Saturday, 28 February 2009

What’s with Jordan?


From Wikileaks

Wikileaks has cracked the encryption to a key document relating to the war in Afghanistan. The document, titled “NATO in Afghanistan: Master Narrative”, details the “story” NATO representatives are to give to, and to avoid giving to, journalists.

The encrypted document, which is dated October 6, and believed to be current, can be found on the Pentagon Central Command (CENTCOM) website [UPDATE: Fri Feb 27 15:18:38 GMT 2009, the entire Pentagon site is now down -- probably in response to this editorial, parts of the site can still be seen in google's cache.] [...]

Among the revelations, which we encourage the press to review in detail, is Jordan’s presense as secret member of the US lead occupation force, the ISAF.

Jordan is a middle eastern monarchy, backed by the US, and historically the CIA’s closest partner in its extraordinary rendition program. “the practice of torture is routine” in the country, according to a January 2007 report by UN special investigator for torture, Manfred Nowak. [my emphasis]

The document states NATO spokespersons are to keep Jordan’s involvement secret. Publicly, Jordan withdrew in 2001 and the country does not appear on this month’s public list of ISAF member states. - Link [via Media Lens]



February 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm (Associate Post, Extremism, Israel, Palestine, Religion)

By Khalid Amayreh

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Muslim and Christian leaders across the occupied Palestinian lands are shocked with repeated Israeli insults of the prophets and religious sanctities.

“I don’t really know when Jews will start to respect the religious sensitivities of non-Jews,” the Chief religious judge of Palestine, Dr. Taysir Tamimi, told on Saturday, February 28.

“It is very shocking and very telling that Jewish religious leaders in Israel and abroad have not condemned these blasphemous acts.”

Israeli media shocked millions of Muslims and Christians last week by mocking Jesus, his mother Mary and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).

A TV comedy skit, hosted by Israeli comedian Lior Shlein, last week depicted Jesus as being “too fat” to have walked on water and that Mary was not virgin.

The insult came after the host angered million of Muslims when he pointed to one of his shoes, saying “This is Muhammad.”

“Muslims throughout the world have been shocked by the evil campaign waged against Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) and abuse of this shameful campaign against the sanctities with insults addressed against the Prophet and a religion followed by more than 1.5 billion Muslims,” said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

“This shameful conduct came a few days after broadcasting insulting rhetoric against Prophet Jesus and his virgin mother, Mary, peace be upon them.”

Wicked, blasphemous

Salim Kubti, a lawyer representing Christian courts in Israel, said he was considering a libel suit against Channel-10, which hosted the comedy show.

"Such remarks go beyond satire and dark humor,” he told IOL.

“These are serious utterances insulting the sensibilities of every Christian and anyone who possesses values and mutual respect for other religions.

“It’s clear that Shlein is a failure and as a result is looking for any way to improve his ratings, and he is jumping on a sensitive issue.”

The Vatican labeled the Israeli show “a vulgar and offensive act of intolerance toward the religious sentiments of the believers in Christ.”

Some Christian leaders and clergymen even Pope Benedict XVI to postpone or cancel his planned visit to Israel, scheduled to take place in May.

The outcry forced outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to apologize for Pope Benedict XVI, saying the comedy segment didn’t represent Israel’s views.

IOL has contacted some Jewish leaders for comment, but they refused to talk.

Muslim leaders also denounced the Israeli TV show, calling it “wicked and blasphemous.”

“We believe in freedom of expression, but we don’t believe in freedom of vulgarity and blasphemy,” Ikrema Sabri, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), said in the weekly Friday sermon.

"You can’t insult and offend people under the pretext of freedom of expression.”

He said the “apparent acquiescence” of the Israeli government to these vulgarities reflected “malice and ill-will” toward Muslims, calling on Muslims worldwide to send an “unmistakable warning” to Israel to refrain from insulting religious symbols.

Israel has a long history of showing disrespect to Muslim and Christian faiths.

In 1948, the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish groups systematically destroyed hundreds of mosques in Palestine in an effort to obliterate the country’s Arab-Islamic identity.

Mosques left intact, such as the Beir al Saba’a Mosque, were converted into bars or brothels. Others were simply left to fall into disrepair.

Shortly after the 1967 Middle East war, the chief rabbi of the Israeli army, Shlomo Gorin, urged the military to blow up Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, “once and for all”.

In January 1984, armed Jewish extremists, led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger, one of the leaders of Gush Emunim, the Jewish settler movement, attempted to dynamite and destroy Al-Aqsa mosque.

Jewish insults of Muslim and Christian symbols became more common and audacious in recent years.

Nearly ten years ago, a Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union drew an offensive image depicting Prophet Muhammad as a pig writing the Qur’an.

In 2006, a Jewish couple walked into the Basilica of Annunciation Church in the Arab town of Nazareth in Israel, carrying 19 gas canisters, bottles of turpentine and kerosene, 64 firecrackers and 25 rocket-shaped fireworks.

The couple placed the fireworks and the gas canisters in a corner then poured kerosene on them, causing a fire.

Moreover, Yeshiva (Talmudic school) students have been spitting on Christian clergymen in Al-Quds and breaking their crucifixes.

Some other fanatical Jews don’t hesitate to refer to Jesus as “Hitler of Bethlehem.”



February 28, 2009 at 11:00 am (Associate Post, Cartoons, Iraq War, Peace)

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

Israeli Offensive Gives Legitimacy to Hamas Rule in Gaza

Israeli Offensive Gives Legitimacy to Hamas Rule in Gaza
Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 246

27/02/2009 Israeli daily Haaretz published a report Friday in which it said that the Israeli 22-day aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on December 27 has given the Hamas resistance movement more legitimacy among the public.

The Haaretz report said that after three rockets fell Thursday in the area around the Gaza Strip, what comes on the minds that Israel is still far from its declared goal in “Operation Cast Lead”. Discussion about the Israeli military operation's outcome revolves around the term "deterrence."

If Israel can enshrine “Cast Lead” in a long-term agreement, the war will be remembered as a success. But fears are mounting that the operation's military achievements are dissipating. If so, the Israeli offensive will go down in history as a less-than-successful round in a long war in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli occupation forces left Gaza with the feeling that it had proven itself, after its debacle in Lebanon in 2006. But it seems that the bottom line will have to wait. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was quick to criticize what went wrong in Lebanon, followed outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's lead in withdrawing from Gaza without a real agreement.

But like in Lebanon, faced with only an aerial attack or one followed by a ground operation, Israel chose the middle ground and acted slowly and partially. The report said, “Because in Gaza the enemy was less determined than in Lebanon, the move first appeared to be a victory. Only when the IDF left could the results of the war be seen as limited, with almost daily attacks near the fence, a continuing "drizzle" of rockets and information on renewed arms smuggling.”

The Israeli aggression has only led to increased admiration for the Hamas group, according to opinion polls in the territories. Hamas is still waiting for another crowning achievement: if captured Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit is released for more than 1,000 Palestinian detainees.

However, the occupation army is currently reviewing its performance during the war and an encouraging picture is emerging in terms of its professionalism, control over units, aerial assistance to ground forces, quality of intelligence and logistics compared to the Second Lebanon War.

Haaretz said that the international community will back Israel's military operations as long as they are short, focused, conducted from the air and do not result in major civilian casualties.

“Cast Lead” raised international hackles, because Israel lost few people to the rockets fired from Gaza, but its response caused widespread death and destruction. What's more, in Gaza the victims were Palestinians, who already bear the brunt of the tragedy of 1948; the world is much more sympathetic to them than to Syria and Lebanon.

The major damage “Cast Lead” did was in legitimizing Hamas as the ruler of the Gaza Strip, with increasing calls for "reconciliation talks" that will return the organization to the Palestinian leadership.

The offensive was planned to coincide with the end of the term of the Israel-friendly President George W. Bush, before President Barack Obama entered office. But now, instead of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coming to talk to Israel about the Iranian threat, her first visit in office will focus on the problems of the Palestinians in Gaza. That might be the greatest damage of all.

An Israeli reservist, a gunner, said he left the war ashamed. "The IDF used disproportionate power, in a kind of punishment operation."

The Color Red alert was followed Thursday by the muffled sound of a falling rocket, seemingly not too close to the center of town. Only later, settlers found out a rocket had hit a house and a few people were suffering from shock. In Sderot, it's business as usual. After two weeks in front of the cameras, Sderot is back on the margins it knows so well: failing businesses, a desperate school system. But who has the strength to talk about it?

Defend Freedom of Speech on Palestine

27 February 2009 Posted in Canada, Palestine

Open Letter to university community on Palestinian Rights and Canadian Universities

    Photo: Fathima Cader. Palestinian solidarity protest in Toronto.
The last two years have seen increasing efforts to limit advocacy of Palestinian rights on Canadian universities, amounting to a pattern of the suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

these include:

* Statements from 19 university presidents in the summer of 2007 to foreclose debate on the academic boycott of Israel, citing “academic freedom”
* Visits to Israel by eight university presidents in the summer of 2008, with no equivalent outreach to Palestinian institutions
* Efforts to ban the use of the term “Israeli Apartheid” at McMaster University in February-March 2008, overturned only through a campaign of protest
* Discipline against students involved in peaceful protests for Palestinian rights at York University in March in 2008
* Attempted discipline against a faculty member who addressed a rally against Israeli Apartheid at York University in 2008
* A pattern of cancellation of room bookings for meetings concerning Palestinian rights at the University of Toronto and York University in 2008
* The use of security clearance requirements and fees to cover security costs to impede campus meetings about Palestinian rights

we the undersigned:

* Defend the right to freedom of speech about Palestine for all members of the university community, including freedom to use the term ‘apartheid’ to identify and debate certain policies associated with the state of Israel and the freedom to support, facilitate and participate freely in activities under the rubric of “Israeli apartheid week”
* Call for an end to the silencing of speech around Palestine, removing extraordinary requirements for security clearance and fees for security services
* Support increased ties to Palestinian institutions and scholars, and activities to support the right to education and academic freedom of Palestinians

