Archive for the 'Column' Category

After Gaza, What Price Palestine’s Security Sector?

By Sabrien Amrov and Alaa Tartir

Source: Al-Shabaka Policy Brief


Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza calls for redoubled efforts to shake off its carefully constructed system of control of Palestinian lives throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and secure Palestinian rights. A necessary first step must be to address the donor-supported creation of Palestinian security forces that primarily serve Israel’s colonial ambitions. This is increasingly urgent with the PA set to move back into Gaza in the wake of the unity deal.

Al-Shabaka Policy Member Sabrien Amrov and Program Director Alaa Tartir tackle these issues by examining the state of the security sector today, its origins and purposes, and the fast-growing authoritarianism that is turning “Palestine” into a security state. While touching on the Gaza security sector, they focus primarily on its development in the West Bank. They urge that the foundations of security sector reform be challenged as a key step towards setting the Palestinian quest for freedom, justice, equality, and self-determination back on track. Read more »

The Ascent of Ahmet Davutoğlu

by Richard Falk
Source: Global Justice in the 21st Century

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So far most commentary on Ahmet Davutoğlu’s selection as Turkey’s new Prime Minister has been focused on what will be his relationship with the country’s new president, Recip Teyyip Erdoğan. Especially opponents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) tend to portray Davutoğlu as certain to play second fiddle to Erdoğan who is both fiercely resented and feared, and regarded as a ‘Turkish Putin.’ The fact that Erdoğan seems to have handpicked Davutoğlu to succeed him at party leader and prime minister, and acted deliberately to sideline the popular prior president, Abdullah Gul, adds to the concern about what to expect from a government led by Davutoğlu. I believe that such speculation is profoundly wrong, that Davutoğlu is an admirable person of strong beliefs and an adherent of a political vision that has evolved over the years on the basis of study and experience. In my view Davutoğlu will turn out to be a historically significant Turkish leader by virtue of his thoughtful style of governance and through the assertion of his own priorities and programs. Few countries can claim leadership of the quality provided and record achieved by Erdoğan, Davutoğlu, and Gul over the last twelve years. Read more »

to live now

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

I have not written much lately and this email maybe personal and emotional.

Our days start early and end very late. Our nights are also occasionally
interrupted by calls from friends in Gaza or others who need some support.

In the past 48 hours, over 100 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli
occupation forces. Many of those are in Rafah. Sometimes I feel guilty that
I am affected more by those I know than those who die that I did not know.

For example, I cried after I hung-up the phone with Islam, a friend in
Rafah who has four children and they can’t sleep and their house shook and
windows shattered as missiles rained on homes nearby. I cried because I
know him and his handicapped son and his dilemma at whether to try to carry
his son and run to the street or not. But then I cried some more thinking
of the many innocents who got killed and injured and who I dd not
personally know and did not cry for them earlier. Islam and his family will
be traumatized for life. Hundreds of thousands will be even more
traumatized. I can’t even imagine a life of a girl who lost all her family
members and carries emotional and physical scars for life. Read more »


by Fred Branfman

Note: This message is addressed to U.S. supporters of Israel both because only U.S. pressure can bring about the political settlement which alone can save Israel and Palestine, and because it appears that most Israelis – consumed by fear, hatred and the dehumanization of even Palestinian children – are presently impervious to either reason or human decency.

Dear U.S. Supporters of Israel in Gaza,

If you believed that the IDF could destroy Hamas by employing portable gas chambers or chemical weapons to publicly gas over 1,400 Gazan civilians, including 400 children, chosen at random – or deliberately blinding them – would you favor doing so? I guess not, perhaps you even feel insulted at the suggestion that you might.

But this raises a basic question: if you would not favor gassing Palestinan civilians, how do you justify your support for blowing them to bits? The controversial issue is not Israel trying to destroy Hamas tunnels. Nor is it the attempt to destroy rockets, as if the Israelis can claim that they reasonably suspected the 46-48,000 U.N.-estimated buildings they either partially or totally destroyed of containing rockets. Nor is it rightfully condemning Hamas for rocketing civilian targets as well. As even long-term apologists for Israeli violence like the New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier acknowledge, the issue is massive Israeli bombing and shelling of he civilian infrastructure in Gaza, which is wholly disproportionate to combatting tunnels and/or rockets. Read more »

Tutu: My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine

By Desmond Tutu
Source: Haaretz

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.

