The Electronic Intifada

Darfur, another failure of the international community

Arjan El Fassed
al-Fasher,
Sudan
27 February 2005

Though the Security Council has “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” it has not been able to address and resolve a number of conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the conflict in Darfur. No party in these crises has taken adequate measures to ensure the cessation of violence against civilians in spite of the many assurances made. Over 20 months since they were burned out of their villages and after numerous promises from the Government of Sudan and world leaders, people’s lives are still under daily threat. EI’s Arjan El Fassed recently visited various camps and towns in Darfur.

The LA Times' notion of "relative calm"

Alison Weir
25 February 2005

Well, I just got hung up on again. This time by an editor on the Los Angeles Times foreign desk. I had called and attempted, as politely as possible, to give him a correction for the story on the Times’ website tonight. This will probably be their front-page lead news story tomorrow morning. The headline proclaims: “Palestinian Suicide bomber Shatters Calm of late.” The lead sentence then goes on to state that this bomber “shattered a months-long period of relative calm…” The fact is, however, that the truce and this “calm” were shattered long before this. The last suicide bombing against Israeli civilians was Nov. 1, 2004. It took three Israeli lives. Since that time, while Israelis have basked in “relative calm,” 170 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.

Is peace in Palestine about to break out?

Ali Abunimah
24 February 2005

Are Israelis and Palestinians finally on the road to peace? A glance at commentary in the US press would seem to suggest so. Since Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced a truce in early February at the Sharm al-Sheikh summit, many observers see a “window of opportunity” they are encouraging both sides to leap through. And do the latest tussles among Palestinian leaders reflect the kind of democratic reform that ordinary Palestinians want? EI co-founder Ali Abunimah compares this euphoria with the most recent developments on the ground.

Likud's Republican Party Connection

Bob Feldman
23 February 2005

Most U.S. anti-war activists do not support the Israeli establishment’s Likud party because Likud’s leaders have violated many United Nations resolutions which require the Israeli government to withdraw from all post-1967 occupied territory, dismantle all Israeli settlements in post-1967 occupied territories, and allow all Palestinian refugees to return to pre-1967 Israel/Palestine.  Yet a pro-Israel, apparently tax-exempt organization in the United States, the American Friends of Likud, is “part of a global federation of center-right Zionist movements known as Likud Olami—the World Union of Liberal and National Zionists” and “maintains close links to Israel’s Likud party,” according to its website.

Limor Livnat and the Palestinian "problem"

Uri Yaakobi
23 February 2005

Recently, a law was passed saying that settlers who will be evacuated following a future retreat from the Gaza Strip will be given compensation. The balance was tipped to the side of the government from outside the coalition by MK Mohammad Barake. Barake, a MK from “Hadash” party (the former communist party) is, as his name might indicate, an Israeli Arab. Limor Livnat, the Israeli minister of education, who had also voted in favor of the law, was one of the most noticeable politicians in a group of right wing Knesset members and others who had each expressed outrage that an Arab (who had, like any other Member of the Knesset, been elected democratically) was the one to determine the future of Israel in such an important question.

Film review: Paradise Now

Arjan El Fassed
23 February 2005

Hani Abu Assad’s Paradise Now won the AGICOA’s Blue Angel Award for the best European film at the Berlinale last week. The film has been acquired by Warner Independent Pictures in a North American and U.K. rights deal. Paradise Now is the story of two Palestinian childhood friends who have been recruited for a major operation in Tel Aviv. In the tag team of two young Palestinian men, Said and Khaled, director Hani Abu-Assad brings an intensely gripping tale of suicide bombing.

Rewarding aggression in Palestine

Hasan Abu Nimah
23 February 2005

An Arab businessman has reportedly offered Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon tens of millions of dollars to buy evacuated Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. EI contributor Hasan Abu Nimah looks at the legal background and argues that this scheme is as outrageous as offering a common thief compensation for returning stolen property, as well as offering him the expenses for the petrol, tools and clothing he used to commit his crime. Rather than encouraging such prepesterous ideas, as it appears to be doing, the Palestinian Authority should put a stop to it and focus on regaining Palestinian rights as set out in international law.

Israel's Criminalization of Nonviolent Protest

Patrick O'Connor
22 February 2005

14 February 2005 — According to Israeli authorities, one reason for my arrest two weeks ago in Biddu and my denial of entry into Israel in 2003 is that I “organized and participated in illegal demonstrations.” Israeli authorities frequently use the term “illegal demonstrations” to describe peaceful protests against Israeli government violations of international law. This twisted reasoning needs to be exposed and rejected. What is legal often does not completely correspond to what is moral. However, when what is moral is described as illegal, there is a major problem.

The Republican Jewish Coalition and the pro-Israel Lobby

Bob Feldman
21 February 2005

Most U.S. anti-war activists are opposed to the Bush Administration’s policy of using U.S. tax money to provide military weapons to various governments in the Middle East, including the Israeli government. But the Republican Jewish Coalition [RJC], which describes itself as “the sole voice of Jewish Republicans to Republican decisionmakers and the Jewish community” on its website [www.rjchq.org], promotes continued U.S. aid to the Sharon regime and favors an expansion of strategic cooperation between the U.S. government and the Israeli government.

Palestine Through the Arts: A nation defined by culture not politics

Maureen Clare Murphy
20 February 2005

The exporting of Palestinian art is particularly important because while the U.S., which can be considered a third party to the conflict, shares a sense of cultural identity with Israel, it holds very violent perceptions of Palestinians. When Americans see headlines and pictures of suicide bombings, they all too often make no distinction between Palestinians who blow themselves up at bus stops, Iraqi resistance fighters, and Al-Qaeda lunatics who fly planes into skyscrapers. Furthermore, it is only violent pictures that make the news — after all, if it bleeds it leads.

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