Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Email From my Lebanese American Friend
To: bronwinpeel@hotmail.comn
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 15:22:03 -0500

Unfortunately, no one in this Administration took the time to know the
history of shiites, if they did, they would never ever have created
strike against the Iraqis, and of course, 60% of Iraqis are Shiites.
But of
course, our President---the great Decider---doesnot bother to read the
history of any country, because he has nuclear weapons!!

An Iraqi, many years ago, asked me: "Om Shireen, do you know the
I said, yes, of course, I had many friends when I was growing up in
Dearborn, Michigan who were Shiites---good friends. He said," but did
ever get into an argument with them? Hurt them in any way?" I
"Wallah, I do not believe so." Ahhhhhhhhhh he said, "then you do not
them" "I shall give you a lesson, that most Iraqis know very well,
from an
early age".

"If you kill one of them, one of them will definitely kill you---it
matter which one."
"If they cannot kill you, they will speak against you."
"If they cannot speak against you,"they will keep it in their hearts
revenge has been taken".

Such are the Shiites---no matter where they live. On the other hand,
are far more moderate than sunnis, their women have the right to
and inheritance--while sunni women cannot and do not.

Most of the communists of Iraq were shiites---they seek social justice
all, and willingly share what they have with others. I know this from
personal experience, for I have shared a life with them in my youth,
have never been disappointed with any of them.

This president says one thing, but does the opposite: "our boys are
dear to
us" when they go to war, but not when they return.

He is the most duplicitious, lying president this country has had the
misfortune to have, and I work for his impeachment, along with Cheney
Rumsfeld, not to forget the Defense Policy Board at the Pentagon made
up of
Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Douglas, who immediately disappeared once the
started and who should also be tried for treason.

I only wish I were younger, for I do not feel I shall be around to see
new president in '08. I pray it is Al Gore---a very honorable
other candidates, who shall remain nameless at this point.

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From: My Lebanese American friend whois the widow
of an American Diplomat to Irag who served in that post in
the fifties.

To: bronwinpeel@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: Another Must Read Article by Seymour Hersh
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 17:28:35 -0500

I personally believe that U.S funded special forces (Mossad, South
American, etc) are arming and funding both sides in order to
regionalize Iraq in order to control its resources.

However, just remember, no country or organization, anywhere, can
do this without the cooperation of some of the native inhabitants
----and Arabs, as history proves, are for sale, e.g. Palestine,
Iraq, etc. Wherever there are greedy, unscrupulous people for
sale----even here, witness our Congress, any country shall know
suffering, killing and unending misery.

America has become a military economy, and therefore needs wars to
sell our weapons. When our men are needed, we send the poor and
uneducated---not at all what our Lady Liberty had in mind: "give
me your poor, your hungry masses, yearning to breathe free, the
wretched refuse of your teaming shores, send me the homeless,
tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door..

>From: bronwinpeel@hotmail.com
>To: My Lebanese American Friend
>Subject: Another Must Read Article by Seymour Hersh
>Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 08:49:48 -0800 (PST)
>Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent
>Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most
>explosive” element of his latest article involves an
>effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth
>of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically
>the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by
>funding violent Sunni groups.
>Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great
>deal of money, without congressional authority,
>without any congressional oversight” for covert
>operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop
>the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says
>these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni
>jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but
>“want to take on Hezbollah.”
>Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are
>simply in a situation where this president is really
>taking his notion of executive privilege to the
>absolute limit here, running covert operations, using
>money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting
>groups indirectly that are involved with the same
>people that did 9/11.” Watch it:
>Hersh added, “All of this should be investigated by
>Congress, by the way, and I trust it will be. In my
>talking to membership — members there, they are very
>upset that they know nothing about this. And they have
>a great many suspicions.”
>Digg It!
>BLITZER: Near the end of your article, you have this
>explosive point in there about John Negroponte, who is
>now going to be the deputy secretary of state, as
>opposed to the head of U.S. intelligence.
>You write this: “I was subsequently told by the two
>government consultants and the former senior
>intelligence officials that the echoes of Iran-Contra
>were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from
>the National Intelligence directorship and accept the
>position of deputy secretary of state.”
>Explain what you were hearing, because that is
>obviously a very explosive charge.
>HERSH: Yes. It is probably the single most explosive,
>if you will, or depressing — or distressing sort of
>thing I discovered in the last few months, which is
>simply this. This administration has made a policy
>change, a decision that they are going to put all of
>the pressure they can on the Shiites, that is the
>Shiite regime in Iran, the Shiite — and they are also
>doing everything they can to stop Hezbollah — which is
>Shiite, the Hezbollah organization from getting any
>control or any more of a political foothold in
>So they essentially, I quote the — I saw Nasrallah,
>the head of Hezbollah, and he described it this way,
>as “fitna (ph),” the Arab word for “civil war.” As far
>as he is concerned, we are interested in recreating
>what is happening in Iraq in Lebanon, that is Sunni
>versus Shia. And in looking into that story, and I saw
>him in December, I found this. That we have been
>pumping money, a great deal of money, without
>congressional authority, without any congressional
>oversight, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia is putting up
>some of this money, for covert operations in many
>areas of the Middle East where we think that the — we
>want to stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite
>They call it the “Shiite Crescent.” And a lot of this
>money, and I can’t tell you with absolute certainty
>how — exactly when and how, but this money has gotten
>into the hands — among other places, in Lebanon, into
>the hands of three — at least three jihadist groups.
>There are three Sunni jihadist groups whose main claim
>to fame inside Lebanon right now is that they are very
>tough. These are people connected to al Qaeda who want
>to take on Hezbollah. So this government, at the
>minimum, we may not directly be funneling money to
>them, but we certainly know that these groups exist.
>My government, which arrests al Qaeda every place it
>can find them and send — some of them are n Guantanamo
>and other places, is sitting back while the Lebanese
>government we support, the government of Prime
>Minister Siniora, is providing arms and sustenance to
>three jihadist groups whose sole function, seems to me
>and to the people that talk to me in our government,
>to be there in case there is a real shoot-’em-up with
>Hezbollah and we really get into some sort of serious
>major conflict between the Sunni government and
>Hezbollah, which is largely Shia, who are basically —
>or as you know, there is a coalition headed by
>Hezbollah that is challenging the government right
>now, demonstrations, sit-ins.
>There has been some violence. So America, my country,
>without telling Congress, using funds not
>appropriated, I don’t know where, by my sources
>believe much of the money obviously came from Iraq
>where there is all kinds of piles of loose money,
>pools of cash that could be used for covert
>All of this should be investigated by Congress, by the
>way, and I trust it will be. In my talking to
>membership — members there, they are very upset that
>they know nothing about this. And they have great many
>We are simply in a situation where this president is
>really taking his notion of executive privilege to the
>absolute limit here, running covert operations, using
>money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting
>groups indirectly that are involved with the same
>people that did 9/11, and we should be arresting these
>people rather than looking the other way…
>BLITZER: And your bottom line, Sy…
>HERSH: … and could lead to a real mess…
>BLITZER: Your bottom line is that Negroponte was aware
>of this, obviously, and he wanted to distance himself
>from it? That is why he decided to give up that
>position and take the number two job at the State
>HERSH: He — that is one of the reasons, I was told.
>Negroponte also was not in tune with Cheney. There was
>a lot of complaints about him because he was seen as
>much of a stickler, too ethical for some of the
>operations the Pentagon wants to run.
>Filed under: Middle East, Iran, Iraq

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Subject: Independent News: Half of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza malnourished
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 18:47:30 +0000
22 February 2007 13:40
Half of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza malnourished
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
Published: 22 February 2007
Around 46 per cent of Gaza and West Bank households are "food insecure" or in danger of becoming so, according to a UN report on the impact of conflict and the global boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The unpublished draft report, the first of its kind since the boycott was imposed when the Hamas government took office last March, says bluntly that the problem "is primarily a function of restricted economic access to food resulting from ongoing political conditions".

