Category Archives: Mideast

Complicity in Genocide—The Case Against the Biden Administration


An article from In These Times

Early this month (February 2024), a federal judge dismissed a case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging  U.S. President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with complicity in the Israeli-led genocide in Gaza.

But while many media outlets were quick to report on the case not moving forward, they largely missed a key aspect of the ruling: the judge did not dismiss the case on its merits but rather because it fell  “outside the court’s limited jurisdiction,” therefore rejecting it on technical grounds. In fact, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White’s statement appeared to uphold some of plaintiff’s key charges in the case:  “Both the uncontroverted testimony of the plaintiffs and the expert opinion proffered at the hearing on these motions as well as statements made by various officers of the Israeli government indicate that the ongoing military siege in Gaza is intended to eradicate a whole people and therefore plausibly falls within the international prohibition against genocide.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US President Joe Biden, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin look on during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 2, 2023.

The judge went further, urging Biden and his administration officials to scrutinize  “the results of their unflagging support” for the Israeli government’s assault on Gaza.

Judge White was not alone in his appraisal. The case, first heard on January 26 in front of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, saw roughly 100 human rights and humanitarian aid groups write briefs supporting CCR’s charges against the Biden administration. 

These briefs make it abundantly clear that the Biden administration, in its steadfast support of the Israeli government, is complicit in the ongoing genocide, the displacement of approximately 80% of Palestinians from their homes and the deaths of more than 29,000 so far in this latest chapter of a year-long Nakba (catastrophe) that never ended.

CCR’s lawsuit underscored the plight of a Palestinian people asserting their humanity and refusing to be sacrificed at the altar of  the 1948 Genocide Convention—which tasks governments with preventing genocides and forbids their complicity in genocides perpetrated by another party — and the U.S. Genocide Convention Implementation Act, passed in 1988, which incorporates this mandate into U.S. law.

As multiple human rights advocates and experts such as Israeli historian and Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Raz Segal have laid out, Israel is carrying out a textbook case of genocide” in Gaza, backed by clear genocidal intent, laid bare in Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant’s Oct. 9 declaration: “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly.”

In response to the case, the Biden administration countered that CCR’s lawsuit should not move forward because supporting Israel is a foreign policy decision reserved for the executive branch, free from judicial interference; that the United States is not responsible for how Israel, a foreign government, acts; and that there is no federal law allowing the plaintiffs to sue.

CCR noted, first, that the issue is not whether the U.S. can make foreign policy decisions involving Israel but rather that the decision to aid in a genocide violates federal law, and the courts have a duty to uphold the law even against U.S. officials.

Second, CCR explained in detail how the Biden administration, far from a neutral spectator, is actively supporting the genocide through military, economic and diplomatic assistance.

Militarily, Secretary Blinken exercised emergency powers twice in December to approve the sale of armament worth approximately $254 million. According to the Defense Department, these supplies come from the War Reserve Stocks for Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), an obscure U.S. stockpile in Israel containing billions of dollars’ worth of equipment.

The administration now seeks to loosen WRSA-I restrictions for Israel, expanding access to weaponry, increasing the annual stockpile limits, and removing legislative oversight, while adding to the privileges Israel already enjoys such as permission to withdraw WRSA-I items without the prior justification required of all other recipient countries.

The U.S. has provided (or is on track to provide) Israel over 25,000 tons of military supplies: dozens of F‑35 and F-15 fighter jets (to be received in the coming years), a dozen Apache helicopters, two thousand Hellfire missiles, MK‑ 84 bombs and Joint Direct Attack Munitions to guide them, Spice bombs, M141 bunker‑buster munitions, one million rounds of 7.62 mm munitions and thousands of 155 mm artillery shells, 30 mm cannon munitions, night‑vision devices and much more. Meanwhile, the presence of U.S. surveillance drones in Gaza suggests the possibility of greater U.S. military involvement than previously thought.

Financially, President Biden requested an emergency supplemental budget exceeding $14 billion to support Israel. The House of Representatives responded with a bill reflecting this amount plus billions of dollars for joint operations assistance. The Senate has now passed a bill for $14 billion permitting the supply of currently forbidden military items to Israel, as well as waiving WRSA-I caps. These bills are currently being debated in Congress but enjoy broad bipartisan support.

And, diplomatically, the United States exercised its veto privilege at the United Nations Security Council to stall international calls for a cease-fire in Gaza on October 18, December 8 and February 20. The December instance followed UN Secretary General António Guterres’s invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter to refer to the Security Council a “ matter which, in [his] opinion, may aggravate existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Article 99 was last invoked in 1971 preceding the split of Bangladesh from Pakistan. Additionally, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly supported cease-fire resolutions on October 27 and December 12 , both of which the U.S. voted against. And, on December 22 , the U.S. abstained from a Security Council vote to direct humanitarian aid to Gaza after stalling for four days to remove a call for cease-fire from the resolution.

These various forms of support unequivocally constitute aiding and abetting of Israel’s cataclysmic destruction of Gaza, and the CCR argued as much in establishing that the U.S. has been actively complicit in the ongoing genocide.

Relatedly, the CCR referenced this very aiding and abetting in claiming that they do have a federal right to sue under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). As they explained, “aiding and abetting liability, particularly for U.S. defendants,” triggers the ATS goal of “provid[ing] a forum for violations of international law.”

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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Therefore, the CCR concluded, the courts do have a constitutional duty to put an end to the executive branch’s complicity in genocide; the executive branch is complicit based on its clear aiding and abetting in the form of military, financial and diplomatic support; and the ATS permits plaintiffs to sue federal officials for their violations of the Genocide Convention.

No conditions

CCR further charged Biden, Blinken and Austin with failure to prevent the genocide. The Genocide Convention and customary international law compel governments to exercise due diligence to prevent genocide, and self-defense is legally insufficient as a justification for eradicating a population. U.S. officials are liable if they could likely influence Israel’s conduct and if they should have known that Israel’s acts raised a serious risk of genocide in Gaza.

In Gaza, the U.S. indisputably can influence Israel’s conduct. The U.S. fills 92% of Israel’s arms imports. Much of this equipment can only originate from the U.S. as it utilizes proprietary technologies. Defense Minister Gallant admitted as much, when the U.S. pressured for humanitarian aid to Gaza, noting that “[t]he Americans insisted and we are not in a place where we can refuse them. We rely on them for planes and military equipment. What are we supposed to do? Tell them no?” The Biden administration similarly boasted about its influence in persuading Israel to pause aggressions for seven days in late November.

And the United States is doubtlessly aware of the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The CCR shared its emergency legal briefing paper with Biden, Blinken, and Austin in October explaining these exact points. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in January that there is a plausible risk that Israel is carrying out genocide. Additionally, more than 800 public officials and diplomats across a range of countries, close to 80 of whom are based in the U.S. and work primarily within Blinken’s State Department, warned in February that their governments were at risk of being complicit in genocide.

In a previous case, the ICJ found Serbia to be liable for failing to prevent the genocide of Muslim communities in Srebrenica in 1995 by the Bosnian Serb forces, an independent actor that perpetrated the genocide with the support of the Serbian government. Dr. William A. Schabas, a renowned Professor of Human Rights Law and International Criminal Law, concluded that U.S. complicity in the war on Gaza “ has many parallels” with the Serbian government’s complicity in Srebrenica since, like the relationship between Israel and the U.S., “[t]he Bosnian Serb forces were very dependent upon weaponry and other logistical support from Serbia, and there were strong political and economic ties” between the two. The U.S. acknowledged this very duty to prevent genocide when it commented in support of Ukraine’s case against Russia at the ICJ in 2022.

The Biden administration blanketly denies the genocide charges against Israel while refusing to investigate them altogether. President Biden vowed that his “ administration’s support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.” Secretary Blinken has stated his view that South Africa’s “ charge of genocide [against Israel before the ICJ] is meritless.” And White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said, on behalf of the Biden administration, that “[w]e find [South Africa’s] submission meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact, whatsoever,” later insisting that “ we find that that claim is unfounded.”

