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Articles Archives - May 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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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
New weapons experimented in Gaza: population risks genetic mutations
Newweapons Committee 5/11/2010
      Toxic and carcinogenic metals, able to produce genetic mutations, have been found in the tissues of people wounded in Gaza during Israeli military operations of 2006 and 2009. The research has been carried out on wounds provoked by weapons that did not leave fragments in the bodies of the victims, a peculiarity that was pointed out repeatedly by doctors in Gaza. This shows that experimental weapons, whose effects are still to be assessed, were used.
     The researchers compared the quantity of 32 elements present in the tissues through ICP/MS (a type of highly sensitive mass spectrometry) . The job, carried out by laboratories of Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), Chalmer University (Sweden) and Beirut University (Lebanon), was coordinated by the New Weapons Research Group (Nwrg), an independent committee of scientists and experts based in Italy, who is studying the use of unconventional weapons and their mid-term effects on the population of after-war areas. The relevant presence of toxic and carcinogenic metals found in the wound tissues points to direct risks for survivors, but also to the possibility of environmental contamination.
     Biopsies of tissues were performed by doctors of Shifa hospital, in Gaza city, who selected and classified the type of wounds. Research was conducted on 16 tissue samples belonging to 13 victims. Four biopsies were taken in June 2006, during the operation “Summer Rains”, while the others were taken in the first week of January 2009, during the operation “Cast Lead”. All tissues were appropriately preserved and then examined by each of the three universities.
     Some of the elements found are carcinogenic (mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and uranium), others are potentially carcinogenic (cobalt and vanadium), others are also fetotoxic (alluminium, copper, barium, lead and manganese). The first ones can produce genetic mutations; the second ones can have the same effect on animals, but they are not proven to do the same on people; the third ones have toxic effects on people ad can affect either the embryo or the foetus in pregnant women.... -- See also: Metals detected in Palestinian children’s hair suggest environmental contamination and Gaza Strip, soil has been contaminated due to bombings: population in danger
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Bending the Rules for Israel
Nadia Hijab, CounterPunch 5/11/2010
      Welcome to the Club
     Israel’s inexorable accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development country club -- is set to be confirmed this month barring last-minute hitches. Although several OECD members have doubts about Israel’s qualifications both on technical grounds and lack of shared values, no state has dared publicly oppose.
     Instead, public opposition has been left to a loose and unusual network of Palestinian and Jewish organizations that have been hard at work lobbying European countries, Turkey, the United States, and other members. It has also provided a rare point for common action between Palestinian official and civil society organizations.
     The "technical issues" that worried the OECD include corruption, particularly in the arms industry; intellectual property rights, particularly in the drugs industry; and the occupation.
     More specifically about the occupation, Israel included data covering its illegal settlements and annexed territories in its economic report, according to a leaked OECD document cited by 18 Irish parliamentarians who called on their government to oppose Israel’s membership. The OECD has apparently resolved this issue by inserting a disclaimer. It will use Israeli data without prejudice to the status of the occupied territories, as Avi Shlaim and Simon Mohun wrote in their Guardian comment calling for OECD conditions on Israeli membership.
     However, prominent legal experts have raised serious problems regarding state obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention if OECD member states pursue this planned course of action. And this may still throw up a last-minute hurdle.
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The Last Democratic Primary Worth Watching
Jeffrey Blankfort, CounterPunch 5/10/2010
      Harman vs. Winograd
     What may be the last Democratic primary race worth paying attention to is taking place in the 36th Congressional District along the Southern California coastline where incumbent Jane Harman is facing a serious challenge from Los Angeles school teacher, Marcy Winograd, with the candidates’ widely separated positions on the Israel-Palestine conflict dominating a critical section of the political landscape.
     Harman is the second richest member of the House of Representatives with estimated assets between $112 and $377 million dollars. Whether it was her money or her Israeli connections that kept the Southern California Democrat from being indicted as a foreign agent five years ago or a combination of both is something the public is never likely to know.
     What is clear is that the Bush administration’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzales neither investigated nor indicted the eight-term congresswoman after she was recorded on a National Security Agency wiretap in 2005 speaking to someone identified as an Israeli agent in which she reportedly agreed to intervene with the Justice Dept. on behalf of two top AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were then under indictment for passing classified information to Israel in an FBI-initiated “sting.
     Whether or not that phone call will come back to haunt her and be a factor in Harman’s heated race against Winograd, a strong critic of Israel and outspoken advocate for the Palestinians, won’t be known until June 8th, the date of the California primaries, but Harman is clearly running scared.
     According to an expose of the wiretapping incident in Congressional Quarterly, in April, 2009, she signed off the conversation with the Israeli agent saying, "This conversation doesn’t exist."....
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Israel imposing occupation tactics on its Palestinian citizens
Electronic Intifada: 11 May 2010 - Several examples, including the arrests of Ameer Makhoul and Omar Said, now point to an uncomfortable reality for the self-proclaimed "only democracy in the Middle East": practices that have long been routine in the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza are being used in Israel to suppress dissent and limit civil liberties. The green line is increasingly blurry. Ben White comments.

