Saturday, 29 August 2009

Book review: Síria e Irão

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Syria and Iran-Book Review

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (L) and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R).

By Jim Miles

Syria and Iran: Diplomatic Alliance and Power Politics in the Middle East. Jubin M. Goodarzi. I.B. Taurus & Co. New York/London. 2009

In a well structured academic work, Jubin M. Goodarzi details the interactions of the two countries 'In response to acts of aggression orchestrated by Iraq (1980) and Israel (1982), in both cases with the prior knowledge and tacit support of the USA.' His position is that it has been 'a defensive alliance aimed at neutralizing Iraqi and Israeli offensive capabilities in the Gulf and Near East, and thwarting American encroachment in the Middle East.'

While the work contains many reiteration of ideas, as necessitated by the many interweavings of different diplomatic efforts, they emphasize several ongoing themes: opposition to Israeli interests in the region (with Syria being the only active frontline state against Israel); support of the Palestinians (with major complications along the way vis a vis Beirut and Southern Lebanon); antagonism towards U.S. interests in the region (and their original tacit, now overt support of Israel); and the convoluted manoeuvrings between Arab countries, some aligned with Israel, some against, and both groups desperately balancing rhetoric and actions to maintain their own status and power within the region.


Without too much effort, the reader will come away with the feeling that while the Palestinian cause is a genuine concern for Arab freedom, when it comes to the negotiations of the political elites, the Palestinians play a much diminished role. They become at times simply pawns in the great game of chess being played out in the Middle East. It was not until the end of the era under discussion (up to 1989-90), after the Iran-Iraq war finally ended, that Arab concerns were able to bring the Palestinian cause to the fore, and even then it took the events of the First Intifada to really raise the issue to a pan-Arab consciousness. The latter perhaps indicating that with an active Palestinian resistance making headlines, the elites of the Arab countries had to worry about the effects of the uprising on their own populations.

US Interference

It is obvious to anyone paying attention to current events and current ‘modern’ history that the U.S. has had a long held interest in the strategic and resource value of the Middle East. Originally this involved containing the Soviet Union and negotiating with the compliant Arab countries to secure their oil supplies. With the rise of Gorbachev and the subsequent devolution of the Soviet Empire, the main concern became oil and the support of Israel as an offshore garrison to secure the region. The recent struggle of the resurgent Russia and the rising power of China and India still keeps the region as a focus of U.S. containment-energy policy.

U.S. policy in the region has only “reinvigorated Syrian-Iranian cooperation in the period after the cold war.” At the same time, Syria recognized the limits of Arab power as “Both these Arab countries [Egypt, Saudi Arabia] remained close political allies of the USA and were heavily dependent on it for their military and security requirements.” Their economic dependence is allied with these other dependencies.

As events progressed the alliance continued to strengthen rather than weaken. “Since the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Syria and Iran have intensified their contacts and tried to coordinate their policies to meet the new challenge.” The ongoing chapters that yet need to be written include the success of the Hezbollah in repelling the Israeli attacks in the summer of 2006 and the rise of Hamas within Palestinian politics.

In his introduction and closing Goodarzi re-emphasizes this point. “…since the end of the Cold War, US hegemony in the Middle East has reinforced the logic of an alliance between Syria and Iran.”

A Durable Alliance

The alliance between Syria and Iran has not been without its strengths and weaknesses, without its moment when it appeared to outside observers that it was weak and open to manipulation - meaning mostly separating Syria from Iran based on its Arabic roots.

Goodarzi identifies the paradox of two countries with different ideologies maintaining the alliance over the period of time that it has. The two states “have different ideologies” and both have been “fiercely independent states,” yet at the same time “found it expedient to cooperate to thwart Iraqi and Israeli designs in the region and to frustrate US moves that implicitly or explicitly supported Tel Aviv and Baghdad.”

Iranian interests in Syria were several: support of the Shiite Hezbollah population through which it could influence Israel; placing Iraq in a possible two front war; further containment of Iraq through strategic actions (shutting down the Iraqi oil pipeline, providing airbase support); and on the diplomatic front, establishing the argument that the Iraqi war was not a Persian-Arab conflict, but a war against Israel, foreign intrusion, and compliant Arab regimes.

Syrian interests included support for its interests in Lebanon, the same argument concerning the Persian-Arab definition of the war, its ability to play a surprisingly strong diplomatic role between Iran and other Arab states (and the following benefits that yielded), and mutual antagonism to U.S. adventurism in Lebanon.

The alliance was not without difficulties. The lowest point arrived during the final stage of the Lebanon war, with the Amal militia confronting the rising power of the Hezbollah. While the two sides were supporting opposite sides in the fight for Southern Beirut, they continued their intensive diplomatic negotiations and eventually succeeded in reaching a successful compromise. Other areas of conflict concerned the ongoing attempts by the Arab countries to achieve a pan-Arab rapprochement with Syria, yet behind the scenes Syria remained steadfast in its support of Iran.


Goodarzi provide excellent summaries of his ideas, and the leading word in most cases is “overall”, an indicator that he is about to provide a succinct clear summary of the previous section. Considered with the quotes above and the strength of Goodarzi’s arguments, the alliance - while not without its ongoing conflicts but at the same time strengthened by its commonalities and ability to negotiate through the difficult times - the alliance remains a viable and resilient force in the Middle East. In his closing conclusion he states,

“Hafez Assad, Ruhollah Khomeini and their successors have viewed the region as a strategic whole and regard their alliance as a vital tool with which to further Arab-Islamic interests and increase regional autonomy by diminishing foreign penetration of the Middle East. As a result, to advance their common agenda over the years, both countries have put long -term interests before short-term gains. It is noteworthy that the USA has very little leverage over them today and that they have both staved off isolation in the post cold-war era. Although…not always…successful…their potential to thwart the ambitions of other actors…cannot be denied.”

Goodarzi’s work is a good treatise on the diplomatic manoeuvrings between the two countries and the Arab countries around them. It is academically well written, but might prove a bit repetitive - as was the nature of the alliance and its negotiations, especially during the years concerning the Iraq-Iran war - to maintain the interest of a someone more interested in the ebb and flow of military history in the region. Even with that critique, it is a valuable book that should be read by anyone interested in the general relationships between all the countries in the area. Iran is frequently in the Western media; Syria is as well but its critical role within its alliance with Iran does is not well presented or well understood. This book gives the alliance its proper strength within the workings of Middle East geostrategy.

- Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications

Tutu: Os palestinos estão a pagar pelo Holocausto nazi

fonte:Forum Palestina

O arcebispo sul-africano Desmond Tutu, um dos símbolos da luta no seu país contra o apartheid, considera que "os palestinos estão a pagar" pelo Holocausto nazi contra os judeus na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

"O Ocidente envergonha-se do Holocausto, como deve ser, mas quem paga por isso? Os palestinos.", afirma o arcebispo sul-africano em entrevista publicada hoje pelo diário "Haaretz".

"Um diplomata alemão disse-me uma vez que a Alemanha é culpada de dois erros: o que cometeu com os judeus e o sofrimento dos palestinos", diz Tutu, que visitou Israel e os territórios palestinos com uma delegação da organização "The Elders".

Em alusão à declaração feita na Alemanha pelo primeiro-ministro israelita, Benjamin Netanyahu, de que a lição que Israel deve aprender do Holocausto é que tem que se defender sozinho, Tutu disse: "a lição que Israel deve aprender do Holocausto é que a segurança nunca se garante com muros e armas".

Tutu é partidário de sanções selectivas a Israel pela ocupação dos territórios palestinos, e explicou que "na África do Sul foram importantes" para que se alcançasse a igualdade de direitos entre a comunidade branca e negra.

O arcebispo sul-africano também criticou as organizações judaicas americanas que acusam sistematicamente de anti-semita os que censuram a ocupação israelita dos territórios palestinos.

"Trata-se de algo infeliz", disse Tutu, Prémio Nobel da Paz pela sua luta contra o apartheid.

PCHR weekly report: 3 civis mortos e 10 feridos pelas forcas israelitas nesta semana


PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, 10 wounded by Israeli forces this week

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 20 - 26 August 2009, 3 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and a 4th is missing following attacks in the Gaza Strip. 10 Palestinian civilians were wounded by Israeli gunfire, including 9 in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized in protest to the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.

Israeli settlement expansion in Pisgat Ze'ev (PCHR photo)
Israeli settlement expansion in Pisgat Ze'ev (PCHR photo)

Israeli forces conducted 18 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and two into the Gaza Strip, abducting 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children, in the invasions.

Israeli forces confiscated the equipment of a local radio station in Beit Jala, in the West Bank.

Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded 9 others in the Gaza Strip. Another Palestinian is also missing. In the West Bank, one Palestinian civilian was wounded.

On 24 August 2009, Israeli troops positioned to the northwest of the town of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip (along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel) fired at two Palestinian civilians, including a child, who got close to the border. The child was instantly killed by two bullets to the chest, and the other civilian was seriously wounded.

