Israel Makes Request To U.S. To Dismantle Life Support System For 5 Million Palestinians

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By Jonathan Cook for AlterNet – Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy. The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood. Danon makes Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu look moderate. He has backed Israel annexing the West Bank and ruling over Palestinians apatheid-style. Haley appears unperturbed. During a meeting with Netanyahu, she told him that the UN was “a bully to Israel”. She has warned the powerful Security Council to focus on Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizbollah, instead of Israel. To protect its tiny ally, Washington is threatening to cut billions in US funding to the world body, plunging it into crisis and jeopardising peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

Fresno State Cancels A Middle East Studies Professorship Amid Alleged Right-Wing Pro-Israel Pressure

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By Murtaza Hussain for The Intercept – LATE LAST YEAR, the California State University at Fresno began soliciting applicants for a newly created Edward Said Professorship in Middle East Studies, a teaching role named after the late Palestinian-American public intellectual. In a job posting, the school described the role as a “tenure-track, academic-year position” teaching courses on the Middle East and helping develop the school curriculum on the region. Said was famously known as an advocate of Palestinian nationalism in the United States as well as the author of the groundbreaking work of cultural criticism “Orientalism.” Last week, however, after months of evaluating candidates, Fresno State abruptly announced that it would not be filling the role this year. While the school cited “procedural errors” as a reason for the cancellation, academics at the school, including one professor who resigned in protest, are claiming that the school is engaging in an act of academic censorship. In a resignation letter issued last week, Vida Samiian, the longtime dean of Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities, said that a pressure campaign had targeted the search committee for the professorship, and that the school had balked at having four Arab-American finalists for the role.

Victory For Palestinian Prisoners As 80% Of Strike Demands Met

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By Staff of Tele Sur – “We know that there is a long struggle to come, for liberation for the prisoners and liberation for Palestine,” stated a solidarity network. After more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners staged a a mass, historic hunger strike for 40 days, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ officials confirmed Sunday that nearly 80 percent of the prisoners’ demands were met as the strike ended Saturday. Issa Qaraqe, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission, spoke at a press conference Sunday, declaring the victory “an important achievement to build on in the future on the basis of the protection of the prisoners’ rights and dignity.” Among the many conditions prisoners wanted to be improved that the Israeli Prisons Service agreed to include expanding access to telephones; lifting the security ban on hundreds of family members of Palestinian prisoners, including the 140 children who were denied visits from parents; allowing distant family members to visit their imprisoned relatives; and improving the conditions of both women and children prisoners.

Bernie Sanders Throws Palestinians Under The Bus

Senator Bernie Sanders, right, is embraced by Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez at a party rally in Mesa, Arizona, 21 April. (Gage Skidmore)

By Michael F. Brown for The Electronic Antifada – A majority of Democrats now backs economic sanctions or tougher action on Israel over its continued colonization of occupied Palestinian land, a University of Maryland poll revealed this week. But progressive Democrats cannot count on a single member of the US Senate to stand firm for Palestinian rights: not Patrick Leahy, not Kamala Harris and not “progressive” firebrand Elizabeth Warren. Even Bernie Sanders has caved in to pressure from AIPAC. His signature appears with those of all 99 of his Senate colleagues on a 27 April letter reaffirming key talking points of the powerful Israel lobby group. The diverse coalition Sanders brought together will be jeopardized if he thinks Palestinians can be thrown under the bus with no reaction. The letter, addressed to the UN secretary-general, claims absurdly that Israel is being picked on and singled out by the world body – even though Israel has flouted international law and UN resolutions for decades without ever once being subjected to UN sanctions. It also smears UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, whose overstretched resources mean the difference between subsistence and hunger for a million Palestinians in Gaza, which has been under a decade-long Israeli siege.

