Archive | September, 2010



I have sent Kathleen Christison’s excellent analysis with the attachment, but have also pasted below for lists and individuals that do not accept attachments–

This is far less satisfactory than reading the whole in Counterpunch.  I was not successful in finding a link, nor the entire article on the internet, but I would suspect that eventually it will get there.  Meanwhile, even if you have no more than what I’ve managed to get below (which is almost all of it), it is worth reading. 

My only comment is that I am more skeptical of Obama’s intentions than is Kathleen Christison.  I wonder what the Middle East would look like either without Israel or with a ‘peace’ agreement.  Would that situation not turn the eyes of Arab populations on their leaders and the fact that among them are puppets of the American administrations?  Would that not likely bring changes as occurred in Iran when the Shah was kicked out?  Who then would control the oil reserves?



Magical Thinking and the Suspension of Disbelief

The “Peace Process” Hits New Lowin Grim Absurdity

By Kathleen Christison 

latest attempt to restart the socalled peace process between Palestinians and Israel

has been something to behold – another breathtaking example of Washington’s

penchant for policymaking by wishful thinking. As with cargo cults, commentators

and administration officials are peddling a positively magical version of optimism:

 if you build it, they will come. Former Clinton-era policymaker Martin Indyk,

in a Pollyannaish op-ed in the the talks  began at the start of September, actually

called for a suspension of disbelief to allow U.S. diplomacy the time to put Palestinians

and Israelis to the test. The tests he would have them meet, both apparently quite simple

in his mind: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should concede the right of return, the

Palestinians’ most fundamental demand going to the root cause of the conflict, and Israeli

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should agree to withdraw from 95 per cent of the

West Bank and allow a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. Dream on, Martin. Continue

to comfort yourself with the blithe assumption, against all evidence, that either Palestinians

or Israelis will so easily give up their most basic red lines.

Indyk might actually not be far wrong in believing that Abbas is prepared to concede

the Palestinians’ right of return or is ready at least to water down the demand– enough

to render it meaningless– as far as any actual redress is concerned for Palestinians who

were dispossessed in 1948 to make way for a Jewish state. But any assumption that a peace

agreement based on such a concession would be acceptable to most Palestinians is a fantasy.

Most of Abbas’ constituents and the millions of refugees languishing in camps around the

Arab world would regard any casual concession of this most fundamental demand as a

grave and ultimately deal-breaking injustice. Abbas is already very unpopular among

Palestinians and is roundly and quite openly criticized for holding power illegally,

for cooperating too closely with Israel, and for an overeagerness to accommodate

U.S. demands. He would not be able to convince Palestinians that they had not

been betrayed were he to accept a peace agreement that ceded the right of return.

Indyk is also living in fantasy if he believes the Jewish state, and particularly its

most stridently right-wing government, is ready to relinquish its dream of Greater

Israel and, indeed, wants any kind of peaceful, land-sharing arrangement with

its non-Jewish subjects and neighbors.

The a few days later. “If Mr. Abbas is engaging in serious direct talks,” said the

“Mr. Netanyahu should have no excuse to resume [settlement] building.” As simple

as that. As if Netanyahu has ever needed an excuse to continue settlement construction.

It shouldn’t have to be pointed out that Abbas and his predecessor have been engaging

in serious talks, direct and indirect, for years, since the Oslo process began 17 years ago,

and this has notonly failed to induce Israel to stop settlement expansion but, in fact,

served as the cover for a massive increase in construction, leading to a doubling of

settlers andsettlements in the 1990s, precisely during the years of most intense negotiations.

The unreality surrounding theNew York Times a few days beforeTimes issued its

own magical editorialTimes,. . . his optimistic tack, he went on to describe the

bustle of life in Palestinian cities and the rise in economic growth, citing an IMF

report that growth in the first quarter of 2010 was 11 per cent higher than the

same period last year. There is, indeed, considerable bustle and lots of goods in

markets in Ramallah and some other Palestinian cities; new buildings, including

shopping malls and hotels, are being built, and movie theaters are opening.

But this is showcase economics, the kind of surface prosperity that looks good to

the outside world but does nothing to help the average Palestinian and, as Ramallah

businessman Sam Bahour has pointed out in numerous articles, does not equate to

the kind of economic development that could lead toward statehood.

Increased growth, even markedly increased growth, after years of zero growth, does

not make a thriving economy; apparent prosperity in the cities does not spell economic

 development or the economic basis for state-building. All key aspects of a real economy,

Bahour points out, “are squarely in the hands of Israel.”

Israel alone controls access to water, access to electricity, movement throughout the

West Bank, all borders, all airspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum. A World Bank

report from early this year, cited by Bahour, noted that the apparatus of occupation is

so extensive that it controls every aspect of Palestinian life, including job opportunities

and even the ability to get to work. Despite the much-ballyhooed shutdown of some

checkpoints, Israel still imposes a permit system that restricts movement, thus

limiting access to employment and com-The suspension of disbelief required to imagine

Netanyahu and his ultrarightwing government ever relinquishing any of the West Bank,

let alone 95 per cent of it, is considerable. Already the so-called settlement blocs that all

Israeli governments have insisted on keeping under Israeli control, and whose retention

most recent U.S. administrations have endorsed, make up a much greater land area than

the five per cent to be retained under Indyk’s 95 per cent solution.

Those areas of the West Bank that lie on the Israeli side of the Separation Wall constitute

10 per cent of the territory’s total land area, and this does not include other lands whose

relinquishment is hard to imagine: the large numbers of settlements outside the settlement

blocs, an extensive road network connecting the settlements to one another and to Israel

proper, and the Jordan Valley, which borders Jordan along the entire eastern portion

of the West Bank. Israel has always regarded this area, constituting fully onequarter

of the West Bank, as of critical security importance, and currently designates almost

all of it as a closed military zone.

Elsewhere in the adventure into wonderland prominently placed on the front page,

 Ethan Bronner hailed supposed signs that the “crude outlines of a Palestinian state

are emerging in the West Bank.” The notion has been spreading rapidly among wishful

thinkers the last few years, including the “Mideast Quartet” special envoy Tony Blair,

that the Palestinian economy is thriving, security (meaning for Israelis) is much improved,

and life in the West Bank is great. This is all, we are told, because of a combination of

Israeli “good will” – the numbers of checkpoints have been reduced and, instead of an in your

face presence of Israeli soldiers throughout the territory, Israeli troops now conduct “only”

four or five raids every night into Palestinian villages – as well as a vast infusion

of money from the U.S.A. and the international community, plus instruction from

a U.S. general who is teaching the Palestinians to be Israel’s security agents.

Bronner himself did acknowledge offhandedly that, “of course,” the West Bank

remains occupied by Israel and “true ordinary life” is impossible for Palestinians,

as if these fundamental realities are of minimal importance. But, returning to

merce. Huge terminals resembling international border crossing points (at which

the border guards are the same on both sides) impede movement, and even those

able to get hard-to-obtain permits to pass through are closely monitored through

such devices as biometric handprints.

These permits and barriers, the World Bank report concluded, have “turned the

West Bank into a fragmented set of social and economic islands or enclaves cut off

from one another.”

The occupation and its effects on Palestinians, on the Palestinian economy

and, perhaps most significantly, on the Palestinians’ ability to exercise any kind

of leverage in negotiations with their Israeli occupiers and their occupiers’

U.S. patron have been all but forgotten by those who claim to expect anything

out of current talks. Even the Palestinian leadership downplays the significance

and impact of the occupation, effectively playing along with the U.S.-Israeli pretense

that it is on the wane and is of minimal importance. A Los Angeles rabbi,

writing recently in the Times, in anotherLos Angeles Times

after a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, crowed that

3 sepT. 16-30, 2010

leadership remains firm about insisting on fundamental Palestinian rights

and the negotiations fail as a result, the failure will be blamed on Palestinian refusal

to accommodate Israel’s demands. Or, if the leadership caves in and reaches

agreement on the only kind of Palestinian state that Israel might be likely to allow –

a truncated, disconnected state lacking any viability or sovereignty – the inevitable

grassroots Palestinian opposition to an agreement such as this, built on total

surrender, will be regarded by Israel and the U.S. as evidence that Palestinians are,

after all, intransigent and desirous only of “villainizing” and destroying Israel.

No matter how much good will is invested in the effort, ignoring so many

of the grim realities of this conflict – as negotiations enthusiasts from Barack

Obama and George Mitchell to the new lobby group J Street do – will result at

best in a sham peace that is unjust and unstable. J Street, it should be remembered

– which has put itself forward as a moderate alternative to the main pro-

Israel lobby organization AIPAC – is in business only to promote Israel’s interests.

Its slogan – “pro-Israel, pro-peace” – specifically ignores the Palestinians.

Although J Street pays lip service to the need for Palestinian independence, its

principal objective is to preserve Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. As a result,

it rejects in advance of negotiations the Palestinian right of return and a complete

Israeli withdrawal from settlement blocs covering roughly 10 per cent of the West

Bank; it rejects any notion of withholding aid from Israel; and it has condemned

human rights reports detailing Israeli war crimes and human rights violations,

such as the Goldstone report. Therefore, it is hard to see a difference between this

approach and that of the Obama administration.

The deck in these negotiations is clear- Fayyad used the word “occupation” only

4 sept. 16-30, 2010

right to keep some substantial portion of the remaining 22 per cent, where the

Palestinian state would supposedly lie; give Israel the right to blockade and isolate

Gaza, whose population constitutes about one-quarter of those Palestinians

residing in historic Palestine; and, ultimately, give Israel rights over Palestine’s

borders, roads, airspace, and sovereignty. Israel is asked to give nothing except to

return what it does not legally possess.

It is only necessary to look carefully at the obvious, at what should be the

very evident realities of the situation, to see how farcical it is to expect that there

is any possibility the Palestinians will emerge from negotiations with any kind

of just peace solution, any kind of justice.

But the peacemakers in Washington have no concern for these realities. The

danger, in fact, is that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority will be pressured

into showing no concern for what they are conceding, that they will be pressured

into giving up the right of return, giving up on the demand for an Israeli settlement

freeze, surrendering Palestinian dignity and sovereignty to the shell of the

kind of “state” outlined by Ethan Bronner and envisioned by the J Street dreamers

– as Abbas and the PA have already been pressured into giving up many principled


* * *

The question must be asked why Obama is taking the risk of starting this

negotiation when there is so much working against it. The easiest answer is that

he wants to be seen to be doing something, particularly after his promises of

the last year and a half, in advance of the election in November. The timing is good

from his perspective because, while there is no possibility of success before the

election, there is also no possibility of a It is also very possible that Obama and

his aides do not understand the full extent of Israel’s control throughout the

West Bank and East Jerusalem. The occupation is relentless.

its level of control over the Palestinians – not relinquish it entirely, as international

law demands. At the same time, not Palestinians’ dispossession in 1948 and

recognizing Israel as a Jewish state accords legitimacy to Israel’s expulsion of

the Palestinians and ends any Palestinian claims for return or compensation.

Those who speak optimistically about this round of negotiations, those who

now have an investment of reputation in the two-state solution and the nice fantasy

of Israel and Palestine “living side by side in peace” – including, first and foremost,

the Obama administration itself, as well as groups like J Street and longtime

peace processors like Martin Indyk – speak as though Israelis and Palestinians

will sit down together as equals. But just as the pretense that the Palestinian economy

is thriving is showcase economics, a negotiation that ignores the power imbalance

between the parties – and, as a result, essentially ignores the main issues

and the root of the conflict – is showcase peacemaking. There is no equity in talks

that demand that an occupied people sit down to negotiate their fate with their

powerful occupier, particularly when the supposed mediator partners with the latter.

When one party has all the military power, controls all the territory, and controls

all the people, true negotiation is impossible.

The reality, in which Israel continues to absorb more and more land while the

Palestinians are powerless to stop this, even as the two sides supposedly discuss

how to divide the land, further highlights the power disparity. Palestinians frequently

draw an analogy with a situation in which two people are trying to divide

a pizza while one of them is devouring it.

The attempt to put forward the impression that this is a negotiation between

equals, that the conflict is a balanced one between equally powerful

parties, and that each side has more or less equal grievances is part of the enormous

fiction surrounding the renewed talks. The gross inequity in this sanctimonious

effort to “bring Israelis and Palestinians together” is that Palestinians

are the ones who have to give up everything throughout the process: to give

recognition of Israel’s right to be a Jewish state; give recognition of Israel’s right to

keep the 78 per cent of Palestine that is the Israeli state; give acceptance of Israel’s

failure that could damage him.

This still leaves the question of why he is trying at all when the situation appears

so hopeless. Cynics would say that the peace talks are deliberately framed

to provide cover for Israel’s continued advance across Palestinian territories, to

divert the world’s attention while Israel swallows more land. This is, without

any doubt, Israel’s reason for agreeing to enter talks now and, whether the United

States is consciously engaged in such a scheme, this is the effect of its actions.

Any talk at this point of the two-state solution serves as a diversion, becoming a

futile discussion of the impossible while Israel advances.

It is also very possible, strange as it may seem, that Obama and his aides do

not truly understand the situation on the ground in Palestine – do not understand

the full extent of Israel’s control throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem

and the consequent impossibility of ever bringing the two-state dream to fruition.

The combined impact of all Israel’srepressive measures cannot be fully understood

without broad firsthand observation.

The occupation is relentless: land confiscation, settlement construction,

road building, wall building, home demolitions, home confiscation, checkpoints

and movement impediments, settler depredations, constant military

raids on villages, large scale arrests and detention, suppression of even the most

peaceful resistance, and on and on, endlessly.

Neither Obama nor his aides nor the foreign policy experts in government

have seen this situation for themselves and, clearly, rely heavily on Israel to tell

them what is going on. This is something like relying on the apartheid government

of South Africa to report on its own repression and on the situation that blacks

were enduring back then.

There are human rights organizations, primarily the Israeli groups B’Tselem and

Peace Now, and the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

(OCHA) that keep track of Israel’s advance through East Jerusalem and across

the West Bank, but it is an open question – and is probably doubtful – whether

U.S. policymakers ever see these reports.

