The Carol Chomsky Memorial Fund - News
Trapped by Denial of Rights, Illusion of Statehood: The Case of the Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network
March 1, 2012
The bid to attain UN membership is a reflection of the impasse the Palestinian leadership reached in the negotiations with the Israelis and their American sponsor. It is the PLO/PA attempt to break out of the deadlock despite the risks involved to the PLO’s claim to be the sole representative of the Palestinian people in their quest to secure their right of return and self-determination.
Palestinians in Lebanon took different positions towards the bid. Some cheered enthusiastically (Fatah and PLO factions) while others expressed reservations and/or rejected it (Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement). Many were concerned that the bid could affect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and in particular their rights of return and self-determination. Civil society organizations, especially the committees and bodies involved in a movement for the right of return explicitly rejected the bid and even accused the PA of betrayal and squandering national rights in the “game of nations”.
Apartheid targets Palestinian home-owners inside Israel
By Jonathan Cook
March 10, 2005
You won’t hear about the story of my Palestinian friend Ali Zbeidat and the threatened demolition of his “illegal” home, either from the hundreds of international correspondents in Jerusalem or from the Hebrew media - not even from those remarkable Israeli journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, two lone beacons inside Israel in the campaign for justice for the Palestinians.
None of them will tell you about the story of Ali’s family and the imminent physical and financial ruin of their lives by Israel, even though Ali’s plight is far from unique. There are tens of thousands of other Palestinians in the same desperate situation as Ali, living in homes Israel defines as illegal.The problem for Ali is not just that he is Palestinian; if he were, you might learn of his story. Ali’s problem is that he is also a citizen of Israel. He belongs to a minority of one million Palestinians who fell under Israeli sovereignty during the 1948 war that founded a Jewish state on what was once the Palestinian homeland.
By Allison Derger
February 25, 2012
The Israeli military is pushing legislation allowing settlers to bypass the state’s convoluted building permit system in the occupied West Bank. The new law would allow settlers to create unpaved roads without a permit. If the law passes, these settlers would be the only Israeli citizens able to build roads in this manner. Currently, only the military is able to build roads without a permit.
Under the proposed legislation, Israeli-only roads in the West Bank will begin to take on a different function. This network of roadways currently exists to speed travel between the settlements and create physical barriers between Palestinian villages. The new law would treat roads as something similar to the caravans in illegal settler outposts - a means of pushing Palestinians off their land. The Civil Administration confirms the land grabbing function of the bill, stating: "the request did not deal with the paving of roads for vehicular traffic to preserve this land."
Robert Fisk: The new Cold War has already started – in Syria
By Robert Fisk
February 25, 2012
If Iran obtains nuclear weapons capability, "I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons".
Thus thundered our beloved Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in one of the silliest pronouncements he has ever made. Hague seems to spend much of his time impersonating himself, so I'm not really certain which of Mr Hague-Hague's personas made this statement.Flaw number one, of course, is Hague-Hague's failure to point out that there already is another Middle East "nation" that has, in fact, several hundred nuclear weapons along with the missiles to fire them. It's called Israel. But blow me down, Hague-Hague didn't mention the fact. Didn't he know? Of course, he did. What he was trying to say, you see, was that if Iran persisted in producing a nuclear weapon, Arab states – Muslim states – would want to acquire one. And that would never do. The idea, of course, that Iran might be pursuing nuclear weapons because Israel already possesses them, did not occur to him.
Beyond the Fall of the Syrian Regime
Middle East Research and Information Project
By Peter Harling, Sarah Birke
February 24, 2012
Syrians are approaching the one-year anniversary of what has become the most tragic, far-reaching and uncertain episode of the Arab uprisings. Since protesters first took to the streets in towns and villages across the country in March 2011, they have paid an exorbitant price in a domestic crisis that has become intertwined with a strategic struggle over the future of Syria.
