USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for August, 2007

Ha’aretz editor slams Israel at U.N. conference

Posted by uscsjp on August 31, 2007

The Arab affairs editor for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Danny Rubinstein, told participants at a United Nations conference in Brussels Thursday that Israel is an apartheid state.

“Today Israel is an apartheid state with different status for different communities,” Rubinstein said, according to observers at the event, which is being held at the European Parliament. Observers also quoted Rubinstein, a prominent columnist and member of the newspaper’s editorial board, as saying: “Hamas won the election of the international community and Israel cannot ignore that.”

Rubinstein was one of the few Israelis speaking among a sea of Palestinian activists at a United Nations conference entitled “International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestine Peace.”

The conference, say some attendees and Israel advocacy groups, is merely a smokescreen for anti-Israel rhetoric by the United Nations committee for Palestinian rights, which has a long history of attacking Israel and blaming all Palestinian woes on Israelis. (link)

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6+: a women’s art collective

Posted by uscsjp on August 27, 2007

Secrets 

“‘Secrets’ is a self-organized project initiated by the 6+ women’s art collective, in collaboration with eight Palestinian women artists. Over the course of two years, “Secrets” has been a series of cultural and social exchanges, workshops, several publications, and an exhibition which traveled in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and in the US. Most importantly, this project is an attempt to develop cooperation across enormous geographic and cultural distance, to build solidarities in recognition of our deep interconnectedness.

The project began with the efforts of a small group of women artists. Over the course of several years and half a dozen trips to the West Bank, it has gradually developed into a larger collectivity of artists, cultural producers, institutions, educators, journalists, designers, writers, social thinkers who have come together across great differences. They have helped us facilitate the production, transport and exhibition of artwork in the West Bank, navigating the casual brutality of the occupation with grace, intelligence and courage. They have taught us about resistance. They have cast their voices, in support and protest, against the deafening silence. This project owes its existence to the mobilization of their creative energies.”

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Roots of Israel’s violence by Tony Cliff (1982)

Posted by uscsjp on August 13, 2007

Looking back on my own experience in Palestine I can see how today’s horror grew from small beginnings. Zionism, Jewish separateness and the belief in a Jewish homeland, have developed into state violence. My parents were pioneering Zionists, leaving Russia for Palestine in 1902 to join a total Zionist population of a few thousand.

I grew up a Zionist, but Zionism didn’t have the ugly face we see today. However, there was always a fundamental crack between the Zionists and the Arabs. This same crack split Zionists from ordinary people in their countries of origin.

If you look to 19th century Russia it’s clear. In 1891 Tsar Alexander II was assassinated. The next year Russia’s extreme right organised a pogrom against the Jews. “Kill a Jew and save Russia,” they said. Socialists reacted by calling for unity in fighting Tsarism and the right. But there was a second reaction — Zionism. The Zionists argued, “Jews can’t rely on anyone but ourselves,” and the first of them left Russia for Palestine. Each further pogrom produced the same two reactions. Some joined the general revolutionary movement — others chose separation.

When the Zionists came to Palestine they continued to emphasise their separateness. Zionists took over Arab land, often evicting the occupiers. And the Zionists systematically discriminated against the thousands of Arab unemployed. Although Arabs were at least 80 percent of the population, not one came to my school.

My parents were extreme Zionists, and my father told me, “The only way to look at an Arab is through the sight of a gun.” I never shared a house with an Arab.

The Zionists organised their own trade union, the Histadrut, which raised two political funds. One was called “the defence of Hebrew Labour”, the other “the defence of Hebrew products”. These funds were used to organise pickets to prevent Arabs working in Jewish enterprises and to stop Arab produce coming into Jewish markets. They did nothing to damage Zionist businesses…

Back in Palestine Zionist outrages were developing. The state of Israel, declared in 1948, was accomplished by a terror campaign which drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. The state was born with the “limited” massacre of 240 civilians in the village of Deir Yassin.

Men, women and children were slaughtered, some thrown alive down the village well. It was a place I knew well, just a few miles from my home. The Arabs aren’t the only ones to pay since then. Israel’s constant search for allies has made it increasingly a supplier of military equipment to the world’s most reactionary regimes.

Moshe Dayan, Israel’s defence minister, spent two months in South Vietnam in 1966 advising the American puppet government. Israel supplied arms to Chile, to Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, and to all the countries upon which US president Carter placed an arms embargo for human rights violations.

