Palestine/Israel News and Information

Electronic Intifada 28 February - 7 March


7 March 2005

Art, Music & Culture DEBUT US TOUR OF “MADE IN PALESTINE” EXHIBITION Press Release, Justice in Palestine Coalition, 7 March 2005

Made In Palestine, makes its first national tour stop in San Francisco, after opening in Houston. This unique exhibit is on view from April 7 through April 21, 2005 at SomArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street in San Francisco and will include an event series. “This is a momentous occasion because people rarely get to see the rich culture and creativity of the Palestinian people,” says Rayan El Amin of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. “This will be a unique opportunity to not only experience art but also to learn about the history and current struggle of the Palestinians.”

Art, Music & Culture THOROUGHLY PALESTINIAN STORIES: A REVIEW OF SUAD AMIRY’S HIT BOOK “SHARON AND MY MOTHER-IN-LAW” Maureen Clare Murphy, The Electronic Intifada, 6 March 2005

Though for generations Suad Amiry’s family lived in historical Palestine, her toy Manchester terrier enjoys more political rights than her owner. Granted a coveted Jerusalemite passport by her Israeli veterinarian in a settlement nearby Ramallah, Amiry’s dog Nura is allowed to travel from Ramallah to Jerusalem, though Amiry’s West Bank I.D. forbids her from doing so. But because Amiry is Palestinian, and has lived a significant amount of her life under Israeli occupation and has developed the creativity such an existence demands, Amiry has been able to use this to her advantage.


This week Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinian civilians, including two children. Israel has continued the construction of the Wall in the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces confiscated more Palestinian land for this purpose. Israel isolates Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Israeli forces conducted a number of military operations in Palestinian areas. Israeli forces raided homes and arrested at least 40 Palestinian civilians. Israeli forces continued to shell residential areas, seriously wounding a child in Rafah. Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian civilians and property in the West Bank. In the meantime, Israel continues to impose a total siege on the occupied territories.


Amr Salah, a United States citizen living in Massachusetts asks for your help in demanding a formal investigation into the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of 1,000 Israeli troops. Dr. Khalid Salah, age 51, and his 16 year old son, Mohammed were shot and killed by Israeli Defense Forces on July 6, 2004 in their home in the city of Nablus in the Israeli Occupied West Bank. Throughout the hours of assault the Salahs were huddled together in a corner of the apartment, contacting relatives on a mobile phone for help. Despite an urgent call to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, Consul General David Pearce nor anyone else at the consulate intervened.

Israel Lobby Watch AIPAC LOSING THIS FIGHT Press Release, Council for the National Interest, 7 March 2005

AIPAC has been taken aback by new Mideast resolutions. Last month the House and the Senate each passed their own resolutions expressing support for the Palestinian Authority in the wake of their successful presidential elections. The Washington Jewish Week reported that many on the Hill feel the Israel lobby was caught asleep on this one. The problem for the lobby was simple: popular support and optimism after the Palestinian presidential elections took the wind out of any possible grounds for raising opposition to the resolutions.

Diaries THE VISION OF A BLIND WOMAN Sami Abu Salem, Live from Palestine, 7 March 2005

Amani Al-Hissi, a 25-year-old Palestinian blind woman from the poor refugee camp of Al-Shati (”The Beach”) in Gaza, studies Arabic literature, plays music, works as radio presenter and depends on “help your self” as her strategy for managing the details of her own life. Ms. Al-Hissi, was shot by an Israeli soldier while she was six years old. One week after the shooting, she lost sight in one eye. Four years later, she completely lost her eyesight. WAFA reporter Sami Abu Salem writes from Gaza marking International Women’s Day tomorrow.

