Monday, March 26, 2012

Cultivate Hope - a poem for Hana Shalabi

Dear friends,
my apologies for not posting anything for the last two or so weeks. I am currently travelling overseas and at the moment have limited access to the internet. 
With my limted internet access today, I would like to share with you a new poem by my friend Rafeef Ziadah called Cultivating Hope.  Rafeef is a Palestinian refugee, activist, unionist and poet and Cultivating Hope is her tribute to Hana Shalabi.

As you will no doubt be aware, Hana Shalabi is a Palestinian political prisoner. She was released from over two years in administrative detention on 18 October 2011, as part of the prisoner exchange deal. She was re-arrested less than four months later on 16 February 2012, and immediately began a hunger strike in protest of her detention.
Cultivate Hope, was written on day 40 of Hana Shalabi's hunger strike by Rafeef. The accompanying music is by Australian Palestine solidarity activist and musican, Phil Monsour.

In solidarity,


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Interview: why Hana al-Shalabi’s hunger strike is the focus of Women’s Day in Palestine

7 March 2012
Palestinians will mark International Women’s Day (8 March) this year with solidarity actions for Hana al-Shalabi, who has now spent more than three weeks on hunger strike in protest of being held under Israeli administrative detention without charge or trial.

Al-Shalabi is the second Palestinian prisoner in recent weeks — the first being Khader Adnan, who ended his fast after 66 days — to go on hunger strike as a way to draw attention to Israel’s use of administrative detention and mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners.

In Palestine, Women’s Day is a day of struggle,” wrote Janan Abdu, a political activist and wife of Palestinian prisoner Ameer Makhoul, in the call-out announcing Women’s Day as a day in solidarity with al-Shalabi.

Despite the achievements of some significant things, which were achieved as a result of long paths of struggle, we shouldn’t celebrate yet as we are still Palestinian women, whether in Palestine 1948 or in the West Bank and Gaza or the diaspora suffering from colonialism, occupation, discrimination and racism,” she stated.

The Electronic Intifada contributor Jillian Kestler-D’Amours interviewed Khitam Saafin, chairwoman of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees about the challenges Palestinian women face today and why al-Shalabi’s hunger strike should be supported.

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours: Tell me a bit about the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.

Khitam Saafin: The Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees is a mass-based organization for women. It was established in 1980 as a framework for lifting up Palestinian women, to organize them and to support ourselves, as women, to participate in our national struggle and towards achieving full equality for Palestinian women. Since then, we are working as a mass-based organization, organized in a democratic system, working with the whole Palestinian women and community towards our goals.

JKD: What challenges do Palestinian women face?
KS: The first challenge and the first problem that we face is the occupation itself and all of its policies and strategies against our people. The occupation itself is a crime and its whole policies — in arresting people, in confiscating land, in building settlements, in taking our water, in using checkpoints, in the siege of Gaza — all of these policies are considered in human rights laws and international laws as crimes against humanity.
The burden of massive oppression in any society comes indirectly on the shoulders of the women. Palestinian women face these challenges strongly but they have a big burden to hold. This is the first challenge.
The second challenge is the traditional society, which was considered and is still considered an obstacle towards full equality and [in] dealing with women as equal people in the Palestinian society. We know that this social challenge is a global challenge for women, even in countries who have secular or more equal laws. It is a challenge because it is based on a kind of discrimination, and on the traditional and the historical discrimination against women.

This is a big and long process and road that we have to go through to achieve our democratic rights as women, as equal people.

JKD: Has the Israeli occupation had an impact on the challenges women face within Palestinian society?
KS: The occupation used this traditional [Palestinian] mentality to reduce the participation of women in general life. First they claimed that there are no Palestinian people. And after that, they claimed that the Palestinian population is very traditional and they are not modern and they don’t have the right to be part of the world because they are not modern. This is a kind of racism, you know.

Second, through the great expulsion of our people in the Nakba [catastrophe; the wave of ethnic cleansing that led to Israel’s establishment in 1948], they destroyed the structure of our society. A new structure began to be seen according to the fact that about half of our population are refugees, [and because of] losing our lands, losing our system of life. Many things were destroyed.

