Newsletter 09 Jun 2008
1. The Bil’in conference on popular resistance ends with anti-wall nonviolent protest: video link
2. Anniversary events marking 41 years of Occupation – from Gush Shalom
3. Tutu: Gaza blockade abomination, BBC Report
4. Gaza Diary by Louisa Waugh
5. Between oppression and empowerment by Nimer Sultany
6. The Jordan Valley’s forgotten Palestinians by Ben White
7. An open letter to the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak by Bassam Aramin
8. The Fallacy of the Ticking Time Bomb by Aliya Mughal
9. Obama vs. The Lobby: No matter how much he grovels, it’s never enough by Justin Raimondo
10. Memories of a promised land by Mike Marqusee and by Eliane Glaser
11. Palestinians can’t obtain permits to build in Area C , United Nations Report
12. EU-Israel Relations – a letter from the Palestinian PM and an EP Delegation report
1. The Bil’in conference on popular resistance ends with anti wall nonviolent protest video link
2. Anniversary events marking 41 years of Occupation – from Gush Shalom:
The march of Gush Shalom and coalition partners made it into Haaretz:
Adam Keller report: However long it takes
Hebrew-spoken film on the march & discussions by Ehud Shem Tov
Some of us went June 4 with Peace Now to demonstrate in the Ariel settlement
Beate Zilversmidt report ‘You are not going to stay! Forget it!’
3. Tutu: Gaza blockade abomination
Despite being denide entry many times by Israel, Archbishop Tutu finally managed to get into Gaza through the Rafah crossing. He was in Gaza on a delayed United Nations fact-finding mission into the killing of 19 Palestinians by Israeli shellfire in November 2006.
Tutu said simply that the humanitarian situation in Gaza could not be justified.
“My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all. It is almost like the behaviour of the military junta in Burma.”
BBC report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7425082.stm
4. Gaza Diary by Louisa Waugh, London Review of Books, 5 June 2008
‘Don’t ask me how I am,’ a colleague said to me when I arrived at the office yesterday morning. ‘You know how bad things are here now, so please don’t ask.’
Things are certainly very bad in the Gaza Strip. The fuel crisis grinds on, and though Israel has just allowed a small consignment of fuel in, nearly 90 per cent of private cars remain off the road. Bus and taxi services are overwhelmed, and since the taxis have more than doubled their rates, most of us are still walking. Black market fuel prices are extortionate, and the streets reek with gassy and oily fumes because drivers have resorted to converting their cars to use cooking gas, or even cooking oil. These crude conversions are potentially dangerous, liable to induce nausea, eye infections and asthma. The lack of industrial fuel has sparked widespread power cuts (Gaza’s sole power plant is operating at partial capacity), as well as shortages of drinking water: the electric pumps shut down when the power goes off. Up to half of Gazans only have access to drinking water at home for between four and six hours a day. Domestic cooking fuel is increasingly scarce, and on some days there are long queues for bread, because bakers have started turning off their ovens to save gas.
Full article at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n11/waug01_.html – (for subscribers).
Reprinted at http://canadiandimension.com/articles/2008/06/01/1857/
5. Between oppression and empowerment by Nimer Sultany, The Electronic Intifada, 2 June 2008
‘Defining the status of the Palestinian citizens of Israel has always been a puzzle for many scholars. One called the Palestinian citizens “semi-citizens” with accidental citizenship. Another distinguished between “liberal citizenship” granted to the Arabs and “republican citizenship” granted to the Jews. A third distinguished between “incidental citizenship” granted to the Arabs and “substantive citizenship” granted to the Jews. I have contributed to this discussion by claiming that the Palestinians are “citizens without citizenship.”‘
A very interesting account of two conflicting processes at work within Israel: intensification of the oppression of the Palestinian minority by the Israeli security forces, on the one hand; and a growing empowerment within this same group, on the other. More confrontation is likely…
Full article at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9578.shtml
6. The Jordan Valley’s forgotten Palestinians by Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2008
“The Jordan Valley is an area that despite taking up over a quarter of the West Bank, is rarely subjected to the same kind of critical scrutiny afforded to, say, Jerusalem or settlement blocs like Gush Etzion or Ariel. This despite the Jordan Valley being not only essential for any future Palestinian state — with regards to territorial continuity, agriculture, water, and border access — but also having been the target of intense colonization by successive Israeli governments which have not only declared its strategic significance but also the intention of eventual annexation.
