Categorized | Middle East




In which a mild Palestinian voice on a U.S. Op-Ed page is greeted by a call for Muslim genocide

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss

Zahi Khouri is a big businessman in the West Bank who owns a business in southern Florida. He has a pro-two-state piece in the Orlando Sentinel, and says what everyone else does, Obama would have to overcome the force of the lobby in order to apply pressure to Netanyahu to end the occupation and allow the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Khouri’s piece is filled with optimism. He dreams of Palestinian children again getting to bathe in the Mediterranean, he dreams of a truth and reconciliation commission to address the refugees of ’48…. Below you’ll see an excerpt of Khouri’s piece, then see the first comment at the Sentinel site, from last night (and yes, it seems like a Jewish author): wipe out the Arabs.


I am an optimist because the Palestinian cause is like many successfully waged freedom struggles once deemed hopeless. I have seen Jim Crow segregation defeated in the American South, the Berlin Wall come down and apartheid dismantled in South Africa. I expect to see Israel’s occupation and discriminatory dual system of law vanquished in my lifetime.

President Obama’s leadership can help the U.S. establish a more secure region, though Israeli-Palestinian peace will not fix all the region’s problems. Twenty-one years ago, I thought peace would do far more. Unfortunately, the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the enormous danger of an Israeli-instigated confrontation with Iran mean that Israeli-Palestinian peace will go less far than two decades ago.

With peace, trade opportunities for Israel and Palestine would boom throughout the region. The fulfillment of international law in a peace deal would end the burgeoning South Africa-like campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions currently faced by Israel. And tourism would surely grow dramatically following a peace deal.

Now here is commenter MarkSolomon at 11:29 PM September 01, 2010

This smack-down of Israel is so divorced from reality as to relegate it to high comedy, if not for the identity of the libeler.  The Israeli government, against the better judgment of its religious citizens as well as the majority of the diaspora, has bent over backwards, time and time again, to comply with Palestinian requests in the (unrealisitic) hopes of achieving peace with its neighbors.  Despite the daily bombardment by Palestinians of civilian homes, Israel held back its fist at the request of PLO leaders who said that the problem of the “renegades” should be left with them to deal with.  Of course, nothing was done.  Israel withdrew from large swaths of militarily significant land areas upon the (empty) promises of peace, only to have to recapture the territory because peace was not forthcoming.  Millions of dollars (bribe money?!) has been paid to the PLO from the United States and the European Union only to disappear into the Swiss bank accounts of PLO heirarchy/thieves.  The only way to achieve peace with “peaceful” Muslims is to completely destroy them in battle.  

Matthews says Obama has gone ‘neocon.’ Why?

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss

Tonight on Hardball, Chris Matthews lamented Obama’s passivity and, speaking of his foreign policy, said that his speech on Iraq the other night was the speech of a neoconservative, not a “dove.” Over the course of the hour, the hobbyhorsical host several times slammed the Republican Party as a party of “neocons” that will give us “war on demand,” which started a war against a country that hadn’t attacked us, which wants to attack Iran now.

The problem with these partisan rants is that Matthews knows just what MJ Rosenberg and Sheera Frenkel report in the posts below this one: that the Israel lobby reigns in the Congress, terrifies the Democratic candidates, and forbids us to talk to Hamas even though we talked to parties of violent resistance in Iraq and Northern Ireland. As for Obama’s neoconservativism, anti-Vietnam-war Democrats like Schumer, Berman, and Lieberman voted for the Iraq war, surely in part because of Israel’s security. Just as many Democrats are now pushing for an attack on Iran. The Iran saber-rattling is not a partisan issue; both parties are corrupted (as both existing parties were by the slave power); and the cause of the rot is the Israel lobby. Until the media start talking about it, politicians can’t run against it, and voters won’t be able to vote against it.

Netanyahu has more power in Congress than Obama

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss

Echoing the point made by Sheera Frenkel below, here is an interesting column by MJ Rosenberg at Mediamatters, appealing for the two-state solution, and saying that Netanyahu can deliver it, not Obama, because, well, Obama is bought and paid for. Rosenberg is blunt about the fact that Netanyahu is more powerful politically than Obama here, because he has such a base in the American Congress and the donor base of the Democratic party. No wonder Chas Freeman talks about political “pathologies.”

[Obama] cannot achieve an agreement without putting pressure on both sides, and particularly on Netanyahu who, after all, holds all the cards (plus all the territory).

But Netanyahu knows that if Obama applies pressure on him, the President will outrage even his Democratic allies in Congress.  Lobby-led Representatives and Senators (Democrats as much as Republicans) will oppose asking Netanyahu to do anything he does not want to do. (Count on the donors, the lobby and the Israeli embassy to organize the opposition.)

This applies to any territorial concession Netanyahu might be asked to make.  It even applies to an Israeli attack on Iran which, should it come, would have the enthusiastic support of some of the most liberal, anti-war Democrats (let alone Republicans).  That is certainly true just prior to an election, but it is also true when an election is two years away.  The lobby owns this issue, not the President.

And that is why, in the end, we have to hope that Netanyahu has finally come to understand that the occupation poses an existential threat to Israel as a Jewish state.

If Netanyahu has actually come around to that understanding (as Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert seemed to), it is possible — even probable — that progress will be made.

After all, Netanyahu can deliver the lobby and, with it, Congress.

Tail beats the dog

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss

Sheera Frenkel of McClatchy reports that even as Netanyahu arrived for the talks

members of his political party were in Washington to push a different agenda.

Danny Dayan, a settler leader and member of the Yesha Council, the lobby for the settler movement in Israel, was meeting Jewish and congressional leaders in Washington to try to convince them of the importance of expanding Israel’s settlements.

Do they own us? Why isn’t this a scandal? Who in Congress did Dayan meet with? Where is Obama?

Blame the Palestinian rejectionists.

Actually, Herzl was a colonialist

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies was on Russian television today speaking of her disappointment in Obama and Mitchell. The talks are a “photo-op,” she said, because the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinians in Gaza are not represented. And the terms have been set by Israel. “The U.S. has not brought real pressure to bear” on a simple legal matter, ending the settlements. “Until you stop, we are cutting off aid. That sentence was never spoken.”

I always wonder why voices like this are not more prominent in our media. Bennis tells me that she sent a letter to the New York Times the other day in response to Gadi Taub’s op-ed on the importance of saving the Zionist state by getting the settlers out of the West Bank. The Times apparently chose not to run it, so Bennis said we could. (This version is slightly longer than her original).

Gadi Taub is right that Israel’s settlements in the occupied territory are a huge problem. But he is wrong when he says that somehow “settlements and continued occupation” will undermine the vision of Theodor Herzl, founder of political Zionism. In fact occupation was central to Herzl’s plans. Taub claims that Herzl’s Zionism was part of the “tradition of democratic national liberation movements.” But the truth is quite the opposite. Herzl’s Zionism was old-fashioned turn-of-the-century colonialism.

