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Articles Archives - March 2010
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Thursday, March 25, 2010
Washington’s worst ally
Ayman El-Amir, Al-Ahram Weekly 3/18/2010
      Build, build, build: as Israel annexes Palestinian property to build yet more illegal settlements it seems no one has the will to stop them.
     Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has taken a handful of dust from East Jerusalem and thrown it in the face of Barack Obama, his administration, the American people and the Arabs. The Israeli government’s declared decision to build 1,600 new housing units in and around East Jerusalem, and to confiscate Palestinian property for the purpose, was designed to test the limits of Washington’s tolerance of its expansionist policy. It has been gradually expropriating what is left of Palestinian territory to forestall the creation of a future Palestinian state. When Washington reacted angrily, the Netanyahu government, in time-honoured fashion, set another test. It regreted the timing of the announcement, which coincided with the visit of US Vice-President Joseph Biden, but not the substance.
     When Washington insisted it was the substance that mattered Netanyahu reiterated his regret that it was bad timing, not bad policy. He wanted to reassure his ultra-rightwing coalition partners that the settlement policy was still alive and well and would be resumed as soon as the row with the Obama administration blew over. Mendacious Israel will weather this storm, as it has others, by resorting to Congress, its most compliant ally, controlled as it is by the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) lobby. AIPAC itself sent out a signal to Congress. It said the present crisis in US-Israeli relations was a matter of concern. What it meant was that the crisis should somehow be resolved in favour of Israel, or that the Obama administration must be taught a lesson for daring to disagree with Israeli policy.
     Upon his arrival in Israel, Biden deflated Israeli whining over threats to its security by reaffirming in advance the Obama administration’s “absolute, total, unvarnished commitment to Israel’s security”. He also lambasted Iran for its quest for nuclear power, a popular political theme in Washington these days....
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Israel’s 'No Renting to Arabs' Policy
Jonathan Cook, CounterPunch 3/23/2010
      Jewish Couple Loses Court Battle to Help Bedouin Friends
     The Zakai and Tarabin families should be a picture of happy coexistence across the ethnic divide, a model for others to emulate in Israel.
     But Natalie and Weisman Zakai say the past three years -- since the Jewish couple offered to rent their home to Bedouin friends, Ahmed and Khalas Tarabin -- have been a living hell.
     “I have always loved Israel,” said Mrs Zakai, 43. “But to see the depth of the racism of our neighbours has made me question why we live in this country.”
     Three of the couple’s six dogs have been mysteriously poisoned; Mrs Zakai’s car has been sprayed with the words ”Arab lover” and the windows smashed; her three children in school are regularly taunted and bullied by other pupils; and a collection of vintage cars in the family’s yard has been set on fire in what police say was an arson attack.
     To add to these indignities, the Zakais have spent three years and thousands of dollars battling through the courts against the elected officials of their community of Nevatim, in Israel’s southern Negev desert, who have said they are determined to keep the Tarabins from moving in.
     Last week the Zakais’ legal struggle looked like it had run out of steam. The supreme court told the two families the Tarabins should submit to a vetting committee of local officials to assess their suitability – a requirement that has never been made before by the Negev community in the case of a family seeking to rent a home.
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Netanyahu’s Ring and the Legitimacy of Zionism
Ahmed Amr, Palestine Chronicle, Axis of Logic 3/24/2010
      You can’t make this stuff up. It was a Monday, the first day of spring in 2010, a time usually reserved for a little fresh air. Alas, the Prime Minister of Israel was dispensing noxious fumes in a speech to AIPAC, the pro-Israeli lobbying conglomerate that is considered the single most effective arm-twisting organization in Washington. Did I forget to mention the Prime Minister’s name? It’s Benjamin Netanyahu. The significance of that factoid will become apparent as we move along.
     Here’s part of what Netanyahu had to say to the AIPAC faithful and the drooling congressmen and senators who came to pay homage to the prince of Israel.
     “The attempt by many to describe the Jews as foreign colonialists in their own homeland is one of the great lies of modern times. In my office, I have on display a signet ring that was loaned to me by Israel’s Department of Antiquities. The ring was found next to the Western wall, but it dates back some 2,800 years ago, two hundred years after King David turned Jerusalem into our capital city. The ring is a seal of a Jewish official, and inscribed on it in Hebrew is his name: Netanyahu. His name was Netanyahu Ben-Yoash. My first name, Benjamin, dates back 1,000 years earlier to Benjamin, the son of Jacob. One of Benjamin’s brothers was named Shimon, which also happens to be the first name of my good friend, Shimon Peres, the President of Israel. Nearly 4,000 years ago, Benjamin, Shimon and their ten brothers roamed the hills of Judea. Ladies and Gentlemen, the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel cannot be denied. The connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem cannot be denied. The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 year ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.”
     There you have it folks. If your name is Benjamin Netanyahu, what more justification do you need to expropriate land from the native Palestinians?....
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Rights groups dispute Israel's story in Hebron killing
Electronic Intifada: 25 Mar 2010 - RAMALLAH, occupied West Bank (IPS) - In early February, 41-year-old Fayez Ahmed Faraj, a father of nine from the city of Hebron, 30 miles south of Jerusalem, in the southern West Bank, was shot dead in his home town by Israeli soldiers after he allegedly tried to stab one of them. After a preliminary investigation the Israeli military authorities stated that the soldiers had acted in self-defense and had used the necessary force.