The two civilians were working on a farm in the town of Beit Lahia, approximately 350 meters away from the border fence. They attempted to get close to the border to find metal wires to sell them. They were unarmed.

In the early morning of Tuesday, 25 August 2009, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel near the Salah al-Din Gate to the south of the town of Rafah on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. Two brothers, Mansour ‘Ali al-Batniji, 30, and Na’el ‘Ali al-Batniji, 20, were killed, and their other brother, Ibrahim, 35, is missing. Another 6 Palestinians were also wounded.

Additionally, two Palestinian civilians were wounded when Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at Palestinian houses and farms in the town of Beit Hanoun.

Israel has continued to impose a total closure and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world. Israeli forces have continued to close all border crossings into the Gaza Strip for more than two years. The Israeli-imposed illegal closure of the Gaza Strip, which has steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation there.

1.5 million people are being denied their basic human rights including freedom of movement, the right to appropriate living conditions, and the right to work, to health, and to pursue an education.

Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 18 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Israeli forces arrested 16 Palestinian civilians, including two children.

Israeli forces raided the offices of Bethlehem 2000 Radio and confiscated its equipment for no apparent reason. The value of the confiscated equipment is estimated at US $150,000. The radio station was established in 1996 and it is licensed by the Palestinian National Authority.

Israeli forces have established checkpoints in and around Jerusalem, severely restricting Palestinian access to the city. Civilians are frequently prevented from praying at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

There are approximately permanent 630 roadblocks, and manned and unmanned checkpoints across the West Bank. In addition, there are some 60-80 ‘flying’ or temporary checkpoints erected across the West Bank by Israeli forces every week.

Israeli settlement activities:

Israeli has continued settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

On 20 August 2009, Israeli settlers living in settlement outposts in the center of Hebron uprooted several carob and pine trees from the garden located opposite to the Ibrahimi Mosque, allegedly to use them for entertainment purposes in the "Abraham Avino" settlement outpost in the center of the old town. Israeli troops and police witnessed the attack, but did not intervene to stop it.

On 23 August 2009, Israeli settlers living in the "Abraham Avino" settlement outpost in the center of the old town of Hebron attacked nearby Palestinian houses with stones, empty bottles, and garbage to force them to leave their houses, which are located near the vegetable market that has been siezed by Israeli forces since 1994. Israeli forces did not intervene to stop the attack, which terrified Palestinian civilians and damaged their houses.

Israeli Annexation Wall:

Israeli forces have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory. During the reporting period, Israeli forces used force against peaceful demonstrations organized by Palestinian civilians and international and Israeli human rights defenders in protest to the construction of the Wall.

Following the Friday Prayer on 21 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered in the center of Bil'in village, west of Ramallah. They moved towards the Wall and, following provocation, threw stones at Israeli troops positioned in the area. Immediately, Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces also used an unknown substance with a disgusting smell against the demonstrators.

Also following the Friday Prayer on 21 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international and human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in Ne'lin village, west of Ramallah, in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall. They clashed with Israeli troops positioned near the Wall. Israeli troops fired rubber-coated metal bullets, sound bombs, and tear gas canisters at demonstrators. Dozens of demonstrators suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Also following the Friday Prayer on 21 August 2009, dozens of Palestinian civilians and international human rights defenders organized a peaceful demonstration in protest of the construction of the Annexation Wall in al-Ma'sara village, south of Bethlehem. Israeli troops closed the entrance of the village and attacked the demonstrators. They fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the demonstrators and violently beat a number of them. As a result, two Palestinian civilians sustained bruises: Musae 'Ali Braijiya, 18; and Saif Nasser Kharyoush, 17.

At approximately 16:00 on Saturday, 22 August 2009, Israeli forces moved into the western and northern parts of Beit 'Awa village, southwest of Hebron. They stopped, checked, detained, and questioned dozens of Palestinian farmers. Before releasing them, Israeli forces warned those farmers against being in areas located near the Wall.

When complete, the illegal Annexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometers around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kilometers of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.

Recommendations to the international community:

Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHR made a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these was a recommendation that international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations, and NGOs participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law, and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.

In addition, the PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit the importation of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

os soldados israelitas atacaram a manifetacao semanal de Nil'in


The Israeli military attacks the weekly protest on Nil'in

One young man was injured and dozens of Palestinians and internationals suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the wall in N'ilin village near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The army attacks nonviolent protesters in the West Bank - photo by Haytham Al katyeb 2009
The army attacks nonviolent protesters in the West Bank - photo by Haytham Al katyeb 2009

After the midday prayers at the local mosque, villagers and their supporters marched toward the location of the Israeli Wall.

According to farmers Israeli soldiers attacked them and their international supporters as soon as they left the village by firing tear gas at them.

One young man was taken to hospital with an injury to his shoulder while dozens suffered effects of tear gas.

The village youth hurled paint bombs at the soldiers. The military reported no injures but the villagers said that they "changed the colors of some jeeps" with the paint-filled balloons.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Roubo de órgãos: israelitas a boicotar IKEA

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Organ Theft Affair: Israelis Boycotting IKEA

This isn't the first time Boström vents suspicions about Israelis stealing organs.

By Kristoffer Larsson

Swedish photojournalist Donald Boström has really infuriated the Israelis and its supporters. On August 17, Sweden’s most widely circulated newspaper, Aftonbaldet, carried an article by Boström entitled 'Our sons plundered for their organs.'

The usual suspects immediately cried 'anti-Semitism,' claiming that the old blood libel accusation has been brought to life again. The Israelis have even threatened to sue him. Such reactions were anticipated, however. Innumerable hate mails have found their way into Mr Boström’s inbox since the publication, including death threats. More surprising is that Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, issued a condemnation of the article. It was 'as shocking and appalling to us Swedes as to Israelis,' the ambassador claimed in a press release that was later withdrawn, having attracted criticism from the Swedish foreign ministry as well as from the government.

On top of that, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that the Swedish government renounce the article, something which would be unconstitutional in Sweden. A statement from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman managed to tacitly draw the attention to—you guessed it!—the Holocaust: “It is regrettable that the Swedish foreign ministry does not intervene when it comes to a blood libel against Jews, which reminds one of Sweden’s conduct during World War II when it also did not intervene.” (I would urge Lieberman, himself a hard-core racist, to read Lenni Brenner’s excellent 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis.)

Lieberman’s Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt blatantly refuses to cave in: “As a member of the Swedish government, acting on the Swedish constitution I have to respect freedom of speech, irrespective of the personal views that I might have.” His boss, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, also rejects commenting on the article. Bildt is expected in Israel in about a week’s time, but Israelis are threatening to cancel his trip.

Despite all the fuss, this isn’t the first time Donald Boström publicly vents suspicions about Israelis stealing organs from Palestinians. One chapter of the book Inshallah: konflikten mellan Israel och Palestina (“Inshallah: the Conflict between Israel and Palestine”), edited by Boström and first published in 2001, was an account of what happened to a 19-year-old Palestinian boy. It includes the photo now published in Aftonbladet. Donald Boström decided to shed new light on the affair following the mass arrest in New Jersey of people involved in illegal organ trade that included a shockingly high number of Rabbis.

This affair originates from a visit to the village of Imatin in 1992. Boström was witness to how 19-year-old Bilal was shot dead, his body abducted and five days later returned. The young man had been cut open – stitches were running from his abdomen up to his chin. The account below is quoted from Boström’s article:

I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed. One example that I encountered on this eerie trip was the young stone-thrower Bilal Achmed Ghanan. (…)

When Bilal was close enough they needed only to pull the triggers. The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair. Villagers say that people from both the UN and the Red Crescent were close by, heard the discharge and came to look for wounded people in need of care. Some arguing took place as to who should take care of the victim. Discussions ended with Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family. Five days later he came back, dead and wrapped in green hospital fabric.

A villager recognized Captain Yahya, the leader of the military column who had transported Bilal from the postmortem center Abu Kabir, outside of Tel Aviv, to the place for his final rest. “Captain Yahya is the worst of them all,” the villager whispered in my ear. After Yahya had unloaded the body and changed the green fabric for a light cotton one, some male relatives of the victim were chosen by the soldiers to do the job of digging and mixing cement.

Together with the sharp noises from the shovels we could hear laughter from the soldiers who, as they waited to go home, exchanged some jokes. As Bilal was put in the grave his chest was uncovered. Suddenly it became clear to the few people present just what kind of abuse the boy had been exposed to. Bilal was not by far the first young Palestinian to be buried with a slit from his abdomen up to his chin.

The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.

Boström took a picture of Bilal’s lifeless body. He was buried without being cut open a second time. Hence, there is no certain evidence that Bilal’s organs were stolen. So, are the Palestinians merely spreading baseless, anti-Semitic rumours? Circumstances suggest otherwise. In 1992, 133 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. Bilal was one of dozens of Palestinian victims to be cut open. The Israelis claim they are merely carrying out postmortem examinations in order to conclude how they died. But why, Boström asks, would autopsies be necessary when the cause of death is already known? After all, Bilal was shot dead by the Israelis just before they snatched his body. So why go through the trouble of a postmortem? The Israeli explanation doesn’t add up. Boström is perfectly right in calling for an investigation. Illegal organ trade is a highly lucrative business. It is not unthinkable that people in “the most moral army in the world,” as the Israelis like to call their army, were involved at some level in this trafficking.

