Rights Blog 2011
I have stopped posting my blog here and instead now blog regularly at http://popular-resistance.blogspot.com
The Israel apartheid events* are already being attacked ahead of the events. We are now writing from Colorado where we had our first US stop and where the local groups arranged a number of appearances for us to launch the apartheid Month. In three days we have public lectures at a church, two universities, a bookstore, interview with two radio stations, informal meetings with community leaders, and a meeting with a congressman. Some anti-Semitic Ashkenazi Zionists have been writing to organizers telling them that we are “anti-Semitic” and sending them the link to the ferociously right-wing and settler supporting and misnamed “Anti-Defamation League” (ADL should be called Arab Defamation League). The link they send is this that includes a serious of quotes from me http://www.adl.org/israel/qumsiyeh/in_his_own_word.asp (I have no problem with the quotes, only that some of them are truncated and out of context).
*For more on the Israeli Apartheid Week events held in over 50 cities worldwide, see http://apartheidweek.org/ and this interesting and rather balanced article in Haaretz about this activityhttp://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/what-does-israeli-apartheid-week-actually-achieve-1.347807
March 15 is Palestine’s moment to join the other struggles in Arab countries gfor freedom and people power. All Palestinians and their supporters are encouraged to get down to the streets in all cities and towns wherever they occur. We also demand an end to the West Bank Gaza Split but I personally do not use terms like reconciliation. There are many Palestinian factions on the ground similar to the number of factions that existed in South Africa when it was struggling to end apartheid. The problem lies in the confusion and damage done by the Oslo process which created a "Palestinian authority" (now 2) without any real authority. It relieved the pressure on the occupiers by administering people and controlling their anger while really making the occupation cost-free to the occupiers. I am not big on "reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah" as that implies that they have drifted apart and need to be brought back together. I think it is just fine that they always had differing political ideologies (like in Europe there are parties with differing political ideologies). Our problems as Palestinian people stem from drifting away from the original charter and goal of our movement (return of refugees, liberation, self-determination) to notions like a state on (part of) the West Bank and Gaza (less tahn 22% of Palestine) or discussing the form of government without reference to letting people decide AFTER liberation and return. In this, there are trends now to reconstitute the Palestinian National Council to represent all 11 million Palestinians around the world. There is also a growth in popular resistance towards a new uprising (which I discuss in detail in my new book) which like in 1928 has to contend with both Palestinian security forces and colonizer/occupier forces. But it has succeeded in the past and will succeed again. Our movement is alive, vibrant, and diversified. It is also being helped now internationally with hundreds of thousands of activists engaged in media work and in boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS). Like in South Africa, apartheid will not succeed.
TV Interview: Nonviolent resistance in Palestine: including interview with Eyad Burnat and Mazin Qumsiyeh http://www.presstv.ir/Program/168468.html
Other scheduled events: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/upcomingevents/
Action: Diamonds are Israel’s single most important export commodity, accounting for over 30% of Israel’s exports in 2008. In evidence to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Israeli economist Shir Hever stated - “Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries ... every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military so the financial connection is quite clear" The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been promoting the idea of a boycott of Israeli diamonds for some time.
A new, closed Facebook working group, GPS (Global Palestine Solidarity), has just launched a petition calling for a review of the Kimberley Process definition of a conflict or blood diamond so all diamonds that fund human rights violations are included. Cut & polished diamonds, the sector of the industry which Israel dominates, are excluded from the existing definition of a conflict diamond.
Videos of Sheikh Jarrah demo and arrests:
McClatchy, the Sacramento Bee, Darrell Steinberg and Islamaphobia: Denying Nazi-Zionist Collusion By ALISON WEIR http://www.counterpunch.org/weir03042011.html
Join us in Palestine July 8-16 http://palestinejn.org
At bottom is a press release about recent rallies throughout Palestine in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian
Popular Uprisings and call for action February 11.
I blog regularly about what is happening here especially what is not seen in mainstream media. I want to take this message to expose some things I have alluded to only marginally before and then issue a call to Palestinains (including the "Palestinian authority" or PA). First a description of what happened that prompts this emotional email.
No one expected what happened in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Jordan. Demonstrations last week in support of the Egyptian people were suppressed by the Hamas-ruled authority in Gaza and by the Fatah-ruled authority in the West Bank (both in violation of the Palestinian laws that guarantee freedom of assembly and expression). Thursday, plain-cloth security personnel disrupted a peaceful gathering in Ramallah, arrested participants and took their video footage.
Despite illegal orders from the PA, Friday's demonstrations in Bil'in, Wad Rahhal, and elsewhere emphasized Egyptian-Palestinian unity in the face of oppression, and Saturday demos were held in Gaza, Jerusalem, Beit Ommar, Ramallah, and Bethlehem. Over 1000 people gathered in Ramallah. Dozens of plain-cloth PA personnel tried to disrupt the demonstration and arrested people. Here are video clips
Some individuals in Ramallah were harassed even before the demonstration (thinking that if you scare those you think are leaders, you can end the events). Similar attempts were made in Bethlehem. I and at least four other activists in Bethlehem received word from relatives, friends, and even directly from security agents saying "watch out". I recorded details on all of these things for potential future legal action. At the actual event in the Manger Square (50 participants), plain-cloth security agents tried many tactics to discredit, disrupt, and intimidate. Some of them represented themselves as demonstrators and others just blatantly tried to interrupt speeches. One person by the name of "Saddam" (who refused to give me his last name) tried to disrupt every speaker. When Yosef Sharqawi decided to speak, Saddam made a point of appearing to whisper something in his ear and then said Yousef used to work for the PA. Everyone already knew this but, while I disagree with Yousef on some political issues, he is entitled to speak his opinion. This reminded everyone of Israeli intelligence officers who use first names of activists in demonstrations and wink at them to tell everyone: hey he is with us, don't trust him. In another occasion he and another person stated loudly that those who are demonstrating “should ask to be paid like some others are paid at the demonstration”! The PA agencies do know very well that none of the key organizers is paid by anyone and many actually spend from their own pockets. Later, the uniformed police prevented us from marching. Video of all of this is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNOEG5KnCb0 so you be the judge of what transpired.
Now I want to take a few lines to fellow Palestinians:
I just finished a book that chronicles 130 years of inspiring acts of resistance, self-sacrifice and decency. But yes, it also chronicles stories of weakness, spineless, and even collaborative episodes in our history. From this I learned that this period is most like 1928. After the end of the 1921 uprising, a class of Palestinian elites rose, some of them co-opted from the resistance movement. With political leadership from prominent families, they were empowered under British occupation but with "autonomy" and even their own police forces. Their demands in 1928 were no longer the end of British occupation or rescinding the Balfour Declaration, but focused on more ‘moderate’ requests, including changing British rules to employ Palestinians and objections to the British granting concessions to Zionist companies. The British, these Palestinian officials, and most of the Palestinian public thought things could not change.
