Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - November 2010
Go to Daily View
Select Day:
 Articles Archives
 
See VTJP on TV!
 
 
The US Role
The impact of the US-Israel alliance on propsects for peace, US foreign policy, and the integrity of your government. More..
 
   
     

This webpage uses Javascript to display some content.

Please enable Javascript in your browser and reload this page.

Dr. Ilan Pappe. (Nir Kafri, Ha'aretz)

This webpage uses Javascript to display some content.

Please enable Javascript in your browser and reload this page.


Monday, November 1, 2010Top of page
South Africa is already here
Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz, Israeli Occupation Archive 10/31/2010
      The government is trying to build a protected autonomy for the Jewish majority and a stunted autonomy for the Arab minority.
     How could the Israeli public allow a few dozen racists go down into the lion’s den of Umm al-Fahm on their own? Do Michael Ben-Ari, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir represent only themselves or just the fringes of the extreme right? After all, thousands of Israeli citizens agreed when they heard the thugs’ explanations of the reasons for their march.
     Hundreds of thousands in Israel are pleased with the Citizenship Law, glad that the bill will, when it passes – and it will pass – allow discrimination against Arabs who will want to buy a home in a Jewish community, and the majority of the public considers MK Hanin Zuabi a traitor.
     Where were all these people while the fascists marched through Umm al-Fahm? Suddenly they are not comfortable being seen with those who reflect precisely the zeitgeist?
     Participating in this march should have been Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, MKs Anastassia Michaeli and David Rotem, the settler leadership, the followers of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the heads and residents of Jewish communities in the Galilee, as well as the owners of homes in Tel Aviv and Ra’anana who refuse to rent apartments to Arabs. This march should have carried the banner “[National] Pride Parade.” Alas, only 1,300 participants showed up, along with the police force that protected them.
     But they are certainly not alone. They simply do not need yet another demonstration. Israel’s apartheid movement is coming out of the woodwork and is taking on a formal, legal shape. It is moving from voluntary apartheid, which hides its ugliness through justifications of “cultural differences” and “historic neglect”.... -- See also: Source
more.. e-mail

'Israeli society doesn’t feel the need for peace'
Interviewed by Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, Israeli Occupation Archive 10/31/2010
      There is now “no chance” for a two-state solution in Palestine. So said Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in an interview with The Electronic Intifada (EI) on 29 October in Chicago (video).
     “The reality goes more toward the one state solution,” Zoabi said, “whether a democratic one-state solution, or a binational one-state solution.”
     Elected in 2009, Zoabi represents the National Democratic Alliance, and is the first woman to be elected on the list of an Arab party in Israel.
     “We are struggling for a normal state,” Zoabi explained, “which is a state for all of its citizens, [in] which the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews can have full equality. I recognize religious, cultural and national group rights for the Israelis, but inside a democratic and neutral state.”
     Zoabi spoke to EI just before she addressed 120 students, faculty and community members in an event organized by Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Chicago. During her lecture, and in the interview with EI, Zoabi described the systematic legal, social and cultural discrimination Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens face. Zoabi said she strongly opposes Israel’s demand to be recognized as a “Jewish state” as this would legitimize and deepen these forms of discrimination.
     Zoabi was among dozens of Palestinian citizens injured by Israeli police just two days before her interview with EI. On 27 October, Israeli extremists affiliated with the outlawed Kach movement, founded by the late Meir Kahane, marched through Umm al-Fahm, a Palestinian city within Israel. Kahane believed that all Palestinians should be expelled from Israel and the occupied territories. Zoabi described how police attacked Palestinian demonstrators and protected the Israeli extremists. -- See also: Source
more.. e-mail

Civil resistance to bring down the Walls
Ayed Morrar, Huffington Post, International Solidarity Movement 11/1/2010
      Budrus, a documentary film now debuting across the US, tells the story of a successful protest campaign by unarmed Palestinian civilians against Israel’s military occupation in my small West Bank village. Our struggle’s success and the consequent expansion of civil resistance to other West Bank communities may provide hope to viewers desperate for positive news from the Middle East, but today an Israeli crackdown on unarmed Palestinian protesters is threatening this growing movement. For our movement to thrive and serve as a true alternative to violence, we need Americans’ to demand that Israel, a close US ally, end this repression.
     Budrus depicts our ten month campaign of protest marches in 2003-2004, which included participation by men, women and children, and by representatives from all Palestinian political factions, along with Israeli and international activists, to resist the construction of Israel’s Separation Barrier on our lands. Young women, led by my 15-year-old daughter Iltezam, ran past armed Israeli soldiers and jumped In front of the bulldozers that were uprooting our ancient olive trees. The soldiers regularly met us with clubs, rubber-coated bullets, curfews, arrests and even live ammunition. But we won in the end. The Israeli military rerouted the barrier in Budrus, allowing us access to almost all of our land.
     The film ends with Palestinian and Israeli activists heading to the neighboring village of Ni’ilin where the struggle to save Palestinian land continues today. But following Budrus’s success and faced by a growing numbers of civilians protesting the confiscation of their lands, Israel has responded with military might, attempting to quell this new movement. Twenty Palestinians have since been killed during unarmed demonstrations against the construction of the Separation Barrier.
     In Ni’ilin, in the dark of night, Israeli soldiers have staged hundreds of military raids and arrests of civilians from the village; hundreds more were injured — forty by live ammunition, and five, including a ten year old, were shot dead. Today, a horrid 25 foot concrete wall stands in Ni’ilin, behind which lie 620 acres of village lands taken for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. -- See also: Source
more.. e-mail

Video: "No justice, no chickpeas!" activists tell Philadelphia shoppers
Electronic Intifada: 1 Nov 2010 - Shoppers and employees at the Fresh Grocer's flagship store at 40th and Walnut Street in Philadelphia were surprised last month by a choreographed flash dance performed in the store by activists calling for a boycott of products that provide moral and financial support for Israeli human rights violations.more

Progressive Canadians must challenge JNF's charitable status
Electronic Intifada: 1 Nov 2010 - Last month, Greg Selinger, the New Democratic Party (NDP) Premier of the Province of Manitoba, and two of his ministers visited Israel. Among other things, the official delegation strengthened the longtime "progressive" government's ties to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The trip was a sad spectacle that should embarrass every Canadian who opposes racism.more

Book review: understanding the economics of occupation
Electronic Intifada: 1 Nov 2010 - In his debut book The Political Economy of the Occupation , economist Shir Hever synthesizes a slew of sources to come to a solid analysis of the economic factors behind the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.more

The People Speak
In Gaza: 1 Nov 2010 - * photo Adie Mormech Oct 31, 2010 (IPS) - The focus on people’s movements in Palestine continues to gain momentum with growing non-violent demonstrations in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, and with a Palestine-wide call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel . Years of the non-violent demonstrations throughout the occupied West Bank against Israel’s separation wall have finally generated some media interest in the issue of the wall and annexation of Palestinian land. Yet the behind-the- scenes work of Palestinian unions, Palestinian and international BDS groups , video conferences bridging Palestine to the outside world, and the struggle of Palestinian students to access an education continues largely unnoticed by the cameras. In July, 2010, the United Nations IRIN news reported that roughly 39,000 Palestinian children from Gaza would not have schools to attend, following the destruction or severe damage of some 280 schools and kindergartens during...more

OCHA Report: 1,000 Palestinians Injured By Israeli Forces in 2010
Palestine Monitor: 1 Nov 2010 - The Office for The Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs' (OCHA) Protection of Civilians report announced this week that 1,000 Palestinians have now been injured by Israeli forces during 2010. The figure is a 38% increase on the last year's total for the same time frame. Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh The landmark was reached during the most recent weekly demonstrations against the Separation Barrier, which have been responsible for around a quarter of injuries sustained this year. Friday in Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, saw 17 people injured by tear gas and rubber bullets used to disperse the protest. Three more casualties were taken in Bi'lin and Al Ma'asara. Coincidentally, another landmark was reached in the West Bank last week with the 400th Palestinian resident displaced. 261 structures have been demolished in the West Bank this year, and another 39 in East Jerusalem. New stop work orders have been issued to...more

Israel Targets Students
Palestine Monitor: 1 Nov 2010 - On 26 August, Israeli forces stormed a student apartment in Birzeit. “They arrested six students with political or activist ties,” said Anan Quzmar, coordinator of Right 2 Education (R2E), a student's rights organization based in Birzeit University. “They came in the middle of the night,” said Quzmar. “They arrested half a dozen students and trashed up the house.” The students were taken to detainment facilities and then prison. A few were released, but most have remained behind bars, waiting for their hearing, to meet their lawyers, and see the single judge who will decide their fate. Ameel Abdel was lucky. He had been picked up along with other members of a student group connected to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), or the second largest political organization in Palestine's ruling coalition. As he sat in Ofer prison with other members of al-Kutob al-Tulab al-Democrati (Democratic Student Writers),...more

Israeli Settlers' Terror
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Nov 2010 - By Dr. Elias Akleh Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank face waves after waves of Israeli terror campaigns throughout the year. These terror waves are committed by Israeli extremist settlers (colonizers) as well as the Israeli army. The most common attacks include violent trespassing on Palestinian properties during the night, stone throwing at civilians and their homes, physical assaults on farmers, children and women, destruction of all types of properties, burning civilian structures, crops and trees, shooting livestock, poisoning wells, and theft of crops and cutting fruit trees. The worst of these Israeli terror attacks are committed during harvest seasons, especially during olive season. Olive trees are very important part of the Palestinian agricultural economy. They have been a major source of livelihood for Palestinians for thousands of years. Olive groves are spread all over the country and every Palestinian house has a couple of olive trees in its...more

My Encounter with a Zionist in Crisis with Her Beliefs
Palestine Chronicle: 1 Nov 2010 - By Susan Abulhawa I received a lovely letter from a reader who identified herself as a Jewish American. To preserve her anonymity, I’ll call her 'Sally'. She wrote that she loved Mornings in Jenin, even though the historic backdrop of the narrative did not reconcile with what she learned about Israel growing up. It seemed a heartfelt letter and thus worthy of a similar response. I did not see Sally as a Zionist or even as a Jew. I saw her as a woman, a mother, and a fellow writer. So, I was delighted when she came to my panel debate with Alan Dershowitz at the Boston Book Festival, and when she asked if we could talk more after the event, I was happy to invite her to lunch with a group of friends. She was soft spoken, with a gentle demeanor and through the course of the table conversation,...more

Bread and the Circus
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Oct 2010 - By Uri Avnery – Israel I was surprised when, towards the end of 1975, I received an invitation from the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to meet him at his residence. He opened the door himself, poured me a glass of whisky, poured one for himself, and without any further ado asked me: 'Tell me, Uri, have you decided to destroy all the doves in the Labor Party?' Some weeks before, my magazine, Haolam Hazeh (“This World”), had started to publish disclosures about the corrupt dealings of the candidate for President of the Central Bank, Asher Yadlin. On the eve of the conversation, we had also started to publish suspicions concerning the Minister of Housing, Avraham Ofer. Both were leaders of the Labor “doves”. I answered that, unfortunately, I could not offer immunity to corrupt politicians, even if their political positions were close to mine. These are separate matters. I told...more

A Show of Palestinian Business Resilience
Palestine Chronicle: 31 Oct 2010 - By Sam Bahour Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will most likely cut a ribbon; a handful of government officials will be jockeying for camera time to claim economic leadership; major multinationals will compete to get their logo in the limelight; international donors, like USAID, DFID and the World Bank will be prominently featured and the media will eat all of this and regurgitate it, with little or no real analysis, as economic development toward statehood. This is all a probable scenario in the upcoming Palestinian information and communication technology (ICT) sector’s premier annual public event, EXPOTECH Technology Week 2010. The real story however will be embedded in the exhibition’s booths, in the people who are struggling to survive under a brutal and prolonged Israeli military occupation while keeping their eye on the prize: building an information technology sector that has the potential to be a pillar of a future Palestinian...more


Tuesday, November 2, 2010Top of page
Interview: A 'Swiss Made' Boat for Gaza
Silvia Cattori, Dissident Voice 11/2/2010
      "Meeting in Geneva in early October, representatives of the International Coalition to Break the Siege on Gaza (people from Britain, Switzerland, Greece, Sweden, Malaysia, Turkey, United Sates, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Algeria, Kuwait, Jordan as well as other Arab countries) have confirmed their determination to break the maritime blockade imposed by Israel on the population of Gaza. While the Swiss boat was ready as of August, the departure of the second Freedom Flotilla had to be postponed till next spring since an increasing number of countries want to join it. The 45 passengers who will leave aboard the Swiss boat (500 applications have been received) include members of parliament. Jean-Charles Rielle, 58, Socialist member of the Swiss Parliament, is one of them." - 1 November 2010 | Subjects: Gaza Solidarity movements International law
     Silvia Cattori: You have just announced1 that you are leaving with the Flotilla which is being mobilized for the besieged population of Gaza. This is a mark of distinction for you since only a few politicians dare express themselves in a critical way when it comes to Israel. What was the incident that led you to get involved in this way?
     Jean-Charles Rielle: I went twice to Gaza, first in January 2009, a few days after the humanitarian catastrophe created by the Israeli intervention, and then in January 2010 in order to take stock of the situation a year later. It was at those times that I was able actually to measure the extent of the problem and its consequences, particularly with regard to the health of the population who suffer from this siege. The doctor who I am was able to assess the gravity of the situation. It is high time to end this blockade so that this people may become free. Free to make their choices, free to move and free to have access to basics. No people and no country can accept to be subjected to such a blockade by an army of occupation.
     It is for these principles that I and some other parliamentarians, including Josef Zisyadis and Carlo Sommaruga, are striving through our participation in this Flotilla, subject to the timetable of parliamentary sessions. This is simply an ethical fight which is designed to promote respect for international law.
more.. e-mail

The Occupation and Political Corruption in Israel
Uri Avnery, CounterPunch 11/2/2010
      Bread and Circuses
     I was surprised when, towards the end of 1975, I received an invitation from the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, to meet him at his residence. He opened the door himself, poured me a glass of whisky, poured one for himself, and without any further ado asked me: “Tell me, Uri, have you decided to destroy all the doves in the Labor Party?”
     Some weeks before, my magazine, Haolam Hazeh (“This World”), had started to publish disclosures about the corrupt dealings of the candidate for President of the Central Bank, Asher Yadlin. On the eve of the conversation, we had also started to publish suspicions concerning the Minister of Housing, Avraham Ofer. Both were leaders of the Labor “doves”.
     I answered that, unfortunately, I could not offer immunity to corrupt politicians, even if their political positions were close to mine. These are separate matters.
     I told this story this week at a conference held by Tel Aviv University devoted to a new book by Prof. Yossi Shain, “The Language of Corruption”.
     The panel was very mixed. There were two former Ministers of Justice – Yossi Beilin, the chairman of the “Geneva Initiative”, and Daniel Friedman, a right-winger whose unrestrained attacks on the Supreme Court had aroused public indignation; Yedidia Stern, a national-religious intellectual who is advocating reconciliation with the secular camp, and retired General Yitzhak Ben-Israel of the Air Force and the Israeli Space Agency, a member of the last Knesset for the Kadima party. I was introduced as the creator of Israel’s investigative journalism, who was responsible for the exposure of the first big corruption affairs that rocked the nation.
more.. e-mail

Canada and the Jewish National Fund
Yves Engler, CounterPunch 11/2/2010
      A Sad Spectacle
     Ten days ago, Greg Selinger, the New Democratic Party (NDP) Premier of the Province of Manitoba, and two of his ministers visited Israel. Among other things, the official delegation strengthened the longtime "progressive" government's ties to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The trip was a sad spectacle that should embarrass every Canadian who opposes racism. Indeed, J.S. Woodsworth, the Winnipeg-based founder of Canada's social democratic party, must be turning in his grave.
     The province and JNF signed an accord to jointly develop two bird conservation sites while Manitoba water stewardship Minister Christine Melnick spoke at the opening ceremony for a park built in Jaffa by the JNF, Tel Aviv Foundation and Manitoba-Israel Shared Values Roundtable. During the trip Mel Lazerek, a regional JNF president, was also appointed Manitoba's special representative to Israel for Economic and Community Relations.
     Manitoba's ties to this openly racist institution are shocking, but also part of a decades-old pro-Israel policy of the NDP that must be challenged by real progressives.
     Shutting out Palestinian citizens of Israel, JNF lands can only be leased by Jews. A 1998 United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights found that the JNF systematically discriminated against Palestinians in Israel. According to the UN report, JNF lands are "chartered to benefit Jews exclusively," which has led to an "institutionalized form of discrimination." In 2005, Israel's high court came to similar conclusions. It found that the JNF, which owns 13 percent of the country's land and has significant influence over most of the rest, systematically excluded Palestinian citizens from leasing its property.
more.. e-mail

Tough questions for Hamas
Electronic Intifada: 2 Nov 2010 - Has Hamas been able to actually build on its high level of commitment and sacrifice, not only on the part of the movement but of Palestinians in general? Haidar Eid comments.more

Education in Palestine in world spotlight
Electronic Intifada: 2 Nov 2010 - The behind-the-scenes work of Palestinian unions, Palestinian and international BDS groups, video conferences bridging Palestine to the outside world, and the struggle of Palestinian students to access an education continues largely unnoticed by the cameras.more

Israeli colonies expand, Palestinians face home demolitions
Electronic Intifada: 2 Nov 2010 - Bulldozers, backed by Israeli soldiers and police forces, razed a Bedouin Palestinian encampment in Isawiya, a village northeast of Jerusalem on Wednesday, 27 October. Israeli forces destroyed tents and other structures that were home to six families, according to Ma'an News Agency.more

The World Education Forum: Palestine's Opportunity to Overcome Obstacles
Palestine Monitor: 2 Nov 2010 - “Through education we will become a prosperous nation, and will obtain a life that allows us to live in freedom. We are a people who can live and learn despite the problems we encounter. We will continue to improve education, so that future generations can live peacefully.” – Adbul Hakeem, head of the Ministry of Education Written and photographed by Brynn Ruba. Friday night's cultural festivities including traditional music and dancing. The World Education Forum (WEF) closed on Sunday, with hundreds gathered at the closing ceremonies in Ramallah. The forum was held from October 28-31, with events taking place in the West Bank and Gaza, and a sister conference convened in Lebanon for those who were refused an Israeli visa. Hebron, Bethlehem, Nabus, Jenin, Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem also hosted conferences on topics ranging from education as a tool for resistance, to education and the Palestinian prison experience. Government officials...more

Our Story Premiere
Palestine Monitor: 2 Nov 2010 - Our Story describes the Palestinian situation from 1948 until the present with particular emphasis on the Apartheid Wall and the evolution of the Israeli apartheid system. It is presented by Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, "Al Mubadara". Daily life stories, maps, statistics, historical facts, photographs, and vidoe spots illustrate our presentation. "Our Story" is a critical source of information for scholars, journalists, students, and anyone seeking an objective narrative of the decades-old Middle East conflict. Invitation to attend a documentary film "Our Story" on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in Al-Kasaba Theatre and Cinematheque- Ramallah Your presence is highly appreciated For more information, please contact 0599 9 400 73more

Premier of Manitoba's Disgraceful Visit to Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 2 Nov 2010 - By Yves Engler Ten days ago, Greg Selinger, the New Democratic Party (NDP) Premier of the Province of Manitoba, and two of his ministers visited Israel. Among other things, the official delegation strengthened the longtime "progressive" government's ties to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The trip was a sad spectacle that should embarrass every Canadian who opposes racism. Indeed, J.S. Woodsworth, the Winnipeg-based founder of Canada's social democratic party, must be turning in his grave. The province and JNF signed an accord to jointly develop two bird conservation sites while Manitoba water stewardship Minister Christine Melnick spoke at the opening ceremony for a park built in Jaffa by the JNF, Tel Aviv Foundation and Manitoba-Israel Shared Values Roundtable. During the trip Mel Lazerek, a regional JNF president, was also appointed Manitoba's special representative to Israel for Economic and Community Relations. Manitoba's ties to this openly racist institution are shocking, but...more


Wednesday, November 3, 2010Top of page
Tough questions for Hamas
Haidar Eid, Ma’an News Agency 11/3/2010
      Hamas' victory in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections surprised everyone, including its own members and leaders. Many local and international activists were also relieved, as the victory was a blow to the Bush doctrine in the Middle East. It was also a test of the credibility of the liberal democratic approach and its applications in the region.
     This article is not concerned with domestic or foreign reactions and attempts to topple the sole democratic experience in the Arab world. Rather, it tackles Hamas' failure to live up to its own commitments to its constituencies, many of whom were not necessarily supporters of the movement. It also examines the extent of Hamas' credibility in committing to the social contract by which major democracies abide in terms of respecting individual citizens and safeguarding their dignity. This contract applies not only to male but also to female citizens.
     First, one ought to reiterate the fact that Hamas is part of the resistance camp. In addition to the enormous sacrifices that many of its leaders and cadres have made, if creatively invested, Hamas' actions ultimately support the interests of the Palestinian cause. This implies the following question: Has Hamas been able to actually build on this high level of commitment and sacrifice, not only on the part of the movement but of Palestinians in general?
     Despite its somewhat fiery statements, Hamas' impulse and willingness to deal with American propositions are indeed astonishing. Two letters were sent, as far as I know, to the new Obama administration after the term of former US President George W. Bush ended. The Americans emphasized that they declined to accept the first letter. However, it is the content of the letters and how they reflect the aspirations of Palestinians -- both in all of historic Palestine as well as in the Diaspora -- that is significant.
more.. e-mail

The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict
By Yousef Munayyer, Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development 10/31/2010
      Palestine Center Book Review: The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict, by John Quigley
     Will the Palestinians ask the United Nations to recognize their state? This has been an oft-asked question, particularly in recent weeks, as the American-mediated peace process has stalemated once Israel continued to build illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. But what if Palestine is already a state? This is the argument made by John Quigley, professor of international and comparative law at the Ohio State University Law School and author of the newly published book The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict.
     Quigley pores over years of international legal history as it relates to the question of Palestine from the pre-WWI period through the modern era. For Weberians, the idea that Palestine may in fact be a state will be difficult to understand or accept, but Quigley is not interested in satisfying political criteria in his definition of statehood. Rather, he looks at the legal definition of statehood as it exists in international law and as it is applied throughout the international community, and asks whether or not Palestine today, or at any point in its history, satisfied the legal definition of a state. The answer is yes. The essence of Quigley’s argument:
     The view that Palestine is not a state suffers from four errors. It disregards historical facts that show Palestine statehood dating from the mandate period. It applies criteria for Palestine statehood that are more stringent than those actually followed in the international community. It fails to account for the fact that Palestine’s territory is under belligerent occupation. It fails to account for the facts showing the implied recognition of Palestine… Palestine should be brought into the community of nations as a full-fledged citizen.
more.. e-mail

The Phantom Left
Chris Hedges, Truthdig 10/31/2010
      The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power—masked, ruthless and unexamined—happily devour the state.
     The loss of a radical left in American politics has been catastrophic. The left once harbored militant anarchist and communist labor unions, an independent, alternative press, social movements and politicians not tethered to corporate benefactors. But its disappearance, the result of long witch hunts for communists, post-industrialization and the silencing of those who did not sign on for the utopian vision of globalization, means that there is no counterforce to halt our slide into corporate neofeudalism. This harsh reality, however, is not palatable. So the corporations that control mass communications conjure up the phantom of a left. They blame the phantom for our debacle. And they get us to speak in absurdities.
     The phantom left took a central role on the mall this weekend in Washington. It had performed admirably for Glenn Beck, who used it in his own rally as a lightning rod to instill anger and fear. And the phantom left proved equally useful for the comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who spoke to the crowd wearing red-white-and-blue costumes. The two comics evoked the phantom left, as the liberal class always does, in defense of moderation, which might better be described as apathy. If the right wing is crazy and if the left wing is crazy, the argument goes, then we moderates will be reasonable. We will be nice. Exxon and Goldman Sachs, along with predatory banks and the arms industry, may be ripping the guts out of the country, our rights—including habeas corpus—may have been revoked, but don’t get mad. Don’t be shrill. Don’t be like the crazies on the left.
more.. e-mail

Dreaming of dancing around the world
Electronic Intifada: 3 Nov 2010 - After years of training, the traditional Canaan Dabke dance troupe has a name renowned throughout Gaza, and uniforms to match.more

Intimidation Continues in Susiya as Peace Activists Are Arrested
Palestine Monitor: 3 Nov 2010 - Two activists from the Jewish-Arab equality group Ta'ayush were arrested while assisting olive farmers in Susiya village on Saturday. The harvest had been interrupted by Israeli soldiers who claimed the land was disputed, although Israeli government-issued aerial maps showed it to be Palestinian. Written and photographed by Brynn Ruba. Israeli soldiers arrest a Ta'ayush activist for entering a declared “Closed Military Zone,” after appealing for his help translating for a detained Palestinian woman. The Ta'ayush activists, who specialise in supporting Palestinians' legal rights to their property, showed the aerial maps to soldiers, as well as relevant land deeds. The maps have been publically available since a Peace Now campaign pressured the government into disclosing data on ownership of the land in the occupied territories. The soldiers refused to acknowledge that the area was private Palestinian farmland, instead proclaiming it a ‘closed military zone', a common but illegal method of crowd...more

Ramallah's Olive Press
Palestine Monitor: 3 Nov 2010 - The olive harvest is the definitive Mediterranean tradition. From the Pyrennes to the Atlases, Tunis to Athens, Jerusalem to Damascus, farmers and families are climbing trees and filling sacks in their grey-green groves. But before these kilos can be poured on pasta, heated to fry, or soaked in bread, the olives must go to a press. Palestine Monitor visited Ramallah's downtown olive press to see how the season's harvest gets from the raw to the extra virgin. The first phase of the olive press: all the olives from one batch are put in this funnel. From the funnel, a conveyor belt carries the olives to the washer. The manager demonstrates how the entire press operation is controlled. Ramallah's downtown olive press was founded in 1972 and when in season, it produces on average 2.5 tons of olive oil a day. In the washer, twigs and dirt are removed from the...more

A Personal Occupation
Palestine Monitor: 3 Nov 2010 - Last week, Israeli soldiers occupied Hayat Mutlak al-Salaymeh's house for the third time since August. On October 28, around 25 young soldiers piled into her family's small apartment on the third floor of a family-owned complex. For a few days her house became a fortress: the soldiers erected the Israeli flag on top of the roof, stationed two men at the bottom entrance, two on roof, and the rest remained inside her home, supposedly keeping security for a Jewish celebration taking place that weekend. Written and photographed by Charlotte Silver. The view from the Al-Salaymeh home of the expanding Kiryat Arba settlement The Israeli soldiers first occupied Hayat's house in August. They stayed for 50 days, during which time Hayat reported that they filled the toilet with bread and food, broke the bathroom sink, and smashed dishes. When the soldiers returned for the second time, less than a week after...more

Kufur Qasim Massacre: The Triumph of Memory
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Nov 2010 - By Seraj Assi On October 29, 1956, the Israel Border Police (Magav) announced a sudden curfew on the village of Kufur Qasim located on the Israeli side of the Green Line. Colonel Yiskhar Shadmi, then the Brigade Commander of Israel’s Central District, gathered the border patrol battalion commanders and instructed them to shot and kill anyone found outside his or her place during the curfew, including women and children. When asked what to do with those workers who were unaware of the curfew, he replied with the cynical Arabic term “Allah Yirhamhu (May God have mercy on him). Less than thirty minutes after the curfew had been announced, village workers returning home were lined up and shot to death. In less than two hours, the massacre claimed the lives of 48 Palestinian citizens all but four of whom were residents of Kufur Qasim. The majority of the victims were children...more

Arab Bishops Leading the Way
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Nov 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C. A recent meeting in Vatican of some 200 Catholic bishops, mainly from the Arab world, will very likely go down in history for adopting the strongest condemnation by Christian church leaders of present-day Israeli policies and actions. At the same time, it will be remembered for their call on all Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Middle East, where Muslims are the majority, to work together to end the heart-wrenching bloody turmoil as a result of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that has plagued the region for more than six decades and led to the emigration of tens of thousands, especially Christians. The bishops “concluding statement” issued a couple of days after their two-week meeting which ended on October 24 stressed that “recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” a blunt reference to...more

The Unquenchable Spirit of Resistance in Gaza
Palestine Chronicle: 3 Nov 2010 - By Tapani Lausti (Ramzy Baroud, My Father was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story . Pluto Press 2010.) It is hard to finish reading this book without tears in one's eyes. Mohammed Baroud's life story, as told by his son Ramzy, encapsulates the tragedy of the Palestinians in general and the Gazans in particular. It is a story of the amazing resilience of people whose life and dreams have been shattered for decades, with much of the world watching with indifference or incomprehension. Mohammed Baroud's home village Beit Daras, in Southern Palestine, was taken over in May 1948 by Israeli forces with extreme violence. Thus began Mohammed's story as a refugee in one of Gaza's many refugee camps. He became a freedom fighter. He was once a fighter in an Egyptian army unit, and later a member of a Palestinian Liberation Army brigade. He was also a husband of and father...more


