Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Aug 14 2014

Jerusalem Grandfather with Hope

Published by under Blogs

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By Daoud Kuttab

This week I became a grandfather.

My eldest daughter, Tamara, gave birth to a baby girl in Jerusalem; baby and mother are healthy and fine.

This piece of good news did not come so easily emotionally or politically, however.

For weeks, we have been hearing, seeing and talking to people about children in Gaza losing their lives not because of natural causes, to accidents or earthquakes, but because of a man made gigantic disaster that in the end was probably aimed at little more than improving some politicians’ standings in upcoming elections.

Sure, there is plenty of talk and pontification about the reasons for the war on Gaza, about some “moral army” that supposedly takes “precautions” to prevent civilian deaths. But the reality is that the occupying Israelis appear to consider every Palestinian in Gaza a member of the Islamic Hamas movement.

While our thoughts and prayers were with the children of Gaza, the weeks leading to the birth of my first grandchild also had discriminatory bureaucratic problems that no expecting couple should have to go through.

My daughter has an Israeli residency in Jerusalem. When Israel occupied the remaining Palestinian territory, it unilaterally passed Israeli law on East Jerusalem, giving its residents (including my family) permanent residency, but not automatic citizenship. Continue Reading »

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Sep 14 2011

Why I resigned from the Board of American Task Force for Palestine?

Published by under Blogs,Palestinian politics

I have always believed that work on the American scene is of utmost importance for the advancement of the Palestinian cause. While there are many American-Palestinian organizations working in the US few had the methodology and ideology that can speak to the American mind and influence an American political establishment that has been taken hostage by the radical pro Israel lobby. Continue Reading »

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Aug 19 2011

My $10,000 Mideast travel extravaganza

Published by under Blogs,Jordan,Travel Blues

I splurged on myself this month. I spent $10,000 to make my life easier. This money was not spent on buying a new car or a more comfortable bed. In fact this money was spent without receiving any tangible commodity or service. I dolled out this money to make my travel from Amman to Jerusalem and back easier and faster. And I didn’t bribe anyone. In fact this week, it took me only two hours (possibly a record not accomplished in 44 years) to make it from Ramallah to Amman because of this expensive act.

This extraordinary sum of money was spent on getting my Jerusalem licensed 2004 VW Golf a second registration, customs and insurance in Jordan (customs and registration alone was JD6,900 nearly $10,000). And with the same car licensed insured and customs paid in both country, plus a permission from the Jordanian ministry of interior, I am able to travel by car across the King Hussein in my own car. Continue Reading »

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Jun 07 2011

My three days in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Published by under Blogs

I spent three days in the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attending a seminar for the renewed sesame street program Iftah ya Simsim. The conference was well organized and the attendees mostly from the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council were very keen on its success.

My impressions of the Saudi capital and the people of the Kingdom range from the “I would never live in this city” to “the people are warm but totally confused.”

Arriving from the airport to downtown Riyadh, the first thing that hits you is the seemingly endless results of one sand storm after the other. From the moment you touchdown and you notice a low flying cloud that looks like the smog you see in major industrial cities. Despite regular attempts at cleaning them, parked cars have a layer of dust that seem perpetual no matter what time of day you are in. Continue Reading »

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Nov 06 2009

My NY Times blog entitled “Abbas has not resigned”

Published by under Blogs

The following blog appeared in the New York Times “Room for Debate” section
Abbas Has Not Resigned

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and a former Ferris professor of journalism at Princeton University.

President Abbas’s decision not to seek another term as head of the Palestinian Authority complicates issues but it also clarifies them. The announcement comes at the end of a turbulent few weeks that saw President Obama humiliate him in New York by asking him to a photo op with Prime Minister Netanyahu and then ordering him to withdraw support for the Goldstone report, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lecturing him in Abu Dhabi and then lavishing praise on Mr. Netanyahu for the unprecedented act that the right-wing Israeli has yet to take.

The Israelis and the Americans couldn’t dream of finding a better Palestinian leader than Abbas.
The Palestinian leader has also been kicked around by radical Palestinians and the Islamic Hamas movement for his unwavering faith in a peace process that seems to be politics as usual in yet another spineless U.S. administration.

The Israelis, the Americans, the international community and any genuine proponent of a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict couldn’t dream of finding a better Palestinian leader. Mr. Abbas has publicly attacked his own party’s hot heads declaring his opposition to the militarization of the intifada. He also mocked Hamas for its useless rockets against Israel and convinced delegates to the Sixth Fatah convention that nonviolent negotiations are the way forward.

Close

Mr. Abbas’s frustration is understandable. Instead of the other parties responding to his moderation, they interpreted them as a reflection of the weak party to the conflict. Palestinians might be weak but they are clearly stubborn on what it is that they will not concede on.

In his public statement Thursday, Mr. Abbas laid out his own red lines: an independent state on the 67 borders including East Jerusalem and a fair solution to the refugee problem. By restating that position he has declared a shift in the paradigm. Instead of negotiations leading to a solution, he has said that his involvement in any negotiations has to be based on how to implement this universally accepted two-state solution.

