USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Archive for May, 2012

My beloved daughter, forgive me: Email from BDS South Africa

Posted by uscsjp on May 13, 2012

Below this email is a moving and heartbreaking letter by the Palestinian political prisoner on hunger strike, Thaer Halahleh, to his two-year old daughter. Here is an extract:
“My Beloved Lamar, forgive me…despite the fact that I was deprived from holding you and hearing your voice…and that I was deprived of my role as a father with my daughter, your existence has given me all the power and hope. Lamar my love: I know that you don’t yet understand why your father is going through this battle of hunger strike for the 75th day, but when you grow up you will understand that the battle of freedom is the battle of going back to you, so that I can never be taken away from you again or to be deprived of your smile or seeing you, so that the occupier will never kidnap me again from you.”  (Find the full letter below or here:

On the seventy-third day of his hunger strike, Thaer Halahleh, was vomiting blood and bleeding from his lips and gums, while his body has been reduced to a mere 54 Kilograms. Halahleh, together with thousands of other Palestinians are being held under Israel’s notorious “Administrative Detention” (equivalent to Apartheid South Africa’s “Detention Without Trial”). In an extraordinary act of collective nonviolent resistance, more than 2500 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike on 17 April 2012. The hunger strike (named ‘the battle of empty stomachs’) is a protest against Israel’s unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention, abusive interrogation and inhuman prison conditions.
Thaer Halahleh is currently on the 75th day of his hunger strike. According to the British Medical Association, death generally occurs between day 55 and 75 of a hunger strike. Time is running out. Here are some ways we can support Thaer Halahleh and other Palestinian political prisoners:
1. Demand action by the South African government:
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is yet to publicly pledge solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners currently on hunger strike. South Africans are all too familiar with the practice of “detention without trial” and DIRCO needs to come out clear and resolute condemning Israel’s use of this unfair and inhumane practice. Write to DIRCO demanding immediate action and intervention at a diplomatic level: Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Private Bag X152, Pretoria, 0001(or via email, South Africa’s President and his Deputy (two former Robben Island prisoners) also need to speak out decisively against this injustice. Indeed, the South African President’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, himself endured unbelievable torture and incarceration in Apartheid South Africa’s prisons. Send an email to Mac Maharaj calling on him and the Presidency to act:
2. Join the 24 Hour Fast on Thursday, 17 May
An international call has been made to people of conscience and goodwill worldwide (Palestinians, Israelis, South Africans and others) to show solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike by holding a fast and protests on Thursday, the 17th of May. Join in, encourage others, let organizers know (click here) and use the #PalHunger hastag on social media.
3. Write in and call the media
Write in to the newspapers, TV channels and radio stations enquiring why this massive Palestinian hunger-strike (arguably the world’s largest such strike, ever) is not being adequately covered. Professor Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, has commented on the the media’s lukewarm coverage: “Can anyone doubt that if there were more than 1300 hunger strikers in any country in the world other than Palestine… [the media] would be obsessed with the story?  It would be featured day after day, and reported on from all angles, including the severe medical risks associated with such a lengthy refusal to take food.” Find Falk’s full article here:
4. Boycott Israel’s prison supplier, G4S
Heed the Palestinian call to action against the security company, Group 4 Securicor (G4S). G4S maintains, services and provides equipment to Israeli prisons, checkpoints and settlements – all against international law. In effect, G4S profits from the Israeli Occupation and prison system. Click here for more info on G4S:
The current hunger-strike by Palestinian political prisoners reminds us of the South African hunger-strikes of 1989 that ushered in a new phase in our anti-apartheid struggle for freedom and a single, democratic country for all our people. The same, undoubtedly, now lies ahead for Palestinians…
Office 915 | 9th Floor | Khotso House | 62 Marshall Street | Johannesburg
PO Box 2318 | Houghton | 2041 | Johannesburg
BDS South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organization. NPO NUMBER: 084 306 NPO
BDS South Africa is a registered Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18A status. PBO NUMBER: 930 037 446
“My Beloved Lamar…Forgive me”

– by Thaer Halahleh to his two year old daughter, on the 75th day of his hunger strike