Thursday, November 4, 2010Top of page
Thought crimes in Israel
Neve Gordon, London Review of Books, Redress 11/5/2010
      Would Meryl Streep, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon be willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States and its policies in order to receive public funding for feature films that they star in, direct or produce? In Israel, the far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari has proposed a bill that would require entire film crews to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to declare loyalty to its laws and symbols, as a condition for receiving public funding. It's just one of more than 10 bills to be discussed during the Knesset's winter session that several commentators in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz have characterized as proto-fascist.
     As in most countries, all new Israeli citizens must declare loyalty to the state and its laws, but the cabinet last month decided to support (22 in favour, eight against) an amendment to Israel's citizenship law that would require all newly naturalized citizens to declare loyalty to the Jewish character of the state. In Britain, this would be like requiring Jews, Muslims and atheists who wish to become citizens to declare loyalty not only to the laws of the United Kingdom but also to the Church of England.
     The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has warned that this amendment, which will soon become law, is the tip of an iceberg. Some of the bills now going through the Knesset, which have a good chance of being ratified, would make support for an alternative political ideology, such as the idea that Israel should be a democracy for all its citizens, a crime.
     A proposed amendment to the existing anti-incitement bill, for instance, stipulates that people who deny Israel's Jewish character will be arrested. This extension to the penal code, which has already passed its preliminary reading, incriminates a political view....
more.. e-mail

The significance of Israel’s 'loyalty oath'
Jean Shaoul, WSWS, Axis of Logic 11/4/2010
      The Israeli cabinet is to bring in legislation requiring those applying for Israeli citizenship to pledge their loyalty to “the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”. Presently they must pledge loyalty only to “the state of Israel”.
     The move is clearly discriminatory and would not apply to Jewish immigrants, but only to Palestinian immigrants from the West Bank or other foreigners who marry Arab citizens of Israel. Non-Jewish immigrants would have to sign up to an ideology that excludes the one fifth of Israel’s existing population that is Arab.
     Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also demanded that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recognise the Jewish character of the state of Israel as a precondition for talks. For him to do so would mean acknowledging that Palestinians who fled or were driven out of their homes in 1948 and 1967 and their descendants have no right of return to Israel and would also jeopardise the status of Israel’s Palestinian citizens.
     The cabinet has in addition backed legislation calling for a national referendum before any of the illegally occupied territories—East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights—is ceded to the Palestinians or Syrians in a peace agreement, compromising the chance of any such agreements being secured.
     A raft of further discriminatory and anti-democratic legislation is in the pipeline, including a loyalty oath for Israeli parliamentarians aimed at Palestinian MPs. Parliament is discussing legislation that would make it a criminal offence to deny the existence of Israel, or mark the anniversary of the Nakba, or Catastrophe, as the Palestinians call the day that Israel was established. It would be an offence to carry material promoting the boycott of Israel. Governmental organisations in receipt of funds from other nations would have to declare all contributions. -- See also: Israel to discuss loyalty oath bill Sunday
more.. e-mail

Obama’s Middle East policy a failure
Reza Aslan, Ma’an News Agency 11/4/2010
      Last September, when President Obama invited Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House to launch a new round of peace talks, he invoked the great historical figures on both sides of the conflict who had come before them. “Each of you are the heirs of peacemakers who dared greatly – Begin and Sadat, Rabin and King Hussein – statesmen who saw the world as it was but also imagined the world as it should be,” the president said. “It is the shoulders of our predecessors upon which we stand. It is their work that we carry on.”
     What Obama failed to mention is that for all of their effort and sacrifice, none of those brave statesmen managed to bring the Israelis and Palestinians one step closer to peace. Indeed, after three decades of agreements and accords, initiatives and “road maps,” we are arguably further than ever from achieving a viable two-state solution to this seemingly intractable conflict.
     It was precisely this record of abject failure that President Obama promised to reverse when he first came into the White House. He said he would think outside of the box and bring a fresh perspective to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He would be an honest broker, someone who could force both sides to make the sacrifices necessary for peace to prevail.
     Yet in his two years in office, President Obama has offered no substantive policy shift from previous administrations, no specific proposals for achieving peace between the two sides, no framework for dealing with final status issues, nothing fresh or new whatsoever save for an unbounded sense of confidence that he could achieve in a year what all of his predecessors, going back to Jimmy Carter, failed to achieve in their entire tenures in office.
more.. e-mail

Boycott victory: Africa Israel suspends settlement construction
Electronic Intifada: 4 Nov 2010 - Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities.more

Interview: Budrus "built a model of civil resistance"
Electronic Intifada: 4 Nov 2010 - This Sunday, 7 November, will mark exactly seven years since Ayed Morrar first saw Israeli bulldozers arrive to destroy the land of his village, Budrus, in the occupied West Bank. Ayed al-Morrar, founder of the first popular committee to resist Israel's wall, discusses with The Electronic Intifada contributor Jody McIntyre his village's struggle and victory and the future of the movement.more

Gaza on Canvas With Mohammed Al-Hawajri
Palestine Monitor: 4 Nov 2010 - The devastated Gaza strip, still reeling from Operation Cast Lead and scarred by chronic rates of poverty and malnutrition, would be few artists' idea of a creative paradise. For Mohammed Al-Hawajri, recently honoured with Birzeit University's artist of the month award, the “life rich in details and contradictions” is one he would not swap for Manhattan or Barcelona. Mohammed, 34, is a lifelong resident of the strip, although his exhibitions have travelled the world. He works in varied forms, including sculpture, photography and video art, but his preferred tool is a pencil. “I love simply drawing,” he says, “it is the origin and beginning of art.” He moved into other forms to bypass Gaza's movement restrictions, as photography and video are better suited to the internet. Mohammed's most striking works, which earned him his first solo exhibition outside the strip, (in Ramallah, 2000) feature the prominent use of bones and...more

Olly and the Olive Factory
Palestine Monitor: 3 Nov 2010 - The olive harvest is the definitive Mediterranean tradition. From the Pyrennes to the Atlases, Tunis to Athens, Jerusalem to Damascus, farmers and families are climbing trees and filling sacks in their grey-green groves. But before these kilos can be poured on pasta, heated to fry, or soaked in bread, the olives must go to a press. Palestine Monitor visited Ramallah's downtown olive press to see how the season's harvest gets from the raw to the extra virgin. The first phase of the olive press: all the olives from one batch are put in this funnel. From the funnel, a conveyor belt carries the olives to the washer. The manager demonstrates how the entire press operation is controlled. Ramallah's downtown olive press was founded in 1972 and when in season, it produces on average 2.5 tons of olive oil a day. In the washer, twigs and dirt are removed from the...more

Conned by Democracy: The Middle East's Stagnant 'Change'
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Nov 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud Democracy in the Middle East continues to be a hugely popular topic of discussion. Its virtues are tirelessly praised by rulers and oppositions alike, by intellectuals and ordinary people, by political prisoners and their prison guards. Yet, in actuality, it also remains an illusion, if not a front to ensure the demise of any real possibility of public participation in decision-making. Bahrain was the latest Arab country to hold free and fair elections. It managed a reasonable voter turnout of 67 percent. The opposition also did very well, winning 45 percent of the seats. In terms of fairness and transparency, the Bahraini elections could serve as an excellent example of how ‘things are changing’ in the Middle East. More, they might provide Western leaders, such as US President Barack Obama an opportunity to commend the contribution of American guidance to ‘progress’ in the region. In actual fact,...more

My Hummus Tastes Like Apartheid
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Nov 2010 - By Abbas Naqvi The recent attacks by Israel on the humanitarian Flotilla is yet another signal for us, as citizens of the United States, to hold the Israeli regime accountable for its reckless and illegal behavior. Israel has consistently prevented aid from entering the Gaza Strip, including medical supplies, cement and food. Consequently, the three-year old blockade has turned Gaza into the world’s largest open-air prison, with an entire population starved and deprived of basic necessities. The simple but tragic truth is that Israel acts with such audacity because the international community fails to hold it responsible for the ongoing occupation and apartheid system against the Palestinian people. However, this is slowly changing as people around the globe have begun to question Israel’s policies, with an increasing number and visibility. As people of conscious, it is our obligation to join the global cry for justice. When we ask ourselves questions...more

Thoughtcrimes
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Nov 2010 - By Neve Gordon - Israel Would Meryl Streep, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins or Susan Sarandon be willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the United States and its policies in order to receive public funding for feature films that they star in, direct or produce? In Israel, the far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari has proposed a bill that would require entire film crews to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and to declare loyalty to its laws and symbols, as a condition for receiving public funding. It’s just one of more than ten bills to be discussed during the Knesset’s winter session that several commentators in Ha’aretz have characterised as proto-fascist. As in most democracies, all new Israeli citizens must declare loyalty to the state and its laws, but the cabinet last month decided to support (22 in favour, 8 against) an amendment to...more

Murdoch's Imaginary War
Palestine Chronicle: 4 Nov 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London In his recent pep-talk to the Anti-Defamation League, media magnate Rupert Murdoch complains about "an ongoing war against the Jews." He seems desperate to divert attention from the mounting resentment around the world towards Israel. But his threadbare argument collapses straightaway because no distinction is made between criminal Israelis and Jews generally. The one remains carefully hidden behind the other. And the anti-Semitism label tends to get pinned on anyone and everyone in European society, “from its most élite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettoes”, who speaks against or as much as frowns at the racist regime. The after-dinner audience he was addressing no doubt lapped it up, but unfortunately for Mr. Murdoch people are better informed nowadays. I doubt if the wider audience buys it. What they find unacceptable is Israel’s lawlessness and unrestrained killing. The much-hyped religious dimension is only relevant insofar as...more


Friday, November 5, 2010Top of page
Conned by democracy
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 11/5/2010
      Democracy in the Middle East continues to be a hugely popular topic of discussion. Its virtues are tirelessly praised by rulers and oppositions alike, by intellectuals and ordinary people, by political prisoners and their prison guards. Yet, in actuality, it also remains an illusion, if not a front to ensure the demise of any real possibility of public participation in decision-making.
     Bahrain was the latest Arab country to hold free and fair elections. It managed a reasonable voter turnout of 67 percent. The opposition also did very well, winning 45 percent of the seats. In terms of fairness and transparency, the Bahraini elections could serve as an excellent example of how ‘things are changing’ in the Middle East. More, they might provide Western leaders such as US President Barack Obama an opportunity to commend the contribution of American guidance to 'progress' in the region.
     In actual fact, nothing is changing – except for the insistence by some that it is. Arab governments have made two important discoveries in the last decade.
     The first discovery is that US interests cannot peacefully co-exist with true democracies in the region. Egypt had a rude awaking in 2005, when Muslim Brotherhood candidates won a fifth of the votes, if not more. This was followed by the unmatched democratic revolution in Palestine when Hamas won the majority of the vote. The aftermath of both of these events was enough to remind both Arabs and the US of the folly of their so-called democracy project.
     The second realization is that Arabs are not judged by the genuineness of their democracy; rather, the success of their democratic experiences is judged on the basis of how well they can serve and protect US interests....
more.. e-mail

A tale of two ghettoes
Kalle Lasn, National Post, Canada 11/2/2010
      Why is Shoppers Drug Mart pulling 3,500 copies of Adbusters, my magazine, off its shelves?
     A week ago, in the National Post, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) accused Adbusters of anti-Semitism for publishing side-by-side photographs of the Gaza and Warsaw ghettos ( "Anti-Semitism on your magazine rack -- courtesy of Adbusters," Oct. 23). The CJC has since successfully lobbied senior management at Shoppers Drug Mart into pulling our magazine off the Canadian newsstands.
     Here is the story from the Adbusters viewpoint.
     In October 1939, the German Wehrmacht reached the city of Warsaw, and over the following months, the Jewish population was forced into a small section of the city called "the Jewish quarter." The situation inside the ghetto was unbearable: Nazis controlled the movement of goods, basic utilities and even food. Each person was allotted a starvation diet of 250 calories per day.
     Acts of rebellion were brutally suppressed. When two German soldiers were killed in a local restaurant, 106 men in the ghetto were shot in reprisal. Arrests and random executions were common. In April 1940, the ghetto was walled off on all sides.
     Services such as hospitals and schools were derelict, relying on an ever-decreasing stream of supplies allotted by the Nazis. For a while, the supplies were supplemented by goods smuggled in through tunnels, but such services were eventually forced to close. -- See also: Adbusters
more.. e-mail

Education is path to independence
Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an News Agency 11/5/2010
      I can see the path to the state of Palestine. And education is an integral part of it.
     Palestinians have always prided themselves on being among the highest educated among all Arabs, but if this was true in the past, it is not true anymore, and it is certainly not true for Palestinians in the occupied territories.
     Sure the illiteracy rate is very low. And it is true that Palestinians continue to seek basic and higher education, but in the last few decades, the level of Palestinian education has suffered, and local universities had to lower their standards in order to be able to accept the recent high school graduates.
     A refocus on education has been a few years in the making. Many senior educators say some of the problems they had to deal with were due to the repeated closures during the Intifadas, the lack of respect for authority, the occupiers, as well as some of the decisions made by the Hamas-led government in 2007.
     PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who took over as acting prime minister shortly after the split between the West Bank and Gaza, has worked hard at making education one of his government’s top priorities. The Fayyad administration made sure that resources were made available to reduce overcrowding, by taking on an ambitious construction program. Tens of new schools and hundreds of new classrooms were built in a short period of time.
     But the emphasis on education was not limited to construction. A concerted effort was made to revise the existing rote-based educational program, the ministry introduced totally new programs, new computer labs were added and serious efforts were exerted to digitize the entire educational system.
more.. e-mail

Plea deal "only option" for political prisoner Ameer Makhoul
Electronic Intifada: 5 Nov 2010 - After spending nearly six months in jail, Palestinian political prisoner Ameer Makhoul signed a plea agreement with Israeli state prosecutors on 27 October. The deal involves a reduced list of charges, including contact with a foreign agent and spying for the Lebanese resistance movement Hizballah. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of seven to ten years.more

UN will be judged on whether it upholds Palestinian rights
Electronic Intifada: 5 Nov 2010 - "It is time, after 43 years, to acknowledge the intolerable burdens of prolonged occupation on a civilian population." In his last report to the United Nations General Assembly in his term as Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk describes the lack of cooperation of the Israeli government and the deteriorating human rights situation on the ground.more


Saturday, November 6, 2010Top of page
Colossus: the giant Gazan prison
Larbi Sadiki, Al Jazeera, Axis of Logic 11/4/2010
      The blockade imposed on Gaza is a powerful psychological device aimed at wringing concessions from Gazans and Hamas.
     Gaza "the giant open prison" are not the words of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president. Nor were they scripted by Hamas' Khaled Mishaal or Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas. They belong to David Cameron, the young and charismatic British prime minister.
     Since the imposition of the Gaza blockade nearly four years ago, no single European leader has voiced moral outrage over the sanctions with such alacrity, simplicity and forcefulness. His words have reverberated widely in Gaza as well as elsewhere in the Arab world.
     Like Cameron's words, the untold misery shatters the international political society's quasi silence and questions the immorality of indifference and inaction towards the blockade.
     Gazans need to reclaim their state of dignity and humanity before reclaiming the seemingly illusionary hope of a Palestinian state. A peek inside the 'big prison' reveals the blockade to be multi-layered - affecting economy, polity, diplomacy and security.
     For most Arabs, that Israel imposes a de-humanising blockade may be easy to explain, but Egypt's role in the blockade defies logical explication. The music one hears from the Egyptian regime and other Arab states about adherence to international agreements convinces neither Arabs nor Westerners.
     But abiding by sanctions that traumatise, de-humanise and isolate fellow Arabs, as in Iraq (where tens of thousands died as a result) or in Gaza is acceptable in the name of good citizenship in the international arena.
more.. e-mail

Tears Of Gaza
Dr. Ashraf Ezzat, Dissident Voice 11/4/2010
      A bomb dropped by an Israeli air force F-16 jet exploding in Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, on January 3, 2009.
     When was the last time you thought about death?
     Was there a time when you felt you were so close to losing your own life? Have you ever experienced that scary feeling-except maybe in the movie theatres? …have you ever felt like not actually living, you’re still breathing … but you’re living as dead?
     Most people live their lives never thinking about nor contemplating death. It is human nature. We were born to live and think about how to best enjoy our life while we are still alive. It is in our genes of survival. Something inside us drive us away not from death but from pondering at death. Maybe because death is the only concrete and dreadful fact we are sure of. But in some places and with some people death sometimes can be seen as their shadow on the ground.
     When you can’t eat, drink, move freely, watch TV, have access to internet, have a decent job and home and send your kids to schools then DEATH could be a liberating thought.
     …And when the world is celebrating the rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground- whom we all are glad to see brought back to life again- but at the same time the world is playing deaf and blind to the 1.5 million Gazans- virtually buried above ground and besieged like animals- then something is terribly wrong with the morality of the international community.
     Gaza, this narrow strip of land - the aching remnant of Palestine - where the orange and olive trees have been growing for hundreds of years has lately turned into death fields and a hunting ground for the people who planted and watered those evergreen trees generation after generation.
more.. e-mail

Balance.com: Palestinian Perspectives Released by the Net
Kieron Monks, This Week in Palestine 10/30/2010
      British comedian Mark Steele famously said that if the Israeli army blew up a cat’s home, the following day headlines would scream that the unfortunate animals were smuggling Semtex for Hamas. Steele was referring to the Gaza flotilla massacre and the subsequent cover-up, but ironically, that tragic event marked a tipping point away from Israeli PR hegemony. Today, there is more coverage from the Palestinian perspective than ever before.
     No credit can be given to the mainstream media. The BBC refused to cover the flotilla until there was a body count and followed up with a disgracefully biased documentary. Fox News would only show the IDF’s videos. In conventional terms, the disparity in media resources between the sides is even greater than their military means. There are 23 Israeli national daily newspapers in five languages, and its national TV channels are broadcast internationally. Of the three dailies available in the Palestinian territories, two belong to political parties, all are exclusively Arabic language, and the largest individual circulation is 20,000.
     Yet international sympathies are shifting, almost entirely due to the internet. The live streams from the flotilla hosted on Witness Gaza (www.witnessgaza.com) and Viva Palestina (www.vivapalestina.org) gave testimonies to millions around the world that could not be confiscated. When Bassem Abu Rahmah was shot dead in Bi’lin, the footage made it to Youtube and the IDF were unable to find themselves innocent. When conventional journalists were barred from entering Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, brave bloggers ensured the massacres did not go unreported.
     The attention generated by internet coverage has created a self-perpetuating cycle of international visitors who come to Palestine to learn more, and then publicise their stories-most commonly through the internet. Their testimonies attract the next wave of witnesses. A generation ago it was common for European students to take a year off to work on an Israeli kibbutz; now they volunteer in the West Bank.
more.. e-mail

Where Will the Next Leaders Come From?
Palestine Monitor: 6 Nov 2010 - The Palestinian youth are fed up with politics. In a country where 70% of young people described themselves as ‘politically inactive' in a Sharek youth forum survey, and just 33% professed to have trust in any political party, what has gone wrong? It was a question debated by representatives of all the major parties in a specially convened event at the Sharek Centre on Wednesday. Left to right: Mr. Issam Baker (PPP). Mr. Hasan Faraj (Al Shebebeh, Fatah youth) Mrs. Jihad Abu Znaid, (Fatah). Dialogue moderator: Mr. Bader Zamareh Executive director of Sharek youth forum. Dr. Omar Matar Abdulrazeq (Hamas) Mr. Abdularahem Malooh, (PFLP). Mr.Khalid Kraja (PNI) Mr. Malooh of the PFLP began by asking why the youth of the last generation had been given the opportunity to become leaders and not the current generation. He charged the major parties with undemocratic internal policies, citing the fact that many of...more

The Re-unification of My Parents
Palestine Monitor: 6 Nov 2010 - Yesterday my mother crossed the Allenby bridge, from the West Bank to Jordan, to see my father in Amman. What makes this banal act unusual is that she had to wait almost a year to be finally granted permission to cross the border. Yesterday my mother crossed the Allenby bridge, from the West Bank to Jordan, to see my father in Amman. What makes this banal act unusual is that she had to wait almost a year to be finally granted permission to cross the border. Last year my brother wrote about my family's series of unfortunate events which began in August 2009 - how we went from being British citizens living in our homeland on my dad's one year work renewable visas, to plain old brown Palestinians forced to accept our Israeli-issued identity cards in order to be classified as 'legal' residents, which resulted our own mini diaspora. My...more

Cornerstone of Zionism is to Conquer, Not Negotiate
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Nov 2010 - By Hasan Afif El-Hasan Only through force and sheer violence, not negotiations, an exclusively Jewish state could be established in a country inhabited and owned by another people. It is humanly inconceivable that people surrender their country to strangers thru negotiations. Thus violence against the indigenous Palestinians has been a central component of the Zionist movement since it was conceived as a colonial enterprise. Violence as an instrument to intimidate the Palestinians has been embedded in the Zionist ideology and in its popular culture. Since they started colonizing Palestine, the Zionists have planted and cultivated a culture loaded with provocative racial themes in the daily life of the Jewish colonizers that dehumanize the Palestinians, like “the Arabs understand only the language of force” and “a good Arab is a dead Arab.” The Zionists’ myth refers to the Jews as superiors, “heroes” and the Arabs as inferiors, “villains” and “cowards” who...more

The Nobleman and the Horse
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Nov 2010 - By Uri Avnery 'Half and half,' the late Prime Minister, Levi Eshkol, is said to have answered, when asked whether he wanted tea or coffee. This joke was intended to parody his hesitation on the eve of the Six-day War. (Though secret documents published this week show Eshkol in a very different light.) The American public now resembles the man in the joke. They sent to Washington a large group of Tea Party types, but the coffee drinkers in the White house are still in control. The Israeli leadership did not know how to treat the results of this election. Are they good for the Jews or bad for the Jews? The big winner of the American election is none other than Binyamin Netanyahu. His policy is similar to that of his political mentor, Yitzhak Shamir. It is based on the Jew who had to teach the Polish nobleman’s horse...more

Israeli Settlers Threaten Sheikh Jarrah
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, including Fourth Geneva's Article 49 stating: "Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive." In addition, various UN resolutions (including 446, 452 and 465) condemned Israel's settlement building, declaring they have "no legal validity" to exist. However, they do and regularly expand, endangering all Palestinian communities, Sheikh Jarrah one of many and their longstanding residents. A predominantly East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood, it's home to about 2,800 Palestinians as well as diplomatic missions and well-known landmarks. However, because of its strategic location, settlers want it, and have encroached for years. So far, over 60 Palestinian families have been dispossessed. Another 500 are at risk. The UN Office for the Coordination of...more

The Democratic Party Debacle
Palestine Chronicle: 6 Nov 2010 - By James Petras The November 2, 2010 electoral debacle of the Democratic Party in the US cannot be solely ascribed to the failed policies of President Obama, the Congressional leadership or their senior economic advisers. Nor is the demise of what passes for the American “center-left” confined to the US – it is a world-wide pattern, expressed in countries as diverse as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Great Britain and Japan. The central question is why the left-center left governing parties are everywhere in crisis and will be for the foreseeable future? The Left-Center Left: Past Winners, Present Losers In the past leftist parties had been the beneficiaries of capitalist crises: Incumbent conservative regimes, which had presided over economic recessions or had been held responsible for military debacles, were ousted from power by leftist parties prepared to make large-scale, long-term public investments, funded by progressive taxes on wealth and capital, and to...more


Sunday, November 7, 2010Top of page
Moving past Obama
Mitchell Plitnick, Palestine Note 11/5/2010
      A while back, I wrote about "Giving up on Obama." A natural corollary to that declaration is, as my friend, Rabbi Brant Rosen inquired, "what then"?
     Before I answer that, I wanted to clear up a misapprehension some took from my piece. I have, indeed, lost faith in Obama's ability to confront the considerable political forces and act in the interest of the United States, Israel and the Palestinians and put force behind the nice-sounding words about a two-solution.
     But I have not given up on a two-state solution. I still feel as I always have-I'll take whatever solution will work and will be acceptable to the people that live in the region. And the two-state solution still has the advantage of being the preferred one by the overwhelming majority of Israelis and still, from all indications, a majority of Palestinians. It is also the solution endorsed by the United States, Europe and the Arab League as well as the PLO. If a two-state solution has been rendered impossible by the massive expansion of Israel's settlements, as many argue, that isn't very different from one-state proposals which seem to me at least equally fanciful. And, in any case, it remains true that a one-state solution will mean a very long period of time to reorient international diplomacy towards it.
     But the issue is not how many states a solution will ultimately encompass. Whatever solution finally comes about, we are very far from that point. We all knew from the first that Obama's notions of solving the conflict within two years were ridiculous fancy or, at best, empty political rhetoric. Now we also know that he is not the president who will reverse two decades of American deferral to Israel on all central policy matters.
more.. e-mail

Only justice can bring peace to this benighted region
Robert Fisk, The Independent 11/6/2010
      The speed with which the Baghdad church massacre by al-Qa'ida has frightened the peoples of the Middle East is a sign of just how fragile is the earth's crust beneath their feet.
     Unlike our Western television news, Al-Jazeera and Arabia show the full horror of such carnage. Arms, legs, beheaded torsos leave no doubt of what they mean. Every Christian in the region understood what this attack meant. Indeed, given the sectarian nature of the assaults on Shia Iraqis, I'm beginning to wonder whether al-Qa'ida itself – far from being the centre/kernel/font of "world terror" as we imagine – might be one of the most sectarian organisations ever invented. Nor, I suspect, is there just one al-Qa'ida but several, feeding off the injustices of the region, a blood transfusion which the West (and I'm including the Israelis here) feeds into its body.
     In fact, I'm wondering if our governments don't need this terror – to make us frightened, very frightened, to make us obey, to bring more security to our little lives. And I'm wondering whether those same governments will ever wake up to the fact that our actions in the Middle East are what is endangering our security. Lord Blair of Isfahan always denied this – even when the 7/7 suicide bomber carefully explained in his posthumous video that Iraq was one of the reasons he committed the slaughter in London – and Bush always denied it, and Sarkozy will deny it if al-Qa'ida fulfils its latest threat to attack France.
     Now, for al-Qa'ida, it is "all Christians" in the Middle East who are to be the targets as well, scattering these threats like cluster bombs around the region. Up to two million of Egypt's Christian Coptic community are having to be protected at their two-week Luxor religious festival, surrounded by hundreds of state security police after al-Qa'ida's claim that two Muslim women are being held against their will by the Coptic church. That this may have originated with a decision by the women to divorce their husbands – and thus by conversion to end their marriages since the church in Egypt does not allow divorce – is merely incidental.
more.. e-mail

From Balfour to Obama
Lamis Andoni, AlJazeera 11/6/2010
      The dominant imperial power may have changed but treatment of the Palestinians remains much the same.
     On November 2, 1917, Lord Arthur Balfour, the then British foreign secretary, promised to create a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Known as the Balfour Declaration, the document became the first stepping stone towards the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel.
     Palestine was still under Ottoman rule when it was written. But Britain and its allies were making headway in defeating the ailing Ottoman empire and, when Palestine came under British control just a month later, the document suddenly assumed much greater significance. The Balfour Declaration was presented as equal to a land deed that conferred legitimacy on the plans of the international Zionist movement.
     Balfour was keenly aware of the presence of an indigenous Arab population, but in an era that preceded international law, the United Nations charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention, a powerful empire had no qualms about granting a land deed for territories it had no legitimate claim to.
     The Balfour Declaration did include a stipulation that "nothing shall be done that may prejudice the religious or civil rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" - a clause that was not exactly heeded by the founders and rulers of Israel. But little more could have been expected as the declaration itself stripped the Arab community in Palestine of its right to land and self-determination.
more.. e-mail

The Loneliness of Barack Obama
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Nov 2010 - By Deepak Tripathi – London The moment when President Obama emerged at the White House to speak to the press (November 4), less than twenty-four hours after the Democratic Party’s midterm drubbing, provided the most telling picture. There was the president of the world’s most powerful country walking alone to the podium, admitting defeat just two years after an historic triumph so complete that it was hailed as a revolutionary event. As he stood uncomfortably to express contrition and promise that lessons would be learned, there was nobody from his administration standing with him to show support after a defeat as decisive as the victory was magnificent over the discredited Republican Party in 2008. Vice President Joe Biden had appeared at election rallies as the president tried to enthuse voters in the final days of campaigning. However, the vice president was nowhere to be seen when Obama walked to the...more

Political Roulette in Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Nov 2010 - By Dr. Eyad El Sarraj - Gaza - She asked: Where have you been all day? I was worried about you! And why did you turn off your mobile? - Then he replied meekly:"It was an exhausting day, long strategy meetings and discussions of administration and finance. I have a meeting tonight with "the Elders". - "What elders?" - "They are the group of Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and other international figures who are to tell the truth on the world's troubles" - "And what is the benefit of meeting them?" - "It is very important to tell them our story" then almost begging "Now, I want to rest for a while so that I can go to the meeting." - At night, he came back from the meeting looking exhausted and he asked her for a cup of tea. When she brought him the cup of tea,...more


Monday, November 8, 2010Top of page
Rabbis’ edict bars renting to Arabs
Jonathan Cook, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/8/2010
      Galilee cities vie for title of ‘most racist’
     The tranquility of Safed, a small Israeli city nestled high in the hills of the Upper Galilee close to the Lebanese border, is not usually disturbed except by the occasional pilgrimage by Madonna or other famous devotees of the Jewish mystical teachings of Kabbalah.
     But in the past few weeks, Safed — one of Judaism’s four holy cities — has been making headlines of a very different kind. Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, last week declared it “the most racist city in the country”.
     The unflattering, and hotly contested, epithet follows an edict from Safed’s senior rabbis ordering residents not to sell or rent homes to “non-Jews” – a reference to the country’s Palestinian Arab citizens, who comprise a fifth of Israel’s population.
     At an emergency meeting, called last month to discuss the dangers of “assimilation” caused by Arab men dating Jewish women, the 18 rabbis warned that Safed was facing an “Arab takeover”. Jewish residents were told to inform on neighbours who try to sell or rent to Arabs.
     The number of Arabs in the city, though low, has been steadily rising as Safed Academic College has expanded. There are now some 1,300 Arab students enrolled at the school.
     The rabbis’ statements have provoked a series of riots by local religious Jews, in which several Arab homes have been attacked to chants of “Death to the Arabs”. In one recent incident, three Arab students were beaten as shots were fired.
     So far three Jewish youths, including an off-duty policeman, have been charged with participating in the violence. The policeman is accused of firing his gun.
more.. e-mail

