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Dec. 16, 2014
Daily summary - Friday, January 3, 2014
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Poll: 63% believe Palestinian society is moving in the wrong direction
Results of the latest opinion poll carried out by the Institute of the Arab world for research and development "Awrad", showed that 49% of all those Palestinians polled support the current round of negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, compared to 47% stated that they oppose it, a majority of 58% percent said that they were pessimistic that the current round of negotiations will achieve positive results, only 36% said they are optimistic. The opinion poll was carried out in the period 21-23 December 2013 within a scientifically selected sample of 1,200 Palestinian adults of both sexes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within 3% error rate.The results show that a majority 52% Continue to support the principle of a two-State solution (a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel), 46% oppose it, and 2% don’t know. Interestingly, residents of the West are more supportive of the two-State solution reaching 57% Compared with Gaza's population 44%. And vice versa, the Gaza population more opposed to a two-State solution reaching 55%, Compared with residents of the West Bank (40%). The full results can be found at (www.awrad.org). (http://maannews.net/arb/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=662330)

Kerry is determined to set a framework agreement and refuses an exchange of territories that includes the displacement of triangle Arabs to the Palestinian State
“Al-Quds” learned from informed sources Thursday that US Secretary of State John Kerry presented in his meeting yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "new ideas designed to speed up the ongoing negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and that Kerry would hand both Netanyahu and Abbas a draft framework agreement drawing the outlines of a settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, that will be negotiated during the next four months (end of April 2014) between the two sides to forge a lasting settlement".It is likely that the Kerry plan will include "negotiations on the basis of the 1967 borders, with modifications and exchanges of territory, a long-term Israeli military presence in Jordan Valley, and the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and a solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian State and Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State without details.” “Al-Quds” also learned that "Kerry viewed with apprehension the idea of transferring Palestinians (Arabs) who carry Israeli citizenship since the creation of Israel, and that Kerry fear that this might be interpreted as ethnic cleansing and that he does not encourage the idea, and that the issue of Arab citizens of Israeli is a complex issue and a minefield."(http://www.alquds.com/news/article/view/id/481152)

Netanyahu questioned Palestinian commitment to peace; and announced in front of Kerry: we need a partner
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry today, of that doubts are growing in Israel regarding the Palestinian commitment to peace. Netanyahu said while meeting Kerry at the start of their talks in Jerusalem: “there is a growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace.” Netanyahu, said during a joint press conference, yesterday evening, with guest Kerry following the end of the short meeting: "we are ready to make historic decisions but we need a partner in the peace process, instead of raising their children in peace the authority raises on hatred of Israel, this cannot be considered a way of peace”. Netanyahu added: "the next President must lead his people to peace with Israel and we are ready to make historic decisions but we need a partner of the second party.” Netanyahu added in an attack on President Abbas: “How can President Abbas say stands against terrorism is linked to terrorists and praises them as heroes? He cannot stand against terrorists while at the same time he hugs terrorists and praise them and describe them as heroes.He can’t be against terrorists and at the same time be with terrorists. What would a young Palestinian think when seeing the leader of the Palestinian people hugging people who amputated and decapitated innocents? What would this young Palestinian think of the future? What they will think about what to do to Israelis and the State of Israel?” (Al-Ayyam,)

Setting a corner stone for construction of a settlement neighborhood in the Jordan Valley
Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar,participated with dozens of members of Knesset, yesterday, in setting a corner stone for a new neighborhood in the Jewish settlement “Getit” in the Jordan Valley. Sa'ar, told reporters that “the Israeli military presence and settlements in Jordan Valley will maintain the security of Israel; the Jordan Valley will remain Israeli and the strategic depth of Israel.” In turn, Deputy Foreign Minister, Zeev Elkin saidthat “setting treh corner stone on the day Secretary of State arrives is perfect timing.”Head of the settlement in the Jordan Valley Regional Council, DavidElkhen, demanded the Israeli Government to act to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel, saying Netanyahu does not have a peace coalition. (Al-Ayyam)