The report, jointly produced by the UN's World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, paints a bleak picture of the impact on food consumption and expenditure throughout the occupied Palestinian territories. It says that the situation is "more grim" in Gaza where four out of five families have reduced their spending - including on food - in the first quarter of last year alone.

The report acknowledges that "traditionally strong ties" among Palestinian families tend to reduce the possibility of "acute household hunger". But it warns that against a background of decreasing food security since the beginning of the Intifada since 2000 and the loss of PA salaries because of the boycott there are now "growing concerns about the sustainability of Palestinians' resilience".

The report is the latest of a series detailing deepening Palestinian poverty as a result of both closures blocking exports from Gaza and the international and Israeli boycott of the PA. Its timing is especially sensitive, coming to light after both Israel and the US indicated that they will maintain the boycott after the planned Fatah Hamas coalition cabinet takes office unless it clearly commits itself to recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and adherence to previous agreements with Israel.

The UN report says 34 per cent of households - with income below $1.68 per day and/or showing decreasing food expenditures - are "food insecure" . The WFP officially defines "food security" as "the ability of a household to produce and/or access at all times the minimum food needed for a healthy and active life". It goes on to say that 12 per cent of households are "vulnerable" to food insecurity.

The report acknowledges that the findings are broadly similar to those - albeit estimated on a different basis - at the peak of the Israeli Palestinian conflict in 2003 but points out that the number of Palestinians suffering, including children, are much higher because of rapid population growth

While recognising that "significant per capita humanitarian aid" is helping to contain the problem, the report points out that some action taken by families to continue to feed themselves - including the sale of land, jewellery and other assets" - will have an "irreversible impact on livelihoods". It also points out that limitations to PA budget support, the private sector and job programmes because of the boycott are likely to exacerbate Palestinians' dependency on humanitarian assistance and postpone sustainable improvement."

Pointing out that Palestinian families have been caught between rises in food prices - partly because of interrupted supplies through closures - and rapidly falling incomes, it details changes to diet by many to ensure enough to eat. These include reductions in consumption of fruits, sweets, olive oil, and - normally a staple in Gaza - fish.

The report also indicates that for other families - including "new poor" suffering from loss of PA incomes - there has been a "decrease in the quality of and/or quantity of food consumed."

The UN report comes against a background in which a 2004 survey of Palestinian households showed a "slow but steady" growth in actual malnutrition - as measured by reduced growth, vitamin deficiencies, anaemia and other indicators - among a minority of the population. The 2004 survey found "stunting" rates of abnormal height-to-body ratio at just under 10 per cent.

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Israeli Policy Makes a Two-State Solution Less Likely
Summary of CNI Foundation "Public Hearing" with Jeff Halper and Naim Ateek

By Carlton Cobb
February 16, 2007

Two Israeli peace activists told an audience in Washington, DC, this week that, as long as current Israeli policies continue, a real two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is increasingly unlikely and perhaps impossible. The speakers were the Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, founder and director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, and Jeff Halper, founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). Halper and Ateek spoke at the National Press Club on Monday, February 12th, 2007, at the CNI Foundation's 22nd "public hearing" to bring a much-needed debate about U.S. Middle East policy to Washington, DC.

A streaming video of the event can be seen online at the following website: http://www.archive.org/details/Is_the_Two-State_Solution_Still_Possible

Halper stated that his background as an anthropologist taught him to see things "from the ground up" and to "go where the field takes him," even if it means he has to ocasionally admit that he is wrong. As a peace activist, Halper said he believes that while a "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an article of faith among Israelis, Palestinians, and virtually every other party involved or interested in the conflict, activists should admit that such an outcome is no longer possible because of Israel's policy of apartheid in the territories. He said that this position has made him a pariah among American groups, such as Americans for Peace Now and the Foundation for Middle East Peace, who refuse to host him for public talks.

In short, Halper said that the two-state solution is a "political program based on wishful thinking." He said he defines the word "apartheid" the same way as Jimmy Carter does in his book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid": a separation of populations in which one people structurally and conceptually dominates the other permanently. One difference between Israeli apartheid and that of South Africa, Halper notes, is that Israel "feels like it can finesse a bantustan [for the Palestinians] in a way that South Africa could not."

As evidence he pointed to what he calls Israel's "matrix of control" in the occupied territories. The population of the Jewish-only settlements has more than doubled since Yasser Arafat's PLO recognized Israel, and thus endorsed the two-state solution, in 1988. The wall, the military checkpoints, and Israeli "bypass roads" criss-cross the West Bank and allow settlers easy travel, while carving up the territory and preventing Palestinian freedom of movement. Halper hinted at an alternative solution to the two-state model, which he calls a "two-stage" solution, based on an economic federation of Israel/Palestine and neighboring states.

Rev. Ateek cited scripture's command to "do justice and love mercy" as a reason why he once advocated for one state in Palestine, where, he said, "Jews, Muslims, and Christians can live together democratically." Later, he said he came to see that a one-state solution "may not be fair for a Jewish state," but that "a 'Jewish state' cannot be democratic." As a Palestinian Christian, he argued that, in the same way, an Islamic state in Palestine would not be democratic for the Christian minority. A one-state solution to the conflict would represent "justice without mercy."

As long as the final outcome is based on prior UN Security Council resolutions and international law, Ateek said that he would support a two-state solution. Specifically, he said that any solution must address the current disconnect between nationality and citizenship in the conflict. For example, he argued that Palestinians who live in Israel with Israeli citizenship, like himself, are not considered part of Israeli society, just as Israeli settlers living in the West Bank do not consider themselves Palestinian. He stated that he would tell the Israeli settlers, under any future agreement, "You are welcome to become Palestinians," but that until then, they are living illegally on Palestinian land. Any arrangement that takes justice and mercy as its basis must "protect the sovereignty of both states," which includes keeping "Palestinians secure from encroachment from their more powerful neighbor."

The event was sponsored by the Council for the National Interest Foundation and the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace. The moderator was Dr. Mark Braverman, board member of the Washington Interfaith Alliance on Middle East Peace and board member of Partners for Peace.