My Beloved Lamar, forgive me because the occupation took me away from you, and took away from me the pleasure of witnessing my firstborn child that I have always prayed to God to see, to kiss, to be happy with.
It is not your fault; this is our destiny as Palestinian people to have our lives and the lives of our children taken away from us, to be apart from each other and to have a miserable life. Nothing is complete in our lives because of this unjust occupation that is lurking on every corner of our lives turning it into eeriness, a continuous pursuit and torture. Despite the fact that I was deprived from holding you and hearing your voice, from watching you grow up and move around in the house and in your bed, and that I was deprived of my role as a human and a father with my daughter, your existence has given me all the power and hope, and when I saw your picture with your mother in the sit-in tent, you were so calm staring in wonder at people, as if you were looking for your father, looking at my pictures that are hung inside the tent asking in silence why is my father not coming back. I felt that you are with me, in my sentiment and inside my mind, as if you are a part of my heartbeats, steadfast and the blood that flows in my veins, opening all doors for me spreading clear skies around me, and unleashing your free childish voice after this long silence.

Lamar my love: I know that you are not to be blamed and that you don’t yet understand why your father is going through this battle of hunger strike for the 75th day, but when you grow up you will understand that the battle of freedom is the battle of going back to you, so that I can never be taken away from you again or to be deprived of your smile or seeing you, so that the occupier will never kidnap me again from you.

When you grow up you will understand how injustice was brought upon your father and upon thousands of Palestinians whom the occupation has put in prisons and jail cells, shattering their lives and future for no reason other then their pursuit of freedom, dignity and independence. You will know that your father did not tolerate injustice and submission, and that he would never accept insult and compromise, and that he is going through a hunger strike to protest against the Jewish state that wants to turn us into humiliated slaves without any rights or patriotic dignity.

My beloved Lamar keep your head up always and be proud of your father, and thank everyone who supported me, who supported the prisoners in their struggle, and don’t be afraid for God is with us always, and God never lets down people who have faith and patience. We are righteous, and right will always prevail against injustice and wrong doers.

Lamar my love: that day will come, and I will make it up to you for everything, and tell you the whole story, and your days that will follow will be more beautiful, so let your days pass now and wear your prettiest clothes, run and then run again in the gardens of your long life, go forward and forward for nothing is behind you but the past, and this is your voice I hear all the time as a melody of freedom.


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“Olmert: Right-wing elements in US thwarted peace plan”

Posted by uscsjp on May 8, 2012

Former PM Ehud Olmert tells CNN extreme right-wing elements in United States helped derail his peace plan, invested millions to topple him

Did right-wing elements in the United States undermine former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s efforts to achieve regional peace? According to Olmert, the answer is yes.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, which aired on Friday, Olmert said that extreme right-wing elements in the United States helped derail his peace plan.

Olmert was referring to a peace initiative he presented in 2008, which was based on two-state solution and one he claims would result in a “full comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Olmert told Amanpour the decisions his proposal entailed “broke my heart. It was the most difficult decision of my life… Because for me to propose a division of Jerusalem was really terrible. I did it because I reached a conclusion that without which, there will not be peace.”

The fact that the plan was quickly rejected, he added, “Was a killer for me – not only because of the opposition in Israel. I think that, by the way, in Israel the majority of the Israelis would have supported my plan, had it come for elections.”


Defeated by ‘superior powers’?

Olmert said he believes his peace plan failed because it was up against much more that his government’s own Opposition. Much of the blame, he told CNN, lies with the political Right in the United States.

“I had to fight against superior powers, including millions and millions of dollars that were transferred from this country (the US) by figures which were from the extreme right wing, that were aimed to topple me as prime minister of Israel. There is no question about it.”

He did not elaborate on the identity of those figures.

Asked whether he believed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be willing to propose a similar plan, he said: “That’s why you are prime minister… That’s why you take the responsibility of leadership – to do things which are right for the nation that you want to lead.”

Leadership is not without its tolls, he added: “I paid personally, dearly. But there was no option for me but to do what I did. And I know for sure, and I know the names, of the people that spent millions of dollars in order to stop me – from the United States.”

