Annexation & What it Means: Part 1 – U.S. & International Views

The US administration's Middle East plan would let Israel illegally annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank [File: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]
The US administration’s Middle East plan would let Israel illegally annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank. (photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]
Please join our brothers and sisters at The Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and the Middle East Institute (MEI) for this 3-part webinar series: “Annexation & What it Means: Views from the Ground & Around the World.”
Date: Wed, May 13, 2020
Fri, May 15, 2020
Mon, May 18, 2020
Time: 11:30 – 1:00 pm
EST
Location: Online Webinar
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, Must Register for each webinar
Event Details

Israel has been de facto annexing land in the West Bank since the inception of its military occupation of Palestinian territories following the 1967 war. Now, under the new Netanyahu-Gantz government and in close coordination with the Trump Administration, the Israeli government is poised to formalize and massively expand the extent of that annexation. What will this mean for Palestinians and for Israelis? What does it mean for the international community? And what happens next – in Israel, Palestine, the region, and the world?

This three-part webinar series, co-moderated by FMEP’s Lara Friedman and MEI’s Khaled Elgindy, will engage leading voices from Israel and Palestine, in addition to U.S., European, and Arab perspectives.

Part 2 – Palestinian Perspectives (Friday, May 15, 11am-12pm ET)
Part 3 – Israeli Perspectives (Monday, May 18, 11am-12pm ET)

More information here →

Mideast Focus Online Film Series: Voices Across the Divide

Please join our brothers and sisters at St. Mark’s Cathedral Episcopal Mideast Focus Ministry group for a video showing and discussion of  Voices Across the Divide, an award-winning film by Dr. Alice Rothchild, exploring the thinking of Jews who support the Occupation and settlements in the West Bank, and those who do not.  Discussion with Dr. Rothchild will follow.
Date: Friday, May 15, 2020
Time: 7:00pm: Film
8:15pm: Discussion
Location: Zoom on-line
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Request for zoom access
Event Details

On Friday, May 15, the Online Film Series continues with Voices Across the Divide, an award-winning film by Dr. Alice Rothchild, exploring the thinking of Jews who support the Occupation and settlements in the West Bank, and those who do not. A live discussion with Dr. Rothchild will follow the screening. The purpose of the film, as explained by its directors, is to open a space for honest dialogue:

“The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one of the most prominent, hot button debates in the US today. There is often little space for compassionate listening or deepening awareness. Access to information about the conflict is shaped by powerful forces and organizations. We believe a better future is possible based on mutual respect and knowledge.

We hope Voices Across the Divide will contribute to an open dialogue grounded in mutual respect, understanding, and political activism that leads to justice for all people in the region. Narrated by Alice Rothchild, an American Jew raised on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the dream of a Jewish homeland in Israel, Voices Across the Divide follows her personal journey as she begins to understand the Palestinian narrative, while exploring the Palestinian experience of loss, occupation, statelessness, and immigration to the US.”

More information here →

Who matters? Pandemic in a time of structural violence

Palestinian workers disinfect the Gaza seaport, as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus, in Gaza City, on March 24, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Palestinian workers disinfect the Gaza seaport, as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of coronavirus, in Gaza City , on March 24, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
A combination of structural racism and apartheid, reliance on military solutions, and a disregard for the health and lives of Palestinian people create a pre-existing condition in this pandemic public health crisis.

By Alice Rothchild  |  Mondoweiss  | May 5, 2020

One of the critical points to this discussion is that the occupation and underlying racism and discrimination in Israel/Palestine persist unabated despite the public health emergency and the interrelatedness of communities and shared risk.

Focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts Israel/Palestine provides us with a unique case study of the realities of health care and public health in a racialized and unequal society.