More recently, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi baselessly claimed that “ nothing [the U.S. has] sent since Oct. 7 [to Israel] has contributed to this brutality,” despite well recorded evidence to the contrary.

The U.S. State Department ordered officials to refrain from using the phrases “ de‑escalation,” “ cease-fire,” “ end to violence,” “ end to bloodshed,” and “ restoring calm” in press releases, and Secretary Blinken was found to have deleted references to a cease-fire in his posts on X (formerly Twitter) after they had already been sent out.

Conspicuously, a State Department task force on preventing atrocities took a full two weeks into the extremely brutal assault before meeting to discuss Israel and Palestine, and it was nevertheless sidelined by the administration.

According to Kirby, the U.S. imposes no conditions on weapons transfers to Israel even though the Foreign Assistance Act, the Leahy Law, and the Conventional Arms Transfer policy prohibit transfers when the weapons are likely intended to be used for genocide. Notably, transfers to most countries can be put on hold if one stakeholder suspects an item will be used unlawfully. In the case of Israel, multiple stakeholders, including the Bureau of Near East Affairs (NEA) and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, must first agree that such risk exists, and the hold must be approved by the Deputy Secretary of State.

Moreover, these transfers are shrouded in secrecy. Whereas the U.S. published pages detailing what weapons, and in what quantities, it provided to Ukraine, governmental disclosures concerning Israel amount to one brief sentence. Josh Paul, former director in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, remarks that there is no benefit in this secrecy except diminished oversight.

And the administration insists that it has remained close to the Israeli officials perpetrating the genocide. Kirby claimed that “ we have, since the beginning of the conflict, in the early hours, maintained a level of communication with our Israeli counterparts to ascertain their intentions, their strategy, their aims.” Secretary Blinken has held hours-long conferences with Israeli military officials, and Secretary Austin had near-daily calls with Minister Gallant “ to meet Israel’s needs, which include air defense, precision guided munitions, artillery and medical supplies.”

Responsibility to act

The U.S. District Court in California, spotlighting the ICJ’s finding of plausible genocide, implored the administration to reconsider its course for the welfare of the Palestinian people, finding the judiciary to be lamentably powerless to interfere with foreign policy decisions.

Looking to the future, a group of South African lawyers stated to the Biden administration their intention to sue the U.S. government for “ aiding, abetting and supporting, encouraging or providing material assistance and means to Israel” during a genocide. On February 12 , the South African government urgently requested that the ICJ use its powers to prevent further genocidal acts by Israel in light of the most recent attack on Rafah, “ the last refuge for surviving people in Gaza.”

As the CCR case makes clear, the United States government is currently facilitating the annihilation of Gaza and the Palestinian people. In the face of this massacre, Congress has a responsibility to rein in the abuses of the Biden administration by exercising its review authority to end any further aid to the Israeli government. While recent efforts to condition such aid have failed, that should not prevent members of Congress from taking a clear stand: now is the time to hold the Biden administration accountable for its complicity in the crime of genocide.

(Editor’s note: Recent polling data (May 8) in the United States indicates that 39% believe Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people living in Gaza, 38% saying Israel is not, and 23% saying they don’t know. A majority of Democrats (56%) and a slight plurality of Independents (36%) say they believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.)

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6 ways you can support Palestinians in Gaza


An editorial by Jennifer Bing for the American Friends Service Committee

Many people of conscience are looking for ways to support Palestinians in Gaza as violence continues to escalate. On Oct. 7, a Hamas-led attack on Israel killed at least 1,200 Israelis and took an estimated 200 hostages. Israel immediately launched attacks on Gaza. After months of bombardment, Israeli attacks have killed more than 37,000 Palestinians in Gaza and displaced nearly 2 million from their homes.

Now Gaza is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that grows worse by the day. People are dying of starvation and disease. The entire health care system has collapsed. Still, Israel continues to hinder the delivery of aid and maintains its total siege on the territory.

A Palestinian girl walks next to a Banksy mural of children using an Israeli army watchtower as a swing ride, on a wall in Beit Hanoun town, in the northern Gaza Strip. April 10, 2015. Sameh Rahmi

Gaza’s 2.3 million people have long faced suffocating conditions imposed by Israel and upheld by the international community. For 16 years, Palestinians in Gaza have lived under Israel’s brutal blockade, isolated from the rest of Palestine and the world. More than 50% of Palestinians were unemployed and over 80% relied on humanitarian relief to survive. They had limited access to clean water, electricity, and medical care.  

Previous Israeli military attacks on Gaza—including devastating bombing assaults in May 2021, August 2022, and May 2023—killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed critical infrastructure. Even before Oct. 7, 2023, the psychosocial well-being of children, young people, and their caregivers had declined to alarming levels, according to Save the Children.  

Today, we must renew and strengthen our efforts to change these realities. Here are six ways you can support Palestinians in Gaza today.  

1) Contact your member of Congress and call for an immediate cease-fire. 
Popular opinion polls show a majority of people in the U.S. favor of a cease-fire. Millions have joined protests around the globe. Yet only a few members of Congress have publicly called for a cease-fire. Our elected officials must keep hearing from us.  

° Take a few minutes today to call your representative using this online form. Then, send them an email.  

° Join AFSC online for our weekly Action Hour for a Cease-Fire. Every Friday, we’ll share updates from AFSC’s staff in Gaza, tips for advocacy, and then make calls and write letters to Congress. Register here

2) Help bring attention to what’s happening in Gaza.  

° Take part in protests. Marches, rallies, and vigils are a powerful way to publicly demonstrate solidarity with Gaza. To make your message loud and clear, download and print our free posters for Palestine

° Write a letter to the editor. This is an effective way to show support for Gaza, counter harmful media narratives about what’s happening, and add context that news outlets often miss out on. Use these letter-writing tips.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can just one or a few persons contribute to peace and justice?

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3) Learn more about Gaza and lift up Palestinian voices. 

Read “Light in Gaza: Writings Born of Fire.” This anthology features work by 12 Palestinian writers who imagine the future of Gaza beyond the cruelties of occupation and apartheid.  For a limited time, you can download the e-book for free. You can also listen to online conversations with “Light in Gaza” contributors and organize a group in your community to read the book.  Use our study guide  to help facilitate discussions.  

Check out articles by AFSC staff, including: 

Yousef Aljamal’s articles on decimation of education in Gaza and impact of 200 days of genocide in Gaza.

Article by Firas Ramlawi on AFSC’s efforts in Gaza to bring relief to children. 

Article by Zoe Jannuzi on creating community on AFSC’s weekly Action hours for a cease-fire. 

Check out our list of resources about Gaza, including films, articles, books, and websites. Seek out news coverage from outlets with Palestinian journalists reporting from Gaza including the Electronic Intifada, Middle East Eye, Mondoweiss, and Al Jazeera

4) Hold corporations accountable for their role in violating the rights of Palestinians in Gaza. 

This war is enabled by the U.S. military industrial complex, as was the case with Israel’s previous attacks on Gaza. This short list includes large weapon manufacturers  that have been complicit in military attacks on Gaza. Here is the list of companies that are profiting from current attacks on Gaza, which will continually be updated by AFSC.

However, that is the tip of the iceberg. Many U.S. corporations are involved in Israel’s apartheid regime and other routine human rights violations against Palestinians. Ensure your money is not contributing to human rights violations—and call on these companies to end their complicity in apartheid and war crimes. 

Visit AFSC’s Investigate website to learn more about companies involved in the occupation, and how you can join efforts to divest or boycott them. 

5) Join us in working to dismantle Israeli apartheid. 

