USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for January, 2010

Al Jazeera: Israel ‘to keep’ parts of West Bank

Posted by uscsjp on January 24, 2010

“Israel’s prime minister has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to retaining parts of the occupied West Bank, undermining US efforts to restart talks aimed at eventually establishing a Palestinian state.

During a tree planting ceremony in a West Bank settlement, Binyamin Netanyahu said that parts of the territory would be kept by Israel under any final peace agreement reached with the Palestinians.

‘Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here, this place will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel forever,’ he said.

Netanyahu also pledged that Israel would keep its two biggest settlements in the West Bank, Maale Adumim and Ariel.

The Israeli prime minister’s comments came as George Mitchell, the US envoy to the region, visited in an attempt to restart negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, which were suspended a year ago.

‘Interesting ideas’

Netanyahu said after meeting Mitchell on Sunday that he had ‘heard some interesting ideas for renewing the [peace] process’.

‘I also expressed my hope that these new ideas will allow for the renewal of the process,” he said.

‘Certainly if the Palestinians express a similar readiness, then we will find ourselves in a diplomatic process.’

But Nabil Abu Rdeneh, an aide to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said that Netanyahu’s statement about retaining areas of the West Bank undermined the US efforts.

‘This is an unacceptable act that destroys all the efforts being exerted by senator Mitchell in order to bring the parties back to the negotiating table,’ The Associated Press news agency quoted him as saying.

Netanyahu has also said this week that Israeli security forces would have to maintain a presence inside any future Palestinian state.

He said on Thursday that Israel would need to operate along the West Bank’s eastern border to prevent weapons being smuggled to Palestinian fighters.

Statehood hopes

Netanyahu’s remarks are unlikely to be compatible with the Palestinians’ demand for a sovereign state within the two entities pre-1967 borders.

Palestinians want to create an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem with full control of its own borders.

Since Netanyahu took office last year, he has been hesitant to refer to the concept of a Palestinian state and has not outlined how much, if any, of the occupied West Bank he would be willing to give over to Palestinian control.

Palestinian leaders have said they will not resume peace talks until Israel halts all construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has called a limited and temporary halt to the building of new housing units in the West Bank, but the Palestinians have dismissed the move as not going far enough…”

–Al Jazeera English, 24 January, 2010

Also, a Local Area Event

(thanks to Jeff Warner of LA Jews for Peace for passing this along)

EVENTS: Sunday evening, January 31, 7 PM

Yuval Ron Ensemble in concert “Mystical Music and Dance of the Middle East”.

The Yuval Ron Ensemble is an inter-faith, inter-ethnic group of musicians and dancers who celebrate the artistic heritage of the three Abrahamic faiths to promote understanding and peace.

Sponsored: The Middle East Ministry of All Saints Episcopal Church

Tickets for this family-friendly event are available for a suggested adult donation of $20

Info: Norma Sigmund at 626.583.2734 or


Posted in Blogroll, News | Leave a Comment »

Palestinians Give to Haiti plus Joe Sacco Interview

Posted by uscsjp on January 20, 2010

Gaza Residents Donate to Haiti Relief Effort

“Aid contributions for Haiti continue to pour in from around the world. On Sunday, a group of Palestinians in Gaza offered to send donations.

Jamal Al-Khudari of the Committee Against the Siege on Gaza:

‘We are sending donations, because, as Palestinian people, we suffered a lot, and we, the Palestinian people, feel more than other people of the world with the suffering of the people in Haiti. We suffer a lot, and we feel their suffering. That is why we decided to donate from the center of suffering, from the besieged Gaza.’

–Democracy Now!, 19 January, 2010

Al Jazeera Interviews Joe Sacco

“When it comes to the world of cartooning, Joe Sacco is considered a luminary. Sacco, who is hailed as the creator of war-reportage comics, is the author of such award-winning books as Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde.

