USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Archive for March, 2007

Inter Press Service: Film on “Radical Islam” Tied to Rightwing Pro-Israel Groups

Posted by uscsjp on March 30, 2007

Khody Akhavi, The Electronic Intifada, 30 March 2007

A screen shot of Obsession’s trailer

WASHINGTON, Mar 26 (IPS) – A controversial documentary on the threat of radical Islam, promoted by the two most-watched U.S. cable news networks, was marketed and supported in part by self-described “pro-Israel” groups, according to an IPS investigation.

Abbreviated versions and segments of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West ran on FOX News and CNN, but neither station disclosed the film’s connection to HonestReporting, a watchdog group that monitors the media for allegedly negative portrayals of Israel.

HonestReporting marketed Obsession but denies it produced or funded the project.

“We initially gave some guidance to the Obsession staff,” wrote Pesach Bensen, editor of Mediabackspin.com, the organisation’s weblog, in an email response to IPS. “We’re thrilled to see it succeed beyond our wildest expectations.”

When Obsession was released last year, news pundits and anchors on FOX and CNN praised the independent film for its candid look at Islamic militancy. FOX incorporated footage from the film into a one-hour special, which aired seven times in November 2006. CNN’s right-wing pundit Glen Beck called it “one of the most important films of our time”. Sean Hannity of FOX News described it as “shocking beyond belief”.

While such enthusiasm from right-wing talk show personalities comes as no surprise, mainstream cable news programmes also appeared to accept, without question, the premise of the film, which explicitly compares the threat posed by radical Islam to that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s

While such enthusiasm from right-wing talk show personalities comes as no surprise, mainstream cable news programmes also appeared to accept, without question, the premise of the film, which explicitly compares the threat posed by radical Islam to that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Consider, for example, CNN news anchor Kyra Phillips’s exhortations during an adulatory interview in December 2006 with Raphael Shore, the film’s producer: “I encourage everybody to see this movie — you definitely get an incredible education from watching this film. The movie left many of us speechless. We appreciate what you’ve done.”

HonestReporting was founded in 2000 by British university students who objected to what they considered anti-Israel coverage by European media in response to the second Palestinian intifada.

There is no mention of HonestReporting’s connection to Obsession on the film’s website, http://www.obsessionthemovie.com. In an online “Ask the Filmmakers” segment on the FOX News website, Shore stated that he could not identify the film’s funders for fear of retaliation by the “radicals” the filmmakers exposed.

Brian Gaffney, executive producer of the FOX News Documentary Unit, declined to comment on whether HonestReporting’s connection was disclosed to the audience, or whether FOX was aware of the organisation’s ideological perspective.

“There is no mistaking that this was a film with a clear point of view,” Gaffney wrote in an email to IPS. “Its forceful case against Radical Islam spoke for itself.”

In the case of CNN, which ran segments of the film in the context of a joint interview with Shore and cast member Nonie Darwish, it appears that producers were unaware of the connection

In the case of CNN, which ran segments of the film in the context of a joint interview with Shore and cast member Nonie Darwish, it appears that producers were unaware of the connection.

“I was told that HonestReporting was not involved with this film,” said CNN spokeswoman Megan Mahoney.

Any relation between HonestReporting and Obsession is also missing on the film’s website, but the organisation’s name does appear at the end of the film’s credits. In addition, a call for tax-deductible donations to help “launch” the film appeared on HonestReporting’s website, promising a free DVD of Obsession upon release. Contributors of 250 dollars or more were promised a free copy of the book Israel: Life in the Shadow of Terror. An entry on Mediabackspin.com, the organisation’s weblog, also describes HonestReporting as a “proud partner” of the film.

Obsession features interviews with Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, investigative journalist Steve Emerson, Itimar Marcus of Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch, and Daniel Pipes, a controversial scholar of medieval Islamic history whose website campuswatch.com sparked criticism in 2002 for its alleged McCarthyesque attacks on Middle East studies professors.

Its production credits include the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, a translation service founded in 1998 by Col. Yigal Carmon, who spent more than 20 years in Israeli intelligence and later advised two Israeli prime ministers; and the Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli group founded by Marcus, that monitors Palestinian news organisations for alleged anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic propaganda.

Obsession, for all its fans, has engendered contentious debate on U.S. university campuses not only for its disquieting barrage of video footage culled from the Arab media, but also for the film’s distribution network.