AbedRabbo: American ideas "limits Palestinian sovereignty” on the entire territory of the West Bank
Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said yesterday that the proposed framework agreement submitted by the United States to end the conflict is "limits Palestinian sovereignty” on the Palestinian territories.Abed Rabbo said in a statement yesterday: "the role of the United States and its Foreign Minister, John Kerry is important in the region," but AberRabborevealed that “the proposed framework agreement "limits Palestinian sovereignty on the Palestinian territories."(Al-Ayyam)

Erekat: extending the negotiations one minute after the 9 months is impossible
Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat said that negotiations with the Israeli side are for nine months, "and theier extension of one minute after the nine months is impossible."Erekat said in a lengthy interview published in the London based newspaper “Al-Sharq Al-Awsat” today, that the objective of the negotiations is "to reach an agreement on all final status issues, and it was agreed with Kerry that there will not be transitional and interim solutions."Erekat noted that the US Administration is aware that continuing for more than nine months is impossible, and they want to shorten the period to maintain the peace process rather than lengthening the period, but this is impossible since Israel imposes new facts on the ground.” (http://safa.ps/details/news/119560/%D8%B9%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%AD%D9%8A%D9%84-%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%82%D8%A9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AF-9-%D8%A3%D8%B4%D9%87%D8%B1.html)

Shabak: the arrest of 14 Palestinian who participated in the Bat Yam operation
Shabak claimed it arrested 14 Palestinians from Bethlehem suspected of involvement in the preparation of an explosive device planted in a bus in the town of Bat Yam several weeks ago.
Shabak claimed that it arrested in conjunction with the police and Special Forces activists of Islamic Jihad, including Mohammed Shehadehwho is a former prisoner born in 1992, and HamdyShihadehwho was born in 1992 and an ex-prisoners, and ShafiqShehadeh, a police officer in Jericho, and Sami Omar born in 1993.Shabak said the cell was active for several months and had worked with an activist who was working at a restaurant in Jaffa Yousef Salama.(http://paltimes.net/details/news/56100/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%83-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84-14-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%83%D9%88%D8%A7-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%AA-%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%85.html)

Haniyeh: Hamas is not seeking a new war with Israel
Deputy Head of Hamas political Bureau and head of its Government in Gaza Ismail Haneyasaid yesterday that his movement is not seeking a new war with Israel.Haniyeh said during a speech at a graduation ceremony in Gaza: "we do not seek a new war, although we are prepared for any emergency, always expect the treacherous enemy."HaniyehHe said "our pepole must not live under the threat of a new war, you have a shield and sword protects this nation and this people." Haniyehconfirmedthat thearmed factions in Gaza are “willing to defend our land and our people and resist the occupation."(Al-Ayyam)

Kerry: Israel and the PA must make difficult decisions soon
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday night, the Palestinian and Israeli sides have to make difficult decisions during the coming weeks, referring to the framework agreement which will be put forward to the parties soon.  Israeli media quoted Kerry as saying at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that there will be a lot of encounters between the two sides in the next three days, and will try to bring views on the framework agreement that will determine the outlines of the permanent status negotiations. Kerry noted that "the framework agreement will address all issues like borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees and mutual recognition and the end of the conflict and end demands," and that it is driven from the ideas put forward by the Israeli and Palestinian sides during five months of negotiations.(http://www.wattan.tv/ar/news/83190.html)

YediotAharonot: rocket landed at the western Negev
Israeli police said a rocket was fired from the Gaza to in an open area in the Regional Council "SdotNegiv" eastern to the Gaza Strip without resulting injuries or damage.YediotAharonot said on its website that the rocket fell away from houses, and that army forces and police were deployed to search for the remains of the rocket.(http://safa.ps/details/news/119544/%D9%8A%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%B9%D9%88%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D9%82%D9%88%D8%B7-%D9%82%D8%B0%D9%8A%D9%81%D8%A9-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AE%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D9%82%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A.html)

