Monday, August 18, 2014

[ePalestine] +972Mag: Palestinian unity is no substitute for a viable political system (By Sam Bahour)

By +972 Blog

Published August 17, 2014

Palestinian unity is no substitute for a viable political system

Where do the U.S. and Israel want Hamas: as part of a transparent political system, or in underground tunnels?

By Sam Bahour

File photo of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: PPO/Thaer Ghanaim - Handout)

Palestinian "unity," reconciling tensions between Hamas and Fatah, is being revered as the foundation that can extract Gaza from the misery wrought upon it by yet another brutal Israeli military onslaught. The devastation from what Israel called "Operation Protective Edge" is overwhelming: nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead, over 10,000 wounded and paralyzed, and a third of the 1.8 million people in Gaza homeless. Added to this human tragedy is the rabid destruction of Gaza's civilian infrastructure. Palestinian political "unity" requires an operating political system, which is something that Israel dismantled long ago with official Palestinian acquiescence. Anyone seriously wanting to see Palestinians survive this latest Israeli attack should support the reemergence of a fully operating Palestinian political system, rather than just the replacement of a pair of failed political monopolies with a reconciled but leaderless political duopoly.

READ ON AT:

ENGLISH: http://bit.ly/Palestinian-unity

HEBREW: http://bit.ly/Palestinian-Unity-He


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[ePalestine] The Ultimate Act of Resistance (by Sam Bahour)

Al-Quds Newspaper (Ar) & Open Democracy (En)

The Ultimate Act of Resistance 

A call for political leadership




By Sam Bahour

As the horrific carnage in Gaza slowly moves off the world’s headlines and all the shock and outcry that reverberated around the globe turns its attention, for now at least, to the healing and reconstruction processes and to the next current affair, the Palestinian political leadership has a historic responsibility at it doorsteps. It must either act now or step down.

Read on at:

For Arabic PDF version click here: http://bit.ly/The-Ultimate-Act-of-Resistance

http://bit.ly/The-Ultimate-Act-of-Resistance

For English version click here: http://bit.ly/Palestinian-game-changer

http://bit.ly/Palestinian-game-changer

For Hebrew version of article referred to in this op-ed click here: http://mekomit.co.il/%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%90%D7%9D-%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%99-%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9B%D7%A9%D7%9C/

http://mekomit.co.il/%D7%95%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%90%D7%9D-%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%99-%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9B%D7%A9%D7%9C/

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Monday, August 11, 2014

[ePalestine] LRB: Israel mows the lawn (by Mouin Rabbani) - A MUST READ

Vol. 36 No 15 · 31 July 2014
page 8 | 1981 words

Israel mows the lawn

Mouin Rabbani

"So far, they appear to have the majority of the population with them, because they seem to prefer death by F-16 to death by formaldehyde."

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n15/mouin-rabbani/israel-mows-the-lawn

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Friday, August 08, 2014

[ePalestine] MME: Analysis: Reaction to Israel-Hamas ceasefire collapse

Middle East Eye

Analysis: Reaction to Israel-Hamas ceasefire collapse

#GazaUnderAttack
 
Analysts say that Gaza has bled too much to accept an easy truce with Israel, but fear this will usher in a "horrendous tragedy" that will further compound Palestinian suffering



"The sheer use of the word 'ceasefire' is insulting. It depicts an artificial symmetry that the Palestinians have fell for, even though reality on the ground is totally contrary.

For a fragile, non-representative, Palestinian unity delegation to be engaged in 'ceasefire' negotiations with their military occupier (it means little if done directly or through intermediaries) sets up Palestinians for an Oslo-like phase, where, no matter what is agreed, the Palestinian side will be signing away rights that have been stripped from them by Israel for decades.

These rights, first among them protection, should be secured by Third States under their obligations toward the Fourth Geneva Convention, without the need for 'resistance' or 'ceasefire' talks.

A 'ceasefire' simply reinforces the false impression that there is some hint of symmetry between Palestine and Israel. There is not! Furthermore, to be conducting these 'ceasefire' talks in the capital of a country that participates in the siege of the Gaza Strip should be an embarrassment to every member of the Palestinian negotiating team, first among them Hamas."

