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Israel's choice: "Jewish only" or democratic?

The time will have to come for Israel to declare its hand: is it “a state of the Jewish people throughout the world” as it defines itself, or a state of all its citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish? So far Israel has managed to convince the Western world that it is the only democracy in the region, but neglects to add that this democracy works only for its Jewish citizens. This is the conundrum: Israel has been unable to reconcile what it says it is, with want it wants to be — democratic and exclusively Jewish. 

Iraqi militants force Palestinians to leave Anbar

RAMADI, 24 April 2007 (IRIN) - Palestinians living in Iraq’s Anbar province have come under increasing pressure from militants to leave or be killed, NGOs and Palestinians say. Palestinians in the capital, Baghdad, have long been threatened by armed groups and harassed by authorities but threats to them in other provinces are a new development, aid workers say. Sunni-dominated Anbar used to protect Palestinians, who are predominantly Sunni too, but times have changed. “Palestinians had been looking for safety and had found it in Anbar province but now they are being targeted [there also]. They have nowhere to go and might be killed if they try to go to another place,” Mahmoud Aydan said. 

UK Journalist Union: Support boycott of Israeli goods

The National Union of Journalists’ Centenary Annual Conference last week debated more than 200 motions on topics ranging from opposition to plans to neuter the UK Freedom of Information Act, to launching a Stand Up for Journalism campaign against low pay and job cuts throughout the media industry. The conference condemned press freedom violations in China, Russia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, and a special session was held on the kidnapping of Alan Johnston in Gaza and the safety of journalists. 

The Legend of the Removed Checkpoints

Let’s refresh our memory. It all started last December, when Olmert met Abbas. Olmert promised to remove checkpoints in the West Bank: “I intend to personally supervise it,” he told Abbas, “so that the Palestinian society would feel the relief” (Ha’aretz, Dec. 24, 2006). The same day, Ha’aretz reported that Defense Minister Amir Peretz and his deputy Ephraim Sneh were actually working on a plan to facilitate Palestinian movement in the West Bank. The two must have spent the whole night in their office, devising a plan for dismantling not less than “45 out of approximately 400 checkpoints.” 

Israeli military targets young shepherds in South Hebron Hills

In the past ten days, Israeli soldiers abducted several shepherds, including a seven-year-old boy, who were grazing their sheep near Israeli settlements in the Southern Hebron District. In none of the cases did they send them to the Israeli civilian police for the required legal processing. On Sunday, 14 April, Israeli soldiers detained seven-year-old Maher Ahmed Moussa Ibnes and his cousin, sixteen year old Nadal Samir Moussa Ibnes in Imneizel. 

Tempers Rise Over Reconstruction

BINT JBAIL, 23 April 2007 (IPS) - Eight months after Israeli attacks left devastation across many villages in southern Lebanon, reconstruction comes with mounting anger towards both Israel and the central Lebanese government.The war which raged between Israel and Hezbollah Jul. 12 to Aug. 14 last year destroyed many villages in the south, and left others badly damaged. Starting from within hours of the ceasefire, about a million people who had fled southern Lebanon began to return, many to wrecked homes. 

Interdependent Palestinian and Jewish Histories

The title of Joseph Massad’s book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians does not do justice to the contribution this book makes to the history of Zionism, Israel, and the Jews. Massad’s brilliant and scholarly work is profoundly illuminating not only for the history of Palestine and the discourses surrounding it, but for the history of Europe and the United States and, finally, as an account that raises compelling theoretical questions. 

Audio Interview: Sami Al-Arian's wife speaks on husband's incarceration

Professor Sami al-Arian has been incarcerated for over four years in federal custody. Although he was acquitted of all charges to ties with a Palestinian “terrorist” organization, a Federal judge remanded him indefinitely. EI contributor and producer of the weekly podcast Crossing the Line Christopher Brown interviews Nahla al-Arian, the wife of Sami al-Arian, as she discusses his current situation, and the affect that a recent 60-day hunger strike had on him and his family. 

Puerto Rican activist arrested at Second Bil'in International Conference on Nonviolence

21 April 2007: “Thanks to the media here for telling the truth … Bring this truth to whatever country you come from!” These were Mairead Maguire’s words, a Nobel Peace Prize winner from Northern Ireland, just one hour before she was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli Occupation Forces. At a press conference next to the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in, she stood beside Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian Information Minister. “Nonviolence will solve the problems here in Israel and Palestine,” Ms. Macguire continued. 

UN envoy asks Israel for records of cluster bomb strikes

JERUSALEM, 22 April 2007 (IRIN) - A UN envoy has asked Israel to hand over detailed electronic records of its cluster bomb strikes on southern Lebanon last summer to help munitions-clearing teams with their task. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said she had asked Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni for the files which are automatically produced when munitions are fired.