“In the Jordan Valley there are around 56,000 Palestinians and 9,400 illegal Israeli settlers spread out over 38 colonies.”
More at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9573.shtml
7. An open letter to the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak by Bassam Aramin, co-founder of the movement “Combatants for Peace”, 15 May 2008
“The policy of occupation only creates more and more people who rise up to fight occupation and refuse to accept its burden. The Palestinian prisoners who sit in your jails are among the most learned and erudite of our people, those are the most sensitive and humanistic. They have become educated in the tradition of liberty and democracy – and for this reason they will never agree to accept the occupation and subjugation. It is these men and women who will fight for peace, and if you want to realize peace you have no option but to set free these soldiers of peace first and foremost.”
8. The Fallacy of the Ticking Time Bomb by Aliya Mughal
A discussion about the use of torture in a wider context than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these reflections from the Senior Press Officer of the Medical Campaign for the Care of Victims of Torture are nonetheless directly relevant to it.
Report at http://www.torturecare.org.uk/news/features/1813
9. Obama vs. The Lobby: No matter how much he grovels, it’s never enough by Justin Raimondo, May 14, 2008
You don’t have to like Raimondo, described on Wikipedia as a ‘paleoconservative/libertarian’ to fail to see how badly ‘the Lobby’ is responding to the prospects of an Obama presidency.
Jeffrey Goldberg, who conducted an extended interview with Obama, throws this great question at him: “Go to the kishke question, the gut question: the idea that if Jews know that you love them, then you can say whatever you want about Israel, but if we don’t know you – Jim Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski – then everything is suspect. There seems to be in some quarters, in Florida and other places, a sense that you don’t feel Jewish worry the way a senator from New York would feel it.”
There is no question for Goldberg of making distinctions between an Israel Lobby, a Zionist Lobby or a Jewish Lobby!
Raimondo article at http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=12834
And the full Goldberg interview is at http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/05/obama_on_zionism_and_hamas.php
10. Memories of a promised land New Humanist, Volume 123 Issue 3 May/June 2008
Sixty years since its foundation Mike Marqusee and Eliane Glaser explore the state of Israel:
Mike Marqusee asks what it is to have a ‘Jewish’ state: ‘Israel is “Jewish” in a sense that no existing state is Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist. Though these religions are privileged in various states, none of those states claims to be the sole global representative of the faith; none grants citizenship to people solely because of their religion (without regard to place of birth or residence).’
And on the nakba he says this: “Many Zionists who do acknowledge the Nakba characterise it as tragic but “irreversible”. The Nakba was not, however, an isolated episode; it was a paroxysm in a process that continues to this day.”
Elaine Glaser gives a more personal account, capturing well the ambiguous role Israel plays in the life on many non-Zionists:
“But arriving on that August day in 2005, those Stars of David struck me afresh as naïvely and archaically symbolic, and they reminded me of the early socialist idealism of Israel; something that, in some ways, I still find very attractive.”
But she goes on to say she finds “even that idealism to be a corruption of what my ancestors stood for. My great-grandparents were bohemian, Middle-European intellectuals… [Some of that generaration of immigrants] recreated an atmosphere of European cosmopolitanism in their new Mediterranean outpost, but the majority embraced a very different set of values…”
Both articles at http://newhumanist.org.uk/1788
11. Palestinians can’t obtain permits to build in Area C – United Nations Report
JERUSALEM, 3 June 2008 (IRIN) – Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank, under Israeli control, have given up on obtaining construction permits from the authorities and instead build without them, leaving 3,000 structures in the territory under constant threat of demolition, according to a UN report.
“Over 94 percent of [Palestinian] applications for building permits in Area C, submitted to the Israeli authorities by Palestinians between January 2000 and September 2007, were denied,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report, ‘Lack of Permit’ Demolitions and Resultant Displacement in Area C, stated.
Download the report.
12. EU-Israel Relations
There is talk of upgrading the EU’s relations with Israel at the Council meeting on 16 June. The Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, has written in protest; and a European Parliament Delegation visiting the occupied territories also raised its voice against such a step.