Sunday, October 31, 2004

Palestinian Peace Coalition News Update Oct. 31, 2004

The Geneva Initiative: Making Peace Our Horizon

P.O. Box: 4252, Al Bireh/ Ramallah/
Tel: 972 2 240 9017, 8/ Fax: 972 2 240 9016



Ramallah 31 October 2004

PLO Executive Committee Takes Decisions
To Organize Functioning of the PA

The PLO Executive Committee – the highest policy making body in the PLO – met Saturday, October 30th, to discuss the organization and the continued functioning of the Palestinian leadership bodies during the absence of President Arafat for medical treatment abroad. The Executive Committee, and in accordance with the wishes of President Arafat, decided that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) leadership bodies should continue their work in accordance with and pursuant to the responsibilities included in the relevant laws and regulations. In particular:

1. The Palestinian Government will continue carrying out the responsibilities, powers and functions vested in it pursuant to the Palestinian Basic Law.
2. The National Security Council will continue playing its role under the responsibility of the Prime Minister.
3. The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) will continue performing its regular functions without delay or interruption. The PLC will not raise confidence in the government, so as to give the latter a chance to carry out its functions at these difficult times.
4. The Executive Committee will be constantly convened, and will collectively follow up and ensure the implementation of the Basic Law by the executive, legislative and judicial arms of the PNA. The Prime Minister and the Speaker of the PLC will participate in the meetings of the Executive Committee so as to ensure the highest levels of coordination.

The Executive Committee will continue consulting with and receiving instructions from President Arafat in his capacity as the Chairman of the PLO, the President of the PNA and the historic leader of the Palestinian national movement.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Olive Oil from Palestine sold to promote Palestinian-Israeli peace

Kinky Friedman and Farouk Shami Introduce
Olive Oil from the Holy Land
Benefiting Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salom (Oasis of Peace)

Long-time pals Richard "Kinky" Friedman (of detective novel and Texas Jewboys fame) and Farouk Shami (founder and chairman of the board of Farouk Systems) are determined to nurture youngsters in the war-torn Middle East. Their new product – Olive Oil from the Holy Land – pays homage to Farouk’s Palestinian family roots and the deep friendship possible between Jews and Arabs. Proceeds from the sale of Olive Oil from the Holy Land will go toward funding Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salom (Oasis of Peace), and their "School of Peace" program, a grass roots conflict management workshop that aims to change the hearts, minds, and attitudes of teen age children.

Kinky Friedman

Musician: Kinky’s group The Texas Jewboys toured and recorded in the ‘70s, first traveling with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and other greats of the era, and then solo.

Some of his wonderfully zany – but despite the titles not anti-Semitic – songs include "They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

Author: Kinky, currently a columnist for Texas Monthly, has recently published Prisoner of Vandam Street with Simon & Schuster. His previous 19 mystery novels feature himself as the detective protagonist.

Character: Kinky could be his own licensed character. He’s a friend of the rich and famous – and the presidential –visiting both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the White House. And, he’s also considering a run for Governor of Texas (Kinky not George W.).

Philanthropist "Foodie": In his youth, Kinky was a member of the Peace Corps in Borneo. Kinky’s Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch is supported by sales of his Private Stock Salsa. He also has launched his own line of Kona blend coffee.
Farouk Shami

Founder of Farouk Systems: Farouk is the founder and chairman of the board of Farouk Systems USA, which manufactures hair, skin and body care products exclusively for salons. Headquartered in Houston, Farouk Systems now sells products in 57 countries across the globe.
Palestinian-American: Farouk emigrated from Palestine 38 years ago. His family, some of whom still live there, owned olive groves, and Farouk fondly remembers the more bucolic aspects of his childhood.

Hair-Care Expert: Farouk gained his hair coloring expertise at a Louisiana salon and then moved to Houston with partner Beverly Bernard. Suffering from adverse reactions to the ammonia in many coloring products, Farouk devised his first product – Sun Glitz-Ammonia-free hair lightening system. His Houston salon – which quickly gained notoriety – became the base of operations to introduce the Farouk Systems product range.

Family Businessman: Today, Farouk’s son Rami is CEO of their family business and his son Basim is Senior Vice President. Hitham Badran, his son-in-law, is Vice President of Purchasing for this burgeoning company, which has experienced sales increases of 50% annually. John McCall, vice chairman of the board, helped facilitate the Olive Oil from the Holy Land concept.
Farouk recently endowed the Mohammad Ahmed Shami and S. Thomas Friedman Diabetes Fund at the City of Hope (Houston), in memory of their fathers, both who were diabetic
Neve Shalom/Wahat Al-Salam (Oasis of Peace in Hebrew and Arabic)

The Peaceable Kingdom: Oasis of Peace is the only community in Israel where Jews and Arabs have consciously chosen to raise and educate their families together. Over 50 Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli families populate the village. Adults work within the community and children attend a bilingual, bicultural primary school.

