Is it time to talk to Hamas?

Palestinian supporters of the Islamic group Hamas take part in a rally to protest the killing of 2 senior Hamas militants in the central Gaza Strip, Oct 8, 2010.  (credit: Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Time to rethink positions that have led to a stalemate that’s going nowhere.

By Jonathan Kuttab | Mondoweiss | June 29, 2022

Hamas has become a convenient excuse for indefinite occupation.

Many of us are concerned about the failure of the world to address the siege of Gaza, which has gone on for 15 years and kept two million Palestinians trapped in an unlivable open-air prison. The real elephant in the room, however, and the justification used for failing to lift that siege is the fact that the Gaza Strip is currently ruled by Hamas—considered an illegitimate terrorist organization, hell-bent on the destruction of Israel and, as such, not a potential candidate for negotiations or peace.

The existence of Hamas is also the lame excuse given for the paralysis of peace talks. Since the Palestinians are divided and Mahmoud Abbas cannot (and is not allowed to) talk either with or for Hamas, it is said that there exists “no one to talk to” on the Palestinian side. Hamas has become a convenient excuse for indefinite occupation.

Continue reading “Is it time to talk to Hamas?”

How Strong is the Biblical Basis for Christian Zionism?

Please join our brothers and sisters at Churches for Middle East Peace and Embrace the Middle East, for a mini-series in which Colin Chapman presents material from his book Christian Zionism and the Restoration of Israel: how should we interpret the scriptures? (Wipf & Stock, May 2021).
Date: June 21 | June 28 | July 5 | July 12
Time: 2:30-3:45 pm ET |  11:30-12:45 PT
Location: On-line, zoom link provided upon registration
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

Christian Zionists argue that Zionism and the creation of the state of Israel should be seen as the fulfillment of biblical promises and prophecies and therefore tend to be very supportive of Israel. But is this the only way to use the Bible to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What do Old Testament writers say about the nation of Israel and the promised land? And how do New Testament writers interpret these Old Testament promises and prophecies? What does it mean for Christians today to be peacemakers and hunger and thirst after righteousness/justice? All the webinars are designed to be as interactive as possible. The first three include a 40-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A, and the fourth contains presentations from speakers with differing viewpoints.

More information here →

Forget liberating Ukraine – We first need to liberate our minds

Photo by Latrach Med Jamil on Unsplash
Jonathan Cook on the utter absurdity, tribalism and outright hypocrisy prevalent in media coverage of Palestine and Ukraine.

By Jonathan Cook | MintPress News | June 10, 2022

When tribalism relates to more trivial matters, such as supporting a sports team, it mostly manifests in less dangerous forms, such as boorish or aggressive behavior. But if it relates to an ethnic or national group, it encourages a host of more dangerous behaviors: jingoism, racism, discrimination, segregation and warmongering.

Nothing should better qualify me to write about world affairs at the moment – and Western meddling in Ukraine – than the fact that I have intimately followed the twists and turns of Israeli politics for two decades.

We will turn to the wider picture in a moment. But before that, let us consider developments in Israel, as its “historic,” year-old government – which included for the very first time a party representing a section of Israel’s minority of Palestinian citizens – teeters on the brink of collapse.

Crisis struck, as everyone knew it would sooner or later, because the Israeli parliament had to vote on a major issue relating to the occupation: renewing a temporary law that for decades has regularly extended Israel’s legal system outside its territory, applying it to Jewish settlers living on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Continue reading “Forget liberating Ukraine – We first need to liberate our minds”

Israel lobby’s Black allies aim to unseat Rashida Tlaib

CNN commentator Bakari Sellers seeks to remove the sole Palestinian American in the US House of Representatives through effort of new PAC. (credit: Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)
Right-wing Israel lobby interests seek to foment dissent among democratic constituencies.

By Michael F. Brown | The Electronic Intifada  | June 9, 2022

What it actually appears to be is a right-wing Israel lobby effort to promote Black supporters of Israel within the Democratic Party at a time when the party’s base is decisively shifting its support to the Palestinian struggle.

CNN commentator Bakari Sellers is aiming to remove from Congress its one Palestinian American representative.

The longtime Israel supporter is backing a new political action committee that is pouring money into a primary challenge against Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Urban Empowerment Action PAC says it will spend “upwards of $1,000,000 on TV, digital, mail, radio and print advertising to support Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey.”

Continue reading “Israel lobby’s Black allies aim to unseat Rashida Tlaib”

Largest Palestinian displacement in decades looms after Israeli court ruling

Palestinian Mahmoud Najajreh points at his demolished house, in Masafer Yatta, South of Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 31, 2022. Picture taken May 31,2022. (credit: REUTERS / Mussa Qawasma)
38 of the most vulnerable Palestinian communities at increased risk of forced displacement.

By Henriette Chacar| Reuters | June 11, 2022

“They want to take this land from us to build settlements,”
— Wadha Ayoub Abu Sabha, a resident of al-Fakheit, one of a group of hamlets where Palestinian shepherds and farmers claim a historic connection to the land

MASAFER YATTA, West Bank, June 12 (Reuters) – Some 1,200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank region of Masafer Yatta face the risk of forced removal to make way for an army firing zone after a decades-long legal battle that ended last month in Israel’s highest court.

The ruling opened the way for one of the largest displacements since Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Middle East war. But residents are refusing to leave, hoping their resilience and international pressure will keep Israel from carrying out the evictions.