1. Gamal Abdel-Shehid,
Associate Professor, Kinesiology and Health Science, York University
2. Nahla Abdo,
Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University
3. Baha Abu-Laban,
Professor Emeritus, Sociology, University of Alberta
4. Yasmeen Abu-Laban,
Professor, Political Science, University of Alberta
5. Greg Albo,
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, York University
6. Mehrunnisa Ali,
Professor, Early Childhood Education, Ryerson University
7. Sima Aprahamian,
Sociology-Anthropology & Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University
8. Sedef Arat-Koc,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Politics & Public Administration, Ryerson University
9. Katherine Arnup,
Associate Professor, School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University
10. Sylvat Aziz,
Associate Professor, Department of Art, Queen’s University
11. Feyzi Baban,
Associate Professor, Politics Department, Trent University
12. Susan Babbitt,
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Queens University
13. Reem Bahdi,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor
14. Abigail B. Bakan,
Professor, Political Studies, Queens University
15. Patricia Balcom,
Professeure titulaire, Université de Moncton
16. Himani Bannerji,
Professor, Department of Sociology, York University
17. Deborah Barndt,
Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
18. Amy Bartholomew,
Associate Professor, Department of Law, Carleton University
19. Elena Basile,
Sexual Diversity Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto
20. Gregory Baum,
professor emeritus, McGill University
21. Pierre Beaudet,
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa
22. Micheline Beaudry,
Professor (retired), Université Laval
23. Roger Beck,
Professor emeritus, Dept. of Historical Studies, University of Toronto-Mississauga
24. Jean-François Belzile,
Coordonnateur, Department de philosophie, cégep André-Laurendeau
25. Rachel Berger,
Assistant Professor, History, Concordia University
26. Richard Bevis,
Professor Emeritus of English, University of British Columbia
27. Davina Bhandar,
Assistant Professor, Canadian Studies, Trent University
28. Tim Blackmore,
Associate Professor, Information & Media Studies, Univ. of Western Ontario
29. Malcolm Blincow,
Associate Professor, Anthropology, York University
30. Julie-Anne Boudreau,
Associate professor, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Montreal
31. Marion Boulby,
Associate Professor, Department of History, Trent University
32. Mordecai Briemberg
(retired faculty), Douglas College
33. Bill Burgess,
Geography and Geology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
34. Mike Burke,
Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
35. Kristin Burnett,
Assistant Professor, History Department, Lakehead University
36. Paula Butler,
Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, Trent University
37. David Butz,
Professor, Department of Geography, Brock University
38. David Camfield,
Assistant Professor, Labour Studies, University of Manitoba
39. Dominique Caouette,
Professeur adjoint, Dép. de science politique, Université de Montréal
40. Anna Carastathis,
Part-time Faculty, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University
41. William K. Carroll,
Professor , Department of Sociology, University of Victoria
42. Debra Chapman,
Contract Faculty, Dept. Political Science; Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier Univ.
43. R. Cheran,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
44. Robert Chernomas,
Professor of Economics, University of Manitoba
45. Peter Chidiac,
Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, U. Western Ontario
46. Sally Chivers,
Associate Professor, Canadian Studies, Trent University
47. Aziz Choudry,
Faculty of Education, McGill University
48. David Clipsham,
Senior Scholar, English Department, Glendon College, York University
49. Lynne Cohen,
Retired faculty, University of Ottawa
50. Janet Conway,
Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, Dept. of Sociology, Brock University
51. David Cooke,
Senior Scholar, York University
52. Kendra Coulter,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
53. Rebecca Coulter,
Professor, Education, University of Western Ontario
54. Jocelyne Couture,
Professeur associée, Département de philosophie, U. du Québec à Montréal
55. Deborah Cowen,
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
56. Stuart Cryer,
Professor, Workforce Development, Cambrian College of Applied Arts & Technology
57. Dara Culhane,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Simon Fraser University
58. Dia Da Costa,
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Queens University
59. Tania Das Gupta,
Chair, School of Social Sciences, York University
60. Howard S. Davidson,
Associate Professor, Extended Education, University of Manitoba
61. Chandler Davis,
Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Toronto
62. Mary Ellen Davis,
Part-time faculty and film-maker, School of Cinema, Concordia University
63. Richard J.F. Day,
Associate Professor, Sociology; Cultural Studies, Queens University
64. Maneesha Deckha,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
65. Kari Dehli,
Chair, Dept. of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/University of Toronto
66. Michel Desjardins,
Professor and Chair, Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
67. Susan Dion,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, York University
68. Enakshi Dua,
Associate Professor, School of Women’s Studies, York University
69. Karen Dubinsky,
Professor, History, Queens University
70. Martin Duckworth,
Part-time faculty and film-maker, School of Cinema, Concordia University
71. Nick Dyer-Witheford,
Associate Professor, Information & Media Studies, Univ. of Western Ontario
72. Peter Eglin,
Professor of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University
73. Margrit Eichler,
Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE-University of Toronto
74. Ivar Ekeland,
FRSC, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics, U. of British Columbia
75. Christo El Morr,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health, York University
76. Munir El-Kassem,
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine & Dentistry, Univ. of Western Ontario
77. Samir El-Omari,
Assistant Professor, Dept of Building, Civil & Environmental Eng., Concordia U.
78. Norman Epstein,
Prof. Emeritus, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Univ. of British Columbia
79. Jamey Essex,
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Windsor
80. Bryan Evans,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
81. Patricia M. Evans,
Professor, School of Social Work, Carleton University
82. Mohammad Fadel,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
83. David Fancy,
Assistant Professor, Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University
84. Randa Farah,
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario
85. Sue Ferguson,
Assistant Professor, Journalism and Contemporary Studies, Wilfrid Laurier U.
86. Mireya Folch-Serra,
Professor Emerita, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario
87. Anne Forrest,
Director, Women’s Studies, University of Windsor
88. Paul Forster,
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Ottawa
89. Scott Forsyth,
Associate Professor, Film and Political Science, York University
90. Maximilian C. Forte,
Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University
91. Margot Francis,
Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies/Sociology, Brock University
92. Gavin Fridell,
Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, Trent University
93. Doreen Fumia,
Department of Sociology, Ryerson University
94. Yuriko Furuhata,
Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies, McGill University
95. Mark Gabbert,
Associate Professor, History, University of Manitoba
96. Monika Kin Gagnon,
Associate Professor, Communication Studies, Concordia University
97. Grace-Edward Galabuzi,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Politics & Public Administration, Ryerson
98. Neil Gardner,
Dept. d’anglais, Université de Moncton
99. Patrizia Gentile,
Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, Carleton University
100. Dina Georgis,
Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto
101. Qais Ghanem,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa
102. Amal Ghazal,
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Dalhousie University
103. Emily Gilbert,
Associate Professor, Canadian Studies and Geography, University of Toronto
104. Amanda Glasbeek,
Assistant Professor, Division of Social Science, York University
105. Harry Glasbeek,
Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, York University
106. Mark Golden,
Department of Classics, University of Winnipeg
107. Cy Gonick,
University of Manitoba, Publisher, Canadian Dimension magazine
108. Mark J. Goodman,
Undergraduate Program Director, School of Social Sciences,York University
109. Kanishka Goonewardena,
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
110. Rachel Gorman,
Lecturer, Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto
111. Janice Graham,
Professor, Bioethics, Dalhousie University
112. Julie Guard,
Associate Professor, Labour Studies, University of Manitoba
113. Nancy Guberman,
Professeure, École de Travail social, Université du Québec à Montréal
114. Shubhra Gururani,
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, York University
115. André Habib,
Adjunct Professor, Université de Montréal
116. Jasmin Habib,
Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Waterloo
117. Nadia Habib,
Contract Faculty, York University
118. Ratiba Hadj-Moussa,
Associate Prof. Agrégée, Department Sociology, York University
119. Laam Hae,
Assistant Professor, Political Science, York University
120. Judy Haiven,
Associate Professor, Department of Management, Saint Mary’s University
121. Budd L. Hall, Director,
Office of Community-Based Research, University of Victoria
122. Randolph Haluza-DeLay,
Assistant Professor, Sociology, The King’s University College
123. Paul Hamel,
Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
124. Paul Handford,
Associate Professor, Biology Department, University of Western Ontario
125. Elizabeth Hanson,
Professor, English, Queens University
126. Jens Hanssen,
Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern History, University of Toronto
127. Sumi Hasegawa,
Faculty Lecturer, Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University
128. Gita Hashemi,
Contract Faculty, Visual Arts, York Univ.; New Media, U. of Toronto (Scarborough)
129. Amir Hassanpour,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, U.of Toronto
130. David Heap,
Associate Professor, French Studies & Linguistics, University of Western Ontario
131. Karl Hele,
Director, First Nations Studies, University of Western Ontario
132. Henry Heller,
Professor, Department of History, University of Manitoba
133. Rob Heynen,
Contract Faculty, Political Science and Social Science, York University
134. Margaret Hobbs,
Associate Professor, Women’s Studies, Trent University
135. Derek Hrynyshyn,
Contract Faculty, Political Science and Labour Studies, McMaster University
136. John Huot,
Professor (retired), School of Social and Community Services, Humber College
137. Adrienne Hurley,
Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University
138. Esam Hussein,
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of New Brunswick
139. Jacqueline S. Ismael,
Professor, Social Work, University of Calgary
140. Shereen Ismael,
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Carleton University
141. Tareq Y. Ismael,
Professor, Political Science, University of Calgary
142. Kajri Jain,
Assistant Prof. Dept. of History of Art; Centre for Visual & Media Culture, U. of Toronto
143. Sandra Jeppesen,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communication Studies, Concordia University
144. Yasmin Jiwani,
Associate Professor, Communication Studies, Concordia University
145. Jennifer Johnson,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Women’s Studies, Laurentian University
146. Steven Jordan,
Chair, Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University
147. Ilan Kapoor,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
148. Michael Keefer,
Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph
149. Catherine Kellogg,
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
150. Paul Kellogg,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of International Development Studies, Trent University
151. Jennifer Kelly,
Associate professor, Dept. of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta
152. Jane Kelsey,
Visiting Professor, Law, University of Western Ontario
153. Kamala Kempadoo,
Associate Professor, Social Science, York University
154. RM Kennedy,
Vice President, OPSEU Local 558, Centennial College
155. Gerald Kernerman,
Refugee Studies, York University
156. Muhammad Ali Khalidi,
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, York University
157. Shahnaz Khan,
Associate Professor, Women’s Studies & Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier Univ.
158. Alex Khasnabish,
Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Mount Saint Vincent Univ.
159. Samantha King,
Associate Professor, School of Physical Health & Education, Queen’s University
160. Paul Kingston,
Department of Social Sciences, University of Toronto, Scarborough
161. Gary Kinsman,
Full Professor, Department of Sociology, Laurentian University
162. Mustafa Koc,
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Ryerson University
163. Denis Kosseim,
Département de philosophie, Collège André-Laurendeau
164. Atif Kubursi,
Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, McMaster University
165. Clarice Kuhling,
Contract Faculty, Dept. of Sociology & Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
166. Peter Kulchyski,
Professor, Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba
167. Thomas Lamarre,
Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, McGill University
168. Tom Langford,
Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Calgary
169. Sylvie Laramée,
Dept. de philosophie, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
170. Marianne Larsen,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario
171. Anne Latendresse,
Professeure agrégée, Dépt. de géographie, Univ. du Québec à Montréal
172. Lynn Lavallee,
Assistant Professor, Social Work, Ryerson University
173. Bonita Lawrence,
Native Studies, School of Social Sciences, York University
174. David Leadbeater,
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Laurentian University
175. Paul Leduc Browne,
Professeur, Dept. de Travail Social, Université du Québec en Outaouais
176. Winnie Lem,
Professor and Chair, International Development Studies, Trent University
177. Suzanne Lenon,
Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, University of Lethbridge
178. Christopher Levenson,
Adjunct Professor, English Department, Carleton University
179. Andrée Lévesque,
professeure à la retraite/post-retirement, History Department, McGill University
180. Charmain Levy,
Professeur, Department de Travail Social, Université du Québec en Outaouais
181. Abby Lippman,
Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, & Occupational Health, McGill U.
182. Margaret Little,
Full Professor, Women’s Studies/Political Studies, Queen’s University
183. Andrew Lugg,
Professor emeritus, University of Ottawa
184. Rashmi Luther,
Lecturer, School of Social Work, Carleton University
185. Michael Lynk,
Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario
186. Michael C.K. Ma,
Contract Faculty, Department of Political Science, McMaster University
187. Bob MacDermid,
Associate Professor, Political Science, York University
188. Eva Mackey,
Associate Professor, School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University
189. Audrey Macklin,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
190. Bonnie MacLachlan,
Associate Professor, Classical Studies, University of Western Ontario
191. Shoshana Magnet,
Postdoctoral Fellow, Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University
192. Gada Mahrouse,
Assistant Professor, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University
193. David Mandel,
Professeur, Dept. de science politique, Université du Québec à Montréal
194. Linzi Manicom,
Writing Instructor, University of Toronto
195. Egla Martinez,
Assistant Professor, Interdisc, Studies/Women’s & Gender Studies, Carleton Univ.
196. Sara Matthews,
Contract Faculty, Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
197. Rosanna Maule,
Associate Professor, Film Studies, Concordia University
198. J.J. McMurtry,
Assistant Professor,
Coordinator, Business and Society Program, York University
199. David McNally,
Professor, Political Science, York University
200. Lorraine McNeil,
School of Language and Liberal Studies, Fanshawe College
201. Anne Meneley,
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Trent University
202. Donna Mergler,
professeure émérite, Dépt. des sciences biologiques, U. du Québec à Montréal
203. Haideh Moghissi,
Professor, School of Women’s Studies and Social Sciences,York University
204. Shahrzad Mojab,
Professor, Dept. of Adult Education/Counselling Psychology, OISE/U. Toronto
205. Patricia Molloy,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Communication Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University
206. Kevin Moloney,
Contract faculty, Dept. of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, York University
207. Ken Montgomery,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Regina
208. Rodica Monnet,
Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Montreal
209. Colin Mooers,
Professor, Dept. of Politics & Public Administration, Ryerson University
210. Shree Mulay,
Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University
211. Gloria Mulcahy,
Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario
212. Eileen Muller Myrdahl,
Contract Faculty, University of Lethbridge
213. Tiffany Muller Myrdahl,
Faculty, Women’s Studies, University of Lethbridge
214. Karen Bridget Murray,
Assistant Professor, Political Science, York University
215. Dorit Naaman,
Associate Professor, Film Studies, Queens University
216. Denise Nadeau,
Contract Faculty, Concordia; Director Interfaith Summer Institute, Simon Fraser University
217. Mary-Jo Nadeau,
Contract faculty, Dept. of Sociology, Trent Univ. and Wilfrid Laurier Univ.
218. Nima Naghibi,
Assistant Professor, Department of English,Ryerson University
219. Joanne Naiman,
Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology, Ryerson University
220. Neil Naiman,
Senior Scholar, English Department, Glendon College, York University
221. Reza Nakhaie,
Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
222. James Naylor,
Associate Professor, Department of History, Brandon University
223. Sheryl Nestel,
Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE-University of Toronto
224. Melanie Newton,
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto
225. Kai Nielsen,
Adjunct Professor, Department of Philosophy, Concordia University
226. Khaled Nigim,
Professor, School of Technology and Applied Science, Lambtob College
227. Jon Nissenbaum,
Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, McGill University
228. Marielle Nitoslawska,
Professor, Cinema, Concordia University
229. David F. Noble,
Professor, Department of History, York University
230. Jeff Noonan,
Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Windsor
231. Máire Noonan,
Faculty Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, McGill University
232. Sam Noumoff,
Retired faculty, McGill University
233. Peter Nyers,
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, McMaster University
234. Carol-Anne O’Brien,
School of Social Work, Ryerson University
235. Colleen O’Manique,
Associate Professor, Women’s Studies, Trent University
236. Pat O’Riley,
Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences,York University
237. Reecia Orzeck,
University of Vermont
238. Patricia Palulis,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa
239. Margaret Pappano,
Associate Professor, English, Queens University
240. Anthony Paré,
Professor, Faculty of Education, McGill University
241. James Penney,
Associate Professor, Cultural Studies Program, Trent University
242. Adele Perry,
Associate Professor, History, University of Manitoba
243. Nalini Persram,
Associate Professor, Division of Social Science, York University
244. John Peters,
Dept of Political Science, Laurentian University
245. James Petras,
Professor emeritus (Binghamton) and Adjunct Professor (St. Marys University)
246. Dennis Pilon,
Political Science Department, University of Victoria, BC
247. Justin Podur,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
248. Gordon Pon,
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Ryerson University
249. Garry Potter, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University
250. Scott Prudham,
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
251. Rebecca Raby,
Associate Professor, Department of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University
252. Mary-Beth Raddon,
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Brock University
253. Najat Rahman,
Professeure agrégée, Dép. de littérature comparée Université de Montréal
254. Saeed Rahnema,
Professor, Political Science and Public Policy and Admin, York University
255. Diana Ralph,
Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Carleton University
256. Omar M. Ramahi,
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo
257. Denis G. Rancourt,
Full Professor, Department of Physics, University of Ottawa
258. Norma Rantisi,
Associate Professor, Geography, Planning & Environment, Concordia University
259. Govind Rao,
Lecturer, Department of Political Science, McMaster University
260. Leda Raptis,
Professor, Department of Microbiology, Queen’s University
261. Frances Ravensbergen,
Lecturer, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University
262. Sherene Razack,
Professor, Dept. of Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE/University of Toronto
263. Judy Rebick,
CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University
264. James A. Reilly,
Professor, Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
265. Carla Rice,
Associate Professor, Women’s Studies, Trent University
266. Herman Rosenfeld,
Contract faculty, Labour Studies, McMaster University
267. Stephanie Ross,
Assistant Professor, Labour Studies Programme, Div. of Social Science, York U.
268. Reuben Roth,
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology and Labour Studies Pgm, Laurentian Univ.
269. Matthew Rowlinson,
Dept. of English; Centre for Theory and Criticism, Univ. of Western Ontario
270. Blair Rutherford,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, Carleton University
271. Kim Rygiel,
Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
272. John Sakeris,
Professor Emeritus, Sociology, Ryerson University
273. Trish Salah,
Contract Faculty, Bishop’s & Concordia Universities
274. Ariel Salzmann,
Associate Professor, History, Queens University
275. John S. Saul,
Emeritus Professor, Social and Political Science, York University
276. Veronica Schild,
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Western Ontario
277. Alan Sears,
Department of Sociology, Ryerson University
278. Ana María Seifert,
Professeure associée, Dépt. d’éducation, U. du Québec à Montreal
279. Gale Seiler,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, McGill University
280. Alan Shandro,
Department of Political Science, Laurentian University
281. Shaheen Shariff,
Associate Professor, Dept. of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University
282. Carolyn Sharp,
Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottawa
283. Brian Shilton,
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario
284. Lesley Short,
Clinic Director, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario
285. Nicola Short,
Associate Professor, Political Science, York University
286. Alexis Shotwell,
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Laurentian University
287. Eric Shragge,
Principal, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University
288. Muhammad Shuraydi,
Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Windsor
289. Bill Skidmore,
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University
290. Harry Smaller,
Associate Professor (Emeritus), Faculty of Education, York University
291. Murray E.G. Smith,
Professor of Sociology, Brock University
292. Jesook Song,
Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto
293. Sarita Srivastava,
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Queen’s University
294. Daiva Stasiulis,
Professor of Sociology, Carleton University
295. Mercedes Steedman,
Professor of Labour Studies, Laurentian University
296. Candis Steenbergen,
Contract Faculty, Concordia University
297. Paul Stevens,
Professor & Canada Research Chair in English Literature, University of Toronto
298. Christopher Darius Stonebanks,
Associate Professor, Education, Bishop’s University
299. Aparna Sundar,
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Ryerson University
300. Itrath Syed,
Instructor, Women’s Studies, Langara College
301. Lisa Taylor,
Associate Professor,
School of Education, Bishop’s University
302. Nancy Thede,
Professeure, Dép. de science politique, Université du Québec à Montréal
303. Sunera Thobani,
Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, Univ. of British Columbia
304. David Thomas,
Assistant Professor, International Relations, Mount Allison University
305. Mark Thomas,
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, York University
306. Samuel Trosow,
Associate Professor,
Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario
307. Steven Tufts,
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, York University
308. Naomi Binder Wall,
Contract faculty, University Partnership Centre, Georgian College
309. Rinaldo Walcott,
Associate Professor, OISE, University of Toronto
310. Robert Ware,
Prof. Emeritus (Philosophy), U. Calgary; Adjunct Professor, U. British Columbia
311. Samantha Wehbi,
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Ryerson University
312. Martha Wiebe,
Instructor, School of Social Work, Carleton University
313. Carol Williams,
Associate Professor, Women’s Studies, Trent University
314. David Winter,
Assistant Professor, Department of History, Brandon University
315. James Winter,
Professor of Communication Studies, University of Windsor
316. Cynthia Wright,
Contract faculty, Women’s Studies/Geography/Sociology, York University
317. David Wurfel,
Professor Emeritus, Political Science, University of Windsor
318. b.h. Yael,
Professor, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD)
319. Mustafa Yavuz,
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering, Univ. of Waterloo
320. Daniel Yon,
Associate Professor, Dept of Anthropology; Faculty of Education, York University
321. Anna Zalik,
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
322. Isik Zeytinoglu,
Professor of Management and Industrial Relations, McMaster University
323. Mehmet Zeytinoglu,
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ryerson University
324. Jasmin Zine,
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Wilfrid Laurier University
325. Elia Zureik,
Professor Emeritus, Sociology, Queens University

