Categorized | Middle East

Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear friends,

9 items below.  These are unfortunately tempestuous times here; the number of items and their nature reflect this; at least the final 2 are positive in nature.  Those preceding them, less so.

Item 1, “Days of blood and violence ahead” sets the tone of what Israelis hear on the media news (if they listen or read news).  The propaganda-fear-hate machine is working overtime.  The report is about the funeral of the 17-year old Palestinian boy who was shot yesterday, apparently not by the police or military, but by a private Israeli, or perhaps a security guard from a private firm.  What matters is that another youngster is dead.

Item 2 continues the tone when reporting on a Nakba-day march in Jaffa today.  I say more about this when we come to the item.

Item 3 is a hard-hitting Haaretz editorial commenting on Israel’s ethnic cleansing.  It points out that Israel lets people from all over the world in, but not Palestinians.

In item 4 Saeb Erekat states that Israel has to chose between peace and apartheid.  In my opinion, Israel’s leaders want neither—that is not a Palestinian state, not a single secular state for all who wish to live here, and not apartheid.  Rather, Israel’s leaders want all of Palestine (the Greater Israel) with as few Palestinians as possible. The US seems to be in cahoots with Israel’s leaders.  But that is another story.

Item 5 is one of these disgusting revelations.  A few days ago I sent you an item about the IOF using vicious dogs on Palestinians.  In item 5 Gideon Levy spells this out more precisely.  The dogs are being used, mind you, not on ‘terrorists,’ not on ‘freedom fighters,’ not on criminals!  They are being used on men trying to get work to support their families.  Israel first steals the land that Palestinians used to farm, then does not allow them to find jobs!

In item 6 whistle blower Ziyad Clot reveals why he did it.

Item 7 iterates a point that I make whenever I speak abroad, and also here to whomever will listen: Israel devaluates life. Nehemia Shtrasler puts the same idea in different words, ‘In Israel you are nothing until you are dead.’  But of course he does not mean just any dead person.  No.  Only those who died fighting its wars.  Not even fire fighters who died in the service of the civilian members of society get the respect that dead warriors do.  Respect for the dead is hierarchical in Israel.

Item 8 brings a bit of relief: Louisa Morgantini informs us: “Finally in Gaza.”

And the last item is an invitation to a movie (The Bottom line) on boycotting in SA and now the Palestinian boycott, which is to be shown in San Francisco.  If it comes your way, be sure to see it.

All the best, and may we have a quiet week, despite attempts to make us fear the worst.

Dorothy

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1. Ynet,

May 14, 2011


Tensions

The funeral Photo: Gil Yohanan

‘Days of blood and violence ahead’

East Jerusalem tensions near boiling point as participants in funeral of teen killed during ‘Nakba Day’ riot predict dark days

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4068383,00.html

[ For more on the events  yesterday and videos of protests see http://josephdana.com/2011/05/17-year-old-killed-during-nakba-demonstrations-in-east-jerusalem/ ]

Omri Efraim

Hundreds attended the Saturday funeral of 17-year-old Milad Ayache, who suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen during a ‘Nakba Day’ riot in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Friday.

Calls of “Allahu Akbar” and “With our souls and our blood we will redeem you, Shahid,” sounded during the procession, which started at Ras al-Amoud and went through the volatile Silwan neighborhood as well. Participants also hoisted Palestinian flags.

Prior to the funeral, the Jerusalem Police increased deployment near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amoud, where Ayache resided, in an effort to thwart further rioting.

Deployment was also bolstered along the funeral procession’s route, which ended at the Muslim cemetery in Temple Mount.

Currently, it is unclear who fired the deadly shot. The Jerusalem District Police in investigating the incident, but a police request to autopsy the body was denied by the family. Palestinian sources said it is believed the fire came from the direction of Biet Yonatan.

‘People are furious.’ The funeral (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

Abu Sharif, a resident Silwan, told Ynet that “All of Silwan in taking part in the funeral. People here are furious. Today and tomorrow will be days of blood and violence.”

Samir, another neighbor, added that “the atmosphere here is very strained. The police murdered a child. It’s typical of the Israeli police and government.”

During the funeral, a group of mourners tried to force their way into a nearby Jewish home and started stoning security forces; who resulted to using crowd-control measures.

Protester near Jerusalm’s Holy City (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

Earlier, Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinians suffered rubber-bullet injuries during a clash with security forces near Beit Yonatan, in east Jerusalem.

Palestinian protesters continued clashing with security forces in the capital’s east after the funeral as well: demonstrators stoned security forces near the Dung Gate, effectively blocking traffic and a similar clash near Mount of Olives ended with the arrest of four Palestinians.