His diary includes the text of a letter Herzl wrote to Cecil Rhodes, shortly after the infamous Briton had colonized the land of the Shona people in Africa – whose land he claimed and renamed Rhodesia. “You are being invited to help make history,” Herzl wrote to Rhodes. “[I]t doesn’t involve Africa, but a piece of Asia Minor; not Englishmen but Jews… How, then, do I happen to turn to you since this is an out-of-the-way matter for you? How indeed? Because it is something colonial… [Y]ou, Mr. Rhodes, are a visionary politician or a practical visionary… I want you to.. put the stamp of your authority on the Zionist plan and to make the following declaration to a few people who swear by you: I, Rhodes have examined this plan and found it correct and practicable. It is a plan full of culture, excellent for the group of people for whom it is directly designed, and quite good for England, for Greater Britain….”

As talks resume, two-thirds of Israelis support settlement building
Sep 02, 2010 



And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Abbas demands a freeze on Israeli settlement activity (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Wednesday publicly demanded a freeze on all Israeli settlement activity at the launch of landmark US-mediated peace talks at the White House.*

Two-thirds of Israelis support settlement building: poll (AFP)
AFP – Two-thirds of Israelis support a total or partial resumption of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, according to a poll broadcast on Wednesday, as peace talks are due to restart in Washington.*

Settlers defy peace talks with new construction across West Bank
Yesha council says settlers will start building in at least 80 settlements, breaking a government freeze that ends on September 26.

Israeli settlers build new settlement in Hebron
Hebron, September 2, (Pal Telegraph) Hundreds of Israeli settlers started last night building a new settlement on the territory of the farming village of “Baq’a”, east of Hebron in the West Bank.  A villager named Mar’i Jaber (local witness), said that large numbers of Israeli settlers raided the village in the evening, with amounts of cement, sand, wood and water tanks in preparation for starting the construction of illegal outpost on a mountainous area located on the eastern side of the village.

Jewish settlers celebrate resuming construction in the West Bank
Children of Jewish settlers wave Israeli flags during the ceremony of resuming construction in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Adam near Ramallah on Sept.1, 2010. Israeli settlement leaders and residents in many West Bank communities said Wednesday that they planned to resume construction at the conclusion of the funerals for four Israelis shot dead by Hamas gunmen the night before.

ZAKA headquarters authorized in east Jerusalem
As peace talks about to begin in Washington, Jerusalem municipal council for commemorating terror victims establishes facts on ground, authorizes headquarters for volunteer rescue unit on public land in east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.,7340,L-3947743,00.html

“Bureaucratic weapons worse than bombs”
Firas al-Maraghi from the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem has been on hunger strike outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin since 26 July. Al-Maraghi is striking in protest of the Israeli Ministry of Interior’s refusal to include his German-born daughter and wife on his Jerusalem residency permit. Bridget Chappell interviews al-Maraghi for The Electronic Intifada.

Lifta’s legacy under threat
There are few villages in historic Palestine which invoke the memories of the Nakba (the 1948 dispossession of the Palestinian people) as does Lifta. However, Lifta’s architectural legacy is under threat as Israel moves to Judaize the formerly pluralistic Palestinian village.

Donald Macintyre: Settlements still occupying minds in the West Bank
Even with tension high in much of the West Bank after Hamas gunmen killed four Israeli settlers on Wednesday night, Sana Shabitah, 40, had been determined to come here yesterday to register her disapproval of Mahmoud Abbas’s trip to Washington. Saying that angry settlers protesting about the shootings had blocked the road between her home in Nablus and Ramallah and thrown stones at Palestinian cars, she declared: “I don’t support the negotiations. We don’t have anything tangible on the ground. The settlements are still being built, the prisoners are still in jail. I know Abu Mazen [Mr Abbas] was under pressure but that doesn’t mean he should surrender.”

B’Tselem invites theatre heads to field visit to view harm caused by Ariel settlement to Palestinian human rights
B`Tselem – B’Tselem wrote today to the managers of Israel’s theatres, calling them to visit the Northern West Bank and see for themselves the heavy damage to human rights inflicted by the continued existence of the Ariel settlement. B’Tselem’s letter followed the managers’ decision to perform plays for the first time in the West Bank, in the newly built theater in Ariel. In her letter, B’Tselem executive director Jessica Montell wrote that millions of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank are denied their basic rights, including the right to culture, largely as a result of Israel’s settlement project.

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Israeli court resumes trial in killing of American activist Rachel Corrie
On Sunday, September 5th, the Haifa District Court will resume hearing testimonies in a civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza.  Rachel Corrie, an American student activist and human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003, by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer while nonviolently protesting Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).  The second phase of the trial is expected to shed more light on the circumstances of her death and the Israeli government failure to conduct a thorough, credible and transparent investigation into her killing.

Army court rejects appeal to release anti-wall activist
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court of appeal rejected a petition calling for the release of Adeeb Abu Rahmah, an anti-wall activist from the West bank village of Bil’in, supporters said Wednesday.  The appeal was heard Tuesday at Israel’s Ofer military detention center, where the 38-year-old Abu Rahmah has been held since 10 July 2009.

IOF arrests two Peace activists during a demo
Jerusalem, September 1, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli police arrested two foreign peace activists and Israelis during a demonstration by more than two hundred of these activists in the town of Silwan, South of Al Aqsa mosque, in solidarity with the residents of the town and to condemn the regular attacks of Israeli settlers on them.

In East Jerusalem… a near riot, Philip Weiss
Joseph Dana says there is a near riot taking place right now in Silwan, during a demonstration against the Israeli occupation/landgrab in which police have used violence. His tweets and pictures below.

Israel vs Israel: A protest in Silwan against settlements, Joseph Dana
Silwan is a neighborhood in East Jerusalem just outside of the old city walls. The streets of the neighborhood are narrow and steep as most of the houses lie on either side of a deep gorge. The people and the geography of Silwan are unforgiving. Various settler organizations have been taking over Silwan house by house for years with the full assistance and permission of the Israeli goverenment. The leading settler group, City of David, is using archeology as a means of disposing hundreds of Palestinian families their homes. The State of Israel has decided that archeology rubble is more important than Palestinian homes and has regularly demolished houses in the name of protecting archeology ruin. The ELAD group is a leading investor in the creation of archeology parks which function as cover for settlers to take over more land in Silwan.

Palestinians protest the PA cabinet’s announcement of an “indefinite” delay in municipal elections
What happened in Hebron proved our point; we need a unified Palestinian position,” Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi said following a mass rally in Ramallah on Wednesday.  The protest, planned immediately after PA forces quashed a news conference on 25 August, was coordinated by leftist Palestinian factions, independent parties and several prominent philanthropists and business people involved with recent attempts to restore unity.  The parties demonstrated against the return to peace talks under the conditions set out by Israel. “There were no conditions set out for the success of these talks,” Barghouthi said. “There were no terms of reference and Israel has been given a veto.”

Protests against talks continue in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — “What happened in Hebron proved our point; we need a unified Palestinian position,” Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouthi said following a mass rally in Ramallah on Wednesday.  The protest, planned immediately after PA forces quashed a news conference on 25 August, was coordinated by leftist Palestinian factions, independent parties and several prominent philanthropists and business people involved with recent attempts to restore unity.

