USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for May, 2009

Abbas Meets With Obama; UpComing Events

Posted by uscsjp on May 31, 2009

Latest News from Democracy Now!

“Obama Renews Call for Israeli Settlement Freeze

President Obama hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House Thursday for their first formal talks. Obama criticized the Israeli government for rejecting his call to stop expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, but also expressed tacit support for the Palestinian Authority’s repression of opposition groups in the West Bank through its US-trained security forces.

President Obama: ‘On the Israeli side, those obligations include stopping settlements. They include making sure that there is a viable potential Palestinian state. On the Palestinian side, it’s going to be important and necessary to continue to take the security steps on the West Bank that President Abbas has already begun to take, working with General Dayton. We’ve seen great progress in terms of security in the West Bank.’

The Israeli government has put itself at odds with Obama over its refusal to end settlement growth and accept the principle of Palestinian statehood. Abbas said the key to peace lies in Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: ‘Mr. President, I believe that the entire Arab world and the Islamic world, they are all committed to peace. We’ve seen that through the Arab League Peace Initiative, that simply talks about land for peace as a principle. I believe that if the Israelis would withdraw from all occupied Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land, the Arab world will be ready to have normal relationships with the state of Israel’…”

–Democracy Now!, 29 May, 2009

See Also:

Netanyahu Goes to Washington

“…THE WORLD wanted, of course, to know what went on between the two when they met alone.

Coming home, Netanyahu strenuously tried to present the meeting as a great success. But after the spotlights turned off and the red carpet rolled up, we can examine what we have really seen and heard.

Among his great achievements, Netanyahu emphasized the Iranian issue. ‘We have reached complete agreement,’ he proudly announced time and again.

Agreement on what? On the need to prevent Iran from getting a ‘military nuclear capability’.

Just a moment. What is that we hear, ‘military’? Where did this word creep up from? Until now, all Israeli governments have insisted that Iran must be prevented from acquiring any nuclear capability at all. The new formula means that the Netanyahu government now accepts Iran having a ‘non-military’– which is never very far from a ‘military’ – nuclear capability.

This is not Netanyahu’s only defeat on the Iranian issue. Before his trip, he demanded that Obama give Iran just three months, ‘until October’, and that after this ‘all the options would be on the table’. An ultimatum that included a military threat.

Nothing of this remains. Obama said that he would conduct a dialogue with Iran until the end of the year, and that he would then assess what had been achieved and consider what to do next. If he came to the conclusion that there had been no progress, he would take further steps, including the imposition of more stringent sanctions. The military option has disappeared. True, before the meeting Obama told a newspaper that ‘all the options are on the table’, but the fact that he did not repeat this in Netanyahu’s presence speaks volumes…”

–CounterPunch, 25 May, 2009

Finally, UpComing Events From A Recent Jewish Voices For Peace Email:

” Sunday afternoon., June 7; 2-4 PM,
Peace Vigil for a Palestinian State Alongside Israel
Third St. Promenade at Santa Monica Blvd.
Join Jews for Peace between Israelis and Palestinians (J- PIP) in a vigil to support President Obama’s goal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As American Jews, we recognize that 42 years of occupation and ruling over 4 million Palestinians against their will, Has not given Israelis peace and security, and never will.
Israel and its people’s desire for peace and security can only be achieved, when the Palestinians also have peace and security in their own sovereign and viable state alongside Israel.

We call upon President Obama to do all in his power to ensure that this peace vision will be implemented as soon as possible.  First steps include:

  • Settlement expansion on the West bank and in East Jerusalem halted.
  • Settlement outposts demolished.
  • Checkpoints and roadblocks that do not contribute to Israel’s security removed.
  • Gaza blockade lifted; and crossings open.
  • Harassment of Gaza fishermen ended
  • Rockets attack on Israeli civilians from Gaza stopped.

J PIP will supply pro-peace, nonviolent, non-defamatory signs
We welcome everyone who shares J-PIP’s vision of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Support this important VIGIL.


