Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Who’s afraid of educated Arabs?

Posted in Uncategorized on 01/08/2009 by 3071km

Written by Yousef T. Jabareen

Date published: 24th July 2009

Source: Hareetz

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It has long been the case that Israel’s Arab students have performed significantly worse than their Jewish peers. The reasons for the gaps range from socio-economic disadvantages (more than half of Arab families are below the poverty line, more than three times the rate of Jewish families), to cultural biases in the standardized curricula (more lessons on Jewish heritage and religion), to the hard fact of unequal budget allocations – the state invests roughly $200 per Arab pupil annually, versus $1,000 per Jewish pupil.

However, the sharp decline in Arab students’ performance, especially as the Jewish sector remains consistent, is cause for new concern and demands action.

The figures are telling. This month, Haaretz reported on an Education Ministry study showing that in 2008, only 31.94 percent of Arab pupils passed their matriculation exams. In comparison, 59.7 percent of Jewish students passed. Even more striking is the sharp drop that took place over two years: In 2006, 50.7 percent of Arab high-schoolers qualified for matriculation certificates. Additionally, those who pass score lower than the national average on both these and the psychometric tests required for university or college admission, and as a result, 45 percent of Arab applicants are not accepted to higher education programs. Currently Arabs account for only 10 percent of students in bachelor’s programs around the country.

An international study last year allowed for a comparison between Israel’s Arab students and those in neighboring Arabic-speaking countries. The results suggested that Arab pupils in Israel might do better in a school system suited to their cultural, historical and linguistic needs.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed that Israeli pupils ranked 24th and 25th in math and science, respectively, out of the 49 participating countries across the globe. But the breakdown between Jewish and Arab students revealed vast differences. Israel’s Arab students, taken alone, scored below worldwide averages, equivalent to 37th in science and 34th in math. Compared with the last TIMSS test in 2003, Jewish students’ scores fell slightly, but Arab students’ scores fell dramatically.

Meanwhile, students in neighboring Arab countries scored higher than Israel’s Arabs in both math (Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, among others) and science (Bahrain, Syria, Tunisia and Oman, among others).

Although last year’s drop was precipitous, it was likely caused by a combination of factors that, if not dealt with, and fast, mean that we can expect to see performance continue to fall. One key problem is the physicial conditions in which Arab children study. In March, the state comptroller found that the Arab sector lacked 1,082 classrooms at the start of the 2007-08 school year.

The situation is unquestionably bad, yet one needn’t reinvent the wheel to make significant improvements. In 2008, the last education minister, Yuli Tamir, had a team of Arab civil society representatives (including Dirasat, the organization I head) and Education Ministry officials produce a detailed plan and budget for improving Arab education. They have yet to be implemented.

It would seem that as long as Arab educators, academics and policymakers are excluded from planning, there will be no improvement. The Arab minority constitutes nearly 20 percent of Israel’s population, but has little to no real influence over its own education policy, budgets, standards or curricula.

The creation of a professional Arab pedagogic council to address Arab education in Israel, in cooperation with the Education Ministry, has been proposed more than once by Arab education administrators and leaders, and the 2004 Dovrat report on education even alluded to such an idea. But the ministry has yet to consider the proposal seriously. Granting Arab society increased influence over children’s education is apparently viewed as anathema by the Israeli public.

For years, the state-religious school system – which has no shortage of conflicts with the mainstream public – has been granted its own pedagogic council that decides on a vast range of substantial educational issues. Much like the state-religious schools, Arab society is not asking to separate from the public education system in Israel, but rather to tailor its own education system to the unique identity, culture, language and history of the country’s Arab citizens.

Education should take precedence in any society, as a means of providing students with the academic tools to succeed and be productive, upstanding members of society, who can be proud of their unique identities – Jews and Arabs alike. It is sad to think that Israeli officials’ fear of granting the Arab community meaningful influence could cause the continued deterioration of its educational system – which will in turn perpetuate social injustices, alienation and exclusion, and could lead to civil unrest.

Yousef T. Jabareen is a law lecturer, and founding director of Dirasat, the Arab Center for Law and Policy, based in Nazareth.

Israel stops aid ship to Gaza

Posted in Uncategorized on 30/06/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 30th June 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Israel stops aid ship to Gaza

Israel maintains a blockade of the
Gaza Strip [AFP]

The Israeli navy has intercepted an aid ship on its way to Gaza, pro-Palestinian activists say.

Members of the US-based Free Gaza Movement, who were on board the boat, said on Tuesday the Israeli navy threatened to open fire unless they turned the boat around.