Who remembers the names of those who tried to work with Britain of the 1920s day. Many of them were abandoned by their benefactors. Their descendants are individuals who shy away from any mention of their grandparents or what they did. But who among us have not heard of Musa Kadhem Al-Husseini, the dean of resistance in the 1920s who , at age 83 was beaten on 27 October 1933. We do not know if the policeman that beat him was British or Arab working for the British. Musa died shortly after likely due to complications of the injuries on an old man. He was one of tens of thousands of martyrs for the Palestinian struggle for freedom. His detractors and those who tried to stab him in the back died in shame and are long forgotten. I urge you, no matter what your political affiliation, to think of what kind of memory you will leave for your children and grandchildren?
But most important: do not underestimate the people. During the years of betrayal 1922-1928, who would have predicted the uprising of 1929 (or for that matter 1936)? Who would have predicted in 1986 the intifada of October 1987? Who three weeks ago would have predicted the events in Egypt? I beg you to take these lessons of history. Please listen to the people and not through paid uneducated individuals that you send to spy on your own people.
The Palestinian people demand an investigation and punishment of those responsible:
- for use of "intelligence" agents to intimidate activists and their families (mine included) to impose their dubious agendas of silencing all opposition
- for use of plain-cloth security agents to disrupt peaceful gatherings (as happened today in Ramallah and Bethlehem)
- for use of heavily clad security forces to prevent peaceful demonstrators from marching to places where Israeli forces are illegally stationed on our land (e.g. in Bethlehem during the assaults on Gaza)
- for all other instances where these forces and officials violated Palestinian laws and violated basic human rights.
- for cases of corruption that are well exposed now but not punished. When officials (supposedly on small government salaries) build multimillion-dollar villas, there out to be accountability for the public money.
We implore those elites in power for your own sake and for the sake of the future of Palestine not to underestimate your people and instead to listen to them even when they seem to fear you (for that too can pass as happened in Egypt). People are saying to the decent people of Fatah, please take matters into your own hands by going back to your roots as a people liberation movement and not an "authority" over a bantustan. They are saying to the decent people in other (mostly left) factions: please break your silence and take matters into your own hands to applying the Cairo agreements on reviving the PLO. They are saying to Hamas and Fatah to get out of the Oslo trap (being an "authority" without authority under occupation). They also say to all of us that Palestine will be free and that it will always be multi-ethnic and multi-religious and it is inevitable that it will be one country (not bantustans or a state and two statelets). The people give us hope. The child today that asked me if he could carry the Palestinian flag brought tears of joy to my eyes and this is worth more to me than all of the political games and attacks we receive. He knows and many of us know the meaning of the old proverb in Arabic that "the sun cannot be covered with a ghorbal (sieve)." Unfortunately, Israel, the US, and some individuals in the Arab world (including the PA) are trying to cover-up the sun and prevent the inevitable.
Press release: Rallies Throughout Occupied Palestine in Solidarity with Egypt and Tunisia
Ramallah, Feb. 5th, 2011
More than two thousand people rallied today in the center of Ramallah at Al-Manara square in solidarity with the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, calling for freedom, social justice, democracy and human rights. Parallel rallies took place in Bethlehem and Nazareth. Previous rallies have been held by Palestinian activists in Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza.
The demonstrations were called for by independent youth movements, the Palestinian NGO Network, trade unions and professional syndicates. Al-Manara Square overflowed with a diverse crowd of students, workers,
professionals, human rights activists and political parties’ representatives, with a prominent presence of women. Protesters carried Egyptian, Tunisian, and Palestinian flags and repeated the Egyptian chants of “The people want to dismantle the regime” and “Down with Mubarak.” They also demanded an end to the occupation, internal division, normalization, oppressive regimes, and to US and Western complicity in maintaining Israel’s colonial system and protecting despotic Arab regimes.
One of the protesters, Omar Assaf, said that "We, the Palestinian people, send a message to the Arab world to stand together for a better life against the corruption of the authorities... we support the Egyptian people but the Egyptians must elect their leaders, Tunisian people must elect their leaders, and we Palestinian must elect our leaders."
This was Ramallah’s fourth and largest rally in solidarity with the peoples of Egypt and Tunisia. The previous three, organized by youth groups were violently suppressed by Palestinian Authority agents, funded primarily by the US and the EU. The PA also sent in plain-clothes officers into today’s crowd who chanted pro-Abbas
slogans and assaulted several of the protesters.
The organizers stressed that they will continue mobilizing events in support of human rights, against the Israeli occupation and status quo, and in solidarity with struggles around the world, especially in Arab countries, for freedom, democracy and social justice. The next upcoming event is a call by the Popular Committees in Palestine to demonstrate in front of Israeli embassies worldwide on Friday, February 11th, against injustice and dictatorship and in solidarity with persecuted nations under the slogan "People can bring change and make the impossible, possible."
Media inquiries can be directed to: Hanadi Omar, 972 59 543 6027 or Mazin Qumsiyeh, 972 59 893 9532
6 reporters and 36 Palestinians were injured in the demonstration in Jerusalem Friday. In Bil'in and Wad Rahhal and other localities, Palestinian demonstrators and international supporters voiced strong support for the people's revolution in Egypt and vowed to attend planned demonstrations Saturday which are happening in hundreds of cities around the world (including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Ramallah; see below).
Here is a short (<3 minute) video of what happened to us in Wad Rahhal today:
Thugs AKA security services paid for by US taxpayers run over peaceful demonstrators
Egypt: how to negotiate the transition. Lessons from Poland and China
Unrest Rises in Jordan, but Few Expect Revolt
(few expected revolts in Tunisia and Egypt and in Eastern Europe under communism or South Africa under apartheid etc)
A Jewish Group Makes Waves, Locally and Abroad
"The group’s views differ markedly from statements about the Egyptian protests coming from the Israeli government and many other Jewish-American organizations, which caution that the demonstrations in Cairo could ultimately threaten Israel." http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/us/04bcactivists.html?_r=1&ref=global-home
As usual, politicians and mainstream media are behind the wave. Now even CNN is upset over the methodical attack on journalists by the Mubarak thugs (paid for by the US administration)
Palestinian Popular Committees Against the Israeli Occupation stand with the Egyptian people in their revolt http://www.bilin-ffj.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=345&Itemid=1
Meanwhile Palestinian authority figures violated Palestinian law by disrupting a demonstration in Ramallah (and in turn organized paid people to show support for Mubarak) but more demonstrations in support of the Egyptian people are planned Saturday (5 February) at 2 PM in Ramallah (Al-Manara area), Bethlehem (Nativity Square), Jerusalem (Damascus Gate) and other locations. Facebook event page:
Website, Arabic: http://www.anothervoice-palestine.org
These are part of a global campaign and you should find and join events in your city
Reminder of other events.
Thursday 10 February 2011 at 6 PM at the Bethlehem Peace Center. Book Launch "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment" with author Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh (I will also be traveling in March and Early April to France, England, and the US for a book tour).
