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Church Leaders' Letter to Congress, Oct 2012

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Commentary about what is happening today in the Middle East:

Uri Avnery's Column
one of the best Israeli commentators and a leading peace activist

Gideon Levy
cutting edge, thought-provoking commentary

Avraham Burg - Opinion
speaking courageous truth to his nation and the world

James Wall's Wallwritings
a former editor of "The Christian Century" with extensive experience on Mid East affairs

News and editorials from other sources are provided on our website for the convenience of our visitors. Not all items included here will reflect the views or goals of United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force.
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Another great source for recent news and expert analysis on Israel and Palestine:



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and their educational program,

The Palestine Center

www.thejerusalemfund.org

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The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) offers journalists and editors quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources — both in the U.S. and in the Middle East.  Find them at: http://imeu.net/

We have two feeds from IMEU:

•  IMEU Fact Sheets-background and important facts regarding headline stories
   - on this page

•  News and Analysis

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Older IMEU Fact Sheets


FACT CHECK: Romney Remarks about Palestinians at Private Fundraiser
IMEU, Sep 18, 2012

Today it was revealed that in a video filmed at a fundraiser in May, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney once again made disparaging remarks about Palestinians and their desire for peace. In the video, Romney said that Palestinians "have no interest whatsoever" in peace, and suggested that if elected president he would maintain the status quo in the Middle East and "kick the ball down the field." Romney, who has received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from American businessman and hardline supporter of the Israeli right-wing, Sheldon Adelson, made similar remarks during the Republican primaries earlier this year. For journalists covering this story, the IMEU offers the following fact check on Romney's claims. 


FACT SHEET: The Sabra & Shatila Massacre: 30 Years Later
IMEU, Sep 17, 2012

Yesterday marked 30 years since Christian Lebanese militiamen allied to Israel entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila and the adjacent neighborhood of Sabra in Beirut under the watch of the Israeli army and began a slaughter that caused outrage around the world. Over the next day and a half, up to 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, mostly women, children, and the elderly, were murdered in one of the worst atrocities in modern Middle Eastern history. 


FACT SHEET: Lehava: State-Sponsored Incitement
IMEU, Sep 10, 2012

In recent weeks, numerous requests, including from the Israeli police, have been made to Israel's Attorney General to launch a criminal investigation into a group called Lehava, which is dedicated to preventing Jews, particularly Jewish women, from mixing with Palestinians and other non-Jews. The requests come in the wake of a series of violent assaults carried out against Palestinians by Israeli Jews fueled by rumors or the mistaken belief that Jewish women had been harassed by Palestinian men. So far, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has failed to take any action against Lehava, which receives indirect financial and political support from the government. In the most high-profile case, in mid-August several Palestinian teenagers were attacked and one of them severely beaten by a group of young Israeli Jews in Jerusalem in what witnesses and police described as a "lynching." Just last week, another Palestinian man was beaten and had his leg broken by a group of Jewish teens as he attempted to help a Jewish female friend who had been drinking get home safely. 


FACT SHEET: American & Israeli Policies on Jerusalem
IMEU, Sep 6, 2012

Delegates at the Democratic Party Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, voted to reinsert language into the party's 2012 platform that was contained in the 2008 version, to the effect that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain "undivided" and under Israeli control. The voice vote from the floor was so close that it was repeated several times before Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared that the motion to reinsert the language had passed, eliciting boos from some in attendance. For journalists following this developing story, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet on American and Israeli policies towards Jerusalem. 


Nonviolent Foreign Activists & Others Injured & Killed by Israeli Military Since Rachel Corrie's Death
IMEU, Aug 29, 2012

In addition to the many unarmed Palestinians injured or killed while protesting against the theft of their land and resources by Israel, a number of internationals, including Americans, have been seriously wounded or killed by Israeli soldiers while participating in or observing nonviolent demonstrations in the occupied territories. The following is a partial list of nonviolent foreign activists and others who have been seriously injured or killed by Israeli forces since Rachel Corrie's death in 2003. 


