USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

The Times of Israel: “Israel and US say ‘gaps closed,’ progress made on aid deal”

Posted by uscsjp on August 5, 2016

After three days of talks in Washington, negotiators close in on agreement for unprecedented 10-year defense package

BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF, August 4, 2016, 8:58 am

US President Barack Obama, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

Israel and the US have made significant progress in negotiations over a 10-year American military aid package, with a final agreement expected to be signed soon, Israeli government sources said Thursday.

Following three days of closed-door discussions in Washington, “progress has been made and gaps have been closed” between the two sides, an Israeli diplomatic official said.

“Israel and the US are hoping to arrive at an agreement soon,” the official added.

Sources in Washington had similar assessments of the talks.

“We’ve made progress and closed many of the remaining gaps. We hope to be able to reach a final agreement soon,” a senior official told Reuters after the talks concluded on Wednesday night.

Brigadier General (res.) Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of the National Security Council, has been meeting with his American counterparts to work on the final draft of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) set to come into effect in 2018, when the current one expires.

Negotiations on the deal have been going on for months amid tensions over the Iranian nuclear deal reached last year, which Israel vociferously opposed. Israel has charged that the accord signed between Tehran and six world powers, including the US, poses an existential threat to Israel and warrants increased aid to the Jewish State.

The Prime Minister’s Office said last week that Israel “places great value on the predictability and reliability of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements.

“Therefore, it is not in Israel’s interest for there to be any changes to the fixed annual MOU levels without the agreement of both the US administration and the Israeli government,” it added.

Netanyahu also said last week that he hoped to conclude the aid negotiations under the Obama administration, which ends in January 2017.

The US offer currently on the table, outlined to members of Congress earlier this month in a letter from US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, includes a pledge to substantially increase the aid package, now worth some $30 billion, and ink a new one that would constitute “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.” The letter was sent in response to a missive signed in April by 83 out of 100 senators calling on President Barack Obama to increase foreign aid to Israel and sign the new deal.

Under the existing agreement, Israel is permitted to spend about 25 percent of the aid it receives outside the US and another 13% on fuel for its aircraft — allowances no other recipient of US aid is granted.

That arrangement originated in the 1980s to build up Israel’s defense industry, which has thrived, helping Israel to become among the top 10 arms exporters in the world — and in some fields a competitor with US firms.

In an apparent concession, Israel will reportedly not request supplemental funding for the entire 10 years, and in the second half of the decade, will incrementally increase the amount it spends in the US per annum, until the entire amount of aid is invested in the American domestic market.

Israel has already indicated that it will not seek additional military funding for 2017, which still falls under the terms of the previous 10-year package. The defense aid for 2017 currently stands at $3.1 billion.

Cliff Churgin and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.

 

Read more: http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-and-us-say-gaps-closed-progress-made-on-aid-deal/

 

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THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE JOINED THE GAZA 5K MOVEMENT FROM COAST TO COAST. WHERE WILL YOU RUN?

Posted by uscsjp on July 29, 2016

The Gaza 5K is an annual walk/run hosted by UNRWA USA. This event raises funds for UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program (CMHP) to support thousands of refugee children in Gaza affected by PTSD and other psychological trauma.

REGISTER AT THE EARLY BIRD RATE FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO RACE

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TOMORROW: Protest RE/MAX in Venice Beach

Posted by uscsjp on July 12, 2016

CODEPINK
RE_MAX.jpg

Join Jodie Evans and the LA CODEPINK team to protest RE/MAX’s selling homes on stolen Palestinian land.

When: Wednesday, July 13 12:00-1:00 PM

Where: RE/MAX Venice Beach: 155 W Washington Blvd, Venice Beach, CA 90292

Join CODEPINK to protest at the Venice Beach RE/MAX office to demand that RE/MAX completely cease their involvement in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. The Presbyterian General Assembly recently passed an overture calling on RE/MAX to stop selling homes in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Just prior to the assembly, RE/MAX LLC made a statement admitting that settlement sales are problematic. Now we are asking them to act on that statement and completely extricate themselves from Israel’s settlements enterprise.

Learn more about the Remodel RE/MAX campaign to get RE/MAX to stop selling homes on stolen Palestinian land and sign the letter to RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger.

We look forward to seeing you there!

