Saturday, December 03, 2016

[ePalestine] Book Review: ‘The Two-State Delusion’ (By Sam Bahour)

The Huffington Post

Book Review: 'The Two-State Delusion,' a well-researched but mistitled saga of a failed peace process

By Sam Bahour

"When they have no hope and no vision, they will go. As they did in 1948." ~Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) MK Bezalel Smotrich (Haaretz, Dec. 1, 2016)

http://bit.ly/book-review-the-two-state-delusion

READ ON AT:

http://bit.ly/book-review-the-two-state-delusion

#Palestine #Israel #Occupation
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Friday, December 02, 2016

[ePalestine] Kairos Palestine Advent/Christmas Alert 2016

http://kairosusa.org/kairos-palestine-adventchristmas-alert-2016/

Kairos Palestine Advent/Christmas Alert 2016


Download PDF of Alert here:

My article, "Power politics and empire: its brunt on the occupied and oppressed people" is on p.13 of the document.

Given hyperlinks were not used, the link for the song I refer to at the end of my article is this one: https://youtu.be/2_jT_haY1lM

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

[ePalestine] NYT: Jimmy Carter: America Must Recognize Palestine

New York Times

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed contributor

America Must Recognize Palestine

By JIMMY CARTER

NOV. 28, 2016
Photo credit: Vahram Muradyan
ATLANTA — We do not yet know the policy of the next administration toward Israel and Palestine, but we do know the policy of this administration. It has been President Obama's aim to support a negotiated end to the conflict based on two states, living side by side in peace.

That prospect is now in grave doubt. I am convinced that the United States can still shape the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before a change in presidents, but time is very short. The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.

Back in 1978, during my administration, Israel's prime minister, Menachem Begin, and Egypt's president, Anwar Sadat, signed the Camp David Accords. That agreement was based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which was passed in the aftermath of the 1967 war. The key words of that resolution were "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in which every state in the area can live in security," and the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."

The agreement was ratified overwhelmingly by the Parliaments of Egypt and Israel. And those two foundational concepts have been the basis for the policy of the United States government and the international community ever since.

This was why, in 2009, at the beginning of his first administration, Mr. Obama reaffirmed the crucial elements of the Camp David agreement and Resolution 242 by calling for a complete freeze on the building of settlements, constructed illegally by Israel on Palestinian territory. Later, in 2011, the president made clear that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines," and added, "negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine."

Today, however, 38 years after Camp David, the commitment to peace is in danger of abrogation. Israel is building more and more settlements, displacing Palestinians and entrenching its occupation of Palestinian lands. Over 4.5 million Palestinians live in these occupied territories, but are not citizens of Israel. Most live largely under Israeli military rule, and do not vote in Israel's national elections.

Meanwhile, about 600,000 Israeli settlers in Palestine enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship and laws. This process is hastening a one-state reality that could destroy Israeli democracy and will result in intensifying international condemnation of Israel.

The Carter Center has continued to support a two-state solution by hosting discussions this month with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, searching for an avenue toward peace. Based on the positive feedback from those talks, I am certain that United States recognition of a Palestinian state would make it easier for other countries that have not recognized Palestine to do so, and would clear the way for a Security Council resolution on the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Security Council should pass a resolution laying out the parameters for resolving the conflict. It should reaffirm the illegality of all Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 borders, while leaving open the possibility that the parties could negotiate modifications. Security guarantees for both Israel and Palestine are imperative, and the resolution must acknowledge the right of both the states of Israel and Palestine to live in peace and security. Further measures should include the demilitarization of the Palestinian state, and a possible peacekeeping force under the auspices of the United Nations.

A strong Security Council resolution would underscore that the Geneva Conventions and other human rights protections apply to all parties at all times. It would also support any agreement reached by the parties regarding Palestinian refugees.

The combined weight of United States recognition, United Nations membership and a Security Council resolution solidly grounded in international law would lay the foundation for future diplomacy. These steps would bolster moderate Palestinian leadership, while sending a clear assurance to the Israeli public of the worldwide recognition of Israel and its security.

This is the best — now, perhaps, the only — means of countering the one-state reality that Israel is imposing on itself and the Palestinian people. Recognition of Palestine and a new Security Council resolution are not radical new measures, but a natural outgrowth of America's support for a two-state solution.