FACT SHEET: A Culture of Impunity: Violence Against Non-Jews in Israel & the Occupied Territories
IMEU, Aug 20, 2012

On August 16, 2012, a firebomb was thrown at a Palestinian taxi in the occupied West Bank, injuring six members of one family, and the next day four Palestinian young men were beaten, one of them severely, by a mob of dozens of Jewish teens in Jerusalem. To put these latest acts of violence and the response of Israeli authorities into context, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet: A Culture of Impunity: Violence Against Non-Jews in Israel & the Occupied Territories. 


FACT SHEET: Palestinian Refugees in Syria
IMEU, Aug 9, 2012

On August 2, 2012, at least 20 Palestinian refugees living in the Yarmouk camp in the Syrian capital of Damascus were killed when mortar shells landed in a busy street. To put the plight of Palestinian refugees in Syria into context, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet. 


FACT SHEET: Palestinian Culture: 64 Years Under Israeli Assault

IMEU, Aug 2, 2012

In late July, while on a trip to Israel and occupied East Jerusalem, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sparked outrage amongst Palestinians by telling a group of supporters at a fundraiser that the glaring disparity between the strength of Israel's economy and that of the Palestinian territories is a result of differences in the respective cultures of Israelis and Palestinians. To put this controversy into context, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet detailing Israel's more than six-decade-old assault on Palestinian society and culture. 

 

Are the Palestinian Territories Occupied?
IMEU, Jul 13, 2012

This week, the Israeli press reported on the findings of a panel appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to investigate legal issues surrounding Israel's West Bank settlement enterprise. The Levy Committee concluded that, legally speaking, the Palestinian West Bank is not under Israeli military occupation, and that Israel's settlement enterprise does not violate international law. The committee's conclusions and recommendations provoked an outcry in Israel and around the world, flying in the face of decades of international legal rulings and the position of almost the entire international community, including the United States. In response, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet examining the legalities of Israel's military and civilian presence in the Palestinian territories, and the potential implications of the Levy Committee's recommendations. 


Israel's Blockade of Gaza: Is it Legal?
IMEU, Jun 14, 2012

The Israeli state comptroller recently issued a report criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government's handling of the May 2010 commando raid on the Freedom Flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, which killed nine Turkish activists, one of them a US citizen. The organizers of the Freedom Flotilla were attempting to call attention to the suffering of the people of Gaza and to challenge Israel's naval blockade of the territory. Israeli officials maintain that the blockade and accompanying siege are legal, but human rights organizations and independent UN experts have concluded the opposite. To clarify this question, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet examining the legality of Israel's blockade. 


FACT SHEET: 45 YEARS OF OCCUPATION
IMEU, May 29, 2012

June 5, 2012, marks the 45th anniversary of the start of the 1967 War, when Israel launched a surprise attack against Egypt and began its military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and Syrian Golan Heights. Since that time, Israel has ruled over millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories by military decree, granting them no political rights while relentlessly colonizing their land. The following fact sheet provides an overview of 45 years of Israel's occupation and settlement enterprise. 


Christians in the Holy Land: Under (Israeli) Siege
IMEU, Apr 29, 2012

A recent "60 Minutes" report on the US television network CBS highlighted the plight of Palestinian Christians, whose roots in the Holy Land are as deep as those of Christianity itself. That sacred tradition is under threat, though, as the Christian population continues to dwindle in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. Within Israel, too, historically Christian enclaves suffer from underdevelopment, poverty, and discrimination from an Israeli state that privileges Jews over non-Jews. Who are Palestine's Christians? What sparked the Christian exodus from the Holy Land? And how are those who remain faring today? This IMEU fact sheet explores these and other questions through the eyes of Christians themselves. 


