Tag Archives: Mideast

Dr. Shirin Ebadi Speech In Paris on International Women’s Day

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A report from the Nobel Women’s Initiative

On March 8th, I congratulate all of you. I hope that in the coming year, we will witness better conditions for all women around the world.

Firstly, I would like to express my sympathy with the Palestinian and Israeli families who were killed or subjected to sexual violence after the October 7th attack. Undoubtedly, the terrorist attack by Hamas must be condemned, but the painful point is that innocent people in Gaza are paying the price for the actions of a few terrorists. In Gaza, not a single intact building remains, and one or more members of each family have been killed, prompting people around the world to ask, what is the guilt of innocent civilians? Some, including Mr. Netanyahu, argue that the people of Gaza chose Hamas in an election and must bear the consequences of their choice, but this argument is flawed.

On the other hand, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, lives safely with his family in Qatar, while innocent civilians in Gaza are being killed. Moreover, Netanyahu does not have the full support of all Israeli people, and opposition among Israelis against the continuation of the massacre of innocent people in Gaza has begun.

In my opinion, if both Hamas and Israeli leaders were women, we certainly wouldn’t see such conditions, neither would the events of October 7th occur, nor would innocent people in Gaza be killed and displaced.

Unfortunately, the world of politics has become more masculine than ever, and one of the reasons for the endangerment of peace in the world is this fact. After the Arab Spring, I stated in several articles and interviews that the Arab Spring would not begin in Islamic countries unless women achieve equality, and unfortunately, we saw how the spring turned into autumn.

In the negotiations currently taking place regarding Palestine, the discussion mostly revolves around ceasefire and the release of hostages, but I believe it is better to move towards peace. Peace will only be sustainable when an independent state of Palestine is recognized, and Gaza is handed over to the Palestinian people. Two independent states of Palestine and Israel, by forgetting their bloody past, can peacefully coexist. And in the early years, to prevent any unforeseen incidents, a UN peacekeeping force must be deployed at the border between Israel and Palestine.In this case, we will see how the Islamic Republic of Iran regime and other terrorist groups it supports, such as the Houthis and Hezbollah in Lebanon, are weakened. They justify their terrorist activities under the pretext of supporting the Palestinian people.

If we examine the situation of women worldwide, we will realize that women have not yet achieved full equality in all countries, and gender discrimination exists in all countries to varying degrees.

In some western countries like European countries and the United States, discrimination is less, while in others, it is more. In European countries, Canada, and the United States, there are laws against gender discrimination, and women are recognized as having equal rights. However, due to some issues such as dual responsibilities of children and caregiving, working outside the home, and also due to patriarchal culture in some social classes, women are less likely to enjoy equal rights.

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Questions related to this article:

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

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A look at the number of women among presidents and leaders of political parties compared to men in such positions is quite indicative of a regrettable reality.
How many women are among the top bankers and CEOs of large multinational companies? Many examples indicate the existence of inequality, and it seems that equality remains on paper and has not yet occurred in society. But in some other countries, often Islamic countries, laws are the source of inequality and oppress women, and discrimination is prevalent. In Iran, after the 1979 revolution, many laws were passed against women. In some cases, they explicitly ignored women’s human identity, under the law of “Diyeh” (blood money), where a woman’s “Diyeh” is half of a man’s. The testimony of two women in court is equivalent to one man’s testimony. A man can have up to four wives and divorce his wife whenever he wants, but getting a divorce for a woman can be very difficult and sometimes impossible.



A girl who gets married for the first time, regardless of her age, needs written permission from her father. A woman who is married cannot travel without her husband’s written permission. And many other discriminatory laws. These medieval laws are not commensurate with Iran’s rich culture and the education of women because for years, half of the students in Iranian universities have been girls, and many professors are women. The mismatch between laws and the cultural conditions of society, especially Iranian women, has led to numerous protests and movements throughout the 45 years of the Islamic Republic regime’s rule. The latest of these was The Women, Life , Freedom Movement which occurred in 2022 following the murder of a young girl named Mahsa by government agents for not adhering to the compulsory hijab. Iranian men also actively participated alongside women in this movement, which was severely suppressed by the government.

According to statistics, over 590 people were killed on the streets by government agents, many were injured or lost their sight, and 20,000 were detained. 70 citizens have been sentenced to death for participating in protests, and eight of them have been executed so far. Although the government managed to suppress this movement to some extent and return people to their homes, Iran is like a volcano that could erupt at any moment.

The Mahsa Movement had the intention of the International community. The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights to Mahsa, who had been killed, and invited her family to accept the prize, but the Islamic Republic banned Mahsa’s father, mother, and brother from leaving the country, preventing them from attending the ceremony. Additionally, the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Narges Mohammadi as a symbol of the Women, Life, Freedom Movement. Narges Mohammadi has been imprisoned for over six years for her human rights activism—these two examples alone is enough to show how any form of opposition in Iran is suppressed.

As for Afghanistan, the situation is even worse than in Iran. Afghan women don’t even have the right to attend high school or university, and they are deprived of any form of social activity. They don’t have the right to work in government offices or international organizations. They don’t have the right to obtain business licenses or engage in independent businesses, not even in small-scale activities. Recently, they have also been denied the right to speak to or be interviewed by the media if the reporter is a man, along with many other restrictions.