US, Israel, Canada Won't Attend Anti-Racism Conference

US, Israel, Canada Won't Attend Anti-Racism Conference
Readers Number : 30

28/02/2009 US President Barack Hussein Obama’s administration has decided not to participate in a UN conference against racism dubbed 'Durban 2', which is scheduled to take place in Switzerland in April. A senior US official said the White House would announce its intention soon.

The US administration sent two representatives to Geneva last week, where negotiations on a document leading the event were taking place. The administration hoped it would succeed in getting anti-Israeli references dropped from the document, which characterizes Israel as a racist and occupying nation. Israel had asked US Secretary of State to form a “joint front against anti-Semitism”.

In choosing to withdraw participation from the conference the US is following the lead of Israel and Canada, and a number of European countries are currently awaiting an official statement from the White House in order to declare their refusal to participate as well.
Among those awaiting an official statement Friday were Australia, Holland, Denmark, and Britain.

The first conference in Durban, South Africa was littered with anti-Semitic sentiment and declared Israel one of the racist states in the world. The Bush administration chose not to participate in the first conference but Obama decided to attempt discourse in order to try to change the final wording of the document set to emerge from the conference.

The US was hoping that the declarations made in Durban in 2001 would be stricken from the record and another document prepared, from which criticism against Israel and the period of slavery in the US would be absent.

However Obama's representatives were unsuccessful in imposing change, and the 100 clauses in the document still include many references to Israel.

The document currently includes a passage rendering any criticism against Islam a criminal act.


Palestinian factions in Cairo agree to new PA unity government


"Better Late than Never", Pal. Factions Agree to Form Unity Gov't
Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 182

26/02/2009 “Better late than never”. Eyeing a common threat that will govern Israel for the next four years, feuding Palestinian factions have decided to reunify to face Benjamin Netanyahu’s right wing Tsunami that has hit Israeli politics.

Rival Palestinian groups agreed on Thursday to form a national unity government by the end of March, faction officials said after reconciliation talks in Cairo.

Jamil al-Majdalawi, an official with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, announced that the factions had formed several committees that would pave the way for a national unity government. "The committees will end their work and a Palestinian unity government will be formed by the end of March," he said

Mohammed al-Hindi, deputy leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, confirmed the factions had agreed to establish the government by the end of next month.

Rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas held reconciliation talks brokered by Egypt on Thursday aimed at paving the way for the creation of a unity government, which Israel opposes and “trying to persuade whomever" that a Palestinian Authority unity government is a bad idea.”

A deal between the two factions is seen as key to moving ahead with Gaza's reconstruction after Israel's recent offensive. The Palestinians hope to raise $2.8 billion at an international donor's conference in Egypt on Monday. Hamas and Fatah met in advance of Thursday's main talks on more challenging issues like holding elections and sharing power. The two sides met in Cairo for talks mediated by Egypt's intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman.

At a news conference Wednesday night, both sides announced they had agreed on a release of detainees. "To encourage a positive atmosphere, there will be a complete and immediate end to the arrests of political prisoners ... and the release of prisoners during the discussions," said Hamas' senior official, Mahmoud al-Zahar. "There will be a larger number released" later. Zahar said 80 Hamas members held in the occupied West Bank, which is controlled by the Fatah movement, have been released and that 300 are still being held. Hamas has also lifted the house arrest of a number of Fatah members in the Gaza Strip.

Senior officials from Fatah, the secular movement headed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (whose term ended on January 9), and Hamas, the Islamic resistance group that rules the Gaza Strip, agreed on confidence-building measures at a meeting on Wednesday. "A certain number of detainees will be freed right at the beginning of the dialogue," said a joint statement. "Other detainees will be freed successively so that this issue will be totally closed before the end of the national Palestinian dialogue."

Speaking earlier in the day, Nabil Shaath, a top Abbas aide, said the sides also agreed to immediately stop all media attacks against each other. Azzam al-Ahmed of Fatah said Thursday's meeting will discuss the "political shape and agenda" of a future unity government.

Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Wednesday that an interim government was needed "to shoulder the responsibilities of reconstructing Gaza, opening the passages [between Israel and the Gaza Strip] and carrying out the presidential and legislative elections no later than the end of 2009."

Egypt had originally called for Palestinian reconciliation talks in November, but Hamas withdrew at the last minute, complaining that
Fatah was continuing to arrest Hamas members in the West Bank. The reconciliation process was relaunched by Egypt after Israel's 22-day war on Gaza that ended last month with more than 1,300 Palestinians killed, including 420 children and buildings and infrastructure destroyed.
"The climate is positive and promising," Hamas political bureau member Ezzat Resheq told journalists after Wednesday's talks. "We hope for positive results."

Azzam al-Ahmad, leader of the Fatah bloc in the Palestinian parliament, spoke of a "real desire on both sides to settle these questions... to achieve reconciliation, an urgent necessity above all because the peace process is not progressing and nor are efforts towards a truce."

Hamas democratically won over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian general election but its government was boycotted by Israel and the West, and attempts at forging a national unity government failed.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Egypt was now focusing on Palestinian reconciliation as its top priority, rather than the negotiations on a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. "We decided perhaps to change our priorities," he said in a press conference. "The first priority was the tahdiyah, followed by the reconciliation, followed by the reconstruction conference, followed by the process of launching the peace efforts again. Today, we are concentrating on the reconciliation, but the cease-fire and the exchange of prisoners is not far from Egyptian efforts."


Israeli Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to lobby Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week against US recognition of a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, top advisers to Netanyahu said Wednesday.

Zalman Shoval, one of Netanyahu's five primary foreign policy advisers, said the Netanyahu diplomatic team was "trying to persuade whomever" that a Palestinian Authority unity government is a bad idea. We shall try to convince our American friends that this is not something that would help the peace process, and that it would only make it easier for all sorts of other players - the Europeans and the Russians - to deal with Hamas," he said. "To return Hamas as a partner is not what America is interested in."

Shoval said history had shown that when there was an amalgamation between what he called “a moderate and an extremist party, it was only a matter of time before the extremists called the shots.” “The idea is the wrong one," he said, adding that Netanyahu's camp believed the right approach was to continue to isolate Hamas. I'm not saying we can prevent it, but we should try," he said.

Hamas's refusal to accept Israel's existence, and its resistance activities, were core problems, another Israeli adviser said, and it would be counterproductive to overlook the problems by seeking structural reform. The adviser added that structural reform would not make the core problems disappear. He said that “Israel's right to self-defense was sacrosanct”, and that it would continue to exercise that right when it felt it needed to.

On a visit to Cairo on the eve of the talks, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called for the Palestinians to form a new government of "technocrats" to oversee reconstruction of the economy and the political process in readiness for elections.

He said that speaking to Hamas was "the right thing to do," but Egypt and other parties were best suited to talking directly to the group. In an interview with Reuters in Cairo, Miliband said Egypt was acting on behalf of the whole world in its dealings with Hamas. "Egypt has been nominated... to speak to Hamas on behalf of the Arab League but actually on behalf of the whole world," Miliband said. "Others speak to Hamas. That's the right thing to do and I think we should let the Egyptians take this forward."

Sweden also expressed support for Palestinian reconciliation. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said his country, which takes over the rotating EU presidency on July 1, wants to help politically in the process of possibly holding new elections in the Palestinian territories. "Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is also a part of the process," he said in Stockholm after meeting Abbas.

Catalonian singer urged to cancel Israel tour


Open letter, PACBI, 27 February 2009

The following is an open letter to Catalonian singer Joan Manuel Serrat sent on 26 February 2009 by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel:

The Palestinian community of artists and intellectuals was shocked by the news of your plans to organize a musical tour of Israel in May, despite its continued grave oppression of the Palestinian people and only a few months after its heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is writing to urge you to cancel this tour. A brave defender of freedom throughout your life, you were exiled from your own country for courageously speaking out against the repression of Franco's regime; but by touring Israel, a colonial and apartheid state, you will be participating in legitimating and supporting a system of colonial subjugation.

Your invitation to Israel comes right after its bloody military assault against the occupied Gaza Strip which left more than 1,440 Palestinians dead, of whom 431 were children, and injured another 5,380. The 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, the overwhelming majority of whom are refugees who were expelled from their homes by Zionist forces in 1948, were subjected to three weeks of relentless Israeli state terror, whereby Israeli warplanes systematically targeted civilian areas, reducing whole neighborhoods and vital civilian infrastructure to rubble and partially destroying Gaza's leading university and scores of schools, including several run by the United Nations, where civilians were taking shelter. This criminal assault comes after 18 months of an ongoing, crippling Israeli siege of Gaza which has shattered all spheres of life, prompting the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to describe it as "a prelude to genocide." International human rights organizations and UN organizations are now calling for a war crimes investigation into Israel's military assault on Gaza.

It is also particularly appalling to us that you plan to tour Israel in May, the month during which Palestinians commemorate the anniversary of the Nakba, the massive campaign of ethnic cleansing in 1948 that led to the destruction of Palestine and establishment of the State of Israel on its ruins. For over 60 years now, Israel has continued to deny the millions of displaced Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights to reparations and to return to their homes of origin.

