January 2013 Archives

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Father Roy writes: Here’s something tangible that we in the International Community can work with.  Notice that Jordan’s King Abdullah met Monday with a delegation from AIPAC.  Notice what HRH had to say.  The International Debate continues. 

Peace, Roy

Arab League urges ‘new approach’ to Mideast conflict

By Al Arabiya wit agencies

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Monday called for a “new approach” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, slamming previous processes as a waste of time.
“In order to solve this problem, we should have a new mechanism and new methods and a new approach to dealing with the crisis,” AFP reported Arabi as saying after talks with the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
“The main target after all these wasted years should be ending the Israeli occupation, not signing temporary agreements that would go round in circles and that would only lead to wasting time in a way that allows Israel to expand its settlements,” he said.
Last month, Arabi had criticized the International Quartet
— which comprises the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia — as ineffective.
For his part, Van Rompuy said there must be “concerted and coordinated actions by all key actors to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
“Now is the time to look forward and to take bold steps towards peace in the Middle East,” he said.

Jordan’s king urges Israel

In a related story, Jordan’s king has warned that the failure to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians is adding to regional tensions.
A statement from the royal palace said King Abdullah II told a delegation from the Washington-based American Israel Public Affairs Committee that regional changes tied to the Arab Spring should “drive” the Israeli government to “embrace peace,” the Associated Press reported.
In his talks Monday with the pro-Israel group, the king also called on Israel to stop measures that he said hinder peace efforts, including West Bank settlement construction.
Abdullah urged Israel, the Palestinians and the U.S. to resume peacemaking efforts. He called for direct talks based on a two-state solution, which envisions the establishment of a Palestinian state.
He said it remains the “only formula” to end the 65-year old conflict.

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Father Roy writes:  France has joined Britain in spearheading this proposal.  According to the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Baroness Ashton, the proposal could soon become a pan-European initiative.  Please note the next-to-last paragraph in particular (highlighted).  Preparing the way for Obama?  

Peace, Roy 

Britain spearheading new talks between Palestinians, Israel

The Zionist regime’s aggressive approach towards the Palestinians following the recognition of Palestine by the international community has prompted the UK and its allies to plan a new proposal to re-launch the so-called Middle East peace process.

The new peace proposal for the Middle East being spearheaded by Britain and France requires Zionist regime’s authorities to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians within a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The initiative is expected to be tabled by March following the formation of a new Israeli cabinet after next week’s general election [in the occupied Palestinian territories], according to the report.

The proposal, which will include a provision for a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem (al-Quds), could eventually be adopted as a pan-European initiative by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, the newspaper reported.

“We do know that the EU is planning to come up with something after the elections, when the new government has been formed,” one Israeli source told the Daily Telegraph.

It (the proposal) will reportedly suggest negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on pre-1967 borders with appropriate land swaps, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem (al-Quds) as its capital and will also involve an Israeli settlement freeze, the report said.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has told the House of Commons that he was consulting with his French and German counterparts about how to lend European weight to a US-led peace initiative.

This comes as all past initiatives, proposed by the UK, US or other European states led to nowhere because of the Zionist regime’s expansionist policies and its continuation of building settlements inside the already occupied Palestinian territories.

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Could the crisis at Bab al-Shams be the turning-point in the Palestinian struggle for justice?

Despite international opposition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that he will push ahead with more colonialist expansion into the West Bank – the latest act of aggression being the planned ‘E1’ settlement.

This time though, instead of trying to protest through the courts or simply waiting for the inevitable to happen, Palestinian activists took the initiative and created their own ‘fact on the ground’ – a tent-city settlement of their own in one of the Palestinian areas slated for Israeli settlement construction!

The important thing to realise about the Palestinian ‘settlement’, in contrast with the coming Israelis-only settlement, is that the former is entirely legal. The Palestinians are building on privately-owned Palestinian land with the permission of the owner. Even so, the Israeli courts somehow ruled in favour of the Israeli settlers, and ordered the Palestinian protesters and their international partners to be removed from their land!

I have often said that there are three levels of racism that can infect a community.

  • The first is where racism happens but is not officially tolerated nor accepted by the broader culture.
  • The second level is where racism is culturally acceptable, even if officially frowned upon.
  • The third and most terrible level is where racism receives official sanctioning from the courts and government.

Nazi Germany is probably the most horrible example of this third and final form of a racist state, but if Israeli courts are now so blatantly backing the eviction of Palestinian people from their own land, they are surely on the same terrible path!

Israel mustered 500 armed troops to disperse the Palestinian protesters. As you’ll see from the video, the Palestinians kept to the classic protocols of non-violent resistance. Even so, many of them were brutalised.

