USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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

Archive for April, 2014

Latest Peace (Un)Process News

Posted by uscsjp on April 24, 2014

Palestinian Factions Reach Consensus Deal After 7-Year Rift

The two leading Palestinian factions have announced a reconciliation deal aimed at healing a seven-year rift. The agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas calls for the formation of a consensus government within five weeks followed by elections in six months. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh helped unveil the deal in Gaza.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh: “This is good news to tell our Palestinian nation in the country and in the diaspora about the end of the era of division. President Abbas will start the discussions to form the unity government from today, and he should announce it within the legal time, within five weeks.”


Israel, U.S. Reject Palestinian Unity Agreement

The two sides have been at odds since Hamas thwarted a U.S.-backed coup attempt by the Palestinian Authority seven years ago. The Israeli government has denounced the agreement. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority needs to choose between peace talks and Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “We’re trying to relaunch the negotiations with the Palestinians. Every time we get to that point, Abu Mazen stacks on additional conditions which he knows that Israel cannot give. So instead of moving into peace with Israel, he’s moving into peace with Hamas. And he has to choose: Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one, but not the other.”


The U.S.-brokered talks have faltered over Israel’s continued settlement building in the occupied West Bank. The Obama administration is seeking to reach a framework deal before a self-imposed deadline at the end of the month. On Tuesday, the State Department criticized the Palestinian reconciliation effort, saying it would “seriously complicate” peace talks. The United States and Israel have long called on Hamas to renounce violence, recognize Israel’s right to exist and follow pre-existing agreements, but without asking Israel to reciprocate.


–Democracy Now!, April 24, 2014


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Interesting Quote from Joe Biden

Posted by uscsjp on April 23, 2014

The hypocrisy has no end:



Ukraine says it has resumed a military operation against pro-Russian separatists after a brief pause for the Easter holiday. It is unclear what steps Ukraine will take after an internationally brokered truce reached last week called for de-escalation of hostilities. An offensive by Ukrainian troops also ended in humiliating defeat. The Ukraine government says it has U.S. backing to root out pro-Russian forces from eastern towns. The move comes one day after a visit to Kiev by Vice President Joe Biden. Following a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, Biden said Russia is running out of time to meet its obligations.

Vice President Joe Biden: “No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation. No nation has that right. And we will never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, and neither will the world. Now it’s time for Russia to stop talking and start acting. Act on the commitments that they made: to get pro-Russian separatists to vacate buildings and checkpoints, accept amnesty and address their grievances politically; to get out on the record calling for the release of all illegally occupied buildings — that’s not a hard thing to do; and to send senior Russian officials to work with the OSCE in the east.”


–Democracy Now, April 23, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by uscsjp on April 7, 2014

From Democracy Now!

Ambassador: U.S. Will Continue to “Deter Palestinian Action” on Statehood

Israel is threatening “unilateral” action if Palestinians press ahead with statehood moves at the United Nations. The Palestinian Authority applied for membership in 15 international conventions and treaties last week after Israel reneged on a pledge to free Palestinian prisoners. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinian efforts to obtain international recognition “will be answered by unilateral moves [on] our end.” The Obama administration is backing Israel’s opposition to Palestinian statehood efforts. Testifying before a House panel last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said trying to “deter Palestinian action … is what we do all the time, and that is what we will continue to do.”


–Democracy Now, April 7th, 2014


From NPR:

Stay Or Go: How Israeli-Palestinian Peace Would Redefine Home


More than 1 million Arabs are citizens of Israel. And over the years, some 350,000 Jewish Israelis have moved to settlements in the West Bank. If the Israelis and Palestinians were to make peace and set a formal border, what would happen to all these people?

The vast majority of Arab Israelis are Palestinian. Most belong to families that either stayed in their homes during the war following Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence or fled to areas that wound up on the western, or Israeli side, of the cease-fire line. They hold Israeli passports and enjoy the rights of citizenship. But many experience discrimination and a challenging sense of dual identity.

The Jewish Israeli settlers in the West Bank live on land east of the 1948 cease-fire line that Israel’s military has occupied since the 1967 war. They have chosen these homes for a variety of reasons: religious, Zionist and economic. Palestinians — and most of the world — consider the 1948 cease-fire line, known as the Green Line, as the basis for a future border dividing Israel and a Palestinian state, and the Jewish settlements, guarded by Israeli soldiers, illegally built in occupied territory.

Like many settlers, Nachum Pechenick wants to continue living in the West Bank. But unlike most others, he is not lobbying for a peace deal that puts his home on the Israeli side of a future border.

Pechenick says he wants to be a Palestinian citizen. Eventually, the 41-year-old wants to serve in the Palestinian parliament.

“It’s a favor for us,” he says. “It’s also a favor for the Palestinians, because minorities are important to democracy.”

He calls it a “simple” concept but admits it would be very difficult to implement, given high emotions on both sides. In Pechenick’s vision, Israeli soldiers would leave. He says real peace would mean that Jews living among Palestinians would not need special protection.

An old-time settler, from the same settlement where Pechenick was born and raised, calls the idea noble, but naive.

Elyakim Haetzni, 87, left Hitler’s Germany as a child and was wounded fighting in Israel in 1948. He moved to Kiryat Arba, a settlement next to the West Bank city of Hebron, to help rebuild a Jewish presence in the area after Israel captured the city in 1967. He is determined to stay where he is, as an Israeli citizen under Israeli protection.