Government personnel stationed in Jerusalem are forbidden to travel through

the West Bank. Obama himself, when he visits Abbas in Ramallah, will be whisked

along cleared roads in his motorcade, or negotiating in any way over the

helicoptered in without seeing anything.

George Mitchell conducts his diplomacy from the luxurious American Colony

Hotel in East Jerusalem, or in the offices of Netanyahu and Abbas. General Keith

Dayton, who is overseeing the training of Palestinian security forces, operates on

the ground in the West Bank but is dealing only with a small aspect of the situation

and necessarily cannot see the impact on the Palestinian population living

at the other end of his trainees’ weapons.

Quartet special envoy Tony Blair, who frequently hails the economic “prosperity”

of the West Bank and from whom Obama, presumably, receives occasional

reports on the situation, studies Palestinian areas, when he sees them

at all, from the comfort of one of half a dozen sleek armored cars parked permanently

at the American Colony Hotel.

In mid-2007, shortly after he took on the task of special envoy, Blair was

briefed by OCHA on a major study of the occupation that it had just completed

graphically depicting the extent of Israeli control and oppression. The study

included a series of maps that chart the progression of Israeli control, as exerted

through settlements and outposts, lands severed from the West Bank and incorporated

into Israel by the Separation Wall, Israeli military areas, Israelidesignated

nature reserves, and roads limited to Israeli use. Rumor around

Jerusalem has it that Blair left the briefing ashen-faced and in shock.

The OCHA maps show a progression of Israeli domination that reveals a clear

Israeli intention to negate any sustainable presence in the land by the Palestinians

as a nation, but, in view of his subsequent rosy depictions of the West Bank situation,

one would guess that Blair recovered from his shock quickly, and most

likely, never passed on the impressions he received that day to U.S. policymakers.

Another area in which magical thinking enters the equation: if policymakers

were to talk about the ugly realities, talk about occupation, it would become too

real and too hard to deal with.

The result of this refusal to look and refusal to see is that few Americans in a

position to do something about or have any influence on this situation – whether

these are policymakers or congressmen or the media – essentially have no idea

what is going on, and do not want to have any idea. No one, it is safe to assume, has

the “big picture” or truly understands the difficulties, if not the impossibility, of

resolving the issue with the old tactics.

They do not understand the extent of Israel’s absorption of the territory, do not

understand – or care – what Palestinians are enduring under Israeli control, do

not truly fathom Zionism’s objectives and Israel’s determination to retain control,

and do not understand the utter impossibility of forging a real state for

Palestinians as long as Israel is allowed to dictate the terms.

* * *

One of the greatest fictions surrounding this process is the notion that the

U.S.A. is an honest broker. The Times to the process, contending that he

is “more balanced in his approach than his predecessor” and that Mitchell has

expended much effort “bringing the parties together.” But “together” does not

represent “balance,” and, in fact, it is precisely the United States’ imbalance, symbolized

by its massive support for Israel, that is impeding any possibility of reaching

a just, equitable, and lasting peace. The noted Israeli historian Avi Shlaim

made this point in discussing the power imbalance in a recent

A peace agreement is unlikely, he wrote, “because the Israelis are too strong,

the Palestinians are too weak, and the American mediators are utterly ineffectual.

The sheer asymmetry of power between the two parties militates against a

voluntary agreement,” meaning one that is not forced on the Palestinians. “To get

Israelis and Palestinians around a conference table and tell them to hammer

out an agreement,” he continued, “is like putting a lion and a lamb in a cage and

asking them to sort out their own differences… . In order to bridge the huge gap

separating the two sides, America must first redress the balance of power by putting

most of its weight on the side of the weaker party.”

If only. Kathleen Christison New Yorkhas hailed Obama for his “commitment”

Guardian article.CPis the author of Perceptions of Palestine and the Wound

of Dispossession late husband Bill Christison, of in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the

Israeli Occupation She can be reached at kb.christison@

, and co-author, with herPalestine(Pluto Press, 2009).

once during a 30-minute meeting and “refuses to perpetuate Palestinian victimhood

to villainize Israel.” Fayyad’s silence about the occupation and the Palestinian

Authority’s eagerness in general to demonstrate its “moderation” and willingness

to make concessions to Israel totally undermine the legitimacy of any Palestinian

resistance and sustain the appalling notion, as expressed by the rabbi, that resistance

to foreign occupation is nothing more than a “villainization” of the occupier

expressed by an occupied people who are merely wallowing in self-pity.

All this dream-making appears to be concentrated in the United States, among

those – including policymakers, “moderate” Zionists in the Israel lobby, and the

media – who have a vested interest in promoting optimism and pressing for a

two-state solution against all evidence that Israel is continuing to swallow the

land intended for the Palestinian state.

Commentators outside the U.S. appear a bit more skeptical. Many astute analysts

were already calling the new peace talks a “farce” before they began. It seems

only the Obama administration and its cheerleaders, like the Israel lobby group

J Street, fail to recognize just how severely out of kilter the power equation is in

these negotiations and just how badly the deck is stacked against the Palestinian

side of the equation.

* * *

So, what, despite some skepticism, is really wrong with a little harmless optimism

about negotiations? What’s wrong with being upbeat, not talking about the

occupation and concentrating on the good things, the hopeful signs? The answer,

of course, is that optimism in this instance is not harmless. Optimism such

as Martin Indyk’s, for instance, or the Los Angeles rabbi’s, or even Salam Fayyad’s,

diverts attention from the glaring realities of the occupation and creates expectations

of negotiating success that are dangerously overdrawn. Concentrating

on the “good things” means ignoring those glaring realities and the hugely

important factors that will undermine achievement of a just and enduring peace


Treating the occupation as though it does not exist sets the Palestinians up as

the spoilers, no matter what will be the outcome of peace talks. If the Palestinian

ly stacked against the Palestinians and against any possibility of resolving or

even addressing the root of the conflict and Palestinian grievances going back to

1948. Imagine a peace process and, if the peace processors get their wish, a peace

settlement that ignores major aspects of Palestinian interests – that ignores an

entire portion of Palestinian territory in Gaza, along with its 1.5 million imprisoned

inhabitants; that ignores Hamas and the reality that it was democratically

elected by a people dissatisfied with the leadership of those Palestinian leaders

now sitting at the negotiating table; that ignores Israel’s continued inexorable absorption

of land, a phenomenon of which settlement construction is only one

manifestation; that ignores the reality that prevention of any Palestinian state

is part of the founding principles and the political basis of Netanyahu’s Likud

Party, which itself sits to the left of other right-wing parties in Netanyahu’s coalition;

that ignores the immense significance of the strong U.S. partnership with

Israel, particularly the Kafkaesque reality that the U.S.A. – the supposed mediator

– gives one party to the negotiations the firepower with which to suppress the


Imagine a peace process in which the Palestinians are expected to concede to

Israel, essentially in advance of serious negotiations, three encompassing negotiating

points – recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a specifically Jewish state,

relinquishment of any right of return for the refugees displaced in 1948 in order to

make Israel a Jewish state, and a pledge to forego all future claims and, thus, end

the conflict – all without receiving any compensating concessions from Israel.

* * *

In the end, Palestinians are being asked – and, unfortunately, the Palestinian

Authority leadership is not resisting this approach – to negotiate over what

should be non-negotiable and to ignore fundamental grievances. Negotiating

over the occupation, as opposed merely to discussing arrangements for Israel’s

withdrawal, means giving the occupation legitimacy and conceding from the

beginning that some of its aspects will remain; it means treating the occupation

not as the illegal system that it is under international law but as a mere territorial

dispute, in which Israel has a legally defensible position and needs only to adjust

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on THE ”PEACE PROCE$$” HITS NEW LOW



Ronnie Kasrils: South Africa’s Israel boycott

September 29, 2010

An international boycott helped end apartheid – now South Africans are leading world opposition to racism in Israel

When Chief Albert Luthuli made a call for the international community to support a boycott of apartheid South Africa in 1958, the response was a widespread and dedicated movement that played a significant role in ending apartheid. Amid the sporting boycotts, the pledges of playwrights and artists, the actions by workers to stop South African goods from entering local markets and the constant pressure on states to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime, the role of academics also came to the fore.

One significant move was the resolution taken by 150 Irish academics not to accept academic posts or appointments in apartheid South Africa. In 1971, the council of Trinity College Dublin took a decision not to own shares in any company that traded or had a subsidiary that traded in the Republic. The council later resolved that the university would not retain any formal or institutional links with any academic or state institution in South Africa.

Almost four decades later, the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions is gaining ground again in South Africa, this time against Israeli apartheid.

Earlier this month, more than 100 academics across South Africa, from over 13 universities, pledged their support to a University of Johannesburg initiative for ending collaboration with the Israeli occupation. The campaign has since grown to include up to 200 supporters. The nationwide academic petition calling for the termination of an agreement between the University of Johannesburg and the Israeli Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has attracted widespread attention.

With the recent endorsement of some of the leading voices in South Africa, such as Kader Asmal, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Mahmood Mamdani, Barney Pityana and Desmond Tutu, the statement confirms the strength of the boycott call in South Africa:

    “As academics we acknowledge that all of our scholarly work takes place within larger social contexts – particularly in institutions committed to social transformation. South African institutions are under an obligation to revisit relationships forged during the apartheid era with other institutions that turned a blind eye to racial oppression in the name of ‘purely scholarly’ or ‘scientific work’.”

Israeli universities are not being targeted for boycott because of their ethnic or religious identity, but because of their complicity in the Israeli system of apartheid. As the academics who have supported the call clearly articulate in their statement, Ben-Gurion University maintains material links to the military occupation. Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2009, which saw the killing of more than 400 children, drew immediate and widespread international condemnation.

Israel’s violation of international law was further confirmed by South Africa’s Justice Richard Goldstone in his report to the United Nations. Ben-Gurion University directly and indirectly supported these attacks, through the offering of scholarships and extra tuition to students who served in active combat units and by providing special grants to students who went on reserve duty for each day of service.

The principled position of academics in South Africa to distance themselves from institutions that support the occupation is a reflection of the advances already made in exposing that the Israeli regime is guilty of an illegal and immoral colonial project. South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council, in a response to an investigation commissioned by the South African government in 2009, issued a report confirming that the everyday structural racism and oppression imposed by Israel constitutes a regime of apartheid and settler colonialism similar to the one that shaped our lives in South Africa.

More recently, the international response to the shameful attack on the flotilla carrying medical supplies and other basic goods to the ghettoised population of Gaza was a sign of the erosion of Israel’s legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. In South Africa, the recall of our ambassador to Israel and the issuing of one of the strongest forms of diplomatic condemnation, the démarche, to Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria was a strong statement of recognition by the South African government that Israel’s actions deserve our utmost contempt.

The campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel has now launched in South Africa. Trade unions in South Africa have publicly committed their support; most notably with the action by South African Transport and Allied Workers Union dockworkers early last year to refuse offloading Israeli goods at Durban harbour – a commitment that was renewed in July this year.

The consumer boycott has also been gaining ground, including the launch of the recent public campaign by leading South African activists to boycott Ahava Dead Sea Cosmetics and to join the international movement to boycott Israeli products.

The boycott and sanctions campaign ultimately helped liberate both black and white South Africans. Palestinians and Israelis will similarly benefit from this international non-violent campaign – a campaign that all South Africans can take forward.

The petition to terminate the relationship between University of Johannesburg and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev can be accessed at


Posted in CampaignsComments Off on SOUTH AFRICA’S ZIONIST BOYCOTT


Gilad Atzmon: Roger Waters and the Bombs of David
DateSeptember 29, 2010

Ynet reported today that The Anti-Defamation League (ADL)  on Monday criticized rock star   Roger Waters for simply conveying the truth.

During  Waters’ performances of “Goodbye Blue Sky,” in Toronto,  an animated scene projects images of planes dropping bombs in the shape of Jewish Stars of David followed by dollar signs. It should be noted that the clip also displays bombs in the shape of crosses, Muslim crescents and a fuel company’s logo.



We had better face it once and for all: artists are often significantly far ahead of our corrupted ‘liberal’ politicians, who, for some reason,  keep silent instead of  confronting  the Jewish State.

The truth needs to be told: Israel is the Jewish State and, actually,  it does drop bombs from airplanes decorated with Jewish symbols, and those planes are flown by Jewish pilots.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued a statement saying that “it is outrageous that Roger Waters has chosen to use the juxtaposition of a Jewish Star of David with the symbol of dollar signs.…the use of such imagery in a concert setting seems to leave the message open to interpretation, and the meaning could easily be misunderstood as a comment about Jews and money.”

I am perplexed by Foxman’s comment. There is not actually much room for interpretation here :the facts are well established.  The U.S. is providing Israel with at least $7.0 million each day. This is a lot of money — especially when it converted into bombs and white phosphorus. The Israeli war crimes are also established : I advise Foxman to read the Goldstone Report.

“Of course Waters has every right to express his political views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through his music and stagecraft. However, the images he has chosen, when put together in the same sequence, cross a line into anti-Semitism,” said Foxman, “We wish that Waters had chosen some other way to convey his political views without playing into and dredging up the worst age-old anti-Semitic stereotype about Jews and their supposed obsession with making money.”

May I suggest to Foxman and his notorious ADL that the rest of humanity also has a wish : we want to see an end to the terror imposed by the Jewish state, in the name of the Jewish people, Foxman included.  We also want to see an end of Jewish institutional pressure being exercised on so many Western political groups, parties and governments.

If Foxman is really concerned about anti-Semitism, he would do far better to tackle the real root causes of anti Semitism, by confronting Israel and its lobbies about their policies, and he might think of leading world Jewry to do the same.

Posted in USAComments Off on BOMBS OF DAVID


September 29, 2010

I don’t much followed the antics of the Respect political party in Britain, but even I was surprised that one of its senior members would indulge in such conspicuous racism, anti-Jewish racism that is.

Respect had no choice but to expel him, I imagine his views are only the tip of the iceberg as Dave Hill reports:

“On Monday he re-published some banter that took place on Facebook between a senior figure in Respect called Abul Hussain and others. Respect’s leadership responded by expelling Hussain. Their grounds?

