February 2013 Archives

0

Father Roy writes:   The highlight in the following article is mine.  Also note what our Vice President is doing:  Biden: U.S. prepared to hold direct talks with Iran.  

Peace, Roy

Kerry calls PM, Abbas, vows commitment to peace

US secretary of state discusses Syria, Iran with Netanyahu, vows to work to restart talks in phone call with PA president.

Netanyahu, Kerry at the US Capitol, March 23, 2010. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

New US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday to discuss the diplomatic process, in an early sign he intends to make this a top priority on his agenda.

In both conversations he commended Netanyahu’s decision last week to release some NIS 400 million in tax revenues to the PA and praised it as a positive step.

The calls followed Kerry’s phone conversation Saturday with President Shimon Peres, who said the election results in Israel provided new opportunities in the diplomatic process.

Kerry is expected to visit the region on his first trip abroad in the middle of the month.

A US State Department communiqué said that Netanyahu updated Kerry on his efforts to put together a new government.

The statement also said Kerry “underscored his personal commitment and that of President [Barack] Obama to support Israel’s security and to pursue a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Kerry and Netanyahu also spoke about Iran and Syria, and – according to the statement – pledged to work closely together during Kerry’s tenure.

Kerry spoke to Abbas of his “personal commitment and hope for continued efforts to pursue peace,” and pledged to continue efforts with Congress to release budget support for the PA.

According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, Kerry conferred with Abbas about the necessity of holding meetings in the near future with the ultimate aim of restarting the peace process.

Citing PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Wafa reported that Kerry assured the PA head that Obama “cares about the peace process” and is eager restart the stalled talks.

Last week, Kerry suggested that time was running out for a two-state solution with Israel living alongside a sovereign Palestinian state, and said such an eventuality would be “disastrous.”

0

The following press release appeared in WAFA (The Palestinian News and Info Agency) today.

It is tragic that incidents like this happen without arousing international ire.

Presumably these ‘lawmakers’ are being detained without being charged. Such intimidating practices are hardly fitting for a state that calls itself democratic.  Arresting those who construct laws is like burning books. It is a rejection of civilisation.

Father Dave

Soldiers and Border Police v.s. Children

Soldiers and Border Police v.s. Children (photo: Palestinian Solidarity Project)

PLO Condemns Israeli Arrest of Lawmakers

RAMALLAH, February 4, 2013 (WAFA) – The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned Monday in a statement Israeli arrest of West Bank lawmakers.

Israeli soldiers arrested early Monday three lawmakers from the Change and Reform Bloc in a wide arrest campaign that included more than 20 people. A total of 16 lawmakers are currently held in Israeli jails, mostly held in the illegal administrative detention policy.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, herself a lawmaker, accused the Israeli government of breaching international law by arresting lawmakers.

“Israel is deliberately breaching international law and conventions relating to the immunity of democratically elected Palestinian officials,” she said.

Ashrawi accused Israel of attempting to undermine Palestinian reconciliation efforts with its incursions and arrests in the West Bank.

“It is apparent the Israeli government is implementing a policy of intimidation and power politics to meddle in Palestinian domestic affairs and to undermine reconciliation efforts,” she added.

“With such arbitrary arrests, Israel has violated international law and the most basic norms of human rights. Israel is not above the law,” she said.

“Therefore, we call on all parliaments – Arab, European and international – to hold Israel accountable and to ensure the release of Palestinian lawmakers. It is high time the international community put an end to Israel’s impunity and its illegal occupation of Palestine and the Palestinian people,” concluded Ashrawi.

0

My friend Miko Peled is making waves across the US and into Canada now!

Apparently the YouTubed video of a speech he gave at a church in Seattle last year is approaching a quarter of a million hits!

Miko is a great man and a truly selfless champion of the oppressed. We were privileged to have him address our church community here in late 2011 and I’m hoping to see him back in Sydney again soon. You can see my interview with him here.

I’ve reprinted below a review of his current tour of Canada. It seems that he is being well received.No doubt his statement that “the IDF was one of the best trained, best financed terror organizations in the world” would have ruffled a few feathers, but it has made him plenty of friends too! I pray that he will remain safe.

Father Dave

source: www.rabble.ca/news/2013/02/generals-son-miko-peled-delivers-hopeful-message-israelpalestine…

Miko Peled and Father Dave in September 2011

Miko Peled and me in September 2011

The General’s Son: Miko Peled delivers a hopeful message on Israel/Palestine

Change the conversation, support rabble.ca today.

The Youtube video of Miko Peled’s book launch talk in Seattle last year has now had over 200,000 hits. So what’s all the fuss about?

Peled is no ordinary critic of current Israeli policies. He is a member of one of Israel’s elite Zionist families. His father was a famous general in the 1967 war and his grandfather was one of the signatories of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Peled now lives in San Diego, California, but he is a frequent visitor to Israel and the West Bank.

His book, The General’s Son, has a very simple message: there should be equality between Israeli Jews and Palestinians and they should live together as citizens in one state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, an area two-thirds the size of Vancouver Island. There should be no privilege for Jews, or a separation between Jews and Palestinians in this new state.

Miko Peled did not always have this view.

After 1967, his father Matti, the General, began questioning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and was eventually elected to the Israeli parliament as a member of the Progressive List for Peace. Even though he agreed with his father that the occupation was wrong, Miko Peled felt that, as a committed Zionist, he should enlist in the army. So in 1980 he joined the elite Red Beret unit. He was discharged from Israeli military service in December 1983.

He then left to see the world, ending up in San Diego, where he opened a karate studio far away from Israel politics.

