Most Palestinians Blame Britain

For the Israeli Occupation, Poll Finds

By Ruth Eglash, The Washington Post
October 18, 2016


“Yes, 100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people. That declaration paved the road for the Nakba of the Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land.”


At last month’s gathering of the U.N. General Assembly, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas placed the responsibility for the 50-year-long Israeli occupation of his people squarely on the shoulders of the British.

“Yes, 100 years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people,” he said. That declaration, Abbas said, “paved the road for the Nakba of the Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land.” Nakba, or the catastrophe, is the term used by the Palestinians in reference to the 1948 war.

Abbas was referring to a letter from November 1917 sent by the British foreign secretary at the time, Arthur James Balfour, to Walter Rothschild, a British Jewish community leader, stating that the British government will support the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

A poll released this week by the Center for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies at An-Najah National University in Nablus of Palestinian attitudes to peace and their own leadership showed that the majority of Palestinians agree with Abbas.

Among the questions asked of 1,362 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank ages 18 and older was whether they “support or reject the call from President Mahmoud Abbas on Britain to accept the historical, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities relating to the consequences of Belfour Declaration including offering an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes and injustice committed against them?”

The majority, 75 percent, said they did. When asked whether they consider Britain responsible for the catastrophes that befell the Palestinian people, 79 percent said yes.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

B’Tselem’s Hard Hitting Testimony Lost in the Telling by N.Y. Times

Muzzling Israeli Dissent in the N.Y. Times

By Barbara Erickson, TimesWarp.org
October 18, 2016


“The heart of the address is missing: El-Ad’s devastating deconstruction of the Israeli justice system as ‘a legal guise for organized state violence,’ the daily indignities and suffering under Israeli military rule, the demolitions of homes, theft of land and water and the impunity surrounding trigger happy security forces.”


Israeli rights advocate Hagai El-Ad spoke eloquently last week before the United Nations Security Council, appealing to the world body for action on the brutal occupation of Palestine, but according to The New York Times little of what this courageous activist said was fit to print: The real news was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s outraged response.

Thus we find a story on the speech appearing two days after the event under the headline “Settlement Debate Flares Again in Israel’s Quarrel With Rights Group.” The article by Isabel Kershner has much to say about Israeli government criticism of the human rights group B’Tselem, which documents and publicizes Israeli abuses in the West Bank and Gaza.

She says as little as possible, however, about El-Ad’s actual comments. Of his 2,000 word speech she quotes no more than two dozen: “Anything short of decisive action will achieve nothing but ushering in the second half of the first century of the occupation…[Living under occupation] mostly means invisible, bureaucratic, daily violence.”

The heart of the address is missing: El-Ad’s devastating deconstruction of the Israeli justice system as “a legal guise for organized state violence,” the daily indignities and suffering under Israeli military rule, the demolitions of homes, theft of land and water and the impunity surrounding trigger happy security forces.

His words become lost in the framing of this story, glossed over in the tit for tat between attackers and defenders of B’Tselem. Other media reports, however—in Israel and the United States—give readers more substantial excerpts from his address, and they also provide links to the actual speech, something the Times conveniently omits.

The Times also fails to say that amidst the turmoil over B’Tselem’s UN appearance, the U.S. State Department declared its gratitude to the organization for providing information on “fundamental issues that occur on the ground.” Times readers, however, are denied these same benefits.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

[Read the full text of the B’Tselem address here, along with video clips shown to the Security Council.]

B’Tselem Addresses U.N. Security Council

Netanyahu denounces rights group’s ‘falsehoods’ about settlements

By William Booth, The Washington Post
October 16, 2016


“What does it mean, in practical terms, to spend 49 years, a lifetime, under military rule? Living under military rule mostly means invisible, bureaucratic, daily, violence. It means living under an endless permit regime, which controls Palestinian life from cradle to grave: Israel controls the population registry; Israel controls work permits; Israel controls who can travel abroad — and who cannot; Israel controls who can visit from abroad — and who cannot; in some villages, Israel maintains lists of who can visit the village, or who is allowed to farm which fields. Make a wrong move, and you can lose your freedom of movement, your livelihood, or even the opportunity to marry and build a family with your beloved.”


