Categorized | Middle East



Dear All,

4 items below, and a 5th for Canadians only: An announcement that   Former British MP George Galloway will be speaking in Canada on a 10-day tour.

Item 1 has its own brief intro preceding the report. 

Items 2 and 3 are about East Jerusalem, where things are not looking good.  Will Israel succeed to drive Palestinians from there, too?  If not it won’t be for lack of trying.

Item 4 is Dov Weisglass telling us to take Thomas Friedman’s warning seriously.  This has double importance since Weisglass—a lawyer, business man, and in the past, senior advisor to Ariel Sharon—is no less Zionist than is Friedman.  Among other things that Weisglass quotes is, “Support for Israel is declining among US government circles, the general public, and the Jewish community, especially among young people.”  If support for Israel declines greatly among Jews, Israel might continue to receive American military aid, but will have no justification for existing.


1. Headline: “Merkel offering millions of Euros to a country willing to absorb the influx of Jews attempting to infiltrate  Germany.  ‘The problem of illegal Jewish infiltrators presents a threat to the Aryan and democratic character of Germany,’ said Merkel.”

Well, if the above fictional  headline sends shivers down your spine, then so also should the report below.  When the demographic nature of a country becomes top hat, becomes, that is, the single most important criterion for a country, then there are no limits to the extremes that a country might take to insure that criterion—as Nazi Germany should remind us.

Nor can I agree with the distinction that the Civil Rights Association Israel and the Hotline for Migrant workers make below “between a refugee and an asylum seeker trying to escape war and danger in his home country, and work migrants who only seek to better their lives.”  Even work migrants seeking to better their lives might be in danger of starvation and deprivation in their home countries, and therefore be in need of refuge.




October 27, 2010

Source: Israel offering millions of dollars to pass off African migrant.

Netanyahu orders Foreign Ministry to renew contacts with African and Western states willing to accept these infiltrators, tells defense establishment to begin construction of Egypt barrier at once.

By Barak Ravid

Jerusalem is ready to renew its offer to pay millions of dollars to any African or Western country willing to absorb the influx of migrants attempting to infiltrate Israel, a senior official said on Wednesday.

During deliberations with his political-security cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Foreign Ministry to renew its contacts with Western and African states to see if any would be willing to take in these migrant workers.

The Foreign Ministry has already held a round of talks on the matter with a number of states with whom Israel has diplomatic relations, but has not yet received a sufficient response to the request. Even those states willing to take in migrant workers are not prepared to absorb the numbers of people presented by Israel.

Netanyahu also ordered the defense establishment to begin immediate construction of a barrier on the Egyptian border and said he expected a report on the matter within a month. The works were due to start in July, but following disagreements on budgeting have been delayed by over three months.

The premier also said that alternatives needed to be found to reduce the flow of infiltrators before the barrier was in place.

The barrier is meant to prevent Islamic militants, drug dealers, African migrants and other asylum seekers from entering Israel from Egypt. At least 1,000 people enter the country illegally from Egypt each month, according to Israeli estimates.

“The problem of illegal infiltrators in the south presents a threat to the Jewish and democratic character of Israel,” said Netanyahu. “I want to see actual results of the beginning of a barrier on the ground within the coming weeks. In four weeks, the cabinet will be meeting again and will hear the defense establishment’s report on the matter.”

“The urgency of this problem requires close and focused treatment,” he added.

Civil Rights Association Israel and the Hotline for Migrant workers said in a joint statement: “Netanyahu’s proposal testifies to particularly short historic memory. The prime minister has to learn to distinguish between a refugee and an asylum seeker trying to escape war and danger in his home country, and work migrants who only seek to better their lives. Many of those arriving in Israel over the Egyptian border are asylum seekers, escaping atrocities in their own land.”

“A state set up by refugees cannot turn its back to refugees of war who seek asylum,” the statement read.


2.  Haaretz,

October 28, 2010

Rightists furious over Palestinian plans for new East Jerusalem schools

Palestinian premier Fayyad to rededicate schools renovated with PA funding.

By Nir Hasson

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel yesterday asked Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to prevent a planned visit next week to East Jerusalem by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, to rededicate two schools.

