Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

Of the 9 items below, only a few are long.

Item 1 is a request for help for Rani Burnet, who, as a result of a bullet from an IOF sniper, has been paralyzed since 2000. Please watch the video that the link takes you to, as well as read the request.  Please donate if you can, even if a little.  You know the ditty—‘little drops of water, small grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the great big land’ (or something to that effect).  So also with small donations.  If there are lots of them, they add up.

Item 2 is a brief report informing us that Gaza is now undergoing an “unprecedented” medical crisis.

Item 3 consists of 3 reflections and 1 report, all from CPTers.  These help remind us that Israel’s military occupation is alive and kicking.

Item 4 Is about ‘failed favoritism towards Israel,’ written by a Saudi Arabian, who argues “the time has come for Palestinians to bypass the United States and Israel and to seek direct international endorsement of statehood at the United Nations. They will be fully supported in doing so by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations and the vast majority of the international community — all those who favor a just outcome to this stalemate and a stable Middle East.”  Why not support a single secular state with equal rights for all citizens instead of statehood on at the most 22% of historic Palestine, and very likely less?  In any event, it is not at all certain that the situation will end well for the Palestinians even should the UN recommend statehood.  The UNGA can recommend but is not a body that can execute.  Possibly if the General Assembly will by a large vote recommend a Palestinian state, or recognize it, that might bring about a change in Israel’s standing.  Well, September is not far off.  We shall soon see.

Items 5 and 6 are about the ROR and support the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees to the whole of historic Palestine. The arguments are worth reading.  Item 6 is by Eitan Bronstein, founder of Zochrot, who has been working hard on bringing to Israeli consciousness the truth about what happened to Palestinians and their villages, and accomplishes this not merely by research and writing, but also by taking Israelis who wish to know to the sites of villages that have been demolished or where Israelis now live.  Participants then hear why residents left the village  from one or more of the Palestinians who either lived in a given village or whose family did.

Item 7 “Looking beyond Obama to the ‘Golden Age’” is highly critical of Obama and believes that someone better—the real thing rather than the artificial one—needs to replace him.  There is no guarantee, however, that if Obama loses the next election it might be to someone who will improve upon him.

Item 8 is a link to Lucas Koerner’s blog sent to me by a friend.  There are reports in it, and a better video of his act and brutal capture by the police than the one I forwarded, but nothing more, yet, about what happened to him in prison, how long he was there, or under what if any conditions he was released.  That information will also undoubtedly appear on the blog eventually.

Item 9 is a not very deep inquiry into What Zionism Means to individuals who were asked what it meant to them—first from participants in the Jerusalem Day celebration, then from participants in the recent demonstration in Tel Aviv demanding 2 states and an end to occupation.  As one might guess, the responses of each group differed from those of the other.  But mostly the responses show that there is no unified concept of what Zionism means or is.

All the best,

Dorothy

===========================

1. June 1. 2011   From  Adar Grayevsky

[Please watch the video (about 3 minutes).  Dorothy

Please distribute widely

Rani Burnat is an anti occupation activist from the village of Bilin. At the beginning of the second Intifada Rani was shot in his neck by an Israeli sniper while demonstrating in Ramallah. The injury left him paralyzed from his chest down and he has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.

In spite of his condition, Rani has been a major figure in his village’s struggle against the separation wall both as an activist and as a photographer. His natural talent for photography in apparent in his work which capture the essence of the struggle. Two years ago Rani was married and he is now the proud father of 3 children.

We, the friends of Rani are appealing for help. The condition of the roads in the village wears out Rani’s wheelchair on which he depends. Please visit the web site that we have recently established for Rani

where you can see Rani’s photographs and contribute to the equipment he needs.

http://friendsofrani.wordpress.com/

Thank you very much

=============================

2. The Institute for Middle East Understanding

Minister: Gaza medical crisis ‘unprecedented’

Ma’an News Agency,

Jun 12, 2011

This article was originally published by the Ma’an News Agency and is republished with permission.

http://imeu.net/news/article0021047.shtml

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are suffering a critical shortage of medicine and medical supplies, Hamas Health Minister Bassem Naem said Saturday.

The crisis was unprecedented even during Israel’s massive offensive on Gaza in December 2008, Naem said, adding that the situation was worsening by the day.

Speaking at a conference in Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Naem said 180 types of medicine and 200 medical items had run out in Gaza, including alcohol and needles.

All health facilities were affected by the deficit, the minister said, adding that Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip exacerbated the crisis.

The Gaza health ministry announced a state of emergency in Gaza on Wednesday.

