Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Formalizing Apartheid Masked as a Peace Initiative

Neta Golan and Mohammed Khatib - October 13, 2007
Next month the US plans to host a regional meeting to discuss peace in the Middle East, or at least peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The maneuvering, deal making and negotiating about what will be on the table has been going on for some time. But the details of the agreement being discussed have been a well guarded secret but for the steady flow of leaks and trial balloons. Deciphering this information combined with facts on the ground, one can put together a clear outline of Israel’s “next generous offer.”

VIDEO: Palestine World Cup qualifying

October 24, 2007
Sportsworld's Rahul Pathak reports on the Palestine and Singapore football teams and their long road to the 2010 Fifa World Cup finals.

This week in Soccer : 10/29/2007
Stephen Fontenot, San Antonio Express-News

Palestine misses qualifier due to Gaza travel ban
The Palestinian soccer team missed its World Cup qualifying game in Singapore because of Israeli travel restrictions. Eighteen of the squad's players and officials live in the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip has been under tight control since the Islamic militant Hamas took power by force in June. Last month, Israel declared Gaza "hostile territory" and said it would permit only humanitarian hardship cases to leave.

Jamal Abu Hasheesh, spokesman for the Palestinian soccer federation, said the 18 team members didn't receive Israeli permits to leave Gaza for the game.

The federation asked FIFA to reschedule the game. FIFA officials were not immediately available for comment.


Politics affects soccer : Can soccer influence politics?
Robert Evans, Inside Bay Area, March 13th, 2007
And now in little over a week from today, in London, we are going to have a public confrontation over the little matter of whether Israel should be allowed to continue playing in major
competitions. If you are a long-time follower of international soccer and the organization—FIFA—that controls it, you may know of historical precedents that would lead you to say either that they should be banned, or that they should not. Take your pick.

Sepp Blatter, the master politician at the head of FIFA, has gone on record for keeping soccer and politics separate. Last December in Asia he told a group of reporters: "We are not going to enter into any political declarations. There have been so many rants from heads of states, even in Europe, and we in football, if we entered in such discussions, then it would be against our statutes. We are not in politics."

How he kept a straight face while saying that I do not know, since in the last few years several member-nations of FIFA have been suspended for interference of their government into the sport, and others have been threatened. Iran, Kenya, Yugoslavia, Greece and Palestine have been suspended briefly until their respective governments backed off. Blatter believes that
FIFA, not government, must control the sport. But has that always been true?

In that particular case FIFA refused to act politically, eliminated the Soviet Union and allowed Chile to qualify for the cup in Germany. Earlier, however, in 1961, the organization had acted politically, banning South Africa because of its apartheid policies that did not allow a team to field white and non-white players together. That ban stayed in place for almost thirty years, until in the early nineties, apartheid itself was dismantled, and the modern South Africa

What of this dispute over Israel? In 2002, Arab countries called for a ban for a list of reasons that included Israel's incursion into areas of Palestinian self-rule; racial and ethnic discrimination against Palestinians; and obstructions raised to block the progress of Palestinian sports. Just last November, Israel refused to allow members of the Palestine team to travel from Gaza to play a match in Singapore.

The current protest by The Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign and supported by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has not received much attention in U.S. newspapers, but gets a lot of attention in the press in Europe, Israel and Palestine, as did other sporting boycotts. And the subject of Israel's full compliance with international law, including the permanent lifting of all barriers to freedom of movement for Palestinian goods, people and capital, has been raised for governmental debate in London, supported by 57 members of the British parliament.

The intent is to put pressure upon Israel, which is seeking to improve its relationship with the European Union, whose members are aware of the illegalities in current Israeli policies of building the wall of separation across Palestinian land. The protest on March 24, the day of a match between England and Israel as a qualifier for Euro 2008, is in front of the headquarters of the Football Association in London at 1 p.m. In the recent past, similar protests were organized for tennis and cricket, in the latter case resulting on the cancellation of a planned match between Scotland and Israel.

On the world stage, soccer is a vastly more important sport than either tennis or cricket, and the idea that political action could affect scheduling of matches, or a country's right to participate in international competition, would have serious repercussions within FIFA. Which way will Sepp Blatter go?

An Analysis of OneVoice's 10 Pillars

Analysis - Surrender on the Dotted Line - October 21, 2007
Despite OneVoice’s recent efforts to minimize the attention on its “10 Pillars,” especially in the wake of widespread grassroots criticism, the fact remains that OneVoice created these 10 pillars to present as a basis for negotiations, under the guise that they represent the will of the majority of Palestinians and Israelis.

