You are browsing the archive for Ma’an.

by CTuttle

“Your ‘independence’ day is our Nakba”

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Yesterday marked Israel’s 66th Independence Day, and a good time was had by many…

Parental love, Israeli-style

Does a parent love his toddler when he sends him to crawl on Independence Day in the sand under a fence, a huge army backpack attached to his little body? Does a father love his son when he sends him to kindergarten to return with a memorial candle and Holocaust kit in hand? Does a mother love a daughter when she bakes a cake for a soldier who will come to kindergarten and tell the little one about his heroic acts in the territories? Do we love our children when we sign them up for the monstrous ‘Adopt-a-barricade’ campaign?

Do we love them when we send them to high schools that compete with one another for the most graduates enlisting in combat units and even take pride in the number of fallen? Do we really love our children when we agree to their starting Holocaust studies practically from age zero? Do we really love them when we agree for the school to show them horrendous images from a terror attack? Do parents who remain quiet, or who may even get excited, when the brainwashing campaigns planting fear, jingoism and militarism begin here earlier and earlier really love their children and look out for them?

Here’s Ali Abunimah’s excellent take on it…

On 6 May, Israelis celebrated their “’independence day,’ which they mark according to the Jewish lunar calendar.

Traditionally Israeli Jews hold public celebrations and picnics, especially in ‘national parks’ typically built over the ruins of ethnically cleansed and destroyed Palestinian villages.

Meanwhile, with broad support from the Israeli Jewish public, Palestinian public commemorations of the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine – can be punished by law.

Many of the Israeli festivities are celebrations of the so-called ‘Israel Defense Forces,’ better known to Palestinians as the army that occupies them, arrests and kills their children with impunity and helps settlers to steal their land.

Some of these disturbing images of Israeli children being put through military-style training displays at Efrat, an illegal Israeli colony in the occupied West Bank, have been circulating widely online and were published in Haaretz and other media.

A repeated theme of pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian propaganda is to circulate images of Palestinian children taking part in such militarized displays in order to advance the belief that Palestinian culture is inherently violent and ‘teaches children hate’ and that therefore Israeli violence is a justified defensive response.

But these pictures are remarkable because they reveal the extent to which Israeli culture has been militarized and how Israeli children are not immune to this – a key theme in Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath.

There is no doubt that both Israeli and Palestinian children have been subjected to this kind of brutalization by adults. It is horrifying whenever children are given guns and encouraged to imagine themselves as killers.

Such activities are arguably in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that member countries ‘shall refrain from recruiting any person who has not attained the age of fifteen years into their armed forces.’

Here’s but one example of the spin on the Palestinian actions yesterday…

From Mondoweiss‘ Annie Robbins…

Your “independence” day is our Nakba:’ Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel join ‘march of return’ to destroyed village of Lubya

Thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel participated in a rally and “March of Return” yesterday to commemorate the Nakba, chanting ‘Your “independence” day is our Nakba’ as Israel marked its 66th Independence Day. With flags raised high, singing the Palestinian national anthem, reportedly between 10,000 to 15,000 participants (including non-Palestinian supporters) marched to Lubya, a Palestinian village in the district of Tiberias that was ethnically cleansed and turned to rubble during the Nakba. Marchers called for unity and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

To be sure… 10,000 Palestinians hold Nakba protest in Israel

From +972 Mag…

PHOTOS: March of return to a destroyed Nakba village

On the day that many Israelis celebrated their Independence Day, thousands of Palestinian residents of Israel and Jerusalem marched to the site of the northern village of Lubya. Lubya was one of more than 500 Palestinian communities destroyed by Zionist militias in the Nakba, Arabic for ‘catastrophe,’ the term given to the forced displacement of some 750,000 refugees before, during and following the 1948 War.

So naturally, the Zionists snapped…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Al Aqsa, Egypt, and Yemen

7:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Once again the IDF violently assaulted the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem…

Israeli forces clash with worshipers in Aqsa compound, dozens hurt

Dozens of worshipers were hurt Wednesday morning in fierce clashes with Israeli forces who stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound via the Moroccan and Chain gates.

Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers and police officers broke into the compound and deployed in the southern quarter firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at worshipers.

Director of al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Azam al-Kahtib told Ma’an that ‘about 1,000 Israeli officers stormed the compound.’ He highlighted that Israeli officers used live ammunition.

Special forces deployed at the main gates since dawn prayer, witnesses said, denying Palestinian worshipers entry to the compound.

