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Articles Archives - March 2010
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Israeli forces continue their campaign of widespread arrests in the occupied Palestinian territories - International Press Center photo

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Thursday, March 4, 2010
Mr President, don’t be surprised in Morocco
Nasser Lahham, Ma’an News Agency 3/3/2010
      The Arab press is reporting every day now about a rift between the Palestinian presidency and the Arab states in north Africa, particularly after reports emerged that Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi refused to meet Mahmoud Abbas when he visited Tripoli on Tuesday.
     The Jordanian daily Ad-Dustur published an article under the headline "Tunis ignores Abbas’ wish to visit," speaking of "a unified position of the north African Arab countries against the Palestinian presidency."
     The newspaper reported that Morocco has joined Tunisia and Libya in a boycott of Abbas. Other Arab newspapers said Syria is simply ignoring a request by Abbas to visit Damascus.
     The ostensible reason for the dispute is Libya"™s decision to invite Hamas to the Arab League summit in Tripoli later this month.
     Abbas, during his news conference in Sharm Ash-Sheikh, Egypt on Monday, denied any dispute with any other Arab country over Libya"™s invitation to Hamas.
     Despite the political wrangling of the Arab world (Syria and Qatar are closer to Hamas than they are to Libya), this is no ordinary Arab controversy. If Arab countries are turning their back on the Palestinian Authority on the eve of an Arab summit, all Palestinians both in the Diaspora and in Palestine deserve to know the truth. The PA foreign minister, Riyad Al-Maliki, should tell us, without beautifying the image of the situation.
     In any case, relying on what we do know about the Arab world in the year that has passed since last year"™s summit in Qatar, we can say the following about the current Arab scene....
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The Dubai assassination and the 'war on terror'
Patrick O’Connor, World Socialist Web Site 3/3/2010
      The reaction of governments around the world to the murder of Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month underscores the extent to which basic precepts of international law have been torn up under the “war on terror”. As far as the US government and its allies are concerned, extra-judicial executions and so-called targeted killings now constitute a legitimate state activity and do not warrant comment, let alone condemnation.
     While the Israeli government has refused to confirm or deny any involvement, its intelligence agency, Mossad, is widely understood to be directly responsible for the Dubai operation. The Obama administration has maintained a strict silence over the affair, while the governments of Britain, Australia, France, Germany and Ireland have merely issued pro forma protests over the doctoring of their passports. None has condemned Mabhouh’s murder.
     The assassination was a cold-blooded operation, planned down to the last detail. According to Dubai police, 27 men and women were involved in the preparation which culminated in Mabhouh being injected with a muscle relaxant drug, succinylcholine, then suffocated with a pillow. The killers reportedly left behind medicine for high blood pressure in order to give the initial appearance of a natural death, hung a “do not disturb” card on their victim’s hotel room door and fled Dubai before the authorities were notified after Mabhouh’s wife was unable to telephone her husband.
     Israel has a long record of tracking down and murdering its enemies around the world, and in the last decade has waged a systematic assassination campaign against the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza.
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Dredging up the Israel/apartheid question
Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com 3/2/2010
      In addition to everything else they are, the scribblings on The Washington Post Op-Ed Page are often wildly out of touch. They often have the feel of having been written a decade ago, stuffed under a mattress somewhere, and then arbitrarily hauled out and dusted off for publication. With seemingly no trigger, Richard Cohen woke up today and decided to write about a long-standing though not particularly relevant (and largely semantic) controversy: whether the word "apartheid" is properly applied to Israel due to its control of the West Bank and Gaza, whose non-Jewish residents have no democratic rights in the country that rules over their land. Cohen, for whatever reasons, focuses on Jimmy Carter’s use of the word in his book from four years ago, and takes the standard, predictable position: the term is false, deliberately inflammatory, and often the by-product of anti-semitism, etc. etc. But in dredging up this debate, Cohen completely omits a very recent, highly significant event: the use of the term by Israel’s own hawkish Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, just four weeks ago:
     Israel’s defense minister warned Tuesday that if Israel does not achieve a peace deal with the Palestinians, it will be either a binational state or an undemocratic apartheid state. . . .
     "The simple truth is, if there is one state" including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, "it will have to be either binational or undemocratic. . . . if this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."
     Writing about the Israel/apartheid controversy without mentioning Barak’s recent statement would be like writing a column about the Senate reconciliation process without mentioning health care, or writing about the U.S. military’s counter-insurgency doctrine without mentioning Afghanistan. But Cohen’s glaring omission is understandable: there has been an intense campaign to demonize those who analogize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to demonize those who analogize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to apartheid (as Carter did, in the same way as Barak).
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The sounds of piano in Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 4 Mar 2010 - GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - At 14, Nour plays the piano, and she knows the facts around her. That the average age for marriage is 18, likely to a man found by parents, her place would be within that home, and a woman has on average 6.5 children. She goes to a United Nations agency for Palestine refugees school in Gaza City, and loves journalism, inspired by her older sister, who works at a radio station.