For the last 41 years, Israel has been militarily occupying the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Despite the "peace process" which began 16 years ago, Israel routinely violates the Palestinians' most fundamental human rights with impunity, as documented by local and international human rights organizations. Israel extrajudicially kills Palestinian leaders and activists; keeps over 11,000 Palestinians imprisoned, including numerous members of parliament; subjects all Palestinians under occupation to daily humiliation, intimidation and military violence; and continues to construct its colonial wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in 2004.

The Palestine Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee recently stated that "Palestine today has become the test of our indispensable morality and common humanity." In the face of decades of unrelenting oppression, Palestinian civil society has called upon supporters of the struggle for freedom and justice throughout the world to take a stand and heed our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognizes Palestinian rights and fully complies with international law. Many prominent international cultural figures including John Berger, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Roger Waters, John Williams, among others, have declared their support for the boycott. Other high profile international artists, including Sting, Bono, Snoop Dog, and Jean Luc Goddard, have also heeded our call and cancelled their gigs or participation in festivals in Israel.

You are a person of conscience and you have sacrificed a great deal in your own life for the brave pursuit of freedom and justice. In 1968, you defiantly chose to sing in the Eurovision Song Contest in your own native Catalan language and faced, with bravery, the consequences imposed by the dictator Franco. We would expect no less from you than to accept this call for solidarity, and we sincerely hope that you will stand with us in our struggle against colonial oppression. We urge you to cancel your musical tour to Israel and hope that you will convey to Israel that you will not participate in events there so long as it continues to suppress the Palestinian people and deny them their freedom and their inalienable rights in their homeland.

Under the bombing, a girl named Hope


Erin Cunningham, The Electronic Intifada, 27 February 2009

Women were hit hardest by the Israeli attacks on Gaza. (Matthew Cassel)
GAZA CITY (IPS) - Ghalia Hussein's husband refused to evacuate their Rafah home near the Israeli border amid heavy bombardment during the recent 22-day siege. Struck by a missile at the top of their stairs, he bled to death while ambulances attempted to reach him. He left Ghalia three children, a destroyed home, and no income to speak of. "I had to flee with the children. There was nothing we could do," Ghalia said from the United Nations school in Rafah where she took refuge during the conflict. "Now, I have nothing. How will we survive?"

Making up half of the coastal enclave's 1.5 million people, Gaza's women -- and their children -- bore the brunt of Israel's deadly operation codenamed "Cast Lead." They are the post-war period's most vulnerable population, says the UN.

According to Gaza's health ministry, 114 women were killed and nearly 1,000 wounded in the three-week Israeli assault. And countless women like Ghalia are now economically and psychologically wounded by the war. In all more than 1,300 people died in the assault, more than 5,300 are injured.

Having lost husbands and sons in the fighting, and living with an unemployment rate of 49 percent, women in the Gaza Strip will begin to rely increasingly on humanitarian assistance, the UN says.

Women faced relentless hardship and tragedy throughout the war, taking on the responsibilities of male relatives who had died, looking for food for their families while under assault, and digging for their children in the rubble.

Earlier this month, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women declared that "the human rights of women in Gaza, in particular to peace and security, free movement, livelihood and health, have been seriously violated during this military engagement."

Women and children were hit hardest by food shortages, while women encountered the greatest difficulty attempting to reach Gaza's besieged hospitals, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"It's been days since my daughter has had her insulin, but it was too dangerous to leave our home," said Abu Haithem in the emergency room of the al-Naser hospital in Khan Younis on 16 January, just before the ceasefire. "Then a missile hit the house next to us and we had to run."

Abu Haithem was forced to leave her seven other children with a stranger in her village outside of Khan Younis to finally bring her 14-year-old diabetic daughter to the hospital. Her husband had died in the missile attack on her neighbor.

Pregnant women and their unborn and newborn children were one of the most underreported casualties of the war, says the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

According to an assessment made by the UN agency, the intense nature of the Israeli bombardment -- that saw virtual non-stop air-borne assaults, sea-based attacks and a ground invasion in the strip's north over a 22-day period -- led to a high number of unnecessary miscarriages and premature labor brought on by shock and trauma.

In a normal month, 4,000 babies are born in the Gaza Strip, says UNFPA's assistant representative in Gaza, Ziad Yiash. But there were 5,000 births in January, and a 51 percent increase in miscarriages.

"We realized that a lot of women delivered earlier because of the psychological impact," says Yiash.

Fatima al-Zaid, 34, gave birth to a baby girl at her home in Khan Younis during the offensive. She was able to reach hospital the next day, and her daughter lived.

"My husband wanted to name her 'warrior,'" Fatima said. "But we decided to name her Amal." Amal means hope.

Many other women gave birth at their homes and at local shelters under the care of female family members, Yiash says. Locals would use the mosque loudspeaker to request medical assistance for pregnant women.

Some died en route to hospitals, particularly in Gaza's north.

But even when Gaza's pregnant women managed to reach hospitals safely, they found that many maternity wards had been converted to emergency surgical units for the dying and injured.

The UNFPA says women were sent home as early as 30 minutes after giving birth. Power outages throughout Gaza put premature babies relying on incubators and respiratory machines at risk -- and some died as a result.

The consequences of the assault go beyond physical wounds.

"One woman told me that during the war she slept on top of her children," says Yiash. "She didn't want to live while they died -- she wanted them all to die together."

According to the WHO, Gaza's widows and female-headed households are in most need of psychological care in the aftermath of the offensive.

Women that have been severely wounded or handicapped are afraid their injuries will weaken their traditionally productive role in the family.

"In such situations, the brunt of the war and re-organization of the social fabric is left to women," says Islah Jad, a Palestinian women's rights advocate and professor at Birzeit University in the West Bank.

"Again, Palestinian women will be busy making ends meet with the rising level of poverty and unemployment."

Jad and other female activists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories fear the broader women's rights movement in Gaza may have been set back years by the war, siphoning their time and energy towards more immediate humanitarian and family needs.

"All the dreams about law reform, strategic gender needs and mainstreaming gender," Jad says. "All that is now on the shelves for years to come."

All rights reserved, IPS - Inter Press Service (2009). Total or partial publication, retransmission or sale forbidden.

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Vigil marks anniversary of Baruch Goldstein massacre in Hebron


Posted on February 27th, 2009

from Maan News Agency

Palestinians and their international supporters held a vigil marking the 15th anniversary of the massacre of 33 Palestinians by an Israeli settler in the West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday.

The demonstration took place near the fence surrounding the present day settlement of Kiryat Arba. The families of the victims of the massacre were present, along with officials from the Palestinian People’s Party and foreign solidarity activists.

The demonstrators carried 33 banners with the names of the victims and lit 33 candles and carried torches.

In response to the vigil, Israeli soldiers declared the area a closed military zone, …

Read more

Huge Expansion for Efrat, Other Settlements in Etzion Bloc Planned


Posted on February 27th, 2009

Ma’an – A key Israeli government agency has been promoting plans to build thousands of new houses in illegal West Bank settlements, government documents made public on Friday show.

Documents from Israel’s Civil Administration, the government organ responsible for nonmilitary affairs in the occupied West Bank, were obtained by the organization B’Tselem through a Freedom of Information request.

The plans, developed over the last two years, were approved by the Environment Subcommittee of the Civil Administration’s planning wing and plot out a major expansion of the Gush Eztion settlement bloc. If realized the plan will cut a swath of the West Bank …

Read more

Artas to Experience “Another Nakba” if Expasion of Efrat Settlement Allowed

Posted on February 27th, 2009.

Ma’an – An Israeli military tribunal has issued a decision that could pave the way for the expansion of the West Bank settlement of Efrat without informing a group of Palestinians who were petitioning to save their land.

In the ruling, a court in the settlement of Ofer rejected eight separate petitions, each representing dozens of Palestinians. The petitioners had objected to a 2004 declaration by the Israeli Civil Administration to designating some 1,700 dunums (1.7 square kilometers) of land north of Efrat “state land.”

The land at stake belongs to the Palestinian village of Artas, on the southern outskirts of Bethlehem. A catholic monastery is located just to the north of the land slated for confiscation.

If the Israeli Defense Ministry approves it, the seizure of this land could result in a massive expansion of the settlement. By comparison, the village of Artas itself is only 13,500 dunams.

The ruling was first reported on 17 February by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Following up on this report, Ma’an found that neither the petitioners, their lawyer, nor local authorities in Artas had received any notification of the decision.

“We’re still awaiting a decision to this minute,” said Sami Khoury, the lawyer representing the landowners in the case, speaking on Wednesday afternoon.

“This is a very serious matter,” said Khoury, speculating that Israeli authorities “did it on purpose” so that the land could be seized without protest or legal opposition. He said he and his clients would appeal the case to the Supreme Court and demand an investigation of the failure to notify.

Khoury said that only on Wednesday had he received confirmation of the decision to dismiss the eight objections. He said obtained this information private lawyer in Tel Aviv representing the Israeli government. The government’s lawyer said he had received a letter in October 2008, referring to a decision rendered on 4 September.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Civil Administration, Miki Galin, confirmed that the eight appeals had been declined, but claimed that the Palestinian petitioners had been informed. A ninth objection was reportedly granted.

One of the landowners in Artas, Abu Kamal, said that he had no notification of any decision regarding his appeal. He said he works on his land frequently and sees Israeli military jeeps there.

The head of the Municipal Council in Artas, Hamdi Ayesh, also said that he had received no word of any ruling regarding the land.

“Artas will have a new Nakba [disaster] if this ruling is implemented,” said Ayesh, using the term Palestinians use to describe the mass expulsions of 1948. He pointed out that if Efrat is expanded, the settlement will encroach on the town itself.

The Israeli settlers, meanwhile, are making no secret of their intention to seize the land on the south side of Artas. Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi was quoted by the Associated Press earlier this month saying he envisions the settlement growing from 9,000 to 30,000 residents. He hopes to build 2,500 new homes on the land at stake in the military court proceedings.

Sami Khoury, the lawyer for the Palestinians, said that the settlers had mentioned these plans in court, presenting documents from the 1970s showing the intention to build at least 1,500 homes on the land. The land, called Givat HaEitam by the settlers, is already within the settlement’s self-declared jurisdiction. In the summer of 2007, settlers held demonstrations on the land, calling for it to be included on the western side of Israel’s separation wall. The original planned route of the wall would have placed the area on the eastern side.