We are extremely upset to discover that recently published comments from one of our party members are indicative of anti-Semitism. The National Officers have conducted an investigation and met on Monday evening (27 September) to consider the matter. We have decided that such views are demonstrably incompatible with party membership.

Respect has done the right thing, but the episode is an indication of the part Jew-mocking and hating plays in Tower Hamlets politics. Ted Jeory’s reports are here and here. Will Lutfur Rahman disassociate himself from such attitudes, whether expressed by Abul Hussain or anyone else? If not, why not?

This is NOT surprise Respect party members indulge in such RACISM. Respect Salma Yaqoob used anti-Semitism during the resent election by calling local MP R.Godsiff a jew. 

Posted in UKComments Off on RESPECT & RACISM


GARETH PORTER: UN Fact-Finding Mission Says Israelis “Executed” US Citizen Furkan Dogan

September 29, 2010  by Debbie Menon  

Asked by this writer whether the DOJ had received the autopsy report on Dogan, DOJ spokesperson Laura Sweeney refused to comment

By Gareth Porter via t r u t h o u t

Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was aboard the Mavi Marmara when he was killed by Israeli commandos. (Photo: freegazaorg; Edited: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

The report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla released last week shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.

The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been “lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time” before being shot in his face.

The forensic evidence that establishes that fact is “tattooing around the wound in his face,” indicating that the shot was “delivered at point blank range.”  The report describes the forensic evidence as showing that “the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back.”

Based on both “forensic and firearm evidence,” the fact-finding panel concluded that Dogan’s killing and that of five Turkish citizens by the Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmari May 31 “can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions.” (See Report [.pdf] Page 38, Section 170)

The report confirmed what the Obama administration already knew from the autopsy report on Dogan, but the administration has remained silent about the killing of Dogan, which could be an extremely difficult political problem for the administration in its relations with Israel.

The Turkish government gave the autopsy report on Dogan to the US Embassy in July and it was then passed on to the Department of Justice, according to a US government source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the administration’s policy of silence on the matter. The source said the purpose of obtaining the report was to determine whether an investigation of the killing by the Justice Department (DOJ) was appropriate.

Asked by this writer whether the DOJ had received the autopsy report on Dogan, DOJ spokesperson Laura Sweeney refused to comment.

The administration has not volunteered any comment on the fact-finding mission report and was not asked to do so by any news organization.  In response to a query from Truthout, a State Department official, who could not speak on the record, read a statement that did not explicitly acknowledge  the report’s conclusion about the Israeli executions.

The statement said the fact-finding mission’s report’s “tone and conclusions are unbalanced.” It went on to state, “We urge that this report not be used for actions that could disrupt direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine that are now underway or actions that would make it not possible for Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their traditional strong relationship.”

Although the report’s revelations and conclusions about the killing of Dogan and the five other victims were widely reported in the Turkish media last week, not a single story on the report has appeared in US news media.

The administration has made it clear through its inaction and its explicit public posture that it has no intention of pressing the issue of the murder of a US citizen in cold blood by Israeli commandos.

On June 13, two weeks after the Mavi Marmara attack, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying that Israel “should be allowed to undertake an investigation into events that involve its national security” and that Israel’s military justice system “meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation.”

Another passenger whom forensic evidence shows was killed execution-style, according to the OHCHR report, is Ibrahim Bilgen, a 60-year-old Turkish citizen. Bilgen is believed by forensics experts to have been shot initially from the helicopter above the Mavi Marmara and then shot in the side of the head while lying seriously wounded.

The fact-finding mission was given forensic evidence that, after the initial shot in chest from above, Bilgen was shot in the head with a “soft baton round at such close proximity that an entire bean bag and its wadding penetrated the skull and lodged in the chest from above,” the mission concluded.

“Soft baton rounds” are supposed to be fired for nonlethal purposes at a distance and aimed only at the stomach, but are lethal when fired at the head, especially from close range.

The forensic evidence cited by the fact-finding mission on the killing of Dogan and five other passengers came from both the autopsy reports and pathology reports done by forensic personnel in Turkey and from interviews with those who wrote the reports. Experts in forensic pathology and firearms assisted the mission in interpreting that forensic evidence. 

The account, provided by the OHCHR of the events on board the Mavi Marmara on its way to help break the economic siege of Gaza May 31 of this year, refutes the version of events aggressively pushed by the Israeli military and supports the testimony of passengers on board.

The report suggests that, from the beginning, Israeli policy viewed the Gaza flotilla as an opportunity to use lethal force against pro-Hamas activists. It quotes testimony by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak before the Israeli government’s Turkel Committee that specific orders were given by the Israeli government “to continue intelligence tracking of the flotilla organizers with an emphasis on the possibility that amongst the passengers in the flotilla there were terror elements who would attempt to harm Israeli forces.”

The idea that the passenger list would be seeded with terrorists determined to attack Israeli defense forces appears to have been a ploy to justify treating the operation as likely to require the use of military force against the passengers.

When details of the Israeli plan to forcibly take over the ships in the flotilla were published in the Israeli press on May 30, the passengers on board the Mavi Marmara realized that the Israelis might use deadly force against them. Some leaders of the IHH (the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid), which had purchased the ships for the mission, were advocating defending the boat against the Israeli boarding attempt, whereas other passengers advocated nonviolence only.

That led to efforts to create improvised weapons from railings and other equipment on the Mavi Marmara. However, the commission concluded that there was no evidence of any firearms having being taken aboard the ship, as charged by Israel.

The report notes that the Israeli military never communicated a request by radio to inspect the cargo on board any of the ships, apparently contradicting the official justification given by the Israeli government for the military attack on the Mavi Marmara and other ships of preventing any military contraband from reaching Gaza.

According to the OHCHR report, Israeli Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi testified to the Turkel Committee August 11 that the initial rules of engagement for the operation prohibited live fire except in life-threatening situations, but that that they were later modified to target protesters “deemed to be violent” in response to the resistance by passengers.

That decision apparently followed the passengers’ successful repulsion of an Israeli effort to board the ship from Zodiac boats.

The report confirms that, from the beginning of the operation, passengers were fired on by helicopters flying above the Mavi Marmara to drop commandos on the deck.

Contrary to Israeli claims that one or more Israeli troops were wounded by firearms, the report says no medical evidence of a gunshot wound to an Israeli soldier was found.

The OHCHR report confirms accounts from passengers on the Mavi Marmara that defenders subdued roughly ten Israeli commandos, took their weapons from them and threw them in the sea, except for one weapon hidden as evidence. The Israeli soldiers were briefly sequestered below and some were treated for wounds before being released by the defenders.

The OHCHR fact-finding mission will certainly be the most objective, thorough and in-depth inquiry into the events on board the Mavi Marmara and other ships in the flotilla of the four that have been announced.

The fact-finding mission was chaired by Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, Q.C., retired judge of the International Criminal Court and former attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago, and included Sir Desmond de Silva, Q.C. of the United Kingdom, former chief prosecutor of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone and Ms. Mary Shanthi Dairiam of Malaysia, founding member of the board of directors of the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific.

The mission interviewed 112 eyewitnesses to the Israeli attack in London, Geneva, Istanbul and Amman, Jordan. The Israeli government refused to cooperate with the fact-finding mission by making personnel involved in both planning and carrying out the attack available to be interviewed.

The Turkish governments announced its own investigation of the Israeli attack on August 10. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the formation of a “Panel of Inquiry” on August 2, but its mandate was much more narrowly defined. It was given the mission to “receive and review the reports of the national investigations with the view to recommending ways of avoiding similar incidents in the future.”


Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in US national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, “Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam,” was published in 2006.





Avigdor Lieberman’s UN speech shows the true face of Israel

Sep 29, 2010

Alex Kane 

Yisrael Beiteinu’s strong third-place showing in Israel’s February 2009 elections for the Knesset was met with dread and disgust from many different quarters. Avigdor Lieberman, the founder and leader of the far-right party and the current Foreign Minister, ran a campaign filled with fascist overtones as he called for “loyalty oaths” to be signed by Palestinian citizens of Israel.

But perhaps we should take a look at Lieberman again in light of his much-condemned United Nations General Assembly speech yesterday and instead feel glad that the true face of Israel is shining to the world because of his position of power.

At the UN, Lieberman called for a “long-term intermediate agreement” instead of a solution dealing with all the final-status issues, dismissed the notion that the occupation and colonization of Palestine is at the core of the conflict and proposed a deal with the Palestinians that would be “about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities.” Although Lieberman claimed that he was not talking about “moving populations,” it’s apparent that Lieberman’s plan would result in the expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state, all in the service of making Israel an “ethnically pure” Jewish state.

Reactions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Jewish leaders were swift, and the media narrative laid out is that Lieberman’s speech revealed “differences” within Israeli politics about the “peace process.” The New York Times reports today that “sharp differences within the Israeli government over peace negotiations played out in the unusual setting of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.”

Netanyahu’s office distanced the prime minister from the speech and said that Lieberman’s speech was “not coordinated” with Netanyahu and that Netanyahu wants “direct talks” with the Palestinian Authority to go forward.

The reaction from Netanyahu was about promoting the image of Israel as willing to sit down and negotiate for peace with the Palestinians, which Lieberman’s speech did damage to. But that’s all it was about–Netanyahu and the State of Israel’s policies are completely in line with Lieberman’s plan of ethnically cleansing the non-Jewish citizens of Israel and of continuing to colonize the West Bank.

Under Netanyahu, the Bedouin village of Al Araqib has been destroyed multiple times to make way for a Jewish National Fund “ambassador forest.” Netanyahu has presided over the continued colonization of the West Bank, despite talk of a “settlement freeze,” and that’s likely to accelerate in the coming weeks. An recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling has Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah worried about further dispossession at the hands of Jewish settlers, and Silwan in East Jerusalem is still under the threat of home demolitions to make way for Israeli settlements and a theme park.

The list can go on and on. Actions speak much louder than words, and the State of Israel under Netanyahu has continued routine Israeli policies of land theft, colonization and slow ethnic cleansing. That’s not much different than the Israel Lieberman showed at the UN yesterday in words. Maybe that’s a good thing; the true, ugly face of Israeli policy, which the Palestinians know all-too-well, was shown to the world, further confirming that the “peace talks” are useless, and that Netanyahu is playing a public relations game for the international community while the status quo is sustained.

This article originally appeared on Alex Kane’s blog.

Rosengarten, sole American on boat: It is Jew against Jews

Sep 29, 2010

Philip Weiss 


We have received two accounts of the treatment of passengers and crew on the Jewish boat to Gaza. The first is from the American passenger on the boat, Lillian Rosengarten of New York (pictured at left among boat’s passengers in Cyprus earlier this week), a former refugee from Nazi Germany. The second is from Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli married to Rami Elhanan (second from right). Rosengarten:

I was deported and very conflicted about leaving Edith Lutz [of Germany, second from left above] behind. I felt assured when I spoke to the vice consul from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv who had brought our human rights lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan, and another lawyer who will meet with Edith and help her as she decided to resist deportation as a very personal statement of resistance.

I was extremely happy to hear that Reuven [Moskowitz, in white shirt at center], Rami, Yonotan Shapira [right, in Crocs] and Itamar Shapira [3d from left] were allowed to go home. Such wonderful people, now cherished friends. Glyn Secker and Vish Vishvanath were also deported along with myself. For me the deportation process was humiliating. Jew against Jew is totally against the dreams of so long ago, what we imagined how our beloved Israel would evolve. That dream was for me a safe haven, a country of compassion. Tolerance for all, and a completely open society. I can imagine that Israel would have become a beacon of light for the world to follow. In this dream there would be tolerance for political difference. Now sadly, Jews have become divided against one another and it is no longer a safe haven. We from the Jewish boat were treated as traitors and people to get rid of. We were not “good Jews,” but “bad Jews to deport without being allowed to enter Israel again.” Only in Fascist regimes are people forced to think the same. I experienced humiliation when arrested. I was not physically mistreated but suffered emotionally. I suffered when the immigration person asked me if I was Jewish after I told him I was a refugee from the Nazis, the last generation to be able to tell the heinous story. He wanted me to prove that I was Jewish. How was I to do that and yes, how deeply humiliating. When I witness the Israel of today, I feel enormous pain. I was deported because of my human rights beliefs and non violent actions. In detention I no longer felt safe or cared about. I don’t even think it mattered that I am Jewish. Now I will not be allowed to return to Israel as the cycle of hate and fear goes on and on. Those of us who dreamed of a different kind of Israel can only weep.

Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the wife of Rami Elhanan, who was on the Jewish boat to Gaza. Peled-Elhanan passes along the following report:

Coming out of the police investigation, Yonatan [Shapira] looked like someone coming out of prisoners’ camp: Long pale distorted face. It was the same monstrous soldiers who attacked the Marmara. They were all after him. They beat him up, kicked him and used a taser on him. The other passengers said he was palpitating and screaming like a wounded animal but the monster wouldn’t stop. When Rami asked him for his name he said Gepeto.

Now Rami is accused of threatening a soldier because he said he would find out his name and press charges against him. Yonatan and Itamar [Shapira, Yonatan’s brother], who were handcuffed and dragged and then thrown violently to another boat, are charged with assaulting the soldiers and resisting arrest. There were dozens fully armed comandos who attacked them on the boat, 4 navy war boats.

A very senior general, Amidror, head of research unit of the IDF said on the radio 2 days ago that Yonatan Shapira, an ex-pilot in the Air force is psychopath and should be locked away. I reacted to that so they interviewed me the day after. I told them this is the Russians did to Sakharov and that Yonatan is Israel’s best son and an example to Young people of what they should be as well etc.

However it seems the media are very eager to interview us along with their complete faith in what the IDF says. We were interviewed all day long, while waiting for them to come out of the investigation, by everybody, all the time, but it looks like they see us as a curiosity rather than reliable sources of information.

The whole world should support Yonatan and Itamar Shapira now because the security forces are surely after them and there are no limits to what these soldiers would do if ordered.

B’Tselem: In the 10 years since the beginning of the second intifada Israeli forces killed 6,371 Palestinians, including 1,317 minors.