In 2023, AFSC and partners launched the Apartheid-Free initiative. Over 324 communities, groups, and organizations, have pledged to call themselves “Apartheid-Free” and join others in working to end all support to Israel’s apartheid regime, settler colonialism, and military occupation. Use the resources on the Apartheid-Free website and sign up to receive our monthly newsletter to get involved and help build a movement for a world where all people are equal and treated with dignity and respect.

6) Make a gift. 

Donate to support AFSC’s emergency relief in Gaza: Your donation will bring humanitarian relief and support efforts to stop the violence and build conditions for peace.

Support AFSC’s advocacy for Palestinian rights. Help fund our ongoing work with communities across the U.S. to bring about peace, justice, and human dignity for all people. 
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USA: Graduation speeches for the cause of Palestine


Text from You Tube video (transcription by CPNN)

In California, Asna Tabassum, a graduating senior at USC, was selected as valedictorian and offered a traditional slot to speak at the 2024 graduation. She said she supports the pro-Palestinian cause that has grown at college campuses. After on-and-off campus groups criticized the decision and the university said it received threats, it pulled her from the graduation speakers schedule.

In Ohio, the graduating class of the University of Toledo were more fortunate. They were able to hear the speech of their valedictorian on behalf of the people of Palestine. Here is the text of her message.

“Salaam alaikum, meaning peace be upon you all.

“I was born in a beautiful city in Palestine. It is for this moment and this accomplishment that my parents decided to come here and build a life here. So to my mother and father, I’d like to begin by extending my deepest gratitude for their dedication, sacrifices, and love that were cornerstone to my success, as well as my brothers and sisters who have always been there for me. I am not alone in this gratitude. Every single one of you in the audience has sacrificed for a graduate here or contributed to their success in ways that we will never forget. So thank you all.

“Now, it is essential to understand and acknowledge the unique journey that has brought us all to this moment in our time here. In our time here, we have witnessed profound challenges and injustices that have shaken our world like never before. We witnessed and are still witnessing an unprecedented amount of loss of innocent life in Palestine. Over the last seven months, at least 40,000 human beings have been killed by the state of Israel. These people were not only innocent Muslims, but innocent Christians and innocent Jews, as well. These people were civilians, a majority of them children. We have witnessed the demolition of one of the oldest churches in the world, of mosques, of universities, and even of designated safe zones by the United Nations.

“Although today is a day of accomplishments and happiness, this is a difficult reality that we must acknowledge as we proceed to the next chapter of our lives. Why, you may ask? Because we, the people, are funding these horrors with our tax dollars. Every single one of you will continue into your professional lives and be impacted by this.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

How can just one or a few persons contribute to peace and justice?

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“Consider the following, the fact that teachers who quite literally shape our future are paid less than a full-time and then an average full-time employee or that 1.2 million veterans who put their lives on the line for this country that they live below the poverty line or that our top health insurance companies made nearly 69 billion dollars in profits the same year that 68,000 Americans died due to a lack of access to health care.

“We are the generation that must address these issues at home. We must ask why we have sent around 320 billion dollars in foreign aid to a state convicted of war crimes, countless violations of international law and who are on trial for genocide while Americans are dying due to lack of access to health care.

“This is the message that I want to leave you all with today that we are the generation. A testimony to that statement is the thousands of beautiful brave students, faculty, and administrators who are camping outside of universities demanding for a better use of our funds.

“If there are any of you here who feel as though you cannot relate or are uninterested in what I have said thus far, I would challenge you to consider this. Growing up we learned about the atrocities of the Holocaust, the horrors of slavery, and we wondered how on earth did these things happen. Well, there is a popular phrase that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. So if you wonder what you would have done during those horrific times, I implore you to take a look at what you are doing right now.

“We are the generation that will not accept being divided based on religion or background. We will not accept unwarranted, uneducated, and hateful labels as we demand a better future for ourselves and for justice.

“I apologise that this is not a typical graduation speech, but there is nothing typical about the times that we are living in. There is nothing typical about 15,000 children live-streamed deaths being watched. And there is nothing acceptable about our institutional complicity, silence, or the gross misuse of police force nationwide.

“The world is in desperate need of change, and we must be the ones to do it. So this goes to everybody here today, my friends and family, professors, deans, and my fellow students. We must use every opportunity we have to make change, no matter how scary it is. As the graduates of today, we have an opportunity to be the heroes of tomorrow.

“If we look to history, we will see that the students have always been on the right side of history. The key to this is solidarity, accepting discomfort at the cost of truth, having difficult conversations to find common grounds, and working together towards Salaam, which if you recall means peace.

“Remember when I leave this stage that my calling was one for peace, so to not support that would not be a reflection of our UT values or our humanity. I will end by sending my Salaam to the struggling teachers and veterans, to my fellow Americans, to my family in Palestine, to the people of Gaza, and to all of those who are fighting for peace.

“Congratulations to you all, and Salaam.”

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Bringing the Palestinian Message to Australia and New Zealand


Excerpts with pictures of the tour in four installments/posts on the facebook page of the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability

(Editor’s note: It is not in the headlines of the mass media, but there is a growing consciousness of people around the world that we need to stop the Israeli genocide, and work for a culture of peace. This may be seen in the reception of the people of Australia and New Zealand to the recent tour by Palestinians Mazin Qumsiyeh and his wife Jessie, as described in the following dispatches published on facebook.)

June 14. Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh and his wife Jessie concluded a very important trip to Australia and New Zealand (Aotearoa). Their goals were to gain long-term support for a) Palestine, b) sustainable human and natural communities globally, and c) Bethlehem University and our Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability ( The tour involved 53 days in 17 cities (Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Wollongong, Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong, Canberra, Hamilton, Napier, Palmerston North, Wanganui, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, Auckland).

They held 212 events, including speaking at lectures, workshops, rallies, informal gatherings, radio interviews, and media appearances. They drew a wide circle and met with people of all backgrounds: students, scientists, Aboriginal and Maori people, churches, mosques, Rotary clubs, environmental groups, museums, members of parliament in both countries, and local and national officials. They also met with scientists and political, religious, and community leaders. They averaged four events a day. They reached a total of 22,000 individuals and collected more than 3,400 emails to add to our contacts. Furthermore, they initiated over 20 potential joint projects.

There was an urgency regarding the situation in Palestine, involving genocide and ecocide, leading to a regional war and potentially a global catastrophic war. There was also an urgency regarding the state of our planet (e.g., with climate change).

The events also highlighted the ten-year anniversary of our institute (see this video and this booklet…/10-Years-PIBS.pdf). Here is a recording of an event with Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa:

June 14bis. Wrapping up our educational activities in collaboration with Caritas Jerusalem, where we conducted eight visits benefiting 500 children. The aim of this collaboration was to introduce students to the biodiversity of Palestine, particularly in the Al-Makhrour region, and emphasize its importance in the success of environmental agriculture practices. Today, we hosted children from the Latin Scout Beit-Sahour. More educational activities and programs ahead.

June 1. New Zealand’s lectures and talks continue. We have been honoured by the hospitality and care for Palestine everywhere we go: Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, etc. We miss Palestine The talks in New Zealand are ongoing. We were honored by hospitality and interest in Palestine everywhere we went: Aukland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown, but we miss Palestine.

May 23. Jessie and I have been simply overwhelmed with events (2 to 5 events daily plus travel around this southern hemisphere continent). This morning only we had time off (due to an unexpected cancellation) to catch up, enter emails, and write you this note thanks and brief reflection. In our one-month tour of Australia, over 15,000 people heard our message of environmental justice and human rights and our tour of Aotearoa (New Zealand) is just beginning and already had 10 events over the past two days.
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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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We and our old and new friends were inspired over the past month from these events:-Several university encampments where we are inspired by students and faculty who demand their universities disclose any ties to genocide and divest and call for boycotts like we did with South Africa under apartheid. For more on encampments, see and…/mapping-pro-palestine…

-Several rallies like the one in Gadi (aka Sydney) with 10,000 people

-Dozens of lectures at public events like the two events booked solid (300 and 100 people) at the Australian National University (ANU) to many others around the two countries in this continent

-Consultative and welcoming gatherings of activists and aboriginal leadership planning meetings. Here in Aotearoa (aka New Zealand), the Maoris were equally welcoming and inspiring.

