April 2013 Archives

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The Western media continues to portray Palestinians as bomb-carrying militants, and yet this is the essence of Palestinian resistance – marches and hunger-strikes. Certainly Israel’s so-called ‘security fence’ functions to keep the protesters out of sight of the Israeli public.

Father Dave

source: rt.com…

3,000 Palestinian prisoners go on hunger strike to aid Prisoners Day protest

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners have declared a hunger strike to support Prisoners Day, an annual event dedicated to 4,713 prisoners being held in Israeli jails. Fierce rallies demanding their release have reportedly been met with tear gas.

Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza attended marches and rallies on Wednesday, urging the international community to intervene and for pressure to be put on Israel in order to release some of the Palestinian prisoners.

Nearly 600 relatives of prisoners gathered for a sit-in in the rain at Arafat Square in central Ramallah after which some of them marched towards the nearby military prison at Ofer.

As activists reached the Ofer prison perimeter they tore down 50 meters of the prison fence, mounting a Palestinian flag on prison grounds.

After around four minutes of being at the fence, Israeli soldiers showed up. They fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs at the protesters,” al-Akhbar newspaper quoted spokesman of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Abdallah Abu Rahmeh as saying.

It is necessary to pressure Israel to release the Palestinian prisoners and hunger strikers,” he added.

In Gaza, hundreds of people marched from central Gaza City to the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, AFP reported.

Another rally was being held in the northern city of Nablus.

Events to mark Prisoners Day began on Tuesday in Gaza City where youngsters released thousands of balloons into the air, each bearing the name of a prisoner.

Primarily Palestinian activists are calling for the release of those on the hunger strike that has been lasting for more than 250 days. Already dubbed one of the longest strikes in history, it stirred mass outrage and weeks of street protests.

The fates of at least five of the prisoners, including Samer Issawi, are now central to the protesters.

Samer Issawi, a 32-year-old from an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, is said to be in a critical condition with his low heart rate meaning he could die at any time.

As Israel seeks to end the Palestinian prisoner’s hunger strike, Issawi was offered to stop his fast in exchange for commuting his decades-long sentence to one year behind bars, Reuters reported Wednesday citing a Palestinian official.

We don’t want to see this man commit suicide,” an Israeli official was quoted as saying. “There are elements on the Palestinian side who are eager to exploit a tragedy.

Earlier an Israeli official said they were ready to deport Palestinian Essawi to an EU or UN country, but allege the prisoner has refused.

Issawi was initially convicted of opening fire on an Israeli bus in 2002. He was released in 2011 along with over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier held hostage by the Hamas Islamist group in Gaza.

But last July, he got re-arrested for what Israel called a violation of the terms of his release by crossing from his native East Jerusalem to the West Bank. Now he might face his original term behind bars and stay in jail until 2029. The prisoner has been struggling to regain his freedom by July this year.

Palestinian officials have called on Israel to send Issawi to Ramallah to receive a year of medical treatment after which Israel would allow him to return to neighboring Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem rejected the offer.

Rights group B’Tselem puts the number of Palestinians held by Israel at 4, 713 with most of them Palestinian men from the West Bank and Gaza convicted of participating in terror attacks. According to the group, 169 of them are held under administrative detention, without formally being charged.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society says more than 215 children and 14 women are in jail.

 

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Here’s a piece of brutal but brilliant satire. Shalom sisters and brothers!

“A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads.”

~ Benny Morris, israeli Historian.

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History is repeating itself!  Berkeley University of California played a central role in the Civil Rights movement, the Free Speech movement, and in protests against the Vietnam War. These young people have a history of leading their country in matters of social justice, and now they are spearheading the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS) against the Israeli government!

This story also reveals how seriously the Zionist lobby considers this development. Despite the fact that one university’s divestment is only a drop in the bucket, enormous amounts of money and energy are being poured into opposing the move, and the University’s Student President is understandably feeling the pressure!

source: www.sfbg.com…

UC Berkeley Student Senate passes divestment measure, but pro-Israel opponents pushing hard for veto

The UC Berkeley Student Senate has passed a bill that calls upon the university to withdraw nearly $12 million in investments from corporations that do business in the Palestinian West Bank, including Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, and Hewlett Packard Company. The bill, SB 160, passed at 5am April 18 by a slim 11-9 margin after 10 hours of emotional debate.

When the final vote count was announced, some students cheered and others broke down in tears. While the measure is largely symbolic and unlikely to change university policy, Israel’s biggest supporters take such divestment votes very seriously and they were actively trying to influence the outcome of this measure.

The fate of the bill is now in the hands of student President Connor Landgraf, a senior bioengineering major who promised student leaders during his campaign that he would not veto any divestment measure. But now, with the bill sitting on his desk, Landgraf is waffling and supporters of the measure say that may be partially because a pro-Israel group appears to have sponsored his trip to Israel last year.

“During my campaign I did say I wouldn’t veto, but now I have different responsibilities,” Landgraf told the Bay Guardian. Since Thursday’s vote, Landgraf said his phone has been ringing off the hook. “I’ve received literally hundreds of emails, and I’m under a lot of pressure.”

read the rest of this article here: www.sfbg.com…

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My feeling is that it is Abbas who should have resigned rather than Fayyad.

