Monday, April 19, 2010

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, April 5, 2010

The American Task Force on Palestine

Hallway leading towards Dr. Ziad Asali's office

"With the turbulence surrounding diplomacy and the Middle East peace process, it is more urgent than ever for civil society to unite around the obvious reality that a conflict-ending solution can only be attained through the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

The two-state solution became official US policy under President George W. Bush, and it is today seen as a national security priority under President Barack Obama. It has been adopted internationally by the United Nations, the Middle East Quartet, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Arab League and by successive Israeli governments.
" Build a partnership for Middle East peace within the United States By Ziad Asali

Dr. Ziad Asali of ATFP in his office

This past Saturday my husband Jaffar and I had a delightful visit with Dr. Ziad Asali the founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, his fascinating wife Nailia, and the brilliant Hussein Ibish, having arranged to stop by to see their 7th floor offices in Washington DC and to have a chat.

Dr. Hussein Ibish & Nailia Asali of ATFP

I went with trepidation- and I left totally impressed. These people really do know how to listen and speak to America, they know how the system works and how to influence policy in positive ways for Palestine AND America.

Impressive views from ATFP office windows

I feel honored to have been in their 7th floor offices, to have seen the intriguing artwork on the walls, gazed out the big windows to the busy city below- and sat in comfort in Dr. Ziad Asali's office as we spoke easily about awkward and difficult topics.

Ziad & his wife Nailia are charming, kind, compassionate, thoughtful, well informed, well educated people... both are very bright and experienced- seasoned but not cynical- obviously modest and interesting people indeed.

Hussien Ibish in his office

Dr. Ibish told me privately that "in all their work with the Arab-American community over decades, and for the past seven years at ATFP both Ziad and Nailia have been completely volunteers and have never taken a penny of compensation for their efforts. On the contrary, they've devoted a good deal of their private resources to helping to found and sustain this organization."
(Visit their webpage to help keep them going- click on KEEP ATFP INDEPENDENT if you want to donate online or to find information on how to make a donation via mail, wire, fax or phone)

Dr. Ziad Asali has a knack for attracting and valuing the best and the brightest and he has assembled a highly competent team of articulate people, right in the heart of Washington DC where they can confer and do the most good.

They have compelling priorities: They believe in a healthy and serious debate to define and defend the national interest. Not long ago Dr. Asali testified before Congress (ATFP Press Release), and Dr. Hussein Ibish has been very busy with speaking engagements on college campuses. Ibish wrote a book, published this past year, patiently explaining what is wrong with the one-state agenda

The ATFP is dedicated to "advocating that it is in the American national interest to promote an end to the conflict in the Middle East through a negotiated agreement that provides for two states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security".... furthermore the "ATFP is strictly opposed to all acts of violence against civilians no matter the cause and no matter who the victims or perpetrators may be. The Task Force advocates the development of a Palestinian state that is democratic, pluralistic, non-militarized and neutral in armed conflicts."

ATFP's website is a treasure trove of up to date, highly relevant information, news and opinion concerning Palestine. They don't use cheap tricks- they use hard work, careful analysis and diplomacy to do what they can to help end the contentious Israel/Palestine conflict...for every one's sake.

They are Golden Rule people through and through: By wisely nurturing a totally civilized, reasonable and sustainable conversation they are creating real respect for a real Palestinian state.

The Palestinian State and Institution Building Program
Documents detailing the state and institution building program of the 13th Palestinian Government, including the overall plan and priority interventions for 2010.


"The fact is that the one-state argument completely lets Israel off the hook with regard to settlements. First, if it's one state, it hardly matters where people live (it might be a civil tort about payments for expropriated lands, at most). Second, if it's a single state, they're not settlements, because there is also no occupation. Third, it allows the Israeli right to say that the occupation is defensive and legitimate and so are the settlements because all forms of Palestinian nationalism are antithetical to the continued existence of Israel, a member state of the United Nations. All arguments about settlements and occupation immediately go right out the window. People who advocate a single state need to understand this clearly." Hussein Ibish

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copyright ©2010 Anne Selden Annab

Thursday, April 1, 2010

An Eastre Story... a visual poem celebrating Spring by Anne Selden Annab

from The Fairy Garden Poems
& dedicated with love to Jaffar

copyright ©2010 Anne Selden Annab