After that, the occupation tried to use this traditional view of women to force the [Palestinian] males and the heads of the families to stop women from struggling against the occupation. They used this mentality to threaten women in prisons, and [to say to women] that [their] family will neglect [them], all to try to give a bad [impression on] the women who are participating in the national struggle.

So, yes, the occupation was part and is still part of the reasons that prevent the natural, progressive way of our society, including the women’s issue.

JKD: The UPWC believes that gender issues are linked to class issues. Tell me about this.

KS: We believe that the discrimination against women is related to the [capitalist] system around the world. This discrimination began when the private sector began ruling the world. The [status of women], in the interests of capital and the private sector, came down and in some communities, [women] were used as a good.

For us, as a union of Palestinian women, we consider the whole [Israeli] occupation as a kind of capitalist, imperialist project in our land and it is related to this whole system of imperialism, dependent on capitalism and private entities. We believe that in the long-term, discrimination against women won’t be ended unless we live as women in a full, equal and social society.

As I said in the beginning, the burden of the general oppression, in any society, comes on women because they are considered [to be] the weaker part.

JKD: Palestinian women played a large role in the first intifada. Today, we see women participating in popular resistance in the West Bank, including in the weekly protests in places like Nabi Saleh,. How would you describe the participation of women in Palestinian popular resistance today?

KS: The first intifada was full, popular work. It was dependent on bodies that were ready to be active. For example, our union was well established and well organized and able to be active and to mobilize women in good ways in the first intifada. There was a very big participation of women and it raised new questions for the Palestinian women’s movement [with regards to] the future, Palestinian statehood, the Palestinian entity and the role of women. This was a big opportunity for women to present themselves as real participants in political and social life.

These days, when we are talking about the [demonstrations] in many places in Palestine, especially near the confiscated lands, I think we need, as Palestinian people, to improve our strategy for popular resistance. [We need] to make it not [only] occasionally and mostly on Fridays and only in some areas … that will give more spaces for women to participate.

But, even in this situation, women are trying to raise their participation in these activities. For me, it is not enough. Women must have their special way to participate. There is participation of women [in the demonstrations], but we have to improve it and make it better in the future.

JKD: How would you suggest making it better?

KS: I think through collective plans from different organizations of the women’s movement, and to find tools and actions that women can participate and be part of easily. When we are talking about Fridays, Fridays is the formal holiday for the families. If the woman is working all the days of the week, this day is used not to take a rest, but to do household work. I know it is not an excuse because we are struggling, but these are the circumstances of Palestinian women. Also when we are talking about only some places here or there [that hold demonstrations], the access for women to reach these places is not always easy, especially the women who are living far away.

Also the women are active more in the boycott campaigns, [and] in solidarity with prisoners’ campaigns. You know these days we have the hunger strike of Hana al-Shalabi. Women must have solidarity and support Hana in her strike.

JKD: Do you think that Hana will garner as much attention as Khader Adnan, the Palestinian prisoner who recently ended his hunger strike after more than sixty days?

KS: I don’t know. It depends on herself. For us as Palestinian women and as the Palestinian population, we are ready to support her in her decision because she is the person who is undertaking this strike and this battle with administrative detention. We are ready to support her until she achieves her goals and we, of course, salute her for her strong position confronting administrative detention.

JKD: Do you feel that she is also drawing attention to Palestinian women prisoners, who are often overlooked?

KS: I think it is a big issue for Palestinian women as prisoners. Nowadays, we have six female prisoners. I think that it brings the issue of women as political prisoners more and more in the high level of concerns of the world. The United Nations must be responsible for the whole violations that are going on against our people. These prisoners are war prisoners, not security prisoners, not criminals; they are freedom fighters for their rights.
JKD: What else is being done right now to promote and protect Palestinian women’s rights?
KS:This is a long struggle and to make social change you need a long time and you need a very strong will to go on. What was done is from the beginning, the women’s movement, even before the ’80s — it was a struggle through the national struggle.