On Friday, Naem announced that pre-scheduled surgeries would be canceled, including children’s operations, cardiac catheterization, laparoscopic surgery and bone and nerve operations. He said the ministry would reduce medical services including laboratory tests.

An eye hospital in Gaza City reported Saturday that it had canceled 12 surgeries because doctors had run out of medical supplies.

In An-Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza, the shortage affected 142 patients who could not be given medicine.

Sources in the Gaza Health Ministry said Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath had promised to send medicine to Gaza from Ramallah, but that the supplies never arrived.

==========================

3.  Three reflections and one report from CPTers

CPT Hebron

Now you have it. Now you don’t.

We had just returned from CPT’s morning school patrol when the phone rang, “Can you come to the Bab il Baledeyya? The soldiers are standing here outside their gate detaining a lot of Palestinians.”  We were there within minutes.  M, one of the young men who work in the old city, was distributing ID’s to the others detained with him.  (When finished with the ID’s they’ve taken, it’s the soldiers’ practice to give them all to one of the men detained and make him responsible for their return.)  Handing back the ID’s, M discovered his was not included.  Without an ID, a Palestinian may not be allowed to pass through any of the myriad check points here.  To say his mobility would be severely restricted is an understatement.

M asked the soldiers to return his ID.  They claimed not to have it and told him to leave.  Leave without his ID?  Then what?  The debate continued for about 20 minutes before the soldiers simply walked away.  We shouted to a soldier in the guard post on the roof, “Call your Commanding Officer for us, please.”  He turned and moved out of our field of vision. Did he call his CO?  We had no way of knowing.  We continued to wait.  No CO appeared.

Two members of TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) joined us and, after conferring with them, we decided to escort M through the check points so he could get to the police station and file a report as quickly and easily as possible.

Now, imagine you’re with us.  We passed through the first checkpoint, walked another 50 yards and are at the 2nd checkpoint, explaining the situation to the soldiers.  They allow us to pass with M, BUT we are not allowed to walk to the left for 50 yards to reach the police station. (Here, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line.) They say we must turn to the right and make a ¼ mile loop to reach the police station.  Why?  Simple.  Palestinians are not allowed to walk on this street.

At the police station, the desk officer listens to M’s story and says he’ll contact the army.   We escort M back around the loop and through the check points so he can get to his workplace in the old city.

We check back with M in mid-afternoon.  No word from the army.  We check back, again, at 5:30.  The army finally found his ID and returned it.

No blood spilled.  No broken bones.   No arrests.  Half a day lost from work.  A bit of racism. The stress level pushed up a notch.  Certainly not worth any attention by the media.  But I wonder when the Israeli government will realize this is not how you treat a people with whom you want to live in peace…assuming that is your goal.

Paul in Hebron

——————————-

Checkpoint Clarity…at Long Last

Laurens and I were about to walk out from the old city for the late afternoon CPT patrol when we were stopped by Mohammed, a young Palestinian street vendor.  We were on the old city side of the Israeli army’s Mosque gate turnstiles…a double set through which everyone must pass when leaving the souk.  Mohammed told us the soldiers stationed just beyond the second turnstile refused to allow him to leave the old city and go home.

Laurens and I went through the turnstiles and attempted to engage the first soldier in conversation.  I asked, “Out of curiosity, could you tell me why you’re not allowing that young man to leave the souk?”  His only response was a shake of the head.  I turned to the second soldier, the one in the metal, box-like structure, and — through the small aperture on the side — repeated the question.  This soldier replied.  I anticipated an oft repeated, pat phrase about security, even though that wouldn’t have made a lot of sense.  We all must pass through a metal detector midway between the two turnstiles.  The soldiers often check ID’s and are certainly not hesitant about making Palestinians raise their shirts and pant legs before forcing them to stand spread eagled against a wall, patting them down and going through their pockets.

But there was no mention of security today.  The soldier simply said, “He’s ugly.”  More than a little surprised, I replied, “Look at me.  I’m not exactly pretty and you let me out.”  His response was equally enlightening, “You’ve got a hat.”

And some people say that Israeli soldiers enforce the occupation of Palestinian land in an arbitrary and capricious way.

Paul in Hebron

——————-

Khalil Team <cptheb@cpt.org>

REFLECTION

Hebron:  “Vacations” from the Occupation

Paulette Schroeder

June 9, 2011

When a totally unexpected surprise—like a small fragile flower pushing itself through a cement block—meets the eye, I experience a certain sure bliss, an “instant vacation.”  For a moment, all is well; my breath stops.  I experience a moment of awe,  and at times bittersweet feelings.  The following moments speak of such “vactions from the Occupation.”

