November 17, 2007
Divest From the Israeli Occupation

The next meeting of the Divest From the Israeli Occupation group will be on Saturday, Nov. 17th from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm in the downtown Madison Public Library.

George Arida, with the Madison Rafah Sister City Project, will give a report on the recent meeting of the national U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and will present their adopted proposal to groups for a Motorola Boycott.

Other items on the agenda include
• State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) response to Action Sudan,
• prospects for work on the SWIB campaign,
• plans of allied groups,
• ideas for a public outreach campaign to publicize the nature and effects of the Israeli occupation,
• development of an apartheid analogy,
• and your ideas.

Mike Wyatt
251-4328
mapcmadison (at) merr.com

Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land in West Bank

· Seizure would allow huge expansion of settlements
· Move seen as rush to make changes before US summit

Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Wednesday October 10, 2007
The Guardian

Construction workers in the West Bank
Construction workers in the West Bank. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP
 

The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday.

The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

However, critics said the confiscation of land suggested that Israel was imposing its own solution on the Palestinians through building roads, barriers and settlements that would render a Palestinian state unviable.

The land seized forms a corridor from East Jerusalem to Jericho and is intended to be used for a road that would be for Palestinians only. Analysts said the road would run on one side of the Israeli security barrier, while the existing Jerusalem-Jericho road would be reserved for Israelis.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said it was necessary to build a road to link Bethlehem and the Judea region with Jericho and the Jordan valley area in order to “improve the quality of life” for Palestinians.

She said the road would be nearly 10 miles long and would be built on 145 hectares (357 acres) of state land and 23 hectares of private land that had been confiscated. She added that the army had designed the route to minimise losses to private landowners.

Adam Keller of the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, said the confiscation of land belonging to the villages of Abu Dis, Arab al-Sawahra, Nebi Musa and Talhin Alhamar would “rob many villagers of their sole livelihood” but would also “facilitate the big annexation plan known as E-1, which is aimed at linking the settlement of Ma’aleh Adummim with Jerusalem and cutting the West Bank in two.”

He said the confiscations were aimed at constructing a “Palestinian bypass road” that would “push the Palestinian traffic between Bethlehem and Ramallah deep into the desert and effectively bar them from the central part of the West Bank”.

The E-1 area has been marked out on Israeli government maps for years but the state has refrained from large scale development of the area. The only building to be completed is the proposed headquarters of the Israeli police in the West Bank.

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Palestinian author under cyber attack before Wisconsin Book Festival

Annie’s Letters, October 9, 2007

Palestinian author and human rights activist Susan Abulhawa has come under a cyber attack just days before she is scheduled to appear at the Wisconsin Book Festival, and one week before the Dutch edition of her book is to be released in the Netherlands.

Before this past weekend, it was discovered that all news links to “Susan Abulhawa”, “Scar of David”, and her charitable foundation “Playgrounds for Palestine” have been blocked from access on major search engines, including GOOGLE, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask.com. Users clicking on “NEWS” and requesting any of the three listings were unable to receive links to news coverage between October 3, 2007 and October 4, 2007, despite the fact that more than 20,000 listings were provided the day before the incident. None of the search engines have offered an explanation for the interruption. GOOGLE and MSN have not commented at all, while both Yahoo and Ask.com have promised to resolve the issue.

The suspicious timing of the simultaneous blockage on multiple search engines points to an orchestrated effort to disrupt Abulhawa’s promotion of her book, with its unpopular perspectives on the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

For information contact: mark (at) scarofdavid.com

Apartheid Reigns In Israel, Activist-author Says


He Claims Nation Is Hurting Self With Its Policies

SAMARA KALK DERBY, The Capital Times, October 8, 2007

Israeli human rights activist and author Jeff Halper argues that in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the two-state solution is dead, and apartheid has taken over.

Jimmy Carter let the genie out of the bottle with his recent book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” but Halper has been using the same language for years.

“We use apartheid in a very precise way. We don’t use it as a slogan. We have been very careful about it. Apartheid is a system that can’t be exported,” Halper told a group of about 40 people during a talk Sunday at Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg.

An apartheid system is one of separation in which one segment of the population separates itself from the others, Halper said. “And that’s what Israel calls its policy,” he added.

The other element of apartheid is domination, he explained. “One population separates itself from the others and then dominate them,” he said. “Permanently and institutionally.”

Israel’s offer to withdraw from 95 percent of the West Bank will create not peace, but rather a Palestinian prison state, said Halper, who has been called “a Jewish anti-Semite.”

Halper is a Minnesota native who has lived in Israel for 35 years. Formerly an anthropology professor at Haifa and Ben-Gurion Universities, he co-founded the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions to challenge and resist the Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes. The organization was founded in 1997 after Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister on a right wing, security-heavy platform.