According to the Haaretz report, Eftat plans to wait until the new Israeli government assumes power before seeking approval from the ministries of Housing and Defense to build on the land. The settlers see the right-wing’s victory in the elections as a sign that the new government will be more sympathetic to their claims.

Hamdi Ayesh, the head of the local council in Artas, is also aware of this political situation. He said he is “not optimistic” about the coming Israeli government. He noted that when Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu was responsible during his last term as prime minister in the late 1990s, he designated a hilltop north of Bethlehem “state land,” and then approved construction there. The hilltop is known to Palestinians as Abu Ghneim, and is now the location of the settlement of Har Homa.

PSP Note: Artas was the site of weekly demonstrations for several months when part of their agricultural land was bulldozed and confiscated by the Israeli military to make room for a sewage treatment system built for the Efrat settlement in 2007.

B’Tselem: Plans Moving Forward to Expell 2000 Palestinians From Homes



February 27, 2009 at 8:05 am (Associate Post, Corrupt Politics, Israel, Israeli Election)

Khalid Amayreh

With Kadima refusing publicly to join Likud, time is running out for Netanyahu to form a government, writes Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem

Tasked with forming the next Israeli government, Likud leader Benyamin Netanyahu has been trying in vain to convince Kadima leader Tzipi Livni to join him in a coalition government that would be acceptable to the international community, particularly the new US administration.

This week, Netanyahu met with both Livni and Labour Party leader Ehud Barak. However, the meetings ended fruitlessly as both refused to join a Likud-led government, citing “diametrically opposed agendas” and opposition to a partnership with the Likud by their respective constituencies.

Prior to her meeting with Netanyahu on Sunday, 21 February, Livni told reporters that joining a Likud government would be a “breach of Kadima voters’ trust”. “These days are a test for Kadima. People are looking at us. We presented our stance. We spoke during the campaign about content and ideology, about the differences between hope and despair and between ‘two states for two peoples’ and no path at all.”

Elucidating the “wide gap” with the Likud, Livni suggested that a partnership with the Likud amounted to sacrificing Kadima’s principles, saying “this is not what our voters want.” “We spoke about Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. That is why we asked for the trust of the public. We received a wave of support on the condition that we keep our promises. If we compromise… by joining a government with a path that is not ours, we would violate the trust of our voters,” she said.

However, it is uncertain if Livni’s initial refusal to join a Netanyahu-led coalition government is motivated by ideology and principles, or is a mere bargaining tactic aimed at extricating more concessions from the Likud. Responding to Livni’s obstinacy Netanyahu warned, “I won’t wait forever for a unity government.”

“I want to give Livni a real chance to join us, but we can’t wait forever,” Netanyahu told the Likud faction following a recommendation by party hawks, who constitute a majority within the party, to give up on Livni and Barak and start formal negotiations with extremist right-wing and religious factions. Exuding not a small amount of desperation, Netanyahu argued that political parties ought to work together for the sake of Israel.

“Our emergency situation requires putting aside political and personal reasons that are legitimate at a different time and that are not legitimate now,” Netanyahu said. The Likud leader has reportedly offered Kadima three top portfolios for joining the government: foreign affairs, defence and finance. However, the “generous offer”, which is likely to be met with stiff opposition from the Likud rank and file, has so far failed to woo Livni.

Nonetheless, Kadima’s refusal to join a Netanyahu-led government doesn’t seem to be absolute and irreversible. Shaul Mofaz, Kadima’s number two, was quoted as saying that the party should join a Likud government. “The Israeli people want to see a unity government. We have great challenges, and we need to influence them from within the government.”

Mofaz added: “If in the end we don’t come to an agreement regarding the platform and a change in the system of government, then we will go to the opposition.”

Mofaz is a notorious hawk and his views on the Palestinian problem have more in common with those of the Likud and extremist factions than with Livni’s. One Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday that Livni was coming under pressure from her party’s senior members urging her to accept a national unity arrangement. Unconfirmed reports suggest that some high- ranking Kadima officials, including Mofaz, would leave the party should Livni choose to go into opposition.

Netanyahu’s running after Livni seems to reflect a real political dilemma he is facing following the indecisive outcome of the recent Israeli elections. The Likud leader could easily form a narrow-based government comprising the Likud, Shas, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism and other extremist parties, including the National Union. However, such a government, while harmonious on the Palestinian issue, would be rife with contradictions given the diametrically opposed agendas and platforms of parties such the ultra- Orthodox Shas and the ultra-secular Yisrael Beiteinu. Moreover, such an extremist government would be a public relations disaster for Israel in the world, especially in the United States and Europe.

Netanyahu, a veteran and experienced politician, is aware of the ramifications and repercussions that such a rightist government would have on paramount relations with the United States. Hence, exhaustive and desperate efforts to include Kadima in the coalition government he is trying to form. But if the Israeli prime minister designate fails to win over Kadima and the Labour Party, he will have no choice but to form a government with the right-wing and religious parties. Netanyahu then would seek to fend off criticisms, domestic and international, for partnering up with brazenly fascist parties, such as National Union and the Jewish Home, by arguing that he had made his utmost efforts to include Kadima and Labour but to no avail.

The other choice available to Netanyahu is simply to admit failure and return to Israeli President Shimon Peres and tell him that he is unable to carry out the task of forming a stable and durable government. This seems an unlikely scenario, however. Nonetheless, if the political stalemate continues, and if Netanyahu reaches the conclusion that no government is better than a failed government beset by crises, it is possible that Peres will task Livni with forming the next government. This wouldn’t be necessarily good news for the Kadima leader, if only because her chances of forming a stable and durable government would be even worse than those of Netanyahu.

"Netanyahu's position on a Palestinian state is a joke meant to kill the negotiations before they begin"

Aluf Benn in Haaretz, here
"....There are obvious political reasons for Netanyahu's refusal to demonstrate a more moderate stance: It would cost him his potential coalition with the right-wing National Union and Habayit Hayehudi, and force him into a rotation arrangement with Livni. But his opposition to a Palestinian state is also a matter of principle, one he has held for many years.........
Netanyahu believes Israel must insist on retaining 50 percent of the West Bank - the open areas in the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert that are vital as a security zone. In light of statements the outgoing government has made to the Palestinians, Netanyahu's position is a joke meant to kill the negotiations before they even begin..."
Posted by G, Z, & or B at 7:27 PM

Jaffa: from eminence to ethnic cleansing


Sami Abu Shehadeh & Fadi Shbaytah, The Electronic Intifada, 27 February 2009

A view from the sea at Jaffa looking east onto the city, 1898-1914. (Matson Collection)
Jaffa was the largest city in historic Palestine during the years of the British mandate, with a population of more than 80,000 Palestinians in addition to the 40,000 persons living in the towns and villages in its immediate vicinity. In the period between the UN Partition resolution (UNGA 181) of 29 November 1947, and the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionist military forces displaced 95 percent of Jaffa's indigenous Arab Palestinian population. Jaffa's refugees accounted for 15 percent of Palestinian refugees in that fateful year, and today they are dispersed across the globe, still banned from returning by the state responsible for their displacement.

Jaffa was the epicenter of the Palestinian economy before the 1948 Nakba. Beginning in the early 19th century, the people of Jaffa had cultivated citrus groves, particularly oranges, on their land. International demand for Jaffa oranges propelled the city onto the world stage, earning the city an important place in the global economy. By the 1930s, Jaffa was exporting tens of millions of citrus crates to the rest of the world, which provided thousands of jobs for the people of the city and its environs, and linking them to the major commercial centers of the Mediterranean coast and the European continent.

With the success of its citrus exports, the city witnessed the emergence and growth of various related economic sectors, from banks to land and sea transportation enterprises to import and export firms, and many others. As the city grew, Jaffa's entrepreneurs began to develop local industrial production with the opening of metal-work factories, and others producing glass, ice, cigarettes, textiles, sweets, transportation-related equipment, mineral and carbonated water, and various foodstuffs, among others.

In addition to commerce and industry, a third major pillar of Jaffa's economy in the mandate years was tourism. Tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims visited the historic city every year, both for its sites of historical and religious significance, its beautiful buildings, and the Christian holy sites scattered throughout the city. As Jaffa's tourism industry grew, so too did its communications infrastructure, and the transportation network connecting it to the rest of Palestine and the Arab world. More investments and jobs were also created for Jaffa's residents through the increasing number of hotels, transportation companies, and the growing number of tourism-related services.

Jaffa was also the cultural capital of Palestine, being home to tens of the most important newspapers and publication houses in the country, including the dailies Filastin and al-Difa'. The most important and ornate cinemas were in Jaffa, as were tens of athletics clubs and cultural societies. The headquarters of some of these societies, like the Orthodox Club and the Islamic Club, have themselves become historic sites still testifying to the city's cultural history. During the Second World War, the British Mandate authorities moved the headquarters of the Near East Radio broadcast studios to Jaffa, the studios becoming a cultural hub in the city from 1941 to 1948. With the growing cultural importance of Jaffa came increasing cultural exchange and interconnection with the main cultural centers in the region such as Cairo and Beirut, which further established the city as a cultural minaret in the region -- lovingly dubbed the Bride of the Sea.

The story of Jaffa's ongoing Nakba is the story of the transformation of this thriving modern urban center into a marginalized neighborhood suffering from poverty, discrimination, gentrification, crime and demolition since the initial wave of mass expulsion in 1948 to the present day.

British soldiers stop and search a Palestinian man in Jaffa, 1936. (Palestine Remembered)

The early years of Jaffa's Nakba

Zionist forces initiated a cruel siege on the city of Jaffa in March 1948. The youth of the city formed popular resistance committees to confront the assault. On 14 May 1948, the Bride of the Sea fell to the Zionist military forces; that same evening the leaders of the Zionist movement in Palestine declared the establishment of the state of Israel. Approximately 4,000 of the 120,000 Palestinians managed to remain in their city after it was militarily occupied. They were all rounded up and ghettoized in al-Ajami neighborhood which was sealed off from the rest of the city and administered as essentially a military prison for two subsequent years; the military regime under which Israel governed them lasted until 1966. During this period, al-Ajami was completely surrounded by barbed wire fencing that was patrolled by Israeli soldiers and guard dogs. It was not long before the new Jewish residents of Jaffa, and based on their experience under Nazism in Europe, began to refer to the Palestinian neighborhood as the "ghetto."