As of October 20, 2007, OneVoice claimed 275,175 Palestinian signatories to “OneVoice Mandate” (where age requirement is only 15). According to OneVoice’s One Million Voices website, 58,000 have been polled as to whether they agree to these pillars. We could not find mention of any efforts to conduct this poll outside of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, so our understanding is that the vast majority of respondents reside in that area. OneVoice is only providing snippets of the results; information on their site indicates that approval rates for each of the pillars ranged from 23% to 85%. Since the sample is not statistically representative, it must be clarified that any findings are not representative of Palestinian opinion, and OneVoice’s use of terminology such as “consensus” is misleading.


Open Letter - OneVoice's False Assertions - October 21, 2007


October 28, 2007

*** C O N C E R T ***

RAMALLAH - Palestinian grassroots activists and organizations will hold a free outdoor concert on Wednesday, October 31, calling for a just peace based on respect for human rights and international law. The concert will bring Palestinian folklore together with rap, and poetry together with politics, as Palestinians raise their voices for freedom, justice and unity.

Artists who are contributing their talents to this event include Reem Talhami, Jamil Al-Sayeh, DAM, Boikutt (Ramallah Underground), the Al Awda Dabkeh Troupe, Yalalan and more. In addition, words from the Bishop Attallah Hanna, the Refugee Right to Return Coalition, the Bil’in Popular Committee, and the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment Campaign.

On Wednesday, October 31, Palestinian voices will come together to declare that our basic rights will not be compromised. We will not accept normalization while Israel continues to arrest our sons and daughters, steal our land and water resources, build settlements, construct the wall, demolish our homes, and push us into smaller and smaller cantons.

Any negotiations and peace efforts must be premised on equality, respect for human rights, and the implementation of international law. Peace, not Apartheid!

Court hearing against Swiss anti-apartheid activists turns into further show of solidarity

Media Release:
Tuesday 30 October 2007
Today the four activists that ran onto the football playground with banners ("Free Palestine -- Boycott Apartheid") during the football qualifying match of Switzerland against Israel stood accused in the court of law of Basel, Switzerland.

In front of the building around 30 supporters gathered to demonstrate their solidarity by showing banners. Half of the group of supporters was not let inside the courtroom although the court hearing was declared public.

As the judge started to read the facts of the case at the beginning of the court hearing, the spectators spontaneously started to applaud. The accused did not express themselves about their personal affairs nor about the case, they instead read a declaration towards the public about the illegitimacy of the court hearing and about the action in the stadium with their backs facing the judge.

During the proclamation of the sentence people started to demonstrate in the courtroom with banners stating "Free Palestine -- Boycott Apartheid" and "Our Solidarity cannot be outlawed -- Free Palestine".

The charge of necessitation had to be dropped, the charge of breach of domestic peace led to a monetary fine on parole.

Worldwide Activism, Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
November 1st, 2007
A group of activists who interrupted an Israel-Switzerland World Cup qualifier with a protest against Israeli apartheid today used their court appearance in Basle to publicly denounce the occupation again.

On September 3, 2005 the four activists ran onto the field with banners demanding "Free Palestine – Boycott Apartheid". The protest was witnessed by thousands of football fans in the stadium and many more watching the game on television. (For more click here.)

At today's court hearing, around 30 supporters gathered in front of the court carrying banners to demonstrate their solidarity with the activists. Half of the supporters were not allowed into the courtroom although the hearing had been declared public.

Inside the court, as the judge began reading the facts of the case,spectators in the gallery spontaneously started to applaud. The defendants declined to present a case for their defense, insteadturning their backs to the judge and reading a declaration to the public gallery about the illegitimacy of the court hearing and about the action in the stadium.

One of the defendants told the court: "We will not accept the policies of apartheid on the part of the state of Israel, nor do we want to look on the Swiss Government directly or indirectly giving these policies its support. We will continue to fight together with the Palestinians until Palestine is free and the world has become a place without exploitation and oppression!"

The activists were charges with breach of domestic peace and fined, while a second charge of necessitation was dropped.

As the sentence was read out, activists in the courtroom unfurled courtroom banners declaring "Free Palestine -- Boycott Apartheid" and "Our Solidarity cannot be outlawed -- Free Palestine".

The activists' full statement is given below.

Declaration for the court-hearing in Basel of the 30th of October, 2007

Today we stand accused in a court of law because we took sides in a political conflict.

On Saturday September 3rd 2005 we used the occasion of the football qualifying match of Switzerland against Israel in the St. Jakob stadium of Basel for a protest action. In the 53rd minute we ran onto the playground with two banners demanding “Free Palestine – Boycott Apartheid”. We did this to call attention on the situation in Palestine. We wished to show solidarity with the Palestinian people who have been oppressed, banished, tortured and killed by the police and the Israeli army for a very long time – all as part of Israeli Government policies. The year 2007 is the mournful anniversary of four decades of occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Highs.

