reports as that of Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press: “Hundreds of Palestinian patients have been trapped in the Gaza Strip, unable to travel abroad for crucial treatment for cancer and other diseases, because of political infighting between Gaza's militant Hamas rulers and their Palestinian rivals.”

Such sinister terminology as “Gaza’s Hamas rulers” – which happened to refer to a democratically elected government – is now in common use, in most Western news agencies, and those who readily recycle their reports.

Barzak makes no mention of the Israeli factor in the decried Palestinian rivalries, and the only reference to the US in his report was that of the “U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which controls the West Bank.”

Is Barzak serious? Even if we willingly overlook the fact that Palestinian rivalry has little influence on Israel’s decision to block the Gaza borders, thus subjugate its inhabitants, and purposely disregarded the US-led international campaign to isolate Gaza and its government, how can one allow such a misreading of so obvious a fact: since when does Abbas “control” the West Bank? What should one make of the Israeli military occupation of several decades, the hundreds of illegal Jewish settlements, the countless checkpoints, ‘bypass roads’, numerous ‘military zones’ and the giant Israeli wall, an entire matrix of control, in fact, which has been described by many leading international observers as “apartheid”?

True, the situation in Gaza has reached such harrowing levels, that the injustices committed in the West Bank are being relegated as if non-consequential. But the fact is, the Israeli assault on Palestinian freedom, human rights and international law in the West Bank never ceased for a moment, even when thousands of Palestinians in Gaza were being brutally murdered.

But neither the inhumane siege and murder of Gazans, nor the suffocating occupation – with all of its lethal and non-lethal manifestations – of the West Bank seem to awaken the curiosity of many, who foolishly, or cunningly blame the victim for his own misery.

Of course that shouldn’t mean that Hamas and Fatah, or any other Palestinian party should be absolved from their own missteps, such as violations of human rights, infringement on freedom of speech or any other aspect of which they possess even if an iota of control. If individuals from Hamas violated human rights in Gaza, then such actions should be recognized, condemned and corrected. The same is true when Abbas’ government continues to violate the edicts of democracy in whatever limited jurisdiction it has; that too must be recognized and duly censured. But for the media to make such outrageous claims, whether indirectly blaming Hamas for the deadly Gaza siege – and its consequences – or haphazardly granted Abbas a position of ‘control’ over the occupied West Bank, is certainly contemptible.

The manipulation of the term “democracy” is also worthy of mentioning. An unsuspected media consumer would never guess that Hamas was elected democratically, and that a democratic government with a majority in the parliament cannot possibly stage a ‘coup’ against itself.

That same reader would find it hard to believe that the legal term in office of celebrated president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has already expired, and its renewal would require re-elections or the consent of the Hamas-dominated parliament.

President Abbas, however, is reportedly assembling a new government, which is expected to, once again, exclude the majority-party in the parliament

The government, if formed, will likely to be headed by Salam Fayyad, whose international prestige stems solely from the fact that top US officials, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has praised him as trustworthy. Fayyad was never elected and is little popular among Palestinians.

More, even if Hamas agrees to Abbas’ appointed government, it would be impossible for the parliament to convene and vote, for a large number of elected Palestinian legislators are political prisoners in Israel. That too seems too trivial a context to mention.

When a story is dominated by selective terminology, numbers, names and dates without proper and balanced context, a media consumer is sold nothing but misinformation.

Consider, for example, the report of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), published in late 2008, which ranked and classified 167 countries based on various democratic indicators into four categories: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. The Palestinian Authority was ranked number 85, digressing from flawed democracy into hybrid regime category. The explanation? According to the report: “The Islamist Hamas movement that won the parliamentary election in early 2006, and Fatah, who hold on to the presidency have failed to bridge their differences. Instead, factional infighting has worsened in recent years, culminating in the takeover of power in the Gaza Strip by Hamas while the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah has tried to maintain his grip on the West Bank. Political violence has worsened.”

The word, “Israel”, was not mentioned. Not once.

Despite the fact that “factional fighting”, and failure to “bridge their differences” are largely attributed to external pressures (for example: Israeli and American ultimatums to Abbas, violence against Hamas, and conditional international aid to both), Palestinians are ranked as an independent nation in complete control of its own affairs. Meanwhile, Israel was ranked number 38, merely a “flawed’ democracy, perhaps for the sheer fact that it recognizes itself as a “Jewish state” and discriminates against anyone who doesn’t fit the criteria.

“If you control the language, you control the debate,” it’s often said. But when the perception of an entire nation depends on how terms are coined and sentences are constructed, then language takes on other meanings, deceptive, demonizing and immoral.

- Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza The Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London)

Gaza 2009: o momento da verdade

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Gaza 2009:The Moment of Truth

'Israel's fascist foreign minister is of the opinion that Gaza should've been nuked.'

By Dr. Haidar Eid - Gaza

Gaza has returned to its pre-massacre state of siege, confronted with the usual, conspiratorial, "international" indifference after 22 long days and dark nights, during which its brave people were left alone to face one of the strongest armies in the world -- an army that has hundreds of nuclear warheads, thousands of trigger-happy soldiers armed with Merkava tanks, F-16s, Apache helicopters, naval gunships and phosphorous bombs. Gaza now does not make news. It's people die slowly, its children malnourished, its water contaminated, its nights dark, and yet it is deprived even of a word of sympathy from the likes of Ban Ki Moon and the president of "Change; Yes We Can."

Israel could not have carried out its genocidal war, preceded and followed by a medieval, hermetic siege, without a green light from the international community. During the massacre, one Israeli soldier commented: "That's what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn't have to be with a weapon, you don't have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him."

When apartheid Israel decided to attack the northern part of the Gaza Strip in late February, early March of 2008, we were threatened with a greater shoah (Holocaust) by the deputy minister of war, then, Matan Vilnaii. Around 164 Palestinians, including 64 children were killed. What was the reaction of the international community? Absolutely nothing. In fact, the EU decided to reward the oppressor by issuing declarations of intentions to upgrade their trade agreements with Israel, which, needless to say, served as a green light for the current atrocities. On Sunday 18 January, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert, a war criminal by all standards, expressed his pleasure to six European leaders, over their "extraordinary support for the state of Israel and their concern about its security". In retrospect, the upgrading of relations between the EU and Israel in early December 2008 was a green light for the larger Gaza massacre of 2009. In spite of the war crimes committed by the IOF, and in spite of the obvious fascist make-up of the current government, the EU will continue to strengthen bilateral relations with Tel Aviv.

Within this context, the anti-apartheid freedom fighter Ronnie Kasrils says:

“What [Hendrik] Verwoerd [the architect of apartheid] admired too was the impunity with which Israel exercised state violence and terror to get its way, without hindrance from its Western allies, increasingly key among them the USA. What Verwoerd and his ilk came to admire in Israel.., was the way the Western powers permitted an imperialist Israel to use its unbridled military with impunity in expanding its territory and holding back the rising tide of Arab nationalism in its neighborhood.”