‘This was murder’

A mourners’ tent was set up at the Ayache family Ras al-Amoud home Saturday afternoon.

“He was still a boy, just 17. He was and never participated in protests. The entire neighborhood loved him,” Said Ayache, the teen’s father, told Ynet.

“What happened (Friday) was murder. My son was intentionally murdered. The settlers and the forces guarding them used live rounds and hit him from five meters away. The Police and the Israeli government are responsible for the actions of the radical settlers that are squatting in the middle of our neighborhood.

Women at the Ayache family home (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)

“For the past two years the police are protecting the settlers,” he continued. “They say they are investigating, but they will not tell the truth. People who were there told me that after the shooting the police at Beit Yonatan used tear gas and wouldn’t let my wounded son be evacuated.”

Ayache senior added that his son was only an observer in the protests and had nothing to do with stoning the security forces present. “The security officers in Beit Yonatan shot him at short range. The medical report said so.

“My son… never participated in demonstrations against the settlers, even tough it’s legitimate Palestinian resistance against the fact that the radical Israeli government allowed settlers to come to Silwan,” he said.

He also has a message for the Israeli public: “Would you use live fire on Jewish kids protesting? Israel says it’s a democracy. Where’s the law? Where’s the democracy?”

Said Ayache works at the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, where he translates Hebrew books into Arabic. “I went to school to try and understand the Israelis, but the occupation is robbing us of all hope. I hope my son becomes a symbol for the Palestinian people, to get rid of the Israeli occupation and the settlement in the middle of Silwan.”

Elior Levy contributed to this report

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2.  Ynet,

May 14, 2011


Procession

“Tensions are high in East Jerusalem as Palestinians prepare to mourn on Sunday the creation of Israel in 1948, which they call the “Nakba”, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced to leave their homes.” [Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/violent-clashes-erupt-between-police-and-palestinians-at-east-jerusalem-funeral-1.361634 ]

——-

“the Palestinian day of mourning over the inception of the State of Israel”

[below, item 2]

———

Both these and like interpretations of the Nakba are wrong.  They misinterpret the facts.  Israel is not the object of the commemorations of the Nakba, the Catastrophe.  This fits in with the new ‘Nakba law,’ but not with the facts, and this interpretation is relatively recent.  The Palestinian catastrophe refers to the dispossession, dispersion, killings, demolition of villages that occurred as a result not of Israel becoming a state, but of the policies of Israel’s Zionist leaders.  The UN division of Palestine left Palestinians in the 55% that was given to Israel (55% despite the fact that Jews were but 1/3 of the population).  The Zionist leaders wanted (a) more land, and (b) less Palestinians.  These are the identical principles of colonization and expansion that exist today.  Israel does not now truckload Palestinians out of the West Bank, Jerusalem, or Gaza, but does everything possible to force them to leave!  Ethnic cleansing and land theft continue.  The Catastrophe continues.  It has never ended! Dorothy]

Ynet Saturday, May 14, 2011

Protesters in Jaffa Photo: Yaron Brener

Hundreds mark ‘Nakba Day’ in Jaffa

At least 1,000 protesters march on Jaffa’s main street, wave Palestinian flags. ‘Just as is happening in Arab world, one day Israeli-Arab population will explode, go out on streets and protest against government,’ says Jaffa resident

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4068464,00.html

Hassan Shaalan

At least 1,000 people on Saturday attended a procession held at the coastal city of Jaffa ahead of “Nakba Day” – the Palestinian day of mourning over the inception of the State of Israel.

The procession moved along Jaffa’s main street Sderot Yerushalayim and blocked traffic in both directions.

Protesters waved Palestinian flags and signs reading: “We have the right of return”, “we will not leave Jaffa” and “From Jaffa to Beirut – one people will not perish.” The crowd chanted slogans against the Israeli government, calling it “a terror government.”

Baqa al-Gharbiyye resident Ali Moasi told Ynet, “We came to the protest in order to convey a message to the Israeli establishment and the government of Israel; we will not keep silent over our rights and continue the struggle – no matter the cost.

‘We want our right of return.’ Protesters in Jaffa (Photo: Yaron Brener)

“All the racist laws that the Knesset legislated gave us more motivation and power to protest and struggle without fearing the government or Avigdor Lieberman,” he added.

A Jaffa resident also participating in the protest added that “eventually we

will return to our occupied lands, and will never forget our Nakba. It will remain engraved in our memories, and I say to the government of Israel – it makes no difference how much you acts against us, you will eventually lose and regret your actions.”

