Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Samarra, Gaza, Israel-Palestine

1) The assault on Samarra this past weekend resulted

in well over 100 deaths. Here are links to several
different viewpoints on that assault:

Civilians bear brunt as Samarra 'pacified'
By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
04 October 2004

Iraqi government and US forces declared yesterday that
they had "pacified" the rebel stronghold of Samarra,
and stated that other "no-go" enclaves such as
Fallujah would be recaptured before national elections
due in January.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=568511

[Arabic article on same issue]
http://www.albasrah.net/maqalat_mukhtara/arabic/1004/samara_041004.htm


2) Israeli Assault on Gaza -- Anyone see any parallels
in tactics here? Notice the near silence in the US
Media as well.

Below is a report and call to action from the
International Solidarity Movement
(www.palsolidarity.org).

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Death and Destruction in Gaza Continues as World
leaders remain silent in face of devastating Israeli
army attacks. Dozens of Palestinian men, women and
children are being killed and hundreds wounded in the
massive Israeli army attack in the northern area of
the Gaza Strip.

More than 50 Palestinians, including civilians, have
died since Israel began the operation three days ago.

What is the response of world leaders who claim to
condemn violence and uphold international law?

The Middle East peace quartet of the United Nations,
the European Union, the United States and Russia
remain SILENT in face of this brutal Israeli attack on
densely populated areas of Gaza!

The Israeli army continues to commit war crimes
against a civilian population.

On one day, Thursday, Israeli soldiers killed 32
Palestinians and wounded more than 102 during their
incursion into northern Gaza. Three Israelis were
also killed. The military attacks are being
aimed at refugee camps in northern Gaza, where the
army said rockets were fired.

Whatever the reason the Israeli army is using to
justify the attacks, men, women and children are
paying a heavy price. Israel is violating
international law by attacking areas that result in
civilian deaths and injuries.

Urgent Appeal From UHWC

For the last 48 hours, the Union of Health Work
Committees (UHWC), medical facilities are in a state
of top emergency in the northern governate of Gaza
Strip. The medical teams are working continuously to
cope with the increasing number of causalities, due to
the massive Israeli incursion into the northern
governate, especially Jabaliya.

Israeli tanks, helicopters and various military forces
are attacking the area through four main sectors. The
Israeli forces are demolishing homes, destroying
infrastructure and bulldozing trees at the same time
they shoot any moving target, including children,
women, old men or youths.

On Saturday, October 2, Al–Awda Hospital received 42
injured people, 17 of are under 15 years old, 8
women, in addition to 8 martyrs (most of the injuries
are due to explosive Bullets). Another governmental
hospital in the same area has also received tens of
causalities.

Two reports:
UHWC, Al-Quds Medical Center in Beit - Hanoun has been
working 24 hours a day to cover the expected
increasing number of injuries and to offer other
emergency medical aid. Beit - Hanoun has been
isolated from the rest of Gaza Strip.

Al-Assria (Al-Luhiedan) Medical Center - Jabalia
refugee camp is now in the middle of battle. The
Israeli tanks and snipers are just 50 meters from the
center, and all the other health and community
activities of Al-Luhiedan Community Health Center have
been replaced with first aid services.

The first aid medical teams and the ambulance service
of the UHWC (138 men and women volunteers) are working
day and night to rescue and evacuate the injured
people. At the same time they provide needed medical
and food supplies.

UHWC teams call all International and human rights
organization, Red Cross, United Nations, and all those
who are seeking just peace in the area to urgently
interfere to stop this massacre against our
Palestinian people. At the same time to pressure on
the Israeli government to stop its harassment of the
medical teams and civilians.

United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees
Condemnation (UNRWA) The UN agency for Palestinian
refugees yesterday accused the Israeli army of taking
over schools in the Gaza Strip, while children were
still in class, and using them as firing positions for
tanks.

"They have now taken positions in these three schools
and are using them as a military camp for their
ongoing campaign, using them also as firing
positions," UN Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) spokesman
Matthias Burchard said in Geneva. He said Israeli
tanks broke down the walls of three schools in the
Jabaliya refugee camp on Thursday while children were
in class.

The Israeli army killed 10 Palestinians in Gaza
yesterday, October 1, as it poured tanks and soldiers
into the coastal strip, expanding a ground offensive
allegedly intended to root out militants firing
rockets into Israeli towns.

Palestinian officials said dozens of tanks pushed into
north Gaza while more forces massed on the border.
Army bulldozers destroyed homes as they carved paths
for army forces.


