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NOVANEWS

10/27/2010

How much money is needed to stop the BDS movement?

Oct 26, 2010

Alex Kane 

$6 million: enough to combat a largely grassroots, bottom-up and growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel? That’s what the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are hoping.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Jacob Berkman reports:

The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are launching a multimillion-dollar joint initiative to combat anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.

The JFNA and the rest of the Jewish federation system have agreed to invest $6 million over the next three years in the new initiative, which is being called the Israel Action Network. The federations will be working in conjunction with JCPA, an umbrella organization bringing together local Jewish community relations councils across North America.

The BDS movement–whose demands are based on international law–is clearly scaring Israel and the Jewish establishment, who have labeled the movement “the second most dangerous threat to Israel, after Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

The article also reports that the new anti-BDS initiative sprung from the urging of the Israeli government, which “has been advocating for this, especially over the past six months or eight months,” as Jerry Silverman, the head of the Jewish Federation of North America, told JTA.

It appears that the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are following the recommendations of the Reut Institute, an Israeli think tank with close ties to the Israeli government, who called on the Israeli government to “sabotage” and “attack” the BDS movement in a February 2010 report.

The investment of a large amount of money to combat what is essentially impossible to combat as long as Israel continually flouts international law is a recognition of the powerful effect the BDS movement is having. Members of the Israeli Knesset certainly see BDS as a threat, having introduced a bill that would make it illegal for Israelis to “launch or incite” a boycott against Israel.

When $6 million is apparently needed to attempt to halt the BDS movement, that means something. But all the money in the world can’t stop the movement for Palestinian justice. Couldn’t someone tell that to the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs? Their money would be better spent on something else.

This post originally appeared on Alex Kane’s blog.  Follow him on Twitter here.

 
Two sides of the Wall in Bil’in

Oct 26, 2010

Hamde Abu Rahme 

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

I went on a tour to photograph the Apartheid Wall that was built on the territory of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, located in the West Bank.

After a ruling of the highest Israeli Court, the path of which the first wall had been built had to be changed and now the Israel has to build a new wall: the new wall is a set of concrete cubes ranging in length up to eight meters tall. The old wall was an electric fence with barbed wire which would send an electric shock at the slightest touch. This first wall was set up by Israel on Palestinian land and has been extremely dangerous (in some cases deadly), not only to human beings but also to animals and other wildlife. Many animals lost their lives after running into the fence and being instantly electrocuted.

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

The Palestinian resistance has been ongoing and consistent for the past five and a half years. The people insist on continuing this resistance and do not want to give up their rights to their land. They refuse to be silent about the theft by Israeli companies building illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The people also refuse to be silent about the destruction of their olive trees; these trees are not only considered a living for some but a symbol of strength for all Palestinian people,

This “Non-Violent” Resistance that started in most Palestinian areas after the building of the Wall and the building of illegal settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will continue and will not cease. This new kind of resistance has an unprecedented amount of support from Palestinian, Israeli and international activists and volunteers alike.

After the changes of the route of the old Wall in Bil’in, 1,000 dunums of land located behind the wall will be returned to the respective owners in the village.

When I arrived at the Israeli side of the new Wall, I saw a strange thing. This wall is not only racist in its completion but also in its composition. I am familiar with the cubes on the Palestinian side of the Wall, but I discovered that on the other side the Wall is decorated with beautiful motifs. So people on the Israeli side of the wall do not feel the same as people on the Palestinian side of the wall. To me it seemed that if one did not know what the real purpose of the wall was, from the Israeli side it looks like a decorated highway partition….however, on the Palestinian side it’s concrete cubes stacked one above the other, which is ugly and not pleasant and looks exactly how the wall of a maximum security prison looks like.

This type of racism is applied by the Israeli government on Palestinians. This and other types of scams deceive people and does not show them the truth. It paints a picture that is beautiful on the outside but on the inside, in reality, is grim.