Israelis have been moving into the occupied Palestinian territories – which includes the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem – through settlement construction and land confiscation. At the same time, Palestinian population growth has been confined to small “islands” within those territories.

The natural development of Palestinian towns has been curtailed by discrimination in building permits and zoning policies and the demolition of Palestinian homes, Halper said.

According to Halper, Israel has destroyed more than 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.

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Cancelled Event Hoax

This e-mail was sent to the UW Middle East Studies listserver today, cancelling the Jeff Halper event tonight at Grainger Hall. The only problem is, the event was not cancelled, and no one knows who sent the e-mail. The Middle East Studies Program is investigating.

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2007 09:22:48 -0700
From: “U. Wisconsin Middle East Studies Program” cmes@mailplus.wisc.edu
Subject: [Cancelled Event] TODAY – JEFF HALPER -ISRAEL/PALESTINE: COUNTDOWN TO APART… @ Mon Oct 8 7:30pm – 9:30pm ()
To: mes-events@lists.services.wisc.edu
HTML Attachment

U. Wisconsin Middle East Studies Program cancelled the following event:
TODAY – JEFF HALPER -ISRAEL/PALESTINE: COUNTDOWN TO APARTHEID?
Mon Oct 8 7:30pm – 9:30pm
(Central Time)
2080 Grainger Hall; 975 University Ave. corner of Brooks and University; UW Madison Campus (map)
Calendar:

JEFF HALPER, founder of the ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOME DEMOLITIONS and Anthropology Professor at HEBREW UNIVERSITY will discuss whether President Bush’s upcoming Middle East Summit offers hope for peace or a continuation of the process of transforming the occupied Palestinian territories into a permanent political reality similar to what was in place during Apartheid South Africa. Where is the Israel-Palestine conflict headed? Halper, an Israeli citizen who has lived and worked in Israel as an academic and an activist since 1973, discusses what he has termed the “Matrix of Control” in shaping options for peace on the ground. He will also discuss the “CONSTRUCTING PEACE CAMPAIGN” to rebuild all Palestinian homes demolished this year by the Israel Army.Can Israel be described as an Apartheid regime? Why are some arguing that it is? Debate on this and other Israel-Palestine issues is increasingly important as the region descends into greater and greater turmoil.

This lecture is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin’s MIDDLE EAST STUDIES PROGRAM and the University of Wisconsin’s HAVENS CENTER; Local organizations groups supporting this talk include the Fitchburg Memorial United Church of Christ, the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Jewish Voice for Peace/Madison and ICAHD-USA.

This event was removed from your calendar.

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October 6 – 9, 2007
New Madison Events with Jeff Halper of ICAHD

Saturday, October 6, 7:30 – 10:00 pm
Middleton
Houseparty Fundraiser with Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). Goal to raise $5000 to rebuild one Palestinian house. At a private home in Middleton — please contact rafahsistercity (at) yahoo.com for info and directions.

Sunday, October 7, 2:00 pm
Memorial United Church of Christ, 5705 Lacy Road, Fitchburg
Build Peace, Build Houses, Stop Home Demolitions: Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) will speak on where the Israeli “Matrix of Control” is taking the Israel/Palestine conflict. Find out how you can help ICAHD-USA “Construct Peace” by rebuilding all Palestinian homes demolished this year by the Israeli army. Co-sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Jewish Voice for Peace/Madison, Memorial UCC, UW Middle East Studies Dept, Havens Center. More info at madisonrafah.org or 215-9157.

Sunday, Oct. 7, 7:00 pm
Jeff is scheduled to be interviewed live on Forward Forum, Madison 1670 The Pulse. Call in at 321-1670. You can listen live to streaming audio at WTDY.com, and outside the Madison area the toll free number is 877-867-1670. The program will be available starting Monday on podcast.

Monday, October 8, 12:00 pm
Jeff will appear live on WORT Radio’s A Public Affair with Allen Ruff from 12 noon to 1 pm (89.9 FM, call in at 256-2001).

Monday, October 8, 7:30 pm
UW-Madison Campus, 2120 Grainger Hall, 975 University Ave. (corner of Brooks and University)
Israel/Palestine: Countdown to Apartheid? Jeff Halper of ICAHD will discuss whether Bush’s planned November DC “summit” on Israel/Palestine offers hope for peace, or will further consolidate Israel’s occupation into a permanent political reality similar to apartheid South Africa. Co-sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Jewish Voice for Peace/Madison, Memorial UCC, UW Middle East Studies Dept, Havens Center. See mideast.wisc.edu or call 265-6583 for location.

Tuesday, October 9, 12:00 pm
Foreign Policy Action Summit, Washburn Heritage Room, Regina Hall, Edgewood College
Jeff will join Tom Melville and George Mische to discuss the disastrous effects and connections between US foreign policy in Central America and the Middle East. Members of the Catonsville 9, who burned draft records in 1968, Melville and Mische have dedicated their lives to peace work in Central America and the U.S. Melville, a cultural anthropologist and ex-Maryknoll priest in Guatemala, is also the author of Through a Glass Darkly: US Holocaust in Central America. For more information, call 233-7004.