Israel’s security police advised the Shah of Iran, while its scientists developed nuclear weapons with South Africa. Some people argue oppression always leads to progress. The Jews were horribly oppressed but it didn’t guarantee they became progressive or revolutionary. Indeed, oppression associated with lack of power leads to reaction. When the core of Zionism meant separation from all progressive forces, from the revolutionary forces in Russia to the anti-imperialist forces in the Middle East, the rest of the tale followed naturally.

Now Israel is collaborating with the Phalangists in Lebanon, an openly fascist organisation. I’m not surprised. I remember the 1930s when Begin’s (now Israel’s prime minister) organisation, the Irgun, used the Hitler salute and wore the brown shirts.

In 1935 I would never have believed Zionists would murder civilians — they discriminated against the Arabs, that’s all. But in today’s harsh world any crack expands and the crack of Jewish separateness leads to the horrors we’ve seen in Lebanon. Those monstrosities are the logic of Zionism. Indeed, I fear we’ll see much worse from the Zionists in the future. (complete article)

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Electronic Intifada: Mahmoud Abbas’ war against the Palestinian people

Posted by uscsjp on August 12, 2007

Ali Abunimah (Electronic Intifada)

“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was apparently more delighted by the banquet prepared for him by the wife of Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat than he was with meeting President Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho the day before yesterday,” the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported on its website on 8 August, citing Israel’s Channel 10 television station.

Channel 10’s correspondent spoke of the “hospitality and warmth” that marked Abbas’ reception of Olmert and his delegation, noting that “Erekat’s wife insisted on personally preparing and serving” the banquet. Olmert, the report added, “was unable to conceal his delight and appetite for the rich food and for the hospitality and generosity” the Israelis received from their Palestinian hosts.

Behind all the theater, the results of the meeting were as meagre as can be expected. Olmert publicly affirmed his commitment to the “two-state solution,” while spokesmen briefed the press that Israel was not ready to discuss any fundamental issues, such as borders, halting colonial settlements, or the rights of refugees. The exercise was aimed at maintaining the fiction of a “peace process” from which Abbas will supposedly one day be able to deliver results.

Yet while he treats Olmert to delicacies in Jericho, Abbas is doing his best to ensure that Palestinians in Gaza continue to suffer and starve due to the closure of the commercial and civilian crossings and tightened siege imposed by Israel since Hamas fighters routed US- and Israeli-backed Fatah militias in early June. (continued)

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Jerusalem Post: 15 hurt in clash over Bedouin house demolitions

Posted by uscsjp on August 7, 2007

Police clashed on Wednesday with Beduin protesting the demolition of two homes in the unrecognized villages of Sera and Nasara in the Negev, injuring 15 civilians and arresting five.

The clash took place when two bulldozers, supported by police, entered the villages early in the morning to demolish two houses still under construction. The houses belonged to two men who had been building them for the past three years in anticipation of marriage.

According to Ya’ala Ra’anan, of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages, the men canceled their marriage plans after losing their homes.

Ra’anan said the injured protesters were mainly women, many of them pregnant. They were taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Hospital for treatment and two were still there on Wednesday evening.

According to attorney Abdul Aziz Asasra, five youths were detained overnight.

One of the injured, Mustafa Asasra, told The Jerusalem Post he had come to watch the demolitions together with other residents of the villages. “Suddenly, I noticed police provoking eight- and 10-year-olds,” he said. “I went to one of the policemen and told him I’d calm things down. I also told him, ‘You’ve already demolished the houses. Go home now.’

“Then I saw another incident in which policemen were provoking children. I went over to them and tried to get the children to move away. In the meantime, a policeman struck me on the back of the neck with a club, using all his force. I fell to the ground.”

Asasra was taken to Soroka for treatment and released in the evening.

Ra’anan said some of the children had thrown stones at the policemen and they had responded violently.

According to Abdul Aziz Asasra, there are 100 homes in the two villages and all have received administrative demolition orders. Last week, government officials advised the two bachelors to demolish their houses by themselves, otherwise the authorities would charge them the cost of demolishing them. By the time the bulldozers arrived on Wednesday, the two homes had been partially destroyed by the owners.

Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit announced recently that there would be a moratorium on the demolition of homes while the government implemented a sweeping plan to solve the land dispute between the Beduin in the unrecognized villages and the state.

However, Abdul Aziz Asasra said that government officials had on Wednesday distributed administrative demolition orders to all of the houses in Tarabin, another unrecognized village.

A police spokesman told the Post that he had not received reports of violence and that the police did not provide spokesman’s services for the demolition of illegal housing. (link)

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