July 8-18, 2011: Book your tickets NOW to get good deals. Palestinian civil society organizations and peace and human rights defenders and activists on the ground call on civil society organizations and people of conscience around the world to come to Palestine for a week of fellowship and peace-building. You will be accommodated locally and enjoy Palestinian hospitality and a program of networking, fellowship, and peace work in Palestinian towns and villages including land reclamation. More details at http://www.palestinejn.org (or email me)
الرجاء النسخ والتوزيع عن طريق الرسائل القصيرة
بعد خطاب مبارك منع بث عدة فضائيات في مصر وشرطة ومخابرات مصرية بلباس مدني ومرتزقة (50 جنيه لكل منهم) تهاجم الشعب المصري بوحشية مخلفة 6 شهداء و1500 جريح
After Mubarak's speech, many TV channels blocked and plain-cloth Egyptian security forces brutally attack demonstrators, killing 6 and injuring 1500
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/02/02/egypt.protests.scene/index.html (CNN video but commentary fails to explain how these armed men on horseback and camells are Mubarak regime men)
Livestream of Aljazeera English anytime http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/
مظاهرة ضد الجدار ككل إسبوع في بلعين والنبي صالح ومناطق أخرى. في منطقة بيت لحم مظاهرة مركزية في واد رحال بعد صلاة الجمعة.
ومظاهرات لنصرة الشعب في مصر وتونس يوم السبت في القدس ورام الله وبيت لحم (أنظر تحت)
This is now a global intifada/uprising against repression and for human rights. Demonstrations are being held internationally. A Bethlehem Governorate demonstration against Israeli colonization will be held in Wad Rahhal on Friday after Friday prayers.
Saturday 5 February is International day of action in support of global democracy and against colonization and authoritarian rule. As part of this global day of action the Palestinians will have demonstrations this Saturday at 2 pm IN Al-Quds: Bab El AmoudDamascus Gate, Ramallah: Al-Manara Square, Bethlehem: Nativity Square (more cities being added). Sponsored by a number of civil society organizations and individual activists.
PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES: This is a non-violent rally not coordinated by or on behalf of any political party. Please only bring Egypt, Tunisia, and Palestine flags. No factional signs.
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott also joined other Palestinian groups in proudly standing with the people of Egypt and Tunisia (http://www.pacbi.org/ )
استجابة للدعوة العالمية لجعل يوم السبت 5 فبراير يوم التضامن العالمي مع الشعب العربي في تونس ومصر نحن مجموعة من الفلسطينين في الوطن والشتات من جميع الأطياف والأعمار ندعو جميع الفلسطينيين للمشاركة في هذا اليوم وتنظيم فعاليات تضامنية.
سيتم التجمع السبت الساعة 2 رام الله: ميدان المنارة, بيت لحم: ساحة المهد, القدس: باب العمود
ان القانون الأساسي الفلسطيني يحفظ لنا حق التجمع ونؤمن أن أي دولة مستقبلية فلسطينية يجب أن تقوم على مبادئ الحرية واحترام الرأي.
المادة ٣ من قانون رقم (١٢) لسنة ١٩٩٨: يحق عقد الاجتماعات العامة على أن يوجه إشعار كتابي للمحافظ أو مدير الشرطة بذلك قبل 48 ساعة على الأقل من موعد عقد الاجتماع
المادة ٥ من قانون رقم (١٢) لسنة ١٩٩٨: على الجهات ذات الاختصاص وبناء على طلب الجهة المنظمة للاجتماع اتخاذ ما يلزم من إجراءات الحماية على أن لا يترتب على تلك الإجراءات أي مس بحرية المجتمعين وسير عملية الاجتماع.
المادة ٣٢ من القانون الأساسي الفلسطيني: كل اعتداء على أي من الحريات الشخصية أو حرمة الحياة الخاصة للإنسان وغيرها من الحقوق والحريات العامة التي يكفلها القانون الأساسي أو القانون، جريمة لا تسقط الدعوى الجنائية ولا المدنية الناشئة عنها بالتقادم
السبت 5/2/2011 وقفة عز وتحية شعبٍ وإيقاظ فكرٍ. سنخرج في كل أماكن تواجد الشعب الفلسطيني نساءً ورجالاً وأطفالاً، عمال وعاطلين عن العمل للتضامن مع أحرار تونس وثوار مصر الذين ذكرونا أن حياتنا وقفة عز تتغير فيها الأقدار
تعليمات التجمع: خروج سلمي لكل الشعب للتضامن مع تونس ومصر. لا للشعارات الحزبية. رفع الأعلام الفلسطينية والتونسية والمصرية فقط
"Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with Israel.… I would not refer to him as a dictator” US Vice President Je Biden ( a lackey of AIPAC)
I first visited Egypt 30 years ago in 1981 to do research for my master's thesis which was later published in my first book "The Bats of Egypt". I visited Egypt twice since then and I recall vividly police abuse of their own people and yet the Egyptians I encountered mocked and joked about dictatorship. We tried at least from a distance to support our Egyptian brothers and sisters as they struggle for freedom. Arabs everywhere (yes even here in occupied Palestine) are talking about a transformation and about revolution. But all such transformations carry pain. Over 200 Egyptians were killed, thousands injured, and there is much destruction. Yet in a nation of 85 million people this is still a relatively peaceful transformation. While dealing with the present is critical we must also at this juncture start to look post dictatorship in the Arab world and plan the future.
I recall vividly a talk by a self-described "Liberal Zionist" (an oxymoron) at Duke University on 1 March 198l; at 77 year old he had no inhibitions in saying "Zionists do not want democracy in the Arab world." He explained that if Egypt was a democracy, it would not have signed a peace deal with Israel since the sentiments of the Arab people does not accept such arrangements that could be done with someone like President Sadat or King Hussein. On this point he was absolutely correct but in the long run such short-sighted perspective is self-destructive (1).
As I watched last night Hosni Mubarak make his (hopefully last) speech, I was very much reminded of the last speech of the Shah of Iran, Marcos of the Philippines, Bin Ali of Tunisia. They all claimed after so many years of torturing their own people that they now want to "reform". The US funded and supported the brutal Mubarak regime for over 30 years even as plenty of evidence from human rights organizations documented its abuse of its own citizens. See example videos of torture by Egyptian police (2). This is also the same police who, on the instruction of the Mubarak dictatorship, beat international activists trying to provide humanitarian relief to besieged Gaza (3). Mubarak now for the first time appoint a vice president (his intelligence chief and ex-army buddy Omar Suleiman) and appoint another army officer as prime minister. It is now recognized that his reign is ending and a new era is beginning.
It is rather amusing that the brutal dictator of "Saudi" Arabia (a country named after a ruling family!) called to support Mubarak and stated that the demonstrators are hooligans and criminals. Anyone who knows anything about Egypt knows that this amazing and inspiring mostly nonviolent revolution is a true expression of the will of the Egyptian people regardless of their political or religious persuasions (leftist, Muslim Brotherhood, Nasserite Arab Nationalist, Christians, Muslims, etc).
