The Electronic Intifada

'EU Placing Palestinians in Debt'

BRUSSELS, Jun 13 (IPS) - The European Union’s freeze on direct aid to the Palestinian Authority has led to sharp increases in debts owed by families in the West Bank and Gaza, the relief agency Oxfam has alleged. Next week (Jun 18), the EU’s foreign ministers are to discuss the security situation in the Middle East, with particular focus on the recent clashes between the rival Palestinian organisations Fatah and Hamas. Oxfam is calling on the Union’s 27 governments to use the occasion to reverse their 2006 decision to suspend direct aid to the Palestinian Authority after Hamas swept to victory in parliamentary elections. 

One-state solution "gaining ground" UN envoy admits

The one-state solution for Palestine-Israel is “gaining ground,” a senior UN diplomat has admitted in a leaked confidential report. Recently retired UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto wrote “that the combination of [Palestinian Authority] institutional decline and Israeli settlement expansion is creating a growing conviction among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, as well as some Jews on the far left in Israel that the two State solutiuon’s best days are behind it.” EI cofounder Ali Abunimah analyzes an unreported aspect of De Soto’s leaked end of mission report. 

Students sit-in to demand tenure for Palestine supporting professors

This morning, DePaul University students in Chicago began the third day of their sit-in at DePaul President Fr. Holtschneider’s office. The students have spent two nights sleeping in the office, a rally is to be held today in solidarity with them and it is possible that the DePaul University Faculty Council will pass a vote of no confidence in the president of the school. The students are protesting the denial of tenure to two professors who are critical of the Israeli occupation as their university becomes a battleground for academic freedom. Matt Muchowski writes for EI

UN agency scales back operations in Gaza after two workers killed

JERUSALEM, 13 June 2007 (IRIN) - The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has suspended much of its aid operation in the Gaza Strip after two of its workers were killed during gun battles between Palestinian armed factions. Emergency food distribution to 850,000 refugees and medical services will continue, but schooling and waste collection are among the services to be cut after the deaths. “In view of the increased threats to our staff, UNRWA has no choice but to scale back its operations in Gaza,” John Ging, UNRWA’s director in Gaza, said in a statement on 13 June. 

Patients killed as gunmen storm Gaza hospitals

TEL AVIV, 12 June 2007 (IRIN) - Patients are dying in crossfire as hospitals have been overrun by gunmen in a new wave of Gaza violence, which the UN has warned is jeopardising the delivery of essential humanitarian aid. The violence has claimed 17 lives and ambulance teams are being prevented from evacuating the wounded from combat zones by checkpoints manned by armed fighters across the Strip, medical organisations said. Hamas stormed the hospitals because it was worried Fatah would target its wounded fighters. 

No justice without right of return

The following is a speech made by Dr. Mona El-Farra at a special meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York marking 40 years of occupation by Israel of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip: It is my honour to be amongst you today, despite the gravity of the occasion being commemorated, on this 40th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. First, let me say that 2007 is the 59th anniversary of the brutal occupation of the Palestinian people. 

The Writing on the Wall

Jamil Hilal’s book Where Now for Palestine, the Demise of the Two State Solution is like the biblical Daniel interpreting the writing on the wall. Thorough and compelling, this book contains eleven illuminating essays with razor sharp analysis on the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the demise of the two-state solution. “The policy imperatives of political Zionism have been oriented towards occupying land with no, or the minimum of, Palestinians.” Hilal writes. EI contributor Miko Peled reviews. 

It's not just the occupation

“Forty years ago today was the last day the citizens of Israel were a free people in their own land,” wrote Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar on June 4. “It was the last day we lived here without living other peoples’ lives.” This sums up the cherished mythology of what is still called the Israeli left and much of the international peace process industry — that prior to the 1967 war, Israel was pure and on the right path. EI’s Ali Abunimah challenges the idea that had Israel not “become an occupier” the region would have had a happier history. 

Ronnie Kasrils' speech to S. African Parliament on 40th anniversary of occupation

Forty years ago this week Israel’s military unleashed lightning attacks against Egypt, Jordan and Syria, alleging provocations as justification for its strikes. Within six days the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights had been captured. Apart from the Sinai from which Israel withdrew in 1977, the other areas remain under Israeli military occupation and control to this day. 

Pressure mounts on Israel's architects

Just days before 5 June’s 40th anniversary of the start of the June 1967 war, some of the biggest names in British architecture signed a petition calling on Israeli architects and their fellow professionals to stop participating in the creation of “facts on the ground”, which obliterate the idea of a viable future Palestinian state. Susannah Tarbush follows the controversy that has surrounded the London-based Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine’s efforts to hold accountable their Israeli peers’ involvement in projects that make them complicit in the violation of Palestinians’ rights.