4 March 2005

Opinion/Editorial UNILATERAL GIVE, UNILATERAL TAKE Roni Ben Efrat, Challenge magazine, 3 March 2005

In days of yore, when right-wing thugs shouted “Arik, King of Israel!” leftist leaders grimaced in disgust. On Sunday, February 20, however – after the cabinet approved “Arik’s” Disengagement Plan – Labor ministers beamed with smug satisfaction. They had all they could do to keep from shouting, “Arik, King of Israel!” Sharon has begun to accomplish for them what the Oslo Accords never dared to broach: dismantlement of settlements. On that festive Sunday, few wanted to be reminded that after approving disengagement – practically in the same breath – the government decided to build its notorious “separation barrier” on a line that will unilaterally annex, in effect, 7% of the West Bank.

Development “DAMMING” WEST BANK FARMERS Atef Saad, Palestine Report Online, 3 March 2005

Sixty-two-year-old Shafiqa Massoud is, for all intents and purposes, the head of the household. Hers is a typical peasant family that lives in the Qalqilya area directly up against the Green Line. Her husband, 66-year-old Amin Hindi is unemployed due to chronic illness and her four children are all married. In all, her extended family comprises 27 members. The rainy season should have been the best time of the year for farmers like Shafiqa’s family. But in Qalqilya, the season brought more hardship than joy this time around. Israel’s separation barrier, in this area an eight-meter high wall, formed a concrete dam, trapping the water and preventing it from flowing out west.

Activism News ETHNIC CLEANSING 101: THE CASE OF LIFTA VILLAGE Jacob Pace, The Electronic Intifada, 2 March 2005

On the morning of Friday, February 25, 2005 a group of approximately 300 Israelis, Palestinian refugees and international activists gathered near the highway leading out of Jerusalem towards Tel Aviv. In the valley below lay the ruins of the ancient Palestinian village of Lifta. The event was part tour, part protest, and part homecoming. It had different meanings for each of the groups involved. The organization responsible for planning the event, Zochrot (Hebrew for “Remembering”) takes Israelis on tours of depopulated and partially destroyed Palestinian villages. They bring Palestinian refugees to tell the stories of their village and plant signs in Arabic and Hebrew that explain what happened there. This event, however, was also a protest aimed at stopping the impending demolition of what remains of Lifta.

Activism News SPEAKING TO THE PRESBYTERIANS ABOUT SELECTIVE DIVESTMENT Liat Weingart, The Electronic Intifada, 2 March 2005

On 8 February 2005, Jewish Voice for Peace Co-director Liat Weingart and Israeli human rights attorney Shamai Leibovitz spoke to an audience of members of the Presbyterian Church in Chicago. JVP was the first Jewish group to publicly support the Presbyterian Church’s decision to investigate selective divestment. “There is a silent majority of Jews in the US,” said Weingart, “who feel completely alienated from mainline Jewish groups because those groups are no longer in line with their central beliefs of justice and equality.” Read the transcript.


Citing a moment of “promise and potential‰ in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for global support for an independent, democratic Palestinian state and pledged the world body‚s readiness to help in the three main areas of governance, security and economic development. “The sense of expectation is palpable. There is a real feeling that, after long years of suffering, bitterness and despair, better days may lie ahead,‰ he told an international meeting in London in support of the Palestinian Authority. “At long last, we can all sense a new wave of movement. I urge everyone to engage, do the hard work and turn today’s opening into a real end to the conflict.‰

---- Academics Gone Wild: Protesting double-standards ----

Development BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND ISRAEL: UNESCO’S DOUBLE-STANDARDS Omar Barghouti and Jacqueline Sfeir The Electronic Intifada, 3 March 2005

UNESCO’s recent support for establishing a joint Palestinian-Israeli scientific organization places the organization at odds with the decision of the Palestinian Council for Higher Education which has repeatedly rejected “technical and scientific cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli universities.” This move also conflicts with the Palestinian call for boycotting Israeli academic institutions which was endorsed by tens of the most important unions, associations and organizations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities’ Professors and Employees. This open letter to UNESCO challenges the move.

