Peace in our Time?

April 29, 2007

Prevention of Demolition of Centre for Autistic and Special Needs Children in East Jerusalem

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 10:32 pm

(Hebrew follows below)

The Jerusalem Municipality is planning, during the coming days, to demolish a building in Wadi Joz in East Jerusalem which is used by the Iyat amuta, (an amuta for advancement of children with special needs) and the amuta Kochavey Jerusalem. Prevention of demolition will help the children and families of a particularly vulnerable sector of the community, in very real need of urgent help.
Tomorrow morning (Monday), from 7.00 a.m. onwards, activists will be present at the centre’s site in Wadi Joz to try to prevent the demolition. In order to get there, go to Wadi Joz, in Suwani, after the wholesale market continue straight down, 50 metres, to the entrance to the industrial area, and then turn right onto a rough track and you will see the centre (Palestinian public transport goes to that area from nearby Damascus Gate). The centre is within walking distance of Augusta Victoria and the Hebrew University.

The demolition is being carried out according to the final decision of the district court. The centre hosts children for 2-week special stays, and is an afternoon daycare centre. It is important to state that all special education schools in the east of the city are located in the Wadi Joz area, near the centre’s address. This is something which affects access and transport to the centre. The Iyat amuta searched for a long time for suitable premises for the school, but didn’t manage to find such a place, because of the scarcity of available buildings and sky-high rents charged in the area. At the premises of the centre they already undertook various renovations to serve the children’s special needs and are involved in ongoing work there for that end. Iyat is the only service provider in the entire East Jerusalem area providing for the special needs and therapy for autistic children, handicapped or challenged children and on many occasions has to refuse to accept any more children for treatment, with all the anguish involved in such refusal.

Please come to help. For further information, or directions contact: Abdul Rahman, of Iyat: 0548-121 925, Shai Haim (ICAHD): 0506-986 964, Meir Margalit (ICAHD): 0544 345 503

עצירת הריסת מרכז לילדים אוטיסטים ובעלי צרכים מיוחדים בירושלים
עיריית (more…)

April 19, 2007

We are Virginia Tech

Filed under: Blogroll, Peace, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 8:33 pm

We are Virginia Tech

We are sad today
We will be sad for quite a while
We are not moving on
We are embracing our mourning

We are Virginia Tech

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again

We are Virginia Tech

We do not understand this tragedy
We know we did nothing to deserve it

But neither does a child in Africa
Dying of AIDS

Neither do the Invisible Children
Walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army

Neither does the baby elephant watching his community
Be devastated for ivory
Neither does the Mexican child looking
For fresh water

Neither does the Iraqi teenager dodging bombs

Neither does the Appalachian infant killed
By a boulder
Dislodged
Because the land was destabilized

No one deserves a tragedy

We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie Nation embraces
Our own
And reaches out
With open heart and mind
To those who offer their hearts and hands

We are strong
And brave
And innocent
And unafraid

We are better than we think
And not yet quite what we want to be

We are alive to imagination
And open to possibility
We will continue
To invent the future

Through our blood and tears
Through all this sadness

We are the Hokies

We will prevail
We will prevail
We will prevail

We are
Virginia Tech

Nikki Giovanni, delivered at the Convocation, April 17, 2007

April 18, 2007

Irish NUJ Vigil for Alan Johnston

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 11:23 pm

Alan Johnston banner

The NUJ and the BBC request that no banners/posters/flags be brought along to the event. Photos of Alan will be distributed.

Venue: outside the office of the General Delegation of Palestine (PLO) to Ireland, 42 Adelaide Rd. (near the Eye and Ear hospital)

Time and date: Thursday the 18th of April, 5.30 to 6.30 pm. (more…)

April 17, 2007

Whose Government is this? by Gideon Levy

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 7:40 pm
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Last update – 08:41 15/04/2007

Whose government is this?

By Gideon Levy
A call should be made to the Consumers Council: This is a case of wholesale fraud. In the sea of thieves, embezzlers and crooks around us, this is the largest deceit of all. The majority of Israeli citizens voted for a centrist government, perhaps even a bit left of center, and received one of the most extreme right-wing governments in the history of Israel.

We voted for Kadima, which promised convergence and an end to the occupation. We voted for Ehud Olmert, the left flank of Ariel Sharon, who was carried aloft (solely) on the wings of the disengagement’s success. We voted for Shimon Peres, who always promises peace. We voted for the Pensioners, who did not speak like right-wingers. We voted for the Big Bang, which was supposed to be a harbinger of a pragmatic turnabout. And what did we receive? The world already knows and we should also recognize this: a benighted, right-wing government.