A day in Jerusalem
Electronic Intifada: 11 May 2010 - Jerusalem is only an hour and a half drive away from where I live in Gaza City. I grew up contemplating the moment I would see Jerusalem, but that day wouldn't come until I graduated from the American University in Cairo and was promised by my parents that they might be able to make the necessary arrangements (an Israeli-issued permit) for me to visit the holy city. Yasmeen El Khoudary writes from the occupied Gaza Strip.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian mosques
Electronic Intifada: 11 May 2010 - LUBBAN AL-SHARQIYA, occupied West Bank (IPS) - "There is immense anger as well as a feeling of vulnerability and fear when a place of sanctuary and holiness is subject to indiscriminate violence," says Issa Hussein. "Despite living under a brutal military occupation and being subjected to regular attacks by Israeli settlers for decades, normally places of worship were spared."

Bds Action Against Israeli Pharmaceutical Company At Cosmofarma Expo in Italy
Palestine Monitor: 11 May 2010 - On Saturday, May 8 a protest organized by the "Rome Palestinian Solidarity Network"(comprised of numerous associations and committees who stand with the Palestinian struggle for freedom) was held at the entrance to Rome's exhibition center during COSMOFARMA, a pharmaceuticals expo attended by thousands of health professionals. The Rome Palestinian Solidarity Network, which endorses the international campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on the Israeli economy, aimed at raising awareness of the BDS campaign, calling on physicians, pharmacists and health workers not to purchase or prescribe products from the Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA, the leading global manufacturer of generic drugs, or from L'Oréal, which through its substantial investments in Israel is helping to strengthen the Israeli war economy. It is this economy, as denounced by the activists present at the Expo with Palestinian flags, banners and flyers, which continues to enrich itself through the occupation policies of the West Bank,...

Wrong Side Of The Wall
Palestine Monitor: 11 May 2010 - Every day, hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank enter Israel illegally. Their goal is to work, since Palestinians without permits are not allowed to work in Israel. Once they are inside, they lead lives of considerable precarity and danger, often sleeping in the open air and continually having to evading capture. In addition, they give fuel to a deep-rooted Israeli fear of Palestinian infiltration. The exact number of illegal workers within Israel varies according to the source of the statistics. Figures from Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, put the number at 20,000. A Charles Enderlin report for France 2 in December 2009 estimated that the true number is around double that. Trade union figures used by workers' association Kav LaOved estimate the number to be around 10,000. But by its very nature this is information that is impossible to ascertain, and some experts therefore suggest that the number...

