USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for February, 2007

Greenpeace Calls for a Nuclear Free Middle East

Posted by uscsjp on February 27, 2007

Greenpeace today called for urgent discussions about a Nuclear Free Middle East to create a region free of all nuclear technology, civil and military, as essential to increasing peace and stability in the region. The international peace and environment group said nuclear technology is not the solution to either national security or energy needs. In Israel, Greenpeace activist protested outside the Knesset, the Parliament, to focus parliamentarian’s attention on the nuclear threat, and echoed the call made in Iran for a Nuclear Free Middle East. Greenpeace warned that nuclear developments and nuclear weapons in any country provoke proliferation and undermine security region-wide.

Plans had been made to hold a press conference on board the group’s ship the Rainbow Warrior in Bushehr, Iran, to present the results of research into different energy options for Iran which would allow it to meet its energy needs without recourse to nuclear power(1). Through a combination of modern energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy sources Iran can save money, meet the energy needs of its people and its economy. At the same time it can reduce its consumption of oil and gas. (continued)

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News Updates, Analysis from “Electronic Intifada”

Posted by uscsjp on February 27, 2007

Palestine: Human Rights:

UN Rapporteur compares Israel to Apartheid South Africa 
Report, The Electronic Intifada, 27 February 2007 
 
The UN's Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 
John Dugard, has issued a harshly critical report on Israel's human rights record in regards
to its treatment of the Palestinians in occupied Palestine. "The international community, 
speaking through the United Nations, has identified three regimes as inimical to human 
rights -- foreign occupation, apartheid and colonialism," Dugard says. In a report posted 
on the UN Human Rights Council's website, due to be tabled this week, the South 
African law professor accuses the Israeli regime of all three.
 
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6602.shtml
 
 
Palestine: Opinion/Editorial: 
How to Live with Hunger 
By Ran HaCohen, The Electronic Intifada, 27 February 2007 
 
When I was a child, a popular argument in favor of the Israeli "liberation," i.e., occupation,
of the Palestinian territories was its being a blessing for the Palestinians themselves. "When
we took it over," I was told at school, "there were just a couple of cars in the entire West 
Bank.  And look how many they have now!" Indeed, in the first decades of the Israeli 
occupation, the Palestinian standard of living was on the rise -- not because of Israeli
 investments (Israel never invested a cent in Palestinian welfare or infrastructure), but 
mainly because Israel exploited the Palestinians as a cheap labor force, and even a 
cheap labor force gets paid.
 
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6597.shtml
 
 
Palestine: Human Rights: 
Settlers assault family as soldiers look on: Three testimonies 
Report, B'Tselem, 27 February 2007 
 

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6598.shtml
 
 
Palestine: Human Rights: 
Second day of "Operation Hot Winter" in Nablus 
Report, PCHR, 26 February 2007 
 
For the second executive day, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued their 
wide-scale military operation inside Nablus. No casualties among the Palestinian civilian 
population have been reported, but the IOF military operation has paralyzed all aspects 
of daily life in the city, which has been placed under a curfew. PCHR strongly 
condemns this latest operation, and remains concerned over its outcome, especially as 
IOF declared that their Operation "Hot Winter" in Nablus could continue for several days.
 
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6593.shtml
 
 
Palestine: Opinion/Editorial: 
Apartheid looks like this
By Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 23 February 2007
  
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6588.shtml

 

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Larry Everest on Possible U.S. War on Iran

Posted by uscsjp on February 26, 2007

There is a real possibility that the U.S. may launch a military attack on Iran. Yet far, far too many people are either unaware of–or in denial about– this very grave situation which could lead to the deaths of literally tens of thousands of Iranians and an escalation of the war across the Middle East.

The BBC recently reported that U.S. Central Command officials have already chosen an extensive list of targets for missile and bomb attacks inside Iran. The list includes nuclear plants at Natanz, Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr, but also targets most of Iran’s military infrastructure including air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centers.

The BBC also reports that two “triggers”–or pretexts–for a U.S. attack have also been chosen. One, any confirmation that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, and second, a “high-casualty” attack on U.S. forces in Iraq that could be blamed on Iran. (continued)

Earlier article: “Bush Regime ‘Surges’ … Toward War With Iran”

Upcoming Larry Everest Appearances:

Tues., 2/27/07: 11 am to 12:30 pm – University of Southern California (USC) at Taper Hall (THH), Room 201, Gate 4 parking (or near Jefferson & Hoover) side of campus.

Tues. 2/27/07: 7 to 9 pm – Libros Revolución sponsors Larry Everest speaking on the US threats on Iran – Cafe Tropical, 5750 Hollywood Blvd., west of Van Ness, east of Wilton Place on the north side of the street. Free parking in the lot on the west side of the building. Large neon sign on the building says “Hollywood Billiards, Sports Bar and Grill.” Enter through the side door from the parking lot.

Call “World Can’t Wait” at (323) 462-4771, for more information.