Egyptian Interior Minister accused Brotherhood in collaboration with Hamas and carrying out terrorist attacks
Egyptian Interior Minister General Mohamed Ibrahim announced on Thursday the names of defendants’ members of the Muslim Brotherhood accused in carrying out terrorist attacks in the past, including a suicide car bombing targeted a Security Directorate at Al-Daqahleya in the Nile Delta, killing 16 people, including 14 police officers. Ibrahim accused in a press conference Hamas which runs the Gaza Strip in assisting the brotherhood declared by the Government as a terror group in December.(Al-Quds)
Headlines
** A demonstration tomorrow in Acre defending Khan Al-Omdan; residents of Khan Al-Shoneh threatened in deportation (Al-Quds)
** 5 killed and tens injured in an explosion in Beirut (Al-Quds)
**Israel demolishes 3 houses in the Negev (Al-Quds)
** Arrests in Nablus and Bethlehem (al-Quds)
** Daughter of Ambassador Al-Jamal: my was killed in an planned explosion (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Released prisoner Shwamrah transferred to hospital; the president orders his treatment (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Haniyeh: important decision to achieve reconciliation soon (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Occupation army study plan to establish tunnels for training (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
** Palestinian and Czech investigators start investigation of the death of Ambassador AL-Jamal (Al-Ayyam)
Front Page Photos
Al- Quds:1) Jerusalem – Prime Minister Netanyahu while receiving US Secretary of State John Kerry, 2)KuforQaddoum – Funeral of SaedQaddoumi who died of tear gas yesterday, 3) Beirut – an explosion hit Al-Dahya Al-Janobeyah (southern suburb) in Beirut
Al-Ayyam:1) A citizen raises a victory sign behind a Koffeyah during celebrations of the foundation of Fateh in Nablus, 2) construction in the new settlement neighborhood in the Jordan Valley, 3) Beirut explosion.
Al Hayat Al Jadida:Funeral of SaedQaddoumi, 2) Beirut explosion.
More Headlines
New developments in the killing of Palestinian Ambassador to the Czech Republic
Spokeswoman for the Czech police confirmed yesterday that police found weapons in the Palestinian Mission in Prague, a day after a blast in a safe killed Palestinian Ambassador Jamal Al-Jamal. Spokeswoman AndreaZolova told Reuters when asked about a report which mentioned finding weapons: “Yes. I can confirm this. The spokeswoman did not provide details about the type of weapons found or its quantity. (http://www.qudsn.ps/article/35953)
Israeli air strikes on areas in the Gaza Strip
Israeli warplanes launched, late night Thursday-Friday, a series of air strikes against several targets in the Gaza Strip. “Al-Quds” reporter said that F16 warplanes fired one missile at an empty area in the village of Al-Masdar, east of Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, without casualties. Warplanes also attacked a site of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, near the mosque of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun, without casualties, while the third air strike was in an empty area east of Al-Shojaeya neighborhood.(http://www.alquds.com/news/article/view/id/481188)
Funeral of Saed Ali from Kufor Qaddoum; and demolition orders for 6 houses in Rujeib
Hundreds participated in Qalqilya Monday yesterday in the funeral of SaedJaser Ali (85 years old), in the town of Kufor Qaddoum. Governor of Qalqilya, Abdullah Kmeil, held the occupation authorities responsible for the martyrdom of the elderly, calling on international organizations and the United Nations to intervene immediately to save our people and protect them from murder organized by Israel against civilians. Occupation authorities handed over demolition orders for six houses in the eastern area of Rujeib, east of Nablus. (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida)
Arab Press
Sterile attempts at peace

Jordan times Editorial

Israel no longer even pretends it wishes to talk peace with the Palestinians.

Just recently, on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s yet another visit to the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, true to his character, announced a Cabinet proposal to annex areas along the Jordan River to serve as part of Israel’s security belt, and plans to erect no less than 1,400 additional housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

This all, one is to understand, is Israel’s prize for plans to release some Palestinian prisoners.

While one heartily agrees that these people have to be freed, no logical mind accepts that the price is right. Or legal.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat declared to Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper on Sunday that direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians were frozen and that the only negotiations between the two sides are conducted through the US.

“Meetings are now taking place between us and the US Administration, on one hand, and between Israel and the US Administration, on the other.”

Great consolation, indeed, especially when the US keeps a permanent blind eye to Israel’s transgressions.

The reality is that there are no true peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians despite the fanfare associated with the resumption of such negotiations only a few months ago.

Communication between the two sides has been deadlocked for some time over the continued Israeli settlement expansion and, more recently, over Israel’s ploy to convince the US to support the demand to keep its army along the Jordan River, ostensibly for security reasons.