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

Settler network promotes racist comics to bring Meir Kahane to a new generation of Israelis

Oct 26, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

The following comic celebrating the life of Meir Kahane appeared last week on an Israeli website called the Israel News Network, which is associated with Arutz Sheva and the settler movement. Kahane was the founder of the fascist Jewish Defense League and the Kach movement, which was barred in Israel for promoting racism, and his ideology has been influential in Israel where he was a longtime proponent of forcing Palestinian citizens of Israel out of the country. The comic has been translated by Dena Shunra.

Rabbi Kahane for children, too

An original way of teaching the path and heritage of Rabbi Meir Kahane to the young generation: a comic book called Rabbi Meir, Miracle Man [this alludes to a 5th century warrior-rabbi who’s buried near Tiberias]

Published: 21 Oct. 2010 – Uzi Baruch

People at the Jewish Idea Yeshiva are acting in an original way to teach the path and heritage of Rabbi Meir Kahane to the younger generation. The distribution of a comic book called Rabbi Meir, Miracle Man will be distributed in a few days. The book is about the path, heritage, and acitvity of Rabbi Kahane.

The book holds many examples of his activity in a variety of subjects, including: the activity he did abroad, within the Jewish Defense League, opening the gates of the Soviet Union, and until his arrival in Israel and establishment of the Kach Movement, which had as its goal to turn the State of Israel into a Jewish state and to fight against the enemies of Israel. [ambiguous use of “Israel” – he could mean either the country or “the Jews”].

Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben Ari says that nowadays, when people are talking about Rabin’s heritage and about political assassination, it is important and appropriate to remember that Rabbi Kahane was also assassinated for political reasons and that his heritage currently teaches more than ever that Rabbi Kahane was right. “The younger generation must also be taught the image of the man who fought for the honor of Israel and acted for the people of Israel and for the land of Israel,” he said.

Miracle Man. Writing: Naama Nieman Illustrations: Dikla Sagiv
 

[Top right panel]

[Blue shirt boy:] I’m so sad I didn’t get to meet him.
[Gray shirt man] At least you got to be named after him.
[White shirt man:] You can study his books and get to know his theory. Rabbi Kahane left many books behind, and many lessons that he gave were recorded and disseminated widely.
[Plaid shirt man:] While you did not know him personally, the stories let you know him.
[Green shirt boy:] True, I really feel as though I had seen him myself.

[top left panel]
[Green shirt boy:] We are apparently only at the beginning of the road…
[Blue shirt boy:] Thank you for everything you taught us.
[Plaid shirt man:] You’re welcome. My prayer for you is that you have the privilege to put into practice the things that you learned.

[Middle row, right panel]
[yellow caption:] At home…

[Man with moustache] Hello, Meir-David, you’ve finally gotten here. Come see what I found.
[Blue shirt boy:] A MOVIE?
[Man with moustache] A movie about a popular meeting

[Middle row, middle panel] [VCR, TV, Kahane speaking]

[Middle row, left panel]
[Man with moustache] Did you hear what Rabbi Kahane Said? It’s just incredible, the meeting was held in 5750 [1980], when the PLO and its leader, Arafat, were considered the greatest enemies of Israel. Anyone who dared meet with Arafat was considered a traitor and tossed into prison, and then Rabbi Kahane said in his speech that you only have two options: either Kahane or Arafat.
[Blue shirt boy:] I do not understand. What is so incredible? What exactly does he mean?

[Bottom row, right panel]
[Man with moustache] He means that if they don’t listen to him and don’t get the Arabs out of the country, the day will come that there will be no choice and we’ll bring into here our greatest enemy.
[Bottom row, middle panel] [probably moustache man again] What’s incredible is that to our great sorrow, years later that did indeed happen, and Arafat came into the country.

[Bottom row, left panel]
[Blue shirt boy:] How did he know that? Was he a prophet?
[Man with moustache] No, he just knew how to see reality as it was.

[Top right panel] After the holiday of sukkot 5751, Rabbi Kahane went abroad, to give lectures in the U.S. At a lecture in New York, in a big Jewish college.

[Top middle panel] An Arab approached the stage and shot him twice.

[Top left panel]

[Plaid shirt man] Rabbi Kahane fell dead, and had enough time to say “Shma Yisrael”.
[Blue shirt boy] That is so sad!
[Green shirt boy:] And the funeral?