Council for the National Interest Foundation
1250 4th Street SW, Suite WG-1
Washington, District of Columbia 20024

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Al Ahram Weekly: Expecting Mecca by Ramzy Baroud

Expecting Mecca
The entire next phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rides on the durability and honesty of the agreement struck in Saudi Arabia between Hamas and Fatah, writes Ramzy Baroud *


The Mecca Agreement, signed between rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah on 8 February under the auspices of the Saudi leadership, was welcomed by thousands of cheering Palestinians throughout the occupied territories, seen as the closing of a chapter of a bloody and tumultuous period of their history. Officially, although more subtly, there is an equal eagerness to bring to an end oppressive economic and diplomatic sanctions that have rendered most Palestinians unemployed and lost well below the poverty line.

In fact, almost all Palestinians want to remember, if they must, the bloody clashes that claimed the lives of over 90 people since December as a distant memory, a bitter deviation from a norm of unity and national cohesion, according to which they want their struggle to be remembered.

Diplomatically, aides to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah and advisors to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh are fanning out across the globe, each group heading to its traditional political milieus: the former to Western Europe and the United States, the latter to Middle Eastern and Islamic countries. Both Fatah and Hamas are keen to demonstrate that by endorsing agreement their fundamental position remains unchanged, an arduous task indeed.

Official reactions emanating worldwide are hardly encouraging. The so-called Middle East Quartet (the US, the UN, the EU and Russia), although they welcomed the agreement, hoping that it might produce the desired "calm", reiterated their conditions that must be unreservedly ratified by the Palestinian government if sanctions are to be lifted: the recognition of Israel, the renouncing of violence and the acceptance of past agreements signed between the parties, namely the Oslo Accords.

Though the Quartet is seen to have withheld final judgement on whether the formulation of the unity government constitutes an acceptance, either directly or by implication, of its three conditions, Israel is embarking on its own diplomatic campaign to heighten the pressure. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who was recently in Munich to attend a global security conference, has reportedly met the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and foreign ministers of Austria, Sweden and other countries. She has also spoken to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice twice on the phone, as reported in the Israeli daily Haaretz. Her telephonic diplomacy has also reached Germany, Britain and Norway. Livni's behaviour is but an expression of the attitude that is currently being developed in Israel; the international community must continue to pressure Palestinians until the three Quartet conditions are satisfied in full from an Israeli point of view.

The main predicament to the Israeli quest, however, is the same old dilemma: Palestinians can never, under any circumstance, and no matter how great their concessions are, meet Israeli expectations, for these expectations are crafted in so clever a way that it is practically impossible for any Palestinian leader or government to comply. Neither late President Yasser Arafat, who wore an Israeli flag pin side by side with a Palestinian one on his Khaki jacket, nor his successor Mahmoud Abbas, who was ironically elevated in political relevance to become the darling of Israel and Washington when Hamas swept the vote in the January 2006 legislative elections, managed to live up to Israel's seemingly "reasonable" demands. The Israeli government had labelled Abbas "weak" and "indecisive". Given that he too was not able to meet Israel's conditions, how should we expect Hamas or any other to do so?

The practical -- as opposed to rhetorical -- Israeli position is rather clear and should not involve any exaggerated analysis: let Palestinians continue to be collectively punished, succumb to internal feuds and dwell in their limitless misery to allow Israel the needed time to further consolidate its territorial schemes in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. More Palestinian communities are locked into Bantustan-like localities while Jewish settlements continue to be conveniently included in so-called "Israel proper" using the pretext of security and the mammoth and encroaching imprisonment wall as the means to such an end.

The Mecca Agreement's import stems from whether it will present Israel with opportunity to discredit Palestinian intentions; thus to prolong international sanctions and internal chaos. Interestingly, these two points are also the core of the efforts of the Palestinians, who hope that the Mecca Agreement, in which Hamas commits to "abide" by past agreements signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Israel, is sufficient to end the effective state of chaos in the occupied territories and convince the international community that enough concessions have been made and that the time has arrived for sanctions to be lifted.

This is likely to be the Israeli and Palestinian quest for the next few weeks, especially as the final judgment on the Mecca Agreement is likely to be pronounced after two significant meetings: a tripartite summit that would bring together Rice, Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on 19 February, and two days later, a crucial meeting in Berlin of the Quartet's ministers.

Evidently, the US final position is expected to be slightly amended, if not a carbonic copy of that of Israel; no surprises there since President Bush's administration foolishly amalgamated its Middle East policy with Israel's self- serving national and regional agenda. But one must not be too hasty to make such a determination without consulting the significance of the place in which the agreement was signed -- Saudi Arabia.

There is no doubt that the Saudi position has finally revitalised the role of Arab states in regional conflicts (the Mecca Agreement was signed after incessant talks between Fatah and Hamas in Egypt and Jordan). London-based Saudi analyst Mai Yamani suggests that the Mecca Agreement is an attempt to quell Iran's growing influence in the region: "Iran has been financing Hamas, while the Saudis in the last few months even refused to meet [Hamas Prime Minister Ismail] Haniyeh. They realised that if there is more chaos in the Palestinian territories Iran will have more influence."

If that assessment is accurate, partly or entirely, and considering the US's own endeavours to undermine Iran's strategic outreach in the region, it might indeed be rational for the US to live with the Mecca Agreement and deal with "moderate" elements within the Palestinian government, even if temporarily. Yet again, the US hardly behaves in accordance with its own interests in the Middle East if such attitudes run counter to Israel's own regional designs.

The next few weeks will reveal the potency of the Mecca Agreement, as opposing interpretations of what it in fact means and how such meaning should be implemented will determine the next step for all parties involved. Its failure, however, which remains a dreadful possibility, shall have detrimental affects on the Palestinian people, any prospect for their coveted future unity, and will further undermine their national agenda for years to come.

* The writer is an Arab-American journalist.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/832/op6.htm

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

One of my neighbor's from the village in the
West Bank, a young student at Bier Zeit
University, sent me an email today asking
how I am.

My answer to him below:

Dear Mahmoud,
So nice to hear from you?

How is your family? How are you all doing in school?
How is Heba? Did the gift I sent her last year fit?

I'm fine except for a bad cold. I'm walking with a
cane all the time and hoping to have my knee surgery
before summer so that I can throw it away.

How are the other people in the village doing? Did the
muktar's son come home? I think about him often and
have written about him in my BLOG.

How are your aunt and uncle? How is my little house?
I feel sad that Mona has joined her parents and
brothers in the cemetery. I wish I was there to buy
flowers for her grave. But as you all say,
"this is life".

I solicited my congressman to intervene for me with
the state department to obtain a VISA. That was over
three months ago and the congressman's assistant told
me they've heard nothing. I will keep trying.