After the [Palestine Liberation Organization’s] declaration of independence in 1988, it was the question of the coming independent Palestinian state and the role of every person in it. In the independence document, it was clear that there is no discrimination between men and women, but this is theoretical. On the ground, we have to work.

We worked on awareness. We worked on mobilization. We worked on some campaigns for political participation. We are preparing our proposals for new laws reducing the level of discrimination against women. It is [about raising] more awareness, more mobilizing for ourselves as women, and more pressure and lobbying through the decision-making [bodies] in the Palestinian society.

JKD: Are Palestinian women aware of the resources that are available to them?

KS: In general, they are aware but we have to present the women’s organizations better. That means to give these consultations and services for women to make them more aware about the women’s movement organizations. We try to reach them and to give them services, for their children, for their awareness, for their vocational training. We try to make them reach the resources for education, for economic resources.
JKD:Are you working on opening up a dialogue on gender issues in Palestine?

KS: We are talking on many levels, and we have our awareness work day by day.

For us as a union, we have a program with the General Union of Palestinian Women. We have another program for encouraging young women for political participation. We have programs for encouraging women and giving them a kind of economic empowerment. We are active, but it is not enough. We are not covering the whole Palestinian society.

If every organization works alone and tries to cover all the Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza, it is not enough. No one can work alone. So we have coalitions for some things and we try to build more and more networks.

JKD: If there was one thing you would want people to know about the situation Palestinian women face, what would it be?

KS: I say that Palestinian women deserve to live free in their independent state with the right of return, the right of our people to self-determination, the right of establishing our independent state with Jerusalem as a capital. For the people all over the world, justice means freedom. Justice means ending occupation. Justice means full equality for all of the people, men and women, everywhere.

We are part of the freedom strugglers around the world and we are asking all the freedom voices to bring solidarity with our cause and also, we are in solidarity with all the people who are asking for their democratic freedom and rights.

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Abunimah responds to Finkelstein on BDS: Finkelstein, BDS and the destruction of Israel

by Ali Abunimah, Al Jazeera, 28 February 2012

Norman Finkelstein's views on the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement may be somewhat shortsighted.

Chicago, IL - In a recent and highly controversial interview, Norman Finkelstein, long a scourge of Israel, turned his guns on Palestinians and their supporters. He accused the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement of being a "cult", and claimed that its achievements were mostly exaggerated.

But what exercised Finkelstein most was his conclusion that if implemented, the demands of the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS, would amount to "the destruction of Israel".

Finkelstein lay into the three "tiers" of the BDS call: that Israel end its occupation of Arab lands conquered in 1967; that it end all forms of discrimination and guarantee equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and that it respect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees, including the right of return.

"They don't want Israel," Finkelstein declared, "They think they're being very clever. They call it their three tiers... We want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever, because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What's the result? You know and I know what's the result: there's no Israel."

Finkelstein demanded that Palestinians drop this programme, "Because, if we end the occupation and bring back six million Palestinians and we have equal rights for Arabs and Jews, there's no Israel." He also insisted that a "two-state solution" was the only outcome supported by international law.

Putting the BDS call to the test
For the sake of argument, let's put Finkelstein's thesis to the test. But before I do that, let me make clear where I stand. As is well known, I support, and believe, that the eventual outcome in historic Palestine will be a single state.

Many supporters of the BDS movement, including some of its founders are on record calling for the same. But the BDS call itself is agnostic, focusing on the rights of Palestinians, not on state arrangements - something Finkelstein insisted was mere deception.

Here, I am going to do what I normally never do. Argue the case for a two-state solution that meets all the demands of the BDS call. Moreover, it should meet fully with Finkelstein's approval as well, because it will be based on a solution that he himself endorsed.

"I just came back from Northern Ireland," Finkelstein said in his interview, "They found a settlement. You talk to Protestants, you talk to Catholics. Most people are willing to live with it. You know there are some people who find it unacceptable. But [for] most people, it's ok, we can live with it. I think you can find a settlement to Israel/Palestine that virtually everybody, particularly Palestinians, can live with."