Israeli leaders blasted the human rights group B’Tselem on Sunday as a traitor and a slanderer after it denounced Israel’s 49-year-long military occupation of the West Bank. The group’s leader last week called the occupation a thriving land grab and a civil rights disgrace that Israel has no intention of ending, no matter what its politicians say.

On Friday, B’Tselem’s executive director addressed the U.N. Security Council and called for “decisive international action” to end the military rule of the occupied territories. The group is respected abroad but finds itself facing withering criticism at home.

Israel’s long-running military rule over the Palestinians, especially the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, have been a target of escalating rhetoric and harsh condemnation by the White House and State Department. The settlements — with a population of 400,000 Jews — are on land in the West Bank that the Palestinians want for a future state.

[Continue reading here . . . ]

[Read the full text of the B’Tselem address here, along with video clips shown to the Security Council.]


Jews and Palestinians Working Together

To Bring Peace to the Middle East

By Jeremy Ben-Ami and Maen Rashid Areikat
The Seattle Times
October 16, 2016


“The time when one side can afford to deny the presence of the other is long gone. The stark truth is that there are two peoples living on the same land and dividing it between them is the only way to bury this long conflict once and for all.”


[Note: The authors will be speaking at Town Hall Seattle on Wednesday evening at 7:00]

For decades, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the larger Arab-Israeli conflict have cast a dark shadow over the Middle East. This conflict has cost human lives and drained vital resources. It has denied millions of people in the region the opportunity to prosper and grow away from the threat of confrontation, occupation and violence.

We know how this can and must end: a two-state solution ensuring that two states, Israel and Palestine, can live in peace and security, with both sides accepting and recognizing the national and legitimate rights of the other. This is not a zero-sum game — the fates of both peoples are permanently intertwined, and neither can truly flourish while the other suffers. [Continue reading here . . . ]

USAID Awards $800,000 TO Kids4Peace

Funding the Interfaith Jerusalem Initiative will expand the pro-peace community to 288 new families in the Jerusalem area

Kids4Peace and USAID
October 13, 2016


“In these difficult days, we are providing a place where youth from both sides of the conflict can meet each other, find a partner for peace, and take charge of their future.”


Kids4Peace is excited to announce a two-year, $800,000 cooperative agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen and expand the constituency for peace in Jerusalem.

The Interfaith Jerusalem Project will connect youth and parents from East and West Jerusalem, and neighboring West Bank communities in programs that foster civic involvement, celebrate the religious diversity of Jerusalem, and encourage key populations to support a pro-peace agenda.

Project activities include cross-border dialogue groups; workshops about parenting youth in the midst of conflict; community service projects, and town hall meetings that connect youth with community leaders. Kids4Peace will also host community events during religious holidays and facilitate opportunities for Jewish and Arab residents of Jerusalem to visit each other’s homes.

“We are grateful to USAID for this opportunity to strengthen and grow the pro-peace community in Jerusalem,” said Fr. Josh Thomas, International Executive Director of Kids4Peace. “In these difficult days, we are providing a place where youth from both sides of the conflict can meet each other, find a partner for peace, and take charge of their future.” [Continue reading here . . . ]

Partnering for a Peaceful Resolution

To the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


How can Israeli and Palestinian leaders move toward a sustainable peace?
Is a two-state solution the answer?
Can the US and the international community help to bridge gaps and bring the two sides together?


Join us for a conversation with:

Presented by by J Street and The General Delegation of the PLO to the United States

Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Town Hall Seattle
Cost: Free
More Information: Here

Join us for a conversation about the prospects for achieving peace, and why it matters so much to the US and the world with two leaders who know all about the topic: Maen Rashid Areikat (Ambassador of the PLO to the United States) and Jeremy Ben-Ami (Founder and President, J Street), moderated by KUOW Seattle’s Ross Reynolds. You won’t want to miss this exchange of ideas, where Ambassador Areikat and Jeremy Ben-Ami will share ideas and identify common goals in order to achieve two states for two peoples. [Learn more here . . . ]

Bank of Ireland Closes BDS Accounts

Talal Huesseini, Palestinian Square
October 11, 2016


“It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this attack on our ability to bank is a politically-motivated measure to silence a human rights organization that campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law — a campaign the Irish Government views as entirely legitimate.”


