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Articles Archives - September 2010
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Saturday, September 4, 2010
The 'Existential Threat'
Andrew Levine, Institute for Policy Studies, Axis of Logic 9/4/2010
      "Existential threat" recently entered the political lexicon, courtesy of Israeli paranoia. The expression sounds portentous, but all it seems to mean is that someone's or something's existence is in jeopardy. If so, the world is full of existential threats. But the expression is seldom used to refer to any of them except when the threatened party is Israel. Thus Iran's still "aspirational" nuclear weapons program or, sometimes Iran itself are existential threats and so is Palestinian "terrorism." An existential threat makes an excellent casus belli, a justification for war.
     It is unclear, however what users of the expression think is threatened: is it the existence of the state of Israel as a state not of its citizens, but of the Jewish people? Or is it the physical existence of the inhabitants of that state? Those who promote the expression relish its ambiguity. It serves their purpose well.
     In reality, of course, there is nothing in the offing emanating from Iran or occupied Palestine that rises to the level of an existential threat in either sense, notwithstanding some remarks of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. According to conventional wisdom, the Iranian threat is the more serious one; in reality, it is the more fanciful. Even were Iran to succeed in building a nuclear device -- an unlikely prospect in the short term, since, according to all available evidence, they are trying only to build the capacity, not the weapon itself -- they would have to be suicidal to use it against Israel for any purpose other than deterrence. Israel, after all, is the most bellicose state on the planet, judging by the number of wars it has started; and in addition to being otherwise armed to the teeth, it has more than two hundred of its own "deterrents" at the ready. Does anyone think that, if threatened, Israel's leaders would be sane enough not to use them? They're crazy, but not that crazy.
     Ahmadinejad may not have all his marbles either but he isn't crazy enough to risk annihilation, and neither are the theocrats who hold ultimate power in the Islamic Republic....
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Obama has signalled his coming complete surrender to Zionism and its lobby
Alan Hart, Redress 9/5/2010
      He did it with seven words. “Ultimately the US cannot impose a solution.”
     He was speaking at the White House the day before the start of the new round of direct talks between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, after he had met with them and Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah II...
     Today there is a growing number of seriously well informed people of all faiths (including me) who believe there will be peace only if it is imposed.
     Among those who have dared to say so in public is one of the most eminent Jewish gentlemen of our time, Henry Siegman. A former national director of the American Jewish Congress, he is president of the US/Middle East Project, which was part of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1994 until 2006 when it was established as an independent policy institute. He is also a research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Programme of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. During his more than 30 years of involvement in the Middle East peace process, he has published extensively on the subject and has been consulted by governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations involved in the peace process. In a comment piece for the Financial Times on 23 February 2010, (quoted in Conflict Without End? the Epilogue to Volume 3 of the American edition of my book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews), he wrote this:
     The Middle East peace process and its quest for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that got under way nearly 20 years ago with the Oslo accords has undergone two fundamental transformations. It is now on the brink of a third....
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What is said and what is not said
Mazin Qumsiyeh, Palestine Think Tank 9/2/2010
      Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel told his governing coalition that he did not promise an extension to the partial suspension in settlement construction when it expires in September (BTW, the suspension did not cover most of the settlement areas which are around Jerusalem and did not cover existing construction in other areas not infrastructure, schools, synagogue constructions etc. In other words, there was really no suspension.) Standing next to President Obama he simply emphasized that the topic to be discussed with Palestinians is how we can prevent attacks on illegal settlers in the West Bank. Six months ago, Abbas, encouraged by Obama, agreed to negotiations with Netanyahu only if Israel fulfill its obligations per the road map of a total settlement freeze including in East Jerusalem. Abbas stated about his decision to renew direct negotiations without even a promise of partial settlement suspension: "Palestinians are not powerful to dictate preconditions of negotiations" later in a prime time speech to the people "we did not want the difference between us and the Israelis to come down to differences on modality of negotiations, we want to build a peace based on security for both people". He did not once mention the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands. If Netanyahu can use the excuse of having a coalition that can break apart if he gave up an inch, then how can Abbas who is now ruling by Fiat and has already given up 78% of Palestine resist further pressure for further back-downs without rebuilding a representative PLO? President Obama has been a strong advocate of Israel and half the staff in his administration that have anything to do with US policy in the Middle East are Jewish Zionists (people like Rahm Emanuel and Dennis Ross). Thus it is not surprising that he never ever said any words to acknowledge Palestinians have any rights to anything (only aspirations for statehood). By contrast he speaks of rights of Israelis (the occupiers) to security and peace.
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Ramadan Goes Down Under Rubble
In Gaza: 4 Sep 2010 - * cooking over olive branches bulldozed by the Israeli military in one of continuous invasions along Gaza’s borders JOHR AL-DIK, Eastern Gaza Strip, Sep 4, 2010 (IPS) – With power cuts up to 16 hours to full days, a soaring heat wave and unbearable humidity, the Israeli-led siege on Gaza is but one of many factors leaving Ramadan miserable for the majority of Palestinians in Gaza. Abu Hani, 54, lives with his wife Umm Hani, 54, and three sons in Johr al-Dik, eastern Gaza, in the rubble of their demolished home, destroyed in the 2008- 2009 Israeli war on Gaza. “When we returned after the war, everything was destroyed. We have five dunams of land (one dunam is 1,000 square metres), on which we had olive and fruit trees, chickens, sheep and some pigeons,” recalls Abu Hani. “My children and grandchildren all lived together in our two-storey house. When the...more