In peace,

Baheya, Chelsea, Jodie, Mariana, Patricia, Rodas, Sam, Susan and the entire CODEPINK team

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This Palestinian Writer’s Diary From Gaza Should Be Required Reading (Alternet)

Posted by uscsjp on July 12, 2016

“Individuals aren’t the targets, but residences, family houses. They’re bombed until there’s nothing left.”

Posted in Analysis, Culture, History | Leave a Comment »

Palestinian Kids Are A Miracle Too. Santana, Cancel Your Tel Aviv Concert!

Posted by uscsjp on June 29, 2016

by Ramah Kudaimi
June 29th, 2016

Musician Carlos Santana is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on July 30. Santana is committed to the welfare of children and founded the Milagro Foundation in 1998, whose name means miracle and was inspired by the image of children as divine miracles of light and hope. On June 28, staff at the foundation’s office refused to open the door when a delegation, including local Palestinian families with children, attempted to deliver a petition signed by 25,000 people urging him to cancel.

In 2010 Santana honored the call from Palestinian civil society for cultural boycott and cancelled a planned concert. Join the efforts to calling on him to respect the boycott call once again!

Watch and share this powerful video urging him to stand on the right side of history.

 

Post these memes on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and other social networks. Use #BelieveInMiracles.

There are also sample tweets included, which you can automatically tweet by clicking on them. The messages can also be posted on his Facebook page.

More Sample Tweets:

– See more at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4808#sthash.g9ZFSnZy.dpuf

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BARBARA LEE & ELIJAH CUMMINGS: INCLUDE PALESTINIAN RIGHTS! — CodePink

Posted by uscsjp on June 17, 2016

There’s a debate raging within the Democratic Party Platform Committee about its position on Palestine. Traditionally, thanks to AIPAC, the platform has showed unconditional support for Israel.But now times are changing: there’s a possibility of getting the platform to recognize the human rights of Palestinians!

Join us to call on Rep. Elijah Cummings, head of the Democratic Party Platform Committee, and Barbara Lee to include language that:

  • supports Palestinian rights;

  • calls for an end to the occupation;

  • affirms our right to boycott Israeli products!

Please sign:

 https://oneclickpolitics.com/messages/edit?promo_id=2723

 

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100% of funds going straight to Gaza! Share your Ramadan across borders

Posted by uscsjp on June 10, 2016

100% of donations to UNRWA’s Ramadan campaign will go directly to Gaza.

Where others have failed, UNRWA invests in creating countless opportunities for Palestine refugees, empowering them with the skills they need to persevere. And with your help, we can do even more.

Ramadan is a time to give thanks for what we have, contemplate how to better ourselves, and help those who are less fortunate. Whether you observe or not, your tax-deductible gift of $120 will provide a family in Gaza with enough flour, sugar, olive oil, meat, lentils, chickpeas, and other essential food items to get them through the month.

The sooner you give, the sooner we can act. Donate and help bring joy to their table this month.


There is also a conversation happening on Twitter and Instagram:  #ramadanacrossborders

You don’t have to celebrate Ramadan to participate in this conversation. Holidays, family, and separation are universal themes. Many of us have family and loved ones across borders, whether those are state lines or international.

So join the #ramadanacrossborders exchange: 

  1. Share your stories of what it’s like to celebrate holidays (Ramadan is just one example) with loved ones who aren’t in the same geographical place. Can you imagine Christmas without family ten years in a row?
  2. If you are Muslim, share what Ramadan looks like for you. We’re talkingsuhoor and iftar photos, gatherings with families and friends, or even community events.

Palestine refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the world will do the same, creating an exchange across borders. We can’t wait to see what you have to say.

GET INVOLVED:

https://getinvolved.unrwausa.org/events/share-your-ramadan-across-borders/e80582

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Register Now – Journey for Justice in Palestine: 16 – 24 July 2016

Posted by uscsjp on June 6, 2016

Registration Deadline is End of June

Journey for Justice 2016

16 (arrival)- 24 (departure) July – Palestine

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JFJ 2016Inv
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Journey for Justice 2016 – Palestine

16 (arrival) – 24 (departure) July

17 – 30 years old youth from all over the world are invited to join.

Read more for background information, proposed schedule, and registration procedures. Register online NOW.

You may spread the invitation to your youth friends, members, groups and networks…etc.

Read more about the Journey for Justice and last years’ journies.

Meet and live with Palestinian youth, experience their life under occupation, gain very well understanding of the conflict, have geopolitical and culture exposure, visit historic and religious sites in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Hebron, and Jericho.

