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What Conflict? No Room for Palestinians in Israeli Election

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to his Likud party members during a campaign event near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Netanyahu on Monday accused the publisher of the Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper of carrying out a smear campaign against him in the hopes of pushing him out of office. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to his Likud party members during a campaign event near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Netanyahu on Monday accused the publisher of the Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper of carrying out a smear campaign against him in the hopes of pushing him out of office. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — Judging by Israel’s election race, the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians is not an important issue. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers to focus on Iran, and moderate opponents prefer to attack the right-wing government on Netanyahu’s management of the economy.

The lack of campaign-trail focus on making peace with Israel’s enemies seems to bode poorly for negotiating prospects after the March 17 election. Palestinian leaders say they expect tough times ahead.

“Neglecting relations with the Palestinians is dangerous. It indicates what will happen after the election, especially if we have a right-wing coalition,” said Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister. “This means that the coming period will be very difficult.”

Many Israelis do agree with the international community that resolving the conflict with the Palestinians is essential to the country’s future.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war, and the Palestinians claim all three areas for a future state. Most demographers believe that without land concessions from Israel and the establishment of an independent Palestine, Arabs living under Israeli control could soon outnumber Jews. That would force Israel to make a difficult choice between preserving its Jewish and democratic characteristics.

Upon taking office in 2009, Netanyahu announced his conditional support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinians say his conditions, including a demand that they recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, are unacceptable, and peace talks during Netanyahu’s time in office have repeatedly failed.

As he seeks a third consecutive term, Netanyahu has focused on security, saying he is the only Israeli leader capable of confronting the country’s many threats from its Arab and Muslim neighbors. He has concentrated on the Iranian nuclear program. His planned speech to the U.S. Congress next month is designed to lobby against an emerging nuclear deal between Iran and U.S.-led global powers.

But Netanyahu has all but avoided mention of the Palestinian issue, offering little indication as to how he would approach the matter if re-elected. His Likud Party also has refrained from taking a clear position, partly because of divisions within its ranks. Some Likud lawmakers flatly oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state.

One such hardliner, Danny Danon, said he doesn’t think peace is possible with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The majority of Israelis have realized there is no viable partner,” Danon said.

Abbas, after losing faith in negotiations with Netanyahu, has switched his focus to the global diplomatic stage. He’s infuriated Israel by pressing the United Nations, European Union and other international bodies to recognize Palestinian statehood. His Palestinian Authority also has joined the International Criminal Court, where it is threatening to press war crimes charges against Israel.

Nachman Shai, a member of the opposition Labor Party, said his party hasn’t focused on Netanyahu’s lack of Palestinian policy partly because Labor has a better chance of connecting with voters by focusing on Likud’s poor handling of the economy, particularly Israel’s high cost of living.

But he said that did not mean making peace with the Palestinians was somehow unimportant.

“We hope that after the election, once we take the prime ministership, we will renew the negotiations and start talking to the Palestinians,” Shai said.

He said Labor planned to make Palestinian peace an election issue in the closing weeks of campaigning.

“The prime minister has no interest to discuss it, and we do,” he said.

Avraham Diskin, a political scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the Palestinian issue is a tough sell for both sides. Right-wingers are loathe to concede Palestinian statehood, while doves on the left are having their arguments undermined by the threatening rise of militant Muslim groups across the Middle East.

“People are ambivalent about the Palestinians. They don’t believe that peace is at hand,” he said. “The left-wingers believe that it is better to attack on other issues like housing, corruption, relations with the Americans,” he said. “And for the right-wingers, especially for Netanyahu, Iran is a better issue than the Palestinians.”

___

Associated Press reporter Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bay Area

Sept. 11, 2001, 20 years later: ‘Remembrance’ held aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

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U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment: Sgt. Tristan Garivay, Sgt. Michael Her, Cpl. Adrian Chavez and Cpl. Quentavious Leeks. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, Commanding Officer, 23rd Marine Regiment. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

The ceremony recognized the impact and consequences of the series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed on 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Queda against targets in New York City and Wash., D.C. Nearly 3,000 people died that day and 6,000 were injured.  This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in U.S. history. 

The ceremony aboard the USS Hornet began with the presentation of the colors by the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment. (Pictured above.)

Leon Watkins, co-founder of The Walking Ghosts of Black History, was the Master of Ceremonies. He spoke about the extensive death and destruction which triggered the enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism.

Daniel Costin, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke of the lasting impact of 9/11 terrorists attack on first responders. He recounted incidents where first responders rushed into the scenes of the attacks, many at the sacrifice of their own lives. More than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed that day: 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and 71 members of their law enforcement agencies.

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, commanding officer of the 23rd Marine Regiment, spoke about the recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the terrorists’ attack where 125 people perished. He reflected on the actions of three first responders who recovered the U.S. Marine Corps flag from the commandant of the Marine Corps’ office at the Pentagon. This flag was still standing after the attack. It was a symbol of America’s resolve.

