Tiffany Ommundsen

Tiffany Ommundsen (Kosovo Women’s Network - KWN): Tiffany earned her Bachelor of Arts from Fairfield University in 2007. She also studied abroad in Florence, Italy and Galway, and Ireland. Tiffany received her Master of Arts in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University in February 2009. During this time she also interned with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Peace Women Project at the UN, and with the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in New Haven, Connecticut.



Serbia and Palestine: Strange Bedfellows?

10 Jul

On July 7, Mahmoud Abbas, who is referred to as the President of Palestine in the Balkan press, met with officials of the Serbian government in Belgrade. Abbas publically reaffirmed “the traditional longstanding friendship between the Serbian and Palestinian peoples” and stated that Serbia could contribute to the Middle East peace process.

Abbas stated, “I am counting on you, Mr. President [Boris Tadic], to continue supporting efforts to reach a solution in the Middle East through talks with Israel that will enable Israel and Palestine to live side-by-side and cooperate as neighbors.” He then addressed the status of Kosovo, saying “The Kosovo issue is before the International Court [of Justice] and I believe that that is the right way to resolve every problem. That is our stance.”

Mahmoud Abbas

On the part of Serbia, Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic issued a statement thanking President Abbas for “the support he extends Serbia in preserving its territorial integrity and sovereignty.” President Tadic even announced plans for a scholarship initiative for Palestinian students.

I have to admit, this initially confused me. Past experience caused me to (wrongly) assume that Palestine would see the similarities in their situation to that of Kosovo and politically align with the newborn country.

For example, during my time in Ireland, I had the opportunity to study the history of Northern Ireland and eventually visit Belfast. Northern Ireland is home to The Troubles, where the population is divided along political and religious lines, resulting in a LONG history of violence (read Tim Pat Coogan’s “The Troubles” for a historical overview of the situation in Northern Ireland). They see their situation mirrored in the Middle East and have chosen sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Republicans (who are mainly Catholic, and want a unified and independent Ireland) support the Palestinians, while the Unionists (who are mainly Protestant, and want to maintain their ties with the United Kingdom) support the Israelis. This is most clearly demonstrated in the political murals that are found throughout the city, such as the one below.

Pro-Palestine Republican mural in Belfast

(The writing in the mural to the left says “Palestine…The largest concentration camp in the world!!! 3.3 million innocent people tortured, denied their freedom!” The Arabic writing in the mural to the right is a translation of a Republican slogan, Tiocfaidh ár Lá or “our day will come.”)

Then, it dawned on me. I may not be a politician, but Abbas sure is.

Cultivating ties with Serbia is brilliant political maneuvering. Serbia is closely allied with Russia, Syria and Egypt, all major world players. Maintaining and strengthening good relations with these three nations will result in an increase in actual support for the Palestinian cause on the international stage.  Serbia and Russia regard Kosovo’s declaration of independence illegal, and while other Middle Eastern nations have recognized the government of Kosovo (the most recent being Jordan), Egypt and Syria are not among them. In fact, Egypt even prevented a delegation of Kosovar officials from participating in the 2008 Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that was held in Cairo.

Of course, some in Kosovo have suggested that Palestinians are just jealous.

Posted By Tiffany Ommundsen

Posted Jul 10th, 2009

3 Comments

  • Beznik Horvath

    June 2, 2010

     

    I think you fundamentally misunderstand the conflict in Kosovo. Despite what CNN or Clinton might tell you the Albanians are not all a bunch of Care Bears and the Serbians vampires. Albanians comprise a majority of the population in Kosovo. So they should be “free” from Serbians. But have they always been the majority, no. In WW2 the resistance in Yugoslavia, which was mostly made up of Serbs. proved to be a major disruption to Hitler’s plans. So the Nazis made a puppet state in Albania and filled the Albanians with anti Serb propaganda and told them they were an ancient race that rightfully owned Kosovo, sound familiar? So with great enthusiasm they rounded up Serbians Rroma(gypsies) and Jews and murdered them with a brutality that shocked even the Germans. Then they took the dead Serbian farms and houses. Now suddenly Albanians are a majority in Kosovo and want their independence, over the dead bodies of the rightful owners. After the 99 war and the “peace treaty” Kosovo Liberation Army, with US bombers backing them, set fire to Serb and Rroma villages forcing almost a million non Albanians to flee the country. Serbs and Rroma who stayed live in a state of siege. They have to wait for NATO troops in tanks to escort them to the grocery store in order to avoid being murdered by Albanian mobs. Now Serb and Rroma refugees from Kosovo live in camps, its been 11 years, sound familiar. One of these camps was placed on a poisoned mercury site.

  • Beznik

    October 15, 2010

     

    This really has nothing to do with religion. The Albanians like the Israelis only became a majority in Kosovo recently. And they became a majority by massacuring their neighbors. Before WW1 there was a Serbian majority. Albanian nationalists sided with the Austrian and German invaders. By the end of the war one out of four Serbs were dead and Albanians took the land from the dead. Same thing happened in WW2. Croatians and some Bosnian Muslims also fought with Hitler, while Serbs fought heroically and played a crucial role in the Allied victory of WW2. And yet we have forgotten our former friends. One of the architects of the US bombings of Yugoslavia in fact has a very personal tie to the Serbian people. She was born Jewish in Czechoslovakia, when her home was “annexed” by Germany her family fled to Belgrade where they were hidden by a Serbian family, they risked their lives to save her. She lived through the German bombing of Belgrade. How could someone be such a traitor

  • Beznik

    October 15, 2010

     

    This really has nothing to do with religion. The Albanians like the Israelis only became a majority in Kosovo recently. And they became a majority by massacuring their neighbors. Before WW1 there was a Serbian majority. Albanian nationalists sided with the Austrian and German invaders. By the end of the war one out of four Serbs were dead and Albanians took the land from the dead. Same thing happened in WW2. Croatians and some Bosnian Muslims also fought with Hitler, while Serbs fought heroically and played a crucial role in the Allied victory of WW2. And yet we have forgotten our former friends. One of the architects of the US bombings of Yugoslavia in fact has a very personal tie to the Serbian people. She was born Jewish in Czechoslovakia, when her home was "annexed" by Germany her family fled to Belgrade where they were hidden by a Serbian family, they risked their lives to save her. She lived through the German bombing of Belgrade. How could someone be such a traitor

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