1.       A Palestinian hearing the call to prayer, unfolding his prayer rug on the street, kneeling to pray.

2.       An Israeli soldier offering coffee to the Palestinian street cleaner.

3.       A full grown sheep managing to go successfully through the checkpoint turnstile.

4.       An Israeli soldier requesting a Palestinian man to be kind and purchase bread for his  need.

5.       A “flotilla” of kites flying overhead, one of them “dressed” in a Palestinian flag.

6.       A sick camel coming into my neighborhood to receive medicine.

7.       A day at the checkpoints with no ID checks.

8.       A shopkeeper leaving his shop unattended to take me to another shop to find what I need.

9.       A small child kissing my hand, then raising my hand to his/her forehead as a sign of honor.

10.   Two young men after an hour of detainment coming back to thank us for our presence at the checkpoint.

11.   A shepherd offering hospitality after his donkey settlers stole his donkey. [I presume this is meant to be ‘after his donkey was returned after settlers stole it. Dorothy]

12.   The Palestinian woman pouring perfume on my face (a good tonic for tear gas)  when I was choking and crying from tear gas.

13.   Small visiting Jewish children attentively watching the Palestinian potters as they paint their wares.

14.   A Jewish shopkeeper crossing the street to have coffee with his Palestinian neighbor.

15.   Children skipping up and down the stairs which lead onto a violent street.

16.   A Palestinian mother refusing to allow her son who has just been beaten to be dragged behind a military gate.

17.   Large groups of internationals coming to see for themselves if all this Occupation “stuff” is true.

18.   Israeli, Palestinian, and International folks working together for peace in this land.

19.   Rain falling in May!! How happy the farmers must be to have  rain since their crops must now survive without irrigation pipes which have been cut by the Military.

20.   Four teenage Palestinian youth smiling every morning at me as they have just been stopped once again for an ID check.

People’s lives must go on even though this part of the world is a war zone.  I’ve learned that beauty and enjoyment of simple things are not taken for granted so easily when checkpoints, humiliations, restrictions meet the person at regular “turns” of the day.

———————————

Khalil Team <cptheb@cpt.org>

RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Settlers burn land adjacent to outpost

By Esther Mae Hinshaw

10 June 2011

On 8 June 2011 fire burned 20 to 30 dunums (4 dunums equal about 1 acre) of Palestinian land owned by five different families.  The land was part of a plot of 50 dunums planted with different kinds of fruit trees and garden plants.   One of the property owners reported to CPTers Paulette Schroeder, Jessie Smith, Laurens van Esch, and Esther Mae Hinshaw that the fire was set by settlers who live in an outpost adjacent to the burned trees and field.  When the CPTers arrived on the scene, an Israeli fire truck was spraying water on the surrounding land.  The property owner reported that a Palestinian fire truck had put out the fire.  One of the owners who has a shop near the CPT apartment had alerted the CPTers.

The Israeli military seized the 50 dunum plot on 26 October 1971.  On 5 May 2011 the Israeli soldiers gave the owners a document telling them that the seizure notice had been cancelled and the land was now theirs.  The military also told the Palestinians that the property owners would now have to be responsible for defending the land against the settlers.  The owners are afraid of what will happen now.  The Palestinians fear that having their property returned to them will give the settlers a “green light” to take more actions like the burning of the land.  They also fear that the settlers will try to connect the outpost to the Kiryat Arba settlement.

For photos see:

http://cpt.org/index.php?q=gallery&g2_itemId=23382

==========================

4.   Washington Post,

June 10, 2011

Failed favoritism toward Israel

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/palestinian-rights-wont-be-denied-by-the-united-states-and-israel/2011/06/07/AGmnK2OH_story.html

By Turki al-Faisal

Riyadh, SAUDI ARABIA

President Obama gave a rousing call to action in his controversial speech last month, admonishing Arab governments to embrace democracy and provide freedom to their populations. We in Saudi Arabia, although not cited, took his call seriously. We noted, however, that he conspicuously failed to demand the same rights to self-determination for Palestinians — despite the occupation of their territory by the region’s strongest military power.

Soon after, Obama again called into question America’s claim to be a beacon of human rights by allowing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to set the terms of the agenda on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Even more depressing than the sight of Congress applauding the denial of basic human rights to the Palestinian people was America turning its back on its stated ideals.

Despite the consternation and criticism that greeted the president’s words about the 1967 borders, he offered no substantive change to U.S. policy. America’s bottom line is still that negotiations should take place with the aim of reaching a two-state solution, with the starting point for the division of Israeli and Palestinian territory at the borders in existence before the 1967 Six-Day War.