The regime of Bashar al-Asad has fought its citizens in an unsuccessful attempt to put down any serious challenge to its four-decade rule, leaving several thousand dead. Many more languish in jail. The regime has polarized the population, rallying its supporters by decrying the protesters as saboteurs, Islamists and part of a foreign conspiracy. In order to shore up its own ranks, it has played on the fears of the ‘Alawi minority from which the ruling family hails, lending the conflict sectarian overtones. All these measures have pushed a growing number of young men on the street -- and a small but steady stream of army defectors -- to put up an armed response, while impelling large sections of the opposition to seek financial, political and military help from abroad. Loyalist units have taken considerable casualties from the armed rebels, and the regime has hit back with disproportionate force.
The Carol Chomsky Memorial Fund works to assist Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and in the Occupied Territories. The Fund provides financial assistance to LEAP, the Learning English Advancement Program, which teaches English to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. It also assists the Mezan Center for Human Rights, which monitors and documents human rights violations in Gaza and educates teachers and other public workers about the rights of women, children, and the disabled.
1. Supports Educational Programs for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon2. Donates Funds for Human Rights Work in the Gaza Strip
Israeli decision to release Palestinian detainee in April ‘insufficient’
February 21, 2012
The Israeli authorities’ decision to release a Palestinian detainee by mid-April is insufficient, Amnesty International said amid reports that he has agreed to end his 66-day hunger strike.
The organization has urged Israel to release Khader Adnan immediately to allow him to receive urgent medical treatment. The 33-year-old baker – allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement – is at immediate risk of death after more than 10 weeks on hunger strike.
Occupied Lives:Sniper Fire in the ‘Buffer Zone’
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
February 16, 2012
Goldfinches and canaries are appreciated worldwide for their colourful appearance and their melodic whistling. The birds are especially popular in the Gaza Strip as they help to create a distraction from the hardships of daily life.
Munther Rashad Saleh al-Nakhala, 44, lives in Gaza city. He is widely known by his neighbours for his success in raising canaries and goldfinches and for the care and attention he shows them. At present, he owns more than 50 birds, and although they sell for up to 1,000 NIS in the Gazan market, he refuses to sell them. “I have built special cages for them so I simulate their natural environment. They are very precious for me.”
Munther enjoys hunting goldfinches and canaries with his green net and a small wooden cage. Four days a week for the last seven years, he has taken his bicycle to go hunting in the neighbouring areas of Gaza city. In the Gaza Strip, however, such a simple hobby has put his life at risk. On the morning of 31 January 2012, Munther was shot three times by Israeli soldiers.
Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians (LEAP) is an educational empowerment program for Palestinian refugee-youth in Lebanon dedicated to nurturing the intellectual growth and creative curiosity of our students. LEAP encourages youth to become agents of change by supporting them in their educational pursuits during their most formative years.
5 January 2009: Amal al-Samouni
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
January 5, 2012
On 4 January 2009 at around 6:00 Israeli forces surrounded the house where Amal al-Samouni (11) and 18 members of her extended family were sheltering, in Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City. Israeli soldiers ordered the owner of the house, Amal’s father Attia al-Samouni (37), to step outside with his hands up. Upon opening the door he was immediately killed by shots to the head and chest. Soldiers then started firing bullets into the house, killing Amal’s 4-year old brother Ahmad al-Samouni and injuring at least 4 other people, of whom 2 were children.
Over the following hours, soldiers ordered over 100 other members of the extended al-Samouni family into the house of Wa’el Fares Hamdi al-Samouni, Amal’s uncle. On 5 January 2009 Israeli forces directly targeted the house and its vicinity, killing 21 persons and injuring many others. Amal, who was inside, was wounded by shrapnel to the head and buried under the rubble, lying between injured, dying and deceased relatives. On 7 January ambulance personnel, who were prevented from entering the area until then, evacuated her to hospital.
Occupation authorities install cctv cameras inside the Aqsa Mosque
The Palestinian Information Center
January 4, 2012
The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage revealed that the Israeli occupation on Tuesday installed cctv cameras to monitor the Aqsa Mosque, especially from the side of the Maghareba Gate.
The organisation condemned, in a statement on Wednesday, this serious step by the occupation, pointing out that the occupation authorities aim to restrict and intimidate worshippers inside the Aqsa Mosque, stressing that Muslims will continue to keep a constant presence in the mosque to defend it.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Jerusalem Awqaf, stressed that this was a serious precedent which is rejected and the cameras must be removed immediately.
