California Scholars for Academic Freedom Press Release

As students, we stand behind this statement by the California Scholars for Academic Freedom, which demonstrates a strong solidarity between academics and students against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and any force that threatens the safety of marginalized groups. This statement outlines the ways in which the academic freedom of students and professors is threatened, including our political rights to speak out and criticize ideologies and systems that perpetuate violence.

California Scholars for Academic Freedom Press Release

Co-coordinators: Sondra Hale sonhale@ucla.edu Lisa Rofel LROFEL@ucsc.edu

The newly inaugurated U.S. administration has created an atmosphere of violence, racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. A less discussed aspect of these attacks is on academic freedom. The 2016 election has taken to new extremes the threats to academic freedom. We can see a preview of what this administration intends in their response to the recent cancellations of “talks” by professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who engages in public, cruel harassment of students who are critical of his extremist views, from the lectern through trigger cameras that project students’ images without their consent. He then proceeds to taunt them and incite actions against them on the basis of their physical appearance, race, sexuality, and gender. Instead of condemning this kind of incitement, President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding from UC Berkeley after Yiannopoulos’ “talk” was cancelled at UC Berkeley and other UC campuses.

We can also see indications of things to come in the lack of condemnation – hence tacit permission – of attacks by the Horowitz so-called Freedom Center on certain University of California campuses for considering establishing themselves as a set of sanctuary campuses. The recent Executive Order in the form of a travel ban on people coming from seven Muslim majority countries (still in the courts) has ensnared students, faculty and visiting scholars who have had their academic lives and careers put into jeopardy as a result of the proposed ban. The absence of international scholars from large parts of the Middle East would severely affect the quality and reach of our educational institutions. Similarly, the anti-immigration bashing and the threat to build a wall with Mexico puts the important DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in jeopardy, directly threatening our undocumented college students. The politically motivated attacks on research scientists working on climate change and fetal tissue research are further indications of a political climate intent on thoroughly trampling over academic freedom.

Furthermore, with regard to academic freedom and free speech, a legislator in the state of Arizona tried to ban all courses that prohibit “state institutions from offering any class or activity that promotes “division, resentment or social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class of people.” In other words, discussion of social justice should not be part of the educational curriculum. While this bill died before it reached a vote, Arizona already bans the teaching of ethnic studies in K-12 education, a law that is being challenged in court. We can expect to see more of these attempts to limit academic freedom in the coming four years. These initiatives are important for us to know and attempt to counteract. These are very direct interventions in our campus lives, potentially putting a chill on our educational atmosphere and affecting academic freedom.

A recently formed “Professor Watchlist” purports to alert students about professors they claim “advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.” This watchlist echoes Horowitz’s project, Campus Watch. The latter lists both faculty and students, threatening the latter with slanderous public information for use by prospective employers and the former with threats of violence. The Professor Watchlist names numerous professors from California institutions of higher learning. In response to the Professor Watchlist, faculty from throughout California, at public and private universities, have followed the lead of faculty at the University of Notre Dame, in sending the Professor Watchlist our names to be added to their list. We refuse to be intimidated by such harassment tactics.

Below is a letter we are sending to Professor Watchlist:

We, the undersigned faculty in various universities and colleges in California, write to request that you place our names, all of them, on Professor Watchlist.

We make this request because we note that you currently list on your site several of our California colleagues, such as Professors Bettina Aptheker, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Melina Abdullah, Hatem Bazian and some 20 others, whose work is distinguished by its commitment to reasoned, fact-based civil discourse examining questions of tolerance, equality, and justice. We further note that nearly all faculty colleagues at other institutions listed on your site, the philosophers, historians, theologians, ethicists, feminists, rhetoricians, and others, have similarly devoted their professional lives to the unyielding pursuit of truth, to the critical examination of assumptions that underlie social and political policy, and to honoring this country’s commitments to the premise that all people are created equal and deserving of respect.

This is the sort of company we wish to keep.

We surmise that the purpose of your list is to shame and silence faculty who espouse ideas you reject. But your list has had a different effect upon us. We are coming forward to stand with the professors you have called “dangerous,” reaffirming our values and recommitting ourselves to the work of teaching students to think clearly, independently, and fearlessly.

So please add our names, the undersigned faculty from California institutions, many of whom belong to California Scholars for Academic Freedom, to the Professor Watchlist. We wish to be counted among those you are watching.