March 2008 was, then, a rehearsal for Gaza 2009. Israel knew that it could go on committing war crimes fully equipped with an international conspiracy of silence. The international community did not react in March 2008: why would it do otherwise in 2009? That was the Israeli logic, and so it remains. Mind you, Israel's fascist foreign minister is of the opinion that Gaza should've been nuked. No wonder Adolf Hitler once said: "What luck for rulers that men do not think!"

For those who accuse us of subscribing to conspiracy theories, we have this reminder: in 2004 the Israeli Professor Arnon Soffer, Head of the IOF's National Defense College, and an advisor to Ariel Sharon, spelled out the desired results of Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza in an interview with the Jerusalem Post:

“ ... when 1.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it's going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today,... The pressure at the border will be awful. It's going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day...If we don't kill, we will cease to exist...Unilateral separation doesn't guarantee "peace" - it guarantees a Zionist-Jewish state with an overwhelming majority of Jews...”

Then, there is the view bluntly expressed in 2002 by Israel's then chief of staff, General Moshe Yaalon, and which I think sums up the objective of the hermetic medieval siege and the massacre:

"The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people".

Now, this is a total dehumanization of the Palestinians of Gaza. And West Bankers, here is the message for you: you'd better accept your fate as cockroaches, ready to be crushed willingly under the boot of a zealot Israeli soldier, or else.

The resemblance of Israel's campaign of tribalistic racist hate both to that of apartheid SA and to Hitler's murderous regime has recently been articulated by Comrade Kasrils:

“Certainly we South Africans can identify the pathological cause, fuelling the hate, of Israel's political-military elite and public in general. Neither is this difficult for anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions against even defenseless civilians - women, children, the elderly amongst them. In fact was this not the pathological racist ideology that fuelled Hitler's war lust and implementation of the Holocaust?”

In actual fact, if there is something to learn from Gaza 2009, it is that the world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims! Just think about the soldiers' T-shirts episodes. The courageous Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has written that Israel today looks very much like Germany in 1933.

But now the urgent question is how to hold Israel accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights in order to forestall the imminent escalation? The most immediate and pressing questions within this context are: what the nature of international solidarity should be and how it can best support the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

The South African apartheid regime came under repeated pressure from the international community and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations Security Council which passed countless resolutions against it because of its inhumane treatment of blacks. This gave much-needed succor to the oppressed, while we today are bereft of even this tiny comfort because the United States continues to use its veto to ensure that Israel escapes censure from the world body.

Grassroots opposition to a brutal apartheid finally forced the US and UK and other governments around the world to isolate apartheid South Africa. They would not have done so without the pressure exerted on them by their own people. Israel needs to be isolated in exactly the same way as apartheid South Africa. Today, there is a growing mass-based struggle inside Palestine, as well as other forms of struggle, exactly as there was inside apartheid South Africa. An intensified international solidarity movement with a common agenda can make the struggle for Palestine resonate in every country in the world, thus closing off the world to Israelis until they open the world to Palestinians. Our goal now, as civil society organizations, is to lift the deadly hermetic siege imposed on Gaza causing slow motion genocide; marching towards the six gates of the Gaza prison has been tried and must intensify. This is what many activists, Palestinian and international, are planning to do. Our BDS campaign modeled on the South African anti-apartheid global campaign is gaining momentum as a democratic movement based on the struggle for human rights and implementation of international law. Our struggle is NOT religious, nor ethnic, nor racial, but rather universalistic: one that guarantees the rehumanization of our people in the face of a genocidal machine run by what Moshe Dayan would have called "a mad dog."

The Palestinians of Gaza have lost faith in the failed "peace process" and the two-state solution; hence, the desperate need for a new national program that can mobilize the masses; a program that is necessarily democratic in its nature; one that respects resistance in its different forms and, ultimately, guarantees peace with justice. The new, much-needed program, however, must make the necessary link between all Palestinian struggles: the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, Israel's ethnically-based discrimination and rights violations of more than one million Palestinian citizens, as well as the 1948 externally displaced refugees.

What we are constantly told, is either accept Israeli occupation in its ugliest form -- i.e. the ongoing presence of the apartheid wall, colonies, checkpoints, zigzag roads, color-coded number plates, house demolitions and security coordination supervised by a retired American general -- or have a hermetic medieval siege imposed on us, but still die with dignity.

But, the lesson we learn from Gaza 2009, exactly like Sharpville 1960, is to harness all effort to fight the outcome of the Oslo Accords, and to form a United Front on a platform of resistance and reforms. This cannot be achieved without realizing that ministries, premierships, and presidencies in Gaza and Ramallah are a façade not unlike those inauthentic structures in the South African Independent Homelands. In a short story by SA writer, Najbuolu Ndebel, a young black woman comments on the generous offer given by the racist white government: "That's how it is planned. That we be given a little of everything, and so prize the little we have that we forget about FREEDOM."

This is exactly what Steve Biko, the hero of anti-apartheid struggle--who paid his life for the freedom of all South Africans-- meant when he said:

“Not only have the whites been guilty of being on the offensive, but by some skilful manoeuvres, they have managed to control the responses of the blacks to the provocation. Not only have they kicked the black, but they have also told him how to react to the kick. For a long time the black has been listening with patience to the advice he has been receiving on how best to respond to the kick. With painful slowness he is now beginning to show signs that it is his right and duty to respond to the kick in the way he sees fit.”

And we, Palestinians, have decided to respond to the Zionist kick in the way we see fit. In Ndebel's story quoted earlier, a black intellectual makes it clear that "[he'd] rather be a hungry dog that runs freely in the streets , than a fat, chained dog burdened with itself and the weight of the chain." These examples used again and again in the anti-Apartheid literature sum up the lessons we learn from Gaza 2009. In a word it is resilience.

Archbishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa said, in a much quoted wisdom: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." And as I said in an earlier article, while IOF were bombing my neighborhood, the UN, EU, Arab League and the international community by and large have remained silent in the face of atrocities committed by Apartheid Israel. They are therefore on the side of Israel. Hundreds of dead corpses of children and women have failed to convince them to intervene.

We are, therefore, left with one option, an option that does not wait for the United Nations Security Council or Arab Summits: the option of people's power, as we have been repeatedly saying. This remains the only power capable of counteracting the massive power imbalance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The horror of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa was challenged with a sustained campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions initiated in 1958 and given new urgency in 1960 after the Sharpeville Massacre. This campaign led ultimately to the collapse of white rule in 1994 and the establishment of a multi-racial, democratic state.

Similarly, the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions has been gathering momentum since 2005. Gaza 2009, like Sharpeville 1960, cannot be ignored: it demands a response from all who believe in a common humanity. Now is the time to boycott the apartheid Israeli state, to divest and to impose sanctions against it. This is the only way to ensure the creation of a secular, democratic state for all in historic Palestine regardless of race, sect and ethnicity. The Australian journalist John Pilger has this to say:

"What happens in Gaza is the defining moment of our time, which either grants the impunity of war criminals the immunity of our silence, while we contort our own intellect and morality, or gives us the power to speak out."