He added: “We are following the matter. I official wrote to the police telling them that what they did was a serious precedent, and the cameras must be immediately removed."
The Aqsa Foundation said that occupation technicians, on Tuesday, installed two cameras above the Maghareba gate, a position from which a large area of the Aqsa Mosque can be monitored.
Lebanese MPs: The Boogeyman of Tawteen
By Qassem Qassem
Lebanese politicians habitually invoke the specter of permanent settlement of Palestinians in Lebanon (tawteen) at every political juncture to instill a fear of the other. The other, in this case, is the Palestinian refugee living in refugee camps.
Tawteen is therefore used as a boogeyman in media campaigns to attack political adversaries and demonstrate the extent of one’s patriotism and Lebanese nationalism. These campaigns tend to intensify before every election cycle as politicians try to outdo each other by fighting heroically to prevent Palestinian refugees from settling in Lebanon.
In the period following the last elections, most MPs competed with one another by demonstrating their concern for Lebanese interests through denying Palestinian refugees in Lebanon their basic social rights. Their justification was that giving Palestinian refugees these rights would contribute to their permanent settlement in Lebanon.
United States Contributes $55 Million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
US State Department - Media Note
January 3, 2012
The United States is pleased to announce an initial 2012 contribution of $55 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The $55 million contribution will provide critical health, education, and humanitarian services to five million Palestinian refugees in the region. Of this contribution, $29 million will support UNRWA’s core services in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza; $24 million will support UNRWA’s emergency programs in the West Bank and Gaza; and two million will support UNRWA’s ongoing relief assistance in Lebanon for those displaced during the 2007 conflict in Nahr al Bared refugee camp.
As UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, the United States recognizes the critical role the Agency plays in assisting Palestinian refugees and maintaining regional stability and calls upon other donors to enhance their support for UNRWA. The United States encourages UNRWA to maintain the neutrality of its operations, expand its donor base, enhance its strategic communications, and maximize programmatic efficiencies in order to better serve refugees.
In 2011, the United States provided just under $250 million to UNRWA, including $146 million to its General Fund, $75 million to its West Bank/Gaza emergency programs, $15 million to emergency programs in Lebanon, and $10 million for the construction of five new schools in Gaza, which will serve an estimated 10,000 schoolchildren.
PCHR Appeals to Palestinian President to Immediately Intervene to Save Lives of 450 Patients in Gaza
Palestinian Center for Human Rights
December 15, 2011
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) appeals to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to immediately intervene to save the lives of 450 patients, including 15 children, in the Gaza Strip who suffer from renal failure, as their lives are endangered due to the lack of Dialysis filers, which are vital disposables that function like normal kidneys and serve to remove toxins from the blood during dialyses.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Thursday at noon, 15 December 2011, blood filters ran out at all hospitals in the Gaza Strip, and consequently, dialyses for 450 patients who suffer from renal failure have been stopped.
We Are Palestinians - Op-Ed
The New York Times
By Daoud Kuttab
December 14, 2011
JERUSALEM — When they were young, one of my children’s favorite games was reciting the family lineage. In our culture a person’s full name is a combination of his paternal parentage. My son, born in Jerusalem in 1988, would say his name is Bishara Daoud George Musa Qustandi Musa Kuttab.
Our family name came from the profession two brothers had a long time ago. The first Kuttabs were scribes who sat outside the court and wrote up petitions for people who had a claim with the authorities. Kuttab is Arabic for writers or scribes.
Upon graduating from North Park University in Chicago and returning to Palestine, Bishara visited the St. James Orthodox Church in the Old City of Jerusalem. He met with the head of the local Palestinian Christian parish. Using extensive baptismal records, they were able to patch together the history of Kuttabs in Jerusalem for hundreds of years. This turned into a family tree that has been circulated on Facebook to all Kuttabs.
My son’s visit had another reason: He wanted to collect rent on our family’s property. On the eve of World War I, many Palestinian families turned their properties over to local churches or the Islamic Waqf (trust) for safekeeping. The properties were controlled by the churches but the owners were able to collect a meager rent. Our history is typical of many Palestinians.
By Tom Charles
December 12, 2011
For the past sixty-three years, millions of Palestinians have lived as refugees in areas of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and in surrounding countries. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) describes their plight as “by far the most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world today."