Most sincerely,

Ece Algan
Director, Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies
California State University at San Bernardino

Richard P. Appelbaum
Distinguished Research Professor
Sociology and Global Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Paola Bacchetta
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Carole H. Browner
Distinguished Research Professor
Departments of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences,
Anthropology, and Gender Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Edmund Burke, III
Professor Department of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

Lara Deeb
Anthropology
Scripps College

Julia Elyachar
Anthropology and Economics
University of California, Irvine

Richard Falk,
Fellow, Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara
Former Special Rapporteur, UN Human Rights Council

Aranye Fradenburg
Professor, Department of English
University of California, Santa Barbara

Margaret Ferguson
Distinguished Professor of English,
University of California at Davis

Mayanthi L. Fernando
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz

Gary Fields
Associate Professor, Department of Communications
UC San Diego

Prof. Claudio Fogu
Associate Professor of Italian Studies,
Department of French and Italian
University of California Santa Barbara

Manzar Foroohar
History Professor
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Nancy Gallagher
Professor, History Department
University of California, Santa Barbara

Jess Ghannam
Department of Psychiatry, and
Global Health Sciences
University of California, San Francisco
School of Medicine

Bishnupriya Ghosh
Department of English
University of California, Santa Barbara

Huma Ahmed-Ghosh, Professor
Department of Women’s Studies
Advisory Board: Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies
Center for Asia and Pacific Studies
Institute for Security and Conflict Resolution
San Diego State University

Deborah Gould
Associate Professor of Sociology
UCSC

Larry Gross
Professor
School of Communication
Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
University of Southern California

Sondra Hale
Anthropology and Gender Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Gail Hershatter
Distinguished Professor of History
History Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Ivan Huber, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Biology
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Madison, NJ
Member, California Scholars for Academic Freedom

Suad Joseph
Distinguished Research Professor
Anthropology Department
University of California, Davis

Zayn Kassam
John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies Pomona College

Katherine King
Professor, Comparative Literature
University of California, Los Angeles

David Klein
Professor of Mathematics
California State University Northridge

Dennis Kortheuer
Dept. of History, emeritus
Cal State Long Beach

Mark LeVine
History Department
University of California, Irvine

Esther Lezra
Associate Professor Global Studies
Feminist Studies and Comparative Literature Affiliate
University of California, Santa Barbara

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
Department of English
University of California, Riverside

Pardis Mahdavi, PhD
Dean of Women
Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology
Pomona College

Amina Mama
Professor, Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies
One Shields Ave, University of California,
Davis, CA 95616

Andrew Mathews
Anthropology Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Flagg Miller
Professor of Religious Studies
The University of California, Davis

Minoo Moallem
Professor, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of California, Berkeley

Helene Moglen,
Professor, Literature
University of California Santa Cruz

Kathleen Moore,
Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies
UC Santa Barbara

Patricia Morton
Editor, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Associate Professor, Art History Department
University of California, Riverside

David Palumbo-Liu
Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor,Comparative Literature
Stanford University

David Naguib Pellow
Dehlsen Chair and Professor of Environmental Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Noam Perry
Department of Justice Studies
Institution: San Jose State University

Ismail Poonawala
Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies
UCLA

James Quesada,
Professor & Chair
Department of Anthropology
San Francisco State University

Nasrin Rahimieh
Howard Baskerville Professor in Humanities
Chair, Department of Comparative Literature
University of California, Irvine

Rush Rehm
Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, and Classics
Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT)
Stanford University

Craig Reinarman
Research Professor and Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Legal Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz

Dwight Reynolds, Professor
Dept of Religious Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

William I. Robinson
Professor of Sociology and
Global and International Studies
University of California-Santa Barbara

Robyn Magalit Rodriguez,
Associate Professor, Asian American Studies,
UC Davis

Lisa Rofel
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz

Parama Roy
Professor of English
University of California, Davis

Danilyn Rutherford
Anthropology Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Jeffrey Sacks
Associate Professor
Department of Comparative Literature
University of California, Riverside

Sang Hea Kil, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Justice Studies
San José State University

Vida Samiian
Professor of Linguistics
California State University, Fresno

Bhaskar Sarkar
Film and Media Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

Susan Slyomovics
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
University of California, Los Angeles

Elizabeth Stephens
Art Department
UC, Santa Cruz

Judith Stevenson, Emerita
Phd Anthropology
Peace and Social Justice Program
Department of Human Development
California State University, Long Beach

Baki Tezcan
Associate Professor of History,
University of California, Davis

Howard Winant
Distinguished Professor of Sociology
University of California, Santa Barbara

Stephen Zunes
Professor of Politics
University of San Francisco

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Resisting the Trump administration

FOSNA interns recount their participation in anti-Trump actions since inauguration day.