‘Continue the struggle even if it costs us our lives.’ (Photo: Yaron Brener)

Linking between the “Nakba Day” protests and the recent uprisings across the Arab world, the Jaffa resident said, “Just as is happening in the Arab world, one day the Israeli-Arab population will explode and go out on the streets, protesting against the government and all the racists.

“They will demand rights and the right of return, even if it costs them their lives,” he noted.

The procession was organized by members of youth movements in Jaffa and Lod. Arab Members of Knesset did not attend the protest, although it is considered one of the main events ahead of “Nakba Day.”

“I regret that no Arab MKs participated in the protest. It is irresponsible and makes the Arab residents lose their trust in them,” said a protester.

Shortly prior to the procession, a group of protesters arrived to the Tel-Aviv promenade and got off the bus while waving Palestinian flags, prompting passersby to spit on them while calling out slurs. The Arab protesters responded with more slurs and returned to the bus.

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3.  Haaretz Editorial,

May 13, 2011


Israel opens its gates to the world, shuts them to Palestinians

The covert deportation of West Bank residents in order to increase the number of Jews in the West Bank, like the declaration of land as “state land” to build settlements on it, is an example of the occupation’s rotten fruit.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israel-opens-its-gates-to-the-world-shuts-them-to-palestinians-1.361422

Haaretz Editorial

From the occupation beginning in 1967 to the day after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994, Israel used a covert procedure to banish Palestinians by stripping them of their residency rights. This was revealed in an official document drawn up by the Israel Defense Forces’ West Bank headquarters, published by Haaretz on Wednesday.

A letter sent to the Center for the Defense of the Individual says the procedure, enforced on Palestinian West Bank residents who traveled abroad, led to the stripping of 140,000 of them of their residency rights. Israel registered these people as NLRs − no longer residents − a special status that does not allow them to return to their homes. The document makes no mention of the number of Gaza Strip residents who traveled abroad for studies or work and were permanently banished from the region by the same procedure.

The sweeping denial of residency status from tens of thousands of Palestinians and deporting them from their homeland in this way cannot be anything but an illegitimate demographic policy and a grave violation of international law. It’s a policy whose sole purpose is to thin out the Palestinian population in the territories.

It would be reasonable to assume that many family members of the Palestinians uprooted between 1967 and 1994 joined their relatives in exile and became homeless refugees themselves. The gates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip were also locked to the NLR’s children and descendants who were born outside the territories. After the Oslo Accords, Israel allowed a relatively small number of NLRs to return to the territories. Since the second intifada broke out, the people exiled between 1967 and 1994 have been prohibited from visiting their homes, even as tourists.

The covert deportation of West Bank residents in order to increase the number of Jews in the West Bank, like the declaration of land as “state land” to build settlements on it, is an example of the occupation’s rotten fruit. Israel opens its gates to people from all over the world, who have the right of return. It lets them settle in Hebron and at the entrance to Nablus. It must immediately rectify the ongoing injustice caused to tens of thousands of Palestinians who were born in Hebron and raised children in Nablus.

The government would do well to remove the NLR stigma from these people, restore their residency status as quickly as possible and permit them to return home and unite with their families.

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4,  Haaretz,

May 13, 2011


Israel has to choose: Mideast peace or apartheid

The choice is not between Hamas and Israel; the choice is between settlement-colonies or states: between accepting two states with the 1967 border or maintaining an apartheid regime.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israel-has-to-choose-mideast-peace-or-apartheid-1.361423

By Saeb Erekat

Having all Palestinian political factions come together for national reconciliation was an emotional experience for all Palestinians who witnessed the events taking place in Cairo. The Arab Spring has finally reached Palestine. The left, the religious right, and the nationalist camp − across the Palestinian political spectrum − with the support of the new Egyptian government, reached an agreement to establish a technocratic administration in order to hold elections within one year and rebuild the Gaza Strip. This is a critical step in our path toward freedom and independence.

This ceremony was a representation of the will of our people. After the reconciliation ceremony, a young boy from Gaza was reported to have said, “I call on Fatah, Hamas and the rest of the factions to march hand in hand toward independence, to open and build our country.” From the mouths of babes come the most simple and powerful sentiments. In this case, that sentiment represents those of Palestinians everywhere, from Chile to Lebanon.

As President Mahmoud Abbas said in Cairo, with the establishment of a government of national unity, we will have closed one of the darkest periods in the history of our people.