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Youtube | Facebok group | Olive Tree Campaign Facebook page | Twitter |
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From AlterNet–“Extreme Takeover: Why Many Are Calling Israel’s New Government the ‘Most Racist’ in History”

Posted by uscsjp on May 26, 2016

Major establishment figures are warning of parallels to Nazi Germany as Netanyahu assembles far-right coalition.

By David Sheen / AlterNet

May 24, 2016

 

With the announcement that hard-right Avigdor Lieberman would soon use his powerful position as Minister of Defense in the Israeli cabinet to advance additional anti-democratic legislation, members of the old Israeli political establishment could scarcely contain their apprehension. “Lieberman is the new Kahane,” read the title of an op-ed by a former two-time Israeli minister, a reference to the founding father of Israel’s first fascist party.

Israel is not a democracy anymore,” lamented the former Speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, at a huge protest in Tel Aviv, the heart of the Israeli left. At the same mass rally, a liberal lawmaker called the coalition the “most racist government in Israel’s history” and assailed the leader of the centrist Labor Party for his willingness to work in partnership with Netanyahu. About 15,000 citizens answered the call of organizers that night, assembling for a raucous “Emergency march: Standing up for democracy while we still can.”

But that was over five years ago. The former Israeli minister who called Lieberman the “new Kahane,” Yossi Sarid, is now dead. The liberal lawmaker who named Netanyahu’s government the most racist in history, Nitzan Horowitz, has since retired from parliamentary politics. Today, warnings of the increasing racism pervading Israeli society and guiding its populist leaders come not from members of the left-wing Meretz Party, but rather from decorated Israeli generals, including many notorious for their involvement in atrocities against Palestinians.

In a Holocaust Memorial Day speech three weeks ago, the Israeli army’s deputy chief of staff warned that the country was beginning to resemble Nazi Germanyin the 1930s. Last week, the army’s former chief of staff resigned his post as defense minister, claiming that the country had been taken over by extremists. And on the weekend, a third former chief of staff, defense minister and prime minister responded to this resignation with the charge that Israel “has been infected by the seeds of fascism… and it’s just the beginning.”

That these ominous warnings are emerging from trusted alumni of Israel’s security establishment and not the country’s few remaining bleeding heart liberals demonstrates how the national discourse has shifted to the hard right, and how the Israeli left has disintegrated into insignificance.

The progressives who organized a protest this past Saturday night against Lieberman’s imminent admission to the coalition only managed to draw about 300 participants. This figure amounted to only one-50th the size of the crowd that the Israeli left had fielded in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against Lieberman’s anti-democratic machinations back in January 2011.

Since that time, Israeli citizens have gone to the polls twice more to elect Knesset representatives, in 2013 and 2015. At each opportunity, people have voted in a government even more racist than the last. Last week, Netanyahu announced he would expand his slim coalition by reintroducing Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party to the government, increasing its racist quotient even further.

Filmed West Bank shooting put chain of events in motion

In recent years, Netanyahu doubled funding for Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, and ordered the demolition of Bedouin villages within Israel so that Jews-only townships could literally be built atop their ruins. He rounded thousands of non-Jewish African refugees into desert detention centers and deported thousands more back to the tortures they fled from. He launched two separate full-scale attacks on Gaza, killing over 1,000 civilians, including hundreds of women and children while reducing much of the territory to ruins.

Despite all of these developments, Israel has continued to enjoy the enthusiastic backing of its premier patron, the American government. Even when Netanyahu publicly declared on the eve of the most recent national election that he opposesthe creation of a Palestinian state, Washington continued ahead with fantastical plans to reignite the long-dead “peace process.”

The Obama administration is now offering to increase U.S. military aid to Israel from $3 billion a year to a whopping $4 billion a year, but the signing of the deal has been delayed due to Netanyahu’s refusal. Indeed, the prime minister has demanded that the record figure be increased up to $5 billion a year.

If it were not for the intrepid actions of a humble shoemaker two months ago, grumblings about the government’s incessant march to the far right would still be left to Palestinian activists, their international allies and progressive Jewish partners who are dismissed by Israeli leaders as self-haters and worse. As a witness to a horrendous but all too common scene, the Palestinian resident of the West Bank city of Hebron set off a chain of events that would remove the mask from the Netanyahu government and expose the extent of Israel’s downward spiral.