Alexa Klein-Mayer:
This past Friday, I participated in a DisruptJ20 action with DC’s Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter. Around fifty activists arrived downtown at 5am, ready to try and shut down an inauguration security checkpoint. Our first checkpoint shutdown was unsuccessful; within 10 minutes, security had forcefully dragged away many of the “green” activists (those who put themselves in the most arrestible positions). We regrouped once we had all been forced out of the lines, and decided to move east to support the Movement for Black Lives activists in their efforts to shut down a different checkpoint; in this attempt, BLM activists chained themselves across the lines, as SURJ activists blocked off the doorways into the security tents. We successfully closed down the checkpoint, and as we were shutting down that checkpoint, activists from a wide variety of groups were working to block off the others. It was a powerful experience!

Katie Comfort:
As a response to the election an inauguration of Trump, many collectives and organizations participated in a J20 rally and March in downtown Portland. I personally marched with Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), an organization that I became a member of in early November.
The march route initially took the mass across one of Portland’s many bridges onto the east side where it was easier to block traffic and participate in a mass action. However, due to protests following the election which shut down I5 for the better part of 3 nights, the Portland Police department blocked every bridge entrance and began assaulting and tear gassing the entire crowd as we tried to continue on our planned route.
What was striking to me about this incident is how quickly police militarized and criminalized the situation. While organizations and individuals had shown up to stand up against facism, to demonstrate that we would not stand idly by in the coming weeks, months, and  years of Trump’s administration, we were instantly met with aggression.
PCHRP decided that it was best for us to evacuate the march early on, as many of our members felt vulnerable and our collective didn’t have much experience with mass mobilizations. I appreciated this model of collectivism and accountability, and hope that it can be modeled as we take care of one another more wholly in the wake of the current administration.

Osama Mor:
On inauguration day, there were two anti-Trump events. The first was titled the “Day of Inclusion” and it was held on campus in the main plaza. The event gave the opportunity for students to speak about what Trump’s inauguration would mean for them. Students of various identities spoke to a large gathering of students and faculty. I also spoke and my speech was well received. I talked mainly about how we can’t absolve the Democratic party as well as the Republican party – for both have committed crimes. My point was that the system is at fault – US settler colonialism – not just Republicans.

The second event was a community march that began on City Hall. This was the largest protest march Athens, Georgia has ever seen. It’s estimated that about 4,500 people attended. It was a beautiful, powerful event in which march participants were incited from various speeches and chants. In both events, Students for Justice in Palestine had significant representation. Despite Trump winning, I’m glad that SJP has found it’s root in the Athens activist community.

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In Support of Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine

After subjecting Palestinian student activists to an extensive and abnormally elongated vetting process that lasted over a year, Fordham University in New York City has banned its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights stated that the ban “blatantly violates [the University’s] promise to guarantee freedom of inquiry on campus,” calling on Fordham’s administration to “immediately permit and facilitate the formation of SJP.”

On Monday, FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata sent an open letter to Fordham’s administration urging them to reinstate the chapter. The letter can be read below.

_________________________________________________________________

President Rev. Joseph M. McShane
Keith Eldredge, Dean of Students
Office of the President, Fordham University
president@fordham.edu
eldredge@fordham.edu
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
Tel: 718-817-3000

Dear President Rev. McShane and Dean Eldredge,

Friends of Sabeel North America is a Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. As executive director, I write to express deep concern that Fordham University has decided to prohibit students from organizing a Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on your campus.

You may have seen this week’s statement from the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination. This statement provides an urgent plea for the people of the world (and Catholics in particular) to pray and act for justice in the Holy Land:

Fifty years of occupation demands action.

For fifty years the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have languished under occupation, violating the human dignity of both Palestinians and Israelis. This is a scandal to which we must never become accustomed.  Our Coordination has called for justice and peace every year since 1998, yet the suffering continues. So this call must get louder. As Bishops we implore Christians in our home countries to recognise our own responsibility for prayer, awareness and action.

So many people in the Holy Land have spent their entire lives under occupation, with its polarising social segregation, yet still profess hope and strive for reconciliation. Now, more than ever, they deserve our solidarity.