His latest work, Footnotes in Gaza, is an investigation into two little-known and long-forgotten massacres in 1956 in the southern Gaza Strip that left at least 500 Palestinians dead. It is a chilling look back at an unrecorded past and an exploration of how that past haunts and shapes the present – including the beginning of mass home demolitions in 2003 in Rafah.

Sacco navigates the fuzzy lines between memory, experience and visual interpretation almost seamlessly all while painting an intimate portrait of life under occupation and in spite of occupation – a life not only of repression and anger but one full of humour and resilience.

My mother narrowly escaped death during the 1956 massacre in Khan Yunis. Yet I struggled to find any information or record of this event as I grew older. Why do you think that is?

I was curious about the same thing.

What led me to this is a UN document referenced in books about the Suez War according to [which] up to 275 [Palestinians] were killed in Khan Yunis and then a few days later, about 111 in Rafah…”

–Laila El-Haddad, Al Jazeera, 18 January, 2010

See also:

The Electronic Intifada: “Humanity cannot be divided”: Gaza shows solidarity with Haiti

–Rami Almeghari writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 20 January 2010

Also from the Electronic Intifada:

The United States, Israel and the retreat of freedom

Epitomizing freedom: an Israeli soldier aims a gas grenade launcher at a Palestinian demonstrator in the occupied West Bank. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

“The world is suffering from a ‘freedom recession’ according to a new report from the American think tank Freedom House (‘Freedom in the World 2010,’ 12 January 2010).

Established in 1941, Freedom House markets itself as ‘an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.’ Its board of directors, chaired by a former US deputy secretary of defense, is a who’s who of Democratic and Republican former US government officials, prominent neoconservatives and Israel lobby stalwarts such as Tom Dine, former executive director of AIPAC. In 2007, more than two-thirds of its $16 million budget came directly from the United States government.

Not surprisingly then, Freedom House’s report reveals more about the groupthink of the US establishment — especially with respect to its continued efforts to dominate the Middle East and ensure Israel’s supremacy — than it does about the countries surveyed.

Focusing on two categories of ‘freedom’ — ‘civil liberties’ and ‘political rights’– the report divides the world’s 194 countries into three groups: ‘free’ (89), ‘partly free’ (58), and ‘not free’ (47).

Interestingly, Freedom House records ‘declines in freedom’ in ‘countries that had registered positive trends in previous years, including Bahrain, Jordan, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan.’ Jordan was one of only six countries to move from the ‘partly free’ category to ‘not free.’ What does it say about US ‘democracy promotion’ that Jordan, Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan — major political and military operating bases for the ‘war on terror’ and US-led occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan — have become less free as their dependence on the US has increased?

Sadly, while the report frets that ‘the most powerful authoritarian regimes [such as Russia and China] have become more repressive, more influential in the international arena, and more uncompromising,’ it has nothing at all to say about the US role in restricting freedom and spreading mayhem around the world…”

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 14 January 2010

A second Gaza war around the corner?

“Israel is once again complaining that its ‘security’ is being threatened by new eruptions of violence along the border with Gaza. About two dozen Qassam rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza in recent days. Although they fell in (and may have been deliberately targeted at) open areas, causing no damage or injuries, Israel took revenge with destructive air raids that did cause damage and killed several people, including a 15-year-old boy.

Before asking who should stop first, one should recall who started the latest ugly round of violence.

On 26 December, Israel carried out double attacks in the West Bank city of Nablus and in Gaza, murdering three people in each place. In Nablus, Israeli death squads carried out cold-blooded extrajudicial executions in revenge for the killing of a West Bank settler several days before. According to the wife of one of the Nablus victims, her husband was at home in his living room, completely unarmed when the death squad burst in and shot him in the face. Neither he nor the other victims of these state-sponsored terrorists had been accused, tried or convicted of any crime in a court of law…”

–Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 13 January 2010

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

Upcoming Local Events-January 2010

Posted by uscsjp on January 9, 2010

A few events forwarded by Jeff Warner of LA Jews for Peace


THIS Sunday, January 10, 3-5 PM

Joshua Rubinstein will talk on
“Troubled Waters, Amnesty report on water, War Crimes, and Human Rights in Palestine/Israel”

Rubinstein is regional director of Amnesty International USA.