Donald Boström has spoken to about 20 of the Palestinian families who had a loved one that ended up in the same conditions as Bilal. They have their suspicions as to what happened. It is hardly surprising then that Boström is not the only one to have come across suspicions of organ theft. Dr. A. Clare Brandabur, teaching at the Department of American Culture and Literature at Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey, has lived and travelled extensively in Palestine. Upon reading about the affair, Dr. Brandabur commented:

This information resonates with reports from Palestinians in Gaza which I heard during the first Intifada. When I interviewed Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi, head of the Red Crescent in Gaza, I mentioned to him reports of shootings of Palestinian children at times when there were no “clashes” going on — a solitary 6 year old entering his school-yard in the morning with his book-bag on his back. The soldiers abducted the wounded child at gunpoint, then his body would be returned a few days later having undergone an “autopsy at Abu Kabir Hospital.” I asked Dr. Shafi if he had considered the possibility that these killings were being done for organ transplant, since (as Israel Shahak notes in Jewish History, Jewish Religion, it is not allowed to take Jewish organs to save a Jewish life, but it is allowed to take the organs of non-Jews to save Jewish lives. Dr. Shafi said he had suspected such things but since they had no access to the records of Abu Kabi Hospital, there was no way to verify these suspicions.

And there’s more. Palestinian journalist Kawther Salam, living in exile in Vienna, says she is volunteering to testify on Boström’s behalf if the Israelis go through with their threats to sue. 'The issue of stealing the Palestinian organs is known to everybody in Palestine,' she writes. Having worked as a journalist under Israeli occupation for 22 years, she has seen a lot.

Salam continues: 'I personally was witness of the Israeli soldiers and military vehicles kidnapping the bodies of dead Palestinians from the emergency rooms of hospitals, in some other cases I saw the soldiers following the Palestinians to the cemetery, to steal the body from the family before the burial. This vile practice became so widespread that many people started carrying the bodies of the murdered to be buried at home, in the garden, under the house or under trees, instead of waiting for the ambulance to take them to the hospital. Palestinian sources now claim they have solid evidence of organ theft.'

Whether their claims are accurate remains to be seen. However, these suspicions are far from new; they have been voiced for decades. When Boström wrote about Bilal and the suspicions as to what had happened to him in his book eight years ago, it was met with silence. Further, he doesn’t say there’s a direct link between the murdered Palestinians and the wicked New Jersey Rabbis (there probably isn’t one, given the time line). However, following the mass arrest, people were more open to the idea that Israelis might be stealing organs from Palestinians after all. Boström was hoping Bilal might get some justice even after all this time.

Ostensibly, Israel is using the article to get a message across: Sweden is an anti-Semitic country. They are set to pressure the Swedish government until it condemns the ‘blood libel accusation’. All of a sudden everyone is discussing good old anti-Semitism instead of Israel’s state terrorism and its apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people.

An online petition is now circulating in Israel, calling for a boycott of IKEA. 10,000 Israelis have signed it so far. Needless to say, IKEA has nothing to do with this. But what can possibly be more Swedish then IKEA? In the short term, Israel might be able to divert attention from the more serious issues. In the long term, Israel is only making enemies. There was a time when the entire Western World supported Israel. Those days are long gone.

- Kristoffer Larsson is a Swedish theology student occasionally commenting on political issues. He works with the Bethlehem-based International Middle East Media Center and is a Director of Deir Yassin Remembered. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

tranquilidade para Israel - a que custo?

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Appeasing Israel - At What Cost?

US President Barack Obama.

By Jeff Gates

Barack Hussein Obama’s June 4th speech in Cairo was awaited with keen anticipation by a global population of 1.3 billion Muslims outraged at the abuse that Zionism has long inflicted on its neighbors—with U.S. support. Ten weeks have since passed. The potentially positive impact of his remarks was immediately offset when he appeared the next day at the Buchenwald death camp in Germany. The timing of that Holocaust photo-op resolved all doubts about who stage-manages this presidency.

Media attention immediately shifted back to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the lead-up to the Cairo speech, Obama’s White House handlers enabled this right-winger to proclaim—from the White House—that peace with the Palestinians ranked a distant second to Tel Aviv’s concerns about Iran. Soon after the Cairo speech, Netanyahu reluctantly referenced a “two state solution”—though only under duress from Middle East envoy George Mitchell. Obama quickly portrayed as an “important step forward” this grudging referral to an agreed-to strategy.

In truth, Netanyahu announced several giant steps backward. Rather than agree to negotiate a two state solution, he set preconditions certain to preclude two states, leaving nothing to negotiate. Again negating the potentially positive impact from Cairo, Obama praised the Israeli leader even as he insisted that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” where Jerusalem as “Israel’s capital will remain united.”

Netanyahu also insisted on Israel’s right to colonize even more Palestinian land by expanding the very settlements destined to preclude a viable Palestinian state. By applauding this defiant speech, Obama inflamed the very conditions that have precluded peace in the Middle East for more than six decades. In the ensuing ten weeks, Netanyahu’s stance has only further hardened—with Obama’s tacit approval.

Anticipating pressure to negotiate in good faith, Tel Aviv opened a three-front assault. First, Foreign Minister Avignor Lieberman (from Moldova) began talks in Moscow. By conducting diplomacy in fluent Russian, he showed that Israel could—and would—turn elsewhere for the “special relationship” that Tel Aviv has long enjoyed with the U.S.

Second, the Israel lobby opened a domestic assault on Obama by announcing, “Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives.” The lobby also reminded Obama, a political product of Ashkenazi funding from West Side Chicago, just where his presidential bread is buttered.

Third, as soon as Middle East envoy George Mitchell opened talks with Damascus, the first negotiations since the U.S. withdrew its ambassador in 2005, Netanyahu gave a speech on Syria in which he made no mention of the Golan Heights (seized during Israel’s preemptive 1967 war) while including terms certain to ensure that peace with Syria would also remain beyond reach.

Yet again the Obama team appeased the Israeli leader. With no need to cite the high-profile Holocaust photo-op, the official Syrian newspaper noted simply, “This is the principle that always guides Israel when approaching the Zionist-Arab conflict. The Israelis see themselves as victims rather than the aggressor.”

By again failing to stand up to the Zionist state and its extensive lobby in the U.S., Obama once again enabled the very conduct that most endangers U.S. national security. While his words in Cairo promised a “new beginning,” his actions both before and after that speech signaled business-as-usual.

If he continues to placate Israeli extremists, his conduct may well induce another terrorist attack. Should another attack occur, recent history suggests that an orgy of evidence will point to Iran-backed Hezbollah while Israel again portrays itself as a hapless victim in need of U.S. protection from an “existential threat.” Absent presidential resolve to ensure that “special” is expunged from the U.S.-Israeli relationship, this entangled alliance will continue to ensure that the U.S. can be portrayed as guilty by its association with this enclave’s extremist behavior.

With his remarks, Netanyahu transformed the two state solution into a bargaining chip. By his insistence on terms that preclude a final settlement, he reconfirmed Tel Aviv’s commitment to sustain this conflict. By continuing Israel’s expansion of the settlements, he ensured that peace would remain beyond reach. Obama’s propensity to appease at time-critical junctures suggests he will continue on a course that invites more terrorism—either by Israel or by those provoked by U.S. support of its extremism.

Any objective assessment of this presidency would reveal its disproportionate pro-Israeli composition. Democrat Harry Truman, a Christian-Zionist, extended nation-state recognition to this Zionist enclave. Republican G.W. Bush, another Christian-Zionist, staffed his presidency virtually the same as Democrat Obama—with a vast cadre of pro-Israelis. With so little difference in perspective, it is little wonder there is so little difference in Israeli behavior. Or in the risks that this relationship imposes on the U.S.

This trans-partisan “insider” operation shares an allegiance neither to party nor president. Its only loyalty is to a shared covenant whose obligations to an expansive Greater Israel take precedence over U.S. interests. The scope and scale of this shared bias suggest that the only way for the U.S. to restore its security is to withhold funding for Israel, withdraw its diplomats and reshape its foreign policy around U.S. interests.

Should this latest occupant of the White House continue to act inconsistent with U.S. interests, this young Commander in Chief must be reminded why the Framers set such a low evidentiary standard for proving treason. As a former professor of constitutional law, surely he knows that a conviction for that capital offense requires only proof of “adhering” (or granting “aid and comfort”) to an enemy—whether domestic or foreign.

- Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide, Jeff Gates’ latest book is Guilt By Association—How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War (2008). His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. For two decades, an adviser to policy-makers worldwide. Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (1980-87). He contributed this article to

A "indústria da paz" do Médio Oriente

fonte:Somos todos Palestinos (Traducao)

por Faris Giacaman [*]
Cartoon de Latuff.