The question then will be whether Finkelstein and his new Zionist champions (his interview was widely and gleefully distributed by anti-Palestinian websites and commentators) could accept a solution that applies the very same principles in historic Palestine as were endorsed on the island of Ireland.

A quick history: Settler colonialism and partition
Conflicts in Ireland and Palestine are the legacies of settler-colonialism facilitated by Britain. In each case, the settler-colonial intervention created two mutually exclusive claims to sovereignty, legitimacy and self-determination underpinned by two diametrically opposed narratives, and a material reality of one community long monopolising state power, resources and symbols to dominate and denigrate the other. In both cases, the British imposed or facilitated partitions, which rather than resolve the underlying problem, simply converted the conflict into new forms of antagonism.

Every historical situation, including those in Palestine and Ireland, is distinct, yet comparisons are possible and useful, and in these two cases the similarities are more important than the differences.

Irish nationalists point to an 800-year history of British colonialism, but the modern conflict can be traced to the colonisation of the northeast part of the island, beginning in early 1600s.

As British authorities granted land to Protestant settlers from England and Scotland, native Catholics were forcibly displaced in large numbers, a process very similar to how Zionist settlers displaced, and continue to displace, Palestinians.

Although Britain annexed Ireland in 1801, repeated Irish nationalist rebellions made the question of granting Irish "home rule" the central controversy in British politics through much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Unionists, generally comprised of the ascendant and long-settled Protestant population, were adamantly opposed to home rule, fearing it would threaten their privileged status. In 1912, Unionist militancy, military preparations and threats of violence succeeded in forestalling British attempts to implement home rule.

Meanwhile, Irish nationalists, predominantly Catholic, gained increasing support for independence - especially after the British executed the leaders of the failed 1916 Easter Rising in which an "Irish Republic" was proclaimed. In the 1918 election to the British parliament, the republican party Sinn Fein won a landslide of Irish seats on a platform of total independence from Britain.

Following a guerilla war between British and republican forces that ended in stalemate, the sides signed the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty establishing the Irish Free State, an autonomous "dominion" of the British Empire, that eventually became the Republic of Ireland.

But its territory covered only 26 of Ireland's 32 counties. To appease unionists, the British simultaneously partitioned the island, forming Northern Ireland, an autonomous self-governing state linked to Britain, gerrymandered to have a two-thirds Protestant majority.

A Protestant state for a Protestant people
Northern Ireland became a unionist-run, one-party state. Nationalist resistance to partition was violently suppressed by British forces and unionist militia. Within a year of partition, hundreds of Catholics were killed in Belfast, 11,000 were forced from their jobs, and 22,000 - a quarter of the city's Catholic population - were driven from their homes.

In the widely quoted formula attributed to Northern Ireland's first prime minister, Lord Craigavon, the state's seat of government at Stormont Castle was a "Protestant parliament for a Protestant people".

Catholics experienced severe discrimination in employment, housing, and all aspects of political and cultural life. They viewed Northern Ireland as an illegitimate imposition, and its security forces as Protestant sectarian militia guaranteeing unionist dominance.

Unionism viewed any effort to create a united Ireland as a mortal threat. In 1990, for example, James Molyneaux, leader of the then dominant Ulster Unionist Party, described the Republic of Ireland's constitutional claim to the north as "a demand for the destruction of Northern Ireland" that was "equivalent to Hitler's claim over Czechoslovakia".

This language resembles that used by Zionists and Norman Finkelstein to describe any fundamental reform of the Israeli state to end its systematic discrimination against non-Jews, let alone a one-state solution, as tantamount to Israel's "destruction".

Obsession with demography
At partition, Catholics were a third of the population in Northern Ireland. By 2001 they were 44 per cent.