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, News | 1 Comment »

Activism: Coalition to End Israeli Apartheid – Southern California

Posted by uscsjp on February 24, 2007

Site: http://ceia-sc.org/

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We are a diverse group of Southern California activists, both secular and from all religions, and including Arabs and Israelis, who have come together to further peace with justice in the Middle East. To that end, we have joined a Palestine-initiated campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa during the apartheid era, in order to bring an end to Israel’s immoral and oppressive policies towards Palestinians both within Israel and throughout the Occupied Territories.

These non-violent measures should be maintained until Israel recognizes the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination, and fully complies with international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and abolishing all laws and practices to the contrary; and

3. Respecting and protecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. (link)

Posted in Activism/Divestment | 1 Comment »

What the Democrats have to say about Palestine

Posted by uscsjp on February 21, 2007

Barack Obama “My view is that the United States’ special relationship with Israel obligates us to be helpful to them in the search for credible partners with whom they can make peace, while also supporting Israel in defending itself against enemies sworn to its destruction … Israelis want more than anything to live in peace with their neighbors, but Israel also has real – and very dangerous – enemies.” (emphasis added)

Electronic Intifada: It’s Time to Visit Gaza

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one area where liberals and neo-conservatives in America find common ground. From Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton all the way to George Bush and Condoleezza Rice one and all are united in supporting Israel’s assault on the Palestinian people and their land.

The criticism of Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid is a case in point. The hysteria on the Right is not worthy of repetition, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outdid herself by issuing a statement that: “It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression” (emphasis added). Wrong to suggest? Here is something right to suggest: Madam Speaker, it is time for you to visit Gaza. (continued)

 

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EI: Core issues absent from Rice’s peace rhetoric agenda

Posted by uscsjp on February 21, 2007

Michael F. Brown, The Electronic Intifada, 19 February 2007


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 18 February 2007. (MaanImages/POOL/PPO)

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet today with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Ostensibly, they are to talk of a “political horizon” in order for Abbas to relay to the Palestinian people a “vision” of what could be.

This now appears to be little more than a hallucination put out for public consumption. Borders, Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees cannot be expected to highlight the agenda. Consequently, if these three issues are not central to discussions, this is not a political horizon but a cliff for Palestinians. A horizon, properly viewed, simply cannot omit these three central concerns.

The mini-summit can be expected to focus instead on Abbas’s decision to join Hamas in stopping Palestinian bloodletting by agreeing to a unity government. American officials are vexed by Abbas’s decision. Former Middle East Envoy Dennis Ross, now with the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), described the deal as a trap for Rice ahead of her talks with Olmert and Abbas. Only the ideologically obsessed could reason that internal Palestinian peacemaking is part of an elaborate Palestinian scheme to put Rice in a tight spot with the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the Saudis, whose support the Bush administration desperately seeks to shore up the deteriorating conditions in Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon.

As a result of the Mecca agreement, American officials are now treading water, waiting to see what positions the unity government takes. Namely, will it recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements? This is the threesome that newspapers across the land repeat like a mantra as if all demands for peacemaking should be directed exclusively at the Palestinians. If Hamas will not accept the three demands, the United States seems certain to continue inflicting sanctions on the Palestinian people in conjunction with Israel and possibly the Quartet. Russia, however, may jump ship and the European Union faces increasing questions as to why it is causing hardship for the occupied rather than the occupier.

Indeed, it is long past time for hard questions of the Quartet. One can hope that before long Hamas will recognize Israel, renounce violence, and abide by previous agreements, and yet find it shocking that commensurate demands are not made of Israel as its occupation of the Palestinians fast approaches 40 years.

For example, if Hamas is expected to recognize Israel, why is Israel not similarly expected to address the ethnic cleansing of some 700,000 Palestinians that occurred at the time of Israel’s founding? But, of course, polite society inside the Washington Beltway is scarcely even aware of Palestinian rights and claims, while those outside that loop have systematically been kept uninformed. Palestinians are more forthright about the rights of the refugees, yet their entirely fair demands on this front are rarely heard.

In fact, on 14 February in a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, Rep. Gary Ackerman’s first question to the witnesses — a loaded panel of David Makovsky, Martin Indyk, and Daniel Pipes — was whether Palestinians have legitimate rights and concerns. There was not a powerful or passionate word from the three that indeed they do. Peacemaking in their minds was entirely geared to Israeli security, and Palestinian freedom was at best an afterthought. Shamefully, though unsurprisingly, newly ensconced Democrats, including Rep. Ackerman, appear every bit as capable of being ignorant on Israel/Palestine as their Republican predecessors. It should be viewed as both extraordinary and disturbing that Congressional Democrats could hold a hearing on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and then fail to invite a single witness capable of raising the concerns of the occupied.