(See the signatories and full text)

We implore you to encourage your students to become active for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel by allowing the SJP chapter to form. As you know, throughout history students have been at the forefront of debating and organizing for justice causes (women’s rights; abolition of slavery; equality in racial, ethnic, and economic matters; opposition to war and to the apartheid regime in South Africa).

The First Amendment protects free speech as a hallmark of our democracy. Free debate and open inquiry are hallmarks of university study. Please give to the students who seek to debate, organize, and advocate for justice in Palestine and Israel this fundamental opportunity as part of their educational experience at Fordham University.

Friends of Sabeel North America has worked closely with SJP groups across the country. We find they are composed of bright, compassionate, highly conscientious students. SJP chapters are usually comprised of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular students. They represent a cross-section of ethnic, racial, and religious diversity.

Please allow your Fordham students the freedom all Americans hold dear. Encourage rather than prohibit their work for justice in Palestine and Israel as the Catholic Bishops of the 2017 Holy Land Coordination have urged.

With warm regards,

Tarek Abuata, Executive Director

Friends of Sabeel North America

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Dear Trump: A message from Gaza to US new leader

For the desk of:

His Excellency, President Donald Trump

The American President

USA

 

From the desk of:

Mohammed Arafat

A Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip

Palestine

 

Dear President, Mr. Donald Trump,

My name is Mohammed Arafat, a three-war old Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip where more than 18,000,000 people are suffering from the aftermath of the continuous siege! We have been under this siege since 2006, affecting every aspect of our life, the life I wonder whether we deserve.

You don’t know how much we Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been waiting for the American Presidential elections’ results since we know that the American leader can make a change in our lives. You have won the presidency, and we have been a little shocked because of your declarations, during your campaign, which were biased to Israel. We were really shocked over your declaration of banning Muslims from entering Muslims the U.S as well as the one of moving the US consulate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Dear President, I know we are just a small enclave that is incomparable to other countries having civil wars and other conflicts, like Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. However, we are still humans wishing to live a normal life like others.

Mr. Trump, do you believe that more than the half of Palestinians in this area can’t travel abroad to do what they seek to do? Some wish to travel to pursue their studies in Europe or in your country so they can serve and help the lives of civilians residing in this Strip. Others wish to travel to get treatments that they can’t get inside this cage!

Mr. President, do you believe that the rate of unemployment between graduated educated youths has exceeded 60%? Youths here are looking for jobs with a salary of at least 100$ to just get food for themselves and their families. Palestinians in this area are known of the best skillful and talented people though compared to many other countries, but they are in a cage its key is between your hands. Do we deserve that Sir?

Dear Sir, have you ever tried living in darkness just for one night in your life? If so, how did you feel? Do you believe that in Gaza we just have four hours of power per day, while many people with special needs cannot live without access to it? A lot of organizations, factories and bakeries have been affected by this crisis that no one could help to solve until this moment! I am pretty sure that you have pets at the Trump Tower, and I am pretty sure that they have access to light, warmth and the life requirements! It’s not a kind of envy or something else, but it’s just a wonder whether we are humans or not.

Mr. President, do you know how many have been killed during the last three wars on Gaza? More than 3400 Gazans, most of whom were women and children, were the victims of those brutalities in few days only. Moreover, media did not care about this number which seems large. On the other hand, I have a question for your Excellency! What if an American man is killed? Would not the world stand out and never sit? I really do not know why we are being unvalued while others are. I wonder why we are being ignored while others are not! I wonder why we are not backed while others are!

Dear Mr. Donald Trump, I am sorry I took some of your precious time, but I am trying to make you feel how we feel! I am trying to make you know the suffering we have been through since a decade, and we are still the same; no changes! We all know that the American policy can change the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians, and we know that your respectful administration can do something to make both sides, finally live peacefully! I want to tell you to please not to believe those who say both sides will never ever have peace. You, everyone and I know that there are good people from both sides needing peace, love and happiness to be showered over them, to make them forget the bad memories, hatred and hypocrite that have killed our lives and dreams for decades. We only hope from you to separate politics from humanities because we know politics are always ways to wars and conflicts!

Dear President, as Palestinians wishing to have a country with Jerusalem to be a capital, we have heard about your declaration about moving the US consulate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and we all are hurtful for that! I think you know that this decision might kill the hopes of peace in this area, and maybe in the Middle East as a whole. As a result, we kindly ask you to please don’t move the consulate to Jerusalem so we can avoid any confrontations or violence between both sides since we are peace demanders!