Sep 29, 2010


And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
It was barely a slowdown
The official statistics supplied by the Central Bureau of Statistics describe the story behind the 10-month construction moratorium in the West Bank. The story can be called many things but “freeze” is certainly not one of them.

Palestinian eviction threat comes at a sensitive moment
The evictions of three dozen Palestinians, ordered in a court ruling, would deliver a devastating blow to the peace process, Palestinian officials say. The ruling would allow Jewish landowners to build housing in an Arab-dominated Jerusalem neighborhood.  A threat to evict about three dozen Palestinians this week from their East Jerusalem homes to allow Jewish landowners to build housing in an Arab-dominated neighborhood is posing the latest threat to fragile Mideast peace talks.,0,7389553.story

Europe Offers Tax Benefits for Illegal Settlements
BRUSSELS, Sep 28, 2010 (IPS) – Organisations raising funds to benefit the Israeli army and illegal settlements in the West Bank enjoy tax-exempt status in Europe, an IPS investigation has shown.

Why aren’t our congressmen hearing from this victim of endless Israeli expansion?, Philip Weiss
Meet Atta Jaber, a farmer whose house outside Hebron has been destroyed four times by settlers but who rebuilds and hangs on, rarely leaving his property, because he has no choice but to defend his livelihood and ancestral lands for the sake of his children. Last week, Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions took me down to the occupied hills to meet Jaber. You see him above, standing next to his half-plowed zucchini and tomato field, left. And just past the tomatoes you can see the gas station that the Jewish colony Kiryat Arba built on his stolen land, and a hillside beyond that with settler “outposts” on it (not visible in my pic; but erected this year, Jaber says, in complete defiance of the alleged freeze).

The Horrors Of Israeli Settlements, MJ Rosenberg
It looks like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will get away with his refusal to extend the settlements freeze.  Actually, it wasn’t much of a freeze in the first place (it had the consistency of ice cream after the freezer door has been left open overnight).  But it was better than nothing and maintaining it was the one thing the Palestinians demanded as a condition to keep negotiating.  Palestinians rightfully believe that they can not negotiate with Israel about who is going to keep the occupied West Bank while Israel is building permanent structures all over the very land being discussed.  The usual suspects (the lobby and its cutouts on Capitol Hill) don’t think settlements are such a big deal.   They should go to Hebron, a major city on the occupied West Bank — one that right-wingers say Israel will hold on to no matter what.  It won’t change their calculations on the Middle East, but at least they will know what they are defending in the name of political expediency.

A Lie at the Heart of Israel’s Settlement Project, Richard Irvine
As Israel’s self-imposed and largely irrelevant settlement freeze ends, Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked settlers to show ‘restraint’. It is an interesting choice of adjective, for people who show restraint are the injured and outraged; they are victims who although entitled to a full measure of justice settle for less to maintain good will and harmony. In the context of the West Bank settlers and Israel’s illegal colonisation no adjective could be less appropriate. Yet unwittingly it also reveals the mendacity behind Israel’s whole approach to these negotiations.

* Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Stand in Solidarity with Palestinian Political Prisoners in Bil’in
[Tadamon] For over five years the Palestinian village of Bil’in has sustained a grassroots struggle for land and livelihood. Every Friday, Palestinian villagers brave a volley of sound grenades, tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets to stage demonstrations against the apartheid wall and the construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian agricultural lands. In many ways, Bil’in’s creative tactics have captured the imaginations of thousands of people both in Quebec and around the world, and have inspired other Palestinian villages across the West Bank. Resistance remains ongoing despite considerable repression on the part of Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate resists deportation from Israel
Mairead Maguire has been barred from entering Israel as a result of her participation in the Rachel Corrie Gaza-bound aid ship in June.

Israel holds Gaza blockade Britons
Israeli authorities boarded a British yacht, took down its flag and “almost strip searched” its crew as they attempted to break the blockade to Gaza, a Briton on board said today.

‘Jewish vessel’ passenger: Soldier tasered me
Passengers aboard Gaza-bound vessel refute IDF claims of non-violent takeover. ‘There are no words to describe what we went through,’ former pilot Yonatan Shapira says. Holocaust survivor who took part in sail: I can’t sleep at night because of what Israel is doing to Gazans.,7340,L-3961693,00.html

Jewish Gaza-bound activists: IDF used excessive force in naval raid
“I as a Holocaust survivor cannot live with the fact that the State of Israel is imprisoning an entire people behind fences,” Moscowitz said, adding that “it’s just immoral.”  “What happened to me in the Holocaust wakes me up every night and I hope we don’t do the same thing to our neighbors,” Moscowitz said, adding that he was comparing “what I went through during the Holocaust to what the besieged Palestinian children are going through.”

Jewish Boat to Gaza captured – peace activists converge to Ashdod Port in protest
28.09.2010 – Dozens of peace activists gathered on the beach near Ashdod port, to which the Jewish Peace Ship is being towed by the Israeli Navy, to protest the capture of the ship and the continued blockade of Gaza, which has turned it into a huge prison with no entry or exit. The activists held signs with the captions: “Medicines – A Security Risk?”, “Let Gaza Live,” The blockade and the construction on settlements destroy us all,” “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.” Later the demonstrators moved to the Ashdod Police where they currently remain.

Yonatan Shapira’s testimony from the Jewish Boat to Gaza
The course is 120. Another 200 miles to the port in Cyprus and the automatic pilot in the boat, which is supposed to maintain the course, refuses to work and leaves me with the unending task of maintaining the course on a turbulent sea with no sign of land from horizon to horizon. In another half hour, Itamar, my brother, who is also a “refusenik,” will relieve me at the wheel, after him Bruce and then Glyn will take their shifts. If everything goes according to plan, we will reach Famagusta at midday on Saturday, and there we will pick up the rest of the passengers, who together with us, as strange as it may seem, will try to break the blockade of Gaza.

Palestinians condemn Israel’s interception of Gaza-bound ship
GAZA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — The Palestinian National Authority ( PNA) and Islamic Hamas movement on Tuesday both condemned the Israeli interception and seizing of a Gaza-bound aid boat carrying Jewish activists and aid before it reached Gaza territorial water.  Ghassan al-Khatib, director of the PNA media center, said the PNA strongly condemned all types of Israeli blockade and siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and the banning of the international campaigns from showing solidarity with its population.

Artery Of Life 5 Arrives in Istanbul
The Artery Of Live 5 solidarity flotilla heading to the Gaza Strip arrived on Tuesday in Istanbul and its activists held a press conference at a cultural center.

Zionists did BDS, Philip Weiss
Observant Jews are celebrating the holiday of Sukkot this week, celebrating the journey to Jerusalem. During festival rituals, the observant use an esrog, a type of citron fruit. And yes, I had to look it up! How’d I learn about esrogs? From the following passage in the novel, A Simple Story, by the late Israeli writer S.Y. Agnon (who won the Nobel Prize in ’66). The story is set in Galicia, a section of Poland/the Ukraine in which Agnon grew up. The passage describes a train ride by the novel’s hero Hirshl Hurvitz, back home from a loonybin to his native city, Szybusz.

#BDS: The Jews Behind BDS
It was Feb. 12, 2009, and the Hampshire Board of Trustees had just voted to divest from the State Street Fund, an investment firm with holdings in Israel and the West Bank. It was, SJP thought, the first time that any school in the country had divested from Israel. Soon afterwards, however, the board of trustees issued a statement claiming that the school had not divested because of the company’s connections to the Israeli occupation. In fact, the board stated, the decision “expressly did not pertain to a political movement or single out businesses active in a specific region or country.”

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Israeli court rules boy should be removed from his home
Palestinian human rights activists called the decision by the Israeli Ofer court to fine and impose a forced removal of a Palestinian child from his home “a dangerous precedent.”

Gazan children still suffering from anxiety
Palestinian experts say children in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer from anxiety and depression despite Israel’s war ending 20 months ago.

Al Mezan: International Justice Mechanisms Must Be Employed in OPT Immediately
The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has started its fifteenth regular session (13 September – 1 October 2010). The Council is set to consider the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt); including the report of the Committee of Experts (CoE), which has presented its report (A/HRC/15/50) on its assessment of the investigations carried out by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities into violations of international law during Israel’s military operation in Gaza in the winter of 2008/2009 (codenamed Operation Cast Lead). The CoE has determined that the investigations failed, with the minor exception on the part of the Palestinian Authority, to live up to the standards determined in the UN General Assembly (GA) resolution 64/254; including the independence, effectiveness, genuineness of these investigations with international law. Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has followed these investigations closely. The Centre commends the objectivity and credibility of the CoE findings. In light of its conclusions, Al Mezan calls on international community to effect international mechanisms of accountability and justice without any delay.

Hungry in Gaza, More and More, Eva Bartlett
GAZA CITY, Sep 29, 2010 (IPS) – “Sometimes, for a day or two we don’t even have bread, nor flour to make bread. There’s a store nearby that, when we are truly desperate, lets us take a bag of bread or something simple, on credit. I owe them a lot of money for the food I’ve brought from them, but I still can’t pay them.”

Gaza Strip’s troubled tunnel trade reverses direction of traffic
RAFAH, Gaza Strip: Business has become so bad for Gaza’s smuggler barons since Israel relaxed its blockade that tunnel traders have given up spiriting goods into the enclave, and some have even turned underground exporters.

10 years to the second Intifada – summary of data
Israeli security forces killed 6371 Palestinians, of whom 1317 were minors. At least 2996 of the fatalities did not participate in the hostilities when killed. 2193 were killed while participating in the hostilities. For 694, B’Tselem does not know whether they participated in the hostilities or not. An additional 248 were Palestinian police killed in Gaza during operation Cast Lead, and 240 were targets of assassinations.

* Violence/Aggression & Provocations

Infant injured in Hebron raid
HEBRON (Ma’an) — An infant was hospitalized Monday after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli police during a raid near Hebron, activists said.  Mahmud Muhammad Abdul Fattah At-Teet, 18 months, was transferred to a clinic in Beit Ummar and then to a hospital, Palestine Solidarity Project spokesman Muhammad Ayyad Awad said, after the raid on the village at 10:30 p.m.

Settlers attacks reported in a number of West Bank locations

Israeli settlers attacked on Tuesday morning some areas in the village of Qaryut south of Nablus and broke into some houses, local sources reported.

Israeli forces injure worker in northern Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian worker was injured by Israeli fire on Wednesday near the northern no-go area in Beit Lahiya.  Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said Muhammad Yousif Ma’rouf, 23, was injured as he collected scrap in the area.  Ma’rouf was transferred to the Kamal Odwan Hospital for treatment.
Medics: Worker injured by Israeli fire near border
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza medics said Wednesday that a Palestinian worker was injured by Israeli fire near the border area in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza.   Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said Muhammad Yousif Ma’rouf, 23, was injured by Israeli fire as he collected scrap in the area.  Ma’rouf was transferred to the Kamal Odwan Hospital for treatment.

Scores of Israelis enter Al-Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Scores of Israeli settlers entered and toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday, as Jews marked the end of the religious holiday of Sukkot.  A guard at the mosque compound told Ma’an that approximately 95 Israelis entered the holy site, escorted by Israeli forces, and toured the compound’s courtyard.  On Tuesday, Tareq Abu Subieh, a guard at the mosque compound, was detained for attempting to prevent 75 settlers from entering the site, where many Jews believe the First and Second Temple were located.  Abu Subieh said he received a restriction order barring him from entering the compound for two weeks.  A spokesman for Israel’s National Police did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Israeli Police Close Roads In East Jerusalem Neighborhood After Renewed Clashes
In the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, on Tuesday, Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinian neighborhood residents, provoking a scuffle between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, according to local sources.

Video proves: Israeli guard lied about shooting that led to East Jerusalem riots
New video, aired on Israeli channel 2, might indicate that the version of the Israeli security guard for the killing which led to Silwan (East Jerusalem) riots last weekend was false.  The protest in East Jerusalem lasted three days and resulted in the death of a Palestinian baby. The demonstrations started after a private security guard for one of the settlements opened fire on Palestinians in Silwan (an East Jerusalem neighborhood, located next to the old city).  The guard later told the police he drove into a Palestinian ambush at 4 am in the morning. The protesters blocked his way, and his jeep wouldn’t start. Fearing for his life, he claimed to have been forced to open fire. Samer Sarhan, father of five, died from the shooting.  The Jerusalem police accepted the guard’s story, released him on the same day and issued a statement supporting him.  But new evidence from a local security camera might indicate that the guard could have drove away from the scene immediately, without opening fire.

New video disproves settler version of Silwan shooting

Zionists: terrorist pioneers

* Detainees

Israel releases child charged with stone throwing
HEBRON (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court Tuesday released a 13-year-old child following six days of detention on charges of stone throwing, fining the boy 2,000 shekels ($545).  Karam Da’na was detained from his school in the Old City of Hebron on 22 September by Israeli forces and taken to the Ofer detention center in Ramallah.  A Palestinian Prisoner Society lawyer said the military court ruled that Da’na was not allowed to return to his family home until his next trial is heard. During Da’na’s hearing, he said, the military prosecutor objected to the child’s release, prolonging the session for over an hour.

* War Criminals and their American enablers
UN backs damning report on Israel’s flotilla attack (AFP)
AFP – The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday agreed to back a report which found “clear evidence” for legal action against Israel over its attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.*

ICC can examine aid flotilla case: UN expert (AFP)
AFP – The International Criminal Court could examine Israel’s deadly storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, a member of a UN Human Rights Council’s probe into the incident said Tuesday.*

UN panel: Israel suppressing footage of Gaza flotilla raid
Member of the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission says Israel is trying maintain a monopoly over its version of the deadly May 31 events aboard the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara.

UN mission finds Israel used “incredible violence” in Flotilla raid
“No one was safe,” once Israeli soldiers began using live ammunition on board the Mavi Marmara, says an authoritative UN investigation team into the Israeli attacks on the Gaza aid flotilla.

Obama Administration Silent on Israeli Murder of 19-Year-Old American
Murder is murder, and terror is terror, you might think. But when terror is committed against an American citizen by the state of Israel the response from the US government is not protest, and it is surely not to demand justice, much less seek vengeance. It is silence.