While the US secretary of state has not officially endorsed this Israeli demand, he seems supportive of the idea, judging by his remarks to Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Kerry visited the area not too long ago, bringing some ideas on how to address Israel’s security concerns; they reflect pretty much the Israeli stance.

The US secretary of state may have wanted to assuage Israel’s fears after Washington’s recent successful talks with Iran on its nuclear program by nodding favorably to Netanyahu’s demand to maintain an Israeli military presence along the Jordan Valley.

Of course, one has nothing to do with the other, but Israel, always the “victim”, knows when and how to twist arms and appear vulnerable.

Complying with this Israeli condition would no doubt undermine the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty and compromise the efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict on the two-state basis.

Washington needs to decide whether it wants to serve the cause of peace or Israel’s interests.

And so should the world at large, which has no farther to look than the countless UN resolutions on the issue.(http://jordantimes.com/sterile-attempts-at-peace)


What the Middle East holds for 2014

By Rami G. Khouri

A New Year’s reflection on the past and coming 12 months is a useful exercise if it avoids predominantly egotistical ventures such as single-handedly anointing the best books, articles, tweets, documentaries or photos of the past year. More useful is to identify trends or developments to watch that may be genuinely new and perhaps also of continuing significance for the Middle East and the world.

The longevity and lasting impact of current changes and turbulence across the region are hard to define today. This is because some developments are dramatic and very consequential in the short run – such as Islamists winning free elections or Salafist-Takfiris controlling areas in Syria – but may not have lasting impact in a year or two. Others – such as Arab Gulf countries experiencing budget squeezes amid changing global oil import patterns – are less dramatic now, but could be game-changers in the years ahead.

Let me first mention what I do not think are lasting developments, but only short-term issues that are exaggerated, often through the lens of interpretation by local tyrants or global media. We are not heading into a Sunni-Shiite regional war; because most ordinary Sunni and Shiite Muslims get along perfectly well if they are not whipped into frenzy by some of their hysterical leaders.

Salafist-Takfiris will not control more land or play a long-term role in the region, because they enjoy no significant popular support or viable political anchorage.

The armed forces will not retain power in Egypt for years to come, because military rule has been the single most destructive force for Arab national development and dignity in the past six decades, and citizens will not tolerate it except for short transitional moments.

I look forward to learning in the years ahead if my analysis is correct or wildly off base. In either case, I offer it with deep humility, along with these four recent developments that strike me as most significant for our region.

The activism of Saudi Arabia is striking and novel, and deserves to be watched. In the past few years, the Saudi government has sent troops, money, military supplies and increasingly vituperative rhetoric flying around the region and the world – especially in Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Libya, as well as in the Arab League, on Western op-ed pages and at the United Nations Security Council. This is unprecedented behavior for a country that has always conducted foreign policy discreetly, hesitantly and indirectly through middlemen and messengers.

Saudi Arabia is behaving in an unusual way, because it is behaving like a real country, and not the fantasyland of old when it talked openly only of Islam, Arabism, peace, love and respect, which could contrast with its policies. Its sentiments and foreign policy tools now are deployed out in the open. Regardless of one’s views of Saudi aims, its open conduct strikes me as a good thing, because countries that are honest and forthright in their policies can engage others more productively when it comes time to negotiate a new regional security order and act responsibly.

The assertion of the power of ordinary Arab citizens to change the history, configuration and policies of their countries in the past three years has been impressive, but also inconclusive to date. The years ahead will determine how the dust settles from the current uprisings, transformations and chaos. I remain positively inclined to expect that the will of free citizens, expressed through democratic and accountable mechanisms of governance, will always bring about better policies and conditions than the last half-century’s prevailing situation of Arab countries ruled by to the arbitrary decisions of old soldiers with guns or extended families with militias.

The third meaningful development is the simultaneous shift in public sentiment and foreign policy by Iran and the United States, focused on resolving the dispute over Iran’s nuclear industry and the American-Israeli-led sanctions on Iran. If the current negotiations succeed in resolving these two linked issues, Iran will experience a burst of domestic economic, social and political change that will have enormous positive consequences for Iranians and the entire region. If the talks fail, brace for catastrophic confrontations across the region.

