Jun 23 2016

Abbas in Amman back to the routine

Published by under Articles,Jordan

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By Daoud Kuttab

The statement coming out of the Jordan News Agency, Petra, was very ordinary. It stated that President Mahmoud Abbas and his delegation made up of PLO secretary Saeb Erekat and head of the Palestinian intelligence service Majed Faraj were hosted by King Abdullah and the Crown Prince for an iftar banquet on Wednesday, June 15.

The statement went on to say that the two leaders discussed current issues, including the Palestinian conflict and the stalled peace process.

The Petra news report may have sounded routine and ordinary, but this was no ordinary meeting.

The routine visits that Palestinian President Abbas usually makes to see the King have not been happening for nearly a year or so.

Very few people have been able to figure out what was the reason for this drought in relations.

Some have pointed out that it was due to the Palestinian insistence that Jordan submit a resolution to the UN Security Council back on December 24, 2014.

Jordan, which at the time was presiding over the Security Council, had advised against the move, but Ramallah insisted. The resolution failed to gain the needed minimum nine votes to be voted on.  Continue Reading »

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Jun 23 2016

REVEALED: CAUSE OF JORDANIAN ANGER WITH PALESTINIANS

Published by under Articles,Jordan

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By Daoud Kuttab

The report  published in the Jordan Times, was very ordinary. It stated that President Mahmoud Abbas and his delegation made up of PLO secretary Saeb Erekat and head of the Palestinian intelligence service Majed Faraj were hosted by King Abdullah and the Crown Prince for an iftar banquet on Wednesday, June 15.
The report went on to say that the two leaders discussed current issues, including the Palestinian conflict and the stalled peace process.
The Jordan Times report may have sounded routine and ordinary, but this was no ordinary meeting.
The routine visits that Palestinian President Abbas usually makes to see the King have not been happening for nearly a year or so.
Very few people have been able to figure out what was the reason for this drought in relations.
Some have pointed out that it was due to the Palestinian insistence that Jordan submit a resolution to the UN Security Council back on December 29, 2014.
Jordan, which at the time was presiding over the Security Council, had advised against the move, but Ramallah insisted. The resolution failed to gain the needed minimum nine votes to be voted on. Continue Reading »

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Jun 22 2016

Will East Jerusalem airport become another Jewish settlement?

AlMonitor

By Daoud Kuttab

Like so many locations, Palestine’s first airport has three names, each reflecting a different narrative. When it was established in 1920 by the British mandatory government of Palestine, it was given the name “Jerusalem Airport.” A photo taken in 1969 after the 1967 Israeli occupation reflects the original name, albeit with the Hebrew lettering placed above the English and Arabic names.

Palestinians often refer to the airport, which is located near the Palestinian village of Qalandia, north of Jerusalem, as Qalandia Airport. The term has gained popularity since 1948. The Qalandia refugee camp erected near the village also carries the same name, as does the infamous Qalandia checkpoint not far from the town and the airport strip. Palestinian filmmaker Nahed Awwad has reflected on the history of the Qalandia Airport in a documentary titled “5 Minutes from Home” and an article in the Journal of Palestine Studies. The film reflects the extreme Palestinian yearning for times past when travel by airport was very much available without the current hassles of crossing the bridge to Jordan.

But as history is written by the victors, the only name that has a Wikipedia entry is that of Atarot Airport — while the subtext gives the names of Jerusalem and Qalandia. The Israeli media has given the airport the name Atarot Airport in reference to a Jewish moshav (cooperative) settlement that carries the name that has a Biblical reference in Joshua 16:2. Atarot Moshav lies close to the current location of the airport. The moshav was abandoned in the 1948 war and was re-established as an industrial park after the 1967 Israeli occupation. Continue Reading »

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Jun 19 2016

Enforcement of Ramadan laws varies among Palestinian cities

AlMonitor

By Daoud Kuttab

Samia Danna, a young Palestinian woman from Jerusalem, is worried about how she will get through Ramadan this year. Danna works in Ramallah at a communications company, and the holy month has arrived while she is six months pregnant. Although Islam exempts pregnant women and others (the sick, travelers and women menstruating) from the all-day fasting ritual, Danna was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find a restaurant open from which to order lunch.

Responding to Al-Monitor by email, Danna said that she has not had a problem finding food. “While many restaurants are closed, many restaurants whose owners are Christians are open,” she reported, ticking off the names of some half dozen eateries in Ramallah that are open during the day.

In Bethlehem, the situation is no different. Jeryies Sadi’s family rents a number of shops, including a restaurant on trendy Karkafe Street. “The local government in Bethlehem has no problem with people eating on the streets, and restaurants are open here,” Sadi told Al-Monitor. Continue Reading »

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Jun 19 2016

Palestine hopes to join Interpol this fall

AlMonitor

By Daoud Kuttab

Palestine is hoping to upgrade its observer status to a full membership in Interpol this fall. The international police organization’s 85th General Assembly is set to take place in November in Bali, Indonesia.

 It was reported that European police officials are working with the Palestinians to prepare them for the upcoming discussion. Joeri Van Nuffel, the former chief inspector of security at Brussels’ Zaventem airport, has been coaching Palestinian officials. Van Nuffel joined Interpol in 2012 and has been working with the EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support. The latter declined to comment as it is a technical office.

The Ramallah-based coordinating office has a staff of 69 international employees and 45 nationals with a budget of 9.2 million euros ($10.3 million), according to its website.