3) Congressional Voting Records vis-a-vis Palestine:

Number 204 4 October 2004
2425 Virginia Ave., NW Washington, DC 20037 Tel:
202.338.1290 Fax: 202.333.7742
www.thejerusalemfund.org/palestinecenter

The 2004 Congressional Scorecard: The Hall of Fame and
Shame

Forty members of the 108th Congress landed in the 2004
American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ) Annual
Congressional Scorecard “Hall of Shame” while 26
earned a spot in the group’s “Hall of Fame.” According
to AMJ Executive Director Khalid Turaani, the
scorecard provides American citizens with a numerical
analysis of an elected official’s voting pattern on
legislation relevant to the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict. Turaani explained that the scorecard’s
numerical calculation offers an “accurate and
verifiable” evaluation of a member’s stance regarding
policy towards Israel and Palestine. “The aim of
using a numerical method is to find those who have
made a career out of being anti peace and justice and
supporting Israel right or wrong,” Turaani said during
a 30 September 2004 briefing at the DC-based Palestine
Center. He added that the voting record of members
such as Tom Lantos, (D-CA), Gary Ackerman,(D-NY) and
Eliot Engel, (D-NY), shows that their support for
Israel “supercedes their support for the United
States” and “are willing to hurt U.S. interests for
the sake of Israel.”

Pete Fortney Stark (D-CA) who scored a +10 and David
Price (D-NC) who +4 were newcomers to the AMJ “Hall of
Fame.” They joined high-scoring colleagues Nick Rahall
(D-WV) +11, Barbara Lee, (D-CA) +11, and John Dingell
(D-MI) +12 who scored high in the 2003 Scorecard.
Joseph Crowley (D-NY) tops the “Hall of Shame” with a
score of –23, followed by Michael R. McNulty (D-NY)
who is at a tie with Martin Frost (D-TX) at –22.
Lantos comes in third with a –21. Newcomers such as
Katherine Harris (R-FL), scored a –17.

Of the approximately 39 bills and resolutions
pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, AMJ
scored members based on how they voted on, or if they
introduced or co-sponsored fourteen resolutions.
Members received four points if they introduced
“positive legislation,” three if they were
co-sponsors, two points if they voted in favor of, a
zero if they abstained and a negative two if they
voted against. Those who introduced “negative
legislation” received a negative four score, a
co-sponsor received a negative three, a negative two
was given to anyone who voted for the legislation, a
zero for an abstention and a two for a vote against
the legislation.

According to Turaani, AMJ considered legislation as
negative if it is “unbalanced, placed blame solely on
Palestinians and holds them responsible for violence
and/or does not justly hold Israel accountable for its
actions.” Legislation that is balanced, or even
attempts to be balanced, one that encourages both
sides to approach peace, and/or recognizes the plight
of Palestinians is considered positive legislation.

AMJ identified three resolutions on the House side
which it considered positive and eight which were
considered negative. The three positive resolutions
are: H CON RES 111, introduced by Rep. Brian Baird
(D-WA), expressing sympathy for the loss of American
peace activist Rachel Corrie who was crushed by an
Israeli bulldozer in the Palestinian town of Rafah
while trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian
home; H RES 462, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa
(R-CA), supporting Israelis and Palestinians working
together to achieve a plan for peace; and H RES 479,
introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) to fight terror
and embrace efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian
peace.

Four of the eight “negative” resolutions—H CON RES
371, introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), H CON RES
390, introduced by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), H RES
409, introduced by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), and H RES
713, introduced by Mike Pence (R-IN)—are in favor of
Israel’s separation Wall in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory. On the Senate side, AMJ found one
“positive” resolution out of the three that are
relevant to Israel and Palestine. The legislation, S
RES. 276, was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-CA) which called for fighting terror and embracing
efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace.

With the absence of a “serious pro peace and justice,
pro Palestinian lobby in the United States” Turaani
believes members who scored a (-2), (-1) or a 0 are
extremely crucial. “We need to focus on these members
and support them,” Turaani said.

Josh Ruebner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli
Occupation agreed. Ruebner, who introduced Turaani at
the briefing and gave a closing statement, argued that
although the AMJ Voter Guide proves that much work
remains to be done, there are some positive
developments that are taking place throughout the
United States.

“Grassroots pressure throughout the United States is
working,” Ruebner said. He said local groups have
invested time and effort with their representatives to
try to influence they way they vote.

“There is widespread understanding that US policy
towards Israel and Palestine is bankrupt and that
things need to change, they (representatives) just
need the political support necessary to make that
change,” Ruebner said.

Turaani hopes the Scorecard and Voter Guide will
empower Americans to hold their representatives
accountable for their voting record and help voters
make an informed decision when they head to the polls.



The above text is based on remarks delivered on 30
September 2004 by Khalid Turaani. The speaker’s views
do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund
or its educational arm the Palestine Center. This “For
the Record” summary may be used without permission but
with proper attribution to the Palestine Center.