The organization’s website says it is “committed to protecting human rights in Israel, ensuring sound government, and preserving the national integrity of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

  Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad smiles before a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to Palestinians at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.

Photo by: AP 

Right-wing activists were said to be infuriated by a report in yesterday’s Haaretz, according to which the Palestinian Authority is close to completing renovations, which it funded, of 15 East Jerusalem private schools.

Most of the schools are in relatively centrally located neighborhoods, such as Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi Joz. The two whose rededications Fayyad is to preside over are in Dahiyat al-Salam and in Dahiyat al-Barid. While these are more remote, they are nevertheless still within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries.

In a letter sent on behalf of the forum to Aharonovitch, police commissioner David Cohen and Jerusalem District police commander Aharon Franco, attorney Adrian Aggasi said the planned visit by Fayyad was “an attempt to demonstrate Palestinian sovereignty in Jerusalem in a manner that contravenes the law.”

According to the letter, the visit also contravenes agreements between Israel and the PA. “It seems that there is no activity of a more governmental nature than the inauguration of a school by the PA prime minister within the capital of Israel,” he wrote.

Aggasi called on Aharonovitch to prohibit the ceremony and said the forum would petition the High Court of Justice if its demand was not met.

This is not the first time the PA has undertaken governmental activity in Jerusalem. About two weeks ago the PA funded NIS 1.2 million in road repairs in Dahiyat al-Salam.

Residents of East Jerusalem say that PA security officials intervene from time to time in conflicts in that part of the city.

“This is a continuation of PA involvement in East Jerusalem,” Jerusalem council member Elisha Peleg (Likud ) said yesterday. “I view it very gravely, but point an accusing finger at the government of Israel.”

Senior municipal officials said they were unaware of a planned visit by Fayyad and that the municipality opposed activity by the PA in Jerusalem.

“Responsibility for dealing with the matter rests with the Prime Minister’s Office and relevant bodies, as with every foreign entity that is not Israeli and has no standing in Jerusalem,” a municipal official said.


3. Ynet,

October 28, 2010

    Silwan Arabs: Mayor pouring fuel on fire

Municipality asks court to authorize immediate demolition of east Jerusalem structure it claims it is ‘hotbed of violence, incitement.’ Residents say tent set up on roof part of legitimate struggle against house demolitions,7340,L-3976050,00.html

Ronen Medzini

The residents of the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem have been campaigning against the demolition of Palestinian homes in the area for nearly three years. As part of the struggle, the residents set up a protest tent, which the Jerusalem Municipality is now looking to dismantle. 

The tent, which is adorned with signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English, has become a symbol of the residents’ struggle and is visited by people from all over the world. It was set up on the grounds of a community center which is slated for destruction in June 2011, in accordance with a court order.

The Jerusalem Municipality asked the court for authorization to raze the structure sooner, claiming it has become a hotbed of violent and dangerous conduct.

“They want to destroy our homes, and they won’t even allow us to protest,” said Attorney Ziad Kawar, who represents the residents. “This is an evil attempt by the City to silence the residents and trample on their human rights.

“This sort of conduct is redolent of dark regimes such as the one in Tehran,” he said, “It’s a shame that the authorities have decided to help the cause of radical right-wing groups that are pushing the State and region into an abyss.”

“It seems as though the City of Jerusalem is looking for a third intidafa,” said Fahri Abu-Dihab, whose house is also under the threat of demolition. “This tent is a symbol of legitimate protest against the destruction of homes in east Jerusalem. The municipality has declared war against us and it trying to stop our legal struggle to get us to react violently.

“The mayor (Nir Barkat) himself is pouring fuel on the fire,” he said. 

The Jerusalem Municipality said in response that a destruction order for the community center had been issued because it was built illegally and without the proper permits. The court ruled that the order is to be implemented in June 2011, and the City has already appealed this decision because the owners of the structure took advantage of the extension to illegally set up a huge tent on the roof.  

“The structure serves as a breeding ground for violence, incitement, riots and stone-throwing,” according to the municipality.


