Trump’s hardball Palestinian policy will blow up in Israel’s face

A poster of the U.S. President Donald Trump is set on fire during the annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran. June 8, 2018Ebrahim Noroozi,AP
Slashing funds for the Palestinians is a radicalizing gift for terrorists — and a ticking time bomb for Israel’s security.

By Peter Lerner | Haaretz | Aug 26, 2018

The question is: will this doctrine bring peace, or will more, and potentially escalated, violence prevail? After all, in our region, poverty has been a breeding ground for radical recruitment, violence, and terrorism.

Over the weekend two indicators of the Trump Doctrine for the Middle East emerged. The first was an announcement from the US Department of State that $200 million earmarked for the aid for the Palestinians will be “redirected” from the West Bank and Gaza and be spent in accordance with U.S. national interests. USAID has been involved in developing Palestinian agriculture and infrastructure development — roads, and water supply and treatment.

The second, a leaked report that the Trump administration will announce at the beginning of September 2018 that it will cut its financial support for the operations of the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the West Bank. The beneficiaries of these operations include include 809,738 registered refugees, 19 refugee camps, 96 schools with 48,956 pupils, two vocational and technical training centers, 43 primary health centers, 15 community rehabilitation centers and 19 women’s program centers. . . .

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Peace Works 2018: Middle Eastern Film Festival

Please join our brothers and sisters from the Rachel Corrie Foundation for this exciting event.
Date: Saturday, Sep 15, 2018
Showtimes: 2:00 pm The Prophet
5:00 pm Persepolis
8:00 pm Naila and the Uprising
Location: Capitol Theatre
205 5th Ave SE
Olympia, WA  98501
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Buy tickets here →
Event Details

The purpose of the project is to enliven and enrich the South Sound community with Middle Eastern films and allied arts, and to raise funds for the upcoming Shuruq IV: Olympia Arab Festival taking place at The Olympia Center on October 6, 2018.

The film festival will feature the following:

  • 2 PM: The Prophet, an animated children’s film based on the writings of Lebanese-American writer, poet, and visual artist Khalil Gibran. Exiled artist and poet Mustafa embarks on a journey home with his housekeeper and her daughter; together the trio must evade the authorities who fear that the truth in Mustafa’s words will incite rebellion.
  • 5 PM: Persepolis, an adult animated biographical comedy-drama film, based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name, about a precocious and outspoken Iranian girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution.
  • 8 PM: Naila and the Uprising, a documentary, chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh whose story weaves through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history — the First Intifada in the late 1980s.
  • Photography exhibit, “A Day in the Life of Yemen,” showcasing the work of Luke Somers, a British-born American freelance photographic journalist and resident of Yemen, who was held hostage and killed by al-Qaeda in 2014.
  • Children’s activities, film Q&A sessions, and opportunities to get involved with RCF.

“Peace Works, a cornerstone project for RCF, is always an opportunity for us to creatively engage with community members on issues of injustice and struggle, and this year is no different. We are all too aware of the polarization and oppression occurring in communities around the country, including our own, and we hope that through film and allied arts, we can amplify the voices that are all too often silenced,” stated Whitney Faulkner, RCF Executive Director.

More information here →

BDS: How a non-violent movement has transformed the Israeli-Palestinian debate

 Bethlehem, Jun 2015. (photo: Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images)
Israel sees the international boycott campaign as an existential threat; Palestinians regard it as their last resort.

By Nathan Thrall | The Guardian | Aug 14, 2018

Above all, [BDS] has underscored an awkward issue that cannot be indefinitely neglected: whether Israel, even if it were to cease its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, can be both a democracy and a Jewish state.

The movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel — known as BDS — has been driving the world a little bit mad. Since its founding 13 years ago, it has acquired nearly as many enemies as the Israelis and Palestinians combined. It has hindered the efforts of Arab states to fully break their own decades-old boycott in pursuit of increasingly overt cooperation with Israel. It has shamed the Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah by denouncing its security and economic collaboration with Israel’s army and military administration. It has annoyed the Palestine Liberation Organization by encroaching on its position as the internationally recognized advocate and representative of Palestinians worldwide.

It has infuriated the Israeli government by trying to turn it into a leper among liberals and progressives. It has exasperated what is left of the Israeli peace camp by nudging the Palestinians away from an anti-occupation struggle and towards an anti-apartheid one. It has induced such an anti-democratic counter-campaign by the Israeli government that it has made Israeli liberals fear for the future of their country. And it has caused major headaches for the Palestinians’ donor governments in Europe, which are pressured by Israel not to work with BDS-supporting organizations in the Palestinian territories, an impossible request given that nearly all major civil society groups in Gaza and the West Bank support the movement. . . .

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US cutting all funding to Palestinian refugee agency

A Palestinian woman rides in a car after collecting aid provided by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNWRA, in Gaza City, Jan 17, 2018. (photo: Mohammed Abed / AFP)
The US provides almost 30% of UNRWA budget.

By Staff and Agencies | The Times of Israel | Aug 31, 2018

[The US] will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.
— US State Department statement
The loss of this organization could unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction.
— German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

The Trump administration announced Friday it is cutting nearly $300 million in planned funding for the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, and that it would no longer fund the agency after decades of support. Instead, it said it would seek other channels by which to aid the Palestinians.

The administration castigated the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for failed practices, and indicated that it rejected the criteria by which UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees, whereby the UN agency confers refugee status not only on original refugees but on their millions of descendants. . . .

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My daughter loves the miracle of Israel

Israeli army soldiers take position during clashes with Palestinian stone throwers in the West Bank city of Hebron on Aug 3. (photo: Abed Al Hashlamoun / EPA-EFE)
It was time for her to see the other side.

By Rabbi Sharon Brous | Los Angeles Times | Aug 26, 2018

The rising generation of American Jews is increasingly alienated from Israel. They say they’re tired of the fantasy, a defensive story of half-truths. Yet many American Jewish community leaders, while wringing their hands over the lost generation, persist in the sanitized approach to teaching young people about Israel. They argue that it’s simply not possible to instill a love of Israel while exposing its faults. They are wrong.

I didn’t want to take my kid to the West Bank city of Hebron. A few years ago, a former Israeli paratrooper had guided me through the silent, “sterilized” streets of its old city, free of any Palestinian presence. I saw Hebrew graffiti triumphantly sprayed on sealed homes and shops, walked by the checkpoints that ensure complete separation of the Jewish and Muslim populations. Hebron is not an easy place to be — I wasn’t sure my 14-year-old was ready for it.

My family and I travel to Israel as often as we can. Our kids’ bedtime stories are tales of the struggles and triumphs of the Jewish people, our people. They have learned Hebrew as a living language. They love Israeli culture and food and they FaceTime their cousins in Tel Aviv nearly every day.

And we speak honestly and critically with them about what’s happening in Israel, just as we do about what’s happening in the United States. We talk about the miracles and the missteps, the dreams fulfilled and those unrealized. And now, at 9, 12 and 14, they’re old enough to begin to understand the complexities.

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