4) ADC Action Alert:
US Senate to Consider Israel's Wall

ADC has learned that S.Res 408, condemning the
decision of the International Court of Justice on
Israel's construction of the wall in Palestinian
territory, may come up before the Senate this week for
a vote.

You may remember that a similar resolution passed the
House on July 15th by a vote of 361 - 45, 13 Present.
The Senate resolution has not been reviewed by the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee and earlier
efforts, in late July, to rush the bill to the floor
for consideration were blocked by a one Senator
placing a hold on the bill back.

Currently the Senate is debating amendments to the
Senate bill implementing the 9/11 Commission's
recommendations. However, both chambers are in a rush
to fast track legislation, including a ruling on
Israel's wall before the target adjournment of October
8th.

You can access ADC's action alert on the the Wall at:
http://capwiz.com/adc/issues/alert/?alertid=6318186&type=CO

For background and other information, see ADC's press
release "ADC Welcomes ICJ Ruling on the Wall" at:
http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2264

ADC has sent a petition of 162 organizations opposing
this resolution to Senate offices. You can find this
petition at:
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/petition.php?pid=5


5) One State Solution Op-Ed:

>From time to time, The Palestine Center will bring to
your attention an article we believe will enhance
public awareness and understanding of the developments
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This opinion
piece by PLO legal advisor Michael Tarazi appeared in
the October 4, 2004 issue of The New York Times. Note:
The writer’s views do not necessarily reflect those of
The Jerusalem Fund or its educational arm, the
Palestine Center.

Two Peoples, One State

By Michael Tarazi

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more
obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made
repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of
Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two
years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated
his plans to withdraw from the territory. Israel's
overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately
self-defeating: it wants Palestinian land but not the
Palestinians who live on that land.

As Christians and Muslims, the millions of
Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the
Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that
Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated
not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to
segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land
and resources as possible. They are increasingly
questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side
by side in peace and security," in the words of
President Bush - and are being forced to consider a
one-state solution.

To Palestinians, the strategy behind Israel's
two-state solution is clear. More than 400,000
Israelis live illegally in more than 150 colonies,
many of which are atop Palestinian water sources. Mr.
Sharon is prepared to evacuate settlers from Gaza -
but only in exchange for expanding settlements in the
West Bank. And Israel is building a barrier wall not
on its land but rather inside occupied Palestinian
territory. The wall's route maximizes the amount of
Palestinian farmland and water on one side and the
number of Palestinians on the other.

Yet while Israelis try to allay a demographic threat,
they are creating a democratic threat. After years of
negotiations, coupled with incessant building of
settlements and now the construction of the wall,
Palestinians finally understand that Israel is
offering "independence" on a reservation stripped of
water and arable soil, economically dependent on
Israel and even lacking the right to self-defense.

As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating
whether the quest for equal statehood should now be
superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In
other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of
all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals.
Recent polls

indicate that a quarter of Palestinians favor the
secular one-state solution - a surprisingly high
number given that it is not officially advocated by
any senior Palestinian leader.

Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is
simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality
that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories
already function as a single state. They share the
same aquifers, the same highway network, the same
electricity grid and the same international borders.
There are no road signs reading "Welcome to Occupied
Territory" when one drives into East Jerusalem. Some
government maps of Israel do not delineate Israel's
1967 pre-occupation border. Settlers in the occupied
West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are interspersed
among Palestinian towns and now constitute nearly a
fifth of the population. In the words of one
Palestinian farmer, you can't unscramble an egg.

But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian
Christians and Muslims are denied the same political
and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must
drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive
license plates, and only to and from designated
Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to
drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These
Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli
citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli
elections.

In South Africa, such an allocation of rights and
privileges based on ethnic or religious affiliation
was called apartheid. In Israel, it is called the
Middle East's only democracy.

Most Israelis recoil at the thought of giving
Palestinians equal rights, understandably fearing that
a possible Palestinian majority will treat Jews the
way Jews have treated Palestinians. They fear the
destruction of the never-defined "Jewish state." The
one-state solution, however, neither destroys the
Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the
Jewish historical and religious attachment (although
it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that
state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an
equal Christian and Muslim character.

For those who believe in equality, this is a good
thing. In theory, Zionism is the movement of Jewish
national liberation. In practice, it has been a
movement of Jewish supremacy. It is this domination of
one ethnic or religious group over another that must
be defeated before we can meaningfully speak of a new
era of peace; neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians
have a unique claim on this sacred land.

The struggle for Palestinian equality will not be
easy. Power is never voluntarily shared by those who
wield it. Palestinians will have to capture the
world's imagination, organize the international
community and refuse to be seduced into negotiating
for their rights.

But the struggle against South African apartheid
proves the battle can be won. The only question is how
long it will take, and how much all sides will have to
suffer, before Israeli Jews can view Palestinian
Christians and Muslims not as demographic threats but
as fellow citizens.


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