Archive for February, 2010

Feb 25 2010

Are serious negotiations around the corner or is this a mirage?

Published by under Articles,Palestinian politics

By Daoud Kuttab

Palestinians and many others around the world are trying to figure out whether the current US-backed push to restart Mideast talks will lead to serious negotiations or will it be just another act that leads nowhere.

The US peace envoy George Mitchell has been making the rounds trying to restart Palestinian-Israeli talks. Mitchell’s early obstacle was America’s own making. The newly elected president, Barack Obama, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, raised Palestinian expectations by their insistence, soon after taking power, on Israel to totally freeze all settlement activity as part of its obligations to the roadmap. Later Obama reduced his call for a freeze to one for “restricting” activities.

In its latest approach, the US proposed a set of steps including Israeli release of Fateh activists as well as organising indirect talks for three to four months. Continue Reading »

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Feb 18 2010

Fatehgate – between fact and fiction

Published by under Articles,Palestinian politics

By Daoud Kuttab

Corruption has always been the Achilles heel of the Palestinian leadership. At the height of PLO’s popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, the relationship between revolution and money was the movement’s major weakness.

Well-respected Palestinian artist Kamal Boulatta best reflected this dichotomy in his painting mixing the words thawra (revolution) and tharwa (riches).
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Feb 16 2010

Filippo Grandi, a new commissioner intent on defending the rights and living conditions of Palestinian refugees

Published by under Articles,Other

Filippo Grandi was clearly prepared for his new mission. Defending and preserving the rights and interests of Palestinian refugees. As deputy commissioner, the Italian born Grandi was very much versed in the workings of the UN, familiar with his international and local staffs, understood the politics and politicians of the Middle East and knew exactly about the financial health of this international agency.

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Feb 15 2010

Jordanians to enjoy Kids News soon

Jordanian children will be able to hear and see televised news geared to them in the near future. A memorandum of understanding to introduce the internationally known Kids News program to Jordanian kids was signed Saturday at the Dead Seas between the Dutch based Free Voice by Bart Dijkstra with Jordan’s Community Media Network by Daoud Kuttab. The Dutch Ambassador to Jordan Johanna van Vliet, and the newly chosen director of Free Voice Jan Bonjer also attended the signing event.

The MOU expects an 18 month project that will begin with intensive two month training followed by weekly broadcasts and ending with daily broadcasts of a television news program geared to Jordanian children primarily between 10-14 years old.
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Feb 11 2010

Palestinian Christian priests call for non-violent resistance

Published by under Articles,Palestinian politics

By Daoud Kuttab

The voice of Father Jamal Khader coming over the waves of Radio Mawwal in Bethlehem was soothing and confident. A caller asked him to explain the words of Jesus, “to love your enemy”, in light of the occupation and walls built by Israel and the injustice against Palestinians.

Father Khader, who was being interviewed along with Rifaat Kassis, the coordinator of a new initiative by 16 Jerusalem-based Christian leaders, said that Christians are committed to these words without reservation.

“All the people of the world are God’s children and we are obliged to follow the words of our Lord,” he said with confidence, knowing full well that most of his listeners will have a hard-time digesting that reply. The Catholic priest, who also teaches theology at Bethlehem University, said that Christ was also a champion of the oppressed. He said that Palestinians are oppressed today and Jesus clearly stands by Palestinians, and that was what led him and other Christian leaders to sign the Kairos Palestine document.

Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. On the kairospalestine.ps website, the 16 Christian leaders whose names are listed insist that this the moment of truth. They state boldly: “We Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity.”

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Feb 04 2010

Electronic Media Debate

Published by under Articles,Media Activism

By Daoud Kuttab

The decision by the Court of Cassation to classify websites as “publications” and thus apply the Press and Publications Law to them is troubling.

Unlike other laws that criminalise press violations, Jordan’s Press and Publications Law only allows civilian punishment, meaning that electronic media violators might be fined, but not jailed. But the problem facing web-based publications is much more complicated when it comes to jailing or fining web publishers.

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