The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Israel Supreme Court endorses violations of international law in Gaza Strip


30 January 2008

In response to Supreme Court’s rejection of petition against fuel and electricity cuts:

Gisha and Adalah: “This decision sets a dangerous legal precedent that allows Israel to continue to violate the rights of Palestinians in Gaza and deprive them of basic humanitarian needs, in violation of international law.”

Today, 30 January 2008, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations to stop Israel from cutting supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip, as part of a governmental decision authorizing punitive measures against the population of Gaza. The petitioners had argued that cutting fuel and electricity supplies constitutes forbidden collective punishment and violates the prohibition in international law against deliberately targeting civilians. The fuel cuts, which have forced Gaza’s only power plant to reduce production of electricity, have severely disrupted the functioning of vital humanitarian services, including hospitals, water wells, and sewage pumps.

The court’s decision allows the state to proceed with its plan to cut electricity sold to Gaza directly by Israel’s Electric Company from 7 February 2008. Gaza is already experiencing a 20% electricity deficit, which is forcing rolling blackouts in hospitals and other vital humanitarian institutions. The petitioners submitted extensive documentation showing that cuts in supplies of electricity and the industrial diesel needed to produce electricity will necessarily mean longer and more frequent power outages across Gaza, from which vital humanitarian institutions will not be spared.

At the last hearing held on Sunday, 27 January 2008, utility officials from Gaza were prevented from attending the hearing, in violation of the state’s commitment to the court. The state offered oral testimony by a military official, unsubstantiated by affidavit as required, claiming that the cuts would not harm humanitarian needs.

According to Sari Bashi, Director of Gisha: “This is an unprecedented decision authorizing collective punishment in its most blatant form. The court ruling relies on unsubstantiated declarations by the military and ignores the indisputable and well-documented evidence of harm to civilians caused by the fuel and electricity cuts – with no legally valid justification.”

According to Hassan Jabareen, General Director of Adalah: “According to the Supreme Court’s decision, it is permitted to harm Palestinian civilians and create a humanitarian crisis for political reasons. This constitutes a war crime under international criminal law.”

For more information: Noga Eitan, Gisha spokeswoman: 0547-533644, Sari Bashi, Gisha Director, 054-8172103; Adalah Attorney Fatmeh El-’Ajou: 050-907-2729; Rina Rosenberg, International Media, Adalah: 052-849-8807, or 04-950-1610, ext. 118.


Currently, the Gaza Strip is suffering from a 20% deficit in electricity. During the winter, the demand for electricity in the Gaza Strip is approximately 240 mega-watts or more per day, depending on the weather. Currently, Gaza is receiving 120 mega-watts sold by Israel and 17 megawatts supplied by Egypt to Rafah. Gaza’s power plant is able to produce 80 megawatts per day, but the restrictions imposed on the supply of industrial diesel sold to Gaza limits the power plant to generating just 55 megawatts. As a result, the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) is unable to provide the electricity needed to operate hospitals, water pumps and schools, and so institutes rolling blackouts across main lines. Some humanitarian institutions have back-up generators, but the restrictions on the supply of diesel have disrupted the operation of the generators, too.

Israel controls Gaza’s borders and does not allow Gazans to purchase fuel except via Israeli-controlled crossings.

The petition was submitted on 28 October 2007, the day that Israel cut supplies of petrol (benzene), diesel, and industrial diesel to Gaza. Residents of Gaza purchase fuel from an Israeli company and receive it via Israeli-controlled crossings.

A prior decision of the Supreme Court temporarily prevented Israel from cutting supplies of electricity sold to Gaza by Israel’s Electric Company. Today’s court decision allows the direct electricity cuts to be implemented on 7 February 2008.

The organizations which petitioned the Supreme Court are:
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights-Gaza
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme
B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

-- Julia FitzpatrickHuman Rights Advocacy FellowAdalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in IsraelP.O. Box 510Shafa'amr 20200, IsraelTel: +972-4-950-1610 ext. 117Fax: +972-4-950-3140E-mail:

Chicago Area Arab American business leaders profiled

Big Dreams Turning Into Big Realities
Four Chicago based businessmen doing their part to change Chicago

Chicago is a big city with big dreams and its residents are turning their dreams into reality everyday. These four Arab-American businessmen are of the top business men in the country. What do they all have in common? They are changing the world as we know it with their relentless motivation and drive.