[Middle row, Right panel] His remains were brought to Israel. The funeral came right out of here, out of the Yeshiva. Before the coffin arrived the area was full of masses of people, all the streets by the Yeshiva were filled with more than 150,000 people…

[Middle row, Middle panel]

[Green shirt boy:] Were there so many people who loved him?

[Plaid shirt man] Yes, apparently so. Rabbis and public leaders eulogized him, including the Rishon LeZion, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, may the memory of that sainted man be blessed. He said as follows:

[Middle row, Left panel] People were not sufficiently familiar with Rabbi Kahane, his righteousness and scholarship, his fear of God. Rabbi Kahane gave much money to families and helped the many people who turned to him.

[Bottom row, Left panel]

[Plaid shirt man] I will tell you another story: the Kabala expert Rabbi Meir Yehuda Katz, may the memory of that sainted man be blessed, the rabbi of the Wailing Wall, joined the funeral procession and said:

[Bottom row, Left panel]

I dreamt tonight that the Messiah, descendant of Joseph*, was murdered in the United States. I could not sleep well, and when I woke up I heard the news that Rabbi Kahane was murdered.

[Yellow panel] * Traditionally, the Messiah, descendant of Joseph, deals in the practical and material salvation of the People of Israel.
 

[Top left panel]

[Green shirt] So what was the activity in the Kach Movement?
[Moustache man] It was very important to Rabbi Kahane to spread the truth and bring redemption closer. Every day he would go from place to place, throughout the country, and call on Jews to wake up.
[Beard man] He had conferences, took part in events, visited towns, villages, and markets and initiated meetings at homes. It was very important for him to connect with the people.

[Top left panel] At least three times a week the Rabbi would go to a popular meeting, and each such day he would hold at least three popular meetings in different places.

[Middle row, Middle panel] What were the main messages he gave in those talks?

[Middle row, Left panel] He called for the removal of the goyim from the land of Israel.

[bottom row, right to left]

[1] for retuning the Temple Mount to Jewish control
[2] for establishing Jewish sovereignty over all parts of the land of Israel
[3] and for restoration of Jewish honor.
[4] [Moustache man] I also remember that he also talked a lot about the social problems: 

Top panel, clockwise, starting from the fist in the star]

Never again
Never again humiliation of Jews!
Never again Jews being slaughtered!
Never again desecration of God

Instead, Jews standing erect.

With no fear of the goyim.

[lower right panel]

[Blue shirt] I’m so glad you named me for him. I did not know how fortunate I was. When will I be able to meet Baruch Marzel already?
[Moustache man] I’ll call and coordinate a meeting with him. You know that it’s [very cold?] in Hebron. Maybe we’ll combine the meeting with him with a Vatikin prayer at the Patriarchs’ Burial Grave.
[Lower left panel] How nice! I haven’t been at the Patriarchs’ Burial Grave for a long time. I’m sure Elkana and his father will be glad to join.

[Top row, Right]

[Moustache man] I can also tell you an interesting story that I just read in a new book by Rabbi Shlomo Zalamn Auerbach, who was one of the greatest rabbis in our generation and lived next door to the Jewish Defense League offices.
[Blue shirt] Which would later be called the Kach movement…

[Top row, Left] Moshe Nieman, who was Rabbi Kahane’s right-hand man, says that when Rabbi Shlomo Zalamn Auerbach used to pass by the Kach Movement offices…

[Middle row, Right] He used to punch a fist, with a big smile on his face, and say “right on!” to the activists.

[Middle row, Left]

[Blue shirt] A fist?! Why a fist?

[Moustache man] The symbol of the Jewish Defense League was a star of David with a clenched fist inside it.

[Bottom row, Right] And that symbol is also a story in its own right. After the liberation of the German death camps, in WWII, a picture was found on one of the walls, showing a star of David with a fist inside, and the Yiddish words: “Jews! Revenge!”

[graffiti:] Yiddalach! Nekama!

[Bottom row, Middle] The picture was drawn by a Jew before he was murdered in the Holocaust.