Dear Sir, I am sorry if I spoiled your mood with my words, but here is a short poem that I ask you to please read while drinking a cup of coffee:

 

Being Palestinian is not a crime,

We want to achieve peace over time,

 

We have suffered enough,

Our life has been tough,

 

Humans we are after all,

Why is there a high wall?

 

We need to live a normal life,

With lots of joys without any strife,

 

We are hopeful for you, Mr. Trump,

Fear, violence and terror we need to dump,

 

Remember us while at the White House,

With beautiful family and your spouse,

 

We don’t ask for money or fame,

We just need you to end this game,

 

Palestinians are peace demanders,

Please, don’t believe fake slanders,

 

Would you please cease this conflict?

Would our days be light or strict?

 

We believe in you, dear Sir,

Knowing you will make peace occur,

 

Much respect for you and love,

Much mercy and greets from above,

 

Mohammed Arafat

20-01-2017

 

 

 

 

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Islamic Liberation Theology – Faith Against Imperialism

by Osama Mor

The way forward for Muslims in the US is not to assimilate into this or that state institution; not for a Muslim to become a cop, a soldier, or a Senator – for not only are the roots of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence not targeted this way, this approach disassociates our liberation from the liberation of the struggling people living here and around the world.

For a Muslim to be a cop means that they’ll carry out violence against people of color on behalf of the state, and for a Muslim to become a soldier means that they’ll export imperialism overseas and maintain it with brutal violence (against Muslims as well). To have this assimilation recognized and applauded by liberals – who simultaneously promote and spearhead capitalist imperialism in the Muslim world – is worth nothing.

The only straight path is to stand in solidarity and struggle alongside the marginalized and oppressed peoples of this colonized land. If Islam is for all, then we must commit ourselves to a political praxis which refuses to define religion solely in terms of individual struggle, but also in terms of collective liberation. We must practice liberation theology.

The core of Islamic liberation theology is the joint struggle and solidarity preached and practiced by Muslim revolutionaries and, in particular, the Muslim South African liberation movements under the apartheid regime. When the apartheid regime offered Muslims freedom of worship, it was in return for their complicity with the apartheid system. Muslim activists in South Africa preferred to organize against apartheid, sacrificing their right to free worship, and practiced solidarity with the native black South Africans. Do we Muslims in the US embrace such revolutionary fervor? How far are we willing to go to put our faith into practice?

We are Muslims first before we are imperial citizens.

“Do you know what the rights of neighbors are?” asked the noble Prophet. And he went on to give a list:
Help him if he asks for your help. Give him relief if he seeks your relief. Lend him if he needs a loan. Show him concern if he is distressed. Nurse him when he is ill. Attend his funeral when he dies. Congratulate him if he meets any good. Sympathize with him if any calamity befalls him. Do not block his air by raising your building high without his permission. Harass him not. Give him a share when you buy fruits, and if you do not give him, bring what you buy quietly and let not your children take them out to excite the jealousy of his children.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” (4:135)

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Days are not rotten

A disastrous promise pinned,

But no one really sinned,

Masses did not care,

Villagers had fear,

From a far distance, gangs came and settled,

Neighbors silenced and belittled,

Spies eased selling Palestine,

Yet gradually, they assured, “Everything is fine”,

1948 catastrophe and the war came,

Neighbors fought for us only for fame,

To leave their lands, villagers were forced,

Palestine was raped… and divorced

Thousands killed and others displaced,

Cloudy and unseen future they faced,

They left with their keys,

Crossing borders and risky seas,

They left holding memories from the past,

Holding things they wished to last,

Freeing groups appeared to revenge,

They wanted to liberate and avenge,

They fought, fought and fought,

Dreams and hopes were brought,

Refugees, shouted, celebrated and clapped,

But the groups, politically, were trapped,

Their efforts were politicalized,

Their successes, were no longer, socialized,

More catastrophes and crimes committed,

Massacres and wars permitted,

Refugees’ sadness deepened,

Their hopes were weakened,

Having their homes’ keys, though,

Hoping their children hold them when grow,

They just have one and only dream,

They want Palestine back and agleam,

Their memories can’t be forgotten,

Their past days will not be rotten,

 

Mohammed Arafat

13-12-2016

 

 

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The Changeless Case

by Mohammed Arafat

If we want to talk about the longest occupation since decades, we usually talk about Palestine being occupied by Israel. If we want to talk about the deepest suffering since ages, we absolutely talk about Palestinians’. If we want to talk about the changeless case, we definitely talk about the Palestinian case.