On March 24, Imad Abu Shamsiya captured on high-quality video an Israeli army medic executing in cold blood an injured and immobilized Palestinian man who presented no physical threat to anyone around him. When the damning footage Abu Shamsiya had passed on to human rights campaigners went viral, careening through the foreign media, it exposed a political rift that has apparently been brewing for some time in the Israeli government. This past weekend, Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of Israeli daily Haaretz, called the video “the dynamite that blew up the Netanyahu-Yaalon government.”

Israeli reactions to the execution removed the mask of liberalism

During the first 48 hours following the video’s release, the incident held the attention of foreign media outlets. Put on the spot to defend Israel’s undeserved reputation as a democracy that respects human rights, Netanyahu first condemned the killing.

But as global interest dwindled, Netanyahu reversed course, publicly empathizing with the shooter and his family. The traditional base of Netanyahu voters began taking to the streets to express solidarity with the medic, and leaders of Knesset factions to the right of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party began openly advocating on his behalf. As prominent hawks demanded amnesty for the medic while their rank-and-file embraced him as a hero, Likud loyalist and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon resisted the far-right rhetoric and continued to condemn the medic’s actions.

To be sure, Yaalon is not now and has never been a leftist, not by a longshot. As army chief of staff, he compared Palestinians to a cancer that must be treated with chemotherapy, and as defense minister he supported segregating West Bank buses by race and religion. Serving in Netanyahu’s cabinet, he called the Israeli anti-settlement activists of Peace Now a “virus” and accused the army whistleblowers Breaking the Silence of committing “treason.” Worst of all, Yaalon personally directed Israel’s merciless 2014 attack on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge.

How could such a man suddenly find distasteful the execution of a single Palestinian, especially one who was accused of attacking Israeli soldiers before he was felled and later killed?

Condemning the medic-executioner enabled Yaalon and other members of Israel’s old guard to profess egalitarian values and portray themselves as civilized, even while their hands dripped with Palestinian blood. In the words of Mekomit Magazine analyst Haggai Matar, the difference between the Israeli officials like Lieberman who support the actions of the medic-executioner and those who oppose his actions like Yaalon is the following:

“The former already dropped all the masks, the pretension to ‘purity of arms’ and ‘enlightened occupation’, while the latter want to return to the days in which you could both rule over millions of human beings under a military regime and also feel like a light unto the nations. To both operate separate legal systems and send children to the army, to kill and be killed in the name of the settlements, and for those kids to also not be racist, heaven forbid. To continue all of that, and to also not be criticized for it by the international community.”

Yaalon eventually came to the defense of the army deputy chief who had compared rising racism in Israel to Germany in the 1930s and doubled down on his dissent by encouraging army brass to go public with their ethical concerns, even if they aren’t shared by the government of the day.

To quash internal resistance, Netanyahu announced that he would terminate Yaalon as Defense Minister and replace him with Lieberman, a far-rightist whose open hatred of Palestinians and eagerness to expel them from the country, if not outright execute them, is well-known and well-documented.

Lieberman named Defense Minister-in-waiting, Glick made Member of the Knesset

Like the rest of the coalition government’s non-ultra-Orthodox partners, Lieberman was a Netanyahu protege who eventually emerged from under his boss’s wing to found his own party, a vehicle for votes that could be brought under Netanyahu’s premiership in exchange for important ministerial appointments.

When Israelis last went to the polls in the spring of 2015, multiple members of Lieberman’s party were under investigation for using the powerful positions they had been appointed to for their own economic interests. On election day, Israeli voters reduced the party’s representation in the Knesset by more than half, from 13 seats to just six. At that time, Lieberman’s weakened hand and damaged image made him a less desirable political partner. But after just a year on the opposition benches, the voting pubic seems to have forgotten all about Yisrael Beiteinu’s financial scandals.

As a condition for his inclusion, Lieberman has demanded that the government agree to implement the death penalty—only for Palestinians, never for Jews. And though his voter base is fiercely secular and often disenfranchised by religious rules that forbid citizens who aren’t full-blooded Jews from marrying, Lieberman has agreed to forego his civil marriage bill and give in to Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition partners on matters of synagogue and state. Lieberman’s arrival will compound Netanyahu’s already anti-Palestinian policies, and it won’t slow down the government’s gallop toward religious fanaticism.

An apocalyptic messianist enters government

Yaalon’s decision to quit the Knesset altogether means he will be replaced in parliament by the next legislator on the Likud list: Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick, who counts himself a member of the Likud’s hardline “Jewish Leadership” faction. During Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza, the faction’s leader called to ethnically cleanse the strip of Palestinians and for Jews to recolonize it in its entirety.