Palestinians are looking forward now. We will continue to work hard on gaining international recognition for the State of Palestine in the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Today, we have received such recognition from 112 countries. The latest vote in the UN Security Council calling for an end to settlement expansion ‏(14 countries voting in favor and the United States against‏) shows unprecedented support for the Palestinn position: The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land must end.

Under the leadership of President Abbas, we are concluding the process of building Palestinian institutional capacities. According to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the European Union, Palestine has reached a point where it is ready to take the reins of state. Only the Israeli occupation stands in the way of our progress.

In September 2011, a united Palestinian people will go to the United Nations to request that the State of Palestine be admitted as a full member of the UN. It is time for Israel to stop denying freedom to the Palestinian people. We deserve to live free just like all other peoples in the world. Our message is very simple: The Palestinian people will not remain hostage to Israeli intransigence and unilateralism; settler violence and expansion are not going to stop us.

National reconciliation will also re-energize and empower our nonviolent struggle for justice and peace. We have been inspired by the determination shown weekly by young Palestinians and Israelis, Europeans and Americans, demonstrating together every Friday against the Israeli occupation policies in dozens of places, from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan to Bil’in and Nabi Saleh.

So as we continue our efforts at uniting our people and building our state, we call on Israel not to interfere in domestic Palestinian politics. Israelis are free to elect whomever they choose to represent them, whether they be from the peace or the anti-peace camp. We have respected their choice by negotiating with every single Israeli government since 1991, including with the current Israeli coalition government, not a single member of which recognizes Palestinian national rights.

The choice is not between Hamas and Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested. The choice is between settlement-colonies or states: between accepting two states with the 1967 border outlining the shape of the future for Israelis and Palestinians where real peace is possible, or maintaining an apartheid regime that will define our relationship with Israelis as one of oppressor and oppressed. We have clearly made our choice; we are waiting for Israel to do the same.

Only days before our national reconciliation, Prime Minister Netanyahu complained to the international community regarding the lack of a unified Palestinian government. He asked, “Shall I make peace with Gaza or with the West Bank?” To Netanyahu we can now reply, “You shall make peace with the State of Palestine.” Netanyahu may persist to find excuses why he will not negotiate in good faith with us, and we will persist to take our case to the United Nations.

Gaza is not to be regained by bullets but by the ballot box. The way to peace is through reconciliation and democracy. I hope that Israelis and the international community will stand shoulder to shoulder with us in order to support peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis by ending the Israeli occupation and consolidating a sovereign Palestinian state in the 1967 border.

The writer is the chief Palestinian negotiator.ia

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5,  Haaretz,

May 13, 2011


Israel’s dogs of war

Palestinians desperate to earn a living are becoming bolder about getting into Israel to find work. The IDF response? Dogs.

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/week-s-end/israel-s-dogs-of-war-1.361449

By Gideon Levy

The old man threw me a helpless look, collapsed and fell to the ground, losing consciousness for a moment. The young men around him rushed to give him water and then carried him to the van and left.

He was a worker from distant Tul Karm, much older than the rest of the group, and he was trying to return home because Palestinians were prohibited from staying in Israel on Independence Day, and he had spent the past two weeks working and sleeping in hiding there. When he tried to go through the breach in the fence in the southern Hebron Hills, between Kibbutz Lahav and the Bedouin refugee town of al-Ramadin, dogs led by soldiers suddenly appeared. He ran for his life until he eventually collapsed on the hill where we were standing, overlooking the valley east of the fence, in the West Bank. The young men showed us their torn trousers and their wounds where the dogs had bitten them this morning.

We stood on that hill for a long time. In the fields of Kibbutz Lahav just across the way, the Israel Defense Forces jeeps waited in ambush; in the shade of a distant grove of trees stood a group of workers who had been caught, their hands bound since the morning.

On the horizon, more and more workers were becoming visible, waiting for an opportune moment to return home because of the Independence Day closure. From our lookout on the hill, we could see the van drivers waiting to collect the men on the run, warning them about the soldiers and the dogs on their Mirs cell phones.

The sophisticated, electronic separation fence, hundreds of kilometers long, ends near al-Ramadin. In its stead a simple iron fence has been erected, which already has many gaping holes in it and a stretch at the center that is completely open. “Israel opens one eye and shuts the other,” one of the workers remarks. “If it wanted, not even air would pass from here to there.”

From here they slip into Israel with the help of a fleet of vehicles driven by Israeli Bedouin to locales in the south, both Jewish and Bedouin, for day jobs – mainly in building and renovations. Every week or two, they return home after a few days of working and sleeping on the construction sites.