This private project was founded in 1972 by Father Bruno Hassar, who was born Jewish and converted to Catholicism. The Israeli government is not involved in funding or operating Oasis of Peace.

Internationally Acclaimed: The community has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times. Its conflict management program, School for Peace, works with Israeli universities and is recognized across the globe. Every year, thousands of Israeli high school students – Jews and Arabs -- meet to meet through the organization’s Youth Encounters. This project that models peace and mutual respect has drawn the attention of international organizations and dignitaries and accolades from VIP visitors such as Hillary Clinton.

For additional information please call: Janice R. McCafferty (773) 736-9034


Friday, October 08, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: Muslims denounce murder of Kenneth Bigley, 10-09-04


(10/08/04) - The American Muslim Council today condemned the brutal murder of British hostage, Kenneth Bigley in Iraq and denounced such killings as barbaric and against the teachings of Islam.

M. Ali Khan, AMC's Executive Director, in his statement, said:

"We condemn this brutal act and those who are betraying our faith with their twisted views. Such horrific acts of cruelty are simply barbaric by nature, and have no justification whatsoever in Islam. Once again, we call for the immediate release of all hostages being held in Iraq. We also offer our most sincere condolences to the Bigley family."

1005 W. Webster Ave., Suite 3
Chicago, IL 60614

M. Ali Khan, Executive Director

Rihan Javid, Deputy Executive Director

Eric Vickers, Communications Director

Nadia Mohammad, Managing Editor

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: PAC condemns Israeli incursion and US Veto 10-6-04

October 5, 2004

The Palestinian American Congress condemns the Israeli incursion into Gaza and denounces the United States veto against a United Nations draft resolution today condemning the Israeli incursion into Gaza.

The Israeli incursion is in its eighth day with no end in sight. Eighty Palestinians have been killed, including 22 children, over 110 homes have been demolished, and commercial structures and civil infrastructure have been destroyed.

By vetoing this draft resolution, the U.S. has directly given Israel approval of its incursion. This was evident by the renewed Israeli rocket attacks hours after the U.S. veto, which resulted in the killing of a child and injuring two children. This collective punishment by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians is a flagrant human rights violation, a violation against the Geneva Convention, and a violation against UN resolutions.

The United States Administration is refusing to acknowledge the impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. The reality of this occupation will continue to produce rocket attacks and suicide bombers. The use of this massive attack on the Palestinian population will not change this reality. Moreover, the U.S. support of this Israeli attack will only serve to fuel the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.


The Palestinian American Congress is a national grass roots organization that defends and represents the interests of Palestinian Americans. Its current member base is distributed over twelve chapters throughout the United States

Monday, October 04, 2004

FEATURE: Palestinians and Jews discuss future of peace, Chicago 10-02-04

Palestinians-Jews explore peace options beyond US elections
Arab American Media Services, Oct. 4, 2004
[Permission granted to reprint in full]
[NOTE TO EDITORS: For photographs, email

The continued deterioration in Palestinian-Israeli relations will not change unless the United States moves from the role of "empire to umpire," a panel of Palestinian and Jewish peace activists agreed during appearances in Chicago.

Mark Rosenblum, the founder and policy director of Americans for Peace Now, and Omar Dajani, former Senior Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Negotiating Team told a rare joint gathering of Palestinians and Jews in Chicago that peace is possible but only if both sides end the violence, and the United States can assume the role of an honest peace broker.

Rosenblum, a professor at Queens College and director of the Michael Harrington Center, explained what he said were five criteria that could help insure that the two sides return to the peace table and work toward a joint goal of a viable two-state solution.

He said that the next president, either George W. Bush or John F. Kerry must appoint a high level envoy with credibility and a strong mandate to move both sides towards peace, such as James Baker or former President William Clinton."President Bush has been a part of the problem more than a part of the solution," Rosenblum told about 50 people at the Palestinian American Congress hall in Burbank, Illinois during a meeting Saturday, Oct. 2.

"I also think the United States must assume the role of a fair adjudicator to monitor the situation. If we do that, we can go from an American perceived as an empire to an American perceived as an umpire."

Dajani agreed but added that Palestinians must reassess their tactics and embrace a "moral clarity" on issues such as suicide bombings and violence against Israeli civilians.