The Government Smearing Of Israel’s Critics

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after lobbying Congress to kill a peace plan with Iran at all costs. (AP Photo)

By Lawrence Davidson for Mint Press News – “Back in the day,” which in this case was Feb. 8, 2007, the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism adopted a “working definition” of anti-Semitism which included the following point: It is anti-Semitic to “deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor).” This “working definition” has proved to have staying power. Thus, the U.S. Congress has used the State Department document in devising its Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016, and in December of 2016, the British government adopted an almost identical “working definition,” which listed the same alleged act of denial – the one that links the Jewish people’s “right of self-determination” with the “claim that the existence of Israel is a racist endeavor” as an example of “contemporary anti-Semitism.”The whole definition, including the quoted sentence, was not original with the State Department. It was originally “written collaboratively by a small group of non-governmental organizations” which remained unnamed.

The Prisoners’ Revolt: The Real Reasons Behind The Palestinian Hunger Strike

Palestinian demand release of prisoners in Israeli prisons. (Photo: palsolidarity, file)

By Ramzy Baroud for Politics for the People – Gaza is the world’s largest open air prison. The West Bank is a prison, too, segmented into various wards, known as areas A, B and C. In fact, all Palestinians are subjected to varied degrees of military restrictions. At some level, they are all prisoners. East Jerusalem is cut off from the West Bank, and those in the West Bank are separated from one another. Palestinians in Israel are treated slightly better than their brethren in the Occupied Territories, but subsist in degrading conditions compared to the first-class status given to Israeli Jews, as per the virtue of their ethnicity alone. Palestinians ‘lucky’ enough to escape the handcuffs and shackles are still trapped in different ways. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon’s Ein el-Hilweh, like millions of Palestinian refugees in ‘shattat’ (Diaspora), are prisoners in refugee camps, carrying precarious, meaningless identification, cannot travel and are denied access to work. They languish in refugee camps, waiting for life to move forward, however slightly – as their fathers and grandfathers have done before them for nearly seventy years.

All Of Palestine Is On Strike

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By Mazin Qumsiyeh. Today all of Palestine is on strike in solidarity with the fasting prisoners and tomorrow is a day of indignation, demonstrations, and confrontations with the occupiers. Bethlehem is a ghost town and all shops and public transportation are closed and Israeli helicopters are in the skies. Today, Palestinians and their friends around the world show solidarity with over 1800 Palestinian political prisoners who are on their 11th day of hunger strike. Salt and water is all they will take until their just and rightful demands are met (basic decent treatment in prison based on international law). It sounds simple but this is a profound even in Palestinian and human history. The price one pays for resistance is injury, death or imprisonment.

Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger Strike

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By James J. Zogby for Lobe Log – One thousand five hundred Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike for almost a week now. They are refusing sustenance in an effort to improve the deplorable conditions faced by the nearly 6,500 Palestinians who are currently imprisoned in Israel. On the day before the strike began, the action’s leader, Marwan Barghouti, published an op-ed in the International New York Times. It was an elegantly written piece in which Barghouti laid out the conditions in Israel’s prisons and the demands of the strikers. These demands include: more regular family visits, better health care, an end to solitary confinement, and end to administrative detention (a practice in which Israel jails Palestinians for prolonged periods without charges or trial—there are currently 500 such detainees), and installing public telephones enabling prisoners to have monitored calls with their families. Barghouti began his article noting that he has been in prison for 15 years during which time “I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arrests and the ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

Never Obey Occupation: Legacy Of Bassel Al-Araj

A Palestinian in Gaza City carries a poster of Bassel al-Araj on 12 March. Ashraf Amra APA images

By Budour Youssef Hassan for The Electronic Intifada – We will hear several accounts of what happened in the Ramallah area on 6 March 2017, when Bassel al-Araj was killed in an Israeli military raid. How long did the confrontation between Bassel and the Israeli soldiers last? Was the video published by Israel purporting to show the incident authentic? Did Bassel manage to injure any of the soldiers? We may never know. But one thing we can be sure of is that Bassel never surrendered. “The biggest insult against a martyr would be to say that he was obedient, submissive and polite in the face of his killer,” Bassel once said.