Best wishes,


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Dream Deferred

While clearing out my yahoo account of old emails today I found this communication I had with my sons last April after they had returned to the states following their father's funeral. I was full of plans for my little house in the village. Ten months later there has been a dramatic change as Israelis are no longer allowing Americans into the West Bank not even real estate owners like myself. They've already confiscated 700 dunums of the family land. Will they take my little
house as well?

Sorry I'm late writing you back. On the plane trip back I was surrounded by Christian Pilgrims from Lubbock, Texas. The guy next to me had an "Israel" ball cap on. I was asking him about what he had seen. They spent a few hours in Bethlehem, none in the Church of the Holy Seplucre or any at all in Arab Jerusalem. But they did spend two days at a resort/casino in the Dead Sea. It even had an Elvis impersonator. These are the same geniuses who brought us George W.
The shirt is probably mine.

I had written:

Dear Adam and Rashid,

Naseer was here last night to help me with my
microphone. Marwan in Beit Jala had given it to me.
He decided it was defective and will drive me to
Ramallah tomorrow to buy another one. I also plan to
buy some movies on CDs so I have something to do here
in the evenings and to go by Nora's to pick up the
Jawwal (cell phone). He said I should walk around in
the village and get acquainted with the ladies in the
village. I told him I have trouble walking and would
have a problem. I gave him that new gray sweater
with the zipper. Did one of you give that to Sami?

This morning I decided to walk as far as I could. I
went all the way to the forest. I understand now why
so many people come here on the weekends to enjoy the
view. Naseer said Saturday there were 100 cars here. I
told Naseer last night that it’s a shame the village
needs to build a larger road when outsiders are making
it necessary by driving here for free. He agreed. He
said he’s had an idea for awhile of turning the forest
into a park where people pay to come. That way there
would be money for maintenance, road building, a
community center, tennis courts, picnic tables and the
people who come will be aware the community is
watching them so they will behave better. I noticed
they’ve dumped trash everywhere. He said he had
planned to work on it if he lives here when he
marries. I encouraged him to live here and procede. I
wish I could work on a project like that, but the
community would probably ban me because I’m a woman.
Naseer has no idea who owns the forest land. I think
the first step would be to find the answer to that. Do
you know? Does the family own that land?

As I was walking back a car stopped with three men in
it. They said they were looking for a farm and could I
direct them. I asked what was the family name? They
said Nassar. I replied that was my family.They were
looking for the goats. I got in the car and showed
them where the farm was. By then my legs were
beginning to smart. However, it occurred to me I
probably shouldn’t have gotten into a car with
three men I didn’t know. They spoke perfect English
and one man said he had just returned to the West Bank
from Memphis, Tennessee where he lives.

It’s still cold and I’m keeping warm with an electric
radiator I found here. Everyone says it’s very
expensive to heat with electricity. I mentioned it to
your aunt in El Bereh. She said one month won’t be
that much and since I’m still sick with this virus
I picked up in Beit Jala I need to keep warm.
I also found an electric heating pad for the bed.
I’ve been using it and the heat is having a
therapeutic affect on my knees. I wake up in the
morning with joints that are less stiff.

Salaam took Sami’s clothes to Cidi's (grandfather’s)
house last night so that the villagers could come
and get what they want. I’ve packed things away
in his suitcase that I believe you will want to
keep. I found six prayer rugs, about five of those
little white beanie caps, several worry beads,
a couple of kafiyahs and the long white dress that
the men here wear around the house and under their
robes. I plan to give away all the metal chairs.
They’re old, dirty, and ugly. Counting them he had
sixteen chairs here. It’s as though he was
planning a convention. There are seven of the
plastic chairs. They can be washed and stacked
when not in use.

I found that the sofa and love seat belonged to
your aunt Rukia. She gave them to him when she
moved into her new house. I don’t mind using them
now that I know they were hers because she is an
immaculate house keeper.

The whole place is looking decidedly better
now that so much stuff has been removed. I gave Salaam
two pairs of knit pants I had brought for Sami and he
didn’t wear. I noticed she wore one pair to school
yesterday. She was also wearing a pair of the earrings
Adam brought that I gave her. They make her look
prettier. She’s coming back today and I plan to ask
her to help me scrub all the floors. She fixed that
leak in the bathroom. It was just the bidet faucet was
turned off in the wrong direction. She’s washed two
loads of clothes for me since I returned on Sunday.
That includes all the sheets and the pink ruffled slip
covers on the living room furniture. I don’t think
I’ll put them on again. The furniture looks better

Adam did you leave your blue knit shirt here
deliberately or did you forget it? It looks like a
good shirt. I left your film exactly where you placed
it so you can find it when you return. Otherwise I’ve
turned that entire cabinet into a combination closet
and dresser for myself. The other old wooden cabinet I
plan to move next to the back door. That way it can
serve as a coat closet and cabinet for clean towels as
it will be next to the bathroom. Salaam enjoys
cleaning and she’s young and strong so maybe she can
help me with that project. I’ve packed clean sheets
away in an old cardboard suitcase I found and pushed
it under my bed. Remember all this in case you come
here after I’m gone. Back to the states I mean. I’m
not planning death for a long while.

I had Naseer inspect the olive oil cans last night. He
said two are totally rancid. He’ll give them to the
soap maker later when he wants them. Of the other two
containers only one is potable and it’s extremely
light. I’ll be glad when that is all gone so I can
remove the pallet. I want it outside. My next project
is to empty the metal cabinet on the verandah. Then I
plan to set it outside to hold things I don’t want in
here. If I can paint it the same color as the metal
trim on the house it shouldn’t be an eyesore.

When I start to fix up the house my very first project
even before finishing and painting the walls will be a
new kitchen. I envision an L shaped two wall kitchen
with a sink under the window and cabinets running
across that wall and along the wall where the
refrigerator is now. With the stove from your cousin,
a new refrigerator and micro wave the entire house will
be more comfortable. Next I would like to finsh and
paint the inside walls of the existing house. My
next project will be an additional room on the back
and the verandah windows glassed in. After all that it
should be a nice, comfortable house with a million
dollar view on all sides.

When I return from the states Naseer plans to set my
computer up to the high speed DSL. He said I can do
that for about $50. per month. Since I’m trying to
sell the products from Bethlehem over the Internet
that will be a business necessity.

I just wanted to keep you both aware of all I’m doing.
Let me hear from you. I miss you both.

Lots of love,


These were my dreams ten months ago. They've been deferred
indefinitely. Even the promise of help from my Congressman
has brought nothing. I'm wondering now if I'll ever see the
lovely little house on the side of a small mountain that my
late husband told everyone who would listen that he had built
especially for me. The Israelis have confiscated 700 dunums
of the family's land. Will my little house be next?


Tair's Palestinian peersGideon Levy, Haaretz

Go to : http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m30545&hd=&size=1&l=e for a picture of this beautiful little girl, Abir Aramin.

