Archive | September 7th, 2010

GORILLA? WHAT GORILLA?

NOVANEWS

Jude Collins blogspot

07/09/10

See also at http://www.troopsoutmovement.com/latestnews.htm

Oh dear, here we go again. First it was Irish President Mary McAleese, this morning it was the Lord Mayor of Dublin telling us that he looked forward to the visit of the queen to Ireland and that the Irish people had an affection for the British monarchy and would welcome her warmly. Let’s see if we can disentangle a few points.

The proposed visit will be an official state visit. That means QE2 would come as the embodiment of Britain. Which means? Well, that’s the issue. The phrase most often used is that the visit would mark ‘the normalization of relations between Britain and Ireland’.

Well now. Is it normal for one country to partition its next-door neighbour? If so, when do we get to divide Britain in two?

Is it normal for one country to have more than 5,000 troops stationed on its neighbour’s territory? If so, when do we get to station 5,000 Irish troops in, say, Yorkshire?

Is it normal for one country to exercise legislative control over its neighbour? If so, when do we get to pass some laws governing conduct in, say, Lancashire?

The truth is, the Mayor of Dublin and the Irish president and the other voices assuring us that QE2 will be welcome in Ireland want the Irish people to pretend that a big, hairy, smelly gorilla called British rule in Ireland doesn’t exist. It’s not there. Don’t mention it and you won’t see it. Instead, concentrate on the nice flowers in this vase, admire these lovely light fittings, get this decent woman from London a cup of tea, would you, and show her some Irish hospitality. And if some members of the family start shouting that there’s a gorilla in the room and if some of them try to remove the gorilla by force, well then naturally we’ll denounce them as extremists who can’t move on, have no philosophy or programme and really should be locked up.

I hate to hark back to Orwell yet again, but wasn’t he the man who depicted a state where Lies were Truth, where War was Peace, where Black was White? Orwell, thou should’st be living at this hour…

Troops Out Movement

Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland

PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ  Tel: 0121 773 8683 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0121 773 8683      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Mob: 0797 017 4167 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              0797 017 4167      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
troopsoutmovement@btinternet.com    www.troopsoutmovement.com

 

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NYC WORKERS STAND WITH THE MUSLIMS

NOVANEWS
 NYC Workers Stand with the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Communities.

http://www.laborforpalestine.net/wp/2010/09/07/workers-stand-with-the-muslim-arab-and-south-asian-communities/

[The statement below was initiated by signers in the New York City metro area. Endorsements are also welcome from trade unionists and workers elsewhere. To endorse, please go here: http://www.laborforpalestine.net/wp/2010/09/07/workers-stand-with-the-muslim-arab-and-south-asian-communities/#form]

New York City Workers Stand with the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Communities:
Our Grief Is Not an Excuse for Racism, Islamophobia, Bigotry or War
New York City Labor Against the War, September 2, 2010

As New York City workers and trade unionists, we deplore the attacks on Park51, desecration of mosques, violence and all other forms of racism, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry.

It is no accident that this hate campaign is taking place in the midst of deepening economic crisis.

In the 1930s, the Nazis scapegoated Jews, Roma people, gays and others to deflect workers’ attention from the banks and corporations responsible for the Great Depression. Ultimately, failure to oppose these policies led to destruction of unions, elimination of all other opposition, and horrific consequences for the entire world.

Today, Newt Gingrich, Sara Palin, and the “Tea Party” similarly scapegoat Arabs, Muslims, immigrants and people of color in order to deflect workers’ fear and anger about record unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, credit debt, police violence, and attacks on organized labor.

Although pretending to speak for workers, the Tea Party’s corporate puppets oppose our right to organize, collectively bargain or strike.

They attack Social Security, unemployment benefits, health care, workplace safety and environmental protections. They have even blocked compensation for Ground Zero first responders.

Their allies — including racist demagogue Pam Geller, the Anti-Defamation League, Rudolph Giuliani and prominent Neocons — promote bigotry to fuel increasingly unpopular U.S. wars against the Muslim world, while shielding Israeli apartheid from growing international isolation.

Workers, abroad and at home, have long paid the price for these disastrous policies. On 9/11, we suffered blowback from decades of U.S./Israeli war, occupation and colonialism.

9/11, in turn, has been the pretext for an endless bipartisan war of terror. This war has devastated Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen and other countries.

It has left thousands of G.I.s dead or maimed. It has tortured prisoners and undermined civil liberties. It has squandered trillions of dollars.

Now it targets Iran.

For these reasons, it is essential for trade unionists and all workers to stand up in defense of the Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities.

Moreover, to eliminate the conditions that breed racism and Islamophobia, we ask New Yorkers to join us in building an ongoing workers’ movement to fight for jobs, housing, schools, national health care, labor and immigrant rights, racial justice, clean environment, and an end to U.S. wars of conquest.

The time to act is now.

Initial Signers
(List in formation — *For identification only)

Larry Adams, Former President, NPMHU L. 300*; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War

Michael Letwin, Former President, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Labor for Palestine, Al-Awda NY; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network-Labor

Brenda Stokely, Former President, AFSCME DC 1707*; Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement

Noha Arafa, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Anthony Arnove, NWU/UAW L. 1981*

Tibby Brooks, NWU/UAW L. 1981*

Antonia Codling, Former Executive Bd. Member, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Heather Cottin, La Guardia Community College, PSC-CUNY, AFT L. 2334*

Frank Couget, NALC Branch 36, AFL-CIO*

Gregory Dankel, Chapter Chair, PSC-CUNY, AFT L. 2334*

Mike Eilenfeldt, Union @ Cooper Union, AFT L. #6420 NYSUT L. #37-901*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*

Shelley Ettinger, AFT L. 3882*

Leslie Feinberg, NWU/UAW L. 1981*

Julie Fry, Vice-President, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Mike Gimbel, Retired Executive Bd. Member, AFSCME DC 37 L. 375*; Delegate, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO*

Marvin Holland, Director, Community and Political Action, TWU L. 100*

Deepa Kumar, AAUP-AFT, Rutgers University, New Jersey*

Edwin Molina, IBEW L. 3*

Susan O. Morris, Health & Safety Committee & Past Officer, Executive Bd., ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Anne Pruden, Retiree, SEIU L. 1199*

Nagesh Rao, AFT L. 2364*

Dominic Renda, Chief Shop Steward, CWA L. 1105*

Mimi Rosenberg, Producer Building Bridges, WBAI Radio; ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Hank Sambach, Secretary, AFSCME DC 37, L. 1930*

Steve Terry, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Azalia Torres, Former Executive Bd. Member, ALAA/UAW L. 2325*

Daniel Vila, Independent Workers Movement

Aminifu Williams, UAW L. 980*

Joyce Wilcox, AFSCME DC 37, L. 439*

Posted in USAComments Off on NYC WORKERS STAND WITH THE MUSLIMS

DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

Dear All,

Wishing all my Jewish friends a better and happier year to come, and likewise to my Muslim friends.  Eid ul-fitr mabruck

Now back to business, regarding the first of the 2 items this evening: I do not know whether or not its statistics include also Israeli teachers and schools in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  I suspect not, since it is generally known that their conditions are superior to those of schools within Israel.  If indeed the stats do include schools in the OPT, then I would imagine that without them the stats on expenditures for education would be lower yet and class size higher.  In any event, the Israeli government has money. But prefers to spend it on expansion and ethnic cleansing and propaganda instead of on educating its children.

The 2nd item announces the launching of the ballot initiative to require California Public Employee Systems to divest from companies engaged in the Occupation.  May it succeed.

Dorothy

========================================================

Haaretz Tuesday,

September 07, 2010

OECD: Israel pays teachers half of Western average

The OECD’s annual report on education shows Israel trailing other developed nations in spending per student and teacher salaries.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/oecd-israel-pays-teachers-half-of-western-average-1.312773

By Or Kashti

Israel spends less per student than other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to an annual OECD education report released on Tuesday.

According to the report, in 2007 Israel spent $3,631 per preschool student, $5,060 per primary school student and $5,741 per secondary school student.

The corresponding average expenditures in other OECD countries were $5,447, $6,741 and $8,267.

Israeli classrooms were more crowded than the OECD average – 27.6 students compared to 21.6.

The Education Ministry said that the OECD’s “Education at a Glance” report was based on data from before the implementation of the “New Horizon” educational reforms.

In 2008, an Israeli primary school teacher with 15 years experience earned $19,868, compared to the OECD average of $39,426.

“The data on the low teachers’ salaries strengthens the righteousness of our struggle to improve pay for teachers,” said Ron Erez, head of Israel’s Secondary School Teachers Association. “It is unacceptable that a country belonging to the OECD would pay an important public sector like its teachers low salaries compared to their colleagues in western nations.”

On a positive note, the OECD report found that Israel is one of the leading countries in high school graduation rate. 90 percent of Israeli teenagers graduate from high school, 10 percentage points higher than the OECD average.

Israel is also a leader in the percentage of people ages 25-64 with some form of higher education.

The rate of those 25-34 with a form of higher education, however, is lower than the 35-64 cohort, casting uncertainty on whether Israel will stay among the leaders in this category in the future.

============================

[forwarded by Donna Wallach]

Good news! And people are already organizing for this here in the Bay Area!  More good news!

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Karin Pally <kpally@earthlink.net>

Sep 7, 2010

Subject: [FG-Discussions] “DIVEST FROM ISRAEL” CALIFORNIA BALLOT INITIATIVE LAUNCHES STATEWIDE

MEDIA ADVISORY:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

  “DIVEST FROM ISRAEL” CALIFORNIA BALLOT INITIATIVE LAUNCHES STATEWIDE ON WEDNESDAY WITH A SIGNING CEREMONY 

IN FRONT OF ISRAELI CONSULATE IN LA

First Ballot Measure in Nation Aimed at Changing Israeli Policies 

Through Divestment by State Agencies

California Israel Divestment Campaign 

www.israeldivestmentcampaign.org

VISUALS: Giant petition to be signed by speakers.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Sept.7) –Californians committed to peace and justice for Palestine-Israel will launch the statewide campaign of California ballot Initiative 10-0020 with a signing ceremony in front of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles on Wednesday, September 8, 2010.  Although California has adopted policies requiring divestment from Sudan, Iran and other nations, this is the first ballot measure in the nation aimed at changing Israeli policies through divestment by State agencies. It directs California’s large public employee and teacher pension funds to be consistent with their responsible investing policies and to divest from companies that violate the human rights of Palestinians. The description provided by the office of the Attorney General when it approved the measure for circulation last week says that the initiative “prohibits state retirement funds from investing in companies engaged in certain business activities in Israel.” 

WHEN: NOON, Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WHERE: In front of the Israeli Consulate, 6380 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

WHY:  Launch Ballot Initiative Drive to Require Public Employee Systems to Divest from Certain Business Activities in Israel

WHO: Shakeel Syed, Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California;  Rev. Dr. DarELL T. Weist retired, Senior Minister United Methodist Church of Los Angeles; Yael Korin, Israeli-American researcher; Mahmood Ibrahim, Palestinian-American Professor of History, California State Polytechnic University Pomona; Rosie Martinez, labor activist, Latino Caucus, SEIU 721; and Andy Griggs, retired teacher LAUSD, STRS members, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) activist. 

“Our government has done nothing to end Israel’s brutal occupation and violation of internationally recognized human rights,” said Sacramento resident Chris Yatooma, the founder of Israel Divestiture Forum and the official proponent of the initiative, “including UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions.” 

“Our tax dollars now help fund these violations of human rights to the tune of more than $3 billion a year in grants, adding up to a staggering $106 billion over the past five decades.” said Israeli-born campaign organizer Yael Korin.

“California retirement funds have their own disturbing record,” said local campaign organizer Sherna Gluck, a member of the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).  “Our public retirement systems have more than $1.5 billion invested in at least eight companies that provide war materials and services used in violation of internationally recognized human rights, including support for the illegal Israeli settlements and the “Separation Wall.”