Palestinian Civil Society Slams OECD Over Israel's Accession
Palestine Monitor: 11 May 2010 - Occupied Palestine – Palestinian civil society represented by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), a wide coalition of the largest Palestinian mass organizations and trade unions, issued a strong condemnation of OECD's decision yesterday to welcome Israel as a member of the organization at its ministerial meeting to take place on May 27-28. A BNC spokesperson commented,“ By accepting Israel, OECD member countries show a blatant complicity with Israeli war crimes, destroying the very foundations of international law. Rewarding Israel entrenches its impunity and dashes any realistic hope for achieving a just peace in the region.” The OECD's decision is the culmination of a process that began in 2007 whereby Israel had to pass a number of technical tests and implement reforms to be eligible for accession. According to the “Road Map for the accession of Israel to the OECD Convention”, it was required to demonstrate commitment to...

Israel Negotiates Only to Extort Concessions
Palestine Chronicle: 11 May 2010 - By Hasan Afif El-Hasan Palestinians, let down by the betrayed promises of peace, are at a loss on how to achieve liberation without using violence against the tyranny of a state that has been subjecting them to violence, repression and racism. Since they refuse to buy into the Zionists narrative, the Palestinians view the Zionist enterprise in many forms but none suggests it was a peaceful movement. The Zionist project to colonize Palestine is just another European colonialist expedition whose white settlers used the power imbalance to overwhelm the indigenous population, carried out the ethnic cleansing of North and South America, Africa, New Zealand and Australia, and routinely committed unspeakable crimes. Israel has committed crimes against the Palestinians, casting aside all the principles enshrined in the international laws and with help from the West successfully evaded justice and probably would never be brought to pay for what it has done....more

Howard Berman: Lead Singer for Israel-is-always-right Chorus
Palestine Chronicle: 11 May 2010 - By William James Martin On January 26, Israeli's Ha'aretz reported that US Congressman and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: "Howard Berman, the influential California congressman and staunch Israel ally, praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for making 'difficult decisions' since returning to office." “‘Prime Minister Netanyahu and his colleagues are the ones who have taken the difficult decisions, and for this they deserve more credit than they get,’ Berman said of the premier, whom the Palestinians blame for derailing peace talks. ‘I believe [Netanyahu] well understands intellectually what peace requires, and he wants to be a peacemaker.’” Of course, Mr. Berman does not tell us exactly what “difficult decisions” the Prime Minister has made, nor why anyone should believe Netanyahu “wants to be a peacemaker’’, except for a peace made that leaves the Palestinians totally subjugated, expelled from Jerusalem, living in ghettoized disconnected Bantustans with Israel in control of...more

Zionists and UK Elections
Palestine Chronicle: 11 May 2010 - By R. Ellis – The West Bank As this article is being written it is still not clear what shade of government will take office in the UK. For the first time since 1974 no party has a clear majority in the House of Commons - the main legislative body. Four days of behind -the-scenes talks between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have yet to produce a deal. After the most exciting election in years an exhausted public waits anxiously to know its fate. But following the drama of the last few days from afar, in occupied Palestine, has in truth been the usual disappointment. Debate on Israel/Palestine has once again been conspicuous by its absence. No mention of Israel's continuing illegal occupation, of its flouting of international law, of its flagrant breaches of human rights, of its never-ending theft of Palestinian land. Not a word about how British...more

The Invention of the Jewish People – Book Review
Palestine Chronicle: 11 May 2010 - By Jim Miles The Invention of the Jewish People. Shlomo Sand. Verso, New York, 2009. Historians living within their own nations develop within the mythology peculiar to their nation, in which “various spheres of memory coalesced into an imagined universe representing the past.” The historian is a combination of his own personal experiences and the larger societal “instilled memories.” Recognizing that, Shlomo Sand very capably steps away from the created mythology of Israel, of the national myth of the wandering people for two thousand years before finding home again, in a land that belonged only to that people even though others had lived there during the same two thousand years. The Invention of the Jewish People is his groundbreaking historical study of the nature of the Jewish “nation” and its created mythologies. This powerful and provocative work is broadly divided into five main sections of critique. Sand first examines the...more

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