Since 1948, Palestine has been stuck to the Israeli occupation with outsider powers and policies represented by the Western countries ‘Israel’s allies’.  Several plans were put along with a lot of road maps in order to end this fight peacefully since that year, but nothing was applied or agreed on by both sides, mostly by the Israeli, except one lone agreement called ‘the Oslo accords’ which both the government of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) signed in Washington, D.C., in 1993. Oslo accords has resulted in the recognition by the PLO of the State of Israel, and the recognition by Israel of the PLO as the only representative of the Palestinian people.

After signing this agreement, Palestinians were hopeful that they finally would have their state structured gradually over time since this agreement would be the first step for the biggest step, especially after the Gaza airport was built and Gaza was opened to other countries. Trading began, infrastructures developed and Gaza became the beautiful scene of Palestine.

However, that did not last for too long as the second Intifada( Al-Aqsa Intifada) began in 2000 when the former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, visited the Temple Mount, which was considered as highly provocative by Palestinians, causing a new conflict between Palestinians and Israeli forces, bringing the situation to the time before Oslo records.

Despite of that, the Western countries, represented by the USA, even when witnessing a change in its presidency, never stopped suggesting new agreements to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is considered the changeless case for millions of Palestinians inside Palestine and in the diaspora.

Nevertheless, Israel still authorizes and legalizes settlement built on private Palestinian lands in the West Bank. Jerusalem is still controlled and clashes are still taking place in both Palestinian sides, Gaza and the West Bank, despite the promises of the peace solutions that the US and some European countries suggest to solve this ongoing conflict.

Everyone knows that the US government plays a central role in this conflict since it’s the first ally of Israel and it has its sensitivity in the Middle East, especially the Arab Spring that stormed the Arab countries since 2011. As a result, every Palestinian and pro-Palestinian is giving America their concern and attention when it witnesses an event like presidential elections since every president, wishing to be elected for the White House, comes to their campaigns with a bag of promises for Palestinians and Israelis because they know how sensitive this issue is, and how affective it would be for their winnings.

After being elected as a president for the United States in 2008, Mr. Barack Obama made a visit to Cairo University in Egypt in 2009 and began his word with Salamu Alaykom (Peace be upon you), he promised to solve the Israeli-Palestinian case during his long speech for the Muslim world. Everyone hoped that Obama could do something towards this conflict, but nothing happened except increasing supporting Israel due to the Arab Spring that rocked the Middle East after a year.

The 2016 American presidential elections have begun on November 8 followed by campaigns for both candidates, the Democratic Hillary Clinton and the Republican Donald Trump.  While their campaigns, both candidates had their comments about the Palestinian case while Palestinians and Israelis had their feedback about that.

The president-elect, Mr. Donald Trump, has said that the peace agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the toughest agreement of any kind. He also said that he would move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which means, for Palestinians, that Jerusalem would be the capital of Israel! As a result, Palestine’s UN envoy promised to make life “miserable” for the White House if it transfers the US Embassy to Jerusalem, threatening that they would unleash all the weapons they have in the UN against the United States.

While Hillary Clinton, who lost the president, has promised that Palestinians deserve to have a state, and she supported the idea of the two-state solution.

After Trump had won the presidency, people were divided into two parts; some supported his comments and his strategies since he is a new kind as a president for the United States so he could make a change, a big one, towards the world from one hand, and towards the Middle East, especially Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the other hand after his promises about solving this longest conflict. Others do believe that Trump is dangerous for Palestine since he always braises the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that he is a true friend for the state of Israel, supports the idea of settlements and promises to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Moreover, a lot of Palestinians believe that he knows nothing about the foreign policy unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Palestinian politicians have other sayings about the US policy towards Palestine thinking that the American policy will remain the same whoever takes the white house since the American policy is the same, which is supporting Israel. Furthermore, the Palestinian President, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, has urged the American president-elect, Donald Trump, to work towards establishing a Palestinian State, adding that the Palestinian authority is ready to deal with him on the basis of a two-state solution and to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The president has warned that the failing to resolve the conflict would mean that the unstable situations will continue in the area.

On the other hand, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and outside Palestine wish that the US new government could make a change in this ongoing conflict so they can live peacefully like the rest of the world who live their days and nights without worrying about their future. They also hope that Gaza never has new open wars or attacks that could destroy what was being built in the last three wars. So, will that be difficult for the US government to do for the people of Palestine?

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