Every night, thousands of young Palestinian men from throughout the West Bank flock to this point to cross the fence on their way to work in Israel. In recent weeks, it is not only soldiers who wait here to ambush them, but dogs as well.

At the gas station located in the small southern town of Dahariyeh, Al’a Hawarin appears with two fingers of his left hand bandaged. There are also scars on his right knee. He is 22, his divorced mother’s only son and sole provider; he’s completed only two years of schooling. Men over 30 don’t stand a chance of obtaining permits to work in Israel, or, for that matter, of finding employment in the West Bank. In recent years, Hawarin has been working in Sderot, Ashdod, Rahat and Lakiya.

On April 10, he headed toward the fence before dawn, paying a driver NIS 100 to get there. They were five friends from Dahariyeh and the morning light had not yet broken over the fence near the border town of al-Ramadin. A Bedouin driver’s car was waiting on the other side of the broken fence. The five moved ahead quickly in a line, with Hawarin bringing up the rear. Suddenly he felt someone attacking him from behind.

He was convinced it was a soldier, but when he turned around he saw a large dog. The dog first sank its teeth into his buttocks and then grabbed his hand. Hawarin started to scream, and then four or five soldiers leaped out. He managed to free his hand from the dog’s jaws and push his way into the van. The soldiers, he relates, did not try to stop him, and the van set off in the direction of the Bedouin town of Lakiya in the Negev. His hand was bleeding, and he was in great pain.

In Lakiya the workers were unable to get help, so they headed back in the direction of the fence in order to reach a place where Hawarin could get medical care. Near the fence he saw that in the meantime the soldiers had arrested nine other workers, one of whom had also been wounded by the dog. Hawarin found another way to get through and eventually ended up in Alyah Hospital in Hebron, where his fingers were stitched up and he was told that he would never be able to bend them again.

The next day, Musa Abu Hashash, an investigator from B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, suggested that Hawarin file a complaint with the police. He went to the Kiryat Arba police to complain – and was arrested. The charge: damaging the fence. It was only through the intervention of B’Tselem lawyers that he was released the following day on bail, and he is now awaiting trial. When he has use of his hand again, he told us, he will go back to infiltrating the fence. He has no alternative.

B’Tselem has documented seven additional cases of attacks by dogs in recent weeks, but clearly, there are others that have gone unreported. Forty-four-year-old Hatem Talahma, from the village of al-Burj, recently underwent open-heart surgery at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva. A day after Passover, he tried to infiltrate for a follow-up examination at the hospital, after he had been unable to obtain an entry permit. He was attacked by a dog, arrested and sentenced to 31 days in prison for damaging the fence.

Phone photo

In another case, 20-year-old Mohammed Abu Qa’ut, a son of Bedouin refugees, was returning to his home in al-Ramadin on April 9 when he, too, was bitten by IDF dogs. He has scars along his waist and his leg and also on his arm. A soldier ordered the dog to jump him, and his soldier-friend filmed what was happening on an iPhone. It was several minutes before the soldier ordered the dog to release him, but the dog only let go after the soldier stunned it with an electrical device.

The soldier bandaged Abu Qa’ut’s arm to stop the bleeding and then handcuffed him. He was taken to a military base where his wounds were disinfected and instructions were given to send him to Soroka. The soldiers refused to send him to the hospital and said they would take him to the Tarqumiya crossing point. “Let the Red Crescent take care of him,” Abu Qa’ut quotes them as saying. Flies swarmed around his wounds. He asked for water, but the soldier who was guarding him refused and said to him, “Let the flies stay.”

At 3:30 P.M., half a day after he was wounded and arrested, Abu Qa’ut was released at the crossing point, and from there a Palestinian ambulance took him to a hospital in Hebron, where he was hospitalized and treated. His friend, Yusuf Zararna, who was arrested with him, is still in prison. Abu Qa’ut has been under the care of psychologists in Hebron from Doctors Without Border since the incident.

We asked Abu Qa’ut whether he will go back to working in Israel. “It’s my living,” he replied. “Where can I go?”

The workers who had been arrested and were still sitting handcuffed in the shade of the grove said they had been there since 4 A.M. The jeeps were still lurking, with their headlights on, among the haystacks. Every so often, one of them rushed out for a foray, raising clouds of dust behind it. The dogs were kept out of sight. The van drivers continued to shout warnings. The lucky ones who managed make it through the fence, a group of sturdy young men, were waiting for transportation back home. After the holiday, they will be back.

