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September 2, 2010

Sign on to Statement: Palestine is Not for Sale!

Also, click here to read about the September 2 Washington, DC press conference against the negotiations and click here to sign on to the Arabic-language letter against the negotiations.

The US Palestinian Community Network calls upon all organizations, associations, and Palestinian and Arab community groups, as well as solidarity organizations, and individuals, to sign on to the below statement rejecting the resumption of direct negotiations, in the midst of ongoing Israeli structural racism and violence inflicted upon Palestinians, to take place between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu on September 2, 2010:

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, declare our commitment to the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people – one land, one people, one cause.

Our people, in the West Bank and Gaza, suffering and steadfast under siege and occupation; our people in Palestine 1948, confronting racism, ethnic cleansing and political repression; and our people in the refugee camps and in diaspora around the world, struggling to return home and liberate their homeland, deserve a leadership that defends their inalienable rights, takes its legitimacy from its popular support, and upholds the liberation of its land and its people as the highest national goal.

We deserve a leadership that defends our collective rights. As such, we reject the direct negotiations taking place in Washington, DC on September 2, 2010, which shield Israel as it continues its colonial and apartheid project. Negotiations in these current conditions without necessary pressure and any terms of reference amount to the barter of Palestinian cities as opposed to the defense of collective rights and to that we say: Palestine is not for sale!

These direct negotiations have not served the interests of Palestinians, who, under the conditions of the peace process have been forced into further policing of our own people already suffering under the yoke of occupation, in exchange only for worsening conditions.

read on and sign here

“Security for Everyone, Not Just Settlers and Occupiers”–

Ali Abunimah on Opening of US-Brokered Mideast Peace Talks

US-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority begin today in Washington. Both sides agreed to sit down last month after the US successfully pressured Palestinian leaders to drop their precondition of an Israeli settlement freeze. On the eve of the summit, Palestinian militants killed four Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. We speak with Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada. [includes rush transcript]

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: US-sponsored talks between Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders are scheduled to begin in Washington today after nearly two years of stalled negotiations. The talks are expected to be particularly tense in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s attacks near the West Bank city of Hebron that killed four Israeli settlers driving in the area of the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba. The dead include two men and two women, one of whom was reportedly pregnant.

Arriving in Washington last night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to hunt down the killers and ordered Israeli forces to act, quote, “without diplomatic restraint.”

SAMI ABU ZUHRI: [translated] Al Qassam’s heroic operation in Hebron is a natural reaction to the occupation’s crimes and is a continuation to the series of heroic operations to confront these crimes.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, for more on this story, I’m joined right now via Democracy Now! video stream by author and activist Ali Abunimah. He’s the co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. His latest op-ed in the New York Times is titled “Hamas, the IRA and Us.”

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Ali Abunimah. Can you just begin by talking about these latest attacks in the West Bank and how they’ll impact these talks in Washington?

ALI ABUNIMAH: Yes. Good morning.

Well, the attack on the settlers yesterday in the West Bank was, I think, a gruesome reminder that when there is no serious and credible political process to end Israel’s occupation and apartheid, violence of this kind will fill the void. And we should recall that since the beginning of 2008, a total of sixty Israelis, many of them soldiers, have been killed in conflict-related violence. In the same period, more than 2,000 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed by the Israeli army and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And every one of these deaths, Palestinian or Israeli, is one too many.

You know, when Secretary of State Clinton speaks about savage brutality, I think she should include the recent steep escalation in other forms of violence, including daily attacks by settlers on Palestinians, a sharp increase in home demolitions by Israel, especially in Jerusalem. And, you know, in July alone, according to Human Rights Watch, 146 Palestinian homes and businesses in the West Bank were destroyed by Israel, the highest level since 2005, as well as the entire Bedouin village of El-Araqib in the Negev, which is actually in Israel. So what you see is that Israel’s violence targets Palestinians everywhere, not just in the Occupied Territories.

So this reality of systematic violence, I think, can only breed more of the same, until there is an end to Israeli occupation and the human and political rights of all the people in the country are respected. So, when we talk about security and saving lives, we have to talk about security for everyone, not just for the settlers and occupiers. And we have to have a real political process aimed at ending Israel’s occupation and colonization, not simply creating a fictional Palestinian state in order to disguise them, as the current US-sponsored peace process seems designed to do.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Ali Abunimah, your piece in the New York Times is called “Hamas, the IRA and Us,” and in that you draw a parallel between the peace talks that George Mitchell helped broker that eventually brought an end to what’s been called the “troubles” in Ireland. Could you lay out that argument in this last minute that you have and how it—how it paints a picture of what’s not happening right now in these peace talks?