Israel reported its first case of the coronavirus on February 21, a woman returning from a cruise.* In the second week of February, the coronavirus was found in Bethlehem in the West Bank, introduced by foreign tourists, with another wave brought in by day laborers returning from Israel and Jewish settlements. Gaza’s first two cases were noted on March 22, two men returning from Pakistan. The data from East Jerusalem is difficult, partly because Israel considers East Jerusalem part of “unified Jerusalem” while the Palestinian Authority maintains that East Jerusalem is in the occupied West Bank. That said, on March 10, six East Jerusalem Palestinians were quarantined and the first death was reported April 18. The acclaimed world map and dashboard by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering initially erased the Palestinians altogether, then acknowledged the occupation, and finally changed their “country, region, sovereignty” to the West Bank and Gaza, with no separate designation for East Jerusalem.

Continue reading “Who matters? Pandemic in a time of structural violence”

On-line Performance: Letters from Palestine in the time of the virus

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 5.44.18 PM

Please join our brothers and sisters at Seattle’s Dunya Productions who will present a live online performance about the fears and resilience of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as they meet the threat of Covid 19.
Date: Saturday, May 9, 2020
Time: 11:00 – 12:00 pm
Pacific Time
Location: Live Zoom Event
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, but must register for access information
Event Details

Letters from Palestine in the Time of the Virus was conceived and created for live Zoom performance, with local Seattle actors and other community members reading a series of texts adapted and arranged from writings, words and quotations by Palestinians living under the multiple threats of coronavirus and ongoing Israeli occupation, assault and blockade. The original texts are from Haneen Abdalnabi, Ali Abusheikh, Aziz Abuzayed, Issam Adwan, Ramzy Baroud, Basman Derawi, Iman Hamed, Mazin Qumsiyah, Raed Shakshak, and Noor Yacoubi. Several passages are drawn from stories at We Are Not Numbers, a website project gathering stories and writings from youth in Gaza.

Local author Ramzy Baroud, who grew up in Gaza, is one of the original writers and will join the performance for post-play comments and discussion about the current and ongoing situation for Palestinians.

The short play and discussion will last about one hour total. The time of day has been chosen to make the live performance available for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, 9 hours ahead of Pacific Time.

More information here →

100 years of shame: annexation of Palestine began in San Remo

General view of the wall of separation between Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 9, 2012. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/APA Images)
General view of the wall of separation between Ramallah and Jerusalem, July 9, 2012. (Photo: Issam Rimawi / APA Images)

No enforcement mechanism was ever put into place for the inhabitants of Palestine whose historic homeland was being unfairly confiscated.

By Ramzy Baroud  | Mondoweiss  | May 6, 2020

The establishment of that Jewish State… hinged on some vague ‘understanding’ that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.’

One hundred years ago, representatives from a few powerful countries convened at San Remo, a sleepy town on the Italian Riviera. Together, they sealed the fate of the massive territories confiscated from the Ottoman Empire following its defeat in World War I.

It was on April 25, 1920, that the San Remo Conference Resolution was passed by the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council. Western Mandates were established over Palestine, Syria and “Mesopotamia” – Iraq. The latter two were theoretically designated for provisional independence, while Palestine was granted to the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish homeland there.

Continue reading “100 years of shame: annexation of Palestine began in San Remo”

Israel’s Arab Moment

Two medics—one Jewish and one Muslim—praying in Israel.
Paramedics (photo: Magen David / AFP/ GETTY)
In this pandemic, the nation’s citizens face a crisis that is finally bringing us together.

By Yossi Klein Halevi  | The Atlantic | Apr 30, 2020

Israel’s Jewish majority must finally commit to full equality for the state’s Arab citizens.

During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Islamist militia, I was sitting in a restaurant in the city of Haifa when the siren warning of an incoming rocket interrupted my meal. Arab and Jewish diners found shelter in the narrow kitchen, crowding against one another in awkward silence. “Coexistence,” one woman finally said, with palpable irony.

Today, Israel faces its first national threat that isn’t security related, our first civil emergency that has nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the coronavirus, Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens are facing a crisis that is finally bringing us together.