Public pension funds in Norway and Sweden have already divested from one of the companies identified by the initiative organizers.

Organized by a diverse group of Californians, the initiative has been endorsed by two Nobel Peace Laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the principal leaders of South Africa’s successful struggle to end Apartheid and Mairead Maguire, renowned Belfast peacemaker.  

Leading local endorsers include Marcy Winograd, former California congressional candidate; Stanley Sheinbaum, well-known peace advocate and organizer of the historic meeting in which the PLO expressed its willingness to abandon armed struggle and recognize Israel; and Executive Director Hussam Ayloush of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA). Local clergy, labor activists and members of PERS and the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) have also endorsed the initiative. Several key endorsers will be present on Wednesday to become the first signers of the ballot initiative.

For a complete list of the current endorsers, see: www.israeldivestmentcampaign.org/endorsements.htm.

“Because I am a teacher”  said Marcy Winograd, former congressional candidate and a STRS participant, “I  am particularly concerned that my retirement funds might be used to further colonize Palestinian land or to erase the beautiful olive groves planted by the indigenous residents of the West Bank.”

Californians who do not want their state retirement funds to contribute to the violation of human rights are mobilizing a statewide campaign mirroring the worldwide anti-Apartheid movement that toppled White rule in South Africa. Their work draws moral support from Archbishop Tutu’s August 22nd endorsement message to Californians:  “We defeated Apartheid nonviolently because the international community agreed to support the disinvestment in Apartheid campaign. A similar campaign can help to bring peace in the Middle East and do so nonviolently.” 

Media Contacts:  

Sherna Berger Gluck:  – shernagluck@gmail.com

Andy Griggs;  – andyca6@gmail.com

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER

MURDERED AMERICAN CITIZEN EXPOSES ILLGAL & IN-HUMANE ZIO=NAZI POLICY

NOVANEWS
Murdered American Citizen Exposes Illegal and In-Humane Military Policy

War Zones are Open Season to Kill Everyone and Anyone 

Haifa, Israel – Several State witnesses testified in Haifa District Court on Monday, September 6, 2010, in the civil law suit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza.

 

American Citizen Rachel Corrie - Murdered

Murdered American Citizen Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie, an American human rights defender from Olympia, WA, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003, by a Caterpillar D9R military bulldozer. She had been nonviolently demonstrating against the demolitions of Palestinian homes.

One of the witnesses, known to the court as Yossi, was a Colonel in the Engineering Corps. He was responsible for writing operating manuals for military bulldozers and other equipment. He also conducted a simulation of what the bulldozer driver would have been able to see. In his testimony:

He repeatedly insisted that there are no civilians in a war zone. His assertion disregards the reality in the Palestinian Occupied Territories as well as international humanitarian law, which was created to protect civilians in armed conflict situations.

Yossi contradicted his own March 2003 testimony, given to military investigators, that the armored personnel carrier (APC) at the incident was intended to protect both soldiers and civilians. Today, he said the APC was there only for the safety of the drivers.

In his affidavit, Yossi wrote that he conducted a reenactment of the incident. However, he testified today that he did not reenact the scene, but rather filmed a bulldozer of the same model with a bulldozer operator, and another soldier, to get a sense of what the operator at the incident might have seen. He also said he did not view the military’s surveillance video of the incident in creating his simulation.

Yossi claimed that the manual on operating instructions for mechanical engineering equipment in low intensity conflict did not apply to real conflict situations, but rather only in training and administrative activities. 

Yossi stated that the bulldozer driver and commander have the exact same field of vision and that the commander sat at the same level as the driver, contradicting the government’s expert witness, who stated that the commander had a better field of vision because he sat higher.

Another witness for the state, Major Yoram Manchori, testified as an expert witness on the bulldozer’s field of vision. He was responsible for purchasing heavy engineering equipment and readying it for military use. In May 2010, he created an animated simulation of what the bulldozer driver and commander’s vision might have been. 

Manchori insisted he used in the simulation a bulldozer identical to the one that killed Rachel. However, the bulldozer he used had multiple bars on its windows, whereas the bulldozer that struck Rachel had no bars. Upon being informed of this discrepancy, he claimed that the bars did not impact visibility.
He conducted his simulation on terrain that was very different than the terrain at the scene.

 

Rachel Corrie US Flag

Rachel Corrie Draped in US Flag after her Murder in the Holy Land by Israeli Army Bulldozer

He determined the simulated location of the bulldozers based on eyewitness recollections given over 7 years after the incident. He did not cross-check them with eyewitness accounts from the time of the killing, nor did he view the military surveillance video of the incident.

Manchori testified that the price of a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer is currently $700,000 and the cost of arming it is an additional $200,000 – $250,000, figures not previously disclosed. In light of this, it is now known that the cost of mounting a camera, which is often cited as being prohibitively expensive, would be less than 10% of the price of the bulldozer itself.

Manchori testified that after Rachel’s death the Israeli military installed cameras on one bulldozer but due to the high cost, limited increase in field vision and other problems, the installation was discontinued.

Manchori testified that prior to Corrie’s killing, the Israeli military tested the D9R bulldozer field of vision and that he personally had sent three charts of the results to the military investigators in March 2003. In court today, the Corries’ lawyer requested to obtain a copy of this report, stating that he needed it in order to analyze the bulldozer visibility claims made in the military police investigation of Rachel’s killing. The State argued that the report was classified and should not be allowed into evidence, although the Israeli Supreme Court previously ruled that this report was relevant to the case. Judge Gershon upheld the State’s argument.

Regarding the multiple references that there are no civilians in war zones, Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother said, “This was startling to our family, and to others in the courtroom. Rafah is a densely populated town. In fact, Rachel was killed defending the home of two Palestinian families-a pharmacist, an accountant, their wives and small children. It was extremely troubling for their existence to be categorically denied.”

Court today was attended by representatives from the US Embassy, Human Rights Watch and Adalah, a legal and human rights organization. 

The trial is slated to resume in October, when the bulldozer driver, the bulldozer commander, and the head of the military police team that investigated Rachel’s killing are expected to testify.

 

 

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GROUND ZERO HOUSE WITHOUT PERMISSION

  NOVANEWS

http://www.zcommunications.org/your-house-is-on-ground-zero-and-quite-without-permission-by-tim-wise

 
Tim Wise: Your House Is On Ground Zero (And Quite Without Permission)

September 07, 2010
In all the rancor over whether or not one group of Muslims should be allowed to build a cultural center and worship space near the site of the 9/11 attacks — which were committed by a separate and totally unrelated group of Muslims –there is one thing above all else that no one appears anxious to point out: namely, that for any white Christian to say “Ground Zero” is off limits to anyone is possibly the most deliciously and yet grotesquely ironic thing ever suggested.
 
After all, there is scarcely a square foot of land upon which we tread that is not, for someone, Ground Zero. I am sitting atop one now: a killing field for Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek; a graveyard in which are buried the bones — and if no longer the bones, then surely the dust — of peoples whose evisceration occurred not so long ago, and is still remembered by those who have not the luxury of forgetting.
 
And so the New Yorkers who believe against all evidence that their trauma is unique in the history of the world — or even their city for that matter — prattle on about the “defiling” of the former World Trade Center location. Meanwhile they overlook that their precious island was itself cajoled from indigenous peoples for a handful of worthless beads. And white men have been swindling those we viewed as inferior — be they of color, or even other white men — ever since, especially (and this is where the geographic symbolism of their protests becomes revealing) in and around Wall Street, where the actions of wealthy investors and financiers have done far more damage than Osama Bin Laden ever could. Would that we might prohibit the construction of banks anywhere in New York so as to make a point about terrorism and our unwillingness to collaborate with it.
 
Indeed, if those protesting the Cordoba House were the least bit interested in consistency — as opposed to being content to wallow in a type of hypocrisy both profound and typical — they would, to a person, vacate downtown Manhattan immediately. And this they would do out of respect for the lives destroyed by people such as they: black peoples forced to build Fort Amsterdam for the Dutch, which is where Battery Park is now, or the walls that gave the famous street its name, or the roads, or the very auction blocks upon which their compatriots would be sold, thereby allowing 40 percent of white New York households to possess other human beings as property by the mid-1700s.
 
And they would vacate midtown too, especially any with Irish ancestry, since it was their ancestral fathers who – and so as to show how badly they desired to become white – burned down a black orphanage on 5th Avenue between 43rd and 44th during the 1863 Draft Riots. But I’m guessing there is an Irish Pub within walking distance of the former orphanage, and yet no one seems particularly concerned about the slight.
 
Truth be told, that whole city is a Ground Zero, and has been for far longer than the existence of al-Qaeda, since long before those phallic monuments to architectural ingenuity and big business were constructed, and since long before there were any airplanes capable of bringing them down. It was Ground Zero for Amadou Diallo but we still allow police to operate in the vicinity of Wheeler Street in the Bronx.
It was Ground Zero for Sean Bell but we haven’t banned the NYPD from around the environs of the Kalua Cabaret in Queens, where they shot he and his friends 50 times in 2006. Neither have we seen too many New Yorkers losing sleep over the inherent insensitivity towards the respective Ground Zeros for Patrick Dorismond or Timothy Stansbury Jr., both of whom were felled by police bullets, and yet which spots have hardly been made off limits to law enforcement out of respect for the dead.
 
That many New Yorkers in 2010, and especially white ones — since there are few residents of the South Bronx or Washington Heights who are making their way downtown for these protests — cannot feel those other pains hardly acquits their arrogance. That they cannot see how their livelihoods, their homes, their bank accounts, and the clothes on their backs have been paid for with the blood of innocent people, is their problem. It is not the fault of those who would build Cordoba House, and in so doing disturb the hallowed ground of what has been, most recently, a Burlington Coat Factory.
 
Their houses, and mine, and yours, sit atop Ground Zero. And those who died to make it so gave no permission for the construction of the homes, to say nothing of the churches that for so long were instrumental in rationalizing the slaughter. There were no building permits issued by those who died here so that we could be, as we like to say, “free.” But here we are nonetheless. And it takes some nerve to pretend, even as we sleep above the graves of those extirpated to make way for us, that 9/11 was the day everything changed.
Or to believe that we have the right to tell anyone where they can and cannot live, pray or work. Or to suggest that we are the only ones who have ever died, or known terror, and that having done so we now have the right to draw a circle around us, a bubble of specialness, which can keep us warm and protected as though it were an amniotic sac inside of which we will forever be insulated from harm.
 
We wish to be free from the pain, which is understandable. But it is not acceptable that in seeking that freedom we should ignore the pain by which we have come this far already.
 
Tim Wise is the author of five books on race, including his latest, Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2010). He can be reached at his website, www.timwise.

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MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS 

09/07/2010

Who are we stand in moral and legal judgment of the settlers’ killers?

Sep 06, 2010 

Max Ajl

I appreciated David Samel’s thoughtful essay on the Hamas-claimed killings of the four paramilitary settlers in Hebron—paramilitary settlers, and not simply “settlers.” I appreciated it both because it was thoughtful and because it was lucid (although I appreciated more Seham’s list of unreported attacks against Palestinian lives and livelihoods in the past few months). Samel’s lucidity makes it very easy to pinpoint where he goes wrong, and it isn’t within the logic of his dissection of the morality or efficacy of the attack. The problem is larger. It’s in his defense of the binary he presents between those who “defend” the attacks using a sophistical logic much like what Israel’s hasbara-artists deploy, and those who unequivocally condemn them. The problem isn’t his logic but his binary: there is a middle ground between condemnation of attacks against hard-to-categorize armed settlers, and approbation of them, and that’s a refusal to condemn them.  

Placing to the side some questions that arguably bear on this point—the strategic effectiveness of the attacks, where precisely on the spectrum-of-culpability armed settlers, who are the instruments of an occupation that Eyal Benvenisti characterizes as outright “aggression,” fall, and what counsel do the Geneva and Hague conventions and subsequent case law give us. Reserve for the moment another question: what is the point of Western condemnation? Cut instead to the core of the question. Who has standing to condemn, and why?  

