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By Salena Tramel
June 20th, 2011
May 24th, 2011
Over the last couple of days official Washington has been abuzz with what President Obama said, and didn't say, about the 1967 borders between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The president didn't say anything that hasn't been official U.S. policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations since at least President Carter's time. And, for good measure, nothing different than what the international community has been saying since even before then!
Below is an article from Grassroots International’s ally, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, outlining actions planned for the commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2011. Al-Nakba, which means “the catastrophe” in Arabic, commemorates the day in 1948 on which Palestinians either fled or were forced to leave their homes, villages and towns as war broke out between the newly declared State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries in the wake of Israel’s declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948.
GAZA CITY— The turnstile locks behind me and I’m standing in a small metal room. I flashback to the first time I crossed Erez checkpoint last year and remember the claustrophobic feeling of walking into a trap, three small metal doors blending into the steel. This time, I know the drill, and place bets on which one of these gateways to Gaza will randomly open. One finally does, revealing a seemingly endless open-air tunnel that snakes through the expanse of the buffer zone. I have been waiting for this moment, for the long walk alone to the other side. I crank up Gran Vitaly’s “Looming Hurricane” on my iPod and weave through the cage, separated from heavily armed soldiers by razed agricultural land. Time stands still for a while, and then before I know it, I’m back in the Strip.
After a relatively quiet few months in Gaza, conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted anew, with each side claiming retaliation rights. Flexing its superior military might—and causing mighty damage—the Israeli armed forces have intensified their attacks on the blockaded territory. And just like during operation “Cast Lead,” Gazan civilians are paying the heaviest price.
This article, Israel lays Gaza-like siege on West Bank village, highlights many threats to resource rights in Palestine, as the people living there have diminishing access to land, water, and food. These developments in Beit Ommar not only show the severity of the politics of occupation, but also stand in the way of a just peace .
At the rate the Separation Wall is being built, soon Palestinian Land Day (March 30) will need only a few hours. The Wall and the Israeli mandated buffer zones jut into the Palestinian territories by as much as 300 feet, gobbling up fertile agricultural land and precious water reserves, and make cool profits for companies like Elbit Systems Ltd. contracted to build the massive structure.
Because we believe in the human rights to land, water and food as fundamental rights, and because Elbit reaps massive profits from land grabs like the building of the Separation Wall, Grassroots International is asking TIAA-CREF to fully divest from Elbit Systems, Ltd.
by Stephen R. Shalom
NOTE: the following is an excerpt from an article by Stephen R. Shalom, Jewish professor, writer, and advisory board member of the Israeli Occupation Archive. This article is a slightly edited and footnoted version of remarks delivered at New York University 28 Feb 2011 for Israel Apartheid Week
"No company is more deeply embedded in Israel's brutal architecture, occupation and segregation than Elbit."
-- Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
The Wall, currently being built by Elbit Systems Ltd., separates Palestinian families from thousands of acres of farmland, aqueducts and wells. To make way for the massive structure, more than 100,000 olive trees have already been uprooted. And with each slab of concrete erected and security trench expanded, Elbit reaps ever greater profits while Palestinians endure violations to their resource and human rights.
Year before last, I was sitting in the living room of my childhood home sharing a cup of morning coffee with my mother and musing over the holidays. We laughed over kitschy Christmas gifts from well-meaning relatives before deciding to turn on the news for five minutes on the brink of another vacation day. Those five minutes would turn out to be one of those times like 9/11—when you never forget exactly where you were when you found out. "Oh no," gasped my mother, tears welling up immediately in her eyes. "Gaza Explodes..." scrolled across the bottom of the screen, and plumes of smoke hung on the living room wall in high definition.