Three-quarters of all eleven million Palestinians throughout the world are refugees, though their plight is often ignored. Many key issues in the Middle East, political and humanitarian, arose as a consequence of Israel’s denial of the right of refugees to return to their land.
Multiple international treaties and conventions recognize the inviolable characteristic of the right of return of refugees--including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. Humanitarian and human rights law and numerous UN resolutions all guarantee the right of return for refugees.
By Jonathan Cook
December 1, 2011
As protests raged again across the Middle East, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, offered his assessment of the Arab Spring last week. It was, he said, an “Islamic, anti-western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli, undemocratic wave”, adding that Israel’s Arab neighbours were “moving not forwards, but backwards”.
It takes some chutzpah – or, at least, epic self-delusion – for Israel’s prime minister to be lecturing the Arab world on liberalism and democracy at this moment.
In recent weeks, a spate of anti-democratic measures have won support from Netanyahu’s rightwing government, justified by a new security doctrine: see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil of Israel. If the legislative proposals pass, the Israeli courts, Israel’s human rights groups and media, and the international community will be transformed into the proverbial three monkeys.
Controversial historian visits UW
The Daily Cardinal
By Ben Siegel
November 17, 2011
Known in academia for his controversial work on Israel and Palestine, historian Ilan Pappé lectured [at the University of Wisconsin - Madison] on his perceived failures of the Middle East Peace Process Wednesday.
Prefacing his perspective by affirming it to be strictly his own, Pappé focused on how the process is understood. To him, the lack of progress in negotiations stems from the continual portrayal of Palestine as an equal partner in peace.
The French Consul and his Family in Gaza were Wounded in an Israeli Attack on a Palestinian Navy Site in the Northern Gaza Strip
Palestine Center for Human Rights
November 14, 2011
On Monday, 14 November 2011, the French Consul in the Gaza Strip, Majdi Jameel Yaseen Shaqqoura, 44, and his two children were wounded in an Israeli attack on the Palestinian Navy site in the southwest of Beit Lahia, located in northern Gaza. They were in their home when they were injured by shrapnel. Additionally, as a result of the same attack the consul's wife suffered from hemorrhage that led to a miscarriage.
Noam Chomsky’s Sydney Peace Prize lecture
November 8, 2011
Revolutionary Pacifism: Choices and Prospects
As we all know, the United Nations was founded “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The words can only elicit deep regret when we consider how we have acted to fulfill that aspiration, though there have been a few significant successes, notably in Europe.
For centuries, Europe had been the most violent place on earth, with murderous and destructive internal conflicts and the forging of a culture of war that enabled Europe to conquer most of the world, shocking the victims, who were hardly pacifists, but were “appalled by the all-destructive fury of European warfare,” in the words of British military historian Geoffrey Parker.
And enabled Europe to impose on its conquests what Adam Smith called “the savage injustice of the Europeans,” England in the lead, as he did not fail to emphasize. The global conquest took a particularly horrifying form in what is sometimes called “the Anglosphere,” England and its offshoots, settler-colonial societies in which the indigenous societies were devastated and their people dispersed or exterminated.
By Amira Hass
November 2, 2011
Now that Palestine has been recognized by the United Nations' cultural organization, UNESCO, it will be no more of a non-state and no less occupied than it was before. Its citizens will be no less unfree than they are today, no less under the yoke of Israeli foreign rule. But their civil disobedience versus Israel, the United States and the Quartet raises the hope that the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table - because negotiations have become an obstacle to the decolonization process, the essential condition for peace.
By Associated Press
November 2, 2011
Israel has successfully test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran, fanning a public debate over whether the country's leaders are agitating for a military attack on Tehran's atomic facilities.
While Israeli leaders have long warned that a military strike was an option, the most intensive round of public discourse on the subject was ignited over the weekend by a report in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot that said the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, favoured an attack.
By Reuven Pedatzur
November 2, 2011
The IAF can bomb Iran, he must tell the government, but ultimately the operation will not destroy the Iranian nuclear program, at best it can delay it.
