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Solution to the conflict will not be found on the battlefield

We should not stand idly by as the human development potential in Gaza and the West Bank is so tragically depleted. In spite of the best efforts of UNRWA and other humanitarian and development actors, this potential will continue to diminish unless political actors revive a meaningful peace process. Political actors must move quickly to help restore in both sides a genuine commitment to a peaceful resolution of this conflict and a recognition that there are partners among both parties. To those of us in the region it is as clear as day that the Palestinian issue is a quintessentially political issue. Its resolution simply will not be found on the battlefield. 

Human Rights Council decides to urgently dispatch a high-level fact finding mission to Beit Hanoun

The third special session of the Human Rights Council concluded its work this afternoon after adopting a resolution in which it expressed its shock at the horror of Israeli killing of Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun and called for bringing the perpetrators thereof to justice; expressed its alarm at the gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by the occupying power, Israel, and called for urgent international action to put an immediate end to these violations; and decided to dispatch urgently a high-level fact-finding mission to be appointed by the President of the Council to travel to Beit Hanoun. 

Research: Dozens of Dutch companies support or facilitate Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territories

Dutch NGO platform United Civilians for Peace (UCP) today publishes a research about “Dutch economic links in support of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and/or Syrian territories”. This research reveals that dozens of Dutch companies through their activities support or facilitate the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territories. The investigation identified at least 35 Dutch companies that maintain direct or indirect relations with the occupation of Palestinian and/or Syrian territories: 21 companies with headquarters in the Netherlands and 14 Dutch subsidiaries of Israeli companies. Two of these companies have direct investments in settlements, namely Soda-Club International and Unilever. 

Democrats Ignore Subjugation of Palestinians in Vilifying Carter's Book

President Jimmy Carter’s courageous new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, is due on bookstore shelves tomorrow November 14, 2006. In it, Carter reportedly states, “Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement.” As a result of such excerpts - and the title itself - Democrats in the U.S. Congress made significant efforts in October to distance themselves from their former leader who nevertheless maintains his standing as the conscience of the party. 

Happy Independence Day

The rate of unemployment in the occupied Palestinian territories has reached through the roof - 31.1% in the first quarter of 2006. Palestinian academics are concerned, even as they quibble over methodologies and exact figures. The Palestinian Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS) held its annual conference on the 13th of November at Birzeit University to discuss this problem. Unfortunately, very little by way of original ideas came out of this conference. What is sorely needed is consensus over a bold governmental policy that deals squarely with the current major cause of unemployment - Israel’s closing of its labor market, which at one time absorbed as many as 200,000 Palestinian workers. 

A Tale of Two Sisters: Witnessing an Undercover Israeli Operation in Ramallah (2)

Today is November 15th. Today is our supposed “Independence Day”. A joke. Was almost killed today. This will be brief and inarticulate. I am still in shock…I peeked again, to see some Israelis beating the shit out of a Palestinian man and throwing him into their van. The mustarabeen next to us got back into their van. As we were in their way they smashed into our car and sped off. Meanwhile in front of us and to the right, the Israelis started to pull back. Kids started throwing stones. They shot at us again. They started pulling back again. 

A Tale of Two Sisters: Witnessing an Undercover Israeli Operation in Ramallah (1)

Four hours ago my sister Emily, her curator Carolyn and I were shot at by the Israeli army. My nerves are still shaky. We’ve been drinking ever since. My legs are weak. I feel I can’t stand on them…I was alone in the front seat. Emily and Carolyn were in the back. Suddenly, there was a van directly in front of our car. He veered a bit towards our car. I slowed down, wondering how I was going to pass him. And then he emerged from his window… pointing an M-16 across the street and spraying bullets. The three of us hit the floor of the car. All around us… shooting, shooting, shooting. So close. So close. 

Lieberman: Vocalizing Israel's Apartheid Reality

Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, which slaps the “apartheid” label on Israel, comes out this week. Before the book hit the stands though, members of his own party rushed to distance themselves from his allegations. While the label makes supporters of Israel uncomfortable, there is ample evidence that Israel practices institutionalized discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens. Israel, in fact, goes further than South Africa. While whites in South Africa sought to control non-whites, Israel has since its establishment pursued various means of getting rid of its non-Jewish population altogether. 

Palestinian Reporter Wins the Ethnic Media Award in Washington DC

Palestinian reporter Mohammed Omar, 22, won the best Ethnic Media Award, organized by New America Media in Washington DC. Omar won the award for his story “”Sharon, Why Did You Destroy My House?”: Operation Rainbow a Year Later” published by Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Norwegian “Morgenebladet” last year. Omar, who is heading to attend the “New America Media’s First National Ethnic Media Awards” in Washington DC told WAFA that he is the first journalist from the Middle East to win this award.His story sheds the light on the daily suffer and human details of Palestinian family who was turned to homeless as Israeli Occupation Forces destroyed their home in the refugee camp of Rafah, south of Gaza, last year. 

In Beit Lahia, 2 women killed in an armed clan dispute

On Monday, 13 November 2006, two women from Juha clan were killed and a child from the same clan was injured by gunmen in the town of Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza Strip, in yet another incident of security chaos. PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 16:30 on Monday, three gunmen got out of a car and stormed the house of Zeinat Faris Juha (45) located near the compound of the Preventive Security Apparatus in the Mansheyya area in Beit Lahia. At gunpoint, the gunmen requested that the woman accompany them. The household confronted the gunmen, who fired at the people in the house, and fled.