With our action, we wanted to demonstrate clearly our solidarity with the civilian people of Palestine and the progressive forces struggling against oppression in the Middle East. Furthermore we called for a boycott of Israeli products. We are still absolutely committed to this stance.

We are now faced with a situation, in which a Swiss court of justice can decide on sanctions against us, because we expressed our opinion in an action with banners on a football field. This situation emerges out of a relation of power which is not in our favor at this present time. This is why we do not acknowledge this court of law. As a result this court of law does not have the legitimation to judge our declaration. We do not need nor acknowledge anyone who wants to interfere in our lives and in our political activities in such a way. The numerous statements of solidarity following our action encourage us in our attitude and we want to thank everyone for their solidarity and support in our political struggles; especially those who are on our side in a situation like today.

To this very day the people in the Palestinian territories are forced to live under horrible conditions. The Israeli State has fragmented and mostly enclosed the Palestinian territories by building fences and walls. The lives of the Palestinians are becoming more and more like life in prison. Limited freedom of movement, controls on roadblocks, fear and the constant threat of death are part of everyday life for the people of Palestine. In this era of imperialist warfare in the Middle East there seems to be no self-determined solution on the horizon for the Palestinians. Far from it: the people will continue to suffer under this perpetual state of war.

At this very moment the Palestinians are being attacked in new ways unlike the military war of aggression against Lebanon in July of 2006, which meant to increase the pressure on the civilian population: since Sunday the Israeli government is limiting the petrol supply into the Gaza Strip and has reserved the right to cut power supplies temporarily for the future. Through such measures the war of oppression and intimidation has also become a war of economic attrition aimed at hitting hard the one and a half million people living in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Israel and its confederates increasingly appear to prepare to wreak havoc on even more people: witness the continual threats issued against Syria and Iran.

The world population continues watching these crimes and carefully avoids getting involved. Not only this: Switzerland is one of the countries actively supporting Israel by supplying arms as well as importing Israeli products, mostly fruits and vegetables, as we can see in Swiss supermarkets.

We continue to believe that every war must be resisted by all means and that the people in the affected territories have to be granted the right of self determination.

We will not accept the policies of apartheid on the part of the state of Israel, nor do we want to look on the Swiss Government directly or indirectly giving these policies its support. We will continue to fight together with the Palestinians until Palestine is free and the world has become a place without exploitation and oppression!

Boycott Israel!

Tear down the apartheid wall!

Free Palestine!

For a society without exploitation and oppression!

Hebron: settler attacks tour guide for human rights

Children of Abraham (Bnei Avraham) is a Jewish direct action group, active in Hebron. In one of the tours they give, they were assaulted by an extreme settler (Noam Federman). This file is the evidence used by the police.

For more videos of settlers' violence in Hebron, and for activities and study-tours, please visit our website, or email us to: tours2hebron [@]


Jerry Haber - Tuesday, October 23, 2007
More Settler Harrassment of Human Rights Activists


Bnei Avraham is an activity based group born out of the desperate situation in the city of Hebron. The group has been active for more then a year now and is composed of Israeli activists from various backgrounds. Our main focus is on-the-ground joint Palestinian-Israeli activity in the city of Hebron, Targeted to disturbing the occupation, disrupting the segregation and apartheid regime, creating a basis for understanding and cooperation among all the members.

Update from Hebron and call for action in the field and at home - Disturbances to tours
In the last few weeks the settlers started hassling our tours, partly
because of our successful attempt to prevent them from taking over a
house in Tel Rumeide, and our cooperation with Gaabri family where the
settlers try to take over land. They didn’t like our tours, but now
they feel we make a difference on the ground. These days it in
important to concentrate efforts and continue the tours. See the last
video in our google group:

Video: Husam Zomlot and John Bolton discuss upcoming conference

Frost Over The World - Middle East peace - 19 October 2007

John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, and Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian representative at next months US-sponsored peace conference, discuss the upcoming conference and the chances for peace.


Husam Zomlot on the wall in Israel/Palestine
St Giles' Church, Oxford, 20th May 2004

Jewish West Jerusalemites object to Arab-Jewish school

More difficult than Noah's Ark
Ned, Ramallah, 22 October 2007
In Jerusalem, a mixed Arab-Jewish school is causing discomfort in the conservative Jewish neighbourhood of Pat. The School, which was built by an organisation with the name Hand in Hand, is the third school built and managed by this organisation. The schools allow Arabs and Jews to grow up together paving the way for a better understanding of each other.

However, the problem is not with the children, who, if left alone, would create a generation of people who are willing to live peacefully and put aside the petty differences and racism that roam this place. It is with the older generations who have these racist tendencies entrenched in their mindsets.