The Israeli government denied any threats were made, or that any shots were fired, but said they warned the boat not to cross into Gazan waters.

The boat had set off from Cyprus on Monday, carrying humanitarian supplies for Gaza, which remains under an Israeli blockade.

Humanitarian crisis

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Caoimhe Butterly, a spokesperson for the Free Gaza movement, said: “This is the third humanitarian relief boat and solidarity mission that has been aggressively stopped by the Israeli army.

“The humanitarian situation is at crisis point. There has been a systematic and deliberate destruction of the humanitarian infrastructure of Gaza.

“We were taking medical supplies and medical equipment and limited amounts of building material … although $4 bn has been pledged to the Gaza Strip for reconstruction … no cement or building supplies are allowed in as a result of the siege.

“We need to up the ante and to mount more actions and convoys of this nature,” she said.

What is After

Posted in International community, International conferences, Israel, Israel politics, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Palestine, Siege, Uncategorized, USA foreign policy, War crimes on 23/06/2009 by 3071km

Obama and Netanyahu meeting at the White House.Zimbio.

Obama and Netanyahu meeting at the White House.Zimbio.

What is After

U.S. President Barack Obama declared after the crucial talks with Israeli the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu the last two weeks at the White House that , the  Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories should be “stopped”,  and reiterated the call for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two states.  He  said “I think it’s not only in the interest of Palestinians but also in the interest of the Israelis,United States and the international community to find a solution on the basis of the two countries”.

Meanwhile, Obama said he would decide at the end of this year, whether Iran is serious in the talks on its nuclear program or not. “We will not talk forever”, with the Iranians. “I expect that if we start talks soon, shortly after the Iranian elections, we will have a good impression after the end of the year on whether talks were progressing in the right direction”.

Netanyahu also said that the possibility of achieving “arrangement” to allow the Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side. Netanyahu said that he  shares Obama’s  desire to achieve progress in the peace process, stressing that he wants to start negotiations with the Palestinians “immediately.” “I want to say clearly that we do not want to rule the Palestinians.”

Netanyahu did not mention the possibility of a Palestinian state. But he said that on the other hand that if the Palestinian guarantee the security of Israel and  recognize Israel as a Jewish state, “then I think that we will be able to find arrangements in which the Israelis and Palestinians live side by side in dignity, security and peace.”
Palestinian Presidency welcomes Obama’s remarks:

In the first reaction to Obama’s statement, the Palestinian presidency: Obam’s declarations are  encouraging, but expressed disappointment over the remarks of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said, “Obama’s remarks about the two-state solution are encouraging, but Netanyahu has ignored the two-state solution and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people had been disappointing.”

He added “We are waiting for President Abbas to meet with Obama for the reality of the situation until after the development of Palestinian and Arab policy”.

He said “the Palestinian Authority is committed to a two-state solution and a just and comprehensive peace based on Arab and international authorities, especially the Arab peace initiative.”

Prior to the commencement of the movement  of Obama’s administration to revive the stalled peace process, say analysts, that the halo of the tension that surrounded the meeting, exaggerated, and that Netanyahu, like all other heads of the Israeli governments, in a position not only enables him to cope with the most important ally of the Jewish state, in return for his cooperation with the American administration in its quest moving towards the peace process yield results.
Solution of establishing a Palestinian state on the Palestinian occupied territories by Israel in 1967,  meets the international consensus, even among the majority of Israelis, according to opinion polls. Obama’s administration is pushing, and his predecessor, former President George Bush, in order to reach a two-state solution, is the focus of efforts by the United States to achieve peace between the two sides.

Netanyahu, who leads the right-wing coalition, rejects the principle of establishing a Palestinian state, on the grounds that an independent Palestinian state would be a threat to the security of Israel, and noted that any Palestinian entity must have sovereign powers which are limited and have no army.

The U.S Administration assured  since taking office in Last January, it’s based on the resolution of the two states live in peace side by side.

It is expected that the head of the Israeli government agrees to hold talks with the Palestinians and alleviate the restrictions imposed by the government and assist in building the Palestinian economy, according to “Newyork times”

And since taking office six weeks ago, he promised to hold talks with the Palestinians on a  the path of economic and political security.

Netanyahu described the attempts to reach a final agreement at the present time as “misleading” and “useless,” arguing that the priorities should be limited to the administrative capacity-building and economic security of the Palestinians, and to deal with Iran, which he sees an obstacle in any peace efforts of the region.
Netanyahu sees that for Washington to achieve its goals in the region, passes through the curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and geopolitical aspirations, prior looking in the  Palestinian Israeli conflict.