PA must investigate demonstration dispersal
According to B’Tselem’s investigation and the media, on 25 Aug. ’10, Palestinian security forces dispersed a procession held in Ramallah by participants of a non-violent political conference, and assaulted a human rights professional.
Dozens of Jordanians protest in Amman, condemning direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations
AMMAN, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — Scores of Jordanians took part in a sit-in on Thursday, protesting the start of direct peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis in Washington.  During the sit-in, organized by Jordan’s Islamic Action Front ( IAF), participants condemned the negotiations, calling on the Arab states to support the Palestinian resistance instead.  Hamzah Mansour, secretary general of the IAF, which is the political wing of Muslim Brotherhood, said these negotiations are held without clear terms of reference, adding that they will be in the interest of the “Zionist entity.”

Activist group to help Palestinian refugees return home
BEIRUT: The Free Palestine Movement announced Wednesday its plan to send land and maritime convoys of refugees back to Palestine, in compliance with UN Resolution 194.  “We are here to announce the steps we will take [concurrently] with the [peace talks] happening in Washington,” said the head of the movement, Yasser Qashlaq, during a news conference in Beirut.  Qashlaq explained that currently, the world seemed concerned with Palestine’s future and that it was time for Palestinian refugees to go back home after nearly 60 years.

Join Palestinians in Washington, DC on Thursday, Sept. 2 for a picket outside the US State Department to say: Palestinian National Rights Are Not For Sale!
As the direct negotiations begin at the US State Department, it is critical that our voices are heard saying that the Authority does not speak for Palestinians and that we will not allow Palestinian national rights – particularly the right to return – to be bargained away.

Join Us TONIGHT: White House Vigil for a Just Peace
As President Barack Obama, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gather for a White House dinner on the eve of the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, please join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for a silent vigil in support of a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on human rights, international law, and UN resolutions.

Anna Baltzer: Boycott Ahava
Author and activist Anna Baltzer explains why the Israeli beauty company, Ahava, should be boycotted by citizens of conscience.

No haven in New Haven for bigoted ideas, Philip Weiss
Yaman Salahi, a Yale Law School student, joins the call on Yale to dissociate itself from the conference last week that equated criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. From the Yale Daily News. Note Salahi’s sophisticated navigation of Jewish identity. Help us, dude.

Should people boycott Israel? Pt.3 Omar Barghouti

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (26 Aug – 01 Sep 2010)

Video: Soldiers and police violently seal shops in Hebron without showing order
On 10  Aug. ’10, soldiers sealed three Palestinian-owned shops in Hebron. The action was part of the Israeli authorities’ separation policy in the center of Hebron, which is aimed at protecting settlements erected there. This policy entails physical and legal segregation between the Israeli settlers and the Palestinian majority, as well as extensive and harsh restrictions on movement of Palestinians and systematic refusal to enforce law and order on settlers who attack Palestinians. Also, security forces themselves attack Palestinian residents of the city. This policy has devastated the economy of the city center and led many Palestinians to leave their homes in the area.

Photographer degraded at President’s Residence
Yedioth Ahronoth’s Atta Awisat asked to strip during security check. ‘I felt like a prisoner in Abu-Ghraib prison in Iraq,’ he says. Later, President Peres personally apologizes to him,7340,L-3947565,00.html

WHO Report: I Was Asked To Spy If I Wanted To Study
World Health Organization (WHO) – PNN – Ahmed is a medical student. He cannot continue his training at an East Jerusalem hospital because his permit was confiscated. He recounts how the Israeli secret  service asked him to work for them if he wanted his permit back.   “As part of my studies at Al Quds medical school in Abu Dis, for the last two years I’ve been doing on-the-job training at an East Jerusalem hospital. Being a Palestinian from the West Bank, I need a permit from the Israeli authorities to enter Jerusalem. I’ve never had any problems getting one before. This spring, however, a soldier at the check¬point confiscated my permit. I was told that I had to see the Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, if I wanted to get it back.

No West Bank study for Gaza university students
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza university students remain unable to access classrooms in the West Bank, a report fro the Al-Mezan Center for Human rights said on Tuesday.  “After a decade or more of de-development in Gaza,” the rights group said, residents of the Strip need all possible skills to ameliorate the humanitarian situation and advance development.

West Bank, Gaza damaged by Israel to the tune of 3 billion dollars
The economic damage that Israel’s policy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the Palestinian enclaves has done to them in the past three years exceeds 3 billion dollars.  This comes in a report by the United Nations.  The situation also remains involved around food security which is not guaranteed to 60% of the Gaza population, and to 25% of the West Bank residents.

In summer, West Bank towns have little water
Judith Sudilovsky – Imemc News – “I feel so angry when I see (the Israelis) watering their fields. They have lots of water and we don`t have water to drink,” said Ali, who lives with his parents and three siblings in the last house of the village bordering the fencing and security road. With no running water in the village, Ali has to determine every morning whether his family has enough water in their tank for him to take a shower.

Gaza’s industries suffer under siege
Gaza City – Just off Omar al-Mukhtar Street, Gaza City’s main thoroughfare, in a narrow, sandy alleyway is a little second-hand clothing shop. In the dimly lit store, with only intermittent electricity for some hours a day at best, sits a single battered and aging sewing machine.  This is where Khaled Nassan, a father of four children, tries in vain to eke out a living repairing and selling second-hand clothing. Nassan charges the equivalent of 25 cents on average to repair an item. Gazans can’t afford to pay the dollar it used to cost. Nassan is lucky if he takes home $20 a day.

How the Gaza export ban impacts the furniture company of Tahseen Al-Isi
This week we will try again to understand what the possibilities are for industry in Gaza when the import of consumer goods, such as furniture, is permitted, when raw materials for industry have been cleared for entrance after many months, and while the ban on export remains firmly in place. This time we spoke with Tahseen al-Isi, director of the al-Isi furniture company in Gaza City, whose family has manufactured furniture for the Gaza market since the company was founded in 2000.

Settler Violence
Look at this list of settler-initiated crimes against Palestinians in the last few weeks

50 settlers attack Palestinian family following Hebron shooting; Israeli soldiers stand and watch
Just after midday a large group of settlers from an illegal outpost near to where four Israeli settlers where shot and killed last night, carried out an attack on an innocent Palestinian family.  At about 12.30 between 50 and 70 Israeli settlers emerged from the Givat Gal outpost near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba and came down the hill towards a Palestinian home.  Palestinian Younis Idris and his large family, including 8 children, watched as the settlers hurled rocks at the house, smashing four windows. A family member told an employee of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem that the settlers had tried unsuccessfully to open the door of the house.  They also knocked over and smashed a number of ceramic plant pots outside the family home and then set fire to the grass outside the house.  The family told ISM activists that Israeli soldiers were present during the attack but did nothing to prevent it. One soldier pointing his gun at family member who was outside the house, and ordered him to go inside.  The attack lasted about ten minutes, after which time the settlers departed in the direction they had come from.

Israeli Settlers Attack Families And The Military Abducts Two In Hebron
Israeli troops abducted two Palestinian brothers and settlers attack another house in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday morning.

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian house in Hebron
Hebron, September 1, (Pal Telegraph) 50 Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian house located nearby the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, in Hebron, south of the West Bank.

Israeli settlers go on attacking spree in Hebron
Hebron, September 1, (Pal Telegraph) Tens of Israeli settlers started throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles which were passing today near the settlements of Kiryat Arba and Beit Hagai overlooking the street of Hebron – Beer Sheva-  which is called Line (60) of settlements.