Obama is correct that the 1967 lines are the only realistic starting point for talks and, thus, for achieving peace. The notion that Palestinians would accept any other terms is simply unrealistic. Although Netanyahu rejected the suggestions, stating “We can’t go back to those indefensible lines, and we’re going to have a long-term military presence along the Jordan [River],” both sides have long accepted the 1967 lines as a starting point. In 2008, Ehud Olmert, then Israeli prime minister, told the Knesset: “We must give up Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and return to the core of the territory that is the State of Israel prior to 1967, with minor corrections dictated by the reality created since then.” Last November, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Netanyahu declared in a joint statement that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

One conclusion can be drawn from recent events: that any peace plans co-authored by the United States and Israel would be untenable and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain intractable as long as U.S. policy is unduly beholden to Israel. Despite his differences with Netanyahu, Obama is stymied in his efforts to play a constructive role. On the eve of an election year, his administration will no doubt bow to pressure from special interests and a Republican-dominated Congress, and back away from forcing Israel to accept concrete terms that would bring Palestinians to the negotiating table.

But U.S. domestic politics and Israeli intransigence cannot be allowed to stand in the way of Palestinians’ right to a future with a decent quality of life and opportunities similar to those living in unoccupied countries. Thus, in the absence of productive negotiations, the time has come for Palestinians to bypass the United States and Israel and to seek direct international endorsement of statehood at the United Nations. They will be fully supported in doing so by Saudi Arabia, other Arab nations and the vast majority of the international community — all those who favor a just outcome to this stalemate and a stable Middle East.

Obama has criticized this plan as Palestinian “efforts to delegitimize Israel” and suggested that these “symbolic actions to isolate” Israel would end in failure. But why should Palestinians not be granted the same rights the United Nations accorded to the state of Israel at its creation in 1947? The president must realize that the Arab world will no longer allow Palestinians to be delegitimized by Israeli actions to restrict their movements, choke off their economy and destroy their homes. Saudi Arabia will not stand by while Washington and Israel bicker endlessly about their intentions, fail to advance their plans and then seek to undermine a legitimate Palestinian presence on the international stage.

As the main political and financial supporter of the Palestinian quest for self-determination, Saudi Arabia holds an especially strong position. The kingdom’s wealth, steady growth and stability have made it the bulwark of the Middle East. As the cradle of Islam, it is able to symbolically unite most Muslims worldwide. In September, the kingdom will use its considerable diplomatic might to support the Palestinians in their quest for international recognition. American leaders have long called Israel an “indispensable” ally. They will soon learn that there are other players in the region — not least the Arab street — who are as, if not more, “indispensable.” The game of favoritism toward Israel has not proven wise for Washington, and soon it will be shown to be an even greater folly.

Commentators have long speculated about the demise of Saudi Arabia as a regional powerhouse. They have been sorely disappointed. Similarly, history will prove wrong those who imagine that the future of Palestine will be determined by the United States and Israel. There will be disastrous consequences for U.S.-Saudi relations if the United States vetoes U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. It would mark a nadir in the decades-long relationship as well as irrevocably damage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and America’s reputation among Arab nations. The ideological distance between the Muslim world and the West in general would widen — and opportunities for friendship and cooperation between the two could vanish.

We Arabs used to say no to peace, and we got our comeuppance in 1967. In 2002 King Abdullah offered what has become the Arab Peace Initiative. Based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, it calls for an end to the conflict based on land for peace. The Israelis withdraw from all occupied lands, including East Jerusalem, reach a mutually agreed solution to the Palestinian refugees and recognize the Palestinian state. In return, they will get full diplomatic recognition from the Arab world and all the Muslim states, an end to hostilities and normal relations with all these states.

Now, it is the Israelis who are saying no. I’d hate to be around when they face their comeuppance.

The writer is chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research & Islamic Studies in Riyadh. He was Saudi intelligence chief from 1977 to 2001 and ambassador to the United States from 2004 to 2006.

==========================

5.   [forwarded by Elana]

Al Jazeera,

31 May 2011

Turning the ‘right of return’ into reality

Myths perpetuated by Israel as to why the “right of return” is impossible are easily debunked when looked at logically.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/05/2011527131738517819.html

Ben White

The May 15 Nakba protests put the issue of Palestinian refugees back on the table [GALLO/GETTY]

After years of marginalisation in the peace process, the Palestinian refugees are back on centre stage.

On May 15, Nakba day, the refugees forced their way on to the news agenda; in the past two weeks, Israeli and Palestinian leaders have been compelled to comment on what has always been so much more than a “final status issue”.