And he based his claims on the Arab consensus that curbing the Islamic Republic of priorities, in view of the threats posed on the stability of the region.

Iran’s support for the “Hamas” movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, provide a sufficient  justification for Netanyahu for refusing to move forward in the peace process, and even the removal of Iran aside.

For his part, Obama will argue that the rally of world to confront Iran’s aspirations will require the dissolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in the first place.

Indeed,The Obama’s administrations adopted the option of diplomacy to resolve the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, but it did not enact the sanctions, if the government of Iran intransigence.

How to deal with Iran

The Israeli government has demanded Washington to set a timetable for Iran to respond to international demands, in an attempt to prevent them from gaining more time to increase its nuclear capabilities. Netanyahu has repeatedly warned of Israel is ready to strike nuclear facilities if diplomacy failed.

Obama agreed with the leaders of Israel that the offer of negotiations will not be open to no end to the Islamic Republic, but he will give more time to get a chance success of diplomacy to take a serious part this time.

Israel agreed not to launch an attack on Iran, such as consultation with the U.S. ally, had warned the military and security leaders that military action will only further destabilize the region.

Obama says that the Department continue to expand settlements in the West Bank, and the movement of the Jewish state to expand the scope of its control over East Jerusalem, has undermined the stability and opportunities for moving the peace process.

Israeli governments have not responded to international appeals to stop the expansion of Jewish settlements.

Why all the rush?

And the Israeli prime minster wonders of the urgency to declare a Palestinian state, amid a rift, it is hoped, in the fabric of Palestine, where the lack of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the political power to be a partner in peace.

The opinion poll showed that Abbas, whose mandate expired last January, Hamas will lose face in case of an election now.

Gaza

Prompted the Israeli military campaign on the sector at the beginning of the year, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, to the priority the Bush administration, blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza, as well as fighting in Palestinian politics, has prevented the arrival of 4.5 billion dollars, provided by donor countries for the reconstruction of the sector.

Netanyahu: Settlements to expand

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 25/05/2009 by 3071km

Date: 25th May 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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All settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law [AFP]

Israel’s prime minister has said that Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank will continue to be expanded.

“I have no intention to construct new settlements,” Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted by officials as telling his cabinet on Sunday.

“… but it makes no sense to ask us not to answer to the needs of natural growth and to stop all construction,” he added.

Barack Obama, the US president, pressed Netanyahu to halt all settlement activity when the two men met in Washington last week.

About 500,000 Jews live in settlement blocs and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.

Netanyahu also told the cabinet that the government would move settlers living in the outposts it considers to be illegal under Israeli law.

“We will take care of them,” he said. “If possible by dialogue. There is no doubt that we have committed ourselves to deal with them.”

Dismantling outposts

Last week an outpost near the town of Ramallah was demolished and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, told reporters that Israel was planning to dismantle 22 others.

“We should deal with the remaining 22 in a responsible and correct way,” he said. “First, by talking and, if that doesn’t work, then unilaterally.”

However, the Peace Now group says that more than 50 outposts have been erected since March 2001 and more than 100 are currently in existence.

All settlements are considered illegal under international law and US and European negotiators see them as a major obstacle to achieving a peace deal with the Palestinians.

“What we are interested in seeing is that Israel should implement its obligations under the road map, which includes halting settlement activity and expansion in all its forms,” Mohammed Shatayyeh, the Palestinian public works and housing minister, said on Sunday.

He said that if Israel wanted to show it was serious about peace talks with the Palestinians then it should stop providing utilities, such as water and electricity, to settlements and deny them state funding.

But Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, said the fate of existing settlements should be decided at any such negotiations.”In the interim period, we have to allow normal life in those communities to continue,” he said.

Yesha, the main Israeli setttler organisation, criticised Netanyahu’s comments, saying that he “should respect the wishes of voters who voted en masse for parties that are in favour of continuing construction in Judea and Samaria,” as Israelis refer to the West Bank.

Naqba law

In video
Israel pays lip service to dismantling outposts

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, ministers also approved a draft law banning commemoration of the Naqba, or “catastrophe” as it is referred to by Arabs, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left their homes during the creation of Israel in 1948.

The draft law is scheduled to be submitted for parliamentary approval next week and will propose punishment of up to three years in prison, an official told the AFP news agency.

The law was brought forward at the instigation of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister.

Yisrael Beitenu, Israel’s third biggest party with 15 of the 120 seats in parliament, targeted Israel’s Arab minority during this year’s election campaign, adopting the slogan “No Citizenship Without Loyalty.”About 1.2 million Palestinians live inside Israel.

They are descended from 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land after the establishment of Israel in 1948.