But even more frightening than Glick’s territorial ambitions are his dominionist initiatives. In recent years, Glick has been the public face of a vigorous political campaign to expand Jewish access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound, considered the holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina, and the last place in the country which is still nominally controlled by Muslims. Glick skillfully depicts this demand as a modest push for Jewish prayer rights, while he passionately preaches for a Jewish temple to be built on the hallowed ground and for daily animal sacrifices to replace those Jewish prayers.

While mainstream Orthodox Judaism holds that the construction of a Jewish temple on that same site where another Israelite temple existed 2,000 years ago can only follow from an act of god, radical messianists hope to jumpstart that process. In recent years, Glick has worked with Miri Regev, a right-wing stalwart who currently serves as Culture Minister, and many more hardline lawmakers to increase the Jewish presence on the mosque compound, hoping to create a critical mass of support for a plan to apply full Jewish control over the site.

The constant forays by Glick and his followers into the Al Aqsa compound, usually under the guard of Border Police who restrain and attack Palestinian protesters, has helped bring tensions in Jerusalem to a boiling point and played a critical role in inspiring the ongoing Palestinian rebellion.

While Israel’s deposed Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was neither a friend of Palestinians nor a partner for peace, his departure signals the end of an era in which Israeli leaders could have at least been expected to mouth platitudes about the military’s moral code. Now Netanyahu must contend with his new coalition members, from the demagogic Lieberman to the zealot Glick.

Just before his swearing in as a new member of Knesset, Glick took another tripto the Al Aqsa compound. In a private meeting, Netanyahu pulled Glick aside to express his anxiety: “This is the last time you do this to me,” the prime minister exclaimed.

David Sheen is an independent journalist and filmmaker. His website is www.davidsheen.com and he tweets from @davidsheen.

–AlterNet, May 24, 2016

http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/israels-government-just-became-more-extreme-ever

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US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation Commemorates Al Nakba

Posted by uscsjp on May 15, 2016

As Palestinians Mark 68 Years of Nakba, We Must Step Up Our Work

Dear Omar,

Today Palestinians worldwide commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately expelled from their homes by Zionist forces to create the state of Israel. There are now more than seven million Palestinian refugees waiting to return to their homeland, unable to do so because Israel refuses to honor their right of return.

Enough Nakba

While we commemorate the events of 1948, it is important to understand that the Nakba is not a onetime event andimpacts Palestinians everywhere on a daily basis. Palestinian refugees in Gaza, where 70% of the population are refugees, and Syria, where more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed by bombardment from the Syrian regime, face constant military assaults.Ethnic cleansing in historic Palestine continues. In 2015 alone, 221,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced as Israel pursues its colonization project.

Below are some resources about the Nakba and the importance of thePalestinian right of return for establishing a just and lasting peace. Please use them in your organizing for Palestinian rights.

Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948 from the Institute for Palestine Studies.

The Making of Israel, a new interactive map produced by Visualizing Palestine that animates 68 years of Nakba and 143 years of colonization.

Videos to watch and shareMaximum Land with Minimum Palestinians from the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; Nakba by the Numbers from the Institute for Middle East Understanding; Najawa: A Story of Palestinefrom Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel; and Chronicles of a Refugee, a six-part series produced in 2008 looking at the plight of Palestinian refugees all over the world.

Post this graphic on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks.

Follow #Nakba#Nakba68, and #NakbaDay on Twitter for more articles, pictures, and videos.

We must step up our work in support of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. And there is something you can do right now!


The United Methodist Church General Conference is happening now in Portland, OR and US Campaign member group United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) is pushing for several divestment resolutions that will end the church’s involvement in the occupation. UMKR needs you to help launch a social media storm to show the church that support for Palestinian rights and divestment is widespread!

If you are on Facebook, like UMKR’s page and share their updates.

If you are on Twitter, tweet your support using #UMCGC. Follow and retweet tweets from @UMKairosResp@fosnalive, and #KairosGC2016. These accounts will also let you know when you can watch live stream of the resolutions being discussed and voted on.

You can also click on the tweets below to post them automatically. Each tweet includes a link to more information.

Help the Methodists become the latest church body to divest from occupation and apartheid to bring us one step closer to ending the Nakba.


Ramah Kudaimi

 

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