Thursday, July 28, 2005


my op-ed in the Washington Post on the same subject, featuring (well, citing) Yousuf. I'm excited this got published where it did. I just hope it has some effect on Washington policymakers.

"Disengagement From Justice":

Like the much-maligned Oslo peace process before it, which for 10 years was just that, a process and nothing more, this disengagement cannot yield a lasting peace unless it brings justice for the Palestinian people. So long as the Bush administration continues to turn a blind eye to illegal settlements in the West Bank and Israel maintains its control of Gaza's borders -- including its sea and air space and land crossings -- the disengagement will suffer a fate similar to that of Oslo.


Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Published inthe washington post.
Its awesome, indeed.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Congrats on making the Post. We desperately need more voices like yours in there.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the article, very prestigious to be published in the Post. Am glad you blog, yours is the only voice I've ever heard from directly from Gaza.


1:07 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Hi : Today while browsing the news I found this article.

MIDEAST: Gaza Will Be 'Vacated But Still Occupied' Ushani Agalawatta, Inter Press Service (IPS)

Thu Jul 28, 9:20 PM ET

JERUSALEM, Jul 28 (IPS) - A growing number of Palestinians are beginning to believe that Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip will not mean the end of occupation.

"The Gaza Strip will still be occupied territory under international law," says Renad Qubbaj of the Palestinian NGO Network based in Ramallah in the West Bank. "After implementation of the disengagement plan, the Israeli army will remain in effective control of all border crossings."

The lives of about 1.4 million Palestinians living in the Gaza strip hang in the balance as Israel moves ahead with plans for disengagement. The Gaza strip of land lies to the west of Israel along the Mediterranean Sea.

Officials on both sides have expressed the hope that the disengagement plan will move Palestinian and Israeli people closer to peace. Israel is due to withdraw its settlements from the Gaza Strip Aug. 17.

The disengagement plan calls for the evacuation of all Israeli towns and villages and military forces within the Gaza Strip. Israel says there will be no more grounds then for Palestinians and the international community to claim that the Gaza Strip is occupied territory.

But Jaber Wishah, deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is not optimistic. "Up till now we don't know the main features of the plan to pull out of Gaza," he told IPS. "Our analysis shows that the plan is not built on international law or international humanitarian law, and as such there will be no change in Gaza."

A paper released by the Palestinian NGO network says "the disengagement plan is a trade- off meant to legitimise the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including in and around Jerusalem, which are currently under expansion, as well as the separation and annexation wall which is being erected in violation of international law."

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visiting the region last weekend in advance of the planned pullout reassured Palestinians that the United States is committed to the realisation of "two independent democratic and viable states: Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace and security."

Rice told reporters that "we also recognise that the economic revival of the Palestinian territories is a key element for peace. That means that when the Israelis withdraw from Gaza it cannot be a sealed or isolated area, with the Palestinian people closed in after that withdrawal. We are committed to connectivity between Gaza and the West Bank (Israel proper is in the middle), and we are committed to openness and freedom of movement for the Palestinian people."

But Qubbaj told IPS that "Palestinians in Gaza will have no control over airports, sea ports or natural resources such as water or gas."

Seventeen Gaza settlements and four West Bank settlements are to be evacuated by force if necessary in the coming month. The International Crisis Group (ICG) reports that about 8,000 Israeli settlers will be evacuated, plus an additional 700 or so new settlers that have moved into the area to reinforce existing settlements and set up roadblocks for the disengagement plan.

Despite growing opposition from Israelis, and settlers in general, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he is committed to the disengagement plan. Both parliamentary and judicial challenges to the disengagement plan have been consecutively defeated. But as the date approaches it is anticipated that there will be more conflict between the settlers and the Israeli government, and clashes between Palestinians and settlers.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has welcomed the impending pullout. He told reporters at the same press conference as Rice that "the Israeli withdrawal that is anticipated from Gaza Strip will constitute an opportunity for us to develop the institutions of the state and spreading our authority over that dear part of our Palestinian homeland."

But though there will be no more Israeli military and civilian presence in the Gaza strip, "there is a great risk of Gaza becoming one big prison," Qubbaj said. "There will be no contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank, and the Israeli army will still be controlling the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza."

The disengagement plan specifically states that "Israel will guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, will continue to maintain exclusive authority in Gaza airspace, and will continue to exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza Strip."

Wishah told IPS: "This will hurt the goal of two states living side by side; it will not bring more stability. On the contrary it will increase the frustrations of the Palestinian people here in Gaza."

Workers have been barred already from employment in Israel, "bringing the unemployment rate to now 60 percent in Gaza; 80 percent of the population is currently living below the poverty line."

Wishah reiterated the sentiments of the Palestinian NGO Network. "It is certain that Gaza will become a big prison, there will be no freedom of trade or freedom of movement. Until there is a safe and continuous passage to the West Bank, there will only be movement through the Rafah border with Egypt but even that the Israelis want joint control over." Rafah would in any case be a roundabout route through Egypt.

The Palestinian NGO network maintains that "Palestinian society will be split into separate political, social and economic entities, and Jerusalem will be turned into an isolated island."

As Israel is moving ahead with its disengagement plans, it has consistently and firmly maintained that it reserves the right of "self-defence both preventive and reactive."

Copyright © 2005

11:16 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

I found out that the Yahoo Middle East page does show a link to your Washington Post Article.

For me this was a huge surprise since that yahoo middle east news page has been for me one of the main sources of news.

To find a link to an article you wrote in the yahoo middle east webpage for me is almost as surprising as .., if after a chat with a guy in a chat room i later find out i had been speaking with mubarak of egypt.

I was not expecting it.


Click here to open the Yahoo page

4:26 PM  
Blogger Mad Canuck said...

Congratulations! It's a real statement to the quality of your work when a major newspaper like the Washington Post chooses to publish it.

9:31 PM  

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