Friday, April 18, 2014

[ePalestine] WSJ: Letters: Palestinians Don't Need Pity, but Full Human Rights








The Wall Street Journal published a pitiful op-ed and I replied with a letter to the editor. They did not chose to print mine, but I place it here, along with the two they did publish today.

Dear editor:

Norman Podhoretz's Pity the Palestinians? Count Me Out (April 9, 2014), left me astounded and dismayed. Why would any mainstream US media still print such a text? Why would Mr. Podhoretz not blush to espouse it?

He says: "I have no sympathy—none—for the Palestinians. Furthermore, I do not believe they deserve any." What educated person would think this statement relevant? Let's be reasonable: Palestinians are not seeking sympathy. We already have enough global sympathy to bottle and export it. What we are struggling and dying for, literally, is our inalienable right to freedom and independence. "The Kurds haven't got theirs" is not a serious argument against our aspirations.

That demonization of Palestinians continues apace is unsurprising, given that Israel, still waiting for Palestinians to turn into Zionists, is increasingly isolated and embattled. Living and working here as a Palestinian American businessperson since 1994 I've watched Israeli policy, time after time, disdain an equitable solution for a side-by-side peace with the people Israel uprooted in 1948 and occupies today with an army.

I, too, am an educated man. Hence I cannot accept as the eternal legacy of Jewish tradition a brutal project of slow-motion ethnic cleansing. In short, the future will prove that when Jews be Jewish their social justice credentials will kick in and not only end the Israeli military occupation, but will also allow for the end to discrimination of non-Jews in Israel, and open the doors of Israel for those Palestinians who were made homeless due to Israel's violent establishment. Then and only then, can Israelis and Palestinians truly expect to live in peace.

Sincerely,
Sam Bahour
Ramallah, Palestine

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303663604579504333757239404?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303663604579504333757239404.html

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

[ePalestine] Haaretz: A Jewish response to Israeli checkpoints

Haaretz

A Jewish response to Israeli checkpoints

The Israeli army restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement for the sake of security. How can we strike a balance between serving one people’s freedom at the cost of another’s?

By | Apr. 8, 2014

Palestinian workers from Hebron at Tarqumiya Checkpoint

"...I met Sam Bahour last month whilst on an Encounter trip to Bethlehem, where he related his story...."

READ AT: http://bit.ly/1mVjy5D

Be Jewish,
Sam

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[ePalestine] Le Monde diplomatique: If Kerry fails, what then? (By Sam Bahour and Tony Klug)

Le Monde diplomatique

Exclusive 8 April 2014

If Kerry fails, what then?

by Sam Bahour and Tony Klug

Suppose the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, fails to cajole the Israeli and Palestinian leaders into finally ending their conflict. What would happen next?

READ AT: http://bit.ly/If-Kerry-fails

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. Tony Klug is a veteran Middle East analyst and a special advisor to the Oxford Research Group.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

[ePalestine] 972mag: Why Land Day still matters (By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis)

By +972 Blog

Published March 30, 2014

Why Land Day still matters


Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.


By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis


Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)
Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)



http://bit.ly/LandDay2014

In memory and in struggle,
Sam

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

[ePalestine] SOAS: Palestine and Palestine Studies, One Century since the First World War and the Balfour Declaration

"IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS since 1914, Zionism rode piggy-back first on Pax Israeliana, then on Pax Americana to establish a Pax Israelitica at the expense of the Palestinian people. How long can it persist in its refusal to seriously address what it has done to the Palestinians?" ~Walid Khalidi, Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut

SOAS

Centre for Palestine Studies

Palestine and Palestine Studies, One Century since the First World War and the Balfour Declaration

Walid Khalidi
Walid Khalidi, Institute for Palestine Studies, Beirut
Born in Jerusalem, Palestine, in 1925, Professor Walid Khalidi has taught at Oxford, the American University of Beirut, and Harvard. A co-founder General Secretary since 1963 of the Beirut-based Institute of Palestine Studies, he is currently chairman of its affiliate IPS (US), based in Washington DC. A profuse author in English and Arabic on the Arabic–Israeli conflict, he is considered a leading authority on the subject. Professor Khalidi is Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

WATCH: http://www.soas.ac.uk/lmei-cps/events/06mar2014-palestine-and-palestine-studies-one-century-since-the-first-world-war-and-the-balfour-decl.html

READ (PDF): http://www.soas.ac.uk/lmei-cps/podcasts-and-papers/file91749.pdf

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

[ePalestine] San Jose Mercury News: Netanyahu's Silicon Valley visit a lost opportunity (by Sam Jadallah)

Special to the Mercury News

03/10/2014

Sam Jadallah: Netanyahu's Silicon Valley visit a lost opportunity


By Sam Jadallah 

Silicon Valley, to my mind, is about equality, empowerment and equal access. Consequently, it's been very disturbing to see technology companies such as Apple and WhatsApp meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while disregarding that his country treats its non-Jewish population like second-class citizens and implements harsh military rule on Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

Silicon Valley's model of empowerment and equality couldn't be more different from Israel's technology hub or its practices of technology disenfranchisement for Palestinians. The agreement between Gov. Jerry Brown and Netanyahu dangerously ignores the underlying differences and implicitly condones effective technology apartheid.

If Apple CEO Tim Cook were a Palestinian living in Ramallah, he would not be able to use any iPhone applications, including WhatsApp, on the local cell network. Globally, over 2 billion people have 3G access, including Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, but Palestinians are prohibited by Israeli military dictate.