-Conferences and conventions like the one of Australia Palestine Action Network ( ) and the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa ( )

-Many churches and seminaries of various denominations. As a Palestinian Christian, the message resonated of the need for christian communities to take a stand in line with what we Christian communities in the Holy Land have called for which is taking a moral and ethica stand in line with tenets of the faith (see and )

-Other religious and secular community gatherings sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. I was especially inspired with the dedication of muslim communities from various backgrounds and the Arab communities (Chrisristan, Muslim, others). Their hospitality and kindness helped me feel at home and mitigated my feelings of “homesickness”

-Meeting with parliamentarians. Even during my brief visits over two days, I noted Zionist lobbyists who were not happy to see a Palestinian with a Kufiya in the parliament building. Outside activists organized a rally in front of the parliament building in commemoration of the ongoing Nakba. One MP from the labor party broke rank with her ruling party to say the truth (that it is a genocide and needs to stop). Other MPs show promise,

-Talks at high schools (the kids are amazing)

-Meeting with Rotarian Clubs (I am president of Rotary Club Bethlehem) to tell them of our humanitarian work and look for joint efforts.

-Meetings and talks at Botanic Gardens, seed banks, museums and other institutions doing similar work to ours (see

-Media appearances (social, TV, radio, newspapers, websites). Example:
St Mary’s Church/Anglican Cathedral Parnell
Green Left Television Show-1
Green Left Television Show-2
Podbean Climate Action Show

We had positive vibes in every one of these engagements and also grew ourselves with knowledge, new friends (thousands), and energy (spiritual and mental and physical- good food for heart, spirit and even stomach) and we thank all hosts and organizers for exceptional arrangements. We really feel the world changing but we must work hardeer to stop the genocide and decolonize globally. For me and Jessie, onward to more cities and then back to our beloved Palestine which we miss so much and then resume our volunteer and humanitarian work there. To support our collective work in Palestine (which has global reach),


See and act on our call for partnership:

2) Volunteer (remotely or on site:

3) Donate

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These Israeli and Palestinian women who do not want to decide between Israel and Palestine


Radio Podcast by Anne-Cécile Mailfert for Radio France (translation by CPNN)

The day before yesterday, Israel celebrated “Jerusalem Day,” which commemorates the conquest of the city after the Six-Day War. For several years, this day has been marked by violent demonstrations by settlers who seek confrontation with the Palestinians in the old city, during what they call the “march of the flags”.

This is a senseless provocation as Palestinian civilians continue to die under bombs and Israeli hostages are still being held. After the Rafah tragedy, they have chosen endless war.

Faced with this deadly dynamic, peace activists, often women, exist, offer alternative stories and take courageous actions, of which we hear too little.

Frame from video of podcast with Anne-Cécile Mailfert

For example ?

Nava Hefetz, a female rabbi and activist for peace and human rights, and Ghadir Hani, a Palestinian Israeli, were both in Jerusalem to organize “humanitarian guards” throughout the city and protect Palestinians from settlers.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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Since October 7, their movement, Standing Together, the largest bringing together Palestinians and Israelis for peace, justice and equality, has been organizing demonstrations across the country to call for a ceasefire and the release of hostages. Their “humanitarian guards” also ensure the passage of aid trucks into Gaza, often attacked by settlers. They oppose the occupation and work so that both peoples can live in security, freedom and self-determination.

Are these voices that we rarely hear?

Yes, and women we rarely see. The few times we talk about women is when they are victims of war rape (and again), bombings (and again), or bereaved by the loss of their children (and again, too little) . But we never see them when we talk seriously about negotiating war or peace. But women are not only objects of concern, they also have subjects, have interesting things to say and are undoubtedly more fruitful than many virile and bellicose speeches.

Reem Alhajajra, co-founder of Women of the Sun, a Palestinian association campaigns alongside Women Wage Peace on the Israeli side for justice and peace, and warns of the need to hear and make room for those who work for peace .

Works can also represent hope, without denying anything about history. Like Lina Soualem, in “Bye Bye Tiberias”, a magnificent documentary released in 2023, which pays tribute to the 4 generations of women in her family, and highlights the daily struggles of Palestinian women, who for years have had to overcome the impossible to realize their dream.

We cannot imagine the future without women. Peace cannot be won with weapons. Each in their own way, these women’s voices simply dare, and we know how difficult it is, to even imagine another present and a future other than that of war.

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‘Glimmer of Hope’ as UN Security Council Approves Gaza Cease-Fire Resolution


An article by Brett Wilkins from Common Dreams

In a move that boosts the three-phase plan announced by President Joe Biden late last month, the United Nations Security Council on Monday voted 14-0—with permanent member Russia abstaining—in favor of a U.S.-sponsored resolution for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The ambassadors of the United Kingdom, United States, and Algeria raise their hands to vote in favor of a United Nations Security Council resolution for a cease-fire in Gaza in New York on June 10, 2024. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia chose not to exercise its power to veto the resolution, which urges Israel and Hamas to “fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Responding to the vote, Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement that “although the Biden administration should have allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a permanent cease-fire resolution many months and many slaughtered Palestinians ago, we welcome today’s development as a positive and long overdue step toward ending the genocide.”

“The Biden administration must now use American leverage to force [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to agree to a permanent cease-fire so that the massacres of Palestinian civilians can end, all hostages and political prisoners can safely go free, international tribunals can begin holding those responsible for war crimes accountable, and the world can finally begin pursuing a credible end to the illegal occupation of Palestine that has fomented decades of injustice and oppression.”

As U.N. News explained:

Phase one includes an “immediate, full, and complete cease-fire with the release of hostages including women, the elderly and the wounded, the return of the remains of some hostages who have been killed, and the exchange of Palestinian prisoners.”

It calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from “populated areas” of Gaza, the return of Palestinians to their homes and neighborhoods throughout the enclave, including in the north, as well as the safe and effective distribution of humanitarian assistance at scale.

Phase two would see a permanent end to hostilities “in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.”

In phase three, “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza” would begin and the remains of any deceased hostages still in the strip would be returned to Israel.”

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Question related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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The council also underlined the proposal’s provision that if negotiations take longer than six weeks for phase one, the cease-fire will continue as long as negotiations continue.

“The only way to end this cycle of violence and build a durable peace is through a political settlement,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield—who vetoed several previous Security Council cease-fire resolutions— said following Monday’s vote.

The Biden administration has provided Israel with billions of dollars in military aid, arms and ammunition sales, and diplomatic cover.

In a statement, Hamas—which led the October 7 attack on Israel that left more than 1,100 people dead and over 240 others taken hostage—welcomed the resolution’s passage and affirmed  its willingness “to enter into indirect negotiations on the implementation of these principles.”

However, Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, Israel’s representative at the U.N., said her country’s objectives in the war have not changed and vowed to keep fighting “until all of the hostages are returned and Hamas’ military capabilities are dismantled.”

“Israel will not engage in meaningless and endless negotiations which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time,” she added.

According to Palestinian and international agencies, at least 37,124 Palestinians—mostly women and children—have been killed by Israeli forces during the 248-day Gaza onslaught, which is the subject of an International Criminal Court genocide case  brought by South Africa and supported by more than 30 nations and regional blocs. Nearly 85,000 Palestinians have also been injured. At least 11,000 other Palestinians are missing and believed buried beneath the rubble of hundreds of thousands of bombed-out buildings.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking  arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged crimes including extermination.

Algerian Ambassador Amar Bendjama said  after Monday’s vote that “as a free and dignified people, the Palestinians will never accept living under occupation. They will never abdicate their fight for liberation.”

