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Launch of the International Academy of Art Palestine


The artists of Palestine will step out of a dream and into reality as the launch of the project to establish International Academy of Art Palestine takes place on Thursday, December 7, 2006. “Art is of vital importance in national identity-building. It helps to build bridges, plays a part in social development and inspires people to reflect on their situation. This is why the opening of the Academy in Ramallah is such an important occasion,” said the Norwegian Minster of International Development, Erik Solheim. Important for IAAP is maintaining the collective Palestinian memory, history and identity by offering the local population and the international community new images of Palestine and Palestinians. 

Farewell to Arms in Gaza


The title of this piece is not related to Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms, but is instead a reference to a conflict in the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, particularly the part of that conflict being played out in Gaza, an area which has remained one of the most highly volatile places on this earth for several decades. In the last decade, the conflicting parties have time and again said “farewell to arms” amidst deaths caused by their conflict, with the hope that such an announcement would save them from more bloodshed. The past five months saw the most severe round of fighting in Gaza, that has so far claimed the lives of 479 Palestinians. 

Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped


Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” is igniting controversy for its allegation that Israel practices a form of apartheid. As a South African and former anti-apartheid advocate who visits the Palestinian territories regularly to assess the human rights situation for the U.N. Human Rights Council, the comparison to South African apartheid is of special interest to me. Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial discrimination that the white minority in South Africa employed to maintain power over the black majority. 

Write to thank Atlanta Journal Constitution for honest opinion piece


Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran the following op-ed by John Dugard, a South African former anti-apartheid leader. He is currently the Special Rapporteur on Palestine to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He not only compares Israeli policies to apartheid, but says that in many ways Israeli policies are worse than South African apartheid was. Please take a minute to write a letter to the editor thanking the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for running this honest piece. 

Jihad, hummous and airport security: It's the Arab Comedy Festival, of course!


“People don’t know anything about us. That’s why we’re doing comedy,” New York Arab-American Comedy Festival co-founder Dean Obeidallah explained at the Festival’s opening night at the Gotham Comedy Club on 14 November 2006. Following sold-out shows in previous years, the 4th Annual Festival extended to six nights, featuring two stand-up comedy nights, a short film night, and three sketch comedy theatre nights (to which a fourth show was added and sold out as well). The week kicked off with a press conference held by the New York Foreign Press Center of the — no joke — U.S. State Department. 

International Day of Solidarity: Confronting 40 years of occupation, 60 years of Nakba


On 29 November 1947 the young United Nations proposed to divide Palestine against the will of the majority of its population (UN Resolution 181). A proposal of some Arab states to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the legality of the UN partition plan was voted down at the UN General Assembly. The Partition Plan was passed, but never implemented, because powerful states at the time lacked the political will for enforcement. The failed UN partition initiative triggered armed conflict and war in Palestine which resulted in the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948, i.e., the forced displacement and dispossession of 80% of the Arab-Palestinian population and the establishment of the state of Israel on 78% of the land. 

Palestinian human rights groups address UN High Commissioner on Human Rights


As non-governmental human rights organisations based in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), we would like to express our appreciation for your mission to the OPT. The current reality in the OPT is one of gross and systematic violations of international human rights law, as well as serious and grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, amounting to war crimes. These exigencies give this visit, which we have long urged, exceptional significance. We hope that your visit and its follow-up will mark a renewed, substantive engagement by the UN on the issue of Palestinian human rights. 

Unexploded Ordnance Fact Sheet


There have been 23 reported fatalities and�145 reported injuries from all types of unexploded ordnance in Lebanon. �Of these totals, children 18 years old or younger accounted for six of the fatalities and�55 of the injuries, according to MACC-SL.� All the fatalities and most of the injuries resulted from cluster munitions. So far,�822 cluster bomb strike locations have been identified in the south. Approximately 85% of southern Lebanon has been assessed for cluster-bomb strikes. For each cluster-bomb strike, clearance personnel must verify an area totaling 196,000 square meters to locate (and eventually destroy) all unexploded bomblets. 

Wall creates Palestinian cultural divide


The young Palestinian women in the Jerusalem classroom become animated when the conversation turns to love. A few wear make-up and knee-length skirts, others wear the hijab - but all have something to say about how the wall that Israel calls its ‘security fence’ has diminished their chances of marriage. “I won’t marry a boy with a West Bank ID because we could not be together. He could not move to Jerusalem because the Israelis would not let him and I will not go to the West Bank because life is worse there,” said 18-year-old Elia Shami. The wall, which cuts through Jerusalem, has created a hierarchy of desirability based on the colour of the plastic Palestinian ID cards the youths carry, the girls told IRIN

Bedouin citizens of Israel denied water as means of transfer


On 18 November 2006, Adalah submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court of Israel against a ruling delivered by the Haifa District Court (sitting as a Water Tribunal) on 13 September 2006 that upheld prior decisions of the Water Commissioner not to provide water to hundreds of Palestinian Arab Bedouin families living in unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev). The Water Tribunal based its decision on the political issue of the “illegal” status of the unrecognized villages. Adalah argued in the appeal that the Water Commissioner’s decisions to deny the basic right to water to hundreds of families were based on improper and arbitrary considerations.