Afghan women activists have not remained silent. They continue their struggles both inside and outside Afghanistan, but we see that the Taliban suppress women even more ruthlessly than the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Warmest regards

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A joint statement for peace by 31 Israeli human rights organizations

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

An article from Breaking the Silence

We, members of the undersigned human rights organizations in Israel, are shocked and horrified in these dreadful days.

Hamas’ horrific crimes against innocent civilians – including children, women, and the elderly – have shaken us all, and we are struggling to recover from the unbearable sights and sounds. Some of us were in the Israeli communities on the Gaza border during the assault; many of us have family, friends, and colleagues who endured and are still in the midst of the harrowing events; and we all know people who were murdered, injured, or abducted. It will take time to fully understand the implications and consequences of Hamas’ heinous attack, for which there can be no justification.

Most of our teams include Israelis and Palestinians; therefore, some of us have relatives and colleagues in Gaza currently living under the ongoing assault of the Israeli military. Children, women, and the elderly are being indiscriminately attacked with nowhere to hide.

Even now – especially now – we must maintain our moral and humane position and refuse to give in to despair or the urge for vengeance. Keeping our faith in the human spirit and its inherent goodness is more vital than ever. One thing is clear: We will never surrender our belief in humanity – even now, when doing so is more challenging than ever.

Having always opposed the harming of innocent civilians, it remains our duty in these terrible times – as we count our dead on the Israeli side and worry about wounded, missing, and abducted loved ones, and as bombs are being dropped on residential neighborhoods in Gaza, wiping out entire families with no possibility of burying the dead – to raise our voices loud and clear against the harming of all innocent civilians, both in Israel and Gaza.

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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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We call for the immediate release of all hostages and an end to the bombardment of civilians in Israel and in Gaza. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach civilian populations, medical facilities and places of refuge must not be harmed, and vital resources such as water and electricity must not be cut off. The killing of additional civilians will not bring back those who were lost. Indiscriminate destruction and a siege harming innocents will not bring relief, justice, or calm.

As individuals working to promote human rights and who believe in the sanctity of life, we urgently call for an end to all indiscriminate harming of civilian lives and infrastructure. We call for negotiations and all possible action to be taken to bring about the release of the hostages – while prioritizing the civilians held by Hamas. It is the only humane and rational thing to do, and it must be done now.

Mothers Against Violence | Itach Ma’aki – Women Lawyers for Social Justice | Amnesty International Israel | BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights | B’Tselem | Gisha | The Association for Civil Rights in Israel | Public Committee Against Torture in Israel | Parents Against Child Detention | Hamoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual | Zazim – Community Action | Haqel – In Defense of Human Rights | Yesh Din | Combatants for Peace | Mehazkim | Machsom Watch | Women Wage Peace | Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research | Standing Together | Ir Amim | Emek Shaveh | The Parents Circle-Families Forum | Rabbis for Human Rights | Physicians for Human Rights–Israel | Breaking the Silence | Torat Tzedek | A Land for All – Two States One Homeland | Academia for Equality | Your Neighbor As Yourself | Kerem Navot | Other Voice

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Search for Common Ground in Israel and Palestine

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

Excerpts from the webpage and videos of Search for Common Ground

Our CEO, Shamil Idriss, is currently in the heart of Jerusalem (featured here in front of the Damascus Gate), meeting with our team on the ground and other key figures. He filmed several videos to provide a few updates on the critical work happening there, and you can click the button below to view them.

Video 5. Click on image to see the video

° video 1 with an update on the work we have been doing in Israel and Palestine, including our work in Gaza with hygiene kit distributions and how we are supporting pregnant women.

° video 2 with a bit of good news in our inter-religious work in the middle of the dark situation. “We’ve been working on interfaith education for tolerance and respect for seven years now, and for the first time one of the municipalities where we work has decided to integrate the program into their planning and budget.”

° video 3 describing the look and feel on the ground and how people are affected by the war. For Israeli Jews the images of the hostages are on banners everywhere making it hard for people to imagine a secure future side by side with Palestinians. The Arab Israeli population are feeling very much under threat and traumatized by the images from Gaza.

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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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° video 4 on how Search is working with women to take a more significant role in the peace process right now. “We’ve been working with a really powerful and growing community of women leaders, including activists, lawyers, former Knesset members, former Palestinian ministers in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Tel Aviv working to ensure that they are not left out of whatever peace process that will have to come out of this war. We are supporting them as they develop their own thinking and strategy for how to accelerate and influence that kind of peace process. It’s well known that peace processes that involve women last much longer and are more viable.”

° video 5 on why Shamil is in Israel to support the work on the ground and help gain more support to continue this necessary work. “I am here to support our team and maybe open a few doors for potential partners and donors. But mostly so I can be more informed when I appeal to our supporters in the States and elsewhere to support the work of peacebuilders here. Solidarity is understandable, but It’s very clear that the end of this war and the prevention of future such wars won’t come simply through solidarity. It’s going to have to come through peacebuilding. Inter-communal solidarity has to be built, even if it is unimaginable right now. The people we’ve been talking to, a former foreign minister, a former prime minister, former ministers in Ramallah, and grass roots activists as well, they recognize that the only way out of this is through a legitimate peace process ad the building of trust. So when I speak to our supporters I can can effectively appeal that in addition to any solidarity with your own community, that you support the peacebuilders here across both Palestinian and Israeli society.

