A biosphere refers to the interaction of all living things with the natural resources that sustain them. Mark Zeitoun and Ghassan Abu Sitta write that Gaza has become a “biosphere of war”, where “sanctions, blockades and a permanent state of war affects everything that humans might require in order to thrive, as water becomes contaminated, air is polluted, soil loses its fertility and livestock succumb to diseases. People in Gaza who may have evaded bombs or sniper fire have no escape from the biosphere.”
Monthly Archives: April 2019
Israeli Channel 13 has aired recordings of state-sponsored rabbis advocating for the return of slavery, saying that Hitler was 100% right, but that his ideology just needs to be applied by Jews to non-Jews.
For the past 25 years or so I have had a running debate with Jewish friends, Is anti-Semitism over? I’ve argued that it is, given the incredible Jewish inclusion. I was wrong. Anti-semitism remains an abiding hatred, and Poway shows it’s recurrent.
Every month, Israel collects some $190 million in customs duties on goods being imported into the Palestinian territory and transfers it to the PA. But recently it has been withholding $10 million per month, meant to represent the amount paid by the PA to the families of political prisoners and “martyrs” killed by Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to accept the reduced tax revenues, which has plunged the government into its worst financial crisis in years. This is leading Israel to start discussing a plan of action should the Palestinian Authority collapse completely.
A surprising musical ensemble called Siraj in a Palestinian village in the Galilee has overcome discriminatory and cultural hurdles to put on professional performances and innovatively adapted some of the iconic pieces of Arab composers and singers from the 20th century, from Um-Kalthoom to Fairuz. Hatim Kanaaneh reports.
Should US peace processors be proud of failed efforts? Aaron David Miller writes to Martin Indyk: “Do you remember what Clinton said to us at end of the second briefing before Camp David. 2000? Trying and failing is better than not having tried at all. So inspiring and so quintessentially American.”
While the alleged shooter in Saturday’s deadly attack on the Poway Chabad synagogue said he was inspired by the shooter of the Christchurch terrorist attack in New Zealand and claimed to have fire-bombed a mosque. Regardless, Ted Cruz and Meghan McCain attempted to link the attack to Ilhan Omar.
In her recent paper “Climate Change, the Occupation, and a Vulnerable Palestine,” Zena Agha outlines the threat that climate change presents to Palestine, how it is exacerbated by the Israeli occupation, and the steps being taken, or not being taken, to prepare for it. Adam Horowitz talks with Agha about what climate change means for the future of Palestine and the Middle East, and how it should fit into the Palestine solidarity movement agenda.
Yossi Gurvitz says that as long as we focus on occupied territories, of land, we are bound within the rules of occupation, where the occupier and his “security needs” will always win. Instead he proposes we should start speaking of the Israeli Military Dictatorship: “Avoid all discussions of sovereignty. They’re useless. Speak of night raids intended only to terrify people, of invading houses without warrants, of indefinite imprisonment without trial; speak of the horror lurking beneath all this. Speak, in short, not of territories but of people.”
“Sometimes I am asked where would I begin if I were to write a Jewish Theology of Liberation today from scratch?” Marc Ellis writes. “A Jewish Theology of Liberation might begin with an addition to Emil Fackenheim’s 614th commandment or, more to the point, the positing of another commandment,” he answers, “after the Holocaust and after Israel – and what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinian people. The 615th Commandment? ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder Those Who Resist Your Oppression.'”
On a trip to a kibbutz where he was born, Jonathan Ofir reflects on the utter denial of the Palestinian presence in Israel. He moves on to the wondrous village of Lifta, a monument to Palestinian life that Israel doesn’t want visitors to see.
A natural gas pipeline from the sea through Jordan is Israel’s latest effort to normalize relations with its Arab neighbors. But Palestinians resist. In Amman, Alice Rothchild visits an exhibit of remarkable friezes by Palestinian artist, Abdul Hay Mosallam. “They killed me and my killer denied me while turning cold in my grave,” are the words on the Gaza piece.
Low birth weight and birth defects increased significantly since 2011 in Gaza. The evident cause is two military attacks in 2012 and 2014 that introduced novel risk factors, contamination by heavy metals weapon-remnants, ongoing impoverishment, and impaired waste management, says Reproductive Toxicology journal.
“Israeli forces have escalated their attacks against the medical personnel in the field, wounding 4 members of them” Friday, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza. On the 56th Friday of the Great March of Return, Israeli forces injured 110 civilians.
After a months long battle, a Texas school teacher was told she could return back to work after a federal court blocked an anti-BDS law in the state on the grounds that it was “likely unconstitutional.”
“Their plan is to put us in a desert and offer us some drops of water so we are forced to accept it,” Palestinian leader Mohammed al-Masri says of the rumored content of Trump’s peace deal. “No power, no borders, and just give us some economic freedom.” Such a proposal will be dead on arrival, Palestinians say.
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy has urged organizers of a campus forum about efforts to shut down pro-Palestinian voices, featuring Roger Waters and Linda Sarsour, to include “differing points of view” in the panel so that there will be “dialogue” between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian advocates.
Pandering to two pro-Israel groups, Nikki Haley calls Sheldon and Miriam Adelson “national treasures.” She says the Obama administration “led” the UN Security Council resolution against settlements in 2016, pressuring other countries that did not want to vote for it, and making other ambassadors “uncomfortable.”
As Notre Dame burned, Ramzy Baroud thought of Gaza’s Great Mosque. While the fire at the French cathedral was likely accidental, destroyed Palestinian houses of worship were intentionally targeted.
Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump administration was focused on Russian interference in U.S. politics, but his findings highlight some highly questionable contacts that people close to Trump’s transition team had with representatives of another government that has intervened massively in U.S. policymaking in recent years: the United Arab Emirates.
Nada Elia disagrees with those who say it was good Benjamin Netanyahu won the recent Israeli elections because it will help reveal the nature of Israeli society to the world. “Did anyone who is in any way genuinely interested in politics still believe, up till Netanyahu’s fifth reelection, that the two-state solution is a valid option that simply requires the right Israeli prime minister?” she asks.
Jared Kushner explicitly ruled out a two-state solution for his peace plan. “If that would have worked, we would have made peace a long time ago on that basis.” His comments signal potential support for Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank and Palestinian economic support but no sovereignty.
The “vast majority of world Jewry” perceive Roger Waters, Marc Lamont Hill, and Linda Sarsour to be anti-Semites because they have called for democracy in Israel and Palestine, say 80 groups trying to end UMass’s sponsorship of a May 4 forum on– the quashing of speech on Palestinian human rights. The letter is classic McCarthyism, says organizer Jeremy Earp.
Alice Rothchild visits a church in Amman that has gained a regional reputation for caring for refugees from Syria and Iraq, many of whom fled ISIS atrocities and are afraid to return. “Forty percent of the women are widows and many refugees have experienced unimaginably severe and chronic trauma from abuse.”
Jen Marlowe ran the 2019 Palestine Marathon, and did much of her training throughout the West Bank and Gaza. She writes, “while I realized that there would be challenges during my training runs, what I hadn’t anticipated was the window they would provide into the lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.”