In addition to being ghettoized, the Palestinians who remained in Jaffa had lost everything overnight: their city, their friends, their families, their property and their entire physical and social environment. Most had lost their homes as the Israeli military forced them into al-Ajami. Legislator, judge and executioner in the Ajami ghetto was the military commander; without his permission one could not enter or leave the ghetto, and rights to things like education and work were among those rights that Palestinians were denied. Arab states were classified as enemy states, and so making contact with the expelled family and friends, the refugees, was strictly prohibited. This was the nightmare lived by the Palestinians of Jaffa after the 1948 Nakba.

In the early 1950s, Jaffa was administratively engulfed by the Tel Aviv municipality that became known as Tel Aviv-Yafo; the Palestinians of Jaffa went from being a majority in their city and homeland to the two-percent "enemies of the state," a minority of Israel's main metropolis. The municipality immediately began drawing up plans for what they called the "Judaization" of the city, renaming the Arabic streets of the city after Zionist leaders, demolishing much of the old Arab architecture, and completely destroying the buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods and villages that were depopulated during the 1948 Nakba. The new curriculum introduced in Palestinian schools denied that the place had any Arab-Palestinian history at all, a facet of the Israeli education system that continues until today.

The largest armed robbery of the 20th century

After expelling most of Jaffa's residents, militarily occupying the city and ghettoizing the remaining original inhabitants, Israeli authorities passed the Absentee Property Law (1950) through which it seized the property of all Palestinians who were not in possession of their immovable properties after the Nakba. Through the implementation of this unjust law, the state of Israel sent its operatives to all corners of the land, surveying the properties left behind by the expelled refugees, the internally displaced Palestinians banned from returning to their lands, and those relocated to the ghettos of Palestine's cities. Title to these lands, buildings, homes, factories, farms and religious sites were then transferred to the state's "Custodian of Absentee Property." This is how the Palestinians of Jaffa, the refugees and the ghettoized, had their properties "legally" stolen by the State of Israel.

In the interviews conducted for our research, we heard dozens of stories from Nakba survivors telling us about how their homes, often just meters away from the ghetto, were seized, and how they could do nothing about it. Many told us stories of how their homes were given to, or simply taken by, new Jewish immigrants, and how they would try to convince the new residents of their homes to give them back some of their furniture, or clothes, or documents, or photographs. In some of these cases, the house's new resident would give back some of the items, in most of the cases the response was to consider the original Palestinian owner an intruder, and to call the police or report him to the military commander. Former residents of the al-Manshiyya neighborhood, one of the city's wealthier areas before the Nakba, described the sorrow they felt as they walked past their old houses, and the pain of seeing what remained of the neighborhood demolished to be replaced by a public recreation area.

Some of the most difficult stories are those of the Palestinian farmers and peasants from the villages of the Jaffa district. They describe how they were forced off of their land, how they managed to stay in Palestine, how the Israeli government handed their land over to Jewish settlers, and how these settlers then hired the same Palestinian farmers to work on their own land as day laborers exploited for the personal profit of the Jewish settler off the produce of the land that Palestinians had cultivated for generations. In fact, after their properties and enterprises were seized or shut down, the vast majority of the Jaffa Palestinians who remained became cheap labor for Jewish employers. Their employment was contingent on their "loyalty" to the new state. And so it was that the people who ran the economic hub of Palestine before 1948, became its orphans feigning loyalty to the ones who orphaned them in order to feed their own children.

Palestinians from Jaffa attempt to take with them whatever they can as Zionist militias force them to leave the city, May 1948. (Palestine Remembered)

The daily violations of co-habitation

After the creation of the State of Israel on the ruins of Arab-Palestinian society, the fledgling state began absorbing thousands of new Jewish immigrants from around the world, masses of immigrants whom the state was not fully able to absorb. The state resolved this lack of capacity by distributing the homes of refugee and internally displaced Palestinians to the new immigrants. After all the Palestinian homes in Jaffa had been occupied, Israeli housing authorities began dividing the homes in the Ajami ghetto into apartments so as to provide housing for Jewish families. As such, an Arab family in Ajami, who had been displaced from their original home, and whose family and friends had been expelled, and who lived in a house with four rooms, for example, would have their new home divided into four apartments to absorb three Jewish immigrant families, and the four families would share the kitchen and bathroom.

This process was one of the most difficult for the Palestinian families; they were forced into "co-habitation" with the people who had expelled them and, considering that many of the Jewish families included members who were serving in the army, people who were directly carrying out the ongoing violence suffered by the remaining Palestinian community.

The horrors of war, the loss of their country, the deep rupture in the social environment, the trauma of oppression, occupation, segregation and discrimination, the demolition or theft of their original homes before their own eyes, being forced to share their homes in the ghetto with the people who expelled them from their original homes, all combined to create an overall feeling of despair and impotence among the remaining community of Palestinians in Jaffa. This collective depression eventually led many of Jaffa's ghettoized Palestinian residents down the path of dependency on drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping the burden of powerlessness in the face of colonial oppression. It was this form of colonial oppression that transformed the thriving Bride of the Sea to a poverty and crime-ridden neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

1951-1979: survival and self-improvement

The first generation of Nakba survivors faced immense hardship, and as such the main goal of that generation was survival in a milieu replete with fear of the Israeli authorities. The hope for a better life, for a return to how things once were, for freedom, became a motivating factor in their lives. This was especially true in the late 1950s and 1960s, when the Arab world went through the awakening epitomized by Nasserism. The ideas of Arab unity, Palestinian liberation, cultural revival and the hope entailed by these ideas found fertile ground in the Palestinian society within the "green line" (the 1949 armistice line between the State of Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip). This was the environment in which the second generation was raised.

The generation of the 1950s and 1960s grew up in an environment very different from that of their parents. This generation sought self-improvement, to work hard to provide for their families and educate their children by working the manual labor jobs that Jewish immigrants avoided. It was members of this youthful generation who filled the ranks of the Communist Party and the Nasserist Land Movement, among other political currents that aimed to challenge the prevailing oppression, poverty and landlessness of the Palestinian community to varying degrees.

In preparation for its occupation of the remainder of Palestine, and as internal opposition grew and information began to leak out that the "only democracy in the Middle East" actually had two sets of laws for two sets of citizens, the Israeli government formally abandoned the regime of military rule in 1966. While systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens continued unabated, the 1970s witnessed the emergence of a relatively powerful political and social movement of Palestinian citizens of Israel. In Jaffa, this movement culminated with the formation of the Association for the Care of Arab Affairs in 1979. The Association was formed by activists and intellectuals who aimed to protect what remained of the city's Arab-Palestinian identity and heritage, to fight the systematic discrimination faced by the Palestinians of Jaffa, and to spearhead campaigns on important issues facing the Palestinian community, foremost among them housing and education.

It was in this same decade that "Judaization" of areas within the green line became publicly known as official Israeli state policy. While the main theater of Judaization during the 1970s was the Galilee in the north of historic Palestine, the Palestinians of Jaffa continued to feel increasing pressure to leave their homes in the city through various discriminatory policies and practices, such as those banning Palestinians from renovating their homes since these properties were largely registered as absentee property with title held by the state. The municipal authorities had ignored the neighborhood, allowing many houses to collapse, and in some cases ordered the demolition of Palestinian homes. As a result of these deteriorating conditions, most of the Jewish residents of Ajami had moved to the city's suburbs, and were beginning to move to the West Bank in the newly built illegal settlements where the cost of living was, and continues to be, heavily subsidized by the state.

1979-2000: the return of the spirit

The proportion of Palestinians in Jaffa had grown by the onset of the 1980s, both as a result of natural growth, and because a growing number of Palestinians displaced from the Galilee and the triangle ended up in Jaffa. Literacy and education levels among the adult Palestinian population in the city had also risen as the generation of the '60s and '70s grew and became active members of the society. This second generation benefited from the sacrifices of their predecessors, many of them having opened their own small enterprises like restaurants, contracting firms and car repair shops. A small number had also been able to complete post-secondary education in professional fields such as law, medicine, accounting, engineering and others. As such, the economic, social and demographic balance of the city had begun to restore itself.

Young Palestinian workers in one of Jaffa's many orange groves, 1898-1914. (Matson Collection) The increase in the city's Palestinian population, and the improvement of their social and economic condition was coupled with the increase in the number of Palestinians who began to move to other parts of what remained of Jaffa beyond the the Ajami ghetto, particularly to the nearby coastal Jabaliya neighborhood. This phenomenon was largely the result of the overcrowding in Ajami, and since the combination of poverty, municipal neglect and the discriminatory policies banning Palestinians from renovating had resulted in further deterioration of their living conditions.

The improvement in the standard of living of Jaffa's Palestinians that began in the 1980s involved the increase in the number of Arab owned and operated enterprises, the renovation of Palestinian mosques, churches and public buildings, as well as annual increases in the number of post-secondary graduates most of whom reinvested their acquired skills and knowledge in the betterment of their community. While the state and municipal authorities continued their Judaization efforts, the Palestinian community had become an active and effective player in the life of their city. Working against this economic development within the community has been the fact that the Israeli government has not invested or supported Palestinian-owned enterprise while simultaneously subsidizing and investing heavily in Jewish-owned enterprises in Tel Aviv. This economic discrimination has played an important role in making Palestinian Jaffa economically dependent on Jewish Tel Aviv.

The '90s witnessed a powerful political and cultural revival among Palestinian citizens of Israel as the third generation since the Nakba began to discover and assert their Palestinian identity as the indigenous people of the land. The fear that had been a powerful force facing their grandparents did not affect them in the same way, and as a largely educated generation, the disparity between the ideals of "Israeli democracy" that they had learned in school and the discrimination they faced in their daily lives drew increasing members of this generation into the political arena. The growing national awareness of Jaffa's Palestinians materialized during the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada when the Palestinian youth of Jaffa protested the brutal Israeli military violence against the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza by organizing dozens of forums, protests, pickets and fundraising campaigns to stress the unity of the Palestinian people across borders.