February 11, 2007

A child a week, almost every week. In recent weeks, I again went out to document the circumstances of the killing of several children and teenagers, shot dead by Israel Defense Forces soldiers. A very ill wind is once again blowing in the army and no one is saying anything about it. An army that kills children does not concern the public. No committee of inquiry has been, and none will be, formed to deal with this matter. But the fact that the IDF kills children with such a light hand, and fully supports its soldiers who do so, should trouble us no less than the reserves of war supplies in the North. The ramifications of such behavior are not only moral - ultimately an army's operational capability will be affected when children are the targets in its soldiers' gunsights.

Jamil Jibji, the boy from the Askar camp who loved horses, was shot in the head after soldiers in an armored jeep taunted a group of children who threw rocks at them. He was 14 years old. Jamil was the fourth child to be shot in that area under similar circumstances. Abir, the daughter of Bassam Aramin, a member of the "Combatants for Peace" organization, was leaving her school in Anata when a Border Police patrol jeep turned around near the school - no one knows why - and tossed tear gas grenades, one of which apparently struck her head. She was 11 years old. Taha al-Jawi touched the fence nearby the abandoned airfield at Atarot and in response, soldiers fired at his legs with live ammunition, and apparently left him to bleed to death. He was the eighth child to die in similar circumstances. He was not yet 17 years old.

All of these children were killed in cold blood; they did not pose a threat to anyone's life. With the exception of Jamil's case, the IDF, as usual, did not even bother to open an investigation into these children's circumstances of death. When it doesn't even investigate, it is obvious that the army has no intention of putting an end to the killing of children. Its commanders are not even troubled by this.

The last case, Taha, is perhaps the most egregious of all: The IDF Spokesman's Office defends the decision to open fire with live ammunition against a group of children who perhaps damaged a barbed wire fence, as the IDF claims, or perhaps played soccer near the fence, as the children claim - all in broad daylight. Not a word of sorrow, not a word of condemnation, only absolute backing for live gunfire from a distance at unarmed children, without issuing a prior warning. Taha died from a bullet in his leg. And, according to his friends, he bled for a full hour in a muddy ditch he fell into. The IDF Spokesman's contention that he received immediate medical attention does not reconcile with the fact that Taha was wounded in his leg, an injury, which is only fatal as a result of a prolonged loss of blood. But even if assistance was extended immediately, as the IDF claims, are we willing to accept rules of engagement that permit live gunfire from a distance at unarmed teenagers? Are there no other means of dispersing "suspicious" teenagers, as the IDF Spokesman refers to them? What goes through the mind of a soldier who aims his weapon at such a group and fires live, fatal rounds at them, taking such young lives? And what chilling message is the IDF sending its soldiers when it backs such inhumane action?

These stories, and similar ones, did not raise a stir among us. Some of them were not even reported in the news. The killing of a Palestinian boy or girl does not disturb the Israeli public. The West Bank is quiet, there are almost no terror attacks, attention is turned to other affairs, and under the cover of this false and temporary quiet our soldiers, our best sons, are killing dozens of children and teenagers on a routine basis, out of the sight of the rest of us.

The horrible murder of Tair Rada in Katzrin justifiably shook the country. She was an innocent child, 13 years old, murdered at her school with satanic brutality. What is the difference between the murder of Tair and the killing of Abir, also at the entrance to her school? The difference between Tair and Abir consists of the fact that Abir was Palestinian and Tair was Israeli. Israeli? Taha also carried an Israeli identity card. But he was a Palestinian. Can someone seriously argue that the soldier who aimed at Jamil's head did not intend to kill him? The bereavement is the same bereavement; the horror is the same horror. Just as Tair was the joy of her parents' life, so was Abir - a small girl who wanted to be an engineer when she grew up. But while there are still doubts concerning the identity of Tair's murderer, it is very easy to identify the killers of Taha, Jamil and Abir. We do not even denounce them; they receive automatic immunity, without investigation. "The mark of Cain will not sprout on a soldier who fires at the head of a child, on the mound of dirt by the fence of a refugee camp," Aharon Shabtai wrote once in his poem "Culture."

Thus, our soldiers have killed 815 children and teenagers during the last seven years. The entire array of justifications for killing over 3,000 adults during the same period of time, which is also horrifying in its scope, collapses when it comes to children. Someone should listen to the emotional cry of the bereaved father from Anata, who said he is not going to lose his head because of the fact that he has lost his heart: "I don't want to take revenge. My revenge will be that this 'hero,' who was 'threatened' by my daughter and shot her, will stand trial. They send an 18-year-old boy with an M-16 and tell him that our children are his enemy, and he knows that no one will be brought to trial, and therefore he fires in cold blood and becomes a murderer." He says all this in his fluent Hebrew, which has improved during the course of his lectures throughout Israel about the need for peace.

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Washington sources: Israel in race for more aid
Israel seeks to secure a further $500 million military aid before President Bush leaves office.Ran Dagoni, Washington 12 Feb 07 13:09
Israel is hurrying to reach a new agreement with the US for a substantial increase in military aid, sources in Israel and the US have told “Globes”. At the strong urging of incoming IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel is trying to reach an agreement in 2007, a year before US President George W. Bush leaves office.
Former Israeli Ambassador to Washington Daniel Ayalon told “Globes”, “I believe that a new agreement will be reached replacing the current aid agreement, which expires in 2008. When I completed my term, I advised the government to anchor the request for a new aid package, increasing military aid to up to $3 billion; $2.9 billion to be precise. In other words, an increase of $500 million a year,” Ayalon completed a four-year term as ambassador last summer and now serves as chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh - Aliyah: Live the dream.

“Why this figure? Because a request for $2.9 billion will be more acceptable than a request for $3 billion. In supermarkets, you see that prices are rounded downwards, from $10 to $9.99, and that was the logic guiding me.”

Ayalon stressed that this was only a proposal, and that Israel could ask the US for completely different amounts. He believes that a joint US-Israeli team will soon be established to review US aid to Israel in view of Israel’s needs and US budget constraints. “Obviously, we won’t get everything we ask for. We must be realistic,” he said.

An Israeli team headed by Prime Minister's chief of staff Yoram A. Turbowicz, and including representatives of the Ministries of Finance and Defense and the National Security Council, will coordinate aid talks with the US.

US military aid for Israel in the 2008 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2007, totals $2.4 billion. There will be no civilian aid, under a 1997 agreement that cut civilian aid by $120 million a year until it was eliminated in the 2008 fiscal year, while military aid was increased by $60 million a year up to a ceiling of $2.4 billion a year.

Ayalon and other sources said that, in order to reduce any possible US shock at an Israeli request for an extra $500 million in military aid a year, Israel should propose a gradual increase of $50 million a year over a ten-year period.

Ayalon said, “I’ve spoken with many officials in Washington, who gave me the impression that there was something to talk about. Israel has legitimate arguments related to its security.”

Israeli sources and US supporters of Israel agree that the time to act is now. Bush is the most pro-Israeli president ever to occupy the White House. The Bush administration is knowledgeable about aid negotiations with Israel. Everyone running for president, Democrats and Republicans alike, are considered strong supporters of Israel. None of them will challenge Bush for increasing aid to Israel during their election campaigns, where the Jewish vote is important. Continuity is also important. Israel should avoid creating a gap of a year or two without an aid agreement. Such a development could expose Israel to pressures arising from random events in the Middle Eastern political arena, as has happened before.