According to the New York Times, when a Middle East discussion group organised a screening at New York University earlier this year, distributors of the film required those in attendance to register at IsraelActivism.com, the official website of the Hasbara fellowships

According to the New York Times, when a Middle East discussion group organised a screening at New York University earlier this year, distributors of the film required those in attendance to register at IsraelActivism.com, the official website of the Hasbara fellowships.

The programme, also known as the Jerusalem fellowships, was started in 2001 by Aish Hatorah — an Orthodox Jewish outreach organisation and yeshiva based in East Jerusalem — in conjunction with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to its website, the group “educates and trains university students to be effective pro-Israel activists on their campuses” by providing its participants with “tools, resources and confidence to return to their campuses as leaders in the fight for Israel’s image.”

Aish Hatorah helped found HonestReporting. Rabbi Ephraim Shore, the president of HonestReporting, also helped found Hasbara.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, a summer screening of Obsession in St. Louis was sponsored by the local branch of Aish Hatora and featured a post-film discussion with Walid Shoebat, an ex-Palestine Liberation Organisation militant who was interviewed in the film. In the summer of 2006, Shoebat, a convert to evangelical Christianity, also spoke at the “Night to Honour Israel,” a three-day event presented by Pastor John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, a lobby group that aims to mobilise Christian Zionists as a political force, according to the San Antonio Express.

The controversy surrounding Obsession has less to with what it says about the threat of radical Islam, than how it presents the information

While watching the film, it becomes clear that the controversy surrounding Obsession has less to with what it says about the threat of radical Islam, than how it presents the information. While the film contains disclaimers stating that “it’s important to remember most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror,” critics argue that it makes little distinction between the religion of Islam and the political realities that inform terrorism. (full link)

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BBC: Arab leaders relaunch peace plan

Posted by uscsjp on March 28, 2007

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (right) greets Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on 27 March 2007

The summit brings together top leaders from Arab states

Arab leaders holding a summit in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, have urged Israel to accept an Arab peace initiative first proposed in 2002. Under the plan, Arab nations would recognise Israel if Israel withdrew from land occupied in the 1967 war.

The plan allows for the creation of a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees.

Five years ago Israel rejected the plan but now the Israelis are reacting more positively to it, correspondents say.

Urging Israel not to immediately ask for amendments to the plan as it had five years ago, Arab League head Amr Moussa said the Middle East was at a crossroads.

“It is either we move towards a real peace or see an escalation in the situation,” he told Arab League leaders in Riyadh…

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana are also attending.

Mr Ban told the summit that “the Arab peace initiative is one of the pillars of the peace process… [it] sends a signal that the Arabs are serious about achieving peace.”

Correspondents say no-one expects any breakthroughs, but the fact that Saudi Arabia, the regional powerhouse, is being so pro-active means this will be one of the most scrutinised Arab League summits. (continued)

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Call for boycott against the Israel Medical Association

Posted by uscsjp on March 28, 2007

Statement, Various Undersigned, 27 March 2007


Israeli soldiers stop and search a Palestinian ambulance outside Hebron, 12 March 2007. (MaanImages/Mamoun Wazwaz)

Palestinian Medical and Health Institutions Call for Imposing Measures against the Israel Medical Association (IMA)

Whereas the IMA’s medical ethics record on torture has been well documented, and the institution has never denounced or seriously confronted the Israeli government on its shameless use of torture;

Whereas the IMA has shown blatant disregard for the ethical issue of medical neutrality, with the IMA unconditionally defending the violations of medical neutrality by the Israeli army in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT);

Whereas the IMA is charged with being the executive arm of the Israeli establishment working to support political imperatives rather than serving universal medical ethics;

Whereas the IMA violates it own Physicians’ Code of Ethics, which stipulates that the goal of the IMA is to: “… maintain a suitable professional and ethical level in the medical profession”;

Whereas the IMA has either contributed directly to maintaining, defending, or justifying oppression and wars, or has stood silently in the face of civilian deaths in the OPT and Lebanon; the killing, harassment and wounding of Palestinian and Lebanese health professionals on duty; and the destruction of the Palestinian and Lebanese health systems — in the OPT as a result of destruction of the infrastructure, the apartheid Wall, and in Lebanon as a result of the massive destruction of infrastructure, roads, bridges and petrol outlets– all systematic violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention;

