If you would like to have a link to Rifat Odeh Kassis response to Rabbi Warren, here is one which contains also background on the author. http://chaplainclair.blogspot.com/2010/11/rifat-kassis-responds-to-rabbi-warren.html
Please do distribute the letter widely, and also ask your friends to do the same. It is an important document.
As for the 5 items below, the initial one, though very brief, is of essence. It informs us that our own Dalit Baum, researcher and initiator of Israel’s Coalition of Women website Who Profits (www.who.org) (referring of course to who profits from the occupation), will testify before the tribunal on Palestine, and will contend that 2 companies (one British, the other French) are complicit in Israel’s occupation.
Items 2 and 3 treat a single subject: the US ‘guarantees package’ that supposedly aims to bring Israeli and Palestinian leaders back to the bargaining table. Al Jazzier first reports, the in item 3 Robert Fisk expresses his justifiably angry retort to the US guarantees.
Item 4 is Sam Bayou’s most important analysis of the economic and social aspects of the “the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli- Palestinian cooperation” used to describe proposed industrial free trade zones. Although these are touted to benefit Palestinians as well as Israelis and investors, the Palestinians will in effect gain little.
I would like to add a word to Sam’s excellent analysis regarding a subject that he implies, but does not expand on. He does say that Israel has seized land to divert it from agriculture to industrial purposes. But because it is not his subject, he does not enlarge on what is done with that land. Israel does not merely steal Palestinian land. In many cases (perhaps most) Israel converts their agrarian use into urban use. In other words, Israel is urbanizing the West Bank, much the same as it has done for the 78% of historic Palestine that it conquered in 1948-9. Historic Palestine was prior to the ’48-9 war 70% agrarian. The West Bank undoubtedly reflected this until Israel began colonizing it. Most of the colonies are urban ‘suburbs’ of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem or other Israeli cities. One has only to watch the enormous morning rush-hour traffic and the evening return traffic to realize how much of the colonization is urban rather than agrarian. This of course furnishes Israel with a large stock of cheap labor with which to work in the industrial zones for Israel’s profit. Farmers who no longer have land to farm must find ways to feed their often large families.
If, after the former 4 items, you still have energy to read item 5, it is a personal story about a woman who wanted to be an Israeli and did her best to become one, but was thwarted by the religious demands of this country. I do not sympathize with her Zionist views, but regret the pain and unhappiness caused her by theocratic impositions. Indeed, she was right to return to the United States where, as in most other Western countries, she can be whatever kind of Jew she wishes to be without being penalized.
All the best,