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Hot Spot! Middle East
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Note: The links below offer hope that violence is not inevitable. Peace groups are alive and working. The consensus solution calls for establishing two states according to 1967 borders. Please share this page with friends, scholars, students, and journalists. The "Joint Declaration" below provides a helpful list of sources who could articulate a vision of peace today.
I think that if you had solved the problems of the Middle East, then obviously, the core issue is that between the Israelis and Palestinians. I doubt very much that this incident [9/11] would have taken place.
--King Abdullah of Jordan (Sept. 13, 2001) CNN
Stop the Wall
Al-Quds University, whose major Abu Dis campus straddles the imaginary municipal line dividing Jerusalem from the West Bank, is next on line in Israel's relentless Wall program. Some of the IDF's contracted huge machinery now park in the seized University's main campus grounds, in the middle of the football field. Slated for takeover is almost one third (about seventy dunams) of the University grounds, with a specially preserved pine wood, and areas in which the University had hopes it would develop student sports facilities and a botanical garden. Petition
Bring the Settlers Home to Israel
We are American Jews who care deeply about Israel and who are filled with sorrow by the continuous cycle of violence and death in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We call upon the United States government to embrace an initiative which can break through the present stalemate, create a new opening for a negotiated settlement, safeguard the lives of Israeli settlers and remove a major obstacle to peace.
Buy the Settlers Out
There is a way to break through this seeming impasse which is as simple as it is far-reaching. It wouldn't require American troops, and it would cost less than the aid the United States provides Israel each year. Simply put, the United States should spearhead an international effort to buy these settlers out — whether or not the Israeli government is willing to participate in this endeavor.
Stop US Military Aid to Israel
Israel Is Illegally Occupying Palestine: Under UN Resolution 242, Israel is required by international law to withdraw from all the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem. The United Nation's General Assembly has repeatedly condemned Israel's occupation of the territories as illegal (see UN resolutions 338, 1397, and 1402, among others). Israel's continued occupation of Palestine, sanctioned and maintained by the US, is one of the most serious obstructions to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Speak Out Against Demolitions
Tuesday [Nov. 19, 2002] CPTer LeAnne Clausen (Mason City, IA) learned names of at
least fifteen more Palestinian families near Kiryat Arba who have
just been given home demolition orders. "These Palestinian families
had no connection with the shooting. The site of Friday's attack is
not even visible from most of their houses. These demolitions would
leave over a hundred innocent civilians homeless," said Clausen. At
least one of the families is a partner in CPT's Campaign for Secure
PLEASE FAX BRIEF NOTES to Israeli and US and Canadian officials
saying that these planned demolitions and settlement expansions are
escalations of violence and violations of international law. Making
families homeless contributes nothing to peace or security for
anyone. Ask these officials to make urgent, strong and clear
representation to the government of Israel opposing new
settlements/settlement expansion in general, and Kiryat Arba/Hebron
expansion in particular. In your fax, you may refer to information
you have received from Christian Peacemaker Teams. You may also
want to refer to the Ha'aretz article (below). It never hurts to
send a copy of the fax to members of Parliament, the Canadian
Minister of Foreign Affairs, U.S. senators and representatives.
Ambassador Michael Bell, Canadian Embassy, 011-972-3-636-3384
Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, US Embassy, 011-972-3-517-3227
Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, Embassy of Israel to the US, fax
202-364-5607, phone 202-364-5500 Ambassador Haim Divon, Embassy of
Israel to Canada, fax 613-237-8865, phone 613-567-6450
Christian Peacemaker Teams - Hebron Team Support
Phone/fax 574-642-3920 Cell 574-202-3920
PS. The Hebron team delivered a letter of condolence to the Israeli
military in Hebron on Saturday. Copies of that letter are available
Support Yigal Bronner and Other Israeli Conscientious Objectors
On October 28 , Yigal Bronner, a professor of Asian Studies at Tel-Aviv University, was jailed by the Israel Defense Forces for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories, in his words for refusing to participate in "the humiliation, dispossession and starvation of an entire people." (Please read Yigal's "Letter of Response to the General" at the end of this appeal.)
He is currently being held in conditions that are illegal and unacceptably harsh, apparently intended deliberately to humiliate and to silence him.
As members of the international scholarly community, students and faculty committed to justice and respect for human dignity, we protest the army's vindictive treatment of our colleague and demand his immediate release, as well as the release of the other sixteen conscientious objectors currently in military confinement. No civilized nation imprisons those who, like Yigal, "will not pull the
trigger" on grounds of conscience
Free Imprisoned Palestinian Journalists
Reporters Without Borders called on the Israeli government again today [7/30/02] to free five imprisoned Palestinian journalists after one of them, Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Hussam Abu Alan (photo), had his "administrative detention" for allegedly supporting "terrorists" extended for five months on 23 July.