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Civil Society and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Beneath the Hideous Veneer of ‘Security’

Jennifer Loewenstein, CounterPunch, 23 september, 2007

On January 26th 1976 the United Nations Security Council debated a resolution (S11940) introduced by Jordan, Syria and Egypt that included all the crucial wording of UNSC resolution 242. It accepted the right of all states in the region to exist within secure and recognized borders while re-emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. This resolution added for the first time, however, what was missing from 242: recognition of Palestinian national rights. The phrase “all states” was taken to include a new Palestinian state in the occupied territories.

Israel was, of course, invited to attend the session but refused, preferring instead to have a national tantrum that included bombing Lebanon the same day, killing about 50 people ­in all likelihood a typical “in your face” message to the UN and the world. Unsurprisingly the US vetoed the resolution causing the PLO, which was present at the session, to speak of the “tyranny of the veto.” As with similar resolutions since this one, the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations supported it. The two nations that have consistently opposed this and comparable resolutions were the United States and Israel thereby establishing the well-known pattern of rejectionism that persists to this day. As a result, resolutions such as S11940 have vanished from the historical record despite its significance in marking the first time a UN resolution explicitly recognized the inalienable national rights of the people of Palestine.

In the debate leading up to the vote on this resolution, one of the participants remarked that the problem of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East conflict and must be resolved….We are sorry that Israel stayed away from the debate and has instead been [wreaking] havoc all over and hurling defiance against the alleged bias of the United Nations. In truth it is Israel which is maintaining, by the use of force, and [which] wishes to be left alone to continue, its occupation of the territories of its Arab neighbors. Persistence in this policy of tone and diktat can only breed more violence, engender further bitterness, and make ever more remote the prospect of the peace and cooperation which the Israeli government professes to be seeking and which all the peoples of the Middle East desire and need. (M. Akhund; representative of Pakistan; in transcript of debate following introduction of resolution. S/PV.1879 of 26 January 1976. UNISPAL home; See also: UN DPI multimedia: United Nations. Thirty-first year; 1879th meeting.)

Reading these words, I was struck by a sense of déjà vu and had to double check the source to certify that they were in fact spoken 31 years ago. Unfortunately, however, although the similarities with present day circumstances are remarkable, the situation that we face vis a vis the Palestinian issue today is far more serious.

Noam Chomsky’s response to my upbeat description of last year’s UN’s Conference in Geneva on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was that if things did not soon improve on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories, the next such conference “would be a wake.” It was a sobering reminder of just how dire the situation has become; how, in Chomsky’s words we are currently witnessing an event almost unprecedented in the modern era: the systematic, deliberate and long-term destruction of an entire nation.

As activists and representatives of civil society NGOs concerned with what is happening in Israel-Palestine, we know the importance of maintaining a realistic level of optimism; of dogged persistence even in the face of what seem to be insurmountable obstacles. I have not given up that hope, nor ­I suspect-have any of you, which is why we are here today.

Nonetheless as important as solidarity work is for us and for the continuation of efforts to effect change in the circumstances facing millions of Palestinians in the territories and beyond, none of us is deluded enough to believe that a Just Peace is at hand. With every killing, every maiming, every act of state-sponsored terror, every home demolition, every arrest, every confiscation of property, resources and identity, every closure, checkpoint, permit, roadblock, or concrete slab put into place along the serpentine Wall that is devouring Palestinian land in its path, Palestine is rendered increasingly invisible, buried behind euphemisms and peace scams ­ a non-entity for non-persons whose continuation as one of the many nations populating the globe today is seriously threatened.

(1) In trying to assess how we can put a stop to this devastating dynamic I came up with three pre-conditions that are necessary before we can even begin a process leading to a just settlement. First and foremost is to demand an end to Israeli crimes. These include, most significantly today, its bloody and sadistic torture of Gaza, but also its continued territorial expansion which it has no intention of ending, an end to atrocities against the people of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, recognition of the right of Palestinians to have free elections ­meaning, in this case, the recognition of Hamas and the establishment of dialogue with it and all other Palestinian political factions regardless of whether or not we like them; the release of Palestinian Parliamentarians taken hostage beginning in the summer of 2006; the release of thousands of prisoners and illegal detainees whose only “crime” was resistance to an illegal occupation.

I should add here that on December 7th, 1987 the United Nations General Assembly passed UN resolution 42/159 which, among other things, authorized peoples living under occupation regimes the right to resist. This is yet another piece of the historical documentary record conveniently forgotten lest it be used to support Palestinian and other just causes.

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