In other news in brief for those who don't keep up with internet news or those who watch mainly the (supine) Western Media:
-Large demonstrations by Egyptians and human rights defenders at Egyptian embassies around the world all demanding democracy
-Israeli embassy in Cairo essentially emptied (an apartheid state embassy in the largest Arab country is an abomination)
-Israeli pundits very worried about how Egypt might look after Mubarak.
-There are many signs that the Egyptian military (like the Tunisian military) may be critical in this struggle. Already there are instances where the demonstrators were protected from the Egyptian police by the Egyptian military. See footage (4)
-A number of human rights groups and Egyptian community representatives abroad all called for ending the Egyptian police brutality. By contrast EU and US government officials are making feeble statements to hedge their bets and at best call for "peaceful" actions from "all sides". Slowly they were forced to modify their retorhic to talk about "change" but must finally call on their puppet Mubarak to leave power and insist that he and his sons and family return the billions stolen from the Egyptian people.
-A number of religious and civil organizations in Egypt broke their silence to support the ouster of the "last Pharaoh"
-The dictatorship cutting of web and mobile phone services and banning reporting by groups like Al-Jazeera did little to stem the tide of protest because people are living it daily in their homes and on the streets and they are not being incited from outside.
-Protests spread to Jordan and Yemen (two other Western supported governments). There are now plans for large protests in Syria and other countries.
-On the Palestinian Authority TV news, they noted that Mahmoud Abbas called Mubarak and stated his support for stability of Egypt. Other news outlets stated that he fully supports the Mubarak regime. Hamas then came in to say that they support the Egyptian people. Sadly, I think all rational human beings know which horse to bet on in this struggle between people and a western-supported dictator who accomplished nothing for his people and instead enriched his family (his sons are billionaires in a country in which tens of millions of people live on less than $1 a day).
I wrote seven months ago that "The political leadership in the fragmented Arab countries and Palestinian authority have convinced themselves that they have no option but to endlessly try to talk to politicians from Tel Aviv and Washington (the latter also Israeli occupied territory) hoping for some 'gestures'….I know most politicians like to feel 100% safe (mostly for their position of power) and are afraid of any change. But I wish they would realize that daring politicians make the history books and those who hang around trying to protect their seats will be forgotten. Cowardice is never a virtue." And then I concluded that "In the demonstrations yesterday, a child in Gaza was carrying a sign that says 'we demand freedom' and a child in Cairo that says 'children in Egypt and in Gaza want the siege lifted'. That is our future - not elderly politicians meeting to do media damage control with empty words. "(5)
But make no mistake about it: no power transformation happens without a period of unrest, instability, and pain. I believe in these difficult periods, humans are tested. Some are weak and may even try to use the situations to make some quick personal profit. Others are of strong and decent character and this shows in their watching for their neighbors and their community. I have seen countless pictures and heard countless stories of acts that can only be described as heroic (e.g. people protecting the national museum in Cairo or their neighbors' houses). Intellectuals are stepping forward to articulate rational scenarios for the future. People helping other people. So I think we will weather the transition. As to what the future holds. Clearly, the era of ignoring the masses is gone. It will not be easy since we have a legacy of decades of poor education (one that does not emphasize civic and individual responsibility etc). Getting rid of dictators is not enough. Building a civic participatory society is not easy (Europe's enlightenment did not come just from removing a few dictators).
People's expectation raised for change will dash against the reality that it will take decades to create systems of governance, accountability, economic justice, etc to allow for unleashing the great potential in the Arab world. And there is great potential (natural resources, water, educated hard-working middle class etc). It is critical that people begin to chart this future honestly and pragmatically. Slogans will not work. We the people must take responsibility for our own lives and for our communities. We need to take time to educate children in a very, very different way than we were educated. The beginnings may be simple. For example, in many Arab countries, people were thinking that as long as the country is not theirs (ruled by dictators), they can only watch over their own personal space and literally dump trash in the public space. In the new era, they have to learn that public space is theirs too. Order and respect for fellow citizens and for the country will have to be taught very early to our children. This is but one example for laying a brick in the road to real freedom and real prosperity. The bricks though are many and they will have to be fashioned and laid by the people. It is very hard work but it is the only way forward.
(1) I challenged him on this in the Q&A and then wrote a follow-up letter that was published in the Duke Chronicle. See http://www.qumsiyeh.org/zionistpositionfailstorecognizeotherside/
(2) Torture at Egyptian police stations, here are three examples (warning disturbing content!)
3) Egyptian police beat Free Gaza convoy activist on December 30, 2009
4) See this associated press story about role of Egyptian military
and this interesting footage of military shielding demonstrators
5) Mazin Qumsiyeh “Of Cowardice, Dignity and Solidarity” http://www.qumsiyeh.org/ofcowardicedignityandsolidarity/
Post of 27/2/2011
Fear and the Palestine Papers
Ignoring the hype about the Palestine papers is hard. I spent a lot of time reading through page after page of the documents showing minutes of meetings and other exchanges regarding the Palestinian-Israeli "negotiations" (the quotes are warranted). The Guardian newspaper summed up the back and forth arguments about these papers as follows:
"PA and PLO leaders such as Saeb Erekat can be expected to point out that one of the core principles of the negotiations is that 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed'. As such they are not necessarily committed to provisional positions that in the event failed to secure a settlement - though Erekat made clear to US officials in January 2010 that the same offers remained on the table. Critics are likely to argue that concessions -such as accepting the annexation of Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem - are simply pocketed by the Israeli side, and risk being treated as a starting point in any future talks."
For me two things come out clearly from these painful documents (some of them have parallel data in the US embassy cables on Wikileaks). First it is not that the Palestinian officials are traitors but merely (and this is bad enough) mistakenly and passionately going through motions hoping against all odds that by talking and compromising more they could achieve a tiny fraction of what we are entitled to. The second observation is that Israel will not sign a peace deal regardless of how low and ridiculous the concessions on the Palestinian side: hunt down resisters (abandoning the internationally recognized rights of resistance to occupation even unarmed one), give up on most settlements built illegally on Palestinian lands, allow Israel sovereignty over nearly 1/3rd of the occupied old city of Jerusalem, give up on the refugee rights, allow Israel to keep looting natural resources in the West Bank, give Israel the right to control our airspace, and even assure a statelet devoid of sovereignty. Not even tourism income would be allowed in this emasculated state. Some critics asked: if, as the documents show, the Palestinian negotiators were willing to accept all of this then WHY did Israeli politicians hold out?