Jaffa's ongoing Nakba today

Despite the growth of Palestinian political and social movements, the more than 20,000 Palestinians living in Jaffa today continue to experience an ongoing Nakba. We do not use this description lightly, or to enlist tears of sympathy or nostalgia for what once was; it is an important way of understanding the present, entrenching the demand for redress for the crimes committed by Israel over the past 60 years, and to stress the urgency of the struggle to bring about change for the future. While systematic discrimination and Israeli policies and practices aimed at displacing Palestinians and Judaizing their space permeate all aspects of Palestinian life in Israel, we will focus on the fields of housing and cultural identity.

The most pressing issue facing Palestinians in Jaffa today is the issue of housing and eviction. Every Palestinian in Jaffa is either directly facing eviction by the municipal authorities, or has a neighbor or relative who faces such eviction, an estimated total of more than 500 families are in this situation. The two main excuses for eviction are lack of licensing -- especially since licenses are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain -- or that the family is considered illegal squatters in their own home which is registered as state property.

Title to the vast majority of properties in Jaffa were transferred to the state through the implementation of the Absentee Property Law (1950), and the state transferred this title to Amidar, a state-run company managing state properties in urban areas. After focusing its Judaization efforts on the Galilee and the Negev, the state has now set its sights on Palestinians living in Palestinian cities, officially referred to as "mixed cities," ordering their removal from homes in which they have lived for 60 years, and in some cases longer.

Mass eviction of Palestinians from their homes in these cities is a dual process. The first, and primary, aspect is Judaization aimed at changing the demographic character of these cities so as not to include significant numbers of indigenous Palestinians, and to erase the Palestinianness of the landscape. The second aspect is gentrification; in most cases these properties are slated for demolition to be replaced with expensive condominiums and housing units for the rich. As such, both the political merchants pandering to the ideologically-driven Zionist public, and the real estate merchants hoping to build and make millions off of their "development" projects stand to benefit. We should also note that the Ajami ghetto, while by far the poorest neighborhood in the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, is also a coastal neighborhood with some of the highest property value in the city.

The issue of Palestinian housing in Jaffa is more than the sum of its parts; it goes beyond the hundreds of eviction and demolition orders. One cannot but connect the dots between Amidar and the Israeli Lands Administration putting up tens of Palestinian homes for auction, the rapidly increasing property value, the construction of the Peres "Peace" Center on confiscated Jaffa refugee property, and the establishment of a center for Jewish fundamentalists in the heart of the Ajami neighborhood. The picture we see when the dots are connected is worrying, the original inhabitants of Jaffa are uprooted, and their place invaded by those who have money and power: the elites of the Jewish-Israeli establishment. We see the state handing out properties to Jewish settlers almost for free in other Palestinian cities like al-Lydd and Ramleh as well as in the Naqab (Negev) and now Jaffa, while we, the indigenous people of Palestine are dealt with as illegal squatters and intruders. We, the Palestinians who remained in the part of Palestine taken by the Zionist movement in 1948 and who were forced to accept the citizenship of the state that usurped our country, now form 20 percent of the citizens of the State of Israel, but only control 3.5 percent of the land after most of our land and property were confiscated by this state. Since its establishment, Israel has created hundreds of new communities for Jewish settlement, but not one new community for Palestinians.

Jaffa's clocktower, approximately 1914. (Matson Collection)

Reshaping identity, language and history

One of the most prominent landmarks in the city of Jaffa is the clocktower built by the Ottomans at the entrance to the old city, long before Israel came into being. Today, Jaffa's visitors and residents who care to take a look at the structure see a Hebrew-language plaque that states "In Memory of the Heroes who Fell in the Battle to Liberate Yafo." From there, if we turn right to walk up to the old city we catch a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea until we reach the informational signs posted by the Tel Aviv municipal authorities. Here we can read the history of the city covering thousands of years until the present day. One may be surprised to see that these signs are written in four languages, none of which are Arabic. More astonishing is that in none of these appears any mention of Arabs or Palestinians who only pop up in one line: "in the year 1936, Arab barbarians attacked the Jewish neighborhood." More examples of the systematic erasure of the Arab-Palestinian history of the space abound, from the replacing the names of streets, neighborhoods and other landmarks in the city with Hebrew names, most often names of Zionist political and military figures.

An important aspect of the reinvention of Jaffa as an Israeli city, in addition to burying its Arab-Palestinian identity, is Israel burying the evidence of its crime. If we are to accept that there were no Palestinians here, then there were no Palestinians for Israel to kick out. The erasure of Palestinian memory is also strongly reflected in the Israeli education system in Arab schools where the curriculum is geared toward rearing Palestinian youth, ignorant of their identity and history, and loyal to their colonial oppressor.

After the 1948 Nakba, Arab schools came under the control of the Israeli Ministry of Education, through which the Israeli intelligence services play a direct role in the selection of principals, teachers and curricular materials. In social science and humanities classes, Palestinian students in Israel learn about the history of Jewish communities in Europe, the heroic establishment of the modern Jewish state with no mention of the catastrophe that befell the indigenous Palestinian society of which they are a part. Schools are also a site of intimidation against any politicization, especially on important commemoration dates of the Palestinian struggle such as Land Day or Nakba commemoration. For the most part, Arab public schools are largely neglected in the allocation of funding and resources, and the quality of education is very low relative to the schools of the Jewish community. This drove many Palestinian parents in Jaffa to send their children to Jewish schools, a phenomenon that amplified the identity crises facing many of the city's Palestinian youth, as well as their difficulty with the Arabic language.

Jaffa: the struggle continues

A view of Jaffa from the north beach looking south, 1900-1920. (Matson Collection) In response to the Israeli establishment's efforts to Judaize Palestinian space and consciousness, the Palestinian movement in all of its currents has worked to entrench Palestinian steadfastness and dignity. Despite the various processes facing Palestinians in the "mixed cities" that we have described, Palestinians in Israel have remained strong and held our heads up high. For decades, the Israeli authorities have played a carrot-and-stick game to transform Palestinians into a servile minority called "Arab-Israelis," a minority with no connection to their Palestinian identity, with a collective amnesia of their relationship with the land around them and of the ongoing crimes committed against them and most importantly, loyal to their jailers.

Beginning systematically in the 1970s, the Palestinian rights movement consistently challenged Israeli policies and practices with such mobilizations as the 30 March 1976 general strike commemorated as Land Day, and the hundreds of actions taken in support of the first and second Palestinian intifadas. The movement pushed the Palestinian struggle out of its superficial national and religious confines to an internationalist struggle in which Palestinians and Jews struggled side-by-side for justice. In Jaffa, this struggle has managed to bring about some tangible victories, among them stopping the municipality from transforming the beach into a waste-dumping ground, pressuring the Israeli authorities to build housing units for Palestinians in the city, and establishing independent Arab educational institutions such as a nursery and the Arab Democratic School which opened its doors to students in 2003. This struggle has been the main factor enabling Palestinians to remain steadfast in their historic city.

Today, the struggle continues under the banner of the Jaffa Popular Committee for the Defense of Land and Housing Rights (also known as the Popular Committee against House Demolition in Jaffa) which was established in March 2007 as a direct response to the hundreds of eviction orders issued to the Palestinian residents of the Ajami and Jabaliya neighborhoods of Jaffa. The importance of the Committee's work soon became clear to its members when their preliminary research revealed that 497 Palestinian homes in Jaffa were under threat of eviction and/or demolition by the Israeli Lands Administration, which had also put up many of these properties -- all of them "absentee" properties -- for auction. The Popular Committee is made up of residents, social and political activists, movements and organizations and political parties operating in Jaffa. The Committee represents the collective struggle of Jaffa's Arab-Palestinian residents, and is open to membership to anyone who agrees to its demands and political basis of unity.

A central aspect of the Committee's work is pressuring the various arms of the Israeli authorities (the Israeli Lands Administration, Amidar, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality) to freeze all legal actions taken for the purpose of eviction, demanding that these authorities enter a dialogue with the Committee instead, in order to reach an agreed-upon solution. The Committee also demands an end to any and all sale and auction of "publicly owned" (i.e. absentee/refugee) land, and entering a dialogue with the committee to implement a system that guarantees the long-term Palestinian presence in the city, and that enables youth and young couples to find affordable housing in the city, particularly in the Jabaliya and Ajami neighborhoods. The motivating spirit of the campaign launched by the Popular Committee is the need to wrest recognition of Jaffa's Arab-Palestinians as a group with a historic rights to the land and properties of the city, and that as such, alternative solutions to Jaffa's housing problem must be reached in consultation and with the consent of indigenous community.

The Popular Committee also works on information gathering and research mainly from the directly affected residents of Jaffa facing eviction and home demolition; direct action to prevent eviction and home demolition which has involved mobilization of activists to be physically present in homes slated for demolition; organizing popular activities such as pickets, protests, information forums and others; as well as a media campaign to raise awareness about the plight of Jaffa's Palestinian community in local and international media. We are constantly looking for ways to fundraise both for our legal costs and for activities to enable youth, women, and young couples to find affordable housing. Increasingly the committee has taken on organizing extracurricular activities for youth, and workshops to support women and youth to run their own businesses with the understanding that the economic viability of the community is directly linked with our ability to remain steadfast.

Reversing the ongoing Nakba

Today the estimated number of Palestinian refugees from Jaffa hovers around 700,000, which is one-tenth of the Palestinian refugee population. While most of these refugees are in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan, many are further away with foreign passports that can enable them to visit what remains of their city. Perhaps one of the most important steps in reversing the Nakba, which involved shredding up the Palestinian body and dispersing us to various far corners of the earth, is to intensify efforts to reconnect this body. If it is not physically possible because of Israeli travel restrictions on Palestinians, the Internet and other communication technology can play an effective role in this process.

At least as important is the international solidarity needed to stop the Israeli policies and practices that constitute the ongoing Nakba. In Jaffa, the ongoing Nakba has brought about ongoing resistance. This resistance may not be able to turn back the clock, and we may not be able to live as if the past 60 years never happened, but at least we can work to prevent further suffering and destruction of our city and our society, and we can work to rebuild the eminence that was the Bride of the Sea.

Sami Abu Shehadeh and Fadi Shbaytah are residents of Jaffa, and members of the Jaffa Popular Committee for the Defense of Land and Housing Rights. This article was translated from Arabic by Hazem Jamjoum, and was originally published in the upcoming (Autumn 2008/Winter 2009) issue of al-Majdal, the quarterly magazine of the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (