Wednesday, June 20, 2007
7.5 Million Palestinian refugees and IDPs: In need of a rights-based solution
20 June 2007: World Refugee Day
7.5 Million Palestinian refugees and IDPs: In need of a rights-based solution
For Immediate Release
20 May 2007
These data are released on World Refugee Day by BADIL Resource Center based on systematic review and analysis of available sources, including the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). Since 1948, no agency has comprehensively registered displaced Palestinians. However, data provided are considered the best estimates as indicative figures.
As the largest and longest unresolved refugee case in the world approaches its 60th year, Badil calls upon all parties to the conflict to adopt a rights-based approach to the search for durable solutions. In particular, Badil calls upon Israel, the United States and the European Union to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees and IDPs to return to their homes of origin, property restitution and compensation for losses and damages incurred.
Since 1948, negotiations over the Palestinian refugee issue have failed to put international law at the center of the search for durable solutions. So-called “practical and realistic” solutions based on the unequal balance of power between the parties has instead been the chosen framework, leaving little space for respect for the rights of refugees and IDPs. Addressing and resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees and IDPs in accordance with international law is, however, central to building a just and lasting peace.
The lack of a rights-based approach has left Palestinian refugees and IDPs particularly vulnerable to renewed displacement and has created a climate of impunity. In the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) and Israel, displacement of Palestinians continues as a result of Israel's quest for control over a maximum amount of land with a minimum number of Palestinian people. The lack of effective protection leaves Palestinian refugees vulnerable to discrimination, persecution and renewed forced displacement also in their current host countries. In Iraq, for instance, many are stranded on border areas or live without access to protection. Thousands more have been displaced during Israel's war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 and the current conflict in the Nahr el Bared camp.
Despite ongoing displacement, no national and international response has been developed to prevent, protect from and respond to the forced displacement of Palestinians. Badil believes that international organizations, in particular the United Nations, need to urgently develop a response to the ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel's government and officials responsible for population transfers (ethnic cleansing) must be held accountable.
For additional data and information, see:
PCBS press release, World Refugee Day: http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/
2006 Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, BADIL Resource Center, (forthcoming).
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Ajami: Shilling to the Bitter End
RE: Brothers to the Bitter End
Ehud Barak's characterization as "soldier-statesman" by Fouad Ajami clearly indicates an op-ed replete with worthless punditry. Barak, dressed up as a woman extrajudicially executed Palestinian statesman and poet Kamil Nasir in 1973.
An example of Nasir's work:
If my songs should reach you despite the narrow skies around me,
Spare us Arab shills for Israel who would accommodate one very racist Jews preferred and privileged state. Instead honor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and let the dispossessed Palestinian refugees, who true statesmen like Nasir championed, return to the land which is rightfully theirs.
Nancy Harb Almendras
How About Universal Declaration of Human Rights First?
Letter writer Annie Annab never loses sight of the forest for the trees. A cogent letter in response to a Washington Post op-ed and which could serve as response to many involved in the highly lucrative "peace process" and to the myriads of stories written about Israel-Palestine.
How about 1948's Universal Declaration of Human Rights first- with the highest priority on fully honoring and respecting the Palestinian refugees inalienable legal, moral, ethical and natural right of return to original homes and lands... then figure out what is next.
One State OR two OR even ten, the Palestinian refugees and all those pushed into exile and poverty by blatantly racist Israeli laws and walls and other such barbaric Zionist policies, must first go home with reparations and the ability to rebuild decent lives one by one by one.
Let Palestine return step by step to be what it can with warmth and love and compassion and hope- and reparations- as the real people of the land come back home to empower peace with the rule of fair and just laws.
Anne Selden Annab
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Ramallah Then and Now
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Psychosocial Causes of the Palestinian Factional War
After the 1967 Israeli occupation, a legitimate national armed resistance movement emerged involving multitudes of freedom fighters. I can recall that, while I was working at Al-Shifa hospital in the early seventies, we received several murdered and injured freedom fighters every day. Reacting to that resistance and in order to contain and destroy it, Israeli forces arrested tens of thousands of Palestinians and subjected them to systematic and various forms of torture as documented by research teams of both Palestinian and Israeli institutions acting in the area of defending human rights.
The effects of torture extend from the individual to his community. Research has found that a high percentage of torture victims become prey of mental illness which transform victims into problems for their own selves as well as for their own families. The commonest problem arising from torture is the violence which the victim directs to women and children, which in its turn makes the home a battlefield. The reason for such phenomenon is that the torture a young man is subjected to makes him harbor a desire for revenge by violent means and subsequently he unconsciously resorts to identify with the Israeli torturer. This conclusion is supported by the fact that the methods of torture used in Palestinian prisons are the same as those used in Israeli prisons; they have at times even been more atrocious and resulted in deaths among several prisoners in the early years of the PNA takeover. Indeed, in many instances, the Palestinian investigator was an ex-victim of Israeli torture. This phenomenon has created a cycle of internal violence. We note here that many Hams members were tortured in Palestinian prisons.
II- The First Intifada
Despite the glorification we attribute to the “children of the stone” whom we hold as examples of heroism, we cannot ignore the fact that they are flesh and blood and that they have been victims of various forms of violence. In our work at the Gaza Community Mental Health Program we conducted a research on three thousand Gaza children. The study has found that those children were subjected to several traumatic and violent experiences including beating, bone-breaking, injury, tear gas and acts of killing and injury, all of which experiences have left indelible effects on their psych. Yet, to many, the most excruciating experience was seeing their fathers beaten helpless by Israeli soldiers without resistance. Such an experience will ultimately transform a whole generation into something different as the second intifada showed; for the children of the first intifada are themselves the men of the second intifada. Those young men who are pursuing revenge and killing and are at times seeking even their own death are the selfsame children who cherished so many dreams of a better life but saw them fade away and fall apart the moment they saw their fathers fall helpless and defenseless victims of arrogant force incarnated in the Israeli soldier. No wonder then that the Palestinian child will see his model in that Israeli soldier and that his language will be the language of force and his toys and games will be the toys and games of death.
III- The Effects of Ongoing Violence
Israel systematically assaulted the Palestinian people in all aspects of their lives and it even escalated its aggressions during the second intifada as it resorted to a policy of house demolition; infrastructure, farm and facilities destruction; extrajudicial killing and mass detention of activists and systematic torture. Psychological research worldwide has shown that ongoing armed conflicts result in what is known as chronic social toxication which makes people and children less sensitive and more ruthless, less rational and more impulsive, less conversant and more violent. More significantly, new groups are formed of individuals who are alien to the family system and to the social fabric and who are powerful and violent enough to be capable of heinous killing. Ultimately, those individuals are viewed as untouchable masters and examples to be followed by the disadvantaged and vulnerable. The outcome of this is that brute force, not morality, emerge is the example to be followed.
IV- The PNA Performance
The PNA performance has had a tremendous psychological impact on the Palestinians. Throughout its term of office, the PNA regime has been characterized by absence of law and justice, violation of human and individual rights, contravention against public lands, disrespect for reason, disregard of accountability and penalty amounting to rewarding of offenders, spread of favoritism and nepotism which created heightened feelings of bitterness, exasperation and hatred among the disadvantaged and destitute. All of these factors made the Palestinian citizen feel that only force in its different forms is the only resort.
The PNA added insult to injury as its security organs penetrated families. This reciprocally allowed families to penetrate security organs which became controlled by Fatah leaders as well as by heads of a large Gaza family. This resulted in gross security violations and social disorder, and culminated in numerous instances of law-breaking and aggressions against public and individual rights and property. In all circumstances, aggressors were backed either by their faction, family or a security organ and sometimes by all of them, which made power concentrated in the hands of influential individuals in the large authority apparatus. This eventually resulted in more disunity and division among those same families, and new armed and rival groups emerged by virtue of the official authority support; only to turn against that authority one day and dauntlessly assault some of its major symbols.
V- Absence of a common enemy and uncontrolled arms
The actual non-presence of a common enemy in Gaza diverted the furious and enraged feelings of revenge from their natural path and redirected them into the Palestinian community among individuals, families and the factions contending for power and their militias. Under deteriorating social, economic, political and psychological conditions, it is only natural, as we have already warned that violence will prevail in the Palestinian society and among its individuals and groups. This situation further worsened with the proliferation of arms and plentitude of funds in the hands of contending parties and militias. Those factors on their own, however, cannot account for those bizarre acts of revenge, torture and killing committed in the recent clashes between Fatah and Hamas and which reflect inveterate grudge and hatred. Therefore, there is need to consider the other reasons.