Gaza 2009, with mass mobilization and international solidarity, is, therefore, becoming the guiding torch, not only for the Palestinian people, but also for the Arab world, towards a new Middle East, one that is, unlike Condoleezza Rice's ME, characterized by democracy and freedom. This is the least our resistance to religious exclusivism, xenophobia, and tribalistic world view should lead to.

- Based on a speech delivered via video link at a panel on "Promoting a Culture of Resistance" at the 4th Bil'in International Conference on Grassroots Popular Resistance.

- Dr. Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is a founding member of the One Democratic State Group (ODSG) and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). He contributed this article to

um menino, um muro e um burro

fonte:Art for the world (Youtube)

by Hani Abu assad

exército de ocupação israelita tinha raptado 40 crianças em um mês

fonte:The Palestinian Information center

GAZA, (PIC)-- The PA ministry of prisoners and ex-prisoners' affairs in Gaza has accused Tuesday the Israeli occupation authorities of kidnapping 345 Palestinian citizens, including 40 minors during the past month of April.

Although the month of April witnessed a number of activities in support of the Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails, which were considered as the biggest in this regard, repressive Israeli measures against the Palestinian captives persisted despite strong condemnation from local and international human rights groups.

According Riyadh Al-Ashkar, the information officer in the ministry, the IOA rounded up hundreds of Palestinian citizens across the West Bank, Jerusalem, and fishermen from the besieged Gaza Strip.

The PA official also disclosed that the kidnapped Palestinian children were tortured and humiliated at the hands of the IOF troops, noting that the number of Palestinian children captives in the Israeli jails has jumped to more than 430 children.

Among the kidnapped children was Palestinian girl Maymona Jebreen, 16, who was visiting her brother in the Israeli detention camp of Ofer before the Israeli occupation police arrested her, alleging she was hiding a knife. Her father and her other two brothers were also rounded up later on by the IOA troops.

According to the ministry's record, at least 10 Palestinian fishermen were kidnapped by the Israeli navy while they were fishing off the Gaza shores.

Moreover, Ashkar accused the IOA of deliberately neglecting sick Palestinian captives in the Israeli jails that led to worsening their health condition further; underlining that number of sick Palestinian captives was rapidly increasing as a result of this inhumane policy.

He explained that the vicious Israeli campaign against the Palestinian captives increased after an extremist Israeli party seized the portfolio of "internal security" in the new Israeli cabinet, which is directly supervising the Israeli prison authority (IPA).

A couple of weeks ago, Palestinian captives refused to wear the orange uniform that the IPA tried to impose on them, stressing they are prisoners of war, and not criminals as the IPA wishes to portray them.

At least three Palestinian detainees got wounded after clashes erupted between the Palestinian captives, and the IOF troops at the Ashkilon prison.

Moreover, the ministry accused the IPA of denying the Palestinian captives the right to learn, saying that the IPA reduced the number of books the captives could read from eight books to one book only, in addition to denying them watching certain TV news channels like Al-Jazeera.

But Palestinian female captives were completely denied any book to read, the ministry pointed out

In addition to that, the administrative detention terms of many Palestinian detainees, including MPs from Hamas Movement were arbitrarily extended by Israeli courts without any legal justification, the ministry highlighted.

At least two Hamas officials, including former vice-premier Dr. Naser Al-Dein Al-Shaer, and the prominent Hamas leader in the West Bank Rafat Naseef went on hunger strike in protest of their illegal detention.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

reféns para a extrema direita em Israel

fonte:Monde Diplo (English Edition)

Le Monde diplomatique
English edition

Hostage to Israel’s far right

Following the Israeli elections the far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman has become foreign minister and deputy prime minister. His views on the Arab-Israeli conflict have provoked a clash with President Obama. And he is calling the Israeli Palestinians’ citizenship into question, even talking of eventual ‘transfer’
by Joseph Algazy and Dominique Vidal

David Rotem’s leitmotif is allegiance to the state, but he never spells it out. So much so that, before leaving, we put it to him: “Imagine yourself in Nazi Germany. Where would your loyalty lie?” “To the state,” he replied, without blinking an eye. That retort, given in the Knesset building in Jerusalem, left us stunned, particularly since he went on to tell us how his father left Germany when Hitler came to power.

Rotem is a lawyer, former deputy speaker of the Knesset, prospective director of the new Law Commission and close confidant of Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party (Israel is Our Home). He rehashes his recent election speeches. “Whether he’s a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian, a citizen must demonstrate his loyalty to the state. If he does not, he’s not a citizen,” he says. The same tirade castigates Rabbi Meyer Hirsh for having met Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (1), and those Arab parliamentarians who dared to protest against the recent Gaza massacres.

The party’s stance is that every Israeli should swear an oath of allegiance to the flag (which includes the Shield of David, the symbol of Judaism), sing the national anthem (which evokes the “Jewish soul”) and do military service (Arabs, apart from the Druze and some Bedouin, are exempt along with ultra-orthodox Jews).

Yisrael Beiteinu’s electoral slogan leaves no doubts: “Only Lieberman speaks Arabic”. The historian Shlomo Sand quipped: “In his native Moldova he was a night-club bouncer. Now it’s the Arabs who get bounced”. This joke does, however, ignore one fact about the “Russian” party (2): its official line is not to expel Palestinians (3) – as in 1948 – but to form a future Palestinian state around the areas where they are most populous, particularly Umm al-Fahm and the northern Triangle. In exchange, Israel would annex parts of the West Bank settled by Jews, starting with those who surround East Jerusalem.

For, unlike Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu formally embraces the two-state solution. “We accept the 1947 principal of partition,” Rotem emphasised. “Palestinians want a judenrein (4) state, Israelis a 100% Jewish state, not one which is open to all citizens. An international agreement must redraw frontiers in this spirit.”

Why is there such fury against Israel’s one-and-a-half million Arabs? The three Arab political parties represented in the Knesset have similar views on the subject, but all the same there are certain nuances.

The charismatic 29-year-old Hanin Zoabi – the first female parliamentarian from an Arab party – helped “save” the electoral chances of the National Democratic Assembly (Balad), whose founder, Azmi Bishara, fled the country after being accused of treason. Strangely she sees Lieberman’s position as offering a sort of quid pro quo – “I withdraw from the occupied territories so I must have your loyalty”. As a consequence, she says, one must “remind Israeli Palestinians that they live in a Jewish state and should accept it as such”. Benjamin Netanyahu “has no need to insist on Israel’s Jewish nature because he is not in favour of two separate states”.

‘Only justice heals wounds’

In his Nazareth office, the lawyer Tawfiq Abu Ahmed claimed to represent the Islamist movement, part of the United Arab List/Arab Movement for Renewal (Ra’am/Ta’al). For him, the far right takes an anti-Arab stance to “show to Israeli Jews that it protects their interests”, creating “an internal enemy to fight and so reinforce its own popularity”. Instead of trying to demand loyalty among Israeli Arabs as a condition of citizenship, the lawyer suggested, “the establishment should understand that the opposite works: only real citizenship, that’s to say equal rights, can guarantee loyalty. As one of our proverbs says, only justice heals wounds.”