We hope these videos offer a reminder that there’s nothing abstract about your partnership, that it’s issuing into real relief and peacebuilding for real people, right now.

Your commitment to peacebuilding is invaluable. Would you join us in supporting this work on the ground?

Additionally, if you’re particularly interested in peacebuilding in the Middle East, don’t miss our upcoming virtual conversation with Shamil on Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. ET. He will delve deeper into the situation on the ground and discuss the pathways to peace in Israel/Palestine. click here for the video

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to building a better world.

International Women’s Day: Africa and Middle East

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A press survey by CPNN

In order to gather photos from the celebration of International Women’s Day, we put the following phrases into the google search engine:
° women’s day photos 2024
° Photos “Journée internationale de la femme” 2024
° Fotos”Día Internacional de la Mujer” 2024
° Fotos “Dia Internacional da Mulher” 2024

Here are the results from Africa and the Middle East.

ALGERIA

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) organized a meeting in Algiers on Wednesday to celebrate International Women’s Day, during which it reaffirmed its solidarity with Palestinian women against Zionist aggression. (from Dzair Scoop, l’Algérie au Quotidien)

AZERBAIJAN


Baku, Azerbaijan. Activists hold a rally in support of women’s rights. Photograph: Aziz Karimov/Reuters (from The Guardian)

CAMEROON

Women parade on International Women’s Day in Yaounde, Cameroon, on March 8, 2024. Women from all walks of life participated in the parade here on Friday. Photo by Kepseu/Xinhua (from Xinhua)

CÔTE D’IVOIRE


The women’s union of the National Investment Bank (UNIFEM) organized on Friday March 8, 2024 in Abidjan, a conference-debate on the theme “The challenges of development of women: professional, family and psychological challenges. (from News Abidjan)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO


All dressed in black on the occasion of International Women’s Day, women from civil society, state civil servants, small traders, politicians, teachers, students and other social strata walk peacefully from the bridge Mulongwe to Unity Stadium. To the rhythm of mourning, accompanied by the melodies of Christian songs, these women carry banners and posters on which we can read: “The women of South Kivu demand an end to hostilities in the east of the DRC to increase the resources necessary for an equal Congo. We say no to the balkanization of the DRC. » (from Le Journal Africa

IRAQ


Baghdad, Iraq. Women chant slogans at a gathering on Al-Mutanabbi street in the city’s historic centre. Photograph: Ahmed Jalil/EPA (from The Guardian)

ISRAEL


A group of women stand along the beach, commemorating International Women’s Day by calling for the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 8, 2024. AP Photo/Oded Balilty (from AP News)

KENYA

Radio Africa Group staff celebrating International Women’s Day at their offices in Nairobi March 8, 2024.. Image: COLLINS APUDO (from The Star, Kenya)

LEBANON


Women carry banners and flags during a protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza in front of the UN Women office in Sin El Fil, Lebanon, March 8. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (from Reuters)

Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

MALI

As part of the celebration of March 8, International Women’s Day, the delegation of the European Union to Mali in partnership with the Association of Malian Lawyers, organized a conference-debate on Thursday March 7, 2024, at the campus of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropical Areas (ICRISAT) in Samanko. The event, focused on the theme “Women, Land and Economic Power: Crossed Perspectives between Positive Law and Customary Law”, brought together an attentive audience. (from Mali Web)

MOROCCO

Rabat – The Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM) celebrated International Women’s Day on Friday in Rabat, under the theme of “the role of women in conflict management”. (from the Agence Marocaine de Presse

PALESTINE

Thousands of Palestinian women have taken to the streets for International Women’s Day in an attempt to shed light on the issue of incarcerated women who have had their fundamental rights taken away from them. The marches took place in several areas of the Gaza Strip and eventually met in front of the United Nations office. Women carried banners and demanded their right to work, healthcare, and education and called for an improvement to the country’s economy. Photo: Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor (from the Middle East Monitor)

SENEGAL

March 8 was celebrated with pomp by the women of the Sédhiou region, following the example of the international community which dedicates this date to the platform of women’s rights. Under the authority of the Minister of Senegalese Abroad, Dr Annette Seck Ndiaye, also President of the Sédhiou Departmental Council, these women examined the generic theme chosen this year, “Investing in women, accelerating the pace ”, from different angles. Respect for rights, access to business opportunities and the fight against irregular migration were the highlights of this day. (from Sud Quotidien of Senegal

SOUTH AFRICA

Johannesburg, South Africa. Protesters hold placards during a demonstration organised by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies in support of female hostages taken by Hamas militants. Photograph: Olympia de Maismont/AFP/Getty (from The Guardian)

TUNISIA


Women take to the streets in Tunisia for International Women’s Day to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. One sign reads, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to feminism everywhere.” (from the Twitter page of BT Newsroom)

TURKEY


A demonstrator poses before the police barriers near Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, March 8. REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya (from Reuters)

UGANDA

Ministers at the Women’s Day Celebration in Katakwi, Uganda. Credit Godfrey Ojore. (from New Vision Uganda)

World Court to Review 57-Year Israeli Occupation

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article from Human Rights Watch

An unprecedented number of countries and international organizations are expected to participate in the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) oral hearings on Israel’s occupation beginning February 19, 2024, Human Rights Watch said today (February 16). Fifty-two countries and three international organizations will participate in the oral proceedings, more than in any other case since the world’s highest court began functioning in 1946.