Given that all forms of international intervention have failed to force Israel to comply with international law or to end its repression of Palestinians and the unjust war in Lebanon;

Given that direct appeals to the IMA have been unavailing, including those from both local and international health and human rights organisations over many years, and despite a mass of incriminating documentation;

Given that the World Medical Association, responsible for monitoring medical ethics worldwide, and which has as its current Chair of Council the IMA president, has repeatedly declined to take action as it is mandated to do;

Given that people of conscience in the international community of medical and health professionals and workers shoulder the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through various forms of boycott and sanctions;

In the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression,

We, the undersigned, Palestinian Medical and Health institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, call on world medical and health institutions to:

1. Immediately end cooperation with, and refrain from participation in, any form of collaboration or joint activities with the IMA.

2. Advocate for the condemnation of the IMA.

3. Support Palestinian medical and health institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as a condition for such support.

The Medical Association -Jerusalem (Palestinian Physician’s Union); Maqassed Hospital – Jerusalem; Red Crescent Society – Gaza; The Gaza Community Mental Health Program; Arab Women’s Union Hospital – Nablus; Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees – West Bank and Gaza (Palestinian Medical Relief Society); Health Work Committees; Union of Health Work Committees – Gaza; Union of Health Care Committees; The National Society for Rehabilitation – Gaza; Near East Council of Churches Committee for Refugees – Gaza; Union of Agricultural Work Committees; Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for the Victims of Torture (TRC); Patients Friends Society – Jenin; Union of Palestinian Handicapped; Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association; Health Policy Forum; Project Loving Care – Jerusalem; Palestinian National Institute for NGO’s. (link)

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Associated Press: Israelis, Palestinians to resume talks

Posted by uscsjp on March 26, 2007

Photo

Under U.S. pressure to answer increasing Arab flexibility on Mideast peace, Israel has agreed to resume face-to-face talks with a moderate, Western-backed Palestinian leader who is sharing power with Islamic Hamas militants, a U.S. official said Monday.

Also Monday, Israel welcomed the idea of a regional peace summit, although no such meeting is set, and Saudi Arabia suggested it would consider changes in a dormant peace initiative that could make it more acceptable to Israel.

The new developments came at a time of high-profile diplomacy, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon both in the region for talks with Israeli and Arab leaders…

Olmert, who had once called Abbas a “partner for peace,” said the deal meant he would limit talks with the Palestinian leader to humanitarian or similar immediate concerns. He initially ruled out more detailed discussions or negotiations.

Olmert’s reconsideration of that stance was a small step, since Olmert held such sessions with Abbas before the Hamas deal…

Rice’s visit was timed before a critical Arab League summit later this week in Saudi Arabia. (full link)

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Democracy Now! Headlines on Iraq, Israel, Al-Arian

Posted by uscsjp on March 26, 2007

Democracy Now! – March 26 Headlines

House Approves War Spending Bill & Timetable to Withdraw Troops
On Capitol Hill, the House voted Friday to give President Bush $100 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while requiring combat troops be withdrawn from Iraq by September 2008. The vote was 218) to 212.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Proudly, this new congress voted to bring an end to the war in Iraq. It took one big giant step in that direction, it voted not to give a blank check to an open-ended commitment to a war without end to the President of the United States and yes, to begin the end of the war and deployment of our troops.”

On Saturday Vice President Dick Cheney lashed out at House Democrats. Cheney said “They’re not supporting the troops. They’re undermining them.” President Bush has vowed to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

  • President Bush : “Democrats in the House, in an act of political theatre, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. They set rigid restrictions that will require an army of lawyers to interpret. They set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground.”

Eight Anti-War Democrats Vote Against War Funding
A total of 14 Democrats voted against the bill including eight who oppose any more funding of the war. The eight anti-war Democrats were, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson and Barbara Lee, all of California, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, John Lewis of Georgia, Mike McNulty of New York and Mike Michaud of Maine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi managed to secure passage of the spending bill because she received the support of many Democrats who had voted against previous supplemental spending measures. The Senate is taking up a similar spending bill this week.