If anyone can save Israel from catastrophe it is the Israel Air Force commander. All Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushtan has to do is whisper to the prime minister and defense minister that an Air Force attack on Iran cannot achieve its goals.
The force's airplanes can reach Iran and even drop bombs, he must tell them, but ultimately the operation will not destroy the Iranian nuclear program. At best it will be delay the program by a few months.
By Amira Hass
November 1, 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his forum of eight senior ministers decided Tuesday to initiate a new wave of settlement construction in the West Bank, as part of a wider set of sanctions Israel decided to impose on the Palestinian Authority after it was accepted to UNESCO as a member on Monday.
Netanyahu's office said Tuesday that the construction of 2,000 housing units planned in East Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, and Ma'aleh Adumim should be expedited.
Despite attacks, national conference unites
Students for Justice in Palestine
The Electronic Intifada
By Alex Kane
October 21, 2011
Israel was being discussed as a settler-colonial project in one classroom, while in another a workshop about the Arab uprisings and Palestine took place. In the hallways of New York’s Columbia University, activists huddled together and talked about recent travels or the Palestinian Authority’s role in the West Bank. And at night, organizers headed down to the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York’s financial district to address a general assembly.
This was the scene at Columbia last weekend as 350 student activists from more than a hundred schools across the nation converged for the first-ever Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) national conference. The conference was structured around workshops ranging from “The Economics of Israeli Colonialism” to the “Politics of Women’s Activism” to “How to Effectively Start and Run an SJP Group.” The result of a year of student planning, organizing and fundraising, the SJP gathering comes at a moment when Palestine solidarity activism on college campuses is increasingly scrutinized.
The US media reports: Gilad Shalit swapped for 1000 non-people
By Max Blumenthal
October 18, 2011
By now, Gilad Shalit is back in Israel, while around 1000 Palestinian prisoners will eventually be released from Israeli jails, then scattered to various locations from Jerusalem to Egypt to Syria, where many will live in permanent exile. While some Israelis doubt the wisdom of the prisoner swap, there can be little doubt that the state of Israel has scored a public relations victory in the United States. American coverage of the prisoner exchange has focused almost exclusively on Shalit, his family, and Jewish Israeli society's "bittersweet" reaction to the deal.
Reports on the exchange generally did not mention the identities of the Palestinian prisoners, and if they did, they tended to only name those who had committed violence against Israelis. It is of course newsworthy that perpetrators of lethal violence against Israeli civilians are being freed, and that many Israelis are outraged about it, but the American media made no effort to contextualize the conflict propelling the violence -- the word "occupation" was not mentioned once in today's reports on the exchange.
Robert Fisk: Why the Middle East will never be the same again
By Robert Fisk
September 20, 2011
The Palestinians won't get a state this week. But they will prove – if they get enough votes in the General Assembly and if Mahmoud Abbas does not succumb to his characteristic grovelling in the face of US-Israeli power – that they are worthy of statehood. And they will establish for the Arabs what Israel likes to call – when it is enlarging its colonies on stolen land – "facts on the ground": never again can the United States and Israel snap their fingers and expect the Arabs to click their heels. The US has lost its purchase on the Middle East. It's over: the "peace process", the "road map", the "Oslo agreement"; the whole fandango is history.
September 16, 2011
Palestinian officials have launched a campaign to join the United Nations as a full member state. They will ask for international recognition on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as a capital. The idea is strongly opposed by Israel and its close ally, the United States.
Here is a guide to what is likely to happen and its significance.
What Could a State Change for Refugees?
The Daily Star
By Annie Slemrod
September 3, 2011
BEIRUT: It’s official. The state of Palestine has an embassy in Lebanon. Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hoisted his country’s black, white, red and green flag above a building in the Beirut suburbs of Jnah, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s longtime delegation became Palestine’s embassy.
The upgrade in status came in advance of Palestine’s September bid for statehood at the United Nations. If the attempt succeeds, Palestine will become the 194th member state of the United Nations, where the PLO currently has observer status.
The achievement of statehood would certainly be accompanied by a certain amount of hand shaking, and more flag-raising. But on a practical level, what would it mean for the approximately 400,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon? And what would be the implications for the Lebanese, who have long had a fraught political relationship with the country’s Palestinians?