* Israel’s Arab Helpers
Hamas Prisoner In P.A Jail Hospitalized Due To Torture
Palestinian media sources reported Tuesday evening that a political prisoner of the Hamas movement was moved to hospital after being reportedly tortured by security personnel of the Fateh movement.

Obama continues Bush policy promoting anti-democratic crackdown in the West Bank, Adam Horowitz
Nathan Thrall has a great article in the current issue of the New York Review of Books on an issue that has received scant attention in the US press – US support for Salam Fayyad’s anti-democratic crackdown in the West Bank. US support has come mainly through the work of Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, who has been training the Palestinian security forces being used to round up, arrest and intimidate the Palestinian Authority’s opponents. One of the most notable, though understated, points of the article is the continuity from the Bush to Obama administrations in supporting this misguided and dangerous policy.

The Israel Project Loves Fayyad
WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two months ago the Israel Project was wondering, in a Capitol Hill briefing, “Is the Palestinian Authority preparing its people for peace?”  The answer was a pretty unequivocal “no.”  Delivering the briefing was Itamar Marcus, a founder of Palestinian Media Watch who in his writings has posited that anti-Semitism is not just endemic to Palestinian nationalism but central to it.  Last week, the same Israel Project said it was “honored” to host a dinner for Jewish groups in New York with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad — and was even more willing to be charmed by him.  “Prime Minister Fayyad’s spirit of hope was extremely welcome,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the founder and president of The Israel Project. “We know that some people will criticize us for falling for a Palestinian ‘charm offensive.’ However, there is nothing offensive about charm. More Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, should sit together over dinner and exchange ideas — especially when it can help lead to security and peace.”  Contradiction?  Not at all, Mizrahi told JTA in an interview: Both events stem from The Israel Project’s mandate to accurately represent Israel’s policies. In this case, Mizrahi said, she got her hechsher for Fayyad from Benjamin Netanyahu.

Read more about what Fayyad’s fans think of Palestinians:  Teaching the Culture of Hate in Palestinian Classrooms
The culture of hate persists under the leadership of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, despite promises to promote peace and end incitement that influence Palestinian children. Since Abbas was elected, Palestinian schools continue to teach from the same textbooks used under Arafat’s administration. Consequently, the number of children that have been recruited to commit acts of terror increased in 2005 despite the democratic election of Abbas and cooperation between PA and Israeli police forces.

Read more about what Fayyad’s fans think of Palestinians:  Background: The Palestinian Refugees
Although most of the Arabs had left Israel by November 1948, there were still those who chose to leave even after hostilities ceased. An interesting case was the evacuation of 3,000 Arabs from Faluja, a village between
Tel Aviv and Beersheba:  Some impartial observers felt that with proper counsel after the Israeli/­Egyptian armistice, the Arab population might have advantageously remained. They state that the Israeli Government had given security guarantees of both person and property. However, no effort was made by Egypt, Transjordan or even the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission to advise the Faluja Arabs one way or the other (New York Times, March 4, 1949).

ADC Silent About FBI Raids
The American Anti-Arab Discrimination Committee, more commonly known as the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), has yet to condemn the past few days’ FBI raids on anti-war activists. The self-proclaimed “civil rights organization committed to defending the rights of people of Arab descent” has yet to release a statement denouncing these scare tactics intended to intimidate both Arabs and those in solidarity with Arabs.  Other groups, like the Minnesota-based Anti-War Committee, have organized emergency demonstrations. It’s been five days since the raids and we haven’t even seen a press release from the ADC, which is somehow considered “at the forefront in addressing discrimination and bias against Arab-Americans wherever it is practiced.” Oil sheikh funding probably comes with lots of strings attached.

The Middle East’s Worst-kept Secret
IT IS an open secret that at least some Gulf countries maintain covert contacts with Israel, primarily for intelligence sharing. It has been reported often (though with questionable reliability) that Saudi Arabia would allow the IAF to use its airspace to attack Iran’s nuclear sites, and that senior Israeli officials, including the head of the Mossad, meet with Gulf officials with increasing regularity

* “Peace” Talks/Political Developments
PPP calls for united, popular resistance front
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The leftist Palestinian Peoples’ Party called on Tuesday for a united front for the popular resistance, in a statement marking the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.  The PPP said Palestinian factions should learn from the First and Second Intifadas “to adopt the peoples’ way of facing aggression,” demanding the formation of a united front to face renewed settlement activity in the West Bank.

Mash’al, Egypt intelligence chief meet over unity deal
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A high-ranking Hamas official said Wednesday that party leader-in-exile Khaled Mash’al met with Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman over progress made on unity talks with Fatah.  Ismail Radwan told Ma’an that “in the coming days, we will witness a meeting between Hamas and Fatah delegations to complete agreements on disputed points that will be signed and then agree to steps on conciliation.”  Radwan denied, however, that Cairo had invited a Hamas delegation to Egypt to discuss the unity deal, which officials from both parties have said has shown significant progress since a meeting in Damascus last week.

Haniyeh welcomes ‘positive action’ on unity
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza government premier Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that national reconciliation requires genuine will as well as an agreement on political and security partnership.  Addressing ministers during the weekly cabinet meeting in Gaza City, Haniyeh said “we welcome the latest positive actions for reconciliation; we assure that we will put our efforts in order to reach a genuine stable national reconciliation.” His comments come days of positive feedback from on between rival party officials in Damascus last week.

Fatah: Reconciliation with Hamas ‘close’
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Senior Fatah official and Palestinian Legislative Council member Azzam Al-Ahmad says the ratification of a unity deal with rival movement Hamas is nearing as officials are scheduled to meet over the last disputed terms next week.  Al-Ahmad said that once the last issues relating to internal security and the restructuring of the security services are agreed on in meetings in Damascus over the first week of October, party officials will head to Cairo to finalize the Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation document.

PA says no change in position on settlements
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas’ position remains that peace talks cannot coexist with settlement activity, his office said Monday, a day after Israel’s moratorium on new building ended and settlers renewed construction.  Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh told Ma’an radio that Abbas would wait for Israel’s final response to demands that it extend a freeze on building before making a decision on whether to remain in talks.

Abbas: Israel to blame if talks fail over settlements
Palestinian leader says will deliver ‘very important speech’ during Arab League meeting; Netanyahu tells Sarkozy, Clinton peace deal possible within a year.,7340,L-3961654,00.html

PA official: No special treatment for settlers
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A Palestinian Authority official denied Tuesday that Israeli settlers had been granted permission to restore Joseph’s Tomb in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, saying only the PA would be allowed to undertake the work.  The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said reports in Israeli media that Israeli settlers would be entering the shrine for restoration works aimed at “blackmailing” the PA and to “impose a situation where settlers achieve their goals.”  The tomb, he said, was under PA control and that access to the area is granted with prior arrangement with the PA.

Palestinians don’t expect “effective” U.S. pressure on Israel: official
RAMALLAH, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) doesn’t expect “effective” U.S. pressure on Israel to halt Jewish settlement in the West Bank, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.  Neither the PNA nor the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were aware of any U.S. pressure on Israel to get peace talks, which have stalled shortly after being re-launched on Sept. 2, back on track, said Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee.

PM says will meet Abbas in Paris, but PA yet to agree, KHALED ABU TOAMEH [Don’t worry Khaled, he’ll show up…]
Palestinians: If building continues, we will stop the talks; Mitchell arrives in Israel to broker compromise.  Israel accepted France’s invitation to hold direct talks with the Palestinians in Paris next month, even as the Palestinians continued to threaten Tuesday to pull out of the fledgling negotiations unless Israel halted West Bank settlement construction.  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s office said that no decision had been made regarding an invitation French President Nicolas Sarkozy had extended to both sides.

Israeli calls for intermediate peace agreement (AP)
AP – Israel’s foreign minister is calling for “a long-term intermediate agreement” with the Palestinians and land swaps.*

Lieberman: Peace deal may take decades
In address to UN General Assembly, foreign minister says, ‘New generation that will have mutual trust and will not be influenced by incitement,’ must be raised before Israeli-Palestinian agreement possible. Adds: Deal must be based on ‘exchange of populated territory’.,7340,L-3961572,00.html

Netanyahu: I did not approve the contents of Lieberman’s UN speech  [Sure…]
In his address, the foreign minister presented his draft for a population and territory swap, as part of an eventual peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ministers: Lieberman causing Israel damage
Netanyahu, Barak shake connection to foreign minister’s UN speech, which ministers say was meant to stymie peace process. Minister Herzog: Lieberman shames his country in public. US clarifies that only prime minister leading peace talks.,7340,L-3961736,00.html    
Report: Obama trades weapons for talks
TEL AVIV (Ma’an) — US President Barack Obama sent a letter of guarantees to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in bid to save direct peace talks from collapse, Israel’s Hebrew language daily Maariv reported on Wednesday.  The guarantees were reportedly in exchange for an immediate halt to settlement construction, and dealt with issues around Israeli security negotiated between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and head of the Israeli negotiating team Isaac Molcho during their New York and Washington visits over the past weeks.

Mitchell to meet Arab leaders on Mideast tour (AFP)
AFP – The United States said Tuesday that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is scheduled to meet Arab leaders during his regional tour aimed at rescuing fledgling Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.*

* Other News
PA slams ‘Israeli leniency’ toward racial incitement
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday slammed Israel’s leadership for failing to distance itself from increasing episodes of racial incitement in the Netanyahu government.  PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib termed an Israeli parliament member’s statements, which the official said called for killing hundreds of Palestinians, “pure racist incitement that goes uncared for by the Israeli government.

Peres: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef a peace seeker
President visits sukkah of Shas spiritual leader, praises him for love of Israel. Rabbi thanks Peres for relaying his letter to Mubarak.,7340,L-3961313,00.html
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef calls for annihilation of Arabs
The spiritual leader of Israel’s ultra-orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, has provoked outrage with a sermon calling for the annihilation of Arabs.  “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable,” he was quoted as saying in a sermon delivered on Monday to mark the Jewish festival of Passover.

Gissin talks Sharon’s Temple Mount visit 10 years later
“It was a sensitive time during the High Holy Days and at the end of Ramadan,” Gissin said. “I told him the situation was tense in the West Bank and that [Palestinian general Tawfik] Tirawi’s people were planning to do something on the Temple Mount, whether the trigger would be Sharon or something else. Sharon knew he was playing into their hands, but he went in a clear-headed manner to prove that he wouldn’t compromise on Jerusalem and that Israel would stand up for its rights.”

US and Israel ink deal on short-range missile defense
WASHINGTON: The United States and Israel on Monday agreed to advance work on a weapons system that would help Israel defend against short-range ballistic missiles similar to those launched by Hizbullah during the 2006 summer war.

Settlers heavily overrepresented among IDF commanders
13% of all combat company commanders on active service come from settlements while only three hail from Tel Aviv.

Women protest haredi discrimination
Dozens march in haredi area in central Jerusalem in protest of separation between men and women on sidewalks in Mea Shearim neighborhood, hold signs reading ‘Jerusalem is not Tehran’.,7340,L-3961877,00.html

Arabs from north accused of recruiting for Hamas
Two residents of Shfaram and Umm al-Fahm indicted for attempting to locate weapons cache set aside for Hamas-directed attacks. One of them admits to trying to recruit Arab to Hamas, sending him for training in Turkey or Syria.,7340,L-3961581,00.html

Israeli’s media campaign in Turkey (AP)
AP – A brief visit by an Israeli hospital official was meant to counter tensions over new efforts to break the Gaza blockade, and help to revive damaged ties between Turkey and Israel, both close U.S. allies.*

MK: Release prisoners ‘with blood on their hands’ for Shalit
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli member of parliament said Tuesday that his government should consider the release of Palestinian prisoners “with blood on their hands” if it would secure the release of a captured Israeli soldier.  Speaking to Israel Radio, Shaul Mofaz said the prisoners’ release should be implemented “if there wasn’t any other choice” in a deal that could secure the release of Gilad Shalit.

MP Mona Mansour: PA military trials in the West Bank unconstitutional
NABLUS, (PIC)– Palestinian Legislative Committee member Mona Mansour (Nablus) said PA military trials organized against Islamic movement supporters and leaders in the West Bank are “unconstitutional” and “unlawful”.  Mansour told Jordanian weekly Assabeel published on Monday: “We, as representatives, unequivocally oppose any military trial against any person, especially as they are unlawful and unconstitutional; and the military courts have no jurisdiction to try non-military personnel in non-military affairs.”  “The detainees who were presented to those courts in the West Bank are civilians and not military personnel, so we oppose violating the rights of any person regardless of his affiliation, and regardless of his social and political status,” Mansour went on to say.

14 justices sue PA over vehicle restrictions
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Fourteen Palestinian supreme court justices have filed a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority, prime minister and finance minister Salam Fayyad, and transportation minister Sa’di Al-Krunz.  The plaintiffs complain that the Ramallah-based Palestinian government’s decision to reduce the number of government cars used by civil servants has inflicted social and financial harm on them. The complaint suggests that PA’s decision inflicted heavy material and moral damage on the plaintiffs without any legal right. The plaintiffs say that they were privileged to have government cars to enhance their prestige as their counterparts in many countries in the world.

Jerusalem street theater tackles touchy topic
JERUSALEM: A Jewish man holds a sign that says “Temple Mount.” Next to him stands a Muslim Arab holding a similar sign claiming the sacred mountaintop in Jerusalem. They fight over a third sign that reads “In my hands.”

* Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Mahmoud Abbas gives Israel a week to halt settlement expansion. Does he mean it this time?
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas backed down again on his threat to quit peace talks over Israeli settlement expansion, this time pending consultation with the Arab League Oct. 4.

Inside Story – Mahmoud Abbas’ dilemma
Settlement building in the West Bank is once again underway after the Israeli government allowed the ten month moratorium on settlement expansion to expire. With the peace process under serious threat, what will Abbas do next? And can diplomacy find a way out of this dilemma?