ACTION – Write to President Obama in support of his pressure on Israel for a full settlement construction freeze with no exceptions.
Use the J-Street website
and/or the Brit Tzedek website 

ARTICLE 1  Link to Gideon Levy article in Ha’aretz saying that the moderate Israeli are not acting, and the opportunity presented by Obama’s activism will be missed.      

ARTICLE 2  Link to a Ha’aretz article reporting on the Israeli government resistance to Obama’s call to end settlement expansion.

ARTICLE 3  Link to Gershorn Baskin article in the Jerusalem Post explaining why 2-states for 2-people is the only resolutuion of the I-P conflict, and for their own good the Isareli people and government should help make it happen.

ARTICLE 4  Link to Yacov Ben Efrat piece arguing that Obama is trapped by a stratigec need to partner with Israel, and no real change will happen.

ARTICLE 5  Link to 30-minute interview with Sherna Berger Gluck about the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

— Sun., June 14, 5 PM

Presentation by Nora Murad, PhD, Executive Director Dalia Association;
Food and beverages will be served
St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church, 13091 Galway Street, Garden Grove, CA 92844
For info, call Vicki Tamoush (714) 368-5100;
or Fr. Wilfredo Benitez (714) 537-0604;

Thursday, June 18, 6-9 PM
Israel & Palestine: Is Peace a Dream?
Speakers:     Mehnaz Afridi, Professor of Judaism and Islam, Antioch University, Los Angeles.

David Weisberg, Executive Director of Friends of the Arava Institut
Anton Khalilieh, Palestinian graduate Arava Institute
Liza Shtromberg, Israeli graduate of the Arava Institute
Woodbury Community Center,   130 Sanctuary, Irvine, CA 92620
RSVP:  prior to June 9th to or 949.933.0343; space is limited so guest list will be strictly enforced.”


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

Bibi and Obama, Al Awda 2009, Al Nakba 61 Years on

Posted by uscsjp on May 18, 2009

The following is the tentative program of the Freedom For Palestine 7th Int’l Al-Awda Convention. This program may be subject to change:

“Friday May 22, 2009

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Meet and Greet – New friends, old friends and all attendees
Appetizers/Arabic food provided courtesy of Anaheim’s Victory’s Bakery and Restaurant, Alsanabel Restaurant and Bakery, and Sahara Falafel

7:00 pm – 7: 15 pm – Convention Opening and Welcome

7:20 pm – 8:20 pm – Solidarity organizational reps: Richard Becker, John Parker, Michael Prysner, Todd Chretien

8:20 pm – 9:05 pm – Special guest solidarity voices: Cindy Sheehan, Fernando Suarez Del Solar and Marta Rodriguez

9:15 pm – 10:45 pm – ‘Salt of This Sea” – Fu’l-feature film by Annemarie Jacir starring Suheir Hammad and Saleh Bakri

10:45 pm – 11:00 pm – Closing

Saturday May 23, 2009

8:00 am – 10:00 am Embassy Suites Breakfast Cart (items available for purchase outside main hall)

9:00 am – 9:10 am – Introductory Welcome

9:10 am to 9:25 am – Palestinian Refugees – Background and Current Status, plus Al-Awda Refugee Support programs – by Dr. Jess Ghannam

9: 30 am – 10:10 am  – ‘Present Absentees In Galilee Clinging to their Land – a Testimony’ – Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, Galilee Society and Ittijah founder and author of ‘A Doctor in Galilee’

10:20 am – 10:30 am – Palestinian Refugees in Iraq – Alan Santistevan

10:35 – 11:10 pm – Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions with Lubna Hamad (Adalah New York)

11:20 am – 12:00 pm – Academic Freedom with Professor William Robinson, UCSB Sociology Professor

12:10 pm – 12:50 pm – Recent Media Coverage of Palestine – Al Jazeera correspondent Khaled Dawoud

1:00 pm – 2:40 pm Lunch with Keynote address “ The Palestinian Struggle in the Aftermath of the Gaza Attack” by Dr. Jamal Nassar, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at CSUSB; “The Daily Struggle in Jerusalem” by Yacoub Odeh, former political prisoner, human rights worker, and national coordinator for the Palestinian Popular Committees against Zionist house demolitions.