If I want to Skype with a relative, it costs 25 cents per minute, but calling a nearby Israeli settler is only 2.3 cents per minute.

Want to live tweet an event? Forget about it. In the West Bank, only Israeli settlers have that privilege.
Starting a company is no easy task for Palestinians. Mobile entrepreneurs? Try building a mobile startup without 3G.

Palestinian entrepreneurs face incredible challenges building teams, acquiring technology and creating startups because of the military checkpoints, a massive separation wall, restricted technology access, segregated roads and buses and a permit system designed to separate the Palestinian population with colored license plates and four different colored identity cards.

In the West Bank, a place only 35 percent larger than San Mateo County, over 500 physical road obstructions to travel for Palestinians exist, including 99 fixed military checkpoints, while 40 miles of de facto Jewish-only roads operate in the clear. Imagine our technology startups attempting to recruit engineers or do business with such daily obstacles.

Even within Israel itself, over 50 Israeli laws discriminate against Israeli-Palestinian citizens, effectively restricting whom they can marry, where they can live, where they can buy land or even if they can keep the land they own. Very few Israeli-Palestinian engineers work in Israeli technology companies or even in the Israeli offices of American companies, certainly far below the 20 percent of the population they represent.

On average, 10 Palestinian structures, including homes, are demolished weekly. A programmer living in Gaza needs to figure out how to work with only a few hours of electricity per day. Twenty-two unarmed Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2013 alone. Amnesty International recently released a report about "Trigger-happy" Israeli army personnel and police using reckless force in the West Bank.

It's time that we put aside all the excuses that support this discrimination and use technology for empowerment, connection and engagement. There's simply no reason that Palestinians should not be afforded the same technology opportunities as their Israeli counterparts.

Silicon Valley leaders missed an important opportunity to use these meetings to insist on equal opportunity and access for all people, including Palestinians committed to developing technology skills and startups like their Israeli counterparts. These business ties should be conditioned on Palestinians having their freedom, equal rights and equal access to technology and the startup opportunities that our industry represents.

Sam Jadallah is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor. He wrote this for www.mercurynews.com.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

[ePalestine] AI NEW REPORT: Trigger-happy: Israel's use of excessive force in the West Bank

"It urges the USA, the European Union and the rest of the international community to suspend all transfers of munitions, weapons and other equipment to Israel."

Amnesty International

27 February 2014

‘Trigger-happy’ Israeli army and police use reckless force in the West Bank

https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/trigger-happy-israeli-army-and-police-use-reckless-force-west-bank-2014-02-27

The report may be downloaded as PDF file here.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

[ePalestine] Knesset passes bill...Anyone surprised? Racism at its best!

“This is an important historic move that can balance Israel and bring us closer to the Christians, and I am careful not to call them Arabs, because they’re not Arabs."

Haaretz

Knesset passes bill distinguishing between Muslim and Christian Arabs

Critics slam law as effort to 'divide and conquer' Israeli Arab population.

By Jonathan Lis
Feb. 25, 2014

The Knesset on Monday passed a controversial bill into law that distinguishes between Muslim and Christian Arab citizens for the first time and increases the involvement of Christians in Israeli society.

The bill, which passed its second and third readings on Monday, was sponsored by coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu). Critics slammed the law as an effort to “divide and conquer” Israel’s Arab population – an allegation Levin seemed to confirm in a recent interview with the newspaper Maariv.

“This is an important historic move that can balance Israel and bring us closer to the Christians, and I am careful not to call them Arabs, because they’re not Arabs." He added that Christians “are our natural allies, a counter-balance against the Muslims who want to destroy the state from within.”

The law will have a minor impact on the makeup of the advisory committee that is appointed under the Equal Employment Opportunities Law, expanding it from five representatives of groups that promote workers’ rights under the law, to 10 members, which will include representatives of Christian, Muslim, Druze and Circassian employment groups.

The law passed 31-6 even though Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Tziona Koenig-Yair had made it clear in a committee discussion of the bill two weeks ago that she opposed it and viewed it as superfluous, “in the same way I wouldn’t be interested in separate representation for Lithuanian Haredim and [Sephardi] Haredim,” she said. “What’s more, there are no groups promoting employment for different groups in the Arab population, only for the Arab population as a whole.”

Haim Katz, chairman of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, introduced the law in the plenum on Monday, saying, “The aim is to take care of populations that have a hard time in the labor market and to give them a representation on the advisory committee.”

But opposition MKs weren’t convinced, “Perhaps we should also divide the Jewish population into Poles, Yemenites and Moroccans?” asked Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On. Meretz MK Issawi Freij added, “We are essentially in a situation where they are trying to define the state by religions, and here they are trying to say that there’s a difference between Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs.”

The law passed after several weeks of charged Labor Committee debates. During the last debate two weeks ago, Balad chairman MK Jamal Zahalka criticized Levin. “Arab rights don’t interest Yariv Levin,” he said. “There’s no specific Christian or Druze employment problem, only a problem of the general Arab population. Levin is interested in cruelly dividing the Arab public, which is oppressed as it is. We will not be his lackeys.”

According to Levin, “Christians can be directors of government companies, they will get separate representation in the local authorities, they will get equal employment opportunities. The first law I will pass will give Christians representation on the advisory committee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

Levin added, “We and the Christians have a lot in common. They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims that want to destroy the country from within. On the other hand, there’s a message here. We will use an iron hand and demonstrate zero tolerance of Arabs who tend to identify with the terror of the Palestinian state.”

SOURCE: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.576247

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