An artist’s collage juxtaposes the real-life conditions Palestinian workers face in the occupied West Bank with Scarlett Johansson’s role as SodaStream spokesmodel. (Courtesy Electronic Intifada)
Outside the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, activists demonstrate against U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his peace proposal, Jan. 29, 2014. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)
A Jewish settler (unseen at left) places the Israeli flag on a road sign as Israeli troops encircle Palestinian villagers protesting the army’s cutting branches off olive trees on a road leading to the illegal Jewish settlement of Tekoa, south of Bethlehe
Dr. Eyad El Serraj at a 1993 press conference in East Jerusalem denouncing Israel’s use of torture. (Ruben Bittermann/Photofile)
U.N. and Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (l) and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Jan. 22 press conference closing the Geneva II peace talks on Syria. (Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/August 1990, Page 68
By Vicki Tamoush
To support reconstruction in Lebanon, the American University of Beirut (Alumni Association of North America, Inc., 850 Third Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10022; (212) 319-2434) has teamed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to discuss a five-year collaborative program. The $9-million program budget will be equally split between the two schools, and intensive recruitment of "promising young faculty members" is planned to bolster Lebanese academia.
The American Friends Service Committee Pacific Southwest Regional Office (980 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103; (818) 791-1978) presented a workshop on the Middle East at its recent annual meeting. Attendance was capacity, with discussion centering around recent peace efforts and a report on current events in the occupied territories.
UCLA's Extension Sunday Series program offered a one-day program on "Los Angeles Jews: The Shaping of One of the World's Largest Jewish Cities." Topics covered included a history of the city's Jewish neighborhoods, its people, and its place in American Jewish history and contemporary affairs. The program was led by Stephen J. Zipperstein, associate professor of modern Jewish history and chair of the Jewish studies department at UCLA.
The Coalition for Peace in the Middle East (P.O. Box 27755, Los Angeles, CA 90027; (213) 657-3612) has protested Israel's recent actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by sending individual letters to all members of the House of Representatives stating the Coalition position. The letters encourage Congressmembers to increase the level and frequency of U.S.-PLO talks which would include high-ranking officials from both sides. In addition, the Coalition supports the presence of a U.N. observer team in the region.
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom U.S. Section Middle East Committee (743 Spruce Street, Berkeley, CA 94707), in cooperation with the Institute for Arab Women's Studies, is distributing the U.N. report, Situation of Women in the Occupied Territories. WILPF advises circulating the report to all elected officials on the appropriations committees.
Update #38 by the Committee to Protect Journalists (16 E. 42nd Street, Third Floor, New York, NY 10017; (212) 983-5355) features a number of new cases from throughout the Arab world, as well as in Israel and the occupied territories. Updates are given on Israeli political prisoners Abie Nathan, Michal Schwartz and Michael Warshawsky. An extensive list of Palestinian journalists detained or released in 1989-90 is given, along with a brief description of each case. No other such list is included for any region of the world in this report.
Americans for Middle East Understanding (475 Riverside Drive, Room 241, New York, NY 10115; (212) 870-2053) has released a new pamphlet examining U.N. resolutions as they relate to Middle East events, entitled Why Did the United Nations Resolve That Zionism Is a Form of Racism? Included is a brief bibliography of books addressing the topic in depth, and a partial list of "Israel's racial discrimination against non-Jews," which details some of Israel's laws and practices as they affect non-Jews and, in particular, Palestinians.
The Cambridge-Ramallah/El Bireh Sister City Campaign publishes a newsletter containing reports from participants in the organization's "Linking Communities Trips." The newsletter also addresses ways in which peace activists can make the Middle East a local issue in U.S. communities. For information on tours to the region, or to subscribe to the newsletter: 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; (617) 492-4934.
The International Jewish Peace Union (PO Box 20854, Tompkins Square Station, New York, NY 10009; (212) 979-8754) has published a manual for peace activists entitled Organizing Teach-Ins for Middle East Peace. The 40-page booklet covers every aspect of planning, from topic to budget, prefaced by a discussion of the importance of the conflict in the Middle East to Americans.
The U.S.-based Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (330 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10001) accuses the Israeli military government of harassing Palestinian lawyers for their political activities. The document, entitled In Defense of Rights: Attacks on Lawyers and Judges in 1989, cites abuses of lawyers, judges and law professors and students throughout the world. Eleven cases of Palestinian lawyers who suffered reprisals from the Israeli military government, including detention, are detailed. Most of the 11 were active members of one of the two lawyers' associations in the occupied territories.
Awards and Sentences
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was awarded India's premier honor, the Jawaharlal Nehru Prize for Peace and International Understanding, during his second official visit to the country. Indian President Venkataraman presented the award in appreciation of Arafat's "efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and elsewhere." During his three-day visit, Arafat also met with Indian Prime Minister Singh and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. After receiving the prize, Arafat flew to Calcutta to meet Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa and donated U.S. $50,000 in the name of the Palestinian people for the furtherance of her charitable work.
Five Israelis received two-month suspended sentences and fines of U.S. $375 on charges of "defacing real property" for writing on the walls of Beer Sheeba's commercial center: "I AM A REFUSER-END THE OCCUPATION-EXTRADITE RABIN TO THE POPULAR COMMITTEES-LONG LIVE FREE PALESTINE." Judge Tzvi Segal explained that, although it was not a serious charge, the punishment was designed "to deter others." The five will soon be drafted into the army.
U.S. and Canadian non-governmental organizations have launched a campaign calling for the release of imprisoned Palestinian trade union activist Hani Beydoun. Hundreds of maligrams have been sent to Israeli authorities, including an appeal from the president of the Canadian Labor Congress, representing two and one-half million Canadian unionists.
American Palestinian charity seeks Executive Director to head Washington, DC office. Executive Director reports on activities of small staff to Board of Trustees, and administers fund raising, management and aid programs. Applicants should be articulate in Arabic and English and have commitment to Palestinian issues. Send resume with letter of interest to: Executive Director Search, 2100 M Street, NW, Suite 409, Washington, DC 20037. Salary commensurate with experience.
Vicki Tamoush is a peace activist based in Glendale, CA.