Samel, anticipating the general direction but not the specific vector of that criticism, writes of those who will inevitably question his decision to “‘lecture’ oppressed people on the acceptable methods they may utilize to win their freedom.”  He demurs: “I’m merely expressing my opinion.” With what standing? At first, he rejects the grounds for attack: he does “not need to earn the right to” criticize. But Samel then adds, “I have taken rather strong stands against the barbarity unleashed by Israelis against Palestinians, and I’m perfectly entitled to identify which responsive measures I endorse and those that I condemn.” Presumably, you condemn one barbarity, you can condemn the rest of them—an apple’s an apple, and terror attacks against the innocent are terror attacks against the “innocent” no matter whether they occur under the imprimatur of Netanyahu in Tel-Aviv or the Hamas government in Gaza and Damascus. 

Let me be as blunt and clear as possible in rejecting the right to criticize in this instance. And add that criticism is intolerable. Speaking generally, we are not entitled to condemn Palestinian violence, although they are. Samel—and I don’t mean to pick on him, I suspect his point-of-view has broad currency—is not “entitled” to lambast the Palestinian resort to force from the Olympian distance of a neutral arbiter, from the social distance given by metropolitan comfort, as if from behind a lectern on which stands a book of laws and norms and values that interpret and apply themselves. The riposte is that this criticism may simply reflect human rights law, but that’s not an excuse. First, human rights law doesn’t simply apply itself, human beings apply it and its application is an ethical issue. Second, human rights law didn’t come from nowhere. It represents a tension, between codifying “universal” human rights and criminalizing the conduct of those who violate the rights of others. To us, it may be clear who to indict first. But the problem is that it’s always others on the dock for genocide, never those most clearly culpable for it. Human rights law isn’t just an idealistic utopia. It’s also a political weapon. 

Aware of that, return to the issue of the right to criticize. Before criticizing, there’s a necessary question: are we innocent, do we stand apart from the society that produced the Hamas killings? Can we stand in moral and legal judgment of them? Not a chance. Samel, and take Samel as an avatar for all of us, is not innocent. By not being innocent, through condemnation, we become hypocrites. We live in privilege and we have lived in privilege. Our lives are the product of that privilege. Their ease is the experience of privilege. That privilege came at a cost. We are the condensed, living subjects of a tremendous, bloody, messy, tragic, horrible history of violence that has constituted us as privileged Westerners and has left the Palestinian people scrabbling in the sands of Gaza and the Jordan Valley, in refugee camps scattered around the Levant. 

We cannot simple excise ourselves from that history, nor can we excuse our culpability for its sorrows. That culpability inflects every moment of our lives and infects our thought and our being. Even by speaking out against the ongoing horror of Israeli violence we cannot sever ourselves from that history, as though we are isolated individuals not constituted by our relations with society and the history of that society and those relations—a bit of modernist ideology that conceals the corpses and wreckage that sit beneath the foundations of our easy lives. Our relations with Palestinian society and with the third world generally are thick with congealed blood. In the former case, for Americans, the more so for privileged Americans, the more so for privileged American Jews, the blood tally is staggering. 

Speaking out and acting out are what we can do and it would be absurd to suggest that even while doing so we do not take a certain distance from that history. But only so much. Even the best of us, those who have spent the past decade or more interspersing themselves physically between the Israeli war machine and its victims don’t have that standing, and I frankly don’t see them hurtling forward with condemnations, anyway. Our freedom to be good people, to be activists, and movement journalists, and human rights lawyers, to fight for others’ freedom, is a freedom that is a product of a history of evil, and it’s a psychic convenience, a self-serving subterfuge, that we may simply step apart from it to condemn the actions of those who live in the hell we have made for them. No amount of acting substitutes for being, and we cannot be Palestinian, we cannot inhabit their history of struggle, “the fact that they have chronically been violated,” as Rita Giacaman described young Palestinian men’s life experiences. There is no substitute for social experience of the impotent infinite rage of that life. It’s beyond me, and no amount of living there or speaking to Palestinians or suffering with them or reading narratives of dispossession or Darwish or Kanafani can make us experience that history. I think about that when I think about what to say or write about Palestinian attacks against Israelis—who all of us who subscribe to BDS agree aren’t exactly innocents. 

So I don’t know what to say except to turgidly moralize to the effect that having contributed to causing that rage—a contribution I think we all make—there is something pious, hypocritical, unpleasant, nearly nauseating, about wagging a finger at those who live in fear and anger at the violence we forge every day. What does that mean? Does that mean anything goes? Of course not. All it means is being honest enough and sufficiently sensitive to step back from these specific events and refuse to condemn them, refuse to join the Western hyena pack so eager to judge Palestinian violence against those who are part of the society crushing them. Sure, this will open us to attack from the right. Whatever. We have better things to do than to be worried about the attacks of apologists for murder, don’t we? I’m reminded of Ghassan Hage’s aside that apparently “it is crucial to ‘absolutely condemn’ suicide bombers if you are going to talk about them, otherwise you become a morally suspicious person.” So I think we can put the police-mentality psychological thuggery of those who celebrate murder to the side and just be quiet in this case. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask from those in solidarity.


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Settlement boom! 1000s of new homes underway! Gov’ts look away! and other news from
Sep 06, 2010 01:58 pm | Seham

 

Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Israeli Settlement Construction Booms Despite Ban
In Washington, the Israelis and Palestinians are discussing peace, but in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, construction is proceeding at full speed. A legal ban is being ignored and the government is looking away. The thousands of new homes could hinder reconciliation.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,715614,00.html

Israel unlikely to extend ‘freeze’
Defence minister says settlement slow down is unlikely to continue in its current form after September 26 deadline.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2010/09/201095143748683859.html

Barak: “Settlement Activities Likely To Continue by the End Of September”
Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, stated that Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied West Bank will likely continue after Israel’s “temporary freeze” on such activities ends by the end of September.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59364

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Pushes For New Settlement Construction Amid Middle East Peace Talks
JERUSALEM — Israel’s hard-line foreign minister said Monday that his party will try to block any extension of Israel’s settlement slowdown, a move that could derail the recently launched Mideast peace negotiations.  Avigdor Lieberman said the Israeli government must keep its promise to voters that the 10-month slowdown, declared last November under U.S. pressure in order to draw the Palestinians to the negotiating table, will end as scheduled at the end of the month.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/06/israel-settlement-construction-avigdor-lieberman_n_706462.html

Mideast crisis looms over Israeli settlements (AP)
AP – Just days after Mideast peace talks began in Washington, the first major crisis is already looming: Israel hinted Sunday it will ease restrictions on building in West Bank settlements, while the Palestinian president warned he’ll quit the talks if Israel resumes construction.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100905/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Hebron: soldiers convert Palestinian home into military base
On Friday the Israeli army raided a Palestinian house in Hebron and converted it into a military base, forcing a family of 14 to move into the first floor of their home.  The following day the soldiers took over the roof as well. Yesterday an ISM activist visited the Salayma family in Al Baqa’a, east of Hebron, and spoke to Salem Salayma about the situation.  He said that now the roof has been taken over, soldiers have been on and off the roof constantly. Yesterday morning, at about 8am, six soldiers carried out some kind of exercise around our house, running up the hill, sitting in shooting positions and moving up and down the road. He added that sometimes the army move around in the area, walking or driving, and all the families in the area are very scared. When they see soldiers, they close the house, and stay inside because they fear the soldiers themselves – as well as the settlers who have been moving around the area regularly since the shooting of four settlers last week, and have carried out several attacks on Palestinians.
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/09/14294/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29

Israel tells Jordan Valley farmers to leave land
SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israel’s Civil Administration ordered farmers to leave land they were cultivating on Wednesday in the Wadi Abu Ammar area in the northern West Bank district of Saflit.  Saber Mar’ey, one of the farmers from the Qarawat Bani Hassan village, said Israeli authorities warned them not to continue working on the lands, which all fall under Area C. He said the land, estimated at 400 dunums, was originally abandoned and recovered by farmers for cultivation.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313059

Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem intolerant?, George Bisharat
Yet the museum is being constructed on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery, desecrating the graves of the interred. Archaeologists believe the Mamilla (Faithful of God) Cemetery holds the remains of tens of thousands of Muslim soldiers of Salah ed-Din, the 12th century leader who reconquered Jerusalem from the Crusaders. The cemetery was actively used by prominent Palestinian families through 1948, when West Jerusalem fell to Israeli troops. Hence the site is immensely significant archaeologically, but is also culturally sensitive to Palestinians.  An initial petition by Palestinian families and Islamic groups to the Israeli high court delayed but did not halt museum construction. Speed was the guiding principle of the project, not care for archaeological preservation nor respect for the dead, construction workers recounted to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. The Israeli high court denied a second petition, ignoring evidence that the Israel Antiquities Authority had suppressed the opinion of its own expert in originally permitting the museum’s construction.  In fact, chief excavator Gideon Suleimani advised his Antiquities Authority superiors against construction on the site and has since characterized building there as “an archaeological crime.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/04/IN241F5UQK.DTL

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
West Bank protests against Israel’s many crimes violently dispersed by military: ten arrested
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/09/14267/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29

Rachel Corrie’s parents could face men who killed her in court
Civil suit into death of US activist crushed to death in Gaza by Israeli bulldozer to hear testimony from vehicle’s operators.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/05/rachel-corrie-israel-civil-suit

US group says it plans to send plane to Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A pro-Palestinian group based in the US will send a plane loaded with aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s air and sea blockade, an official said Sunday.  “We intend to send an aircraft to Gaza in much the same way boats were used — without going through Israeli or Egyptian airspace,” said Paul Larudee, an organizer with the California-based Free Palestine Movement sponsoring the flight.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313409

8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010
September 1st, 2010– Eight years into the construction of the Apartheid Wall, over 60% has already been built to ghettoize communities, threatening over 260,000 people with displacement and stealing land and water resources. 
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2361.shtml

Invitation: Join the Palestinian Olive Harvest efforts!
September 4th, 2010– The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and its popular committees are coordinating collective efforts to safeguard the annual olive harvest and are calling on volunteers to stand in solidarity with Palestinian communities and join in the harvest on October 5 until November 15, 2010.
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2362.shtml

Song from the film of life on wheels singing Lowkey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET6U54OYxGw

RISE OF PALESTINIAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: Should people boycott Israel? Pt.5 Omar Barghouti
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHSl7m_NGRg&feature=player_embedded

U.S. actors back Israeli boycott of West Bank theater
More than 150 American actors, writers, directors and other artists sign letter of support for the Israeli actors who said they would not perform in Ariel.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/u-s-actors-back-israeli-boycott-of-west-bank-theater-1.312393

Complete list of actors
http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/campaigns/making-history-support-israeli-artists-who-say-no-normalizing-settlements-4

“We need to nationalize the resistance”
Public servant Bassem Mohammed al-Tamimi is from al-Nabi Saleh, a small village about 20 kilometers northwest of Ramallah. As coordinator of the local Popular Committee, Tamimi has played a leading role in al-Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations against the nearby illegal Israeli settlement and military base of Halamish. Jody McIntyre interviewed al-Tamimi for The Electronic Intifada.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11504.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

An Al Quds Day Letter to Tony Blair, Lauren Booth
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/09/an-al-quds-day-letter-to-tony-blair/

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement
Palestinian smuggler electrocuted in Gaza tunnel
GAZA, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — A Palestinian smuggler was electrocuted in a tunnel beneath the Gaza-Egypt border in southern Gaza Strip, an unnamed hospital official said Monday. The dead was identified as Ahmed Al-Astal, 22, from Khan Younis city, an official at a hospital in the border city of Rafah said, noting Al-Astal had died from the electric shock before being brought to the hositial.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-09/06/c_13481156.htm

Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – Aug 8 – Sep 4
http://www.gazagateway.org/2010/09/industrial-fuel-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-aug-8-%e2%80%93-sep-4/

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Aug 8 – Sep 4
http://www.gazagateway.org/2010/09/goods-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-aug-8-%e2%80%93-sep-4/

Amira Haas / No exit: A Palestinian legislator trapped in the West Bank
The Shin Bet and Civil Administration sometimes differ on who is a security threat, which could have serious consequences for a Palestinian woman who needs an urgent brain exam.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/amira-haas-no-exit-a-palestinian-legislator-trapped-in-the-west-bank-1.312424?localLinksEnabled=false

The Lights Are Going Out on Gaza, Mohammed Omer
GAZA CITY, Sep 5, 2010 (IPS) – The Muslim festival Eid approaches, but not the end to power cuts that have darkened the month-long Ramadan fasting leading up to the festival. Or to the agony of Gazans, made worse by the reminder that it’s approaching festive time.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52727

Algerian delegation arrives in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — An Algerian delegation arrived in Gaza Saturday bringing 2,500 tons of food and medical aid, The group arrived via the Rafah crossing on Egypt’s border and was met by Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a delegation spokesman said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313177

After appeal, mother reunited with sick daughter
HEBRON (Ma’an) — A mother who had been stranded in Gaza was allowed to return to her husband and sick 3-year-old daughter in the West Bank on Thursday.  Ma’an published an appeal on 29 August by Osama Rasras, from Beit Ummar near Hebron, asking for help to secure a permit for his wife and two sons to return home.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313400

Army shuts down entrances to Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers closed all entrances to Hebron’s Old City on Saturday and raided a home, residents said.  Troops were heavily deployed in the area, locals said, adding that worshipers were prevented from praying at the Ar-Rahmah mosque.  Yousef Ghannam said soldiers raided his home and converted it into a military post. His 10-member family was forced into one room and forbidden from moving, he added.  An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that there was security activity in the area.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313175

Allenby Bridge shortens hours for Jewish holiday
JERICHO (Ma’an) — The Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan will be partially closed Wednesday due to the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, Palestinian police say.  Travelers en route to Jordan will be able to leave the West Bank from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., and travelers from Jordan en route to Israel or the West Bank will be able to enter from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., officials said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313356

A businessman in Gaza
Strict rules imposed by Egypt and Israel on travel out of Gaza mean anyone doing business internationally must rely on the whims of the system.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pLoZsip3Zg&feature=youtube_gdata

Discrimination/Human Rights
Israeli police accused of targeting Jerusalem’s Arab residents
A leading civil-rights group has accused Israeli police of systematic discrimination against the Arab residents of East Jerusalem as growing numbers of hardline religious Jews take up residence in Palestinian areas.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israeli-police-accused-of-targeting-jerusalems-arab-residents-2071293.html

Poll: Half of Israeli teens don’t want Arab students in their class
Study polling 500 teens aged 15 to 18 finds that most don’t think Arabs enjoy equal rights in Israel, and most of those don’t think Arabs deserve equal rights.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/poll-half-of-israeli-teens-don-t-want-arab-students-in-their-class-1.312479?localLinksEnabled=false

Group: Officer who killed Palestinian received public money
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli police officer convicted of manslaughter for killing an unarmed Palestinian received over $90,000 of Israeli public money, a rights group said Sunday.  Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel, said Sunday that it had obtained internal Israeli police documentation revealing that officer Shahar Mizrahi received almost 350,000 shekels (over $90,000) in financial assistance from the Israeli police for his legal defense.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313387

War Crimes
UN experts end Jordan probe of Israeli flotilla raid (AFP)
AFP – UN rights officials investigating Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla wrapped up their hearings in Jordan on Saturday after interviewing a total of 30 witnesses, one of the flotilla organisers said.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100904/wl_mideast_afp/israelconflictgazaunrights

Ken Loach and Arundhati Roy are latest narrators of Goldstone Report,Philip Weiss
Surely you know that Goldstonefacts is an effort to dramatize the Goldstone Report on the Gaza onslaught with celeb readings. Noam Chomsky’s sonorous monotone. Norm Finkelstein’s Brooklyn twang.  Well the latest chapter they’ve dramatized is a key section, about Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians, Chapter 10 from the original, and the readers are filmmaker Ken Loach and author Arundhati Roy, along with Irish Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/09/ken-loach-and-arundhati-roy-are-latest-narrators-of-goldstone-report.html

Israel ‘holding remains’ of Palestinians killed in 1969
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israel has not returned the bodies of two Palestinians killed 41 years ago in the northern West Bank, relatives said Sunday.  Ahraf Othman, from Al-Majdal village south of Nablus, said his father Issa was killed by Israeli soldiers on 5 September 1969, and Muhammad Fazi from Qusra, north of the city, was killed on the same day 41 years ago Sunday.  The men, both Fatah operatives, died in a military operation near Jamma’In and Beit Furik, he said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313326

Violence and other Provocations against Palestinians

Settler injures 7 in Bethlehem village crash
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Seven Palestinians from the Al-Khader village in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem were injured Saturday morning when an Israeli settler crashed his car into their tractor, relatives said.  The injured, from the same family, were en route to tend to their grape plantation near the Daniel settlement along Route 60 when the car crashed into the tractor at 4:45 a.m, the Palestine Red Crescent said.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313060

Salfit resident says soldiers stole jewelry
SALFIT (Ma’an) — A man from the Salfit district accused Israeli soldiers Sunday of stealing jewelry from his car at a West Bank checkpoint.  Abed Al-Latif Ismail Suleiman, 27, said he was driving to his home in Kafr Ad-Dik from neighboring village Kafr Ghassan with two friends when soldiers at a temporary checkpoint stopped the car and ordered the men to get out.  The soldiers proceeded to search the car, Suleiman said, and when he returned to the vehicle his gold jewelry, worth 1,000 Jordanian dinars (over $1400), was gone.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313369

Price tag reprisals in Hebron
The Palestinian families which live along Route 60 in the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank have no recourse when settlers attack. The area is under full Israeli civil and military control leaving the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority relatively helpless in dealing with problems caused by Israeli settlers. Joseph Dana reports from Hebron.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11507.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Detainees
Hamas: PA detains 35 more party members
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority security services have detained 35 more Hamas affiliates in the aftermath of Tuesday’s attack on Israeli settlers, the movement said Monday.  The arrests bring to 750 the total number of Hamas members seized from Ramallah and Hebron in the days after the attacks that left four dead near the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement, and two injured near Ramallah, the party said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313455

Gaza emergency chief ‘still under interrogation’
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The chief of Gaza ambulance and emergency services was still under interrogation Sunday, an Interior Ministry spokesman announced.  Ihab Al-Ghussein said Muawiya Hassanein was not indicted or charged, but he was being questioned by Gaza Security Services after being detained Friday night from his home.  “Dr Hassanein is a citizen and he was treated as other citizens, so investigations will take place as usual,” the spokesman added, without giving details on the reasons for the detention.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313211

Gaza ministry to release collaborator confessions
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza’s Interior Ministry will release alleged confessions provided by intelligence collaborators in an upcoming news conference, an official said Sunday.  The conference will be held shortly after the Muslim festival Eid Al-Fitr ends on Monday, ministry spokesman Ihab Al-Ghussein said.  The ministry held a national campaign offering amnesty to Palestinian agents in Gaza working with Israeli intelligence who surrendered between 8 May and 10 July. The government said confessed collaborators would face no penalty and would be guaranteed privacy and secrecy.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313404

Retaliation
Report: 2 Israeli cops hurt in shooting attack
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Two police officers were lightly wounded by gunfire opened at them from a vehicle in central Israel on Monday, news reports said. The team commander was reportedly one of the two wounded.  A Magen David Adom team was dispatched to the scene to treat the officers and evacuated them to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. Police have launched an investigation, Ynet reported.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313561

“Peace” Talks/Political Developments
IDF document: “policy principle: separating Gaza from West Bank”
An IDF Powerpoint slideshow, presented before the Turkel committee for the investigation of the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, reveals the official goals of the Israeli policy regarding the Gaza strip.  The slideshow, prepared by The Administration for the Coordination of Government Policy in the Territories – the IDF body in charge of carrying out Israeli government policies regarding the civilian population in the West Bank and Gaza – deals with the humanitarian conditions in the strip; with food, water, fuel and electricity supply and with the condition of medical facilities in Gaza.
http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=3418

Report: Netanyahu to offer PA alternative to settlement freeze
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank, but at the same time he still wants President Mahmoud Abbas to continue with direct peace talks.  To do so, Netanyahu is offering “generous” gestures such as releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and transferring more West Bank territories to Palestinian Authority, according to Israel’s ambassador to Washington Michael Oren.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=313440

PA: Lieberman an impediment to peace
Foreign minister comes under proverbial fire after pessimistic prediction of peace process’ failure draws mass criticism by government ministers, Palestinian officials.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3949918,00.html

Lieberman: Peace an unattainable goal
Foreign minister pessimistic as to future of peace talks; doubts comprehensive agreement can be reached even in generation’s time.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3949787,00.html

Lieberman explains: Abbas on shaky ground
Foreign minister continues to second-guess talks, says most Israel can hope to achieve in direct talks is long-term interim arrangement. ‘For Palestinians talks are show to blame Israel for failure; why give them chance?’ he asks.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3950065,00.html

U.S. plans Jerusalem talks after Egypt peace summit
Hillary Clinton to oversee extra meeting at symbolic location after Netanyahu and Abbas meet in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sept. 14.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-s-plans-jerusalem-talks-after-egypt-peace-summit-1.312372?localLinksEnabled=false

Abbas: No chance I’ll concede to Israel on core Mideast issues
Palestinian leader says he’ll ‘pack’ and ‘go’ before agreeing to give in to Netanyahu over refugees or borders; also says he won’t discuss recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/abbas-no-chance-i-ll-concede-to-israel-on-core-mideast-issues-1.312553?localLinksEnabled=false

Ministers: Netanyahu keeping us in the dark on peace talks, freeze
‘We don’t know where we stand’ says Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, ‘doing things without discussion is inappropriate.’
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/ministers-netanyahu-keeping-us-in-the-dark-on-peace-talks-freeze-1.312391?localLinksEnabled=false

Other News
Israeli spies wooing U.S. Muslims, sources say
The CIA took an internal poll not long ago about friendly foreign intelligence agencies.  The question, mostly directed to employees of the clandestine service branch, was: Which are the best allies among friendly spy services, in terms of liaison with the CIA, and which are the worst? In other words, who acts like, well, friends?  “Israel came in dead last,” a recently retired CIA official told me the other day.
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/israeli_spies_pitching_us_musl.html

58% of religious public oppose questioning of rabbis
Joint Ynet-Yesodot survey addresses recent summoning of rabbis for police interrogation over their support of ‘Torat Hamelech’ book; reveals majority of religious, haredi public believe rabbinical establishment should enjoy religious freedom of debate.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3947682,00.html

Israelis expelled from Moscow shul
Rabbi refuses to let Israeli tourists enter Russian capital’s main synagogue due to their earlier visit to local churches.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3945509,00.html

Rabbi Yosef comes out against wig-wearing
Shas spiritual leader calls for stiffened stance against Ger Hasidic women’s head coverings. ‘Religious authorities have ruled they are forbidden. Baba Sali said those who wear wigs will be burned in world to come’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3949586,00.html

Poll: US Jews ‘still connected’ to Israel
Study refutes reports that Jews losing link to Israel after Gaza op, Turkish flotilla, Gaza blockade; 75% say events in Israel ‘important part’ of identity.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3949278,00.html

Israel apologizes for denying entry to four African generals
The generals had arranged their visit five days prior and were accompanied by an Israeli official and a senior air force officer when told they could not enter Herzliya airport.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-apologizes-for-denying-entry-to-four-african-generals-1.312184?localLinksEnabled=false

Shin Bet seeks to woo settler leaders with special go-between
Over the past year, the liaison, codenamed ‘Yair,’ met with several key figures in the settler community and with yeshiva heads, in a bid to help the Shin Bet establish relationships with the more mainstream settler factions.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/shin-bet-seeks-to-woo-settler-leaders-with-special-go-between-1.312197?localLinksEnabled=false

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
The elephant in the room; Excluding Hamas from current and future Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations is an exercise in futility, Larbi Sadiki
Sidelining Hamas in any process to craft genuine peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a glaring omission tantamount to ignoring an elephant in the room. Whether it is Obama’s or the UN’s negotiating room, pretending something of that size absent is an exercise in futility. Hamas is definitely an elephant with many tales. Telling some of these tales recounts the Islamist movement’s rise to power against all odds.
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/briefings/2010/09/20109593458899725.html

Empire – The Peace Procession
Empire looks at the Israeli-Palestinian talks and asks what it will take to reach the promised land.