Israeli Occupation Forces Violence/Detainees
Israeli army wounds Palestinian in Gaza
GAZA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — Israeli forces on Thursday shot and injured a Palestinian teenager in northern Gaza Strip where he was collecting gravel, medics said.  Adham Abu Selmia, spokesman for ambulance, told Xinhua that Israeli fire wounded an 18-year-old worker in his right leg near Erez crossing point in the north of Gaza.  Many Palestinians dig for gravel under abandoned Jewish settlements on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and sell what they collect in a bid to cope with lack of job opportunities.  Israel imposed a near-total closure on Gaza when Hamas seized over the enclave in 2007, but started easing the sanctions in June 2010 following an international outcry against the siege, sparked by Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Israeli Military Arrest Civilians In The West Bank And Invade Areas In The Gaza Strip
Ramallah – PNN – the Israeli soldiers arrested seven Palestinian civilians during morning invasions targeting southern West Bank communities on Thursday morning.  Palestinian sources  said that troops searched and ransacked homes in Hebron and nearby village, all seven men were taken to military detention centers , army sources reported.  Also on Thursday Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded areas near Rafah city, in southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses said that tanks and bulldozers invaded areas close to the Gaza Egyptian borders. Earlier Israeli jetfighters bombarded targets in Rafah causing damage but no injures.

For once, hope in the Middle East / Martin Indyk

Today, the Palestinian Authority is policing its West Bank territory to prevent violent attacks on Israelis and to prove its reliability as a negotiating partner. Hamas — mainly out of fear of an Israeli intervention that might remove it from power — is doing the same in Gaza. These efforts, combined with more effective Israeli security measures, have meant that the number of Israeli civilians killed in terrorist attacks has dropped from an intifada high of 452 in 2002 to 6 last year and only 2 so far this year.

[Only Israeli deaths count? Compare conservative, documented statistics on casualties from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem ( 

Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces and Israeli civilians: From the outbreak of the 2nd Intifada (2000) to just before the assault on Gaza (26 Dec 2008): 4907. During the assault on Gaza: 1397. Since then up to 31 July ’10: 100.  Total: 6404. These statistics do not include Palestinians who carried or set off explosive charges, those who died because of denial/delay of medical treatment, the Ghaliya family killed while picnicking on the Gaza beach, and various other categories.

Israelis killed by Palestinians: From the outbreak of the intifada to the Gaza assault: civilians 731 security forces: 332. During the assault on Gaza: civilians: 3 security forces: 6. Since the assault on Gaza up to 31 July: civilians: 4 security forces: 4.  Total Israelis killed by Palestinians: 1080, of whom 738 were civilians.]

Siege Related Deaths
Gazan dies due to tunnel collapse
Gaza, September 1, (Pal Telegraph) A Palestinian young man was killed due to the collapse of a tunnel linking Egyptian territory and the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.  According to Dr. Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency Sectors in Gaza, that the young gazan, Abdul Latif Abu Toyoor (16 years), arrived to the hospital of Abu Yousef Al Najjar as a dead body after a tunnel collapsed on him.  Its noteworthy that dozens of workers in tunnels used for smuggling between Gaza and Egypt, were killed in the collapse of tunnels used to smuggle goods since the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

Attack against Settlers
Two Israelis injured in West Bank
Attack on a car in the occupied West Bank injures two, one seriously.

Hamas armed wing claims latest West Bank attack (AFP)
AFP – The military wing of Hamas early Thursday claimed responsibility for a shooting attack that wounded two Israelis in the West Bank, the second in 24 hours in the territory.*

Don’t jump to conclusions about who staged yesterday’s attack, Paul Woodward
If there’s just one lesson we can draw from the last decade it is this: utter the word “terrorism” and thought grinds to a halt, perceptions become blinkered and the power of human intelligence is suddenly put on hold.  Consider the attack near Hebron in the West Bank yesterday in which four Israelis were gunned down by Palestinian gunmen.  A report in the Jerusalem Post conveys a particularly harrowing moment in the attack’s aftermath as volunteers from Zaka, the Israeli community emergency response network, arrived at the scene of the shooting.

When Settlers Attack vs. When Settlers Are Attacked
As I am in the midst of analyzing data on settler violence it struck me how much this coverage chose to ignore about the dynamics of violence around settlements in the West Bank when it mentioned only Palestinian acts of violence going back to 2008 but didn’t waste a word on mentioning settler violence. Settler violence, often perpetrated with the knowledge, or assistance of the IDF, is just as likely to jeopardize the ‘peace process’ yet we rarely hear of it.  A quick query of the data, covering over 1000+ events, tells us the NYT story skipped over a lot, including over 260 acts of settler violence in the Hebron governorate alone since 2009. These include 56 instances of assault, 53 instances of stone throwing, 28 attacks on houses and attempted house seizures, 11 acts of arson and many more.

Obama on the killing of Israelis…
Obama: ‘Senseless slaughter’ in West Bank won’t stop peace talks
Standing alongside Netanyahu after the two met privately at the White House, Obama condemns killing of four Israelis, says U.S. support of Israel’s security is unwavering.

Obama on the killing of Palestinians…
Obama holds silence over Gaza
President-elect Barack Obama maintained his silence on the situation Gaza yesterday as America’s next first family moved into a luxury hotel steps from the White House and his children prepared for their first day at school in Washington.  Mr Obama has left the ritualised hand wringing about the humanitarian situation in Gaza to the Bush Administration, with his aides repeating the mantra that there is only one president at a time in America.

Obama’s deadly silence, Ali Abunimah
But as more than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed or injured — the majority civilians — since Israel began its savage bombardment of Gaza on 27 December, Obama has maintained his silence. “There is only one president at a time,” his spokesmen tell the media. This convenient excuse has not applied, say, to Obama’s detailed interventions on the economy, or his condemnation of the “coordinated attacks on innocent civilians” in Mumbai in November.

Hypocrisy: US Condemns Killing of Israelis But Almost Never Of Palestinians, M.J. Rosenberg
The first statement to come out of the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu was Obama’s strong condemnation of the horrific killing of four Israeli settlers on the West Bank. These were civilians who were simply driving in a car when Hamas snipers took them out.  The President was right to condemn these murders.  Of course, we rarely, if ever, officially condemn the killing of Palestinians by the Israelis even though Israel is an established government (not a terror outfit), the largest recipient of US foreign aid and uses the weapons we supply (gratis) to do the killing.  We did not condemn the Gaza onslaught in which the IDF killed 1,200 Palestinians (including 432 kids). We do not condemn the routine killing of Palestinian civilians by the army or the settlers. We did not condemn the the shooting of the American Jewish girl from Maryland who lost an eye for protesting the Gaza ship raid. We did, however, condemn the Goldstone Report for delineating what the IDF did in Gaza.

Israel’s Arab Helpers
PA official vows: ‘We’ll hit Hamas with an iron fist’
Fatah official Dahlan says negotiations doomed to fail because US is biased in Israel’s favor; PA police promise Hamas crack down.

Egyptian security detains son of Palestinian health minister
The Egyptian security apparatuses recently apprehended Mohammed Naim, the son of Palestinian health minister in Gaza Dr. Basem Naim, Palestinian sources told the Quds Press.