2:45 pm – 4:05 pm – Forum: Palestinian Political Affairs and Structures with Ghassan Elias, Dr. Masad Arbid and Muna Coobtee

4:15 pm – 5:30 pm – Viva Palestina US Forum with George Galloway MP, Ron Kovic and Kevin Ovenden

7:30 pm – midnight – Banquet with Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark ‘War Crimes in Gaza’ – and ‘Growing our Global Movement – Freedom For Palestine’ with George Galloway; Fundraising and National Dabke Contest…”

–Al  Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition

Netanyahu in the US: See The Following Commentary From Jeff Warner, LA Jews for Peace

“Commentary on Monday’s Obama – Netanyahu meeting

In my view, there are two key issues, both indicating good news:

  1. This suggests to me that there was serious disagreement in the meeting, which in turn suggests that Obama did not cave-in to Netanyahu.
  2. In the post-meeting press conference, Obama said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will help diplomatic negotiations with Iran, and Netanyahu said Iran diplomacy and I-P peace should be pursued in parallel.
  3. Obama did not give a timetable for diplomacy to end Iran’s nuclear program, although he did say the diplomacy will be evaluated at the end of the year.

On the bad news side:

  1. Netanyahu called for Palestinian self-government and for peace talks to resume promptly, but not a Palestinian state.

We will learn more about what actually happened over the next weeks from leaks to the press and as we watch how the parties act.  Look to this service for links to key articles.

Link to video of press conference

–Jeff Warner, LA Jews for Peace Email, 18 May, 2009

Also, from The Electronic Intifada


By Daniel Machover and Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 14 May 2009

Fair criminal trials in EU member states, especially if
they result in convictions, could provide genuine
deterrence and begin to provide justice for Palestinian
victims of Israeli actions. The EU has a massive role in
that regard. Instead of paying lip service to injustices
inflicted upon the Palestinian people by issuing
statements “deploring the loss of life” and promises to
“follow closely investigations into alleged violations of
international humanitarian law,” EU countries would
achieve much more by applying the rule of law to Israel,
starting with making their laws match their obligations
under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Daniel Machover and
Adri Nieuwhof comment for The Electronic Intifada.


By Rami Almeghari, Live from Palestine, 18 May 2009

“Only if we return to our homeland, can there be peace.
But as long as [Israel] keeps us refugees, we have no
choice to resist them now and for generations to come,
until we are back in Beir al-Saba,” said 75-year-old
Suleiman Abu Jazzar in his home in the Brazil refugee camp
in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Rami Almeghari reports for
The Electronic Intifada.

By Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 18 May 2009

The United Nation’s watchdog on torture has criticized
Israel for refusing to allow inspections at a secret
prison, dubbed by critics as “Israel’s Guantanamo Bay,”
and demanded to know if more such clandestine detention
camps are operating. In a report published on Friday, the
Committee Against Torture requested that Israel identify
the location of the camp, officially referred to as
“Facility 1391,” and allow access to the International
Committee of the Red Cross. Jonathan Cook reports.

By Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 18 May 2009

RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) – Israel has found a
cheap and easy way to get rid of its waste, much of it
hazardous: dump it into the West Bank. “Israel has been
dumping waste, including hazardous and toxic waste, into
the West Bank for years as a cheaper and easier
alternative to processing it properly in Israel at
appropriate hazardous waste management sites,” Palestinian
Environmental Authority deputy director Jamil Mtoor told

By Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 17 May 2009

Pope Benedict XVI urged the Christian and Muslim
communities of Nazareth, the largest Palestinian city in
Israel, to “reject the destructive power of hatred and
prejudice” as he addressed 40,000 followers on 14 May at
his final public Mass in the Holy Land. His message of
peace and reconciliation for Nazareth, renowned as the
town where Jesus grew up, was delivered amid a heavy
Israeli security operation that angered many residents.

