Monday, December 14, 2009

Bitter Lemons, KAIROS DOCUMENT, BOYCOTT with Update (Mazim Qumsiyeh trip to Madrid)

The Israeli settlement construction freeze (See Boycott & Kairos Document in both English and Arabic Below the article titles)

To see the following articles - different perspectives on the FREEZE of settlement building - then GO here

. The ball is now with the international community by Ghassan Khatib
With the settlement issue a focus of debate in Israel, international prodding can be extremely helpful.

. Dealing with Mr. Yes and No by Yossi Alpher
Abbas should acknowledge the freeze as the response he needed to enter negotiations and put Netanyahu on the spot.

. The moment of truth by Issa Samander
Move the settlers back to Israel. Let them behave there the way they behave in occupied territory.

. Rupture and its rewards by Yisrael Harel
The settlers cannot accept this situation.

At this website - bitterlemons dot org - you will also find past editions, an extensive documents file, information about us, and hebrew and arabic editions, along with relevant subscription information. (Receive free email alerts in your box)

The ball is now with the international community
by Ghassan Khatib

Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement in late November that his government would implement a settlement freeze was not taken seriously by Palestinians, Arabs or other interested and involved parties.

Palestinians warned that the announcement amounted to no more than a public relations gimmick aimed at reducing growing international criticism of Israel's settlement expansion policies. Palestinian officials made clear that the Israeli "freeze" did not signal any change to Israeli settlement expansion, which is responsible for preventing the resumption of negotiations.

It should be obvious why. The "freeze" excludes occupied East Jerusalem and environs, a total of 22 percent of the West Bank and the focus of most settlement activity anyway. It also excludes some 3,000 housing units already approved and construction projects for public buildings--anything from synagogues to kindergartens. Indeed, Israeli settlement watchers and analysts are on record as saying that this "freeze" will in fact allow Israel to maintain the same level of annual settlement expansion as over the last four years.

Nevertheless, the Israeli government didn't stop there. As Israeli settlers took to the streets and prevented government officials from serving the freeze orders--while stepping up their attacks on Palestinians and their property, including an arson attack on a West Bank mosque--the Israeli government decided that it would try to appease settlers some more. With its new "national priority map", Israel is now offering even greater economic incentives and subsidies to settlers. This clearly underlines that settlements are a priority over peace to this Israeli government. It also explains why population growth in settlements is higher than in Israel.

On the Palestinian side there is a consistent and firm insistence that settlement expansion is incompatible with the peace process. Both President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are clear that constructive negotiations will only take place if there is a complete freeze on settlement construction as well as clear terms of reference for the talks.

It is the position of the international community that can make a difference here. Clear messages need to be sent to Israel...

AGAIN to read the above articles - different perspectives on FREEZE them - GO here
KAIROS DOCUMENT (from the Christian Palestinian Inclusive Community - quite beautifully-written and profound about the Oneness of ALL humanity and the Centrality of Love in ending injustice and war)

In English PDF Doc.

In Arabic PDF Doc.
UPDATES - posted/added December 18, 20009 (See Groups to add to your Boycott list below!)

(I just love this personal, deep, spiritual way Mazin writes - bringing so much and so many together AS ONE...despite the deep divisions he and his people have undergone! I am supposing readers on all issues and from all manner of backgrounds will enjoy this personal story of his trip to Spain. Connie)

From Mazin Qumsiyeh:

Trip to Spain on behalf of Palestine:

The Air France jet landed in Madrid and I stepped out quickly through the impressive airport to the luggage area. There was no need for border passport check as the trip from Paris to Madrid is an internal European trip. No more are these national borders of utility and they are only being enforced between nation states like Jordan and Syria and Palestine/Israel (nation states created ironically by Europeans!). I walk through the airport noting the clean marble floors, beautiful arts, lighting that invokes museums, sharply dressed serious people going about from one area to another or shopping in the hundreds of shops in the spacious airport. These images are only intruded upon by thoughts of what to expect in Spain. Past and present melt together: conquistadores, bull fights, Al-Andalusia, Spanish conquests of the America, King Ferdinand, beautiful folkloric dancing, good foods etc… But my interest is always people of the present.

Of course I had met and worked with many Spanish activists before and we received many delegations in Palestine. But somehow being met by two lovely people at the airport in Madrid caries special significance. Manuel (Mano) is a 60+ veteran activist with white beard, a vibrant, easy and outgoing personality (a thoughts of a mix of Santa Claus and Jeff Halper cross my mind).

The other is a young and beautiful girl (Lina) who seemed like so many serious dedicated activists I met in 20 other countries: concerned that a guest is comfortable. We had a cup of coffee while we waited for another speaker. I noticed both new friends speak little English so I go to the bookshop next door to buy a Spanish phrase book.

I end up also noting and buying the book El Principito (the Little Prince). I was given the English version of this book some 30 years ago by a dear friend and have always found it useful in my life. It is a symbolic story that relays to us in childlike fashion the vanity of so many people who are living in the past, or in the future, or who are doing things but not knowing why they are doing them (unfortunately some like Zionists harming others in the process of doing what they do). Perhaps most of all it is a story of the importance of love and friendship and paying attention to little things.

Mano's son (also Manuel) who organized our trip was especially kind. We quickly developed deep friendship with people like Manuel, Mano Lina, Laura, Tina, and dozens of others we met along the way in Spain. I think to myself how lucky I am to have literally now thousands of friends around the world. What strikes me sometimes is the similarity between people in different countries who have similar interests. It is actually remarkable how the activists for human rights are in particular "birds of a feather who flock together" so to speak. Motivated, energetic, outgoing, concerned, not afraid to challenge own assumptions etc. During the two days in Madrid and two days in Barcelona, we met with politicians, journalists, students, professors, waiters, fellow passengers, and people of all walks of life. Again I am struck by our human similarities. A student in Madrid is like a student at Bethlehem University or Yale University. A politician or journalist in Spain also behaves the same as politicians or journalists in Ramallah. Those who care for people are easy to identify and are genuinely interested to know what is really going on and how it impacts people's lives. We explain to all how European governments have been complicit in violations of International law and human rights. We explain the importance of treating apartheid Israel just like apartheid South Africa to effect a restoration of basic justice starting with the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands. We are gratified by the positive response.

When we drove through Barcelona before dawn heading to the airport, I looked up at the stars in the sky and wondered if the sheep has eaten the flowers. !Y ninguna persona grande comprendera jamais que tenga tanta importacia! (And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!)

As I crossed the bridge back into the West Bank after a night in Jordan, I noted the grouchy Israeli occupation soldiers have added a new procedure (denoted by a blue sticker) without any explanation. The lines were a bit longer at bottlenecks where these stickers are checked. The thoughts of El Principito and that I am finally on the blessed homeland of Palestine (yes despite the occupation) gave me a smile…

Now for action: Here are ten products to boycott this holiday season for the sake of peace: Ahava, Delta Galil Industries, Motorola, L'Oreal, Dorot Garlic and Herbs (Trader Joe's), Estee Lauder, Intel, Sabra, Sara Lee, and Victoria's Secret. More info on each at:

And if you are in the US and want to buy something for a gift, consider


Egyptian government shamefully trying to kill off lifelines to Gaza's 1.5 million besieged people


(you may still want to join the Gaza Freedom March here )

Guardian: CIA working closely with Palestinian Security services


Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home here>

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