The primary foreign policy goal of my life has been to help bring peace to Israel and its neighbors. That September in 1978, I was proud to say to a joint session of Congress, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." As Mr. Begin and Mr. Sadat sat in the balcony above us, the members of Congress stood and applauded the two heroic peacemakers.

I fear for the spirit of Camp David. We must not squander this chance.

Jimmy Carter, the founder of the Carter Center, was the 39th president of the United States.

SOURCE:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/28/opinion/jimmy-carter-america-must-recognize-palestine.html

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

[ePalestine] Thank you Mr. Trump, the unifier (By Sam Bahour)

Thank you Mr. Trump, the unifier

By Sam Bahour

What you are about to witness is historic; it is the will of the people to act collectively and in the service of the public good.

http://bit.ly/thank-you-mr-trump-hp

READ ON AT:

openDemocracy: http://bit.ly/thank-you-mr-trump

Huffington Post: http://bit.ly/thank-you-mr-trump-hp

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

[ePalestine] +972Mag: Trump's first steps on Israel/Palestine (By Sam Bahour)

+972 Magazine

Trump's first steps on Israel/Palestine

By Sam Bahour

For starters: Make the $38 billion military aid package dependent on Israeli actions to dismantle the occupation, and recognize the State of Palestine already.

http://bit.ly/Trumps-first-steps-on-Israel-Palestine

Again, the Republican candidate in the U.S. presidential elections lost the popular vote but won the election. Such is a function of the mechanics of the U.S. flavor of democracy where not every vote matters; only votes in key states matter. Nevertheless, billionaire Donald Trump is heading to the White House.

Trump's ascent into the U.S. presidency will be the material for political analysts and historians, not to mention Hollywood, for many years to come. That noted, history has already clearly established that the difference between a candidate's campaign and their posture once in office are like night and day. This applies to Trump just like it would apply to any other candidate. He should prepare himself to be the tool of a state apparatus which is much more about the U.S. than it will be about Trump the person, despite the best efforts of his public relations spin masters.

READ ON AT:
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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

[ePalestine] BOOK REVIEW: “The frozen Chosen” (by Sam Bahour)

"The frozen Chosen"

A Jewish state in Alaska (still) results in the burning of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

By Sam Bahour

The novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union should come with a large, bold warning label affixed to the outside cover, like those labels on cigarette packs. WARNING: READ WITH CAUTION IF YOU ACTUALLY LIVE UNDER A JEWISH ISRAELI MILITARY OCCUPATION.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon should have known better than to gift me his novel. Michael visited our home in Palestine this past summer and after spending the day giving him a tour of the Palestinian cities of Al-Bireh and Ramallah (central West Bank) and Nablus (northern West Bank) we settled down, along with Palestinian writer Fida Jiryis, for dinner at Darna Restaurant, located in the heart of historic Ramallah. By the time dinner was over, not only had we learned about this author's amazing professional career and life journey, but he casually mentioned a note about this novel that he wrote back in 2007 that was based on a real historic fact in U.S. politics related to the issue of Palestine and Israel. I was puzzled and asked if he was joking. He wasn't. I'm sure it showed that I was embarrassed to have never heard of this fact, given I'm rather well read on the topic. Before parting, he passed me a copy of the novel as a thank you gift.

READ ON AT:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/sam-bahour/the-frozen-chosen/1273384236025768
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Friday, October 28, 2016

The Almighty Military Order



The Almighty Military Order

Forty-eight civilians, 1 fetus and 10 pennies

By Sam Bahour

Photographs of the victims are displayed at the Kafr Qassem Massacre Museum. (Photo credit: Dylan Collins)
If your Palestinian neighbors and friends seem slightly on edge today, please excuse them. October 29th brings back horrific memories to Palestinians everywhere, young and old. It was 60 years ago today that a scene of cold-blooded murder fell upon the hill-top Palestinian village of Kafr Qassem (also written Kfar Kassim), located in Israel about 20 km east of Tel Aviv, near the Green Line (1949 Armistice Agreement’s demarcation line) separating Israel and the West Bank. It was in Kafr Qassem on this day in 1956 where the Israeli military literally mowed down in cold blood 48 innocent civilians, one being a pregnant woman whose fetus is counted as the 49th victim. It was said that all of this was done in the service of the almighty Israeli “military order,” which no one dared to challenge.

Sixty years is a long time to mourn a death, even a cold-blooded murder. It is even longer when you must live among those, and under the system of those, who murdered your loved ones. Had this been merely an isolated incident of the Israeli military machine killing Palestinians, one may have already regulated it to the history books. But it was and is not.