 A child next to a picture of Nelson Mandela at a pro-Palestinian rally in Cape Town. August 9, 2014 / Photo by AP

A child next to a picture of Nelson Mandela at a pro-Palestinian rally in Cape Town. August 9, 2014 / Photo by AP

The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.

If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine – in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities – this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.

A quarter of a century ago, I participated in some well-attended demonstrations against apartheid. I never imagined we’d see demonstrations of that size again, but last Saturday’s turnout in Cape Town was as big if not bigger. Participants included young and old, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, blacks, whites, reds and greens … as one would expect from a vibrant, tolerant, multicultural nation. Read more »

A Moment of Composure

by Saleh Orouq

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As the… I don’t know on which day of war we particularily are since I stopped counting the pronlonged days.

Exposed to death at any instant, I’m not sure if the day is still 24 hours, if the sunrise still signals a new beginning, or if the night is still spent in peaceful sleeps and hangouts. I can tell that the israeli people cannot calculate the days, either. To people killing, striking, bombing, burning everywhere all the time from the ground, sea and air using game-like killing machines a month of war seems to be a blink of an eye and gives more eagerness to more no-game-over games.

Reversely, to people bombarded, killed, fired, burnt, struck all the time and everywhere the month seems to be two or three.

I guess it is the… 45th day! Maybe the 60th! Or maybe it’s been a year since the assault started! Oh, no. The news says, “BREAKING: Deaths and injuries tolls in Gaza exceede ten thousand in the 30th day of Operation Protective Edge.” I’m confused; I need not count. I have been under the sun heat of August for three or five hours. Read more »

Tale of Two Cities: Ramallah, Gaza and the Identity Crisis

Column – Ramzy Baroud

The distance between Gaza and Ramallah in sheer miles is hardly significant. But in actuality, both cities represent two different political realities, with inescapable cultural and socioeconomic dimensions. Their geopolitical horizons are vastly different as well – Gaza is situated within its immediate Arab surroundings and turmoil, while Ramallah is westernized in too many aspects to count. In recent years, the gap has widened like never before.

Of course, Gaza and Ramallah were always, in some ways, unalike. Demographics, size, topography and geographic proximity to Arab countries with different political priorities have always made them separate and distinctive. But the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 had decisively removed Ramallah from its Jordanian element, and Gaza from its Egyptian political milieu. Although they are both Palestinian towns, decades of spinning in the background of collective Arab affairs created a distance that at times felt too great to condense. The Israeli occupation however revitalized that common Palestinian experience of a shared struggle against a common enemy. Despite its many shortcomings, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) eventually filled the gap of leadership, thus unifying the ranks of Palestinians in Ramallah, Gaza, and the Palestinian Diaspora.   Read more »

Social and Economic Justice Precede Peace: Has John Kerry Studied History?

Article – Dan Lieberman

Peace is presented as the opposite of war. Stop war and we have peace. Is it that simple?

What if there is no war, is there any peace to be pursued? History answers that question.

Israel’s stance toward the West Bank Palestinians is similar to that of the Puritans’ Massachusetts Bay Colony toward its native neighbors – rejection of all grievances leading to victory in war, followed by peace for themselves, and continued and unobstructed expansion.  Read more »

To the BBC – Please Allow Freedom of Speech on Palestine

Opinion – Leslie Bravery

Open letter to Janice Hadlow | Controller BBC Four – From Leslie Bravery | 21 August 2013.

Dear Janice,

The British Broadcasting Corporation’s silencing of Nigel Kennedy’s voice is deplorable. Please ask the BBC to allow freedom speech – which is, after all, the cornerstone of democratic freedom. There is a growing, uncomfortably Orwellian feel to the BBC’s constant censoring of anything that Israel and its supporters may find disagreeable. Among the Corporation’s attempts to justify itself we have been told that the suggestion that Palestine is not free is “contentious”. It should be blindingly obvious that the belligerent military occupation of one people by another would be contentious. One side will want to justify it and the victims will want to expose it and appeal for justice. People should be free to hear both sides of any argument and make up their own minds.  Read more »

Hated in Egypt: How the Palestinian Bogeyman Resurfaced

Hated in Egypt: How the Palestinian Bogeyman Resurfaced Like Never Before

by Ramzy Baroud
July 30, 2013

When I left Gaza for the first time on my own, twenty some years ago, I was warned of a notorious officer who headed Egypt’s State Security Intelligence at the Rafah border. He “hates Palestinians,” I was told.