During his remarks in the Oval Office, and in response to an op-ed in The New York Times by Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli PM Netanyahu dismissed the refugees’ right of return as fatal to “Israel’s future as a Jewish state”. But the permanent expulsion of one people to make way for another is a hard sell, which is why Netanyahu and others rely on oft-repeated myths about the refugees.

One myth is that the “creation” of the Palestinian refugee “problem” (a euphemism for ethnic cleansing) was a consequence of the Arab countries’ war with Israel. This claim was undermined – almost despite himself – by Israeli historian Benny Morris, who though joining the attack on Abbas’ op-ed, noted that 300,000 Palestinians had lost their homes before 15 May 1948.

In fact, as serious historians and research have shown, Palestinians left their homes and villages through a combination of attacks, direct forced removals, and fear of atrocities.

The expulsion of the refugees was ultimately realised by the forcible prevention of their return, the destruction of villages, and the legislative steps taken to expropriate their land and deny them citizenship.

A second myth manipulates the question of the Jews from Arab countries, around 850,000 of whom left between 1948 and the 1970s. Israel’s apologists try and suggest that these “Jewish refugees” somehow “cancel out” the Palestinian refugees, as if the residents of Ramla or Deir Yassin were responsible for events in Baghdad and Cairo.

More than a hint here of “all Arabs are the same”.

In fact, most scorn the link, such as Israeli professor Yehouda Shenhav who wrote that “any reasonable person” must acknowledge the analogy to be “unfounded”. When the US house of representatives in 2008 called for linking the issues of Jews from Arab countries and Palestinian refugees, The Economist wrote that the resolution showed “the power of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington”.

Put simply, one right does not cancel out another. Ask those pushing this propaganda if they support restitution and redress for all refugees, Jewish and Palestinian, and they fall strangely silent.

What kind of return?

But it is the exposure of a third myth that is the most explosive: that a literal return is unfeasible. In the words of the excellent arenaofspeculation.org, engaging “in new ways with the spatial, political and social landscapes of Israel-Palestine” means that instead of asking “can we return?” or “when will we return?” Palestinians are suddenly allowed to ask “what kind of return do we want to create for ourselves?”

A discussion on what implementing the right of the return would look like is taking place. There is the long-standing work of Salman Abu Sitta and the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), as well as studies by Badil and Decolonising Architecture Art Residency. Recently, the Israeli group Zochrot published in their journal Sedek a fascinating collection of articles on realising the return.

Many people are familiar with the words of Israeli military chief of staff Moshe Dayan at a funeral in 1956, when he reminded those present that Palestinian refugees in Gaza had been watching the transformation of “the lands and the villages, where they and their fathers dwelt, into our estate.”

Less well known are the thoughts of his father, member of Knesset Shmuel Dayan, who in 1950 admitted: “Maybe [not allowing the refugees back] is not right and not moral, but if we become just and moral, I do not know where we will end up.”

There can be no doubt that the obstacle to a resolution of this central injustice is the insistence on maintaining a regime of ethno-religious privilege and exclusion.

After 63 years of dispossession, the refugees have been once again revealed to be at the heart of the issue, for it is they who best exemplify what it means to create and maintain a Jewish state at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians.

Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer, specialising in Palestine and Israel. His first book, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, was published by Pluto Press in 2009, receiving praise from the likes of Desmond Tutu, Nur Masalha and Ghada Karmi.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera

===================================

6.  Mondoweiss,

June 1, 2011

Challenging Israel’s stacked discourse on the right of return

http://mondoweiss.net/2011/06/challenging-israels-stacked-discourse-on-the-right-of-return.html

by Eitan Bronstein

On this last Nakba Day (May 15, 2011), we witnessed the spectacular return of Palestinian refugees in real life. Thousands upon thousands of uprooted Palestinians gathered in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, near the borders of the Jewish state and challenged the boundaries of its civic and national identity. Several hundreds of Palestinian from Syria crossed the northern border unwavering in declaring their intention to return to their homeland. Thus, in a popular act of self-determination that seemed in like an ordinary trip, the many Palestinian refugees simply returned to their rightful place. Meanwhile, although this was a temporary and very symbolic return, we hear and anticipate that the next return is being organized for June 5th, the day that marks the completion of the occupation by Israel in 1967.

Israel’s political leadership and the media describe these moves as violent attacks. They also lament that the act of border crossing is a military failure that must not be repeated. This, in language and in action, is in clear contrast to the non-violent nature of the behavior of the refugees who crossed, or want to cross the borders. The paradox extends internally as well. Discussing the right of return in Israel, even at the left side of the political spectrum, is becoming unspeakable, as it has been categorically labeled as an existential and pure threat.