The 28,000 participants in a recent survey by the BBC World Service in 27 countries ranked Olmert’s Israel, together with Ahmadinejad’s Iran, as the countries having the most negative influence on the world. (more…)

People Kill People — With Guns

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 7:33 pm

by Michael Winship

On Sunday, the National Rifle Association wrapped up its 136th annual convention in St. Louis. Sixty-thousand attended.   NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre fired up the crowd, telling them, “Today, there is not one firearm owner whose freedom is secure.”

On Monday, one of those owners shot more than fifty students, staff and teachers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Thirty-two of them died, the worst such massacre in American history. So much for their freedom. At that same St. Louis meeting — amidst sessions on African big game hunting, “methods of concealed carry,” and quick draw competitions — Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, chillingly warned of an event remarkably like Monday’s shootings. Warned, not because of the bloodshed or the anguish it would bring the bereaved families, but because such an incident would give gun control advocates “a green light to do it all,” by which he meant, he said, “gun bans, gun registration, gun owner licensing, gun rationing, taxes and fees.” (more…)

April 8, 2007

Israeli responsibility for the refugees

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 3:30 pm

Letter to the IHT from Ambassador Erik Ader, Netherlands (see cv at end)

3rd April 2007

According to Steven Erlanger’s article in the Saturday/Sunday edition of the International Herald Tribune, PM Ehud Olmert stated categorically “… that Israel bore no responsibility for the refugees, whose plight resulted from an attack by Arab nations on the fledgling state”.

On a recent visit to Israel, to see people who found refuge in my parents’ manse in World War II, I wandered into the “Etzel Museum” in a park between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. From a plaque on the wall I quote “On Monday 25 April 1948 during the week of Passover an Etzel Force set out to conquer Jaffa… population 80,000… to remove the danger posed to the city of Tel Aviv and its residents… Etzel mortars, relentlessly bombarding the centre of the town, caused the mass flight of the Arab population”. Twenty tons of ordnance rained down on frightened citizens. This had already been preceded by the attack on mainly Palestinian Haifa, coordinated between the Irgun and Haganah, on 21 April 1948 and other Palestinian population centres.

Another plaque in this museum states “… Beyond the dispute over the number of casualties, it is universally agreed that the Deir Yassin operation was a key point in the War of Independence”. The numbers disputed are those of the casualties, ranging from 110 to 250. The Etzel attackers lost five men, it was a massacre of mainly unarmed civilians. The “key point” the plaque refers to is that “operations” like these were the main cause of the Palestinian exodus. The date was 10 April 1948. On 14th May 1948, the day Israel declared its Independence, 300,000 Palestinians had left the country, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris. All this, therefore, happened before Arab armies invaded the fledgling state to come to the rescue of the beleaguered Palestinians. The larger part of that exodus had been caused by acts of terror and intimidation as described above.

Israel would continue the expulsions, not only after the 14th May 1948 but even after the cessation of hostilities in 1949 and deny the refugees to return to their homes and lands, often within sight across barbed wire. All in all some 750,000 residents of Palestine were thus dispossessed.

I would suggest that all Israelis who suffer from similar bouts of selective amnesia read the publications by their own historians on the subject, like Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe and former deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti, or contact the courageous Israeli NGO Zochrot.

One does understand that before negotiations tough positions are being taken, but overdoing it is counterproductive. In the longer run it is ruinous: for genuine peace and reconciliation between Israel and Palestine, justice and truth are preconditions.

D.A.V.E. Ader

On my background: I am a recently retired Dutch Ambassador (postings in Oslo, Hanoi and Beirut) and the son of a Dutch reverend who was shot by the Germans for saving hundreds of Jewish compatriots during the occupation in World War II. (Re. Yad Vashem).

April 4, 2007

Riyadh and chances for peace

Filed under: Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Peace Now, Saudi, Uncategorized — angelajerusalem @ 10:06 am

Peace Now supporters demonstrated March 28th outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s official residence, in support of the Riyadh Summit, at which Saudi King Abdullah and other Arab League leaders reaffirmed the Saudi Initiative originally twice offered to Israel five years ago and ignored twice by Sharon. Calling on Olmert not to be a refusenik of peace, Peace Now urged him to accept the Initiative, offering regional integration to Israel in exchange for a return to the 1967 Green Line, and a full end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories (including a comprehensive, just solution to the long overdue refugee problem). The demonstration was attended by a crowd of some 150 Israelis, brandishing flags of the 22 Arab League member states, incongruously integrated with the Israeli flag and Hebrew posters.

