James Brooks

Olmert and Abbas "push the wedge" in Palestine

The recent “peace” overtures between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Abbas do not promise significantly improved conditions for Palestinians or an end to the Israeli occupation. More likely results include intensified efforts to split the Palestinian public and undermine their legally elected government. The meeting has been portrayed as an opening to relations between Israel and the PA that “boost Abbas” and exclude Hamas altogether. Olmert, Abbas, and their backers in Washington and Europe have insisted that Hamas, the popularly elected majority party, “renounce violence” and “recognize Israel’s right to exist”. 

On Boycotts, Activism and Moral Standards

As a citizen of the United States, I have been an activist working to end US support for Israel’s occupation. With other anti-occupation activists, I demonstrated and wrote repeatedly against the Iraq war before it began. But once it was underway I had to make a difficult decision; would I continue as before, or focus on the long fight against our crimes in Iraq? The thought of becoming yet another person to abandon the Palestinians was abhorrent. So I stayed at my post. It remains a difficult decision today, but I do not regret it. 

Dispersing Demonstrations--Or Chemical Warfare?

“On June 10th, 2004, the two clinics in Al-Zawiya treated 130 patients for gas inhalation. The patients were children, women, old people and young men. Dr. Abu Madi related that there was a high number of cases of [tetany], spasm in legs and hands, connected to the nervous system. Pupils were dilated… Other symptoms included shock, semi-consciousness, hyperventilation, irritation and sweating.” Thus reads a report by medical units serving the West Bank village of Al-Zawiya, where nonviolent resistance to Israel’s impending wall has been extraordinarily resolute. According to the medical report (procured by the International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC), “the gas used against the protestors is not tear gas but possibly a nerve gas.” James Brooks reports.