April 12, 2012
Daily Summary 04/11/2012
SECURITY SERVICES IN GAZA ACCUSE EGYPTIAN INTELLIGENCE OF IMPEDING THE TRANSFER OF QATARI FUEL SHIP TO THE STRIP
According to the Hamas-affiliated website Al Risala Net on Tuesday, the Hamas leadership in Gaza is accusing Egyptian intelligence of stalling permission to allow a Qatari cargo fuel ship of enter Gaza. The sources said Egypt justified the ban on the ship by saying that Qatar had not informed it ahead of time that it would be sending the ship to Egyptian ports en route to Gaza. Qatar has responded, according to Gaza sources, by saying that the ship has been ready to set sail from a Qatar port for 10 days, and is carrying 25,000 tons of fuel but has yet to be granted permission by Egyptian authorities to send it to Gaza. According to the sources, Nader Al Asar, head of the Gaza file in the Egyptian intelligence, is playing a major role in obstructing the Qatari fuel ship. They also said that after 10 days of sitting in the port, Qatar was forced to abort the trip, telling the deposed Palestinian government in Gaza that it would be ready to send another ship as soon as Egypt gives it permission. It should be mentioned that Egypt told the Hamas government earlier that it would facilitate the transfer of Qatari fuel to Gaza, aimed at alleviating the fuel and electricity crisis there. (http://www.alquds.co.uk/index.asp?fname=today\10z492.htm&arc=data\2012\04\04-10\10z492.htm)
HAMDAN: CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION STILL OPEN WITH FATAH
Head of public relations in Hamas Osama Hamdan said yesterday that the channels of communication with Fatah are still open, denouncing accusations of some Fatah leaders who accused Hamas of being behind the stalled Palestinian reconciliation. Hamdan said such statements to the press were damaging to reconciliation efforts in light of the many contacts with Fatah officials, saying he hoped such statements would end for the sake of reconciliation. Hamdan also said the that “rights will not be restored except through resistance” saying he hoped the PA would realize this. “Everyone knows that the peace process has failed” saying that the PA’s reconsideration of these methods was ‘useless.’ (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=475496)
FAYYAD: REMAINING HERE IS RESISTANCE; QUARTET MUST PROVE ITS SERIOUSNESS OVER HOLDING ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said yesterday during the opening ceremony of the 7th annual international conference on popular resistance in Belin that “although the results of popular resistance may come slowly, they are inevitable and the world is with us. Even Israel can no longer defend its occupation because it has become a moral burden on it.” He also said that the peaceful resistance had reflected the Palestinian people’s ability to remain steadfast on their land and had foiled all efforts to brand us as terrorists. Fayyad said the two components of “state building and peaceful resistance” provide the tools for strengthening our people in resisting Israel’s settlement project, saying the retreat of the wall in Belin was the beginning of the retreat of the occupation and its collapse. He said that Belin was “just the beginning” and that there was still much land in the village that had been usurped by the construction of the separation wall. Fayyad also reaffirmed the PA’s support for the resistance, stressing on the importance of developing Areas C including East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, as priorities of the leadership. Fayyad went on to say that the Quartet, which is meeting today in Washington must take on its responsibility of holding Israel accountable for its violations against our people, adding that he conference would be meaningless unless this happens. (Al Ayyam)
PRISONER DIAB IS IN DANGEROUS CONDITION; PRISONER MOVMEENT DECLARES DISOBEDIENCE ON APRIL 22
The Israeli human rights organization called yesterday for the transfer of prisoner Bilal Diab to a civilian hospital after his health sharply deteriorated 41 days into his hunger strike. Diab is also now refusing liquids. Physicians for Human Rights – Israel also said Diab’s condition was “very concerning”, especially after his refusal to ingest fluids. A representative from the organization was finally allowed to visit Diab after ppealing to the court. They also visited Thaer Halahleh, who has also been on hunger strike since the beginning of March but still continues to take fluids. The two men are being treated in a prison hospital near Tel Aviv. PHR said that while Halahleh’s condition is currently stable it could deteriorate quickly should he continue his protest. According to PHR, Diab told them that he would reconsider taking fluids if he was transferred to a civilian hospital, a request the organization made immediately. Physicians for Human Rights also called on prison authorities to allow regular checkups for hunger striking prisoners without the presence of a prison doctor and with a family member in attendance. According to prisoner committee head Amin Shuman, prisoners decided to escalate their protest activities starting from April 22, clarifying that the first actions will be taken in tandem with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17. Prisoners, he said, would begin to return food trays and refuse to go out on break, leading up to complete disobedience on April 27 (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
PUBLIC OPINION POLL IN AL NAJAH UNIVERSITY: 31.6% EXPECT DOHA AGREEMENT TO SUCCEED WHILE 62.1% SAY IT CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED
The most recent public opinion poll in the Palestinian territories, carried out by the public opinion and survey center at Al Najah University in Nablus, showed an overall pessimistic view of chances for reconciliation among Palestinians. According to the poll, 31.6% said they believed the Doha Agreement signed between President Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal would succeed while 62.1% said it could not be implemented. 38% of respondents said they thought Hamas was responsible for the delay in implementing the reconciliation agreement while 12.3% said they believed it to be Fatah. Furthermore, 59.7% believed that some Arab countries sought to prevent the implementation of the agreement. 37.9% of respondents said they believed Hamas was the party benefiting more from not implementing the agreement while 16.3% said they thought it was Fatah. (Al Quds)
PALESTINIAN-JORDANIAN DENIAL THAT JORDANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER IS LOOKING TO CANCEL ‘NATIONAL NUMBERS’ DURING HIS UPCOMING VISIT TO RAMALLAH
Palestinian and Jordanian sources denied reports published in the Jordanian newspaper “Al Arab Al Youm” that the upcoming visit of Jordanian prime minister Mohammed Raoud to Ramallah is aimed at discussing the cancellation of the national numbers for Jordanians of Palestinian origin. According to spokesperson for the Jordanian interior ministry Ziad al Zoubi to Al Quds, this is completely unfounded. Zoubi said the visit, which does not yet have a set date is part of the ongoing Jordanian-Palestinian coordination, saying Raoud would discuss with his Palestinian counterpart issues that serve both peoples. This would be the first visit by the interior minister to Palestine. On his part, Abdel Hakim Zreiki, an official at the Palestinian embassy in Jordan, also refuted the press reports saying the visit was to discuss Palestinians’ national numbers, the Dahlan case and the Hamas file. The report yesterday in Al Arab Al Youm said the visit would discuss canceling the citizenships of Jordanians of Palestinian origin and cancelling national numbers for some PA officials in addition to issues such as extraditing wanted persons, borders, security and joint coordination between Jordan, the PA and Israel. this is in addition to the case of Dahlan and Jordan’s relationship with Hamas (Al Quds)
AL KHATIB: THE PRESIDENT RATIFIED 2012 BUDGET LAW
Head of the government press office, Ghassan Khatib said yesterday that President Abbas ratified the 2012 budget law. The cabinet said yesterday after its meeting that the PA budget amounted to $3.54 billion this year with an overall drop in the deficit to less than $1 billion. According to the Cabinet, this year’s budget is unique in that it downsizes the dependency on foreign aid. As for 2012 expenditures, the budget law indicates that the running costs have dropped by 32.6% of the overall GNP, saying however that this would not have an impact on the salaries bill, which it expected to go up this year because of annual raisens and bonuses in addition to a limited increase in employees. (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
PALESTINIAN LETTER TO NETANYAHU AMENDED FIVE TIMES BUT MAINTAINED ITS FOUR DEMANDS
According to an informed Palestinian sources to the London-based Al Hayat, President Abbas’ letter to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu was amended five times but managed to retain the four major demands: recognition of the 1967 armistice line; East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state; release of pre-Oslo prisoners; and Israel’s reversal of all measures taken in the Palestinian territories after the Intifada began in 2000. The source said the letter would be handed to Netanyahu on April 17. The unnamed Palestinian official also said that the first draft of the letter included a threat to Netanyahu that Palestinians would work alongside the international community to make Israel assume its responsibilities in the occupied territories according to international law should it refuse their demands. However, this paragraph was removed after US and international pressures including two phone calls to Abbas from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. (http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/384181)
ISLAMIC COOPERATION: VISITING JERUSALEM IS A SOVEREIGN ISSUE FOR MEMBER STATES
Secretary general of the Islamic Cooperation Organization Professor Akmal Al Din Ihsan Ogli said yesterday that visiting Jerusalem is an issue for member states to decide on, adding that it is a ‘sovereign’ matter. Ogli said there were some members with relations with Israel who can visit Jerusalem while others cannot, adding that the important point was finding ways to support the steadfastness of Jerusalemites and their presence in the city. He said those who could not visit could offer the necessary support to Jerusalem’s institutions instead. Ogli also said the Islamic Cooperation sent a delegation to the Vatican to prevent the signing of a deal with Israel that stipulates transferring supervision over Catholic holy sites in Israel including the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem to Israel. he said the Vatican’s response was positive and reaffirmed its position of support for a two state solution. (Al Ayyam)
ISRAEL TRANSFERS TAX REVENUES TO PA
Voice of Israel radio quoted yesterday political sources from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office and the finance ministry saying that Israel had transferred all of the tax dues to the PA at the beginning of the month in accordance with bilateral agreements between them. In related news the EU announced it had offered a contribution of almost 22.5 million euros to pay PA salaries and pension allocations for the month of March to approximately 84,000 government servants and retired Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza. (Al Quds)