Inside Story – Obama’s role in the Middle East
As the first direct talks take place between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in two years, Inside Story asks if the US can help resolve the issue.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhtmsI6NSOs&feature=youtube_gdata

One on One – Yossi Beilin
The left-wing Israeli politician and peace activist was born at around the same time as Israel. He talks to Riz Khan about seeking to understand the path to peace.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD0u6o0GGvk&feature=youtube_gdata

Media New Battleground for Palestinians and Israelis, Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Sep 5, 2010 (IPS) – Palestinians and Israelis are using the media as a new battleground in their war to win hearts and minds across the globe, even as the protracted conflict in the Mideast drags on with no apparent end in sight.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52728

Iraq
Unknown gunmen open fire at Iraq worshipers
Unknown gunmen opened fire at worshippers on Sunday night at Al Saadan village mosque in Abu Ghraib District, a police source said. The attack killed and wounded five people, the source added.
http://www.alsumaria.tv/en/Iraq-News/1-54090-Unknown-gunmen-open-fire-at-Iraq-worshipers.html

Sunday: 20 Iraqis Killed, 47 Wounded
What might have been a relatively peaceful day was shattered when six gunmen, including suicide bombers, struck at a military target in Baghdad. American troops were involved in repelling the attack. At least 20 Iraqis were killed there and in other violence. Another 47 were wounded. Meanwhile, the oil ministry has cut supplies of certain petrol products to Iraqi Kurdistan over allegations that the excess supplies are being illegally sold to Iran.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2010/09/05/sunday-20-iraqis-killed-47-wounded/

Saturday: 6 Iraqis Wounded
Iraq saw very little violence today. Only six Iraqis were wounded in new reports, and all of those were injured in Baghdad.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2010/09/04/saturday-6-iraqis-wounded/

AP: ‘Combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is’
Memo from the AP’s standards editor.
http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&aid=190064

US ‘likely’ to keep troops in Iraq after 2011
The United States likely will need to keep thousands of troops in Iraq beyond 2011 to keep a lid on sectarian tensions and to bolster Baghdad’s fledgling military, experts and former officers say.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100905/wl_afp/usiraqmilitary

The true cost of the Iraq war: $3 trillion and beyond
This price tag dwarfed previous estimates, including the Bush administration’s 2003 projections of a $50 billion to $60 billion war.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/03/AR2010090302200.html

Sunni and Shiite Iraqi journalists talk about war (AP)
AP – As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, two Associated Press Television News cameramen, one Sunni and the other Shiite, talk about what it has been like to live through and record the war. The accounts are translated and edited.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100904/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_journalist_stories

Doubts over the future of Iraq
At the end of August, the US withdrew its last combat brigade from Iraq and declared the start of a “new era”. But many people in Iraq are concerned about what the future will bring. Mike Hanna revisits a boy Al Jazeera first met in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, three years ago, to ask about what his expectations are for the future.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41l4OySNha0&feature=youtube_gdata

Inside Iraq – Iraq in gridlock
There were no fighter jets this time, or heroic poses in military costume, but last Tuesday in Washington President Obama did mimic his predecessor in one way – by trying to turn the page on operation Iraqi freedom. At the same time, Joe Biden, his vice-president, was in Baghdad telling Iraqi leaders that it is time for them to meet their responsibilities. “The Iraqi people voted in large numbers …” he said “and expect a government that reflects their votes.” But almost six months after the parliamentary election the formation of Iraq’s government remains in gridlock. So what is making the process so difficult and who is responsible for the political wrangling?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYgubhNiA7I&feature=youtube_gdata

Iraq is still under US occupation, Raed Jarrar
Last month, as the final US combat brigade was leaving Iraq, an American soldier shouted from his armored vehicle: “We won! It’s over! America, we brought democracy to Iraq!” Following the withdrawal, most American mainstream media coverage echoed a similar message. As a result, there is a prevailing misconception that the war is in fact over, and Iraqis are better off and closer to the promise of a democratic state.
http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/opinion/iraq-still-under-us-occupation

Female, single, over 30: Iraqis count cost of war (AP)
AP – Only one of Nidal Haidar’s six sisters is married. She has given up on ever getting hitched.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100906/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_single___alone

British Military in Iraq, A Shocking Legacy, Felicity Arbuthnot
The British, of course, having come in flying the St George’s flag on their vehicles (the Crusaders’ flag) slithered out of Basra city, under cover of darkness, to hunker down at the fortified airport, some distance outside the town, in September 2007, much as US units did from other parts of Iraq, last week, fleeing in the night, over the border to Kuwait.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26297.htm

Do Americans Know What Happened in Iraq?,  Michael O’Brien
A Fox News poll released last week indicates the majority of Americans feel the Iraq war was a success. It also suggests they want to get past it and focus on other things. This is good and bad. It is good that average Americans can put our invasion of Iraq in 2003 out of their minds. It is bad because it indicates they don’t know what happened, or don’t care.
http://original.antiwar.com/obrien/2010/09/05/do-americans-know-what-happened-in-iraq/

Lebanon
Israeli Warplanes Stage Mock Air Raids over South Lebanon
05/09/2010 Israeli warplanes carried out mock air raids Sunday while flying at medium altitude over south Lebanese areas.
State-run National News Agency said Israeli fighter jets have been performing mock air raids over Nabatiyeh, Iqlim Tuffah, Khiam, Marjayoun and Arqoub since 10:50 am.
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=152957&language=en

Speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Al Qods International Day
http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2010/09/speech-of-hezbollah-secretary-general.html

Lebanon PM retracts Syria charge
Saad al-Hariri admits his accusation of Syria killing his father was politically motivated.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2010/09/201096122131619695.html

Report: US to keep aiding Lebanese army
Al-Nahar reports Obama backing continued military support, halted after border incident last month.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3949137,00.html

Hariri, Hizbullah try to restore calm after war of words
BEIRUT: Contacts intensified over the weekend in a bid to ease tense relations between Hizbullah and the Future Movement, amid reports the two parties were interested in restoring calm following the war of words that broke out between them on Friday.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=119030

Re-enactment of Hariri killing to be staged in France – STL
PARIS: A re-enactment of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is to be staged in France later this month as part of a UN-backed probe into his murder, a source confirmed on Saturday. The exercise is to take place at a military base in southwestern France on September 28, said the source.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=119036

UNRWA calls for detailed plan for Nahr al-Bared reconstruction
BEIRUT: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) urged concerned parties on Saturday to lay down a detailed action plan for the reconstruction of Nahr al-Bared camp in compensation of delayed works during Ramadan.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=119028
    
Aoun: Lebanese Willingly Lost Sovereignty, Freedom, Independence
04/09/2010 The head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun said on Friday that the Lebanese “willingly lost all they have gained from sovereignty, freedom, and independence,” stressing the need to motivate the people to hold their leaders accountable for their actions.  Aoun said that the leaders should be replaced with ones who actually want reform. “The Lebanese administration is a mafia that seeks to exploit the people, maintain corruption, and drive the Lebanese to immigrate,” he pointed out.  “A comprehensive reform plan is needed, but a whole class of Lebanese are benefiting from the corruption and are aiming to maintain the current situation that has led the country to the brink of collapse in the water, electricity, security, and justice sectors,” the Free Patriotic Movement leader said.  Aoun criticized the lack of action taken to address reform and attacked the justice system itself for being corrupt.
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=152908&language=en

Gemayel: “We Are Not Ashamed of Getting Israel Support”
06/09/2010 Phalanges (Kataeb) bloc MP Sami Gemayel said his party wasn’t embarrassed of getting Israel’s Support at a previous stage.  “We’re not ashamed of getting Israel’s support against the Syrians when they were in Lebanon. We believe that supporting Lebanon is the most important thing.”  In an interview with the Lebanese Daily Sada Al-Balad published on Sunday Gemayel “warned” that there are two “dangerous issues” that have been facing Lebanon recently, “the Palestinian refugees issue and Hezbollah’s weapons”.  Gemayel doubted that national dialogue would yield any results Hezbollah’s weapons issue.  He also called for a “weapons-free” country adding that all arms in Lebanon must be under the government’s control.  Development and Liberation bloc MP Hani Qobeissi responded on Monday saying that “admitting to spying for Israel necessitates lots of shame”.   Also Development and Liberation bloc MP Kassem Hashem retorted to Gemayel saying: “When some people feel no shame of their connection with the Zionist enemy and get support from it to fight our brothers and partners in this country, how can we be surprised by the persistence in adopting the policy of yielding to an enemy, a killer, and an occupier?”
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=153072&language=en

Iran
Iran criticizes Palestinian official remarks against Ahmadinejad
TEHRAN, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast criticized on Monday the recent remarks made by Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeineh against Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency reported., “He (Rdeineh) should pay more attention to the words he uses in his remarks,” Mehmanparast told Fars., The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Saturday slammed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over his remarks about the relaunching of direct peace talks with Israel through the U.S. mediation.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-09/06/c_13481384.htm

Iran is being sanctioned for crimes it didn’t commit, official says
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says UN-led sanctions and resolutions targeting the country’s nuclear program are ‘illegal, illogical and unfair in principle.’
http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/iran-is-being-sanctioned-for-crimes-it-didn-t-commit-official-says-1.312338

UAE acts on money tranfers to Iran
It is no surprise that financial transactions with countries like the United States are banned as part of sanctions to do with Iran’s nuclear programme, but now a key regional partner is also clamping down. The central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has advised banks in the federation, including those in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, to stop currency transfers with Iran. This could be a serious blow for Iranian businesses and individuals, but it appears that the UAE is trying to clean up its image as a international financial centre. At the same time, the UAE is finding itself embroiled with a financial scandal developing in Afghanistan. Money flowing out of Afghanistan to Dubai is being investigated by the Afghan government. Al Jazeera spoke to Robin Amlot, managing editor of Banker Middle East, in Dubai and James Bays, Al Jazeera’s Afghanistan correspondent, about the issues. [September 6, 2010]

U.S. and Other World News
Facebook group reclassifies Blair autobiography as ‘crime’ book
Photographs posted on networking site show ex-PM’s book, ‘A Journey’, on bookstore shelves under the headings ‘Painful Lives’ and ‘Dark Fantasy’.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/facebook-group-reclassifies-blair-autobiography-as-crime-book-1.312381?localLinksEnabled=false

Bahrain says Shi’ite figures plotted overthrow
* Bahrain says to charge 23 Shi’ite opposition figures
* Says they plotted to overthrow monarchy through violence
* Rights groups concerned over arrests, torture allegations
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6830AD.htm

The Listening Post – The media and the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ story
Plans to build an Islamic community centre near the site where the World Trade Centre used to stand in New York have triggered a heated, often irrational and frequently inaccurate debate in the US. On this episode of The Listening Post we look at how some news outlets got their hands dirty with this story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H257cS8RjHQ&feature=youtube_gdata

www.theheadlines.org

Les cheveux, le chemise, les sans-boutons, l’ideologie– tout wrongee!!