Avigdor Lieberman takes settlement policy to its logical conclusion, Jesse Bacon
Lost in the debate over the settlement phase is its real purpose, to claim Palestinian land for Israel. Even its hardcore defenders like Avigdor Lieberman, know there will come a time when that has reached its end, when all available Palestinian land has been taken, and all Palestinians capable of being forced to leave will have done so. What to do then?

Pseudo-Freeze Ends, Pseudo-Liberals Rejoice, Daniel Luban
Israel’s mostly-for-show settlement moratorium has expired, over the objections of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street, and the usual suspects on the right couldn’t be happier. More revealing, however, is the sight of Jeffrey Goldberg’s scarcely-concealed gloating over the fact that J Street “lost” the battle over a settlement freeze.  Why revealing? Because Goldberg is perhaps the classic example of the ostensibly “liberal” Zionist pundit who ostentatiously touts his opposition to settlements as proof of his liberal bona fides. By doing so, he hopes to gain greater credibility when he calls for invading Iraq, or bombing Iran, or finishing the job during the Gaza assault. In this he is typical of many Jewish establishment pundits — Alan Dershowitz is another example — who use their nominal opposition to settlements as a fig leaf to cover their generally unquestioning support of the Israeli government. Generally speaking, these pundits did so in the confidence that they would never be forced to act on their statements against settlements.

Is South African Foreign Policy with Palestine Tied in Knots?, Iqbal Jassat – Pretoria
In a recent interview, South Africa’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Ted Pekane, made an intriguing observation:  Currently we have no intention of breaking ties with Israel. That would be counter-productive. Our policy of engagement applies to Israel as well. Only if the [Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas] asked us to support the disinvestments and sanctions campaign against Israel would we consider packing our bags”.  This admission is the closest any senior foreign ministry official has come to in revealing an inherent weakness in this country’s relations with Israel/Palestine.  It is shocking too in that it implies our diplomatic engagement in the world’s number one conflict zone is blinded and being pursued while voluntarily having our hands tied behind our back!

Israel’s Political Firewall against the Truth, George Polley 
In an article published in the September 6th edition of The Palestine Chronicle (“Imagining Palestinians as Equal”) I began with this quote from novelist Aldous Huxley: “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” It is the key to separating out what is blatant propaganda and what is fair and honest communication. The purpose of Israel’s political firewall is blocking out and discrediting the testimony of the people it abuses on a daily basis and their supporters, through using high level elites.

You Only Get the Truth From Former Officials, BOUTHAINA SHAABAN
Warning us about the Obama administration’s submission to Israeli pressure, in an interview with Lebanon’s OTV, Michael Scheuer, a former senior CIA officer, said: “Three hundred million Americans could wake up tomorrow to discover that a foreign leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, led them to war with Iran, which might lead to war with the rest of the Muslim world”.   He added, “Israel has no value whatsoever when it comes to American interests.  It does not produce or give us anything we need.  The only thing we get from it is that it is leading us to a religious war it seeks with Islam”.

Imperial Israel, Steve Lendman
In his book “Against Empire,” Michael Parenti defines imperialism as “the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.”  In a September 21 article, titled “What Do Empires Do?” he says “Imperialism is what (they) do.” They don’t just pursue “power for power’s sake. There are (significant) interests at stake, fortunes to be made many times over,” including land, mineral wealth, cheap labor, and easily exploited markets. They’re there, so take them, the strong dominating the weak. Besides seizing and controlling Syrian and Lebanese land, it’s how Israel rules Palestine, no regional country a match for its military might with no shyness about using it.

* Lebanon
Tough Days Lie Ahead in Lebanon
29/09/2010 Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem stressed the Special Tribunal of Lebanon (STL) “has been irredeemably politicized,” and that Damascus has received word that members of Hezbollah were soon to be formally charged with the murder case of former PM martyr Rafiq Hariri.  Moallem told the Wall Street Journal in remarks published Wednesday that “such developments risked plunging Lebanon into a new round of sectarian strife and that the U.N.’s investigation should be replaced by a purely Lebanese investigation to ensure fair treatment.”  In short, tough days could be lying ahead in Lebanon.  Hezbollah believes that the STL will issue an indictment that would implicate “undisciplined” party members in the 2005 Hariri murder.  S.G. Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has said that Prime Minister Saad Hariri told about the nature of the indictment. Some MPs in Hariri’s bloc denied Sayyed Nasrallah’s comments, however Hariri did not.

US ambassador says aid to Lebanese Army will continue
BEIRUT: American Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly stressed that her country would continue supporting the Lebanese Army. Connelly said that her country “trusts the role of the Lebanese Army and its determination to continue to support it and enhance cooperation with it in all fields.”

Key spokesperson for STL resigns after just 20 days
BEIRUT: The spokesperson for the prosecutor in the UN probe into the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri resigned on Tuesday, citing “personal reasons,” in the latest blow for the beleaguered court.

Sleiman rejects settlement of refugees in any peace deal
BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman stressed Monday that Lebanon would not accept any resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at its expense with regard to the settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Hezbollah Praises Lebanese President’s Unifying Positions
28/09/2010 The head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammad Raad praised President Michel Sleiman’s unifying stances at the UN, saying they express the fixed standards of the Lebanese and their patriotic pulse.  In a statement, Raad said “the president was perfectly clear when he stressed Lebanon’s adherence to its right to gain back and liberate our land in every legitimate way possible, and when he underscored the necessity to distinguish between condemned terrorism and legitimate resistance to foreign occupation.”  “The president’s call for the international community to adopt a decisive position with regards to the Israeli violations, aggression, and recruitment of agents to destabilize Lebanon was meant to express the Lebanese dismay at the international failure to assume responsibility in the face of Israeli aggression,” the statement read.  On the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the Hezbollah MP said the party received with great understanding and relief “the president’s stances during his interview with Al-Jadeed TV in New York. He said that the STL should gain back its credibility by staying away from politicization and by carefully dealing with an issue that does not tolerate dubiety,” in reference to the indictment expected to issued in December implicating Hezbollah in martyr Rafiq Hariri’s assassination.

* Iraq
Tuesday: 3 Iraqis Killed, 24 Wounded
At least three Iraqis were killed and 24 were wounded in mostly late evening attacks in and near Baghdad. Meanwhile, a U.S. servicemember is in custody for the deaths of two fellow soldiers last week. Also, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari called on the United States to increase its role in helping Iraq form its new government.

Attacks kill 3 Iraqi police (AP)
AP – Officials say three police officers have been killed in late night attacks in two northern Iraqi cities, including a bombing that also injured eight bystanders.*

Iraq defence minister in Ankara with PKK on agenda (AFP)
AFP – Iraq’s defence minister met with Turkish officials in Ankara on Tuesday, a spokesman said, a day after Turkey said it wanted to extend a mandate for air strikes on Kurdish rebel bases in Iraq.*

Media watchdog: Iraqi forces attacking journalists
A media watchdog group is criticizing Iraqi security forces for what it describes as recent attacks on local journalists.  The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders also is condemning an attack this week that wounded an anchor at state-run Iraqiya TV. The bomb was attached to the journalist’s car.  The media watchdog group cited three incidents last week during which it said Iraqi reporters, photographers and cameramen were roughed up by security officials.

Biden calls for ‘inclusive’ new Iraqi government (AFP)
AFP – US Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday urged Iyad Allawi, one of two principal contenders vying to become Iraq’s next prime minister, to speed up negotiations to form an “inclusive” government.*

Iraq’s Allawi asks Syria to press Iran not to meddle (AFP)
AFP – Former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi said he had asked Syria on Wednesday to persuade Iran to keep out of his protracted battle for the premiership with incumbent Nuri al-Maliki.*

Iraqi Shiite Militia Hints of Iran’s Hand in South
Nearly four minutes of shaky, hand-held video clips show roadside bombs hitting U.S. convoys, a battery of Katyusha rockets and a soldier who appeared to be downed by sniper fire.

* U.S. and other world news
CIA seeks to gag critics of terror hit list
THE Obama Administration is trying to use national security laws to pre-empt an embarrassing court case over its targeted assassinations of terror suspects.

‘Afghan children’ die in Nato raid
Local official contradicts Nato claim of insurgents being killed, saying four children have died in Ghazni attack.

1st U.S. Soldier of Alleged “Kill Team” Targeting Afghan Civilians Faces Military Tribunal for War Crimes
Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock is the first of twelve US soldiers accused of forming a secret “kill team” in Afghanistan that murdered unarmed Afghan civilians at random and collected body parts, such as fingers, for trophies. They are also accused of using hashish, dismembering and photographing corpses, and possessing human bones such as a skull and leg bones. The Army is attempting to prevent the release of dozens of photographs that reportedly show Morlock and other soldiers posing with the murdered Afghan civilians.

Assad to Ahmadinejad: Don’t visit Lebanon
Kuwaiti newspaper al-Anbaa says Syrian president asked his Iranian counterpart to postpone planned trip to southern Lebanon, tone down his statements during visit so as not to harm country’s security.,7340,L-3961987,00.html

Damascus hails ‘constructive’ dialogue despite US warnings
DAMASCUS: Syria on Tuesday hailed its “constructive dialogue” with the United States after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met her Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem in New York and warned Damascus not to undermine stability in Iraq or Lebanon.

Teachers filmed hitting kids: The Facebook video that rattled Syria
After vigorous questioning, the teachers admitted their actions. It turns out that the two were already investigated regarding a complaint filed against them in 2004. At the time their punishment was a 3% reduction in salary for three months. Now, when it has become clear they have reverted to these abusive methods, they were fired and are prohibited from ever working with children again. Syria’s education ministry published a statement saying it is “determined to fight violence of this kind.”,7340,L-3961715,00.html

Kuwait defends decision to ban 25 books ahead of October fair
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s Information Ministry Tuesday dismissed criticism from liberal MPs for banning books from a fair due next month while Islamists praised the move.

Mubarak versus Nasser

Obama, Bush, and the Judicious Use of Hellfire Missiles
Much has changed since the Bush administration left office. Two years ago, the CIA was worrying about legal issues surrounding the killing of Americans at an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan. Now the Obama administration has apparently put American citizens on a “targeted killing” list.

Once again, PA caves on Goldstone Report

Sep 29, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Complete cave: The Palestinian Authority today acted in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to freeze the Goldstone Report, preventing it from going to the Security Council and International Criminal Court.
Raji Sourani of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights blasted the PA’s action as a “grave mistake.”

Reports a friend: The resolution the PA sponsored would “extend the mandate” of the Human Rights Council’s committee of experts on the Goldstone Report, asking for further investigation and reporting by this committee— even though that committee has completed its favorable report already. What the PA deliberately failed to do, notwithstanding the urging of countless domestic and international human rights groups, was to put forward a resolution to refer the HRC experts’ report to the General Assembly and Security Council. This would put in motion action on the Goldstone Report recommendation that the Security Council submit that matter to the ICC for prosecution, should parties fail to adequately investigate/punish, which the HRC report delivered last week so concluded. The PA was under pressure from the US and Israel to let Goldstone languish in Geneva, which this pathetic resolution accomplishes– for the sake of the peace process.

And thus the PA confirms the worst accusations of its critics.

Peace process? Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Foreign Minister, addresses the General Assembly in New York and says the peace process should continue for “decades” and include population transfers, ethnic cleansing by another name.

UN report: Israeli interception of the Gaza flotilla was illegal

Sep 29, 2010

Adam Horowitz

More from the UN report into the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Notice that the report also makes clear that the entire Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal as a form of collective punishment. The following appears on pages 14 and 15 of the UN report:

Under the laws of armed conflict, a blockade is the prohibition of all commerce with  a defined enemy coastline. A belligerent who has established a lawful blockade is entitled to enforce that blockade on the high seas. A blockade must satisfy a number of legal requirements, including: notification, effective and impartial enforcement and proportionality. In particular a blockade is illegal if:

(a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other
objects essential for its survival; or

(b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in
relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.

A blockade may not continue to be enforced where it inflicts disproportionate
damage on the civilian population. The usual meaning of “damage to the civilian
population” in LOAC refers to deaths, injuries and property damage. Here the damage may be thought of as the destruction of the civilian economy and prevention of reconstruction of past damage. One might also note, insofar as many in Gaza face a shortage of food or the means to buy it, that the ordinary meaning of “starvation” under LOAC is simply to cause hunger.

In evaluating the evidence submitted to the Mission, including by the Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory, confirming the severe humanitarian situation in Gaza, the destruction of the economy and the prevention of reconstruction (as detailed above), the Mission is satisfied that the blockade was inflicting disproportionate damage upon the civilian population in the Gaza strip and as such the interception could not be justified and therefore has to be considered illegal.

Moreover, the Mission emphasizes that according to article 33 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention, collective punishment of civilians under occupation is prohibited. “No
protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism, are prohibited.” The Mission considers that one of the principal motives behind the imposition of the blockade was a desire to punish the people of the Gaza Strip for having elected Hamas. The combination of this motive and the effect of the restrictions on the Gaza Strip leave no doubt that Israel’s actions and policies amount to collective punishment as defined by international law. In this connection, the Mission supports the findings of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and most recently the ICRC that the blockade amounts to collective punishment in violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law.

It might be suggested that a belligerent in an armed conflict has a right to visit,
inspect and control the destinations of neutral vessels on the high seas, irrespective of any declared blockade. Whilst there is some controversy on this issue, the San Remo Manual and a number of military manuals take the view that the right may only be exercised upon reasonable suspicion that a vessel is engaged in activities which support the enemy. The Mission takes the view that a right of interference with third States’ freedom of navigation should not lightly be presumed.

Thus, if there is no lawful blockade, the only lawful basis for intercepting the vessel
would be a reasonable suspicion that it:

• was making an effective contribution to the opposing forces’ war effort, such as by carrying weaponry or was otherwise closely integrated into the enemy war effort (belligerent right of capture); or

• posed an imminent and overwhelming threat to Israel and there was no alternative but to use force to prevent it (self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter).

In view of the information available, the Mission is satisfied that the interception of the flotilla and related preparatory planning by Israel was not purely motivated by concerns as to the vessels’ contribution to the war effort. Evidence attributed to the Chief of General Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi who testified that he did not believe that the IHH, one of the coalition members organizing the Flotilla, was a “terrorist organization”. The evidence of Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Turkel Committee indicates that the decision to stop the flotilla was not taken because the vessels in themselves posed any immediate security threat. In any event, no such right of belligerent interdiction or wider claim of self-defence against the Flotilla has been asserted by Israel.