INFORMED SOURCE: FAYYAD GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE NOT TO AFFECT MORE THAN 30% OF MINISTERS
According to an unnamed Palestinian source, Prime Minister Fayyad will begin consultations with factions over a cabinet reshuffle as soon as President Abbas returns from his trip abroad, saying he has not had any so far. According to the source, the changes will be minor, with 70% of the ministers remaining in their place including the interior and foreign ministers, prisoner affairs, tourism, agriculture and planning ministers and the Waqf ministry. President Abbas has called the upcoming reshuffle ‘renovation works” aimed at getting the reconciliation back on track. (Al Quds)
*Opening ceremony for Landmark St. George Hotel in Arab East Jerusalem (Al Quds)
*Abdel Rahim during opening speech of 5th culture and education forum: culture is resistance and resistance is culture (Al Quds)
*Jamal Mubarak has nervous breakdown and refuses to eat after hearing Omar Suleiman is running for president (Al Quds)
*52 dead in violence in Syria (Al Quds)
*Opening of Landmark St. George Hotel in Jerusalem (Al Quds)
*Cabinet calls for more Arab visits to support Jerusalem; calls on Arabs to financially support PA (Al Quds)
*Rights group calls on Israel to release eight Palestinian journalists (Al Quds)
*Israel beefs up measures to prevent 2500 people from arriving to participate in Welcome to Palestine campaign (Al Ayyam)
*Israel distributes anti-aircraft Patriot batteries in Haifa (Al Ayyam)
*Maariv: Netanyahu promised American president he would not strike Iran before the fall (Al Ayyam)
*Security Council calls on Syria to commit to ceasefire before Thursday (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Tayyeb Abdel Rahim: culture is resistance and resistance is culture, opinion and enlightened expression (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
*Erekat: no date has been set for Palestinian delegation to meet with Netanyahu (Al Hayat Al Jadida)
|Front Page Photos |
Al-Quds: Fayyad speaking at opening session of 7th Belin conference on popular resistance
Al-Ayyam: Fayyad speaking at opening session of 7th Belin conference on popular resistance; 2) Santorum during his withdrawal announcement from the presidential race
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: 1) Maaleh Adumim settlement built on land from Al Masharef in Jerusalem; 2) Fayyad with a number of officials during the Belin Conference; 3) Destroyed building from Syrian army bombing in villager near Idlib
|Voice of Palestine News |
The West Bank: Israeli occupation forces arrested two youths during raids over night in the eastern parts of Nablus district.
Last night, Israeli occupation forces raided A`zzoun village east of Qalqilia while throwing sound and light bombs to terrorize local residents.
Jerusalem: Clashes erupted on Wednesday morning between Jewish settlers and guards of the al-Aqsa mosque at “Bab al-Majles”. One guard by the name of Khaled Nijmeh was wounded after he was beaten by the settlers who tried to perform religious rituals inside the compound of the al-Aqsa mosque.
The Israeli occupation police have permitted so far the entry of 30 settlers in three groups into the al-Aqsa compound.
|Voice of Palestine Interviews|
**Fatah`s Shtayyeh: Palestinian leadership is studying resorting to the UN General Assembly in pursuit of a resolution that recognizes the state of Palestine on pre-1967 borders**
Muhammad Shtayyeh: Member of Fatah Central Committee.
Q: US threats have been voiced again on cutting off US aids to the PA in wake president Abbas`s decision to award journalist Helen Thomas an honor medal. How would you comment on this?
We primarily act according to the Palestinian national interest. Regretfully, there are people who are not pleased by this matter. In general, we view anything that the president does as stemming from his care about the Palestinian national interest and the friends of Palestine worldwide.
Some Congress members frequently express their anger through threats to cut off US aids. I should stress that Palestinians will never surrender to any exaction with respect to the offered aids and we would never accept bargains that could affect our political stances.
Q: Do you have fears that these threats would truly be implemented?
We do not have such fears. We only care about marinating the compass in the direction of the interest of the homeland and our people. If the USA threatens now to cut off aids because we grant a journalist an honor medal, Congress members may use the same threat when we would in the future announce Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine. The same applies to our demand on the refugees` right to return. Therefore, our political stance will never be part of any bargain or an exaction.
Q: What are the Palestinian expectations from the meeting of the Quartet Committee scheduled today?
We have got used to expecting only statements by the Quartet Committee. Regretfully, the Israeli side has succeeded to fail the efforts of the Quartet Committee due to its intransigence and adherence to settlement expansions, arrests and all other Israeli practices in the oPt. Israel has killed the chances of any successful political track and I believe that the Quartet itself is very aware of that it is moving in 2012 inside a political vacuum.