In February 2008, Bush will submit his budget proposal for the 2009 fiscal year to Congress. This will be his last budget proposal, and Israeli sources believe that an aid agreement with US will be included in it. Israel must therefore hurry - it has less than a year.

Ayalon advises that a new aid package should not rely entirely on grants, but include other possible components, such as increased aid for joint R&D, especially for anti-missile programs and upgrading the Arrow anti-ballistic missile; increasing Israeli defense exports, especially for systems such as the Arrow, which combines US money and know-how, to third countries; and increasing defense exports to the US.

He said, “There is room to expect that the US will lift its objections to the marketing of the Arrow to countries facing ballistic missile threats. At the same time, Israel should expect the US to open its markets to Israeli products on the basis of collaboration between US and Israeli companies.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on February 12, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Carter enters lions' den
Despite criticism, his book is work of a true patriot

By Paul Findley

February 7, 2007

At the age of 82, Jimmy Carter entered the lion's den. With the publication of his latest book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid," he did what a patriot would do: rally Americans to vigorous debate of a critical issue that affects our future. He deserves a hero's praise. Instead, he has been attacked and defamed.

I had the honor to serve as the senior Republican on the Middle East Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee throughout the Carter administration. Carter frequently invited me to huddles in the White House; discussions that would ultimately lead to a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt. I know Carter well and consider him a friend.

I also experienced firsthand what Carter now faces. Toward the end of my 22-year tenure in Congress, I spoke in favor of Palestinian rights and was critical of Israeli policies of Palestinian land confiscation and Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian lands. These actions were counter to American policy and values. They dimmed chances for peace.

As a result of my evenhanded position, the pro-Israel lobby poured money into my opponent's campaign. I overcame their challenge in 1980 but lost in 1982 by a narrow margin. Still, the message was heard loudly on Capitol Hill: Criticize Israel and pay with your congressional seat.

In my 1985 book, "They Dare to Speak Out," I detailed the tactics used to silence criticism of Israeli policies. One of the groups employing these tactics is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. On its Web site, AIPAC calls itself "America's pro-Israel lobby" and boasts a New York Times description of it as "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel."

All citizens have the right to band together and push for policies they believe are right. But AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobby groups do not plead the case for Israel on the stage of public opinion. Instead, they often resort to smear campaigns and intimidation to clear the floor so that only their side is heard.

Carter has dared to call a spade a spade. South African leaders, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and UN Envoy John Dugard, compare Israeli policies to apartheid. The Israeli press uses the term, as do Israeli politicians. Former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni said in a recent commentary, "Indeed apartheid does exist here." Pro-Israel lobby groups have not debated the credence of these claims. Instead, they lob accusations and insults, even insinuating that Carter is anti-Semitic. They do not prove him wrong with facts. They seek to discredit him with innuendo.

I do not believe these groups set out to discredit opponents and destroy free speech. I believe they had the singular purpose of ensuring U.S. government support for Israel. But after decades of Israeli actions running counter to American policies and values, it becomes difficult to do one without the other.

American policy has long held, for example, that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal. Yet Israel continues to build them. American values demand that all people be treated equally, that rights be doled out in equal measure regardless of one's race, religion or ethnicity.

Yet, as Carter points out in his book, Israel endows Jewish settlers living on Palestinian land with full rights, while denying those rights to the Palestinians living on their own land.

If these issues were debated openly, U.S. policymakers would have to hold Israel accountable and demand that our financial and diplomatic support be contingent upon Israel upholding American values and policy positions.

Yet there is silence. Critical discussion of Israeli policies is non-existent in Congress. Rather than conducting vigorous committee hearings, as happens with other issues, members of Congress compete to outdo one another in statements of support for Israel. And American tax dollars keep flowing uninterrupted to Israel.

Our unconditional support of Israel damages our credibility on the world stage. It deprives us of potential allies in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It allows Israel to remain intransigent and condemns Palestinian and Israeli children to decades more of conflict.

Open discussion, where all perspectives are debated, leads to good policy. Carter took a stand for what is right: for Americans, for Palestinians and for Israelis. It is time for a sitting president and members of Congress to do the same.


Paul Findley represented Illinois in the U.S. House for 22 years. He is the author of numerous books, including "They Dare to Speak Out" and "Silent No More."
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

February 7, 2007

Dear Readers,

When I first started my BLOG nearly a year ago I occasionally received a reader’s letter on something I had written. It has been many several months since that has happened. . I welcome your comments and look forward to a good debate. Am I boring you with too many articles and too few journal entries and emails. If so it’s because I am now working full time and do not have sufficient time to do justice to journaling. Please look over my BLOG and give me feedback. Click on comments at the end of a Post and let me know you’re out there.

February 6, 2007
Email exchanges I had with the President of the
American Arab Antidiscrimination Committee
(ADC) this week:

Thanks for your efforts Nabil. I will continue to pursue the idea of a lawsuit. I've appealed to my Congressman and he's done nothing. I no longer attempt to appeal to the press. They're all lackeys for the Israelis.

If you have any other ideas or think of someone who might help me please contact me.

Aren’t there international laws broken here? Since when does an occupying power have
the right to steal the real estate of the residents of the land it is occupying? Why is only Israeli law considered here?


--- Nabil Mohamad wrote:

> Dear Bronwin,
> After consulting with our Legal Department, they
said that this isn't a case ADC can get involved in.
Anything that has to
> do with land ownership > in the Occupied Territories
would fall squarely > under Israeli law, and we
> simply do not have the resources to take on a case
> like that. Also, that doesn't really fall within
the scope of what ADC does, since our casework
> concerns US law.
> You probably would need to contact a local lawyer in
> the West Bank who has a better sense of what legal
action can be taken to reclaim land. One of
> the human rights NGOs on the ground there may have a
> better idea of what can be done. Let me know if you
need other > suggestions of names and entities who
may be able to address this particular issue.
> Take care,
> Nabil
> At 03:47 PM 2/3/2007, you wrote:
> >Dear Nabil,
> >
>Thank you for these invitations. I won't be able to
>attend the Peace Cafe event. I would like to attend
the event on Wednesday.
> >
> I'm wondering if there are grounds for those of us
> who are not allowed into the West Bank to sue the
> government of Israel. I would think so if real
> estate is involved. I inherited a small house and
some land from my husband last year. It is
located in a small village outside Bier Zeit.
Twenty years ago the Israelis confiscated 700 dunums
of the family's land nearby and have built a settlement
on it.
> >
> >A friend of mine in Ramallah, an American woman,
> who has lived there for close to ten years and is
> having trouble renewing her VISA, told me there
is a law that makes it illegal to confiscate
land belonging to Americans. Do any of your attorneys
know anything about that? I've been trying to find the
details since I heard about it. I would be
willing to sue to return to my house.
I had hoped to spend six months of the year at that
little house in semiretirement. Which of your attorneys
should I speak with about this?
> >
I spoke by phone to Abu Rizik today. He has
> been moved from ICU and was very tired but apparently
> >recovering from his surgery.
> >
> >Regards,
> >Bronwin Peel
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >--- Nabil Mohamad wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > The Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle
> East
Ø > > Peace (WIAMEP) Invites you to attend a party
Ø with a purpose! Join us in an educational and
Ø fundraising party to support the work of the
> > > Israeli Committee against House Demolitions
Ø (ICAHD). ICAHD is a non-violent, direct action
Ø group opposed to Israel’s demolition of
> > > Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories.
> > > ICAHD has been rebuilding
> > > the demolished homes of Palestinians for over
> eightyears and educating
> > > people about the long-term implications of house
> > > demolitions on prospects
> > > for a just peace in the region.
> > >
> > >> > > We will watch a short film, Resisting the
> > > Occupation: On the Ground, enjoy
> > > the Iron Sheik perform, network and nibble on
> > > refreshments.
> > >
> > >
> > > February 3, 2007 @ 4:00 ­ 6:00 pm
> > >
> > > Busboys and Poets
> > > 2021 14th Street, NW
> > > Washington, DC