Egypt seizes load of bricks bound for Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Egyptian security forces in Rafah took control of two tunnels near Rafah they said were used for smuggling goods into Gaza, security sources told Ma’an on Wednesday.  Forces went looking for the tunnels following a tip they received around plans for smugglers to bring a load of bricks into the Gaza Strip.  With a continued ban on the entrance of construction goods for private building projects, materials like bricks and cement are unavailable to the public, restricted to the use of international aid agencies.  Egyptian security said the tunnels were located in the Al-Brazil neighborhood of Egyptian Rafah. They added that the bricks were seized and taken to a warehouse in Egypt.

“Peace” Talks/Political Developments
Al-Zahar: No connection between attacks, peace talks
Addressing this week’s terror attacks against Israelis in West Bank, senior Hamas official says, ‘When people have an opportunity, as well as the capabilities and targets, they act.’ Adds: We will not bear responsibility for failure of faulty negotiations.,7340,L-3948068,00.html

Netanyahu praises Abbas as his ‘partner in peace,’ rules out settlement freeze
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday called Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas “my partner in peace” and said he was seeking a peace to end the Middle East conflict “once and for all.”  President Barack Obama opened a new round of Mideast peacemaking Wednesday, bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to the White House for talks aimed at forging agreement within one year on a two-state solution.  “Our goal is to forge a secure and durable peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We do not seek a brief interlude between two wars. We do not seek a temporary respite between outbursts of terror,” Netanyahu said.

Pope wants ‘respectful’ deal in Mideast (AFP)
AFP – Pope Benedict XVI Thursday called for a Middle East peace agreement that is “respectful of the legitimate aspirations” of Israelis and Palestinians, during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.*

EU urges restraint as Middle East talks resume (AFP)
AFP – Israelis and Palestinians should avoid “provocative actions” which could derail direct peace talks, the European Union’s chief diplomat said Thursday after a flare-up of violence.*

Obama cautiously hopeful as Mideast talks begin (AP)
AP – Under the shadow of fresh violence, President Barack Obama solemnly convened the first direct Israeli-Palestinian talks in two years Wednesday, challenging Mideast leaders to seize a fleeting opportunity to deliver peace to a region haunted by decades of hostility.*

Obama backs security for Israel
US president meets with Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s premier, in first of several one-on-one White House meetings.

Israel needs to tackle core issues for peace to be in sight, Palestinian official says
Speaking in wake of the deadly West Bank attack, the head of the PA’s U.S. mission expects settlement freeze to continue to be a decisive negotiations topic.

Mubarak calls for int’l security force in West Bank
In ‘NY Times’ op-ed, Egyptian president says settlements and peace are incompatible; no lasting peace if Gaza excluded from agreement.  Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak suggested that an international peacekeeping force be stationed in the West Bank as a compromise between Israel’s security concerns and the Palestinian’s desire for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the territory. Mubarak’s comments came in an op-ed piece published in Wednesday’s New York Times.  Mubarak also stated his belief that “settlements and peace are incompatible,” saying that negotiations cannot succeed without a complete cessation of Israeli expansion into the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Barghouti dismisses peace talks, urges Palestinian unity
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank: Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti said peace talks with Israel were destined to fail and the Palestinians must instead focus on ending their deep national divide. Barghouti said he supported negotiation in principle but the Palestinians had only agreed to direct peace talks now under foreign pressure.

White House Peace Talks: Will Mitchell Find Success? ( – For President Obama’s Middle East special envoy, George Mitchell, it has taken 18 months to get the Israelis and the Palestinians to sit down for peace-process talks. Even if they go well, will he finally get credit?*

In Pictures: A History of Talks and Violence

Turkish FM: Israel must apologize publicly for flotilla
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the international community expects Israel to apologize publicly for killing civilians on the Gaza-bound flotilla. “Israel can apologize to Turkey, but the most important thing is that the apology be an open declaration to the international community,” said the minister. Ankara issued its findings to the UN from its probe into the Israel Navy raid on the flotilla which claimed the lives of nine Turkish civilians.,7340,L-3948162,00.html

Soldier admits to looting Turkish ship
Military Prosecution set to file indictments against officer, two soldiers suspected of involvement in theft of laptops, other equipment from Mavi Marmara after it was seized by commandos. ‘Their behavior was disgraceful,’ IDF official says.,7340,L-3948049,00.html

Irishman held in Israel ‘threatened by top official close to PM’
The Donegal man detained in Israel after its commandos shot dead nine people on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza has told the UN that he received a “serious threat” from an official close to the Israeli Prime Minister.  Fiachra O Luain from Carndonagh was second mate on the Challenger 1 and watched in horror as Israeli forces descended on the Mavi Marmara and opened fire.  The 28-year-old, who went to secondary school in Derry, said he had yet to decide whether he would return on the next aid convoy in October.

Other News
Living in ultra-Orthodox closet
At home they observe mitzvoth, but sometimes they sneak out to clubs and chows down on seafood. Ynetnews presents story of haredim who hide new secular life because price of exposure is too high.,7340,L-3944848,00.html

Family charged with kidnapping, threatening son for gay lifestyle
Family of gay man who grew up in Tamra indicted for kidnapping, assaulting, falsely imprisoning him over his cross-dressing lifestyle, pictures he posted on Facebook. His mother threatened him: Either erase pictures or it will be end of you.,7340,L-3948098,00.html

Spying and sabotage: Rivalry between Nazareth’s Arabic media heats up
Police suspect that the newspaper Kul Al Arab copied articles directly from the computers of its rival A-Sonara and used viruses to shut down its website.

The Great Book Robbery (teaser)
Chronicles of a cultural destruction: The story of 60,000 looted books.  “Farewell my library! Farewell mansion of wisdom, temple of philosophers, institute of science, council house of literature!” Khalil Sakakini.  The film will reconstruct in a multifaceted approach the systematic looting – by the newly born State of Israel – of 60,000 Palestinian books during the 1948 war.    This two versions (60 and 90 min.) documentary is in development phase. The project’s (still being designed) website is here:

Help! CNN runs reports produced by propaganda outfit headed by former AIPAC president, Philip Weiss
Its board is headed by a former president of AIPAC, Amy Friedkin, and includes Cheryl Fishbein, of the UJA Federation, the big Jewish community/pro-Israel organization. From the looks of it, it’s a transnational organization too. Now look at Israel 21c’s youtube channel. You see a piece on how Israelis are happier than other people.  Well guess who’s working with Israeli 21c? CNN. It runs newsish Israel 21c reports, like this one about environmentalists at the Dead Sea. (Maybe that’s why I saw Aaron Cohen, an Israeli SWAT team guy, on CNN all afternoon the other day during the hostage crisis?) Israel 21c brags…

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
When I was Eden Abergil, Aluf Benn
The occupation did not transform us into law-breaking criminals, it only taught us that it’s best to be on the stronger side.

Educating toward indoctrination
Haaretz – Editorial – The history books have already been rewritten. The Palestinian perspective of the Nakba – which is apparently at odds with the sterile Israeli narrative offered by Dr. Zvi Zameret, chair of the ministry`s Pedagogic Secretariat – has been censored, leaving only hollow praise for the state`s establishment. The Oslo Accords have been erased, and Holocaust studies have been expanded to “strengthen Jewish identity,” while any reference to the wider context of the rise of European fascism has been omitted.