The broad participation in the hearings and the many written submissions reflect growing global momentum to address the decades-long failure to ensure respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“The International Court of Justice is set for the first time to broadly consider the legal consequences of Israel’s nearly six-decades-long occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people,” said Clive Baldwin, senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch. “Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The oral proceedings stem from a December 2022 request by the United Nations General Assembly for an advisory opinion  by the court on the legal consequences of Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The court has the opportunity to address the prolonged occupation, to consider Israel’s practices and policies violating international legal prohibitions against racial discrimination, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, and to appraise the legal responsibilities of other countries and the UN to address violations of international law arising from the occupation.

Although ICJ advisory opinions are non-binding, they can carry great moral and legal authority and can ultimately become part of customary international law, which is legally binding on states.

These proceedings, which will last six days, are distinct from the case brought  by South Africa to the same court alleging that Israel  is violating the Genocide Convention amid the hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups that escalated following the October 7, 2023, Hamas-led attacks.

The General Assembly first asked the ICJ for an advisory opinion related to the Occupied Palestinian Territory in December 2003. In July 2004, the ICJ’s advisory opinion  found that the route of Israel’s separation barrier violated international law and that it should be dismantled.

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

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Question related to this article:

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

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

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The December 2022 request to the court is wider in scope. The General Assembly asked the court to give its opinion on the “legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation” of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including “its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures,” and on the legal consequences of the occupation and Israel’s practices for all states and the UN.

The request provides the court the opportunity to evaluate the situation two decades after its last advisory opinion on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and provide guidance on the law, including the continued application of international humanitarian law and human rights law. The court could also assess Israel’s conduct under international human rights law, including prohibitions on racial discrimination, and international criminal law, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.

The ICJ adjudicates disputes between states and issues advisory opinions on international law. It lacks jurisdiction over the conduct of non-state armed groups like Hamas. The International Criminal Court (ICC), by contrast, addresses serious international crimes allegedly committed by individuals, including members of armed groups. The ICC prosecutor confirmed that since March 2021 his office has been conducting an investigation into alleged atrocity crimes committed in Gaza and the West Bank since 2014, and that the court has jurisdiction over international crimes committed by all parties in the current hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

Human Rights Watch has documented that Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution  against Palestinians. Given that the responsibilities  of an occupying power toward the rights of the occupied population increase over time, Human Rights Watch has also called for Israel to provide Palestinians in the occupied territory with rights at least equal to those it grants its own citizens, in addition to the protections of international humanitarian law.

The ICJ is composed  of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms. Fifty-seven states and international organizations had filed a written statement  in the proceedings in July 2023, before the October escalation in hostilities. Fifteen states and international organizations filed additional written comments in October and November 2023. Among those participating in the oral proceedings are Palestine, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, the United States, Russia, France, China, Namibia, Pakistan, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the African Union. Israel submitted a written statement and chose not to participate in the oral hearings.

The ICJ will issue its legal opinion at a date to be determined. Past practice suggests that the opinion will be issued before the end of 2024.

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USA: 200+ Unions Launch Network to Push for Gaza Cease-Fire

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Brett Wilkins from Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Seven national and over 200 local labor unions in the United States on Friday announced  the establishment of a coalition to promote a cease-fire in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.


(Click on image to enlarge)

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the Association of Flight Attendants, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the National Education Association, National Nurses United (NNU), the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the United Electrical Workers (UE), and 200 local unions and labor organizations launched the National Labor Network for Cease-fire (NLNC) to “end the death and devastation” in Gaza.

The coalition says it represents more than 9 million union workers—”more than half the labor movement in the United States.”

“The war between Israel and Hamas has continued unabated since Hamas brutally attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,163 people, and taking 253 hostages,” NLNC said in a statement.

“Israel responded with an onslaught that has killed over 28,000 Palestinians and left over 67,000 others injured,” while “1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced, and humanitarian aid remains mostly blocked from those in need,” the coalition added.

NLCN is calling for:

° An immediate cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas;
° Restoration of basic human rights;
° The immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas;
° Unimpeded full access for humanitarian aid; and
° A call for a cease-fire by U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Question related to this article:

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

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

(continued from left column)

In his strongest statement yet, Biden—who has been dubbed “Genocide Joe” by some activists for his staunch support for Israel—said  Friday that he has called for a “temporary cease-fire” during private phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leaders of the seven unions—most of which have already called for a cease-fire—issued statements underscoring the imperative for peace.

“The UAW has a long tradition of calling for peace and justice for working-class people across the globe, and we live that tradition today,” UAW president Shawn Fain said. “In that spirit, we call for an immediate end to the U.S. government’s funding and support of this brutal assault on Gaza.”