"It's like a situation where two people are sitting negotiating over a piece of cheese..."
Palestine Monitor: 4 Sep 2010 - MARK COLVIN: Direct formal Middle East peace talks begin in Washington tomorrow, after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had separate meetings with Barack Obama at the White House today. President Obama is pushing hard for a return to a real peace process, and the leaders of Jordan and Egypt are also there to push things forward. But Hamas killed four Israelis in the West Bank as the conference was being prepared, and the history of these processes is not particularly optimistic. Mustafa Barghouti is an independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He finished second to Mahmoud Abbas in the 2005 Palestinian presidential election. He told me he was still deeply sceptical because of the Israeli refusal to freeze settlements while the negotiations go on. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: It's like a situation where two people are sitting negotiating over a piece of cheese and...more

Bulldozing of land in the town of Beit Jala
Palestine Monitor: 4 Sep 2010 - Israeli settlement construction has continued while Palestinian and Israeli leaders re-entered peace talks, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said Saturday. Barghouthi said Israeli settlers illegally annexed 130 dunums of land in Qaryout, a village south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and that construction material has been brought in to commence building works. The PNI leader said there was a plan underway to construct 3,000 new housing units throughout the settlement bloc, adding that 603 homes were built during Israel's 10-month moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank, due to expire on 26 September. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative said that the Israeli settlement activity that is taking on in full swing during the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The decision to freeze settlement activity does not include Jerusalem. Dr. Barghouthi stated that Israel never froze settlement activity in Jerusalem and the...more

2010 Palestine Peace Talks - A Stallone Remake?
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Sep 2010 - By Agustín Velloso A new round of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis has just begun in the United States. The summer was one of kite-flying, on the one hand in the form of indirect contacts between the two sides so as not to further provoke Palestinians sick of the Israeli Occupation and the incompetence of the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand threats came from Mahmud Abbas saying he would not participate without a halt to settlement building and from Benjamin Netanyahu saying he would only participate if no preconditions were set. So interest in this latest of the interminable round of talks resembles the likely interest in a film of Rocky 6. The directors and leading actors of Rocky knew they were offering entertainment barely suitable for an infantile public and for grown-ups desperate for escape. But they still managed to fool film goers around the world their...more

On the Way to Washington: Damage Control
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Sep 2010 - By Uri Avnery A Dutch journalist asked me last Wednesday to try and divine the thoughts of Binyamin Netanyahu on his way to Washington. It seems that she was satisfied with the results, because she asked me to divine the thoughts of Mahmoud Abbas, too. She must have liked that as well, because then she asked me to do the same for Barack Obama. Here, then, is what I told her: Netanyahu’s thoughts on the way to Washington: The main thing is to minimize the damage. Just now, someone asked me how I see our situation in four years time. Four years! I am thinking about what is going to happen in four weeks, when the settlement freeze is due to come to an end! I feel like an officer on the bridge of the Titanic, who sees the awful iceberg looming up. These settlers (yes, yes, I know I...more

Articles Archives - September 2010

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