Development PROTESTING ‘THE PLACE OF CHILDREN IN THE SPACE OF CONFLICT’ CONFERENCE Dr. Iyad Sarraj and Dr. Rita Giacaman The Electronic Intifada, 3 March 2005

The French Ministry of Health, the French State Secretariat for Victims and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are co-sponsoring an international congress entitled ‘The Place of Children in the Space of Conflict’, to be held in Toulouse, France on the 21-23 of March 2005. The primary purpose of the conference is to draw attention to the suffering of Israeli children, to the exclusion of serious and needed attention to other children living in war and conflict, the context within which these children suffer, and the reason for their suffering.

3 March 2005

Human Rights


Michael Brown, Ali Abunimah, and Nigel Parry The Electronic Intifada, 1 March 2005

The population of Palestinians living in Israel, the Occupied Gaza Strip, Occupied East Jerusalem and rest of the Occupied West Bank combined now exceeds the number of Israeli Jews, a U.S. government report has revealed.

The Palestinian population stands at over 5.3 million while the Jewish population stands at 5.2 million.

The figures come from the U.S. State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. The report provided population figures for each of these territorial units separately but failed to connect all the dots to arrive at the explosive new demographic reality that an Israeli Jewish minority now rules over a larger number of Palestinians living between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

The section on Israel and the Occupied Territories states that the population of Israel stands at 6.8 million, of whom 5.2 million are Jews, 1.3 million Arabs and another 290,000 are other minorities. The Arabs who are citizens of Israel are Palestinians who are survivors and descendants of those Palestinians who were not forced out of the country or fled when Israel was created.

In a 28 February telephone conversation, a State Department official confirmed that the figure of 6.8 million Israelis included all the Israeli settlers in the occupied territories.

The report then notes that the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip stands at approximately 1.4 million while in the West Bank it is approximately 2.4 million. There are 237,185 Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli demographers have long predicted that in the next several years, Palestinians would once again become a majority in all of historic Palestine, with the risk that Israel would begin to be viewed as an apartheid state where an empowered minority rules over an effectively disenfranchised majority. According to the U.S. government that day has already arrived.

[ For table see ]

In addition to continued, serious human rights abuses by Israel and by Palestinians as well, the State Department report details a number of laws and policies in Israel which resemble apartheid — a system of separate laws and rules for people of different races, religions or ethnicities in one country.

For example, the report points out that “the body of law governing Palestinians in the occupied territories derives from Ottoman, British Mandate, Jordanian, and Egyptian law, and Israeli military orders. Laws and regulations promulgated by the Palestinian Authority also are in force. Israeli settlers were subject [only] to Israeli law.”

And in Israel itself, the report highlights that “Approximately 93 percent of land in the country was public domain, including that owned by the state and some 12.5 percent owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). All public land by law may only be leased, not sold. The JNF’s statutes prohibit the sale or lease of land to non-Jews. In October, civil rights groups petitioned the High Court of Justice claiming that a bid announcement by the Israel Land Administration (ILA) involving JNF land was discriminatory in that it banned Arabs from bidding. The ILA halted marketing JNF land in the North and the Galilee. In December, Adalah petitioned the High Court to annul definitively the ILA policy. At year’s end, there had been no court action.”

In January 2004, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, “Demographically speaking, if Israel does not relinquish the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians will soon outnumber the Jews and Israel will become either an apartheid state or a non-Jewish state.” Despite international efforts to revive a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel continues to expand Jewish-only settlements in Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.

Whether or not the State Department’s population numbers are precisely accurate, given Israel’s political interest in obscuring the true population picture, they demonstrate that even Israel’s closest ally cannot hide the reality that as each year passes, Israel’s claims to be a democracy grow ever more threadbare. A Jewish Israeli minority cannot dominate the greater number of Palestinians between the Mediterranean and the Jordan while still retaining its claim to democratic status.

Michael Brown is Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Partners for Peace. Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry are co-founders of the Electronic Intifada.

— ABOUT US: The Electronic Intifada (EI) is a not-for-profit, independent publication committed to comprehensive public education on the question of Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic, political, legal, and human dimensions of Israel’s 37-year occupation of Palestinian territories.