What Is Said And What Is Not Said, Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel told his governing coalition that he did not promise an extension to the partial suspension in settlement construction when it expires in September (BTW, the suspension did not cover most of the settlement areas which are around Jerusalem and did not cover existing construction in other areas not infrastructure, schools, synagogue constructions etc.  In other words there was really no suspension.) Standing next to President Obama he simply emphasized that the topic to be discussed with Palestinians is how we can prevent attacks on illegal settlers in the West Bank.

Yousef Munayyer, “What Does Increased Palestinian Political Repression Say about the Prospects for Peace?”
Continued episodes of political repression at the behest of Israel, be it during the war in Gaza, the Goldstone debacle, or most recently in the lead-up to direct negotiations, only underscores the fundamental disparity in the position of the two negotiating partners and suggests that Palestinian domestic political disarray is likely to continue. When push comes to shove, Israel can easily manipulate this situation to claim their weak negotiating partner is unable to guarantee a lasting agreement and Israel would therefore only offer the Palestinians a figment of a state, lacking all sovereignty, while retaining security control over borders and airspace — conditions unacceptable to Palestinians. Only a unified and representative Palestinian partner can extract the minimum necessary concessions from Israel for a viable conflict resolution, and currently, as the security apparatus continues to crack down on domestic Palestinian dissent, Israel watches keenly knowing that no such Palestinian partner is on the horizon.

Every time I call home to Gaza, I am reminded that there is leadership crisis in Palestine, Hani Almadhoun
Every time I read the news, I wonder, where have all the decent Palestinian leaders gone?  I ask myself this: in the past five years, when was the last time you heard of a Palestinian leader giving a key speech where he/she laid out a plan or a new policy; the kind of speech that inspired a national dialogue?  I cannot remember such a day and that’s why I am not surprised by the sky-high level of cynicism the Palestinian public has. Such banality is dangerous.

Would Israelis like things to be better?, Joseph Dana
Based on the past months of popular struggle in the West Bank which have included countless demonstrations, arrests, house raids, injuries and trips to the military courts, I find myself asking whether Israelis would like things to be better. The question is simple enough: do people here want to create a change so that the political situation will become less tense and perhaps everyone will have a brighter future of coexistence and cohabitation? On the eve of another round of ‘mirage’ peace talks, it is hard to find elements in Israeli society that feel the pressing need to change the reality of relations vis a vie Palestinian neighbors. The left is small and effectively meaningless compared with the majority of centrist Israelis who have become accustomed to the status quo concerning the occupation and Israel’s position in the world.

The Israel lobby will be televised, Philip Weiss
What do I mean by the Israel lobby? Well for one thing, I mean the routine inclusion of a pro-Israel point of view in our media, without contradiction.  For the better part of an hour this morning, MSNBC featured commentary on the peace talks from Mitchell Bard, an advocate for Israel (here he says that the U.S. and Israel have common values and common interests and pushes to get Israeli professors hired at American universities and to improve Israel’s image). Bard has written a book called The Arab Lobby, which I am betting claims that American policy in the region is driven by Arab interests; MSNBC featured images of the book’s cover. So an advocate for Zionist ideals is given a platform on American television– without the other side. No John Mearsheimer, no Ali Abunimah.

Back To The Violence In The Holy Land , Maria C. Khoury
It’s one of those regular days in the village, where as a foreign wife you stay home all day waiting for the Palestinian husband to come home.  Except sometimes such deep violent things happen that the day sort of takes you eight years back.  This is the problem with the Middle East, for every few steps that we take forward there are double those steps we take backwards when people decide to use violence as the answer.  It’s absolutely so frustrating to live without freedom and under harsh military occupation but still we cannot condone violent action.  After a long wait for the husband to come home, I understood it was going to be a long night since all the roads were closed  looking for the people who killed four Israeli settlers in the West Bank.  It’s the holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim world, why does anyone want to kill anyone during such a time?

Bellemare: STL indictment has not been drafted yet
BEIRUT: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will not be rushed into filing premature indictments in the probe investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the court’s prosecutor said in comments published Wednesday.

Hariri’s call for disarmament in Beirut seen as provocation
PRAGUE/BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s call to make Beirut a weapons-free city, while not having any chance for success, aimed to score political points against Hizbullah and so underscored the seething enmity between the two, a number of analysts told The Daily Star on Wednesday.

Jumblatt Rejects Slogan of Arms-Free Beirut as Meaningless
02/09/2010 The head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt rejected on Tuesday the slogan of arms-free Beirut as meaningless and unenforceable.  Speaking to Lebanese daily As-Safir, Jumblatt warned that the Borj Abi Haidar clashes were more dangerous than any external war, adding that they came in reaction to the tripartite summit held at Baabda between President Michel Sleiman, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz and Syrian President Bashar Assad. “As if there is someone who wants to tell the leaders: You are not the ones who come up with solutions,” he noted.  Jumblatt, who warned that Lebanon was threatened by chaos, said the Americans want to fight Iran on Lebanese territories. “There are other countries who want to fight Syria in Lebanon,” he pointed out.  While admitting that Damascus and Riyadh could play a positive role in creating stability in Lebanon, the Progressive Socialist Party leader said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and Speaker Nabih Berri “can also do a lot.”

Lebanon Files Complaint to UN over Israeli Spy Networks
02/09/2010 Lebanon filed a complaint to the United Nations over Israeli spy networks planted in the country, in the first such move against the Zionist entity.  Lebanon’s UN ambassador, Nawaf Salam, delivered copies of the complaint to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and current president of the Security Council, Turkish ambassador Ertugrul Apakan. The complaint, which was prepared by the foreign ministry, said the spy networks “constitute an aggression on Lebanon and on its sovereignty and a clear violation of international resolutions, particularly resolution 1701.”  The letter also said that the spy networks had carried out assassinations and spied on high-ranking Lebanese personalities, including President Michel Sleiman.  The complaint noted that the spies have also monitored phone calls and forged official documents.  A list comprising the names of more than 100 people who have been convicted or accused of spying for the Israeli enemy was enclosed with the complaint.
Two Lebanese and Two Palestinians Charged with Spying for Israel
02/09/2010 Lebanon’s Military Prosecutor Magistrate Saqr Saqr charged on Thursday two Lebanese and two Palestinians with collaborating with Israel. If convicted the Palestinians, Wael Abdullah who is currently in custody and Hasan Naufal who still at large, will be sentenced to a life of hard labor.  The two Lebanese Tony Butros who is in custody and Joseph Qassis who is still at large will face the same fate if convicted.

Wednesday: 10 Iraqis Killed, 22 Wounded
Today begins Operation New Dawn, the new U.S. mission In Iraq. Despite the end of “combat operations,” at least 10 Iraqis were killed and 22 more were wounded in the latest round of violence. Coincidentally, U.S. officials reported Iraq is planning to spend $13 billion on U.S. arms and military equipment.

Iraq ‘close’ to forming new government: Biden (AFP)
AFP – Iraq is “close” to forming a new government nearly six months after elections, US Vice President Joe Biden told CBS on Wednesday during a visit to the country.*

Iraqi insurgents: we will fight until the last US soldier goes
Operation Iraqi Freedom will formally be ended by US president Barack Obama today, but 50,000 troops will stay to train and advise.

