The glass is more than half full

Palestine Update 196
Opinion
The glass is more than half full

Hope is what defines the Palestinian people even when the situation seems catastrophically against them. In the recently concluded Kairos Palestine conference, one of the Palestinian speakers demonstrated this when he spoke at the plenary. He preferred to adopt the image of a glass half full, rather than of a glass half empty. He argued that despite a seeming lack of hope, it was neither right nor necessary to surrender hope. He cited multiple successes of the resistance movement not only from within Palestine, but found support and back-up from the many acts of global solidarity from every corner of the world. He asserted liberation and justice would come sooner than never.In this issue, we report a few items of news/articles which show the glass half full – perhaps a bit more actually. For example:  We read how Americans are “waking up” to Israel’s brutal and discriminatory tactics. With opinion now evenly split between those who favour a one or two-state solution, many in the US are turning their attention to the systemic inequities faced by Palestinians.o   We also read how London hosted the biggest Palestine festival of 2018 with over 3,000 guests attending and a variety of shows, exhibitions and stalls showcasing Palestinian art, culture and history. The event held over a period of two days showcased some 30 stalls and musical performances, conferences, lectures and an array of art exhibitions.o   We read a most encouraging report of how, in a German town, Bremen, residents picket weekly against the Israeli occupation and have been doing so over the last seven years. The protest, organized by the Nahost Forum Bremen, is overwhelmingly positive and supported suggesting with just minimal opposition.

The glass still maintains space for the Zionists and anti-Palestinian fronts. A pro-Israel activist group is quietly pushing lawmakers and key officials in the White House to embrace a plan that would entail paying Palestinian residents in the West Bank to move abroad – kind of ethnic cleansing! The plan is a bid to reshape the ethnic and religious population of territories controlled by Israel according to the head of the group, Alliance for Israel Advocacy.

In times of trouble, there is always hope accompanied by costly discipleship, as in the case of those who are pushing for justice for the Palestinians. The hope remains this that the glass will steadily offer less and less space to those that deny justice and promote the colonialist Zionist regime.

Ranjan Solomon


Americans waking up to Israel’s brutal and discriminatory tactics
With opinion now evenly split between those who favour a one or two-state solution, many in the US are turning their attention to the systemic inequities faced by Palestinians
Excerpts from an article by Jonathan Cook

Two years of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu as a Middle East peacemaking team appear to be having a transformative effect – and in ways that will please neither of them.The American public is now evenly split between those who want a two-state solution and those who prefer a single state, shared by Israelis and Palestinians, according to a survey published last week by the University of Maryland.And if a Palestinian state is off the table – as a growing number of analysts of the region conclude, given Israel’s intransigence and the endless postponement of Mr. Trump’s peace plan – then support for one state rises steeply, to nearly two-thirds of Americans. But Mr. Netanyahu cannot take comfort from the thought that ordinary Americans share his vision of a single state of Greater Israel. Respondents demand a one-state solution guaranteeing Israelis and Palestinians equal rights. By contrast, only 17 per cent of Americans – presumably Christian evangelicals and hardline Jewish advocates for Israel – prefer the approach of Israel’s governing parties: either to continue the occupation or annex Palestinian areas without offering the inhabitants citizenship. All of this is occurring even though U.S politicians and the media express no support for a one-state solution. In fact, quite the reverse!

The movement to boycott Israel, known as BDS, is growing on US campuses, but vilified by Washington officials, who claim its goal is to end Israel as a Jewish state by bringing about a single state, in which all inhabitants would be equal. The US Congress is even considering legislation to outlaw boycott activism. And last month CNN sacked its commentator Marc Lamont Hill for using a speech at the United Nations to advocate a one-state solution – a position endorsed by 35 per cent of the US public. There is every reason to assume that, over time, these figures will swing even more sharply against Mr. Netanyahu’s Greater Israel plans and against Washington’s claims to be an honest broker. Among younger Americans, support for one state climbs to 42 per cent. That makes it easily the most popular outcome among this age group for a Middle East peace deal. In another sign of how far removed Washington is from the American public, 40 per cent of respondents want the US to impose sanctions to stop Israel expanding its settlements on Palestinian territory. In short, they support the most severe penalty on the BDS platform.