U.S. Envoy Held Talks With Sunni Militants
In news from Iraq, the New York Times is reporting that U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad held secret talks last year with Sunni militants. He is the first American official to publicly acknowledge holding such talks. Included in the discussions were self-identified representatives of the Islamic Army of Iraq and the 1920 Revolution Brigades. Khalilzad declined to give details on the meetings.

UN OKs Iran Sanctions
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved new sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced the sanctions and said Iran would limit cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Report: NYPD Conducted Widespread Spy Campaign Before RNC
The New York Times has revealed that undercover New York City police officers traveled around the country, Canada and Europe to spy on protesters planning to attend the 2004 Republican National Convention. The city set up an “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad” and sent undercover officers to attend meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists. We”ll have more on this story after headlines.

Poll: 64% Believe Iraq War Not Worth Fighting
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll has found a record 64 percent of the country now believes the Iraq war was not worth fighting. The same poll put President Bush”s approval rating at just 36 percent. Bush hasn’t had a majority approval in more than two years — the longest run without majority support for any president since Harry Truman in the early 1950s.

Government Terror Database Has Quadrupled In Size
The Washington Post is reporting the size of the government database on terrorism suspects has quadrupled in size over the past four years. Each day, thousands of pieces of intelligence information from around the world are feed them into the database known as TIDE — for Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. This includes field reports, captured documents, news from foreign allies and sometimes idle gossip. The database is used to decide what names to put on watchlists and no-fly lists. This marks the first time foreigners and U.S. citizens are combined in an intelligence database. The bar for inclusion is low, and once someone is on the list, it is virtually impossible to get off it.

Ban Ki-moon Criticizes Israel For Building West Bank Wall
Ban Ki Moon visited the West Bank on Saturday for the first time since be became the Secretary General of the United Nations. He met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and toured a Palestinian refugee camp. He also criticized Israel for a building a 450-mile wall through the West Bank.

  • Ban Ki-moon: “This is a very sad and tragic to see many people suffering from this construction of walls, depriving the opportunities for living, basic living, education, and health services.”

Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the West Bank came just days after a UN human rights envoy likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to “apartheid.” The South African attorney John Dugard said restrictions on movement and separate residential areas gave a sense of “deja vu” to anyone with experience of apartheid in South Africa.

Sami Al-Arian Ends Hunger Strike After 60 Days
Here in this country, jailed Palestinian professor Sami Al-Alrian has ended his 60-day hunger strike at the urging of his family. Over the past two months Al-Arian lost 53 pounds and became too weak to walk. Al-Arian remains in jail despite a jury’s failure over a year ago to return a single guilty verdict on any of the 17 charges brought against him. The U.S. government had accused him of being a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He eventually signed a plea deal with the government in exchange for being released and deported. He was scheduled to be released in April. But in January a judge sentenced him to an additional 18 months in jail for refusing to testify before a Virginia grand jury. On Friday, a federal appeals court affirmed that judge’s decision.

200th Anniversary of End of UK Slave Trade
On Sunday Africans marked the 200th anniversary of Britain’s abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade at a ceremony at a former slave fort at Elmina in Ghana. Elimina was sub-Saharan Africa’s first permanent slave trading post. South African musician Hugh Masekela spoke at the ceremony.

  • Hugh Masekela: “If you look at Africans all over the world in any society, whether it’s Brazil, Colombia, United States, the Caribbean, we live in squalor. So the state of slavery from a dungeon point of view hasn’t changed. And it’s very important for us to realise that the impact of slavery hasn’t changed, if anything it’s getting worse.”

Activists in Sacramento End 52-Day Occupation of Lawmaker’s Office
Protests are continuing across the country against the war in Iraq. In Sacramento seven activists were arrested on Thursday in the office of Democratic Congresswoman Doris Matsui as they attempted to read the names of people killed during the Iraq war and occupation. The activists had all taken part in a 52-day peace-in at Matsui’s office. The action began on Jan. 8th and ended on Thursday. The protest has been described as the longest occupation of a Congressional office in U.S. history. In New York police arrested five members of Peace Action Staten Island on Friday while they were occupying the office of Republican Congressman Vito Fossella. (full link)

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Romero’s Struggle For Social Justice Continues in El Salvador

Posted by uscsjp on March 26, 2007

Written by Cameron Herrington, Seattle CISPES

March 24th marked the 27th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the tenacious defender of El Salvador’s poor and marginalized majority who was gunned down by an operative of El Salvador’s U.S.-backed military while saying Mass. Romero had predicted his own death just days earlier, but he also foresaw the powerful effect that his martyrdom would have, famously stating that, “If they kill me, I will rise again in the Salvadoran people.” Indeed, Romero’s example still inspires Salvadorans – and countless others around the world – in their ongoing struggle against injustice and inequality.