Israel Claims Victory in US Midterm Elections
Franklin Lamb, Beirut, CounterPunch 11/5/2010
      Did Anyone Really Think They Would Lose?
     The Republican party’s gain of 60 plus House Seats (10 seats, all held by Democrats, are still undecided at press time) and six Senate seats, is the largest Congressional increase for either party since 1948 when the Democrats gained 75 seats in the lower chamber and Harry Truman won the White House. Next January’s 112th Congress is already receiving rave advance reviews, some coming from the more than half a million Jewish settlers in more than 100 illegal colonies in occupied Palestine who are pleased to see President Obama emasculated and the sentiments expressed in his June 2008 Cairo speech long forgotten. Many are hoping he will be replaced by likes of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, or a Mike Huckabee in 2012. Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha Council, which represents Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and whose representatives are increasingly on the rampage, by word and by deed, spoke for many when he told a post election news conference that he expected the new Congress "will facilitate a more open-minded approach to Israel's needs [i.e., yet more Palestinian land] than what we've experienced over the last two years."
     AIPAC, as it does after every Congressional election, offered pro forma congratulations to the winners: “It is abundantly clear that the 112th Congress will continue America’s long tradition of staunch support for a strong, safe and secure Israel and an abiding friendship between the United States and our most reliable ally in the Middle East.” No sooner had the election results been declared than key winners received what for decades has been a post election ritual, bestowed on new Members of Congress. That would be the delivery of US taxpayer subsidized invitations for all expense paid junkets to Israel. Of this year’s batch, Florida’s new Senator, Marco Rubio, who considers himself a Tea Party leader and who has been called “America’s great Right hope’ will lead the flock and arrive in Israel on this Sunday, November 7.
more.. e-mail

Palestine: A Challenging Tourism Destination Endeavors and challenges of promoting sustainable tourism in Palestine
Dr. Khouloud Daibes, This Week in Palestine 10/30/2010
      Palestine’s comparative advantage-encompassing Jerusalem, the home of the three monotheistic religions; Bethlehem, the Birthplace of Jesus; and Jericho, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world-provides a unique tourism offer. This advantage, combined with many other religious and historic sites, make Palestine an indispensable part of any pilgrimage or trip to the Holy Land. Furthermore, although the size of the Palestinian tourism sector is marginal when compared to others in the region in terms of size, revenue, and tourism assets (whether religious, cultural, natural or historical), Palestine possesses an abundance of treasures that are key ingredients in any comprehensive visit or pilgrimage to the region.
     For Palestine to successfully compete and get its share of regional tourism arrivals, we need to diversify our tourism offerings and promote the richness in cultural, historical and natural resources. While religious tourism will remain the backbone of our tourism offer, there is a clear and identified need to develop and diversify our offer to be able to attract more regional visitors to spend more time and money in Palestine. More importantly, Palestine needs to promote itself as an independent destination that is not only an integral part of any visit to the Holy Land, but also to the region at large.
     This shift in strategic focus will not be easy, as Palestine is faced with numerous challenges and threats that continue to hinder efforts to develop a sustainable tourism industry. The Occupation, with all its facets, is the biggest obstacle. The restrictions on movement and access (on both tourists and Palestinian service providers) make managing tourist flow and developing themed routes very difficult. Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinians to renovate, restore and manage key sites located in Area C, such as Sebastiya, the Jordan Valley, and the coast of the Dead Sea hinder our abilities to develop a comprehensive tourism offer, and the overall lack of control over borders and points of entry makes managing and developing a tourism sector extremely challenging.
more.. e-mail

Audio: Highlights from Montreal BDS conference
Electronic Intifada: 8 Nov 2010 - More than 600 activists from Quebec, Canada, and the United States gathered in Montreal from 22-24 October for a weekend-long conference on growing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. The Electronic Intifada contributor Gretchen King produced an audio report from the conference.more

Sebastia's living community sidelined for ancient ruins
Electronic Intifada: 8 Nov 2010 - One can find very different leaflets about the same place: Sebastia, an outrageously pretty little West Bank village which you'd never guess was once a major city, the capital of ancient kingdoms and home to an imposing Crusader cathedral which is now the village mosque.more

The loyalty oath and Israel's Zionist "left"
Electronic Intifada: 8 Nov 2010 - The Zionist "Left" is distancing itself from a loyalty oath bill on the Israeli government's table, but the proposed oath is entirely consistent with Israel's racist foundations and continued ethnic cleansing -- all of which the Zionist "Left" has played a central role in perpetrating and whitewashing.more

UNRWA Strikes Wreak Havoc in Refugee Camps
Palestine Monitor: 8 Nov 2010 - Refugee camps across the West Bank have been thrown into crisis by a United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) strike. Schools, health centres, sanitation and food distribution have been suspended for over two weeks as a result of pay disputes between management and ground staff. “The students just sit at home now,” says Mahmoud Tohee, popular committee chairman for Al-Amari camp, Ramallah. “The schools are closed completely.” The children have already missed a fortnight, and the streets they play in are filled with trash and sewage, left to fester by UNRWA's striking labourers. Sick residents are forced to travel elsewhere for treatment now that the health centre has closed. UNRWA's ground staff, who also live in the camps, suffer with everyone else. They say they are being exploited by their employers who have effectively frozen their pay while increasing their own salaries. Al-Amari programme director Galeb Hussein feels it...more

BDS and Israel's Battle for Legitimacy
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Nov 2010 - By Samah Sabawi (Excerpts from a speech presented at the first National BDS Conference in Australia October 2010.) Israeli propagandists attacking the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement often claim that pro-Palestinian activists hide behind words like International Humanitarian Law to promote a hidden agenda aimed at demonizing and deligitmizing Israel. But there is no hidden agenda. We are explicit and clear in what we say and what we call for. We don’t hide behind International Humanitarian Law we stand by it. This is precisely why Israeli propagandists have good reason to worry. Israel knows that its fight to legitimize its behavior cannot be won for as long as the BDS movement continues to expose its violations of IHL. So it is pushing back with its army of lawyers and experts in an effort to exonerate itself of accountability, redefine the rules of IHL and undermine international bodies and institutions. If...more

Galilee Cities Vie for Title of 'Most Racist'
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Nov 2010 - By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth The tranquility of Safed, a small Israeli city nestled high in the hills of the Upper Galilee close to the Lebanese border, is not usually disturbed except by the occasional pilgrimage by Madonna or other famous devotees of the Jewish mystical teachings of Kabbalah. But in the past few weeks, Safed -- one of Judaism’s four holy cities -- has been making headlines of a very different kind. Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, last week declared it “the most racist city in the country”. The unflattering, and hotly contested, epithet follows an edict from Safed’s senior rabbis ordering residents not to sell or rent homes to “non-Jews” – a reference to the country’s Palestinian Arab citizens, who comprise a fifth of Israel’s population. At an emergency meeting, called last month to discuss the dangers of “assimilation” caused by Arab men dating...more

The Resurrection of Ariel Sharon
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Nov 2010 - By William A. Cook 'He's neither alive nor dead.' Raanan Gissin, Sharon’s former advisor, made the above comment last month as quoted in the Jerusalem Post (20-10-2010) upon the exhibit of a lifelike sculpture by Noam Braslavsky in Tel Aviv. The wax figure shows the comatose Sharon’s chest move up and down “to depict Sharon’s dependence on a breathing machine.” Some have found the work unsettling. “It’s very tragic,” Gissin noted. It’s “only sickening voyeurism,” Kadima MK Yoel Hasson declaimed. Braslavsky created “the sculpture because Sharon has been absent from the public eye for so long,” according to the Post’s article. Regardless, the exhibit has stirred up the Israelis as they are forced to revisit the former PM who is not yet dead. Coincidentally, this week Christoph Schult published an article in Spiegel Online titled “The Israeli Patient: Searching for Ariel Sharon’s Political Legacy.” While noting that the former Prime...more

SA Rabbi Denies Existence of Apartheid in Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Nov 2010 - By Iqbal Jassat – Pretoria The late Palestinian author and eloquent spokesman for the Palestinian cause in the West, Edward W. Said, in a ‘96 essay titled ‘Mandela, Netanyahu, and Arafat’ brilliantly captured the contrasts amongst these leaders. But the defining gaps were not related to personalities; instead Said unpacked crucial differences related to and informed by ideology. For instance he cited Nelson Mandela’s commitment to the African National Congress’ [ANC] single goal for which it was created: the end of apartheid, and the institution of legal equality – one person, one vote – between blacks and whites. On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu, who incidentally was on his first official trip to the United States, represented bigotry and falsehood. Today almost fifteen years later, one will fully appreciate Said’s critic of this man. His analysis likened Netanyahu to all other Israeli leaders who denied the past and the reality...more

Al-Qaeda's Latest Christmas Gift to Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Nov 2010 - By Maidhc Ó Cathail While Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) may have claimed responsibility for the parcel bomb plot, it’s worth considering how this latest Yemen-linked terror scare has been a gift to their avowed enemies. A mere two weeks before the discovery of mail bombs addressed to “two places of Jewish worship in Chicago,” Rupert Murdoch sounded prescient as he received an award from the Anti-Defamation League for his support of Israel. “The terrorists continue to target Jews across the world,” declared the media mogul in his acceptance speech. “But they have not succeeded in bringing down the Israeli government – and they have not weakened Israeli resolve.” Equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, the Fox News owner smeared the growing worldwide condemnation of Israel’s rogue behaviour as an “ongoing war against the Jews.” Benjamin Netanyahu, a frequent London house guest of Murdoch and a likely recipient of...more

Israeli Banks Profiteering from Occupation
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman Wall Street does it. Other Western banks do it. They all exploit markets, often ripping off customers illegally. Why not Israeli banks also in their own back yard, easily in expanding settlements. The Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) includes 10 feminist organizations and non-affiliated activist women in Israel. Founded in 2000, it advocates "radical social and political change," and is "a leading voice against the occupation, committed to feminist principles of organizing and Jewish-Palestinian partnership in a relentless struggle for a just peace." In October, it released a report titled, "Financing the Israeli Occupation, The Direct Involvement of Israeli Banks in Illegal Settlement Activity and Control over the Palestinian Banking Market." Besides stealing Palestinian land, economic interests play a large role in Israel's occupation, including resource control, labor exploitation, and commercial enterprises of all kinds, operating freely and illegally in settlements, banks among them. Israeli banks...more


Tuesday, November 9, 2010Top of page
Israel is right to be concerned
Rami G. Khouri, Daily Star 11/6/2010
      We can learn much from the Israeli government’s decision this week to suspend a special strategic dialog with the United Kingdom because of concerns that Israeli officials could be arrested and indicted with crimes against humanity in the UK, according to a British law that provides for “universal jurisdiction” in such cases, i.e., a suspect of any country can be charged, detained and tried in a British court even if the alleged crimes occurred in a third country and did not include British citizens among the victims. Israel’s Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni recently cancelled a trip to London as did Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor this week, because he was advised that he risked being arrested.
     Palestinians in the UK in recent years have filed charges against Israeli officials and British courts have issued arrest warrants for some Israeli officials, though none have actually been taken into custody. The important dimension of this is the concern among many Israelis – justified, in my view – that Israel is being subjected to a “de-legitimization” campaign. This is exactly what is happening, and it scares Israelis more than anything else in the world.
     The one most-coveted thing that Israel lacks in the eyes of its Palestinian foes and other Arab and international critics is legitimacy and acceptance. It’s one thing if Yemen, Algeria or Somalia do not recognize Israel, but it is another and much more significant thing entirely if the UK government – the historical midwife of Zionism and the Israeli state – issues arrest warrants charging Israeli officials with crimes against humanity. Exactly 93 years ago this week the British government issued the Balfour Declaration that pledged support for the creation of “a national home for the Jewish people.” Now, London joins others in the world who seek to hold accountable to the international rule of law those Israeli leaders at the helm of that “Jewish national home” that is the sovereign state of Israel – sovereign, but still largely unaccepted in its present configuration.
more.. e-mail

Jewish Values vs. Israeli Policies: Why five young Jews disrupted PM Netanyahu in New Orleans
Rae Abileah, Mondoweiss 11/9/2010
      Being young and Jewish and realizing what Israel’s occupation is really like, contrary to what we may have been taught in our religious schools or high school trips to the holy land, can be a lonely journey. It can be compared to a “coming out” experience, where sharing your perceptions with friends and family, let alone a room full of over 4,000 Jews, can be a daunting task. While more American Jews—and particularly young American Jews—are growing disillusioned with Israeli policies implemented in the name of all Jews with the support of old-guard groups such as AIPAC, it is still often a scary thing to publicly criticize Israel within the broader community.
     In New Orleans during the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly (GA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) created a safe space for young Jews, like myself, whose stomachs are still churning from the bombings in Gaza nearly two years ago, and whose eyes can no longer be averted from the daily reality of oppression for Palestinians. We came together to organize effectively and from the heart. And if we have faith in our generation’s capacity to transform politics and create peace, then we can believe in JVP’s mission as possible in the face of all odds. Picture 5Image from Israeli television news of Emily Ratner being removed from the GA.
     On Monday morning, the GA plenary began with Oscar the Grouch -- seriously, the Sesame Street puppet opened the plenary with a satire about how gross it was that Israelis were so friendly, always sharing, caring and helping each other out. Next, New Orleans Mayor Landrieu stressed a belief in tikkun olam, the Jewish principle of “repairing the world”, and almost in the same breath, an unending support for Israel. Contradiction? We think so. Our well-orchestrated protest began with the bold voice of local New Orleans resident Emily Ratner, who stood up after applause for Netanyahu and proclaimed, “The Loyalty Oath delegitimizes Israel!” as she unfurled a banner with the same message.... -- See also: The Young Jewish Declaration
more.. e-mail

The mighty march of progress: British war graves in Gaza
Jared Malsin, Ma’an News Agency 11/9/2010
      ZAWAYDA, Gaza -- The Gaza War Cemetery is a slightly parched but still green oasis in an otherwise run-down neighborhood on the eastern edge of Gaza City.
     Inside a leafy compound, underneath rows of white marble gravestones, lie more than 3,500 mainly British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in two world wars. Aside from the British there are Australians, Poles, Canadians, Greeks, two dozen Indian Muslim soldiers, and some 700 Turks.
     Some anonymous headstones bear the inscription, “A soldier of the great war.”
     As one of few green spaces in crowded, dusty Gaza the cemetery is known locally as a destination for family picnics. The graveyard is cared for by a team of six Palestinians employed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
     In addition to the thousands of headstones engraved with crosses, there are also a handful which are instead carved with the Star of David, marking the graves of Jewish soldiers in the British army.
     One of these is the last resting place of Wilfred Gordon Aron Joseph, who, according to records kept by the Graves Commission, lived at 28 Heber Road, Cricklewood, London and was married to Winifred L. Joseph.
     2nd Lt. Joseph was 21 when he died in the Second Battle of Gaza, a vain and disastrous attempt by the British army to capture the enclave from Ottoman forces on 19 April 1917. Of the 800 men who set out on the attack that day, only 92 returned to British lines.
     Joseph's tombstone reads: “In the mighty march of progress / He thought to do his best.”
     Britain’s first and second attempts to conquer Gaza failed....
more.. e-mail

The great book robbery of 1948
Electronic Intifada: 9 Nov 2010 - A new documentary reveals a hidden chapter in the history of the Nakba -- the Palestinian expulsion and flight at the hands of Zionist militias as Israel was established in 1948 -- which saw the systematic looting of more than 60,000 Palestinian books by Israeli forces and the attempted destruction of Palestinian culture.more

Rabbis provoke riots in Israel's "most racist" city
Electronic Intifada: 9 Nov 2010 - In the past few weeks, the usually tranquil town of Safed -- one of Judaism's four holy cities -- has been making headlines. Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz , last week declared it "the most racist city in the country."more

Speaking out on Kashmir and Palestine in the US
Electronic Intifada: 9 Nov 2010 - The United States has become a battleground for both the struggles of the peoples of Palestine and Kashmir, for freedom from military occupation and for justice. Awareness amongst the US public is broadened as the repression of both struggles grows ever more violent, and meanwhile those wishing to stifle debate on these issues in the US resort to harassment and intimidation.more

Tourism Initiative to Regenerate Neglected Areas
Palestine Monitor: 9 Nov 2010 - Since the 1990's, efforts to awaken tourism in Palestine have taken slow steps towards creating a vibrant and productive industry. Last week, the mission made an ambitious leap with the launch of the Sustainable Rural Tourism initiative. Organised by the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, the Rozana Institute, and a network of other organisations, the Sustainable Rural Tourism workshop at Bir Zeit University marked the launch of a project that aims to tap into an under-used resource for economic development in Palestine: rural tourism. Dr. Khouloud Daibes, the Palestinian Authority's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, has been outspoken about the important role the development of independent tourism in Palestine will have on the process for creating an independent state of Palestine. In her article in This Week in Palestine, Daibes wrote, “Palestine needs to promote itself as an independent destination that is not only an integral part of any visit to...more

Night Raids in Bil'in Target Crippled Activist
Palestine Monitor: 9 Nov 2010 - At 3am this morning Israeli soldiers invaded Bil'in village, in an unsuccessful attempt to arrest the activist Ashraf Al-Khatib. 50 soldiers arrived by jeep and on foot, surrounding two targeted houses. Photo by Hamde Abu Rahmah The first was a wrong address, waking a terrified family with no relation to Ashraf. Soldiers then entered his brother's home, searching all the rooms for several hours without finding anything incriminating. When they eventually found Ashraf's home, he wasn't there. His brother Haytham al-Khatib, who works with Israeli peace group B'Tselem, was locked in a separate room alone for over an hour, while the soldiers ransacked his property. He was forbidden from recording the raid. Haytham told us his children, aged one, six and eight, are used to this treatment from the army and are tired of it. When soldiers arrived, the six-year old “asked me to close the door, because he didn't...more

The Oslo Virus and the Struggle for Bantustans
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Nov 2010 - By Haidar Eid - Gaza In 'The Music of the Violin,' a short story by South African writer Njabulo Ndebele, one of the characters comments on the 'concessions' made by the apartheid regime to the indigenous people: "That's how it is planned. That we be given a little of everything, and so prize the little we have that we forget about freedom." This is what the endless “peace process” looks like seen from Gaza, where we live under a four-year-old Israeli siege. We pass the time struggling to survive, wondering if this is the day an air strike will take away our life, our loved ones or our home. I spent six years in Johannesburg, where I got my PhD. That time makes me very aware of the similarities between Israel and the apartheid regime in South Africa. I was inspired by how the world responded to apartheid in South...more

Canada Stands by Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Nov 2010 - By Jim Miles A couple weeks after being rejected by the General Assembly for a position on the Security Council, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has expressed his sour grapes at the rejection stating that Canada will not 'pretend' to be an 'honest broker.' The other option then is dishonesty. There is plenty of that in Canada’s position. In his speech supporting Israel at a “gathering of international parliamentarians and experts,” he performed the old standard of conflating the Holocaust with the creation of Israel, yet he should know that the Zionist cause began well before there were any indications of that genocide. Christian Zionism could be argued to have begun even before the European variety showed its colours at the turn of Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Both Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists understood that to occupy Palestine meant the displacement by some means - some form of ethnic cleansing...more

How to Anger the Pro-Israel Lobby
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Nov 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London To their eternal shame, Western churchmen seem to care little about the plight of their brothers and sisters in the Holy Land or the fate of the holy places where Christianity was born. There are, of course, honourable exceptions. One such is the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, whose church has provided Palestinians in Gaza with a mobile dental unit. He is not best pleased that the Israelis make it difficult to obtain fuel and medical supplies for it, and he didn't mince his words when recently reporting to the Church's governing body how things really are in Gaza. The truth of the matter seemed to annoy a certain Mr Simon McIlwaine, who complained that the Archbishop’s words put the state of Israel in an unduly harsh light and he was compelled to “provide some badly needed context”. Whereupon Mr McIlwaine...more

Biden is Not Taking It Personally
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Nov 2010 - By Belen Fernandez I sometimes worry about Philip J. Crowley, assistant secretary for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs and emcee of the department’s Daily Press Briefings. Do his work habits adversely affect his behavior outside the office? For example, when asked at the supermarket whether he would prefer paper or plastic, does he say it’s too early to tell and revert to a discussion of U.S. commitment to direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians? Crowley’s latest acrobatics occurred during yesterday’s briefing, when he responded to an observation by a member of the press regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. and the announcement of Israeli plans to construct 1,300 homes in East Jerusalem, now augmented by a plan to construct 800 additional homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel: QUESTIONER: …It seems that every time there is visitor, a high caliber visitor, be...more

'Victim' – A Poem
Palestine Chronicle: 9 Nov 2010 - By Lillian Rosengarten Dedicated to the memory of Paul Celan. 'You were my death: you I could hold when all fell away from me.' Dare we whisper of racial hate, cruelty that feeds voraciously Righteous moral certainty ready to taint the earth with blood Yours and mine in the name of nationalism. Ugly word reminds me of “uber mensch.” Do you remember once our well made clothes were warm and stylish, party dresses decked with bows, ribbons in the hair, families who loved, houses filled with flowers and the stuff of life. Things everybody knows, or wants to know . Before the yellow star took it all away, shopkeepers and bakers, professors. poets, doctors and artists, students and teachers, homosexuals, gypsies, lovers Dare we whisper how hate tainted the earth with their blood As the world looked on. Racist oppression, cruelty, righteous moral certainty ready to strike. In the name of...more


Wednesday, November 10, 2010Top of page
The Oslo virus and the struggle for Bantustans
Haidar Eid, Ma’an News Agency 11/10/2010
      In 'The Music of the Violin,' a short story by South African writer Njabulo Ndebele, one of the characters comments on the 'concessions' made by the apartheid regime to the indigenous people: "That's how it is planned. That we be given a little of everything, and so prize the little we have that we forget about freedom."
     This is what the endless “peace process” looks like seen from Gaza, where we live under a four-year-old Israeli siege. We pass the time struggling to survive, wondering if this is the day an air strike will take away our life, our loved ones or our home.
     I spent six years in Johannesburg, where I got my PhD. That time makes me very aware of the similarities between Israel and the apartheid regime in South Africa. I was inspired by how the world responded to apartheid in South Africa, particularly the United States considering that it was still dealing with its own history of racial discrimination and treatment of the indigenous population.
     And I am disheartened by the lack of similar outrage toward Israeli policies. Rather than acknowledging the reality of Israeli apartheid, as Jimmy Carter bravely did in 2006, the United States appears to have implicitly accepted the creation of a type of Bantustan-based system in Palestine.
     Laws enacted during the South African apartheid system have corresponding laws in Israel. Currently, in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Jews and Palestinians are treated very differently when it comes to housing, education, and legal and administrative systems. Palestinians face widespread discrimination, much of it “legal.”
more.. e-mail

New plans part of Judaising Occupied East Jerusalem
Jumana Al Tamimi, Gulf News 11/8/2010
      Thousands of Jewish colonists will gather each day outside the ancient Damascus Gate, the vital gateway of the old city in Occupied East Jerusalem - not to demonstrate against their government's policies or to vent their feelings towards the Arabs - but to use the city's new public "light rail" transport system.
     The Occupied East Jerusalem station, one of the central stations in the plan, is scheduled to start operating next April. It is just 20 metres away from Damascus Gate, one of seven gates to the old city and, Palestinian activists say, the most vital to the economy of the old city.
     "This light rail project is part of [a plan to] Judaise [Occupied] Jerusalem," said Jamal Juma, a Jerusalemite who heads the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and is active against Israeli colonial activities.
     "It will connect the colonies built in Occupied East Jerusalem with both the old town in the occupied eastern part of the city, and the western part of Jerusalem," Juma told Gulf News in an interview. "This rail project is first and foremost a colonial project."
     Transportation, Juma explained, is one of the most important bases for development and expansion. "This train will reinforce the colonies in Occupied East Jerusalem and its surroundings," Juma said.
     While the central station is anticipated to attract nearly 10,000 colonists every morning and evening from the colonies built in and around Occupied East Jerusalem, Israel is stealthily changing the reality on the ground, Palestinian activists cry.
     But that's a cry that is apparently going unanswered.
     An intensive Jewish presence outside the old city will leave a different impression among visitors to the area as well as the original inhabitants of the city, making it "as if they are in a Jewish neighbourhood," Palestinians say.
more.. e-mail

Waiting for Godot in Palestine
Nicola Nasser, CounterPunch 11/10/2010
      Peace Held Hostage
     The statement by former U.S. President George W. Bush in his 497 – page memoir of “Decision Points” that a secret peace deal was worked out between the then-prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, which “we devised a process to turn .. into a public agreement” had not Olmert been ousted by a scandal to be replaced in the following elections by Binyamin Netanyahu, who reneged on his predecessor’s commitments, is a piece of history which highlights the fact that peace making in the Arab – Israeli conflict and the peace process have been hostages to the rotating U.S. and Israeli elections since the Madrid peace conference of 1991.
     Of course Bush had a different point of view. In his Rose Garden speech on Israel – Palestine two-state solution on June 24, 2002, he said that “for too long .. the citizens of the Middle East” and “the hopes of many” have been held “hostage” to “the hatred of a few (and) the forces of extremism and terror,” a misjudgement that led his administration to strike a deal with the former Israeli premier, now comatose, Ariel Sharon to engineer a “regime change” in the self-ruled Palestinian Authority that resulted – according to Sharon’s terminology – in the “removal” of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who made peace possible in the first place for the first time in the past one hundred years and for that deserved to be a Nobel Peace Laureate, to be replaced by the incumbent Palestinian leadership of Abbas who, despite being almost identical of both men’s image of a peace maker, is again victimized by the same rotating U.S. and Israeli elections, much more than by what Bush termed as “forces of extremism and terror.”
     Ironically, Bush’s own Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, some three years ago, had to admit that there is no consensus among U.S. officials on a clear-cut definition of “extremism and terror” when she said, referring to acts of Palestinian anti-Israeli military occupation....
more.. e-mail

Solidarity must not come at the expense of Iranian freedoms
Electronic Intifada: 10 Nov 2010 - As proud as I am of the independent political path Iran has taken and the role it plays as an enabler of resistance to Israel, I am deeply aware of the great costs we have been forced to bear as a people by our government. Khashayar Safavi comments for The Electronic Intifada.more

Nights of Terror Continue in Silwan
Palestine Monitor: 10 Nov 2010 - A week of terror in Silwan continued early this morning with the violent arrest of four youths during Israeli raids on several homes. The East Jerusalem suburb has been plagued by incursions throughout the week, with seven more arrests on Monday. All those arrested are under 21. Witnesses characterised this morning's raids as violent, with suspects beaten and forcefully dragged from their homes before being blindfolded and transported to the Maskobeh detention centre. There are no reports of suspects being pepper-sprayed, as was the case on Monday. Tensions in Silwan have run higher since the publication of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's controversial plans to Judaise the area, including the proposed demolition of up to 88 Palestinian homes to make way for a Jewish heritage site. Silwan is already home to a growing settler population, and has become the scene of regular clashes. Fakhri Abu Diab, of the Wadi Hilweh information...more

Peace Held Hostage to US, Israeli Elections
Palestine Chronicle: 10 Nov 2010 - By Nicola Nasser The statement by former U.S. President George W. Bush in his 497 - page memoir of 'Decision Points' that a secret peace deal was worked out between the then-prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, which "we devised a process to turn .. into a public agreement" had not Olmert been ousted by a scandal to be replaced in the following elections by Binyamin Netanyahu, who reneged on his predecessor's commitments, is a piece of history which highlights the fact that peacemaking in the Arab - Israeli conflict and the peace process have been hostages to the rotating U.S. and Israeli elections since the Madrid peace conference of 1991. Of course Bush had a different point of view. In his Rose Garden speech on Israel - Palestine two-state solution on June 24, 2002, he said that "for too long .. the citizens of the Middle...more

Mockery of Justice: The Corries vs. Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 10 Nov 2010 - By Hatim Kanaaneh 'Human kind cannot bear too much reality.' -- T. S. Eliot I. Rachel's Revenge: Israeli Young Adults Struck by Alzheimer's: I arrived at the Haifa District Court with a deep sense of foreboding. On my way there, as I drove through Arrabeh’s sleepy streets (It is Ramadan and most fellow Moslem villagers go back to sleep after their dawn meal and prayer.) I saw clear signs of trouble: Two police cars with their lights flashing entered the village just I was on my way out. Stopped in my tracks by the daily traffic jam on the outskirts of Haifa, I turned the radio dial from my usual BBC morning news to the local Arabic FM station and heard the name of my village on the news: A seven-month pregnant young woman whose name I recognized had been slain by her mentally-ill husband in full view of her...more