Certain members of the Quartet are capable of seeing reality on ground while others continue talking about the necessity of returning to negotiations. For our side, I do not think that the upcoming statement would signal a breakthrough in the Palestinian-Israeli track unless with complete halt of settlements, clear terms of reference and Israeli acceptance of the 1967 borders.
Q: Is the Palestinian application for statehood at the UN ready?
The Palestinian leadership, chaired by President Abu Mazen, is studying the option of resorting to the UN General Assembly seeking a resolution whereby the state of Palestine is recognized by the world on the pre-1967 borders. Our steps will actually be set according to our successful experience at the UNESO. I believe that we will probably head towards this track next month or in two months.
Q: Would moving on this track necessary mean giving up the Palestinian motion at the UNSC?
No, we are talking about two completely separate matters. The statehood application is still valid at the UNSC and it can be reactivated anytime we wish to. Nevertheless, and for the time being, we do not have the necessary nine votes in the UNSC due to US pressure and threats to use veto. As for the UN General Assembly, no one state has the right to veto the Palestinian application and a majority of votes in favor it is guaranteed there.
**Palestinian popular activities expect to receive 2,500 foreign peace activists in flytilla next Sunday**
Salah al-Khawajah: Coordinator of the Popular Anti-settlements and Anti-Wall Campaign.
Q: Would you tell us about the preparations you have made to receive the peace activists in Palestine?
This second annual campaign is being organized in cooperation with the entire local and international popular committees and activists.
According to flight ticket reservations, the number of foreign activists we expect to receive in Palestine amounts to 2,500. This is a double number of flight reservations in comparison to the first campaign last year in a clear assertion of broadening the scope of international solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Since over 20 days, Israel handed various airlines companies that their countries have diplomatic ties with it 400 names of people who are “on a black list” and their entry into Israel is prohibited. Those 400 foreign activists hold different nationalities and part of them are renowned figures like Nobel peace prize laurite.
During the expected investigations by the Israeli security at the airport, the peace activists will not hesitate stating their intention to go the oPt to express solidarity with the Palestinian people. They intend to organize protests inside the Israeli airport if the Israeli authorities would ban their entry into the oPt.
It should be noted that Israeli is signatory on Geneva Fourth Convention in which individuals` free movement and access everywhere is guaranteed. This is of particular importance as we are talking about an act of peaceful solidarity with people who are under occupation.
Q: Which specific Palestinian areas would they stay in?
They will stay at areas where the scope of international solidarity is needed to be expanded. Jerusalem is one of these areas as it has been enduring the dire consequences of continuous Judaization and ethnic cleansing, in addition to Bethlehem where the Segregation Wall is being constructed in the shape of a snake in the heart of the cities of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, and finally the area of Hebron
**As the PA`s financial crisis escalates: Palestine delegate sends urgent appeal to the Arab League chief to urge Arab states to transfer their financial obligations in accordance with resolutions of Baghdad summit meeting**
Barakat al-Farra: Palestine Delegate to the Arab League.
I sent today an official letter to the Arab League chief calling on him to translate the resolutions that were taken in the recent Arab summit meeting in Baghdad, particularly those related to the financial crisis that the PA is suffering from, and to urge the Arab states to swiftly transfer their financial obligations towards the PA budget. Also, the letter refers to the safety network which was approved by the Arab summit meeting as the financial situation of the PA is getting farther complicated with each passing day. The PA is incapable of paying the servants` salaries in addition to meeting the recurrent expenditures and that negatively affect the performance of all PA institutions including the security apparatuses.
Q: Do you expect a rapid response on this letter?
We hope for a rapid response. During a meeting next Thursday, I will highlight again before the Arab league chief the content of the letter I sent him and the urgency that he makes phone calls to Arab foreign ministers rather than sending them messages.
**PA interior ministry denies that the Jordanian interior minister will be visiting Ramallah next Saturday to discuss revoking Jordanian from Palestinian origin their Jordanian nationality**
Hasan A`lawi: Undersecretary of the Interior Ministry.
Q: What major issues would the Palestinian officials discuss with the Jordanian interior minister during his visit in Ramallah next Saturday?
The Palestinian-Jordanian relation is very special at all fronts. This visit will represent reinforcement to the formidable brotherly cooperation between the Jordanian kingdom and Palestine. It will be a historic in terms of that he will be the first Jordanian interior minister to visit the PA-controlled territories. Therefore, it has been viewed as an assertion of the sovereignty of the PA and the supportive Jordanian role to the PA.
The Jordanian interior minister will also visit Jerusalem, the historic capital of the Palestinian state, Hebron governate, and Jericho governate in addition to Ramallah city.