The systematized repression and torture that the Palestinian people was subjected to under the Israeli occupation, the poor performance of the PNA as embodied in the absence of law and justice and maladministration all led the youth to seek and cling to a new identity which is different from that of their helpless parents and which holds that naked force is the only means to avenge themselves over the suppression they have long been subjected to.
The formation of those political, partisan and religious identities and the view that ultimate force is the model of heroism are the major cause of the status quo of Palestinian armed conflict which finds its fuel in many causes such as division, hatred, and vindictiveness of a generation that rebels against the declining family system and the chaotic PNA.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Going Home to Palestine
I'm holding up to what I know objectively to be a humanist argument.
These guys see this and recognize--subconsciously because they can't really
process it--their own inhumanity in what they represent--So in their twisted
minds, they turn it around and project it onto me. They accuse me of talking
about hate, when I'm talking about peace and justice. They're the ones talking
about hate. It's like you press a button and hate comes out of it like a volcano.
Assad Abdul Rahman notes that waiting for return "is part of the very nature of what it means to be Palestinian.
"We are not waiting for Godot. Return to Palestine is legal, it is practical, it is a sacred duty. It is something that will happen--one day."
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Israeli troops shoot Hebron family - 05 June 07
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Not so cool facts about Israel
Monday, June 04, 2007
Try Not To Cry SUBTITLED Sami Yusuf OutLandish
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Existential Threat Reality is All Palestine's
Michael Oren [Remaking the World in Six Days, June 3] is an unabashed apologist for Israel in the guise of historian. What's appalling is to see his discredited propaganda published for clueless Americans in the Los Angeles Times. Existential threat? Not according to then Israeli Chief of Operations Ezar Weizmann, who stated that Syria and Egypt never posed a threat. Not according to General Chaim Herzog who said "There was no danger of annihilation." Not according to General Mordichai Hod, Commanding General of the Israeli Air Force who said, "Sixteen years' planning had gone into those initial eighty minutes." Not according to Menachem Begin who stated [re Nasser], "We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him."
Seventy-five percent of the Palestinians were driven off their land in 1948, and Israel continues to illegally settle and confiscate their land to this day. For Palestinians, the "existential threat" is reality.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Meen Erhabe (Who is the Terrorist?)
Israel's Soldiers Kill Two Boys
According to investigations conducted by PCHR:
At approximately 12:00 on Friday, 1 June 2007, an IOF infantry unit positioned on a wooden land in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, nearly 100 meters away from the beach, opened fire at 4 Palestinian children, who were playing with kites near the beach. Three children were wounded, whereas the fourth one was able to escape. Two of the children were left in the area bleeding to death. According to the third child who was wounded, 16-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim al-‘Atawna, from Jabalya refugee camp, a kite fell near the area where IOF soldiers were hiding, and when they went to bring it, IOF soldiers opened fire at them. Soon after, the soldiers moved towards the children. They asked al-‘Atwana, who was wounded by a gunshot to the back, about the condition of the other two children who were wounded by several gunshots throughout their bodies. He told them that the children were in a critical condition. They left the two children bleeding to death in the area and evacuated al-‘Atawna to an Israeli hospital, where he had received medical treatment before he was transferred to a hospital in Beit Lahia. The two children who were killed were identified as:
1) Zaher Jaber Mohammed al-Majdalawi, 14; and
2) Ahmed Sabri Aba Zbaida, 14, both from Jabalya refugee camp.
In order to provide for the "security" of Jewish immigrants from all over the world, Israeli soldiers shot to death two Palestinian twelve year olds, Ahmad Abu Zubeida and Zaher Al-Majdalawi, who were most likely scavenging for scraps on the former Israeli colony of Dugit in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians will continue to die in the dark, however, as long as US politicians whorishly invoke the usual mantras, presidential candidate Barack Obama no exception, stating in Foreign Affairs Journal, "Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy."
The New York Times reports the deaths of the boys in the eighth paragraph in a story about Alan Johnston, the BBC reporter being held in the Gaza Strip. The usual Israeli military bs is reported. The twelve year olds were "walking in an operational mode," according to Avital Leibovitch, Army spokeswoman.