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Dennis Ross' curious maps problem

Dennis Ross’s [“Don’t Play With Maps,” 9 January 2007, The New York Times] concern over President Carter’s use of maps in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is curious. The first of the maps on page 148 does indeed resemble an Israeli map — one presented at Eilat in May 2000. The Palestinians rejected it categorically then. Perhaps it was also presented in July 2000 at Camp David. That Israel should have presented it at all shows audacity — and little Israeli interest in peace. That it might have been presented again boggles the mind. 

One death in Nablus in weapons misuse


On Monday, 8 January 2007, a Palestinian was killed as a result of the misuse of weapons in Nablus, and 22 stores were damaged in Ramallah and al-Bireh when unknown gunmen opened fire at them. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 14:45 on Monday, 8 January 2007, Fadi Hussam Hassiba, 21, from Nablus, was seriously wounded by a live bullet to the head unleashed from a pistol he was cheking when he was in a shop owned by his father in the old town of Nablus. He was evacuated to Rafidya Hospital, but he died from his wound. 

Israel's purging of Palestinian Christians


For tourists and pilgrims, getting in or out of Bethlehem has been made reasonably straightforward, presumably to conceal from international visitors the realities of Palestinian life. I was even offered a festive chocolate Santa Claus by the Israeli soldiers who control access to the city where Jesus was supposedly born. Foreign visitors can leave, while Bethlehem’s Palestinians are now sealed into their ghetto. As long as these Palestinian cities are not turned into death camps, the West appears ready to turn a blind eye. Mere concentration camps, it seems, are acceptable. Today the only mild rebukes come from Christian leaders around Christmas time. 

Saddam Hussein and Lebanese Politics


The last week in 2006 wasn’t just about the celebration of the holidays. There’s also the anti-government protest, the hanging of the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and politics in the Middle East. The environment was the concern of Dove’s Eyes View, who comments on the Bush’s administration most significant concessions to date on the dangers of global warming as it proposes protecting the polar bears. And Layal voices the concern of a Lebanese youth who refuses to leave Lebanon despite the current political conditions and even though all of her high school and university friends are traveling abroad. 

Blind "New York Times" Continues Attacks on Jimmy Carter


The assault on Jimmy Carter and his new book which criticizes Israeli policy, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, has been led by many of the usual, uncritical, knee-jerk Israel supporters - Alan Dershowitz, Martin Peretz and Abraham Foxman. However, the campaign to discredit Carter among more thoughtful, less partisan Americans is led by powerful, mainstream institutions like The New York Times, that are respected for their seeming objectivity and balance. Despite a facade of balance and moderate positions, Ethan Bonner’s review of Jimmy Carter’s book represents yet another example of the mainstream US media’s willful blindness on Israel/Palestine. 

B'Tselem: Repeal order forbidding transport of Palestinians in Israeli vehicles


On 19 November 2006, the commander of IDF forces in the West Bank, Major-General Yair Naveh, issued an order prohibiting Israelis and tourists from using their vehicles to transport Palestinians in the West Bank without a permit from the army. The order is to take effect on 19 January 2007. The order does not apply to Palestinians who hold a permit to enter Israel or the settlements, to Israeli bus drivers, Israel residents carrying Palestinians who are first-degree relatives, and soldiers and police officers on duty. 

When Birds are No Longer Birds: An Allegory


In an imagined (but somehow very real) countryside there live various kinds of birds, living in peace and enjoying their life among trees, waterfalls and gardens. Once, the birds had an idea that they should elect a chair-bird with a board, all the birds responded positively to the idea, so they set a date for such an election process. They day they set was a winter day, while they are all hibernating. All the birds were involved actively in the electoral process, although the rains were falling heavily overhead, but they appeared very happy for such a remarkable day, unlike any they had ever experienced before. 

We love life whenever we can


Unconsciously, I started to recite this poem, written by Mahmoud Darwish in the eighties, as I first came across the “I love life” and “J’aime la vie” slogans written in red and white letters and carried on billboards around Lebanon. Even before I knew the story of the slogans, the poem came to mind, because the slogans felt cut: We love life whenever we can! But there is so much anger from occupation, imperialism, and injustice around us. The omitted part from the slogan gives a fantasy of a choice of being able to live a life we want in the current state of the world. 

Ramallah: Demonstration against violence towards journalists


On Sunday, the Palestinian union of journalists organized a sit-in strike in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, in protest of the Israeli invasion of the city on Thursday. The invasion resulted in the deaths of four Palestinians and the injury of over 30 civilians. The Ma’an news agency photojournalist Fadi Arouri was seriously injured while attempting to cover the invasion. Dozens of journalists, PLC members, faction leaders and civil dignitaries participated in the protest, despite the heavy rain. Foreigners showing solidarity with Palestinian journalists were also there. 

Relief at news that kidnapped AFP photographer has been freed


Reporters Without Borders voiced relief on learning that Peruvian photographer Jaime Razuri of Agence France-Presse was released in Gaza City today, a week after he was kidnapped outside the agency’s bureau. “We are extremely relieved by this news,” the press freedom organisation said. “But we call on the authorities to bring the kidnappers to justice. This is the only way to finally put an end to this series of abductions. So far, none of the people responsible for the abductions of six journalists in 2006 have been prosecuted. Letting this impunity continue will mean that other foreign journalists will be in danger of being kidnapped.”