Employees of the ministry of endowment and students who attend schools inside the compound were also denied entry. Only security guards were allowed in addition to men over 65 years old. Several people performed dawn prayer in the alleys near the gates.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that Palestinians threw ‘stones and firecrackers’ at police when they opened the walled compound’s gates.

Police responded with stun grenades, Rosenfeld said, and closed the complex to Jewish visitors after a small number had toured the site.

About 100 Muslim worshipers have decided to stay inside the compound day and night after right-wing Jewish organizations urged Jews to flock to the compound which they believe is the site of a former temple and slaughter their Passover sacrifices inside.

Mazel Tov, eh…? Meanwhile, in nearby Bethlehem, as Mondoweiss reported today…


Remote-control gun installed atop wall near Bethlehem — Ma’an

The above device, fixed lately to the top of the separation wall north of Bethlehem, is a remote-controlled machine gun, according to Palestinian sources. Ma’an News published a report on the device three days ago, saying it’s ‘unprecedented’ and is causing anxiety among Bethlehemites. A Facebook page called ‘Bethlahem Today‘ has the same report.

Staying with the I/P…

Israel’s new land grab is clearly illegal

The Defense Minister’s green light to appropriate land in the West Bank places him in the extreme right and shatters Israelis’ hopes for resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.

With the stroke of a pen, Israel seized control of 984 dunams of territory in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared the area ‘state land.’ The terrain would be more aptly defined as contested territory, since it surrounds private Palestinian lands, which will now become enclaves that are inaccessible to the owners.

The area also includes the illegal outpost Netiv Ha’avot, home to Ze’ev Hever, secretary of Amana, an organization that primarily builds illegal outposts in the West Bank. It’s likely that this outpost will be ‘laundered’ as well, and along with the settlements Neve Daniel, Elazar and Alon Shvut, Netiv Ha’avot will see significant expansion.

Ya’alon’s outstretched arm did not stop in Gush Etzion. On the eve of Passover, he allowed Hebron settlers to inhabit the so-called ‘House of Contention,’ in the wake of the High Court of Justice’s rejection of the petition by the home’s former owners and ruling that the sale of the building to a Jewish investor was legal.

Although the defense minister is acting in accordance with his authority his powers are based on a warped legal system. That system was developed over decades as a means to chip away at international law and provide a cover of legality for illegal occupation policies. Otherwise, how could it be that expanding settlements or populating a West Bank Arab city with Jews could be legal, while settlement itself is illegal?

Now, If anybody really doubted that Abu Mazen was part of the problem, rather than the solution for the Palestinians…

Palestinian leader signals willingness to extend peace talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday that it was still possible to revive moribund peace negotiations.

Abbas told five Israeli opposition legislators from the Labor and Meretz parties that he was willing to extend the negotiations past their April 29 deadline ‘if the Israeli side commits to the principles that can allow an extension,’ his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said.

The Palestinians first want Israel to release a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners as promised, and to announce a total settlement freeze. They also want Israel to accept a Palestinian territory based on boundaries that existed prior to the 1967 Middle East War.

‘If there is an agreement on these principles, we are ready,’ Abu Rudeineh said at a news conference after the meeting in Ramallah. ‘But if Israel does not accept them, the Palestinian leadership will meet again to take the proper decision.’

Here’s an interesting op-ed… Palestinians and Israelis: Negotiating in all the wrong places

And, for sh*ts and giggles, The Mustache of Fury, flaps his lips… BOLTON: A ‘three-state solution’ for Middle East peace Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan

Moving along…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Israeli Intransigence, the IAEA, and Iran

4:50 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Seriously, pups, the Peace Farce is officially over…

Official: No new peace talks planned

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have no immediate plans to hold new talks, after the Palestinian negotiating team offered its resignation in protest of Israeli settlement plans.

A PLO official told Ma’an on Wednesday that the US-brokered talks were suspended in practice, with no date set for a new round of negotiations.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that President Mahmoud Abbas would attempt to coax his two senior negotiators into returning but it was unclear if they would.

The negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Muhammad Shtayyeh, tendered their resignations last week after Israel announced plans to step up settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Abbas told Egyptian CBC television that he would keep negotiating with Israel even if the officials declined to rejoin the talks.

“Either we can convince it to return, and we’re trying with them, or we form a new delegation,” he said, according to Reuters.

Reuters TV quoted Erekat as confirming the talks were frozen.

“In reality, the negotiations stopped last week in light of the settlement announcements last week,” he said.