Meanwhile, in between the temporary return on foot en masse and the many actions of refusal of the paralyzing fear, emerge web initiatives seeking to challenge the stacked discourse from a completely new perspective: a practical planning of and for the return of Palestinian refugees.  Zochrot’s organization published in three languages (Hebrew, Arabic, English) a project that is a first of its kind; the project describes a joint activity of Israeli Jews and internally displaced Palestinians from Miska, engaging in re-imagining and re-planning the destroyed village for the future. This planning takes into account the return of all refugees from the village, rebuilding it, and re-engaging its existence within its geography and context, including its relationship with the existing Jewish communities around.

This is a radical utopian thinking that imagines common everyday life of the inhabitants of the country and its refugees without occupation and dispossession. The three languages project invites wider audience, Arabic and English readers, alongside Hebrew readers who are the first target audience of Zochrot as an Israeli NGO, for a discussion on practicalities of Return. Clearly a multinational and multi lingual discussion is necessary here, not as have occurred in the past, but an authentic and critical one. The Return of Palestinian Refugees is first and foremost a Palestinian interest, both civil and national. The international community is critical in its role to approach the core issue of the conflict: the Palestinian refugees. Western and Arab countries also share responsibility for the problem, not only Israel, so they too must be partners in finding the solution.

Developing a dynamic “arena of speculation”,  as the name of another fascinating website/initiative by Ahmad Barclay and colleagues that deals with this central issue–critical perspectives on spatial futures of Palestine-Israel, is essential to expand the options beyond the war horizon in which the leaders of the region showed us so far. At the bottom of this page is a powerful image created by Sarah Pellegrini, where many of people are returning to Miska Village. At its center is a cultural institute envisioned by the people to be built in the village center after its resurrection and rehabilitation. The building pictured is a copy of the Cultural Center at Deheishe refugee camp called Phoenix. The Palestinian returnees rise in the image as the mythological phoenix that returns to life. Between reality and myth we need the power of geographical and social imagination to create a completely new just and humane spatial reality, one that is the manifestation of people’s Phoenix rising.

Eitan Bronstein is Zochrot founder and spokesman. English editing: Rula Awwad-Rafferty

===============================

7.  Al  Jazeerah,

June 11, 2011

Looking beyond Obama to ‘The Golden Age’

Obama has so far been a disappointment to many of his supporters, but he has awakened a worldwide need for real change.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/06/20116109015758458.html

Paul Rosenberg

The majority of Obama’s campaign promises remain unkept, and many are now looking to new sources for change [GALLO/GETTY]

A few short weeks ago, President Obama was on top of the world – or so it seemed.

He first pushed back against the growing wave of domestic silliness by releasing his long-form birth certificate, turning Donald Trump – his temporary leading GOP challenger at the time – into a laughing stock. Then he announced the killing of bin Laden, the number one man behind the 9/11 attacks.

It was, some suggested, a major turning point. American confidence was back. The US could finally chart a new course, away from the Bush-era “long war” quagmire, as many had hoped would happen when Obama was first elected. There was new space for relationships to be re-defined.

Who knows? The Arab Spring might even be fully embraced by the US. At the very least, resources could be refocused on reviving the economy at home. Five weeks later, all that is gone.

Abroad, Obama’s grand foreign policy address was a complete dud, a painful reminder of how deeply he has disappointed the world since his promising Cairo address two years ago. Talk of an early withdrawal from Afghanistan has faded, and Obama’s domestic agenda is similarly mired in the left-over detritus of failed Republican ideas from the past 30 years – ideas he could have forcefully rejected at one time, but instead has chosen to meekly adapt himself to.

At home, a recent Iowa poll found that Republicans there still don’t think Obama is a natural-born citizen, legally entitled to be president. Little else has changed either – except that Obama’s real leading challenger, Mitt Romney, is now leading him 49-46 in the latest Washington Post poll of registered voters, which found a failing economy at the root of Obama’s political problems.

The recent jobs report – a modest 54,000 jobs gained in May, down from several hundred thousand in each of the previous three months – has suddenly gained elite attention, but signs of a double-dip recession in housing have been registering for months now in the Case-Shiller housing index.

And well before that, prominent economists like Paul Krugman and Berkeley’s Brad DeLong were repeatedly warning that there was not even an economic model behind the austerity politics that have taken hold under Obama’s lack of leadership.

Playing on the GOP’s budget-cutting terrain, there is no credible policy path that could lead to a revived economy by November 2012. Only incredible blind luck could help Obama out. Even Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, a Republican, has warned that budget-cutting will reduce employment in the near term, not create jobs.

