USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for January, 2007

For those seeking news and analysis of the political situation and sectarian tensions in Lebanon:

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

See Electronic Lebanon

Audio Report: General Strike 2007

Overview by topic of the Electronic Lebanon site

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Posted in Analysis, News, Opinion/Editorial | Leave a Comment »

A comment by As’ad Abukhalil on Anti-Semitism and Israel

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

Opposing Israel’s settlement of the West Bank or treatment of Palestinians “is, in itself, not anti-Semitic,” he writes; “it is questioning Israel’s right to exist that crosses the line.” I beg your pardon? How is that so? What if one is opposed to any state based on religious exclusiveness? What if you are opposed to any and all religious states anywhere in the world? And what if you are opposed to states that are founded on the ruins of a nation and a displaced population? So if you on principle oppose the right of Israel AND Saudi Arabia to exist (as religiously exclusivist states) than you are anti-Semitic AND anti-Muslim? (As’ad Abukhalil’s blog)

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Reuters: U.S. mulling expanded assistance to Abbas’ security forces

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

The United States is considering expanding assistance beyond Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Presidential Guard to members of the largest
force under his command, Western and Palestinian officials said.

Providing U.S. funds to train elements of Abbas’s National Security Forces (NSF), in addition to the Presidential Guard, could increase U.S. involvement in the violent power struggle between Abbas’s Fatah faction and the governing Hamas movement. (continued . . . )

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BBC: Israel checks WWI Arab ‘saviour’

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

Khaled Abdulwahab

Abdulwahab heard of a plan to put Jewish women in a brothel

Israel’s main Holocaust memorial centre has for the first time nominated an Arab to be recognised as a “righteous gentile” for saving Jewish lives. Researchers at Yad Vashem will now examine the life of Khaled Abdulwahab, who died in his native Tunisia in 1997, to see if he is eligible for the award.

He is said to have sheltered Jews on his land during the Nazi occupation.

The Righteous Gentile award has already been bestowed on about 22,000 non-Jews, including 60 Muslims from the Balkans. (continued . . . )

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Michael F. Brown: A rebuttal to the Carter Center Board of Councilors resignation letter

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

Fourteen members of the Carter Center Board of Councilors resigned on 11 January to express their dismay over President Jimmy Carter’s book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. Their criticisms are petty and inaccurate and say much more about them than about President Carter. They fail to grapple in the letter with Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians and with President Carter’s call for substantive peacemaking. My comments about their concerns are provided below along with pertinent information in boxes regarding other erroneous or misleading criticism leveled at President Carter. (The following text of the resignation letter was posted on the website of CAMERA, an organization which has been highly critical of President Carter’s book and has orchestrated protests against publisher Simon & Schuster.)



Dear fellow member of the Carter Center Board of Councilors,

This has been a difficult time for us. As members of the Board of Councilors of the Carter Center we have endeavored to promote the efforts of the Carter Center in our community. However, the recent book authored by President Carter “Palestine; Peace not Apartheid” [SIC] and his comments in the press made while promoting the book have given us pause in our efforts. We are deeply troubled by the President’s comments and writings and are submitting the following letter of resignation to the Carter Center. We wanted to inform you, our fellow Board members, of our actions and encourage you to contact us if you have any questions regarding our resignation.

MICHAEL F. BROWN: Only 14 members of a Board of Councilors numbering over 200 actually resigned in this letter. Clearly, enormous support for President Carter’s efforts still exists. Several of those resigning had strong connections to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), another organization that has been highly critical of President Carter’s book and has condemned thoughtful peace activists for being anti-Israel when, in fact, they simply object to Israeli policy. According to Shelley Rose, Interim Director of the ADL’s Atlanta Regional Office, “Among the 14 individuals who have resigned are several former and current members of the ADL Southeast Region board of trustees. We are gratified that the work of ADL in monitoring extremist web sites has played a part in exposing the negative impact Carter’s words have had.

(continued . . . )

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Rima Merriman: Abbas is far from the ‘right and moral point’

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

At the Davos World Economic Forum recently, the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas accurately summarized the terrible state of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, the economic siege and resulting deprivation inflicted upon them, the segmentation, the Israeli theft of Palestinian land and resources, and the daily humiliations they must endure.

Nevertheless, he avowed that he was optimistic, based, apparently, on the strength of his last meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister: “I have recently had a good conference with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, during which we talked very frankly about several issues, and it was agreed that Israel will carry on certain procedures that will alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people.”

It’s really hard to understand the source of Abbas’s expressed optimism. He has no power whatsoever to achieve anything in his present capacity without, in his words, “a behind-the-scenes international conduit”, which is not even on the horizon.

But the most telling factor that evokes skepticism in Abbas’s optimism is his implicit acceptance of the spurious Israeli point of view regarding the reasons behind the stalling of progress in the peace process these past many years (Palestinian terrorism). Also appaling is his misreading of Israeli’s new administrative procedures as signs of good intentions, when they are clearly and simply meant to entrench and streamline the occupation by providing such mundane things as special privileges to some and special permits to others.

The chasm between Abbas’s vision of a peaceful resolution to the conflict and the “hopeful” signs he has read into Olmert’s administrative manipulations of the status quo is astounding in its enormity. Abbas is careful to describe his oft-announced vision as one that “must end with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza within the 1967 borders, an independent state that lives in security and peace with all its neighbors, including Israel, and with finding a fair and negotiated resolution for the Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN resolution 194.” It’s a vision that, were the Israelis even remotely ready to grant from their position of authority and power, Abbas would have absolutely no problem selling tomorrow to any and all Palestinian factions and to Palestinians in the diaspora and to the entire Arab and Muslim world. (continued . . . )

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Mona ElFarra’s update on the situation in Gaza

Posted by uscsjp on January 31, 2007

….While living in Gaza and experiencing the situation on the ground, and
living in the midst of the Palestinian-Palestinian clashes between Fatah
and Hamas, I blame both parties for the Palestinian bloodshed and do not
give any excuse whatsoever for any of them, nevertheless I blame the West
for its economical sanctions against Palestine and the Israeli occupation
which on its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip it converted to a big boiling
pressure cooker.

That Israeli disengagement plan from Gaza was a new form of Occupation,
because Israel still controls Gaza from outside. It controls the borders
and the economy, and has a free hand to carry out various incursions.
Israel’s disengagement from Gaza was a step towards making an independent
Palestinian state impossible. Its consequence was to turn the Palestinian
cause into a charitable not a national issue. By making the Palestinian
people go hungry and lose all aspects of a dignified life, it is a step
towards demoralising them and making them in the end accept whatever
solution, however small and inadequate.

What do you expect of people living inside this pressure cooker, but all
sorts of aggression, despair, demoralization, and frictions against each
other? More than 60 people were killed, 30 in 3 days, and more than 70
were injured in different parts of Gaza. Most people stayed inside their
homes, one man was killed inside his home, many buildings in the Remal
area where I live were hit by random shooting, many residents left their
homes seeking safer areas, but where are those safe areas, when no place
is safer than any other?

It is mid-term holidays for the children of Gaza, 2 weeks holiday, no
regular electricity, no safe streets to run in, no proper places to play,
no safe homes to stay in, and no proper food to eat. Life continues and
the most dangerous time is when people start to lose faith and hope, and
have no vision for the future.

With your solidarity, with the solidarity of all those good people
worldwide who hate to see injustice and aggression, and continue to work
for a better world, I can keep my hope and vision for a better future, and
try to transmit those feelings to the others here to keep them strong.

I still count on you for a better future for the Palestinian people, the
women, the children who deserve better lives.

From Gaza with love

Mona (Mona’s blog)

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