If the Israeli government signs a peace deal, he says, “they must stipulate how they protect us. If the stipulation is the Arab party undertakes to protect the life of the Jews, then we can already write our wills.”

He laughs — a robust guffaw — when he says this.

Palestinian officials say they would welcome any individual to apply for Palestinian citizenship, but they insist the Jewish settlements won’t stay.

They’re not sure how they would view an individual like Pechenick — a second-generation settler who has built his home in an “outpost” settlement, considered illegal even by the Israeli government, yet who works with Palestinians on joint projects for peace.

Pechenick’s motivation to stay put isn’t, in his words, “to control the land.”

“I want to stay here because I love my motherland,” he says. “I want to be here where it’s a good neighborhood with my Palestinian neighbor.”

On the other side of the fence-and-wall barrier Israel built in and around the West Bank, Arab Israelis are having a similar debate. If they had a chance to live in an independent Palestinian state, would they?

Yassar Shpeta would move as soon as the state was created. An Israeli citizen, he is tired of feeling a stranger in his own country, he says.

“The way authorities treat me, they give me the feeling I am not welcome here,” he says. “When I’m leaving through the airport, I get special treatment. When my house was robbed I got different treatment from the police. I feel that I need to fight for everything.”

Shpeta, 56, lives in a mixed Arab-Jewish community in Israel specifically designed to promote peace. He is married to a Jewish Israeli woman — and he’s not sure she’d move to a Palestinian state with him. Still, that wouldn’t stop him, he says.

“I hope there would be a relationship between the two states and we could visit each other, but after 56 years in Israel, I think I would feel at home in a Palestinian state,” he says.

Other Palestinian-Israelis say they would stay in Israel.

Zuhair Tibi, a family physician, is also Palestinian-Israeli. He calls discrimination in Israel “structural” and sees it in education, public infrastructure and planning, and job opportunities. But he wouldn’t move to a Palestinian state.

“We can’t do that,” he says. “To move means to leave our home. We can’t leave our home. Because we are deeply connected to this place.”

By “this place,” Tibi doesn’t only mean Taibe, the Arab town in Israel where he was born and still lives today, across the barrier from the West Bank city of Tulkarem. He means places throughout Israel: the old port city of Jaffa where his mother grew up, the beach town of Netanya where he manages a clinic, anywhere he has friends, family or memories. He expects if he chose to live in a new Palestinian state, he’d be cut off from these places, as Palestinians in the West Bank are now.

That’s the case for the extended family of 70-year-old Hussein Jbara. Standing on a dry hillside in Israel, Jbara points to a similar hill on the far side of the Israeli barrier that separates him from family members who live in the West Bank. He says he’s unlikely to move to a Palestinian state because he thinks it would be governed in a way he wouldn’t support.

“Like the Syrian government, like the Jordan kingdom, like Saudi Arabia. My vision is something different … democratic, liberated, industrialized,” Jbara says. “It takes many years to make a Palestinian state like what I want.”

Jbara has lived in Israel his entire life — but it’s possible his property could wind up on the Palestinian side.

Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, proposes drawing a border that would put land that’s home to tens of thousands of Arab-Israelis into Palestinian territory. Israeli legal experts say it would have to be done with Palestinian consent.

Diya Yahaya, a 26-year-old from Taibe, didn’t pay much attention to Lieberman’s proposal. He says talk of reducing Israel’s Arab population is nothing new. He knows he’s glad not to live in the West Bank now. It’s hard to find work there, he says, and under the military occupation, it can be dangerous.

“Sometimes it’s chaos,” he says. “Here, even though we are Arabs in a Jewish state, there’s more security and more opportunity.”

But what if there was no occupation, and Palestinians ran their own country? Yahaya thinks he might feel out of place, as he does when he visits the West Bank now.

“As an Arab-Israeli, I feel discrimination in the West Bank, too,” he says. “They treat me differently. I don’t really feel at home in either place.”


–Emily Harris, NPR Parallels Blog, April 3, 2014


Posted in Analysis | Leave a Comment »

FIFA threatens to expel Israel over treatment of Palestinian footballers  

Posted by uscsjp on April 6, 2014

 FIFA has threatened to expel Israel over its treatment of Palestinian football players and officials in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Inside World Football website said in a report on Monday that FIFA gave Israel until summer to improve playing conditions and travel for the Palestinian players and officials.

FIFA also warned that Israel would face a complete expulsion from the international federation if it fails to address the issue.

FIFA has launched a mediation task force over the matter.

Palestinian football official Jibril Rajoub has met with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in an effort to resolve the long-term difficulties Palestinian footballers face due to Israel’s policies.

FIFA wants Palestinian and Israeli football officials to sign a formal agreement over the issue at or around the June congress of FIFA. However, Palestinian officials say that the agreement could not be signed while Israelis continue to impose travel permit restrictions on everyone from footballers to consultants.

They also say that such restrictions often keep the Palestinian national team from competing with its complete squad. The bans also restrict hosting games in the occupied West Bank.

Israelis say FIFA has mixed politics and sport.

In January, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinian football players in the West Bank. Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, were shot while walking home from a training session in the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium in the town of al-Ram.

The two were told that they might not be able to play again.


–Press TV, April 1st, 2014


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