The gap between image and reality

As a further indication of how utterly powerless Obama has become by his own passivity, on June 6, Peter Diamond, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, withdrew his nomination to the Federal Reserve Board following 14 months of Republican stonewalling.

The White House pretended to have fought for Diamond’s nomination. “We strongly supported it,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. But no one seriously believes them. Many other top posts don’t even have a nominee.

Where other Democratic presidents, from Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton, would have railed repeatedly against such knee-jerk obstructionism, putting the Republicans on the defensive, Obama has barely raised a whisper. His overall passivity in the face of economic distress is more reminiscent of Grover Cleveland – the 19th century “business Democrat” – than of any 20th century Democratic president.

Indeed, one might well argue that all the normal frameworks for discussing Obama and US politics generally are far too short-sighted and narrow-minded to make sense of what’s going on.

If we want a proper basis for comparison, we should be looking at grand macro-historical comparisons to how other empires have fallen apart, growing increasingly top-heavy, sclerotic, and closed off to new ideas, new insights and new blood that could put them back in touch with their original sources of vitality.

Arnold Toynbee, the British historian who first launched such comparative studies, argued that declining empires can regenerate themselves, if they are lucky. In the late 1960s, while teaching in Florida, Toynbee even expressed the hope that the hippie/anti-war counterculture movement he saw blossoming around him could be a sign of just such a regeneration.

More recently, Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, argued on Democracy Now! in late 2009 that Obama had been the first candidate to run a “lifestyle” presidential campaign, similar to the corporate advertising campaigns that seek to associate consumer products with the look and feel of social change movements associated with that regeneration.

“He really is a super brand on line with many of the companies that I discuss in No Logo … lifestyle brands that co-opted many of the, you know – the iconography of the transformative political movements like the civil rights movement, the women’s movement,” Klein said.

“The first time I saw the ‘Yes, We Can’ video that was produced by Will.i.am, my first thought was, you know, ‘Wow. A politician has finally produced an ad as good as Nike that plays on our, sort of, faded memories of a more idealistic era, but, yet, doesn’t quite say anything.'”

Of course, no one wanted to listen to a perceptive critic like Klein at the time.

But now that the gap between image and reality has opened to the size of the Great Rift, swallowing whole countries of disappointed youth abroad, while at home swallowing tens of millions of unemployed, underemployed and those whose mortgages cost more than their homes are worth, now that Obama’s poll numbers are starting to reflect that enormous gap, perhaps now it’s time to take seriously the need for a fundamental break with the past – a real break, not a fantasy one.

It’s just starting to dawn on America’s political class that Obama could lose the election in 2012 – and they could not possibly conceive of such a fundamental break. An Obama loss would only mean an ever-faster descent into darkness. But those who made and are still making the Arab Spring can conceive of such a break – indeed, it’s all they can think of – as can those in Spain (and even in the US) who have drawn inspiration from them.

There’s a Sufi saying: “If there were no gold, there would be no counterfeit.”

As Obama’s counterfeit promises come up increasingly short, the search for gold intensifies around the world. The golden age is not in the past, as conservatives since Herodotus have argued. The golden age is in us, awaiting self-discovery.

Paul Rosenberg is the Senior Editor of Random Length News, a bi-weekly alternative community newspaper.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera

======================================

8.  Received today from DZ,

June 12, 2011

Here’s the young man’s blog.

http://strongerthanslavery.tumblr.com

xxx
DZ

—————–

The blog contains more than we know from the Mondoweiss report on Lucas, including a superior video of his action and arrest, but does not yet have anything about how he was treated in the police station, how long before he was released, and under what condtitions.  I presume that all will eventually come to light.