Carl Rosen, UE’s president, said: “The support for a cease-fire is overwhelming. We can’t stand by in the face of this suffering. We cannot bomb our way to peace. We express our solidarity with all workers and our common desire for peace in Palestine  and Israel.”

APWU president Mark Dimondstein said that “as a union that stands for equality, social justice, human and labor rights, we unite with unions and people of goodwill around the world in calls for a cease-fire, for justice and peace. The cries of humanity call for nothing less.”

Bonnie Castillo, the NNU’s executive director, asserted that “nurses cannot allow our patients and our colleagues to continue suffering from the traumas of war.”

“We vow to protect and heal all people, and it’s our duty to speak up for every human being’s right to a life free of violence,” she added. “We’re calling for a cease-fire now before one more life is lost, before one more family faces injuries or illnesses.”

The NLCN’s formation follows last week’s cease-fire call  by the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation.

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Decision of the International Court of Justice

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

A blog from Mazin Qumsiyeh

Today 26 January 2024 (after 112 days of carnage), the International Court of Justice issued a decision /injunction with six provisional measures (available here ) and will continued deliberation. The six provisional measures requested are an important win for human rights and could be a game changer even as Israel tried to dismiss them and will go on with carnage.


 
Quotes from the court ruling

In light of the foregoing, the Court concludes that, prima facie, it has jurisdiction pursuant to Article IX of the Genocide Convention to entertain the case.  Given the above conclusion, the Court considers that it cannot accede to Israel’s request that the case be removed from the General List…..The Palestinians appear to constitute a distinct “national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, and hence a protected group within the meaning of Article II of the Genocide Convention. The Court observes that, according to United Nations sources, the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip comprises over 2 million people. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip form a substantial part of the protected group….;.The Court, pursuant to Article 41 of its Statute, has the power to indicate provisional measures….The Court considers that, with regard to the situation described above, Israel must, in accordance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention, in particular: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. The Court recalls that these acts fall within the scope of Article II of the Convention when they are committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a group as such (see paragraph 44 above). The Court further considers that Israel must ensure with immediate effect that its military forces do not commit any of the above-described acts.

The final six decisions of the ICJ (provisional measureS):

(1) By fifteen votes to two, The State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention, in particular: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(2) By fifteen votes to two, The State of Israel shall ensure with immediate effect that its military does not commit any acts described in point 1 above;

(3) By sixteen votes to one, The State of Israel shall take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip;

(4) By sixteen votes to one, The State of Israel shall take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip;

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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?

(continued from left column)

(5) By fifteen votes to two, The State of Israel shall take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article II and Article III of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide against members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip

(6) By fifteen votes to two, The State of Israel shall submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to this Order within one month as from the date of this Order.

The most reputable court on earth has effectively ruled and with a huge majority that: 1) there is plausible evidence of genocidal acts requiring immediate intervention justifying taking the case, 2) that Palestinians are at grave risk of genocide (warranting 6 injunctions noted above).


The resolution opened with a summary of the conflict from 7 October and the contentions of South Africa and Israel about what transpired since. The decision constitutes a profound undermining of the persistent use of the Jewish holocaust to justify another holocaust and that Israel is above the law having proclaimed itself (falsely as representing Jews). This must be built upon and strengthened in a global popular effort (growing global movement) not only to force compliance of ending the genocide per the ICJ’s order (pending final ruling which might take months). The resolution implicitly but not explicitly stipulates a ceasefire. But the decision orders refraining from killing Palestinian civilians and refraining from causing any physical or psychological harm under article 2 of the convention. The decision demands the immediate provision of basic services and humanitarian aid (food, water, medicine, fuel) denied by the Israeli army since 7 October. 


The resolution was issued closer to consensus, with a vote of 15 to 2 or 16 to 1, which means that there is international consensus on the existence of Israel’s intention to annihilate. The American judge, the French judge, and the German judge voted in favor of the resolution, contrary to the declared position of their countries. This is an indication that may constitute a message from those countries of their unwillingness to risk undermining the international system they established to sustain their influence. The Israeli judge appointed ad hoc for this case, Aharon Barak, contradicted his government’s legal position, which rejects the court’s jurisdiction in this case in the first place, and that it risks undermining the legitimacy of Israel when it exposes it to precautionary measures based on the Genocide Convention. Judge Barak voted in favor of the decision on the items preventing incitement and providing basic services and aid, meaning that he granted legitimacy to the court’s jurisdiction in accordance with the Genocide Convention in principle. The judge who voted against all the provisions of the resolution was the Ugandan judge, Julia Sabotendi, including the two provisions that were supported by the Israeli judge, reminds us of the Ugandan option for the Jewish state (1903) and its current government being occupied.

Israeli occupation army will probably go on with its killing spree and starvation of the people and clearing out a 1 Km wide zone of Palestinian houses while bombing others from the air, sea, and land. Most of the public as you can see from the video above is brainwashed. But it is a moral defeat for the Colonial project and more and more countries and people are not buying the lies and distortions any more. It is time for the 15 million Palestinians scattered around the world to discard aging leaderships, organize better and with help of all people of good will assert and achieve our right to return and self determination in Palestine. 

