A free Palestine has so much to offer. Agricultural industry, tourism industry, cultural and arts and very rich natural resources, but none of these can be economically developed as long as Israel maintains a 10-meter-high separation wall and hundreds of military checkpoints within Palestinian lands, and as long as Israel continues to control the borders, effectively blocking the entire Muslim world from visiting and frequently turning away Christians – and even Jews – from its borders.
Israeli Jews do not see Palestinians as equal human beings. They live in utter denial of the peculiar and unsustainable reality, but this is no excuse for the rest of the world, especially the United States, not to wake up and realize that ending the occupation has the potential to release a tremendous amount of positive energy.
Historic twists of fate are unpredictable, with many ironic overtones. Maybe, just maybe, the analysis by an Israeli-trained Palestinian attorney together with the clues to be found in Arafat’s dead body will usher in a long-overdue era of Israeli accountability for crimes against the Palestinian people.
Israel is threatening to refuse to allow Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory to receive visitors from abroad. We are not talking here about visitors such as the 5 million Palestinian refugees whom Israel has refused to allow to return to their homes after being expelled by force and fear when Israel was founded in 1948. Rather, the issue now is that foreigners who desire to visit the occupied Palestinian territory are being denied entry into Israel.
Egyptians would be well advised to learn from the Palestinians that the window of opportunity for real change comes all too infrequently. They should therefore be very clear on what they desire from this historic episode. I’d guess that the US state department already has more than a few scenarios in place and dealing with these is what the Egyptian people will really be up against in the coming weeks.
The United States is at a crossroads in its mediation of Middle East peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The Obama administration can no longer walk on the Israeli side of the line–which is exactly where the US has been since Israel’s creation–while continuing to pay lip service to the illusion of walking on the thin line of fair mediation. Unfortunately, neither the US, nor anyone in the Palestinian leadership for that matter, has proposed anything beyond brushing the dust off already-failed initiatives and placing the burden for progress on the need for more Palestinian concessions; concessions that do not exist.
By Sam Bahour* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz The entire U.S. administration’s Middle East A-team–President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and Special Envoy Mitchell–is defying the mass majority of political analysts by dismissing the status quo in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip, and insisting that the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli direct talks has… Read More »
By Sam Bahour* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to enter direct negotiations (yet again) in Washington on September 2. The Obama administration is sure to hail this as a significant breakthrough. Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and borders will all be on the table. But substantive Palestinian economic growth must also be… Read More »
By Sam Bahour* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz When politicians face failure what do they do? Step down? No way. Not in Palestine at least. Over and over again the Palestinian leadership has hit a cement wall (no pun intended) in its attempts to lead the Palestinian people to freedom and independence. And with every… Read More »
By Sam Bahour and Bernard Avishai* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz The latest rift between the United States and Israel, which began with Israel’s announcement of more planned construction planned in Ramat Shlomo – a Jewish-only neighborhood – that would further separate East Jerusalem from the rest of a future Palestinian state, distracts from the… Read More »
By Sam Bahour* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz In 2010, Jews in Israel and around the world will celebrate Passover beginning on March 30th. Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Breadcommemorating the ancient Hebrews’ escape from enslavement in Egypt. (In Israel, March 30th is also Land Day: the day when Palestinians commemorate… Read More »
By Sam Bahour* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz We are told that President Obama has taken a leap of political faith in trying to bridge a final peace settlement between Palestinians and Israelis. The United States’ new weapon is “proximity talks”: if either side fails to meet American expectations, the US will squarely and publicly… Read More »
The Palestinians’ right of return challenges not only international law itself, but more so the political will of UN member states to act in the face of blatant racism and forced dispossession. A reply to Ahmed Badawi’s “Palestine: seize the initiative”. By Sam Bahour * Ahmed Badawi is to be applauded for thinking out of… Read More »
By Sam Bahour* RAMALLAH, West Bank — At long last, a spotlight is shining on Palestinian nonviolent efforts to throw off the Israeli occupation. A visit by a group of high profile “Elders” last month to the Palestinian village of Bil’in in the West Bank, and the barrier running through it, bathed our landscape in… Read More »
The story below is about two women who are very dear to me. Deb is a long-time Israeli friend, an adopted “mom” of sorts. Maha is a work colleague in Gaza and the aunt of the 14- yr old boy in Gaza she and I have been working to help get medical treatment. This is… Read More »
by Sam Bahour and Iyad Joudeh July 30, 2007 The Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are Israeli occupied lands that have brought despair to all involved. The most recent chapter in this historic saga was the overrunning of Gaza by Hamas militants. As the world contemplates how to deal with this latest… Read More »