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Articles Archives - March 2010
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Sunday, March 7, 2010
'This Time We Went Too Far'
Norman Finkelstein, CounterPunch 3/7/2010
      Truth and Consequences in the Gaza Invasion
     March 06, 2010 "CounterPunch" March 03, 2010 - Public outrage at the Gaza invasion did not come out of the blue but rather marked the nadir of a curve plotting a steady decline in support for Israel. As polling data of Americans and Europeans, both Gentiles and Jews, suggest, the public has become increasingly critical of Israeli policy over the past decade. The horrific images of death and destruction broadcast around the world during and after the invasion accelerated this development. “The increased and brutal frequency of war in this volatile region has shifted international opinion,” the British Financial Times editorialized one year later, “reminding Israel it is not above the law. Israel can no longer dictate the terms of debate.”
     One poll registering the fallout from the Gaza attack in the United States found that American voters calling themselves supporters of Israel plummeted from 69 per cent before the attack to 49 per cent in June 2009, while voters believing that the U.S. should support Israel dropped from 69 per cent to 44 per cent. Consumed by hate, emboldened by self-righteousness, and confident that it could control or intimidate public opinion, Israel carried on in Gaza as if it could get away with mass murder in broad daylight. But while official Western support for Israel held firm, the carnage set off an unprecedented wave of popular outrage throughout the world. Whether it was because the assault came on the heels of the devastation Israel wrought in Lebanon, or because of Israel’s relentless persecution of the people of Gaza, or because of the sheer cowardice of the assault, the Gaza invasion appeared to mark a turning point in public opinion reminiscent of the international reaction to the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in apartheid South Africa.
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Europe’s Alliance with Israel
David Cronin, P U L S E 3/4/2010
      One of the pitfalls of specialising in European politics, as I have for the past 15 years, is that certain assumptions become hardwired in your brain. For a long time, my critical faculties shut down when I heard senior EU representatives speak of the Middle East. I happily accepted the official narrative that they were striving for a just resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and that it would be foolish to park the so-called peace process in a “blood-soaked lay-by”, in the words of former EU commissioner Chris Patten.
     Israel’s attacks on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza just over a year ago illustrated how naive and gullible I had been. In the first instance, Tony Blair blocked the EU from formally calling for a ceasefire because he wanted Israel to be given whatever space it perceived necessary to fight Hezbollah (Israel’s slaughter of Lebanese civilians in that 33-day war elicited no more than statements of “regret” from London).
     It is true that the Union did urge a halt to the violence that Israel inflicted on Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants in late 2008 and early 2009. Yet by describing that attack as “disproportionate”, key EU representatives implicitly approved the Israeli version of events – that everything had been provoked by the missiles Hamas was firing on the southern Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Sderot. “Gaza was a crisis waiting to happen,” Marc Otte, the Union’s Middle East envoy, told me. “Do you think the Palestinians could continue to launch rockets on Israel without Israel reacting?"
     Otte has resorted to a wilfully selective reading of recent history. Far from merely reacting to what Hamas had done, Israel had created the conditions that prompted Hamas to dust down its crude DIY weapons (no match, it must be said, for the cutting-edge killing machines in the Israeli arsenal).....
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Mossad: Might or myth?
As`ad AbuKhalil, P U L S E 3/6/2010
      The assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh, a Hamas commander, in Dubai is a watershed moment in the long history of the Mossad.
     Israeli officials who ordered the assassination did something that Zionists have always done – underestimate their Arab opponents.
     In his first impressions of Arabs, David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, compared them to children.
     Ahad Ha’Am, an essayist considered to be the father of cultural Zionism, described the merciless beatings that Arabs were subjected to for no reason by Zionist settlers – the pioneers of the movement – in the late 19th century.
     Other Zionists have compared the Arabs of Palestine to animals. All this prejudice would in the 1960s and 1970s benefit the rise of sophisticated Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements which would plan operations keeping in mind that the Israelis would likely underestimate their chances of success.
     Hezbollah, established in the early 1980s, used that understanding when it established a resistance movement that would beat Israel at its own game – on the battlefield and in the war of intelligence.
     More recently, Israeli officials assumed that the UAE’s rulers would not pose a challenge to their activities in the emirates, especially after the welcoming of Israeli tennis player Andy Ram to the Dubai Championships with great fanfare in February 2009. But little did they know that an effective and stubborn man serves as Dubai’s chief of police.
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random violence
In Gaza: 7 Mar 2010 - * the destruction begins as far as 700 metres from the border It was senseless, random, gratuitous violence against the farmers and their hopes.  Bulldozer treads dug through bean and onion crops, in zigs and zags, seemingly without direction.  Swaths of land were eaten by the military bulldozers’ blades, also seemingly randomly:  the wheat crop which might mature to waist high if not bulldozed was left to grow, but the calf-high beans and onions were mowed, not fully but insultingly so. The 100 or so olive trees that had escaped the winter 2008-2009 Israeli massacre of Gaza and prior and later military invasions this time went with the 4 towering military bulldozers and 3 tanks. Tracks spat out earth in unwieldy clumps, not to be worked again this year, difficult to calm and smooth next year, in an area (near, but still outside of the Israeli-imposed 300 metre no-go zone,...