My friends and neighbors in Gaza warned me not to greet him with ‘Assalamu Alaikum’ – peace be upon you – if that particular officer were to be on duty on that day. Yes, the officer also hated any reference to Islam, even the very greeting.  Read more »

Palestinian Deaths Proportional to Life of 2-State Solution

Article – Dan Lieberman

It is perilous and unbecoming to argue with and contradict the icons of our global society. Those who struggle courageously for the rights of others and speak eloquently with word and deed against war and tyranny deserve praise and comfort. They are beautiful … Read more »

Uri Avnery’s Specious Attack on the One State Solution

Article – John Spritzler

Uri Avnery may be the most sophisticated defender of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. He defends this ethnic cleansing while posing as a great friend and sympathizer of Palestinians, supposedly proven by his opposition to Israel’s occupation … Read more »

Case agaist Jewish state part II: It’s all about appeasing

Column – Jamal Kanj

US Secretary of State John Kerry has succeeded in tailoring yet another peace initiative to appease Israel. But it took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu no time to effectively reject the offer, telling Kerry and company it was not occupation … Read more »

EU as an Enabler of Netanyahu’s Colonial Policies

Column – Ramzy Baroud

Europe is different, as we are often reminded. The general wisdom is unlike the United States’ unconditional support for Israel. European countries tend to be more balanced in their approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Their politicians are less … Read more »

Another Superfluous War – Uri Avnery

Opinion – Uri Avnery

HOW DID it start? Stupid question. Conflagrations along the Gaza Strip don’t start. They are just a continuous chain of events, each claimed to be in “retaliation” for the previous one. Action is followed by reaction, which is followed by retaliation, … Read more »

Palestine Entangled: The Politics of Money

Article – Ramzy Baroud

Palestine Entangled: The Politics of Money By Ramzy Baroud In Malaysia, a small group of community activists are busy at work developing projects that benefit most vulnerable members of Palestinian society in Gaza. Working under the umbrella of … Read more »

PCHR: Occupied Lives – He just wanted a better life

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Mohamed Abu Muelieq (17) was killed by Israeli forces on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 near Mossadar village, which is on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Mohamed, and his friends Youssef Altelbani (19) and Mahmoud Alodat (18), were trying to cross over the border fence to search for jobs in Israel when they were attacked. Of the 3 boys, only 1, Mahmoud Alodat survived the attack. He sustained shrapnel injuries to his right leg and was forced to lie in the border area until the shelling stopped. He then crawled to one of the nearby houses, which took him approximately one hour, before he was rushed to the hospital.

Bassam Abu Muelieq in his house in Mossadar village

Read more »

Gaza, Get an Airport or Get a Life

By: Fidaa Abuassi

And thereby hangs a tale. And therein lies my pain. What worsens the situation and doubles the pain is that all moves around, oblivious to every fact on the ground. I seem destined to suffer each time I have to cross the Rafah border into Egypt. My story is not worth mentioning as compared to other ghastly stories whose ending is shaped by the Palestinian-Egyptian mood by which the conflict is once eased and million times further complicated. Unluckily, the latter has always been my case whenever I need to travel. And this makes the odyssey of crossing the Rafah-border worth telling. “Why don’t Palestinians have an airport?” it’s the joke that kills me the most. The difficulty of going out and in Gaza makes each story has its own special taste of pain. The last I travelled, I wished Gaza were located next to Cairo’s International Airport, so we wouldn’t have to withstand the humiliation of being allowed to cross the desert on a six-hour car ride from Gaza to Cairo. “Why couldn’t we transfer Gaza there, so we wouldn’t bother the Egyptians ever again?” this is the joke I want to hear and weep at.

Fidaa Abuassi – The resentful look

Read more »

Al-Shabaka:Farming Palestine for Freedom

by Rami Zurayk, Samer Abdelnour, Alaa Tartir
Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network

The West Bank’s agricultural potential is well known. Less is written about the potential of the Gaza Strip, even though its output could reach an estimated 300,000 tons of mixed produce, fruits and grain each year. And very little attention is paid to the pastoral lifestyle of the Bedouin. Read more »

The Israeli Government’s “Price Tag” Operation

B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
25 Jun 2012

On Wednesday, 20 June 2012, the Israeli government’s Ministerial Committee on Settlement Affairs approved an agreement to evacuate five buildings in Ulpana Hill, a neighborhood of the Beit El settlement. Following the approval, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the significance of the agreement is in “safeguarding the law.” The precise law to which the Prime Minister is referring, however, is unclear, and the agreement that was signed is not legal — neither in light of High Court rulings nor under international law.

Read more »

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