Abbas lost whatever credibility he had left when he kowtowed to Obama and Kerry in delaying Palestine’s application for membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC)! He is not the democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people and has no reason to delay an election beyond his unwillingness to let go of power.

Father Dave

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

source: english.alarabiya.net…

Deep-seated animosity trumps Palestinian calls for unity

After Prime Minister Salam Fayyad resigned, Palestinian politicians immediately called for elections and a national unity government to reconcile bitter rivals Fatah and Hamas.

But entrenched animosity between the two sides, stretching beyond disagreement over Fayyad, suggested that any thaw in relations between Fatah and Hamas, which control the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively, would be slow.

In Fayyad’s first weekly radio address after resigning, the now caretaker premier called for “a general election as the only way to rebuild our political system and achieve our national goals,” namely statehood, which would first require intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

“Just as there is no state without Jerusalem as its eternal capital, there is no state without the Gaza Strip, a part that cannot be partitioned from it,” Fayyad said.

Hamas leaders met Friday in Doha, the base of the Islamist movement’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal, saying they would discuss “Palestinian reconciliation and developments in the Palestinian arena following Fayyad’s resignation.”

A senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas’s secular Fatah party, meanwhile, called on his leader to “hold consultations with Palestinian movements to form a national unity government and set a date for elections.”

Azzam al-Ahmed said Fayyad’s resignation a week ago, after an announcement by the elections commission that it was ready to carry out elections should they be called, was “favorable to… forming a national unity government.”

But Abbas’s Thursday pledge to launch talks “in the near future” on forming a new cabinet, despite what officials say is a two-week deadline to do so, avoided giving an exact date as the president prepared for a tour to Turkey and Europe.

In Turkey for two days from Saturday, Abbas will meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is set to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in May.

Fatah has openly criticized the Erdogan trip as fostering intra-Palestinian divisions.

“Any official, Arab, Muslim or foreign, who visits Gaza without reference to the legitimate Palestinian leadership is blessing and consolidating the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Ahmed said in a separate interview with official Voice of Palestine radio on Monday.

And in a march in Gaza to mark Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on Wednesday, a speech by a Fatah-affiliated politician and an animated retort by a Hamas member underlined the root of the division between the movements.

Palestinian People’s Party member Talaat al-Safadi called for Hamas’s Gaza premier Ismail Haniya to step down also, prompting Hamas member Ashraf Abu Zeida to seize Safadi’s microphone and shout “Fayyad was an impostor, Haniya was chosen by the people!”

After Hamas won a landslide victory in a January 2006 Palestinian general election, the West mounted a boycott of the movement.

Bickering with Fatah culminated in the formation of a unity government in 2007 but that collapsed in bloody street fighting in Gaza just months later.

Hamas never recognized Fayyad’s authority as Palestinian premier, continuing instead to recognize Haniya.

The two movements signed a reconciliation deal in Cairo in 2011, pledging to set up an interim consensus government of independents that would pave the way for legislative and presidential elections within 12 months.

But implementation of the accord stalled over the make-up of the interim government, and a February 2012 deal signed by Abbas and Meshaal in Doha intended to overcome outstanding differences was opposed by Hamas members in Gaza.

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Richard Falk has never been one to pull punches. He simply states what everybody involved in the so-called ‘peace process’ has always suspected – that the ‘two-state solution’ has been dead in the water for many years. 

It’s hard to know whether John Kerry really believes his efforts will make a difference. Certainly Mahmoud Abbas must no better. Meanwhile, as they play out their charade, the Palestinian people continue to pay the price.

Father Dave

Ricahrd Falk

Richard Falk

source: www.dailystar.com…

Falk: Two-state solution presently obsolete

BEIRUT: Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine for the U.N. Human Rights Council, Thursday called the two-state solution “presently obsolete.”

Falk, who has drawn controversy in the past for his criticism of Israeli policies, was delivering the annual Constantine Zurayk Lecture at the American University of Beirut, speaking on the topic “Rethinking the Future of Palestine: Beyond the Two State Consensus.”

Falk did not completely rule out the two-state solution, saying, “Perhaps in the future it will again become a plausible political project.”

But for now Falk said U.S. President Barack Obama’s model of a two-state solution “continues the global mirage of a negotiation … is essentially a bridge to nowhere,” adding that “no image of an end-game solution at this time is possible as a viable political project.”

Since 2005, he has been the chair of the Board at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and taught at Princeton University for 40 years.

In the wake of the June 1967 war, Falk said, the situation can be characterized as one in which the Palestinians have lost, and the Israelis have gained.

“And they [the Israelis] have been able to do that behind the mirage that a two-state solution was in the cards.”

Using South Africa as an example, he highlighted the need to satisfy a number of political preconditions before a solution becomes a realistic possibility.

Saying that “conditions for a just peace do not presently exist,” Falk also noted, “I realize it’s discouraging to emphasize the prematurity of proposing a solution after 65 years.”