From the UN…

Settlement plans threaten renewed hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace, UN envoy warns

A senior United Nations official today voiced his growing concern at the series of settlement announcements made by Israel over the past weeks and stressed the need to avoid actions that negatively impact ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“At this sensitive moment, it is imperative to avoid negative actions and support ongoing talks to preserve the remaining chances of achieving a two-State solution in the interest of Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said a statement issued by the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, who also voiced his deep concern at recent violent incidents.

On Tuesday, Israel reportedly announced plans to build 20,000 new settler homes in the West Bank, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to threaten an end to peace talks that resumed a few months ago after a three-year hiatus.

The statement by Mr. Serry noted that settlement activity cannot be reconciled with the goal of a negotiated two-State solution, and reiterated the UN position that settlements are against international law and an obstacle to peace.

Against this backdrop, the Special Coordinator met today separately with the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

“He understands from his discussion with chief negotiator [Tzipi] Livni and other Israeli officials that yesterday’s decision to plan a large number of settlement units has been stopped,” said the statement.

Direct talks between the Israeli and Palestinian sides resumed this past August, after stalling in 2010 owing to Israel’s refusal to extend its freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

I very much doubt that ‘sudden’ reversal in Bibi’s settlement schemes…

Netanyahu vows to build ‘thousands more homes’ in settlements

A day after forcing the Construction and Housing Ministry to “reconsider” preliminary work toward building 24,000 housing units beyond the Green Line, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that building in settlements would continue, but had to be done wisely.

“In recent months, we built thousands of homes in Judea and Samaria, and in the coming months we plan to build thousands more,” Netanyahu said in a Knesset debate on housing prices. “It was never easy, but we did it responsibly despite international pressure.”

Continuing along with Bibi’s perfidy…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

The Israel/Palestine Peace Farce Drags On and On

3:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’ve been covering the Israel/Palestine situation for well over a decade now, and one would think I’d be inured to the farcical actions by now…! But, once again, my jaw hit the desk with this bit of news…

Kerry, Abbas Knew of Building Plans in Advance

In a press conference in Brazil, US Secretary of State says Netanyahu had been “completely up front” about building from the start

US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed Tuesday that he and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were fully aware that the Israeli government intended to continue building in parts of Judea and Samaria which “will not affect the peace map” when the decision was made to restart talks.

As such, despite the “outcry” by the Palestinian Authority, Abbas is still committed to talks with Israel over the next nine months, he said.

At a press conference in Brazil, Kerry declared that “the policy of the United States with respect to all settlements, is that they are illegitimate.”

“But, that said, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was completely up front with me and with president Abbas that he would be announcing some additional building in places that will not affect the peace map, that will not have any impact on the capacity to have a peace agreement,”he continued.

Kerry also stressed the “urgency to get into the discussion of borders and security”

Seriously… What Borders…?

To be sure of Israeli intentions… Israel approves another 942 settlement units…

…The units are in addition to the more than 1,000 settlement homes approved by Israel on Sunday, in a move that has angered the Palestinians and drawn fire from the international community.

“The Jerusalem municipality has approved a construction plan for 942 homes in Gilo,” an existing settlement in East Jerusalem, deputy mayor Yosef Pepe Alalu told AFP. {…}

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who convinced the two sides to return to the negotiating table after a three-year hiatus, urged the Palestinians “not to react adversely” to Israel’s approval on Sunday for new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank…

Well, indeedy… Palestinians committed to peace with Israel through talks: Abbas

Now, I hold the unelected, excreable Abu Mazen(Abbas) in the same esteem as Bibi…! As I’d noted, two years ago, when the Palestine Papers first came out…

The Palestinian leadership will surely face criticism for what The Palestine Papers reveal. Some will be merited; some not. The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over, that the history of the peace process is one of abject failure for all concerned. The Palestinian participants, having lost the most, will likely suffer most. But I can only come away with the passionately-held belief that these people deserved better.

The ensuing thread to that old post is well worth the perusal too…!

Here’s some of the Guardian’s coverage of the Papers…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

On Yom Kippur, ‘Hoodlums’ Extract a ‘Price Tag’

4:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

First, I would like to wish an easy Fast to all…!