Archbishop Romero’s life was among the 75,000 that were lost during El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, a conflict he recognized as having its roots in “the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery” of the oppressed. Tragically, these same social structures that led to the civil war– mass poverty, inequality and exploitation – remain largely intact even 15 years after the war’s end and the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992. According to the Washington Office on Latin America, a D.C.-based policy and advocacy group, “almost fifty percent of the population [remains] under the poverty line. Poverty [and] inequality rates still persist at levels comparable to the pre-war era.”

Similarly consistent over the past 27 years has been the role of the United States in maintaining poverty and inequality in El Salvador. As they did in 1980, these structures benefit the United States today by enabling foreign ownership of land and natural resources and the exploitation of a cheap, abundant supply of labor. During El Salvador’s civil war, the United States government used the guise of fighting communism to justify its support for ruthless military regimes that protected these economic interests. Today, the instruments used to perpetuate such conditions are more subtle: “Free trade” agreements, the privatization and comodification of public goods and services, and the extraction of natural resources through mining and other corporate activity.

In the face of such policies, Romero’s demand for justice continues to be echoed, just as he predicted it would be. Student activists, religious leaders, union organizers and the leftist party have continued working to build a new El Salvador despite the efforts of their own government, as well as that of the United States, to maintain the status quo in El Salvador and silence those who will not acquiesce. Just as the U.S. was complicit in Archbishop Romero’s murder – along with those of thousands of other civilians killed by the Salvadoran military throughout the war – today our government trains and funds a Salvadoran security apparatus that fails to meet human rights standards, violates the country’s 1992 Peace Accords, and is used by the state to carry out politically-motivated repression against the Salvadoran people. (continued)

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NYT: City Police Spied Broadly Before G.O.P. Convention

Posted by uscsjp on March 25, 2007

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

–Marco Ceglie, a member of Billionaires for Bush, a satirical performance troupe, said he suspected that the group was under surveillance in 2004.–

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.

From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.

But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.

These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports.

In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities. A police report on an organization of artists called Bands Against Bush noted that the group was planning concerts on Oct. 11, 2003, in New York, Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Between musical sets, the report said, there would be political speeches and videos.

“Activists are showing a well-organized network made up of anti-Bush sentiment; the mixing of music and political rhetoric indicates sophisticated organizing skills with a specific agenda,” said the report, dated Oct. 9, 2003. “Police departments in above listed areas have been contacted regarding this event.” (continued)

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Gaza rally for BBC correspondent

Posted by uscsjp on March 25, 2007

Palestinian print workers run off posters of Alan Johnston ahead of the rally

Alan Johnston has been based in Gaza for three years

Journalists in Gaza have held a rally to call for the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston and an end to the kidnap and intimidation of reporters. The demonstration was the latest in a series of appeals since Mr Johnston disappeared two weeks ago on his way home from work in Gaza City.

More than 100 journalists, politicians, and others attended the rally.

Palestinian officials have said all possible efforts are being made to secure Mr Johnston’s release.

Gaza has seen numerous demonstrations in support of the BBC correspondent, and last Wednesday Palestinian journalists staged a strike.

There have also been numerous international demands for his immediate release, including from the Arab League, the UK government and the EU.

Respected reporter

Sunday’s demonstration took place near the Unknown Soldier memorial in the centre of Gaza City.

A tent covered in pictures of Alan Johnston was erected nearby, and contained messages demanding his release written by local Palestinians.

A six-metre (20ft) poster of the missing reporter hung from an advertising hoarding.

The BBC’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Simon Wilson, expressed gratitude for the international support the BBC had received, but urged all individuals and parties with any influence to work “tirelessly” to secure Alan Johnston’s release.

His call was echoed by the head of the Palestinian Press Association , Sakr Abu al-Aoun, who said the Palestinian authorities and different factions must to do everything possible to free the missing reporter.

