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Cultural diplomacy


It never crossed my mind during my undergraduate years in Princeton’s art history department that I would have the job that I do now, and frankly, it is a real conversation killer. I dread Sunday nights the most, when during the meet-and-greet time at the church that my husband and I attend in Washington, D.C., I tell people what I do. My explanation does not quite fit with the usual variations on the theme of “I moved up from the South and am working for Representative/Senator So-and-So.” When the question comes up, I take a deep breath and say, “I work for a Palestinian non-profit organization.” This is usually followed by a head snap from the person asking the question and a narrow-eyed “Hmmm, that’s in-ter-est-ing.” 

New Yorkers Resist the Apartheid Walls from Palestine to Mexico


On Saturday, November 11th, the Ad-Hoc Coalition for Justice in the Middle East and DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving) held a workshop in Manhattan highlighting the parallels between the wall on the US-Mexico border and the Apartheid Wall in Palestine. The workshop was immediately followed by a spirited march through Manhattan with protesters carrying a long black cloth “wall” as they snaked through the crowded New York City streets. Dena Qaddumi of the Ad Hoc Coalition introduced the workshop by noting that the event was being carried out in conjunction with the International Week Against the Apartheid Wall called by Stop the Wall: Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign. 

Lebanese activists: UN past time to disarm Israel


Following the recent massacre in Beit Hanoun, a group of citizens, united by sense of outrage at the silence of western and Arab governments, will be engaging in a four day hunger strike, outside of the UNIFIL office in Tyre in solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza. Nationalities participating include Lebanese, Palestinian, US, and Irish activists. The participants have worked for the past months in humanitarian and community projects in villages in the South. This symbolic hunger strike will take place from Tuesday 14th November till Friday 18th November 2006. We are choosing to be hungry in solidarity with those who have no choice. As a result of continual economic and military siege the majority of Palestinians now live in extreme poverty. 

UN expert urges Israel to stop destruction in Gaza, calls for military sanctions


As Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, I condemn in the strongest possible terms the artillery shelling of Palestinian homes by the Israeli defence force in Beit Hanoun that killed 19 innocent civilians and injured 60, including women and children. The explanation by Israeli authorities that this wantonly criminal act was a mistake is unacceptable. The shelling and subsequent killing of civilians indicates a premeditated military tactic constituting a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people. Since 25 June 2006, the most recent Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip, I continue to receive alarming reports about deliberate attacks by Israeli forces… 

UNSC fails to adopt draft resolution, owing to US veto


The Security Council this afternoon failed to adopt a resolution condemning Israeli military operations in Gaza “which have caused loss of civilian life”, as well as Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, while calling for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and a cessation of violence from both parties in the conflict. The draft, which was not adopted owing to the negative vote of the United States, a permanent Member of the Council, would have also requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to establish a fact-finding mission within 30 days on the 8 November incident in Beit Hanoun, which resulted in the deaths of at least 18 civilians and sparked a day-long Council meeting on Thursday. 

South Africa seen as model for Palestine


As I watched the images last week of destruction from the Gaza Strip, where an Israeli shelling attack had killed an entire family, as a Palestinian I could understand the feelings of one survivor who said, “I cannot see a day when we will live in peace with them.” But I also know there is no other choice. or decades, the conventional wisdom has been that this conflict can only be resolved by partitioning the country into two states. Yet despite enormous efforts to achieve this, the two peoples remain thoroughly if unhappily intertwined. Israel’s project of establishing settler-colonies inside the territories where Palestinians wanted to create a state has rendered separation impossible. 

Arab Foreign Ministers criticize US veto on Gaza


Foreign ministers of 11 Arab countries attending an emergency Arab League meeting in Cairo on Sunday, criticised a United States veto of a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that condemned the recent Israeli offensive on Gaza and that would have demanded that Israeli troops pull out from the area. The draft resolution calling for the protection of civilians during Israeli military operations in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, was vetoed on Saturday by the US in a special meeting held here at the UN Security Council. Though language proposed by Qatar was modified first to placate other council members, the resolution still did not go through. Ten of the 15 members were in favour of the draft resolution, while four abstained, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia. 

UN expert urges Israel to stop destruction in Gaza, calls for military sanctions


“As Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, I condemn in the strongest possible terms the artillery shelling of Palestinian homes by the Israeli defence force in Beit Hanoun that killed 19 innocent civilians and injured 60, including women and children. The explanation by Israeli authorities that this wantonly criminal act was a mistake is unacceptable. […] I urgently call for an international independent investigation of the events and the deployment of international forces in the region. I also urge the international community, in view of their human rights and humanitarian law obligations, to reconsider the continuation of military cooperation with Israel.” 

US vetoes Security Council draft resolution on Israeli operations in Gaza


Exercising its veto in the Security Council today, the United States blocked a draft resolution that won the endorsement of 10 other members and would have called for a United Nations fact-finding mission in response to a recent Israeli operation in Gaza resulting in at least 18 civilian deaths. Sponsored by Qatar, the draft would have condemned Israeli military operations in Gaza as well as Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, while calling for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and a cessation of violence by both parties. Four countries – the United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia – abstained on the text. 

Montreal in Solidarity with Beit Hanoun


MONTREAL: As Israeli continues its brutal assault on the Gaza Strip, Montrealers took the streets to voice solidarity with the Palestinian people. Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the heart of Montreal reflecting growing international outrage toward the latest attack on Gaza. “Intifada! Intifada! Long Live the Intifada!” shouted demonstrators marching under rainy skies, in contrast to the silence of Canadian politicians in response to Israeli war crimes committed in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.