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Friday, February 02, 2007

The Forward: Main Anti-war Group Plans Rally Against Israeli Policies Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 09:03:41 -0500
I received the following email from a friend. Please note that Rep. Jerald Nadler argues that the reason for the Palesianian-Israeli conflict is the Palestian's refusal to recognize Israel. Few Americans know that the PLO did just that in the 80s. Since it removed the main objection voiced by the Israeli government the media in the US and Israel ignored it. Israel has never recognized Palestine's right to exist and continues to confiscate more and more of the land owned by Palestinians.

Main Anti-war Group Plans Rally Against Israeli Policies

Daniel Treiman | Fri. Feb 02, 2007
The anti-war group behind the recent demonstration that brought tens of thousands to Washington to protest the Iraq War already has plans for another mass rally in the nation’s capital. This time, though, the target of the protesters’ ire will be Israel.

United for Peace and Justice, the convener of the January 27 march, is joining with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to co-sponsor a two-day “mobilization” in June, titled “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation.” The event will include a mass rally, a “teach-in” and lobbying. It will mark the 40th year since Israel’s capture of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in June 1967.
“The purpose of the event is to hopefully call greater attention both to the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, but also to call attention to the role that the U.S. plays in supporting that, and specifically the financial role, of course,” said UFPJ’s national coordinator, Leslie Cagan.

The Jewish community has had an uneasy relationship with the anti-war movement. While polls show that solid majorities of American Jews now disapprove of the decision to go to war in Iraq, most major Jewish groups have been quiet on the issue. Many supporters of Israel have been concerned that the anti-war movement has become a vehicle for promoting the Palestinian cause to a larger audience.

Josh Ruebner, grass-roots advocacy coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, called UFPJ’s co-sponsorship of the June 10-11 mobilization “very significant.”

“The scale of what both of our coalitions are attempting, I think, has never been attempted before on the issue of Palestinian human rights in this country,” he said.

But not all Iraq War critics are pleased by UFPJ’s activism on the Palestinian issue. Informed of the group’s plans for a rally criticizing Israel, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who appeared onstage at this weekend’s demonstration along with several other members of Congress, said he was “very upset.”

“I totally disagree with them on their view,” the New York Democrat said. “I obviously don’t think the major problem is the Israeli occupation, which would have ended long ago if it weren’t for the major problem, which is the refusal of Hamas and the Palestinian leadership generally to agree with the existence of Israel.”

Nadler said that most of those who participated in this past weekend’s rally showed up because they oppose the Iraq War, not because of UFPJ’s other political agendas.

“This group is a group with its own opinions, and they have one opinion that a lot of people share, and they’ve done a good job in mobilizing and getting out front,” he said, referring to UFPJ’s opposition to the Iraq War. “One can wish that someone else had done it, but nobody else did. They did the organizing, etc. Now they are going to try to exploit that for their other points. They will not have much success with that.”

UFPJ is a coalition of about 1,400 local and national groups. It has successfully organized demonstrations that have brought hundreds of thousands to the streets to protest the Iraq War. Formed in 2002, UFPJ was regarded within the nascent peace movement as an alternative to the then-dominant anti-war coalition, International Answer, which many believed was controlled by the Workers World Party, a fringe Marxist sect. Jewish groups, in particular, were alarmed by International Answer’s fervid anti-Israel rhetoric.

But UFPJ also has drawn accusations of extremism. National coordinator Cagan, a veteran left-wing activist, has been a particular lightning rod for critics, who have accused her of being sympathetic to Cuba’s communist regime and of equivocating about the Iraqi insurgency. In a 2003 interview with the Forward, Cagan, former director of the Cuba Information Project, called Fidel Castro “a very smart man who has worked very hard to help organize his country in a way that he thinks is valuable and positive.” Asked in the same interview about the then months-old Iraqi insurgency, she said that UFPJ “doesn’t have a position on that, and personally I’m neither condemning them nor applauding them.”

The June mobilization will not be UFPJ’s first foray into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. UFPJ has criticized Israeli actions repeatedly, adopting the slogan “Occupation: Wrong in Iraq, Wrong in Palestine.” In 2004, UFPJ coordinated a national day of protests against Israel’s West Bank security barrier.

“I believe that historically the issue of Israel-Palestine has been relegated to the sidelines or not discussed at all by the larger peace and justice movement in this country,” Ruebner said. “I think that that attitude and mind-set has changed a great deal over the past five years, and that UFPJ has played a role in bringing the issue of Palestine and Palestinian human rights and U.S. support for Israeli occupation into the mainstream of the discourse of the peace and justice movement.”

Cagan said that the June rally will likely be UFPJ’s largest action so far relating to Israel. She said, however, that it would not be an anti-Israel event but rather a protest against Israeli policies. She said that UFPJ supports Israel’s right to exist, although the coalition’s Palestine/Israel Just Peace Working Group has stated that it “will not endorse a particular solution [for peace], such as two states, one state, the Geneva Initiative, the road map, etc.,” since its member groups have differing views on this issue.

Fri. Feb 02, 2007

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

> >Women and Violence> >
Why does that streak of blood, rip the petal of your
> >cheek?

I received this script of a wonderful speech by email
yesterday. It was emailed to me by a friend of mine,
a Lebanese American woman whose husband, an Iraqi
American was a diplomat in Iraq during the fifties.