Mr Johnston has been the BBC’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip for the past three years – and the only foreign journalist from a major media organisation based in Gaza. (continued)

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MECA: More than 5,000 Palestinians Killed by the Israeli Army Since 2000

Posted by uscsjp on March 25, 2007

MAAN NEWS AGENCY — Date: 21 / 02 / 2007 – Time: 16:00

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000, until late January 2007, the Israeli army has killed 5,050 Palestinian men, women and children, wounded 49,760 others and detained 10,4000 others, a report by the Palestinian Authority-run ‘Palestinian State Information Service’ has revealed.

The report, which was prepared by the Palestinian National Information Center, part of the PSIS, showed that 351 Palestinian women have been killed, 150 patients have died at checkpoints and 66 others have been killed due to beating by Israeli settlers. 36 medical staff have been killed, 9 members of the press, and 220 sportsmen.

According to the report, the number of Palestinians detained by the Israeli army authorities has risen to 10,400 including 553 detained prior to the outbreak of the Intifada.

Among the prisoners there have been 1,150 suffering from chronic diseases, 1,175 students, 330 under the age of 18, 106 teachers and 118 female prisoners.

In terms of damage to Palestinian public buildings, the report states that 645 civil and security installations have been damaged, 72,437 houses have been partially and completely damaged until July 31, 2006.

12 Palestinian schools and universities had been sealed off by the Israeli authorities up to August, 8, 2006. 359 schools had been shelled and 43 schools had been turned into military outposts, according to PSIS’s data.

848 students and educational staff were also shot dead by the Israeli army during the reporting period and 4,792 were wounded.

As for Palestinian farmland, until July 31, 2006, the report states that 13,572,896 trees were uprooted, 784 stores demolished, 15,549 bee hives and 1,360 water wells destroyed, and 207 farmers’ houses demolished.

Concerning unemployment, the report stated that 30.3 % of the Palestinian workforce has been unemployed, totaling some 288,300 persons, until September 30, 2006. At the same time, ISIS says the poverty rate across the occupied Palestinian territories has reached 70%, according to data gathered until the third quarter of 2006.

As for Israeli violations against journalists, the report recorded 1,147 attacks.

The report also recorded that the Israeli army has erected 5,001 checkpoints since October 1, 2001.

The report concluded that a total of 247,291 dunums of Palestinian-owned lands has been confiscated for the construction of the separation wall in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. (link)

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EI — Israel-Palestine: Time for a bi-national state

Posted by uscsjp on March 24, 2007

Leila Farsakh, The Electronic Intifada, 20 March 2007

Partition has never been the solution: The wall near Qalandia checkpoint, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, 28 December 2006. (Fadi Arouri/MaanImages)

There is talk once again of a one-state bi-national solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Oslo peace process failed to bring Palestinians their independence and the withdrawal from Gaza has not created a basis for a democratic Palestinian state as President George Bush had imagined: the Palestinians are watching their territory being fragmented into South African-style bantustans with poverty levels of over 75 percent. The area is heading to the abyss of an apartheid state system rather than to a viable two-state solution, let alone peace. [1]

There have been a number of recent publications proposing a one-state solution as the only alternative to the current impasse. Three years ago Meron Benvenisti, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor in the 1970s, wrote that the question is “no longer whether there is to be a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel, but which model to choose”. [2] Respected intellectuals on all sides, including the late Edward Said; the Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, Azmi Bishara; the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe; scholars Tanya Reinhart and Virginia Tilley; and journalists Amira Haas and Ali Abunimah, have all stressed the inevitability of such a solution.

The idea of a single, bi-national state is not new. Its appeal lies in its attempt to provide an equitable and inclusive solution to the struggle of two peoples for the same piece of land. It was first suggested in the 1920s by Zionist leftwing intellectuals led by philosopher Martin Buber, Judah Magnes (the first rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Haim Kalvarisky (a member of Brit-Shalom and later of the National Union). The group followed in the footsteps of Ahad Ha’am (Asher Hirsch Ginsberg, one of the great pre-state Zionist thinkers).

Underlying their Zionism was a quest for a Jewish renaissance, both cultural and spiritual, with a determination to avoid injustice in its achievement. It was essential to found a new nation, although not necessarily a separate Jewish state and certainly not at the expense of the existing population. Magnes argued that the Jewish people did not “need a Jewish state to maintain its very existence”. (continued)

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