Continue reading “Israel’s Arab Moment”

Balfour Declaration was issued to gain Jewish support for war effort, Ben-Ami explains

Arthur Balfour and his Declaration of 1917 (Wikipedia commons)
Arthur Balfour and his Declaration of 1917 (Wikipedia commons)
Conflicting promises made during war time has provided years of debate about intention.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | May 2, 2020

…the Balfour Declaration was the act of a colonial overlord trying to please an influential minority inside the country, a minority British leaders perceived to be Zionist.

Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street has a video primer on the history of the conflict that while obviously from a liberal Zionist perspective (“the Temple Mount”), is good on the unfairness of Trump’s deal of the century, showing that Palestinian areas would be connected by a “spaghetti” of roads.

Continue reading “Balfour Declaration was issued to gain Jewish support for war effort, Ben-Ami explains”

(Webinar) Annexation and Israel’s Security: Warnings from Israel’s Security Establishment

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 8.08.25 AM

Please join our brothers and sisters at J Street for webinar about how annexation will destabilize the Occupied Palestinian Territory and undermine the very foundations of Israeli democracy.
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm
Eastern Time
(US and Canada)
Location: Webinar
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free with registration
Event Details

The overwhelming majority of Israel’s security establishment veterans agree: Unilateral annexation of the Jordan Valley and other key parts of the West Bank would seriously endanger Israel’s longterm security. As a former director of the Israel Security Agency (the Shin Bet), a former commander of Israel’s Navy, Admiral and a former Member of Knesset, Admiral (ret.) Ami Ayalon is an authoritative expert on both Israel’s security considerations and Israeli politics. Ayalon joins us on J Stream to discuss how annexation will destabilize the Occupied Palestinian Territory and undermine the very foundations of Israeli democracy itself.

More information here →

The autocratic son-in-law and his madness

US President Donald Trump (L) with Middle East Senior adviser Jared Kushner. (Photo: File)
A former Swedish diplomat names the complicity of doing nothing.

By Mats Svensson | The Palestine Chronicle | Apr 29, 2020

An emptiness filled me… I felt shame for my lack of engagement. Shame over my colleagues, over my organization and their indifference, over the silence.

For a long time, the movement was slow. Small steps. Limited change, as if we had all the time in the world. The movement was clear to everyone affected, as well as the outside world, but the outside world kept its eyes closed.

The outside world consists, among others, of short term workers. Often diplomats. Sometimes working for a few months, a few years. Less often, for a bit longer. These are continuously replaced. Like an eternal marathon race, one race without a baton. I was one of these.

Continue reading “The autocratic son-in-law and his madness”

Israeli official offered Trump campaign ‘critical intell’ to avoid defeat in 2016 — FBI doc

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu meeting in Trump Tower in New York in 2016.
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanhayu meeting in Trump Tower in New York in 2016.
Recently declassified FBI documents show Israeli interest in the election on behalf of Donald Trump.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Apr 30, 2020

The affidavit shows that the FBI regarded these contacts as possibly criminal. The real question here is whether the American media or politicians will pay any attention to the Israeli contacts, even as the Russia hysteria mounts in advance of the general election.

Here’s a delicious story that is not likely to get any pickup from the American mainstream obsessed with Russian interference: evidence that Trump’s friend Roger Stone was in touch with high Israeli officials in the runup to the 2016 election to discuss efforts to help Trump win. One official says “we have critical intell” that can help Trump avoid “defeat.”

The declassified FBI affidavit is a smoking gun insmuch as it reveals an apparent willingness on the part of high Israeli officials, including those close to the “PM” — Benjamin Netanyahu — to interfere in the election on behalf of Donald Trump. At least one of these officials met with Trump in July 2016 at the St. Regis in New York.

Continue reading “Israeli official offered Trump campaign ‘critical intell’ to avoid defeat in 2016 — FBI doc”