USC Students for Justice in Palestine

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Archive for October, 2014

Israeli Right-Wing Activist Killed and other updates from Democracy Now!

Posted by uscsjp on October 30, 2014

Israel Closes Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound After Shooting of Far-Right Activist

Israel has shut down the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem for the first time in 14 years following the shooting of an Israeli far-right activist. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the closure as a “declaration of war on the Palestinian people.” The site, known by Jews as the Temple Mount, houses both the mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Jamal Tawfiq, a resident of Jerusalem, said he was turned away after arriving for his morning prayers.

Jamal Tawfiq: “This is a collective punishment [for something] we had nothing to do with. This is injustice. There’s no fair government here. Justice should be the basis for governance. But there is no justice here. A problem happens with a person over there, they close the mosque here. Why is it OK to allow Jews to go pray at the Wailing Wall without any harassment, while a Palestinian is killed every day? Every day, a Palestinian is killed. Every day, holy olive trees are burned and pulled out because they belong to Arab Palestinians. Why are we the ones being punished?”

On Wednesday night, U.S.-born activist Yehuda Glick was shot and wounded outside a conference on promoting Jewish access to the Al-Aqsa site, where he and others want to build a Jewish temple. Hours later, Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian suspect in the shooting, who they said resisted arrest.

U.N. Holds Emergency Meeting on Illegal Israeli Settlements

The latest tensions came as the United Nations held an emergency meeting on Israel’s plans to build 1,000 new settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. The settlements in an area which Palestinians seek as part of any future state are considered illegal under international law. Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to press ahead with construction.

Sweden Recognizes State of Palestine in First for EU

Sweden has officially recognized the state of Palestine, becoming the first member of the European Union to do so. In a newspaper op-ed, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom called the move “an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” adding, “Some will say today’s decision comes too soon. I’m afraid, rather, that it is too late.”

Malala Yousafzai to Donate $50,000 for Gaza Schools

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has promised to donate $50,000 to rebuild schools inGaza that were damaged by this summer’s Israeli offensive. After receiving the World Children’s Prize in Sweden, Yousafzai said she would donate all the prize money to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Malala Yousafzai: “This money will totally go to the rebuilding of schools for children in Gaza. So I think it will definitely help those children to continue their education, to get quality education, and it will help them to continue their life and to know that people are supporting them and they’re not alone. And I’m really happy that this funding will help in the rebuilding of 65 schools in Gaza.”

SodaStream to Move West Bank Settlement Factory After Boycott

The company SodaStream has announced plans to move its factory out of an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank following an international boycott. SodaStream said its move was “purely commercial.” But supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement have claimed the move as a victory, saying their efforts caused SodaStream’s share prices to drop as retailers were pressured to abandon their products.

U.N. Votes 188 to 2 Against Embargo of Cuba; U.S., Israel Only Dissenters

The United Nations General Assembly has voted nearly unanimously to condemn the U.S. embargo on Cuba for the 23rd year in a row. Just like last year, the vote was 188 to 2 with only Israel joining the United States. Three countries abstained: Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

 

–Democracy Now!, 30 October, 2014

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/10/30/headlines#10306

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Amy Goodman Interviews Chomsky after his Address to the UN General Assembly

Posted by uscsjp on October 24, 2014

…AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is the most—the single most important action the United States can take? And what about its role over the years? What is its interest here?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, one important action that the United States could take is to live up to its own laws. Of course, it would be nice if it lived up to international law, but maybe that’s too much to ask, but live up to its own laws. And there are several. And here, incidentally, I have in mind advice to activists also, who I think ought to be organizing and educating in this direction. There are two crucial cases.

One of them is what’s called the Leahy Law. Patrick Leahy, Senator Leahy, introduced legislation called the Leahy Law, which bars sending weapons to any military units which are involved in consistent human rights violations. There isn’t the slightest doubt that the Israeli army is involved in massive human rights violations, which means that all dispatch of U.S. arms to Israel is in violation of U.S. law. I think that’s significant. The U.S. should be called upon by its own citizens to—and by others, to adhere to U.S. law, which also happens to conform to international law in this case, as Amnesty International, for example, for years has been calling for an arms embargo against Israel for this reason. These are all steps that can be taken…

–Democracy Now!, October 22, 2014

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/10/22/noam_chomsky_at_united_nations_it

 

 

 

 

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AFP: “Gaza donor states urge peace talks as millions pledged”

Posted by uscsjp on October 13, 2014

International donors pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to rebuild the battered Gaza Strip on Sunday, as they urged Israel and the Palestinians to renew peace efforts.

Gas-rich Qatar led the way at a donors conference in Cairo with a promise of $1 billion in aid for the coastal enclave, devastated by its 50-day summer conflict with Israel.

Washington pledged $212 million and European Union member states 450 million euros, but there was clear concern at financing the reconstruction of Gaza yet again without a peace deal in sight.

The crowded coastal enclave, ruled by the Islamist militant Hamas movement since 2007, remained a “tinderbox,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned, announcing plans to visit Gaza on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Gaza was facing an “enormous” challenge.

A truck loaded with goods enters the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah in southern Gaza on October 12, 2014
A truck loaded with goods enters the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah in southern Gaza on October 12, 2014
“The people of Gaza do need our help, desperately, not tomorrow, not next week, they need it now,” Kerry told the gathering of some 30 global envoys.

Kerry, who failed to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians earlier this year, urged renewed talks and said the two sides needed to make “tough choices”. The call was echoed by Arab and European envoys.

The Palestinians asked for up to $4 billion in international aid after Gaza suffered heavy damage in its conflict with Israel in July and August.

The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait also pledged $200 million each on Sunday.

There is widespread concern that — after three destructive conflicts in the past six years — any help to Gaza will eventually be lost in more violence.

(L-R) Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri, Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas pictured at the opening session of the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo on October 12, 2014
(L-R) Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shokri, Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas pictured at the opening session of the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo on October 12, 2014
Ban expressed the fears of many when he told the conference the situation in Gaza remained potentially explosive.

“Gaza remains a tinderbox, the people desperately need to see results in their daily lives,” Ban said.

“This must be the last time. There is clearly some fatigue,” he later told reporters.

– ‘Neighbourhoods destroyed’ –

The Palestinian government unveiled a 76-page reconstruction plan ahead of the conference, with the lion’s share of assistance to build housing.

“Gaza has suffered three wars in six years. Entire neighbourhoods have been destroyed,” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told the conference.

Kerry said the new aid brought Washington’s contribution to helping Gaza to more than $400 million over the last year alone.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (R) greets Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid al-Sabah during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo on October 12, 2014
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (R) greets Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid al-Sabah during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo on October 12, 2014
Kerry was due later to meet Abbas to press for further peace efforts.

“Make no mistake. What was compelling about a two-state solution a year ago is even more compelling today,” Kerry said.

Kerry’s dogged pursuit of an agreement to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel collapsed in acrimony in April after a difficult nine-month process, and there is little prospect of fresh talks any time soon.

Israel and Hamas militants have yet to even translate their open-ended August ceasefire into a long-term truce.

In his meeting with Abbas, Kerry is expected to try to dissuade him from seeking further recognition of the Palestinians at the United Nations, a move vehemently opposed by Israel.

This summer’s conflict killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while attacks by Gaza militants killed 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi (R) speaks with Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo on October 12, 2014
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi (R) speaks with Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo on October 12, 2014
It also left the densely populated enclave in ruins, displacing more than a quarter of Gaza’s population of 1.7 million and leaving 100,000 people homeless.

– Israel consent needed –

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA has described Gaza’s financial needs as “unprecedented”.

The United Nations already has plans for $2.1 billion of the funds, with $1.6 billion going to UNRWA and the rest to other agencies including children’s organisation UNICEF and development arm UNDP.

One crucial question will be how the aid is delivered, especially given Israel’s strict blockade of the territory since 2006.

Palestinian children sit in the window of a partially destroyed building in al-Tufah, east of Gaza City on October 11, 2014
Palestinian children sit on the window of a partially destroyed building in al-Tufah, east of Gaza City on October 11, 2014, ahead of a donors conference in Cairo
Israel was not invited to the conference but Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said any effort would need his government’s consent.

“Gaza cannot be rebuilt without the cooperation and participation of Israel,” Lieberman said in an interview with news website Ynet, though he added that Israel would be “receptive” to plans for “the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza”.

Internal divisions among the Palestinians are also a matter of widespread concern and they strived to present a united front in advance of the conference.

On Thursday, a new unity government held its first cabinet meeting in Gaza, months after a reconciliation deal between rivals Fatah, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, and Hamas, which is in de facto control of Gaza.

–Jo Biddle and Jay Deshmukh, Agence France-Presse, October 12, 2014

Posted on Alternet:

http://www.alternet.org/progressive-wire/gaza-donor-states-urge-peace-talks-millions-pledged

 

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