U.S. leaves ‘legacy of waste’ in Iraq
KHAN BANI SAAD, Iraq The shell of a prison that will never be used rises from the desert on the edge of this dusty town north of Baghdad, a hulking monument to the wasted promise of America’s massive, $53 billion reconstruction effort in Iraq.  Construction began in May 2004 at a time when U.S. money was pouring into the country. It quickly ran into huge cost overruns. Violence erupted in the area, and a manager was shot dead in his office. The Iraqi government said it didn’t want or need the prison. In 2007 the project was abandoned, but only after $40 million of U.S. taxpayer money had been spent.

Iraq’s new generation of despair
As US troops withdraw and Iraq tries to find its footing, it must heal the wounds of the thousands of youths who have spent years living in fear.

What the U.S. Leaves Behind: An Unstable, Vulnerable Iraq, Tony Karon
When President Obama announced on Tuesday night that “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country,” he was signaling an end to the U.S. military’s effort to remake Iraq — “nation building,” as it’s sometimes known. “As our military draws down,” he explained, “our dedicated civilians — diplomats, aid workers and advisers — are moving into the lead to support Iraq as it strengthens its government, resolves political disputes, resettles those displaced by war and builds ties with the region and the world.”,8599,2015277,00.html#ixzz0yIw8nlST

Unrepentant Tony Blair Calls for Iran Attacks
Back in the public eye with the release of his memoirs, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair might lead one to believe it is 2003 all over again. Praising George W. Bush as a great leader and one of the most decisive men he had ever met, Blair also lauds the Iraq War.  And if the Iraq War has somewhat faded in Americans’ memories with the myriad false declarations of victory in recent weeks, it is a much more bitter taste in Britain, where public hearings continue into how the nation was brought into such a disastrous conflict. Blair however chides antiwar people to “keep an open mind” and insists that the war was a great success.

Somebody’s Son or Daughter is Our Tragedy, Philip Giraldi, September 02, 2010
Abraham Lincoln referred to the “terrible arithmetic” of war, meaning that sometimes a general or statesman would have to accept large numbers of casualties in fighting that would bring the conflict to an end and thereby save even more lives.  Whether Lincoln’s war really needed to be fought at all is debatable, but most Americans would accept that war has sometimes been necessary throughout history for a nation to survive when confronted by enemies.  When a war must be fought, the key objective should be to end it as quickly as possible and with a minimum loss of life.  We Americans of the twenty-first century are now experiencing our own “terrible arithmetic,” but an arithmetic that goes on and on without end.

WARNING – Operation Iraqi Freedom Picture Album: WARNING  These Pages Depict The Horror And Reality Of War 
These pictures should only be viewed by a mature audience.

WARNING – President Bush’s “Bring Them On” Picture Album:  WARNING  These Pages Depict The Horror And Reality Of War 
These pictures should only be viewed by a mature audience.

WARNING – Take No Prisoners
Another proud moment in U.S. Military History. U.S. Marines execute an Iraqi to the cheers of fellow marines. 
This video should only be viewed by a mature audience.

U.S. and Other World News
Secret ‘Kill Lists’ Fly in the Face of US and Int’l Law
Two of the nation’s most influential human rights organisations have filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s authority to carry out “targeted killings” of U.S. citizens located far from any armed conflict zone.

Kuwait will not be ‘launch pad’ for US attacks
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait plans to buy Patriot missiles from the United States but will not allow its territory to be a launch-pad for attacks, the defense minister said in statements published on Wednesday.  Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah said the planned $900-million Patriot missiles purchase is aimed at boosting the military’s capability and should not be “misunderstood.”

Shias targeted in Pakistani bombing
Three bomb blasts hit Shia Muslim processions in the city of Lahore, killing at least six people and wounding dozens.

Egyptian rights group protests against detention of Shiites under emergency law
CAIRO: An Egyptian rights group on Tuesday scoffed at a government pledge to limit use of its emergency law as an “illusion,” after the interior ministry ignored a court’s request to release seven Shiite Muslims.  The Shiites, in detention since mid-2009, have been charged with “forming a group trying to spread Shiite ideology that harms the Islamic religion.”  “Continuing the ‘revolving door’ policy with detainees proves the amendments to the emergency law are an illusion,” the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said in a statement.

Bahrain urged to probe torture allegations
* Rights group calls for immediate investigation
* Bahrain has banned media reporting on case

Morocco: Arrests, Alleged Torture of Islamist Movement Figures
(New York) – Arrests without warrants, followed by alleged torture at national police headquarters, raise questions about how Moroccan authorities are handling a case involving seven prominent members of the country’s leading Islamist association, Human Rights Watch said today. The men have been in pretrial detention since June 28.

Egypt activist’s wife denies Mubarak Jr. support
Wife of controversial Egyptian rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim denied reports that her husband signed a document supporting the presidency of Gamal Mubarak, son of the incumbent Hosni Mubarak.

LIFE IN TALIBANISTAN, Part 1; Throw these infidels in jail,  Pepe Escobar
Dear reader: let’s sit back, relax, and take a trip down memory lane to prehistoric times – the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook world.  Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan – Talibanistan – was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Arguably, not much has changed. Or has it?  Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed Talibanistan overland from east to west, from the Pakistani border at Landi Kotal to the Iranian border at Islam Qillah. As Afghan aid workers acknowledged, we were the first Westerners to pull this off in quite a while.

Islam in America
Hate Moves Upstate: Mosque Near Rochester Targeted by Bigots
Waterport, New York, is 373 miles from the sacred ground of the World Trade Center site. But apparently, the good Americans up near the Canadian border have some sensitivities just like those folks down in the Big City, and the local-but-god-damn-foreign-seeming Muslims aren’t respecting those sensitivities at all.

Feds sue Abercrombie & Fitch over Muslim scarf
A federal civil rights agency sued Abercrombie & Fitch on Wednesday on behalf of an 18-year-old woman who said she applied for her first job at the company’s store at the Great Mall in Milpitas and was turned down because she wore a Muslim head scarf.

Right-wing radio station: ‘Gun owners have to register, why not Muslims?
A conservative talk radio station in San Diego has a pressing question to ask its listeners: Should “practicing Muslims” be “registered” on a national database during a time of war?  KFMB 760 AM, the San Diego home of such right-wing on-air personalities as Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage, reportedly asked the question on its Web site Wednesday, according to Ben Dimiero at MediaMatters.  “During a time of war, should we register as many practicing Muslims as we can find in a national database?” the poll asked.  Voters were given two options to choose from: “No, it’s an invasion of privacy,” and “Yes, gun owners have to, why not Muslims?”  The poll had already been removed from the site as of Wednesday evening.

Palestinian guns – redux

Sep 02, 2010

Ahmed Moor

Many people reacted strongly with disapprobation to my “Hamas attack was wrong” post yesterday. Nearly everyone agrees that murdering civilians is wrong, but some question whether the settlers are civilians in the first place. The settlers are racial supremacists whose race pride, irrational hatred and extermination fantasies combine to make Palestinian lives unlivable. They carry guns and are simultaneously the driving force behind and justification for the occupation.

