Leila Khaled

leila_khaled.jpgLeila Khaled (also Layla Khalid), long-time activist and Central Committee member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was born on April 9, 1944 in Haifa, Palestine. Her family left Haifa as refugees to Lebanon on April 13 1948, just before the State of Israel was established.


In 1968 Khaled made contacts with PFLP cadres in Kuwait, and in 1969 she was accepted for military training in its Special Operations Squad. In 1969, she left Kuwait for Amman, Jordan in order to undertake resistance activities. Khaled became infamous when she and a male colleague hijacked a TWA airplane headed for Tel Aviv on August 29, 1969, forcing the flight to land in Damascus, where they blew it up after emptying it of passengers. Khaled underwent a number of clandestine plastic-surgery operations in Lebanon to transform her world-renowned face. In 1970 she commandeered another flight with a male colleague (who was killed in the operation) on behalf of the PFLP. This hijacking, of an Israeli El Al airplane, was thwarted, and the plane was forced to land in England, where Khaled was held by the British government and eventually released in a prisoner exchange.

Khaled repeatedly stated that the aim of the hijackings was to gain international recognition of the plight of Palestinians as an issue of national dislocation and desire for self-determination rather than a refugee problem to be resolved through charity. In the 1990s she denounced the Oslo Accords, calling them fundamentally flawed because they did not address the status of Jerusalem, the ending of the Israeli occupation of territories taken in June 1967, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, or Palestinian sovereignty. Although her actions are considered terrorism by many in the West, she has achieved the status of political icon throughout much of the Arab world.






Protest against the Israeli wall: Artas (Bethlehem)

Protest In Artas Against The Israel Wall
Friday August 6, 2010 - George Rishmawi - IMEMC News 
The people of the village of Artas west of Bethlehem organized on Friday their weekly march against the construction of the wall on their land. Dozens of citizens, accompanied by international supporters, marched through the village to the construction site of the wall. Local sources said that Israeli troops operating in the area were taping the march. The marchers waved Palestinian flags and banners condemning the building of the wall on the farmers' lands. Awad Abu Swai, spokesperson of the popular committee against the wall and settlements in Artas, spoke to the crowd calling for unity among the Palestinians in order to face the Israeli measures of land confiscation and the construction of the wall.
http://imemc.org/article/5 9248


Sacrilege in the Bethlehem District Villages of Artas and El Walajeh




The State of Israel reached a new low recently through a series of demolitions of Palestinian holy sites. These acts of sacrilege occurred in the Bethlehem District, an area which has recently been subjected to increased levels of aggression by the Israeli government.

The Palestinian village of Artas, with a population of 2,684 people, is located to the south of Bethlehem (Figure 1) . Its most famous archeological site is an ancient monastery owned by the Catholic Church (Figure 2). The monastery was built in 1901, and was opened as a mission on November 12 of the same year by nine Uruguayan nuns. In 1903, with support from the Vatican, the nuns opened a clinic, a primary school, and an orphanage to serve the people of Artas and its surroundings. Up to this moment, the monastery helps the poor and the neglected in an effort to give them peace and happiness.

Figure 1
Location map of Artas village.




Figure 2Artas monastery owned by the Catholic Church.


On 24 January 1999, Artas witnessed excavation activity by radical Jewish colonists from the nearby Israeli colony of Efrat. Several colonists showed up with bulldozers and began digging into Artas land in an attempt to open a new by-pass road linking the colonies west of Artas to those in the east . They were heavily armed and threatened to shoot anyone who tried to stop them as they slashed into Palestinian soil, including the land of Artas' historic monastery (Figure 3). The Efrat colonists, under the protection of the Israeli military forces, demolished part of the monastery's stone wall and expropriated 30 dunums (1 dunum = 1/10 hectare) of its land (Figure 4). The monastery was exposed to similar harassment by the colonists of Efrat two years previously in an attempt to expand their colony. To prevent these activities, the nuns and village members marked the borders of the monastery by drawing crosses on all of its stone walls.



Figure 3: Damaged monastery wall.



Figure 4: Nun proving true ownership of monastery land.

The Papal mission in Jerusalem lodged a strong protest to the Israeli Foreign Minister following the Israeli confiscation. Moreover, 170 dunums adjacent to land owned by the Islamic Waqf are threatened to be confiscated. Tens of Artas families have been exposed to a continuous wave of harassment by the Jewish colonists from nearby colonies. They have already uprooted their trees and prevented them from reclaiming their land.