It is possible that this valiant act of non-violent resistance could play the same role in the Palestinian struggle as did the ‘Bloody Sunday’ incident of 1965 for the Civil Rights Movement in the US. Can the world really watch this sort of injustice take place and simply say nothing?

Whether this particular act of violence will be the turning point or not, the testimony of Mustafa Barghouthi (recorded below) – that this will be the first of many such non-violent actions – is telling indeed! The Palestinians are tired of waiting for the rest of the world to take action. They have taken the future into their own hands!

Father Dave

If you can’t view this video, click here.

To see some excellent pictures of the protest and response, see this article on the Al Jazeera website

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According to this report from the International Solidarity Movement, Mustafa Abu Jarad was doing nothing but simply farming his land when he was targeted by an Israeli sniper.

The sickening thing about these random acts of murderous violence is that if there is an attempt at retaliation, it will be interpreted as an unprovoked attack against Israel by Hamas militants!

One has to conclude that the IDF is playing a game – provoking the people of Gaza to a display of more violence so that they can justify another mass-killing. How long can this sort of sick game be allowed to go on! This man was a farmer. He had a family. He was only 20 years old!

Father Dave

source: palsolidarity.org…

Mustafa Abu Jarad, murdered in Gaza by the Israeli Army

January 15th 2013 | Gaza Strip
On January 14th 2013, Mustafa Abu Jarad (20) was working with a group of farmers on a plot of land around one kilometer away from the border fence at the north of Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip; when the Israeli army started shooting at them from a watch tower. Due to the heavy gunfire, the group ran away from the site, but came back after a while to resume the farming. On that moment a sniper directly targeted Mustafa, shooting him on the forehead. The bullet went through his head, causing him severe brain injuries. He was taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital, and then transferred to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City due to the severity of his wounds, where he underwent urgent surgery to remove pieces of his skull embedded on the brain and drain excess blood. He remained stable but unresponsive in the I.C.U. after the surgery. Mustafa died several minutes after this photo was taken.
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As this post from Octavia Nasr’s blog makes clear, this latest example of non-violent resistance at Bab al-Shams has already had a broad international impact!

If the US is indeed essential to Palestinian independence, nothing is likely to change perception of the average American more than televised incidents like Bab al-Shams that inevitably evoke memories of the US Civil Rights movement.

As Nasr rightly observes, Palestinians have an ‘image problem’ internationally. I expect though that non-violent resistance of this nature could change that image very rapidly!

Father Dave

source: blog.octavianasr.com…

Nonviolent road to Palestine

The Palestinian struggle for statehood has been for the most part a violent one. Whether one agrees or disagrees with its violent path and the goals it achieved, it is important to remember that Palestine today is at the verge of becoming once more a part of the international community after seven decades of being denied that right and privilege.

In the west, the mere mention of the words Palestine or Palestinian conjures up images of suicide bombs, hijacking, killing, corruption and violence. This is the result of decades of worldwide Zionist propaganda painting the Palestinians as hardened, dangerous terrorists that should be feared and isolated at any price. This carefully and systematically projected image is often aided and even bolstered by submissive media outlets, repetitive focused messages from fundamentalist Jewish and Israeli quarters, and perhaps more importantly, the violent actions of Palestinians on the ground playing to the above scenario and fueling its message at every chance.

Palestinians as a group, have an “image” problem almost everywhere in the world. The image changes with the landscape and the diversity of every country and every continent. It is however harshest coming from fellow Arabs who adopt the Palestinian cause for their own politics while offer Palestinians absolutely nothing of substance or pragmatism. While Palestinians are viewed favorably in Latin America for example as successful immigrants who contributed greatly to their societies and attained high places in business and government, they continue to be mistreated and abused in refugee camps across the Middle East. The word Palestinian for many Arabs is synonymous of refugee tents soiled by open sewage, rations, poverty, and an unwanted people, underserving of any rights or opportunities. Palestinians are seen in bulk; not as the individuals they are, but as a people in hiatus waiting to return back — as a bundle — to their homeland. Even where Palestinians were fully integrated such as in Jordan, the Palestinian-Jordanian polarization becomes apparent at the first sign of political instability in the kingdom.

As I’ve written many times before, being Palestinian today means so many things to so many people. It is as hard to gauge what Palestinians really want in the middle of an historic Arab awakening, as it is to decipher who actually represents them and who speaks for all of them.

As everyone who works tirelessly to change the image of Palestinians in the world will attest, it is not an easy task. It’s an uphill battle. You cannot undo years of masterminded propaganda in just a few days or a few years. It takes consistency and much goodwill to show the world Palestinians as humans who were robbed of their land under the watchful eye of the “civilized” world. It will take many Gates to The Sun to turn around this negative inhumane image of Palestinians that is deeply etched in the minds of many around the world.

To read the rest of this post, go to blog.octavianasr.com…

Nonviolent road to Palestine