The IDF spokesman issued the following statement in response: “In the area of al-Ramadin in the southern Hebron Hills, during the past several years, damage to the infrastructure of the security fence has developed into a serious problem and has enabled elements engaged in terrorist activity to infiltrate the State of Israel. This phenomenon jeopardizes the security of the citizens of the State of Israel and causes damage amounting to millions of shekels annually.

“To prevent damage to the security fence infrastructure, the IDF is employing various means, including the dog-handlers unit, which makes use of trained dogs while taking adequate precautions to prevent unnecessary injury.”

The statement added: “The purpose of using dogs, in a broad perspective, is in fact to reduce bodily harm, and they are meant, among other things, to reduce reliance on other means.”

The spokesman also assured Haaretz that “every detailed complaint received by the military prosecution is examined and dealt with accordingly.”

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6.  The Guardian,

14 May 2011

Why I blew the whistle about Palestine

Israel’s attack on Gaza and the disastrous ‘peace talks’ compelled me to leak what I knew

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/14/blew-the-whistle-about-palestine

Ziyad Clot

In Palestine, the time has come for national reconciliation. On the eve of the 63rd commemoration of the Nakba – the uprooting of Palestinians that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948 – this is a long-awaited and hopeful moment. Earlier this year the release by al-Jazeera and the Guardian of 1,600 documents related to the so-called peace process caused deep consternation among Palestinians and in the Arab world. Covering more than 10 years of talks (from 1999 to 2010) between Israel and the PLO, the Palestine papers illustrated the tragic consequences of an inequitable and destructive political process which had been based on the assumption that the Palestinians could in effect negotiate their rights and achieve self-determination while enduring the hardship of the Israeli occupation.

My name has been circulated as one of the possible sources of these leaks. I would like to clarify here the extent of my involvement in these revelations and explain my motives. I have always acted in the best interest of the Palestinian people, in its entirety, and to the full extent of my capacity.

My own experience with the “peace process” started in Ramallah, in January 2008, after I was recruited as an adviser for the negotiation support unit (NSU) of the PLO, specifically in charge of the Palestinian refugee file. That was a few weeks after a goal had been set at the Annapolis conference: the creation of the Palestinian state by the end of 2008. Only 11 months into my job, in November of that year, I resigned. By December 2008, instead of the establishment of a state in Palestine, I witnessed on TV the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli army.

My strong motives for leaving my position with the NSU and my assessment of the “peace process” were clearly detailed to Palestinian negotiators in my resignation letter dated of 9th November 2008.

The “peace negotiations” were a deceptive farce whereby biased terms were unilaterally imposed by Israel and systematically endorsed by the US and EU. Far from enabling a negotiated and fair end to the conflict, the pursuit of the Oslo process deepened Israeli segregationist policies and justified the tightening of the security control imposed on the Palestinian population, as well as its geographical fragmentation. Far from preserving the land on which to build a state, it has tolerated the intensification of the colonisation of the Palestinian territory. Far from maintaining a national cohesion, the process I participated in, albeit briefly, was instrumental in creating and aggravating divisions among Palestinians. In its most recent developments, it became a cruel enterprise from which the Palestinians of Gaza have suffered the most. Last but not least, these negotiations excluded for the most part the great majority of the Palestinian people: the seven million Palestinian refugees. My experience over those 11 months in Ramallah confirmed that the PLO, given its structure, was not in a position to represent all Palestinian rights and interests.

Tragically, the Palestinians were left uninformed of the fate of their individual and collective rights in the negotiations, and their divided political leaderships were not held accountable for their decisions or inaction. After I resigned, I believed I had a duty to inform the public.

Shortly after the Gaza war I started to write about my experience in Ramallah. In my 2010 book, Il n’y aura pas d’Etat Palestinien (There will be no Palestinian State), I concluded: “The peace process is a spectacle, a farce, played to the detriment of Palestinian reconciliation, at the cost of the bloodshed in Gaza.” In full conscience, and acting independently, I later agreed to share some information with al-Jazeera specifically with regard to the fate of Palestinian refugee rights in the 2008 talks. Other sources did the same, although I am unaware of their identity. Taking these tragic developments of the “peace process” to a wider Arab and western audience was justified because it was in the public interest of the Palestinian people. I had – and still have – no doubt that I had a moral, legal and political obligation to proceed accordingly.

Today, I am relieved that this first-hand information is available to Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory, in Israel and in exile. In a way, Palestinian rights are back in their holders’ possession and the people are now in a position to make enlightened decisions about the future of their struggle. I am also glad that international stakeholders to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can access these documents. The world can no longer overlook that while Palestinians’ strong commitment to peace is genuine, the fruitless pursuit of a “peace process” framed according to the exclusive conditions of the occupying power leads to compromises which would be unacceptable in any other region of the globe.