Ao descobrirem que sou palestino, muitas pessoas que encontro na universidade aqui nos Estados Unidos ficam ansiosas por informar-me de várias actividades em que têm participado a fim de promover "coexistência" e "diálogo" entre ambos os lados do "conflito", sem dúvida à espera de um aceno de aprovação da minha parte. Contudo, estes esforços são danosos e minam o apelo da sociedade civil palestina em favor do boicote, desinvestimento e sanções a Israel – o único meio de pressionar Israel a cessar as suas violações dos direitos dos palestinos.

Quando eu frequentava o secundário, em Ramalá, uma das iniciativas "pessoa-a-pessoa" mais conhecidas, a Seeds of Peace, muitas vezes visitava a minha escola, pedindo aos estudantes para aderirem ao seu programa. Quase todos os anos eles enviavam alguns dos meus colegas a um campo de Verão nos EUA com um grupo de estudantes israelenses. Segundo o sítio web de Seeds of Peace, ensinam-lhes no campo a "desenvolver empatia, respeito e confiança bem como liderança, comunicação e aptidões de negociação – componentes críticos que facilitarão a coexistência pacífica da geração seguinte". Eles pintam um quadro róseo e a maior parte das pessoas na universidade fica muito surpreendida ao ouvir que penso serem tais actividades equivocadas na melhor das hipóteses e imorais na pior. Por que diabos eu era contra a "coexistência", perguntavam-me sempre.

Durante os últimos anos tem havido apelos crescentes a por um fim à opressão do povo palestino por Israel através de um movimento internacional de boicote, desinvestimento e sanções (BDS). Uma das objecções comuns ao boicote é que ele é contra-producente e que o "diálogo" e a "promoção da coexistência" são muito mais construtivos do que boicotes.

A partir do início dos acordos de Oslo, em 1993, tem havido toda uma indústria que opera no sentido de reunir israelenses e palestinos nestes grupos de "diálogo". A finalidade declarada de tais grupos é a criação de entendimento entre "ambos os lados conflito", a fim de "construir pontes" e "ultrapassar barreiras". Contudo, a suposição de que tais actividades ajudarão a facilitar a paz não é não só incorrecta como realmente carente de moral.

A presunção de que o diálogo é necessário a fim de alcançar a paz ignora completamente o contexto histórico da situação na Palestina. Ela assume que ambos os lados cometeram uma quantidade mais ou menos igual de atrocidades um contra o outro e que são igualmente culpáveis pelos erros que foram cometido. É assumido que nenhum lado está completamente certo ou completamente errado, mas que ambos têm direitos legítimos que deveriam ser tratados e certos pontos mortos que devem ser ultrapassados. Portanto, ambos os lados devem ouvir o ponto de vista do "outro" a fim de promover o entendimento e a comunicação, os quais presumivelmente levariam à "coexistência" ou a "reconciliação".

Tal abordagem é considerada "equilibrada" ou "moderada", como se isto fosse uma coisa boa. Contudo, a realidade no terreno é imensamente diferente do que a visão "moderada" deste assim chamado "conflito". Mesmo a palavra "conflito" é enganosa, pois ela implica uma disputa entre duas partes simétricas. A realidade não é assim; não se trata de um caso de simples falta de entendimento ou de ódio mútuo que se atravessa no caminho da paz. O contexto da situação em Israel/Palestina é de colonialismo, apartheid e racismo, uma situação na qual há um opressor e um oprimido, um colonizador e um colonizado.

Em casos de colonialismo e apartheid, a história mostra que regimes coloniais não abandonam o poder sem luta e resistência popular, ou pressão internacional directa. É uma visão particularmente ingénua assumir que a persuasão e a "conversação" convencerão um sistema opressor a renunciar ao seu poder.

O regime do apartheid na África do Sul, por exemplo, foi finalizado após anos de luta com a ajuda vital de uma campanha internacional de sanções, desinvestimentos e boicotes. Se alguém houvesse sugerido aos oprimidos sul-africanos que viviam nos bantustões a tentar e entender o ponto de vista do outro (isto é, dos partidários da supremacia branca), as pessoas teria rido de uma noção tão ridícula. Analogamente, durante a luta indiana pela emancipação do domínio colonial britânico, Mahatma Gandhi não teria sido venerado como um combatente pela justiça se houvesse renunciado à satyagraha – "ater-se firmemente à verdade", a sua expressão para o movimento de resistência não violenta – e ao invés disso houvesse advogado em favor do diálogo com os ocupantes colonialistas britânicos a fim de entender o seu lado da história.

Entretanto, é verdade que alguns sul-africanos brancos tomaram posição de solidariedade com os negros oprimidos e participaram na luta contra o apartheid. E havia, certamente, alguns britânicos dissidentes das políticas coloniais do seu governo. Mas aqueles apoiantes posicionaram-se explicitamente ao lado dos oprimidos com o objectivo claro de acabar com a opressão, de combater as injustiças perpetradas pelos seus governos e representantes. Qualquer reunião conjunta de ambas as partes, portanto, só pode ser moralmente sã quando os cidadãos do estado opressivo posicionam-se em solidariedade aos membros do grupo oprimido, não sob a bandeira do "diálogo" com o objectivo de "entender o outro lado da história". O diálogo só é aceitável quando efectuado a fim de entender o problema do oprimido, não no contexto de "ouvir ambos os lados".

Entretanto, tem sido argumentado pelos proponentes palestinos destes grupos de diálogo que tais actividades podem ser utilizados como uma ferramenta – não para promover o assim chamado "entendimento" – mas para realmente ganhar israelenses para luta palestina pela justiça, persuadindo-os ou "tendo eles de reconhecer a nossa humanidade".

Contudo, esta concepção também é ingénua. Infelizmente, a maior parte dos israelenses caiu vítima da propaganda com que o establishment sionista e os seus muitos instrumentos os alimentam desde tenra idade. Além disso, exigirá um esforço enorme e concertado contrariar esta propaganda através da persuasão. A maior dos israelenses, por exemplo, não será convencida de que o seu governo atingiu um nível de criminalidade que justifique um apelo ao boicote. Mesmo que eles sejam convencidos logicamente das brutalidades da opressão israelense, provavelmente não será o suficiente para levá-los a qualquer forma de acção. Isto tem-se provado reiteradamente verdadeiro, o que é evidente no fracasso abjecto de tais grupos de diálogo para formarem qualquer movimento abrangente anti-ocupação desde os seus primórdios com o processo de Oslo. Na realidade, nada menos do que a pressão sustentada – não a persuasão – fará os israelenses perceberem que os direitos dos palestinos têm de ser rectificados. Esta é a lógica do movimento BDS, o qual é inteiramente oposto à falsa lógica do diálogo.

Com base num relatório não publicado de 2002 do Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, o San Francisco Chronicle informou em Outubro último que "entre 1993 e 2000 [apenas], governos e fundações ocidentais gastaram entre US$20 milhões e US$25 milhões nos grupos de diálogo". Um ulterior inquérito em grande escala a palestinos que participaram nos grupos de diálogo revelou que esta grande despesa falhou em produziu "um único activista da paz em qualquer dos lados". Isto confirma a crença entre palestinos de que todo o empreendimento é um desperdício de tempo e de dinheiro.

O inquérito também revelou que os participantes palestinos não eram plenamente representativos da sua sociedade. Muitos participantes tendiam a ser "filhos ou amigos de altos responsáveis palestinos ou das elites económicas. Apenas sete por cento dos participantes eram residentes em campos de refugiados, muito embora eles constituam 16 por cento da população palestina". O inquérito também descobriu que 91 por cento dos participantes palestinos já não mantinham laços com os israelenses com quem se encontraram. Além disso, 93 por cento não foram abordados com actividade de campo a seguir e apenas cinco por cento concordaram em que toda a experiência ajudou a "promover paz, cultura e diálogo entre participantes".

Apesar do inequívoco fracasso destes projectos de diálogo, continua a ser investido dinheiro neles. Como explicou Omar Barghouti, um dos membros fundados do movimento BDS na Palestina, em The Electronic Intifada, "houve demasiadas tentativas de diálogo desde 1993 ... tornou-se uma indústria – chamamo-la a indústria da paz".

Isto pode ser atribuído parcialmente a dois factores. O factor dominante é o papel utilizável de tais projectos em relações públicas. O Seeds of Peace, por exemplo, jacta-se da sua legitimidade apresentando um impressionante conjunto de endossos por parte de políticos e autoridades tais como Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George Mitchell, Shimon Peres, George Bush, Colin Powell e Tony Blair, dentre outros. O segundo factor é a necessidade de certos "esquerdistas" e "liberais" israelenses sentirem como se estivessem a fazer alguma coisa admirável ao "questionarem-se", quando na realidade eles não tomam nenhum posicionamento significativo contra os crimes que o seu governo comete em seu nome. Os políticos e os governos ocidentais continuam a financiar tais projectos, promovendo dessa forma as suas imagens como apoiantes da "coexistência", e os "liberais" participantes israelenses podem isentar-se de qualquer culpa pela participação no nobre acto de "promover a paz". Um relacionamento simbiótico, muito insatisfatório.