Just as Israelis are obsessed with the "demographic threat" from the births of Palestinians, fear of a relatively high Catholic birthrate - which could provide the Catholic majority in the north needed to reunify Ireland - was a recurrent theme in unionist discourse. "The basic fear of Protestants in Northern Ireland," a former prime minister said, "is that they will be out-bred by the Roman Catholics. It is simple as that."

Equality for all or the 'destruction of Israel'?
In the mid-1960s, after almost 50 years of unionist rule, nationalists mobilised a civil rights movement modelled on the one in the United States - demanding equal citizenship and an end to systematic discrimination against Catholics.

This departed from traditional republicanism, which had focused on ending partition, but the unionist state perceived even demands for equal rights within Northern Ireland as an attack on Protestant "identity" and the very existence of the state. Unionists responded to calls for equality and reform with violence, and, as in the 1920s, Catholics were once again subjected to pogroms.

During Israel's December 2008 to January 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of which were civilians, veteran Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn wrote in The Independent that Israeli society reminded him "more than ever of the unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s". Like Israelis, he wrote, unionists were a community "with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people. There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired by unreasoning hate".

"There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired by unreasoning hate."
- Patrick Cockburn
Indeed, Israel's reaction to Palestinian demands for equal citizenship mimics the unionist response to the nationalist campaign for equality in Northern Ireland almost precisely. Israel also characterises these demands as an existential threat, a tacit acknowledgment that inequality and discrimination are foundational elements of the Israeli state. As Finkelstein succinctly put it, "equal rights means the end of Israel".

This is why Palestinian citizens of Israel and their representatives in the Knesset such as Hanin Zoabi, face ever more hostile rhetoric and discriminatory bills and laws - from loyalty oaths, to bans on commemorating the Nakba, to provisions reserving jobs and land for army veterans (effectively favouring Jews) to the  Citizenship Law that makes it impossible for Israeli citizens to bring Palestinian or other Arab spouses to live in the country (Ben White's new book Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy is an excellent primer).

In short, Israel has responded to calls for equal citizenship with the insistence that it must be recognised as a "Jewish and democratic state". Just as Northern Ireland unionists insisted on a Protestant state for a Protestant people at the expense of Catholics and their human rights, 21st century Zionists demand a Jewish state for a Jewish people at the expense of Palestinians.

'The Troubles'
Unionists' violent rejection of nationalist demands for equality in the late 1960s inaugurated the three-decade low-level civil war known as "The Troubles" in which more than 3,500 people were killed and 50,000 injured - nearly two per cent of the Northern Ireland population.

As violence escalated, the British abolished the unionist government in 1972, imposed direct rule from London, and sent in the British army. The unionist state had collapsed, but the unionist-dominated status quo was preserved, as the army, initially sent in to protect Catholics, quickly began to act and be seen by Catholics as an occupying force.

A reconstituted Irish Republican Army (IRA) resumed armed struggle, initially in defence of Catholic communities, but later went on the offensive against the police, army and unionist militia (known as "loyalists"). The IRA and other republican armed groups also carried out bomb attacks and political assassinations which killed noncombatants, including in Britain.

British tactics included curfews, internment (imprisonment without charge or trial similar to Israel's "administrative detention", also a legacy of British colonial rule in Palestine), assassinations and extrajudicial executions, and there was extensive and now well-documented collusion between state forces and the loyalist militia that killed hundreds of noncombatant Catholics in brutal sectarian attacks.

A two-state solution in Ireland
In 1998, Unionists and Nationalists signed the Belfast Agreement. It established, in effect, a bi-national state in Northern Ireland where Irish nationalists share power with pro-British unionists.
It did not abolish Northern Ireland, but it did banish, once and for all, the "Protestant state" and enshrined equality as a fundamental principle.

The agreement notably does not resolve whether the six counties that form Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom or rejoin a united Ireland, but it establishes principles and mechanisms for determining where sovereignty should lie and what would happen if it changes.
Crucially, it the agreement states whether Northern Ireland remains part of the UK, or becomes part of a united Ireland,
"the power of the sovereign government with jurisdiction there shall be exercised with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions and shall be founded on the principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos, and aspirations of both communities."
Northern Ireland has no 'right to exist'
This was made possible because the British effectively abandoned any claim that Northern Ireland as an entity had a "right" to exist. A breakthrough moment came in 1992 when the UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland conceded that "provided it is advocated constitutionally, there can be no proper reason for excluding any political objective from discussion. Certainly not the objective of a united Ireland..."