And who is chiefly to blame for Washington’s unresponsiveness? Some 38 per cent say that Israel has “too much influence” on US politics. That is a view almost reflexively cited by Israel lobbyists as evidence of anti-Semitism. And yet a similar proportion of US Jews share concerns about Israel’s meddling.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth
https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/americans-are-waking-up-to-israel-s-brutal-and-discriminatory-tactics-1.803330

London hosts biggest Palestine festival of 2018

London has played host to the biggest Palestine festival of 2018 with over 3,000 guests attending and a variety of shows, exhibitions and stalls showcasing Palestinian art, culture and history. The event, hosted by The Biggest Palestine Festival group, is held over a period of two days every year in an exhibition centre that holds up to 30 stalls as well as hosting musical performances, conferences, lectures and an array of art exhibitions.

“Palestine has become synonymous with politics and conflict and whenever you see Palestine being mentioned on the news, it is solely about its conflict with Israel and the illegal occupation taking place on its lands” said Sasha, a 23-year-old postgraduate student who is half Palestinian. “This festival shows that Palestine and its people are much more than that. Palestine has an incredibly rich culture and history, one that is celebrated and cherished, not only by its people, but also by many who aren’t Palestinian and that we will not be defined by this terrible conflict and we will not allow the Zionist oppression and occupation to bring us down” she added.

Among the many activities taking place, attendees enjoyed tasting and experiencing traditional Palestinian food such as Falafel, Kunafe, Humous and Foul and listened to a variety of Palestinian music and dance such as the famed Dabkah dance by the Yasmin al-Sham group and Palestinian hip hop and rap by the Rap for Palestine group. The event also featured poets and spoken word artists who humbled audiences by giving elaborate and emotive descriptions of the daily oppression face by millions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181216-london-hosts-biggest-palestine-festival-of-2018/

In Germany, Bremen residents picket weekly against occupation

Photo of 15th December 2018 during Christmas Market in Bremen central in front of the cathedral (Bremen Dome, Protestant Church)

For seven years a group of people drawn from different sectors of society: churches, Jewish community, different political parties, the Bremen Peace Forum and Amnesty International in Bremen/Germany organize a picketing “For a Just Peace in Palestine – Pressure on Israel” every Saturday. The picketing lasts one whole hour and is peaceful . It takes place in front of the main Cathedral . The protest is organized by Nahost Forum Bremen. A few people react offensively and accuse the protesters. On the whole,however,  the response is overwhelmingly positive and supportive. This indicates that this group of people are more progressive than the average German church leaders and politicians. Because the protestant congregation of the Bremer Dome does not support the action of the protesters, they are not allowed to stands on the steps of the dome. Therefore they stand beneath the steps on communal ground.

Messianic Group wants U.S. support for Ethnic Cleansing Plan
A pro-Israel activist group is quietly pushing lawmakers and key officials in the White House to embrace a plan that would entail paying Palestinian residents in the West Bank to move abroad. The plan is a bid to reshape the ethnic and religious population of territories controlled by Israel.  according to the head of the group, called the Alliance for Israel Advocacy. If all goes according to the group’s plan, legislation will be released in January, when the new Congress convenes, that will redirect U.S. funds once dedicated to the United Nations for Palestinian humanitarian assistance into a voucher program administered by the Israeli government. A draft summary of the proposal states that the money will help finance the permanent relocation of Palestinians from the West Bank to countries such as Turkey, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, or the United States.

The effort is being championed by the Alliance for Israel Advocacy, a lobbying group formed by the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, a nonprofit that represents Jews who have converted to Christianity but who still practice some Jewish customs. The so-called Messianic Jews broadly share many spiritual beliefs of modern born-again evangelicals. “If there are any Palestinian residents who wish to leave, we will provide funds for you to leave, with the hopes that over 10 years to change the demography of the West Bank towards an eventual annexation…“Our organization advocates, and it’s in our proposed legislation, we say, let’s offer sponsorship if there are any Palestinian residents who wish to leave and go to other countries, we will provide funds for you to leave.” said Liberman.

Human rights organizations were surprised to hear of the Alliance for Israel Advocacy’s proposal and quickly condemned the effort. “Any reallocation of US funding from aid given to the UN for humanitarian work towards a voucher system set up to encourage Palestinians to leave their homes would represent support by the U.S. for ethnic cleansing,” Mike Merryman-Lotze, the Middle East Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee, wrote in an email in response to a summary of the Alliance for Israel Advocacy proposal.
https://theintercept.com/2018/12/16/israel-messianic-jews-ethinic-cleansing-palestinians-pence/

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.