A falta de resultados de tais iniciativos não é surpreendente, pois os objectivos declarados do diálogo e grupos de "coexistência" não incluem convencer israelenses a ajudar palestinos a ganharem o respeito dos seus direitos inalienáveis. A exigência mínima de reconhecer a natureza inerentemente opressiva de Israel está ausente nestes grupos de diálogo. Ao invés disso, estas organizações operam sob a dúbia suposição de que o "conflito" é muito complexo e multifacetado, onde há "dois lados em toda história" e que cada narrativa tem certas afirmações válidas assim como dúbias.

Quando o apelo autorizado Campanha Palestina pelo Boicote Académico e Cultural de Israel faz o seu caminho, quaisquer actividades conjuntas palestino-israelenses – quer sejam projecções de filmes ou campos de Verão – pode ser aceitável só quando o seu objectivo declarado for finalizar, protestar e/ou despertar a consciência quanto à opressão dos palestinos.

Qualquer israelense que procure interagir com palestinos, com o objectivo claro de solidariedade e de ajudá-los a acabar com a opressão, será saudado de braços abertos. Mas deve haver cautela, contudo, quando são feitos convites para participar num diálogo entre "ambos os lados" do assim chamado "conflito". Qualquer apelo a um discursos "equilibrado" sobre esta questão – onde o lema "há dois lados em toda história" é reverenciado quase religiosamente – é intelectualmente e moralmente desonesto pois ignora o facto de que, quando se trata de casos de colonialismo, apartheid e opressão não tal coisa como "equilíbrio". A sociedade opressora, de modo geral, não renunciará aos seus privilégios sem pressão. É por isso que a campanha BDS é um importante instrumento de mudança.
[*] Estudante palestino da Cisjordânia, a fazer o segundo ano da universidade nos Estados Unidos

O original encontra-se em

'Ilegal .. Imoral "

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

'Illegal .. Immoral'
Islamic Hamas movement on Thursday (August 27) said the session that the Palestinian National Council (PNC) held in the West Bank city of Ramallah was "illegal and immoral." "What the PNC discharged betrays the Palestinian understandings," said Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas lawmaker, adding that "everything resulted from the meeting is invalid." The PNC, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)'s parliament, convened and appointed six members to the vacant seats of the organization's executive committee. The PLO represents most of the Palestinian factions except Islamic Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the less-influential Islamic Jihad. Hamas, which won the parliamentary elections in 2006, is in the middle of Egyptian-sponsored talks with Fatah to get its share in the PLO. Hamas says the PLO and the PNC files are put on the agenda of Egyptian-sponsored national dialogue which aims at reconciling Hamas and Fatah under a unified government. (Reference for text: Xinhua. Photo: ENA/file)

As paredes das prisões


Prison walls
Joy Ellison writing from al-Tuwani, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 27 August 2009

A Palestinian woman is forced to wait with her two sons at an Israeli army checkpoint in al-Tuwani. (Christian Peacemaker Teams)

"Nasser says hello," the woman said as she stood in my doorway and smiled. I was barely able to choke out, "Say hello to him too." Nasser, the woman's husband, was in prison. He was arrested on 20 July during a peaceful demonstration in his West Bank village of al-Tuwani. He did nothing wrong, nothing but build a house on land he owns. A Palestinian need do nothing more to be treated like a criminal.

For the last month, Nasser's family has been waiting for him to come home. Nearly each week, an Israeli judge considered Nasser's case and Nasser waited to be told when he would be released from jail. "There will be another hearing next Thursday," the judge said each time. "Maybe then he can come home," I said to myself.

Last week, Nasser's family was told that he could come home if Nasser paid a fine of 15,000 shekels (approximately $4,000), an impossibly large sum for someone from a village that has been impoverished by the confiscation of its land. The court never spoke with any of the Palestinians who witnessed Nasser's arrest. My colleagues with Christian Peacemaker Teams videotaped the entire incident, but our tapes were never entered into evidence. The court just levied the fine and, frantically, the village of al-Tuwani gathered the money together. Last Monday, they tired to deliver it to the court, only to be told that the court would only accept the money on Sunday. Come Sunday, the court asked for another 5,000 shekels. And Nasser's family continued to wait for him.

There are more than 11,000 Palestinians just like Nasser. They wait in Israeli jails, not knowing when they will see their families. This is how Israel treats Palestinians going about their everyday lives -- building houses for their families, grazing their sheep, or going to work. Meanwhile, the Israeli police refuse to prosecute Israeli settlers for violent crimes. Time and time again, my colleagues and I document settler violence against Palestinians and show our videotapes to the Israeli police. Still, the police refuse to prosecute settlers even when presented with overwhelming evidence. Conversely, it takes only the word of a settler to land a Palestinian in jail.

Ramadan began and Nasser's eldest son told me that his father was fasting in prison. "But there isn't good food for him when he breaks the fast," he explained. "Nasser really wants to come home." I didn't know what to say, but the look on my face must have said it all. "You're just like Adam," Nasser's wife said, laughing. Adam is Nasser's youngest child. He is four years old. "He wants his father, too."

"It is possible," wrote the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, "for prison walls to disappear." Yes, Adam and I both want Nasser to come home. Even more than that, I want an end to the brutal occupation that separates so many parents from their children.

Late at night on 24 August, I saw fireworks in the sky above al-Tuwani and heard the words, "Nasser's home!" I rushed to his house and there was Nasser, his mouth wide open and eyes shining, laughing the laugh that I have missed for the last month. Nasser's wife handed me tea and as I took it, I realized that the sparkle in her eyes was back. The change in all of Nasser's family was palpable. A hole the size of one man -- father, husband, brother and son -- was filled. But the occupation that tears apart of the lives of Palestinians rages on.

Joy Ellison is an American activist with Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization that supports Palestinian nonviolent resistance. She lives in al-Tuwani, a small village in the South Hebron Hills which is nonviolently resisting settlement expansion and violence. She writes about her experiences on her blog, "I Saw it in Palestine" at

Uma reconciliação impossível

fonte: EI

An impossible reconciliation
Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 August 2009

Palestinians in Gaza wearing masks of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh call for unity between the feuding groups. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

A delegation of Egyptian security officials have once again embarked on another mission impossible to lay the ground for the next round of intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks originally scheduled to take place between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo later this month. The Egyptian delegation, headed by intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, first met with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, before proceeding on to Ramallah, Damascus and Gaza for meetings with other Fatah and Hamas officials in the hope of softening their respective positions in advance of the Cairo meeting.

The Egyptians reportedly suggested that the factions accept that Palestinian legislative and presidential elections, currently set for January, should be held prior to a reconciliation agreement. But neither this idea, nor any others, have succeeded in breaking the logjam.

Both sides have reconfirmed their commitment to attending the Cairo meeting, as well as their resolve to reach an understanding, though such ritually expressed sentiments have never served as an indicator of imminent progress.

One major stumbling block has been hundreds of Hamas political detainees held in Palestinian Authority and Fatah-controlled prisons in the West Bank. (The Palestinian Authority routinely denied such arrests, although Abbas announced that 200 Hamas prisoners would be freed on the occasion of the start of Ramadan.) Hamas also demands that Fatah security forces supplied, trained and supervised by US General Keith Dayton halt their crackdown on resistance fighters from Hamas as part of the American-backed plan for crushing any form of resistance to Israeli occupation.

This really is the heart of the matter. Hamas is in effect asking its Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA) opponent to abandon its primary role undertaken as part of its "peace strategy" and its commitments to the so-called "international community," the Quartet roadmap, as well as the Dayton plan. Fatah and the PA apparatus it controls adheres to this US-sponsored anti-resistance strategy as the primary condition for the continuation of international financing for the PA.

This is why Hamas would obviously be first on the PA's target list. This also explains why the PA prisons are full of Hamas members and why several have allegedly died under PA torture in the past month alone.

Hamas -- understandably from its perspective -- sees the continued pursuit and killing of its members by PA forces as totally incompatible with any reconciliation. For its part, the PA boasts that these same actions (such as a notorious incident in Qalqiliya in May when PA forces attacked a house where Hamas members were hiding, resulting in six deaths) are evidence that the PA is fulfilling its obligations under the roadmap to "fight terror."

Any indication on the part of the Abbas-controlled PA that it would abandon these commitments would put it in an untenable position with its foreign financiers and backers. Whenever Abbas has been faced with the choice of either peace with Hamas or continued support from his foreign patrons, he has chosen the latter.

It may not be unknown that Abbas and his Ramallah Authority can only function within specified parameters tailored for the convenience, indeed the security needs, of the occupying power and the pro-Israel policies of its foreign supporters. Hamas has no place within that tightly built scheme. Despite Hamas' willingness to enter the political system and play by the rules, the idea has been to eliminate the resistance movement from the equation completely, permitting it no political role whatsoever.

The only conditions it seems on which Abbas would allow a reconciliation is if Hamas submits to Fatah primacy and permanent control of the PA and agrees to Fatah's so-far fruitless political strategy. A previous reconciliation -- the so-called Mecca agreement of early 2007 -- was short-lived precisely because it included Hamas as an equal partner. Under US pressure, Abbas backed away from the accord, demolishing the national unity government it established.