Where: Loyola Law school downtown

Hall of the 80s, Cassassa Build., 919 Albany St, LA 90015.

Sponsors: BDS-LA Coalition and LA Jews for Peace, Women in Black-LA, & Nat. Lawyer’s Guild,

NEXT Sunday, January 17, 2-4 PM

Demonstration for Gaza at Westwood Federal Building

LA Jews for Peace sponsored demonstration to remember the end of the Gaza bombardment one year ago.  It is important that as Jews we make it clear that we do not approve of the Gaza war.

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

Viva Palestina Enters Gaza; Gaza Freedom March Heads Home

Posted by uscsjp on January 7, 2010

Gaza Freedom March Goes Home: An Update from A Recent CodePink Email:

Like An Earthquake

“The 1,362 people from the Gaza Freedom March are just returning home, full of stories about a wild week in Cairo, in the Egyptian border towns of Al Arish and Rafah, in Gaza for those who got inside, and in the West Bank and Erez crossing for those who went to Israel. And people like you, all around the world, people, held solidarity actions that focused world attention on the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza.

It was a rough week for many–battling Egyptian police on the streets, getting rebuffed by our own embassies, joining the hunger strike, debating the Egyptian offer of allowing only 100 people into Gaza. Through it all, however, we can be proud of our many accomplishments:

By focusing worldwide attention on the siege, we lifted the spirits of the isolated people of Gaza. ‘For us, a population of 1.6 million being imprisoned and starved, the gratitude we express to you, the Gaza freedom marchers, is immense. Thank you all from the depth of our hearts!’ – Mohammed Omer, Gaza

We put the spotlight on the negative role Egypt is playing in maintaining the siege and we put pressure on the highest levels of the Egyptian government. ‘Your presence in Egypt was like an earthquake,’ said Suzanne, an Egyptian student. ‘You did more good politically by protesting in Egypt than you could have ever done in Gaza.’ Check out the hundreds of press hits on the march from dailies around the world!

We forced the Egyptian government to make a concession by letting 100 delegates into Gaza. That delegation took in tens of thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid, allowed Palestinians to see long-lost family members, recorded stories they will disseminate broadly, and put up a stunning mosaic memorial, created by muralist Kathleen Crocetti, in a central location in Gaza City in the name of the international community.
View the photos of the Women’s Contingent in action and the whole Gaza Freedom March and solidarity actions from photographers around the world!

We signed on to a lawsuit against the Egyptian government for building a wall to block off the tunnels that have become the commercial lifeline for the people in Gaza.

We reinvigorated our own determination to keep struggling to lift the siege! A new international network formed that can coordinate future work and, initiated by the South African delegation, the Gaza Freedom March committee and various members drafted the Cairo Declaration that outlines a program for moving forward. View and sign on to the Declaration here.

With gratitude,
Ann, Dana, Desiree, Emily, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Janet, Jodie, Kit, Kitty, Liz, Marina, Medea, Nancy, Paris, Rae, Suzanne, Tighe and Whitney”

–CodePink, 7 January, 2010

See also CodePink’s links to Media Coverage of the Gaza Freedom March

More on the Gaza Freedom March from The Electronic Intifada:

Gaza Freedom March: detained at the US embassy

Medea Benjamin (left) and Kit Kettredge outside the US embassy.

Egyptian police in uniform and plain clothes surround US citizens attempting to visit the US embassy.

