Archive for February 2009
Moving Forward After Gaza: What next for Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel? Mohammad Darawshe, London, 26 Feb.
|UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives, in co-operation with the Foreign Press Association present
Moving Forward After Gaza: What next for Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel?
A briefing by Mohammad Darawshe Director of the Abraham Fund
The Gaza war has generated a public outcry, with thousands taking to the streets in London and around the world. In Israel, tensions between the Jewish and Arab communities have risen, threatening current cooperation efforts. From a unique perspective of a coexistence organisation between the Jewish and Arab communities, director Mohammad Darawshe of the Abraham Fund Initiatives will address the situation on the ground. He will outline the much needed action from governments and other agencies and will provide examples of tried and tested model projects already successfully implemented, which demonstrate that coexistence can work, but needs to be supported. About Mohammad Darawshe
Mr Darawshe has been the Director of the Abraham Fund Initiatives since 2005 and he has presented lectures and papers at many international and academic institutions such as the U.S. congress, the European parliament, NATO Defense College, the World Economic Forum, and most recently the Herzlia Conference. He won numerous awards, including the Peacemaker award, bestowed by the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago and the Peace and Security Award of the World Association of NGOs. In 2008, he was elected as a council member of his own hometown Iksal.
UK friends of the Abraham Fund
A far from theoretical danger: since the end of December, 181 Palestinians have been summarily executed, kneecapped or tortured because they opposed Hamas.
The Andalous building in the Al-Karama neighborhood of Gaza City is reduced to a skeleton of concrete. The Israelis have hit hard, and this middle-age Palestinian couple has nothing left but to pick up the rubble of an apartment not yet paid for. They escort us on what remains of the indoor stairs, on the condition that Panorama uses only their family nicknames. “We knew that it was going to end up like this. Since the early days of the attack the muqawemeen (the guerrilla fighters of the Palestinian “resistance”, AN)
had positioned themselves in the twelfth and thirteenth floors, with the snipers. Every now and then they tried, to no avail, to shoot down one of those UAVs that the Israelis use”, says Abu Mohammed, shaking his head. In the building, not yet finished, lived 22 families: more than 120 civilians, including women
and children. The Israelis had begun calling the tenants’ cell phones ordering them to vacate the premises. Then, the militiamen got a more explicit message: a fighter dropped a bomb on the empty courtyard on the other side of road without causing victims, but opening a huge crater. “A delegation of householders beseeched the militiamen to leave” resumed the tenant. The answer was: “You will die with us or we will survive together”.
On January 13 the Israeli F16’s hit the building at 9:30 P.M. “At night we would go to sleep at our relatives’ homes: we were saved, but no longer had a home and we still have to repay 9 years of the loan” says Om Mohammed in despair, a veil on her head. The Islamic Bank does not grant exceptions.
Please, let’s all stop calling Hamas a resistance movement. The people of Gaza have two oppressors: the Israeli goverment, and the Hamas.
The goodenough college is celebrating Arab Cultural week. Last night there was, among other things, a sale of Zaytoun products, as a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people. I’m a big fan of fair trade, and my sentiments on the Palestinian issue are known. So I bought a jar of Za’atar. This morning I opened it and was stunned by a strong wave of sensetions. Just cracking open the lid filled the kitchen with scents of my childhood. As if in a time warp, I saw myself walking in the Judea hills, smelling the wild theme rubbing against my shows. Feeling the dry thisle scratching my knees. I remembered saturday walks in the old city, dad buying us “Beigale” with Za’atar rolled up in little newspaper cones. My Jerusalem in exile.
The Jerusalem of my childhood may have never existed: the thisle grows on ruins, my Beigale is really Ka’ak, and that says it all. But there’s no denying the smell of Za’atar. It has its right of self-determination. It catches me unawares and takes me where it will.
Anyway, I had a look at the label. It says “produced by Palestinian farmers from the Gallilie”. Oh well, I thought, I gusess I just pays a little bit VAT to finance Netanhayu’s goverment.
Last week I was invited to participate in Tariq Ramadan’s “Islam & Life” show on PressTV. The title of the show was “Palestine: the ethics of Resistance”, but in fact the main topic of discussion was the boycott campaign in the UK. I shared a panel with Faizal Dawjee, who was introduced as a former journalist from South Africa, and Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, secretary of BRICUP (pronounced like hicup).
There was no pretence of balance – PressTV identifies itself as the first Iranian international news network, Tariq Ramadan has his clear views on the subject, and the panel had two pro-boycotters on one side and myself on the other. Nevertheless, there was an honest, respectfull and open debate. I was given the oportunity to resopnd to every argument by my peers, and ample time to present my positions. Whether I did a good job of that is for you to judge.
I heard about Philip Rizk from 3arabawy‘s twitter feed. According to various sources, Rizk was arrested by the Egyptian secret police after organising a rally in support of Gazans. You can follow updates on