Q: According to press reports, the issue of revoking Jordanians from Palestinian origin of their “national numbers” will be discussed during this visit. Can you confirm this?
These press reports are totally groundless. Jordan announced few weeks ago that Jordanian nationality will not be revoked from any Palestinian. I can assure you that Jordan is very aware of the conditions in which Palestinians have been living in either in Jordan or in the PA-controlled areas.
Jordan represents the lung from which the Palestinian people can breath, and Jordan, as leadership and people, have been a true supportive to Palestinian citizens anywhere.
**The Palestinian Laborers` Union to pretest rise of price index in front of the cabinet`s headquarter next Monday**
Shaher Sa`ad: Head of the Palestinian Laborers` Union.
Q: What is the reason for the protest you are planning next Monday in front of the cabinet headquarter in Ramallah?
This will be a protest activity by the Palestinian Laborers` Union against the rising price index, the lack of subsidies for basic products. The Palestinian laborers have been enduring the dire consequences of this situation as the rise in price index has not been met with a rise in wages.
We demands from the government surveillance on prices and subsidies on basic products.
Günter Grass, Israel and the crime of poetry
In his poem, Nobel laureate Günter Grass criticises Israel and condemns German arms sales to the Jewish state.
Günter Grass identifies Israel as a threat to world peace in his poem, 'What Must Be Said'
By: Hamid Dabashi* (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/2012498535088416.html)
New York, NY - On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published Nobel laureate Günter Grass’ poem (the German original) that has created quite a stir not only in Germany, Israel and Iran, but also across the globe. As a result Israeli interior minister Eli Yishai has banned the Nobel laureate from entering Israel.
In this poem, Günter Grass breaks a long standing German taboo and publicly criticises Israel for aggressive warmongering against Iran, identifies the Jewish state as a threat to world peace, accuses "the West" of hypocrisy and denounces his own government for providing nuclear submarines to Israel:
... Because we - as Germans burdened enough -
Could be the suppliers to a crime
That is foreseeable, wherefore our complicity
Could not be redeemed through any of the usual excuses.
The poem drew much appreciation from those opposing yet another pending war in the region by pointing to the big elephant in the room, but also widespread condemnation by Jewish and non-Jewish groups and public figures in Germany, igniting the irritable Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in effect corroborating Günter Grass' own assessment that his silence so far had to do with the concern that he would be accused of anti-Semitism. He was accused of anti-Semitism.
Inside Story - Israel: A 'democratic' violator of rights?
But has the charge of anti-Semitism really silenced the critics of Israel - as Günter Grass suggests in this poem? Not really - or perhaps only so in Germany, for obvious reasons, but certainly not around the globe. The only people who are afraid of being called anti-Semites are the anti-Semites. Yes certain segments of pro-Israeli Zionists, by no means all, hurtle that accusation to silence their opponents. But by no stretch of the imagination has that charge silenced anyone but the anti-Semites - and they better remain silent.
In the European and by extension North American birthplace of anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is either perfectly alive and well, or transformed into Islamophobia, or camouflaged into Evangelical Zionism, or else abused by some Zionists to silence any opposition coming towards Israel - certainly to no avail.
To be sure, the condition in Germany is perhaps different - as indeed it should be. But by overcoming that false fear, Günter Grass can no longer be accused of anti-Semitism - and thus the significance of his poem is not in the straw man he constructs to shoot down (perhaps rhetorically, for after all, we are talking about a poem). It is somewhere else.
Tomorrow may be too late
In the body of the poem itself, titled "What Must Be Said", Günter Grass, 84, says that he risks the danger of being called an anti-Semite because:
Aged and with my last ink,
That the nuclear power of Israel endangers
The already fragile world peace?
Because it must be said
What even tomorrow may be too late to say…
Remaining silent at these dire circumstances is irresponsible and dangerous:
I am silent no longer
Because I am tired of the hypocrisy
Of the West…
Now that is good enough a reason to break the silence - and you need not invoke fear of being called an anti-Semite. Günter Grass expresses fear of a pending war that "could erase the Iranian people". He pulls no punches as to the facts that we all know:
Yet why do I forbid myself
To name that other country
In which, for years, even if secretly,
There has been a growing nuclear potential at hand
But beyond control, because no testing is available?
He then points finger at his own country:
Now, though, because in my country
Which from time to time has sought and confronted
The very crime
That is without compare
In turn on a purely commercial basis, if also
With nimble lips calling it a reparation, declares
A further U-boat should be delivered to Israel,
Whose specialty consists of guiding all-destroying warheads to where the existence
Of a single atomic bomb is unproven,
But through fear of what may be conclusive,
I say what must be said.