The fourth key change taking place is in the balance of political strength between, on the one hand, pro-Israel lobby groups in Washington, D.C., that have long deeply influenced and often shaped America’s Mideast policies; and, on the other hand, the power of the American presidency and public opinion to pursue foreign policies seen to be in the national interest of the U.S., while also offering Israel ironclad American support and responding to the rights of Arabs, Turks and Iranians. This changing dynamic comes in the midst of the most significant test of wills since the 1950s between pro- Israel groups and an administration. Its resolution will impact important issues across the entire region.(http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2014/Jan-03/242944-what-the-middle-east-holds-for-2014.ashx#axzz2pDO798WM)


On the ‘Jewish state of Israel’

By JOHN V. WHITBECK

News reports continue to suggest that one of the primary roadblocks to any agreement in the current round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is the understandable Palestinian refusal to accept the Israeli demand that Palestine explicitly recognize Israel as a “Jewish State.” It is a legally and intellectually bizarre demand clearly intended to make any agreement impossible while facilitating Israel’s post-failure public relations campaign to assign to the occupied Palestinians responsibility for Israel’s latest success in producing failure.

Palestinian acceptance of this Israeli demand would constitute explicit Palestinian acquiescence in permanent second-class status for Palestinian citizens of Israel and in the liquidation of the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees, as well as implicit Palestinian acceptance that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was morally justified, which in turn would require conceding that Palestinians are sub-humans not entitled to fundamental human rights.

No Palestinian leadership could accept this demand and survive. Israelis know that. That is why the demand is being made.

While few anticipate that the current round of negotiations (which, according to Israeli press reports, Benjamin Netanyahu now wants to extend for a further year beyond their end-April deadline so as to kill more time while building more settlements) will produce anything, the State of Palestine could and should take constructive action now to disarm the “Jewish State” gambit, which Netanyahu appears to view as his best hope for shifting blame, at least in western eyes, to the Palestinians.

The State of Palestine could and should reiterate that Israel’s self-identification is a matter for Israelis (not Palestinians) to decide and then publicly announce that, should Israel choose to change its official name from “State of Israel” to “Jewish State of Israel,” the State of Palestine, while preferring democracy as a matter of principle and hoping that Israel will, in the future accord equal rights without any discrimination based on race or religion, to all its citizens, would persist in its efforts to end the Israeli occupation of the State of Palestine and would enter into any agreements, which might subsequently be reached with the relabeled Jewish State of Israel.

Subject only to the one exception noted below, all states are free to determine and embellish their “official names” as they please.

There are four officials “Islamic Republics,” the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Some official names are eccentric, such as the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (so named because the country is located on the eastern side of the Uruguay River) and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (so named, relatively recently, because Simon Bolivar was Hugo Chavez’s personal hero).

Some official names are counter-intuitive to the point of absurdity, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ... or, potentially, the “Jewish and Democratic State of Israel.”

In one case, a state’s official name has been imposed on it by the United Nations as a condition for UN membership and is rejected and not used by the state itself – the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,” which prefers to call itself the “Republic of Macedonia” but who’s right to use the name “Macedonia” is disputed by Greece.

By choice, the Republic of Moldova and the State of Palestine are listed in the UN’s alphabetical listings among the R’s and S’s, respectively, while the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is, involuntarily, listed among the F’s. If a relabeled Jewish State of Israel wished to emphasize its Jewish character by being listed among the J’s (as the State of Palestine has emphasized its state status by being listed among the S’s), its wish would presumably be granted.

If formalizing the status of Israel as a “Jewish State” were a genuine concern of the Israeli government or a deeply felt need of the Israeli people, and not simply a cynical gambit to achieve and excuse failure in negotiations, and if the Israeli government wished to proclaim this status officially to the world, the road is open and nothing is stopping Israel from achieving this on its own. However, Israel’s preferred self-identification and official name are not matters in which the State of Palestine has any role to play.

If the Israeli government does not dare to proclaim its state officially “Jewish” (and accept the concomitant risks of doing so), how can it demand that those whose country has been conquered and colonized, and whose people have been dispossessed and dispersed, to make the State of Israel possible do so on its behalf?