One woman from the neighbourhood where the school is built tells Ha'aretz "I've got nothing against Arabs, but why do they have to go to school with Jews?"

Another resident says "It's the mixing between Jews and Arabs that's the problem. The rest pales in comparison."

Hebrew, Arabic mix upsets neighbors
Or Kashti, Ha'aretz, 22 October 2007
The new building that will soon house the Arab-Jewish bilingual school Hand in Hand sticks out against the rest of the houses in the Pat neighborhood in Jerusalem. The roomy halls and spacious lawns are not very characteristic of the nearby streets. Neither is the multicultural atmosphere which many of the religious Jewish neighbors don't care for.

Brighter future for Arabs and Jews in the school that teaches peace
Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, Monday, 22 October 2007

Projected coexistence
Ahinoam Pollack, Jerusalem Post, August 23, 2007
Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz, who heads the anti-missionary group Yad L'Achim, says that Pat is a religious neighborhood, and as such opposes the pluralistic school. Lifshitz says the school will encourage intermarriage, and that its Jewish students are too young to study with Arabs - he advises waiting until college to encounter and understand Arabs.

A Higher Grade
Peggy Cidor, Jerusalem Post, April 6, 2006
'There is a particular day that we have to struggle through every year', Josy Mendelssohn, co-chair of 'Hand in Hand' explained to the assembled guests. Explaining the philosophy and workings of the Hand-in-Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Jerusalem to the representatives of the Rayne Foundation and other dignitaries, Mendelssohn was referring to Israeli Independence Day.

'It is perceived in a totally different manner by the Arab population of Israel. The Arabs call it Nakba, meaning catastrophe. For the Jews, it is the major event in the modern history of Israel. We face the issue each and every year - and we do not try to run away from it, though it is not easy', she said


Peace studies: Children of Israel
Donald Macintyre, The Independent, 18 October 2007
In a city marked by division, the Max Rayne school is unique – the only one in Jerusalem where pupils, principals and teachers are from Jewish and Arab communities.
One of the school's newest pupils is Maria Amin, a six-year-old Palestinian girl from Gaza who is confined to a wheelchair which she navigates with a joystick operated by her chin. A patient at Jerusalem's remarkable rehabilitation hospital, the Alyn, she was paralysed from the neck down when the car she was travelling in was caught in an Israeli missile strike on an Islamic Jihad commander which killed her mother, uncle, grandmother and elder brother.

She wasn't at the school yesterday because of medical problems, but Mrs Peretz hopes she will be at the school for several years to come.

You can't miss, fixed to the door of her classroom, under inscriptions of greeting in Arabic, a colourful painting – a house a flower, a tortoise, a vivid rainbow – by her new classmates. In large letters on the painting are written the words "Welcome Maria". In Hebrew.

UN expert on Israeli fuel cut threat

October 31, 2007
John Dugard, the special rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council for the Palestinian territories, talks to Ghida Fakhry about Israel's decision to cut off fuel to the Gaza Strip, the role of the UN in the Middle East Quartet and the forthcoming Middle East Peace Conference in Annapolis.


October 10, 2007
Al Jazeera Interview with John Dugard

Another Peace Is Necessary ... Not One That Celebrates Apartheid

Another Voice - Palestine, Press Release - October 11, 2007
We, a group of Palestinians and local and international supporters concerned with OneVoice's "One Million Voices to End the Conflict" campaign, are disturbed by the methods by which they have been collecting signatures, and oppose the upcoming concerts that serve to obscure the reality and illegality of Israel's belligerent occupation.

The OneVoice formula for ending the "conflict," (i.e. occupation), outlined in a 10-point document, is oversimplified and misleading. It fails to mention key elements required for a just and lasting peace. From justifying settlement blocs to avoiding the refugees' right to return, the OneVoice plan avoids the framework of international law, and serves to subordinate Palestinian rights to Israeli interests. Such high profile initiatives serve as a dangerous distraction to the facts that Israel continues to create on the ground and will only obstruct any real solution that is based on justice.

"Like many other diplomatic misadventures, the OneVoice campaign overlooks the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and repackages dangerous concessions into an initiative that looks nice on the surface. It is misleading, and many are starting to realize that," said Another Voice organizer Haithem El-Zabri.

Furthermore, we are disturbed by the manner in which OneVoice has been gathering support for their campaign. We are discovering that many Palestinians and Israelis have signed on without access to the 10 pillars or proper understanding of the OneVoice initiative. Several organizations that have been listed as endorsing OneVoice's campaign have informed us that they had not authorized such endorsement and have contacted OneVoice to have their name removed. Several artists have also withdrawn their participation in the October 18th event, after learning more about it. We are interested in making sure that our people are fully informed about the OneVoice formula and its implications before signing on or attending its public events.