"We must operate on the basis of moral clarity. We have to be absolutely clear on our lines and we cannot embrace double standards on principles and morality," Dajani said. "Both Palestinian and Israeli civilian casualties must be condemned. Dajani said that Palestinian must "must apply the same principles and the same laws" that are used to criticize Israeli actions to "how we resist and fight the occupation."

Rosenblum added that despite the tremendous "power differential" that exists between the two communities, Palestinians cannot avoid speaking out on moral issues."

Both speakers agreed Palestinian elections must be broadened from the municipal level to the national level. He said that Palestine National Authority President Yasser Arafat should not be prohibited from seeking re-election and the United States and Israel should be ready to accept those results if they occur.

"It is the height of hypocrisy that President Bush is advocating democracy in Baghdad but not in Palestine. And if Arafat wins, Bush needs to recognize it and accept it," Rosenblum said.

Rosenblum's roundly criticised Arafat, as well Sharon and the Bush administration, but stressed that there must be reforms in the Palestinian Authority and leadership, adding there is a real need "to empower Palestinian pragmatists and reformers who succeeded in passing the March 2003 basic laws that require the transfer power, particularly in the field of security to the future prime minister of the Palestinian Authority."

But he stressed that the United States and Israel must be ready to accept whatever the results of free and Democratic elections, including the re-election of Arafat as the PNA President.

Rosenblum said he believes the United States must help the Israelis "disengage" from the current occupation beginning the first-step in a "de-occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

He also said he believes that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza First plan is in fact the beginning of a "de-occupation" that will eventually include the West Bank.

"The choice facing Israelis and Zionists is that they must choose between geography or demography," Rosenblum explained. "The Gaza plan can show the way out of the occupation."

Dajani said that the United States and Israel must begin to apply the principle of the international Rule of Law.

"The Palestinian Authority must be re-empowered and the United States and the peace process must clearly define the end goal. People must be able to see more clearly where this will lead."Both also urged the United States and Israel to push for the full implementation of the Roadmap with simultaneous steps taken by both Israel and the Palestinians.

Dajani noted that the Wall is both a wall and a fence, but he said that "in those areas where it means the most to Palestinians, it is a wall of concrete."

He said the poverty level among Palestinians has increased dramatically from 20 percent in 2000 to 60 percent today.

Rosenblum and Dajani made several more appearances on Sunday at two synagogues in the Chicago area, KAM Isaiah in Hyde Park and Congregation Solel in Highland Park. Sponsoring organizations included the Jewish organizations such as Chicago Chapter of Friends of Peace Now, Brit Zedek V'Shalom, and Palestinian groups such as the PAC, Yalla Salam! (Palestinians for Peace Now), the National Arab American Journalists Association, and the Palestinian American Woman's Society.

"One of the points that both speakers made was that at a time when barriers are being erected to keep Palestinians and Jews apart, we should be working hard to break down barriers and bring our two communities together," said Saffiya Shillo, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Palestinian American Congress.

She added that Palestinians and Jews must "increase the dialogue on a substantial level and bring the two communities together, not just a few leaders and activists."

Shillo said that the Chicago PAC would work with Yalla Salam! and other Palestinian organizations to host more joint meetings with Jewish American organizations in the coming year to help promote a end to violence and the occupation and a return to the peace table.

Doni Remba, president of Chicago Friends of Peace Now, said his group will continue to coordinate with local Palestinian organizations to host events. The proposal was endorsed by Ivan Handler, president of the Chicago Chapter of Brit Zedek V'Shalom. Americans for Peace Now and Brit Zedek are among the most active national Jewish American organizations advocating the two-state solution.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