The answer is obvious to anyone who ever faced Zionism. They believe (rightly or wrongly) they can get 100% so why should they settle for 91% or even 99% especially when the ceiling of the Palestinian requests kept dropping in the past 22 years (since they accepted in 1988 to let Israel keep most of the looted parts of Palestine 1948). Today, Israel's three main sources of income are dependent on a continued conflict and occupation: the 6.5 billion military and security exports, the 6 billion US and other western direct aid, and 3 billion from the captive markets in the West Bank and Gaza. All three would be threatened with end of conflict even if Israel gets to keep most of its stolen loot. Israeli officials are keen to keep negotiations going to avoid an anti-Apartheid scenario and for PR and
normalization to keep pumping more money and more settlers into the remaining small shriveling Palestine because it is economically profitable.
The recorded meetings show no real interest or even emotion or any sense of urgency on the part of the Israelis or their American benefactors. Saeb Erekat comes out basically pleading and begging sometimes and other times
using the presence of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to try and convince these officials. Jim Jones, David, Hale, and (Israeli lobbyist Dennis Ross), Tzipi Livni, Mofaz etc. all just repeat utter few selective words and simply
drag their feet to keep the "process going". What would be the nature of the conversations if there was no Hamas to wave as the boogeyman to US officials and claim success in containing Hamas and other "extremist movements" (In Egypt Hosni Mubarak uses the same notion of containing Islamic Jihad but for the sinister goal of justifying his dictatorship)? US officials are very confident of their strength and the Israeli strengths and the fact that they only need the Palestinians to prevent any attempts at international isolation of Israel. This they get just by innuendo or hints of threats on the Palestinians authority. They studied the situation carefully and think that Abbas and company have no other options but to simply keep negotiating and compromising even if it takes another 20 years.
In some very rare instances the negotiators seem to connect with their humanity and actually feel sorry for the fate of these Palestinian negotiators. But then you could sense how they curb their own feelings (as irrelevant) and go back to the scripted positions of their governments which are simply antagonistic to anything that is not 100% in support of Zionism. Erekat's occasional threats of a one state seem vacuous and not serious. My book on Sharing the Land of Canaan showed with lots of data that "two state for two people" approach can never lead to genuine peace (if apartheid was the problem in South Africa, why is it considered a solution here?).
I have a suggestion for the Palestinian authority: try to deal with the issues and do release your own documents instead of trying to shoot the messenger. Take lemons to make lemonade. Help introduce an even stronger resolution at the UN security council (e.g. in support of the Goldstone report or to recognize a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967) or a resolution at the UN General Assembly that calls for expelling Israel from the UN since it has never honored its commitments when it was admitted in 1949. Maybe announce publicly that the Oslo Process was a mistake or at least is now dead (now every idiot knows it was and most of those who are getting salaries from the authority know in their hearts that it was contrary to basic human rights and to basic international law). This
suggestion essentially is to show courage and backbone. It could also mean the difference: making mistakes is human, continuing the path as in the past only validates those who accuse the authority figures of treason. Abbas says he will surprise us in September but I believe he and those around him do not have that kind of time.
I, like Edward Said and millions of Palestinians, disagreed strongly with the choices made by this Oslo group to built the Palestinian autonomous administration (of the Palestinian people warehouses or concentration camps) that relieved Israel from the burdens of managing us and from International isolation based on not even promises of freedom or return of rights. But I also can't help but feel sorry for those who took that path. It must be very painful for a human being to go down a tunnel where there is no possibility of a light at the end and during this trip into the depths of darkness feel the leaches crawling up his back sucking his blood and voices from behind calling him back (some of them his political enemies, others ex-comrades in Fatah). Palestinian negotiators are fearful of going back because they think it might give political opponents a PR tool. They are just fearful of losing face; I am always grateful to a wise advisor who 30 years ago convinced me to drop this fear of admitting mistakes (a fear common especially among men). They may also be fearful of losing a job. The Palestinian people are very angry though many feel afraid to speak out for fear to lose their sources of income, fear that the alternative to Fatah maybe just as bad, fear of Israel, fear of the US or just simply fear of their own power. But ultimately fear is a lack of self-confidence to take another course. And their fear should be balanced by the fact that people are literally dying for justice and wanting leaders to care about them and not about themselves. Here we must remember the thousands of martyrs who gave their lives and hundreds of thousands who were injured or lost homes and livelihood and still yearn for freedom.
The status quo is to many humans a comfort in the known/predictable. Taking another path is feared because humans fear the unknown. I believe that fear is the most destructive and paralyzing human emotion. Common people around
the world are just beginning to break the barrier of fear and speak up more for themselves. From Tunisia to Egypt to Lebanon, the walls of fear are cracking. We common people and even some leaders must realize that many of these walls are far weaker than we may think. I can actually hear them cracking.
The Arab world is in revolt. The fire is spreading. Responsible people need to step forward with courage and conviction. There could be surprises along those lines even from Central Committee members of Fatah. Already
Nabil Shaath took a position different than Mahmoud Abbas. This is just the beginning. Palestine will survive. The Palestinian people are not sheep. They are mature enough to take the truth and to rebuild our national liberation movement. History marches on and I am 100% sure that Zionism will fail and Palestine will be free.
Palestinian Students take over Palestine London offices demanding representation of all Palestinians. I think their call for representation based on the Prisoner's documents and the Cairo Declaration) should be taken-up by all Palestinians of conscience. See http://ploembassysitin.tumblr.com/> http://ploembassysitin.tumblr.com/
A Call to the People and Governments of the Free World from the Egyptian National Coalition: We call upon all of you to support the Egyptian people's demands for a good life, liberty and an end of despotism. We call upon you to urge this dictatorial regime to stop its bloodshed of the Egyptian people, exercised throughout Egyptian cities.. We believe that the material and moral support offered to the Egyptian regime, by the American government and European governments, has helped to suppress the Egyptian people. We hereby call upon the people of the free world to support the Egyptian people's non-violent revolution against corruption and tyranny. We also call upon civil society organizations in America, Europe and the whole world to express their solidarity with Egypt, through holding public demonstrations, particularly on People's Anger Day (28/01/2011), and by denouncing the use of violence against the people. We hope that you will all support our demands for freedom, justice and peaceful change.
The Guardian Newspaper: Palestinian distrust of Iran revealed in leaked papers. Mahmoud Abbas asked businessman to donate $50m to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opponents, according to the documents
Media Matters M.J. Rosenberg stated about the Papers: "The bottom line is that, despite the assurances the Palestinian Authority gave to the Palestinian people that it was driving a hard bargain with the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority accepted Israel's position on every key point: borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees. On no major issue did the PA hold the line. None. The Palestinians offered Israel everything Israel wants and Israel still said "no" with the backing of the United States."
It is interesting to see such analysis as from former top CIA official Robert Grenier:
But even though career diplomats are voicing interesting opinions and diversions from official policy, the Obama administration still shows the notion of just drawing on AIPAC associated fossilized brains. (see Why Obama's "new thinking" initiative on Middle East peace is doomed to fail By Lawrence Davidson http://www.redress.cc/americas/ldavidson20110122)
Palestinian intellectuals and activists articulated why this is the end of the charade of the peace process industry Karma Nabulsi gives a pointed analysis
Prof. Saree Makdisi shows more emotion as he writes "The Palestinian people betrayed"
Yet another BDS victory: John Lewis stops stocking Ahava products in Britain
Dedicated to our friend Anna Aschenbach who died shortly after suffering a stroke while receiving an award from the International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) yesterday. Antizionist feminist and humanist from Connecticut.