Late last month, Mr. Abbas signed a decree announcing the Jan. 24 date for presidential and parliamentary elections. Two weeks earlier, he had also signed the Egyptian reconciliation agreement with Hamas in which he was willing to accept a six-month postponement of such elections if there is reconciliation. The Hamas refusal to sign that document left him with little choice but to carry out the constitutional mandate. Mr. Abbas, of course, has not resigned. Any such resignation will mean that the Hamas-supported, recently released by Israel, speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, will become president for 60 days until new elections take place.

The announcement that he will not seek another term becomes crucial only if elections will indeed take place. In 2006, Mr. Abbas refused all suggestions to the contrary and organized elections that led to the overwhelming victory for Islamists. While his and other Palestinian Liberation Organization nationalists will certainly win, it is highly unlikely that he will go ahead with such elections without Gaza’s participation and without some type of national unity agreement.

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Oct 16 2009

The launch of PenMedia’s Studio shoot of Shara’a Simsim

Published by under Blogs

By Daoud Kuttab

Saed talking
It was 9:47 on Tuesday October 12th, 2009 when studio director Saed Andoni made the oft repeated word in film and television. Action. The action he was calling for was the filming of a short scene of a limbo set representing the bedroom of the Palestinian muppet character, Karim.

The filming of this small scene marked the launch of the filming of the fourth season of the Palestinian version of Sesame Street. The filming is new on many fronts. It represents the maiden filming by new Palestinian media NGO, PenMedia which I established shortly after resigning from my previous position as the director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University. PenMedia a subsidery of my Amman-based Community Media Network has a local advisory board headed by former Palestinian head writer Khalil Abu Arafeh. Continue Reading »

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Sep 01 2009

A phone call from Prime Minister Fayyad

Published by under Blogs,Palestinian politics

By Daoud Kuttab

Except for a short encounter on a plane years ago, I had never met in person Salam Fayyad. I certainly didn’t have any communications with him before I wrote the piece praising his two year planhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/daoud-kuttab/fayyads-brilliant-two-yea_b_270253.html for Palestinian statehood. No one from his office had sent me a copy of the plan or suggested that I write about it.

However, I did hear from the Palestinian prime minister after it was published. At around noon on Monday the 31st of august, my cell phone rang and the person on the other side identified himself and said that Prime Minister Fayyad wanted to talk to me. Mr. Fayyad got on the phone and he thanked me for the article and said that I understood him perfectly. He was especially keen to tell me that I was the only person who actually who understood the difference between a de facto state and a unilateral declaration of statehood. The latter being in direct contradiction to a 2002 US congressional resolution calling on the US president to monitor that the Palestinian authority doesn’t make a unilateral declaration. Prime Minister Fayyad also liked the fact that I stressed the pro active nature of the plan and that I differentiated between the role of the political role of the president and the civil service role of the prime minister. I noted to him that some of his own ministers have been bad mouthing the plan even though they had participated in it. Fayyad confirmed that a special retreat for all his cabinet had taken place weeks earlier in which this plan was thoroughly discussed and approved. He was clearly unhappy with the way some of his own government had not fully backed the plan. Fayyad thanked me again and invited me for a longer discussion at a time to be determined later.
Continue Reading »

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Jun 26 2009

Three governments, two companies and one fleet of vans ensure continue suffering and dubious money making

Published by under Blogs

By Daoud Kuttab

This is a story about one fleet of vans, two companies and three governments. The van is a 9 seat hundai which travels a three kilometer route joining the passport terminal on both sides of the King Hussein Bridge. The companies are a Jordanian one and an Israeli. The Jordanian company: the Golden Arrow is a company officially registered in the name of Abu Khaled Hanania but it is known by many that there is a certain amount of investment in this company by one of Jordan’s security branches. The Israeli company is called Laufer Aviation it recently won a concession from the Israeli Airport Authority replacing Qumran VIP. The three relevant governments are the Israelis (which includes here both the civilian and military) the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian
government.
Continue Reading »

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Apr 02 2009

Published by under Blogs

How to create genuine narrative

By Daoud Kuttab

The film won Arab and international praise for its courage in tackling some of Palestine’s more difficult issues. But the hardest and most obnoxious reviewers were back at home.

The fiction movie is Najwa Najjar’s “Pomegranates and Myrrh”, which opened the Dubai International Film Festival, Rotterdam, Sundance and was shown at the had a special screening hosted by the Berline-Bradenberg Prime Ministry durig the Berlin Film Fesitval. See trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgofDQxSGRQ
Many more festivals have plans to show the film.
Continue Reading »

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Mar 02 2009

How to guarantee that reconstructed Gaza will not be destroyed again

Published by under Articles,Blogs

By Daoud Kuttab/ Sharm el Sheikh

A resounding and unanimous international message of support was sounded in the Red sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh March 2 with the participation of world leaders. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UN Secretary General and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were joined with foreign ministers as well as representatives of regional and international organizations, and foundations.
Ironically two key groups were absent from the meeting. Israel and Hamas.
Continue Reading »

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