El Walajeh, a village of around 2,500 people located 10 kilometers southeast of Jerusalem, is surrounded by the Jewish colonies of Gilo and Har Gilo (Figure 1). This village has also been the target of recent acts of sacrilege by the Israeli government. On 12 January 1999, the Israeli police delivered a stop order for the emerging structure of a newly built mosque (Figure 5). Two weeks later, a demolition order was issued claiming that the mosque was built without a permit on land zoned for agricultural use.



Figure 5: Newly built El Walajeh mosque.

The people of El Walajeh challenged this decision, and continued building in a vow to resist any attempt to knock down the mosque. On 1 February 1999, the villagers rushed to complete the construction of the new mosque despite Israeli threats to demolish it.

Enthusiastic workers have completed the walls of the two-story structure and are preparing to place the roof on the 170 square meter building. In addition to the mosque, 37 Palestinian homes have received demolition orders which the Israeli government claims were built without proper authorization. The demolition of the mosque is frozen for the moment.

These destructive acts come in an attempt to construct an industrial zone and an additional 400 housing units for the Gilo colony. The confrontation over the mosque is only the latest in a half-century running battle between Israelis and Palestinians in the area, which lies on the 'Green Line' separating Israel from the West Bank. Over 2,000 demolition orders of Palestinian houses are currently outstanding, and the construction of more by-pass roads to serve Israeli colonies endangers the security of an increasing number of Palestinian families.

It is clear that even holy places are not safe from Israeli unilateral activities. These inadmissible acts of desecration to holy places are in total violation and contradiction with the prospects of human rights and a just and comprehensive peace.


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Palestinian-American Professor Threatened By Israeli Authorities

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, who has taught at Yale and Duke Universities in the US, and is a renowned author and activist on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, has been issued an order by the Israeli military to appear before a military tribunal on August 9th.

Mazin Qumsiyeh (photo from qumsiyeh.org)
Mazin Qumsiyeh (photo from qumsiyeh.org)

Qumsiyeh's supporters believe that he is being targeted by Israeli authorities for his documentation of non-violent demonstrations against the Israeli Annexation Wall in the Bethlehem area. He has posted dozens of videos on Youtube in recent months, showing Israeli troops attacking non-violent demonstrators engaged in 'sit-ins' to protest the illegal construction of the Israeli Wall on their land, in violation of international law.

Professor Qumsiyeh has been targeted before for his outspoken opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and his support for the non-violent movement in Palestine. He was recently detained for 12 hours by Israeli authorities on his way back to Bethlehem from Turkey, and told that he must report to the Israeli military post in Gush Etzion for an unknown 'traffic offense', as well as another 'offense' on which the Israeli authorities refused to elaborate.

Despite Israeli High Court rulings against the route of the annexation wall in Wallaja village, near Bethlehem, and Bil'in village, near Ramallah, construction of the Wall in both places continues unabated, and the people who have organized non-violent demonstrations and spoken publicly about the illegal construction have been targeted by the Israeli authorities. Organizer Eyad Bornat of Bil'in, and Mohammed al-Qatib with the Popular Committee Against the Wall were both recently denied exit from the West Bank by Israeli authorities while on their way to international speaking engagements about the Wall construction.

Qumsiyeh has called the ongoing harassment of himself and other activists a blatant attempt by Israeli authorities to stifle dissent, and to silence those who would dare to speak out publicly against Israeli policies in the West Bank.

Friday August 6, 2010 - by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

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Jewish Voice for Peace: Action

Tell our Jewish Leaders: Denounce Israel's Increasing Oppression

The plan to build a mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan has predictably brought out a fresh wave of Islamophobia and calls to move the mosque elsewhere. Sadly, some of the Jewish organizations that are supposed to oppose bigotry have placed themselves on the wrong side of the issue. The American Jewish Committee, tasked with promoting democratic and pluralistic societies, has given its conditional approval for the building the mosque as planned, but only after equating Islam with terrorism.(1) The Anti-Defamation League--tasked with fighting anti-Semitism, bigotry and extremism--has called for the Manhattan mosque to be moved to a different location.(2) The Simon Wiesenthal Center, tasked with confronting bigotry and racism, also opposes the building of the mosque in its location.(3) Meanwhile it continues to build a Museum of Tolerance on top of a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.(4)

They are failing us in Manhattan. They are failing us in Jerusalem.