The long-serving mayor of Eilaboun in Galilee, Hanna Swaid, is second on the Communist ethnically mixed Hadash list, and one of four Knesset members. Without ignoring Yisrael Beiteinu’s electoral impact he is worried about specifics: “Making military service compulsory would aggravate every kind of anti-Arab discrimination” (5). “Above all,” he added, “these themes benefit from popular support and risk provoking tensions between Jews and Arabs which threaten their very coexistence, already strained by the shootings of October 2000 and the Acre pogrom of October 2008 (6). The ‘Lieberman era’ has been ushered in by clashes, particularly in towns with mixed populations.”

“Everything stems from the setback when former prime minister Ariel Sharon invented the politics of separation,” claims the lawyer Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah, the Legal Centre for the Arab Minority Rights in Israel, whom we met in his Haifa office. For Jabareen, Israel’s policies of building the wall, of withdrawing from Gaza, its military adventures of summer 2006 and winter 2008-9 have all failed: “The Israeli establishment blames everything on the Palestinians of Israel precisely because it is impossible to impose a unilateral solution.”

The “demographic threat”, which explains the interest in the creation of a Palestinian state, now also concerns Israel itself. “Nobody believes any longer in two states,” said Jabareen. “Conflict is breaking out on all fronts, as in 1948: there’s no great difference between Haifa, Nablus and East Jerusalem. Except that to make ‘war’ on the Palestinians of Haifa would be easier.”

In so saying, Jabareen finds himself alongside Lieberman. In January 2008, when Lieberman stepped down from the previous government where his role was minister of strategic affairs, he spoke openly: “Our problem is not Judea and Samaria, but the extreme fundamentalist leadership that is in the Knesset… Our problem is [the Arab-Israeli parliamentarians] Ahmed Tibi and Barakeh, they’re more dangerous than Khaled Mash’al [the Damascus-based Hamas leader] and Nasrallah [head of Hizbullah]. They work from the inside; they operate methodically to destroy the State of Israel as a Jewish state” (7).

In reality, mobilisation against this “fifth column” – the current expression – began long ago in hearts and minds, both within Israel’s institutions and at the grassroots.

Take normalisation of racist talk, like that in 2004 by Yehiel Hazan, the former deputy leader of Likud, comparing Israeli Arabs to “worms” who have worked in a “subterranean” way to “harm the Jewish people for 100 years” (8). Another Likud contender for the Guinness Book of Arabophobia, Moshe Feiglin, has opined: “You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic. You’re dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers. Muhammad, their prophet, was a robber, a killer and a liar” (9).

A law passed in 1985 prevented Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach party from taking part in elections because of similar statements. The aggravations of early 2009 prompted President Shimon Peres to worry, just before the polls, about “incitement to violence against any part of the electorate. Arabs, like all the country’s citizens, have equal rights and duties.” Sadly, the damage has already been done. According to opinion polls conducted in 2006 and 2007, 78% of Israeli Jews are opposed to having Arab political parties in any government; 75% wouldn’t like to live in the same building as an Arab; 75% believe they engage in violence (54% of Arabs think the same of Jews); 68% fear a new intifada; 64% worry about Arab demography; and 56% think that “Arabs can never reach the Jewish level of cultural development”. As for “solutions”, 55% of Israeli Jews believe that the government should encourage Arab emigration, 50% advocate their transfer and 42% suggest that they should no longer have the right to vote (10).

The little Liebermans

History tells us that such a climate of opinion makes huge backward steps possible, if not probable. Proof of this was the voting in of the 2003 law forbidding a Palestinian living in the West Bank or Gaza to join their husband or wife in Israel (11). Of course, the new government won’t turn any projects proposed by Foreign Minister Lieberman into legislation tomorrow. But who knows about the day after tomorrow?

“The worst is not Lieberman himself but the little Liebermans he spawns, creating a climate of terror where the smallest incident can get out of control.” Ahmed Oudeh, a baker, knows what he’s talking about. He lives in Acre (53,000 inhabitants, of whom 17,000 are Arab) and sits on the local council of a city still bruised by the events of last October. Several hundred Jewish rioters destroyed or damaged 30 homes, 84 shops and 100 cars (12).

We were off on a strictly non-tourist trip around Acre. First we went to see five venerable dwellings in the ancient city restored – and offered to Jewish students by Amidar, the housing company that “owns” Arab property “abandoned” in 1948. Then, we visited a new block under construction bearing the friendly name Northern Fist, promised to former Gaza settlers. Nearby is the site of the largest yeshiva (religious school) in the north of Israel; dozens of Jewish schoolboys stroll around the souk with four armed guards. And there’s the al-Lababidi mosque, still closed although most people who live around it are Muslim.

At Lod (formerly Lydda), where the architect Buthaina Dabit plays host, the theme was similar. The thousand Palestinians who avoided expulsion in 1948 have become 11,000 in a total population of 70,000. “To revive the town’s Jewishness”, our guide explained, “the mayor is both trying to chase out Arabs and attract more Jewish residents”.

The ill-made road, which our small car found hard-going, illustrated this double process: to our right was the smart Jewish Ganei Aviv (Spring Gardens) complex; to our left lay a kind of ruined Arab shantytown, obviously abandoned and threatened with demolition with, here and there, a few expensive villas, separated by a wall – whose construction was stopped by legal action – from the moshav (cooperative) Nir Tzvi. “Yesterday”, the architect recalled, “they used oriental Jews to chase us away. Then it was the Russians and now the ultra-religious. We should all be fighting together rather than against each other.”

Jaffa, once known as “the sea’s fiancée”, was annexed to Tel Aviv after the nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. Its population is currently 40% Palestinian. There, too, a project to Judaise the town revolves around poverty. Judith Ilany, coordinator of a women’s help group organised by Hadash-Balad, explained: “Take family F, a single mother with three children. Waiting, without any great hope, for local authority housing, she rents a private apartment for 2,000 shekels ($483) a month, or two thirds of her salary. Her landlord throws her out. She then is forced 
to sign another rental agreement for 4,000 
shekels which, obviously, she can’t meet for long. Heavily in debt, she is thrown out a second time. She could, of course, obtain a tax reduction by 
completing a large dossier in Hebrew, a language she doesn’t speak. But it wouldn’t be sufficient to put her beyond the long arm of the private company acting for the municipality to repossess defaulting tenancies.”

More than 500 expulsion orders for dwellings built without permission hang over Jaffa like a sword of Damocles. In the Negev they also tear down housing, whole villages at a time (see The forgotten Bedouin).

No longer ready to stand by

Aida Touma-Sliman, the Communist director of Women Against Violence, is proud of founding the world’s first refuge for battered Arab women. As a grassroots activist, she says it’s there, rather than at the polls, that you see a “drift towards fascism. Some may think this is exaggeration but, unfortunately, the facts support us: our very legitimacy is challenged, violent harassment happens frequently, our towns are threatened with Judaisation. The human destruction of Palestinians in Gaza crossed the boundaries. We know from experience where it is all going.”