> >Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the mother of Smadar
> >Elhanan, 13 years old when killed by a suicide bomber
> >in Jerusalem in September 1997. Below is Nurit's
> >Address to the European Parliament> >

By Nurit Peled-Elhanan
> >
> >04/08/05 -- Thank you for inviting me to this today.
> >It is always an honour and a pleasure to be here,
> >among you (at the European Parliament).
> >
> >However, I must admit I believe you should have
> >invited a Palestinian woman at my stead, because the
> >women who suffer most from violence in my county are
> >the Palestinian women. And I would like to dedicate my
> >speech to Miriam R'aban and her husband Kamal, from
> >Bet Lahiya in the Gaza Strip, whose five small
> >children were killed by Israeli soldiers while picking
> >strawberries at the family's strawberry field. No one
> >will ever stand trial for this murder.
> >
> >When I asked the people who invited me here why
> >wouldn't they invite a Palestinian woman the answer
> >was that it would make the discussion too localized.
> >
> >I don't know what is non-localized violence. Racism
> >and discrimination may be theoretical concepts and
> >universal phenomena but their impact is always local,
> >and real. Pain is local, humiliation, sexual abuse,
> >torture and death, are all very local, and so are the
> >scars.
> >
> >It is true unfortunately, that the local violence
> >inflicted on Palestinian women by the government of
> >Israel and the Israeli Army, has expanded around the
> >globe. In fact state violence and army violence,
> >individual and collective violence are the lot of
> >Muslim women today, not only in Palestine but wherever
> >the enlightened Western world is setting its big
> >imperialistic foot. It is violence which is hardly
> >ever addressed and which is halfheartedly condoned by
> >most people in Europe and in the USA.
> >
> >This is because the so-called free world is afraid of
> >the Muslim womb.
> >
> >Great France of la liberté l'égalité et la fraternité
> >is scared of little girls with headscarves, Great
> >Jewish Israel is afraid of the Muslim womb. Its
> >ministers call it a demographic threat. Almighty
> >America and Great Britain are infecting their
> >respective citizens with blind fear of the Muslims,
> >who are depicted as vile, primitive and blood-thirsty,
> >apart from their being non-democratic, chauvinistic
> >and mass producers of future terrorists.
> >
> >This in spite of the fact that the people who are
> >destroying the world today are not Muslim. One of them
> >is a devout Christian, one is Anglican and one is a
> >non-devout Jew.
> >
> >I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian
> >women undergo every day, every hour. I don't know the
> >kind of violence that turns a woman's life into
> >constant hell. This daily physical and mental torture
> >of women who are deprived of their basic human rights
> >and needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes
> >are broken in at any moment of day and night, who are
> >ordered at a gun-point to strip naked in front of
> >strangers and their own children, whose houses are
> >demolished, who are deprived of their livelihood and
> >of any normal family life. This is not part of my
> >personal ordeal. But I am a victim of violence against
> >women insofar as violence against children is actually
> >violence against mothers. Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan
> >women are my sisters because we are all at the grip of
> >the same unscrupulous criminals who call themselves
> >leaders of the free enlightened world and in the name
> >of this freedom and enlightenment rob us of our
> >children. Furthermore, Israeli, American, Italian and
> >British mothers have been for the most part violently
> >blinded and brainwashed to such a degree that they
> >cannot realize their only sisters, their only allies
> >in the world are the Muslim Palestinian, Iraqi or
> >Afghani mothers, whose children are killed by our
> >children or who blow themselves to pieces with our
> >sons and daughters. They are all mind-infected by the
> >same viruses engendered by politicians. And the
> >viruses, though they may have various illustrious
> >names such as Democracy, Patriotism, God, Homeland,
> >are all the same. They are all part of false and fake
> >ideologies that are meant to enrich the rich and to
> >empower the powerful.
> >
> >We are all the victims of mental, psychological and
> >cultural violence that turn us to one homogenic group
> >of bereaved or potentially bereaved mothers. Western
> >mothers are taught to believe their uterus is a
> >national asset just like they are taught to believe
> >that the Muslim uterus is an international threat.
> >They are educated not to cry out: "I gave him birth, I
> >breast-fed him, he is mine, and I will not let him be
> >the one whose life is cheaper than oil, whose future
> >is less worth than a piece of land."
> >
> >All of us are terrorized by mind-infecting education
> >to believe all we can do is either pray for our sons
> >to come back home or be proud of their dead bodies.
> >
> >And all of us were brought up to bear all this
> >silently, to contain our fear and frustration, to take
> >Prozac for anxiety, but never hail Mama Courage in
> >public. Never be real Jewish or Italian or Irish
> >mothers.
> >
> >I am a victim of state violence. My natural and civil
> >rights as a mother have been violated and are violated
> >because I have to fear the day my son would reach his
> >18th birthday and be taken away from me to be the game
> >tool of criminals such as Sharon, Bush, Blair and
> >their clan of blood-thirsty, oil-thirsty, land-thirsty
> >generals.
> >
> >Living in the world I live in, in the state I live in,
> >in the regime I live in, I don't dare to offer Muslim
> >women any ideas how to change their lives. I don't
> >want them to take off their scarves, or educate their
> >children differently, and I will not urge them to
> >constitute democracies in the image of Western
> >democracies that despise them and their kind. I just
> >want to ask them humbly to be my sisters, to express
> >my admiration for their perseverance and for their
> >courage to carry on, to have children and to maintain
> >a dignified family life in spite of the impossible
> >conditions my world is putting them in. I want to tell
> >them we are all bonded by the same pain, we are all
> >the victims of the same sort of violence even though
> >they suffer much more, for they are the ones who are
> >mistreated by my government and its army, sponsored by
> >my taxes.
> >
> >Islam in itself, like Judaism in itself and
> >Christianity in itself, is not a threat to me or to
> >anyone. American imperialism is, European indifference
> >and cooperation is and Israeli racist and cruel regime
> >of occupation is. It is racism, educational propaganda
> >and inculcated xenophobia that convince Israeli
> >soldiers to order Palestinian women at gun-point to
> >strip in front of their children for security reasons;
> >it is the deepest disrespect for the other that allow
> >American soldiers to rape Iraqi women, that give
> >license to Israeli jailers to keep young women in
> >inhuman conditions, without necessary hygienic aids,
> >without electricity in the winter, without clean water
> >or clean mattresses and to separate them from their
> >breast-fed babies and toddlers. To bar their way to
> >hospitals, to block their way to education, to
> >confiscate their lands, to uproot their trees and
> >prevent them from cultivating their fields.
> >
> >I cannot completely understand Palestinian women or
> >their suffering. I don't know how I would have
> >survived such humiliation, such disrespect from the
> >whole world. All I know is that the voice of mothers
> >has been suffocated for too long in this war-stricken
> >planet . Mothers' cry is not heard because mothers are
> >not invited to international forums such as this one.
> >This I know and it is very little. But it is enough
> >for me to remember these women are my sisters, and
> >that they deserve that I should cry for them, and
> >fight for them. And when they lose their children in
> >strawberry fields or in on filthy roads by the
> >checkpoints, when their children are shot on their way
> >to school by Israeli children who were educated to
> >believe that love and compassion are race- and
> >religion-dependent, the only thing I can do is stand
> >by them and their betrayed babies, and ask what Anna
> >Akhmatova, another mother who lived in a regime of
> >violence against women and children, had asked:
> >
> >Why does that streak of blood, rip the petal of your
> >cheek?

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