Samah Jabr, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 10/30/2014
Like poppies, Palestinians’ lives are brief and fragile
Israeli politicians and spokespersons sound like roosters who think they are peacocks when they boast of "the most moral army in the world," its "surgical strikes," their wonderful "Iron Dome" (paid for by the U.S.), and their status as "the only democracy in the Middle East." From that lofty spot, they spew contempt for "the Palestinian culture of death and hatred" and claim that "Palestinians use their children as human shields." (In this writer's profession, such a statement is known as projection.) The day after ISIS shocked the world with its video of American journalist James Foley being beheaded in cold blood, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu linked Hamas to ISIS—claiming Hamas to be "the enemies of peace; they are the enemies of all civilized countries and I believe they are the enemies of the Palestinians themselves."
Western leaders dutifully parrot whatever the Israeli rooster says. "Hamas has unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian cease-fire," intone John Kerry and Ban Ki-moon, who described as "outrageous" and "barbaric" the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier on his way to kill in Gaza. No equivalent words were used to describe the deaths of more than a hundred Palestinians every day during Israel's 50-day assault. But Kerry's words were not enough to satisfy Netanyahu, who warned the secretary of state, "Don't ever second guess me again on Hamas!"
Nor is it only in time of war that the arrogance and entitlement of Israeli politicians are on display: it can be found when they try to intimidate critics with the accusation of anti-Semitism, when they censor mention of the occupation, when they monopolize human suffering through the industrialization of the Holocaust, and when they blur the reality of profound inequalities with the falsehood of rigged "peace talks." more.. e-mail Egypt’s convenient war in the Sinai
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 10/29/2014
Sinai is both heaven and hell. This triangular desert boasts an arid landscape of hopeless horizons often interrupted by leftover military hardware from previous wars.
The land is comprised of breathtaking beaches, incredible history, and a fusion of fascinating cultures that reach back into the past as far as ancient times can possibly go. This thrilling land of contradictions is amazing, yet lethal.
But Sinai is also a place where hundreds of thousands of mostly poor people struggle to survive against incredible odds. Although poverty and illiteracy in Egypt can reach exceptional heights, hardship in Sinai is especially worse.
Since Israel returned the last of Sinai territories to Egypt in 1982, I visited the place nearly ten times, the last being two years ago. And each time, the situation seemed considerably worse.
There was once a time when Sinai thrived in hope; that was when much of Sinai was being reclaimed by Egypt, one piece at a time. Israel bargained every step of the way, before it finally left Taba, but not before having gained many conditions.
It even placed limits on the number of Egyptian soldiers that could be simultaneously stationed in Sinai at a given time. Since then, the desert the size of 60,000 sq km has been impossible to control.
Not that Sinai -- perceived as unruly and ungovernable land, rife with drug dealers, kidnappers, and, as of late of "jihadists" and "terrorists" -- needs more military force.
Violence in Sinai often goes unreported. The area is almost vacant of any independent journalists.... more.. e-mail UK’s Exeter University students in historic landslide vote to boycott Israel
Editor, Redress 10/28/2014
Students at Britain’s Exeter University have made history by turning out in record numbers to vote in favour of boycotting the apartheid state of Israel.
The vote, on 24 October, was in favour of a resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into respecting international law and human rights.
The press release below explains the importance of the vote.
"A referendum at the University of Exeter to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products has passed in a landslide.
"1,040 students voted in the referendum, the highest voter turnout in the history of the university’s political referenda, with 86 per cent voting in favour. Overwhelming support for the referendum is especially significant given the historically conservative nature of the university. The result demonstrates the growing momentum behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in the United Kingdom and internationally.
"The decision follows the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS campaigns against Israel, aimed at pressuring the Israeli government to respect international law and human rights. The action also aims to bring the University of Exeter in line with the National Union of Students and recent EU regulations relating to goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. World-renowned historian and University of Exeter Professor Ilan Pappé offered his praise for the campaign organizers. 'I congratulate the group of students that ran the campaign,” he said. “This is just the beginning.'..." more.. e-mail Nuclear compromise fuels hopes of deal
Gareth Porter, Asia Times 10/29/2014
WASHINGTON - US and Iranian negotiators are working on a compromise approach to the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment capabilities, which the Barack Obama administration has said in the past Iran was refusing to make concessions on.
The compromise now being seriously discussed would meet the Obama administration's original requirement for limiting Iran's "breakout capability" by a combination of limits on centrifuge numbers and reduction of Iran's stockpile of low enriched uranium, rather than by cutting centrifuges alone.
That approach might permit Iran to maintain something close to its present level of operational centrifuges.
The key to the new approach is Iran's willingness to send both its existing stockpile of low enriched uranium (LEU) as well as newly enriched uranium to Russia for conversion into fuel for power plants for an agreed period of years.
In the first official indication of the new turn in the negotiations, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham acknowledged in a briefing for the Iranian press October 22 that new proposals combining a limit on centrifuges and the transfer of Iran's LEU stockpile to Russia were under discussion in the nuclear negotiations.
The briefing was translated by BBC's monitoring service but not reported in the Western press.
Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who heads the US delegation to the talks, has not referred publicly to the compromise approach, but she appeared to be hinting at it when she said on October 25 that the two sides had "made impressive progress on issues that originally seemed intractable". more.. e-mail
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