Nazareth feels secure. Not only has the capital of Galilee remained almost exclusively Arab but, because housing is in short supply there, people are renting, even buying, places in its “sister” town, Nazareth Ilit, created as a Jewish balance. For Touma-Sliman, however, “even here, Lieberman’s speeches resound like a call to attack us”.

Israel’s distraught Arab community does not intend to stand by and let things happen. The Gaza tragedy and the racist nature of the general election campaign could lead, according to many observers, to a large boycott. But some 52% of Arab Israelis went to the polls and their voting patterns changed radically. Only 12% of Arab electors voted for a Zionist party (compared with 30% three years ago), the others choosing between the three parties representing 
their cause, particularly Hadash. There was also 
mass participation in this year’s Land Day on 30 March.

How to build on this riposte and stop what Hassan Jabareen calls “rampant apartheid”? Some 200 Arabs and Jews, representing different age groups and cultures, recently joined the debate one sunny Saturday in Acre at a conference called to counter racism. Heavy anger characterised many of the speakers. The Islamist councillor Adham Jamal, deputy mayor of Acre, paid the price for talking 
about his powerlessness. Accused by one of the families without housing since last October, he left the hall to jeers.

At the heart of the exchanges lay the issue of allegiance. “We’re the victims, so we should define the ground rules,” said a young Balad councillor. She was challenged by Miriam Damoni-Charbit, who trains Jewish and Arab teachers at Israel’s largest educational NGO. “I understand that Israel’s Arabs are torn between their country and their people”, she said, “but for their own sake they must understand Jewish sensibilities. It is simply unacceptable to chatter during the Shoah siren or to violate the peace of Yom Kippur.” She pointed to “all the Likud voters who, on questions of social justice, could get involved in the fight for equality.” On 11 November 2008, in Tel Aviv’s mayoral election, the Communist parliamentarian Dov Khenin broke all records in capturing 35% of votes (nearly 75% of those younger than 35). But his rainbow coalition did not have any Palestinians of Jaffa on its list.

Allegiance, then, but to what? Two states, or a state of two nations? “Some solidarity movements forget that they don’t represent the Palestinian people. Our right to self-determination includes the right to choose for ourselves what seems to be the best solution,” insists Aida Touma-Sliman.

She brandishes every opinion poll “with no exceptions” taken in the West Bank and Gaza. “If nine out of 10 Israeli Jews want their own state, the same goes for two out of three Palestinians in the occupied territories”. And for good reason. “In a two-nation state, what happens to the settlements? Beyond that, who would guarantee our rights?” She believes that real power lies elsewhere. “Only the international community can impose a solution on Israel: that’s what we should all be working for – here and in your country.”

a solução dos dois estados e o slogan do "pacificador "

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

The Two-State Solution: the Pacifier Slogan
'Two-state solution has different meanings for different parties.'

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan

The 'two-state solution' phrase was first coined in the 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181 to create two independent states in historical Palestine.

Israel has been created and recognized within undefined borders and the phrase today implies whether and how to create the second state. The “two-state” solution has different meanings for the different parties involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

For the Palestinians, it means a sovereign state in all the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem and the refugees right of return to their homes in Israel proper; for the Israelis, it means a slightly different version of the status quo in the occupied lands, a self-rule over disconnected enclaves or “Bantustans” that have the façade of a state with a president, ministers, legislative council, Judiciary, ambassadors and security forces that control the population and guarantee Israel’s security, but no control over Jerusalem, the borders, water resources, shore and airspace. The recognized state of Israel on 78 percent of Palestine has not fulfilled the ambitions of the Zionists who have been striving to have all of Palestine. The Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper wrote on November 28, 2007 that Israel plans to create a Palestinian state that consists of “tiny Bantustan on four or five cantons, all encircled by Israeli settlements. Israeli control of the entire land, whether for religious, national or security reasons, is a given”. And for the US, the “two-state” solution has been used mainly as a public relations slogan to manage the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and pacify the Palestinians and their supporters.

On March 12, 2002, while the US was massing troops and war machines in the Arab Gulf states preparing for the invasion of Iraq, a member of the Arab League; and the Israeli military was embarking on far reaching measures against the Palestinians under occupation including assassinations, detentions and demolitions, the US submitted the so called “the Bush vision of two-state solution” proposal to the UN Security Council. All Council members (Syria abstained) adopted Resolution 1397 that affirmed Bush vision. The Resolution that was welcomed by most Arab states especially Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Morocco also called for immediate cessation of all acts of violence.

The so called “Bush vision” was adopted by the policy makers of the “Quartet”, a formulation that had been created by the US, Russia, the EU and the UN to help reach a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Quartet launched a “Roadmap” plan to end the hostilities and establish a new basis for communications between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the US “Two-State” vision. The Roadmap provides a plan for the progression toward peace in three phases on the basis of performance, and like Oslo agreements, it deferred the permanent status issues to the final phase.

The government of Israel noted that the Roadmap would be implemented subject to fourteen political and security reservations including that neither the Saudi initiative nor the Arab initiative serve as a basis for the political process and the Palestinians should publicly declare their “renunciation of the right of return” and accept Israel’s right “to exist as a Jewish state”. Israel has practically rejected the Roadmap basic premises with its unacceptable caveats and prerequisites. But Bush Administration promised to take into account Israel’s reservations at the implementation stage. While the US was supporting and defending Israel’s policies that rendered the Palestinian version of the “two-state solution” impossible to implement, the “two-state solution” became mainly a slogan phrase used by President Bush and his Secretary of State to pacify the Palestinians and the US Arab allies.

A month after the adoption of the UN Security Council 1397 Resolution, the Arab League summit in Beirut adopted a Saudi Arabian proposal that has been referred to as the “pan-Arab peace initiative”. It calls on Israel to withdraw to the 4th of June 1967 lines, the establishment of an independent sovereign Palestinian state and a just resolution of refugee problem, in exchange for full recognition and blanket normalization with Israel by all Arab states. The summit was followed by then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah address to the Israeli people reminiscent of President Sadat address on his historic visit to the Knesset.

The Arab initiative that was only a common statement of principle for a political settlement and the appeal by the Saudi leader were meant to send a message mostly to the US that the Arab regimes were for peace and true partners in the campaign against extremism. But the Israeli government under Sharon roundly dismissed the initiative and the Saudi public statement. Israel spurned the opportunity to seriously discuss the ideas put forth by the Arab leaders, and instead, activated its superior military power against the Palestinian insurgency (Second Intifada) by imposing collective punishment and inflicting daily injuries on innocent Palestinians.

By rejecting the Roadmap and the pan-Arab peace initiative, Israel was the real rejectionist in the conflict. Faith of the Palestinians in Israel’s intentions to accept a just “two-state solution” by peaceful means was eroded. Professor Ze’ev Maoz, a critic of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians wrote in 2006 that “Israel’s history of peacemaking has been largely reactive, risk avoidance,… that stands in contrast to its proactive and trigger happy strategic doctrine”. Since the creation of Israel, its leaders assert that all Palestine belongs exclusively to the Jews; and a two-state solution where the indigenous Palestinians would have a sovereign state in the center of their land will be a constant threat to the state of Israel.