Another Voice opposes any efforts that violate Palestinian national and human rights, and asserts that the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian "conflict" is one based on international law and human rights, references to which are completely absent from OneVoice's campaign and literature. If OneVoice organizers are truly interested in a just and lasting peace, they are called upon to join efforts to demand that Israel comply with international law.


OneVoice - "Ours is not a message of peace and love and coexistence"

An Analysis of OneVoice's 10 Pillars - October 21, 2007

OneVoice - "Ours is not a message of peace and love and coexistence"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007
OneVoice but not for peace
Oh please! Only a cynic would say such a thing. So who was the cynic? Well the organiser actually. Here's the Mercury News:

"Ours is not a message of peace and love and coexistence," said Daniel Lubetzky, the 39-year-old Jewish businessman who's behind the OneVoice concerts.

"It's a message of let's not let this get worse," he said. "We are fed up. We don't love each other. You leave us alone and we leave you alone and let's just have a state and get that done before it gets ugly."


Celebrating Peace or Camouflaging Apartheid?
Boycott the Jericho-Tel Aviv Public Event on October 18th!
PACBI, 4 October, 2007
On October 18th, One Million Voices, an organization led by Israelis and international figures with the support of some Palestinians, is organizing a public event in Jericho and Tel Aviv, simultaneously. The event will include performances by renowned artists Brian Adams and Ilham Madfa'i. As stated on the organization's English webpage, the objective of the event is to “mark the first time that massive numbers of Israelis and Palestinians gather simultaneously to unite against violent extremism.”

According to the widely accepted boycott criteria advocated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the event falls under the category of normalization projects and violates the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, trade unions, political parties, and grassroots movements, for the following reasons:

1. Participants are required to join the One Voice Movement and sign a mandate -- ostensibly based on a "two-state solution," but without any commitment to international parameters -- which assumes equal responsibility of "both sides" for the "conflict," and suspiciously fails to call for Israel's full compliance with its obligations under international law through ending its illegal military occupation, its denial of Palestinian refugee rights (particularly the right of return), and its system of racial discrimination against its own Palestinian citizens.

2. The event is sponsored by Israeli institutions (mostly from the private sector) and endorsed by mainstream Israeli political figures from parties including the Likud, Labour and Shas. These Israeli "partners" are unquestionably complicit in maintaining Israel 's occupation and other forms of oppression.

We believe this event is being organized to promote a "peace" agreement that is devoid of the minimal requirements of justice, and that will leave the Palestinian people as disenfranchised as previous agreements have. The unfortunate and harmful support of Palestinian businessmen, religious and political figures, among others, for this event indicates either ignorance of the hidden agenda inherent in the whole initiative, deceptively camouflaged as a collective call for peace, or willingness to forfeit the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in return for advancing selfish interests.

We call on the Palestinian public and international supporters of a just peace in Palestine not to take part in this public relations charade that conceals a misleading political program that falls significantly short of international law tenets and the Palestinian national program.

We call on Arab and Palestinian artists, in particular, not to participate in this or any similar event whose real objectives have nothing to do with genuine peace.

We call on Palestinian board members of the One Million Voices to withdraw their support for this movement that only serves to blind the Palestinian public and sidetrack it from struggling, with the solidarity of its international supporters, for its UN-sanctioned rights, for justice, equality and freedom.

* Endorsed by tens of cultural and other civil society organizations in Palestine and the Arab World.

What really happened at Oxford

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
What really happened at Oxford - Finkelstein comments:
Insofar as the lies about what happened at the Oxford Union are getting more and more appalling, I have very reluctantly decided to post the email from the President of the Oxford Union disinviting me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Rewriting history before the ink has dried

Monday, October 29, 2007
Still more on the Oxford Union [Peter Tatchell]

Monday, October 29, 2007
More on the Oxford Union [Ghada Karmi]

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Israeli soldier writes President of Oxford Union

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Shouldn't there be a mandatory decent interval before history is rewritten?
Finkelstein comments: Many months ago I was invited to the Oxford Union to debate the one-state vs. two-state settlement for the Israel-Palestine conflict. At the very last minute I was dropped allegedly due to pressures from Professor Dershowitz. Appalled by Oxford Union's capitulation, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, and Ghada Karmi withdrew. Here's how the Jerusalem Post construes what happened.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Isn't it time to seek therapy for his obsession? [Alan Dershowitz]


Intellectual terrorism
Ghada Karmi, The Guardian, October 25, 2007
Appeasing bullies like Dershowitz will not stop them. It will rather encourage them to go further. The question is, do we in this country want a McCarthyite witch hunt?



Mark Elf:

Monday, October 29, 2007
The real Ghada Karmi?
There are two letters arising out of the Oxford Union Finkelstein saga today.