Dorothy

=============================

9.  Light reading—interesting; informative, maybe?

Forwarded by the JPLO List

June 6, 2011
What Does Zionism Mean to You?
<http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&\
Itemid=74&jumival=6889
>
Israelis from the Jerusalem Day march and a Tel Aviv march in support of
peace and two states talk to TRNN
VIDEO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5NRxHuuQxQ&feature=player_embedded
Last Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Israeli youth marched along the
Green Line to celebrate Jerusalem Day, an annual commemoration of the
Israeli occupation of the city in the 1967 war. As the organization of
the march was done under a Zionist banner, The Real News’ Lia
Tarachansky spoke with some of the demonstrators about what that means
for them. Three days later, thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv in
support of the Two State Solution. While many organizations
participated, the overall slogan was [Prime Minister Benjamin]
“Netanyahu says no, Israel says yes to a Palestinian state”. Tarachansky
spoke to the demonstrators here about Zionism and how they define it.
TRANSCRIPT
~~~
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): We love Jerusalem, and we want to celebrate 44 years since its liberation. It’s very important to us.
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Are you Zionist?
DEMONSTRATOR: Very.
TRNN: What does Zionism mean to you?
DEMONSTRATOR: We believe in the nation of Israel and the Jewish Bible, and that we must settle the country along all its borders. And we’re studying in a very Zionist and religious school.
~~~
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Yes, I’m a Zionist, very.
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): And what’s the meaning of Zionism for you?
DEMONSTRATOR: Zionism to me is that we’ve returned to our country. We were exiled 2,000 years ago when our Temple was destroyed. We cried and we really, really wanted to return here. And we returned. Zionism I define in terms of the people who love this country and live here, ideally, and believe that this is the country of our forefathers, that this is our country that we always dreamed of returning to. And we want to establish it, and restore it, and that it will really be ours.
~~~
DEMONSTRATOR: We’ve come here, our whole school, together.
TARACHANSKY: And what does Zionism mean to you in the day-to-day politics of this place?
DEMONSTRATOR: Charity between the Jewish people, to help Jewish people. If it’s to–when we vote, we vote for Zionist governments, and if it’s learning the Bible.
TARACHANSKY: And what about the non-Jewish residents of this country?
DEMONSTRATOR: Look, they’re here. Of course it would be better if it was only a Jewish country, ’cause it’s a country that was promised for the Jewish. But people that are here, we are happy for them to stay here, as long as they are not trying and attempt to kill us. Jerusalem should be only for the Jews, ’cause that’s what’s promised for the Jews.
~~~
TEXT ON SCREEN: Committee to strengthen Jewish settlement in Shimon Hatzadik (Sheikh Jarrah).
~~~
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Why are you donating to this committee to strengthen Jewish settlement?
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Why would I not donate? We are Zionists and we must donate.
TRNN: And what’s the meaning of Zionism to you?
UNIDENTIFIED: To control Jerusalem, united.
~~~
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Did you come with your whole school, or did you come alone?
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I came with my friends and with my rabbi.
TRNN: And are you a Zionist?
DEMONSTRATOR: Me? I’m whatever he is.
~~~
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Are you a Zionist?
DEMONSTRATOR: Obviously!
TRNN: Great. And how do you define Zionism?
DEMONSTRATOR: Love for this country, greatness, and sacrificing our lives for it.
~~~
GROUP: Israel! Israel!
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): How do you define Zionism?
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): What’s Zionism?
DEMONSTRATOR: Falafel!
DEMONSTRATOR: What’s Zionism? Tell me!
DEMONSTRATOR: Falafel!
DEMONSTRATOR: And eating hummus.
~~~
TARACHANSKY: Three days later, thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv in support of the two-state solution. While many organizations participated, the overall slogan was Netanyahu says no, Israel says yes, to a Palestinian state. The Real News also spoke to the demonstrators here about Zionism and how they define it.
CROWDS (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The raging right is a danger to Israel! No to occupation! We will not burn more money on the occupation and war! Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies. Terrorists! Terrorists! Death to the terrorists!
~~~
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Do you define yourself as Zionist?
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Yes.
TRNN: And how do you define Zionism?
DEMONSTRATOR: How do I define Zionism? The promise that Israel would be a democratic nation with a Jewish majority and that Jews can live here in peace.
TRNN: And how can you have both a democratic country and have a Jewish majority?
DEMONSTRATOR: Very simple: two countries for two peoples. And what Bibi [Netanyahu] is trying to do is make one country, and it won’t be democratic.
~~~
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The Zionist problem doesn’t exist today. I’m what’s called post-Zionist. Zionism is over. It used to be a good, beautiful country, and I used to love her, but today I can’t anymore. It’s trying to spread and expel the Palestinians. It’s not succeeding so much, but that’s what it’s trying to do.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I don’t define myself neither as a Zionist or an anti-Zionist, nor as a post-Zionist. I think the argument over Zionism is mostly an argument of slogans, deprived of real content. I mean, you have people here in the protest who identify as Zionists, and the people who are yelling at them who define themselves as Zionist. In general, I support a home for the Jews, but on the other hand, I’m opposed to many things Israel does.
UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): This protest is in the wrong place. It should be in Gaza.
~~~
TRNN (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Do you define yourself as a Zionist?
DEMONSTRATOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I don’t really know. I define myself as an Israeli.
TRNN: And how do you define Zionism?
DEMONSTRATOR: Zionism? Love for this place, while criticizing if the government is not going in the right direction.
End of Transcrip
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are
typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their
complete accuracy.

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