Finally, I feel reassured that the people of Palestine overwhelmingly realise

that the reconciliation between all their constituents must be the first step towards national liberation. The Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians in Israel and the Palestinians living in exile have a common future. The path to Palestinian self-determination will require the participation of all in a renewed political platform.

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7.  Haaretz,

May 13, 2011


In Israel, you’re not somebody until your dead

Death in this country has ranks and classes. Drop dead just like that in the street and you’re not anything. If you’re a fireman who risks his life and dies doing his duty, that’s also not enough. Only if you fell in a war is your death considered something.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/in-israel-you-re-not-somebody-until-your-dead-1.361421

By Nehemia Shtrasler

The special week in which we mark Memorial Day and Independence Day has brought to new heights the morbidness prevalent here − venting our emotions about death. Fewer and fewer bereaved families recall the Torah’s injunction “Therefore choose life,” nor does one hear it said, “By their death, they bequeathed us life.”

Life is no longer a prime value. Sacrifice and death are the new values. Israel has the most memorial sites in the world, one monument for every 17 dead, on average, while in Europe there is one monument for every 10,000 fallen. We have sanctified death by showing respect only to those who are dead. The sad story of their premature loss is told mostly with resignation, as if such a fate cannot be changed.

No one dares ask the bereaved about their political beliefs. Even if the family lives in an isolated settlement in the territories, on land that was taken by force from their neighbors.

They are not asked about the link between the occupation, the repression, the lack of readiness to negotiate and the continuation of the wars that will lead to more bereaved mothers and more tearful fathers. From their point of view, there is no connection.

Death in this country has ranks and classes. Drop dead just like that in the street and you’re not anything. If you’re a fireman who risks his life and dies doing his duty, that’s also not enough. Only if you fell fighting in Israel’s wars − only then − is your death considered to be something. Only then can you be inscribed in the roll of the most honored. Only then is there a point to your dying.

Thus the families of three firefighters killed in the Carmel blaze are struggling mightily to have their sons recognized as fallen in Israel’s campaigns, even though everyone knows there is no connection between their deaths and a war. They died as heroes, but doing their civilian duty.

Against this backdrop, one condemns the cynical remarks of Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who has suddenly become an enthusiastic supporter of recognizing the firemen as fallen in Israel’s wars. Yishai even raised the matter at a cabinet meeting, apparently to be rehabilitated in the eyes of the families of the blaze’s victims who had demanded he leave the memorial ceremony held a few months ago.

Someone who accepts not serving in the Israel Defense Forces as a way of life needs considerable chutzpa to dare speak about the fallen. What a whopping serving of sensitivity from someone whose sons and supporters do not serve in the army at all; he decides on memorializing the fallen?

This worship of death apparently scared Yoel Shalit, the brother of the abducted soldier Gilad. So he did not continue to sit quietly during the official Memorial Day ceremony but deliberately interfered with it. Shalit heard, with growing fury, how the country’s elite paid lip service to his living-dead brother. How Reuven Rivlin, the speaker of the Knesset, and Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and President Shimon Peres spoke so eloquently of Gilad, who has been sitting in a hole for five years. They lit a torch in his honor and recited a prayer for him, as if they were from the United Nations. As if they are not in a position to have an influence.

Rivlin, who was agitated by the disturbance to the smoothness of the ceremony, says that Yoel and his girlfriend disturbed its national character and succeeded merely in disrupting unity. After all, everyone agrees that Gilad must be brought home. The spirit of the ceremony was supposed to be “mutual support.” Any more support like this and where will we be?

Yoel Shalit understood, tragically late, that our many wars have turned us into a nation drenched in a ritual of death. He understood that the political leadership prefers a dead Gilad to a living Gilad. It’s hard to deal with a living Gilad. He causes tremendous headaches and invites criticism and damage to the image should a large number of terrorists be released in return for him. But with a dead Gilad, the leadership has no problem. Yet another monument will be built, and maybe even some side street will be named after him. It will even be possible to exploit his death to threaten Hamas with a terrible reprisal. The public will like that.

We’re experts at the danse macabre. Our only problem is with life.

according to the exclusive conditions of the occupying power leads to compromises which would be unacceptable in any other region of the globe.