Obama Can Still Do It
Palestine Chronicle: 10 Nov 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C. Though obnoxious, Benjamin Netanyahu is no dummy. After all, the Israeli prime minister knows that if he got away with something the first time, he might as well take another shot at it the second time. And lo and behold, his victim on both occasions was Joe Biden, the ever-smiling American vice president. When Biden visited Jerusalem last March in an attempt to help kick-start the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, stalled by Israeli expansionism into the occupied West Bank, the Israeli government unbeknownst to the visiting vice president, simultaneously announced its intention to build 1600 housing units in occupied Arab East Jerusalem which the Palestinians hope will be their capital once their state is established. That announcement touched off a seemingly serious crisis between the two countries and many thought the Netanyahu government would be paying a high price for its audacity. But contrary...more

Shin Bet Mistreatment of Palestinian Detainees
Palestine Chronicle: 10 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman An October B'Tselem/HaMoked, Center of the Defence of the Individual report, titled "Kept in the Dark: Treatment of Palestinian Detainees in the Petach-Tikva Interrogation Facility of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet)" is discussed below. Though, in some respects, treatment over the years has changed, it remains harsh, abusive, and in violation of international law, prohibiting all forms of torture and mistreatment at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions. The report is based on testimonies from 121 Palestinian detainees during Q 1 and Q 4, 2009. Clear patterns of mistreatment were revealed - torture and abuse by any standard, what Israel practices as official policy. Israeli law prohibits torture under Section 277 of its Penal Law, stating: "A public servant who does one of the following is liable to imprisonment for three years: (1) uses or directs the use of force or violence against...more


Thursday, November 11, 2010Top of page
The Palestinians of Israel are poised to take centre stage
Seumas Milne, The Guardian 11/11/2010
      In a quiet street in the Sheikh Jarrah district of occupied East Jerusalem 88-year-old Rifka al-Kurd is explaining how she came to live in the house she and her husband built as Palestinian refugees in the 1950s. As she speaks, three young ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers swagger in to stake their claim to the front part of the building, shouting abuse in Hebrew and broken Arabic: "Arab animals", "shut up, whore".
     There is a brief physical confrontation with Rifka's daughter as the settlers barricade themselves in to the rooms they have occupied since last winter. That was when they finally won a court order to take over the Kurd family's extension on the grounds that it was built without permission – which Palestinians in Jerusalem are almost never granted. It is an ugly scene, the settlers' chilling arrogance underpinned by the certain knowledge that they can call in the police and army at will.
     But such takeovers of Palestinian homes in Sheikh Jarrah have become commonplace, and the focus of continual protest. The same is true in nearby Silwan, home to upwards of 30,000 Palestinians next to the Old City, where 88 homes to 1,500 Palestinians have been lined up for demolition to make way for a King David theme park and hundreds of settlers are protected round the clock by trigger-happy security guards.
     Throughout the Arab areas of Jerusalem, as in the West Bank, the government is pressing ahead with land expropriations, demolitions and settlement building, making the prospects of a Palestinian state ever more improbable. More than a third of the land in East Jerusalem has been expropriated since it was occupied in 1967 to make way for Israeli colonists, in flagrant violation of international law.
more.. e-mail

Israel’s self-destruction
Jonathan Cook, Palestine Note 11/11/2010
      Reunifying the Palestinian nation Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, is in the United States this week, but few observers expect an immediate or significant breakthrough in the stalled peace talks with the Palestinian leadership. In public, Mr Netanyahu maintains he is committed to the pledge he made last year, shortly after he formed his right-wing government, to work towards the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state. But so far he has proved either unwilling or unable to renew even a partial freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank -- a key condition set by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, for reviving the negotiations. Most of Mr Netanyahu's cabinet, including Avigdor Lieberman, his foreign minister, barely conceal their opposition to Palestinian statehood. Instead, Mr Netanyahu has imposed a precondition of his own: that the Palestinians recognise Israel as the state of the Jewish people. A leading analyst of Palestinian politics says the picture is not as bleak for the Palestinians as it might appear. Asad Ghanem, a professor of political science at Haifa University, predicts Mr Netanyahu and his cabinet will eventually come to rue their obduracy. The intransigence and the unabashed espousal of "an ideology of Jewish supremacy" by Mr Netanyahu and his supporters will lead to the gradual "reunification" of the Palestinian people, Dr Ghanem said in an interview. In clinging to a vision of Greater Israel, Mr Netanyahu and the right are fuelling a potentially powerful Palestinian nationalism that could yet come to crush not only the occupation but Israel's status as a Jewish state....
more.. e-mail

The great book robbery of 1948
Arwa Aburawa, Electronic Intifada 11/9/2010
      A new documentary reveals a hidden chapter in the history of the Nakba -- the Palestinian expulsion and flight at the hands of Zionist militias as Israel was established in 1948 -- which saw the systematic looting of more than 60,000 Palestinian books by Israeli forces and the attempted destruction of Palestinian culture.
     As the violence which came to mark the formation of Israel erupted, Palestinian families living in the urban centers and villages of the country fled their homes in search of safety and refuge. One Palestinian family after another escaped, and believing that they would soon return, many left behind their most precious belongings. As Palestinian homes sat silent in the haze of conflict, however, a systematic Israeli campaign was underway to enter the homes and rob them of a precious commodity -- their books.
     Between May 1948 and February 1949, librarians from the Jewish National Library and Hebrew University Library entered the desolate Palestinian homes of west Jerusalem and seized 30,000 books, manuscripts and newspapers alone. These cultural assets, which had belonged to elite and educated Palestinian families, were then "loaned" to the National Library where they have remained until now. Furthermore, across cities such as Jaffa, Haifa, Tiberias and Nazareth, employees of the Custodian of Absentee Property gathered approximately 40,000-50,000 books belonging to Palestinians. Most of these were later resold to Arabs although approximately 26,000 books were deemed unsuitable as they contained "inciting material against the State [Israel]" and were sold as paper waste.
     This untold story of the Nakba has remained hidden over the years until, by complete accident, Israeli graduate student Gish Amit stumbled across archives documenting the systematic looting of Palestinian books.... -- See also: Film website: The Great Book Robbery - includes video
more.. e-mail

Activism roundup: Netanyahu disrupters tell of "mob mentality"
Electronic Intifada: 11 Nov 2010 - Activists successfully disrupted a New Orleans speech given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Meanwhile, Massachusetts voters said yes to equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, Ireland saw the launch of a campaign focusing on Israeli "blood diamonds" and Australia held its first national BDS conference.more

Review: "Gaza in Crisis" leaves readers wanting more
Electronic Intifada: 11 Nov 2010 - The new book Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians will surely attract the attention of Palestine solidarity activists because of the implied promise of a collaboration between its prominent co-authors, Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé, and because of its highly topical focus on Gaza. Unfortunately, readers will likely be disappointed.more

Checkpoint Stabbing Trial Descends Into Farce
Palestine Monitor: 11 Nov 2010 - On November 10, 2010, the Ofer Military Court resumed hearings for the trial of Sumud Karajeh, a 21-year old Palestinian girl who stabbed a solider at Qalandiya checkpoint on October 25, 2009. Written by Charlotte Silver. Photo by Lazar Simeonov The state has charged Karajeh with attempted murder, while her defence argues that Karajeh only attacked the soldier after being harassed by several soldiers, ordering her to give her Quran to them. Karajeh refused their demand because it would have been harram (forbidden) for her to give them the holy book. Yesterday's trial focused on the police's mishandling of evidence. Protocol requires that written documentation accompany every piece of evidence, describing any transfer or treatment of all items. After Karajeh stabbed the soldier, she was immediately detained and all items on her body and present at the scene were taken in as evidence. However, written documentation of evidence only began...more

The Public Face of Settlers
Palestine Monitor: 11 Nov 2010 - David Ha'ivri of the Shomron Council is the public face of settlers in the West Bank. A regular on the BBC and CNN his well-spoken and calm demeanour masks a fierce belief in extremist Zionism. The Shomron or Samaria refers to the mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank. The Shomron Regional Council governs the settlements here with the Shomron Liaison Office heading its public relations under the motto ‘Opening a window to the Shomron'. David Ha'ivri, formerly David Axelrod of Queens, New York is the director of the Liaison Office and interacts with the foreign media and international visitors to the settlements. Prior to this he was Mayor of Kfar Tapuach, a settlement, near the City of Nablus, where he lives with his wife and 8 children. David tells me he moved to Kfar Tapuach to live in the heartland of the Israel, Samaria...more

Iraqi Christians Are Already at Home
Palestine Chronicle: 11 Nov 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud On Sunday, October 31, when a group of militants seized a church in Baghdad, killing and wounding scores of Iraqi Christians, it signaled yet another episode of unimaginable horror in the country since the US invasion of March 2003. Every group of Iraqis has faced terrible devastation as a result of this war, the magnitude of which is only now beginning to be discovered. True, the situation in Iraq was difficult prior to the war. Having visited the country in 1999, I can testify to this. But the hardship suffered by many Iraqis, especially political dissidents, was in some way typical characteristic of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Iraq could, at that time, be easily contrasted with other countries living under similar hardships. But what has happened since the war can barely be compared to any other country or any other wars since World War II. Even putting...more

Israel's Self-destruction: Reunifying the Palestinian Nation
Palestine Chronicle: 11 Nov 2010 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, is in the United States this week, but few observers expect an immediate or significant breakthrough in the stalled peace talks with the Palestinian leadership. In public, Mr Netanyahu maintains he is committed to the pledge he made last year, shortly after he formed his right-wing government, to work towards the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state. But so far he has proved either unwilling or unable to renew even a partial freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank -- a key condition set by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, for reviving the negotiations. Most of Mr Netanyahu's cabinet, including Avigdor Lieberman, his foreign minister, barely conceal their opposition to Palestinian statehood. Instead, Mr Netanyahu has imposed a precondition of his own: that the Palestinians recognise Israel as the state of the Jewish people. A leading analyst of...more

Overdue Accounting: Palestinian Forced Displacement from Kuwait
Palestine Chronicle: 11 Nov 2010 - By Toufic Haddad The story of the Palestinian experience in Kuwait is a microcosm of the Palestinian experience overall in all its tragic footnotes. Yet the truth of what took place there – from the Palestinian experience of playing a formative role in the building this fledgling Arab state, to the ultimate moment the Palestinian community was cruelly forced out – is hardly a well-studied affair. Indeed, in researching this article, only a handful of scholarly articles in English on the subject were found. Of these, many lacked a sense for ‘the bigger picture’ of what was at stake, attempting to isolate these events from the historical and political processes and ideas which frame them, and deepen the signification of the expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait. Considering the fact that Palestinian displacement from Kuwait (and subsequently many of the Arab Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE),...more

Bush Didn't Write No Damn Book
Palestine Chronicle: 11 Nov 2010 - By Ahamad Amr The first lie you'll encounter in 'Decision Points' is the identity of the author; Bush didn't write no damn book and if I'm wrong about that, I'll eat the shoe that Iraqi journalist threw at him. 'Decision Points' is a hoax as transparent as Clifford Irving's fake autobiography of Howard Hughes. Take a good look at the man who held the title of POTUS for eight years - he looks jittery and it’s worth speculating if he’s back on the bottle. I'm not suggesting that Bush is stupid. You need to be awful crafty to regurgitate the same WMD lies for eight years. I'm just saying that the ex-president was in no mental state to write a book - certainly not a book of this size. The entire book was probably farmed out to some Neo-con boiler room operation. The word is already out that Condi Rice...more

Growing Fascism in Israel
Palestine Chronicle: 11 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman Disturbing signs are ominous. On November 8, Israel demolished and ransacked a Negev Bedouin Arab mosque in Rahat, removing it for Jewish development. Professor Yousef Salamah called it "a criminal act," done on the pretext that it was unlicensed. "These are not new acts but were preceded by many incidents and attacks, when the Israeli authorities demolished dozens of mosques inside Israel, turning some into museums, barns, restaurants, synagogues and parking lots." Five Bedouins, Israeli citizens, were arrested for protesting. Others were attacked. On November 8, Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Yanir Yagnar headlined, "Defiant Bedouin(s) rebuild Rahat mosque razed by state," saying: Along with a one-day general strike, residents laid a foundation to rebuild. Yusuf Abu Jama, local leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement said: "If they continue to destroy it, we will rebuild the mosque over and over again." Southern District commander...more

Where Are You From? – A Poem
Palestine Chronicle: 11 Nov 2010 - By Dr. Abdel-Qader Yassine Where are you from? You ask... I am a gypsy, a wanderer, born of pain and affliction. Look at the map of the world, voyage across in a glance. Doubtless you will not find a land, where my fellow county-man has not drifted. Yet, You would not find P A L E S T I N E... I am the mystified soul of a sleep-walker, who at the full moon, strolls across the cliffs of endless desires at the foot of reality. Where are you from? You ask. I am from the land Where History was born. Jericho celebrated its 10 000th birthday last month. It was in Jericho that MAN first settled... It was here, 2000 years ago, A bare-footed Palestinian named Jesus preached to Mankind: "Know Ye the Truth... And the Truth shall make Thee Free..!" Where are you from? You ask. I am...more


Friday, November 12, 2010Top of page
Western media frightened of the 'F' word in its Israeli context
Alan Hart, Redress 11/12/2010
      There is a debate in Israel about whether the Zionist state is on the slippery slope to fascism or is already fascist. As far as I am aware the mainstream Western media has not drawn any attention to this.
     It was Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics, who, along with 27 other most influential Jews, first warned of the danger of the rise of fascism in Israel. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times published on 4 December 1948, when Menachem Begin was soliciting support in America, they said this:
     Einstein’s ominous warning:
     "Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.
     "The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents...."
more.. e-mail

To UNRWA’s Shenstone: Go home
Nasser Lahham, Ma’an News Agency 11/12/2010
      The UNRWA Workers Union continues its strike in November, demanding for more than a month better working conditions and a pay raise for 13 high-ranking officials who receive a smaller remittance than their international counterparts.
     Despite my reservations about the strike and its timing, particularly amidst the Israeli attack on Jerusalem and as Israel turns its back on Palestinian demands, I thought current Director op UNRWA Operations in the West Bank Barbara Shenstone would be able to manage the situation. Her meeting with the union, however, devolved the situation into a crisis and the strike continues.
     The events of the past month show Shenstone as a stubborn leader, tough and determined to act on principle. It seems, however, that she has also taken the matter personally, and is exacting a grudge without feeling the responsibility for the loss of UNRWA services to Palestinians.
     As a result, many notable figures in the country have asked her to leave the West Bank and return home. We have enough extremists and we do not need her. It would be better if she worked in the UN Archives.
     While Shenstone has all the credentials of a good leader, she lacks wise management skills. This became apparent as we watched her react to the workers on strike.
     On Sunday she described the demands of the workers as "absurd," and said it revolved around a demand that workers be "paid hourly wages they didn't receive the last time they went on strike, and we're not willing to do that."
     Since the start of the strike, 56,000 children in UNRWA schools are wandering the streets waiting for Shenstone to act generously and give up her pride and cede the demands of the union.
more.. e-mail

Was the Jordanian public wiser this time?
Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an News Agency 11/12/2010
      The elections of the 16th Jordanian Parliament held a number of surprises which point to the simple fact that Jordanians are wiser than many give them credit. Much work is still needed to bring about political reform and accountability, but there is no doubt that these elections have shown the political maturity of many citizens.
     This growing wisdom can be seen in both the decision to boycott the poll as well as in the choices made by the people who voted. The decision by the largest opposition party, the Islamic Action Front, and a coalition of secular (mostly left wing) smaller parties, to boycott was based largely on the deficiencies of the Elections Law.
     Most democracy and political reform experts agree that no serious and genuine political reform can take place in Jordan without a progressive elections law that guarantees a much fairer distribution of electoral seats.
     While the temporary law for the 16th Parliament increased the quota for women candidates to 12 and allowed populated cities such as Amman and Zarqa four more seats, the inequality between a district like Zarqa and the southern district of Karak, in terms of Parliament seats compared to population, remains a major problem of the electoral process.
     Furthermore, the introduction of the virtual or sectoral seats without a proper mechanism to ensure immediate transparency increased suspicion that the government whispered in the ears of some candidates which sectors of their district had weaker candidates.
     The turnout, whether it is the 53 per cent that the government announced or the lesser figure the opposition insists on, shows that the Jordanian government should take seriously the legitimate positions made by the parties that called for the boycott. I am sure that in future years the government will be more attentive to and less dismissive of the legitimate demands of the opposition.
more.. e-mail

Why Palestinians may one day thank Netanyahu
Electronic Intifada: 12 Nov 2010 - Asad Ghanem, a professor of political science at Haifa University, predicts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet will eventually come to rue their obduracy. The intransigence and the unabashed espousal of "an ideology of Jewish supremacy" by Netanyahu and his supporters will lead to the gradual "reunification" of the Palestinian people, Dr. Ghanem said in an interview.more

Major Dutch pension fund divests from occupation
Electronic Intifada: 12 Nov 2010 - The major Dutch pension fund Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW), which has investments totaling 97 billion euros, has informed The Electronic Intifada that it has divested from almost all the Israeli companies in its portfolio.more

Occupation Through A Child's Eyes
Palestine Monitor: 12 Nov 2010 - An exhibition of photographs taken by children from Nablus offers visitors a rare insight into childhood for Palestinians. Written and photographed by Clive Granger. Organiser Doris Carrion with one of her students. On the top floor of the cultural palace in Ramallah's old city this weekend children from Tomorrow Youth Organisation (TYO), a local NGO that works with young children, have the chance to exhibit photos they have taken of their home city Nablus. Miss Doris Carrion, a photography teacher from TYO, is organising the event. “We use the unique medium of photos to allow people to see the children's daily lives, their feelings and their hopes”, she says. Doris, who has been teaching at TYO for over a year now, says the main aims of her work are to help the children gain self-confidence, become more creative and be able to express themselves and the difficulties they face through...more

Foreign Affairs - Remaking the Middle East
Palestine Chronicle: 12 Nov 2010 - By Jim Miles The title from this issue of Foreign Affairs struck me as rather odd, in particular the subtitle 'New Challenges Call for New Policies. Are the U.S. and Israel Ready to Change Course?' (September/October 2010) The U.S. has been trying to remake the Middle East for quite some decades now as it gradually took over the role of the British and French as the local imperial power. The first article “Beyond Moderates and Militants - How Obama can Chart a New Course in the Middle East” struck me as a non-starter as Obama has done nothing to do away with Bush’s heritage and has extended it further east with another surge into Afghanistan and incursions and covert actions into Pakistan. The authors introduce Obama with what I perceive as an error in that “the Obama administration has rejected…the worldview of the Bush administration.” Perhaps rhetorically with vague talk...more

Palestine: A Family's Story
Palestine Chronicle: 12 Nov 2010 - By Ron Jacobs Ramzy Baroud left Gaza when he was a young man. He departed with mixed emotions, knowing full well he might never see his father or Gaza again. Once he left, his activities and the nature of the Israeli control of that piece of land made those fears come true. Since he left, he has become a chronicler of the struggle for a free Palestine and an advocate for a genuine and just solution to the ongoing conflict in his native land. His most recent addition to the aforementioned chronicle is a beautifully wrought memoir of his family. Titled My Father Was a Freedom Fighter , the book takes the reader into the life of a man who was driven from his birth village during the ethnic cleansing of parts of Palestine by Israeli Zionist forces. That man was Ramzy Baroud's father, Mohammed Baroud. Along with his family and...more


Saturday, November 13, 2010Top of page
Eric Cantor’s Pledge of Allegiance
Glenn Greenwald, Salon 11/13/2010
      Soon-to-be GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- the same day when the actual U.S. Secretary of State met with Netanyahu -- and vowed that he and his GOP colleagues would protect and defend Israeli interests against his own Government. According to a statement proudly issued by Cantor's own office:
     Regarding the midterms, Cantor may have given Netanyahu some reason to stand firm against the American administration.
     "Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington," the readout continued. "He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other."
     Leave aside the absurdity of believing that Israel needs to be protected from the extremely deferential and devoted Obama administration. So extraordinary is Cantor's pledge that even the Jewish Telegraph Agency's Ron Kampeas -- himself a reflexive American defender of most things Israel -- was astonished, and wrote:
     I can't remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president. Certainly, in statements on one specific issue or another -- building in Jerusalem, or somesuch -- lawmakers have taken the sides of other nations. But to have-a-face to face and say, in general, we will take your side against the White House -- that sounds to me extraordinary.
     As Kampeas notes, Cantor's office quickly disputed his understanding, but this is hardly the first time Cantor has violated supposedly sacred political conventions in order to side with Israel over his own country.... -- See also: In An ‘Unusual’ Meeting, Cantor Tells Netanyahu The GOP Majority ‘Will Serve As A Check’ On Obama’s Israel Policy
more.. e-mail

Ehud Barak’s criminal legacy regarding Israeli attitudes to the Palestinians
Uri Avnery, Redress 11/13/2010
      On Saturday evening, two weeks ago, we returned by taxi from the annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin, and as usual got into a conversation with our driver.
     Generally, these conversations flow smoothly, with lots of laughs. Rachel [Uri Avnery’s wife] loves them, because they bring us face-to-face with people we don’t normally meet. The conversations are necessarily short, the people express their views concisely, without choosing their words...
     But this time, things were less smooth. Perhaps we were more provocative than usual, still depressed by the rally, which was devoid of political content, devoid of emotion, devoid of hope. The driver became more and more upset, and so did Rachel. We felt that if we had not been paying customers, it might have ended in a fight.
     The views of our driver can be summed up as follows:
     - There will never be peace between us and the Arabs, because the Arabs don’t want it.
     - The Arabs want to slaughter us, always did and always will.
     - Every Arab learns from early childhood that the Jews must be killed.
     - The Koran preaches murder.
     - Fact, wherever there are Muslims, there is terrorism. Wherever there is terrorism, there are Muslims.
     - We must not give the Arabs one square inch of the country.
     - What did we get when we gave them Gaza back? We got Qassam rockets!....
more.. e-mail

Safed, a war story
Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/13/2010
      A campaign of racism and anti-Arab incitement is turning one of Israel’s holy cities into a ticking bomb
     The telephone rings. “Hello, this is Mustafa, I’m calling about the apartment.” The response comes quickly and emphatically: “No, it’s already been rented.” Or, “I only rent to women,” or “I only rent to families.” Or, in an angry tone: “Heaven forbid, do you want to stop me from reading the Torah on Shabbat,” or “I’m afraid of the rabbis.”
     For an entire hour, student Mustafa Shahin, a resident of Sakhnin who studies sociology and human resources at Safed College, made telephone inquiries – in vain. Because he is an Arab, the rental listings on the college bulletin boards are irrelevant. Mahmoud Abu Salah, Shahin’s representative in the student union (there are a total of eight representatives, but only one is an Arab ), says that he sometimes introduces himself on the phone as “Tomer” to get the conversation started. Now everyone has started calling Mahmoud “Tomer.” But that doesn’t mean people want to rent to Arab college students in Safed.
     The city is roiling: It recently hosted an “emergency conference” of 18 rabbis and 400 of their followers on this issue. There was an armed attack on an Arab student apartment. A Jewish legal ruling was handed down by the city’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu. Mayor Ilan Shohat and veteran resident Eliyahu Tzvieli, who rented an apartment to Bedouin students, have received threats. The message is: Arabs, go home.
     In response to plans for establishing a medical school in Safed, flyers were circulated last week by some sort of “campaign headquarters,” declaring: “The smokescreen called a medical school obscures an evil scheme: to establish a refugee camp for psychotic, sadistic and debased Arabs, whose deceptiveness is, and always has been, aimed at tempting [Jewish women] and cruelly abusing them..." -- See also: Source: Ha'aretz
more.. e-mail

Conditions Critical in Refugee Camps as Strike Continue
Palestine Monitor: 13 Nov 2010 - Outside the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, trash that has accumulated over the past month lies unattended, while schools and health clinics remain shut. The UNRWA workers have been on strike for nearly one month, demanding what they believe has become their right to strike. Written by Charlotte Silver. Photographs by Adam Bernstein. Today, workers of the United Nations Relief and Workers Agency in the West Bank will continue their strike that began on October 14. The area staff workers of UNRWA, who provide most of the daily services to refugee camps throughout the West Bank, are demanding that they are compensated for six-days of missed work during a strike last July. While UNRWA workers are on strike, UNRWA services such as, schools, clinics, trash pick-up, and food distribution have come to a halt. This issue dates back to July. After the strike the union and the UNRWA administration entered...more

Beit Ummar Youth Targeted Over Protests
Palestine Monitor: 13 Nov 2010 - Collective punishment has found a new focus in Beit Ummar. 13 youths aged 15-28 have been arrested for participation in peaceful demonstrations over the past month. Some are arrested during the demonstrations; others are picked up in aggressive midnight raids. Israelis soldiers often smash furniture and break windows, forcing families to wait outside as they abduct their children and vandalise their property. Written and photographed by Brynn Ruba. Hesham Abu-Maria attends the weekly protests in Beit Ummar along with his three young children. When asked if he is concerned that they may be arrested, Hesham explains “No one wants his children to join the demonstration because we are worried for them, but you cannot stop them from going. This is also their struggle.” Hesham has a reason to be fearful. His 20-year-old son Jihad Abu-Maria was arrested last month during a protest. He was seized by Israeli Special Forces posing...more


Sunday, November 14, 2010Top of page
Noam Chomsky: The betrayal of Gaza
Noam Chomsky, The New Statesman 11/8/2010
      The US is vocal about its commitment to peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories — but its actions suggest otherwise. That the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange. For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, not only is it possible, but there is near-universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognised (pre-June 1967) borders – with “minor and mutual modifications”, to adopt official US terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.
     The basic principles have been accepted by virtually the entire world, including the Arab states (which call for the full normalisation of relations), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (including Iran) and relevant non-state actors (including Hamas). A settlement along these lines was first proposed at the UN Security Council in January 1976 and backed by the major Arab states. Israel refused to attend. The United States vetoed the resolution, and did so again in 1980. The record at the General Assembly since is similar.
     But there was one important and revealing break in US-Israeli rejectionism. After the failed Camp David agreements in 2000, President Clinton recognised that the terms he and Israel had proposed were unacceptable to any Palestinians. That December, he proposed his “parameters”: imprecise but more forthcoming. He then stated that both sides had accepted the parameters, while expressing reservations.
     Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001 to resolve the differences and were making progress. At their final press conference, they reported that, with more time, they could probably have reached full agreement. Israel called off the negotiations prematurely, however, and official progress was then terminated, though informal discussions at a high level continued, leading to the Geneva Accord, rejected by Israel and ignored by the US. Much has happened since but a settlement along those lines is still not out of reach, if Washington is once again willing to accept it. Unfortunately, there is little sign of that.
     The US and Israel have been acting in tandem to extend and deepen the occupation. Take the situation in Gaza. After its formal withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel never relinquished its total control over the territory, often described as “the world’s largest prison”.
     In January 2006, Palestine had an election that was recognised as free and fair by international observers. Palestinians, however, voted “the wrong way”, electing Hamas. Instantly, the US and Israel intensified their assault against Gazans as punishment for this misdeed. The facts and the reasoning were not concealed; rather, they were published alongside reverential commentary on Washington’s dedication to democracy. The US-backed Israeli assault against the Gazans has only intensified since, in the form of savage violence and economic strangulation. After Israel’s 2008-2009 assault, Gaza has become a virtually unliveable place.
more.. e-mail

Empire for Liberty – Book Review
Jim Miles, Palestine Chronicle 11/13/2010
      Review: Empire for Liberty. Richard H. Immerman. Princeton University Press, 2010
     The title from this issue of Foreign Affairs (Remaking the Middle East) struck me as rather odd, in particular the subtitle “New Challenges Call for New Policies. Are the U.S. and Israel Ready to Change Course?” (September/October 2010) The U.S. has been trying to remake the Middle East for quite some decades now as it gradually took over the role of the British and French as the local imperial power.
     The first article “Beyond Moderates and Militants - How Obama can Chart a New Course in the Middle East” struck me as a non-starter as Obama has done nothing to do away with Bush’s heritage and has extended it further east with another surge into Afghanistan and incursions and covert actions into Pakistan. The authors introduce Obama with what I perceive as an error in that “the Obama administration has rejected…the worldview of the Bush administration.” Perhaps rhetorically with vague talk about change and hope, neither of which offer any practical solutions, leaving Obama’s actions to speak for themselves: unconditional support for Israel; kowtowing to AIPAC; supporting military occupation as a theoretical means to bring peace into the region; and basically not challenging any of the previous actions of the Bush administration. His appointees in a variety of positions within the executive are mainly from the previous Bush and Clinton administrations.
     Much of the article emphasises the Palestinian/Israeli problem. This “resumption of crises in the Persian Gulf, Lebanon, and between the Israelis and the Palestinians prompted an ongoing, persistently vicious, and periodically violent renegotiation in the balance of power among nations…and within nations.” There is much to argue with here. There has been no resumption of crises as it has been ongoing for decades and the “vicious and violent renegotiation” rises almost entirely from Israeli contravention of international laws of all kinds with U.S. support ideologically, financially, and militarily. This is combined with U.S. vicious and violent actions in pre-emptive wars in the region very similar in nature with regards to international law as the Israeli actions. That context is missing.
more.. e-mail

