In response to the Palestinian statehood bid, the Israeli government has decided to promote zoning plans for the area known as E1, northeast of Jerusalem. The project is intended to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega-settlement of Ma'aleh Adumin, thus finally making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State impossible. By Ir Amim E1 (derived from “East 1”) is a term applied by the Ministry of Housing to an area located just east of the Jerusalem municipal boundary, on the hills between Ma’aleh Adummim and Jerusalem. It lies north of the Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adummim road and edges the Palestinian towns…Read More... | 16 Comments
While commentators say the vote is merely symbolic, at least for Palestinians and the international community, the vote could be a game-changing kind of symbol. One week ago, the request to the UN General Assembly to grant Palestine status as a non-member observer state looked like a poor stepchild of the highly anticipated first “UN route” just over one year ago. The buildup to September 2011 was long; yet until about a week ago, it wasn’t even clear whether the current vote would really happen. The 2011 application for UN membership turned into an anticlimax. This year, the dark-horse diplomacy…Read More... | 11 Comments
Since his bid for statehood ended at the UN last September, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has become strictly an enforcer of the occupation. If Mahmoud Abbas had resigned as president of the Palestinian Authority last September, after the U.S. did Israel's work and blocked the Palestinians' UN bid for statehood, he would have accomplished something important. He would have inspired the Palestinians (like he did in his UN speech), left them with an example of integrity and shamed the West for allowing Israel to get away with the abomination it perpetrates in the West Bank and Gaza. If the PA had dissolved itself after the encounter at the UN, Israel would have suddenly had 2.5 million West Bankers…Read More... | 29 Comments
At least 3,000 Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah in support of the PLO's statehood bid in the United Nations. The PA officially closed Palestinian schools in order to boost numbers of protesters. Roughly 80,000 PA employees were also given the day off in order to join the demonstrations. The demonstration took place in Clock Square which has been recently renamed Yassir Arafat Square. Massive signs with the words "UN 194" covered many of the buildings ringing the square. Various speakers addressed the mostly young crowd with strong speeches declaring the right of Palestine to full membership in the United Nations. Many speakers stressed…Read More... | 11 Comments
Palestinian activists in Ramallah have created a new song which mocks the PLO attempt for statehood at the United Nations later this week. The lyrics in English: The blue chair This is the story of a magical blue chair… A blue chair that will travel, soar and fly! It comes in dark blue…and in white, Palestine, is drawn (2X) This chair…is not just any chair (2X) This chair is an extraordinary and magical kind! This blue chair…can rise high This blue chair…can achieve It can a bring us a state This chair is one magical blue chair! This is the story…Read More... | 2 Comments
My colleague, Dahlia Scheindlin, in her thoughtful analysis of PA president Mahmoud Abbas’s major speech on the Palestine statehood bid, notes, The non-violent approach [Abbas] emphasized in his speech is the revolution of political, cultural and moral identity the Palestinians have undertaken. Many have asked if they are inspired by the Arab Spring and I think the answer is a resounding and joyful yes. And if the victims of Syria, Egypt, Libya and Yemen inspired the Palestinians to save lives by avoiding violence – while contributing to the creation of a peaceful Palestinian state – the tragedy of their deaths…Read More... | 6 Comments
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