ALI ABUNIMAH: Well, it’s very apt. You know, between Sinn Fein and the IRA, there were some people who supported a ceasefire and entering a political process and others who opposed it. And the same is very much true with Hamas. The military and political leaderships are separate. We don’t know yet enough about who ordered this attack. But it’s very clear that in the case of the IRA, George Mitchell and the United States understood that they had to respond to political overtures from Sinn Fein and the IRA in order to bring them into an inclusive political process. We’ve seen over the past few years many political initiatives from Hamas, including offers of long-term ceasefires to Israel and willingness to take part in a peace process. And the door has been slammed in the face of all those overtures. And what we may be seeing now is the assertion by those who believe in a more violent course. And it will be a tragedy if we see this sort of bloodshed escalate. You know, more than 2,000 Palestinians killed and sixty Israelis in the past three years is enough violence. And I think as long as these one-sided policies continue, it’s going to be very difficult to break this pattern.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: We’re going to have to leave it there. Ali Abunimah is the co-founder of The Electronic Infitada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.

see Video & Transcript: Democracy Now – Ali Abunimah on Hebron attack on settlers, resumption of “peace talks”

Video Israel Doesn’t Want You to See

Hamas leaders jailed

I will not comment on the Hamas killings of four settlers in the West Bank except to comment that I will not comment on those killings. As Seham points out in the last several months there were many Israeli attacks against Palestinians. Many Palestinians were shot or died and I did not even write about every atrocity I saw with my own eyes in Gaza. No one apologized for those atrocities. No heads-of-state spoke about the assassination of Ahmed Salem Deeb, nor did the New York Times decide to cover the day when a dum-dum bullet turned his leg to jelly, leading to his death. That paper does not cover or condemn the quotidian crimes committed against the Palestinian populace, and the good people of New York and LA either don’t know or don’t care that the attack against the armed paramilitary settlers in the West Bank is only visible because of the religion of the dead. The uproar is about racism, it’s about valuing a white corpse complicit in atrocity higher than the brown corpse of its victim, and so I see no particular value in condemning a people psychically lacerated by living through over 60 years of hell for lashing out against their tormentors [Sorry Ahmed], no matter the motivation.

What concerns me here is the reaction from the PA-Vichy quislings [Thanks David]:

In the largest arrest campaign since it took power in 1994, the Palestinian Authority, run by the Fateh party, sent security officers all over the West Bank Wednesday morning to arrest known members of the rival Hamas party, after Hamas’ armed wing claimed responsibility for the killing of four Israeli settlers Tuesday night. According to the Palestinian Authority, at least 300 were arrested and taken to Palestinian police stations and prisons.

Local sources report that the Palestinian security forces entered homes and workplaces, arresting anyone they suspected of being connected to the Hamas party. The crackdown on Hamas comes as the Palestinian leadership heads to Washington for negotiations with Israel, during which they must prove that they have full control over the West Bank, and are carrying out the interests of the Israeli state there.

Tuesday night’s attack marks the highest number of fatalities in a single attack against Israelis since 2006. Palestinians in the West Bank point out that during the last four years, which Israel calls ‘relative calm’, over 2,000 Palestinians have been killed, and daily invasions, blockades and land seizures have made life anything but calm for the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

A leader of the Hamas party in Gaza, which was elected in 2006 but prevented from taking power in the West Bank by an Israeli-backed coup by the Fateh party, said that the attack Tuesday night was the natural result of the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Omar Abdel-Raziq, a legislator with the Hamas party, said the arrest campaign was political, adding, “They are trying to tell the Israelis that they are capable of doing the job after the attack.”

The ability of the Palestinian Authority to control its population is one of the main issues that the Israeli government has said it would bring to the negotiating table in Washington. The Palestinian Authority, with no political, economic or judicial power, comes to the negotiating table without the means to push for their core demands to be met – the three core demands of the Palestinians are the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the return of Palestinian refugees, and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

The job of the PA is to prevent resistance. By preventing resistance, the money keeps flowing to Ramallah, keeping the PA elite in a decent standard of living, and they will be permitted to administer the prison called a state that Israel and America will allow through the peace process. The point of the crackdown is to convince Israel that the PA is still a competent collaborator. It shows its competence by jailing the resistance and by ignoring the demands of civil society. It won’t last.


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