Setting the dubious fear of being accused of anti-Semitism aside, Günter Grass provides ample reasons - European hypocrisy, German complacency, American barefaced double-standards, Ahmadinejad's buffoonery and Israeli warmongering - for his poem to assume the global significance that it has. But the importance of the poem is not in stating the obvious - it is in revealing the repressed.
European colonialism and Jewish Holocaust
Given the history that culminated in the Jewish Holocaust, Jews around the globe, including Israel, have every right to get agitated with a prominent German public intellectual lecturing them about violence. But Zionism is chiefly responsible for having wasted the moral authority of the Jewish Holocaust - through what Norman Finkelstein has aptly called "the Holocaust Industry" - on establishing a racist apartheid state called "Israel" - a colonial settlement as a haven for the victims of a whole history of European anti-Semitism, on the broken back of a people who had nothing to do with that travesty.
With a leading German public intellectual openly criticising Israel, pointing to European hypocrisy, and blaming his own country for aiding and abetting in the aggressive militarisation of the Jewish state - a gushing wound is opened that implicates both Europe and the colonial settlement that in more than one sense is its own creation. In two specific terms, both as a haven for the victims of the Jewish Holocaust and as the legacy of European colonialism, Israel reflects back on its European pedigree. It is here that Grass' poem reveals more than meets the eye.
For over 60 years, Palestinians have paid with their lives, liberties and homeland for a European crime with which they had absolutely nothing to do.
The Zionist project precedes the European Jewish Holocaust -that ghastly crime against humanity following the horrid history of European anti-Semitism expressed and manifested in systematic pogroms over many long and dark centuries. Palestine was colonised by the victims of European anti-Semitism - as a haven against Jewish persecution. That paradox remains at the heart of a Jewish state that cannot forget the truth of its own founding myth.
There is a link between the Jewish Holocaust and the history of European colonialism, of which Zionism (perhaps paradoxically, perhaps not) is a continued contemporary extension.
It was Aimé Césaire who in his Discourse sur le colonialisme/Discourse on Colonialism (1955) argued that the Jewish Holocaust was not an aberration in European history. Rather, Europeans actually perpetrated similar crimes against humanity on the colonised world at large.
With German atrocities during the Holocaust, Europeans tasted a concentrated dose of the structural violence they had perpetrated upon the world at large. Colonialism and the Holocaust were thus the two sides of the same coin: the aggressive transmutation of defenceless human beings into instruments of power - into disposable "things". Long before the Jewish Holocaust, the world Europeans had conquered and colonised was the testing ground of that barbaric violence they had termed the "civilising mission of the white man".
European guilt about the Holocaust is absolutely necessary and healthy - it is an ennobling guilt. It makes them better human beings, for them to remember what they did to European Jewry. But, and there is the rub, they are, with a supreme hypocrisy that Günter Grass notes in his poem, spending that guilt (when not redirecting it into Islamophobia) on sustaining a colonial settlement, an extension of their own colonial legacy, in supporting Israeli colonialism in the Arab and Muslim world - as a garrison state that further facilitates their renewed imperial interests in the region. Europeans are turning their legitimate guilt into an illegitimate instrument of their sustained imperial designs on the globe, from whom Americans then take their cues.
European logic of colonialism
Israel is a European colonial settlement, the last astonishingly barefaced remnant of European colonialism in a world that calls itself "postcolonial".
The same people who are with perfect justification enraged by the foolish Ahmadinejad (when he denies the Holocaust) are evidently entirely undisturbed when their Prime Minister Golda Meir or their favourite presidential candidate Newt Gingrich denies the existence of Palestinians.
The daring imagination of Günter Grass' poem - a heroically tragic act precisely because the poet is implicated in the moral outrage of his own poem - is significant precisely because it captures this German and by extension European logic/madness of colonial conquest and moral cannibalism. A German intellectual exposing the structural link between Zionism and colonialism marks the even more innate link between the Holocaust and colonialism - precisely at the moment of warning against the regional warmongering of Zionism as the post/colonial extension of European colonialism.
What Prime Minister Netanyahu's reaction to Günter Grass' poem, and many others like him, do not recognise is that precisely when they accuse the German poet of anti-Semitism they are in fact acknowledging the colonial provenance of the Jewish state. The harder they object to Günter Grass, the clearer becomes the fact that the Jewish state is the rhetorical articulation of the very logic of European global colonialism, of which the Jewish Holocaust, as Aimé Césaire rightly recognised, was a local overdose.
There is one, and only one, definitive resolution for that paradoxical consistency to come to an end: the one state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma. It is only in that basic, simple, elegant, humane, non-violent, enduring and just resolution that the paradox of Zionism as colonialism, and the structural link between the Jewish Holocaust and European colonialism, can once and for all be resolved.