“This text is not perfect, but it offers a glimmer of hope to the Palestinians as the alternative is continued killing and suffering,” he added. “We voted for this text to give diplomacy a chance. It is time to halt the killing.”

The Security Council resolution’s passage follows last month’s vote by the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood—a move supported  by 143 members of the World Body but vehemently opposed by Israel and the U.S. Only nine nations voted against recognizing Palestine as an independent state.

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Advances by the anti-war left in Israel: Interview with Uri Weltmann


An article by Federico Fuentes in Nueva Sociedad, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (translated by CPNN)

Standing Together is an Israeli Jewish-Arab social movement against racism and occupation and for equality and social justice. In this interview, Uri Weltmann, national organizer for Standing Together, talks about the growing peace movement in Israel, how activists are confronting far-right extremists who are trying to block humanitarian aid from reaching the Gaza Strip, and recent electoral advances of the left.

How has the peace movement within Israel evolved since October 7? Is it changing public opinion and counteracting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war efforts? What role does Standing Together play within the movement?

After October 7, the Israeli police limited people’s right to protest and exercise their civil liberties. It was almost impossible to get a permit to demonstrate. That’s why, throughout October and November, most of the actions undertaken by the peace movement – including Standing Together – were not necessarily marches, pickets or rallies. Instead, we hung street signs reading “Only peace will bring security” and organized emergency Jewish-Arab conferences in two dozen towns and cities across Israel, where we raised the demand for an alternative path to the government’s.

Only in December did the possibility of organizing larger protests arise. At the time, Standing Together brought together hundreds of people at a rally in Haifa on December 16 and another 1,000 people at a rally in Tel Aviv on December 28. In January, we held our first anti-war march, in which a coalition of more than 30 peace movements and organizations mobilized thousands of people.

The latest and largest demonstrations to date occurred in early May, featuring Palestinian and Jewish speakers and thousands of people marching in Tel Aviv under the slogan “Stop the war, bring back the hostages.” One of the speakers was Shachar Mor (Zahiru), whose nephew is held by Hamas in Gaza. He harshly criticized the cynicism of Netanyahu and his allies, and called for an end to the war to bring back the hostages. Avivit John, a survivor of the Kibbutz Beeri massacre, where many civilians were killed on October 7, told the crowd that although he had lost friends and family in the Hamas attack, he did not want us, as a society, to also lose our humanity. He called for an end to the war, recognition of the shared humanity of Israelis and Palestinians and the return of the hostages.

Along with the protests organized by the peace movement, there has also been a broader protest movement demanding the return of the hostages and which, over time, has taken an explicitly anti-war line. In the first months after October 7, family and friends of the hostages organized demonstrations to raise awareness about their plight, with the aim of putting pressure on the government. However, two months ago, this movement took a left turn by linking up with anti-Netanyahu organizations and publicly announcing that they had concluded that Netanyahu and his government were an obstacle to a ceasefire agreement that could facilitate the release of the hostages. Instead, they said, what is needed is a mass movement to force out the government and hold early elections.

A few weeks ago, when negotiations between Israel and Hamas seemed on the verge of reaching an agreement, the protest movement openly declared itself in favor of ending the war in exchange for the return of the hostages. They held one of their massive Saturday protests in Tel Aviv – attended by tens of thousands of people – under the slogan “Hostages, not Rafah”, and popularized the chant “Kulam Tmurat Kulam” (Hebrew for “[Liberation] of all of them, in exchange for all of them”), a call for the release of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails in exchange for the release of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

This broad protest movement has changed the political climate within Israel: the right-wing and far-right parties that make up Netanyahu’s coalition are losing ground among the population. Although they obtained 64 of the 120 seats in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in the November 2022 elections, according to the latest polls today they would only win between 45 and 52 seats. This poses a problem for Netanyahu, as it not only means that he would be removed from office, but that his corruption trial would be resumed and he could possibly end up in jail. So he has both a political and a personal interest in a long, extended war against Gaza, as his far-right coalition partners demand. He knows that a hostage deal will most likely mean the end of the war. And that the end of the war means the dismantling of his coalition government and the calling of early elections, with a consequent political defeat and the possible loss of his personal freedom. It is this assessment that has led the broad protest movement calling for the return of the hostages to realize that Netanyahu is an obstacle that must be removed and not merely an interested party that must be convinced.

Members of Standing Together have intervened in these mass protests – in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Kfar Sava, Karmiel and elsewhere – insisting that the safe return of the hostages must be accompanied by ending the war and the massacres of innocent civilians in Gaza. Furthermore, our message is that the long-term security of both peoples will not be achieved through war, occupation and siege. On the contrary, we demand an end to the occupation and a peace between Israel and Palestine that recognizes the right of everyone to live in freedom, security and independence. There are millions of Israeli Jews in our country and none of them are going to leave. There are also millions of Palestinians in our country and none of them are going to leave. This must be the starting point of our politics if we want to imagine a future of justice, liberation and security.

Standing Together formed the Humanitarian Guard to counter far-right attempts to block aid convoys heading to Gaza. What can you tell us about this initiative?

In mid-May, images and videos drew attention of violent and extremist settlers, known as The Young People of the Hill, attacking trucks at the Tarqumia checkpoint – the main border crossing connecting occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank with Israel – carrying food and other humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian truck drivers were beaten and hospitalized, the bags of flour and wheat were destroyed, and the trucks were set on fire. These violent attacks received local and international media attention, especially because they occurred in front of Israeli soldiers and police who did nothing to prevent them.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version.)

Question related to this article:

How can a culture of peace be established in the Middle East?

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In response, Standing Together announced the formation of the Humanitarian Guard, an initiative to bring together peace activists from across Israel to act as a physical barrier between extremist settlers and the trucks, document what was happening, and force the police to intervene. . To date, more than 900 people have signed up to volunteer for this initiative. Every day, dozens of people flock from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to the checkpoint. Our protective presence at the Tarqumia checkpoint has allowed the safe passage of hundreds of trucks during the first two weeks, delivering tons of food to the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, where a growing famine and humanitarian catastrophe is occurring. .

The first day I was there, the police were forced to move the settlers away and allow the trucks to pass, whose drivers honked their horns in support. The settlers seemed visibly upset by our presence and the fact that we outnumbered them. They abandoned the checkpoint, but we learned from their WhatsApp group that they were regrouping on the road to attack the trucks before they reached the checkpoint. When we reached the intersection where they were, we found them looting a truck, destroying packages of food and throwing it on the side of the road. Only when we arrived did the police reluctantly move them aside, allowing the wrecked truck to drive away. We collected the food to put it on the next trucks. We also documented settler attacks and filed complaints, which led to the police arresting some of them.

We consider the Humanitarian Guard as both a way of expressing solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip and waging a fight for the character of our society: we refuse to allow Israeli society to be modeled after the moral frameworks of the fanatics of extreme right that dehumanize Palestinians and promote a politics of death. Standing Together, as a movement, is rooted within Israeli society, with all its complexities, and works to create changes in public opinion and organize the Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel to build a new majority within our society, one that allows us to move towards peace, equality and social and climate justice.

The United Nations (UN) recently voted to elevate Palestine’s status in that organization, while some European governments have officially recognized the Palestinian state. The United States has even refused to supply bombs to Israel to attack Rafah. Within Israel, is there a feeling that international support is being lost? What impact does this have on public opinion about the government?

The UN vote to give more rights to the Palestinians, as well as the decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland to formally recognize the Palestinian state, are important diplomatic steps to reinforce the international legitimacy of the struggle for liberation and the right to a Palestinian state. I am convinced – and there is a broad international consensus on this matter – that the UN resolutions constitute the best basis to allow the Palestinians to achieve their right to national self-determination, through the establishment of an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital and the Green Line (the border before June 4, 1967) as the border between the States of Palestine and Israel. Such a peace agreement would have to include the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law; a fair and consensual solution for Palestinian refugees based on UN resolutions; the demolition of the so-called Separation Wall built in the early 2000s; and the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, including the more than 3,600 “administrative detainees” who remain in jail without charge, trial or conviction, in some cases for many years.