Al-Jazeera just announced the release of 1600 internal and classified documents that reveal devastating information on the nature and scale of concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators. The Guardian reported that " The overwhelming impression that emerges from the confidential records of a decade of Middle East peace talks is of the weakness and desperation of Palestinian leaders, the unyielding correctness of Israeli negotiators and the often contemptuous attitude towards the Palestinian side shown by US politicians and officials. " I think that it spells the end of the peace process industry an 18 year sham that facilitated colonization and enriched a few individuals while destroying our lives.
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad maybe the guy salvaged from the process as he can claim only overseeing the institutions to serve the Palestinian population in the ghettos and concentration camps in the rest of the West Bank. The gates to areas like what remains of Bethlehem district (13%) are for now open (yes there are literal gates). The message sent over the past few years is that life is bad for those who resist, easier for quiet Palestinians, and very good for collaborating Palestinians. There are thousands of "general managers" and other office holders in the Palestinian authority. There are tens of thousands of uneducated individuals (selected for being uneducated and for passing security clearance by Israeli and American officials) who serve in the many security divisions of the Palestinian Authority. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer here but this still meant that on average the GDP is higher in the Palustans today than 8 years ago (though per capita not higher than 1999). In Gaza the situation is worse economically as the whole pie is smaller (mostly humanitarian aid and tunnel trade) and thus while the rich there are still rich and the poor poor, their poor are far poorer than our poor.
I as a Palestinian and millions of other fellow Palestinians are denied the right to enter Jerusalem whose character is being transformed as the talk about more talks goes on! I managed to enter Jerusalem many times like thousands of Palestinians do without seeking permission from the occupying army. Years ago, I taught high school in Jerusalem and I know the city very well. This youtube from a recent visit gives you a glimpse http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RbhpyDGIac I was both saddened and yet strangely energized by the visit. The relentless effort to transform the city to make it "Jewish" (whatever that means) involved relentless efforts at ethnic cleansing. Just in the past two years, over 10,000 Palestinians from East Jerusalem had their residency rights revoked. This is done under 101 pretexts ranging from marrying someone from outside the city to getting a job in another city or renting or buying a peace of real estate outside the city. The latest bizarre situation is ruling that four elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council must renounce their election or face deportation. One was already deported (for not showing allegiance to the Jewish state that illegally occupied annexed, and colonized his city). Three others have spent 205 days now in a tent in the yard of the Red Cross Building in Silwan. Yes, as I saw the amazing popular resistance carried out by all natives of Jerusalem against the colonial occupiers, I was uplifted in my spirits. It is just sad that many world governments continue to be silent on this.
There is a clear diplomatic impasse here which will get exacerbated now that the papers on the negotiations have been revealed. Everyone had a "plan" before and the question is will these plans change:
1) The Zionist leaders have a plan to recognize Palestine as a state in so-called "provisional borders" which will become permanent borders but without recognizing any of the basic Palestinian rights (right to return, self determination, freedom etc). The discussion between extremists like Lieberman and more moderates like Kadima is what are the dimensions of the Palestinian population warehouses (as a friend calls them). This is intended to solve the demographic problem for the state of Israel and get the pressure off for Israel to take care of millions of unwanted non-Jews in the Jewish state. The size of these warehouses range from Lieberman's 42% of the West Bank (itself with Gaza are 22% of historic Palestine) to 60% (Netanyahu's maximum) to 92% (some Labor and Kadima ideas). In other words will the Bantustans end-up occupying 9% or 18% (at best) of historic Palestine? It will of course have no control over its borders or its air space or its natural resources or its tourism industry. But the right-wing racist government in Israel is ultimately self-destructive. The world is wising up.
2) Mr. Mahmoud Abbas plans to continue down the line of working with Western governments and Western-backed Arab leaders to maybe have them apply just a little bit of pressure on Israel to end its settlement activity. After dropping the ball on the International court of Justice ruling on the wall and dropping the ball on the Goldstone report, the leadership introduced via to the UN Security Council and the US may or may not veto it. Abbas says publicly that there may be more "initiatives" coming but ultimately he is tied by Oslo agreements and the maximum he could ask for is 1967 borders with some 3-5% territorial swap (which happen to be the best areas of the West Bank) and certainly he is not going to be allowed to demand the internationally recognized rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands. The leaked documents at best weaken that branch of Fatah led by Abbas that compromised basic Palestinian rights. They could even lead to the demise of this authority whose terms had expired anyway. Of course there is a remote possibility that Abbas will manage to avoid both assassination and irrelevancy by coming clean with his people and offering a new real innovative approach (like dissolve the PA and call for an anti-Apartheid struggle led by new leaders).
3) Hamas has a plan to essentially hold on to Gaza and hope the now clear failure of the "peace process" gives them more popular support among Palestinians. By controlling the launch of home-made projectiles from Gaza, they could hold on for years waiting for change in powers. Iran and Hezbollah are also hoping the continued disregard for international law by the world powers validates the strategy of relying on military strength and "resisting" to get rights. Their arguments in the absence of meaningful enforcement of international law vis a vis Israel is difficult for others to refute. But many moderate and secular people here wonder what kind of a future will unfold under regimes that do not separate state power from religious authority. And even in Gaza, people would not vote for a party that will offer only vague notions about "Islam is the solution" without a clear strategy or vision for the future.
4) Left Parties have partial and unformulated plans. Many still cling to old rhetoric and old divisions and are not able to think innovatively to design a strategy to recapture their popular support that declined in the past few decades let alone articulate a clear unified vision for goals and ways to get to these goals.
5) The US (and by extension subservient EU) have a plan to support the compromising section of the Palestinian authority but only to the extent that the strong AIPAC (Israel lobby) approve of. The leaked documents show that the ceiling for the PA demands must always be continuously lowered to accommodate Israeli society's increasingly fascist government demands. Recognizing Israel is not enough anymore, the PA must also recognize the racist NATURE of Israel (as a JEWISH ZIONIST state) and renounce internationally recognized rights like the right of refugees to return. If they do that, will they be then required to recognize that God is indeed a tribal God with his chosen people and that the Goyim are sub-human and not deserving of even the Bantustans that they are allowed now to live on?
6) The Civil Society around the world which supports human rights has a plan of Popular Resistance, Media work, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions to arrive at justice and ending apartheid. As the pressure builds to isolate the apartheid (aka Hafrada in Hebrew) regime, these activists believe more Israelis and others around the world will come around to see that giving back what was stolen is the only real road to peace (at least partial restorative justice). It is an uphill battle because of all the brainwashing that goes on by subservient media and essentially a populace around the world that is largely apathetic. But the vocal minority that always changes things is getting more vocal.