Whether or not the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has any hope (or fear) that the current round of negotiations will produce anything, it should make the artificiality of the Israeli government’s demand and the reasonableness of the Palestinian refusal to accept it emphatically clear, in terms that the international community, and particularly western governments and peoples, can understand.(http://www.arabnews.com/news/502646)



An Israeli bird sanctuary where Palestinian villages used to be

By Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called Israel a “light of freedom and democracy” in a “region of darkness” and Israel has reciprocated by naming a bird sanctuary after the Canadian leader. The two governments are locked in an embrace, but polls show that Canadians generally view Israel - along with Iran and North Korea - unfavorably.

Harper was the chief guest at the Jewish National Fund’s Negev dinner in Toronto. The fund raises money and this year the funds will go to the “Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Center” in Israel.  

Islam being the only religion Canadians view negatively, the prime minister’s reference to a “region of darkness” isn’t shocking. And surely Canadians should delight in the creation of a bird sanctuary and for it being named after a Canadian leader.

But some 200 Canadians, representing 30 organizations led by Independent Jewish Voices, demonstrated in bitter cold weather to display their displeasure. Aboriginal leaders beating drums drew attention to the theft of their lands and ongoing discrimination against them in Canada. Others  demonstrated because while they favor protecting birds, they oppose ethnic cleansing and land grab, especially if this is done partly with their tax dollars.

The Hula Valley, north of the Sea of Galilee, housed Palestinian villages for generations. Israeli historian Benny Morris asserts that in General Yigal Allon’s Operation Broom in 1948 Israeli soldiers attacked Bedouin villages, expelled the inhabitants and blew up their houses. This is where the bird sanctuary is to be established.

Then the government, using JNF funds, subsidized Jewish immigrants. Though the project flopped, Israel termed the area a bird sanctuary and refused to allow the Palestinian villagers to return to their land in the Negev (Al-Naqab).  Donations to JNF being tax-deductible, Canadians are subsidizing the JNF which raised some $12 million in Canada last year. The Israeli high court, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the US Department of State have stated that JNF discriminates severely against Palestinians.

Founded in 1901 by the 5th Zionist Council, JNF’s mandate was to buy land in Palestine for Jews. By 1947 it had purchased some seven percent of Palestinian land.  After its creation in 1948, Israel expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, according to Zionist records, and gave their land to the JNF which it managed “exclusively for Jewish use.”

This has been ongoing. A Canada Park was created where three Palestinian villages had existed prior to their destruction in 1967. JNF helped build a public park over the confiscated Palestinian land.

In the Negev, Bedouins are forced off their land and subsidies given to Jewish settlers to take the stolen land with JNF’s involvement.

In Arab East Jerusalem, JNF money is being used to build a tourist attraction ousting thousands of Palestinian families from their homes.

Bedouin villagers rebuilt their villages 49 times, only to have them bulldozed by Israeli authorities. Israelis want to establish instead a forest financed by the Jewish National Fund after ousting the Bedouins.

In Canada, JNF has been raising funds for a long time and donations made are tax-deductible. The annual Negev dinners in Canada aim to assist “the development of the Negev desert region.”  

Last year the expulsion of the Bedouin was to be accelerated. The Prawer-Begin Bill, approved by the Israeli Knesset in June 2013, sought to oust some 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel from 36 villages.  The bill has been withdrawn and a new bill is being considered.

In 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron withdrew his patronage of the JNF. In 2012 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination condemned Israel’s treatment of the Bedouin and recommended that it scuttle its plan for Bedouin resettlement. So did the European Parliament. Ninety-one renowned Canadian authors signed a petition opposing Israel’s plans.  

Independent Jewish Voices supports Israel, but it also respects Jewish values and favors a peace built on justice for Palestinians as well. So do some others.

Last spring the Association for Asian American Studies voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Now the American Studies Association has voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. While some of its members opposed the boycott because they believe global engagement and free exchange of ideas are essential to advancing knowledge and strengthening mutual understanding, ASA said its action expresses “solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians.”  Boycott supporters state that the Israeli universities are a part of a system that denies Palestinians basic rights and so the association will not collaborate with Israeli academic institutions.

While the boycott of Israeli universities is growing steadily in the West, ASA is the largest and oldest organization in the United States that promotes the study of American culture and history. It is comprised of 5,000 members and 2,000 member institutions.