Weekly Protest Video Round-Up
Palestine Monitor: 6 Mar 2010 - Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined demonstrations in villages up and down the West Bank yesterday, marking the Global Week Against racism. A Palestinian boy was seriously wounded during An Nebi Saleh protest. Here is what happened. Bi'lin Once again, creativity distinguished Bi'lin protest. Activists dressed as figures representing Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela joined anti-Wall protesters in Bil'in, marching to commemorate their nonviolent struggle against occupation, oppression and colonialism. “ The struggles of Gandhi against oppression and occupation in India , Martin Luther King, Jr. against racism in the USA and Mandela against the apartheid in South Africa are all similar to Bili'n's ongoing struggle against occupation here” , a statement from the Popular Committee said. International and Israeli activists, delegations from the Freedom Theater in Jenin and the Palestinian People's Struggle Front also joined the rally. Protesters marched towards the separation barrier, chanting slogans and singing...

Will the Afghan Surge Succeed?
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Mar 2010 - By M. Shahid Alam More than eight years after dismantling the Taliban, the United States is still mired in Afghanistan. Indeed, last October it launched a much-hyped ‘surge’ to prevent a second Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, not imminent yet, but eminently possible. The first dismantling of the Taliban was a cakewalk. In 2001, the United States quickly and decisively defeated the Taliban, killed, captured or scattered their fighters, and handed over the running of Afghanistan to their rivals, mostly Uzbeks and Tajiks from the Northern Alliance. Unaware of Pashtoon history, American commentators were pleased at the smashing victory of their military, convinced that they had consigned the Taliban to history’s graveyard. Instead, the Taliban came back from the dead. Within months of their near-total destruction, they had regained morale, regrouped, organized, trained, and returned to fight what they saw as a foreign occupation of their country. Slowly, tenaciously they continued...more

The Harlot's Grave
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Mar 2010 - By Uri Avnery Some weeks ago, Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in Rome, was released after serving 28 years in prison. The motives for his act have never been clarified. But a Palestinian leader once told me his version: God appeared to Agca in a dream and told him: Go to the Holy City and kill that damn Pole. But the Turk misunderstood, so instead of going to Jerusalem and killing Menachem Begin, he went to Rome…” Which just goes to show that holy cities are a pain in the neck. The late Yeshayahu Leibowitz, an observant Jew and a resolute opponent of the religious establishment, used to praise a deed of the Wahhabis, the radical sect that arose more than 200 years ago to cleanse Islam of impurity. The first thing they did upon conquering Mecca was to destroy the tomb...more

Misadventures of the Most Favored Nations – Book Review
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Mar 2010 - By Jim Miles Misadventures of the Most Favored Nations - Clashing Egos, Inflated Ambitions, and the Great Shambles of the World Trade System. Paul Blustein. Public Affairs (Perseus Books).New York, 2009. Since its arrival in public awareness - at least for the public that follows ideas related to international trade, not many in our star studded frivolous media world - I have been antagonistic to the WTO. Reading this work by Paul Blustein was a self appointed task to read the opposition’s own ideas and how they are formulated. His most current writing in Foreign Policy [1] carries some very good news for those who, like myself, think of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a supra-national level of corporate governance that is neither democratic nor open and transparent. Blustein says, “After eight painful years of standstill and failure, with each meeting just a shoveling of intractable problems forward to...more

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