Palestine and the fate of the United Nations
Lawrence Davidson, Redress 11/13/2010
      The United Nations celebrated its 65th birthday (1945 to 2010) on 24 October 2010. At 65 the world body has lasted 27 years longer than its predecessor, the League of Nations (1919 to 1946). Will the UN go another 65 years? To help answer that question a quick look at what did in the League of Nations is in order.
     Fall of League of Nations
     The League of Nations was certainly not a perfect organization, infected as it was with the colonialist notions of its European founders. We can see that aspect of the organization in its mandate system which served as a cover for imperialism.
     But ultimately the mandate system is not what brought the League low. The fatal flaw was its inability to achieve its primary goal of preventing war by transcending the power of nationalism and compelling all states to end their quarrels through negotiation or arbitration.
     What success the League did have in this effort was restricted to a category of relatively weak states. For instance, it successfully brought an end to disputes between Columbia and Peru, Greece and Yugoslavia, Finland and Sweden, and even, in 1921, Poland and a very weak Germany.
     However, when disputes involved aggressive "great" powers, as they did in the 1930s, the League failed utterly. It was ultimately destroyed by its inability to project authority and influence, as well as punishment, on countries like belligerent Italy and resurgent Nazi Germany. As Mussolini observed while, with impunity, using poison gas on the Ethiopians, "the League is very good when sparrows shout, but no good at all when eagles fall out." He thought of Italy as an eagle.
more.. e-mail

Conditions Critical in Refugee Camps as Strikes Continue
Palestine Monitor: 13 Nov 2010 - Outside the Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, trash that has accumulated over the past month lies unattended, while schools and health clinics remain shut. The UNRWA workers have been on strike for nearly one month, demanding what they believe has become their right to strike. Written by Charlotte Silver. Photographs by Adam Bernstein. Today, workers of the United Nations Relief and Workers Agency in the West Bank will continue their strike that began on October 14. The area staff workers of UNRWA, who provide most of the daily services to refugee camps throughout the West Bank, are demanding that they are compensated for six-days of missed work during a strike last July. While UNRWA workers are on strike, UNRWA services such as, schools, clinics, trash pick-up, and food distribution have come to a halt. This issue dates back to July. After the strike the union and the UNRWA administration entered...more

Vox Taxi – Vox Dei
Palestine Chronicle: 14 Nov 2010 - By Uri Avnery On Saturday evening, two weeks ago, we returned by taxi from the annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin, and as usual got into a conversation with our driver. Generally, these conversations flow smoothly, with lots of laughs. Rachel loves them, because they bring us face-to-face with people we don’t normally meet. The conversations are necessarily short, the people express their views concisely, without choosing their words. They are of many kinds, and in the background we generally hear the radio news, talk shows or music chosen by the driver. And, of course, the soldier-son and the student-daughter are mentioned. But this time, things were less smooth. Perhaps we were more provocative than usual, still depressed by the rally, which was devoid of political content, devoid of emotion, devoid of hope. The driver became more and more upset, and so did Rachel. We felt that if we had...more


Monday, November 15, 2010Top of page
The Demasking Law
Hanan Hever, Ha'aretz, translated by Lia Tarachansky, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/15/2010
      The Loyalty oath law supports the stance of all the Zionist parties; It demasks the take over of fascism in Israel.
     The new citizenship law is a good law. According to the latest trends, it works in the interests of Israel. First of all, it makes clear the state of affairs in the country, that in the past year or rather since the summer of 2010, the country’s fascist side strengthens. It will increase the international pressure on Israel and it looks like it may be the only thing that can rescue Israel from the current bleak state of affairs.
     In essence, we aren’t talking about a revolutionary law. It doesn’t stand in opposition to the declaration of independence, rather it ratifies it. It is also not opposed to the position of all the Zionist parties. And hence, when the host of the Army Radio evening show, Yaron Velinsky tried to gather from Tzipi Livni (as from other opponents) why she opposes the law he got only verbal acrobatics. Even Ehud Barak attempted to add to the Loyalty Oath the declaration of independence, he did not differ from Avigdor Lieberman, and certainly not from Benjamin Netanyahu. He only strengthened the tight connection between the law and the declaration of independence. And indeed all the Zionist parties, including SHAS, revolve around the contradictory model of a “Jewish and democratic state”, when it is obvious that the country being Jewish must come at the expense of it being democratic.
     Jewishness, that is race and ethnicity as outlined in religion, is an essential element to reciving equal rights in Israel. That means that the new law makes clear to non-Jews who wish to join that they will be doing so as inferior tenants and that the Jewish Israeli society is built on the basis of religious purity of blood, or strict religious practice. Therefore, Israel, despite its statments, is essentially a Jewish nation and is not democratic. It is one who occupies another nation while discriminating against its Arab citizens. -- See also: Source: In Hebrew
more.. e-mail

Lunatic Zealots: Right wing nuts assault JVP members
Mitchell Plitnick, Palestine Note 11/15/2010
      The Jewish community as a whole needs to start getting a grip on the insane zealotry inherent in lock-step support of Israel.
     As someone who was raised in an orthodox community which supports settlements, anti-Arab racism and the sort of awful tendencies that have gained so much more prominence in both Israel and the American Jewish community in recent years, I also understand that the violence reported below, directed at two personal friends of mine whom I know to be non-violent, is not typical of most supporters of Israeli policies.
     But it is also the inevitable result of zealous nationalism, a force which not only leads so many Jews to support massive human rights violations by Israel but also to a growing split in our community between those who are willing to have a rational discussion about Israel (a group which includes many pro-Israel voices, ranging from supportive but critical ones like mine to others who believe that Israel is usually right but that discussion should remain free) and those who display the fanaticism that extremist nationalism so often produces.
     And, while it's true that criminal extremists like those who attacked my friends in Berkeley are the exception, they are also always to be found when people condone fanatic ideas and excuse behavior we would otherwise condemn because we identify in some way with the perpetrators. Sadly, that describes too much support of Israel, something that certainly need not be.
     One can also make the point that criticism of Israel, crucial of course for the rights of Palestinians, is critical today more than ever as Israeli policies and actions lead it to the precipice of national suicide. But for the sake of the Jewish future, we must, in any case, confront the zealous lunacy that support for Israel has become in some quarters. We should, most of us, be able to band together for that.
more.. e-mail

Palestine: A Family’s Story
Ron Jacobs, Dissident Voice 11/13/2010
      Ramzy Baroud left Gaza when he was a young man. He departed with mixed emotions, knowing full well he might never see his father or Gaza again. Once he left, his activities and the nature of the Israeli control of that piece of land made those fears come true. Since he left, he has become a chronicler of the struggle for a free Palestine and an advocate for a genuine and just solution to the ongoing conflict in his native land.
     His most recent addition to the aforementioned chronicle is a beautifully wrought memoir of his family. Titled My Father Was a Freedom Fighter, the book takes the reader into the life of a man who was driven from his birth village during the ethnic cleansing of parts of Palestine by Israeli Zionist forces. That man was Ramzy Baroud’s father, Mohammed Baroud. Along with his family and much of the rest of his village, the teenage Mohammed eventually found himself in the refugee camp called Nuseirat. Despite several journeys out of that camp to fight and to trade, he would die there some fifty years later. Not only would Baroud’s father never see the village of his childhood–Beit Daras–again, but the fate of Palestine was more uncertain than it had been ever since the creation of Israel.
     I have to be honest. Whenever I read a description of the travails of the Palestinian people since 1947, my human emotions kick in. Anger and sorrow are the most common. The description can be a personal memoir or a reasonably objective piece of journalism. It could be written by a sympathetic soul, an observer or a member of a group supporting the continued expansion of Israel. It doesn’t matter. The decades of suffering mirrored by a similar number of years opposing Israeli occupation; the uncaring response of a world seemingly numb to the actualities of Tel Aviv’s Orwellian newspeak describing the situation; and the seeming inevitability of more death and daily suffering always results in the aforementioned emotional responses.
more.. e-mail

US activists face new repression as political prisoners fight for justice
Electronic Intifada: 15 Nov 2010 - For decades the United States government has attempted to criminalize work in the Palestinian community in support of their national liberation cause. A special feature by The Electronic Intifada shows that in recent years, this repression has increased dramatically.more

Deported by Israel, but not discouraged
Electronic Intifada: 15 Nov 2010 - I was deported by the Israeli government for publicly expressing support for and participating in the growing global movement for Palestinian human rights and freedom. Israel's increased deportation of witnesses and activists such as myself comes as the solidarity movement including the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions gains momentum around the world.more

Jenin center director: "I want to create hope"
Electronic Intifada: 15 Nov 2010 - In 2005, three years after the Israeli army perpetrated a massacre and razed dozens of homes in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, a group of Palestinian youth established the Jenin Creative Cultural Center. The center provides cultural and educational services for children and youth ranging in age from six to 25. The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof interviews the center director Yousef Awad on the situation of children in Jenin.more

Sheikh Jarrah: Fighting For Survival
Palestine Monitor: 15 Nov 2010 - Hundreds of people gather every Friday afternoon in the village of Sheikh Jarrah to protest the Israeli evacuation of Palestinian families from their homes. Jewish, Palestinian, and international demonstrators join together in solidarity each week to peacefully protest the seizure and demolition of an entire Palestinian community. Written and photographed by Brynn Ruba. Sheikh Jarrah has historically housed on of the largest concentrations of Arabs outside the Old City in Jerusalem. The demolitions of Sheikh Jarrah are a clear indication of the continued policy of ethnic cleansing in the future Palestinian capital. / Sheikh Jarrah has been a Muslim neighborhood since long before the UN partition of 1948. According to the Ottoman census in 1905, the Sheikh Jarrah sub-district housed 167 Muslim families. / Children of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood watch the demonstration from a fence. Sheikh Jarrah is currently home to 28 families. / Israelis soldiers stand guard during the protest. Soldiers...more

'No Rights' for Palestinian Labourers in Settlement Industrial Zones
Palestine Monitor: 15 Nov 2010 - High unemployment and restrictions on travel into Israel have forced 25,000 labourers into working on Israeli-owned industrial zones in the West Bank. Beyond the reach of PA control, these workers are exploited by their Israeli employers. Written by Sophie Crowe. “The settlement factories are manned primarily by Palestinian labourers, who work in miserable conditions”, says Fathi Nasser, legal advisor with the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). “The employers of these factories disregard labour laws and should the worker complain, he will be dismissed”. According to Nasser, as it is so difficult to obtain authorisation to take a case before an Israeli court, providing real legal protection to these workers is very complicated. Kav LaOved is an organisation committed to protecting workers right in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. For five years, they have been educating Palestinian workers in settlements on how to protect themselves against abuse in the...more


Tuesday, November 16, 2010Top of page
Is the American Public About to Toss Israel?
Franklin Lamb, CounterPunch 11/16/2010
      A Growing Revulsion
     Ever so slowly over the past two decades, and gaining momentum since the April 2002 Israeli destruction of the West Bank town of Jenin, American attitudes toward Israel are changing. The American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy polling unit, that works on behalf of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations has argued that the American opinion shift accelerates with each Israeli outrage such as the saturation bombing of much of south Lebanon and south Beirut during the July 2006 war, the civilian slaughter, more than one-third women and children, in Gaza during the winter of 2008/9, the May 2010 murders and carnage committed against the Mavi Marmara, including the assassination of 19-year old American Furkan Dogan, and the cumulative effect of a half century of Geneva Convention and international law violations by Israel against occupied Palestine and Lebanon. Some opinion analysts, like the 2009 Zogby International poll of American attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians, express surprise by what they are learning from the American public and detect significant changes in American public attitudes favoring US disengagement from Israel.
     The NYT’s Tom Friedman seemed to concur during meetings in Israel recently: “US support for Israel could shatter like Humpty Dumpty-- and it could get ugly…You are losing the American people who believe me, are fed up with the Mideast in general. But they're also fed up with Israel. When they see their president working hard to try to tee up an opportunity…. And you say 'No, first pay me – let Jonathon Pollard out of jail, have Abu Mazen sing Hatikva in perfect Yiddish, and then we'll think about testing.' It rubs a lot of Americans the wrong way."
     Changes of US citizens attitudes toward Israel are evident in Lebanon also. Hundreds of Americans and other foreigners have visited Shatila and other Palestinian refugee Camps in Beirut in the past few years according to the Sabra Shatila Foundation that conducts tours of the camp. Many visiting Americans have been surveyed.
more.. e-mail

Cantor Recants
MJ Rosenberg, Political Correction 11/15/2010
      Soon-to-be House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is desperately trying to explain away the promise he made to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last Wednesday.
     Cantor huddled with Netanyahu just prior to the prime minister's meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton was expected to reaffirm the American commitment to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and opposition to Israeli settlement expansion. Cantor wanted Netanyahu to know that he had his back.
     Cantor's office itself put out a statement bragging about his pledge to Netanyahu:
     "Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington," the readout continued. "He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other."
     For now, forget Cantor's ridiculous assertion that the security of Israel and the United States are "reliant upon the other." No, the United States provides Israel with the security assistance to survive — it is not the other way around.
     But lay that aside. It is Cantor's statement of loyalty to Netanyahu that is the shocker. Specifically, it is his promise that he would ensure that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives "will serve as a check" on U.S. Middle East policy.
     Almost immediately, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's bureau chief in Washington, Ron Kampeas, declared that Cantor's statement was "extraordinary."....
more.. e-mail

Hammam El-Ein: The Jinn, Zumurrud, and the Stolen Child
Dr. Ali Qleibo, This Week in Palestine 10/30/2010
      In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 1. Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind, 2. The King (or Ruler) of Mankind, 3. The Allah (for judge) of Mankind, 4. From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil) who withdraws (after his whisper), 5. (The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind, 6. Among jinn and among men. Qur’an, Surah 114. An-Nas (Mankind)
     It was a time when running water did not reach the houses of the Old City; when electric lamp bulbs were neither strong enough nor evenly distributed to cover all the city’s lanes to dispel the dark shadows of the long winter nights from the labyrinthine streets of Jerusalem; and when the jinn, the afareet, and the amura (mischievous supernatural creatures) still populated the Old City.
     Zumurrud turned thirty-five years old and was still childless. Azeez, her fifty-five-year-old husband, did not complain. He was an easy-going man with a happy disposition. His nephews and nieces remembered him fondly. In his cheerful visits he dispensed candies, chocolates and pleasantries to them. Everyone loved him. But he was simple; therefore he believed that his wife, thirteen years after their marriage, had given birth to the baby he found in her arms when he came home. Her face pallid, almost yellow, she had weakly propped herself up in bed as she proudly nursed the newborn boy. His joy barely lasted a few hours. To the rhythm of a drum, the real family searched out his home after having called out his wife’s name in every street, alley, courtyard and smallest nook and cranny within the walls of the Old City. “Zumurrud has stolen our child…Return our child to us…”
     Even as an adult I never tired listening over and over again to Mother’s story of Zumurrud, the jinn, and the child stolen from Hammam El-Ein over seventy years ago....
more.. e-mail

StandWithUs member attacks Jewish Voice for Peace activists
Electronic Intifada: 16 Nov 2010 - Wrapped in an Israeli flag, San Francisco Voice for Israel/StandWithUs member Robin Dubner, an Oakland-based attorney, pepper-sprayed two Jewish Voice for Peace members in the eyes and face after they attempted to nonviolently block her ability to aggressively videotape the faces of JVP meeting attendees against their will.more

The myth of American pressure
Electronic Intifada: 16 Nov 2010 - The conventional wisdom is that when Washington has exerted pressure on Israeli governments they have eventually succumbed to American demands. However, a closer reading of the historical record and declassified American archival documents reveals a more complex dynamic between the two allies.more

100-year-old refugee gets new Gaza home in time for Eid
Electronic Intifada: 16 Nov 2010 - The four-member Abu Daher family lived their happiest day yet since Israeli army bulldozers crushed their cement home almost two years ago during Israel's massive assault on the Gaza Strip. Rami Almeghari reports from Gaza.more

Bush at Large
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Nov 2010 - By Ralph Nader George W. Bush is on a roll—a money roll with a $7 million advance for his book Decision Points and a rehabilitation roll to paint his war crimes as justifiable mass-slaughter and torture. His carefully chosen interviewers—NBC’s Matt Lauer and Oprah Winfrey—agreed to a safe pre-taping to avoid demonstrations and tough questions. Requests for him to speak are pouring in from business conventions and other rich assemblages willing to pay $200,000 for “the Decider’s” banalities. This is “Shrub’s” month in the sun. In his first week of book promotion, he was asked about anything he would have done had he known then what he knew now—especially regarding Iraq and its encircled dictator. Well, he deplored receiving “false intelligence” about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction which was one of several false claims he fed the American people before invading Iraq in 2003. But he has no...more

Middle East's Only Democracy Crushes Dissent
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Nov 2010 - By Tammy Obeidallah Ever since becoming an activist on behalf of Palestine some ten years ago, I have found ironic humor in the label, 'The Middle East’s Only Democracy' used by American policymakers and media in describing the Jewish State. This statement is erroneous on two counts. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of a democracy knows that Israelis overwhelmingly shun the values associated with such a system; furthermore quite a few countries in the Middle East hold elections regularly. Most recently, Jordan elected a new parliament. Of course there are those who argue that a democracy simply means “majority rule,” or that government leaders are elected, so technically Israel would qualify. “Democracy” is defined by www.thefreedictionary.com , “government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.” So in the purely political sense, as Israeli leaders are elected, they have democracy. However, the fifth definition of democracy reads “the principles...more

Netanyahu Reigns While Obama's Away
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Nov 2010 - By James Gundun – Washington, D.C. Should anything else be expected from Benjamin Netanyahu? Fresh off his jet, the Israeli Prime Minister hit New Orleans running with a loaded freight train - plans from the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee for 1,300 settlement units in East Jerusalem. US State Department officials reacted in pseudo-horror. Then plans surfaced for another 800 units in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, with final approval due in several months. Meanwhile incremental construction has broken ground across the West Bank. US and Israeli media reports increased their wonder as to the effects on Netanyahu’s upcoming meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - but why would there be any trouble? This was the plan all along with President Barack Obama out of town. Speaking before a gathering of the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans, Netanyahu didn’t even bother hiding the...more

Letter to the British Liberal Democrats
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Nov 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London Subject: Protecting war criminals 'just about the lowest thing anyone could do.' LibDem leaders know perfectly well that under 'universal jurisdiction' all states that are party to the Geneva Conventions are obliged to seek out and prosecute or extradite those suspected of grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them justice, regardless of nationality. "Grave breaches" means willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and other serious violations of the laws of war… the sort of atrocities that have been (and still are) committed wholesale by Israelis against civilians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and on the high seas. In other words, for these vilest of criminals there should be no hiding place. The British Government shirks its solemn duty. Fortunately the law at present allows private applications for arrest warrants. However,...more

Open Letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Nov 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh, Washington, D.C. Dear Secretary Clinton, My apologies for this open letter but I have been worrying that your briefing papers are not providing you with much-needed background for some of your decisions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, now in its sixty-second year, or that you do not have the time to read all the significant information that may be in your files. To start with, I must confess that I have been dismayed and disappointed since I read in the newspapers that you have offered several deplorable “incentives” to the Israeli prime minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, during your nearly eight-hour meeting in New York last week in return for a measly 90-day moratorium on Israeli colonial expansion in the occupied West Bank but not Arab East Jerusalem. Why not the Arab sector of the Holy City and why only 90 days?! We all know that under international...more

One-Sided Deal
Palestine Chronicle: 16 Nov 2010 - By Neve Gordon Imagine a sheriff offering the head of a criminal gang the following deal: 'If you agree to stop stealing from your neighbours for three months, I'll give you cutting edge weaponry and block any efforts by other law enforcement authorities to restrain your criminal activities.' Sounds absurd? Then how about this: in return for a three-month freeze of illegal construction in the occupied West Bank (but not in occupied East Jerusalem, where it may continue), Barack Obama has promised to deliver 20 F-35 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth $3 billion. Moreover, his administration has vowed to curb action by the United Nations on the Goldstone Report, block anti-Israel UN resolutions concerning the Gaza flotilla raid, and defeat resolutions aimed at exposing Israel’s nuclear programme at the International Atomic Energy Agency. In such situations it’s important to keep in mind that the sheriff (Obama) and not...more


Wednesday, November 17, 2010Top of page
Eid without a father and husband
Evie Soli, ISM, International Solidarity Movement 11/17/2010
      An interview with the wives of Abdallah and Adeeb Abu Rahma
     Al Eid is a holy time of the year for Muslims. Families gather and visit each other over the four holidays, which are for most a time for families to be together. When one member of the family is missing, it makes it hard to enjoy Al Eid in the same way. Thousands of families of Palestinian political prisoners are suffering because a family member is in prison. For Majida, wife of Abdallah Abu Rahma who has now been held for one year in Israeli jail under the accusation of “incitement,” every day without her husband is difficult. She expresses the pain of seeing her children missing their dad not only during Eid, but every day. Louma (8) and Layam (7) used to go with Abdallah on family visits, and are now crying when talking about their dad. His 1 and-a-half-year-old son Layath does not even remember his dad as he was only 7 months old the night Abdallah was arrested. “He says Baba when he sees Abdallah’s picture, but of course he does not know him, since he was just a baby”, Majida says. Also, for Adeeb Abu Rahma’s children, Eid is not the same without their father. Both families were hoping to have their fathers home for Eid, but the military prosecution managed to postpone the release in both cases.
     Arrested in front of his children
     I meet Majida and her children during the preparations for Eid. Louma and Layam are helping their mother in the house, while she is making the Palestinian dish “dawali” (rice rolled in grape leaves). She recalls the night when the family was brutally woken up by the Israeli Army breaking into their house: “I woke up by someone knocking the door 1:30am on the 10th of December (2009). Abdallah said it might be soldiers – because who else would come to pay a visit at that time?” Suddenly the door was broken down, and armed soldiers stormed the house. Abdallah was taken out in the stairway, with four soldiers blocking him from seeing his wife and children....
more.. e-mail

A coming war with Israel?
Sufian Abu Zaydeh, Ma’an News Agency 11/17/2010
      Listening to the statements of Israeli military and government officials, the conclusion that war is immanent is difficult to escape.
     With Israel's military commander and chief Gabi Ashkenazi turning out statements about "the enemy," and hints about a surprise attack, the specter of a war without a preceding provocation - even of the rhetorical sense - looms.
     Assessing the threat and the ultimate target of the war mongering remains difficult, with Israel pointing at enemies in the north and the south. Cells in Egypt, possible militants infiltrating into Gaza, danger in the Sinai; southern Israel remains on alert.
     In the north, Ashkenazi says an inevitable war awaits with Iran, Israel's arch-enemy, and closer to the border is Hezbollah, and Syria.
     And as military maneuvers with the troops prepare soldiers to face the mistakes made during the assaults on Gaza and southern Lebanon, preparations also continue on the home front. Local Israeli authorities get training on what to do when the rockets fly, with bomb shelters and body bags for every locale.
     Through all the preparations, Israeli officials maintain the grip of fear over the population; the threat of constant danger and the idea that things could be worse always at play.
     The worse case today would be Gaza, since a war on Gaza would leave the north unprotected, opening Israel to the rockets of Hezbollah and even Iran. A war on any front would mean rockets flying at Israel from all directions, and Israeli preparations have been all encompassing, not giving much of a hint as to where forces may strike.
more.. e-mail

Russia and Iran try to mend historic rift in ties
Dmitry Zaks, Ma’an News Agency 11/17/2010
      MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) -- The presidents of Russia and Iran will meet in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on Thursday hoping to mend an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the two traditional allies.
     The Caspian Sea Summit of leaders of five littoral states seeks to address overlapping claims that the region's powers have to the vast energy riches believed to be buried offshore.
     But the encounter in Baku between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is sure to overshadow a summit that has a history of ending with little progress.
     "This represents Iran's last chance to come to terms with the international community," said Dmitry Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center.
     "It is an extremely important meeting that comes amid an unprecedented deterioration of the bilateral relations," agreed Rajab Safarov of the Contemporary Iranian Studies Centre in Moscow.
     "Our relations have not been this low at any point in our recent history," he noted.
     Russian-Iranian tensions came to the boil this September when Moscow -- after repeated delays -- officially dropped plans to supply Tehran with high-precision S-300 missiles and a batch of other sensitive arms.
     The S-300s are seen as Tehran's best defence from any potential attack by Washington and were the subject of vociferous objections from both the US administration and Israel.
more.. e-mail

Book review: An Israeli academic's struggle against McCarthyism
Electronic Intifada: 17 Nov 2010 - The Israeli historian Ilan Pappé's new memoir Out of the Frame manages to link Pappé's personal struggle against Israeli McCarthyism with a broader struggle for human and political rights of which academic freedom is merely one aspect. Raymond Deane reviews for The Electronic Intifada.more

With Netanyahu bribe, Washington going for broke
Electronic Intifada: 17 Nov 2010 - Another setback for the Palestinian national movement may be unfolding as Barack Obama dangles a lavish package of incentives in the face of Benjamin Netanyahu in an attempt to lure the Israeli prime minister into renewing a three-month, partial freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.more

The obstacles to reporting the truth about war
Electronic Intifada: 17 Nov 2010 - The threats of death, maiming and incarceration are perhaps the worst and most direct obstacles to the objective coverage of situations in which human rights violations are committed daily. But by no means do they alone account for problems relating to global coverage of war, politics and human rights in the Middle East today.more

Israel's Toxic Chemical Factories Giving Cancer to West Bank Residents
Palestine Monitor: 17 Nov 2010 - The settlements' chemical factories poison Palestinian lands with toxic waste and expose residents to carcinogenic fumes. The factory workers are more vulnerable to cancer due to their employers' failure to provide protective clothing. Special report from Sophie Crowe. The Nitzanei Shalom, (buds of peace), industrial zone sits between the West Bank town of Tulkarem and the border with Israel. The land was expropriated by the Israeli army in the 80's to be developed as a site for dangerous chemical factories, illegal in Israel. Geshuri Industries is one such factory, producing pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers. It was originally located in the Israeli town of Kfar Saba, until a court declared it a health hazard, forcing it to close down in 1982. The owner avoided Israel's strict environmental laws by moving the factory to Nitzanei Shalom. Dangerous factories such as these usually appear in the settlements, under the jurisdiction of the Israeli...more

Obama's Bribe: Palestinians Will Be the Losers - Again
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Nov 2010 - By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth Watching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians drag on year after year without conclusion, it is easy to overlook the enormous changes that have taken place on the ground since the Oslo Accords were signed 17 years ago. Each has undermined the Palestinians' primary goal of achieving viable statehood, whether it is the near-trebling of Jewish settlers on Palestinian land to the current numbers of half a million, Israel's increasing stranglehold on East Jerusalem, the wall that has effectively annexed large slices of the West Bank to Israel, or the splitting of the Palestinian national movement into rival camps following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Another setback of similar magnitude may be unfolding as Barack Obama dangles a lavish package of incentives in the face of Benjamin Netanyahu in an attempt to lure the Israeli prime minister into renewing a three-month, partial...more

A Bribe too Good to Refuse
Palestine Chronicle: 17 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman When all else fails, offer money, or in this case weapons for peace (a clear oxymoron) via for a three month settlement construction moratorium in name only. In fact, new building is unimpeded, Obama's offer a facade to hide reality on the ground. More on the deal below. Last December, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the moratorium, saying he hoped it would launch meaningful peace talks. They're entirely fraudulent ones, a grand illusion even Netanyahu once called "a waste of time." Decades of Israeli/Palestinian/US relations prove nothing from Washington or Tel Aviv can be trusted, their word never their bond. On November 13, PeaceNow.org said since late October, the end Netanyahu's moratorium, "settlers (began) build(ing) 1,629 housing units, and even (dug) foundations for 1,116 of them. (Work began) in 63 settlements, 46 of them east of the Separation (Wall) and 17 on (its) western side." Moreover, throughout...more


Thursday, November 18, 2010Top of page
AIPAC on the brink: And not one word in MSM
MJ Rosenberg, Palestine Note 11/17/2010
      AIPAC is in big trouble and the media is ignoring it. If this was, say, the National Rifle Association or NARAL, this story would be on page one.
     But it's AIPAC, and few want to mess with it. ( Clay Swisher's does here. ). And here is Nathan Guttman at the Forward.
     The story was broken in a Antiwar.com piece but is carried in the court filings by AIPAC and its ex-employee Steve Rosen who was fired by the lobby after being indicted under the Espionage Act (the case never went to trial).
     So now Rosen is suing AIPAC for "unlawful dismissal" and defamation of character. If he wins, AIPAC could have trouble meeting the mortgage payments on its brand new eight story headquarters a few blocks from the Capitol.
     So, on November 10th, it fired back at Rosen.
     I am not going into the details except to say that with all the illicit goings on at AIPAC (this is a X rated document), it is hard to believe it had the time to intimidate the entire US Congress into permanent submission.
     Beyond the smut, the most shocking revelation in the court documents is when Rosen reveals that immediately upon being told by the FBI that he was in serious trouble, and being warned by AIPAC's counsel to come immediately to his office and talk to no one in advance, he immediately ran to meet with the #2 at the Israeli embassy. -- See also: Aljazeera: AIPAC's civil war revealed and Forward: AIPAC Gets Down and Dirty in Pushback vs. Defamation Suit
more.. e-mail