=============================

8.  Forwarded by the JPLO List

From: “Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin (Präsidentin)” [mailto:FannyM.Reisin@ilmr.de]

Sent: Saturday, May 14, 2011 8:36 AM

To: Verborgene_Empfaenger:

Subject: Re: [inpnpr] They are in Gaza

What a moving and at the same time so encouraging report.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

WHOEVER IS PART OF THIS HONARABLE COMEMMORATION OF VITTORIO ARRIGONI

I am going to share this email with all international and national friends of Palestine! fm

12 may, 2011

80 people mostly italian are in Gaza now in the name of Vittorio.

they will stay there till the 17 of may.

Great action, totally supported by the Italian Peace Association and other

organizations.

Love

Luisa Morgantini

NEL NOME DI VITTORIO ARRIGONI IL CONVOGLIO RESTIAMO UMANI E´ENTRATO A GAZA

Am 13.05.2011 18:24, schrieb Stephanie Westbrook:

Here’s the English version of the latest press release. Please share!

Follow the Stay Human Convoy via:

Web site: http://vik2gaza.org/en/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/vik2gaza

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002318810069&sk=wall

Finally in Gaza

The sun had not yet risen in Cairo, as the Stay Human convoy began to prepare the departure for Gaza. The journey about to be embarked upon was one filled with expectations and hope. The importance of the crossing the border at Rafah following the protests that

brought down the Mubarak regime was on the minds of everyone, as well as the desire to remember Vittorio Arrigoni in the same place where he dedicated his life. The convoy will carry a message to the people of Palestine addressed to the entire world: Palestine is not alone, Vik’s dreams are also ours, solidarity towards those who struggle against oppression

and exploitation knows no borders.

Ten checkpoints slow the journey, one in particular, blocks it for 2.5 hours in the Sinai desert, with the usual issues, the same from the previous days, about not being able to cross Rafah. The Italian embassy “concerned and ernest” had announced that the convoy

would never enter Gaza, but obviously the facts have proved him wrong: we are here!

The Stay Human Convoy now follows in the footsteps of Vittorio, imprinted in the land of Gaza and underscored by the spontaneous affection shown by the Palestinians who welcome our arrival. The Stay Human Convoy breathes in the determination, courage and extreme humility of Vittorio, characteristics that we recognize in the unrelenting resistance of the Palestinian people. For many of us this is the first time crossing the border of the Gaza Strip, a victory for those who never surrendered, whether by land or by sea, to the

categorical “Denied Entry”: nothing to see here, no one to meet.

The historical importance of the moment is heightened by the infectious enthusiasm of the many Palestinians present to welcome the convoy, who accompany us to Gaza City. Once there we retrace Vittorio’s footsteps, in the places he frequented during his long stay in

Gaza, where he met the friends that we now meet. To the tunes of Bella Ciao, Unadikom

and Gazawi rap, images of Vittorio greet our arrival.

Ciao Vik, Free Palestine.

Thank you Fanny but the real appreciation is for the group in Roma which is called Free Palestine, they were the one really determined.

Love

Luisa

==================================

9- Please forward around and send to your lists – this is an AMAZING film, much for us to learn from it***

The Bottom Line: film screening and discussion

Targeting corporations to take down Apartheid – from South Africa to Palestine

Thursday, May 19th, 7:00 pm at the Victoria Theater (2961 16th Street, San Francisco)

Tipping Man 6, the Sixth International Anti-Corporate Film Festival, opens this year with The Bottom Line, a blow-by-blow account of the divestment movement against corporations in Apartheid South Africa,  a global movement that successfully brought down a regime by targeting the powerful corporations that were profiting from and supporting it. Companies such as Polaroid, Shell, IBM, Ford, Chase, BP, GM, and others that were involved in the South African racist Apartheid economy were targeted by dozens of campaigns around the world, mobilized people to vigil, boycott and divest from these companies. The film uses a wealth of original materials to show how these campaigns grew and how this once-marginalized movement has contributed to the country’s financial collapse, the downfall of its white minority government, and the release of imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela.

What can we learn for similar campaigns today against corporations that profit from Apartheid, occupation and war?  Two-time Academy Award-nominated director Connie Field will participate in a post-screening Q&A. Activist Dr. Dalit Baum of Who Profits (www.whoprofits.org)  and Economic Activism for Palestine (Global Exchange) will discuss ideas for targeting corporations involved in the occupation and exploitation of Palestine..

Tickets are $10 and available through the Festival website: www.countercorp.org or atwww.brownpapertickets.com/event/176751

Dalit Baum

Director, Economic Activism for Palestine

Global Exchange

2017 Mission St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94110

Phone: (415) 5755529; Cell: (415) 4009370

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