Sep 06, 2010 

Philip Weiss 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m against the stoning of that Iranian woman for adultery, I’m against her lashing, I’m for women’s liberation in Iran, I don’t like the limitation on women’s roles in Egypt and Gaza.

And more than anything else, I believe that men should be able to dress as they please without social pressure to cover themselves up– even if that means letting their tresses flap in the breeze.

But was it really necessary for the Iranian woman’s lawyer, Mohammad Mostafei, at right, to appear at a press conference with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (l) and dashing philosophe manque roue Bernard-Henri Levy (center)? BHL is a ridiculous character who discredits everything he goes near these days, with his shallow shaggy ideology of Islamofascism and his support for the Iraq war. And Israel of course is always pure as the driven sands…. Aide! [Photo by AP]

Groundbreaking letter – ‘Israeli theatre artists have refused to allow their work to be used to normalize a cruel occupation . . .We stand with them’

Sep 06, 2010

Adam Horowitz

 

Update on the groundbreaking letter from 150 American actors, writers, directors and artists in support of the Israeli actors’ boycott of a theater in the West Bank settlement Ariel. The letter was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and its signatoris include four Pulitzer Prize winners, Guggenheim Fellowship recipents, a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Honor, and scores of recipients of the highest U.S. acting honors, including Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and the Oscar.

The letter reads:

On August 27th, dozens of Israeli actors, directors, and playwrights made the brave decision not to perform in Ariel, one of the largest of the West Bank settlements, which by all standards of international law are clearly illegal. As American actors, directors, critics and playwrights, we salute our Israeli counterparts for their courageous decision.

Most of us are involved in daily compromises with wrongful acts. When a group of people suddenly have the clarity of mind to see that the next compromise looming up before them is an unbearable one — and when they somehow find the strength to refuse to cross that line — we can’t help but be overjoyed and inspired and grateful.

It’s thrilling to think that these Israeli theatre artists have refused to allow their work to be used to normalize a cruel occupation which they know to be wrong, which violates international law and which is impeding the hope for a just and lasting peace for Israelis an Palestinians alike. They’ve made a wonderful decision, and they deserve the respect of people everywhere who dream of justice. We stand with them.

JVP’s Executive Director Rebecca Vilkommerson says:

The response of American and UK artists to the courageous actions of their Israeli counterparts is just phenomenal. It is especially notable that so many of the signatories are Jewish with long-standing connections to Israel. We hope that the strong show of solidarity by Americans and UK actors in response to these brave Israelis will help spark a new conversation in both countries, one that acknowledges that the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are illegal by every measure of international law, contribute to the daily violation of human rights of Palestinians, and are a major obstacle to a just peace in the region.

JVP’s website notes, that “statement organizers and signatories represent a wide range of political opinions and perspectives, but have come together for the sole purpose of making a joint statement on this one critical issue.” The signers are a very diverse bunch including Ed Asner, Theodore Bikel, Eve Ensler, Tony Kushner, Cynthia Nixon, Mandy Patinkin, theater director and producer Harold Prince, Vanessa Redgrave, screenwriter and film producer James Schamus, Wallace Shawn, Jennifer Tilly, playwright Lynn Nottage, the lyricist for Fiddler on the Roof Sheldon Harnick, Bill Irwin, Kathleen Chalfant, and Ruth Reichl among many others. You can read the entire list here.

Smoking gun: even as it enters into talks, Israel declares policy of separating Gaza and W.B.

Sep 06, 2010 

Philip Weiss

That I regard the following news as shocking and disgraceful is surely a reflection of my own innocence. (But innocence, naive faith, idealism–they help to drive this site.)

At the same time that it is setting forth on peace talks with the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority, Israel has for the first time publicly endorsed the policy of separating Gaza and the West Bank politically (and culturally).

This policy has been obvious to anyone who has visited the Strip and the West Bank: you are seeing two starkly-different cultures and political entities. But Noam Sheizaf has the goods, reporting that the Israeli government has described “separating Judea and Samaria [i.e. West Bank] from Gaza” as “a security and diplomatic objective.”

Unbelievable. Will the U.S. say a word about this? Will Clinton or Mitchell object? Israel makes lip service to a Palestinian state living alongside it but meantime a living part of the Palestinian consciousness, the largely-refugee population of Gaza, Israel has segregated and imprisoned and surrounded with remote-control machine gun towers, obviously with an eye to one day delivering it with a ribbon to Egypt. And let’s be clear, this is a reflection of occupation. If Gaza were not occupied, as Goldstone said it is, Israel could not achieve this ghettoization, this breaking up of families, these attacks on fishing boats and lettuce-growers and scrap-metal-scroungers and humanitarian flotillas, this neverending destruction of human resources that is Gaza. Sheizaf:

An IDF Powerpoint slideshow, presented before the Turkel committee for the investigation of the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, reveals the official goals of the Israeli policy regarding the Gaza strip….

Slide 20 deals with freedom of movement from and to the Gaza strip. Policy objectives are:

–    Limiting people from entering or exiting the strip, in accordance with the government’s decision.

–    Separating Judea and Samaria from Gaza.

…The Israeli policy regarding Gaza could be seen as violation of official and unofficial principles of previous agreements and negotiations with the Palestinians and other parties. Gaza and the West Bank were regarded as “one entity” – though not officially declared as such – already in the 1978 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. The Oslo Declaration of Principles, signed in September 1993 and still an abiding document, specifically states that:

The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.

This declaration was ratified in following agreements from 1994 and 1995.

The recent IDF slideshow is the first time an Israeli official document publicly declares that the current policy objective is to create two separate political entities in the Palestinian territories.

U.S. has ‘rock solid’ commitment to Israel’s security as Mossad impersonates U.S. intelligence

Sep 06, 2010

 Alex Kane 

At this year’s American-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the crowd:

So from its first day, the Obama Administration has worked to promote Israel’s security and long-term success. And if you ever doubt the resolve of President Obama to stay with a job, look at what we got done for the United States last night when it came to passing quality affordable healthcare for everyone. (Applause.) And we know that, as Vice President Biden said in Israel recently, to make progress in this region, there must be no gap between the United States and Israel on security. (Applause.) And let me assure you, as I have assured you on previous occasions with large groups like this and small intimate settings, for President Obama and for me, and for this entire Administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring, and forever. (Applause.)

Our number one ally in the Middle East, though, doesn’t appear to feel the same way about U.S. security.

Pivoting off a blog post in the American Conservative by Philip Giraldi, the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein reports on how Israeli spies have stepped up their activity on U.S. soil as tensions with Iran have escalated by attempting to recruit American Muslims:

The CIA took an internal poll not long ago about friendly foreign intelligence agencies.

The question, mostly directed to employees of the clandestine service branch, was: Which are the best allies among friendly spy services, in terms of liaison with the CIA, and which are the worst? In other words, who acts like, well, friends?

“Israel came in dead last,” a recently retired CIA official told me the other day.

Not only that, he added, throwing up his hands and rising from his chair, “the Israelis are number three, with China number one and Russia number two,” in terms of how aggressive they are in their operations on U.S. soil…

“Oh, sure, they do that,” the other former CIA official said, waving a dismissing hand, when I asked about Giraldi’s story. “They’re all over the place.”

The FBI did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

But a retired senior FBI counterintelligence official told SpyTalk, “They have always been extremely aggressive, and seem to feel they can operate whenever and wherever they want, in spite of being called on the carpet more than any other country by probably a factor of three times as often.”

[Weiss postscript: Maybe this helps to explain former CIA intelligence boss Robert Grenier’s attack on the Israel lobby’s influence over our government, in Al Jazeera?]

Neoconservatism is rightly seen as a ‘current of Jewish culture’

Sep 06, 2010 

Philip Weiss

Longtime colleagues Leon Wieseltier and Marty Peretz are on opposite sides of the Islamic center argument, reports J.J. Goldberg in the Forward.

Wieseltier’s latest Washington Diarist in the New Republic is smart and refreshing. A true intellectual, he endorses the right of the Islamic center to set up shop downtown. And he speaks openly of his own youth in the Revisionist Zionist movement and arrives at a point any sensible person must agree with, these old timey religions sure propagate a lot of war:

Collective responsibility. One of the most accomplished Jewish terrorists of our time, Baruch Goldstein, came from the Jewish universe in which I was raised. When he committed his crime, there were a few former and present citizens of that universe, a revered rabbi of mine among them, who demanded a stringent communal introspection; but the critics were denounced as slanderers who tarred all of religious Zionism, or all of “Modern Orthodox” Judaism, or all of Judaism, with the same treasonous brush. The killer, we were angrily instructed, was an aberration, and any generalization from his action was an unwarranted imputation of collective responsibility. I disagreed. Baruch Goldstein murdered in the name of Judaism, with an interpretation of Judaism, from a social and intellectual position within Judaism. The same was later true of Yigal Amir. They did not represent the entirety of Judaism, or of the Jewish institutions that formed them—but the massacre in Hebron and the assassination in Tel Aviv were among their effects. If the standpoint of broadly collective responsibility was the wrong way to explain the atrocities, so too was the standpoint of purely individual responsibility. There were currents of culture behind the killers. Their ideas were not only their own. I am reminded of those complications when I hear that Islam is a religion of peace. I have no quarrel with the construction of Cordoba House, but not because Islam is a religion of peace. It is not. Like Christianity and like Judaism, Islam is a religion of peace and a religion of war. All the religions have all the tendencies within them, and in varying historical circumstances varying beliefs and practices have come to the fore.

This is a helpful way of looking at religious nationalism. And I’d insist that neoconservatism falls into a similar category. Murray Friedman, Benjamin Ginsberg, and Adam Garfinkle all wrote in their books that neoconservatism came out of the Jewish community. I’m sure Wieseltier would agree, he has too much intellectual honesty not to. But remember that when Walt and Mearsheimer wrote that Zionism played a crucial role in the disastrous decision to invade Iraq, JJ Goldberg published an editorial titled “In Dark Times Blame the Jews,” and Leonard Fein of the Forward trashed the authors for “recklessness” and Peace Now posted his attack, and the New Republic conducted a campaign against them as alleged antisemites. So Wieseltier underlines what I have always said, that the Jewish community will not move out of this moment, this ethnocentric locked down Spartan ignore the cries of the victim moment, until there is a forum at Yivo Institute on the neocons’ Zionism and their contribution to an American war. Wait till 2050. 

Posted in Middle East1 Comment

OBAMA THE LAME DUCK

NOVANEWS

9/7/2010

Obama the Lame Duck

by Jeff Davis

More and more it’s looking like we may be able to at least turn Obama into a lame duck if not expel him from office after the November elections.

The U. K. Financial Times reports: “Barack Obama’s Democratic party faces a series of dramatic defeats at every level of government in Washington and beyond in the November midterm elections, according to leading analysts and opinion polls. The University of Virginia’s widely monitored Crystal Ball will on Wednesday forecast sweeping setbacks on Capitol Hill and the loss of a clutch of state governorships on November 2. It follows a Gallup poll that showed the Republicans with a 10 percentage point lead over the Democrats – the widest margin in 68 years. Separately, a University of Buffalo paper has predicted a 51-seat gain for Republicans in November.”

Long time liberal extremist Senator Barbara Boxer will likely be defeated by the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina according to the latest poll by SurveyUSA. Rand Paul holds a 15 percent lead over the Democrat in his race to be a Senator from Kentucky. And Tea Party candidate Sharon Angle has gone from being an unknown to a tie with Democrat Senate majority (for now) leader Harry Reid.

The Financial Times goes on: “The numbers, which threaten Mr Obama with a ‘wave election’ similar to those of 1994 and 2006, when Democrats wrested back control of the House after 12 years, also extend to key states. According to local polls, Democrats are on course to lose the governorships of traditionally left-leaning states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania and may be vulnerable in Illinois, long a party bastion.”