What we need to do? Keep pushing, keep posting on social media, speak truth to power, , keep protesting/demonstrating (especially against complicit media and politicians), engage in BDS ; For more on what you can do see ongaza.org and What you can do. You can shorten the 112 day carnage and each day an average of 250 civilians are killed (accelerating now because of famine and disease). Even saving one day means saving hundreds of lives and many remaining homes from demolition.

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Gala of solidarity with the Palestinians at the Algiers Opera

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from El Watan

The hall of the Algiers Opera Boualem Bessaih, in Ouled Fayet, west of the capital, was packed on the evening of Saturday January 20, for the gala of solidarity with the Palestinians, Salam lel Falastine ( Peace for Palestine). 

 By noon on Thursday, January 18, 2024, all tickets have been sold out. I take my hat off to the Algerian artist who wanted this show to be unique in its kind. I also salute the immense promotional work done by the national press for this event. We were able to bring together 150 artists on stage, supported by sponsors who believed in the project, and by the Ministry of Culture and Arts,” declared Abdelkader Bouazzara, director of the Algiers Opera and organizer of the gala.  


Proceeds from the evening will be donated entirely to the benefit of the Palestinian people.

 
The evening began with the Algerian and Palestinian national anthems performed by the Algiers Opera Symphony Orchestra. The college choir Mamlakatou al tilmidh (The kingdom of children) from Ain Benian (Algiers) then performed Beytouna el Qods (our house el Qods), based on music and words by Mustapha Alouane. Syrian maestro Missak Baghboudarian led the orchestra afterward to play the overture to La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny), an opera composed by Italian Giuseppe Verdi at the request of Russian Tsar Alexander II in 1862 (seven years afterwards, the work was greatly revised by the composer). From another Verdi opera, composed ten years earlier, La traviata, soprano Dina Sirine Khiari masterfully performed the aria Addio del passato (Farewell to the past).

 
“Take your hours out of our time, go away”
 

Covered in a dark burnous, the actor Hassan Kechache declaimed the famous poem by the Palestinian Mahmoud Darwish, Ayahou al maroun bayna el kalimat al abira (You who pass among the fleeting words), criticizing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands:

“You who pass among passing words. Take your names and leave. Take your hours out of our time, go away. Extort what you want, from the blue of the sky and the sand of memory.  Take the photos you want, to know that you will not know how the stones of our earth build the roof of the sky.”

Led by Nadjib Kateb, the Andalusian Orchestra of the Algiers Opera performed in moual Filistine ya bladi (Palestine ô my country), sung by Lamia Madini, followed, in zidane style, to the tune of Qom tara, Seif el Quds, performed by Sarah Belaslouni, based on a poem by the Syrian Abdel Rahim Al Gamoudi. Hassan Kachach returned to the stage to declaim the lyric poem Ardha falestine (The land of Palestine), by the Algerian Mohamed Badji, then interpreted, in Chaâbi style, by Kosseila Ajrad.

This song was widely popularized by Amar Zahi. Less known, the song Asbaha indi el an boundoukia (I now have a rifle) was then sung by Asma Alla, accompanied by the Algiers Opera Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lotfi Saïdi. Asbaha indi el an boundoukia is an epic style song performed as a duet in 1969 by Mohamed Abdelwahab and Oum Keltoum to a poem by Nizar Kabbani. The famous theme song of the Egyptian soap opera Raafat Al Haggan, composed by Amar Cherii, was then performed by the Symphony Orchestra conducted again by Missak Baghboudarian. 

“If we are to have another gala for Palestine, we must repeat tonight’s gala in every detail. I am delighted that Algerian, Syrian and Tunisian artists came together to play classical music and Andalusian music with a children’s choir and singers. All the artists said their word for Palestine this evening. We have said our word to the world…,” confided the Syrian maestro.

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

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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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The flower of cities

He explained that the choice of La forza del destino is motivated by adopting a language that is addressed to the whole world, not just for audiences in the Arab region. 

“For Rafaat Al Haggan’s music, we were young when the soap opera was broadcast. We all dreamed of becoming like him,” he said. Directed at the end of the 1980s by Yehia El Alami, Rafaat Al Haggan, this three-season series tells the story of an Egyptian spy who hit the headlines in Israel in the 1950s.

The dancers of the Opera Ballet from Algiers then performed a Palestinian dabke to the famous song by Mohamed Assaf, Ala ahdi ala dini. The stage was then given over to Maria Saïdi and Nourelhouda Ghanoumat to sing Chedou baathkoum ya ahl falestine, a song made famous by an old Palestinian Halima Kessouani, since killed by Israeli soldiers. 

Zahratou al madayine (the flower of cities), the famous song of the Lebanese Fairouz, in homage to El Quds, was then taken up by Nada Rayhane, accompanied by the symphony orchestra and the choir of Algiers and Laghouat. 

Dressed in a red dress covered with a white cape, Manel Gharbi then sang Sayfoun fel youchhar (Let a sword be exhibited) by Fayrouz, a song dating from 1967, the year of the Six Day War, before continuing with Win el malayine (Where are the millions?). Produced during the first Intifada in the Palestinian Territories in 1987, Win el malayine, written and composed by the Libyans Ali Al Kilani and Abdullah Muhammad Mansour, was performed as a trio by the Lebanese Julia Boutros, the Tunisian Sawsan Hammami and the Syrian Amal Arafa.
 