~Sam Bahour

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/experts-react-israel-hamas-ceasefire-collapse-1742870699

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

[ePalestine] NYT: Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary (Atef Abu Saif)

First comes the shelling, then the explosions, then the bodies, so many bodies, so many young, fragile bodies, then the burials, then, once the dust starts to settle, emerge the stories...horror, human made horror, a horror that does not settle with the dust!

Eight Days in Gaza: A Wartime Diary

Atef Abu Saif: Life and Death in the Gaza Strip

By ATEF ABU SAIF
AUG. 4, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/opinion/atef-abu-saif-life-and-death-in-gaza-strip-jabaliya-refugee-camp.html?smid=fb-share
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Monday, August 04, 2014

[ePalestine] Don’t Cry For Me


Don’t Cry For Me

The voice of a Palestinian child in Gaza, taken from this world by Israel — “the only democracy in the Middle East”

By Sam Bahour


As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and maybe even more so, those who survive.

Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law—let alone their blatant disregard to their very own self-interests—would get us to this very point, fresh analysis and fresh vantage points are difficult to find. The only words I can muster now, while the images of the carnage are freshly etched into my mind, are the words that may have come from one of the child victims whose life was cut short by a U.S. supplied Israeli F-16 fighter jet missile.

Below is the imagined letter from the victim:

Dear Humankind,

Hi. My name is Eman; it means faith in Arabic. I doubt you will have seen or remember me; only particular photos make it to your TV screen, those are the ones you will remember. I’m a Palestinian child from Gaza. I like my dolls, playing with my sister, and swimming. I was told that many of you are crying for me, but please don’t cry for me. I just arrived to this place and wanted to write to let you know that I’m OK. Really, I’m fine. I just miss Mommy.

There are a lot of people here, just like back home in Gaza. Lots of Palestinian kids too, some have been here for a very long time. Why would you want to cry for only me?

My neighbor arrived a few months ago from the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria, he shares a room with someone who came from a different refugee camp in South Lebanon called Sabra who arrived in September 1982. I really don’t know what a refugee camp is, even though Mommy told me that’s where we live too.

Down the road I saw a really older girl, maybe 23 years old. Her name is also Iman, but she spells it with an “I”. Iman came here in October 2004. She told me she was walking home from school, not far from my house in Gaza, when an Israeli soldier emptied his magazine into her after she was wounded and laying on the ground. She says he was caught on radio communications saying he was “confirming the kill.” I don’t really know what that means, either.

There are a lot of old people here, too: mommies and daddies. Some have their kids with them and some are alone. I actually saw a sign on one house that said the person arrived from Kufer Kassem in 1948 (that’s a long time ago!). I think Kufer Kassem is not far from Gaza, but I really don’t know since Daddy never took us on trips far away.

Anyway, I made friends with another girl exactly my age, Amal, her name means hope and she is from Qana in Lebanon. She lives with her sisters; one arrived in 1996 and the other in 2006. There are really a lot of nice people here from Lebanon.

See, I’m in good company, so please, don’t cry for me.

I am exactly 8 years and 23 days old; pretty big girl, wouldn’t you say? I have one baby sister and two older brothers, or at least Mommy tells me that I have two brothers. I’ve only seen one, the other, Mommy says, lives in an Israeli prison and has been there for a very long time. Even though I never saw him, I still love him. 

It is true that I was born in Gaza, but Grandpa told me when I was very young that our real home is in a place called al-Majdal. He still has the key to his house. It’s all rusted but I think it may still work. I bet you don’t know where al-Majdal is located, but you may know a place called Ashkelon. I understand how this can happen, it happens all the time. Those people who made Grandma and Grandpa come to Gaza keep changing the names of everything, even their own names. They not only changed the name of al-Majdal, they changed the name of many cities and villages too. Daddy told me that one organization called Zochrot goes around and puts signs up with the original names where Palestinian towns and villages were wiped off the face of the earth. This way no one will forget. You really don’t need to worry, because here they must have a very big computer, as all the names are what they used to be, nothing is forgotten. So please, don’t cry for me. 