The refusal to include Hamas on the basis of full partnership and respect for the large constituency it represents, ensured the failure of the previous rounds of reconciliation talks. These facts are not unknown to either the patrons of the reconciliation dialogue nor to the many others who constantly blame the Palestinians -- often Hamas -- for failing to patch up their differences.

The 1993 Oslo accords, which created the Palestinian Authority, had to be regularly adapted to keep the emphasis on the occupier's demands. Any effort to steer things in a direction that allowed Palestinians to draw any benefit from the arrangements, however meager, were strongly opposed by Israel with the United States supporting it. Israel saw the accords solely as an instrument to manage the Palestinians so it could continue to enjoy a trouble-free occupation and colonization of their land.

It was for this reason that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was at some stage deemed no longer an appropriate "peace partner" for Israel. Although he went a long way to accommodate Israel's demands, his far-reaching concessions were never recognized as adequate, even when they compromised fundamental Palestinian rights and interests. He reached a point where he could not surrender any more Palestinian rights without totally losing support and credibility among his people.

So by early 2002, a new Palestinian leadership (or a "puppet leader" as Paul McGeough describes it in his revealing book Kill Khaled), had to be installed. Although former US President George W. Bush is often credited with pushing for the Palestinian leader to be replaced, McGeough says that the idea actually originated with the Israeli Mossad. Because ousting Arafat was deemed unfeasible due to his popularity amongst Palestinians, then Mossad chief Efraim Halevy devised a scheme for dealing with the situation. "Israel could not remove Arafat, but Halevy believed Israel could manipulate others to rearrange the infrastructure of Palestinian power in a way that would allow much of it to be invested elsewhere," McGeough writes.

Halevy's plan was approved by then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and marketed in Arab and foreign capitals, where -- according to Halevy -- it was well-received. Bush enthusiastically adopted the plan, which became the origin of his June 2002 call for a new Palestinian leadership.

Halevy's bloodless coup against Arafat was planned such that Arafat would remain as a "titular head," but would be stripped of all his powers, which would be vested in a new prime minister. The man selected for this job "on the urging of Washington and the Israelis," writes McGeough, was Mahmoud Abbas, who later succeeded Arafat as Fatah leader and PA president. Control of funds was vested in a finance minister; an unknown World Bank official called Salam Fayyad was drafted in for this role. Today, Fayyad serves as Abbas' appointed prime minister.

It is hard to find in history an example of a liberation movement being transformed so completely into a tool of the oppressor. But understanding this sad reality is the key to understanding why talk of intra-Palestinian "reconciliation" is futile as long as this situation persists.

The failure of the recent Egyptian mission has inevitably led to the postponement of the scheduled Cairo reconciliation round until after Ramadan. In the absence of the will to declare the reconciliation effort sterile, most likely this will not be the last postponement.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times and is republished with the author's permission.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Lutar pelo direito de andar

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Fighting for the Right to Walk

Samar, 4, was supposedly one of the lucky ones on that day.

By Ramzy Baroud

Gaza's troubles have somehow been relegated, if not completely dropped from the mainstream media’s radar, and subsequently the world’s conscience and consciousness. Weaning the public from the sadness there conveys the false impression that things are improving and that people are starting to move on and rebuild their lives.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Since the conclusion of Israel’s war last year, the Palestinian Ministry of Health declared that 344 Gaza patients have reportedly been added to the swelling number of casualties.

Khaled Abed Rabbu, once a young father of four is a precise living example, such an eloquent paradigm of what no human being ought to endure in this world laden with international human rights organizations, mediators, advocates and diplomats.

His house was completely destroyed, as were two of his little girls. He buried 7 year old Soad and Amal, just two, soon after burying any hope that Samar his 4 year old daughter’s future would be any less bleak.

According to an IslamOnline report, Khaled’s wife, Kawthar lined up the children in front of their house in the Jabaliya refugee camp, holding a white flag. But their internationally recognized gesture was disregarded by Israeli forces and the shelling of their home and family commenced. These miserable events unfolded at Christmastime last year, when the Rabbu family was reduced by nearly half.

But since then, they, and a disgracefully large number of other such families, have somehow slipped our minds. Completely surrounded still, and prevented from ever advancing back to point zero, the Israeli siege on Gaza is what one must certainly brand the quintessence of barbarism.

Like in December of 2008, the Israeli blockade means that almost nothing enters or exits Gaza; injured in need of treatment are not allowed exit nor entrance, as is the case with medical supplies, medicine, food and almost anything in-between.

With entire neighborhoods pulverized in the attack, concrete is desperately needed to rebuild the many homes, mosques, hospitals and other structures that were destroyed. That too, is forbidden. And so Khaled, like so many others, has little hope that his home, which has now lain in shambles for the better part of a year, will be restored any time soon.

From September 14 to October 2, 2009, the Human Rights Council will conduct a session where the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will present its report based on the fact finding mission, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, conducted after the Israeli attacks.

Nearly eight months after the bloodletting of Operation Cast Lead, a 34 page report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was released on August 13, pressing for a lifting of the Gaza blockade. The new report, which will be presented along with Goldstone’s report in September, lays out the many incomprehensible details of how the Israelis battered the Strip, one of the most impoverished and the most densely populated piece of Planet Earth. The details were laid out, chastising Israel for snubbing the most basic norms of human decency:

“Under the Universal Declaration of Human rights, everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country…and everyone has the right to seek asylum. Such calls were ignored, and the borders of the Gaza Strip remained closed throughout the conflict.”

“The right to health of children, set out in article 24 of CRC, is of particular concern in Gaza. United Nations agencies, Ministry of Health officials and health NGOs report that rising poverty, unemployment and food insecurity, compounded by the conflict, have increased the threat of child malnutrition. In January, UNICEF said that 10.3 per cent of Gazan children under five were stunted.”

The report continued on, expressing concern that the only export allowed out of Gaza in nearly two years was 13 large truckloads of cut flowers, fully recognizing that the siege was in direct response to the Gazan people exercising their right to elect the Hamas government.

From the denial of food to medical supplies to housing to clean water to education to any basic sense of what is called the “highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” according to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Israel managed, as the report concluded, to deny pretty much every last one.

One has to wonder, and even after so many years of witnessing such amazing ingenuity when it comes to tormenting the Palestinians, does the Israeli government, and further, does the Israeli public feel any sense of shame, remorse or even the slightest embarrassment when the most basic norms of human behavior must be laid out in so elementary a fashion, reminding, and then re-reminding them that it is a fundamental human right to have access to something as basic as food and clean water?

This is a thought that Khaled must ponder from time to time. It is sure that life has been no cake-walk for Khaled, but perhaps this last year has been the most trying of all. Two little ones lost, homeless, and his third of four children struggling to walk in a Belgium hospital.

Samar, his four year old, was supposedly one of the lucky ones on that day, for she survived, and was one of very few that escaped to safety through Egypt’s sealed border. But she has two bullets lodged in her tiny spine, so deeply embedded that Belgian surgeons cannot remove them. So now she is paralyzed, her body propped up and supported by a vibrant pink and purple back brace, like a fairy’s suit of armor. Chances of ever walking again are grim. Just two or three short years after graduating from a crawl, and now she will most likely be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, even though her doctors and her mother say that she is desperate to walk again.

And so it seems to be the sad case that this exhaustive 34 page report failed to mention, or perhaps it may be until this point that a clause has never been drafted, declaring the universal right for every little girl and boy to walk.

- Ramzy Baroud ( is an author of several books 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’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London), which is now available for pre-orders at Amazon.

Imagens do Ramadão

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Próxima geração de Bil'in


Bilin's next generation
Jody McIntyre writing from Bilin, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 26 August 2009

A young Palestinian boy protests in Bilin against the Israeli army arresting a videographer from the village, October 2006. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Every Friday, Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Bilin march to Israel's apartheid wall, which has stolen more than half their land. But this day was a Wednesday, and the kids' turn to demonstrate.

It was a beautiful morning, the perfect time to add a new element to the nonviolent resistance in Bilin. While the Israeli army kidnaps their fathers, their brothers and their cousins, the resistance lives on through the next generation.

When I asked Iyad Burnat, member of the Bilin Popular Committee, who would be leading us to the wall today, he said, "Our children are strong! After all, who will be making the demonstrations when we are all in jail?" I could tell that he was only half joking.

We gathered in the middle of the village as usual, a familiar setting with an unfamiliar crowd. It must be the first demonstration I've been to where the average age was in the single digits. Their messages were clear and written on the home-made signs they proudly held in the air: "We Want To Sleep!"

During the last couple of months, the people of Bilin have been victims of constant night raids by the Israeli military, in an obvious attempt to crush the nonviolent resistance which the village has so proudly sustained for five years now. Of course, as so often is the case with incidents of injustice and collective punishment, it is the children who suffer the most.

But the children of Bilin refuse to suffer in silence. They had resistance in their blood and souls from the moment they were born. And they know what their people are fighting for: freedom.

