Friday, 2 March 2012

Shaath 'appreciates' positive step by Hamas to invite party leaders to Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Fatah leader Nabil Shaath said Friday that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's invitation to party leaders to meet in the Gaza Strip was a positive step, saying he appreciates the move.

"We will be happy if this invitation resolves our dispute and corresponds to the agreement of a new Palestinian government," the Fatah Central Committee member told Ma'an.

Haniyeh called on Palestinian leaders to visit the Gaza Strip, saying they all have a right to visit the enclave as part of an undivided Palestine, at a meeting with leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Thursday.

Shaath said Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas loves Gaza and is excited to visit, although he is currently on an international tour. more

UK student movement takes huge step forward during Israeli Apartheid Week

By Michael Deas is the coordinator in Europe with the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)

Student solidarity groups from more than twenty UK universities held Israeli Apartheid Week events last week, raising awareness of the apartheid analysis and building boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on campus. Coming towards the end of an academic year that has seen students’ unions across the country and the National Union of Students move to support BDS initiatives and many successful BDS campaigns, the week has been hailed as having taken the UK student movement for Palestine to new heights.

The week kicked off on the Monday with a national day of action, with campuses across the country organising mock checkpoints, street theatre and supermarket actions.

Focus on youth

Organisers chose to bring young activists from Palestine and South Africa as visiting speakers, resulting in energetic and action-focused panel discussions and providing students with the opportunity to hear about the latest developments in the Palestinian and South African youth movements.

In Scotland, five universities hosted talks by Adameer activist Murad Jadallah and Wassim Ghantous, a Palestinian youth activist currently active in the Belgian BDS movement. With students in Scotland especially active in organising solidarity for Khader Adnan, Murad’s talks on the work Adameer had been doing to support him were particularly well timed. The announcement that Adnan was to be released came shortly before one of the biggest public events was due to start.

Yara Sadi from the Who Profits from the Occupation? project spoke alongside local activists in Leicester, Leeds and Sheffield and Israeli BDS activist Leehee Rothschild visited the universities of Sussex, Warwick and Essex.

In London, the main panel discussion featured film maker Eyal Sivan, Palestinian BDS National Committee secretariat member Rafeef Ziadah, journalist Ben White and South African student leader Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Mbuyiseni spoke passionately of the “potent gift of international solidarity” that contributed to the downfall of South African apartheid and must be developed further to support the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid. more

Silwan school in Jerusalem threatened with collapse because of Israeli excavations

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The committee for the defense of Silwan has warned of the collapse of an old school in the town, south of the Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

Head of the committee Fakhri Diyab blamed the Israeli occupation authority’s incessant excavations to the fact that the school might cave in at any time.

He said in a statement on Wednesday that the school is in real danger as a result of the IOA digging underneath it and in its vicinity.

Diyab said that the school, which was built in 1917, was controlled by the IOA after the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967 that gave part of it to a settlement society that turned into a warehouse for its digging equipment. more

Transforming Finkelstein BDS attack into opportunity

(Right of return is a central demand of the Palestinian liberation movement - Abed Rahim Khatib / APA images)

By David Letwin - The Electronic Intifada

There have been a number of thoughtful and incisive rebuttals to the recent video interview in which Norman Finkelstein absurdly calls the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against apartheid Israel a “cult,” and admonishes Palestinians to limit their struggle to the “two-state solution” (Video: Arguing the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign with Norman Finkelstein (interviewed by Frank Barat),” 9 February 2012).

However, Finkelstein’s attack on the BDS movement is not, as some of his critics have suggested, merely an indication of personal demoralization, faulty legal analysis, or political shortsightedness. Rather, it reflects a stubborn attempt to rationalize his rejection of Palestinian demands — especially full equality and refugee rights — that challenge the legitimacy of a “Jewish state.”

“What is the result [if the BDS demands are satisfied]?” Finkelstein rhetorically asks in the interview. “You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!”

This existential defense of Israel is hardly new. Despite his ferocious criticism of the 45-year-long occupation, Finkelstein has long represented those non-Palestinians in the solidarity movement who see the “two-state solution” as necessary to ensure Israel’s survival as a “Jewish state,” a means of reconciling their altruism with their political comfort zone.

Not only is this unjust on its own terms, but it places Finkelstein squarely at odds with a grassroots Palestinian movement demanding an end to all the apartheid structures without which the “Jewish state” could not exist.

Finkelstein denounces those BDS demands as a “clever” attempt to hide their anti-Zionist logic. But the real problem is that he and his allies often become alienated, if not hostile, when called upon to acknowledge — much less confront — more than a century of the Zionist colonialism, particularly the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (the Nakba). more