Hamas is expected to renounce violence even as Israel employs it regularly and has killed far more civilians than Hamas has. Hamas’s suicide bombings have been reprehensible, but is it a reasonable expectation to ask an occupied people to give up even the violence directed at a military occupation? I abhor violence, but find it peculiar that an American government whose founders fought off British colonization would think another people should surrender even violence directed at an occupying army. Calls for Palestinian nonviolence at the very moment the Bush administration is enveloping Iraq in a vortex of sectarian slaughter seem at best hypocritical. Indeed, Israel’s entire occupation is based on violence, both explicit and implicit, and yet this irony is seldom recognized here.

Israeli settlements are also based on violence and are a clear violation of international law. But Olmert faces only pro forma calls to dismantle them or even to stop their expansion. Such language is in the Road Map, but it barely registers in practice. Settlements proceed very much as if that document does not exist. Moreover, these settlements foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state and make far more likely that Palestinians will be told they will have to accept a Bantustan in place of a contiguous and viable state that includes all of the West Bank.

Palestinians, we are told, will have to “accept” previous agreements; “respect” is insufficient. Perhaps the Bush administration and Congressional Democrats have not noticed, but Olmert’s government can scarcely be described as accepting previous agreements.

The difference, of course, is that Palestinians are weak and the Israelis are backed by the Bush administration and almost the entire U.S. Congress. Consistency in policy is of little import here. But it matters enormously to Palestinians. Hamas, it bears remembering, has hinted a deal is possible. Yet such an accord will most certainly not occur when Palestinians are treated exclusively as the victimizer. If Rice wants peace, if Democrats and Republicans alike want peace, they will have to recognize that Palestinians do have the legitimate rights and concerns Rep. Ackerman wondered about on 14 February. And unless the fulfillment of these rights (on borders, Jerusalem, and refugees) is put on the “horizon,” then negotiations seem certain to fail and to serve as little more than one more mirage manufactured by the aptly dubbed “peace process industry.”

Michael F. Brown is a Fellow at the Palestine Center. Previously, he was executive director of Partners for Peace and Washington correspondent for Middle East International. He is on the Board of Interfaith Peace-Builders. His views are his own.

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BBC: US wants tougher Iran sanctions

Posted by uscsjp on February 21, 2007

Nicholas Burns

Mr Burns has backed the idea of “additional sanctions”

Washington has said it will now push for tougher sanctions against Iran over its continuing nuclear activities. The United Nations Security Council gave Tehran 60 days to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

But the deadline has expired and a UN report is soon expected to confirm that Iran is pressing ahead with developing its own nuclear fuel cycle.

US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns accused Iran of “brazenly pursuing” its nuclear ambitions. (continued)

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New York Times: Noted Arab Citizens Call on Israel to Shed Jewish Identity

Posted by uscsjp on February 8, 2007

JERUSALEM, Feb. 7 — A group of prominent Israeli Arabs has called on Israel to stop defining itself as a Jewish state and become a “consensual democracy for both Arabs and Jews,” prompting consternation and debate across the country.

Their contention is part of “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,” a report published in December under the auspices of the Committee of Arab Mayors in Israel, which represents the country’s 1.3 million Arab citizens, about a fifth of the population. Some 40 well-known academics and activists took part.

They call on the state to recognize Israeli Arab citizens as an indigenous group with collective rights, saying Israel inherently discriminates against non-Jewish citizens in its symbols of state, some core laws, and budget and land allocations.

The authors propose a form of government, “consensual democracy,” akin to the Belgian model for Flemish- and French-speakers, involving proportional representation and power-sharing in a central government and autonomy for the Arab community in areas like education, culture and religious affairs. . .

According to a poll of Arab Israelis by the Yafa Institute, commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, only 14 percent of respondents said they thought Israel should remain a Jewish and democratic state in its current format; 25 percent wanted a Jewish and democratic state that guarantees full equality to its Arab citizens. But some 57 percent said they wanted a change in the character and definition of the state, whether to become a “state for all its citizens,” a binational state, or a consensual democracy. (full story)

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BBC: Palestinian rivals in unity deal

Posted by uscsjp on February 8, 2007

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (right) with Saudi King Abdullah

The signing ceremony took place in a Saudi royal palace

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have signed a deal to form a national unity government. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and exiled Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal signed the accord after talks in the Saudi city of Mecca.

It follows weeks of factional violence in Gaza and a year-long international embargo against the Hamas government.

Mr Abbas urged the new government to “respect” previous accords signed between the Palestinians and Israel. (continued…)

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ABC: Should San Francisco Use Antiwar Textbook?

Posted by uscsjp on February 8, 2007

Reading, writing and anti-militarism? That may soon be the case in San Francisco where a new comic book pushing a political point of view is raising serious questions.

Ronald Reagan hugging Osama Bin Laden, corporate America celebrating the spoils of war, a cartoon view of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal isn’t off limits in this comic book — “Addicted to War — Why the U.S. Can’t Kick Militarism.”

It’s an undisputedly leftist view of the United States involvement in wars, and it may soon come to classrooms in San Francisco public schools.

Pete Hammer, San Francisco Unified School District: “The topic is one that a lot of teachers would have an interest in bringing into the classroom.” (continued…)

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