David Ben-Gurion summarized Israel’s position regarding peace with the Arabs in 1949 when, according to the historian Benny Morris, Ben-Gurion told his minister of foreign affairs, Moshe Sharett that “Israel will not discuss a peace involving the concession of any piece of territory”. In his book, “An Israeli in Palestine”, Professor Jeff Halper writes that many Arab leaders including Husni Zaim of Syria, King Abdullah the First of Jordan, Adib Shishakli of Syria, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Abdel Hakim Amer of Egypt, Anwar Sadat of Egypt and West Bank Palestinian leaders offered to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict but the Israeli leaders steadfastly refused to reciprocate. Another Israeli historian, Avi Shlaim wrote in his 2001 book that there was “evidence of Arab peace feelers and Arab readiness to negotiate with Israel from September 1948 on”.

Immediately after the 1967 war, King Hussein of Jordan was willing to enter into peace talk only if Israel withdraws from the occupied lands. And the Palestinians of the West Bank were ready to discuss peace if that meant an independent Palestinian state. Israel’s response to King Hussein and the West Bank Palestinians was annexation of East Jerusalem and a program for confiscating Palestinian lands and building settlements.

President Sadat proposed in 1971 to the UN Jarring Commission, Egypt’s willingness to enter into a peace agreement with Israel, but Prime Minister Golda Meir dismissed Sadat overture, thus forcing Egypt to wage the 1973 war to liberate Sinai. And Sadat attempted to resolve the Palestinian issue in 1978, but Israel refused to consider offering anything for the Palestinians more than limited autonomy.

In their 1988 declaration of independence, the PLO leadership recognized Israel within the Green Line, but Israel refused the gesture. And in the 1993 Oslo peace agreements, the PLO submitted in writing their recognition of Israel as a legitimate state, but Rabin was only willing to recognize the PLO as a negotiation partner.

President Clinton’s 2000 permanent status initiative for solving the conflict curtailed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a proposed Palestinian state, and granted Israel’s security the highest priority, but the initiative drew criticism from members of Israel’s military and the Knesset. Senior Israeli military columnist Ze’ev Schiff wrote in Haaretz that “the Chief of General Staff Shaul Mofaz had said the US proposals posed a threat to the state”. Makor Rishon daily newspaper quoted the Israeli Knesset Member Rehavam Ze’evi on December 29, 2000 asking Prime Minister Ehud Barak to reject President Clinton initiative because “there is a law in Israel which rules that anyone acting to transfer territory from the state to the enemy is to be deemed a traitor, which is punishable by death”.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated on many occasions his support to the two-state solution, but under his watch the newly built settler units in the West Bank increased by 69 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, and the settler population in the West Bank grew by 25,000. The figures do not include the more than 250,000 settlers living in East Jerusalem, according to Peace Now group. Olmert accepted the 2007 Annapolis conference decision to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians for reaching the two-state solution by the end of 2008. But the two-state solution offer made by Olmert after 12 months of negotiations was disconnected enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. His military carried out the barbarous massacres of the starved and besieged refugees in Gaza.

Professor Halper attributes the Israelis’ intransigence prior to 1967 war to their success in negotiating the armistice agreements that left Israel in a politically, territorially and militarily superior position. Ben Gurion was quoted telling a visiting American journalist saying in 1949, “I am not in a hurry and I can wait ten years”. If Israel was confident after the 1948 war and the signing of the armistice agreements, it should be even more confident and less concerned about the Arab military threat after the 1967 war, the signing of the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties, the signing of the Oslo agreements and the end of the Iraqi belligerent regime.

President Barack Obama has reaffirmed the US commitment to the two-state solution, but on the matters that count, he has continued the Bush administration failing policies. He promised to listen but his envoy, George Mitchell, did not take the time to visit and listen to the latest victims of the Israeli aggression on Gaza even after three tours to the region. Neither Obama nor Mitchell condemned the attacks on Gaza that resulted in the death of 1,300 Palestinians including women and children. Obama is following Bush administration’s policy of dividing the Palestinians into moderates and extremists and talking only to those Bush called moderates. President Obama caved to the pro-Israel lobby in Washington by withdrawing the nomination of his choice as head of the NSC, Charles Freeman, because he does not support the Israeli right wing extremists’ agenda. The US under Obama continues to use the “two-state” solution phrase only as a pacifier slogan for the Palestinians and their supporters.

The irony is that, despite the fact that it was Israel that destroyed the Palestinian society, colonized and confiscated their land then refused to consider the Palestinians and Arab peace overtures, the Israeli governments and their supporters in the US succeeded over the years in presenting the Arabs and the Palestinians as intractable enemies, warmongers, hell-bent on Israel’s destruction.

-Born in Nablus, Palestine, Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D, is a political analyst. He contributed this article to

Ativista israelita para ser preso

fonte:The Guardian

Israeli activist to be jailed for caring

Ezra Nawi was ridiculed and arrested for trying to protect people's homes. Only international attention can help him now

by Neve Gordon

Without international intervention, Israeli human rights activist Ezra Nawi will most likely be sent to jail.

Nawi is not a typical rights activist. A member of Ta'ayush Arab-Jewish Partnership he is a Jewish Israeli of Iraqi descent who speaks fluent Arabic. He is a gay man in his fifties and a plumber by trade. Perhaps because he himself comes from the margins, he empathises with others who have been marginalised – often violently.

His "crime" was trying to stop a military bulldozer from destroying the homes of Palestinian Bedouins from Um El Hir in the South Hebron region. These Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation for almost 42 years; they still live without electricity, running water and other basic services and are continuously harassed by Jewish settlers and the military – two groups that have united to expropriate Palestinian land and that clearly have received the government's blessing to do so.

As chance would have it, the demolition and the resistance to it were captured on film and broadcast on Israel's Channel 1. The three-minute film (above) – a must see – shows Nawi, the man dressed in a green jacket, not only courageously protesting against the demolition but, after the bulldozer destroys the buildings, also telling the border policemen what he thinks of their actions. Sitting handcuffed in a military vehicle following his arrest, he exclaims: "Yes, I was also a soldier, but I did not demolish houses … The only thing that will be left here is hatred."

The film then shows the police laughing at Nawi. But in dealing with his audacity, they were not content with mere ridicule and decided also to accuse him of assaulting a policeman. Notwithstanding the very clear evidence (captured on film), an Israeli court recently found Nawi guilty of assault in connection with the incident, which happened in 2007, and this coming July he will be sent to prison. Unless, perhaps, there is a public outcry.

Nawi's case is not only about Nawi. It is also about Israel and Israeli society, if only because one can learn a great deal about a country from the way it treats its human rights and pro-democracy activists.