As we walked down the historic path from the village to the wall, I saw a few kids peeling away from the demonstration, unwilling to continue any further. It was understandable; even the bravest child would be intimidated by the sight of soldiers readying their weapons.

They've seen uncles die, and friends arrested and kept in jail for six months. They don't want to be the next martyrs, however noble the cause.

It was strange to arrive at the wall so few in number, in comparison to the usual weekly demonstrations, the ground still stinking of the sewage water they sprayed us with on the previous Friday. For the children, I suspect it was a welcome release from the unimaginable frustration of living under occupation.

But for Nashmi, 15, the wait for the demonstration was too long. To venture near land that he has every right to, was something he couldn't wait for. On Saturday afternoon, Nashmi was walking and playing with some friends near the wall when he was attacked by soldiers and taken away. "Arrested," as the occupying forces would term it, but "kidnapped" being a more appropriate description. The soldiers were sitting under a nearby olive tree, waiting to ambush the teenagers.

With this memory fresh in their minds, the chanting was impassioned: "FREE! FREE! NASHMI!

With the gate that separated us from the wall opened, two brave young boys began to cautiously approach, one of them (at that moment, a spitting image of his father) with a loudspeaker in hand, chanting proudly. However, the waving guns prevented them from continuing.

But despite the threatening gestures, no shots were fired. Instead, the Israeli soldiers physically confronted us on foot, forced the children back behind the gate, and re-closed that ugly symbol of oppression. A big yellow gate that separates Palestinians from their land and their freedom.

On the way back from the demonstration, we faced a new challenge: How many kids could get on my wheelchair at the same time? At one point we got to five, laughing and waving Palestinian flags, pointing two-fingered peace signs in the air.

After the demonstration, the children had a special day of fun and games in a nearby community center. It was a strong visual reminder of something that many forget: these are normal children living in an unimaginable reality of occupation and apartheid.

Jody McIntyre is a journalist from the United Kingdom, currently living in the occupied West Bank village of Bilin. Jody has cerebral palsy, and travels in a wheelchair. He writes a blog for Ctrl.Alt.Shift, entitled "Life on Wheels," which can be found at He can be reached at jody.mcintyre AT gmail DOT com.

festival do filme palestiniano no próximo mês em Toronto


Palestine film festival returns to Toronto next month
Press release, Toronto Palestine Film Festival, 26 August 2009

The second annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) is coming to theaters in September. The festival will showcase 34 films, many of which are Canadian and North American premieres. TPFF is pleased to be opening and closing the festival with the critically acclaimed feature films Amreeka and Laila's Birthday. TPFF will also preview segments from Road Movie, the epic twelve-screen multi-media installation by Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky, at the beginning of the weekday programs throughout the festival.

TPFF 09 will offer audiences a wide selection of award-winning short, feature, documentary, experimental and animation films. The films cover many different topics including Gaza, immigration, environment, childhood, music, food, media, sexuality, human rights and exile. The festival will also feature the work of prominent Canadian filmmakers including Larry Towell, Mary Ellen Davis, Taghreed Saadeh and Sidrah Laldin.

Running from 28 September 28 through 3 October 2009 at the Beaver Hall Art Gallery is the contemporary art exhibition entitled Jewels in the Machine: New Media Works at TPFF. Curated by Reena Katz, the exhibition will display innovative and provocative video, audio and visual artistic installations from eminent Canadian and international artists.

On the morning of 27 September 2009, TPFF will be hosting Sahtain! Film & Food Brunch at 93 Harbord. The morning will commence with the screening of food-themed short films, which will be followed by a cooking lesson and tasting of a traditional Palestinian brunch.

During the course of the festival, TPFF will host several discussion panels featuring distinguished speakers including Palestinian filmmaker and academic Sobhi al-Zobaidi. Topics of discussion range from stereotypes in cinema; film and the art of resistance; Palestinian cultural production; environmental issues; and life in the Gaza Strip.

The second annual Toronto Palestine Film Festival runs 26 September through 2 October 2009.

Presenting non-stereotypical cinema, TPFF celebrates film as an art form and means of expression by showcasing the extraordinary narrative of a dispossessed people living in exile and under occupation. TPFF is proud to be sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council and many other generous supporters.

Video: Gaza sob cerco


Video: Gaza under siege
Jordan Flaherty and Lily Keber, The Electronic Intifada, 26 August 2009

Six months after Gaza was devastated by a 22-day Israeli military offensive, rebuilding has barely begun. This is on top of a near-total blockade that Israel imposed in 2007 that has kept most goods and supplies out of the Strip. The range of destruction is breathtaking. Schools, health clinics, houses and the basic infrastructure of both public services and government have been destroyed. The building housing the Palestinian parliament has been reduced to rubble, and legislators are forced to meet in a tent outside. Israeli officials claim that both the siege and the military offensive are aimed at dislodging Hamas from power. But to people on the ground, it feels like an assault on every aspect of life here.

The UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), responsible for the welfare and development of Gaza's refugees, who make up 80 percent of the population, has felt the effects in all areas of their work. "The siege is near total," says John Ging, Director of UNRWA in Gaza. "In terms of its restrictions on supplies allowed into Gaza, in essence what is allowed to come in are the basic humanitarian supplies." Among the large list of prohibited materials are life-saving medicines and many food items. No concrete, tools, or other building materials are allowed in. "We are talking about 388 patients who have died," because the siege kept them from leaving to get treatment, says Dr. Bassem Naim, Palestinian Minister of Health. "We are talking about absence of medicine. Seventy medicines where the stock is zero," he says.

There is an intense desire to rebuild, and there is no shortage of skilled labor. Billions of dollars of aid from countries around the world, including the US, have been pledged. But scarcely a single house has been repaired, and people are still living in tents, or with family members, or in shelters. "We are running out of time," says John Ging. "We need to move from keeping people alive to giving them a life."

The above video, produced by American filmmakers Jordan Flaherty and Lily Keber, features interviews with a range of people in Gaza, from government leaders to the director of the UN agency for Palestine refugees, to farmers and individuals living in devastated neighborhoods.

Jordan Flaherty is a writer and community organizer based in New Orleans. He was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case, and played an important role in bringing the story to worldwide attention.

Lily Keber is a documentary filmmaker and teacher living in New Orleans. Her film
T. Don Hutto: America's Family Prison brought the plight of family detention to national attention and continues to be used as an activism tool across the country.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Forças israelitas matam 4 palestinianos em Gaza


Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in Gaza
Press release, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 26 August 2009

Palestinians gather near a tunnel bombed by Israeli aircraft in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, killing three Palestinians inside, 25 August 2009. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

The following press release was issued by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on 25 August 2006:

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns attacks perpetrated by Israeli forces in the evening of 24 August, and the morning of 25 August 2009. Three Palestinians were killed while a fourth is missing consequent to Israeli gunfire in the northern Gaza Strip and aerial bombardment along the Egyptian border, south of Rafah.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 15:15 on Monday, 24 August 2009, Israeli troops positioned to the northwest of Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza Strip (along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel) fired at two Palestinian civilians from Beit Lahia who got close to the border. Said Ata al-Hussumi, 16, was instantly killed by two bullets to the chest, and Masoud Mohammed Tanboura, 19, was seriously wounded by several bullets to the chest.

Al-Husumi and Tanboura were working in a farm in Beit Lahiya town, approximately 350 meters away from the border fence. They attempted to get close to the border to find metal wires to sell them. They were unarmed.

Israel has illegally prohibited movement near the border fence in the north and in the east of the Gaza Strip. The prohibition applies to within a distance of 300 meters from the border fence inside the Gaza Strip. Accordingly, Palestinian farmers are denied access to their lands. Thus, they are denied their right to cultivate these lands or even to approach them. In many cases, Palestinians come under Israeli gunfire from distances that exceed 300 meters. PCHR has documented many deaths, including children, as a result of Israeli forces firing at civilians while in the proximity of these areas.

In the early morning of Tuesday, 25 August 2009, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel near the Salah al-Din Gate in the south of Rafah town on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. Two brothers, Mansour Ali al-Batniji, 30, and Nael Ali al-Batniji, 20, were killed, and their other brother, Ibrahim, 35, is missing. Another six Palestinians were also wounded.

PCHR strongly condemns such escalation by Israeli forces, and:
  1. Reiterates its condemnation of such crimes which are part of a series of war crimes committed by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

  2. Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and renews its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations.

Israel expulsa beduínos do deserto

fonte:Palestine Chronicle

Israel Turns Up the Heat to Evict Bedouin from Desert Lands

Children have been arrested in a series of night-time raids.

By Jonathan Cook in Amra

The inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Amra have good reason to fear that the harsh tactics used by the Israeli army against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been imported to their small corner of Israel’s Negev desert.

Over the summer, the Tarabin tribe, all of them Israeli citizens, have had the sole access road to their homes sealed off, while the dirt track they must use instead is regularly blocked by temporary checkpoints at which their papers and vehicles are inspected at length.Coils of razor wire encircle much of the village, and children as young as eight have been arrested in a series of night-time raids.

