Archive for Refugees

Israel urged to commit to Arab plan

Posted in Gaza, History, International community, Israeli occupation, Palestine, Peace process, Pictures, USA foreign policy, West Bank with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 03/08/2009 by 3071km

Date published: 3rd August 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Al-Sabah, left, told Obama that Israel must commit
to the Arab plan in order to secure peace [EPA]

Arab states will adhere to their Middle East peace initiative only when Israel also abides by its terms, Kuwait’s emir has said in talks with the US president.

“It is in our interest that peace be brought about [between Israel and the Arab world]” Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah said as he met Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.

“We will implement this peace initiative when Israel implements and fulfills its obligations,” he said, referring to the Arab Peace Initiative, which was presented by Saudi Arabia in 2002.

Under the terms of the Arab proposals, which were re-adopted at an Arab League summit in Lebanon in 2007, Israel would be granted a full normalisation of relations if it withdraws from Arab land occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The initiative calls for the creation of a viable Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

It also seeks a “just solution” to the long-term future of Palestinian refugees under the terms of UN General Assembly resolution 194.

The Israeli government has repeatedly rejected calls for Palestinians who fled or were forced out of their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war to return to areas in what is now Israel.

About 4.6 million Palestinian refugees are living outside their ancestral lands in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Palestine: settlement expansion part of Zionists agenda

Posted in Gaza, History, Israel, Israeli occupation, Palestine, Siege, West Bank with tags , , , , on 02/06/2009 by 3071km

Written by Ashraf Tantish

Published 2nd June 2009

Source: The Palestine Telegraph

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har_homa_settlement_near_bethlahem

Gaza, June 2, (Pal Telegraph) – Sixty years ago this May, the Zionist movement in Palestine took over seventy-five percent of the country through conquest and transformed it into a Jewish state.

The Palestinian population in the area expelled or terrorized into fleeing , became refugees in the surrounding countries. The Jewish state, known as Israel , was to become a fait accompli.

The Palestinians were then dubbed the “Arab refugees” and were to be settled or resettled in under populated regions of the Arab world .

Israel began to define itself as a state whose quarrel with the Arabs had to do exclusively with post-1948 issues.

The Palestinians, fragmented and leaderless, were seen by the Western world purely as a refuge problem, not a national problem, the West , afflicted with a whole body of racist mythology about the identity of the Palestinians began to view the people of Palestine as a problem that , in time would be resolved in the context of billion dollar loans for resettlement. Surely , a new generation of Palestinians , it was argued, that grew up solely in the Arab countries, will ultimately be assimilated. The Palestinian conflict will be transformed into an inter-state conflict between Israel and the Arab states, having to do with territorial disputes, diplomatic recognition and the rest of it.

The Palestinian , however, sixty years after the dismemberment of their country, or sixty one years after the Belfour declaration, have belied these attempts to deny their existence , to impose settlements over their heads and to reach decisions in the absence of their representatives.

The Palestinian struggle, now as then, in the Gaza Strip and West Bank are known. They are to achieve statehood and freedom and a very democratic Palestine. There will be no recognition of Israel , no coexistence with Zionist apartheid, and no attempt to legitimize Israeli occupation.

In the other words, the struggle of the Palestinian people is identical to any other struggle that confronts settlers-colonialism and apartheid movements in the Third World.

The Zionist movement, like other settler-colonial movements before it has predictably clung to the values and aspiration of arrogant racism: the natives are an inferior people; their land and its resources are fair game for exploitation; and might is right.

Zionism , as we have seen in it action in the past sixty years, and which Palestinians know better than any other people in the world (if for no other reason than they have chafed under it all this time), has had one component to it that separates it from other racist movements. Zionism has never been fixed, and remains, publicly, always undefined in its territorial and political ambitions.

The reason for that is that the Zionists have always taken care not to be committed to aim which are difficult to achieve, or to proclaim certain intentions which may provoke such opposition as to make them unrealizable, accordingly, Zionist ideology developed and crystallized gradually as the Zionists grew in strength and numbers. Whenever any stage during which certain gains were realized came to an end, the ideology itself officially changed and became more clear in its quest for other, broader objectives.

In this regard, consider the territorial of aspect of Zionism. By the 1947 the Zionists, proclaiming that the borders were delineated by the united nations partition plan of that year, represented their final goal of their claims on Palestine as these borders. A year later, after they had conquered another twenty five percent of Palestine in the war of that year, their conquests became non-negotiable.

Between 1948 and 1967, there were no public statements made by Israeli leaders about the West Bank and Gaza as being “biblical Israel”, when these territories were taken over that years. Leftwing and rightwing Zionists immediately began to speak of greater Israel. Today, no one has bothered to ask Netanyahu and his party whether they have changed their political platform regarding the whole of Gaza, West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon being part of great Israel.

Whenever certain Israeli leaders show flexibility( which is rare), as a result of the need to make some gestures to the international community , this does not conceal their continued adherence to the principles of conquest, expansion, terror and racism.

This adherence is neither accidental, tactical nor dictated by existing political conditions, it is rooted profoundly in the ethos of Zionism.