Continue reading “Largest Palestinian displacement in decades looms after Israeli court ruling”

Army stands by as settlers attack activists in Masafer Yatta

An Israeli settler throws a stone at the window of a car containing three left-wing Israeli activists, as another settler blocks their exit, outside the Mitzpe Yair outpost, occupied West Bank, June 10, 2022. (credit: Oren Ziv)
A settler smashed an activist’s car and returned safely to his outpost, after soldiers violently dispersed a protest against Palestinian expulsion.

By Oren Ziv | +972 Magazine | June 13, 2022

“I refuse to believe in the idea of Jewish safety depending on the ongoing displacement and dispossession of Palestinians,”
— Rabbi Salem Pearce, member of Center For Jewish Nonviolence (CJNV) 

On Friday, I saw with my own eyes how settler violence works and how the army and police stand aside, do nothing to prevent it, and do not arrest the violent settlers.

I saw a settler throw stones and smash the window of a car with left-wing activists inside while his friends blocked the activists from driving away; I saw soldiers watch the incident play out without doing anything; I saw the military’s brigade commander of the area arrive at the scene a few seconds after the attack and start chatting amicably with the driver who blocked the activists from leaving, while the attacker slowly retreated back toward the nearby outpost without anyone attempting to stop him; and I read how the Israeli army’s spokesperson described the violent event which took place before my eyes as “friction between settlers, activists, and Palestinians.”

Continue reading “Army stands by as settlers attack activists in Masafer Yatta”

Palestinian flag emerges as flashpoint as tensions simmer across Israel

Israel Palestinians
A Palestinian man waves his national flag as Israelis mark Jerusalem Day, an Israeli holiday celebrating the capture of the Old City during the 1967 Mideast war, outside Jerusalem’s Old City, Sunday, May 29, 2022.  (credit: AP Photo / Mahmoud Illean)
Members of the Israeli Parliament advance bill to ban waving the Palestinian flag at state-funded institutions.

The Times of Israel | June 6, 2022

“The Palestinian flag reminds Israelis that there is another nation here and some people don’t want to see another nation here,”
— Jafar Farah, who heads Mossawa, an advocacy group promoting greater rights for Arab citizens of Israel who identify as Palestinian

It’s not a bomb or a gun or a rocket. The latest threat identified by Israel is the Palestinian flag.

Recent weeks have seen a furor by nationalists over the waving of the red, white, green and black flag by Palestinians across Israel.

Yet the fracas over the flag tells a broader story about how much hopes for peace with the Palestinians have diminished and about the stature of the 20 percent of Israelis who identify as Arab or Palestinian.

Continue reading “Palestinian flag emerges as flashpoint as tensions simmer across Israel”

Shireen Abu Akleh Memorial

Shireen Memorial

Please join our friends of the Palestine Museum US to attend a special event (In-person and virtual) to remember a Palestinian American journalist murdered by an Israeli sniper while performing her duties. The Shireen Abu Akleh Memorial at the Palestine Museum US will also be installed.
Date: Sunday, June 19, 2022
Time: 12:00pm PT / 3:00pm ET / 10:00pm Palestine
Location: On-line, and in person
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, Registration Required
Event Details

More information here →

Book Review – Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out

Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out, by Ramzy Baroud and Ilan Pappé. (Photo: Book Cover)
This powerful book is a series of themed essays and interviews with knowledgeable thinkers and doers.

By Gary Anderson | Palestine Chronicle | May 19, 2022

“Liberators do not exist. It is the peoples who liberate themselves”.

(Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out, Ramzy Baroud and Ilan Pappé, Clarity Press, 2022)

While only a few are (or have been) elected officials, all are engaged in the newest era of evolution of liberation for all of Palestine, whether in West Bank / Gaza, Israel, or the Diaspora. These voices speak of despair and betrayal when considering their Arab neighbor nations, the actions of their nominal government (Palestine Authority), their representation in the Israeli Knesset, or protection by the United Nations or the international community.

They have learned that the only thing they can count on is themselves, that is the steadfastness (sumud) of the people, not those who purport to be their leadership. The preface begins with a quotation: “Liberators do not exist. It is the peoples who liberate themselves”

So, with that beginning, Ramzy Baroud and Ilan Pappé proceed to illuminate the new era, the Unity Intifada, that was triggered by a concatenation of Israeli actions in the Spring of 2021. In early May 2021, the Israeli Supreme Court was seen as ready to approve the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. That same week, Israeli police stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque. Confrontations between Israelis (militant civilians and police) vs. Palestinians led to more than 600 injured persons, mostly Palestinians. Thus far, not much of this was unprecedented.

Read the full article here →

Stories of church struggle


This collection of articles highlights the ongoing work churches are doing to tip the scale for justice for Palestinians.

By Palestine Portal | June 1, 2022

“The urgent call for change from our Palestinian partners compels us to witness in a way that acknowledges new realities and asserts a vision consistent with our long record of engagement in struggles for justice for all people.”
— Reverend Jeff Wright, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

On May 5 an article appeared in Sightings, the twice-weekly publication of the University of Chicago Divinity School, a respected mainline seminary. Titled “Is Israel Practicing Apartheid? American Churches Join the Conversation,” it likely raised some eyebrows. “The issue is on the table for the church in a way it has not been previously,” writes the author, Rev. Jeff Wright. The article, still featured on the homepage, is evidence of another taboo broken — the “A” word and “Israel” appearing in the same sentence.

In this issue of Celebrating Our Global Community we bring you stories from the UK, Africa and the United States further documenting what we named in the October 2021 issue as a “Tipping Point” in the global church movement for Palestine.
Continue reading “Stories of church struggle”