Within Israel, the mainstream media presents this shift in foreign public opinion and diplomatic developments as supposedly directed against all Israelis. The Israeli political class tries to identify the government and the State with ordinary people and presents the international criticism directed against the actions of the Netanyahu government in Rafah as criticism directed against all Israeli citizens, while the accusations of war crimes against Netanyahu and others in high positions are presented as accusations directed against all Israelis. This has the effect of consolidating people around Netanyahu’s government, so that even people who criticize his actions or are looking for a political alternative side with him against the Hague court.

This demonstrates the importance of creating a space within Israeli society to criticize the policies of the political establishment. If all the criticism is external, or if the criticism confuses the people with the government, the effect will be to close, rather than widen, the gap between the majority of the people and the current leaders.

In the midst of the war, local elections were held in which, for the first time, Standing Together gained representation in the municipal councils of Tel Aviv and Haifa. What can you tell us about these results and their importance for the construction of a new left in Israel?

On February 27, local elections were held in Israel. Initially scheduled for October, they were postponed due to the war. These elections, held every five years, determine the composition of the municipal councils. In the months prior to the elections, two new urban movements, both ideologically related to Standing Together, emerged in Tel Aviv and Haifa to compete in those elections.

In Tel Aviv, the local Purple City movement, led by Standing Together national leadership member Itamar Avneri, brings together a majority coalition of urban youth around housing and climate justice issues. In September, he joined with other left-wing sectors, such as the Communist Party, a local environmental movement and some community activists to form an electoral coalition called La Ciudad Somos Todos. This coalition obtained 14,882 votes (7.6%) in the elections and won 3 of the 31 municipal council seats. Avneri, who was the third candidate on the coalition’s list, was elected as a councillor.

In Haifa, the local City Majority movement, led by Sally Abed, from the national leadership of Standing Together, participated in the elections and obtained 3,451 votes (3%), which allowed Abed to be elected as a councilor. It was the first time that a Palestinian woman headed a list for the Haifa municipal council. The list also included as a candidate Orwa Adam, an openly gay Palestinian activist, something unprecedented in Israeli electoral history.

Both lists were joint Jewish-Arab movements and, although organisationally, legally and financially independent of Standing Together – as electoral laws require – both were publicly recognized as consistent with our political “mark”. These successful experiences of electoral movements organized from below are important for the construction of a new popular and viable left in Israel with roots in our communities, an internationalist orientation and grounded in socialist values. In the coming years, this is the main challenge facing all of us who hope to see a combative left in Israel capable of confronting the dominant institutional hegemony and building power around an alternative political project.

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Norway, along with Ireland and Spain, to recognize Palestinian state


An article by Nerijus Adomaitis and Gwladys Fouche from Reuters (reprinted by permission)

Norway will recognise an independent Palestinian state in the hope that this will help to bring peace with Israel, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said on Wednesday (May 22).

Ireland  and Spain  will also announce the recognition of a Palestinian state, sources said on Wednesday.

Map from Wikipedia. Note the resemblance to maps of the American Empire.

European Union members Slovenia and Malta have also indicated in recent weeks that they plan to make the recognition, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.
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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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“In the middle of a war, with tens of thousands of dead and injured, we must keep alive the only thing that can provide a safe home for both Israelis and Palestinians: two states that can live in peace with each other,” Stoere told a press conference.

Before the announcement, some 143 out of 193 member-states of the United Nations recognised a Palestinian state.

European countries have approached the issue differently. Some, like Sweden, recognised a Palestinian state a decade ago, while France is not planning to do so unless it can be an effective tool to make progress towards peace.

The moves come as Israeli forces have led assaults  on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip in May, causing a new exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, and sharply restricted the flow of aid, raising the risk of famine.

Non-EU member Norway has long said it would recognise Palestine as a country only if it could have a positive impact on the peace process, in step with what the United States has said on the issue.

Norway is a close U.S. ally, and the Nordic country has sought to help broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians on several occasions in recent decades.

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Richard Falk: Why the ICC’s Decision to Recommend Arrest for Israeli and Hamas Leaders Is So Historic


An editorial by Richard Falk from Common Dreams

The International Criminal Court this week made the first truly historic move since its establishment in 2002, with its chief prosecutor recommending arrest warrants  against two top Israeli  officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three prominent Hamas leaders.

As expected, both sides have denounced this ICC action in the strongest possible language. Because of Western media bias, the angry reactions from Israel  and its allies have dominated the news cycle, while the official statement from Hamas has been largely ignored.

While each side chose a similar line of argument, there is a 180° difference in their substantive outlooks.

Israel’s most fundamental objection  to the prosecutor’s action is the supposed equivalence drawn between Hamas, which perpetrated the barbarous attack of October 7, and the democratically elected government of Israel, which says it acted to defend itself and restore the security of its population.

Hamas and its supporters are also appalled  at the equivalence implied by the call for arrest warrants, which “equate[s] the victim with the executioner” in the context of an oppressive Israeli occupation  that affirms Palestinian  legal rights of resistance, including recourse to armed struggle.

In my judgment, the Israeli response is rhetorical and polemical, to the effect that Israel and its leaders can never be accused of criminality in a context shaped by what happened on October 7, identified as the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

Netanyahu called  the recommendation for arrest warrants “a moral outrage of historic proportions”—a “travesty of justice” that sets “a dangerous precedent,” interfering with the right of democratic states to defend themselves.

Defense Lacking

What is missing from the Israeli response has been any defense against the specificities of Israeli behavior, viewed around the globe as amounting to genocide, as evidenced by growing protests even in the U.S., Israel’s most unwavering supporter.

The crimes and the evidence are delimited in the language of law, and they are certainly of a magnitude and severity to require a good-faith substantive response by Israel. Nothing less can convince world opinion that the ICC prosecutor exceeded his writ by proposing arrest warrants.

It is especially relevant to refer back to the International Court of Justice’s near-unanimous interim order in January as evidence that the charges against Israel’s leaders are hardly a disgrace or a dangerous precedent. That ruling gives firm, if provisional, grounds for believing that Israel’s violence after October 7 constitutes a deplorable instance of sustained genocide targeting the entire civilian population of Gaza.

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

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To a far lesser extent, the same criticism applies to the Hamas response. Although the prosecutor should have addressed the context of a long abusive occupation and victimization in violation of international humanitarian law, this does not confer impunity on such criminal excesses as were committed on October 7.

The call to issue arrest warrants against Hamas leaders is dubious because of the absence to date of an impartial international investigation into what actually happened on October 7, and of evidence that the Hamas leaders—as opposed to other Palestinian resistance entities, such as Islamic Jihad—have been properly singled out.

It should come as no surprise that the U.S. leapt to Israel’s defense, joining in a rather mindless attack on the credibility of this treaty-based global tribunal, which has a mandate to investigate and take action against perpetrators of international crimes.

Although U.S. officials now complain about jurisdictional obstacles to indicting nationals of countries that are not parties to the ICC’s Rome Statute, Washington enthusiastically supported the court’s hasty indictment of Russian President Vladimir Putin soon after the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Such double standards exhibit moral hypocrisy and juridical nihilism, with the U.S. invoking international procedures as foreign policy instruments rather than universally applicable norms.

Irrelevant Statement

In a striking phrase that could have come from the Israeli government, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday, “Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence—none—between Israel and Hamas.” He backed up this legally irrelevant statement with the categorical assertion that “we will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Again, this is irrelevant. The only question is whether the evidence supports the issuance of arrest warrants. In reiterating such a one-sided stance, Biden is reinforcing the complaints of protesters everywhere that Washington is complicit in the most transparently reported genocide confirmed in real time, and not in retrospect or abstractly, as was the case even with the Holocaust.