Sunday, October 28, 2007
To conclude, was it the ex-Orangeman or the Jaffa Orangeman?

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Holocaust survivor versus holocaust industry
Here's an email I got from an angry person I know to be a Jewish holocaust survivor and a supporter of the Palestinian cause. It came after I posted something on the Finkelstein at Oxford (or not) business.

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Peace Now? Well not now, wait till I finish my reserve duty

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Believe this!

Friday, October 26, 2007
Stop being so silly, it was the lobby wot dunnit

Thursday, October 25, 2007
More on Finkelstein as Tatchell queers the pitch

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Anyone but Finkelstein at Oxford


'Jerry Haber' - with comments from Peace Now UK's Peter Usiskin:

Monday, October 29, 2007
What Finkelstein Would Have Said at the Oxford Union
Finkelstein would have argued for the two-state solution, and at the same would have argued that Israel's policies have thwarted the two-state solution.

Sunday, October 28, 2007
Shalom u-le-hitraot to "Harry's Place"
The political Zionists are quite happy that they were allowed to represent the two-state solution at the Oxford Union instead of Norman Finkelstein. Pity that none of them really believe in it.
Indeed, as I have written here before, I know very few Israelis, and almost no diaspora Jews, who favor a true two-state solution in which one state neither dominates, nor is dominated by, the other, a solution in which there is real parity between the states.

Saturday, October 27, 2007
How the Israel Lobby Works -- Finkelstein and the Oxford Union
Clearly, Dershowitz and UK Peace Now's Usiskin thought it was more important to get Finkelstein off the panel -- because they simply are incapable of understanding how an anti-Zionist can favor a two-state solution -- then allow the invitation to get through.

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Disinviting Finkelstein to Speak at the Oxford Union
Last week I posted a statement about the academic boycott in which I said that I am not ready to support it. Well, I am still not ready, but I am one step closer after I read about the antics of UK Friends of Peace Now...


Charlie Pottins:

Sunday, October 28, 2007
An Oxford Whodunnit?

Thursday, October 25, 2007
Fools at Oxford


Richard Silverstein:

October 28, 2007
Dershowitz, Hidden Hand Behind Oxford Union's Cancellation of Finkelstein Invitation

October 26, 2007
Oxford Union, Under Pressure from Peace Now UK, Disinvites Finkelstein from Israel Debate


Some history... Norman Finkelstein demolishes Alan Dershowitz on Democracy Now - Wednesday, September 24th, 2003

Needed in Gaza: Israeli journalists

Gideon Levy - Ha'aretz -14 October 2007
The Gaza Strip has been completely closed to Israeli journalists for nearly a year. The Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service decided this because it is dangerous in Gaza. The place so present in the public consciousness, which dictates the security and diplomatic agenda, has been closed by the Israeli authorities to the Israeli media. Long before it was declared a "hostile entity," Gaza had become a closed territory, without any media coverage or documentation. Such is Israeli freedom of the press.

Anyone who expected such an intolerable reality to stir a protest was proven wrong. In any case, the readers do not want to read about it, the government and army do not want them to know and the journalists are not yearning to tell.

Courting the Jewish vote

Antony Loewenstein - 25 October 2007
For Australian Jews this election is about a variety of issues and Israel is just one of them. Like all citizens, concerns about health, education, foreign policy and industrial relations are paramount, but Israel is central.


Local Jewish leaders warn off Labor’s “anti-Israel ratbags” - 21 September, 2007

Please somebody, anybody, love Israel - 25 September, 2007

Howard and Rudd show their love for Israel - 2 October, 2007

How dare Jews speak out of turn? - 3 October, 2007

Asking for common sense - 4 October, 2007

The Rudd Delusion - 30 October 2007

Treachery for treatment

Salah Al-Naami - Al-Ahram Weekly - October 13, 2007
His calm demeanour belies the personal tragedy he is living. Journalist Bassam Al-Wahidi, 30, is on the verge of giving in to perpetual darkness. This will happen if he doesn't have an operation to reposition his retina, an operation that he was supposed to have had last month in a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem. Although Al-Wahidi, a news presenter on the Voice of the Workers radio station in Gaza, had completed all the necessary administrative procedures required of him to travel to Jerusalem, officers in the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, Shin Bet, at the Erez Crossing on the northern border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, won't allow
him to cross until he agrees to become an Israeli agent and provide information on the activities, leaders and members of Palestinian resistance movements active in Gaza.

Avner, a former top Shin Bet officer, admitted in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Maariv published last Friday that officers in charge of enlisting agents are ordered not to hesitate in exploiting any human condition, no matter how severe, in order to enlist the largest number possible of Palestinian informants. Shin Bet, like Mossad, is directly answerable to the Israeli prime minister. The prime minister approves all of the operations it carries out personally.