On the afternoon of 28 December 2009, I was with several persons who accompanied CODEPINK cofounder Jodie Evans to the US Embassy in Cairo to present a letter from Massachusetts Senator John Kerry in which he expressed ‘strong support’ for citizens of his state who were traveling to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and requesting they be given ‘every courtesy.’ In fact, we were turned away at the first checkpoint at a side street off Corniche al-Nil leading up to the embassy, and told to come back the next morning.

At 9:45am on 29 December, Evans, myself and two other Gaza Freedom March participants came back to the embassy. We explained that we wished to see Ambassdor Margaret Scobey to discuss why Egypt had prohibited more than 1,300 persons including hundreds of Americans, from going to Gaza to take part in a peaceful march with Palestinian civil society against the siege of Gaza.

We were allowed through the first checkpoint, and told we would have to be sniffed by dogs. But as the dogs finished their task, an Egyptian police officer came running up, and demanded we leave….”

Ali Abunimah writing from Cairo, Live from Palestine, 7 January 2010

Also from The Electronic Intifada:

Gaza Freedom March activists target Egypt’s complicity

Sayed Dhansay in Cairo. (Ali Abunimah)

“…After marching for approximately 20 meters, hundreds of Egyptian riot police rushed toward the crowd and encircled them. In an effort to peacefully hold their ground, marchers sat on the ground. In what was a surprisingly heavy-handed response to foreigners, the police began pulling, beating and kicking protestors to get them out of the road.

While rows of riot police shoved the group from behind, police at the front and sides pushed back, causing panic and hundreds of individuals to fall to the ground. Several women were punched, kicked and dragged out of the road, while many elderly persons were pinned beneath others who had fallen on top of them. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries beyond a few bloody noses and people who had sustained cuts and bruises.

After approximately 15 minutes of this, police managed to corral the entire group into an area just off the road, where the protest continued peacefully for the rest of the day. Although unable to march, the group held a loud and emotional protest in support of those besieged in the Gaza Strip…”

Sayed Dhansay, The Electronic Intifada, 31 December 2009

Democracy Now!: Viva Palestina Aid Convoy Arrives in Gaza, George Galloway Describes “Desperate” Situation

“A humanitarian aid convoy carrying food and medical supplies has arrived in Gaza nearly a month after it embarked from Britain. Members of the Viva Palestina convoy began passing through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing into Gaza on Wednesday. They’re expected to spend the next forty-eight hours distributing the aid supplies.

The convoy was delayed by more than a week following a dispute with the Egyptian government. Hours before the convoy’s entry into Gaza yesterday, an Egyptian soldier was shot dead during a clash with Palestinian protesters who had gathered along the border to protest the delay. At least thirty-five Palestinians were wounded. On Tuesday, Egyptian forces clashed with members of the Viva Palestina convoy, wounding more than fifty.

AMY GOODMAN: Egypt and Israel have been maintaining a strict blockade on Gaza since 2007, allowing only the most basic supplies to get through. Viva Palestina’s arrival in Gaza comes a year after the three-week Israeli assault that killed over 1,300 Palestinians.

British parliamentarian George Galloway led the Viva Palestina convoy. He joins us now on the phone right now from Gaza.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

GEORGE GALLOWAY: Thank you. Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us what happened? We hear a number of people in your convoy were beaten up, were hurt, some hospitalized.

GEORGE GALLOWAY: Yes, fifty-five, in fact, were injured, some of them quite severely. Ten of them had to go to hospital. All of them entered Gaza with us, but we have a collection of broken heads and plaster casts and bloodied faces and clothes.

It’s quite a testimony to the role that the government of Egypt is playing in this siege that you have just admirably described. It was entirely unprovoked. It was an attack on unarmed civilian people. And it was very frightening and brutal. And, of course, it was of a piece with the way that the Gaza Freedom Marchers were treated in the center of Cairo in the middle of the tourist season just days before…”

–Democracy Now!, 7 January, 2010

Finally, An Upcoming Event:

Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East

A lecture by Dawn Chatty, Oxford University.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall

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