Ironically, the misplaced rhetoric of outrage from Israel and its allies has endowed the ICC’s pronouncements with an importance that the institution never before possessed.

Beneath the smoke of controversy is the fire of a massive campaign of state terrorism that was projected at first as defensive and reactive violence, but quickly showed its true colours as premeditated violence and forced relocation of Palestinians in Gaza, increasingly remote from Israel’s genuine security concerns.

Also forgotten in the controversies of recent months is the context set by the Netanyahu government prior to the Hamas attack. Even in the West, this governing coalition was described as the most extreme  in the history of Israel. What made it so was its undisguised effort to initiate a settler-led campaign to make life as unliveable as possible for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, expressed by a message  delivered in various ways to the effect of: “Leave or we will kill you.”

The Israeli government, including extremist cabinet ministers Itamar Ben Gvir  and Bezalel Smotrich, green-lit this violence as part of their priority goal of unilaterally establishing Greater Israel, and ending all Palestinian prospects of statehood or any meaningful form of self-determination.

Multiple Failures

In addition, the fact that Israel received advance warning  of a planned and rehearsed Hamas attack, possessed elaborate surveillance and informer capabilities, and reacted to the attack with uncharacteristic incompetence, all make it hard to believe that a massive response scenario was not already agreed upon by the Israeli leadership before a single hostage was seized.

When the Israeli retaliation did commence, it was immediately imbued with genocidal tactics and language, including policies to deprive Palestinians  in Gaza of food, fuel, electricity, and water. Most revealing were the forced relocations of Palestinians from northern to southern Gaza, the gruesome attacks on hospitals and population centers, the use of starvation as a weapon of war, and the ongoing efforts to induce Egypt  and other countries to accept large numbers of Palestinian refugees.

This sustained campaign seems to have become increasingly self-destructive from the perspective of Israeli security. Many Israelis now believe that the Netanyahu leadership is responsible for multiple failures: to destroy Hamas, to achieve the safe return of hostages, and to preserve the country’s reputation as a legitimate sovereign state.

The Biden leadership, through its posture of unconditional support for Israel and irresponsible denunciation of the ICC, has turned its back on its own younger generation, unleashing police brutality  and punitive actions against pro-Palestinian activism. It has been totally irresponsible to pretend there is no legal merit to the charges of genocide being leveled against Israel; its behavior at the United Nations  has damaged international law and the character of self-righteous liberal democracies.

The ICC prosecutor is also deserving of criticism. There is no proper equivalence between the one-off attack of October 7, despite its atrocities, and the seven-month Israeli campaign of death and devastation in Gaza.

Over time I suspect that the failure to address “genocide” will be regarded as the most shocking weakness in the prosecutor’s formal statement.

At the very least ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan should have explained why it would have been legally premature to include this most serious and widespread allegation against Israel among the grounds for recommending that the ICC issue arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Gallant. By evading any mention of genocide, Khan can justly be accused of ignoring the elephant in the room.

Meanwhile, we should hope that the panel of judges  will accept the prosecutors’s recommendation and issue warrants against Israeli and Hamas leaders—while also doing their best to erase the impression of equivalence. If the ICC sticks to its underlying principled position, it will enhance its reputation as a dimension of global governance not tainted by partisan geopolitics.

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Egypt: Role of Universities in Building Bridges of Understanding and Peace between East and West” International Conference


An announcement from Alexandria University

Yesterday (May 15), the recommendations of the international conference entitled “The Role of Universities in Building Bridges of Understanding and Peace between the East and the West,” were announced.

The conference is organized by Alexandria University, the Association of Islamic Universities, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and Al-Alamein International University. Participants included a large number of symbols of the academic and cultural community, ambassadors and consuls of Arab countries, members of the House of Representatives and Senate, vice presidents of the university, as well as deans, vice deans, and students of various faculties.

Dr. Sami El-Sherif, Secretary-General of the Association of Islamic Universities, indicated that the conference’s recommendations included emphasizing that dialogue and understanding are the only way to sustain life on planet Earth, and the necessity of attention and hard work in order to spread the culture of dialogue, and recognition of the other’s right to human brotherhood, and the emphasis on spreading the culture of peace and coexistence. among all human beings, consolidating the ideals of peace and coexistence among various countries and peoples, providing protection and intellectual fortification for young people against all attempts of false awareness and brainwashing, for the benefit of regional and international powers seeking to control the nation’s youth, and calling on international institutions and organizations to carry out their duties in supporting aspects of truth, justice, equality and achieving the interests of the international community in general, and the need for universities to assume their responsibilities to develop a comprehensive strategy to confront extremism and terrorism, and expand the circle of confrontation to include besieging extremist individuals, groups and countries and preventing them from spreading their destructive ideas.
He added that the recommendations included emphasizing the role of universities in supporting research projects and scientific papers in multiple languages and publishing this output through scientific institutions and major international publishing houses, and the need to support all universities and educational institutions to consolidate their academic and research relations with international universities with the aim of cooperating in the field of combating terrorism and extremist ideology, and working to spread enlightened thought, and focusing on highlighting international initiatives and the initiatives of civil society organizations calling for understanding and dialogue, calling on universities to enrich the translation movement for scientific and cultural production in foreign languages and paying attention to translating books, studies, scientific research and publications produced by specialized international universities of value into the Arabic language, also calling on universities to adopt new ideas and innovations that would enrich dialogue and deepen cultural and human communication, and paying attention to developing scholarship programs for university employees to benefit from the modern technical, scientific and academic developments of highly-ranked international universities.
Participants in “Role of Universities in Building Bridges of Understanding and Peace between East and West” International Conference Emphasize Universities’ Role in Building Bridges and Enriching Youth Awareness

Created: 15 May 2024
Under the title “The Role of Universities in Supporting Dialogue and Understanding,” the activities of the first session of the International Conference “The Role of Universities in Building Bridges of Understanding and Peace between the East and the West” were held today, organized by Alexandria University, the Association of Islamic Universities, Bibliotheca Alexandrinq, and Al-Alamein International University, in the presence of a large number of prominent figures from the academic and cultural communities, ambassadors and consuls of Arab countries, members of the House of Representatives and Senate, vice presidents of the university, deans, vice deans and students of various faculties.
The session was chaired by Professor Dr. Abdelaziz Konsowa, President of Alexandria University, with the participation of Dr. Mofid Shehab, former Minister of Higher Education. In his speech, Dr. Shehab pointed out the importance of the conference, which highlights how to help societies achieve peaceful coexistence, and the role of universities in Islamic countries in supporting dialogue between the East and the West, by participating in building dialogue channels and setting rules for this dialogue to ensure its continuity and that its programs are practical and applicable.
Ambassador Nabila Makram, former Minister of State for Egyptians Abroad Affairs, pointed out the importance of the role of universities in enriching youth awareness and developing their abilities for dialogue, stressing the importance of preserving the mental health of young people who suffer from many challenges such as alienation and bullying. She praised the role played by psychological support units in faculties in helping students and opening prospects for dialogue to confront isolationism and extremism.
Dr. Mohamed Sami Abdelsadek, Vice President of Cairo University for Community Service and Environmental Development Affairs, pointed out that Cairo University is making great efforts to support dialogue as a lofty cultural value through joint academic degrees and bringing in foreign professors from various specializations. He stressed the need to focus on the critical thinking course for various students, dialogue activities between Egyptian and international students, and the Office for Promoting National and Heritage Identity.