Self-defense or provocation: Israel's history of breaking ceasefires
IMEU, Mar 15, 2012

Since Israel's creation in 1948, Israeli political and military leaders have demonstrated a pattern of repeatedly violating ceasefires with their enemies in order to gain military advantage, for territorial aggrandizement, or to provoke their opponents into carrying out acts of violence that Israel can then exploit politically and/or use to justify military operations already planned. The following fact sheet provides a brief overview of some of the most high profile and consequential ceasefire violations committed by the Israeli military over the past six decades. 


FAQ on Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)
IMEU, Mar 9, 2012

What is BDS? BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. On July 9, 2005, one year after the historic Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which found Israel's Wall built on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal, an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society called upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. 


5 Questions for AIPAC Policy Conference 2012
IMEU, Mar 2, 201

Ahead of the annual AIPAC policy conference taking place in Washington DC this weekend & President Obama's meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu on Monday, the IMEU offers the following resource on US-Israeli relations. 


Who is Michael Ben-Ari?

IMEU, Feb 24, 2012

Michael Ben-Ari is a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) from the extreme right-wing National Union party. On his English website, Ben-Ari, proudly proclaim that, "He is the first outspoken disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane to be elected to the Knesset." The late Kahane's political party, Kach, has been deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and is banned in Israel. 


Dying to live: The imprisonment of Khader Adnan and Israel's use of detention without trial
IMEU, Feb 13, 2012

On December 17, 2011, 33-year-old Khader Adnan Mohammad Mousa was arrested by Israeli forces in the village of Arraba, near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. The baker and MA candidate in economics at Birzeit University was detained at his home at 3:30am. Adnan has been on hunger strike since the first day of his detention, for a total of 58 days. He is believed to be the longest hunger-striking Palestinian detainee. 

Fact check: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich blame Palestinians in January 26th debate

IMEU, Jan 27, 2012

Once again, the subject of Palestine and the Palestinians took center stage at the Republican presidential debate in Florida last night. In response to a question from a Palestinian-American Republican in the audience, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich made a number of false and defamatory assertions about Palestinians and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following is a fact check of their statements.

Fact check: Fox News and Rick Perry on Israel and Turkey

IMEU, Jan 19, 2012

Texas Governor Rick Perry sparked controversy when he implied that Turkey "is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists" during Monday night's Republican presidential candidates' debate in South Carolina.

Perry's remark came in response to a question from moderator and Fox News anchor Bret Baier during the January 16 debate. But Perry's assertion, made in response to a misleading question, has no basis in fact. 


Fact sheet: Operation Cast Lead
IMEU, Jan 4, 2012

On December 27, 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, a massive, 22-day military assault on the Gaza Strip. The ferocity of the attack was unprecedented in the more than six-decade-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, killing some 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians. In the aftermath of the offensive, a UN-appointed fact finding mission found strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both the Israeli military and Palestinian militias. Investigations by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch came to the same conclusion. 

Republican debate fact check

IMEU, Dec 11, 2011

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict featured prominently in last night's Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa. However, much of what was said by the candidates had little or no basis in fact. The following is a review of some of those statements. 

Expert remarks on Palestinian Freedom Rides

IMEU, Nov 15, 2011

Following Tuesday's Palestinian Freedom Rides, the IMEU offers the following quotes for publication from veterans of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and members of Palestinian civil society. 

The Palestinian UN Bid: Myths & Facts

IMEU, Nov 10, 2011

As the PLO petitions to be admitted to the United Nations as a member state (of Palestine), there are many myths surrounding their initiative. The IMEU offers this factsheet to bring light to those myths and address them with actual facts. 


The UNESCO vote: Implications for the U.S.
IMEU, Nov 9, 2011

On October 31 the member nations of UNESCO voted 107-14 to admit Palestine to the organization. This move triggered the implementation of two pre-existing U.S. laws resulting in Washington cutting all funding for the organization. Palestinian officials say they are studying whether they can join 16 additional U.N. organizations. As a result, the U.S. could be forced to pull out of a number of important international organizations.