The fact and the inevitability of that solution, delivering both Israelis and Palestinians from their mutual (however asymmetrical) sufferings, has been staring the world in the eye from day one - and yet the belligerent politics of despair has caused an intentional blindness that prevents that simple vision. So, yes, Günter Grass is right - and in this revelation he could no longer possibly be an anti-Semite:
Only this way are all, the Israelis and Palestinians,
Even more, all people, that in this
Region occupied by mania
Live cheek by jowl among enemies,
In the end also to help us.
*Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. His forthcoming book, The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism (Zed, 2012) is scheduled for publication in May 2012.
Three letters on Palestine
by Osama Al Sharif* (http://jordantimes.com/three-letters-on-palestine)
Three missives that sum up the predicament of Palestinians under occupation came under the limelight in the past few days.
One was sent by imprisoned Fateh member Marwan Barghouthi to the Palestinian people and their leadership on the eve of Land Day, which marks the killing of six Arabs in 1976 and protests Israel’s landgrab policies. In his open letter Barghouthi, who was arrested in 2002 and is serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail, called on Palestinians to launch widespread popular resistance against Israeli occupation. He called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop security and economic coordination with Israel, saying that popular resistance is what is needed at this stage.
He called for an immediate end to peace talks. For negotiations to resume, he said, Israel must release Palestinian detainees, stop building settlements and recognise the 1967 borders.
Ten years after his imprisonment, Barghouthi remains one of the most popular Palestinian leaders. This was not his first message from prison, but his call for a popular uprising has irked his jailers and embarrassed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Barghouthi is one of the key leaders of the second uprising, which broke out in 2000 after peace talks collapsed. Last week, the Israeli authorities placed Barghouthi in solitary confinement and prevented him from receiving visitors.
His letter drew mixed reactions from Palestinians, Israelis and others. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said: “Barghouthi is the most authentic leader Fateh has produced, and he can lead his people to an agreement. ... if Israel had wanted an agreement with the Palestinians it would have released him from prison by now.”
Unexpected support for Barghouthi’s call for nonviolent resistance came from influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who described his appeal as “noteworthy”. He wrote: “I can certainly see the efficacy of nonviolent resistance by Palestinians to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank — on one condition: They accompany any boycotts, sit-ins or hunger strikes with a detailed map of the final two-state settlement they are seeking. Just calling for ‘an end to occupation’ won’t cut it.”
Friedman failed to mention that since the signing of the Oslo Accords almost two decades ago, the Palestinians have provided such maps after years of tough negotiations. It is Israel that turned its back on previous agreements, roadmaps and understandings.
Palestinian officials often complain that Israel wants to renegotiate what has been already agreed upon. Still, Friedman’s conditional backing of Barghouthi’s message to his people is remarkable.
He writes that “by engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience in the West Bank with one hand and carrying a map of a reasonable two-state settlement in the other, they [Palestinians] will be adopting the only strategy that will end the Israeli occupation: Making Israelis feel morally insecure but strategically secure”.
Friedman believes that such strategy will revive Israel’s peace camp, which has been dormant for years. In his view, this strategy is what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fears but is sure the Palestinians will never adopt.
The second missive, in the form of an open letter to Abbas, was written by former Israeli Cabinet minister Yossi Beilin. Published in Foreign Policy and titled “Dear Abu Mazen: End this Farce”, Beilin’s letter called on his old peace partner to issue “a declaration of the end of the Oslo process — justified by the fact that the path to a permanent-status agreement is blocked”.
He said that “this is the most reasonable, nonviolent option for putting the subject back on the world’s agenda, with the aim of renewing genuine efforts to reach a conclusive solution”.
Beilin knows what he is talking about. He was Abu Mazen’s opposite at the Oslo peace talks in 1992, worked on the Beilin-Abu Mazen negotiations between 1993 and 1995, and launched the Geneva Accord with Yasser Abed Rabbo in 2003. He served as minister in three Israeli governments.
In his letter, Beilin explains how the Oslo Accords, which he describes as a “tremendous victory for the peace camps”, were later thwarted. In his view, “opponents of the accords — both on the Palestinian side and on the Israeli side — have turned the agreement into a device that has allowed the parties to block a two-state solution”.
Beilin then calls on Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and return daily control of the occupied territories to Israel.
“Do not let Prime Minister Netanyahu hide behind the fig leaf of the Palestinian Authority — impose upon him, once again, the responsibility for the fate of 4 million Palestinians,” he writes.
The third letter, from Abbas, which will be delivered by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to his Israeli counterpart on April 17, reiterates the PA’s position that Palestine will not return to peace talks until Israel stops all settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, accepts a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and releases Palestinian political prisoners. If that approach fails, then the Palestinian leader will ask the UN General Assembly to recognise Palestinian statehood.
There is little new in Abbas’ position. His letter to Netanyahu is unlikely to change Israel’s stubborn position on final status issues and open the path for the conclusion of a two-state solution deal.