The initiative to create an international organization to fight crime came out of the first International Criminal Police Congress, held in Monaco in 1914. In 1923, it became known as the International Criminal Police Commission, and in 1956, its name was shortened to Interpol. Continue Reading »

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Jun 16 2016

Netanyahu’s warped logic

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By Daoud Kuttab

After initially hinting that Israel might be open to some elements of the 2002 Arab Peace Plan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu totally backtracked.

“The Arab Peace Initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said shortly after right-wing member of Knesset Avigdor Lieberman was sworn in.

“We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002, but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”

Less than two weeks later, Netanyahu told his ministers that “Israel will never accept the Arab Peace Initiative as basis for talks with Palestinians. If they bring the proposal from 2002 and define it as ‘take it or leave it’ — we’ll choose to leave it”.

The Arab plan is both powerful and simple in its details. It is based on what the two Bush presidents (and all presidents after) considered as the basis for resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, namely an exchange of land for peace. Continue Reading »

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Jun 13 2016

Occupied East Jerusalem Needs to Be Free

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By Daoud Kuttab

In its attempt to force itself on the Palestinians of Jerusalem, the Israeli government and various Israeli radical groups have an arsenal of actions, activities and slogans all with the same purpose.

Unable to remove Palestinians from Jerusalem or wrestle total control over the holy city, various attempts are made to make the city more Jewish and to try to negate the Palestinian presence in the city. The Israeli prime minister’s office and a US tax exempt charity have been exposed as being financial supporters of the controversial right wing march in the Palestinian communities of East Jerusalem.
Christian and Muslim worshipers and leaders are regularly made to feel inferior in their city.

While some of the more flagrant, provocative, actions are usually blamed on the more radical right-wing Jewish elements, a quick review of the actions and words of Israeli government and municipal officials shows little difference from the radicals.
The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem walks around the Old City brandishing a weapon and wants to unilaterally remove some 200,000 Palestinians from 27 villages that are part of the city’s municipal boundaries. Continue Reading »

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Jun 12 2016

Why Palestinians are tuning into this reality TV show to select the next president

AlMonitor

By Daoud Kuttab

The bio of Waed Qannam reads like the perfect resume for a potential president of Palestine.

Born in the Arroub refugee camp near Hebron in 1992; graduated in law from Palestine’s leading university, Al-Quds; holder of a master’s degree in law from Birzeit University; and active in the Fatah movement, Qannam became a resident of Jerusalem after his father, an eye doctor, moved to the Holy City in 2002. His mother is an activist in the Palestinian women’s movement and became the director general of the Women’s Ministry.

Qannam’s resume may have helped him reach the pinnacle of a presidential contest, but it was not the political one. A made-for-television contest that began in 2013, called “al-Raies” (Arabic for “president”), on Maan TV allows Palestinians to compete in front of a crowd and a jury made up of veteran politicians. President Qannam was “chosen” from a crowded field that included 1,180 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip after 40 grueling episodes. The decision as to who would become the “president” was taken by a jury made up of senior Palestinian political figures and local businessmen, along with votes from the public. He was voted president on the season finale that aired June 1. Continue Reading »

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Jun 12 2016

How to end cycle of violence between Palestinians, Israelis

AlMonitor

By Daoud Kuttab

The cycle of violence in Palestine and Israel has become so predictable that almost anyone following the news can easily forecast what will happen next. For Palestinians, Israelis and the international community, the predictability of the cycle of violence points to lifting the Israeli occupation as the most effective way to end the violence. The June 8 attack on a market in Tel Aviv that left four Israelis dead is no exception to this dynamic.

Palestinians speak of the absence of a peace process and lack of a political horizon as a factor in the deepening cycle of violence. Muammar Orabi, director general of the Ramallah-based Wattan News Agency, told Al-Monitor that what happened in Tel Aviv is a natural outcome of the current political decline. “Palestinians have lost hope, and there is an unprecedented sense of frustration in the occupied territories,” Orabi said.

This opinion is not restricted to Palestinians. In an interview with journalist Ilana Dayan on Israel Army Radio (Galei Tzaha) on June 10, Ron Huldai, the popular mayor of Tel Aviv, pointed the blame. Huldai, a former air force pilot and ambitious Labor Party leader, said that there are more than 200 territorial disputes worldwide, adding, “We might be the only country in the world where another nation is under occupation without civil rights. You can’t hold people in a situation of occupation and hope they’ll reach the conclusion everything is alright.” Continue Reading »

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Jun 09 2016

Jerusalem Day changes nothing

Jordan times logo

By Daoud Kuttab

In its attempt to force itself on the Palestinians of Jerusalem, the Israeli government and various Israeli radical groups have an arsenal of actions, activities and slogans all with the same purpose.

Unable to remove Palestinians from Jerusalem or wrestle total control over the holy city, various attempts are made to make the city more Jewish and to try to negate the Palestinian presence in the city.

Christian and Muslim worshipers and leaders are regularly made to feel inferior in their city.

While some of the more flagrant, provocative, actions are usually blamed on the more radical right-wing Jewish elements, a quick review of the actions and words of Israeli government and municipal officials shows little difference from the radicals.

The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem walks around the Old City brandishing a weapon and wants to unilaterally remove some 200,000 Palestinians from 27 villages that are part of the city’s municipal boundaries.

The Israeli prime minister, ignoring all other civilisations that have and continue to be part of the city, attempts to rewrite history based on the Zionist narrative that negates all others.

This is also evident in the strange map of the Old City of Jerusalem put out by the Israeli tourism ministry that shows 57 Jewish sites seven Christian locations and a single Muslim site Al Haram Al Sharif/Al Aqsa, Israel renamed Temple Mount. Continue Reading »

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