Let me tell you what happened to me last month. It was the beginning of Ramadan. I love Ramadan because at the end of the month there is a big feast and Daddy takes us all to the marketplace and we each are allowed to buy two toys. A few days before the end of Ramadan, Mommy takes us to buy new clothes and shoes. This is the happiest time of the year for me and my brother and sister. But this year, Mommy was sad. She stayed sitting in my room crying while she nursed my baby sister. When I asked her why she was crying she said that we would not be able to buy new clothes this year because all the stores were closed. I understood (I am almost 9 years old, you know) so I surprised her. I went to my closet and pulled out my dress from last year’s Ramadan and I dusted off the pink paddy leather shoes Mommy bought me on my last birthday and I told her she can stop crying because I don’t mind wearing old clothes, even if they don’t match. But she cried even more. I think I know why she was crying. The neighbors were playing with fireworks all night and day, even though Ramadan was only in its first week. Usually fireworks happen only at the end of Ramadan. I asked her if she wanted me to go tell them to stop but she said no, she liked to hear them. I pretended as if I liked the fireworks too, but I don’t think she was telling me the truth because they are scary, especially at night. I’m glad there are no fireworks here. 

Anyway, just as I was putting my Eid clothes back in the closet something happened. I want to tell you what happened but I really don’t know how. I felt like I was swimming, but I wasn’t. The water did not feel like the bathtub, it was warm and sticky. When I glanced down I think it was red too. The last thing I remember is looking up and seeing the light fixture in my room, the one that looks like a clown’s head (Daddy bought that for me when my sister was born). It was falling, coming straight at me. I know this is not making sense, because ceilings don’t fall, but I swear that was what it looked like. 

Next thing I knew, I was brought to this nice place. I love it here but I really miss Mommy and my baby sister. I wonder why they did not come here with me. Mom would love it. We have electricity all day and night and the stores never close. Really, I’m not joking. In my home here, I can drink water right out of the faucet any time I’m thirsty. One of my friends told me that when I get a little older we can even go on trips far, far away, even to Jerusalem. I’m not sure where that is but I’m sure I’ll be able to ride a plane for the first time ever to get there. 

I want to tell you so much more but I’ll have to write again later because I need to go now. My two newest friends, Hadar and Issa, are bringing their bikes to take turns in giving me a ride. Can you tell Mommy to send me my bike? I also forgot my toothbrush in the rush to get here so I need that too. Tell her not to send me my Eid dress and shoes. I want my baby sister to wear them for Ramadan next year, because I doubt the stores will open anytime soon. One more thing, please: tell Mommy to empty my piggybank, and send all my savings to The Palestine Children Relief Fund because I’m sure that many of my friends who did not come with me are going to need a lot of help. 

After going for the bike ride I’m coming back home to take a nap. I was so happy that I found the CD here with the same exact song that Mommy use to sing to me every night at bedtime. It’s this one.

So see, I’m fine. Really, don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves.

Love,
Eman

- Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah, Palestine, father of two daughters, and blogs at epalestine.com.

Source: http://bit.ly/Dont-Cry-For-Me

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Saturday, August 02, 2014

[ePalestine] LRB: Hamas’s Chances (by Nathan Thrall) - A MUST READ

A really solid and comprehensive analysis by my good friend, Nathan Thrall.
London Review of Books

Vol. 36 No 16 · 21 August 2014
pages 10-12 | 3611 words

LRB Cover

Hamas's Chances

Nathan Thrall

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n16/nathan-thrall/hamass-chances

Nathan Thrall is a senior analyst with the Middle East and North Africa Programme of the International Crisis Group.

Note from Sam:

For the record, there are two items he missed:

1. In the context, the pre "war" Palestinian prisoners hunger strike and cold blooded killing of 2 Palestinians by the IDF in Betunia, which may have led to the yet unconfirmed Palestinian role in the 3 settler youths disappearance/murder.

2. Re "...well before Israel’s 2005 withdrawal." Even Israel did not call it "withdrawal" at the time, it was called what it was, a "unilateral disengagement," or redeployment, to make the point that Israel remains, to this day, in full effective control of Gaza, a.k.a. military occupation.

Besides these two points, he really did a great job in capturing the context.
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