(Quote:) My best answer to is to hit the Israeli economy by boycotting goods from Israel, and the products of companies that support Israel and the Occupation. Every time you buy a Carmel avocado or Jaffa orange, that is giving Israel money with which to buy weapons and ammunition, and to finance the theft and settlement of Palestinian land.
Support Israeli Refusers
500 members of Israel's defense forces refuse to fight beyond 1967 boundaries in what they call a war of occupation. This campaign to support the refusers was initiated by Jewish peace org, Not in My Name.
Delegation to Israel-Palestine
FFIPP (Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace) is organizing a fact-finding faculty delegation to Israel-Palestine. The trip will provide a unique opportunity to meet a wide range of people from both societies, including faculty from various universities, as well as visits to many places in Israel and Palestinian territories.
Dates: The planned date is July 10 - July 20, 2002 (approx.)
Cost: The estimated cost is $3,000.
Human Shields Wanted for ISM
IndyMedia.Org Israel Reports: A list is now being compiled of people that are willing to put themselves on-call should an emergency situation that will require their presence arise. Search indymedia for further reports about the new ism, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM)..
Support Mitchell Plan
With sample appeal from Americans for Peace Now (see below).
- End Assassinations of Palestinian Activists
With sample letter to Congress, from Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel (JPPI). See jppi.org link below.
- Protest Destruction & Harrassment in Settlements at Hebron
Urgent Action page from Christian Peacemaker Teams, with contact info.
- Rally to End Israeli Colonialism
Montreal action sponsored by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR).
News & Analysis
The Middle East's Little Secret
Doug Saunders (July 26, 2003) Globe and Mail
This week, for instance, we learned how much more advanced the citizens of the region have become: Even their most extreme members are more willing to compromise than their leaders. First, the Palestinian Arab political scientist Dr. Khalil Shikaki surprised the world with a large-scale, credible survey of the 4.5-million Palestinian refugees living on Israel's borders. It showed that a startling 73 per cent would give up their claim to homes and lands seized by Israel since its foundation in 1948, if they were just given cash compensation.
Only 10 per cent want to return to Israel, meaning that the controversial "right of return" demanded by many Palestinians would not, as is often argued, result in Israel's cultural destruction.
Then, on Wednesday, the same question was put to the Israeli Jewish settlers living defiantly in Arab territories. Amazingly, 74 per cent of these 200,000 zealots said they would leave their homes in return for cash compensation. Only one per cent said they would consider resorting to violence to keep their homes. In other words, the Orthodox extremists are far fewer in number, and therefore easier to get past, than was previously believed.
The leaders were not ready for this explosion of moderation. Both the Palestine Liberation Party and Ariel Sharon's Likud Party denounced the pollsters this week for even asking such questions. They seemed embarrassed by the news that the vast majority of Palestinians don't actually want to drive the Jews into the sea, and that even the most religious Israelis are very unlikely to be Zionist madmen bent on overtaking the whole region.
ISRAELI FORCES RAID ISM OFFICE
Bulletin (May 9, 2003) ISM
Israeli forces raided the ISM office this morning, confiscating equipment and material and snatching three women. At 12:30pm on Friday, May 9, approximately 20 military vehicles, army jeeps and a large armored personnel carrier (intended for many arrests) surrounded the ISM media office in Beit Sahour. Dozens of soldiers, border police and civilian police officers raided the ISM office, confiscating all computers, not only in the ISM office but in the nearby office of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement. Files, CD, and photos were all pillaged, while soldiers broke equipment and damaged office space. Israeli forces kidnapped Palestinian volunteer, Fida, American volunteer, Flo, and a worker with Human Rights Watch visiting the office. At the time of this writing, Fida has been released, and the internationals seem to have been moved to the office of the Israeli Ministry of Interior, most probably for deportation.
Report from the current FOR Interfaith PeaceBuilders
Delegation to Israel & Palestine
Group Report (April 29, 2003) FOR
I have seen cities grow in the desert, but never seen cities grow with a political and ethnic agenda. The Israeli government is working years ahead and has planned a model city that will simply ignore the ghettos between the superhighways. I see now the commuters and shoppers driving from oasis to oasis-eyes never turning to the slum below any more than a driver on the Brooklyn expressway looks down at or thinks on the way to somewhere else in the megalopolis.
I am amazed at the tenacious energy people who work daily in the face of this bulldozing city plan to defend the dwindling rights of the Palestinians. I had no idea of the extent or size of the settlements.
I had pictured little clusters of houses at the end of a road in the West Bank. The scale of operations dwarfs the scale of the past.