A follow up on my fifth grade essay: Education at gunpoint
Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Note 11/18/2010
      I recall the first sentence of my fifth grade essay on "Education and Youth". Written with the occasional aid of my father, and dotted with clichés, it might have read something like this:
     "Youth is the backbone of any nation, and education is essential to arm the youth with the knowledge they need to lead their societies toward change, progress and prosperity."
     The grayish blue pencil I used to write my essay with was one of several items handed annually by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff to refugee children in many schools scattered throughout the Gaza Strip. My Arabic teacher was Abu Kamal al-Hanafi, a wonderful man with a terrible temper, who was also the Imam of the local mosque. My classroom had exactly 62 students. My desk was as old as the Israeli occupation of Gaza, if not older. The roof was filled with holes, creating an exciting spectacle as birds flew in and out, often nesting in available spaces. Watching these scenes made the brutish Arabic grammar lessons bearable, and eased the fear caused by Abu Kamal's bouts of anger and the occasional Israeli gunfire in and around the refugee camp.
     While the introduction to my "Education and Youth" essay was clichéd and I may not have known what many of the terms actually meant, its overriding sentiment remains as true for me now as it ever was.
     I remembered my essay as I read about the first World Education Forum (WEF) in Palestine, which took place in several regions throughout historic Palestine, including Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jaffa, Bethlehem and the Gaza Strip. Those who were denied access by Israeli authorities had their own conference in Lebanon. The event, which started on October 28, lasted four days.
more.. e-mail

Residents fume as court approves Jewish-only housing
Jillian Kestler-D'Amours, Ma’an News Agency 11/18/2010
      TEL AVIV, Israel -- A recent Israeli Supreme Court decision to give the green light to an organization that intends to build a Jewish-only apartment complex in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Ajami in Jaffa has local residents and associations up in arms.
     “We are very disappointed from the decision of the [Supreme] Court,” said Sami Abu Shahadeh, the Coordinator of Darna, The Popular Committee for Housing Rights in Jaffa.
     “The result of this decision is that it is legal and legitimate to build a settlement in the heart of the Ajami neighborhood, which has a vast Arab majority. The settlement is closed only for national, religious Jews, and this means that anyone who is living now in the Ajami neighborhood – Arab or Jew – is not allowed to have an apartment in the project which is built nearby his house,” he said.
     Indeed, with the Supreme Court’s ruling, Be’emunah, a settler movement that aims to create ideological and religious Jewish communities in cities with large Palestinian populations, was given the go-ahead to build 20 apartments in the heart of Ajami.
     28 Palestinian residents of Jaffa were petitioning against the Israeli Lands Authority, which sold land tenders to Be’emunah.
     According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal on the basis that it was theoretical in nature, insomuch as “the rights to the land already have been granted to a real estate purchasing company created by Be'emunah.”
     The court found that while it was important for the ILA to oversee the selling of land in a non-discriminatory way in the future, “the appeal is against a done deal, and the requested support is no longer practical. There is no longer a practical possibility of taking away the respondents' rights to the plot of land,” Haaretz reported.
more.. e-mail

The deadly lie of democracy in Iraq
Electronic Intifada: 18 Nov 2010 - An elections process in Iraq cleverly diverts all attention from the colossal incompetency of the government, and spins the tall tale of a young, fledgling born-again country instead. The reality is that democracy in Iraq does not exist beyond the show business of sham elections. Ahmed Habeeb comments for The Electronic Intifada.more

A privatized Nakba
Electronic Intifada: 18 Nov 2010 - Palestinians describe the Israel Land Administration Law (ILA) quietly passed by the Israeli Knesset in 2009 as the final stage in the 62-year process of displacement from their homeland. The legislation is expected to have a long-term, disastrous impact on Palestinian lives and precludes the possibility of a negotiated resolution to the conflict.more

Settlements Wiping Out Natural Life in the Jordan Valley
Palestine Monitor: 18 Nov 2010 - We spent two days in the Auja area north of Jericho on a field trip to survey what remains of the animals and plants in one of hundreds of areas directly devastated by Israeli occupation policies. Our host and guide was Mubarak Zawahra, a father of seven young children who lives near Bethlehem but his mother and many of his brothers live in the Jordan valley. The path of Wadi Auja spring, now dry. Before their lives were restricted and devastated by the occupation they usually held two locations (one for the winter months and one for the summer months). They relied on their flocks of sheep and goats that they grazed in the wide open areas around the two locations. They also raised pigeons and chickens and occasionally planted crops. Mubarak's father was so successful at what he did that at one point he and his 16 children had...more

There Could Never Be Peace Without a Minimum of Justice
Palestine Monitor: 18 Nov 2010 - Mustafa Barghouthi, Palestine, PNI, thanked the Socialist International for its constant efforts to support the cause of peace in Palestine and in the Middle East, and he apologised for questioning whether the current discussion could be called a debate when the representative of the Israeli Labour Party had left immediately after giving his speech. He urged participants to face the reality that there was a deadlock in the so-called peace process. It was not hard to imagine what would happen to the proximity talks, and the very big risk of failure due to the continuation of the same policy of settlement expansion, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, and oppressive measures in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel was negotiating via bulldozers. He mentioned Aualage, a small village in Bethlehem in the heart of the West Bank which was losing all its land to Israeli bulldozers and a wall that was three...more

Mustafa Barghouti decorated with the Insignia of Officer of the French Legion of Honour
Palestine Monitor: 18 Nov 2010 - Bernard Kouchner delivered on Monday 15th of November during an official ceremony at the Quai d'Orsay, the Insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour to Mustafa Barghouti, President of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. This decoration demonstrates the support of France to the determined action of this well known Palestinian figure in favour of peace and defence of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories. During a speech he gave on this occasion, Bernard Kouchner recalled the exceptional career of a “colleague and great friend since 25 years”, “a tireless advocate of Palestinian aspirations and a convinced pacifist” who “dedicated his courage, energy and skills to the Palestinian people, and especially the most vulnerable.more

A Follow Up on My Fifth Grade Essay: Education at Gunpoint
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Nov 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud I recall the first sentence of my fifth grade essay on 'Education and Youth'. Written with the occasional aid of my father, and dotted with clichés, it might have read something like this: “Youth is the backbone of any nation, and education is essential to arm the youth with the knowledge they need to lead their societies toward change, progress and prosperity.” The grayish blue pencil I used to write my essay with was one of several items handed annually by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff to refugee children in many schools scattered throughout the Gaza Strip. My Arabic teacher was Abu Kamal al-Hanafi, a wonderful man with a terrible temper, who was also the Imam of the local mosque. My classroom had exactly 62 students. My desk was as old as the Israeli occupation of Gaza, if not older. The roof was filled...more

Liar, Liar
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Nov 2010 - By Philip Giraldi President Barack Obama's speech in Indonesia in which he conceded that the United States must do more to establish a good working relationship with many Muslim nations would have ranked as one of the more pathetic performances by an American president in recent years but for the fact that there have been so many awful performances to choose from. The president’s grammar and syntax were perfect and the speech was cleverly crafted, exactly what we have come to expect. It was replete with carefully designed pauses, Indonesian words and phrases, and some self deprecating humor, but it was characteristically bloodless and completely tone deaf. One almost longed to see Bill Clinton choking up and shedding a tear or two. Obama’s spin team made a heroic effort to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. They likened the Indonesia speech to his Cairo offering seventeen months ago,...more


Friday, November 19, 2010Top of page
Website reveals details of hundreds of IDF ‘war criminals’
Shanni Gurkevitch, YNetNews, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/18/2010
      Those behind it claim, ‘People listed here held positions of command therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same’
     A website that went online Tuesday has published a list of 200 IDF soldiers which it classifies as directly involved in operations carried out in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. Each entry features the soldiers and officers’ pictures and personal details, including identification numbers and addresses.
     “In underlining them we are purposefully directing attention to individuals rather than the static structures through which they operate,” the website states while calling on visitors to spread the info “widely”. The reliability of the information is as yet unclear.
     “Underlining the following people is an act of retribution and affront. They are the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in Dec. – Jan. 2008- 2009 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza” noted the website. The website has no special design or graphics, just a table of names of soldiers listed in alphabetic order which the site claims, served in the army in the winter of 2008-2009.
     Soldiers listed include officers from the very top of the IDF hierarchy – Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and down to a sergeant in the infantry training program.
     “The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same. They bear a distinctive personal responsibility...." -- See also: Source: YNet and Exposed: 200 Israeli army offices suspected of war crimes in Gaza
more.. e-mail

Nadia Hijab: What if Peace Talks 'Succeed?'
Nadia Hijab, al-Shabaka 9/22/2010
      How can Palestinians ensure their rights are protected and fulfilled if an agreement is reached?
     Many commentators expect the direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians to fail. But there is a much worse scenario: What if they “succeed?” The United States appears determined to push for a framework agreement within a year and both Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), are aiming for that goal. Such an agreement, U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell explained in a September 2 press conference, would be more than a declaration of principles but less than a peace treaty. In it, the two sides would reach the “fundamental compromises” necessary for a peace accord. Like its predecessor, the Obama administration has already indicated that the accord would still have to be fleshed out and then implemented over the course of several years – which virtually ensures that it will be delayed if not derailed as happened to past peace accords.
     If the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and PA were unable to secure a sovereign state and rights through U.S.-brokered negotiations with Israel between 1993 and 2000, when they were in a much stronger position, they are highly unlikely to do so today with such a badly skewed Israeli-Palestinian power dynamic. Instead, next year is likely to see a grand ceremony where Palestinian leaders will sign away the right of return and other Palestinian rights in an agreement that would change little on the ground. The plan of the PA’s appointed prime minister, Salam Fayyad, to declare a Palestinian state in 2011 could unwittingly contribute to this outcome by providing the appearance of an “end of conflict” while the reality remains unchanged. If the rest of the world sees that the government of “Palestine” is satisfied with international recognition and a U.N. seat, they will be happy to move on to other problems leaving the Palestinians at Israel’s mercy.
     Such a scenario could sound a death-knell for Palestinian human rights....
more.. e-mail

Helen Thomas recognized with the Mehdi courage in journalism award in face of hateful onslaught from pro-Israel fanatics
Ray Hanania, Palestine Note 11/19/2010
      Helen Thomas is a hero. For more than 57 years, she has stood up to all forms of discrimination. First as a woman journalist in a man's world. Second as a fiercely objective journalist who questioned every President From Eisenhower to Obama with the same principles of justice, objectivity and balance. And Third, she is a hero because she has stood up to the onslaught of ugly name-calling from extremists in the American Jewish Community who are not happy kicking Palestinians out of Palestine, they want to kick them out of America, too.
     Tonight (Thursday Nov. 18) in Washington DC, Thomas will receive among many honors the Dr. M.T. Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award from the National Arab American Journalists Association and ADC (the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee). The award was established in 1999 to honor the work of journalists who have stood up to hatred, fear mongering, defamation and slander because of their work. It is presented to journalists who have shown courage in speaking and writing the truth in the face of overwhelming public anger.
     It is so easy for many mainstream American journalists to remain silent, rather than to expose the hypocrisies in American society, especially after the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001. It is easy because the hatred and racism against Arabs and Muslims in America has reached an unprecedented height. Arabs and Muslims are easy prey for racists and bigots because the American public is so uneducated about truth and accuracy and they are fed a constant stream of lies from the mainstream American media.
     And those Arabs and Muslims who dare to challenge the lies in the coverage of the rights of the Palestinian people are even easier to target because on top of the bigots and racists who attack Arabs and Muslims, American Jews often also join in the assaults against morality and ethics.
more.. e-mail

Cinematic therapy for Israeli soldiers
Electronic Intifada: 19 Nov 2010 - Director Samuel Maoz's reduction of Lebanon to the interior of an Israeli military vehicle alerts us to the film Lebanon's insular vision right away. Belén Fernández comments for The Electronic Intifada.more

Nakba Through Legislation
Palestine Monitor: 19 Nov 2010 - Charlotte Silver analyses the effects of land bills being passed through the Israeli Parliament. Palestinians face mass expulsions on a scale reminiscent of 1948. Palestinians describe the Israel Land Administration Law (ILA) quietly passed by the Israeli Knesset in 2009 as the final stage in the 62-year process of displacement from their homeland. The legislation is expected to have a long-term, disastrous impact on Palestinian lives and precludes the possibility of a negotiated resolution to the conflict. This legislation builds on a gradual transition from a welfare-based government to one based on neoliberal policies that began in the 1980s. Recently, the evolution took a dramatic step, as Israel enacted laws that privatize its historically state-owned land. While very little media attention has been given to this development, this law has profound implications for Palestinians. In contrast to most countries, Israel has retained state control over and ownership of the bulk...more

Distorting Iranian-Latin American Relations
Palestine Chronicle: 19 Nov 2010 - By Belén Fernández According to an article in the Israeli daily Haaretz entitled 'Iran, Venezuela plan to build rival to Panama Canal', the current border dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua - in which the former country has accused the latter of sending military troops into its territory along the San Juan River during a river dredging project - is a 'trial balloon' for a new Iranian-funded "'Nicaragua Canal' linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans." The article takes care to specify that Costa Rica is "a country without an army" but does not suggest whether the announcement earlier this year regarding U.S. naval militarization of the Central American nation might also have constituted a trial balloon for something. While the article goes on to state that “[t]he plan has aroused concern in Washington, and the U.S. has started behind the scenes efforts to foil it,” this information is curiously juxtaposed...more

Palestinians' White Knight Blots His Escutcheon
Palestine Chronicle: 19 Nov 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London From champion of the vulnerable to betrayer in one bound… Nick Clegg, Britain's new deputy prime minister, is surprisingly agile. Betrayal started with Sheffield Forgemasters, a well-respected company in Clegg's own constituency, who were promised a government loan to enable them to compete for large contracts in the nuclear industry. This was cancelled as soon as the new government was formed with Clegg as deputy prime minister. He had no shame fouling his own doorstep. Before the election Clegg’s party, the Liberal Democrats, pledged to scrap university tuition fees and free graduates from crippling debt, but he has abandoned this too instead of putting up a fight. Millions are disgusted. Now the betrayal extends to the question of justice for the Palestinians and the arrest of war criminals. So brave then... Nick Clegg was, until recently, regarded by many in the struggle as one of...more

Stonewalling Goldstone
Palestine Chronicle: 19 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman On September 15, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council's (HRC) Goldstone Commission issued its findings on Cast Lead, Israel's war of aggression against Gaza, inflicting enormous loss of life, thousands of injuries, massive human suffering, and vast destruction, despite no provocation or threat to Israeli security. The Commission concluded that "there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity." Notably the Commission said: "While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right of self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole." Defensive rocket attacks in response to repeated Israeli provocations...more

A Follow Up on My Fifth Grade Essay: Education at Gunpoint
Palestine Chronicle: 18 Nov 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud I recall the first sentence of my fifth grade essay on 'Education and Youth'. Written with the occasional aid of my father, and dotted with clichés, it might have read something like this: “Youth is the backbone of any nation, and education is essential to arm the youth with the knowledge they need to lead their societies toward change, progress and prosperity.” The grayish blue pencil I used to write my essay with was one of several items handed annually by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff to refugee children in many schools scattered throughout the Gaza Strip. My Arabic teacher was Abu Kamal al-Hanafi, a wonderful man with a terrible temper, who was also the Imam of the local mosque. My classroom had exactly 62 students. My desk was as old as the Israeli occupation of Gaza, if not older. The roof was filled...more


Saturday, November 20, 2010Top of page
Economic prison zones
Sam Bahour, Ma’an News Agency 11/20/2010
      When a project mixes the feel-good words of jobs, economic development and Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, how can anyone complain?
     These things are some of what the international community has been promising to deliver through the construction of industrial free trade zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The free trade zone model has been promoted locally and globally by powerful third parties like the United States, France, Germany, Turkey and Japan for two decades, but none has much to show for the enormous efforts and amounts of money spent to bring these zones to life.
     Nonetheless, the project’s proponents expect the zones to constitute the economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. They hope that, by bolstering Palestine’s economy, the zones will make Palestinians less prone to social upheaval, less insistent on their national rights and more amenable to the status quo. The idea is that a peace agreement with Israel will ensue.
     While this expectation is unlikely to be realized -- at least not in the way that the projects’ advocates anticipate -- these mega-employment projects present a serious challenge to those who strive to build an independent and viable economic foundation for a future Palestinian state. Because the zones will depend on Israeli cooperation to function, and because they will exist within an Israeli-designed economic system that ensures Palestinian dependence on Israel, they cannot form the basis of a sovereign economy. Relying on them will perpetuate the status quo of dependency.
     The industrial zones currently under construction in the West Bank are the al-Jalama zone, in the north near Jenin, led by Germany with the support of Turkey; the Bethlehem zone led by France....
more.. e-mail

Who’s laughing?
Uri Avnery, Ma’an News Agency 11/20/2010
      "A disaster!" the courtiers of the King of Hanover cried, "Seven renowned professors at Göttingen University have published a declaration of protest against you!"
     That was 173 years ago. The king had suspended the liberal constitution enacted by his predecessor.
     "So what," the king replied, "Tarts, dancers and professors I can always buy."
     This story was told me by Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who was himself a professor of half a dozen vastly different disciplines, from bio-chemistry to the philosophy of science. He held many of his colleagues in profound contempt.
     He told me this story when we were talking about one professor in particular: Shlomo Avineri, who had just agreed to serve as Director General of the Foreign Office under Minister Yigal Alon. Alon was the author of the "Alon Plan," which provided for the annexation of wide stretches of occupied territory.
     This week, Avineri published an article under the headline "Fascism? You make me laugh!"
     What made him laugh? The ridiculous (for him) argument that there exist fascist tendencies in Israel. He reminded us that fascism means the Gestapo, concentration camps and genocide. How could we forget.
     Avineri is a respected professor, an expert on Hegel and Zionism. He is also a valiant warrior against "post-Zionists" and other miscreants who criticize classical Zionism.
more.. e-mail

Implications of the 'Chosen People' Myth
Gary Leupp, Dissident Voice 11/19/2010
      "Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the people of Israel." — Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas party spiritual leader, Oct. 11, 2010
     The Shas Party is a mainstream Israeli political party founded in 1984 by ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Jews. The name is an acronym for Shomrei Torah Sephardim or “Observant Sepharadim.” (Sepharadim are for the most part Jews tracing their ancestry to the Iberian Peninsula, as opposed to the Ashkenazim who trace theirs to Germany, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. They are sometimes grouped together with the Mizrahim who have lived for centuries in the Arab Middle East, Iran and Uzbekistan.)
     The party holds 11 seats in the Israeli Knesset (parliament). Its first leader, Rabbi Yitzhak Peretz, served as a interior minister in the 1980s. Its current spiritual leader, 90 year old Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, holds no political position but four Shas members now hold posts (including interior minister) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
     It is an anti-intellectural, religiously fundamentalist party. Like many groups in the U.S., and many prominent U.S. politicians, it rejects (and misrepresents) evolutionary theory, a pillar of modern science. One of its TV campaign ads bore the message, “One old Sepharadi lady kissing a Torah book with a tear in her eye is worth more than 40 university professors who tell us we are descended from monkeys.”
     Yosef is head of Shas’s “Council of Torah Sages.” From 1973 to 1983 he was the Chief Rabbi of Israel’s Sephardic Jews, who with his Ashkenazi counterpart headed Israel’s Chief Rabbinate....
more.. e-mail


Sunday, November 21, 2010Top of page
Israel’s War Against the Dead
Lawrence Swaim, CounterPunch 11/19/2010
      In June, 2005, the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles began construction in Jerusalem of an ambitious new facility. This project was variously referred to by Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and “dean” of the SWC, as the “Center for Human Dignity,” the “Center for Human Dignity—Jerusalem” and most pretentiously, the “Center for Human Dignity—Museum of Tolerance.” (Ground-breaking on the construction site had occurred in 2004, giving Arnold Schwarzenegger an opportunity to fly to Israel for one of his many photo ops with Rabbi Heir.) This sprawling structure was to be built on a parking lot that was supposedly adjacent to a historic Muslim ceremony; but which actually turned out to be directly on top of a part of it.
     The cemetery, called the Mamilla Cemetary (Ma’Man Allah in Arabic), was an extremely old Muslim burial ground that was once the most important in Palestine, and in the Middle East generally. The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, in a petition to the UN and other international organizations to stop construction of the Wiesenthal Museum, wrote as follows: “The Mamilla Cemetery is an ancient Muslim burial ground and holy site believed to date back to the 7th century, when companions of the Prophet Muhammad were reputedly buried there. Numerous saints of the Sufi faith and thousands of other officials, scholar, notables and Jerusalemite families have been buried in the cemetery over the last 1000 years. The Muslim Supreme Council declared the cemetery a historical site in 1927, and the British Mandate authorities pronounced it an antiquities site in 1944. It was an active burial ground until 1948.”
     “After the new State of Israel seized the western part of Jerusalem in 1948, the cemetery fell under Israeli control, and like other Islamic endowment properties, or waqf, Mamilla Cemetery was taken over by the Custodian for Absentee Property. Since then, Muslim authorities have not been allowed to maintain the cemetery.”....
more.. e-mail

Israel army showed ’intent to kill’ in Gaza shelling
Jared Malsin, Ma’an News Agency 11/21/2010
      BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip -- On 13 September, a day after Israeli tank shells decapitated his 16-year-old son, Walid Abu Oda went back to his family's northern Gaza farm in a vain search for the head.
     Asked how he was coping with the loss, he said, "How do you think it feels to lose a son, to see your son without his head?"
     The killing of Walid's son, Ismail Abu Oda, along with his friend Hussam Abu Sayed, 17, and his grandfather Ibrahim Abu Sayed, 91, is raising questions about whether Israel has taken sufficient strides to bring it's army into compliance with international humanitarian law.
     The incident was similar to previous incidents, such as those described in judge Richard Goldstone's UN-mandated report on Israel's winter war on Gaza. Human rights groups say the September killings and others only underscore the importance of implementing the report's call for investigations and accountability.
     A lack of credible investigations, by Israel or international bodies, into these and other allegations makes it likely that Israeli soldiers will continue to violate the laws of war in Gaza. The dearth of probes "makes it very easy for the soldiers and the commanders first to shoot and second to get away with it," said Mahmoud Abu Rahmah, a spokesman for the Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.
     Immediately following the shelling, the Israeli military announced it was merely “returning fire” at “suspects” who, they claimed, fired rocket-propelled grenades at Israeli forces.
     Initial reports in the Israeli media repeated the military’s claims verbatim. "Shells kill three as IDF targets militant on Gaza Strip border,” declared the headline that ran in the next day’s edition of Haaretz.
more.. e-mail

AIPAC Bares All to Quash Lawsuit
Grant Smith, Antiwar.com 11/15/2010
      Sex, spies, and videotape
     On Nov. 8, 2010, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) filed a massive 260-page motion [.pdf] in the District of Columbia Superior Court. It asks Judge Erik Christian to dismiss former AIPAC employee Steven J. Rosen’s $20 million defamation suit. In October the court dismissed all counts of the March 2009 lawsuit except for Rosen’s claim of harm over AIPAC statements to the press that he did not uphold its standards of conduct. Rosen and AIPAC have – until now – abstained from filing damaging information about the internal workings of AIPAC in court. AIPAC’s willingness to publicly air some extremely sordid and revealing content to get the remaining count thrown out before an alternative dispute resolution hearing begins in December is a sign that AIPAC is now fighting for its life, or – as one former AIPAC attorney put it – “reason for being.” If Rosen proves in court that AIPAC has long handled classified information while lobbying for Israel, the worn public pretense that AIPAC is anything but a stealth extension of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – from which it emerged in 1951 – will end forever.
     Rosen filed his civil suit after adverse judicial rulings made his (and coworker Keith Weissman’s) prosecution under the Espionage Act unlikely. Col. Lawrence Franklin pled guilty to passing classified national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it while Rosen and Weissman were indicted in 2005 for their role in the espionage affair. Although prosecutors reluctantly dropped [.pdf] their indictment in May 2009 – as AIPAC carefully notes in its filing – Rosen was never acquitted. Outstanding questions in the defamation suit about classified-information trafficking have now placed AIPAC in a bind. If AIPAC financially settles with Rosen, it will signal to the American people and attentive law enforcement officials that it is honoring a previous compensation deal to pay Rosen off after the spy flap subsided. On May 11, 2010, Rosen revealed an e-mail to Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein asserting that AIPAC promised “when this is over we will do right by Steve.” But it’s now far from clear whether AIPAC has the financial wherewithal or donors willing to honor such a – possibly illegal – commitment.
more.. e-mail

Russell Tribunal Examines Corporate Responsibility for Israeli Violations of International Law
Palestine Monitor: 21 Nov 2010 - The second international session of the Russell Tribunal is taking place in London. The session will focus on the ways international corporations help to facilitate the Israeli occupation. It follows on from last year's examination of the responsibility of the European Union and its member states. Jury members include novelist Alice Walker, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Former Special rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories John Dugard. The session will focus specifically on: 1) Corporations providing tangible services and infrastructure that support illegal Israeli settlements and the occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. 2) Foreign banks and other financial institutions providing financial services to illegal settlements and Israeli banks etc. trading abroad who provide financial services to illegal settlements. 3) Foreign companies that manufacture products inside the settlements and industrial zones in the West Bank and Israeli companies that export agricultural...more

What Made Avineri Laugh?
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Nov 2010 - By Uri Avnery - Israel 'A disaster!' the courtiers of the King of Hanover cried, 'Seven renowned professors at Göttingen University have published a declaration of protest against you!' That was 173 years ago. The king had suspended the liberal constitution enacted by his predecessor. “So what,” the king replied, “Tarts, dancers and professors I can always buy.” This story was told me by Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who was himself a professor of half a dozen vastly different disciplines, from bio-chemistry to the philosophy of science. He held many of his colleagues in profound contempt. He told me this story when we were talking about one professor in particular: Shlomo Avineri, who had just agreed to serve as Director General of the Foreign Office under Minister Yigal Alon. Alon was the author of the “Alon Plan”, which provided for the annexation of wide stretches of occupied territory. This week, Avineri published...more

War, Humiliation, Pride
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Nov 2010 - By Deepak Tripathi Never underestimate the cost of humiliation. For in war victory is never clean, because it empowers the vanquished, or their successors, to struggle in the future. Recent wars in Iraq, on the Afghanistan-Pakistan front and elsewhere confirm this enduring, though often unheeded, lesson of history. From Alexander the Great, the king of the Macedonian Empire, nearly two-and-a-half millennia ago to date, imperial powers far afield have sent their rampaging armies to conquer and to humiliate the populations of vast fertile lands, cradles of civilization, close to the four great rivers, the Nile, the Euphrates, the Indus and the Hwang He. What transpired forms a pattern. They include modern Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the South Asian subcontinent, Pakistan and India in particular. Amid the extreme volatility in this region there has existed something consistent throughout the last two-and-a-half thousand years and before. Alexander’s campaign of conquest finally ran...more

Why Not Permanent Seats for Palestine and Haiti Too?
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Nov 2010 - By Dallas Darling '...determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.' -- Preamble of the UN Charter Pledge, 1945 When President Barack Obama announced support regarding a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council, it reminded me of what Howard Zinn wrote: "The creation of the United Nations during the war was presented to the world as international cooperation to prevent future wars. But the U.N. was dominated by the Western imperial countries-the United States, England, and France-and a new imperial power, with military bases and powerful influence in Eastern Europe-the Soviet Union." (1) It's not that India doesn't deserve a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. What is just as important is the UN's past, present and future credibility in truly representing the nations of the entire world. In other words, if the UN Security Council would have been established according to Western democratic...more

The Unrecognized Palestinians
Palestine Chronicle: 21 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman In October, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, together with nine other human rights organizations, addressed a position paper on "The unconstitutionality of the state's policy of demolishing Arab Bedouin unrecognized villages in the Negev" to three Israeli officials: -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, -- Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, and -- Minister of Justice Yaakov Neeman. Citing the illegality of home demolitions, in this case of Arab Israeli citizens, they urged halting them immediately and finding a durable solution for unrecognized village residents. In Salim Abu- Medeghem v. The Israel Land Administration (April 14, 2007), Israel's High Court proposed replacing demolitions with solutions based on dialogue, Justice Arbel ruling: "....the difficult reality the Bedouin population faces in the State of Israel requires a systemic, complete and comprehensive solution, and the sooner the better...The time has come to formulate and implement a truly comprehensive...more


Monday, November 22, 2010Top of page
An American bribe that stinks of appeasement
Robert Fisk, The Independent 11/20/2010
      In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter's reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else's property would be regarded as preposterous. Three billion dollars' worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonisation for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land. In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama's offer: appeasement. Usually, our lords and masters use that word with disdain and disgust.
     Anyone who panders to injustice by one people against another people is called an appeaser. Anyone who prefers peace at any price, let alone a $3bn bribe to the guilty party – is an appeaser. Anyone who will not risk the consequences of standing up for international morality against territorial greed is an appeaser. Those of us who did not want to invade Afghanistan were condemned as appeasers. Those of us who did not want to invade Iraq were vilified as appeasers. Yet that is precisely what Obama has done in his pathetic, unbelievable effort to plead with Netanyahu for just 90 days of submission to international law. Obama is an appeaser.
     The fact that the West and its political and journalistic elites – I include the ever more disreputable New York Times – take this tomfoolery at face value, as if it can seriously be regarded as another "step" in the "peace process", to put this mystical nonsense "back on track", is a measure of the degree to which we have taken leave of our senses in the Middle East. It is a sign of just how far America (and, through our failure to condemn this insanity, Europe) has allowed its fear of Israel – and how far Obama has allowed his fear of Israeli supporters in Congress and the Senate – to go.
     Three billion dollars for three months is one billion dollars a month to stop Israel's colonisation. That's half a billion dollars a fortnight. That's $500m a week. That's $71,428,571 a day, or $2,976,190 an hour, or $49,603 a minute....
more.. e-mail

