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Re: One or Two States PDF Print E-mail
May 07, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Dear Friends:

The Avnery-Pappe debate will take place on Wednesday, May 8th, according to the notice. See also:

English

Hebrew

My comments follow:

The public debate between Uri Avnery and Ilan Pappe is a welcome event. Uri Avnery, who was “a machine-gunner in the Samson's Foxes commando unit,” participated as a young man from Europe in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which Ilan Pappe has described so well in his recent book. Uri Avnery became an intrepid and tireless campaigner for a peace agreement between the State of Israel and the Palestinian leadership. Ilan Pappe is a spokesperson for the Right of Return of the Palestine refugees. The very fact that this public debate is being held is a sign of the dissatisfaction of peace activists with the old strategies and the old slogans, and an openness to new ideas, previously thought to be “beyond the pale”.

Unlike Avnery and Pappe, I am not today on the front lines of the struggle in Israeli-occupied Palestine. Nevertheless, I am as interested as anyone that the political debate not get bogged down in false dichotomies or in secondary issues.

Briefly put, in my view, the important issue is not the number of states, but rather the quantity and the quality of the rights enjoyed by the people. So, there needs to be a discussion about goals. There is a no less important discussion about the slogans, the immediate demands, and the transitional demands, that form part of the strategic bridge to get from here to there.

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Born in Lakeland; detained by Israel PDF Print E-mail
Sep 05, 2007 at 12:00 AM
A family is told seven of their children cannot leave via Tel Aviv. 

St. Petersburg Times                 September 5, 2007  

By Meg Laughlin, Times Staff Writer

Lakeland -- A large Lakeland family has been split in two temporarily by complex Israeli travel restrictions that forced the mother to leave seven of her children behind when they attempted to fly home.  

On Aug. 18, Wedad Yacoub and 10 of her children -- all U.S. citizens -- were returning from a family visit in the West Bank through Tel Aviv, the same airport through which they had arrived more than two months before.  

Israeli officials initially tried to block the family from leaving, saying they had to go through Jordan, a travel restriction that applies to Palestinian residents of the West Bank. Officials finally permitted Wedad Yacoub and her three youngest children to fly home, but the other seven children are still in the West Bank, two weeks later with no resolution in sight.  

"I can't believe that children who were born in Lakeland could have their American citizenship ignored by a country so friendly to the U.S," said Wedad.  

Even Israeli officials couldn't readily explain it.  

"American citizens born in America can't leave through Tel Aviv, where they came in?" asked Daniel Seaman, director of the Government Press Office in Israel. "This has to be inaccurate. This can't be."

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Illegal neighborhood will not be demolished PDF Print E-mail
Sep 05, 2007 at 04:35 PM

Aviram Zino
Published: 09.05.07, 16:35 / Israel News

The High Court of Justice rejected Wednesday the petition filed by Peace Now demanding the demolition of the Matityahu Mizrach neighborhood, located east of the settlement of Modi'in Illit.

Peace Now and the village council of Bil'in, the Palestinian village on whose lands allegedly the neighborhood was built, petitioned the High Court demanding the illegal building project – thousands of residential units built by Heftsiba – be ceased.

About a year ago, former High Court President, Justice Aharon Barak, issued an injunction against the project, but the three-judge panel residing over the hearing decided to revoke it despite "the very serious problem of mass building without any plans or permits."

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Supreme Court orders Israel to reroute wall PDF Print E-mail
Sep 05, 2007 at 05:50 AM
MATTI FRIEDMAN
Associated Press
September 4, 2007 at 5:50 AM EDT

JERUSALEM — In an embarrassing blow to the Israeli government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the state to redraw the route of its West Bank separation barrier near a Palestinian village that has come to symbolize opposition to the enclosure.

Residents of the village of Bilin went to court arguing that the current route, built on village land, kept them from their fields and orchards, which remained on the other side of the barrier. Villagers and their Israeli and foreign supporters have protested at the barrier every Friday for the past 21/2 years, routinely sparring with police in clashes that wounded dozens...

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The one clear solution PDF Print E-mail
Aug 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM
Al-Ahram Weekly
16-22 August, 2007
A workable and just solution in Palestine is predicated on one principle, tested in South Africa: side with racism or be against, writes Azmi Bishara

The world looks different from the southern tip of Africa. There, in that country that liberated itself from a colonialist apartheid regime a decade ago, the people have embarked on a bold venture to build a nation. They have a sophisticated democratic constitution that officially recognises 11 languages within the framework of a multi- ethnic, multi-tribal, multi-religious civil polity founded on the concept of equal citizenship. This constitution embodies different aims and different priorities. It embodies a revolution that has transformed itself into a state, not only by means of the fight until victory but also by means of the arts of negotiation and compromise that made the transition possible.