Therefore the Mission is satisfied not only that the flotilla presented no imminent
threat but that the interception was motivated by concerns about the possible propaganda victory that might be claimed by the organizers of the flotilla.

Given the evidence at the Turkel Committee, it is clear that there was no reasonable
suspicion that the Flotilla posed any military risk of itself. As a result, no case could be made to intercept the vessels in the exercise of belligerent rights or Article 51 self-defence. Thus, no case can be made for the legality of the interception and the Mission therefore finds that the interception was illegal.

In NYT, Robt Wright dares to suggest that Palestinians should have a right to, unh, vote

Sep 29, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Robert Wright of the New York Times is a great journalistic ally in the road ahead. Because he knows the story, because he understands that the current situation is oppressive, because he’s in the mainstream, and because he couldn’t really care less about Zionism. Today he has a pretty good piece about demanding a one-state solution as a means to a two-state solution. Though it is circumlocutory, its essence is that Palestinians should have a right to– sit down– vote. And he suggests very indirectly that BDS is the path. Good work. Onward. Remember, Wright is working in a den of Jewish nationalism, the MSM, so someone must bake him a cake with a hacksaw blade inside it, so that we might look forward to his continuing liberation from the militaristic and often-racist rationalizations of the status quo.


Freeze was meaningless

Sep 29, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Great precise journalism by Matti Friedman of AP on how the settlement freeze was really just a slowdown, and hardly a slowdown, given the dropping of the freeze. “A few projects were delayed,” says Hagit Ofran of Peace Now. Let’s hope more mainstream news organizations pick up on this insult to American policy and intelligence.

Sailing into the storm

Sep 29, 2010 

Philip Weiss

One of the most disturbing things about visiting Israel and Palestine is seeing the bifurcated reality. Political freedom and prosperity in Israel, despair and 60 years of no-rights right across the Green Line. Time Magazine brilliantly captured this separation in its cover story on Israelis making too much money to care about peace. Everything’s in the bubble, the Palestinian situation is being contained, and this explains why, historically, people resort to violence. As Patrick Henry wrote (in a quote Annie dug up), “Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament…. If we wish to be free, if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending… we must fight!”

This is my preamble to a desperate photograph that Rob Buchanan pointed out to me in the New York Times today. Buchanan: 

spinaker 1

Look at this picture [byJim Hollander of European Press Photo agency] that accompanied the Times Gaza intercept story today. There’s the seized catamaran and the military vessels accompanying it into port, but in the hazy background are two really big sailing yachts with their spinnakers up. Looks like they’re headed south for a little gambol along the Gaza coast. Of course there’s nothing wrong with big sailboats, but it’s somehow jarring–here’s this concentration camp with a million or two miserable people, its borders zealously guarded lest any real food or medicine get in, and right next door here are these majestic wind-driven vessels flying along through the blue blue Med. 

Just out for a sail, not a care in the world.

Pseudo-freeze ends, pseudo-liberals rejoice

Sep 29, 2010

Daniel Luban


The following post originally appeared on Lobelog.

Israel’s mostly-for-show settlement moratorium has expired, over the objections of the liberal pro-Israel group J Street, and the usual suspects on the right couldn’t be happier. More revealing, however, is the sight of Jeffrey Goldberg’s scarcely-concealed gloating over the fact that J Street “lost” the battle over a settlement freeze.

Why revealing? Because Goldberg is perhaps the classic example of the ostensibly “liberal” Zionist pundit who ostentatiously touts his opposition to settlements as proof of his liberal bona fides. By doing so, he hopes to gain greater credibility when he calls for invading Iraq, or bombing Iran, or finishing the job during the Gaza assault. In this he is typical of many Jewish establishment pundits — Alan Dershowitz is another example — who use their nominal opposition to settlements as a fig leaf to cover their generally unquestioning support of the Israeli government. Generally speaking, these pundits did so in the confidence that they would never be forced to act on their statements against settlements.

Thus when the Obama administration actually pushed Israel for a full settlement freeze, their discomfiture was obvious, and most of the leading “liberal” voices of establishment Jewry suddenly got a bad case of stage fright. J Street and Americans for Peace Now were virtually alone in being willing to offer unambiguous public support for the exact policy that they had previously claimed to back. The Goldbergs and Dershowitzes of the world weren’t quite willing to admit that they simply opposed a settlement freeze, so they waffled furiously — it’s just that the timing wasn’t right, you see, and anyway, Israel should at least be allowed to build in the nebulously-defined areas that “everybody knows” it will keep in a peace deal, and anyway, can’t we just change the subject to Iran? (We can see more of this waffling from Goldberg today, as he first timidly proposes a settlement freeze outside of the Greater Jerusalem area — which, of course, exempts an enormous chunk of settlement-building from the “freeze” — before turning the mic over to neocon Robert Satloff to explain why any freeze is a terrible idea.)

This is why Goldberg’s gloating over the failure to impose a settlement freeze is so revealing. Of all the Obama administration’s mistakes in its Israel/Palestine policies, one of the biggest was assuming that the allegedly liberal Zionists in the American Jewish establishment actually supported the goals that they professed to support.

IDF used excessive force to take Jewish Boat to Gaza. Shapira: ’soldiers’ actions were violent and disgusting’

Sep 29, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

The story is starting to change regarding the IDF interception of the Jewish Boat to Gaza. Initial reports (including ours) seemed to indicate that the IDF took the boat in a relatively nonviolent manner. The Times Lede blog included the Israeli military’s version of events, “The boarding of the yacht was without incident, and no violence of any kind was used by neither the passengers on board nor the Israel naval forces.” But now that the boat passengers are being interviewed a different story is coming out.

From Haaretz:

Earlier Tuesday the IDF reported that Israeli naval commandos peacefully boarded the Jewish aid boat attempting to break a naval blockade on Gaza, saying “IDF naval forces recently boarded the yacht ‘Irene’, and it is currently being led to the Ashdod seaport along with its passengers.”

However, testimonies by passengers who were released from police questioning later in the day seemed to counter the IDF’s claims, with Israeli activist and former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira saying that there were “no words to describe what we went through during the takeover.”

Shapira said the activists, who he said displayed no violence, were met with extreme IDF brutality, adding that the soldiers “just jumped us, and hit us. I was hit with a taser gun.”

“Some of the soldiers treated us atrociously,” Shapira said, adding that he felt there was a “huge gap between what the IDF spokesman is saying happened and what really happened.”

The former IAF pilot said he and his fellow activists were “proud of the mission,” saying it was organized “for the sake of a statement – that the siege on Gaza is a crime, that it’s immoral, un-Jewish, and we have a moral obligation to speak out. Anyone who stays silent as this crime is being committed is an accessory to a crime.”

Eli Usharov, a reporter for Israel’s Channel 10 affirmed Shapira’s version of the events, telling Haaretz that the takeover was executed with unnecessary brutality.

“They used a taser gun against Yonatan. He screamed and was dragged to the military boat,” Usharov said, adding that both Yonatan and his brother Itamar were handcuffed.

The Channel 10 reporter also said that the activists managed to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation with the troops once they were all placed on board the military vessel, and that “overall the atmosphere was good.”

Reuben Moscowitz, a Holocaust survivor who took part in the mission, expressed his disbelief that “Israeli soldiers would treat nine Jews this way. They just hit people.”

On the Orwell watch, note that the New York Times’ main story’s lead on the interception described it as taking place “peacefully.” Then the story quotes an Israeli army spokesperson saying a “stun gun” was used. Is this peaceful?

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Help APHEDA pick a worthy winner

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 05:25 PM PDT

One of Australia’s finest NGOs, APHEDA – Union Aid Abroad, last night hosted its annual fund-raising dinner and launched the following advertisement to 400 intrigued people. Give now, give generously:


Which companies would benefit from a nuclear waste dump?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 04:58 PM PDT

The idea of establishing nuclear waste dumps should be dismissed immediately and yet both major sides of Australian politics rather like the idea.

Start opposing:

The Australian Greens have called on the minority Labor Government to use the current political environment to forge a new consensus approach to the management of radioactive nuclear waste in Australia.

With a new parliament requiring negotiation and scrutiny of proposals in both houses, this is a great opportunity for a new way forward in dealing with the vexed issue of nuclear waste.

The Greens today tabled in the Senate an open letter from Muckaty Traditional Owners to all new members of parliament urging them to stop plans to build a waste dump on their land near Tennant Creek.

We know there was never prior or informed consent, nor any proper scientific examination. It’s time for Labor to go back to the drawing board and scrap the proposal to coercively dump this material on an unwilling community.

The Greens will work constructively with all parties in this new parliament and look for better ways to resolve difficult issues like this, rather than simply trample on the interests of local communities.

Pentagon watches books go up in flames

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 07:09 AM PDT

Land of the free?

The Pentagon burned 9,500 copies of a book it deemed a threat to national security. The US government paid the publisher nearly $50,000 dollars in printing costs, had the books pulled and destroyed.

A government approved censored version of US Army Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer’s “Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan” was then released.


South Africa joins the ever-growing club of activists on Palestine

29 Sep 2010

Ronnie Kasrils writes in the Guardian that South Africa is leading the way against Zionist racial discrimination; they know apartheid when they see it:

When Chief Albert Luthuli made a call for the international community to support a boycott of apartheid South Africa in 1958, the response was a widespread and dedicated movement that played a significant role in ending apartheid. Amid the sporting boycotts, the pledges of playwrights and artists, the actions by workers to stop South African goods from entering local markets and the constant pressure on states to withdraw their support for the apartheid regime, the role of academics also came to the fore.

One significant move was the resolution taken by 150 Irish academics not to accept academic posts or appointments in apartheid South Africa. In 1971, the council of Trinity College Dublin took a decision not to own shares in any company that traded or had a subsidiary that traded in the Republic. The council later resolved that the university would not retain any formal or institutional links with any academic or state institution in South Africa.

Almost four decades later, the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions is gaining ground again in South Africa, this time against Israeli apartheid.

The principled position of academics in South Africa to distance themselves from institutions that support the occupation is a reflection of the advances already made in exposing that the Israeli regime is guilty of an illegal and immoral colonial project. South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council, in a response to an investigation commissioned by the South African government in 2009, issued a report confirming that the everyday structural racism and oppression imposed by Israel constitutes a regime of apartheid and settler colonialism similar to the one that shaped our lives in South Africa.


Why on earth would America want to help the people they’ve invaded?

29 Sep 2010

While reading this story about a new British documentary explaining the decision of the Iraqi insurgency to stop fighting the Americans and battle al-Qaeda instead in the years after the 2003 invasion, this quote is astounding:

As General Jack Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the US Army, admitted in an interview at his office in downtown Washington DC: “[Until that point] we had made a conscious decision not to protect the [Iraqi] population. The security situation in Iraq by late 2006 was the worst it had ever been and it was getting worse by the day – that was the reality.”


Countless Iranian names whose lives are changed forever

29 Sep 2010

A moving tribute to “Iran’s interrupted lives”, the countless young Iranians imprisoned, beaten, tortured and killed in the name of a perverse Islam.


Iceland looks to actually find transparency in its politicians

28 Sep 2010

Such a move is virtually impossible to imagine in most Western nations where those who caused the financial crisis are now advising governments how to manage the crisis:

Iceland’s former Prime Minister Geir Haarde has been referred to a special court in a move that could make him the first world leader to be charged in connection with the global financial crisis.

After a heated debate Tuesday, lawmakers voted 33-30 to refer charges to the court against Haarde for allegedly failing to prevent Iceland’s 2008 financial crash – a crisis that sparked protests, toppled the government and brought the economy to a standstill by collapsing its currency.

Haarde faces up to two years in jail if found guilty. The court, which could dismiss the charges, has never before convened in Iceland’s history. A hearing date has not yet been set.


ABC Radio Overnights on Middle East realities

28 Sep 2010

As the sham Middle East “peace process” continues, I was invited last week for a long interview and listener questions on ABC Overnights. We covered settlements, the BDS movement, the one-state solution, Barack Obama’s blind spots and the Holocaust:


This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Opposition to Serco isn’t solely by refugees

28 Sep 2010

An ongoing theme at this site is the privatisation of detention centres in Australia.

Eminent Australians are increasingly vocal against the practice but it’s so much easier for neo-liberal governments to pay a foreign company to do their dirty work, isn’t it?

Privatisation of detention centres and particularly the health services associated with the current model may have deepened the already alarming mental health plight of asylum seekers, psychiatrist and 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has warned.

“ I believe the situation was much better managed when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship itself exercised direct control over detention centres in the 1990’s and also allowed mainstream mental health services to provide mental health care to the detainees including release into the community when necessary so that this became more feasible. In fact trying to provide humane mental health care to seriously mentally ill detainees within detention centres is like trying to treat malaria in a mosquito ridden swamp. Despite the best efforts of the DIAC and detention centre staff, the context is fundamentally hostile to effective care.“ Prof. McGorry told the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria yesterday.

“ Before the late 1990s detention centres were not surrounded by razor wire, run buy private prison operators for profit, or isolated in the desert or thousands of kilometers offshore. In the late 1990s, these obviously punitive elements were introduced as a deterrent. No other country has taken this step, which greatly increases the burden of mental ill health and limits the capacity to provide effective mental health care. The present government has made some attempts to humanize this policy, however punitive elements persist with serious consequences for the mental health of detainees.
The contracted international companies who now provide the detention centre services are private prison operators and naturally enough cannot in all fairness be expected to treat immigration detainees, who are innocent of any crime, in a qualitatively different to convicted prisoners.”

Detainees, he said, were usually people fleeing war zones or areas of crisis and may have been victims of torture. They may have experienced primary injury, their first psychological trauma, before deciding to seek refuge in Australia.

A second trauma, even if apparently minor, could trigger a relapse of mental illness and worsen it. This was the risk of secondary injury that asylum seekers faced when they were detained for long periods in poor conditions.