Others, my father among them, asked how I could assert that the time for armed struggle is over.

We correctly insist that Israel contravenes international law by transferring civilians onto occupied land. Nothing has changed. Israel continues to contravene international law in that way. But reasonable people can still disagree about whether the settlers are civilians. I still insist that they are. And murdering civilians is wrong.

The more controversial claim is that the time for armed struggle is over. How can I possibly say that when the settlements continue to grow, Zionists are racially purging Palestinians from Jerusalem and pauperizing and suffocating them in Gaza? How much of this are Palestinians supposed to tolerate?

It’s a very easy question to answer, but only because I believe in some basic assumptions:

1 There will never be a Palestinian state

2 The settlements will not, under any circumstances, cease to grow or be established

3 The Israelis will continue to racially purge Jerusalem

4 Palestinian guns cannot prevent any of this from happening

And finally,

5 Our superior morality – which is accessible to everyone, including erstwhile Zionists – is the key to undoing the Zionist state and creating a country where Palestinians and Jewish people can live equally.

We must accept that Zionist aggression will continue. Furthermore, guns will not repel or defeat the irrational Zionist hatred of Palestinians and other non-Jews in Palestine/Israel. But that does not mean we are powerless to rid ourselves of Zionism?

The only way to undo the Zionist state – which is my unambiguous goal –is by insisting on our right to vote. I believe strongly that the Palestinian struggle is not about independence; I don’t want a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza. Instead, the Palestinian struggle is now about equal rights in the entire state of Palestine/Israel. Those of us who are refugees want the entire country back.

We are all angry. But allowing our anger to override and overwhelm our long-term, humanist vision for Palestine/Israel – many of us profess to believe in the one-state solution, after all – is an excellent way to confound ourselves.

It’s often repeated that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. But we are not weak.

Our moral right – the righteousness of our cause – suffuses us with a strength which will overwhelm Zionism. All the guns in the world can’t accomplish what we will if we don’t lose focus and succumb to unworthy sentiments. It’s time to put the guns away.

‘Do you know how hard I work to control the rage inside of me?’

Sep 02, 2010


Yesterday on this site, responding to the murders of the four settlers in the West Bank Tuesday, Seham, a Palestinian-American, offered a list of settler attacks on Palestinians. David Samel, who has taken a strong stance against violent resistance, responded in a comment:

Seham, I have no doubt that many settlers, especially the ones who are in the WB for ideological rather than economic reasons, are unapologetic racists who ruthlessly exercise their power to make life miserable for the Palestinians. They even resort to murder. However, this was not a spontaneous attack by a Palestinian driven by a last-straw incident to attack one of these cruel racists. This was a pre-planned murder of random settlers executed by an armed group (there may be some question as to whether it was Hamas after all.) The people who undertook this operation coolly decided that it was the proper course of action for reasons I cannot fathom. Assuming all of your stories are true (and I don’t have the slightest reason to doubt any), it could not have been a rational decision designed to alleviate the sadistic and cruel conditions imposed by the settlers upon the Palestinians.

Seham responded to Samel later. Her comment described an incident that she has not spoken about before here, which is why we post it:

David, let’s assume that they were Hamas members or sympathizers. How insulated do you think Hamas is from daily Israeli/PA aggression, violence and detention in the West Bank?  Everyone knows about the siege in Gaza and how it affects everyone there, but, that doesn’t mean that Hamas members or sympathizers in the West Bank have it much better.  Surely you know what life is like for the average Palestinian, so do you think that Hamas members are somehow detached and unaffected by the occupation?  They, their families and their property are constantly being targeted by either the Israelis or their Palestinian appendage in the West Bank.  Besides, things are not getting any better for Palestinians in either the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem and there isn’t any chance for freedom in the future, not with the expansion of the settlements going full steam ahead.  And as the settlements grow, so does the repression of all the Palestinians living around them.  Expect then, for more “cool headed” people to snap, expect that they might be Hamas or, that they might be Fatah members who resent the shift in the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank that occurred post Oslo.

Every single Palestinian in the territories has a relative that was either killed, arrested, held up at a checkpoint, or had something they owned stolen by Israelis.  

My own Palestinian story is as follows: my father had a heart attack years ago in the West Bank.  Doctors said if he would have gotten to the hospital in time, he would have survived. The taxi that was taking him to the hospital was held up at a checkpoint. We never got to see him before he died. I live in the U.S., I have not experienced a scintilla of what Palestinians living in the territories have. And do you know how hard I have to work to control the rage I feel inside of me? How Palestinians living over there do it, every single day, I can’t understand.

I know a ton of old lefties, wheat-grass drinkers, and painters in falling-down houses that went to Bard, but

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss

the lobby never sleeps.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program and Foreign Affairs magazine cordially invite you to the opening of this year’s James Clarke Chace Memorial Speaker Series:

“The Demonization of Israel: Its History and Politics”

Martin Peretz

Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic; and recipient of seven honorary doctorates.

6:15 pm. 16 September 2010.

36 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues), Suite 1011.

New York City.

Please RSVP to: 

I hope the start to your semester is going well!

Jonathan Cristol

Director, Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program

Assistant Professor of International Affairs, Bard College

36 West 44th St. Suite 1011

New York, NY 10036.

Help! CNN runs reports produced by propaganda outfit headed by former AIPAC president

Sep 02, 2010

Philip Weiss

Check this out. Israel 21c is a pro-Israel p.r. organization. “A Focus Beyond,” its motto, says it all.

ISRAEL21c – a New Paradigm for Pro-Israel Communications

ISRAEL21c’s mission is to focus media and public attention on the 21st century Israel that exists beyond the conflict.

Its board is headed by a former president of AIPAC, Amy Friedkin, and includes Cheryl Fishbein, of the UJA Federation, the big Jewish community/pro-Israel organization. From the looks of it, it’s a transnational organization too. Now look at Israel 21c’s youtube channel. You see a piece on how Israelis are happier than other people.

Well guess who’s working with Israeli 21c? CNN. It runs newsish Israel 21c reports, like this one about environmentalists at the Dead Sea. (Maybe that’s why I saw Aaron Cohen, an Israeli SWAT team guy, on CNN all afternoon the other day during the hostage crisis?) Israel 21c brags:

It was only last year that CNN accepted ISRAEL21c as an affiliate of its World Report program. Since then, we are proud to report an impressive 15 news features produced by ISRAEL21c that have appeared on CNN, reaching millions of viewers worldwide…

[O]ther features that have appeared earlier in the year include a piece on Hebrew University’s new approach to learning, by treating passengers travelling on the Israel Rail Service to a series of lectures by the institution’s top scientists.

Other encouraging stories chosen by CNN this year describe a mixed Jewish-Arab choir that practices its message of coexistence out loud, and a group of Palestinian and Israeli midwives working together to ensure that pregnant mothers in Israel and the Palestinian territories have safe and natural births.

Rather than portraying Israel as a place of conflict and strife, these stories have highlighted Israeli accomplishments in science and technology, arts and culture, and philanthropy.

They depict what ISRAEL21c works to reveal – the true, myriad faces of Israel, beyond the conflict.

Heck, any news organization gets tips from propaganda orgs. We do. But to publish them directly without indicating as much? Your media… your Israel lobby… working hand in glove.


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