Arjan El Fassed

Palo Dutch Concept Factory returns to Ramallah

The Palo-Dutch Concept Factory has a clear core business: generating ideas, for campaigning in the broadest sense. These ideas are born in Ramallah, Palestine. Generating ideas such as “Send a Friend” (connecting schoolkids in Palestine and the Netherlands), “Sell the Wall” (how to create awareness and involvement of mainstream Dutch with the Wall) and “Palovision”, the Palestinian entry for the Eurovision Song Competition in 2008, a mix of humor, irony, implicit politics and smart use of Dutch media, the Palo Dutch Concept Factory organizes its next workshop in Ramallah on May 4, 5 and 6, 2007. For this workshop PDCF is looking for Palestinian creative minds. 

No fake analogy

Joel Pollak wants people to believe comparisons between Israeli policies and apartheid are nothing but a fraud, “The trouble with the apartheid analogy” (March 2). He castigates former US president Jimmy Carter for quoting a six-year-old letter from Nelson Mandela to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman making the apartheid comparison, and accuses me of perpetrating a hoax and admitting I made the whole thing up. There is no possible basis for Pollak to say I intended people to believe the memo was written by anyone other than myself. Although the Mandela memo was only a piece of satire, it is not necessary to believe it to understand the Israel-apartheid comparison is grounded in an ugly reality. 

Who is Mohammad Dahlan?

Dahlan was a founding member of Shabiba, the youth association of Fatah, head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, cabinet minister, security advisor and legislator. During the 1990s he headed a force of 20,000 troops in Gaza. He has good relations with Israel, US and other foreign powers. Both Dahlan and his colleague in the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, were implicted in financial scandals and human rights violations. Dahlan has a history in trying to curb Hamas. His troops were involved in one of the largest Palestinian arbitrary arrest campaign in recent history. Today, Dahlan has become the face of one side of Fatah as violence increased between Hamas and Fatah. 

Among TIME's Person of the Year

“For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you,” Time’s Lev Grossman wrote in the December 25, 2006 issue. Time magazine realizes sites like The Electronic Intifada, Electronic Iraq and Electronic Lebanon are among a new generation of people changing the landscape of journalism and the open debate of ideas. 

R2P could prove solution for protection failure in Gaza

The emergent doctrine of the “responsibility to protect” locates primary responsibility squarely with the government of the state in question. But it also stresses the collective responsibility of other states for protecting civilians of any state facing genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity. This response should be the exercise of first peaceful and then, if necessary, coercive (including forceful) steps to protect civilians. Considering the inability of the Israel to protect Palestinian civilians, the international community shares a collective responsibility to protect civilians by getting Israel - through persuasion or otherwise - to abide by the Geneva Conventions. 

Delivering the bombs that kill civilians in Lebanon

Israel has accused both Syria and Iran of providing rockets and missiles to Hezbollah. Israel’s prodigious military power is sourced primarily to the United States with the help of Britain. The US has asked the UK government to let two cargo planes with missiles and bombs on board stop at Prestwick airport in Scotland. However, protesters and some UK MPs are furious with the US for breaking the rules governing the transit of arms through British airports. Nearly 600 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed in the Israeli aggression that began more than two weeks ago in Lebanon and displaced about 750,000 people. 

Qana again: Israel's war on civilians

Today, when Israeli war planes attacked Qana, at least 54 civilians, including at least 27 children, were killed. It is the deadliest single strike since Israel unleashed its war on Lebanon. Israel, the US and several European governments are in no rush to reach a ceasefire. Dozens of other villages in the region around the southern port city of Tyre were also bombarded for two hours overnight with fire from the Israeli navy, air force and artillery. Israeli planes also tore up the Masnaa border crossing into Syria, leading to the closure of the main Damascus-Beirut route. Israeli bombardments have been directed at targets regardless of the consequences for civilians. 

Israel's Foreign Ministry provides Free Internet Tool to online activists

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs understands that today’s conflicts are won by public opinion. They mobilize pro-Israel activists to be active and voice “Israel’s side to the world.” A software company has developed The Megaphone desktop tool that sends desktop alerts on key articles on Israel and surveys, online polls where activists could click on the button to support Israel and click alerts to easily voice pro-Israel opinions. This tool helps activists to raise the profile of opinions on Israel. EI’s Arjan El Fassed finds this tool also useful for those who would like to see some fair and balanced reports on the Middle East conflict. Pro-human rights and pro-peace activists will find this a useful tool as well. 

UN refugee report: Most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world remains unresolved

As people return to former war zones, global numbers of refugees are falling. The most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world, however, remains unresolved, says UNHCR in a major report on refugees published on Wednesday. UNHCR’s report, “The State of the World’s Refugees: Human Displacement in the New Millennium,” examines the changing dynamics of displacement over the past half decade. In 2001, former UNHCR Commissioner Ruud Lubbers stated that it is neither morallly acceptable nor politically sustainable to ignore the plight of refugees who have been confined to small areas and a legacy of poverty for nearly four generations. 

Asking Hamas for the moon: Severing ties illustrates flawed policy

Canada and the US are the first governments that have severed all ties with the Palestinian Authority. The US administration and Canada accordingly want Hamas to denounce violence, recognize Israel and accept previous agreements, including the Road Map. EI’s Arjan El Fassed argues that this move shows how inconsistent foreign policy is towards Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These governments have failed to denounce violence on the part of Israel, have not recognized Palestine themselves and have failed to ensure Israel’s for signed agreements. This latest move has formally exposed the bias of the Quartet.