Jewish-American political writer Peter Beinart looked at the ADL's opposition to the mosque and connected the dots: "Indifference to the rights and dignity of Palestinians is a cancer eating away at the moral pretensions of the American Jewish establishment. Last Friday, in the case of the ADL, we learned just how far that cancer has spread."(5) In their public statements, the ADL and the AJC have counted the many ways they've come in defense of Muslims, be they in the US, Bosnia, Germany, France-everywhere except Israel and Palestine. They are unlikely to speak out if the Israeli Army follows through on plans to demolish a mosque in Jenin in the Occupied West Bank.(6)

Please sign our open letter to the leaders of the Anti Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, and Simon Wiesenthal Center, asking them to denounce Israel's increasing violations of human rights, dignity, and democratic values, including midnight raids on activists, media gag orders, crushing nonviolent protest, and silencing NGO's.(7) These American Jewish leaders are too often on the wrong side of issues and betray our Jewish values of truth and justice. Their blind support for Israel's government is leading them to engage in Islamophobia and support injustices, both here and abroad. We deserve better.


Sydney Levy

Jewish Voice for Peace

(1) American Jewish Committee Opposes Mosque Too, Aug 3, 2010 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/american-jewis...), Build the Cordoba Center? Aug 2, 2010 (http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ijITI2...)

(2) The Mosque at Ground Zero, Aug 2, 2010 (http://www.adl.org/ADL_Opinions/Interfaith/Mosque_Ground_...)

(3) Call to the SWC, Aug 4, 2010.

(4) Petition to Save Palestinians' Mamilla Cemetery from the Simon Wiesenthal Center's plans to Build over It (http://www.juancole.com/2010/03/petition-to-save-palestin...)

(5) Hateful Ground Zero Hypocrisy, Aug 2, 2010 (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-02...)

(6) IOF gives demolition notices to a mosque and houses in Jenin, Jul 31, 2010 (http://www.globalpost.com/webblog/israel-and-palestine/io...)

(7) Take for example the case of Ameer Makhoul, a prominent Palestinian Israeli human rights defender, who was arrested in the middle of the night in front of his children, held without charges, denied a lawyer for 12 days, tortured, and then disappeared under a strict media gag order which was partially lifted after widespread protest.

You can read more about his case in a letter we sent to the State Department last week (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11431.shtml). Many other cases are documented here:http://theonlydemocracy.org/ for details.


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Jewish Voice for Peace: Open Letter

Jewish Leaders: Denounce Israel's Increasing Repression

Years ago, leading Jewish and human rights groups like the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center played critical roles in promoting the idea of universal rights. But tragically, this legacy has been crumbling for some time. Today, it is in danger of disappearing altogether. Israel is becoming more and more like a police state each day, while these leaders say nothing.

Ask American Jewish leaders to denounce Israel's increasing violations of human rights, dignity, and democratic values such as midnight raids on activists, media gag orders, crushing nonviolent protest, and silencing NGO's.


An Open Letter to the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 

Dear Abe Foxman, David Harris, and Rabbi Marvin Hier: 

As leaders of major Jewish organizations that defend human rights, democratic values and civil rights for all, you have rightly and vigorously condemned repression where it occurs around the world. 

That’s why your silence as Israel becomes more and more repressive each day deeply concerns us. 

As Israel uses anti-democratic tactics against Palestinians and increasingly, its own citizens, what will you do to stop it? 

Will you remain quiet while Israel rounds up its own citizens like Dr. Omar Said and Ameer Makhoul(1), who was arrested in the middle of the night in front of his children, held without charges, denied a lawyer for 12 days, tortured, and then disappeared under a strict media gag order which was partially lifted after widespread protest? 

Will you say nothing about the arrests of Palestinian nonviolent leaders like Omar Alaaeddin(2) and Abdallah Abu Rahmah(3); the lethal shooting with tear gas canisters of people like Bassem Abu Rahmah(4); the incarceration of Israeli Jewish nonviolent leaders like Ezra Nawi(5); and harassment of the members of Israeli peace groups like New Profile(6)? 

Will you stand by and allow legislation(7) to criminalize the human rights organizations that are the best representatives of Israeli democracy? 

We call on you to speak out against the repression of the civil and democratic rights of Palestinians and Israelis. We ask you to call for an end to the crackdown on nonviolent human rights activists and organizations, both in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. 

We are Jews and Muslims, Americans and Israelis, Christians and atheists, parents and grandparents. We are united by our belief that all people deserve equality and freedom. And like you, we each have a personal stake in a peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians. 

We ask you to heed the words of Elie Wiesel who said, "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." 

We are waiting. 