At the end of the formal presentations, the Marine Corps Wreath Bearers went to the fantail of the Hornet. After the playing of ‘Taps,’ they tossed a wreath into the San Francisco Bay to give final honors.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Community

Many in Black Communities are Choosing Vaccination 

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists. 

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Vaccination/Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

The trail of illness and death left amid the spread of COVID-19 in Black and African American communities should come as no surprise.

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists.

COVID-19 vaccinations offer us an opportunity to better balance the scale.

Unfortunately, even with widely available testing, highly effective vaccines, and extraordinary efforts by health departments to educate and encourage people of color to get vaccinated, many Black Californians remain skeptical.

We can only hope that the FDA’s full regulatory approval of the Pfizer vaccine on August 23 for those 16 and up convinces more to get the vaccine.  It’s worth noting that emergency-use authorization also remains in place for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, as well as Pfizer’s for 12- to 15-year-olds – and that all of these vaccines are safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants.

Eddie Fairchild and Steph Sanders were skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine but came to understand why vaccination benefits our entire community.

Fairchild, a Sacramento insurance agent, said he knew of research that found Black and white people are often treated differently for the same health conditions leading to poorer health outcomes.

“I was hesitant,” he said. “I was going to wait and see how it panned out with everyone else.

But when a Black friend in the health care field told him he’d opted to get vaccinated, Fairchild asked him why.

“He said, ‘Risk-reward, and the risk is death.’ At that point I didn’t have to ask him what the reward was.”

With a finance degree and a belief that numbers don’t lie, Fairchild looked at the data. He learned that until 2020 the average number of Americans who died each year was about 2.6 million, but in 2020 that figure was 3.4 million. There was only one possible explanation for the death rate surge, he said.

“COVID is absolutely real,” he said, adding that three of his cousins died from the virus. “Taking all that into consideration, I decided that it’s risky to engage in the world and not be vaccinated. It made sense for me to get it.”

Racial gaps in vaccination have thankfully narrowed in recent weeks. But as of September 1, while Black people account for 6% of the state’s population, they account for 6.6% of COVID-19 deaths, which is 11% higher than the statewide rate, according to state department of public health data. Only about 55% of Black people in California have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Reasons for the discrepancies run the gamut, from conspiracy theories like Black people are getting a less effective vaccine than whites or that the vaccine will eventually be deadly, to challenges in health care access. 

Mostly, it’s based on a lack of trust in medical and scientific institutions, which have a long history of racism and mistreating Black people.

So even when it comes to good things like vaccines, which are scientifically proven to be good for the community, it always comes back to trust.

Sanders, a Vallejo school principal, was hesitant because of the Tuskegee syphilis studies in which Black men who had the disease were intentionally not treated with penicillin. And he was dubious that an effective vaccine could be developed so quickly. 

In fact, the science and technology enabling development of the COVID-19 vaccines was in development for a more than decade before the virus emerged in 2020. The FDA authorized three vaccines for emergency use after they underwent a rigorous process and were proven through trials to be safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death.

He decided to get vaccinated when his school board decided last spring to bring students back into classrooms.

Today, he’s a fervent vaccine advocate. He holds “lunch and learn” forums for educators, encouraging vaccination.

“I’m a leader and people are relying on my knowledge,” he said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t make this about you, but about the people you love and care about. It’s about protecting them.’”

There is still a long way to go before Blacks achieve true health equity, but vaccination against a virus that is taking a terrible toll on our communities is a critical step in the right direction.

 

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Community

Humanitarian Organization in Vallejo Supports Developing Countries with Access to Water and Education

Founded in 2007, Water and Education International (WEI), devotes its time and resources to providing water and education to villages in developing countries like Haiti.

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Water and Education International Logo, Photo courtesy of Organization’s website.

Founded in 2007, Water and Education International (WEI), devotes its time and resources to providing water and education to villages in developing countries like Haiti. 

Based out of Vallejo, this global humanitarian organization rallies together volunteers to provide food, medical aid, and spiritual knowledge to communities in need. These projects include water well and shower installment, wall repair, and education expansion, development and improvement for schools in communities of Haiti. 

For the past 12 years WEI has made 20 volunteer trips to communities in Haiti, completed two projects that include construction of a water cistern and a toilet, and provided over 425 scholarships for these communities.

To support their mission of combating poverty by providing education and water to underdeveloped communities, WEI partners with indigenous organizations and asks for the help of people like you and businesses alike.

Moreover, they have begun numerous projects that benefit the overall health and education of themselves as well. WEI was founded by Ricky Nutt and is now under the direction of  President and CEO Renee Box.

For more information on programs and services, ways to donate, or how to get involved, you can contact their direct line at (707) 649-4154, e-mail them at info@weihumanitarian.org, or visit their website. For frequent updates, you may also follow their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

All information directly sourced from https://weihumanitarian.org/

The Vallejo Post’s coverage of local news in Solano County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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