[...]

The Palestinian people have been torn by the occupation and by the consequences of the occupation. They need a unified national liberation programme opposed to the artifice of the current Palestinian-Israeli negotiating scheme. But this alternative programme must tell the Palestinian people and the world what Hamas truly wants (merely to return to a power-sharing formula with Fatah, for example?) and what Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a large segment of Fatah want. These forces must assume this responsibility before it is too late, even to the extent of neutralising conflicting ideologies so as to produce a truly democratic national alternative and to emerge as a strong and cohesive political force. Is this not what leadership is all about?

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Leaving the Zionist ghetto PDF Print E-mail
Jul 25, 2007 at 02:36 PM
An interview with Avrum Burg, former Speaker for the Israeli Knesset by Ari Shavit in Ha'aretz, June 24, 2007:

Avrum Burg, I read your new book, "Defeating Hitler," as a parting from Zionism. Am I wrong? Are you still a Zionist?

"I am a human being, I am a Jew and I am an Israeli. Zionism was an instrument to move me from the Jewish state of being to the Israeli state of being. I think it was Ben-Gurion who said that the Zionist movement was the scaffolding to build the home, and that after the state's establishment it should be dismantled."

So you confirm that you are no longer a Zionist?

"Already at the First Zionist Congress, Herzl's Zionism was victorious over the Zionism of Ahad Ha'am. I think that the 21st century should be the century of Ahad Ha'am. We have to leave Herzl behind and move to Ahad Ha'am."

Does this mean that you no longer find the notion of a Jewish state acceptable?

"It can't work anymore. To define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. A Jewish state is explosive. It's dynamite."

And a Jewish-democratic state?

"People find this very comfortable. It's lovely. It's schmaltzy. It's nostalgic. It's retro. It gives a sense of fullness. But 'Jewish-democratic' is nitroglycerine."

for complete interview

THE APOSTATE PDF Print E-mail
Jul 25, 2007 at 02:18 PM
Letter from Jerusalem: A Zionist politician loses faith in the future.

The New Yorker by David Remnick July 30, 2007

The self-regard of Israelis is built, in no small part, around a sense of sang-froid, and yet few would deny that the past year was deeply unnerving...

In this atmosphere of post-traumatic gloom, Avraham Burg, a former Speaker of the Knesset, managed to inflame the Israeli public (left, right, and center) with little more than an interview in the liberal daily Ha’aretz, promoting his recent book, “Defeating Hitler.” Short of being Prime Minister, Burg could not be higher in the Zionist establishment. His father was a Cabinet minister for nearly four decades, serving under Prime Ministers from David Ben-Gurion to Shimon Peres. In addition to a decade-long career in the Knesset, including four years as Speaker, Burg had also been leader of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel. And yet he did not obey the commands of pedigree. “Defeating Hitler” and an earlier book, “God Is Back,” are, in combination, a despairing look at the Israeli condition. Burg warns that an increasingly large and ardent sector of Israeli society disdains political democracy. He describes the country in its current state as Holocaust-obsessed, militaristic, xenophobic, and, like Germany in the nineteen-thirties, vulnerable to an extremist minority.

Burg’s interlocutor for the Ha’aretz article was Ari Shavit, a writer well known in Israel for his confrontational interviews and his cerebral opinion articles. (His Profile of Ariel Sharon, “The General,” appeared in these pages in January, 2006.) Shavit’s interviewing style is aggressive and moralistic—not so distant, at times, from Oriana Fallaci’s in her prime. Politically, he is left of center, but, in the view of some to his left, he has seemed apocalyptic of late, warning darkly of the “existential” threats against Israel. In the preface to the interview, Shavit declared himself “outraged” by Burg’s book: “I saw it as one-dimensional and an unempathetic attack on the Israeli experience.” ...

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Police official says instigators of Akko riots Jewish

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3607905,00.html

Northern District Commander Maj.-Gen. Shimon Koren vows to restore peace to northern city, says police will make sure agitators are dealt with to full extent of the law

Sharon Roffe-Ofir

The dominant elements behind the riots in Akko seem to be Jewish instigators, Northern District Police Commander, Major-General Shimon Koren, told Ynet on Sunday.

"We have no intention of letting up. We know who's behind the incitement and the arson. It's a very small group of people and they will be dealt with to the full extent of the law," he added.

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