Feature Editorials

Friday, 01 February 2008 19:00 Jonathan Ben Efrat

The PeaceMakerI have succeeded in making peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In an interview preceding the Annapolis Conference, PA negotiator Saeb Erakat claimed that peace could be delivered in half an hour. The basis, everyone already knows, is the Clinton draft: two states with border adjustments and division of Jerusalem.

In my case, peace took two hours—or, well, two years. I delivered it in 2009. I watched the express train glide through the Safe Passage from Gaza to the West Bank. I brought together Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian farmers; we are planning a tri-state organic cooperative. Jerusalem is the capital for all. Euphoria!

How did I pull this off? As a subscriber to Haaretz, I received, in advance of Annapolis, a computer game from the workshop of the Peres Peace Center. It begins with a survey of the Conflict from 1922 until the end of 2007. I was offered the choice of being either the Israeli or the Palestinian leader. I chose the former. The game set me the goal of lowering the level of violence, providing Israelis with a feeling of security, and improving the economy.

In addition, I was supposed to make life easier in the Occupied Territories and advance toward a peace agreement. I was provided with a range of tools, including the "stick" of selective assassinations, air strikes, curfews, etc. and the "carrot" of opening roadblocks, granting permits to work in Israel, and economic cooperation (as a reward to the PA for combating terrorism). I could also expand or dismantle the settlements and initiate projects to improve the Israeli economy, such as tax breaks or aid to the elderly.


Friday, 23 November 2007 19:00 Adam Hanieh

Next Steps for the Palestinian Solidarity MovementThe launch of this book is an extremely timely and important contribution to understanding the current situation in Palestine. We all know from the daily reports that this situation is one of the most difficult ever faced by the Palestinian people.

In the Gaza Strip, a truly unprecedented assault on the population is unfolding. Over 1.4 million Gazans are trapped in this 'open-air prison', subject to daily bombardment by Israeli rockets and heavy artillery. Israel has announced plans to cut electricity and fuel supplies to the Strip.

These supplies are absolutely necessary to maintaining basic services such as hospitals and sewage treatment plants. We now regularly hear stories of Gaza residents being killed in floods of sewage, as Israel prevents needed supplies and inspections of sewage lakes in the area.

The point here, however, is not to focus on the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The enormous value of the book lies in the political perspective it outlines. We need to build upon these perspectives and present an assessment of the current stage of our solidarity efforts in places such as Canada and the U.S. It is very important that we always situate our efforts historically, take a step back to look at where we are at and where we want to be going.

Monday, 15 October 2007 20:00 Sara Flounders

Image“The forces opposing Washington’s policy of endless war--whether waged through sanctions, coups, invasions, bombings or sabotage--should stand with Iran, recognize its accomplishments, defend its gains and oppose imperialism’s efforts to re-colonize the country.”

Why is Iran increasingly a target of U.S. threats? Who in Iran will be affected if the Pentagon implements plans, already drawn up, to strike more than 10,000 targets in the first hours of a U.S. air barrage on Iran?

What changes in policy is Washington demanding of the Iranian government?

In the face of the debacle U.S. imperialism is facing in Iraq, U.S. threats against Iran are discussed daily. This is not a secret operation. They can't be considered idle threats.

Two aircraft carriers--USS Eisenhower and USS Stennis--are still off the coast of Iran, each one accompanied by a carrier strike group containing Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, electronic warfare aircraft, anti-submarine and refueler planes, and airborne command-and-control planes. Six guided-missile destroyers are also part of the armada.

Thursday, 27 September 2007 20:00 Tony Iltis

What began on August 15 as protests against escalating fuel and transport prices and deteriorating economic conditions has developed into a mass uprising in Burma.

From September 17, mobilisations by Buddhist monks and nuns emboldened thousands of Burmese to take to the streets in the largest protests since the pro-democracy uprising in 1988 that was brutally crushed, with over 3000 people killed, by the military regime that has ruled Burma since 1962.

The military was initially reluctant to attack the Buddhist clergy-led mobilisations, not wishing to undermine the regime’s claims to be the protector of the national religion. However, by September 26, with more than 100,000 people mobilising in Rangoon for several days running (300,000 on September 26 according to http://www.mizzima.com/, website of the Delhi-based exile-Burmese Mizzima News Agency) the military began baton-charging, tear-gassing and firing on the protests. Pro-government militias have also been used against the protests.

The military also raided monasteries, arresting large numbers of monks. The official death toll stands at 13, although both internal and Western sources suggest it is probably significantly higher. A Japanese photojournalist, Kenji Nagai, was shot dead on September 27, and there are reports that other foreigners may have been killed. Since the crackdown started, protests have continued but numbering in tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. The Buddhist clergy has been less visible, with monks and nuns either in detention or blockaded inside their monasteries by the military.

Thursday, 30 August 2007 20:00 Bev Collins

President George W. BushThe US President was in Canada last week trying to charge that anyone who was concerned the Security and Prosperity Partnership was advancing a North American Union agenda or supporting NAFTA Superhighways was a "conspiracy theorist."

The US must be loaded with these conspiracy theorists in both the Republican and Democratic parties, because 19 American State Legislatures have put forward resolutions opposing this same SPP/NAU agenda. 

22 Congressmen wrote Bush a letter urging him to back off his North American integration efforts when he attended the SPP of North America in Montebello , Quebec.

Monday, 11 June 2007 20:00 Faisal Kutty

350As the Canadian government forges ahead with its cleverly named Passenger Protect Program, the timing could not be better to seriously reconsider what is, for all intents and purposes, a no-fly list.

The attention to the issue of watch lists generated by the struggles of Maher Arar (the Canadian citizen detained by Americans and shipped off to torture and interrogation in Syria) to clear his name should make us all sit back and reflect. There are many lessons to be learned from the Canadian Government’s recent apology and financial settlement with Arar for its role in his “extraordinary rendition. ”

One of these lessons is that hasty and ill considered national security initiatives, which are essentially aimed at managing perceptions more than they are in really addressing legitimate and manageable security concerns, are not harmless. In fact, they cause disproportionate harm in return for very minor gains in terms of intelligence and law enforcement. The innocent and unintended victims of such initiatives are real human beings with lives, rights and dignity. When not properly designed to address the negative impacts such initiatives can significantly disrupt and even destroy lives. 



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