Settler attacks local Palestinians, Hebron 4th October 2007

Blair admits he is shocked by discrimination on the West Bank

Donald Macintyre in Hebron - The Independent - October 13, 2007
He was shocked by what he was told about conditions in Hebron and diplomats say he was genuinely taken aback by his trip to the West Bank sector of the Jordan Valley – where Palestinians are allowed to dig wells only a third as deep as Israelis – at the exploitation of resources by the rich Jewish agricultural settlements at the expense of closed in Palestinian farmers.

Peace Now at the Checkpoint

Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Written by Yossi Bartal for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)
Peace Now and their male oriented leadership have always attacked the refuseniks movement and kept on proudly committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories in the name of national unity and obedience to the law. One can just hope that they will stop being seen by the world as a part of the peace movement in Israel.


Peace Now. Now?! Well, Maybe Later - How the Peace Camp 'Vanished'
Ran HaCohen - February 8, 2002


There are two Israeli peace camps. One peace camp wants peace with the Palestinians, without occupation and without settlements. The other "peace camp" – I'll be using quotes to refer to it – wants peace with the settlers, not with the Palestinians. The issue of refusal is the very Shibboleth dividing the two camps.


Maybe because of its memorable logo, maybe because of good things it may have done when I was a child, Peace Now is still considered, especially in the US, as the incarnation of the Israeli peace camp. Peace Now is a non-parliamentary movement, whose supporters are more-or-less identical with the Meretz constituency.

Now it is high time to tell the truth: Peace Now is a marginal mainstream movement, far from any dissent, not part of the Israeli peace camp, but the very essence of the "peace camp". During the last eight years, Peace Now has been virtually absent from the Israeli public sphere. Its only activity worth mentioning is monitoring the expansion of the settlements, a documentation project issuing a communication to the press every few months.

A mass demonstration planned for this Saturday (9 February) can clarify the issue. The rally – postponed from last Saturday for technical reasons – is organised by an ad hoc "coalition for peace" comprising an unprecedented large number of bodies.

Among the speakers invited in the rally are signatories of the refusal petition and others public figures who support refusal. Though it was invited, Peace Now not only refused to participate, it is now trying to sabotage the rally by publishing big ads in the Israeli dailies announcing a demonstration a week later and signing "coalition for peace", in an obvious attempt to confuse demonstrators and tempt them to believe the rally was postponed once again.

If Peace Now's donors wonder where their money goes, here is an answer: to pay for expensive whole-page ads aimed at splitting and breaking the resistance to the Occupation and to Israel's war crimes from within.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

"I didn't recommend that we kill Palestinians. I said we'll have to kill them."

'I didn't suggest we kill Palestinians'
Ruthie Blum, THE JERUSALEM POST October 10, 2007
Arnon Soffer arrives at our meeting armed with a stack of books and papers. Among them is a copy of an interview I conducted with him three and a half years ago ("It's the demography, stupid," May 21, 2004), and print-outs of angry responses the geostrategist from the University of Haifa says he continues to receive "from leftists in Israel and anti-Semites abroad, who took my words out of context."

The passage that aroused the most ire was as follows: "When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it's going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It's going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day."

A lot has happened since Soffer made that statement, most notably the very withdrawal from Gaza he was referring to and so championed. In fact, the impetus for the pull-out has been attributed, at least in part, to Soffer's decades-long doomsaying about the danger the Palestinian womb posed to Israeli democracy.

"That statement caused a huge stir at the time, and it's amazing to see how many dozens of angry, ignorant responses I continue to receive from leftists in Israel and anti-Semites abroad, who took my words out of context. I didn't recommend that we kill Palestinians. I said we'll have to kill them."

The Israeli Right Has a Peace Plan

The Israeli Right Has a Peace Plan
Ran HaCohen, October 16, 2007
It's important to monitor the Israeli far Right. The settlers' ideology is usually shared by the Israeli military, and the military is the central political agent in Israel, much more important than any short-lived government or prime minister.

This is why plans, demands, and suggestions of the Israeli far Right, no matter how lunatic they sound when launched, are often the best prediction for future reality, which usually lags just a few years behind.

Palestinian olive farmers face threat of attack by settlers

22 October 2007

Al Jazeera's David Chater meets the Palestinian olive farmers who can only reach their crop with the protection of peace activists.

VIDEO: The US, Israel and missiles

October 17, 2007

Al Jazeera's blurb:

"As Condoleezza Rice tours the Middle East, Ehud Barak is making his first visit to the US as Israel's defence minister. Barak discussed missile defence with his US counterpart Robert Gates on Tuesday.