Barghouthi and Beilin offer two drastic options. Their appeals require bold and historic decisions by the Palestinian leadership. Together, the three letters summarise the predicament of the Palestinian question today.
*The writer is a journalist and political commentator based in Amman.
The third Intifada and the revolution against “Fatah” and “Hamas”
By: Dr. Ahmad Jamil A`zem
Prominnat “Hamas” leader Ahmad Yousef was quoted by “al-Ghad” newspaper last Sunday saying that “the Palestinain people are fed up and will not sit idly”. He did not rule out a popular move “as one of four tracks that could happen concurrently or separately and which are the following: a revolution against president Mahmoud Abbas, a revolutionagainst “Hamas”, a revolution against both “Fatah” and “Hamas” and a comprehensive popular uprising against the occupation”. In this sense, Yousef does not rule out a repetition of the scenario of the Arab Spring against the Palestinain Authorty, which is represented by “Fatah” and “Hamas”, or one of them, and he also deos not rule a third Intifada.
As oppose to these predections, other different sceranrios that are more likely to hppen due to different reasons that limit the chances of the iccurance of an uprsiisng against “Fatah” and Hamas”, including the division. A protest against one of the two movement appears to be a victory to the other, and there is a general impression that if one criticizes “Hamas”, this one is necessary affiliated with “Fatah”, and vice versa. Therefore, many people hesitate showing up as supporters of one side against another.
As for an uprising against both of the parties, its chances are weak because the poplar bases of the two factions are still strong and defending them no matter what they do, even if they would show certain signs of anger and astonishment. Moreover, the two factiosn have become ruling parties which are connected to partisan security apparatuses, and servants who receive salalaries and their interest is dependent on the twi factions.
Nevethelss, the scenario of “pulling the rug out from under the factions” is possible considering the widending state of estrangement from factions as many factional activist have distance themesleves from their factions, and resorted instead to non-factional and even trans-factional local popular action framework in various cities, villages and refugee camps. The presence of these framwroks ha sbecome strong to the extent of imposing the agendas of the popular move, and compelling the factions to follow and watch those young initiators. This means a gradual pulling of the rugs from under the factions. A double uprising (against the two faction) would probably outbreak later on, or it may never be nenccsstary as new farmwaorks may replace the two factions gradually.
With regard to a third Intifada, this could be the strongest scenario. Fadi Qara`an, a young activist in the civil resistance in the West Bank, commented on this matter in a TV interview in mid 2011 by saying that he does not expect an Intifada in the same form of the past two uprisings in 1987 and 2000. He rather expect a movement of protets against events in various populations in the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the 1948 Palestinain areas, and even inside refugee camps in exile, in addition to solidarity and boycott campaigns. Nevethelss, it will not be a continious and comperehsince Intifada but a kind of consequtive, scattered and harmomious waves.
Qara`an`s vision could be supported in light of many questions about the existence of a gathering political leadership that is capable of turning the people`s energies and struggles into a political achievement, and a leadership that could unify the Palestinain street and sets effective tools and mechanism for resistance. This vision is also reasonable in wake of the blocked prospect of the two-state solution, and the increasing focus on the unity of the youths` actions in historic Palestine. Another explination can be attributed to that the “two big factions” apparently oppose the idea of an Intifada. While interactions is forbidden with Israeli in the West Bank to the extent that popular reisstance has been limited to “C” areas where Palestinain security force are not present, the global march to Jersualem has highlighted that “Hamas” force in Gaza as well tried to ban the access of Palestinains to Israeli checkpoints in the surroundings of the Gaza strip.
Although the idea of consecutive and paralel campaigns of resistance towards civil revolt could represent a different scenario to that of an Intifad, it does not cancel the possibility of the occurance of an Intifada. Popular revolutions mostly breakout at a specific hitric moment and due to accomualtie pressure and when it will breakout it will certainly have various forces and bases.
*A visiting researcher at the Asian and Middle Eastern studies in Cambridge Univeirsty- The UK.
“The mother of the letters” turned back to its owners
By: Mu`tasem Hammadeh* (http://www.amin.org/Print.php?t=opinion&id=17680)
Before exposing it as a new active step on the negotiation track, Mahmoud Abbas`s letter to Netanyahu has already lost the expected impact it should have made on the Palestinian-Israeli ties.
Abbas`s close associates talked a lot about this letter as a review stop with the Israelis to reconsider the underway negotaions and their principles, and to get prepared for a situation of persisting obstinacy by Netanyhau, impotence by the Quartet would continue being impotent, the settlemnt actions and stalemate in the negotiations. Howover, making a high bet on this “letter” (which has been sarcastaicaly described as “the mother of the letters”), under the US pressure
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