Open letter to Secretary Clinton
George S. Hishmeh, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 11/18/2010
      Dear Secretary Clinton,
     My apologies for this open letter, but I have been worrying that your briefing papers are not providing you with much-needed background for some of your decisions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, now in its 62nd year, or that you do not have the time to read all the significant information that may be in your files.
     To start with, I must confess that I have been dismayed and disappointed since I read in the newspapers that you have offered several deplorable "incentives" to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during your nearly eight-hour meeting in New York last week in return for a measly 90-day moratorium on Israeli colonial expansion in the occupied West Bank, but not occupied east Jerusalem. Why not the Arab sector of the Holy City and why only 90 days?!
     We all know that under international law, an occupier cannot move his/her people to colonise occupied territories as Israel has been doing for more than 40 years. Since Israel claims it wants peace, any colony-building in the occupied areas should stop immediately.
     And while Israel is claiming these lands, especially occupied Jerusalem, this allegation is hotly disputed by all learned people. Here are some of the highlights of a keynote presentation at the United Nations more than a year ago by an Oxford University-educated Palestinian-American historian, Dr Walid Khalidi, who now serves as general secretary in the Washington-based Institute for Palestine Studies.
     "Except for the 100-year Crusader interlude in the 12th century, and until its capture by Britain from the Ottomans in 1917, [occupied] Jerusalem remained under [Arab] Muslim sovereign rule for some 1,200 years," he stated. "It is longer than [occupied] Jerusalem was under Jewish sovereign rule in biblical times."
more.. e-mail

Cantor Crosses the Line
Rannie Amiri, CounterPunch 11/19/2010
      Way Beyond Chutzpah
     Even the United States Congress’ most rabid pro-Israel supporters have not dared propose what incoming House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has.
     Cantor told the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) that he wants to see Israel’s massive three billion dollar annual stipend—the largest of any U.S. aid recipient—reclassified and not considered “foreign” aid. Its enormous subsidy would no longer be the purview of the State Department, but the Pentagon. If he had his way, Israel would be directly funded by the U.S. military.
     The reason is because Cantor hopes to make sweeping cuts in assistance to Middle East countries that do not operate according to “U.S. interests.” This may entail the House defunding the entire foreign operations budget. Allowing the Pentagon to control money for Israel would likewise shield it from newly-elected Tea Party members who are prepared to drastically slash the aid budget if not freeze it altogether.
     “Minority Whip Cantor's proposal is as transparent as it is reckless,” said Rep. Nita Lowery (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Foreign Operations subcommittee. She said this not because Cantor is making Israel an exception to other countries and circumventing (theoretical) congressional oversight of its assistance package, but because killing the foreign aid bill could hamper diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and ultimately hurt Israel.
     Cantor may be oblivious to the fact that some military analysts—despite the perfunctory qualifications—have begun to openly question whether Israel has become a strategic liability.
more.. e-mail

Despite law "reform," Palestinians out of work in Lebanon
Electronic Intifada: 22 Nov 2010 - BEIRUT, Lebanon (IPS) - Abu Yussif doesn't want to talk about his work anymore. "It's not going to help and nothing will change anyway," he says. The tall, white-haired Palestinian has just returned from work and relaxes in his little garden in the Burj al-Shamali refugee camp near the southern Lebanese city of Tyre.more

Gaza farmers sow self-sufficiency
Electronic Intifada: 22 Nov 2010 - It was midday on a Monday when 61-year-old Hamdan Abu Shallouf bent down, laboring away in his small home garden among his okra plants. There is something special about Abu Shallouf's crops in the rural area of Khirbet al-Adas in Rafah in southern Gaza Strip.more

'I Was A Human Shield'
Palestine Monitor: 22 Nov 2010 - Defence for Children International (DCI) Palestine have obtained testimony from a child alleging he was used as a human shield by Israeli soldiers in August. DCI publicised the affidavit just one day after an Israeli military court sentenced two soldiers to probation for the same crime in Gaza. Nazzal Nazzal, 13, from Nablus, claimed that on August 19, soldiers surrounded his uncle's house, firing tear gas and sound bombs. The account says Nazzal's uncle was ordered from the house and arrested, while being told he would be “shot in the head”. Nazzal was “slapped across the face and hit hard on the back”, before being forced to lead soldiers around a house, “they wanted to make sure there was no-one there”. DCI have documented two other cases this year of children being used as human shields. The others were a 16- year old girl from Nablus in February, and a...more

Robert Fisk: An American bribe that stinks of appeasement
Palestine Monitor: 22 Nov 2010 - In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter's reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else's property would be regarded as preposterous. Three billion dollars' worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonisation for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land. In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama's offer: appeasement. Usually, our lords and masters use that word with disdain and disgust. Anyone who panders to injustice by one people against another people is called an appeaser. Anyone who prefers peace at any price,...more

A Jewish Boat: The Story of Irene
Palestine Chronicle: 22 Nov 2010 - By Lillian Rosengarten I want to give you a small sense of the political climate that hovered over us when we attempted to sail to Gaza. The bottom line truth of my experience on the little Jewish boat, Irene is that I became a witness to what I can only call insanity. I am completely indebted to this historic voyage for it has fueled in me a fire, an intense determination to break down walls of hate, to speak out, to shout and condemn Israel’s insane politics and to use myself in the spirit of non violence for I am a pacifist. I support liberation and an open society for Palestinians and Israelis as one. This is my dream to break down barriers of fear and hate. There is no other choice. When I decided I had to be a passenger on the Jewish boat Irene, it was despite the...more

My Friend Barack
Palestine Chronicle: 22 Nov 2010 - By Ralph Nader After nearly two years out, I can imagine George W. Bush writing his successor the following letter: Dear President Obama: As you know I’ve been peddling my book Decision Points and while doing interviews, people ask me what I think of the job you’re doing. My answer is the same: He deserves to make decisions without criticism from me. It’s a tough enough job as it is. But their inquiries did prompt me to write you to privately express my continual admiration for the job you are doing. Amazing! I say “privately” because making my sentiments public would not do either of us any good, if you know what I mean. First, I can scarcely believe my good fortune as to how your foreign and military policies—“continuity” was the word used recently by my good friend, Joe Lieberman—has protected my legacy. More than protected, you’ve proven yourself...more


Tuesday, November 23, 2010Top of page
Police state in-the-making
Samah Jabr, Ma’an News Agency 11/23/2010
      Although United States-sponsored security coordination with the Palestinian Authority started in the nineties, the scale and nature of US intervention in Palestinian affairs intensified through the program headed by Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton that was launched by the Bush administration in 2005.
     When Hamas ousted Fateh from the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the atmosphere then became ripe to escalate the growth of this political mutation that transformed former "national heroes" into "terrorists". While Hamas security forces in Gaza are considered illegal, governments in Europe and North America provide generous financial support to the PA and its security forces.
     In an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dayton said (as if this were a compliment) that his program had created a "new kind of Palestinian man." Three battalions of 500 men each have graduated from the program, and more are currently in training to engage in a series of offensives against members of the resistance groups in the West Bank.
     Senior Israeli commanders were so impressed with the Palestinian troops, said Dayton, they asked him, "How many more of these new Palestinians can you generate, and how quickly?" Dayton promised to invest around 1.3 billion dollars in the Palestinian security establishment; to graduate 4,700 personnel; provide training, equipment and basic capacity building for another 15,000 troops; and restore the organizational structure of the PA's security institutions.
     The United States does not invest this money in the well-being of the Palestinian population--to build schools and hospitals that support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, for example--but rather uses this money to bribe some Palestinians with power, money and privileges that reinforce internal Palestinian conflict and disunity....
more.. e-mail

Gaza boy used as human shield: I’ll always remember
Jared Malsin, Ma’an News Agency 11/23/2010
      GAZA CITY -- Majid Rabah, 11, says he will always remember the "black day" that Israeli soldiers ordered him to open bags they thought were rigged with explosives.
     "Every moment I remember what happened," he said in his home in Gaza City's Tel Al-Hawwa neighborhood Tuesday.
     An Israeli military court gave a suspended sentence and a demotion Sunday to the two soldiers who used Majid as a human shield, in a ruling he and his family said did not do justice to the trauma.
     "When will the child forget what happened? This cannot be compared to three month's [suspended] sentence," said Majid's mother, Fatima Rabah, 49. She added that she didn't expect justice from the Israeli court system, and would prefer that an international court take up the matter.
     "This will give Israeli soldiers a license to do whatever they like to Palestinian children. Many Palestinian children have died from Israeli guns and no one punished them," she said. Majid himself said he was neither surprised nor satisfied by the Israeli court's ruling.
     Human rights advocates also said Sunday's ruling sent the message that Israeli soldiers could violate Palestinian's rights without consequences.
     "This ruling implies that it is allowed for Israeli soldiers to use Palestinians, including children, as human shields, without being punished," said Ayed Abu Eqtash of the organization Defense for Children International.
more.. e-mail

Let Israel keep its freeze
Lamis Andoni, Ma’an News Agency 11/23/2010
      At the beginning of his term, Barack Obama became the first US president to call for a halt in Jewish settlement construction in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories as a prerequisite for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
     But if a deal that stipulates a partial 90-day freeze of settlement building in return for US military and political incentives is reached, he will become the first US president to legitimize the colonies.
     Palestinian negotiators have so far said that they will reject the deal - and so they should. A partial freeze would allow for the continuation of construction in occupied East Jerusalem, while the very concept of a temporary freeze is designed to give talks just enough time for an agreement allowing Israeli annexation of the biggest settlement blocs to be reached.
     Taken at face value, a period for the Israelis and Palestinians to reach an agreement on territorial borders is logical - as the status of the settlements would automatically be resolved as part of this. Or at least this would be the case if there were any signs that Israel and the US would respect international law - under which all settlements are illegal as the appropriation of land by force or the transfer of a population into that land is categorically banned.
     But the US push for a freeze has nothing to do with international law and everything to do with paving the way for an agreement that would keep most of the settlements under Israeli control.
     It is the facts on the ground - imposed by Israeli force - that will be allowed to determine the shape of any agreement. And any slowdown in construction would therefore only affect the rough contours and not the substance of the deal for which Israel and the US are setting the stage.
more.. e-mail

Film review: Palestine as Hollywood fantasy in "Miral"
Electronic Intifada: 23 Nov 2010 - Any major film addressing the Israel-Palestine conflict can expect to court a measure of controversy, but American artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel's intervention is unlikely to cause much consternation among a mainstream cinema audience. Omar El-Khairy reviews Schnabel's film Miral for The Electronic Intifada.more

Journalist Beaten While Filming Youth Arrest in Bil'in
Palestine Monitor: 23 Nov 2010 - Haitham Al-Khatib is a journalist and resident of the Palestinian village of Bil'in, a village divided by the Separation Wall and home to the famous weekly non-violent protests. At 2 a.m this morning he was woken by the screams of his neighbour's young girls. Along with friend and fellow journalist Hamde Abu Rahmah he came running out of his home to investigate. Written by Clive Granger. Mohammed, 16, being arrested this morning. Photo by Haitham Al Khatib Israeli soldiers had entered Bil'in late last night, intending to arrest Mohammed Abu Rahmah, son of Adeeb, one of the prominent organisers of demonstrations against the Wall. Adeeb has served the past 17 months in prison on charges of ‘incitement'. Mohammed, 15, lives with his mother and six sisters, the youngest aged four. All had been asleep when the soldiers barged in. On resisting arrest Mohammed was beaten and dragged off by soldiers....more

WATCH: The Battle for Al-Walaja
Palestine Monitor: 23 Nov 2010 - In a small Palestinian village between the ancient cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, lies the village of Al Walaja. In early 2010, the Israeli military entered the village to oversee the confiscation of Palestinian land for the construction of Israel's separation barrier, in defiance of international law. In the months that followed, the people of Al Walaja, with support from Israeli and international activists, began a spirited campaign of non-violent resistance to put a stop to the theft of their land. Written, directed and produced by Aaron Fernandes. Featuring in depth interviews with the people at the front of the struggle,"Against the Wall: the Battle for Al Walaja" offers a rare insight into the proud struggle of a small community against near impossible odds. If Israel pushes ahead with the current plans for the wall's construction, the village will be surrounded on all sides by concrete and barbed wire, forming...more

Inspirational Stories of Palestine
Palestine Chronicle: 23 Nov 2010 - By Rama Chakaki There is no shortage of inspiration in Palestine. There is a shortage of platforms and media venues featuring inspiring people in and outside Palestine on a local, regional and global scale. When you mention Palestine and Media, visions of a people torn apart by conflict comes to mind. Refugees, school children standing across from tanks and demolished homes. Google the words Palestine and Media, 5 million photos depicting conflict come up. TEDxRamallah is the beginning of a movement to change that. In recent years, the non-profit, TED.com devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading has featured riveting talks by remarkable people from around the globe. The power of the talks, coupled with the viral nature of the Web, and the open licensing of the Creative Commons, spread to influence millions of people around the world in a positive manner. So powerful were the talks, the TED conference organizers spun...more


Wednesday, November 24, 2010Top of page
More than a bribe – Obama surrenders Palestinian rights
Ramzy Baroud, Arab News 11/23/2010
      The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the right-wing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel — all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward.
     Former Middle East peace diplomat Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy that “any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant.” He further claimed: “The Obama administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis, Palestinians and key Arab states on board during some very tough times. The US president has seized on this issue and isn’t giving up — a central requirement for success.”
     But at what price, Miller? And wouldn’t you agree that one party’s success can also mean another’s utter and miserable failure?
     US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly spent eight hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only to persuade him to accept one of the most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power. The agreement includes the sale of $3 billion worth of US military aircraft (in addition to the billions in annual aid packages), a blanket veto of any UN Security Council resolution deemed unfavorable to Israel, and the removal of East Jerusalem from any settlement freeze equation (thus condoning the illegal occupation of the city and the undergoing ethnic cleansing). But even more dangerous than all of these is “a written American promise that this will be the last time President Obama asks the Israelis to halt settlement construction through official channels.”
     Significant. Achievement. Success. Are these really the right terms to describe the latest harrowing scandal?....
more.. e-mail

Part of the homeland, not the state
Ahmed Yousef, Ma’an News Agency 11/24/2010
      Accusations that Hamas is marketing fundamentalism and extremism in Gaza are false. There is no "Talibanization" of Gaza. Such a claim is based on Israeli propaganda and the deliberately distorted accounts of those in Gaza who are politically and ideologically opposed to the government of Ismail Haniyeh.
     It is true that some individuals in the interior and religious affairs ministries have acted in an overzealous or misguided manner driven by their own concern to preserve what they see as the culture of the community, but their actions were not on the basis of any governmental decision or a ministerial policy. In fact, on a number of occasions the government directly intervened to reverse some of these misguided decisions.
     Palestinian society is inherently conservative, and the values that govern people's lives are mostly drawn from Islam. The proper way to correct the kind of public behavior which can threaten those values should be addressed through the existing educational frameworks of the family and the mosque.
     Unfortunately, the combination of an Israeli misinformation campaign and the misguided actions of a few overzealous individuals who see themselves as the guardians of public morality provides the Western media with the kinds of stories that feed common stereotypes they have of Islamists. Hamas is falsely portrayed as a fundamentalist and extremist movement intending to launch an Islamic emirate in the Gaza Strip.
     The campaign of defamation began immediately after the bloody events of June 2007 which were presented as a military takeover of Gaza. Since then, the allegations and accusations have intensified with terms such as "Hamastan" and "emirate of darkness" used by some in the media to vilify the efforts of the Haniyeh government to provide security and essential services for the people of Gaza....
more.. e-mail

AIPAC fights for life, but will it go down before Obama gives Bibi $3.5 billion for a 90 day partial, limited settlement freeze
MJ Rosenberg, Palestine Note 11/20/2010
      UPDATE: A reporter called to ask if I recalled all these sexual hijinks when I worked at AIPAC. The answer is "no," but I was there pre-internet. But there were two unsettling instances. Each involved strippers at staff meetings. One was female. One was male. Each stripped to skin, each case was one of the big shot's birthdays, and each incident caused the young staffers to practically go into shock -- the more enlightened women were enraged -- and the Orthodox Jewish kids to dissolve in embarrassment and horror. I don't recall how the college age interns reacted. Bottom line: AIPAC has never been a "Jewish" organization.
     The holidays are coming early for me this year. AIPAC is on the ropes again. And this could be it.
     America will be infinitely better off without an organization that is so powerful -- a power that owes pretty much everything to its perceived ability to deliver campaign contributions -- that President Obama knows he can deliver a $3.5 billion payoff to Netanyahu to get him to agree to a 90 day, non-renewable settlement freeze without a peep from Congress.
     Obama can provide this gift at the same time that both parties are demanding domestic cuts on everything in the name of budget balancing or whatever bogus nonsense they are calling it. But there is no protest from Democrats or Republicans about this giveaway although we might hear from Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul (and maybe Rand Paul, if he now feel free to say what he thinks).
     The good news is that it doesn't much matter whether the New York Times runs the story or not. The AIPAC case is grinding its way through the courts and could well destroy the lobby without ever making its way on to the front page. AIPAC is under siege, and is spending millions to stay alive. But that won't be easy -- even if Steve Rosen ultimately accepts a payoff from the organization and refrains from telling what he knows. -- See also: Animation: The Offer and Forward: AIPAC Gets Down and Dirty in Pushback vs. Defamation Suit
more.. e-mail

Volvo equipment enabling torture, facilitating occupation
Electronic Intifada: 24 Nov 2010 - Volvo prides itself on being a byword for sturdiness, safety and reliability. After a careful examination of the vehicle-maker's investment in Israel, perhaps it should also become synonymous with enabling torture.more

There is no "Talibanization" of Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 24 Nov 2010 - To accuse Hamas of marketing fundamentalism and extremism in the Gaza Strip is false and inaccurate. There is no "Talibanization" of Gaza. Such a claim is based on Israeli propaganda and the deliberately distorted accounts of those in Gaza who are politically and ideologically opposed to the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Ahmed Yousef, Deputy of the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, comments for The Electronic Intifada.more

No Palestinian State without Gaza
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Nov 2010 - By Ahmad Yousef - Gaza To accuse Hamas of marketing fundamentalism and extremism in the Gaza Strip is false and inaccurate. There is no "Talibanization" of the Gaza. Such a claim is based on Israeli propaganda and the deliberately distorted accounts of those in Gaza who are politically and ideologically opposed to the government of Ismail Haniya. It is true that some individuals in the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs have acted in an overzealous or misguided manner driven by their own concern to preserve what they see as the culture of the community but their actions were not done so on the basis of any governmental decision or a ministerial policy. In fact on a number of occasions the government directly intervened to reverse their misguided actions. Palestinian society is inherently a conservative society, where the values that govern people's lives are...more

War Criminals Better Hope for Palestinian Amnesty
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Nov 2010 - By Gilad Atzmon A few days ago, British Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards admitted that victory in Afghanistan is unachievable. "In conventional war,” said Richards, “defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolised by troops marching into another nation's capital." It took a few years for British military elites to admit that the war in Afghanistan cannot lead anywhere: a valuable lesson to learn from mid to late 20th century warfare, is that conventional military might cannot easily defeat mass civilian resistance. It is interesting to reflect too, that the Jewish state has exercised a ‘strategy’ of occupation for sixty two years -- and for some reason the penny has still failed to drop. The Israelis are still convinced that they can manage to knock down the resilient Palestinians using siege, indiscriminate killing, carpet bombardment and chemical warfare. More and more Israeli soldiers of all...more

Awaiting the Final Step
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Nov 2010 - By George S. Hishmeh - Washington, D.C. The longer the standstill in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority the further both are from a fair settlement and the more complex the terms will be in the future, now as is the case with Israel managing to up the ante almost daily. In the meantime, a war of words has emerged, among former U.S. officials, some known to be sympathetic to Israel, and well-known commentators who regularly echo the Zionist position. Absent from this melee are any pro-Palestinian analysts or advocates, a deplorable situation that on the other hand exposes for many bystanders the deplorable position of the administration, Obama’s and all others preceding it for failing to be evenhanded. As was noted in a recent Washington Post news report, that “in return for Israel accepting a (proposed) 90-day settlement freeze, the Obama team agreed to veto anti-Israel...more

Russell Tribunal on Palestine: London Session
Palestine Chronicle: 24 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman Launched in March 2009, "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) seeks to reaffirm the primacy of international law as the (way to settle) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Its mandate focuses on "the enunciation of law by authoritative bodies," including International Court of Justice (ICJ) rulings and dozens of UN resolutions on Palestine with regard to binding international law. RTP follows in the tradition of the BRussell Tribunal, named after noted philosopher, mathematician, and anti-war/anti-imperialism activist Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970). Established in 1967 to investigate Vietnam war crimes, RTP's mandate is similar, its Tribunals collecting and presenting indictable evidence against Israel, complicit states, and corporate war profiteers. RTP's November 20-21 London Session Before convening, RTP listed issues to be addressed, including: (1) Corporate involvement in Occupied Palestine, including illegal settlement activities; (2) Foreign banks and other financial institutions illegally financing and profiting from occupation and settlement activities; (3)...more


Thursday, November 25, 2010Top of page
BDS Update: Anti-apartheid Hagues
Eric Walberg, Dissident Voice 11/24/2010
      Despite the stranglehold Israel lobbies have on Euro-parliaments and politicians, there have been some surprisingly plucky official moves to protest illegal Israeli settlements recently.
     Israeli mayoral visits to Spain and the Netherlands were nixed in September because the delegation included leaders of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The visit of thirty Israeli mayors to the Netherlands was organised by the Israeli branch of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) after the Spanish municipal organisation cancelled a proposed visit in light of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
     The Dutch conference was to be hosted by the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), located in The Hague. The aim of the trip was purportedly to learn more about the Dutch system of local, regional and national authorities, though such official visits are really an Israeli ploy to provide de facto recognition of illegal settlements.
     The JDC and the Union of Local Authorities in Israel tried to arrange the tour through the embassy of the Netherlands in Tel Aviv, including mayors of West Bank settlements Beit Aryeh, Har Adar, Kiryat Arba, Oranit, Beit El, Efrat and Elkana, but when informed, VNG refused to host the delegation as long as the occupation mayors were part of it. “When they asked for the list we realised we had run aground,” said head of the Council of Efrat Oded Revivi, though the JDC has facilitated similar trips to Denmark, France and China.
     The Palestinian Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee emphasised that there are more than 150 settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, housing 475,000 settlers on more than forty per cent of the West Bank....
more.. e-mail

America’s latest bribe to Israel
Daoud Kuttab, Ma’an News Agency 11/25/2010
      The secret talks between US and Israeli officials, aiming at convincing the Israelis to change their position regarding the settlement freeze, started to smell more and more like a bribe, with some media reports calling it the $3 billion bribe.
     The amount is in reference to the cost of the 20 advanced US fighter planes that the Obama administration is promising to give Israel in return for the Netanyahu government’s agreeing to a mere three-month freeze of illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
     If anyone thinks that this is a mere sweetener to support Israel’s security, one needs to ask why this issue did not come up but after the rightwing Israeli government declare its total rejection of the extension of the 10-month moratorium on settlement activities in the occupied territories, excepting Jerusalem and a few other places.
     Anyone involved in a bribe is always afraid that the actual exchange of money or goods is documented. Funny enough, the current problem with this particular “bribe” has been the issue of documentation. The Israelis want it in writing, while the Americans, suffering a major economic crisis, appear ashamed to put in writing a promise that they have made in secret to the Israelis.
     What the Americans are obviously worried about is the quid pro quo issue, that is the Israeli change of behavior. The danger in this latest American bribe is that it comes not as a reward for progress in talks, but as an incentive to the Netanyahu government to agree to stop carrying out actions that are considered illegal by the entire international community, including the US.
more.. e-mail

Israeli referendum law: Death knell for the 2-state solution
Mitchell Plitnick, Palestine Note 11/23/2010
      Remember the date. November 22, 2010, the day Israel finally killed the two-state solution.
     I know that for me, I will continue to hope that there is some way to still pull two states out of a hat. That's my heart talking, because both in heart and mind, I very much doubt that a future that does not include a Palestinian state will include either peace or justice. But for at least a while, I'll probably still hope.
     "The nation WITH the Golan," a very popular bumper sticker in Israel
     But I can no longer see how it is possible. The Knesset today passed the "referendum law" by a 65 to 33 margin, with some members of Labor and most of Kadima walking out of the vote (though a few MKs from both parties voted in favor). The law dictates that any "retreat" from land that Israel currently claims as its own (meaning the territories it has annexed - the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem - though no country, including the United States recognizes those annexations) must be approved by a public referendum.
     While I do believe that the Israeli public would vote to evacuate large parts of the West Bank, I see no possibility that a popular vote would approve leaving Jerusalem, probably including all the "Greater Jerusalem" area.
     The bill also makes peace with Syria, which is conditioned on withdrawal from the Golan Heights, impossible. There might be even less public support for the Golan withdrawal than there is for a West Bank one; it's just discussed less in the media.
     What this law does is essentially present a choice to the international community: either force a resolution on the Israeli people or give up on the two-state solution.
more.. e-mail

Everyday heroes: filmmaker Dahna Abourahme interviewed
Electronic Intifada: 25 Nov 2010 - Filmmaker Dahna Abourahme's latest film focuses on the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein al-Hilwe in south Lebanon, and on the women in particular as they reminisce about their roles during the Israeli attack on the camp in 1982-1984. Amany Al-Sayyed interviews for The Electronic Intifada.more

Activism roundup: Abu Rahme sentence extended, students stage mock checkpoint
Electronic Intifada: 25 Nov 2010 - An Israeli military judge extended the jail term for Abdallah Abu Rahme, a well-known Palestinian activist who was due to be released on 18 November. Meanwhile, in New York City, students created a mock Israeli checkpoint in the middle of Columbia University and in Scotland Edinburgh-based activists worked with one of the country's top law firms to advise the city council not to contract with Veolia.more

Photostory: somber holiday under occupation
Electronic Intifada: 25 Nov 2010 - The holiday of Eid al-Ahda -- the Feast of the Sacrifice -- is celebrated by Muslims across the world to commemorate the prophet Abraham's sacrifice of a sheep in the place of his son Ishmael. Palestine is no different than most countries where the holiday is observed, but with one notable exception: the Israeli occupation. Photographer Sanne Winderickx documents the Eid al-Adha holiday under occupation in the West Bank.more

Our Story Released on DVD
Palestine Monitor: 25 Nov 2010 - After generations of one-sided analysis of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi's 'Our Story' finally provides a Palestinian perspective on the history of occupation and ethnic cleansing. Following an enthusiastic international reception and cinematic release, 'Our Story' provides a definitive account of Palestinian history, charting occupation and displacement from 1948 up to the present day. Featuring shocking accounts from the Gaza war, the film is a must for anybody who wishes to hear the untold truths behind the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. See clip below: To order the film on DVD, send requests to palestinemonitor@gmail.com Or call on +972 599 9 400 73 Read more from Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spi...more

Should Palestine Declare Statehood?
Palestine Monitor: 25 Nov 2010 - It would not be the first time. In 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) unilaterally declared independence in Algeria. Other than an upgrade of the PLO's 1974-acquired observer status though, the Algiers declaration did not have much effect. As dozens of countries - but none of the main Western players - endorsed the declaration, the occupation and the settlement-building went on, and Israel retained main control over the land, the resources and the population. Written by Cecile Gault. Graffiti on the Separation Wall Could it go any differently this time around? At first glance, the picture does not look bright. First, it would seem that there is not much of a state to proclaim to begin with. The Palestinian Authority controls just 40% of the West Bank and none of East Jerusalem and Gaza. Natural resources remain in the hands of Israel. As the World Bank pointed out in a...more

More Than a Bribe: Obama Surrenders Palestinian Rights
Palestine Chronicle: 25 Nov 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the rightwing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward. Former Middle East peace diplomat Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy that “any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant.” He further claimed: “The Obama administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis, Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during some very tough times. The U.S. president has seized on this issue and isn't giving up -- a central requirement for success.” But at what...more


Friday, November 26, 2010Top of page
Srulik, meet Handala
Gil Zohar, Common Ground News Service 11/25/2010
      JERUSALEM - Driving east from Jerusalem on the winding Jordanian-built road that once led down from the Mount of Olives to the Dead Sea, one passes through a series of Arab suburbs and soon comes to a dead end in front of the grotesque West Bank barrier.
     Called Geder ha-Hafrada (separation fence) in Hebrew and jidar al-fasl al-‘unsuri (Apartheid wall) in Arabic, the insurmountable (if still incomplete) barrier has no doubt contributed to a reduction in terror and car theft. However, my objection to it is more existential: like some of those in West Berlin who spray-painted their protest for freedom on the Bundesrepublik side of die Mauer even as armed GDR guards used deadly force to prevent anyone from approaching the Wall’s eastern side, I believe all walls must fall.
     It is a metaphor that has repeated itself from Joshua’s encircling of Jericho, to the Berlin Wall and its remaining East Side gallery, to Garth Hewitt’s ballad: “They’ve Cancelled Christmas in Bethlehem” - about the stranglehold the wall has placed on both day-to-day life and religious pilgrimage in the place where Jesus the Prince of Peace was born 2,000 years ago.
     The world today is caught between two conflicting ideologies: The growing trend of some democratic countries to join in unions with open borders, joint legal systems, and a common currency, of which the European Union - notwithstanding its problems - is a great success. Then, there is the trend of other countries - many repressive and undemocratic - to defend their borders with minefields and walls. Like John Lennon, I prefer the first vision - of a growing global union without barriers. Imagine that.
more.. e-mail

