Israel and Palestine


These are the sorts of incidents that are generally not considered newsworthy, yet behind each statistic are grieving families and children who are growing up in an environment of hatred towards the occupying power – a hatred that is totally understandable.

How can there ever be peace between these peoples while daily injustices like this go on?!

Father Dave


EU flays Israel destroying Palestine structures

28 people, including 18 children, were displaced and 120 others affected

Occupied Jerusalem: European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed serious concerns on Friday about the demolition last week of 22 structures in eight places across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The destruction displaced 28 people, including 18 children, and affected 120 other people including 57 children, a statement from EU missions in Ramallah and Jerusalem said of the actions on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some of these structures were funded by EU member states, including France, it said.

“These and other recent demolitions appear to put an end to a period in which a welcome reduction in demolitions had been noted,” the EU said.

“Since the year 2008 more than 2,400 Palestinian houses and structures have been demolished in Area C of West Bank and [occupied] east Jerusalem, displacing more than 4,400 people.”

Places designated as Area C are under full Israeli control.

The statement said that, on May 14, 2012 they had called on Israel to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including halting forced transfers of people and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure.

French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot condemned the destruction of a Palestinian Bedouin camp by the Israeli army on Tuesda in the north of the Jordan Valley.

He said the camp had been financed by France and was “clearly identifiable.”

“France has made representations to the Israeli authorities to stop the destruction of homes, the displacement and the destruction… in Area C, which are contrary to international humanitarian law,” Lalliot said.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Friday the demolition of two farm sheds and a Palestinian restaurant in Area C on April 19 and the temporary displacement of some 60 people, including 36 children, in the Jordan Valley due to Israeli military training.


It seems that Mahmoud Abbas cannot delay elections any longer! He is not the elected leader of the Palestinian people and he no longer has the support of the international community now that Fayyad has gone. Truly his time has come!

Father Dave

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas


Palestine unity govt talks begin: Abbas

RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced the start of talks on forming a national unity government, the official Wafa news agency said.

The announcement came on the last day of the statutory two-week period after the April 13 resignation of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad from the Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank.

The consultations will take place “in accordance with the Doha Declaration and the timetable set up by the Palestinian leadership in meetings in Cairo on the reactivation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation” in February, Abbas told the news agency on a visit to Italy.

Abbas urged all Palestinian movements to cooperate so he can issue two decrees, one on forming a unity government “composed of two independent personalities” and a second fixing a date for elections, Wafa reported.

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for the Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip, said that “any government must be formed in accordance with the reconciliation agreement and in consultation and agreement with Hamas”.

“There has been no consultation with Hamas on this matter so far,” Abu Zuhri said, warning against “any unilateral steps”.

Hamas and Fatah have repeatedly failed to bridge their political differences despite signing an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement in 2011. There have been no substantive moves to implement the accord.

Hamas rejects the interim peace accords which Fatah leaders signed in the 1990s with Israel. Peace talks between Israel and Abbas have been stalled since 2010 over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Palestinian basic law required forming a new administration because of Fayyad’s resignation.

“Abbas’s step has thrown the ball into Hamas’s court to agree on a date for holding elections and they will be responsible for the failure if they do not accept,” Abu Youssef said.



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


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.”


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


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.


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!


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.”

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