(1) Ameer Makhoul is the director of "Ittijah," the network of Arab NGOs in Israel, and a human rights activist. Were a civil society leader representing a minority group in a democratic state to be arrested and tortured by his own government in any other state, we would count on our Jewish organizations to protest. 

(2) Omar Alaaedine's arrest and torture. http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/03/torture-man-for-organizing-demos/ 

(3) Abdallah Abu Rahmah's Letter From Ofer Jail. http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/02/abdallah-abu-rahmahs-letter-from-ofer-jail/ 

(4) Bassem Abu Rahmah's shooting. http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/04/remembering-bassem-pheel-abu-rahma/ 

(5) Ezra Nawi's Website. http://freezra.org 

(6) New Profile's letter about their harrassment. http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/02/letter-from-new-profile/ 

(7) Adalah on the proposed legislation to restrict NGO's. http://www.adalah.org/eng/pressreleases/pr.php?file=29_04_10_2

Jewish Voice for Peace | 1611 Telegraph Ave, Suite 550, Oakland, CA 94612 | 510.465.1777 | info@jewishvoiceforpeace.org -    http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/p/dia/action/public/





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Life is a balance, we need good to define bad, we need justice to define injustice, we need rich to define the poor. However, in capitalist world we live in today, we are facing with many crimes a social problem, we are facing with a lot of political figures involve with moral corruption and unable to protect the justice, and we are facing with the challenges like extreme poverty in some countries when there are extreme luxurious life in other parts of the countries.

The failure of human to balance the world and the element of harmony seems to be fade in this capitalist world we live in today, as a matter of fact the good and justice seem to be diminished in human life while the balance is overweight.




13:44 Posted by Universal | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |


Free Ameer Makhoul !

Groups urge Clinton to intervene in case of jailed rights defender
Open letter, various undersigned, 29 July 2010 

Jailed human rights defender Ameer Makhoul. (Adri Nieuwhof)

The following open letter was sent to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 26 July 2010:

As human rights advocates and representatives of nongovernmental organizations working to promote internationally recognized human rights standards in the US and around the world, we welcomed the important message you delivered to the Community of Democracies in Krakow on 3 July 2010. We wholeheartedly agree that civil society is an essential element in a free nation and plays an important role in identifying and eradicating injustices. As you rightly noted, it was through the critically important work of human rights activists and civil society that the US was able to be put on the path of racial equality.

Because of the commitment you expressed in Krakow and that you have demonstrated during your tenure with nongovernmental organizations working on behalf of vulnerable constituencies, we wish to bring to your attention a troubling development not highlighted in your 3 July remarks. Particularly in the last six months, we have watched with dismay as both real and figurative walls close in on civil society and human rights defenders in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The most recent case of this is that of human rights defender Ameer Makhoul, an Israeli citizen and head of Ittijah -- the Union of Arab Community Based Organizations. Headquartered in Haifa, Ittijah operates as an umbrella organization for civil society member groups working for the advancement of political, cultural, social and economic rights of the Palestinian minority in Israel. At 3:00am on 6 May 2010, Mr. Makhoul was arrested at his home, and both his home and the Ittijah office were searched and personal items, office equipment, documents and databases were seized. Mr. Makhoul was held for two weeks incommunicado while a strict gag order was imposed on the case, and while, according to his lawyers, he was subjected to torture including sleep deprivation and stress positions.

Three weeks after his arrest and detention, Mr. Makhoul was charged with espionage, contacting a foreign agent and other trumped up security charges. Mr. Makhoul denies the charges against him and maintains that his statements were obtained under coercion. His lawyers also contend that their meetings with Mr. Makhoul have been wiretapped by prison authorities. Not only is this a violation of Israeli law, it deprives Mr. Makhoul of a vigorous, unfettered defense.

According to Phillip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Program, "Ameer Makhoul is a key human rights defender, well-known for his civil society activism on behalf of the Palestinian citizens of Israel" and "his arrest and continued detention smacks of pure harassment, designed to hinder his human rights work." Likewise, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint program of the World Organization Against Torture and the International Federation for Human Rights, has also stated that it seems that his arrest is only aimed at sanctioning his human rights activities. We believe Mr. Makhoul is being prosecuted for his human rights advocacy on behalf of Israel's Palestinian community and especially for his nonviolent activism seeking to hold Israel accountable for war crimes and other gross violations of human rights.

Madame Secretary, in light of the following, we respectfully request that your office investigate the arrest, unlawful treatment, and detention of Mr. Makhoul and use its considerable diplomatic influence to bring an end to his arbitrary detention and to ensure that Israel, a leading recipient of US military and economic aid, comply with its commitment under US law and international legal norms. We also ask that the State Department call on Israel to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in its investigation of the case of Ameer Makhoul.