4.  Ynet,

October 28, 2010

Op-ed: Top journalist’s grim assessment of US-Israel ties should raise great concern,7340,L-3975716,00.html

Dov Weisglass

Thomas Friedman is one the world’s foremost journalists and a New York Times columnist. Last week, he published an unusually harsh critique of the Israeli government over its policy on the Palestinian issue. Among other things, he likened Israel to a “spoiled child.” One NYT reader responded with a letter charging that Israel is not only acting like a spoiled child, but one who ran away from home yet keeps using the family’s credit card.

Later on, Friedman was interviewed by Meet the Press on Israel’s Channel 2. As disturbing as his article was, listening and watching him provoked truly deep concern. In the interview, he explained that the Israeli government’s conduct on the Palestinian front increasingly erodes Israel’s status in the US: Support for Israel is declining among US government circles, the general public, and the Jewish community, especially among young people.

According to Friedman, Americans don’t understand what Israel wants or where it’s heading, and are questioning its desire for peace. On the other hand, Friedman emphasized, the current Palestinian Authority, especially as result of its success in bringing security and restraining terrorism, deserves more than ever before a true Israeli chance to secure an agreement. 

Friedman is completely aware of the complexity and difficulties inherent in securing an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. However, he is pleading with Israel to at least try. He feels deep concern for the resilience of Israel-US relations; he protests the disrespect shown to the American president as manifested by the rejection of his request to extend the building moratorium for two more months; he also keeps warning about the deterioration of the critical ties between Israel and its one and only friend in the world. 

Friedman no self-hating Jew

Friedman was a little agitated, emotional, and at times even angry, yet it was clear how pained he is by the current state of affairs. His words are doubly difficult because they were uttered by a lover; a person who does not hide his deep, unalterable sympathy for the State of Israel.

Be warned: Friedman should be taken seriously; very seriously. Not only because he is an important and influential man, but mostly because of his connections, knowledge, understanding, and vast experience. He maintains direct ties with decision-makers, shows rare familiarity with developments in Israel, in the region, and in the US, and possesses academic education supplemented by dozens of years of research, involvement, and in-depth journalistic observation of the region – both from near and from far. 

Friedman has been maintaining warm, close ties with the State of Israel ever since his adolescence. It is therefore difficult to excuse the gravity of his words with the usual “self-hating Jew” charges. His words should provoke great concern here. We need to listen to Friedman closely; listen and change, as soon as possible.



October 27, 2010

Former British MP George Galloway announces ten-city speaking tour of Canada

Tour includes visit to Jason Kenney’s Calgary constituency

Toronto – Former British MP George Galloway will appear in ten cities on a pan-Canadian speaking tour from November 16 to 27, 2010. Organized by local peace coalitions and Palestine solidarity campaigns across Canada, the tour is called “Free Palestine, Free Afghanistan, Free Speech”. Mr. Galloway will speak about the Canadian government’s attempts to ban him as well as the political situation in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“I’m looking forward to speaking in person with the many Canadians who have defended their right to hear me, including those who disagree with me,” said Mr. Galloway from London, UK. “I’m also looking forward to challenging Jason Kenney to a public debate, who has yet to account for his role in trying to keep me out of Canada.”

Mr. Galloway’s tour includes the following cities: Montreal (Nov 17), Halifax (Nov 18), Toronto (Nov 20), Hamilton (Nov 21), Vancouver (Nov 22), Calgary (Nov 23), Yellowknife (Nov 24), Edmonton (Nov 25), Winnipeg (Nov 26) and Ottawa (Nov 27).

Details of each event are available at

On September 27, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney had attempted to ban Galloway from Canada for purely political reasons: “It is clear that the efforts to keep Mr. Galloway out of the country had more to do with antipathy to his political views than with any real concern that he had engaged in terrorism or was a member of a terrorist organization” ( – paragraph 8). The ruling cleared the way for Galloway to return to Canada. On October 2, he arrived in Toronto. The next day, he addressed a crowd of over 800 people at a downtown church.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Ron McKay
Spokesperson, George Galloway:

James Clark
Spokesperson, Defend Free Speech Campaign: or 416-795-5863 (cell)

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