From +972′s Yossi Gurvitz, earlier today…

Muslim and Christian cemeteries desecrated in Jaffa on eve of Yom Kippur

“Price tag” pogromchiks desecrated cemeteries in Jaffa, as part of their attempts to cause a civil war

Hoodlums whose pride is their Jewishness have desecrated last evening – according to testimonies, less than an hour before Yom Kippur – two cemeteries in Jaffa. One of the cemeteries was Muslim, the other Orthodox Christian. The hoodlums desecrated tombstones and wrote “price tag” and “death to Arabs” on them. This being Yom Kippur, the Israeli media did not report anything yet – at least not that I’ve seen. MK Ahmed Tibi confirmed the details in an email, and you can see pictures here. Tibi further said that “We are facing a rising wave of terrorist acts by Jewish extremists who act almost with no hindrance in the occupied territories, and have lately turned their attention to the Green Line in order to harm places sacred to Muslims and Christians. The responsibility lies wholly with the government and its apparati”…

Now, Haaretz has since produced several reports about the ‘incident’…

Muslim, Christian graves in Jaffa defaced with racist slogans in suspected ‘price tag’ attack

Adjacent cemeteries in South Tel Aviv desecrated with graffiti saying ‘Death to Arabs’ over the Yom Kippur holiday.

And, a surprisingly quick condemnation by Peres…

Peres condemns ‘price tag’ attack on Muslim and Christian cemeteries

President calls defacement of two Jaffa cemeteries a ‘criminal act’ and calls on law authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice; activists plan a demonstration at the sites later Saturday…

Good luck with that…!

Now, talking about Jaffa and recent ‘criminal acts’…

Violent eviction of Palestinian family from Jaffa home

New video shows Israeli police beating a Palestinian man during a house eviction in Jaffa. The video raises fresh questions about Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish citizens…

Investigate that one, Peres…!

*heh* Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon…!

One final note on the rabid Settlers…

Settlers attack Israeli army patrol near Ramallah

An Israeli army patrol in the West Bank was attacked by settlers who blocked a road in the northern West Bank, provoking a fight between the two sides, an army spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday.

The incident occurred late on Wednesday on a road near Ramallah, she said.

“Last night, during a routine patrol in the Doma area — northeast of Ramallah — an IDF (army) force identified an obstruction on the road consisting of stones, and a crowd of Israeli citizens,” she told AFP.

“As the soldiers attempted to disperse the crowd, violence broke out and one of the Israelis attacked the soldier,” she said, adding that the incident was being investigated by the police who are responsible for all settler-related affairs.

Israeli media reports suggested the settlers attacked the soldiers following rumors they were en route to dismantle an unauthorized settlement outpost.

But the spokeswoman denied the report, saying the troops were merely part of a “routine” patrol.

That must certainly give pause to the IOF and Bibi…!

*gah*

On a positive note… 1,000 Jews gather at Wall St. for #occupy-yomkippur Kol Nidre…

God Bless and God Speed to all the OWS participants, everywhere…!

Remember that the Earth is but one Nation, and Mankind it’s Citizens…!

by CTuttle

Bibi to Address The UN GA Same Day as Abbas Seeks UN Bid

6:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Ma’an had reported earlier today…

Netanyahu says will address UN next week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would address the United Nations next week and urge Palestinians to negotiate peace with Israel rather than pursue a bid for full UN membership for a Palestinian state.

I have decided to convey these twin messages of direct negotiations for peace and the quest for peace,” Netanyahu told reporters. “I’ve decided to take this message to the UN General Assembly when I speak there next week.” [...]

It’s not an especially supporting forum for the State of Israel. It’s not a forum in which we will get applause,” Netanyahu said about the General Assembly. “But I think that in this forum too it is important that the prime minister of Israel turn up and state things as they are.

Anticipating a US veto in the Security Council, the only U.N. body that can approve full membership, Palestinian officials have indicted they would seek instead a resolution in the General Assembly that would upgrade Palestinian status to a “non-member state” from an “entity”.

Abbas has said such an upgrade would give the Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice. Israel fears Palestinians could pursue cases against it in those organizations.

Apparently, Bibi is really rattled by the potential ICC action…

Netanyahu: Israel will agree to upgrade of Palestinian status, not statehood

Israel would agree to upgrade the Palestinian Authority’s status at the United Nations as long as it is not declared a state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in talks with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, over the past few days. [...]

Netanyahu told his interlocutors that granting the PA the status of a state would allow the Palestinians to go to the International Criminal Court in The Hague over issues like settlement construction. “But as long as it is less than a state, I’m ready to talk about it,” a source familiar with the conversation quoted him as saying.