Dr. Roshdi Zahran, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Al-Alamein International University, explained the role of universities in building bridges of understanding and peace in light of a world full of wars and conflicts, where universities work in addition to their academic role as cultural, intellectual, knowledge and creative centres through curricula, scientific programs, joint scientific research and various cultural activities to enhance the concept of dialogue, understanding and tolerance.
The session witnessed recorded interventions by Dr. Abdelhak Azouzi, Chairman of the Alliance of Civilizations in Morocco, and Dr. Abdelaziz Barghouth, President of the International Institute for Islamic Civilization and Thought and Vice President of the International Islamic University in Malaysia, to clarify the importance of the role of universities in spreading the values of peace, coexistence and dialogue among young people.
The second session was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Essam El-Kurdi, President of Al-Alamein International University, while participants included Dr. Abdelhay Azab, former President of Al-Azhar University, Dr. Fathi Abu-Ayana, former President of Beirut Arab University, and Dr. Hussein Amin, Director of the “Kamal Adham” Center at the American University, also participated from abroad Dr. Abdulmajid bin Abdullah Al-Benyan, President of Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, where they talked about the role of universities in promoting human values, and the main human values that universities must promote to spread the goals of dialogue and tolerance among university students, the role of Alexandria University in spreading the culture of tolerance, and the role of universities in creating the appropriate environment to enrich dialogue and understanding between different peoples and civilizations.

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Question for this article:

What is the relation between peace and education?

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Inauguration of International Conference on “Role of Universities in Enriching Bridges of Understanding and Peace between East and West”

Professor Dr. Abdelaziz Konsowa, President of Alexandria University, His Excellency Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdel Karim Al-Issa, President of the Association of Islamic Universities, Dr. Ahmed Zayed, Director of Bibliotheca Alexandrina , and Dr. Essam El-Kurdi, President of Al-Alamein International University, inaugurated today, Wednesday 15 May 2024, the activities of the International Conference of the Association of Islamic Universities, which was held under the title “The Role of Universities in Enriching Bridges of Understanding and Peace between the East,” in the presence of Dr. Osama El-Azhari, Advisor to the President of the Republic for Religious Affairs, Dr. Jacqueline Azer, Deputy Governor of Alexandria, Dr. Sami El-Sherif, Secretary-General of the Association ofIslamic Universities, and Bishop Bavli, the General Bishop of the Montaza and Alexandria Youth Churches, in addition to former presidents and vice presidents of the University, deans and vice deans of faculties and institutes of Alexandria University, a group of ambassadors and consuls of Arab countries, members of the House of Representatives and Senate, and university students.
In his speech, Dr. Konsowa stressed that universities in the East and the West are keen to play their role in building bridges of cooperation and dialogue, which are the two elements on which all positive relations between people are based, despite their differences. He pointed out that the means of dialogue and understanding lie in listening well to the other, expressing clearly, accepting the other, respecting different thought and avoiding bias, which are all pillars of dialogue that bring us together to reach humanity’s desired goal of achieving the dream of peace.
He added that universities have an essential role in achieving this highest goal, as they work to provide an environment for dialogue and platforms for open discussion that enhance social cultural diversity, and encourage understanding and tolerance in their programs, as well as encouraging scientific research that addresses the issues of different cultures and how to coexist with them, in addition to providing cultural exchange programs and the exchange of students and professors to enhance mutual understanding through their exposure to different languages, cultures, and viewpoints.
In this regard, Konsowa stressed that the university has established cross-disciplinary programs that focus on the relations between the East and the West and cover all scientific fields, to give students and researchers insights that enable them to recognize the differences between cultures, as well as creating language education programs that expand to include the languages of the East and the West, and the different cultures, values and customs that the languages carry. He added that the university also organizes conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and public lectures displaying the richness and diversity of other cultures. Konsowa pointed out that Alexandria University established the University of Beirut in 1960, and in 1972 it established the Centre for Graduate Studies and Research in cooperation with UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme. In 1985, the university established a centre for teaching Arabic to non-native speakers, and in 2010 the university established a branch in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, as the first branch of an Egyptian university in the African region. In the same year the establishment of a branch of Alexandria University in the city of Tonj in South Sudan began, and another branch is being established in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. All this comes within the framework of the Egyptian state’s keenness, represented by Alexandria University, to extend bridges of cooperation with brothers on the African continent and the Nile Basin countries. At the end of his speech, the University President saluted the Palestinian people and the people of Gaza who are steadfast in the face of the brutal Israeli aggression.
His Excellency Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa stressed the importance of the conference, which is an important start for strengthening cultural and civilizational construction through building bridges of understanding between different cultures and not abstract dialogue, so that the conference produces tangible valuable results. He pointed out that the world witnessed unfortunate debates and theories about the clash between the East and the West, pointing to the initiative that he presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York to reduce the gaps between the East and the West by organizing a conference for this purpose, which was greatly welcomed. His Excellency Sheikh Al-Issa added that the message of the Association is love and peace through effective initiatives and mobilizing the aspirations of universities in our Arab and Islamic world to move forward, providing solid, rational thought, not randomness, and playing their role in enhancing awareness through school curricula. He also pointed to the role of the family and educational institutions, starting with the school and then the university, and the influence of religion, so that they all do their part to enhance cultural construction. He also pointed to the Medina Document as the first document to consolidate the values of human brotherhood, peaceful and societal coexistence.
While Dr. Ahmed Zayed expressed his thanks and gratitude for choosing Bibliotheca Alexandrina to hold this important conference, which includes a huge crowd of thinkers and creators in the Arab world, pointing to the changes, wars and woes the world is witnessing, hence the urgent need to hold intellectual forums organized by universities, for their role in spreading understanding and cooperation between the East and the West, instilling understanding through universities, providing scientific research to monitor the successes and failures of the world, and developing school curricula so that young people can build a new world that is richer and more peaceful, learning about human issues away from extremism. At the end of his speech, Zayed stressed that Bibliotheca Alexandrina will organize the “Bibliotheca Alexandrina Forum for International Peace and Tolerance,” which will be held annually in order for the Alexandria Library to present a message to the world which contains the Egyptian point of view on understanding and coexistence among peoples and acceptance of others.
While Dr. Essam El-Kurdi confirmed that this conference is being held based on the initiative launched by His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Mohamed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, President of the Association of Islamic Universities and Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, from the United Nations platform, entitled Building Bridges of Understanding and Peace between the East and the West. He stressed that today’s sessions discuss the role of universities to enrich building the bridges of understanding and peace between the East and the West, which is an important issue in international relations and international cooperation. He pointed out that the East and the West represent multiple and different geographical and cultural regions and share many common issues and challenges facing them in general. He stressed that universities play an important role in promoting understanding and cooperation between different cultures, as they are the place where young people from different social, cultural and religious backgrounds meet, and through these educational programs, student activities and scientific research, universities are adopting new ideas and innovations to enhance mutual understanding and respect between students from the East and the West, where students live in a multicultural environment, which contributes to increasing awareness and tolerance among them, in addition to the role of universities in providing protection and intellectual fortification for young people against all attempts to falsify awareness, and helping them build global networks for cooperation.
Dr. Sami El-Sherif, Secretary of the Association of Islamic Universities, pointed out that disagreement is a universal norm, and there must be communication between civilizations, and all institutions of society are required to play their role, especially universities, as they are among the largest institutions entrusted with building the character of students and training them in the etiquette of dialogue and the culture of difference. He added that the Association is working on integration and coordination among all its members, with the aim to develop programs and contribute to finding solutions to the problems facing the Islamic world by upholding the values of brotherhood, tolerance and peace among people.
While Dr. Jacqueline Azar pointed out the importance of the conference, especially since the world today is witnessing a continuous increase in cultural diversity, and this diversity is an opportunity for learning and understanding. She stressed that universities play an important role in achieving cooperation and understanding and spreading the culture of coexistence and understanding among individuals, adding that the topic of this conference is consistent with the vision of the Egyptian state, led by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, stressing the necessity of coexistence and acceptance of others, and spreading a culture of peace to encourage learning about different cultures to enhance understanding and coexistence with others.

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