28 February 2005

Activism News BRIAN AVERY’S DAY IN ISRAEL’S SUPREME COURT Lisa Nessan, The Electronic Intifada, 28 February 2005

On 5 April 2003, in the West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli troops fired at Brian and another ISM volunteer from an armored personnel carrier (APC). They were standing still, wearing bright red medic vests with their hands over their heads, when soldiers opened fire without any warning shots. Brian suffered serious damage to the entire left side of his face, jaw, mouth, teeth, nose, and eyes. He has undergone more than six reconstructive surgeries totaling over $1,000,000 in medical expenses. Two years later, Brian has returned to Israel to demand a criminal investigation be opened into the shooting, after an internal military inquiry found that the incident in which Brian was shot, never occurred.

Opinion/Editorial IS PEACE IN PALESTINE ABOUT TO BREAK OUT? Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 25 February 2005

Are Israelis and Palestinians finally on the road to peace? A glance at commentary in the US press would seem to suggest so. Since Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas announced a truce in early February at the Sharm al-Sheikh summit, many observers see a “window of opportunity” they are encouraging both sides to leap through. And do the latest tussles among Palestinian leaders reflect the kind of democratic reform that ordinary Palestinians want? EI co-founder Ali Abunimah compares this euphoria with the most recent developments on the ground. This article was published hours before a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a nightclub in Tel Aviv killing four people and injuring several dozen others.

Diaries DARFUR, ANOTHER FAILURE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 28 February 2005

Though the Security Council has “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,” it has not been able to address and resolve a number of conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the conflict in Darfur. No party in these crises has taken adequate measures to ensure the cessation of violence against civilians in spite of the many assurances made. Over 20 months since they were burned out of their villages and after numerous promises from the Government of Sudan and world leaders, people’s lives are still under daily threat. EI’s Arjan El Fassed recently visited various camps and towns in Darfur.

Activism News LESSONS FROM THE STRUGGLE AGAINST APARTHEID Sietse Bosgra, The Electronic Intifada, 28 February 2005

Following the recent meetings between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities, the struggle for an independent Palestinian state will probably move to the political and diplomatic front. In this new phase, the role of the international community will be of utmost importance for a successful outcome. Therefore, there exists an urgent task for Palestinian NGOs and leaders to capture world support for the Palestinian cause. Sietse Bosgra considers international opinion of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the importance of international solidarity movements and the need for more mobilised activism through the Western media.

Coverage Trends THE LA TIMES’ NOTION OF “RELATIVE CALM” Alison Weir, The Electronic Intifada, 25 February 2005

Well, I just got hung up on again. This time by an editor on the Los Angeles Times foreign desk. I had called and attempted, as politely as possible, to give him a correction for the story on the Times’ website tonight. This will probably be their front-page lead news story tomorrow morning. The headline proclaims: “Palestinian Suicide bomber Shatters Calm of late.” The lead sentence then goes on to state that this bomber “shattered a months-long period of relative calm…” The fact is, however, that the truce and this “calm” were shattered long before this. The last suicide bombing against Israeli civilians was Nov. 1, 2004. It took three Israeli lives. Since that time, while Israelis have basked in “relative calm,” 170 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.

Diaries DID YOU SAY THE ISRAELIS ARE WITHDRAWING? Y. Khellef, Live from Palestine, 27 February 2005

Since the Sharm El Sheikh summit things have significantly improved in the Palestinian territories. The Army has stopped its incursions in Palestinian towns, Palestinian civilians are free to move, prisoners are about to be released and economic activity is slowly recovering… At least this is the information that most western media is conveying to its people. The situation on the ground is unfortunately completely different. The Separation Wall is being completed faster than ever, all the military check points are still in place, the Palestinian detainees are still under Israeli custody and daily life is still hell for all Palestinians.

By Topic ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CEASE-FIRE (8 FEBRUARY 2005) Last updated: 1:36PM US CST, 28 February 2005.

— ABOUT US: The Electronic Intifada (EI) is a not-for-profit, independent publication committed to comprehensive public education on the question of Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the economic, political, legal, and human dimensions of Israel’s 37-year occupation of Palestinian territories.

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