There were other massacres prior to Kafr Qasssem, such as the case of Deir Yassin in 1948. Since that dark day in Kafr Qassem there have been numerous other incidents, too many to list. One that comes to mind is 13-year old Iman al-Homs who, in October 2004, was walking home from school in Gaza when an Israeli soldier emptied his magazine into her after she was wounded and lay on the ground. The soldier was caught on radio communications saying he was “confirming the kill.” The most recent example that comes to mind is the Israeli soldier caught on camera in Hebron this past March as he executed a wounded and immobilized Palestinian man lying on the ground by firing a bullet into his head as his fellow soldiers casually watched on.

Unlike today, decades ago Israel did undertake more serious investigations of actions of its military. This is not to say that justice was ever served—it rarely is. Such a landmark investigation was the Israeli Kahan Commission, established by the Israeli government on September 28, 1982, to investigate the Sabra and Shatila massacre (September 16–18, 1982) where 1,000-3,000 (exact number is disputed) Palestinians were slaughtered over three days. 

The Kahan Commission was chaired by the Israeli President of the Supreme Court, Yitzhak Kahan. Its other two members were Israeli Supreme Court Judge Aharon Barak and Major general (res.) Yona Efrat. The Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was found to bear personal responsibility. Sharon's negligence in protecting the civilian population of Beirut, which had come under Israeli control, resulted in a recommendation that Sharon be dismissed as Defense Minister. Although Sharon grudgingly resigned as Defense Minister, he remained in the Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio. Years later, Sharon would be elected Israel's Prime Minister.

Back to Kafr Qassem.

The Israeli English newspaper, Haaretz, reported in a story by correspondent Ofer Aderet (60 years after massacre, Kafr Qasem doesn’t want an apology from the Israeli government, October 28, 2016) that, “In the 60 years since the [Kafr Qasem] carnage Israel’s attitude has been complicated. Those involved in it were court martialed, convicted and some sentenced at first to long prison terms [these “long terms” were less than what the law stipulated for premeditated murder]. [Israeli] Judge Benjamin Halevy coined the phrase “a blatantly illegal order” in his verdict. The instruction to Israel Defense Forces soldiers that they are obliged to refuse an order “that has a black flag flying over it” has become part of the Kafr Qasem legacy.”

The Haaretz story goes on, “But the convicted parties’ sentence was soon commuted by the chief of staff, they were pardoned by the president and released from jail. The most senior defendant, Col. Issachar Shadmi, commander of the brigade in charge of the area, was sentenced to a symbolic fine of 10 pennies for exceeding authority. Major Shmuel Malinki, commander of the Border Patrol battalion, testified at the trial that Shadmi had ordered him to enforce the curfew with gunshots. Asked what would happen to those who return to the village after the curfew, Kedmi said Shadmi had said “may God have mercy on their soul.””

And maybe most shocking of all coming from an Israeli newspaper is that, “The comparison between the Kafr Qasem massacre and the Holocaust was first made at the trial, when the [Israeli] judge asked one of the defendants if he would have justified a Nazi soldier who was obeying orders.” The Haaretz correspondent continues, “In 1986, 30 years after the massacre, Shalom Ofer, one of the convicted soldiers, said in an interview to Ha’ir: “We were like the Germans. They stopped trucks, took the Jews off and shot them. What we did is the same. We were obeying orders like a German soldier during the war, when he was ordered to slaughter Jews.””

Many, especially those in the Jewish community in Israel and abroad, will rightfully find the above words hard to swallow. I don’t blame them. This horrendous act was revolting and when undertaken in “your” name it makes one sick to their stomach. 

Aderet's article offers but a glimpse into the legal proceedings surrounding Kafr Qassem. One of the first people to document those proceedings was attorney Sabri Jiryis in his landmark book, The Arabs in Israel, published in Haifa in Hebrew in 1966. A fuller account of the testimonies recorded by the Israeli commanders and soldiers who took part in this killing spree can be found printed here [with the author’s permission] in English. Warning: it’s a disturbing read.

And this, my friends, is the buried past and not so buried present, of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), “the most moral army in the world.” It is imperative that we all redouble our efforts to not make it its future as well, military order or not.

Sam Bahour is a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network; Chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy; Co-editor of HOMELAND: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians (Olive Branch Press). He blogs at www.epalestine.com. @SamBahour

Source: http://bit.ly/the-almighty-military-order