“The artist’s message always reaches the heart”

Manuel Gharbi said, “I am proud to have participated in this gala singing this style for the first time, usually I sing Andalusian. I like this style. We are proud as artists to have participated in this evening of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Algeria has always stood in solidarity with the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause. The fact remains that the solidarity of artists is always important. The artist’s message always reaches the heart. Even if the entries for this evening are symbolic, the fact of coming together and showing solidarity remains important. I hope that the voice of artists reaches everywhere in the world.”  She has just produced a duet with Syrian singer Rasha Rizk, a song in tribute to Palestine, composed by Tarik Benouarka. Manel Gharbi wants the song’s video to be shot in Algeria. 

The evening closed with a cover of the cantata Carmina Burana by German composer Carl Orff, translated into Arabic by Rabah Kadem, and sung by the choir of Algiers and Laghouat. A choir directed by Zouhir Mazari.
 
The conductor Lotfi Saïdi said, “I salute the public who came in force. It is a way of expressing support for the Palestinians.  Proceeds from the evening will be donated entirely to the benefit of the Palestinian people. All the artists and institutions of the Algiers Opera took part in this gala. The artists fight in their own way, with music.”

Soraya Mouloudji, Minister of Culture and Arts, declared, for her part: “These international-level artistic works are all linked to the Palestinian cause. A national cause par excellence for Algeria, as underlined by the President of the Republic. Art does not exist solely for entertainment or joy, history has proven that often art is born out of pain and crisis. This evening, the voice of artists confronted obscurantism and the flagrant violation of human rights from which our Palestinian brothers suffer,” She praised “the great effort” made by Abdelkader Bouazzara, director of the Opera, to organize the show “in a short period of time”. 

“We discussed the possibility of organizing similar galas after two or three months to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people,” she said. 

For his part, Abdelkader Bouazzara announced that other shows will be organized at the Algiers Opera and did not rule out the possibility of a national tour. 

The solidarity gala with Palestine was broadcast live on the Echababia channel (Channel 6) and will be broadcast afterwards on all the channels of the ENTV group (ex-RTA). 

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Artists for peace in Gaza

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

A survey by CPNN putting the term “artists for peace in Gaza” in search engines

On a global level, more than 4000 artists came together under the collective Musicians for Palestine, demanding a ceasefire as the war in Israel and Gaza continues. This was published by Euronews on November 23.

In the United Kingdom, on October 17, Artists for Palestine UK published a declaration “accusing governments of “aiding and abetting” Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza”, stating that “Palestinians face “collective punishment on an unimaginable scale”, and demanding “Governments should “end their military and political support for Israel’s actions”. It was signed by over 4,300 producers, curators, writers, DJs, architects and designers.

Also in the United Kingdom, DJ Magazine published on November 15 an open letter #MusicForACeasefire signed by over 1000 artists.

In the United States, Artists4Ceasefire sent a letter signed by over 300 artists to President Biden saying “We ask that, as President of the United States, you and the US Congress call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost.”

In South Africa, , The Artists’ Collective Project for Peace in Palestine announced on December 1, that “our first event brings together local artists in Cape Town to create a live mural in support of the Palestinian people. The event will be filmed and shared across various social media platforms.”

In France, French artists, including actressers Isabelle Adjani and Emmanuelle Beart, led a silent Paris march of thousands of people on November 19 for peace between Israelis and Palestinians

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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 Qatar, The Souq Waqif Art Centre in Doha – in a powerful expression of solidarity and a call for peace – will host an exhibition featuring around 26 paintings by Doha-based artists. These works focus on the dire conditions faced by Palestinians in Gaza and advocate for a lasting solution to the ongoing conflicts in the region.

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Artists for Peace – Shadow Ban This! continues to hold concerts to raise funds for UAE’s Compassion for Gaza campaign. Dozens of performers, including artists, musicians and poets, have taken part in the events.

In Malaysia, more than 700 artists across acting, theater, music, and visual arts have endorsed a memorandum demanding that ASEAN nations halt economic ties with Israel until Gaza is safe and Palestinians are shielded from military attacks. In addition to launching the memorandum, the SEA Artists, Creatives & Cultural Activists for Peace, Stop Genocide in Gaza, read and diffused 31 monologues by Gazan youth.

In India, Odisha-based sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik creates a sculpture titled Solidarity With Humanity, as a symbolic prayer for peace between Israel and palestine.

In Canada, Artists for a Ceasefire Now published a statement on November 1 pledging support for the Palestinian people in the face of over 75 years of Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, military occupation, and ethnic cleansing. The signature list numbers more than 2,000 artists.

Even in Israel there are artists opposing the war. The website kveller.com lists several Israeli illustrators and cartoonists who have been finding ways to make meaning and communicate their heartbreak about the lives lost, the hostages and the trauma of war. 

As for Palestine, CPNN has recently carried the story of a young Palestinian artist who paints murals on the rubble of buildings that have been destroyed, “in order to send a strong message that we will remain on our land and never leave it.”