Gaza police forces and their bereaved families rebuild one year on
Electronic Intifada: 4 Mar 2010 - Rami Abu al-Sheikh's parents and siblings still remember how caring and tender their son was before he was killed during Israel's invasion of Gaza last winter. Rami was 27 years old and was one of hundreds of Gaza police personnel killed by Israeli air strikes during the 23-day assault. He was killed at the main Gaza Strip police station located on Salah al-din Street, the territory's main road. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Moment of truth: time to boycott Israel's entire range of injustice
Electronic Intifada: 4 Mar 2010 - Words always matter, and names always have a life of their own. But perhaps Palestine and Israel form a context in which words become positions more dramatically than in many others. The authors of the "Moment of Truth" Kairos document, which is the Christian Palestinians' statement to the world about the occupation of Palestine and a call for support in opposing it, have repeatedly been asked about the use of the word "boycott." What exactly does this mean? How far exactly does it go? And what exactly does it call for? Rifat Kassis comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Sink The Boats
Palestine Monitor: 4 Mar 2010 - It is well known that fisherman in Gaza are among the worst affected by the Israeli blockade. Il Manifesto correspondant Michele Giorgio met with a former Israeli Navy officer, now working with Breaking The Silence, who gave a first hand account of how they were trained to police fishermen. It's an unusual atmosphere to discuss the drama that Palestinian fishermen live each day in the waters off the coast of Gaza. We are in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv, at the corner between Mazarik Street and Rabin Public square, and Brazilian rhythms match the festive spirit of the people who crowd the area. Nevertheless the captain of Israeli Navy, Ido M., 29 years (who asked us not to reveal his identity because he is still a reservist) chose it on purpose. “With this confusion nobody will lend attention to our conversation, for me it will be simpler not to...

A Campaign of Intimidation Against NGOs Supporting Palestinians
Palestine Monitor: 4 Mar 2010 - Alternatives is a Montreal-based NGO that has been campaigning for human rights, international development, peace, and justice for 15 years, in over 30 countries. They are under threat from the current Canadian government, which is targeting any organization that dares to speak up for Palestinian human rights. Alternatives unequivocally defends the rights of Palestinians, and has actively invested in Palestine. For example, Alternatives gave emergency aid to the Palestine Medical Relief Society for medicines, supplies, and to set up medical clinics. They organized several pan-Canadian tours with PMRS president and Palestinian MP, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi. Alternatives has also supported the UN campaign “Education for All,” they helped establish the Teachers Creativity Centre, and they continue to support the TCC's programs in Palestine for civic education, democratisation of school environments, and coordination of the 2010 World Education Forum. They also founded two vocational training centers for women in Gaza, and ran...

Strawberry Fields Forever: A Struggle For Farming
Palestine Monitor: 4 Mar 2010 - Trying to make a living as a farmer in Gaza these days is taking a toll on the family ties so integral to the Palestinian culture. Traditionally, occupations are passed from father to son for generations, and their tie to the land is particularly strong. Before Israel imposed a suffocating blockade on the 14-kilometer-long Gaza Strip in 2007 (as punishment for electing Hamas as its governing party), farmers could make a good living growing carnations and strawberries for export and vegetables for the local market. But now, sons are watching their fathers struggle just to make ends meet, and are either forced to get second jobs or are looking for different futures for themselves and their families – at the same time that their fathers need them on the farm more than ever, because they can no longer afford to hire additional help. Ahmad Shafi shows off Gaza's strawberries, once...

Opposing Israel Lobby is Not Same as Supporting Palestinian Rights
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Mar 2010 - By David Green Of the several Jewish-oriented pro-Palestinian websites and blogs to achieve some notoriety over the past several years, that of journalist Philip Weiss seems to have found a secure niche and a loyal following. I commend Weiss for providing a news service that covers the suffering and heroism of the Palestinians, and a forum for many serious voices and views. Nevertheless, I find profoundly disturbing the conventional and often condescending perspectives that seem to dominate this blog: The Lobby, according to Mearsheimer/Walt and Jeffrey Blankfort; the “dual loyalty” of prominent Jewish-American supporters of Israel, according to Weiss; and one-state and boycott, divestment, sanctions as strategy and tactics for the Palestinian rights movement. This analysis marginalizes leftist principles and, more important, pragmatic political action. I’m not referring to leftist doctrine, but rather a cogent leftist analysis that is dismissed by those who profess to a doctrinaire “realism.” A political...more

J Street - Two Years after its Formation
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Mar 2010 - By Dan Lieberman - Washington D.C. Two years ago, J Street, a newly registered pro-Israel lobby, hit the American Streets with optimism, vitality and promise. Its thrust: To replace or diminish the punch of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). J Street intends to subdue AIPAC’s charge and steer United States Middle East policy to bring peace to the Middle East - a worthy objective reinforced with strong rhetoric – two state solution, achieve regional comprehensive peace, broaden debate on issues, diplomatic solutions favored over military solutions, an immediate and total freeze of settlement construction, Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem to be under Israeli sovereignty and Arab neighborhoods to be under Palestinian sovereignty. Nevertheless, long time critics of Israel’s policies suspect J Street could have unintended consequences; will not achieve objectives and might sidetrack activists from properly engaging Israel. J Street’s challengers accuse it of couching objectives in dubious language...more

Mossad Comes to America: Death Squads by Invitation
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Mar 2010 - By James Petras The principle propaganda mouthpiece of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO), the Daily Alert (DA), has come out in full support for Israel’s practice of extra-judicial, extra-territorial assassination. In the face of world-wide governmental condemnation (except from the White House and US Congress), the PMAJO slavishly backs any brutal murder committed by the Israeli secret police anywhere in the world and at anytime. The recent assassination of Hamas leader, Mahmoud Mabhouh, in Dubai is a case in point. The PMAJO has defended all of Mossad’s criminal actions leading up to the murder, including extensive identity theft and the stealing or falsification of passports and official documents from several European countries, presumably allied to the Zionist state. Among the Mossad agents who entered Dubai to kill Mabhouh, twelve agents used stolen or forged British passports, three Australian, three French, one German and six Irish. These agents...more

Articles Archives - March 2010

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