PR GAZA: Israeli killings f Palestinians mount 10-02-04

Israeli Occupation Forces Commit War Crimes in Gaza Strip
1 October 2004
The Palestinian National Committee for International Humanitarian Law (PNCIHL) expresses its deep concern towards the losses in Palestinian civilians and the human suffering arising from the continuous Israeli aggression on North Gaza Strip, during the last two days. This has lead, so far, to the death of (35) martyrs, mostly women, children and aged civilians, as well as around (200) injured persons, demolishing (50) residential houses and bulldozoring large areas of land. However, it is expected that these losses to increase to the extent of being a human catastrophe, in view of Sharon’s decision, along with the Ministers’ Council for Security Affairs to expand the scope of their military operations, namely " Days of Regret" , as a manifestation of their intentions to cost the Palestinian citizens enormous casualties.
The PNCIHL iterates that the use of excessive force by the Occupation Forces, such as air and artillery bombardments of residential neighborhoods and civilian concentrations , in addition to mass destruction of properties and houses that is not rendered by imperative military necessity, constitute war crimes under the rules of International Humanitarian Law - these rules do not accept any justification vis-à-vis prohibition of launching primitive local rocket bombs on settlements, as an excuse for targeting Palestinian civilians, knowing that the settlements are illegal, in accordance to these rules. According to the convention of the International Criminal Court (ICC), these settlements are considered war crimes.
The PNCIHL affirms that the reprisal measures imposed on the Palestinian civilians and their properties are encouraged and supported by the American Administration, which was recently exemplified in the statement by the Head of the State Dept., Collin Powell. He expressed his antagonistic feelings towards the "intifada" and the Palestinians, which is practically identical to the Israeli position. Moreover, these reprisal measures have been nourished by illusions created through Sharon’s "Disengagement Plan" on the public opinion and political arenas – this plan encompass alleged withdrawal from Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. Consequently, the PNCIHL demands immediate release of these illusions and to focus on facts on the ground. Actually, the Israeli forces are in the process of promoting and expanding their military occupation and destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza Strip, but in reality, they are not considering withdrawal, or putting an end to this occupation
In view of the constant refraining of the UN Security Council to restore international peace and security in the region, due to the American veto, the PNCIHL requests the UN General Assembly to review its performance towards the illegitimate Israeli policies and practices, and activate its role by adopting more effective mechanisms, most importantly, the "Unity for Peace" as well as sanctions.
The PNCIHL calls upon the contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions to meet their legal responsibilities, as stipulated in their provisions, including "enacting any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed grave breaches".
The PNCIHL confirms the necessity for the international community of states to take prompt and appropriate measures to provide protection for the Palestinians in the OPT from the nightmare of the "Terror of State" – as experienced in Darfur Region and other places throughout the world.


Friday, October 01, 2004

PR PALESTINE: Israelis kill more Palestinian civilians 10-02-04

The Palestine Monitor
A PNGO Information Clearinghouse
The Israeli army kills ten more Palestinians in Gaza, Nablus, and Jenin

Thursday, September 30, 2004In Gaza City yesterday, six people were killed and 52 injured in thecourse of several Israeli invasions and bombings in the northern part ofthe Gaza Strip. Tawfiq Mumahad Al-Sharafi, 24 years old, Ahmed AbdulFateh Madi, 17 years old, and Sa'ed Abu al-Laesh, 14 years old, all fromJabalya refugee camp, were killed in an invasion of the area.

Also Mus'ab al-Baradai, 12 years old, from Tel al-Hawa in Gaza City, waskilled by fire from an Israeli helicopter inside this civilianneighborhood. Two were killed in shelling by Apache helicopters at Telal-Zataar in Jabaliya refugee camp. Khalil al-Naji, age 23, and Fathehal-Suwareen, a 27. Sources said several of the injured, includingchildren, were shot by live bullets in the upper parts of their bodies.

Many are now in intensive care.Israeli forces invaded the northern part of Gaza Strip on Tuesday ofthis week, three weeks after Israeli withdrawal from the area. Dozens of tanks and bulldozers, backed by Apache helicopters, were used. The stated reason for this was to prevent Palestinians from shelling Israelisettlements. The Israelis also bulldozed and uprooted large areas of farmland.

A Palestinian child was killed and seven injured during a demonstrationto commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Intifada. Mohamad Abdullahal-Jeber, 16 years old, was from the al-Breij refugee camp in Deiral-Balah. He was shot and killed near the al-Shuhada junction whenIsraeli forces opened fire on the demonstration.In Nablus, Israeli forces assassinated Majdi Salah Khalifeh. He was ina house near the al-Ain refugee camp when Israelis attempted to arresthim. He tried to escape, but they shot and killed him. After this,according to witnesses, Israeli soldiers took his body and threw it onthe ground near a mosque about 20 meters from where he had been killed.

Israeli soldiers gathered several people from the mosque, includingrelatives of the deceased, and an Israeli commander told them that theykilled this man because he deserved to be killed, and anyone followingin his footsteps would meet a similar fate.

In Jenin, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian men and injured onewoman when they opened fire on a service taxi that was driving in thecity. Mohamad al-Bitar, 25, the driver, was shot and killed as wasRateb Talib, 50, a teacher from al-Jalama village. Talib's wife Noorwas shot with a live bullet in her leg.

According to Palestinianwitnesses, the shootings were unprovoked and without reason.

For more information contact: The Palestine Monitor+972 (0)2 298 5372 or +972 (0) 59254218