One of Netanyahu’s advisers also said that Israel would not object to the PA’s status being upgraded as long as it is not recognized as a state.

Both U.S. officials and Blair have been pressuring Ashton over the past few days to quash a French-Spanish initiative under which the EU’s 27 members would unanimously support a General Assembly resolution upgrading the PA’s status at the United Nations to that of a nonmember state. This initiative would give the PA the same status the Vatican now has.

In exchange, the PA would not ask the Security Council to grant it full UN membership or file charges against Israelis in the ICC.

Ashton, who had come to the region to gauge the parties’ response to the French-Spanish initiative, did not even discuss it due to this pressure. Instead, without consulting the EU member states, Ashton raised a proposal of her own that conformed to Netanyahu’s position.

Under Ashton’s proposal, the PA would be upgraded to a new legal status less than that of a state. Such a status currently does not exist at the United Nations, but would be created especially for this purpose.

This status would not give the PA the standing it would need to take Israelis to the ICC…

Whew, that’s some serious Kabuki theatre…!

Stay Tuned…!

God Help the Palestinians…!

by CTuttle

Seven Israelis and Seven ‘Militants’ Killed in Multiple Attacks

5:37 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As +972′s Dimi Reider reports…

Seven Israelis and seven militants killed in multiple attacks

At least seven Israeli civilians and soldiers were killed today and several scores were injured in a series of incidents in the south of Israel, in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank. Seven of the attackers were also killed after firefights. No organisation claimed responsibility, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said attacks “originated” in Gaza via Sinai, and Israel will respond with full force. J14 weekend rallies cancelled.

Now as Ma’an had reported…7 killed, dozens injured in southern Israel attacks…

…The Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth, quoting foreign sources, reported that Jordan had delivered a warning based on intelligence that such an attack was likely.

An Egyptian official, meanwhile, denied that the attack originated in the Sinai.

Meanwhile, Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak said that “this terror attack originated from Gaza. We will exhaust all measures against the terrorists,” Israel’s Ynet news site reported.

Senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil rejected Barak’s accusations and warned that Israel was preparing to attack Gaza during Ramadan, adding that resistance would be swift if this occurred.

In an interview with Ma’an radio, Bardawil accused Israel of blaming Hamas and Gaza groups in order to deflect attention from its domestic economic crisis and security failures.

Security forces are still investigating the nature of the incidents and latest reports from Israeli radio suggest three of the attackers have been killed by Israeli forces, with the clashes now over.

A search is currently underway in Eilat to locate other suspects in the attack, as the police presence across Israel intensifies.

Even Ha’aretz had reported that Israel was aware of the attack…

Israel had prior warnings of potential terror attacks from Sinai

Senior government official says security officials received warning of possible attack, but disagreed about its severity.

Now, being the cynic I am, I’m sure some Palestinians were involved, but, where specifically were they from…? Hmmm…? Seriously, where were those ‘Palestinians’ from…? Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and/or, possibly even Egypt…?

Egypt military crackdown nets Sinai ‘Islamist militants’

…An Egyptian security chief said on Thursday a military operation in Sinai against militants uncovered a bomb-making factory and netted 20 wanted men, including Palestinians and radical Islamists.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Egypt to ensure security in the Sinai following a deadly attack across the border in Israel on Thursday that killed seven people.

Egyptian military and police deployed tanks and armored vehicles in the peninsula last week to quell Islamist militants who have repeatedly attacked police and a pipeline that exports gas to Israel…

…An Israeli army commander said Thursday that four of the men behind the attacks in Israel were killed by Israeli and Egyptian fire in Egypt’s territory, but the Egyptians have denied the attack was staged from Sinai.

Militants in the thinly-populated peninsula have attacked a pipeline that exports gas to Israel five times this year and have passed out flyers in which they claimed affiliation with the global Al-Qaeda network.

Masri denied that the militants were members of Al-Qaeda, which has called for an Islamist state in Egypt.

So naturally Gaza bore the brunt of it…

6 killed in Israeli airstrikes

An Israeli airstrike killed six Palestinians Thursday evening in southern Gaza, medics said, hours after a series of attacks left seven Israelis dead near Eilat.

Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said the airstrikes targeted a house in Rafah.

A Ma’an correspondent said the home belonged to Popular Resistance Committees official Khaled Shaath, who was killed instantly. His two-year-old son Malek later died of injuries sustained in the strike…

An Israeli military source told Ma’an that operations were underway in southern Gaza following a series of attacks in the south of Israel, whose leadership has blamed Gaza.

Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas leader, condemned the “massacre in Rafah” and told Ma’an that “this crime won’t stop the resistance and won’t stop all Palestinians.”

He added that Hamas was taking every relevant action following Israel’s threats.

Earlier, the interior ministry in Gaza said Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah crossing amid the sharp increase in violence in Gaza and southern Israel.

So, Bibi seemingly scores a twofer, he stops the internal political turmoil, that is the ‘Social Justice’ J14 movement, and, has a renewed manufactured Casus Belli for Gaza…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

Erekat Resigns as Chief PLO Negotiator, the PA Announces new Elections, and, Some Fallout From Egypt’s Uprising

8:55 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

In the follow up story, Al Jazeera wryly noted…

…Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry in Ramallah said that there was a feeling among Palestinians that the peace process was at an impasse.

“There is clearly a feeling here on the ground that the peace process has broken down, that there is no more point in negotiating unless the Israelis are willing to bring more to the table,” he said.

On the matter of Erekat’s successor, he said that his sources were saying “there’s no point. Why would we have a chief negotiator if there are no negotiations?”

Hanan Ashrawi, who is on the PLO’s Executive Committee, told Al Jazeera that the peace talks were in trouble long before the Palestine Papers were released.

There has not been a [peace] process. There have been sporadic attempts by the Americans to replace substance and objectives with negotiations, as though that was the end.

“We said no to that; either you make Israel comply to the freeze and stop all settlements and you articulate the objectives and the terms of reference [of the negotiations] with in a specific time frame, or there is no use of entering into an endless process which Israel exploits in order to create facts on the ground and to annex East Jerusalem,” Ashrawi said.

As Ma’an had reported…

…Erekat, who has been at the center of negotiations since 1991, told AFP he was assuming “responsibility for the theft of documents” that had been “deliberately” tampered with.” [...]

There was no immediate reaction from President Mahmoud Abbas or the PLO executive committee, but an official in Erekat’s office told Ma’an that Abbas accepted the decision.

“The resignation is no longer pending approval … Abbas accepted it personally,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

He added that Erekat “felt personal responsibility for the Palestine papers fiasco.” [...]

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials welcomed Erekat’s announcement.

His decision to resign “shows that the leaked documents were authentic,” party spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, urging the PLO to halt all negotiations with Israel.

Erekat has pointed to a possible US-Israeli effort to topple the PA because of its refusal to take part in US-brokered direct peace talks unless Israel halts West Bank settlement construction.

The talks have been suspended since September.

The files allege that Palestinian negotiators offered unprecedented concessions during talks, including on the ultra-sensitive subjects of Jerusalem and refugees, with nothing in return from Israel.

They also show PA members closely cooperating with Israel in its fight against Hamas.

To bring you up to date on the Palestine Papers…

Here’s some of Erekat’s ‘Greatest Hits’…

Erekat: “I can’t stand Hamas”

For Fatah, the Annapolis process seems to have been as much about crushing Hamas as about ending Israel’s occupation.

Erekat:The Palestine papers are a distraction from the real issue

We made no backroom deals, and negotiated in good faith. But Palestine had no partner for peace

Erekat: ‘Iran is playing games, using Hamas as a card’

Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat said that a two-state solution was necessary for a wider strategy of promoting moderation and fighting extremists in the Middle East, UK newspaper the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

“If there wasn’t an Israeli embassy in Cairo,” he said, “Bin Laden would be there and if there wasn’t one in Amman [Bin Laden's deputy] Zawahiri would set up shop too.”

According to leaked “Palestine Papers,” in October 2009 the PA negotiator told US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, “Ahmadinejad is in Gaza and Lebanon. Pakistan is going failed. The Arab states are doing nothing.”

Erekat stated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried to persuade a Palestinian businessman to contribute $50 million to a radio station for the Iranian opposition after the country’s tumultuous elections in 2009, reported the Guardian.

He cited this request as evidence of the Palestinian Authority’s support for US strategic goals in the region. [...]

“If other countries think they can use Hamas as a card we will do the same with them. We are not running a charity. Iran is playing games, they are using Hamas as a card.”

Paranoid much, Saeb…? Anyways, moving along…

Hamas greeted the news of Erekat’s resignation…

…Commenting on the news, Dr. Hassan Abu Hashish, the head of the Palestinian government’s media office in Gaza, said that Erikat’s resignation pointed to the state of failure accompanying the negotiations process.