Today has turned my mind around completely. I do not see the Palestinians as a significant threat to Israel, and with the collapse of other Arab power states, I see them totally at the mercy of nations big and far away and to whom they may be invisible or distorted-as they are to Israel and were to me.
Arab, Jewish Americans Agree Widely on Solution
Jim Lobe (Nov. 21, 2002) IPS
Asked whether they agreed or disagreed that Palestinians have a right to live in a ''secure and independent state of their own'', 85.5 percent of Jews agreed, as did 95.6 of Arab-Americans. Posed the same choice about the right of Israelis to an independent and secure state, 96.6 percent of Jews agreed, as did 95.4 percent of Arab-Americans.
Asked who was responsible for the breakdown in the peace process, 42.1 percent of Jewish-Americans and 49.6 percent of Arab-Americans blamed both sides, a particularly significant result given that respondents were given seven possible choices.
The survey found a high level of support for the Taba framework, whose main elements include a two-state solution, the evacuation of most Jewish settlements from the occupied territories, the establishment of a border roughly along the pre-1967 frontiers, a Palestinian right of return only inside a new Palestinian state, and a shared capital in Jerusalem.
Only one economic program can save us
Nehemia Strasler (Aug. 2, 2002) Ha'aretz
As long as the Israeli public fails to understand - and to internalize - the direct link between peace and economics, it will continue to seek miracle cures in the wrong places. The impressive economic growth of the mid-90s was generated primarily thanks to the Oslo agreement of September 1993, which restored hope in our daily lives and channeled to Israel billions of dollars from foreign investors - dollars that enabled the economy to enjoy a rapid pace of growth and which caused our standard of living to rise and our unemployment rate to plunge dramatically.
The Meaning of the Gaza Bombing
Rabbi Arthur Waskow (July?, 2002) Shalom Center
THE VERY NIGHT OF THE DAY on which Hamas made its public statement and the broader discussions achieved agreement on a cease-fire by other groups, came the midnight bombing of the Gaza apartment complex that killed Sheikh Salah Shehada and 14 others, mainly children and women.
FOR Delegation To Israel & Palestine Denied Entry - Israel Rejects American Peace Efforts
Richard Klein (July 17?, 2002) Fellowship of Reconciliation
An interfaith peace delegation comprised of 19 Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Americans are back in the United States after being denied entry into Israel and the Palestinian territories. This is the second group of Americans to have been refused entry by Israeli authorities in the last two weeks and follows a pattern of blocking American and European peace workers from the region.
The Analogy to Apartheid
Ian Urbina (Summer 2002) Middle East Report 223
In the anti-apartheid efforts, African-American and faith-based communities served as an almost immediately available auger. Arab-Americans voted three to one Republican in the last election, and in the post-September 11 political climate, they face rejuvenated racism and legal intimidation that discourages any sort of political activism critical of the US government. Nevertheless, many Arab organizations put numbers on the streets in protests across the country over the past months, including the April 20 march in Washington which turned out more than 75,000, by conservative estimates, and began an important process of linking the causes of Palestine solidarity and global economic justice. Only with these sorts of bridges will the anti-occupation movement have any hope of surmounting the huge obstacles in its path. A careful application of the lessons from the anti-apartheid fight may be a step in that direction.
President Bush Calls for New Palestinian Leadership
George W. Bush (June 24, 2002) White House
This moment is both an opportunity and a test for all parties in the Middle East: an opportunity to lay the foundations for future peace; a test to show who is serious about peace and who is not. The choice here is stark and simple. The Bible says, "I have set before you life and death; therefore, choose life." The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace, and hope, and life.
Hamas history tied to Israel
Richard Sale (June 18, 2002) UPI
Israel's support for Hamas "was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative," said a former senior CIA official.
A Note on Palestinian Nonviolence
Francis A. Boyle (June 17, 2002) via email
again for the historical record, the Palestinians did have their own Gandhi, Mubarak Awad. But when he began to effectively organize his campaign, the Israeli's illegally deported him. so the fact that there is no Palestinian Gandhi today is Israel's fault, not that of the Palestinians, who tried the Gandhian approach. and under the current circumstances, it does not appear that a Gandhian approach to this matter is possible. but again, that is Israel's fault. obviously, they prefer a violent approach on the other side. otherwise, they would not have illegally deported Mubarak Awad. For example, Israel originally encouraged, supported and armed Hamas, while deporting Mubarak Awad. So you figure it out from there.
Build moral pressure to end the occupation
Bishop Desmond Tutu (June 14, 2002) International Herald Tribune
If apartheid ended, so can the occupation, but the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction.