Illinois of course is about to go completely bankrupt, thanks to Democrat bungling. Ex-governor Blagojevich was convicted of lying to federal investigators, and faces a retrial on corruption charges.

The article notes “Such is the scale of the expected losses that analysts are already focused on how Mr Obama can turn Republican domination to his advantage in his 2012 re-election race. Washington is awash with speculation on whether the Republicans will over-reach as Mr Gingrich did in 1995 when Bill Clinton won a stand-off that had resulted in the shutdown of government.”

Some folks fear that after losing the November election, the Democrats will hold a kamikaze session of Congress to pass an Amnesty Bill for the 30 million illegal aliens living in this country right now and give them the vote by 2012. While the Democrats, who just got voted out of office, would be all for this, the Democrats and Republicans, who still need to rely on White votes to get elected in future elections will probably not want to go along with such a vote. Even John McCain, who recently promised his primary voters that he would be tough on illegals, would not vote for an Amnesty Bill at this time or he would most certainly face a recall.

Another danger will be that Obama might try to rule by Executive Order. The Clintonistas made such a threat back in 1994 which came to nothing.

The Republicans will be powerless to repeal the obscene and deranged Obamacare law while Obama himself continues to squat in the Oval Office, but they could effectively stop-punch it by refusal to fund it, just like both Bush and Obama have refused to fund the border fence that was passed with such hoopla all those years ago. (About 12 miles of fence have actually been built since the project was defunded by Congress.)

On the upside, the Republican majority will have subpoena power and can provide the nation with endless hours of amusement investigating and humiliating the Democrats. Look for Congressman Darrell Issa from California to head up the festivities.

Posted in USAComments Off on OBAMA THE LAME DUCK

BURNING KORAN ENDANGERS TROOPS-PERIOD!

NOVANEWS

September 7, 2010 

by Robert L. Hanafin

Mainstream media has given an unknown religious cult of similar ilk as Westboro Baptist Church – the nut cases who protest homosexuality at our troops funerals more publicity than they rate or deserve.

In fact, the Dove World Outreach Center (DWOC) has endorsed Westboro Baptist Church’s protests against homosexuality at our troops funerals.

Way back in March 2010, the so-called Christian Church in question, Dove World Outreach Center posted a video which decried the possibility of an openly-gay mayor (in this case, current mayor Craig Lowe, who is the first openly gay mayor of Gainesville, FL). So far, so good.

However, it also posted a sign saying “No Homo Mayor”; after Americans United for Separation of Church and State requested the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the sign as an undue participation of a non-political tax-exempt organization in the political process, the church then changed the sign to simply read “No Homo”.

SOURCES: IRS Should Investigate Florida Church For Opposing Mayoral Candidate, Says Americans United”. Americans United. March 26, 2010. http://www.au.org/media/press-releases/archives/2010/03/irs-should-investigate.html.

Chad Smith (April 2, 2010). “Church changes ‘No homo Mayor’ sign to read ‘No homo’”. Gainesville.com. http://citylimits.blogs.gainesville.com/10669/church-changes-no-homo-mayor-sign-to-read-no-homo/.

ENDORSEMENT OF WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH PROTESTS AT TROOP FUNERALS.

On April 18, 2010, members of the church participated in a joint protest with the Westboro Baptist Church against homosexuality; the protest took place in front of Trinity United Methodist Church and the University of Florida Hillel.

Later, on April 21, Dove World member Fran Ingram published a blog post proclaiming the church’s endorsements of the Westboro Baptist Church’s protests against homosexuality and homosexuals at the funerals of fallen U.S. troops.

In response to a Military Mom concerned about Dove World Outreach Center’s endorsement of Westboro, a representative of the same religious group that wants to burn Korans, Fran Ingram, had this reply in defense of protesting at troops funerals.

The military question, and Westboro: We at DWOC are also pretty wild!

http://www.doveworld.org/blog/the-military-question-and-westboro

“I have…met the Westboro people and do not think they are vile. They are very focused, not ‘religious’ and politically incorrect. We at DWOC are also pretty wild – many say very wild – hateful, evil, dangerous, not Christian, a cult, sick, bigots, intolerant …and much more.

Dismissed so that our message can be pushed away and disregarded. We can be seen as dirt and thrown out.

My point is, what are they getting at?

They [Westboro] don’t say that only to military people. They say it to everyone about everything when they can find any connection to God’s displeasure.

You and Your Son Will Not be Saved Just Being in the Military

You and your son will certainly not be saved just because you are military. You know that too – it is only by grace through Jesus, repentance and forgiveness. But do we do much repenting?

The Military is Necessary HOWEVER

The military is necessary, just as war was necessary in the Bible at times, even commanded by God – to rid some evil, to advance his Kingdom. Yet he said to David when he wanted to build the temple that he could not because he had lived a warrior’s life. There are other references in the Bible to violence of any kind being against plan, or his best plan for us.

War is not Glorified in the Bible

War is not glorified in the Bible, is it? On the other hand, God is called a Warrior, and goes to war in the spirit realm. Maybe violence and bloodshed, even in a just war or in self defense, is something we should all be repenting for more often. Wouldn’t hurt, would it?  Or are we a bit like the Islamic jihadists who glorify war to such an extent that they think that is their guaranteed ticket to heaven?

Simply put Veterans Today Readers if you support these nut cases burning Korans, you might as well join them and Westboro Baptist Church protest at the next fallen troops funeral.

If you cringe at the thought of anyone protesting at our troops funerals then get on the phone, internet, send smoke signals to mainstream media and our troops in combat that these kooks have ties to Westboro Baptist Church!!!

Pre-WWII NAZI Book Burning Memorial

Empty book shelves beneath the square were thousands of Jewish books were burnt by Nazi students pre WWII

Books published by Jewish authors such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Maxim Gorky and Heinrich Heine were burned in April, 1934, in front of the University of Berlin. One of the leading newspapers, the ‘Vossische Zeitung’ was forced out of business because it was owned by the ‘House of Ullstein’ a Jewish firm. The same thing happened to the German Jewish newspaper, the ‘Judische Rundschau’. The Jewish owned ‘Berliner Tageblatt was forced to close in 1937. The well known and respected Frankfurter Zeitung was allowed to flourish but its Jewish owners were sacked. On April 7, 1933, a Civil Service Law was passed in Germany. This law banned all persons with a Jewish grandparent from public employment, an action which caused great distress in the Jewish community. By the end of the year around 31,000 of Berlin’s Jews were living on charity. (Of the 503,000 Jews living in Germany when Hitler came to power around 319,900 had fled the country by 1939. By the war’s end only about 23,000 Jews were living in Germany)

One need only replace Jews or Jewish with Muslims and Germany with the United States, then ask our troops in harms way IS THIS WHAT YOU ARE FIGHTING AND DYING FOR???

Now let’s take a look see at what General Petraeus has to say about these goofballs and how their dumb ass actions WILL ENDANGER OUR TROOPS in the FIELD.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News Network

Gen. David Petraeus: Burning Quran endangers troops

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warned that an American church’s threat to burn copies of the Muslim holy book could endanger U.S. troops in the country and Americans worldwide.

The comments from Gen. Petraeus followed a protest by hundreds of Afghans over the plans by Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center — a small, evangelical Christian church that espouses anti-Islam philosophy — to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that provoked the Afghan war.

“Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” Petraeus said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Veterans Today Editorial

Comment: Without having access to the email sent by Petraeus to AP, we can only assume that the general may have mentioned that burning Korans would be an OUTSTANDING RECRUITMENT Poster for Al Queda, the Taliban, plus any other Muslim extremists groups AND could very well drive moderate Muslim into the extremists camp.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen echoed Petraeus’ sentiments saying any burning “would be in a strong contradiction with the all the values we stand for and fight for.”

Veterans Today Editorial Comment: In other words, what the General and NATO Secretary-General are most concerned about is the increasing appearance that U.S. Troops are on a Christian Crusade against Islam. Neither NATO nor the United States has enough troops to take on the Muslim world minus conscription (THE DRAFT) for someone else’s Holy Wars. Implementing THE DRAFT for any Judeo-Christian Holy War would make resistance to the Vietnam Draft look insignificant in comparison.

Muslims consider the Quran to be the word of God and insist it be treated with the utmost respect, along with any printed material containing its verses or the name of Allah or the Prophet Muhammad. Any intentional damage or show of disrespect to the Quran is deeply offensive.

In 2005, 15 people died and scores were wounded in riots in Afghanistan sparked by a story in Newsweek magazine alleging interrogators at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay placed copies of the Quran in washrooms and flushed one down the toilet to get inmates to talk. Newsweek later retracted the story.

Responding to Petraeus’ comments, Dove World Outreach Center’s senior pastor Terry Jones acknowledged Petraeus’ concerns as legitimate but said the church still planned to go ahead with the burning.

“We are at this time not going to cancel it. We’re still considering it and praying about it,” Jones told The Associated Press. “We are also just also concerned and wondering, when do we stop? How much do we back down? … Instead of us backing down, maybe it’s to time to stand up.”

DWOC’s rationale for wanting to Burn Korans can be found in their Ten Reasons to Burn a Koran http://www.doveworld.org/blog/ten-reasons-to-burn-a-koran

The church, which made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil,” has been denied a permit to set a bonfire but has vowed to proceed with the burning. The congregation’s website estimates it has about 50 members, but the church has leveraged the Internet with a Facebook page and blog devoted to its Quran-burning plans.

Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center: What Is It?

Well besides being allied with Christian religious fanatics who protest at fallen troops funerals, Terry Jones’ Church is one of Hate. DWOC is a small far right-wing fringe church located in Gainesville, Florida. Their website mentions “the end times” in the very second sentence, and the right-hand block of the site is dominated by a link selling Terry Jones’ “Islam is of the Devil” book. A link for “Burn a Quran Day” has been shoehorned below the site’s masthead.

Dove World Outreach Center was founded in 1986 by Donald Northrup and Richard Wright, and leadership was assumed by Terry Jones in 1996.

The Gainesville church complex has a religious school, called the Dove World Outreach Academy, whose students are sequestered from the outside world, and work to pack furniture for TS and Company, which is owned by Terry and Sylvia Jones.

Terry Jones’ daughter, Emma Jones, broke with the church, calling it a cult, and accusing her father and stepmother of a series of financial and labor abuses.

Emma Jones and Heinz Koop – a former church elder in Germany – say church members confronted Terry and Sylvia Jones with an itemized list of alleged abuses such as a car purchased by the church for their son, salaries paid by the church for TS and Company employees and donated furniture that was sold for profit.
After the accusations, Terry and Sylvia Jones – who from 2001 to 2008 had divided their time between living in Gainesville and living in Cologne – left Cologne permanently in 2008.

Source: gainesville.com

Calling itself a “New Testament Church”,  the Dove World Outreach Center blog is full of posts about what it hates (mainly Islam and homosexuality), all the while saying that it loves people. You be the judge.

We at Veterans Today decided to link to their site to allow readers to judge for themselves, however most blogs and forums refuse to link to their site, because they consider the DWOC content to be hate speech, in violation of their Terms of Service. If the VT Editorial Board decides that responses to this post are contributing to hate speech, comments will be removed.

Terry Jones’ organization was last in the news for its series of anti-Islam lawn signs: Jones seems to both really hate Islam, and to really enjoy being on the nightly news.

As a result of its controversies and the ties between the church and TS and Company, the Alachua County Property Appraiser commenced an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the church in March 2010[38].

Chad Smith (Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.). “County investigating Dove World’s tax-exempt status”. Gainesville.com. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100325/ARTICLES/3251059?tc=ar.

Local response

The church has been strongly criticized by various local religious and political figures in Florida for its stances against Islam and homosexuality. In response, a Gainesville Interfaith Forum was established in November 2009 with participation from the University of Florida Hillel, Congregation Bnai Israel and individual Muslim residents, and the forum’s request for the declaration of September 11 as “Interfaith Solidarity Day” was honored by current mayor Craig Lowe. The Forum scheduled a “Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope” at Trinity United Methodist Church on the day before the planned burning. 

