2 a: a sudden, radical, or complete change b: a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed c: activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm <the Copernican revolution> e : a changeover in use or preference especially in technology <the computer revolution> <the foreign car revolution>
Almost a year ago a wave of massive popular protests began within the state of Israel. Though my initial criticisms still stands, I’d like to add that over the past year, at least in the south of Tel Aviv, there’s a constant learning about egalitarian politics, co-ops and community projects. People are changing and that can’t be a bad thing. Still, on the Palestinian liberation front there’s little change. The protests have remained Jewish-centered and protesters are still hostile to the mere mention of Arabs (Palestinians are people from another country, of course).
Within a couple of days, Israel State Attorney, Yehuda Weinstein, will have to decide whether to press charges against the Israeli Border Patrol officers, who shot and killed Palestinian Ziad Jilani, on his way back from prayer, who’s truck swerved off the road and hit 2 soldiers walking on the opposite lane. In the official investigation following the killing on 11th of June 2010, conducted that same day by the Police Internal Investigations (Machash), neither Machash interrogators nor the police saw fit to take testimony from the many eyewitnesses on the street at the time. Only soldiers and police personnel were interrogated.
The case was closed last year, citing “lack of evidence” and the incident reported in Israeli media as a “hit-and-run terror attack”. But Jilani’s widow, Moira Jilani, and her three daughters, with the help of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, conducted an independent investigation (including an autopsy, which the Israeli authorities refused to do, and the Israeli media dubbed “body snatching”). The investigation pointed the way to the killers; Maxim Vinogrodov, a Border Patrol officer, and his commander, Shadi Kherraldin.
Diana Buttu and Robert Malley discuss the dwindling prospects for peace in Palestine with Shihab Rattansi on Inside Story Americas.
The Israeli architect of the Oslo Accords has called on the Palestinian president to declare the so-called peace process dead. Should Mahmoud Abbas ignore US pressure and dissolve the PA? Matthew Doyle, Diana Buttu and Robert Malley discuss.
With the world media focusing on the crisis in Syria, it has been forgotten that Syria is home to some 400,000 Palestinian refugees. This includes 14,000 Palestinians who inhabit a refugee camp in the bombarded city of Homs, and who rely on UNRWA, the UN Agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees, for their daily needs.
Hamas’s recent condemnation of the Assad regime is unlikely to endear it to the Syrian government, but in fact over the years Syria has treated the Palestinians relatively well, if one compares the way Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt have treated their Palestinian refugee communities. Moreover, unlike Israel, Syria has never threatened the UN Agency or plotted its demise, a move that could precipitate a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.
The most recent Israeli threats against UNRWA include an attack by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, that blamed the Agency for perpetuating the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In conjunction with a PR firm and the right-wing, US-based StandWithUs organization, Ayalon has created a series of videos on youtube that attempt to promote Israel’s image and spin the history of the conflict. His most recent video is on Palestinian refugees. Ayalon proposes that UNRWA be dismantled and blames it for prolonging the refugee issue and the conflict. Instead, he proposes that Palestinian refugees be placed under the UNHCR’s mandate. In fact, however, the primary reason why UNRWA still exists is due to Israel’s consistent rejection of UN General Assembly resolution 194 (III)calling for the right of refugees to return and compensation.
The following address was delivered by Stephen Lewis – former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and one oftoday’s most important global health advocates – on the eve of World AIDS Day at the Yale School of Public Health.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has been the international financial armada in the battle against the three diseases. The collapse of the next round of Global Fund grants, known as Round 11, is the most serious, catastrophic setback in the Fund’s decade of existence. Hiding behind the banner of the financial crisis, the donor countries have clearly decided that if budgetary cuts are to be made, the Global Fund can be among the first to go.
It’s terribly important to recognize the moral implications. It’s not just the fact that people will die; it’s the fact that those who have made the decision know that people will die. How does that get rationalized? How does that get dealt with in the inner sanctums of development ministries and cabinet discussions? What in God’s name do they say to each other?
It occurs to me that I can’t address the issue of a Palestinian state without addressing my Anarchism. The national struggle is an issue of inevitable debate for many Anarchists who support the Palestinian struggle for liberation. Truth be told, as a local Anarchist, in a time when Palestine is still occupied territory, when asked about the Palestinian bid at the UN for a Palestinian state, I worry mostly about how more violent the Israeli army could get when we demonstrate with the villages. I worry about being denied entry into the occupied territory, in order to get to the demonstrations. I worry about not being able to see my friends, or being prosecuted for attempting to do so.
Many of us- “on the ground” as they say- Palestinians, Anarchists and allies, have been brushing off the reality of a Palestinian-state-positive vote in the UN , because we doubt it’ll change anything ”on the ground.” To those shot at, holding a flag or holding a stick is at best a semantic exercise.
That said, declaring a Palestinian state is not one of those small issues that can be brushed aside, especially because “state” is an internationally accepted legal term. As an Anarchist the idea of an international general assembly, in which whole populations have their say is remarkable to me. Had the United Nations been fashioned after a participatory society model, rather than a hierarchical, neo-liberal, democratic model, maybe it needn’t have had to hang its head in shame. But for now, one must hold the status of a “state”, in order to be recognized as a people- and consequently a person. So in a bid to understand the repercussions of next week, over our lives, more deeply, I’d like to delve into the legal opinions that have been published about the move.
John Pilger’s 2000 documentary on the effects of economic sanctions on Iraq remains an important testament to the pre-Iraq war history of international crimes against the Iraqi people.
Following footage of George H.W. Bush’s convincing announcement that “You, the people of Iraq, are not our enemy. We do not seek your destruction,” Pilger narrates from Iraq:
What happens when modern civilized life is taken away? Imagine all the things we take for granted are suddenly not available, or severely limited: clean water, fresh food, soap, paper, pencils, books, light bulbs, life-saving drugs. Telephone calls to the outside world are extremely difficult, computers no longer work, when you fall ill you must sell your furniture to buy medicine, when you have a tooth out there’s no anesthetic. No country will trade with yours, and your money is almost worthless. Soon your children become beggars. It’s as if the world has condemned your whole society to a slow death, and all because of a dispute between governments over which you have no control. That’s what has happened here in Iraq, where almost 10 years of extraordinary isolation, imposed by the U.N. and enforced by America and Britain, have killed more people than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, including half a million young children.”
While I’m astonished that an Israeli mainstream news service would even address this story at all, let alone report in a considerably balanced manner; There are many very basic questions that this 2-and-a-half minute segment whizzes through, that I’d like to comment on. Continue reading “Khirbat Tuqu’ & the Silent World”