Palestinian Elections Now
Edward Said (June 13, 2002) Al-Ahram #590
We have never faced a worse, or at the same time, a more seminal moment. The Arab order is in total disarray; the US administration is effectively controlled by the Christian Right and the Israeli lobby (within 24 hours, everything that George Bush seems to have agreed with President Mubarak was reversed by Sharon's visit); and our society has been nearly wrecked by poor leadership and the insanity of thinking that suicide bombing will lead directly to an Islamic Palestinian state. There is always hope for the future, but one has to able to look for it and find it in the right place. It is quite clear that in the absence of any serious Palestinian or Arab information policy in the United States (especially in the Congress) we cannot for a moment delude ourselves that Powell and Bush are about to set a real agenda for Palestinian rehabilitation. That's why I keep saying that the effort must come from us, by us, for us. I'm at least trying to suggest a different avenue of approach. Who else but the Palestinian people can construct the legitimacy they need to rule themselves and fight the occupation with weapons that don't kill innocents and lose us more support than ever before? A just cause can easily be subverted by evil or inadequate or corrupt means. The sooner this is realised the better the chance we have to lead ourselves out of the present impasse.
New Strategy Set by U.S. and Saudis for Mideast Crisis
Patrick E. Tyler (May 1, 2002) NYTimes
WASHINGTON, April 30 — President Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, during private discussions over five days last week, agreed on a new strategy of joint action and pressure to break the deadlock in the Middle East crisis, American and Saudi officials said today.
Apartheid in the Holy Land
Desmond Tutu (Apr. 29, 2002) Guardian
Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice. We condemn the violence of suicide bombers, and we condemn the corruption of young minds taught hatred; but we also condemn the violence of military incursions in the occupied lands, and the inhumanity that won't let ambulances reach the injured.
Sharon's Best Weapon
Naomi Klein (Apr. 25, 2002) Guardian
...But it is possible to criticise Israel while forcefully condemning the rise of anti-semitism. It is equally possible to be pro-Palestinian independence without adopting a simplistic "pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel" dichotomy, a mirror image of the good-versus-evil equations so beloved of President Bush.
Broadcasting the War
Max Rodenbeck (Apr. 17, 2002) NYTimes
Before Israel's reinvasion of the West Bank, neither its own leaders nor America's appear to have appreciated how the new power and reach of the Arab media could work against the Israelis. While other Arabs have always taken the Palestinians' side, the violent images are increasing the sense of personal interest in the conflict. When half a million Moroccans marched in a recent protest against Israel, many carried placards saying, "We are all Palestinians."
Israels' Closure Policy: An Ineffective Strategy of Containment and Repression
Amira Hass (Spring 2002) Journal of Palestine Studies
This article examines the Israeli policy of closure from its introduction in 1991 through its consolidation under Oslo, when its devastating potential was heightened by an intermeshing with Oslo II's division of the occupied territories into zones of Israeli and Palestinian control. The author argues that closure, first applied as a military-bureaucratic preemptive security measure, crystallized with Oslo into a conscious political goal: demographic separation without meaningful political separation. Despite the absence of an organized Palestinian resistance to closure, the reasons for which are explored here, a spirit of resilience and defiance has enabled the population to bear up under closure's intensification during the present uprising, when virtually all movement is banned and the territories are under siege.
Intifada in the Aftermath
Rema Hammami (Oct. 30, 2001) Amin
Sharon's intent and ability to remake the intifada into an exercise in Palestinian self-destruction
was not lost on the Palestinian leadership. While Sharon could not directly destroy the PA, he
had isolated it diplomatically and then created an environment in which it would ultimately
collapse from within. Each Palestinian military response (particularly the suicide attacks) only
played into this dynamic. But, as from the beginning of the uprising, the PA could only "end" the
intifada if the factions collectively agreed to do so based on a concrete political gain for the
Palestinians. The only other means of "ending" the intifada - brute force -- would result in civil
war and alienate the leadership from the factions' rank and file and from the population as a
whole. During the interim period, the leadership had been willing and able to use coercion. Back
then the PA had the power of Fatah behind it and the conviction that coercion was the way to
garner strategic gains from Israel and the US. In the late summer of 2001, the PA had neither
Nonviolence Resistance and Protest Camp
Bethlehem (July 1, 2001) Holy Land Trust
The next day excitement was curbed by a decision of the Palestinian Authority Emergency Committee in Bethlehem urging us not to go through with the building of the camp due to threats received from the Israeli military which made it clear that the camp would "not stand for one minute." The Palestinian Authority, fearing for the safety of the participants, especially after three Israeli landmines exploded in the vicinity of the camp the night before, stressed that there was a need to take every precaution in this matter fearing the repercussions of Israel against the Palestinians if one of the participants was harmed.