Most people are not really surprised when they read that human rights activists are routinely arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned and harassed in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and several other Middle Eastern countries. Indeed, it has become common knowledge that the authoritarian nature of these regimes renders it dangerous for their citizens to actively fight for human rights.

In this sense, Israel is different from most of its neighbours. Unlike their counterparts in Egypt and Syria, Israeli rights activists, particularly Jewish ones, have been able to criticise the policies of their rights-abusive government without fear of incarceration. Up until now, the undemocratic tendencies of Israeli society manifested themselves, for the most part, in the state's relation to its Palestinian citizens, the occupied Palestinian inhabitants and a small group of Jewish conscientious objectors.

People might assume that Nawi's impending imprisonment as well as other alarming developments (like the recent arrest of New Profile and Target 21 activists, who are suspected of abetting draft-dodgers) are due to the establishment of an extreme rightwing government in Israel. If truth be told, however, the rise of the extreme right merely reflects the growing presence of proto-fascist elements in Israeli society, elements that have been gaining ground and legitimacy for many years now.

Nawi's case, for what it symbolises on both an individual and societal level, encapsulates the current reality in Israel. His friends have launched a campaign, and are asking people to write letters to Israeli embassies around the world. At this point, only international attention and intervention can make a difference.

Mês em fotos: abril 2009


Month in pictures: April 2009
Photostory, The Electronic Intifada, 5 May 2009

The below photographs are a selection of images from the month of April 2009. "The month in pictures" is an ongoing feature by The Electronic Intifada. If you have images documenting Palestine, Palestinian life, politics and culture, or of solidarity with Palestine, please email images and captions to photos A T electronicintifada D O T net.

Protestors hold shields to protect themselves form tear gas at a weekly demonstration against the wall in the West Bank village of Bilin. One week earlier, Bilin resident Bassem Abu Rahme was murdered by an Israeli soldier during the protest, 24 April. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Palestinian students at Bethlehem University take part in a performance of a traditional Palestinian wedding in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 23 April. (Haytham Othman/MaanImages)

Gerry Adams, Northern Ireland political leader and Sinn Fein President, on a visit to areas destroyed by the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, 8 April. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

Palestinian girls attend the opening of a photo exhibition entitled "Who am I? Palestine through Palestinian eyes" in the Aida refugee camp in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 10 April. (Mimmi Nietula/MaanImages)

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian youths during an invasion into the West Bank village of Beit Omar near Hebron, 2 April. (Mamoun Wazwaz/MaanImages)

Palestinians enact a scene in which Israeli soldiers abuse Palestinian detainees during a demonstration held in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Palestinian Prisoner Day, 17 April. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Palestinian Authority forces participate in a training session in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 14 April. (Haytham Othman/MaanImages)

Young Palestinians take part in a mini-marathon in the West Bank city of Nablus, 28 April. (Rami Swidan/MaanImages)

Palestinian children take part in a celebration of Jerusalem as the capital of Arab Culture 2009 in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya, 19 April. (Khaleel Reash/MaanImages)

Israeli soldiers stand guard as a bulldozer clears the ground next to the Israeli settlement Carmel, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, 26 April (Mamoun Wazwaz/MaanImages)

Members of the ancient Samaritan community gather after the animal sacrifices during the traditional Passover sacrifice in Mount Gerizim, near the West Bank city of Nablus, 9 April. (Rami Swidan/MaanImages)

Palestinians paint a mural showing a captured Israeli soldier on a wall in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, 15 April. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Palestinian calligrapher Yasser Abu Sayma shows his work at his office in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 23 April. Abu Sayma will present Pope Benedict XVI a handwritten copy of the Gospel of Luke as a gift during the pope's visit to Bethlehem in May. (Haytham Othman/MaanImages)

Palestinian students play musical instruments at the SOS Children's Village orphanage in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 23 April. The orphanage, established in 2000, faces the threat of closure because of the ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

A Palestinian man stands outside his house rebuilt mostly with clay in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, 29 April. Israel has refused to allow construction materials into Gaza since the end of its military offensive in January. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

trabalhadores de Gaza feridos em Israel


Gaza laborers injured in Israel left to dry
Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 5 May 2009

Palestinian workers from Gaza injured on on the job in Israel are no longer receiving disability payments from their former Israeli employers. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

More than 700 Palestinian workers in Gaza who suffered on-the-job accidents inside Israel used to receive monthly disability payments from Israeli employers. But in January 2009, workers stopped receiving these payments as the Israeli courts decided that Israeli insurance companies are no longer liable towards Palestinians living in what the state has declared a "hostile entity."

Masoud Raba is a 50-year-old laborer in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip who used to receive disability insurance, but his monthly insurance allowance was just withheld for the first time since 1979.

In an almost empty living room in the Beach refugee camp in Gaza City, Raba angrily described his situation: "I support seven family members including myself and my wife; we could not afford [to pay our] electricity bills. Also, we could not afford [to pay for our groceries]. As you see I sold my TV set and refrigerator in order to sustain a living. What was our fault, so that our allowances were withheld? This allowance is a given right for us that we were handed to by Israeli courts."

Raba used to work for an Israeli factory that manufactures refrigerator parts. His left hand was amputated while he was on duty. Raba said, "It seems they are imposing sanctions on us. Why us; why? We are neither a government nor people with influence, we are merely helpless injured workers who spent most of their youth serving Israel. Instead of giving us our disability allowance, they deprive us of it!"

Mohammad Hassouna, 62, of western Gaza City, also suffered a workplace accident while on a construction job in 1994. A father of 10, including a university student, Hassouna also reports that his monthly disability allowance was withheld in January 2009.

"I suffered fractures in my back, my leg as well as my forehead. Besides, I am getting older. In this situation, I cannot afford to buy some salt for my children," Hassouna explained, pointing out his injuries.

"I used to rely on that [disability] allowance for feeding my children and paying my son's university expenses. For the past four months, my situation has been desperate. This payment is our right, we have spent long years serving them, we have nothing to do with politics, so we should have this payment back sooner not later," said Hassouna.

The Palestinian Workers Syndicate in Gaza is not able to assist those whose disability payments were withheld, saying the matter is related to Israeli institutions or banks.

"Israeli courts are no longer considering issues of workers from the Gaza Strip. Recently, we in the syndicate's legal office found out that such courts regard the Gaza Strip as a hostile entity. Therefore, they even threw out some of those workers' suits that are worthy of thousands or millions of Israeli shekels," Salama Abu Zeiter, a legal spokesperson for the syndicate, explained. The current exchange rate is approximately four New Israeli Shekels per US dollar.

Abu Zeiter said that the pension payments of thousands of Gaza workers, especially those who worked in the industrial sector, have also been withheld.

"After 2000, Israeli labor institutions began to disregard Gaza workers-related issues. Presumably, the Israeli Histadrut [labor organization] is the party in charge of such a follow up of workers' suits. Despite a recent renewal of a partnership agreement between the Histadrut and the West Bank-based Palestinian Workers Syndicate, nothing has yet come up," Abu Zeiter said.