As preparations are being made for the latest peace conference, some wonder how effective the US can be in its role as peace-broker, given its close military ties to Israel.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports."

Monday, 1 October 2007

Obituary - Haider Abdel-Shafi

Victoria Brittain, The Guardian, Wednesday September 26, 2007
Militant and popular leader respected by rival Palestine factions.
Dr Haider Abdel-Shafi, who has died at the age of 88, was a towering figure of the Palestinian national movement for more than half a century - not only one of the fiercest critics of Israel, but also often of the Palestinian leadership. He had a commanding presence, equally at home in an Oxford college as on the crowded streets of Gaza, and his integrity shone out in any company.

Abdel-Shafi became a world figure when he led the Palestinian delegation to the 1991 Madrid peace conference, where his moving and eloquent speech set a tone that no other Palestinian leader has ever risen to. For the next 22 months, he headed the very difficult negotiations with the Israelis in Washington. He left the delegation once over the issue of settlements, and even after he was persuaded to return, urged the Palestinians to withdraw from a process he believed was doomed by bad faith on this issue. Like the writer Edward Said, he forecast the failure of the Oslo peace process long before it became obvious.


Haydar 'abd al-Shafi: RIP

Laila El-Haddad, Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The sad news from Gaza this morning was the passing of the great Haydar 'abd al-Shafi after a two-year battle with stomach cancer.

If you have a moment, it may be worth glancing at Dr. 'Abd al-Shafi's famous speech from the Madrid talks. It may serve as a reminder of more hopeful times.


As'ad AbuKhalil - Wednesday, September 26, 2007
You have to read the sinister obituary of Hadyar `Abdul-Shafi in the New York Times. They used his death only to bash the Arab position against the partition of Palestine. It made it sound like `Abdul-Shafi spent all his life resisting the "non-compromising" Arab position. First, nobody knew who he was when he ostensibly opposed the partition plan, and the man--no matter what you say about him--devoted his life to supporting secular (and leftist) resistance to Zionism. After Oslo, `Abdul-Shafi also stood against the agreements, and he was vocal against the corrupt PA of Arafat-Dahlan-Abu Mazen (and the other thuggish leaders of Oslo).


History proved Arafat critic right
Amira Hass, Ha'aretz, Sunday, 30 September 2007
A year ago, Dr. Haidar Abdel Shafi was diagnosed with a malignant growth in his stomach. Born in 1919, Abdel Shafi had been one of the founders of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1964, the head of the Palestinian-Jordanian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991 and one of Yasser Arafat's harshest critics. He was advised to seek medical treatment abroad or in Israel - his name gained him an exit visa without delay. Abdel Shafi, the surgeon who had studied medicine in Beirut and worked as a physician in Jaffa until 1948, rejected the suggestions and said he trusted the doctors in Gaza.

A year ago Abdel Shafi was already too weak to engage in political activity. His short-term memory sometimes betrayed him. But he gave the Gaza doctors a vote of confidence and underwent surgery in the city of his birth, unlike other Palestinian VIPs who go abroad when they need medical treatment. It wasn't his intention, but people interpreted his choice as another example of the principled, critical and dissident opinions that characterized his long political career.

Bil'in celebrates Israeli High Court decision

Disrupting the separation policy
Amira Hass, Ha'aretz, Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A woman chatting idly in Ramallah on Sunday said dismissively: "The High Court of Justice's decision to move the separation fence in Bil'in proves nothing about the effectiveness of the popular Palestinian-Israeli struggle. Israel needs it to portray itself as a democracy."

Her frustration is understandable. The lives of tens of thousands of Palestinians are disrupted by a fence whose route elsewhere is no less "disproportionate" than it was in Bil'in. After two and a half years of weekly demonstrations by Palestinians, left-wing Israelis and foreign activists - demonstrations that were brutally dispersed, with numerous protesters being injured or arrested - the fence was moved a mere 1.7 kilometers. And the same High Court that moved the fence also legitimized the Jewish neighborhood that had already been built on Bil'in's private land.


The spontaneous celebration following the supreme court verdict to move away the fence and bring back the villagers 100 hectare of their land.

A Conversation with John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

A Conversation with John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
Domestic Politics and International Relations, September 19, 2007
The Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Saying the unsayable
Andrew Stephen, The New Statesman, 13 September 2007
The links between the Israel lobby and US foreign policy are a Washington taboo. But a controversial new study is opening up a long-stifled debate.

Newsweek Senior Editor Says 'Israeli Lobby' Is Shaping U.S. Policy Toward Iran
Philip Weiss, September 27, 2007

Neocon 'godfather' Norman Podhoretz tells Bush: bomb Iran
Sarah Baxter, Washington, The Sunday Times, September 30, 2007