On 27 September 2016, the Bank of Ireland (BOI) closed three accounts belonging to the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), deeming Palestine to be a ‘high-risk country’ and declaring that IPSC no longer met the bank’s “risk appetite.” IPSC, a human rights advocacy group that seeks to “build solidarity and mutual understanding” between the Irish and Palestinian peoples, held accounts with the Bank of Ireland since the organization’s establishment in 2001. The money that IPSC raises is primarily used to fund Palestinian solidarity projects in Ireland, such as: advocating for recognition of the occupation by the Irish government and European Union; and educating Irish citizens on the boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. This kind of action epitomizes IPSC’s objective: to peacefully promote Palestinian rights and culture. [Continue reading here . . . ]

California “Assault on Academic Freedom”

California Scholars for Academic Freedom
October 5, 2015


“The UC Berkeley case is but the latest assault on academic freedom that has increased in intensity over the last fifteen years, overwhelmingly in the interest of one foreign government, namely Israel.”


On September 13, well after the school year had begun, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Dean Carla Hesse cancelled a course entitled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” that had been vetted and approved by all the appropriate committees and authorities. It was soon revealed that 43 Zionist organizations (some of these may be organizations in name only) had sent letters of protest asking for its suppression. Faculty and student protest forced the administration to reinstate the course.  But adding insult to injury, UC Berkeley administrators have refused to apologize publicly, and have continued to conceal the obvious reasons for their caving in to outside pressures behind a veil of administrative lingo and half-truths.

Well-funded interest groups outside of the university, including AMCHA, Campus Watch, Louis D. Brandeis Center, Anti-Defamation League, Zionist Organization of America, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Canary Mission Website, the Middle East Forum, and the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership have kept up a continuous effort to silence open debate about a controversial issue: the Israeli occupation and Palestinian rights. It is worth noting that two of the main proponents of these organizations, David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes, were named as leading Islamophobes by the Southern Poverty Law Center. [Continue reading here . . . ]

The NY Times “Finally Realizes”

Netanyahu doesn’t care what Obama thinks

By Lisa Goldman, +972 Magazine
October 7, 2016


“For years, liberal American publications have been generally sympathetic to Israel, even when they are criticizing its governments’ policies. Now, in light of an unprecedented New York Times editorial, that attitude might be about to change.”


The New York Times editorial board has realized, about a decade too late, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not care what the Obama administration — or any U.S. administration, for that matter — thinks about his policies regarding the Palestinians.

According to the editorial published Friday, October 7, headlined At the Boiling Point With Israel, the catalyst for this realization was Netanyahu’s decision to approve the building of a new settlement deep in the West Bank, only three weeks after the U.S. finalized a package of military aid for Israel to the tune of an unprecedented $38 billion, spread over 10 years. Israel receives more military aid than any other country, by far: Egypt, which receives $1.31 billion per year, is the second-largest recipient of direct military aid from the United States. [Continue reading here . . . ]

At the Boiling Point with Israel

The New York Times Editorial Board
October 6, 2016


“The ever expanding settlements have poisoned Palestinian hopes and functioned variously as a spark, a target and an excuse for violence, intensifying the conflict.”


If the aim of the Israeli government is to prevent a peace deal with the Palestinians, now or in the future, it’s close to realizing that goal. Last week, it approved the construction of a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, another step in the steady march under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build on land needed to create a Palestinian state.

The Obama administration, with every justification, strongly condemned the action as a betrayal of the idea of a two-state solution in the Middle East. But Mr. Netanyahu obviously doesn’t care what Washington thinks, so it will be up to President Obama to find another way to preserve that option before he leaves office. [Continue reading . . . ]