“Four-fifths of our youngsters now have files with the police and our drivers are being repeatedly fined for supposed traffic violations,” said Tulab Tarabin, one of Amra’s 400 Bedouin inhabitants. “Every time we are stopped, the police ask us: ‘Why don’t you leave?’”

Lawyers and human rights activists say a campaign of pressure is being organized against the Tarabin at the behest of a nearby Jewish community, Omer, which is determined to build a neighborhood for Israeli army officers on the tribe’s land.

"The policy in Israel is that when Jews need land, the Bedouin must move – no matter how long they have been living in their homes or whether their communities predate Israel’s creation,” said Morad al Sana, a lawyer with the Adalah legal centre for Israel’s Arab minority. “The Tarabin’s crime is that they refuse to budge.”

The 180,000 Bedouin in the Negev have never been welcome, says Oren Yiftachel, a geographer at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva. They are descendants of a few thousand who managed to avoid expulsion from the southern semi-desert region during the 1948 war that founded Israel.

Many of the surviving Bedouin, including the Tarabin, were forcibly relocated from their extensive ancestral lands in the 1950s to an area close to the Negev’s main city, Beersheva, Prof Yiftachel said. Israel declared the Bedouin lands as “state land” and established a series of overcrowded “townships” to house the tribes instead. “The stated goal is one of ‘Judaisation’,” Prof Yiftachel added, referring to a long-standing policy of concentrating the rural Bedouin into urban reservations to free up land for Jewish settlement. About half of the Negev’s Bedouin, some 90,000, have refused to move.

According to a recent report from the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the townships have “continuously ranked as the poorest, least developed and most crime-ridden towns in Israel”.

The refuseniks, such as the Tarabin, have faced unrelenting pressure to leave their 45 rural communities, none of which is recognised by the state. The villagers endure “third world conditions”, according to ACRI.

“The unrecognised villages are denied basic services to their homes, including water and electricity, and the villages themselves have no master plans,” Mr. al Sana said.

As a result, he added, the villagers are forced to live in tin shacks and tents because concrete homes are invariably destroyed by the authorities. In the past two years, several shacks as well as the local kindergarten in Amra have been demolished.

The stark contrast between the dusty encampment of Amra and the green lawns and smart villas of Omer, only a stone’s throw away and the country’s third wealthiest community, is unsettling even for some of Omer’s 7,000 residents.

One, Yitzhak Nevo, a philosophy professor at Ben Gurion University and a leading activist with Dukium, a Negev coexistence group, said that, although the lands on which the Tarabin live fall under Omer’s jurisdiction, the Bedouin have been entirely excluded.

“Even though they live within Omer’s municipal limits, their children get no education from us; our health clinic does not treat them; they are not hooked up to our water or electricity supplies and their refuse is not collected.”

He said Amra had been treated as nothing more than an eyesore until the mid-1990s then the powerful mayor, Pinhas Badash, decided that the Tarabin were both harming property values and obstructing the town’s expansion plans.

As Omer’s new neighbourhoods reached the limits of Amra, Mr. Badash stepped up the pressure on the villagers to leave. A few years ago he pushed through the building of a new community for the Tarabin away from Omer. Two-thirds of the tribe relocated, while the remainder fought the attempted eviction through the courts.

“It was a very dirty business in which those in the tribe who left first were offered cheap land on which to build while the rest were threatened that they would be offered nothing,” Mr. al Sana said.

Amra’s remaining Bedouin have found themselves surrounded by a tall wire fence to separate them from Omer. Two gates, ordered by the courts to ensure the Bedouin continued to have road access through the town, were sealed this year.

Since the beginning of the summer police patrol Amra’s side of the fence around the clock and the Tarabin report that a private security firm chases off any of them found inside Omer. Nissim Nir, a spokesman for Mr. Badash, denied that the Tarabin were being hounded. Omer made a generous offer to relocate them from their “illegal” site, he said.

Recently Mr. Badash announced that thousands of acres around Omer would be forested with the intention of stopping the Bedouin from returning to the area once they had been evicted. Mr. Tarabin, 33, accused the police of being little more than hired hands carrying out Mr. Badash’s plan.

“We are being suffocated. There are night-time searches of our homes using bogus pretexts, and arrests of young children. We are photographed and questioned as we go about our business. At the roadblocks they endlessly check cars entering and leaving, and fines are issued. No one visits us unless they have to, and we stay home unless we have to leave.”

He added: “Why is it so impossible for Omer to imagine allowing us to be a neighborhood of the town?”

A report by Human Rights Watch last year severely criticized Israel’s treatment of the Bedouin.

- Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). He contributed this article to Visit: A version of this article originally appeared in The National - - published in Abu Dhabi.

Palestinianos:o Dia da terra

fonte:Liberdade Palestina

Palestinos: o Dia da Terra

Maurício Tragtenberg: um intelectual judeu contra o sionismo!
Sempre será recordado!

Palestinos: o Dia da Terra
por Maurício Tragtenberg**

Amanhã, dia 30, o povo palestino comemora o “Dia da Terra”, que surgiu como lembrança histórica da resistência que em 1976, os vários palestinos da Galiléia (território ocupado em 1948) manifestaram contra a invasão e ocupação de suas terras pelo Estado em Israel.

Como acontece nessas ocasiões houve repressão e violência por parte das autoridades militares de ocupação, onde foram indiscriminadamente atingidos homens, mulheres, velhos e crianças. É impossível destruir um povo que por mais de trinta séculos construiu sua cultura, suas obras materiais e espirituais.

Enquadrada no plano da destruição da cultura e identidade do povo palestino estão as universidades palestinas construídas nas ‘zonas ocupadas’ pelo Estado em Israel.

Através da Ordenança Militar 854, uma das 1.080 ordenações militares que modificam a legislação jordaniana, em vigor na Cisjordânia, o Estado detém em suas mãos a permissão de funcionamento de qualquer instituição educacional, que implica no controle pelas autoridades do pessoal acadêmico, dos programas e manuais de ensino.

Uma das iniciativas que afetou gravemente o funcionamento das universidades palestinas nas ‘zonas ocupadas’ foi que a partir de 1983 os professores estrangeiros – na realidade palestinos com passaportes de diversas nacionalidades estrangeiras – tenham que assinar uma declaração, segundo a qual, comprometem-se a não dar apoio algum à OLP nem a qualquer organização terrorista. Ante a recusa unânime do corpo de professores em assinar tal ignominioso papel, a repressão foi terrível.

A Universidade d’An-Najah teve dezoito professores expulsos, enquanto outros três que estavam no Exterior foram proibidos de ingressar na Cisjordânia. Bir-Zeit perdeu cinco e a Universidade de Bethléem perdeu doze de seus professores.

O fechamento temporário de universidades é outra medida que as “autoridades” de ocupação lançam mão; entre 1981/2 a Universidade de Bir-Zeit ficou fechada sete meses. A Universidade de An-Najah em 1982/3 ficou fechada durante três meses consecutivos, as Universidades de Bethléem e Hebron conheceram igual destino.

Com o fim de vencer a resistência cultural palestina, a detenção de estudantes pelos motivos mais fúteis é coisa comum em todas as universidades da Cisjordânia. Os detidos são confinados na prisão de Fara’a, no Vale do Jordão. Segundo a advogada Lea Tsemel, o detido, conforme a “lei de urgência” (do período do Mandato Britânico) pode ficar incomunicável durante dezoito dias, sem culpabilidade definida nem visita de advogado. Por trazer consigo um panfleto ilegal o detido pode assim ficar durante 48 dias.

O “tratamento” é o mais degradante possível: duchas frias, golpes, insultos.

O presidente do Conselho de Estudantes de An-Najah, condenado a seis anos de prisão em 1974, não só afirmou ter sido torturado como também afirmou: “todos os prisioneiros palestinos são torturados.”

Porém, a Universidade de Bir-Zeit é um foco de resistência cultural palestina; organiza atividades culturais fundada na cultura popular palestina. Possui uma biblioteca significativa aberta à consulta pública.

Os dados a respeito da situação de resistência cultural palestina acima descrita nos foram fornecidos por Sônia Dayan-Herzbrun e Paul Kessler, que testemunham: “O fato de sermos judeus não afeta nossa objetividade em relação ao tema tratado. A consciência de nossa identidade judaica e das responsabilidades inerentes a ela nos levaram a participar do Centro de Cooperação com a Universidade Bir-Zeit.” (Le Monde Diplomatique, julho de 1984).

É o que também pensamos. O “Dia da Terra” é a reafirmação de um povo que pode ser expropriado, espezinhado, torturado, caluniado; vencido nunca.

* Publicado in: Folha de S. Paulo, 29.03.1985; e, também, na Revista Espaço Acadêmico, nº. 28, setembro de 2003, disponível em
** Maurício Tragtenberg, 54, professor do Departamento de Ciências Sociais da Fundação Getúlio Vargas (SP) e da PUC-SP, escreveu, entre outros livros, “Administração, Poder e Ideologia".
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