As part of the agreement, nationalists conceded that the reunification of Ireland could only come about by the consent of a majority in Northern Ireland.

Consequently, the Belfast Agreement did not recognise any separate right to self-determination for unionists as unionists or Protestants as Protestants that would be analogous to a specifically Jewish right to self-determination within historic Palestine.

Unionists enjoy the right to participate in self-determination, along with nationalists, as legitimate residents of the territory. No more, no less.

Freedom of movement and citizenship
There is complete freedom of movement, residency and cross-border employment (something guaranteed in any case under European Union rules) between the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland and the right to full citizenship in either or both states. Moreover, such citizenship cannot be revoked from any person even if the status of Northern Ireland changes. There is nothing to stop Catholics moving north or Protestants moving south.

In order to reverse the long history of discrimination, public bodies and officials in Northern Ireland are under a statutory obligation to promote equality among individuals and communities, and safeguards enacted in British and Irish law are designed to ensure that practices conform to European and international human rights standards. Employment anti-discrimination measures in Northern Ireland are strictly enforced, and although Catholics are still, on average, poorer than Protestants, the gap has narrowed.

A form of 1980s solidarity activism in the United States - somewhat analogous to BDS - demanded that US firms doing business in Northern Ireland adhere to the MacBride Principles, which forbid any form of sectarian discrimination.

A model for historic Palestine?
The Belfast Agreement preserves an existing "two-state solution" in Ireland unless and until people in both jurisdictions choose any other arrangement. But in the meantime, it required one of the states - Northern Ireland - to transform into an inclusive democracy from an oppressive ethnocracy. The agreement also required the Republic of Ireland to strengthen its own human rights and equality guarantees.

So if Northern Ireland is the model, how would it transpose to Palestine? Clearly, Israel would have to become, like Northern Ireland, a bi-national state with strict equality and full representation for all citizens. All laws privileging Jews would have to be abolished and strong measures taken to redress historic and present injustices and prevent future discrimination. A Palestinian state would have to be no less committed to equality.

There would be complete freedom of movement and residency between Israel and the Palestinian state, and because ethnic and racial privileges would have to be abolished, Palestinian refugees could exercise their right to return to the state of their choice and gain citizenship in either.

The Republic of Ireland grants citizenship to any person from abroad with one grandparent born in Ireland, regardless of religion or ethnic background. A similar law could replace Israel's racist "Law of Return" that grants citizenship only to Jews while discriminating against Palestinians.

Jews would have no separate right of self-determination, but like Protestants in Northern Ireland, would enjoy full democratic rights to participate in self-determination as residents of the territory.
All these principles underpin the Belfast Agreement and yet they did not mean the "destruction of Northern Ireland". What they rightly did away with is ethno-religious privileges for Protestants at the expense of Catholics.
"If Finkelstein and Zionists cannot accept a two-state solution on these terms, then we know it is not the number of states that concerns them."
So the question then for Norman Finkelstein and Zionists who are horrified by the idea of a one-state solution, is: could they accept two states on such terms? If the answer is yes, then it is clear that the BDS call is completely compatible with a two-state solution, and Finkelstein should withdraw his claim that this is mere deception.

If Finkelstein and Zionists cannot accept a two-state solution on these terms, then we know it is not the number of states that concerns them. Rather, their priority is to preserve racial and colonial privileges for Jews at the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights.

That is something Palestinians and their allies, as with nationalists in Northern Ireland, can never - and must never - accept, no matter how many states exist in their respective homelands.

Ali Abunimah is author of One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. He is a co-founder of the online publication The Electronic Intifada and a policy adviser with Al-Shabaka.
Follow on Twitter him at: @AliAbunimah

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.