People were then at risk of developing persistent and severe mental disorders, from which they might never fully recover. This is the key driver of self-harm and suicide especially when combined with the perceived and actual helplessness and hopelessness of their predicament.

“Adolescents are known to be very sensitive to these extreme traumas, especially the young men who constitute the bulk of the detainees. ”

Prof. McGorry stressed that people who interact with detainees, such as healthcare workers, guards, immigration officials, lawyers and interpreters, could themselves be affected by the helplessness and frustration they witnessed and absorbed through their work.

During Prof. McGorry’s presentation for Access Youth Network at Dyason House, the Hon. Michael MacKellar, former Minister of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in the Fraser government, stated that it was a very difficult task to check the identities and backgrounds of asylum seekers, and that all stories cannot be trusted.

He went on to say that Australia has had a good record over many years of accepting refugees in accordance with our international obligations.

Professor McGorry acknowledged Australia’s positive history up until the 1990’s, but questioned the notion that many asylum seekers fabricated their stories, referring to his own personal experience with many hundreds over the past 20 years or so.

Prof. McGorry asked, “ Why are we taking such extreme political and administrative measures when we only get a few thousand people each year compared to other countries who attract many more and who manage the situation more humanely? ”

“Assessments of a highly contestable nature are made by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that it is ok for refugees to go back to countries like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka because they are now deemed safe. These assessments are able to impact at the individual case level in a quite inappropriate manner. A second yet related issue is that having been on the losing side in a bitter war (for many Sri Lankan Tamils) and hence at obvious risk on return is allowed to block the granting of a protection visa. This is the very reason they have fled. This raises again the spectre of political and diplomatic interference in decisions which must be made on an individual basis in relation to the UN convention”

“In good faith I would be very pleased to assist the government in reviewing the mental health needs of detainees in cooperation with the existing advisory processes.”

The event at which Prof. McGorry spoke was organised by Access, the youth network of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria. Professor McGorry shared his thoughts with Access Youth Network after his speech at Dyason House.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER



September 28, 2010

by Gordon Duff


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

In 2000, the United States Supreme Court, by a 5/4 margin, the deciding vote being Justice Clarence Thomas, perhaps the worst justice in court history, elected a President.  Investigations since have shown that the election wasn’t even close, Bush lost by millions of votes and more than a few states.

Electronic voting machines were hacked then and again in 2004.  Exit polling, our only reliable statistical control proves it alone.  However, the string of suppressed criminal prosecutions tied to the massive electoral fraud are not hard to discover.  There were also some mysterious deaths.

Of course, the court has no place in a Presidential election, no constitutional provision allowed them to stop a recount under the guise of “equal protection.”  This was a coup, plain and simple.  A few months later we had 9/11 and the Patriot Acts.  After that, there was no more constitution, only “emergency decrees” which stripped citizens of all constitutional rights.


We began arresting people and detaining them without trial, torturing confessions, denying legal representation.  We ended the right to be confronted by one’s accuser, all privacy rights disappeared and then we started summary executions, foreign nationals, American citizens, no trial, no oversight, nothing.

The rights won by the English nobility from King John, the Magna Carta, disappeared and are permanently gone.  Without habeas corpus, there is no freedom of any kind.  Habeas corpus was suspended five years ago and will never return.  No American has had a single guaranteed right of any kind for that long.

We can’t even begin to discuss constitutional rights.  They no longer exist, not under Bush who took them away or under Obama who enjoys the same privileges.

Invasions.  We invaded two countries, installed corrupt dictatorships and began stripping one of its oil while turning the other into the largest narcotics source in the history of the world.  In the process, we stripped America too, clean as a “Safeway chitterling” (chitlin’).

At home, the Supreme Court decided that bribing elected officials was a right of “free speech.”  If all corporate ownership and control was entirely American this would still be an abuse.  However, since most of America is owned and controlled by a combination of Israelis, Chinese and Arabs, three groups with powerful agendas that are inconsistent with American values, the court ended up transferring what little power and influence America once had over her own affairs offshore.

In truth, that happened in 1913 when the Federal Reserve was set up, foreign owned banks that took control of the US economy.  The constitution expressly forbid such a thing but had no power to stop it.

A constitution with no power isn’t a constitution at all.

We could look at constitutional history.  A good case could be made for the convention that drafted the constitution having one clear agenda, protecting rule by the few and creating a sham democracy.  The idea of this might shock some Americans.  Who thinks about things like having two houses in congress or a supreme court.  Nobody ever asks about the electoral college.  OK, look at this for a moment.  We elect the senate, or at least now we do.  They used to be picked, not elected and were like our nobility, with power to control all legislation.  The senate was the rich people and their chosen representatives who could stop any law.  They also ratified treaties and confirmed Supreme Court justices.

When you realize that the president was chosen through an “electoral college” and not a real vote and that the congress was controlled by a senate that wasn’t elected and the Supreme Court was picked by a president picked by the electoral college and justices were confirmed by a senate that was picked, your head should be swimming.

Some of that is changed.  We elect the senate now.  It hasn’t made much difference.

You say it doesn’t matter anyway, you say that all parties, all candidates are exactly the same, taking orders from the same people, the same corporations or the same foreign countries?  Is this what you are saying?  Wasn’t the constitution supposed to stop all this?

Do you see what I mean by “fail?”

It isn’t even that.   Congress is run by “rules.”  No law can be voted on without getting out of committee, committees which are controlled by legislators with lots of seniority, generally from areas that don’t have, well, what do we call it?  Free elections?

What has happened is that powerful financial organizations have gotten control of key regions of the country, maintained that control for generations and inherited control of each committee in our legislature.  This gives those “money boys” total control of the government.  No law is even read without their nod, much less voted on.

What we have ended up with is a government that does one thing full time, campaign.  And, as campaigns last forever and cost endless amounts of money and corporations owned by prettymuch anyone can give as much as they want anywhere and anytime, your government will, by necessity, only represent the rich and powerful.

If this were the case, we would always be at war.

If this were the case, we would have a continually lowering standard of living and an increasing gulf between rich and poor.

If this were the case, the streets would be full of drugs and the prisons would be overflowing.

If this were the case, Americans would be afraid of their own government.


First thing, get rid of the Federal Reserve.  I liked that part of the constitution, the place where it said only congress had the right to print money.  Keep that.  Ever notice how all the other countries in the world seem to have parliaments and prime ministers?  Ever notice how, when someone really screws up, a government can “fall?”  Right now, the Supreme Court by a 5/4 margin is likely to do anything asked of it, whether by an oil company or that “special country” in the Middle East.  You know the one.

No more seniority system, no more “soft money,” no more special retirement, no more lobbyists, no more free trips, no foreign money spent on our government, no more “work for the people today” and get paid by the folks you were supposed to protect the people from for the rest of your life.


How many Americans know that judges are picked by political parties?  Yup, they may be elected but most elections in the US are virtually unopposed.

In fact, most elections aren’t elections at all.  The winner is chosen in a primary, picked based on financial backing, not dedication or experience.  This guarantees that there will never be an honest judge and damn few honest people in government beyond township supervisor or town council.

If you could check, and you can’t, you will find that, in the majority of cases, one person makes decisions for an entire state, usually the person with the connections to the utility companies, organized crime, the  casino industry and trade unions.  Check into President Harry S. Truman’s career.



YouTube – Veterans Today –




28 September 2010

Jewish Boat to Gaza boarded by Israeli Pirates

News has just come in of the boarding of the Jewish boat, the Irene (named after Irene Bruegel one of the founders of Jews for Justice for Palestinians). Not content with a UN Human Rights Committee Report that branded the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as illegal, having used brutality, torture as well as deliberately executing 6 passengers, Israel has now compounded this with the boarding of the latest ship.

We hope that there are no casualties and that none of the passengers were subject to the normal ritual violence from the thugs that wear Israeli military uniforms.

All those who took part, including Captain Glyn Secker of JfJP, should feel proud of themselves for standing up as Jews to defy this cruel and immoral blockade of Gaza whose only effect is to hurt the very people they say are terrorised by Hamas. This is the answer to those who oppose sanctions against Israel because of ‘anti-semitism’ and all the other reasons that their friends in Apartheid South Africa gave.

Just as Jews rightly honour what are termed ‘righteous Gentiles’ for having risked their lives to save Jews during the holocaust, so we should honour those who reject Zionism and its barbaric treatment of the Palestinians.

Well done Glyn!

Tony Greenstein

Jewish Boat to Gaza boarded by Israeli forces and taken toward Ashdod port

For immediate release

28 September, 2010

Jewish Boat to Gaza boarded by Israeli forces and taken toward Ashdod port

The Irene, a boat carrying nine passengers and aid for Gaza’s population has been taken over by the Israeli navy and denied access to Gaza.

The boat is flying a British flag and its passengers include citizens of the US, the UK, Germany and Israel. Two journalists are also on board.

Last contact with the boat’s captain, Glyn Secker, was at 0937 GMT, when their path had been cut off by a Destroyer. Recent reports from other news sources indicated that the boat has been surrounded and boarded. At this point they were less than 20 miles from Gaza’s shore. Since then all phones went dead.

The occupied Gaza Strip’s territorial waters end 12 nautical miles from shore, but the Israeli blockade is enforced at 20 miles from shore.

Israeli attorney Smadar Ben Natan who is representing the passengers has asked to see her clients immediately.

Local group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has asked for permission to send an independent doctor to visit the passengers immediately, after hearing from organizers that at least one passenger suffers from serious chronic health problems and is in need of medical care.

Speaking from London, a member of the organizing group, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, has condemned the Israeli army’s apparent action and said that this boat and its fate are a symbol of the chances for peace in the region. The way it is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace, he said. He called for worldwide support for the boat and its message of protest against the siege of Gaza and the occupation.

European Jews for a Just Peace, Jews for Justice for Palestinians (UK), Juedische Stimme fuer einen gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Germany), American Jews for a Just Peace (USA), Jewish Voice for Peace (USA), Jews Against the Occupation Sydney.




New Act of Israeli Piracy SOP, Memory of Murdered American Dims

September 28, 2010

by Michael Leon  


Furkan Dogan, shot five times from close range. Planned to become a doctor; son of Dr. Ahmed Dogan (Assistant Professor at the University of Irkiis).

– Israeli Piracy Continues, Terror State Issues No Apologies –

As news broke that the Israeli navy engaged in yet another act of piracy of nine Jewish activists off the coast of Gaza halting humanitarian aid on the ship, Irene, memories have dimmed of last May’s deadly assault, the infamous Massacre on the Mediterranean.

By Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington in This Can’t Be Happening

Murder is murder, and terror is terror, you might think. But when terror is committed against an American citizen by the state of Israel the response from the US government is not protest, and it is surely not to demand justice, much less seek vengeance. It is silence.

In 1985, when terrorists from the Palestine Liberation Front, in an act of piracy on the high seas in the Mediterranean, took control of the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, and executed the Jewish American Leon Klinghoffer, shooting him in the forehead and then pushing the wheelchair-bound 69-year-old overboard, the US responded with dramatic action. To rescue the passengers, Italian negotiators had worked out a deal granting safe passage to Tunisia to the pirates, in return for the freeing of the ship and its other passengers. But President Ronald Reagan dispatched a US fighter plane to intercept the plane carrying the PLF pirates to safety, and forced it to land at a US airbase in Italy, where they were turned over to Italian authorities for prosecution.

[Video smuggled off the MaviMarmara [censorship issues may result in music instead of footage]

Compare this to another more recent act of piracy, the violent assault and high-seas boarding of the Turkish cruise ship Mavi Marmara and a flotilla of smaller ships bound from Turkey to Gaza by troops from the Israeli Defense Force, who commandeered the vessels, killing eight Turkish and one young Turkish-American passenger. The US failed to condemn this latter act of piracy, and as for the American who was slain, 19-year old Furkan Dogan, there was not a word of protest.

Worse yet, we learn only now that in July, two months after the May 31 IDF attack, the Turkish government supplied the Obama Administration with the result of the Turkish Council of Forensic Medicine’s autopsy of young Dogan, which showed clearly that he had been murdered by two shots to the face fired by Israeli commandos at point blank range while he lay, gravely injured, on the deck of the ship.

Dogan’s other wounds, according to the autopsy, included a shot to the back, leg and foot. He was said to have been writhing in a conscious or semi-consciousness state on the deck “for some time” when he was executed.

Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, says it sent the autopsy report to the US via the US Embassy in Turkey, as soon as it was completed, assuming the US would want to prosecute Israel for his death. Instead, the Obama administration and the US Justice Department sat and continue to sit on the information, saying nothing. A request by ThisCantBeHappening for information from the Justice Department about the autopsy elicited only a brief “We have no comment for you,” from DOJ spokesman Dean Boyd.

Meanwhile, while Israel has been claiming that its boarding party on the Mavi Marmara only used their guns and killed people after they were attacked by passengers and crew on the ship, the truth appears to be that they came aboard guns blazing, and intent on causing harm. A fact-finding mission of the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) says it has concluded that Dogan, for example, was not resisting the boarding, but rather, was filming it, using a small hand-held video camera from his position on the boat’s top deck.

He would not be the only videographer or photographer shot. IDF troops made a concerted effort to stop all photographers and videographers from recording their actions, not only shooting at those who were filming them, but also confiscating or destroying hundreds of cameras, memory cards and other recording equipment.

Turkish medical examiners concluded that five others of the nine killed, in addition to Dogan, were slain execution-style by IDF troops in the assault on the Mavi Marmara.

Although the conclusions of the Human Rights Commissioner’s report and of the Turkish medical examiners has been big news in Turkey for the past week, the US media has maintained a news blackout, even though one of the murdered victims was an American. It’s a sad commentary on the extent to which the US corporate media have become propagandists for the US and Israeli governments. 

The UN fact-finding mission, which interviewed 112 witnesses to the attack, was chaired by Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, Q.C., retired judge of the International Criminal Court and former attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago. Other members included Sir Desmond de Silva, Q.C. of the United Kingdom, former chief prosecutor of the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, and Ms. Mary Shanthi Dairiam of Malaysia, founding member of the board of directors of the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific.


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