He told the PIC that the failure was not for Erikat alone but for the entire trend he represented, championing a change to the Palestinian rule led by Abbas, which led the Palestinian people to an abyss.

It is about time for the Palestinian political spectrum to draft a new national leadership for the Palestinian people based on rights and constants, Abu Hashish underlined.

For his part, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that Erikat’s resignation was not enough, adding that all those involved in offering concessions as revealed by the leaked papers should be brought to account.

He demanded the formation of a national investigative committee to probe the role of each and every one involved in the corruption and conspiracies against the Palestinian people.

Barhoum, hoping that Erikat’s resignation would signal a real and rooted change in the PA, he urged the PA in Ramallah to declare failure of the negotiations and an end to the entire process.

Now, about the planned announcement of holding new PA elections that was subsequently buried by Erekat’s resignation…

Amid Egypt Aftershocks, Palestinians Call Elections

…the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority watched events in Egypt on Friday, then chose Saturday to announce that they would hold new elections, after all.

Balloting for Palestinian president and the legislature was originally scheduled for 2010, but was called off because the government is divided into warring factions. According to the results of the last round of elections, the militant Islamist Hamas is the ruling party in the legislature, while Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is the president. New elections are long overdue, but the reality on the ground is that Fatah rules the 2.4 million Palestinians who live on the West Bank, while Hamas governs the Gaza Strip, home to another 1.5 million citizens. And in response to the latest announcement, Hamas made clear that Gaza would not be participating in the proposed poll.

“This procedure is invalid because President Abbas has no legitimacy and is not fit to organise such elections,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters.

Talk of reconciliation is so far just talk, as each side hunts activists of the other. West Bank security forces work with Israeli intelligence to locate and jail Hamas operatives; Hamas enforces brutal discipline over all Gaza rivals.

I should point out the fact that the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process has been brokered all along by the Arab League and it’s Egyptian head, Amr Moussa, who just happened to announce today… Amr Moussa to leave Arab League…

You can read the PLO Executive Committee’s official announcement here…
Palestinian National Elections Before September, Says PLO Executive Committee

About Fatah’s and Abu Mazen’s views midway on the Egyptian Revolution…

Abbas aide comes out against Egypt uprising

A senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas launched a scathing attack Wednesday against pro-democracy protesters who have demonstrated for weeks against the authoritarian rule of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

Tayeb Abdel-Rahim says the protesters have “suspicious allegiances” against the regime and hope to undermine Egypt’s “leading role.”

“Creative chaos” and “an attempt to create a new Sykes-Picot agreement” were among the labels used by this senior PA official to criticize the Egyptian people for their revolt.

“We look at the picture from a broader perspective,” Abdel-Rahim said in a statement. “It is being planned by international and regional forces with the help of local tools.”

Hamas is hopeful for the Egyptian Revolution…

Hamas: New Egypt leadership should open Gaza

Hamas called Friday for the new Egyptian leadership to lift the siege of Gaza by opening the Rafah crossing.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhari said Mubarak’s departure was a victory for Egypt and had Hamas’ full support.

“Gaza’s joy is equal to the joy of Egypt with this victory because this man was a major factor in the Gaza siege and war”.

Palestinians launched fireworks and celebrated in the streets in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere after the news of Mubarak’s departure.

Ma’an said it best for the Palestinians…

Editorial: Egypt, please open the Rafah crossing

Palestinians suffer from an incurable love of our homeland, and we are today students and partners of the great Egyptian people.

The people of Egypt built the pyramids and contributed to the creation of human civilization 7,000 years ago. The Egyptian people dug the Suez Canal and then nationalized it.

We, too, thirst for freedom after suffering humiliation, disrespect and siege.

We, your blockaded brothers, congratulate Egypt on its new dawn.

But we have one request: Open the Rafah crossing.

Open a window of freedom to us so we can see the light. Rescue us with this window.

We, your brothers, doomed to live in and around holy Jerusalem, ask only for this one thing. Grant it, and you have our word that we will remain by your side.

Long live your homeland, and God bless Egypt.

God Bless the Palestinians…

The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty: A cold hard look…

by CTuttle

A Palestinian Editor Calls Out Bibi, The PA, and The Arab League…

10:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Reprinted with permission from Ma’an…

Palestinians have spent the past few days struggling to decipher what is going on in their country, listening to political analysts on satellite TV as they slam the Palestinian people under the pretext of assistance.

Yet, it is you Arab leaders (and Arab armies) who abandoned Palestine.