Israel’s No. 1 politician
Emmanuel Rosen, YNetNews 11/24/2010
      Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who recently preached that 'Gentiles exist only to serve Jews', is Israel's top politician, has seen it all and is more influential than any minister
     He was here when the young Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on his term as UN ambassador and when the young Barack Obama worked with youngsters in poor US neighborhoods. Back then already, his word meant everything; politicians bowed down to him and asked for his approval. Nobody really understood his language and fables, yet everyone praised him and tried to curry favor with him.
     In our unstable politics, where no government can last for long and no prime minister manages to survive for more than a term-and-a-half in office, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is an island of stability. A religious dictator who divides the world to good guys and bad guys in line with conservative, religious worldviews, and who within Israel’s democracy holds greater decision-making power than any minister elected by the public; at times, he is even more influential than the prime minister. For 26 years now, somehow, after all the discussions and negotiations and cabinet votes and trips to America and press commentary, it always ends up boiling down to the rabbi’s decision; we have not yet found the bold prime minister who would say: No more. I won’t do it. The kippah will pulled out and put on one’s head, the rabbi will wait in his chair for the guest to bow down and shake the holy hand, and from there it all depends on the guest’s qualities of bargaining and persuasion, and at times just on his highness’ mood.
more.. e-mail

Israeli war criminals had better hope for Palestinian amnesty
Gilad Atzmon, Redress 11/25/2010
      Gilad Atzmon argues that the publication of the names and other details of 200 Israeli war crimes suspects who participated in the onslaught against Gaza in 2008-09 is a clear warning that every Israeli complicit in this and other outrages, and not just senior commanders and leaders, is liable for the crimes committed by the state and its army.
     A few days ago, British Chief of Defence Staff General David Richards admitted that victory in Afghanistan is unachievable. "In conventional war,” said Richards, “defeat and victory is very clear cut and is symbolized by troops marching into another nation's capital."
     It took a few years for the British military elites to admit that the war in Afghanistan cannot lead anywhere. Indeed, a valuable lesson to learn from mid to late 20th century warfare is that conventional military might cannot easily defeat civilian mass resistance.
     It is interesting to reflect, too, that although the Jewish state has pursued a “strategy” of occupation for 62 years, for some reason the penny has still not dropped. The Israelis are still convinced that they can knock down the resilient Palestinians using siege, indiscriminate killing, carpet bombardment and chemical warfare.
     The results are pretty obvious. Bearing in mind that Israel considers itself to be a “Jews-only democracy”, it follows that every Israeli Jew is complicit in a colossal war crime against a civilian population.
     But it goes further....
more.. e-mail

Eviction Notices Not Enforced Against Hebron's Squatter Settlers
Palestine Monitor: 26 Nov 2010 - This week saw Palestinian shopkeepers from Hebron petition the High Court of Israel to honour an eviction notice given to settlers over two and a half years ago. In 2001 settlers moved illegally into part of Hebron market, which remains under the control of Israel's Civil Administration. Today a number of settler families are squatting there, a presence which has severely reduced the numbers of Palestinian visitors and damaged the local economy. Written by Clive Granger. Hebron's deserted Market Palestinian shopkeeper and local resident Monir told us there is “no tourism here any more” as everyone believes “it's a war zone”. Whole streets of shops have been forced to close. In 2007 the settler families were ordered to leave by a military appeals committee. It was ruled that the settlers had broken the law by entering the building and had no legal right to be there. Two members of the...more

Israel's Third Periodic Report to the UN
Palestine Chronicle: 26 Nov 2010 - By Stephen Lendman On October 18, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights offered an "Alternative Report" response to Israel's submission, sent to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). Submitting to the UN, Aharon Leshno Yaar, Israel's Permanent Representative to Geneva said "Israel was proud of its long-lasting recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family," omitting to explain he means only Jews, no others, especially Muslims. State belligerence for over six decades proves it. PCHR reviewed recent facts, documenting them in its report. Previous articles discussed them it detail, but they bear repeating. By so doing, peace and self-determination for a beleaguered people may come sooner. PCHR addressed each article, detailing Israel's noncompliance, presenting indisputable, convincing evidence. In its July 9, 2004 "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," the...more

More Than a Bribe: Obama Surrenders Palestinian Rights
Palestine Chronicle: 25 Nov 2010 - By Ramzy Baroud The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the rightwing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward. Former Middle East peace diplomat Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy that “any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant.” He further claimed: “The Obama administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis, Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during some very tough times. The U.S. president has seized on this issue and isn't giving up -- a central requirement for success.” But at what...more


Saturday, November 27, 2010Top of page
Publish it Not
Jonathan Cook, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/26/2010
      A shorter version of this article originally appeared in AMEU - The Link – Nov/Dec 2010
     PART I
     Probably like many other journalists, at some point in my childhood I fell in love with the idea of the crusading, fearless reporter – unafraid of bullying figures of authority and always looking out for the little guy. This image was fed by the greatest of all myth-making movies about journalism: All the President’s Men, the glamorous coupling of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the daring Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein who exposed the corruption of the Nixon presidency Watergate.
     Life, of course, has proved to be less simple. Who is the bully and who the little guy? I, like more notable reporters who preceded me, would find that conundrum expressed most powerfully in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the mid-1990s, I arrived in Jerusalem for the first time – then as a tourist – with another potent Western myth at the front of my consciousness: that of Israel as “a light unto the nations”, the plucky underdog facing a menacing Arab world ranged against it. A series of later professional shocks as a freelance journalist reporting on Israel would shatter my assumptions about both Israel and courageous reporters.
     These disillusioning experiences came in the early stages of the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising that began in late 2000. At the time I was often writing for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, first as a staff member based in the foreign department at its head office in London and then later as a freelance journalist in Nazareth. The Guardian has earnt an international reputation – including in Israel – as the Western newspaper most savagely critical of Israel’s actions. That may be true, but I quickly found that there were still very clear, and highly unusual, limitations on what could be written about Israel. -- See also: Short version: The Link
more.. e-mail

The Original Sin
Uri Avnery, Dissident Voice 11/27/2010
      A friend of mine in Warsaw told me about a Polish journalist who visited Israel for the first time. On his return he reported with great excitement: “You know what I’ve discovered? In Israel, too, there are Jews!”
     For this Pole, Jews are people who wear a long black kaftan and a big black hat. In almost every souvenir shop in Poland, little figures like this are exhibited along with other classics like the nobleman, the artisan and the peasant.
     This distinction between Israelis and Jews would not have surprised any of us 50 years ago. Before the foundation of the State of Israel, none of us spoke about a “Jewish state”. In our demonstrations we chanted: “Free Immigration! Hebrew State!” In almost all media quotations from those days, there appear the two words “Hebrew state”, almost never “Jewish state”.
     In school we acquired an ardent love for the country, the language and the Bible (which we considered the classic book of Hebrew literature.) We learned to regard with disdain — if not worse — Jewish life in the Diaspora. (All this, of course, before the Holocaust.)
     In 1933, I lived for half a year in Nahalal, the legendary communal village. Seeing it for the first time, I marveled at the communal hall building, the milk processing plant and the large agricultural school for girls (in which Moshe Dayan was the only male pupil). Out of curiosity I asked about the synagogue and was shown a ramshackle wooden hut. “That’s for the old ones,” one of the local boys told me pityingly.
more.. e-mail

The Lesser of Many Evils: Plea Bargain of Ameer Makhoul and the Israeli Legal System
Hisham Naffa', Al-Ittihad, Alternative Information Center 11/17/2010
      Advocate Hussein Abu Hussein spoke to the Haifa Arabic-language daily Al-Ittihad about the plea bargain that was reached by the state prosecutor and the defendant of Ittijah’s Executive Director Ameer Makhoul.
     In this interview, Abu Hussein, who is also one of Makhoul’s advocates, speaks about the current complex conditions on the legal and political levels that led to the acceptance of the arrangement which, surprisingly, leads him to yearn to the days of the military courts [that Israel closed in 1992].
     According to official Israeli statistics, the percentage of convicted defendants in criminal cases in Israel ranges between 96% and 99% of the cases. When compared to the same official statistics in the state of New York, for example, according to which in 50% of the criminal cases brought to court the defendant is found guilty, the figure in Israel seems irrational. Furthermore, a closer study of the Israeli statistics shows that the percentage of convicted Arab citizens of the state of Israel in criminal courts is much higher than that of Jewish citizens. This disproportion is not a secret, for it has already appeared in many studies concerning political persecution in the Israeli state, and most recently in a report prepared by the Information and Research Center of the Israeli Knesset to the parliamentary Law, Constitution and Judiciary Committee, according to which “the percentage of convicted Arabs is much higher than that of Jews in all cases of criminal background and others.”
     Given this situation, the reason why most defendants in criminal cases prefer to sign a plea bargain with the prosecutor is now clearer. “As for cases related to state security, I don’t even remember a single case in which the defendant has been acquitted,” Abu Hussein told Al-Ittihad. Hussein Abu Hussein is one of Ameer Makhoul’s lawyers, whose court case is about to close following the plea bargain that was reached with the state prosecutor. “It was choosing the least of many evils,” Abu Hussein said.
more.. e-mail

Naturalists Complicate Al Walaja's Fight Against the Wall
Palestine Monitor: 27 Nov 2010 - This month, the Israeli High Court of Justice heard arguments against the army's proposed route of the Separation Wall around al Walaja, a small village between Jerusalem, Bethlehem and several expanding Israeli settlements. Despite the absence of security reasons for constructing the Wall in al Walaja, the Israeli army is pushing forward with 2006 plans that would encircle the residential center, severing it from surrounding agricultural land belonging to the village. The wall will sit directly next to villagers' homes and cut families off from 1,800 dunums of land that have been a part of al Walaja for generations. Written and photographed by Charlotte Silver. Homes next to the wall in al Walaja Shereen, a resident and activist of al Walaja explained, “It will seal the village completely, and disconnect it from its surroundings, and there will be no way to grow.” Upon the completion of the wall, there will...more

The Original Sin
Palestine Chronicle: 27 Nov 2010 - By Uri Avnery – Israel A friend of mine in Warsaw told me about a Polish journalist who visited Israel for the first time. On his return he reported with great excitement: 'You know what I've discovered? In Israel, too, there are Jews!' For this Pole, Jews are people who wear a long black kaftan and a big black hat. In almost every souvenir shop in Poland, little figures like this are exhibited along with other classics like the nobleman, the artisan and the peasant. This distinction between Israelis and Jews would not have surprised any of us 50 years ago. Before the foundation of the State of Israel, none of us spoke about a “Jewish state”. In our demonstrations we chanted: “Free Immigration! Hebrew State!” In almost all media quotations from those days, there appear the two words “Hebrew state”, almost never “Jewish state”. In school we acquired an...more

Keep Your Promises, Mr. President
Palestine Chronicle: 27 Nov 2010 - By George Polley – Japan Dear President Obama, I am deeply concerned about your administration's recent agreement with the Netanyahu government supposedly aimed at resuming peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to media reports, this agreement involves the sale of $3 billion worth of US military aircraft, a veto of any UN Security Council resolution deemed unfavorable to Israel, the removal of East Jerusalem from peace process discussions, and a written promise that this will be the last time you ask the Israelis to halt settlement construction in Occupied Palestine. I shouldn’t need to remind you that establishing settlements in occupied territory is against international law, to say nothing about it being a violation of human rights. I look at this Mr. President, and I cannot believe it. In your books, when you were running for President, and when you came into office you represented hope for...more


Sunday, November 28, 2010Top of page
Israel can’t put occupation up for immoral referendum
Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Israeli Occupation Archive 11/28/2010
      Israeli democracy at its best: The entire people will decide on the next peace arrangement, but not on the question of settlements and annexation, and not on the question of wars
     Israeli democracy at its best: The entire people will decide on the next peace arrangement, but not on the question of settlements and annexation, and not on the question of wars. Israeli trickery at its best: Legislators pass laws relating to the day an arrangement is forged whose point is to defer that day’s arrival for as long as possible. And Israeli morality at its best: A manifestly immoral question is formulated for a referendum, and insult is added to injury because only we Israelis, members of the chosen people, will decide on the fate of another people which has for generations lived under occupation, and we dare to call all this tomfoolery democracy. In fact, this is Israeli chutzpah at its worst.
     The question to be addressed in a referendum is immoral. The continuation of the occupation is now subject to a ballot measure – as though such a question can conceivably be asked. Voters will be asked who is in favor of continued occupation, and who is against it.
     Exactly as an agreement over stolen property forged in the criminal underworld would never be acceptable in a courtroom, so too is such a question about continuing an occupation entirely untenable.
     Similarly, the thought that only we will decide whether Syrian residents of the Golan Heights and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will receive the right of self determination and basic liberties is utterly preposterous, and it bears witness to the extent to which values of morality and justice have become warped and distorted in this country. The basic fact has long been forgotten, as though it never existed: At issue here is an illegitimate conquest that is not recognized by any state in the world.
more.. e-mail

Israeli Settlers’ Violence Report – September and October 2010
Ahmad Jaradat, Alicia Isani, AIC, Alternative Information Center 11/18/2010
      Introduction
     The following report highlights a drastic change in Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, not only because of the increasing number of aggressions but also because of the evolution of the violence itself.
     In September and October 2009, only a few aggressions against Palestinian farmers – related to harvest, land and farming equipment – were reported. Yet approximately 22 incidents of this kind were reported this year for the same period. Even if this time of year is particularly violent in the West Bank due to the olive harvesting season, other notable changes can be observed this year.
     One explanation for the violent evolution that took place over the past two months is the end of Israel’s ten month partial settlement freeze on 26 September 2010. On 26 September, settlers and their supporters publicly celebrated the beginning of a new wave of illegal construction in the West Bank, a celebration they had been preparing since the beginning of September. The month of October was thus particularly characterized by a new wave of violence, land grabbing and destruction due to the construction of new outposts and the expansion of existing settlements. This decision – along with the inability of international leaders to force Israel to apply a new settlement freeze so that negotiations could continue – was largely perceived by the settlers and their leaders as recognition of their presence in the West Bank and as encouragement to go ahead with their colonization. According to a report written by the Israeli organization Peace Now, 1,126 construction sites have been opened in the West Bank since the end of the settlement freeze.
more.. e-mail

A distorted revolution: Tea Party stooges of Israel
Paul J. Balles, Redress 11/28/2010
      If the Tea Party rally in America represented a sane, honest, non-violent revolution, it could make a lot of sense as a populist movement.
     Unfortunately, it's been spearheaded by a psycho and supported by what some have labelled "wing nuts" – a current brand name for crazies and the brainless.
     The name "Tea Party" alludes to the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 incident when American colonists destroyed British tea rather than pay what they considered a tax that violated their right to "No Taxation without Representation".
     About the current Tea-Partiers, pollster Scott Rasmussen says: "They think federal spending, deficits and taxes are too high, and they think no one in Washington is listening to them, and that latter point is really important."
     Expressed concerns by Tea Party supporters have included cutting the size of government, lowering taxes, reducing wasteful spending, the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to an “originalist” interpretation of the United States Constitution.
     Headlining an article by Matt Taibbi, Alternet writes "By rallying behind dingbats and morons like [Sarah] Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism its rallying cry.
     Taibbi writes: "...movements like the Tea Party more than anything else reflect a widespread longing for simpler times and simple solutions." Unfortunately, as he also points out, we're living in an extremely complex world where there are no simple solutions.
more.. e-mail

Need For Speed Jericho
Palestine Monitor: 28 Nov 2010 - Motor racing in Palestine has been growing in popularity for both genders. Friday's event in Jericho exemplified the trend for well-attended, fiercely competitive races. Photography by Brynn Ruba. / / / / / / / / / Read about Palestinian women's races here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10184696more

The Original Sin
Palestine Chronicle: 27 Nov 2010 - By Uri Avnery – Israel A friend of mine in Warsaw told me about a Polish journalist who visited Israel for the first time. On his return he reported with great excitement: 'You know what I've discovered? In Israel, too, there are Jews!' For this Pole, Jews are people who wear a long black kaftan and a big black hat. In almost every souvenir shop in Poland, little figures like this are exhibited along with other classics like the nobleman, the artisan and the peasant. This distinction between Israelis and Jews would not have surprised any of us 50 years ago. Before the foundation of the State of Israel, none of us spoke about a “Jewish state”. In our demonstrations we chanted: “Free Immigration! Hebrew State!” In almost all media quotations from those days, there appear the two words “Hebrew state”, almost never “Jewish state”. In school we acquired an...more


Monday, November 29, 2010Top of page
Israel’s Racist Polices in Practice: News from the Other Front (PDF)
Michael Warschawski, Alternative Information Center 11/25/2010
      Knesset: Racism Gone Wild
     Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman pressured Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman. Yaakov Neeman pressured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Binyamin Netanyhu pressured Defence Minister Ehud Barak. Ehud Barak pressured the handful of Knesset members from the Labour party. And all of this because of racist Liberman, the fascist! Really? Everything because of Liberman?
     When the current Knesset members were elected, we wrote that the Knesset was divided between the radical Right and the even more radical Right, and that Ivet Liberman and his friends would set the tone. At the conclusion of a year, no one can continue denying this abysmal forecast: the elections' slogan of Yisrael Beitenu has become the national slogan: "no loyalty, no citizenship".
     Indeed, every Knesset member is responsible for her (and his) actions and votes. "No one pressured me," Binyamin Netanyahu honestly stated after voting, "and I support a declaration of loyalty". No one pressured Ehud Barak either. These are racist people who do not require external pressure in order to pass racist legislation. People for whom democracy means nothing. Fascist thugs and no more, and who knows what else they will do.
     The Association for Civil Rights in Israel expressed concern about the upcoming Knesset session and the legislation expected to be passed: a law that will deny public support to any organization publicly commemorating the Palestinian Naqba on Israeli independence day; a law that sets prison time for one who denies Israel as a Jewish state....
more.. e-mail

’Holy Land’ does not include Bethlehem - It’s official!
Ken Reed, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) 11/30/2010
      A new economic squeeze by Israel Government Tourist Office to exclude Palestine from Holy Land pilgrim tours has begun, aided by full page colour adverts in Church newspapers like the Anglican Church Times* and Roman Catholic The Tablet*, which appear to have been taken in. Seven UK and one Irish tour companies** are linked on a new website www.WalkWhereJesusWalked.com to sell IGTO tours for 4, 7, or 10 days. None of the tour itineraries includes Bethlehem, Hebron or Jericho or mention Palestinians. But parts of illegally annexed East Jerusalem feature, including the controversial 'King David's City' controlled by the Elad settlers, as well as Galilee, Tel Aviv and holiday resort Eilat. We do not yet know if Christian Churches condemn this initiative, as Jewish human rights organisations have done.
     The IGTO initiative follows the Vatican Synod on the Middle East in which Pope Benedict XVI pleaded for recognition of the 'Living Stones' within Israel/Palestine, the dwindling population of Palestinian Christians. This was echoed by RC Archbishop Kelly of Liverpool, the English and Welsh Bishops' representative at the Synod and also Franciscan Father Pizzaballa, Custodian of Holy Places. But, as the international lay Catholic website Zenit regretted, how pilgrimages can support the local population was not explored. Since its establishment in 1970 the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Migrants has argued for responsible tourism in the world, including pilgrimages, but has somehow not yet dealt with the Holy Land.
     Palestinians have now expressed concern themselves. Published in Palestine this week is Come and See: Guidelines for Pilgrimages jointly from Alternative Tourism Group (Bethlehem) and Kairos Palestine (joint initiative by the leaders of all 14 Christian Churches in Palestine taking its inspiration from anti-apartheid Kairos South Africa and has condemned the Israeli occupation as a sin). Their 24 page report argues that any pilgrimage which is not balanced and inclusive should not be recognised as a pilgrimage. It is the outcome of a Geneva forum of concerned organisations in May 2010 with 14 countries represented.
more.. e-mail

Real Hope Is About Doing Something
Chris Hedges, Truthdig 11/29/2010
      On Dec. 16 I will join Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and several military veteran activists outside the White House to protest the futile and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us will, after our rally in Lafayette Park, attempt to chain ourselves to the fence outside the White House. It is a pretty good bet we will all spend a night in jail. Hope, from now on, will look like this.
     Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It is not having a positive attitude or pretending that happy thoughts and false optimism will make the world better. Hope is not about chanting packaged campaign slogans or trusting in the better nature of the Democratic Party. Hope does not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil or the government.
     Hope does not mean we will halt the firing in Afghanistan of the next Hellfire missile, whose explosive blast sucks the oxygen out of the air and leaves the dead, including children, scattered like limp rag dolls on the ground. Hope does not mean we will reform Wall Street swindlers and speculators, or halt the pillaging of our economy as we print $600 billion in new money with the desperation of all collapsing states. Hope does not mean that the nation’s ministers and rabbis, who know the words of the great Hebrew prophets, will leave their houses of worship to practice the religious beliefs they preach. Most clerics like fine, abstract words about justice and full collection plates, but know little of real hope.
     Hope knows that unless we physically defy government control we are complicit in the violence of the state. All who resist keep hope alive. All who succumb to fear, despair and apathy become enemies of hope. They become, in their passivity, agents of injustice. If the enemies of hope are finally victorious, the poison of violence will become not only the language of power but the language of opposition. And those who resist with nonviolence are in times like these the thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration.
more.. e-mail

Letter from prison: I have a lot of energy to struggle
Electronic Intifada: 29 Nov 2010 - The following is an excerpt from a letter by Palestinian political prisoner and civil society leader Ameer Makhoul, written in response to a postcard featuring an image of a lighthouse sent by The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof: "The lighthouse, al-fanar in Arabic, is an inspiration. I have built a lighthouse here in jail. It has been built in my mind because I am not allowed to use the space, but my mind is totally mine."more

Arrested while helping farmers in Saffa Valley
Electronic Intifada: 29 Nov 2010 - It was a bright, warm morning in the occupied West Bank's Saffa Valley Thursday, 18 November when, without warning, the Israeli occupation forces were upon us. Within moments, five Israeli soldiers were shouting in Hebrew. "You have one minute to leave the area!" they said, before shooting stun grenades at our feet. Moments later, we were told to sit quietly and hand over our passports. A six-hour detention was to follow.more

Review: paintings scream to break walls of silence
Electronic Intifada: 29 Nov 2010 - Scottish artist Jane Frere's exhibition In the Shadow of the Wall reminds us that the plight of the Palestinian people is not just confined to periods of overt conflict, but is an ongoing, everyday experience. Stephen Fiddes reviews for The Electronic Intifada.more

Will the PA Declare a State… or Collapse?
Palestine Chronicle: 29 Nov 2010 - By Stuart Littlewood – London The other day I looked back with sadness on how nothing had changed for the better since my last trip to Palestine three years ago. On that occasion I also visited Gaza, an experience indelibly etched on my memory. The situation there only goes from bad to worse - intolerably worse. But if I'm dispirited, heaven knows how the average Palestinian must feel as a result of the incompetent leadership they have had to endure these last 63 years… a leadership which failed to coherently argue and convey the justice of the Palestinian cause and never bothered, even to this day, to formulate and put into action an effective communications plan to win freedom. The Israelis, though accomplished propagandists, are not very bright. In the battle for hearts and minds they have a violent story to tell and a lousy reputation to defend. And it’s...more


Tuesday, November 30, 2010Top of page
Mossad, MI6, the CIA and the case of the assassinated scientist
Yossi Melman, The Independent 11/30/2010
      Three events – not seemingly related – took place yesterday. The leaking of State Department documents, many of which deal with the world's concerns about Iran's nuclear programme; the mysterious assassination in Tehran of a top Iranian nuclear scientist and the wounding of another, and the appointment of Tamir Pardo as the new head of Mossad, Israel's foreign espionage agency.
     But there's a link between them. They are part of the endless efforts by the Israeli intelligence community, together with its Western counterparts including Britain's MI6 and America's CIA, to sabotage, delay and if possible, to stop Iran from reaching its goal of having its first nuclear bomb.
     The attack on the two scientists, one of them mentioned as a top nuclear scientist working with Iran's Ministry of Defence, was part of these efforts. No organisation claimed responsibility but it is obvious, not just because of accusations by Iranian officials and Iran's media, that Israel was behind it. Most experts who follow Middle East politics and Mossad history would agree.
     It is at least the fourth attempt to assassinate Iranian scientists linked with the country's nuclear programme in four years. There were probably other attempts which did not hit the headlines. The attribution to Mossad is not because of the use of motorcycles, though in the past Mossad has been involved in similar operations. The best known one was in 1995 in Valletta, Malta, when a Mossad hit-team liquidated Dr Fathi Shkaki, the leader of the Islamic Jihad.
     It has more to do with the policy of Mossad to deal a blow to Iran's nuclear programme....
more.. e-mail

Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade
Various organizations, International Federation for Human Rights 11/30/2010
      Imports of construction materials still only 11 per cent of 2007 pre-blockade levels. Israel approves imports for only seven per cent of UNRWA’s rebuilding plan for Gaza.
     Israel’s measures to ‘ease’ the illegal blockade of Gaza in the face of significant international pressure[1] have done little to change the plight of Gaza’s civilians, says a report published today by an international coalition of 22 development, human rights and peace-building organisations. They are calling for renewed international action to ensure an immediate, unconditional and complete lifting of the blockade.
     The international community has eased its pressure on Israel, but too little has been done to effectively ease the restrictions on the daily lives of the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are children, says the report, Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade. The report says that not only has Israel neglected to address major elements of the blockade in its ‘easing’ measures, such as lifting the ban on exports from Gaza, but it has failed so far to live up to key commitments it did make.
     Israel promised to expand and accelerate imports of desperately-needed construction materials for UN and other international projects such as schools, health centres, houses and sewage plants, many of which were damaged or destroyed during the military operation in December 2008-January 2009. But in reality the report shows that progress has been slow and limited since this pledge. Israel has so far only approved the import of materials for 25 UNRWA[2] construction projects for schools and clinics, a mere seven per cent of UNRWA’s entire reconstruction plan for Gaza. Even for these approved projects, only a small fraction of the required construction materials have actually been permitted to enter Gaza so far. -- See also: Full Report PDF)
more.. e-mail

How the US and Israel Hope to Destroy Hezbollah
Franklin Lamb, Beirut, CounterPunch 11/19/2010
      Attacking Nasrallah
     "I’ve got these [expletive deleted] just where we want them Maura! Watch the 1000 slow cuts as we shred Hezbollah--who do they think they are? And we’ll do it by using 1757 and this time we’re going all the way. I told Israel to stay out of Lebanon because the IDF can’t defeat Hezbollah plus the whole region would burn. I will handle this and it will be my Christmas present to Lebanon.”
     So, reportedly, said Jeffrey Feltman in conversation with his former office staffer, now US Ambassador to Lebanon, Maura Connelly during October 17, 2010 visit with MP Walid Jumblatt at his Clemenceau residence. On December 12, 2008, Naharnet.com reported that “Former US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman presented Prime Minister Fuad Siniora with what the American diplomat described as his personal Christmas present to Lebanon. Mr. Feltman assured PM Siniora that he will force Israel out of Ghajar village before the end of 2008.”
     As it turned out, Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and Lebanon never did receive Feltman’s promised 2008 Christmas present and Israel has its tanks and troops in Lebanon’s Ghajar village even as pressure mounts for ending its four-year illegal occupation of North Ghajar which, in violation of UNSCR 1701, Israel invaded in July 2006 and from which it has refused to withdraw. Feltman is now again assuring his Lebanese allies that he’s Santa Claus and Hezbollah’s head will adorn his sleigh during his Christmas eve rounds. The reason for his optimism is that US and Israel are quietly confident that they can achieve with UNSCR 1757 what was intended but fell short with UNSCR 1559, stripping Lebanon’s Resistance of its defensive weapons....
more.. e-mail

Why NGO Monitor is attacking The Electronic Intifada
Electronic Intifada: 30 Nov 2010 - NGO Monitor has launched a campaign targeting a Dutch foundation's financial support to The Electronic Intifada, accusing the publication among other things of "anti-Semitism." NGO Monitor is an extreme right-wing group with close ties to the Israeli government, military, West Bank settlers, a man convicted of misleading the US Congress, and to notoriously Islamophobic individuals and organizations in the United States.more

WikiLeaks' harsh lesson on imperial hubris
Electronic Intifada: 30 Nov 2010 - The new WikiLeaks disclosures provide a useful insight, captured in the very ordinariness of the diplomatic correspondence, into Washington's own sense of the limits on its global role -- an insight that was far less apparent in the previous WikiLeaks revelations on the US army's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Jonathan Cook comments.more

"Return to sender" - Israel blocks the mail to Gaza
Electronic Intifada: 30 Nov 2010 - Palestinians living under siege in the occupied Gaza Strip cannot even communicate by mail, as Israel also severely restricts or delays the delivery of post including letters and packages. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada.more

Nahr al-Bared reconstruction delay throws civil rights into spotlight
Electronic Intifada: 30 Nov 2010 - More than three years after Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in the north of Lebanon was destroyed, its reconstruction is finally under way. However, the process runs at a slow pace and remains only partially funded as further political obstacles appear on the horizon.more

Access to this site is disabled
Tales to Tell: 30 Nov 2010 - Dapper users have been blocked by the content owner of this site. Sorry.more

Select Day:

 

Archives | Art | Articles | Background | Books | Boycott | Cartoons | Chemical War | Children | Contact | Donate | Elections | E-mail Us | Events | Film | Home | Letters | Links | Maps | Mission | Music | Videos | News | Performance | Photos | Poetry | Polls | Prisoners | Products | Search | Take Action | The US Role | The Wall | Together

To receive a once-daily e-mail digest of our News and Articles content, write to
OccupationNews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or visit
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OccupationNews/join
See example: Occupation News

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the material posted on this site are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the webmaster or Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Top of page