This all changed in the fall of 1997 when his niece Smadar was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber. Peled went back to Israel and listened as his sister Nurit, Smadar’s mother, blamed the death of both her daughter and the Palestinian suicide bomber who had killed her on the brutal Israeli occupation. Her argument reached him.

When he went back to San Diego, he joined a Jewish/Palestinian discussion group. Suspicious at first, he eventually made close friendships with Palestinians and helped create a Rotary Club charity to send wheelchairs to Israel and Palestine. It was here that he learned what his grandfather’s and his father’s military project, in addition to his own service as a Red Beret, looked like from the receiving end. Gradually he began to understand the myths that justified the oppression of Palestinians in Israel/Palestine and the privileges accorded to Israeli Jews.

Miko Peled’s journey has led him to become an activist both in the Occupied Palestinian territories, where he has built relations with the non-violent Palestinian resistance movement and in the U.S., where he is a popular speaker.

Recently he told demonstrators who were protesting an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fund raising event in Los Angeles that “he had been a member of the IDF and was of the view that the IDF was one of the best trained, best financed terror organizations in the world.”

Needless to say this is not a view held by many people in the Israeli elite. It is a courageous view based on his personal experience and his relations with Palestinian friends.

To find out Miko’s tour dates: www.rabble.ca/news/2013/02/generals-son-miko-peled-delivers-hopeful-message-israelpalestine…

0

Father Roy writes:

Thanks to Cotton and Donna and the others on PIN’s team for all the good work they do within the Episcopal Church in the USA.  The PIN reaches out to Episcopalians in the pews and recognizes that there’s potential for kinetic energy in TEC’s august House of Bishops. 

Episcopalians/Anglicans are growing robust internationally, too.  Bishop Riah (who’s on the mailing list) is enroute to Damascus with an International Delegation on a Peace Mission to Syria.  The Mission will be led by Nobel Laureate  Mairead Maguire, a Peace Activist from Ireland.  The Peace Delegation will include our own Fr. Dave and Denning from Australia and the Rev’d Dr. Stephen Sizer from the UK.  Stephen and Sami Joseph know each other.

Please read on.  These are critical times we live in.  There are ways we can help. 

Peace, Roy+

Source: www.epfnational.org……

Diocese of North Carolina passes resolution urging Executive Council action on Palestine/Israel church policy

Palestine Israel Network Press Release

Winston-Salem, North Carolina – A week after long-time Episcopalian advocates for justice in Palestine released a letter urging the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council to better pursue equality in the Middle East, the Diocese of North Carolina passed a resolution advocating the same policies at its annual convention.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day letter – signed by church leaders like Edmond and Patti Browning, Bonnie Anderson, Desmond Tutu and eight others – can be read and supported at epfnational.org… Since the letter’s release more than 300 Episcopalians from 54 dioceses have supported the Episcopal Voices of Conscience Prophetic Challenge to the Executive Council.

“As hopes for a peace with justice for the peoples of Palestine and Israel increasingly hang by a thread, it is critical that the Episcopal Church acts on its extensive and long-standing policies. These include not only interfaith dialogue and education, but the actions raised in the letter and our diocesan resolution,” said Donna Hicks, a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s (EPF) Palestine Israel Network (PIN) who was a delegate to the January 25-26 North Carolina diocesan convention.

The diocesan resolution – filed in December 2012 – calls on the Executive Council to accomplish two things directed by past General Convention resolutions by June 2013 – call on Congress to investigate whether U.S. funding to Israel is being used to deny basic rights of Palestinians living under occupation and determine what investments the Church holds that support the infrastructure of the Israeli Occupation. The full text of the North Carolina diocesan convention resolution also is on the EPF PIN website above.

0

Perhaps the US does still have a role to play as a peace-broker in the Israel/Palestine stand-off?  Certainly a visit by Obama to the West Bank would be a healthy start!

Certainly this will be a boost for Mahmoud Abbas. Lately all the kudos has gone to his counterpart in Gaza, with visits from dignitaries around the Muslim world. Even so, the visit could further entrench the divide between the two Palestinian factions, with Hamas being seen as representing the Muslim world while Fatah remains a puppet of Western interests.

It will all depend on how Obama manages the situation. Personally, I hold out little hope. Israel and the US have been blocking the path to a negotiated peace settlement for many years now. Is this really likely to change overnight?

Father Dave

Obama in Cairo - June 2009

Obama in Cairo – June 2009

Source: news.yahoo.com……

Obama to make first visit to Israel ‘in the spring’

President Barack Obama will visit Israel “in the spring” for the first time since taking office in January 2009, the White House said on Tuesday. Israeli media reports said the trip was set for March 20. Possible military action against Iran and the crisis in Syria seem sure to top the agenda.

Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of a visit during a Jan. 28 telephone call, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. Carney said Obama would also visit Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and make a stop in Jordan, and that dates would be released later.

Obama visited Israel in July 2008, when he was running for office, but he has not been back since. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign—and Republicans in general—have sought to use that as a political weapon, suggesting it shows he’s willing to shortchange the staunchest U.S. ally in the region. But both of George W. Bush’s visits to Israel came in 2008, when his second term was nearly up, and Republican icon Ronald Reagan never went.

The visit will come as Obama and other world leaders, notably Netanyahu, have warned that time is running short for a diplomatic end to the tense standoff with Iran over that country’s suspect nuclear program.

“When the president spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu on January 28, they discussed a visit by the president to Israel in the spring,” Carney said. “The start of the president’s second term and the formation of a new Israeli government offer the opportunity to reaffirm the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Israel and to discuss the way forward on a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including Iran and Syria.”