The biographies of Palestinian and Israeli writers and artists who have been killed or wounded in the Gaza conflict are published on an updated web page of PEN America

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The women leading the fight for peace in Palestine: Women in Black

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Open Democracy

On 4 October, thousands of women met in Jerusalem at an event led by the Israel-based Women Wage Peace and the Palestine-based Women of the Sun to discuss how to bring peace to the region. Three days later, one of the former group’s founding members, Canadian-Israeli activist Vivian Silver, was killed by Hamas in the deadliest attack on Israel in its 75-year history.

The women’s work has become much more difficult in the weeks since. Some 1,200 Israelis were killed in the attack and 160 taken hostage, more than 100 of whom are yet to be released. Israel has responded by reducing much of northern Gaza to rubble, killing 15,000 Palestinians and wounding 30,000 more.

Peace now seems a distant prospect. But the women have not given up hope. In a statement released on 14 October, Women Wage Peace said: “Every mother, Jewish and Arab, gives birth to her children to see them grow and flourish and not to bury them.


Branches of Women in Black lead silent vigils around the world to call for peace | Jesus Merida/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

“That’s why, even today, amid the pain and the feeling that the belief in peace has collapsed, we extend a hand in peace to the mothers of Gaza and the West Bank.”

As Siobhan Byrne of the University of Alberta later said: “This was undoubtedly a difficult statement to write through their grief and anguish.”

Both Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun are relatively recent movements for peace in the Middle East but another women-led group has been calling for Israelis to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza for 35 years.

Women in Black (WiB), a low-profile, remarkably persistent and very global movement, was launched in West Jerusalem in January 1988, prompted by the first intifada the previous year.

The group is distinctive in two main ways: firstly for the role of vigil in its fight for change and secondly, for its varying calls of witness, not just in war but more generally on violence against women.

Its protests often take the form of public vigils by small groups of women, dressed entirely in black, largely silent and bearing messages of their beliefs. The vigils are repeated, often on specific days of the week and in the same place, such as outside a mall or in a city square.

As for its calls of witness, they may vary with country or local circumstance, but they may have a common message of the need for peace, either in a specific conflict or on a generic issue, though they also extend to much more pervasive issues of gendered violence, both in time of war and in wider society.

Feminist activist and scholar Cynthia Cockburn, who was among the most persistent supporters of WiB, began to write a book on the history of the movement in February 2019. Though she sadly died later that year having written only the first five chapters, the book was completed, at her request, by Sue Finch, aided by copious files that Cockburn had left and by people in WiB groups from across the world.

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Questions related to this article:

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

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

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Published earlier this year, Women in Black: Against Violence, for Peace with Justice tracks the development of the movement over more than three decades. It details how WiB is not a centrally organised entity but more a coalition of groups that snowballed across the world within six months of the movement’s start in Jerusalem.

Italian feminist activists, who had travelled to Israel and Palestine as part of a project called ‘Visiting Difficult Places’ in the late 1980s, joined WiB’s actions and took their approach back home. A feminist community in Belgrade, in what was then Federal Yugoslavia, in turn learned from them, and a similar approach evolved there. That group remained active throughout the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, bearing witness against the Bosnian and Kosovo wars.

Over time, WiB spread to Colombia, Germany, India, South Africa, Argentina and more than a dozen other countries spanning five continents, and nine international WiB conferences took place.

Introducing the book, Cynthia Cockburn summed up the movement’s evolution over the years, describing the differences between the various groups that had sprung up. “For some, especially those living through war,” she wrote, “theories about the relationship between gender and militarism are the most vital.

“Other women, living in relative peacetime choose combating male violence against individual women, and campaigning for the right to abortion, contraception and control over their own bodies, as the centre of their activism.

“The theories that connect Women in Black across the world, as a result, include the continuum of violence against women, and a causal relationship between gender and war.”

Women in Black is not a rigid centrally organised movement but has considerable autonomy between countries and branches. Any group of women in any part of the world may organise a vigil and while that is the most common action, responses may also involve nonviolent direct action at military bases or simply refusing to comply with orders.

A uniting feature is the value of the sense of solidarity, with women in one branch in a particular country knowing that if they bear witness to a particular happening or circumstance such as a specific conflict or incident of repression, they will be acting alongside a group in the country and also o9thersw across the world.

Because of its structure, the numbers involved in WiB may vary. Writing on its website, the movement gives one example: “When Women in Black in Israel/Palestine, as part of a coalition of Women for a Just Peace, called for vigils in June 2001 against the Occupation of Palestinian lands, at least 150 WiB groups across the world responded… The organisers estimate that altogether 10,000 women may have been involved.”

In recent years, Cockburn’s own writings, including on global disarmament and women peacemakers, have been highly influential. She worked in many regions of tension and conflict – including Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Israel/Palestine, Cyprus, South Korea, Spain and the UK – on a wide range of projects primarily focused on gender, war and peace-making.

Her work was paralleled by many years of activism, much of it stemming from an early visit to the Greenham Common women’s peace camp in 1980, and in 1993 she was heavily involved in establishing Women in Black in London. This book is certainly a very valuable contribution as a hugely informative account of the growth of what is now a worldwide movement but it is also a fitting remembrance of Cynthia Cockburn, a remarkable person.

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