In a similar public statement, Gush Shalom stated:

“In Riyadh,
The assembled leaders
Of the Arab countries
Offered us
Peace with the Palestinians
And the entire Arab world
For generations to come.

In Homesh*
The assembled settlers
Offered us
War with the Palestinians
And the entire Arab world
For generations to come.

We must choose.”

And whilst American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice initially made encouraging sounds on this shuttle-stop as to establishment of a viable Palestinian state and acceptance of that Saudi peace plan, by the time she met with Olmert the message was sufficiently watered down to be meaningless. Olmert announced in her presence that Israel will meet every fortnight with President Abbas, no doubt echoing two such recent meetings at which no progress was achieved, and promises by Israel as to relaxation of Palestinian freedom of movement remain unkept; in fact, since the first of those meetings a new checkpoint, deep inside the West Bank outside Nablus, has been initiated – presumably to protect Palestinian villagers from other Palestinian villagers, including family members. Such major terminals are reportedly funded by the US out of money earmarked for the Palestinians, cynically, for their “security.” Insult to injury. Salt in the wounds.

Then, during the April 1st visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (who wrote in the guestbook of Yad Vashem: “Humanity grows out of responsibility for the past”), Olmert edged tenuously closer to something more meaningful, whilst still irresponsible. He spoke of a meeting with “moderate” Arab states and acknowledged “elements” of the Saudi initiative, whilst making progress all but impossible by clinging to preconditions, and declaring that the refugee “problem” was not Israel’s responsibility and that Israel would not accept “one single refugee” to return home inside Israel. A week away from commemorating the Deir Yassin massacre, survivors of the Yishuv’s policies in 1947-48 of Plan Dalet would greet that dismissal of responsibility with contempt. Whereas an apology, acknowledgement of responsibility, would help to start the vitally required healing – on both sides.

In the absence of meaningful talks, whilst new settlements and expansion of existing ones continue full speed ahead, an unwilling Israeli public is being dragged, willy-nilly, back into unilateralism or Convergence, despite having learned the hard way that unilateralism increases Palestinian and Hizbullah resistance and rocket attacks. And although a majority of the Israeli public accepts the inevitability of the Saudi Initiative’s basic outlines, Ehud Olmert presumably fears his 3% popularity rating precludes him from entering into peace negotiations. Only Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s most popular ever prime minister, was a warrior for peace. In the shadow of a Second Lebanon War which may yet cost him his job (as did the first one to Sharon), Olmert seems intent to keep failing while fighting, strengthening resistance (he must know this?), undermining moderates such as the Saudi royal family, Egypt and Jordan while increasing facts on the ground that are such obstacles to peace – especially settlements inside Jerusalem and new infrastructure on E1, so impacting on Palestinian future viability and contiguity. The Israeli press points to the fact that George W. Bush must have given Olmert a green light to ignore Rice’s overtures. Just as he, Bush, is intent on continuing the folly of the Iraqi Occupation, in spite of his country’s obvious preference to withdraw.

Israel, as Sparta to an American Rome, seems yet again never to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to be normal (or law abiding under international law). Imperialism, colonialism, apartheid and occupation. We don’t need another hearing at the International Court of Justice to know these are crimes against humanity and illegal (although it’s useful to recall that South Africa went to that forum four times until apartheid fell). That they are deliberately chosen. That alternatives are being rejected. And that the Israeli public is being, yet again, denied an integrated position with its neighbours, with possibly fatal results for the longterm viability and sustainability of Israel. As Ilan Pappe says in his recent book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”: “But the window of opportunity will not stay open forever. The risk of even more devastating conflict and bloodshed has never been so acute.”

So where does this leave the Man in the Street, we average Israelis? Praying for early elections and a change of leadership. Since the Winograd Commission findings will soon be made public, this could come sooner than expected. But Israeli lack of hope is reflected in the fact that the alternatives (Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu) are former prime ministers whom Israelis kicked out with much relief not long ago. Men who failed, too, to progress peace. So let’s hope the numbed Israeli public won’t let the Saudi Initiative disappear again, as it did before. Olmert seems intent on preventing peace — more radically than even the increasingly pragmatic Hamas. Yes, there’s no partner for peace. And that non-partner is us. Israel.

*Homesh: An evacuated West Bank settlement recently reoccupied by settlers, but again evicted by the IDF.

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