You left us to face the occupation and witness our women giving birth at checkpoints, our children dying of hunger and oppression. It is you who disarmed us in 1948 and told us to count on you. We waited 30 years, but you were too busy living luxuriously, claiming to prepare for the mother of all battles.

It was you who forgot Palestine and left us to study Hebrew so we could get work. It was you who supplied both Hamas and Fatah with weapons and money so we could fight and kill each other in the streets.

As we waited thinking you would arrive heavily armed, we learned in the alleys of refugee camps how the world really works. We learned in small battles how to love and how to hate and when to be suspicious.

Despite the heat of the summers and chill of winters, we learned the chemistry, biology, math, algebra and accounting skills we needed to manage our pocket money when there was pocket money.

So yes, it’s true we worked in the settlements. We smiled when our Israeli employers told us to “shut up, you dog-like Arabs.” We waited for you to come, but you were too busy with the World Cup. You closed your borders and made us get visas to visit your countries.

Yes, we worked as garbage collectors for settlers. We worked in their bars, in their cemeteries, and we became beggars who asked foreign countries to donate flour and clothes. Despite this, and thanks to no emir, Palestinians remain steadfast on our land and a thorn in the occupation’s throat.

I say this as an impartial journalist: We will not defend ourselves and our people like suspects of a crime. Don’t even dream of it. We owe an apology to nobody. We apologize when we make mistakes, but we will never apologize to you. It is you who owe us an apology, and we will never forgive you.

As Palestinian journalists, we are not affiliated to Mahmoud Abbas or Khaled Mash’al. We are lovers of Palestine which is a thing much greater than Abbas, Yasser Arafat, Saeb Erekat, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Mash’al, Fayyad, Haniyeh, and much greater than thousands like you.

The Gulf doesn’t bankroll our media. We answer to no president, and certainly no emir. We serve our people, our families in refugee camps. We smile when they smile, and we cry when they cry.

We aren’t prophets, nor sinless. And who ever told you we’re independent? We aren’t.

We are partial to ourselves, to Palestine, to the prisoners, to the injured, to the mothers, to the oppressed in Jerusalem and to the heroes across the Green Line. They are greater and nobler than you who criticize them for holding Israeli passports or for speaking Hebrew.

We differentiate — while you are not asked to differentiate — between the PA and the resistance. Most of our criticism is of governments, not the resistance. As journalists, we have our own red lines which are irrelevant to Gulf satellite stations. Resistance is one of them, and we would rather die than condemn it.

Prisoners are a red line as well as refugee camps, Jerusalem, and national unity. Thus, we regularly criticize Salam Fayyad and Ismail Haniyeh, but we have never in our history criticized factions like Fatah, Hamas or others who resist occupation. You can check our archives if you don’t believe me.

As for the Palestine Papers, Al-Jazeera has a right to publish what they want. Professionally speaking, Al-Jazeera has not erred. But from a perspective of proportionality, many of the commentators chosen by the channel are forcing themselves into a political issue that is much larger than Qatar.

Despite my criticism of the commentators on Al-Jazeera and elsewhere, the PA should be criticized more for its response. It acts surprised and is unable to reflect the angry public’s feelings. They are also afraid to tell the truth, so I will:

Who said there was no security coordination with the occupation? Every five-year-old in Palestine knows there is and it started during Yasser Arafat’s administration. Israel is monitoring each Palestinian security service around the clock.

Our security services often detain resistance fighters. When they do it, they detain them regardless of their affiliation. They do this fearing Israeli forces might raid PA-controlled territories and kill these fighters.

So why now is the PA denying it? There is coordination at civil and security levels, it’s part of the Oslo Accords. If they don’t like Oslo anymore then take the initiative and dissolve the PA. Find another alternative, but stop denying the present reality.

On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera released a 2005 document about Shaul Mofaz and Nasser Yasouf, that’s true too. (According to handwritten Arabic notes, in 2005 Mofaz, then Israeli defense minister, asked Yasouf, the former PA interior minister, to assassinate a Fatah operative.)

While it’s also true that PA security commanders could have exaggerated and made offers in order to placate the occupation, they should be questioned about the allegations. It is us who should question them, and Palestinian judges who should punish them. Not an emir.

I was embarrassed recently to learn that 35 percent of the stateless Palestinians who live in Jerusalem would prefer to remain under Israeli occupation than take Palestinian citizenship. It goes to show how little hope they have that help is on the way.

Nasser Laham is the editor in chief of Ma’an News Agency.