Last year, Israel strengthened its siege of the Gaza Strip by declaring the region a hostile entity and preventing transactions between Israeli banks and Gaza-based banks. This choked the economic situation of an already struggling population. About 85 percent of Gaza's 1.5 million-strong population receives food aid from humanitarian agencies.

Unemployment is also another major problem in the Gaza Strip; the Gaza-based minister of labor said recently that 65 percent of the population is unemployed.

With the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada or uprising in 2000, Israel began to impose restrictions on entry of Gaza laborers into Israel, causing Gaza's unemployment rate to surge. In June 2007, Israel sealed off Gaza completely in the wake of the elected Hamas movement's takeover of the territory, further affecting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians' access to employment.

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and part-time university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

a guerra contra o dissenso conduzida por Israel

Israel's war on dissent
Rela Mazali, The Electronic Intifada, 5 May 2009

Israeli policemen beat and arrest women at a demonstration held by the feminist movement New Profile in support of six activists from the group who were arrested from their homes by the police, 30 April 2009. (Shachaf Polakow/ActiveStills)

About six months after Israel's attorney general publicly announced an effort to criminalize dissent, state authorities have upped the ante in their "war" -- as the Israeli daily Haaretz called it last September -- against Israel's youth; against the broad, grassroots movement slandered by officials as "draft shirkers." On 26 April, a day before Israel's Memorial Day, Israeli police produced a hyperbolic piece of political theater. As if facing down a dangerous organized crime "family," they "raided" -- to quote their press release -- the homes of six activists in different parts of Israel, who were detained for interrogation. Exploiting the ritual emotions of a day of mourning for military dead, the police action singled out and branded anti-militarist activists as non-members of the legitimate community, implying that they (we) are fair game.

As of this writing, police have summoned 10 additional activists for interrogation. The activists targeted are members of New Profile, a feminist movement working for over a decade to reverse the militarization of state and society in Israel, of which I have been a member since its inception. Our founding event, in October 1998, confronted us with the existence of an unorganized social movement borne then, as it is still, by young people in Israel. Recognizing the central importance of this nascent movement, New Profile upholds their right to open discourse on the crucial issues they face. We provide them with full and accurate information about their prospects -- information with which the authorities are not forthcoming, to put it mildly. This effort is only one of many ways in which New Profile works to change the militarized thinking holding us, all the residents of Israel/Palestine, hostage to the prioritization of military force that has characterized all of Israel's governments to date. While they may enrage some, our activities are totally legal.

The reality today is that rising numbers of young Jewish Israelis (as well as members of the Druze minority also subject to conscription) find themselves unable or unwilling to accept the overused Israeli dictate: "There's no other choice." Four generations and more than six decades of "military solutions," a cycle of violence failing miserably to reach a resolution, have engendered a broad based social movement of young men and women who experience and express severe internal struggles in face of the duty to serve in the military. While Israeli law offers virtually no legal provision for conscientious objection, Israel's courts -- both military and civil -- have presumed to compartmentalize these personal processes, classifying them as purely "political," or (very rarely) as "conscientious" or as exclusively "psychological." Each young individual's experience, however, is both ideological and emotional; involves a complex combination of views, feelings, ideas, beliefs, personality and sense of self. The internal fissures aroused by this process cause many young people dangerous personal distress. In sad testimony to this fact, in recent years, Israeli soldiers' suicides have accounted for more deaths than all the other types of military casualties combined.

According to Haaretz, the criminal investigation of New Profile is motivated by "growing concern at the defense establishment of a growing trend of draft evasion. In July 2007 Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi declared publicly that they would fight the trend." Clearly, it is not New Profile that is worrying them. New Profile is an easy, visible scapegoat through which they hope to sow fear and intimidate future draft dodgers, whom they stigmatize as "shirkers."

The state has declared a war against its youth, against the many thousands who resist the draft and refuse to place their bodies, their minds, their morality at the disposal of visionless politicians. Rather than studying the emerging social change, listening to the rising voices of future citizens and responding with innovative policies, state officials are attempting to criminalize the reality and make an example of the open, legal work supporting some of the young people comprising it. Contriving to identify "felonies" in political resistance, the move is distinctly characteristic of a militarized state abusing its power in a bid to maintain an old, cracking order.

The numbers of draft resisters, in and of themselves, are not the only thing that is worrying state officials. For years now, the army has regularly been exempting tens of thousands from service without difficulty. In fact, several years ago the military and the (very same) defense minister declared a downsizing program, towards creating "a small, smart army." Their worry, today, is the apparent popular vote of no-confidence in their habitual, easy use of the lives and health of soldiers -- a vote no longer limited to alienated, impoverished parts of society but spreading deep into the middle class as well. The actions of young people from all parts of society, more than a few supported by their parents, are threatening to undermine the unlimited freedom with which the army formerly picked, chose and channeled conscripts as it saw fit. These youths' actions and their growing legitimization in Israeli society are also evidence of slippage in the stranglehold of national fear, supposedly "for our very existence" that has, for so long, riveted public attention to the image of an (ever-changing) "ruthless enemy" outside. Those in power, both from the right and the right-called-left, are struggling to keep in place this long-serving means of obscuring corruption and political stasis, of feeding a semblance of "national unity" in the form of "the people's army."

Intensification of this state war on youth is taking place in tandem with the action of a new "High School Seniors Letter" (the Shministim), openly declaring refusal to comply with conscription law. A few years ago, a military court sentenced five members of a previous group to considerable prison terms. And yet, despite this threat, another, consecutive group of young men and women are now publicly declaring their adherence to conscience and their refusal to serve. The timing of a simultaneous investigation into New Profile's alleged "incitement" of so-called "shirkers" seems to indicate fear, on the part of the administration, that declared refusal is merely the tip of a truly extensive, largely submerged movement.

This war on youth is being fought within a broader context of heightened state repression of political dissent. Palestinian citizens of Israel were detained by the hundreds for protesting Israel's attack against Gaza last January. Many remain in detention still, without charges, trial or due process. Activists taking part in nonviolent protests against the land-gobbling dragon of Israel's separation wall are regularly attacked with lethal fire. Just weeks ago Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahme of Bilin was killed by soldiers. Dozens of activists, both Palestinians and Jews, are detained at demonstrations and incarcerated for varying periods. In most cases, the repressive measures applied to Jewish activists still bear no comparison, in terms of their arbitrariness and brutality, to the means employed against Palestinians.

However, the political theater of repression being played out against New Profile is of great importance. First, because every act of repression is important and should be resisted. Second, because when applied to a group of relatively privileged, middle class, largely middle aged, feminists -- such repression may be more visible to mainstream Israeli society, more easily exposing its fabric of lies and ludicrous, trumped-up charges and allowing decent but uninformed people a concrete grasp of the reality of repression. Third, because in the balance, yet again, lie the future of freedom and rights for everyone in Israel/Palestine. Fourth, because what is at stake are the lives of Israeli youth against whom the state is waging this war. What we are struggling for is the future and nature of a democratic, civil society.

Rela Mazali is an author, independent researcher and a feminist peace activist from Israel.

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