Gaza’s school children still struggle after war

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Videos with tags , , , , on 17/05/2009 by 3071km

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Hamid al-Mallahi studies under a streetlight when it works, walks an hour or more to school and sleeps in a tent that could collapse at any moment.

More than four months after Israel’s 22-day offensive on Gaza, life for the 14 year-old-is similar to that of thousands of other children still living in makeshift camps.

Al Jazeera’s Casey Kauffman reports from Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

Palestinians mark the ‘Nakba’

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Everyday life in the West Bank, Hamas, History, Israel, Israeli occupation with tags , , , , on 14/05/2009 by 3071km

Date: 14th May 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Palestinians demand the right of return for descendants of those who fled in 1948 [AFP]

Thousands of Palestinians have marked the 61st anniversary of the “Nakba” or “catastrophe,” in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced following the creation of Israel.

Demonstrators marched through cities across the West Bank on Thursday, holding Palestinian flags and images of Arab villages razed by Israeli forces in 1948.

The ceremonies took place a day early because the May 15 anniversary of the Nakba falls this year on a Friday, a day off in the mostly Muslim Palestinian territories.

In Ramallah, demonstrators waved banners reading, “The right of return is sacred,” and “Return, Jerusalem And Self-Determination: Our Struggle Will Continue” as they gathered at the tomb of Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader.

Meanwhile in the northern West Bank town of Ramallah, about 2,000 Palestinians held a separate rally, marching through the streets with black ribbons to signify mourning.

Silenced in Gaza

But in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, officials from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) accused Hamas authorities of preventing them from holding any ceremonies to mark the Nakba.

Witnesses said police were deployed in the centre of Gaza City to disperse any demonstrators who tried to gather, AFP news agency reported.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas.

About 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out of their homes during the creation of the Israeli state six decades ago.

Palestinians demand the right for the 4.6 million descendants of those who fled in 1948 to return to their lands that are now inside Israel.

UN pressures Israel on peace policy

Posted in International community, Israel, Palestine, USA foreign policy with tags , , , , , , on 11/05/2009 by 3071km
Date: 11th May 2009
Source: Al Jazeera English

Israeli settlements are a key contention in
the Middle East conflict [AFP]

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has urged Israel to “fundamentally change” its policies towards settlements and commit to a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

Ban told a ministerial level meeting of the Security Council that Palestinians faced “unacceptable unilateral actions” by Israel, such as settlement activity, violence, house demolitions and restriction of movement.

“Action on the ground, together with a genuine readiness to negotiate on all core issues, including Jerusalem, borders and refugees, based on Israel’s existing commitments, will be the true tests of Israel’s commitment to the two-state solution,” he said on Monday.

Ban also said Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel must end and that the Palestinian Authority must develop an effective security structure and state institutions.

In a statement issued by the council following the meeting, all 15 members said that “vigorous diplomatic action” was needed to achieve peace and a two-state solution.

It also urged the Quartet of Middle East negotiators – the UN, the US, Russia and the European Union, to continue such efforts.

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York. said that not a lot had come out of the meeting other than a sense of urgency over the conflict and a feeling that there was a need to invigorate the entire process.

However, there was a new emphasis on the Arab peace initiative and of the need for a “regional element” to push the process forward, along with a sense of the importance of bringing all the Palestinian factions together, she said.

Israeli boycott

The meeting was called by Russia, current president of the security council, but boycotted by Israel.

“Israel does not believe that the involvement of the Security Council contributes to the political process in the Middle East,” Gabriela Shalev, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said in a statement.”This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves.”

The meeting comes shortly before Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is to visit the US for talks with President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu said on Monday that he hopes to resume the peace process with the Palestinians in the coming weeks following talks with Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president.

However, Netanyahu has refused to commit to discussions on an independent Palestinian state, a key factor in global peace efforts to which Israel committed itself under the “roadmap” in 2003.

Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, said the US adhered “fully and unequivocally” to the creation of “an independent, viable Palestinian state”.

“We share a sense of urgency. This is a moment that should not be lost,” she said.

Remembering al Nakba

Posted in History, Israeli occupation, Palestine, Videos with tags , , , on 08/05/2009 by 3071km

The 1948 Palestinian exodus (Arabic: الهجرة الفلسطينية‎, al-Hijra al-Filasteeniya), referred to by Palestinians as al Nakba (Arabic: النكبة‎), meaning the “disaster”, “catastrophe”, or “cataclysm”, was the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem during and after the 1948 Palestine war.

During the war, between 700,000 and 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the territories that were later known as Israel in 1949. They were not allowed to go back to their home after the war and became refugees.

(To continue reading please visit Wikipedia…).

Activism

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 09/04/2009 by 3071km

Activism (Global Voices)

Interview to Richard Falk and Philip Rizk from Global Voices in which they talk about activism and non-violent resistance to express protest and disagreement not only in Gaza and Palestine but also in the rest of the world.

Rizk raises many interesting points including blogging as a powerful arm of non-violent resistance, the role of NGOs in slowing the outburst of the humanitarian and political crisis in Gaza, the Israeli strategy of dividing Palestinians in order to deepen the occupation, etc. He also talks a bit about his film This Palestinian Life. Stories of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance, which we have introduced in our previous post.