Talat M. Othman- Mr. Talat Othman is the President of Arab-American Business & Professional Association in Chicago. The AABPA is a non-profit, cooperative, voluntary-joined organization of business and professional Arab-Americans, organized to assist its members in dealing with mutual business and professional concerns. The purpose of the Association is to promote the common interests of the Arab-American Business and Professional community. Both Mayor Daley and Governor Blagojevich serve as Honorary Chairman in this association.

Ahmed Abdelaziz- After his hard work and perseverance, Ahmed Abdelaziz is now the successful owner and CEO of Omarica Builders, Inc. After coming to the US in 1980, Ahmed worked his way in the hotel business in Chicago and Boston to the management level before establishing his presence on Wall Street in 1987. After trading for several firms in the financial markets, he decided to diversify his experience by going into real estate development. His solid success in this field led him to expand his contracting services to the public sector. With Ahmed’s his extraordinary talents as a real-estate developer Omarica not only designs and builds dream homes for his clients but has also branched out into hotel renovations, including prominent, upscale hotels across the nation.

Dr. Naser Rustom- Beginning as just a family practitioner Dr. Naser Rustom has come along way to be one of the most prominent and successful businessmen in the Chicagoland area. Dr. Rustom not only has expanded his practice into several offices across the city, but also has three full diagnostic facilities and a surgical center all to provide the top medical care to Chicagoans. However, his day does not end there; instead Dr. Rustom goes to his other, more entertaining business venture, Alhambra Palace Restaurant in which he recently spent several million dollars building. There Dr. Rustom provides an authentic cultural getaway featuring Moroccan cuisine and his hand-picked array of live entertainment including belly dancing, flamenco, salsa and jazz.

Ali Al-Arabi- As the President of Vanguards for Human Rights and Freedom Mr. Ali Al-Arabi organizes meetings to address issues of bigotry and discrimination between victims, support groups and government agencies. Al-Arabi organized the meeting with Mayor McLaughlin and Police Chief McCarthy and the mayor vowed to create several community liaisons to address Arab American concerns.

For media inquiries please contact:

Lina Khalil
Account Executive
Empower PR
O: 312.255.4017
C: 312.479.2162

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New online interview program Point to Point with Ray Hanania

Veteran and award winning journalist and author Ray Hanania launches a new online based interview program called "Point to Point."

The show is hosted exclusively by (and and also featured by the National Arab American Times Newspaper ( program will bring guests from around the world together for 10 minute interviews using the Internet and online video.

Hanania, based in Chicago, will speak with guests remotely. The program features two separate "windows" with the guests in one window and Hanania in the other, using the latest in online business video technology.

The inaugural show features Palestinian-Israeli dialogue facillitators Len and Libby Traubman, who are based in San Francisco, and was taped Jan. 28, 2008. The Traubman's, whose web site is, have been involved in "living room dialogue groups" for two decades or more. In the interview, they offer instruction and advice on how to conduct successful peace dialogues.

The fiirst show features very good video, and the audio is good but will be improved in future shows. Interviews often depend on the quality of the audio and video equipment used by guests, the speed of their computers, and the quality of the Internet. All kinds of factors impact the final product, which then must be rendered and edited into an online broadcast quality feature.

The shows are made possible by, a new and increasingly popular online social networking web site that brings together Arabs and Muslims and anyone interested in Middle East news, music and videos.# # #

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Arab American Writers Group writer hired by mainstream American newspaper

I am happy to inform you that on Thursday, January 24th, The Record (formerly known as The Bergen Record, New Jersey's second largest daily newspaper and the 60th in the nation) will be launching my new weekly opinion column! The column will be appear every Thursday.

I will be using the column to express views and analysis on issues related to both New Jersey, and the issues facing our international society as well. This is a major breakthrough for an important perspective which I and others feel is severely lacking in the public discourse. I hope that ALL OF YOU will do what you can to support this new development in balanced media.

A showing of support and appreciation for this new column can include (1) obtaining a subscription to The Record for those of you who live in North Jersey, stating that you are subscribing in order to read Ahmed Soliman's column; (2) writing letters to the editor in response to the column's I write and subsequently showing a solid following and increased discourse; and (3) for all of you, who live in North Jersey and outside that area as well, to hit the online version fo the column to show a demand for the perspective it provides (webpage address forthcoming).

More updates to come. Thanking you in advance and reminding you to feel free to share your ideas and perspectives with me: it might make it to the pages of a newspaper that has hundreds of thousands of readers.

Your friend,
Ahmed Soliman