As I say in my lectures: collectively all humanity has a choice and it is not between one-state or two-states, colonialism or an Fundamentalist state structure (whether Islamic Jewish, or Christian). The choice is between having a set of International laws and human rights that apply to everyone (beginning with the 7 million Palestinian refugees and displaced people) OR a law of the jungle where "might makes right." The latter choice is a lose-lose scenario since we are in an era where biological, nuclear and chemical weapons are easy to come by and can destroy civilization. The former choice requires we begin by educating our selves on our own civil society power. Simon Bolivar, the visionary revolutionary who pushed for independence and unity of countries in South America once said: “They have succeeded in dominating us more through ignorance, than through force”. Indeed. La Luta Continua.
Five Items in this week's digest:
1)Wikileaks reveals US, Egyptian, Israeli, and Palestinian "cooperation" during Israel's war crimes in Gaza (and in the case of the US pre-knowledge of the humanitarian crisis that would develop before the attack even commenced). PA officials clearly did not want any demonstrations where confrontation with Israeli soldiers occur (something that is natural in civil popular resistance)
2) The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) reiterates its firm opposition to any bilateral or multilateral relationships between Palestinian and Israeli academics
3) Videos of reality of colonial apartheid in Palestine including must-see videos about our activities over Christmas (Come join us next time) and the destruction of a whole village by the Israeli occupation authorities
4) The farce of Israeli "investigations" into their own actions. Shooting someone 13 times while he is sleeping in his bed (initially called mistaken identity and now called, "he made what appeared to be a threatening move". This happens daily here and Israeli soldiers feel impunity for murder.
5) Two articles in Foreign Policy this week one that looks favorably at the Palestinian authority actions and one that looks at it as a creation of a police state. My own view falls somewhere in the middle..
1)Significant wikileaks documents shed light on cooperation before and during the war on Gaza by the US, Egypt, Palestinian Authority and the Israeli apartheid system. Before the attack, one message from Ambassador Cunningham evaluated that there will likely be both an Israeli attack and a humanitarian situation developing and then concludes that this should be dealt with as follows:
"We strongly recommend that the Department consider now the U.S. response to the above-mentioned range of Israeli military operations, including press guidance, talking points and even Security Council action, bearing in mind
that we are likely to have little to no advance warning and that even a relatively restrained operation could rapidly grow into something much bigger. Our recommendation is that the USG start with putting the blame on Hamas for the illegitimacy of its rule in Gaza, its policy of firing or allowing other factions to fire rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian targets, and its decision to end the "tahdiya" calming period; and support for Israel's right to defend itself, while also emphasizing our concern for the welfare of innocent Palestinian civilians and U.S. readiness to provide
emergency humanitarian relief. On this last point, USAID points out that large-scale U.S. and international humanitarian assistance will be urgently needed in Gaza if the IDF ends up carrying out a broad-scale military
operation. " During the attack, the US Embassy reported
"PA commanders said they told IDF officers that President Abbas and PMFayyad both directed them to avoid situations that could develop into confrontations with the IDF. The security chiefs said Abbas and Fayyad passed a message to all Palestinian factions, at a PLO Executive Committee meeting on December 29, that only peaceful marches away from flashpoints would be permitted. PA commanders noted they have no control on over B/C areas such as Qalandiya and Nil'in, and would need IDF approval to move PA forces to those areas to prevent clashes between protesters and the IDF. PA commanders said both sides agreed that Hebron is a problem, and cooperation on a case-by-case basis is critical. PA commanders said their IDF counterparts agreed to expedite coordination and movement requests and exchange information on possible disturbances, as both sides have an minterest in preventing West Bank violence. They said both sides also agreed
not to leak substantive discussions about the meeting to the press, given the sensitivity of security coordination in a time of Palestinian outrage over events in Gaza." http://www.counterpunch.org/wikigazacables.html
2) Statement of Position: The Palestinian Federation of Unions of University
Professors and Employees (PFUUPE) wishes to reiterate its firm opposition to
any bilateral or multilateral relationships between Palestinian and Israeli
academic institutions. .. http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1451
3) Videos of reality of colonial apartheid in Palestine. Must-see video about our activities over Christmas (Come join us next time)
In south Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank, a child tries to stop soldiers from kidnapping his father (who is accused of tapping into water pipes that steal Palestinian water to serve settlers and
Destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib (it was destroyed 9 times) by the apartheid state that intends on ethnic cleansing (maximum geography with minimum demography)
4) The farce of Israeli "investigations" into their own actions. Shooting
someone 13 times whiel he is sleeping in his bed (initially called mistaken
identity and now called, "he made what appeared to be a threatening move".
This happens daily here and Israeli soldiers feel impunity for murder.
5) Two articles in Foreign Policy http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/ this
week one that looks favorably at the Palestinian authority actions and one
that looks at it as a creation of a police state. (I tend to fall in the
Palestinians remove some eggs from the American basket
Building a police state in Palestine
16 January 2011
First a note of thank you to the many colleagues who made the speaking tour in Italy very productive (Roma, Bologna, Genova, Pistoia, Foligna, and Firenze).
The next message will comment on the beginning of reshaping of the Arab world that started from Tunisia (most mainstream media did a terrible job with the exception of outlets like Al-Jazeera). But in this short message I want to:
1) Invite you to come to Palestine this summer beginning July 8, 2011. We believe at least 1000 Europeans as well as many others will come to show solidarity and to say enough is enough. More details will be forthcoming at http://www.PalestineJN.org
2) Let you know of a rough outline of my upcoming speaking tour to London, Paris, and the U.S. In this tour I will be speaking mostly about my new book "Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment". In the book and in talks I explain why we are so optimistic about the furure in Palestine "the Holy Land". Email me if you are along the route and can help either with logistics and with arranging other talks or promoting the event. I look forward to seeing you.
Southampton, UK: March 1, 18:00 University of Southampton
Paris, France: March 2 - EuroPalestine
Paris/London: March 3
London, UK: March 4 - 18:30 The City Circle
Denver: March 6 - 15:00 Sabeel Colorado
Denver: March 7 (in planning - University of Denver)
Boulder: March 8 (in planning)
St. Louis (potential): evening of March 9
St. Louis (potential)/Louisville: March 10
Louisville: March 11 (in planning)
South Bend: March 13 (in planning)
Grand Rapids: March 14 - Calvin College
Grand Rapids: March 15 - Senior Community
Cleveland: afternoon of March 16 - Case Western Reserve Univ.
Cleveland: March 17 morning - Case Western/Wooster (potential)
Travel by air: evening of March 17
Philadelphia: March 18 (in planning)
New York City: March 19 - Left Forum
NYC/New Jersey: March 20 - Left Forum/Open
NYC/New Jersey: March 21 - Columbia Univ.