And Finally, See the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s 2009 Remember Al Nakba Page:

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Analysis, Blogroll | 2 Comments »

US Campaign: Oppose Obama’s Increased Budget to Israel

Posted by uscsjp on May 13, 2009

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation:

Take Action: Tell the Appropriations Sub-Committees No Military Aid to Israel

“May 13, 2009

Last week, President Obama sent his FY2010 budget request to Congress and, as expected, included in it $2.775 billion in military aid for Israel, an increase of $225 million from this year’s budget.
The budget request now goes to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs for a hearing and “mark-up”.

This request for an increase in military aid to Israel comes despite the fact that Israel consistently misuses U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.

During the Bush Administration, Israel killed more than 3,000 Palestinian civilians who took no part in hostilities, including more than 1,000 children.  During its December-January war on the Gaza Strip alone, Israel killed nearly 1,200 Palestinian non-combatants.

Especially during this acute economic crisis, is this how you want Congress to spend your taxes?  If not, then send your letter below…”

See Also: Riz Khan Interviewing Stephen Hawking and Daniel Barenboim on their Opposition to Israeli Policies

Riz is joined by Daniel Barenboim and Stephen Hawking, two geniuses of their respective fields who are calling for a solution on Gaza – from outside the political system.

And Finally:

AIPAC Executive Director Howard Kohr warning about the danger that the growing global boycott & divestment movement poses to Israel’s continued military occupation.

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Blogroll, News | Leave a Comment »

Al Jazeera: UN pressures Israel on peace policy

Posted by uscsjp on May 11, 2009

“Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has urged Israel to ‘fundamentally change’ its policies towards settlements and commit to a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Ban told a ministerial level meeting of the Security Council that Palestinians faced ‘unacceptable unilateral actions’ by Israel, such as settlement activity, violence, house demolitions and restriction of movement.

‘Action on the ground, together with a genuine readiness to negotiate on all core issues, including Jerusalem, borders and refugees, based on Israel’s existing commitments, will be the true tests of Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution,’ he said on Monday.

Ban also said Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel must end and that the Palestinian Authority must develop an effective security structure and state institutions.

In a statement issued by the council following the meeting, all 15 members said that ‘vigorous diplomatic action’ was needed to achieve peace and a two-state solution.

It also urged the Quartet of Middle East negotiators – the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union, to continue such efforts…”

Al Jazeera, 11 May, 2009

Also, from Democracy Now!

“Israel Has Secret Plan to Thwart Division of Jerusalem

The Israeli government and settler organizations are secretly working to surround East Jerusalem with nine national parks, pathways and sites, drastically altering the geography of the city and to strengthen Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, a move not recognized by the international community. The Guardian newspaper reports, under an eight-year plan, a series of nine national parks, trails and tourist sites based on apparent Jewish historical spots would be established, most under the control of settler groups working together with the Israeli government. The sites would also create a link to Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. The Israeli organization Peace Now says the secret plan for East Jerusalem might prevent the ability to reach a two-state solution.

Obama Renews Sanctions Against Syria

In other news from the Middle East, President Obama has renewed economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria. The sanctions were first put in place by President Bush four years ago…”

Democracy Now!, 11 May, 2009

See also the following  from The USC Daily Trojan:

Israeli anniversary

“’SC Students for Israel’s event, Israel Palooza, which celebrated Israel’s 61st anniversary of its independence was met with opposition Wednesday afternoon, as demonstrators from Students for Justice in Palestine gathered to protest…”

Daily Trojan, 30 April, 2009


And Finally:

USC students protest for Palestine

“LOS ANGELES–Students held a memorial on March 4 for Palestinians killed in Gaza and elsewhere, and delivered a letter to the president of the University of Southern California (USC), demanding academic freedom for Palestinians, scholarships for 10 Palestinian students and educational supplies to be delivered to universities in Gaza.

Coordinated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the action included about a dozen students carrying 10 makeshift coffins and Palestinian flags through campus. One student played taps, while another banged a drum. Afterward, students petitioned passersby calling on the administration to agree to the request.

A group of Zionists showed up to counterprotest. One sign depicted a person wearing a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headscarf, covering their face and carrying a gun. The text over the image read, ‘There is a reason why terrorists wear masks’…”

–John Osmand, Socialist Worker, 13 March, 2009

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