Israel's inclusion in economic organization a threat to democracy
Electronic Intifada: 25 Mar 2010 - Membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes 30 of the world's most developed countries, does not provide money or any special economic benefits. Yet it is easy to see why the Israeli government attributes great importance to Israel becoming one of its members. Shir Hever analyzes for The Electronic Intifada.

Thirsty for justice
Electronic Intifada: 25 Mar 2010 - Toni Morrison once wrote "All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was." I feel it is the same for Palestinian refugees, who have struggled for decades for their right to return home. I thought of this connection between water and refugees during a recent meeting about the Middle East Children's Alliance's Maia Project with Aidan O'Leary, Deputy Director of the UN agency for Palestine refugees Operations in Gaza. Dr. Mona El-Farra writes from the Gaza Strip.

Israel's latest provocation at al-Aqsa
Electronic Intifada: 25 Mar 2010 - The Israeli government has indicated that it will press ahead with a plan to enlarge the Jewish prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, despite warnings that the move risks triggering a third intifada. Israeli officials rejected this week a Jerusalem court's proposal to shelve the plan after the judge accepted that the plaza's expansion would violate the "status quo" arrangement covering the Old City's holy places. Jonathan Cook reports from Jerusalem.

grasping beauty
In Gaza: 23 Mar 2010 - It’s one of those beautiful, sunny days, with a fresh sea breeze and people strolling on the beach…one of those days in which you can almost forget the manifold tragedies that unfold daily in Gaza under siege. Under siege for four years, really, but fully under siege since mid 2007, over 1000 days. One thousand days of compromises on basic human rights and necessities for the human beings living here. Compromises which deny the ill –the seriously ill –medical care, deny students proper study materials or access to study abroad, deny access to work outside a jobless Strip, deny dreams and hopes, breath and life. But on a day like this –far from the border regions where IOF soldiers fire on unarmed Palestinians, where workers scrounge for recyclables, where farmers look at land beyond their reach (but within Gaza) thanks to the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” –one can temporarily forget all...

Palestine Monitor: 17 Dec 2010 - “The right to freedom of movement provides that people are entitled to move freely within the borders of the state, to leave any country and to return to their country.” Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. December 10th, 1948 Movement Restrictions: The Facts By September 2008 there were 699 closure obstacles in the West Bank– approximately 130 of these have been added after the Annapolis Conference began in November 2007. 630 of the obstacles have been identified: trenches (3%), partial checkpoints (3%), earth walls (7%), road-blocks (11%), road barriers (12%), checkpoints (12%), road gates (16%) and earth mounds (36%). 74 % of the main routes in the West Bank are controlled by checkpoints or blocked entirely. In the period from April to September 2008 the weekly average of flying (or random) checkpoints was 89. Due to...

Israel's Provocation at al-Aqsa: Rabbi Plans 'Miracle'
Palestine Chronicle: 25 Mar 2010 - By Jonathan Cook - Jerusalem The Israeli government has indicated that it will press ahead with a plan to enlarge the Jewish prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, despite warnings that the move risks triggering a third intifada. Israeli officials rejected this week a Jerusalem court’s proposal to shelve the plan after the judge accepted that the plaza’s expansion would violate the “status quo” arrangement covering the Old City’s holy places. Islamic authorities agreed to the arrangement after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967. The site eyed by Israeli officials is located at the Mughrabi Gate, an entrance to the mosque compound known as the Haram al Sharif, the most sensitive site in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Inside are Al Aqsa Mosque and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. Earlier encroachments by Israel on Islamic authority at the site have triggered clashes between...more

My Children, Ralph Nader and the South China Sea
Palestine Chronicle: 25 Mar 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud I basked in the warm Borneo sun, following a long run somewhere at the edge of a rainforest. The beach was only partly clean, but the water was most inviting. My children ran excitedly, collecting what I assumed to be shells and whatever other treasures the South China Sea had decided to divulge that afternoon. Their movement, from afar, signaled frenzy and perhaps even a slight panic. I hesitated at first, then ran to investigate. At the ages of six and four, my girls Zarefah and Iman were already the most kindhearted kids. They were actually going through complete and unmitigated panic, as they had just noticed the starfish which had been cast off by the waves and which were now dotting the shoreline as far as the eye could see. The children became determined to place every single one of them back in the water before...more

The Jerusalem 'Compromise'
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Mar 2010 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the United States this week armed with a mandate from the Israeli parliament. A large majority of legislators from all of Israel’s main parties had supported a petition urging him to stand firm on the building of Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem -- the very issue that got him into hot water days earlier with the White House. Given the Israeli consensus on Jerusalem, there was no way Mr Netanyahu could have avoided rubbing that wound again in his speech on Monday to the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobby group. He told the thousands of delegates: “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.” Citing his own policy as inseparable from all previous...more

Articles Archives - March 2010

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