Perhaps the actions of people with conscience will enable justice and human rights to prevail over injustice and oppression in the Middle East and elsewhere in our global village.(http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140103191379)
Opinions
Shame
Al-Khaleej Editorial
“Killers are not heroes, this is not the way to peace education, peace education is only when you stop incitement."
It is not Mahatma Gandhi who said this,not Nelson Mandela and not Bertrand Russell.
If anyone of these or other peace advocates and activists or violence haters speak said this, it could be understood. But President of the Zionist entity, Shimon Peres, said it commenting on the Palestinians celebrations for the release of some prisoners from Israeli jails.
It is ironic that this is said by a war criminal, whose hands are drenched with the blood of children in Palestine and Qana (Lebanon), and whose history is replete with massacres, we did not forget he is the father of the Israeli nuclear bomb, and that he was the who put forward the plans for the Zionist entity to obtain the Dimona nuclear plant from France.
It is ironic that this cutthroat talks about peace, and how generations should be educated on the values of peace, while he is haunted from the top of his head to his toe with racism and hate, and all inhuman concepts.
It is ironic he received the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of his crimes since before the occupation of Palestine, it’s a prize that lost its value and symbolism since his crimes companion Menachem Begin received it.
After this, Peres offers lessons in the culture of peace, and how the Palestinians should raise their children of peace and he condemns welcoming the Prisoners, and considers them "killers".
He is like a wolf disguised in the skin of a sheep, as if his entity was not created over the shreds of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, after occupying their land and destroying their villages, prosecute them in refugee camps and the diaspora and committing the worst massacres.
Those prisoners are heroes who had their natural right guaranteed by all religions and laws, deserve celebrations because they resisted their enemy and its terror, and have tasted the bitterness prisons of their tormentors and their people’s tormentors.
It’s a shame… How dark and poisoned are these days when Peres speaks of peace, wanting to become a reference offering lessons and Peres wants to turn to reference offers lessons and advices?  (http://www.alkhaleej.ae/studiesandopinions/detailedpage/419b1e76-db20-4d46-9539-17ed69eba2c9)

The framework and references for the negotiations!
By Samih Shbib
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, makes these days, intensive and active efforts in Israel and Palestine, with the aim of reaching framework points, for the permanent solution issues! US Secretary of State is aiming at reaching points that can be adopted, as points of achievement... that can therefore be built upon to achieve a new negotiating track.
Followers of Kerry’s efforts, and his continuous statements, can notice the American seriousness this time, and its keenness to achieve progress in the course of negotiations, they can also notice some sort of disorder andhastiness, due to the Israeli positions accompanying Kerry’s visits to the region, trying to blow up his efforts.
Kerry reached a point where he suggested what is considered as initiatives, but those initiatives always collide with Israeli objections that prevent it from being advanced. When negotiations were resumed, a period of nine months was decided, in addition to setting references, considering the 1967 borders a limit that can’t be passed, making settlements in the West Bank meaningless, which is rejected by Israel.
Now, there are efforts to define a general framework for negotiations, after setting the general framework, on which negotiation were held for over twenty years, without negotiation reaching a solution to existing problems, most importantly settlement. In returning to the previous framework, in light of what happened in practice, we find that this framework was a loose, undefined;making this framework, a broad framework that can’t afford handling serious negotiations that can reach solution to specific points. The fear now is that we‘ll reach a general and unlimited framework again. Definition is a must, whether with regards to time, agenda or specifying the terms for negotiation, as these areinternational law and the resolutions of international legitimacy, and thus determines the borders and limits... and identifying the settlement identity and its future.
Any new agreement, that does not specify time, and does not define the terms and borders, would be a waste of time, waste of effort, similar to what had happened during the years 1993-2013.
Therefore, it cannot be considered, in any way, in the current path of negotiation.
Things are clear now, very clear, after earlier negotiating tracks, as Palestinian positions are, understandable to everyone, including the United States, thus, in case of a political will and seriousness to reach a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the United State should first, define its framework, required procedures and clear positions, including exerting the necessary pressure on the Israeli side, who attempts to elude, evade and get around facts that cannot be ignored. (Al-Ayyam)
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