‘Time for peace plan running out’

Still, the former premier said he believes that the two-state solution is still viable: “There is time – but time is running out.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he added, never actually agreed to his 2008 proposal, “But he never said no. So why not reintroduce this plan again and present the challenge to the Palestinians?”

Olmert had previously doubted Netanyahu’s judgment when it came to the more difficult decisions of leadership, such as a possible strike againt Iran – a doubt he reiterated in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as well.

“My dream is that Netanyahu will adopt my plan, and will introduce it, but the fact is that we don’t negotiate with the Palestinians, and the fact is that we have not proposed anything,” he told CNN.

“Peace is important for Israel. We want peace. We need peace,” he continued. “We want to separate from the Palestinians. We don’t want to control the life of the Palestinians. We want them to have their own separate state.”

But will Netanyahu pursue such peace? “I certainly pray that he will,” Olmert said. “But I doubt that he will.”


–Ynet News, 5 May, 2012,2506,L-4224851,00.html


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Tom Friedman’s Lame Advice and other stories

Posted by uscsjp on May 3, 2012

 First, latest news from Democracy Now!:

Palestinian Hunger Strikers Near Death as Solidarity Protests Continue

Protests are continuing in the occupiedWest Bankin an ongoing show of solidarity with a mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. On Wednesday, Israeli troops fired tear gas at hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators marching on the military camp of Ofer. More than 1,400 Palestinian prisoners are currently on a hunger strike to protestIsrael’s policy of indefinite detention without charge. A doctor with Physicians for Human Rights said at least two prisoners are near death.

Graciela Carmon: “Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, they are striking for 63 days or 62 days, and their physical condition is catastrophic.”

Israeli Military Clears Soldiers in Killings of Gaza Relatives

The Israeli military has ended an internal probe of its killing of 21 members of a Palestinian family, concluding it was not at fault. The ordeal of the Samouni family drew international attention after it was revealed Israeli forces shelled their homes and then blocked medical aid. In addition to the 21 dead, another 45 relatives were injured, most of them children. But this week, the Israeli military said its review of the massacre had found no evidence of a war crime or deliberate targeting of civilians. Zahwa Samouni, whose husband Atiyah died in the attack, criticized the Israeli probe.

Zahwa Samouni: “This is not a solution. They executed my husband in front of his children before 16 people. They executed him while he had his hands up in the air, and then they opened fire at us. I have a child who is injured, and only 10 days ago he had his last surgery.”

Report:U.S.Accepts Israeli Request to Thwart U.N. Probe of Settlements

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz is reporting the Obama administration has agreed to an Israeli government request to thwart a U.N. panel investigating settlements in the occupiedWest Bank. The White House’s so-called “Middle Eastpeace” envoy, David Hale, reportedly asked U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay to postpone the panel’s investigation indefinitely. The White House apparently hopes to delay the panel as long as possible in the hopes of eventually quashing it altogether.

–Democracy Now!, 3 May, 2012

Tom Friedman’s latest advice to Palestinians: accept a farce of a state

“…The entity that Friedman and others envision for the Palestinians would not have control of its own borders, its airspace, its coastline, or its water resources. It would have no military. It would be non-contiguous and gerrymandered, ridden with enclaves of heavily armed and hostile religious and racist fanatics; and criss-crossed by roads that could be used by the fanatics but not the Palestinians. How is that a state? And without a Palestinian state, how is there a two-state solution?

The point of Friedman’s preposterous proposal is not to suggest to the Palestinians a strategy for ending their tribulations, but rather to help Israel’s supporters among his readers relieve themselves of any feeling of moral culpability — as after all, the onus is on the Palestinians to carry his map.”

–Titus North, The Electronic Intifada, 23 April 2012

Israel Plots an Endgame

“…There is no doubt that Israel is plotting its version of the endgame in Palestine, which sees Palestinians continuing to subsist in physical fragmentation and permanent occupation. Unless a popular Palestinian uprising takes hold, no one is likely to challenge what is actually an Israeli declaration of war against the Palestinian people.”

–Ramzy Baroud, CounterPunch, May 03, 2012

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