UK Campuses Stifle Anti-War And Palestine Solidarity Activism

Protesters attend a rally supporting Palestinians following the recent Al-Aqsa mosque tensions on Place Chatelet in central Paris, France, Oct. 10 2015. | Photo: EFE

By Staff of Tele Sur – The U.K.’s often-criticized counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, has advised universities and colleges to counter extremism by stifling anti-war and Palestine solidarity activism. British university staff have been advised to watch out for students that may harbor “extremist views” such as vocal support for Palestine, opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza, criticism of wars in the Middle East and opposition to Prevent, according to the training materials provided. One campus has already felt the policy’s censoring effect. The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on Tuesday canceled an event organized by a Friends of Palestine society group, citing that it would be anti-Semitic and “unbalanced.” “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition (of anti-Semitism) and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events…

Trump-Netanyahu Meeting Lays Ground Or One-State Solution

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a joint press conference at the White House on 15 February. Michael Reynolds EPA

By Ali Abunimah for Electronic Antifada – US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday morning, before going into their much-anticipated bilateral meeting. Asked about whether the US was still wedded to a two-state solution, Trump broke with longstanding orthodoxy. “I am looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” the president said. On settlements, Trump reaffirmed to Netanyahu, “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit.” Advocates of a two-state solution, including the previous US administration and European governments, see it as the only way to rescue Israel as a racist state that ensures its Jewish demographic majority through a battery of racist laws – a situation they refer to as “peace.”

Israelis Meet With President Abbas Ahead Of Paris Peace Conference

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By Eli Safran and Ibrahim Bushnak. Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine – Robi Damelin, an Israeli bereaved mother whose son – an IDF officer – was killed by a Palestinian sniper during the Second Intifada, gave to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) a watch bearing the flags of Israel and Palestine, and the word “Peace” in Hebrew, Arabic and English. That was at the climax of a meeting which President Abbas held with more than a hundred Israeli activists who came to the Presidential Compound in Ramallah. Robi Damelin and the other Israeli activists expressed appreciation for what Abbas said to them: “I do not believe in violence and terror. Despite all the difficulties that we face under occupation, we will not turn to other, improper means. We oppose such means and struggle against them. We are against violence and terror, anywhere in the world.”

The Palestinians’ New Peace Initiative

Palestinians attend the opening ceremony of Fatah's seventh congress in Ramallah, West Bank, Nov. 29, 2016. (photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

By Uri Savir for Al Monitor – Sensing the despair in Palestinian public opinion, pragmatic officials in the PLO are contemplating a new interim policy move for 2017 to prevent an armed intifada and to keep alive the national Palestinian positions on permanent status. The idea is to launch a Palestinian initiative for a three-year interim agreement that would lead to permanent status. Summary⎙ Print Pragmatic Fatah members are developing a proposal for a new interim agreement, which would establish a transitional state until negotiations on a permanent status solution are launched.

Israel/Palestine: Relegating One State/Two State Debate To Dustbin Of History

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By Jerry Haber for The Magnes Zionist – The following post was written in May 2012. The one-state/two-state debate was “weary, stale, and unprofitable” then, and it is even more so now, with the incoming Republican administration. We are, and have been, for some time in a one-state reality. Israel has ruled for three generations over people without their consent and against their will, with a different system of law. Israel today is a democracy in the sense that America was a democracy before African Americans and Native Americans were made citizens and given the vote — in short, it is at best a nineteenth-century democracy.

Bethlehem’s ‘Santa Claus March’ With Tear Gas,Rubber Bullets

Israeli forces attack Santa Claus march with tear gas and rubber bullets to stop anti-occupation message on Christmas Eve 2016.

By Staff for Ma’an News Agency. Israeli forces Friday suppressed Bethlehem’s “Santa Claus March,” shooting tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at participants, with many suffering from tear gas inhalation. The march, which includes participants dressing up as Santa Claus close to the Christian holiday of Christmas, was launched under the banner “Terrorism and occupation are two sides of the same coin,” and demanded the opening of Israeli checkpoints for Christian tourists to celebrate the holiday in the birthplace of Jesus Christ. A Ma’an reporter witnessed Israeli forces fire rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas into the crowd, which caused a number of participants to suffer tear gas inhalation. Five journalists were also injured, including the cameraman for the Jordanian al-Roya TV Muhammad Shoudha. Israeli forces reportedly fired tear gas canisters directly at his foot.