In addition, Mayor Lowe has referred to Dove World as a “tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community”.

Twenty local religious leaders gathered Thursday, September 2, 2010 to call for citizens to rally around Muslims “in a time when so much venom is directed toward them.” [43]. As well, many of these same leaders and their groups are participating in a petition which can be seen at www.PleaseDontBurnTheKoran.com

Sources:

Chad Smith (Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.). “Mayor Lowe: Dove World is ‘an embarrassment’”. Gainesville Sun. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100804/ARTICLES/8041009.

Chad Smith (Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 7:02 p.m.). “Local leaders forming response to Quran burning”. Gainesville.com. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100811/ARTICLES/100819861/1105/NEWS?Title=Local-leaders-forming-response-to-Quran-burning.

Chad Smith (Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.). leaders call for solidarity against Quran burning “Religious leaders call for solidarity against Quran burning’”. Gainesville Sun. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100902/ARTICLES/100909904?Title=Religious leaders call for solidarity against Quran burning.

Posted in USAComments Off on BURNING KORAN ENDANGERS TROOPS-PERIOD!

A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM FATHER ELIAS ZAHLAWI

NOVANEWS

A Personal Message from Father Elias Zahlawi, a Syrian Catholic priest to Pastor Terry Jones

By crescentandcross

Respected Pastor Terry Jones,

I have read your worldwide call for the burning of the Quran on this coming 11th of September. Your message stated that you are a pastor of one of the churches in Florida in the United States of America.

As an Arab Catholic priest from Damascus (Syria), I wondered what would be your objective, as an American pastor, for such a call?

I wondered, and I ask you: What are your responsibilities as a pastor?

Are you really a Christian pastor serving God in a church in America?

Or are you merely a layperson from America who is pretending to be in the service of Christ?

Did you give in to your nationalism (Americanism) rather than giving in to your Christianity?

What is your aim with that call?

(Do you wish) to further fuel hatred among people? Is that consistent with (the teachings of) Jesus, whom you represent in your eyes and the eyes of many others?

Tell me, is there in the character of Jesus, in his words or in his actions anything that would remotely justify even a hint of promoting disdain and hatred among people?

Have you forgotten that Jesus was completely for love, forgiveness and peace? Have you forgotten what he taught us when he told his disciples and the people after them to tell God the heavenly Father of all to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who wrong us”? You overlooked or forgot that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and being subjected to insults and vile words, he raised his voice, saying, “O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who, then, do you represent or who are you trying to guide with this call of yours?

Isn’t it enough what has been happening since September 11, 2001: the killing, destruction, displacement and starvation of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, from Palestine – the land of Jesus – by your leaders in particular, headed by George Bush, who was claiming direct communication with God?

Wouldn’t you agree with me that with your call (to burn the Quran), you have demonstrated that you are really unfamiliar with Jesus and that you desperately need to re-discover him again to be a true Christian pastor who calls, like Jesus, for the comprehensive love and full respect for every human being and a commitment to the full and wonderful teachings that call upon all believers, without exception, to always stand beside the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged?

My brother Pastor Terry Jones. Can you tell me, honestly, if Jesus came today, whose side would he take?

Is it the side of the powerful and arrogant oppressors who dominate the world and endlessly plunder its resources, violate its laws and international treaties, and kill people in their countries and destroy houses on top of their owners and turn them into refugees across the earth? Or is it the side of those who are oppressed, the disadvantaged, hungry, and homeless?

Did you forget what Jesus himself would say on the Day of Judgment to each person in front of him: “All that you did to one of my brothers, you actually did to me”?

I wonder if you have overlooked or forgotten that Jesus did not point in that speech on the Day of Judgment to the religion of any of those mistreated persons. He only referred to everyone as belonging to the human race and to his standing with the deprived, the weak, and the oppressed in this world.

So how could you as an American Christian pastor stand with the oppressors from your country whose injustice has spread around the world?

Aren’t you afraid of when you appear before Jesus on Judgment Day and you are burdened with a heavy conscience, like your leaders who are blinded by the gods of power, money, control and greed?

My brother Pastor Terry. Do you think I am being unfair if I conclude that your hatred toward Islam is what drove you to such a reprehensible call for the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Quran?

But let me ask you, as a Syrian Roman Catholic priest: What do you know about Islam? It appears to me from your call to burn the Quran that you are ignorant of Christ and Christianity, and that makes me believe that you are also ignorant of Islam and Muslims.

Believe me, it is not my intention to indict you and it is not my intention to engage with you in a religious debate about Christianity or Islam. However, after I prayed for a long time, let me suggest for both of us to make a joint effort on this coming September 11.

You might ask me what effort can we do jointly when you are in Florida and I’m in Damascus?

Here is my suggestion.

I invite you to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people.

This is what people need rather than the un-Christian call to fuel the sentiment of hatred and division.

Come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers.

Come to Damascus to witness and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind or expectation of all the churches of the West or their bishops, pastors, and clergymen.

Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return.

My brother Pastor Terry.

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus.

I ask God to make our anticipated meeting the beginning of a long and interesting path that we undertake together with other brothers in Damascus and around the world.

How desperate is the need of our world for bright roads.

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

Father Elias Zahlawi

Posted in USAComments Off on A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM FATHER ELIAS ZAHLAWI

ON THE HAMAS KILLINGS: CONDEMN OR DON’T CONDEMN?

NOVANEWS

So I lied. Cross-posted from Mondoweiss.

I appreciated David Samel’s thoughtful essay on the Hamas-claimed killings of the four paramilitary settlers in Hebron—paramilitary settlers, and not simply “settlers.” I appreciated it both because it was thoughtful and because it was lucid (although I appreciated more Seham’s list of unreported attacks against Palestinian lives and livelihoods in the past few months). Samel’s lucidity makes it very easy to pinpoint where he goes wrong, and it isn’t within the logic of his dissection of the morality or efficacy of the attack.

The problem is larger. It’s in his defense of the binary he presents between those who “defend” the attacks using a sophistical logic much like what Israel’s hasbara-artists deploy, and those who unequivocally condemn them. The problem isn’t his logic but his binary: there is a middle ground between condemnation of attacks against hard-to-categorize armed settlers, and approbation of them, and that’s a refusal to condemn them.

Placing to the side some questions that arguably bear on this point—the strategic effectiveness of the attacks, where precisely on the spectrum-of-culpability armed settlers, who are the instruments of an occupation that Eyal Benvenisti characterizes as outright “aggression,” fall, and what counsel do the Geneva and Hague conventions and subsequent case law give us. Reserve for the moment another question: what is the point of Western condemnation. Cut instead to the core of the question. Who has standing to condemn, and why?

Samel, anticipating the general direction but not the specific vector of that criticism, writes of those who will inevitably question his decision to “‘lecture’ oppressed people on the acceptable methods they may utilize to win their freedom.” He demurs: “I’m merely expressing my opinion.” With what standing? At first, he rejects the grounds for attack: he does “not need to earn the right to” criticize.

But Samel then adds, “I have taken rather strong stands against the barbarity unleashed by Israelis against Palestinians, and I’m perfectly entitled to identify which responsive measures I endorse and those that I condemn.” Presumably, you condemn one barbarity, you can condemn the rest of them—an apple’s an apple, and terror attacks against the innocent are terror attacks against the “innocent” no matter whether they occur under the imprimatur of Netanyahu in Tel-Aviv or the Hamas government in Gaza and Damascus.

Let me be as blunt and clear as possible in rejecting the right to criticize in this instance. And add that criticism is intolerable. Speaking generally, we are not entitled to condemn Palestinian violence, although they are. Samel—and I don’t mean to pick on him, I suspect his point-of-view has broad currency—is not “entitled” to lambast the Palestinian resort to force from the Olympian distance of a neutral arbiter, from the social distance given by metropolitan comfort, as if from behind a lectern on which stands a book of laws and norms and values that interpret and apply themselves. The riposte is that this criticism may simply reflect human rights law, but that’s not an excuse.

First, human rights law doesn’t simply apply itself, human beings apply it and its application is an ethical issue. Second, human rights law didn’t come from nowhere. It represents a tension, between codifying “universal” human rights and criminalizing the conduct of those who violate the rights of others. To us, it may be clear who to indict first. But the problem is that it’s always others on the dock for genocide, never those most clearly culpable for it. Human rights law isn’t just an idealistic utopia. It’s also a political weapon.

Aware of that, return to the issue of the right to criticize. Before criticizing, there’s a necessary question: are we innocent, do we stand apart from the society that produced the Hamas killings? Can we stand in moral and legal judgment of them? Not a chance. Samel, and take Samel as an avatar for all of us, is not innocent. By not being innocent, through condemnation, we become hypocrites. We live in privilege and we have lived in privilege. Our lives are the product of that privilege.

Their ease is the experience of privilege. That privilege came at a cost. We are the condensed, living subjects of a tremendous, bloody, messy, tragic, horrible history of violence that has constituted us as privileged Westerners and has left the Palestinian people scrabbling in the sands of Gaza and the Jordan Valley, in refugee camps scattered around the Levant.

We cannot simple excise ourselves from that history, nor can we excuse our culpability for its sorrows. That culpability inflects every moment of our lives and infects our thought and our being. Even by speaking out against the ongoing horror of Israeli violence we cannot sever ourselves from that history, as though we are isolated individuals not constituted by our relations with society and the history of that society and those relations—a bit of modernist ideology that conceals the corpses and wreckage that sit beneath the foundations of our easy lives.

Our relations with Palestinian society and with the third world generally are thick with congealed blood. In the former case, for Americans, the more so for privileged Americans, the more so for privileged American Jews, the blood tally is staggering.

Speaking out and acting out are what we can do and it would be absurd to suggest that even while doing so we do not take a certain distance from that history. But only so much. Even the best of us, those who have spent the past decade or more interspersing themselves physically between the Israeli war machine and its victims don’t have that standing, and I frankly don’t see them hurtling forward with condemnations, anyway. Our freedom to be good people, to be activists, and movement journalists, and human rights lawyers, to fight for others’ freedom, is a freedom that is a product of a history of evil, and it’s a psychic convenience, a self-serving subterfuge, that we may simply step apart from it to condemn the actions of those who live in the hell we have made for them.

No amount of acting substitutes for being, and we cannot be Palestinian, we cannot inhabit their history of struggle, “the fact that they have chronically been violated,” as Rita Giacaman described young Palestinian men’s life experiences. There is no substitute for social experience of the impotent infinite rage of that life. It’s beyond me, and no amount of living there or speaking to Palestinians or suffering with them or reading narratives of dispossession or Darwish or Kanafani can make us experience that history. I think about that when I think about what to say or write about Palestinian attacks against Israelis—who all of us who subscribe to BDS agree aren’t exactly innocents.

So I don’t know what to say except to turgidly moralize to the effect that having contributed to causing that rage—a contribution I think we all make—there is something pious, hypocritical, unpleasant, nearly nauseating, about wagging a finger at those who live in fear and anger at the violence we forge every day. What does that mean? Does that mean anything goes? Of course not. All it means is being honest enough and sufficiently sensitive to step back from these specific events and refuse to condemn them, refuse to join the Western hyena pack so eager to judge Palestinian violence against those who are part of the society crushing them. Sure, this will open us to attack from the right. Whatever. We have better things to do than to be worried about the attacks of apologists for murder, don’t we?

I’m reminded of Ghassan Hage’s aside that apparently “it is crucial to ‘absolutely condemn’ suicide bombers if you are going to talk about them, otherwise you become a morally suspicious person.” So I think we can put the police-mentality psychological thuggery of those who celebrate murder to the side and just be quiet in this case. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask from those in solidarity.

Technorati Tags: Hamas, international law, Israel, Palestine, resistance, war crimes, Zionism

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