We thank you for the leadership you have shown on the issue of the protection of human rights defenders and the pledge of the US State Department to work to develop initiatives that support civil society and strengthen governments committed to democracy. Please let us know how we may be of service to you in your investigation of the case of Mr. Makhoul.

Undersigned organizations:

National Lawyers Guild, New York, New York; Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, New York; International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Brussels, Belgium; Grassroots International, Boston, Massachusetts; Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, Olympia, Washington; Justice First Foundation, Inc.; CODEPINK Greater Boston, Massachusetts; Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions - USA; Jewish Voice for Peace USA; Resource Center for Non-Violence, Santa Cruz, California; UC California Hastings Chapter, National Lawyers Guild San Francisco, California; Citizens for Justice in the Middle East, Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago Faith Coalition for Middle East Policy, Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati Palestinian Rights Meet-Up, Cincinnati, Ohio; Corvallis-Albany Friends of Middle East Peace, Corvallis, Oregon; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network; International Solidarity Movement, Northern California; Progressive Democrats of America Israel/Palestine Action Group; Middle East Peace Advisory Committee, Middle East Peace Now - Minnesota; Middle East Peace Committee, Los Angeles, California; St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, St. Louis, Missouri; Free Palestine Movement; Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land; Virginians for Middle East Peace; Coalition for Palestinian Rights-Minnesota; Way to Jerusalem. Washington, DC

Undersigned individuals: 

Susan M. Akram, clinical professor, Boston University, School of Law*, Boston, Massachusetts; Huwaida Arraf, Esq., human rights activist; Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director US Human Rights Network*; Medea Benjamin, Co-founder Global Exchange and CODEPINK; Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies*, Washington, DC; George Bisharat, professor, Hastings College of Law*,University of California, San Francisco, California; Audrey Bomse, Esq., legal coordinator, Free Gaza Movement; Helena Cobban, owner and manager, Just World Publishing, LLC, Charlottesville, Virginia; Cindy and Craig Corrie, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, Olympia, Washington; Jamil Dakwar, Esq., human rights advocate, New York, New York; State Rep. Rod Driver, president, Justice First Foundation, West Kingston, Rhode Island; Norman Finkelstein, writer and lecturer, Brooklyn, New York; Linda Frank, Tacoma, Washington; Elizabeth Geschiere, MN Break the Bonds*, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish, Nonviolence*, Stonypoint, NY; Julianne H. Gustafson-Lira, human rights activist, Houston, Texas; Najib Joe Hakim, San Francisco, California; Zaha Hassan, Esq., human rights advocate, Portland, Oregon; Nadia Hijab, author and human rights advocate, Washington, DC; Susan K. Jacoby; Jewish Women for Justice in Israel/Palestine, Boston, Massachusetts; Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun Magazine*, Chair, The Network of Spiritual Progressives*, Rabbi, Beyt Tikkun Synagogue*, Berkeley, California; Marilyn Levin, United for Justice and Peace Coalition, Palestine Task Force, Boston, Massachusetts; Joseph Levine, Department of Philosophy*, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts; Peter Miller, human rights activist, Portland, Oregon; Jeanne Mirer, president, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, New York, New York; Dr. Nancy Murray, Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Boston, Massachusetts; Alice Rothchild, MD, co-chair, American Jews for Just Peace, Boston, Massachusetts; Azadeh Shahshahani, Esq., co-chair, International Committee, National Lawyers Guild, Atlanta, Georgia; Dianne Shammas, Ph.D., Laguna Beach, California; Richard Silverstein, Tikkun Olam, Seattle, Washington; Salena Tramel, Grassroots International,Boston, Massachusetts; the Rev. Richard K. Toll, chair, Friends of Sabeel-North America, Portland, Oregon; Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace USA; Peter Weiss, vice president, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, New York; Mona Younis, Ph.D., human rights advocate, North Bethesda, Maryland; Hossam Bahgat, executive director, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights; Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh, Irish Center for Human Rights*, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland; Dr. Jeff Handmaker, Assistant Professor International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University*, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Bahey Eldin Hassan, general director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights, Cairo, Egypt; Dr. David Heap, Associate Professor and Graduate Chair, French Studies Dept. & Linguistics Program*, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; Joseph Schechla, coordinator, Housing and Land Rights International, Cairo, Egypt

*For identification purposes only


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