New Jersey: March 22 - Drew Univ.
Connecticut: March 23 - Gunn Library, Washington CT
Connecticut: March 24 - (in planning) Uconn, Yale, CCSU
Rhode Island: March 25 - (in planning) Brown University
Boston: March 26
Boston: March 27
Boston or Portland ME: March 28
New Hampshire: March 29 - New England College
Boston: March 30
SF Bay Area: April 1
SF Bay Area: April 2
SF Bay Area: April 3
Sacramento: April 4
Salt Lake City (potential): April 6
Here in Palestine, we face a relentless assault not only on us and our lands but on truth, on decency, on nature, on dignity, and, dare I say, on God. Israeli authorities are working overtime to transform the Holy City of Jerusalem from a multi-ethnic and multi-religious city to a distorted vision of what Zionists think Judaism is about (supremacy, ethnic purity, tribalism etc). They will be debating in the next few days a project for an additional 1400 "housing units" near Gilo colony. The land targeted belongs to the village of Al-Walaja and the Town of Beit Jala. The Negev village of Al-Araqib was also just demolished for the 9th time*. More home and business demolitions were carried out in Jerusalem and the Jordan valley. Taking lands from Christians and Muslims, destroying over 2 million trees and countless homes and businesses are not just war crimes but crimes against humanity. We must continue to challenge these destructive policies and demand the international community bring those responsible to justice. Please write to media, politicians, and all others (the internet allows you to get hundred sof emails very quickly for decision makers).**
I think the empire's hold on the Arab World has begun to unravel and I think we see in Tunisia the first spark of a revolution that will reshape the Arab world for the better and spell the end of repression. In 1948, the insertion of Israel in the Middle of the Arab world was designed to dominate the area, keep the people disjointed, disunited and ruled by (Western-appointed) dictators. In 1953, the US and Britain engineered the coup that removed the democratically elected government of Mousaddeq and placed the brutal Shah in power in Iran. These moves worked for many years because people in the Arab world let them happen and offered limited resistance. Things have been changing. In retrospect, the year 1973 was pivotal as for the first time two Arab countries decided to fight to take back their stolen lands. Unfortunately, the US chose to save its monstrous creation from having to return all the stolen lands (and Sadat was willing to walk a separate line). Then came the nonviolent people's revolution in Iran which got rid of the Shah in 1979. Since then Israel and its benefactor has attempted in vain to crush any Arab resistance by might. Fom their invasion and occupation of Lebanon to invasion and occupation of Iraq, these evil forces attempted to keep the lid on Arab democracy and keep their hegemony. Arab dictators were useful tools in implementing these destructive policies. But many of us have long argued that these shenanigans will and must come to an end.
As people around the world evolved beyond dictatorship and racism, we in the Arab world will too. After all, why should people in Latin America (some that used to be called banana republics) be able to say NO to the neo-liberal and neo-colonial systems while we in the Arab world could not? Why should Iran and Turkey be able to say NO to violations of International law and NO to hegemony while we in the rich Arab world stay silent? The resounding answer maybe coming from Tunisia. I have visited Tunisia twice and have many colleagues and friends that hail from Tunisia's beautiful towns and villages. My single largest scientific collaborator is a Tunisian scientist living in Paris. I have commented on the similarity that Palestine and Tunisia has in geography, topography, climate, and village life. Tunisians used popular resistance methods I discussed in my recent book on Palestine to get rid of a corrupt leader who had hung on to power for over 23 years. But there are other Arab leaders who have been in power even longer. It is time for real change, a change not to replace one face with another but to begin to form truly democratic institutions throughout the Arab world. Our demands include democracy, transparency (including totally free and critical press), plurality, and justice. We have enough natural and human resources to build new vibrant societies. All we have to do is muster the will to free our minds. Those of us who have done so and shed their inhibitions should also begin to discuss and ORGANIZE for the day after (after Zionism and after imperialism). We have to begin to examine how we may repair the damage caused by the corrupt systems and build a better future.
** for 50 actions you can do, visit http://www.palestinejn.org/resources/resources-for-activism-
Tunisia's Revolution Was Twitterized by Firas Al-Atraqchi
Eitan Bronstein's insightful letter about why he set up Zochrot, an Israeli group that tries to bring attention to the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages in the "Jewish state"
Boycott wins accumulate: Now Vanessa Paradis has cancelled her concert in Israel
Merci Vanessa ! Et merci à toutes celles et tous ceux, dans tous les pays, qui se sont mobilisés pour lui faire entendre la voix de la justice et de la paix !
Video of action: http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5793
more at http://www.europalestine.com/spip.php?article5792
Pebble People by Cindy Sheehan
"Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system." Dorothy Day
Gabrielle Giffords, Tom Hurndall and Palestinian Children: Shot in the Head by Alison Weir http://counterpunch.org/weir01142011.html
The last step in liberation of Palestine and the rest of humanity: Developing a winning attitude
Since I will likely not send you any messages in the next 12 days (traveling), I decided to send this message ahead of my trip.
The teargas grenades that killed Jawaher Abu Rahmah were most likely made in the USA. So 11 people were arrested by Israeli police as they protested in front of the residence of the US Ambassador to Israel. Demonstrations and vigils were held in many cities and towns around the world. We had a small but meaningful gathering here in Bethlehem last night. The second Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers was a 21 year old Mohammad Djarma shot at a checkpoint with soldiers claiming he did not obey orders. There is a lot that we can all do to end this mindless colonial structure and finally bring peace and justice to this troubled Holy Land.
I will be in Italy for 10 days with the following schedule of talks centered around the release of my new book “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment” (it is selling very well, see http://www.qumsiyeh.org/popularresistanceinpalestine/ ). The book will be released in the US this week and I am planning a trip to the US in March. An arabic version is ready but I need to take time to find a publisher (and lack time has been our main handicap!).
Rome 3-5 January (no public event)
Genoa 6-7 January (location to be announced)
Pistoia 8 January (16:30, St. George Library in Pistoia)
Florence 9 January (10:00-11:00, St.James Episcopal Church)
Bologna 10 January (18:30-20:30, Centro di Documentazione delle Donne - via del Piombo 7)
Perugia and Sienna 11-12 January (not confirmed)
You may email me if you would like to meet/get together or can help while I am in Italy.
A propos de notre mission en Palestine : "Mon plus beau cadeau de Noël", par Mazin Qumsyieh
A great 5 minute video on Palestine
Gazan youth issue manifesto to vent their anger with all sides in the conflict: An anonymous group of students has created a document to express their frustration born of Hamas's violent crackdowns on 'western decadence', the destruction wreaked by Israel's attacks and the political games played by Fatah and the UN
Marrickville Council supports BDS
Bethlehem’s sister city in Australia again made history by voting to support the Unified Palestinian Call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. Marrickville is the first municipality in Australia to take this important step to support human rights and international humanitarian law in Palestine.
Feeble attempts to downplay BDS