[Bottom row, Left] Rabbi Kahane adopted the symbol, but added to it the words: “Never again!”
 

[Top panel, Top segment then clockwise]

He brought up the subject at demonstrations, everywhere possible;

Dance troupes that came to the U.S. from the Soviet Union were showered with boos from the Jewish Defense League Members;

Russian diplomats were afraid to walk free, lest they be hurt.

[sign] Let my people go.

Demonstrations were held in front of every Soviet embassy around the world.

And that was how the problem of the Jews in the Soviet Union came into international consciousness.

[Lower right panel]

[Blond, blue-eyed man] Excuse me for jumping in. My name is Dmitry. I heard that you’re talking about Rabbi Kahane.

[Green shirt] Ha! There’s another person who knows him…

[Lower left panel] No, no, I’m sorry to say that I did not have the privilege of getting to know him, although I did get to see him once!

Pregnant woman injured by settler hit & run, 13-year-old banned from school in Hebron, 15-year-old tortured in Ariel settlement

Oct 26, 2010

Seham 

And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Man and his pregnant wife injured in deliberate settler hit and run accident
An Israeli settler deliberately ran into a Palestinian car near Halhul village, Al-Khalil district, on Monday night injuring the driver and his pregnant wife, eyewitnesses reported.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Q

IOF orders demolition of Palestinian homes in Bethlehem, arrests 4 in Silwan
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) served demolition notices to the owners of seven houses east of Bethlehem, south of the West Bank, local sources said.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Q

231 Israeli demolition orders issued against homes in O. Jerusalem
Different sources in the holy city said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) distributed yesterday more than 231 demolition orders in different areas in occupied Jerusalem.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%

Five Demolition Orders Given to Jerusalem Residents, Two Homes Leveled In Lod
Jerusalem – PNN – On Monday night the Israeli Jerusalem municipality handed out demolition orders to five homeowners in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The orders included three private homes that are still under construction in addition to two buildings consisting of three apartments each.  Clashes took place between local youth and the Israeli soldiers providing protection for the municipality workers on Monday evening. No injuires were reported.  Local human rights groups say Israel handed out 231 demolition orders to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem in the past two months.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9010&Itemid=64

Abbas: Settlements are a unilateral step taken by Israel
PA president responds to Netanyahu’s statement in which he urged the Palestinians to refrain from taking one-sided steps toward statehood.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/abbas-settlements-are-a-unilateral-step-taken-by-israel-1.321122?localLinksEnabled=false

Palestinians: 2,000 olive trees destroyed due to settlement sewage
Palestinians north of the West Bank claim that settlers from Elon Moreh flooded their olive groves which caused the loss of over 2,000 trees.  They say that they discovered the destruction a day after the army allowed them to access the area and pick the olives. (News Agencies)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3975217,00.html

Israeli authorities deny Salfit farmers access to olive crops
Israeli authorities continue to deny farmers in the west Salfit town of Masha access to their land located behind the separation wall to harvest their olives, local sources reported Monday.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq

Soldiers abandon Palestinian farmers in Kufr Qalil
Farmers in Kufr Qalil, near Nablus, were scheduled to receive army protection yesterday through the Israeli District Coordination Office (DCO), in order to harvest their olives on land near the illegal Bracha settlement. The family, accompanied by four international activists, went to the land and was initially pleased to find army jeeps nearby as planned. Later in the morning, two settlers came down from the nearby outpost, yelling at the Palestinians and internationals from across the settler-only road. As the nearby army vehicle came down, seemingly to intervene, the farmers were again relieved by the fact that the DCO was keeping their word. But the jeeps soon disappeared, while the settlers remained. Tension was high in the olive groves, and fear of what could happen prompted a phone call to Rabbis for Human Rights, who got in touch with the DCO, demanding that the “protection” return. The soldiers eventually came back, driving to the settlers and joining them across the road from the olive fields. They walked together, talking casually, but the army never approached the Palestinian farmers. After a short time, the owner of the farmland decided to give up and continue harvesting a safer plot of land, farther from the settlement, as he was feeling very nervous, and had three of his young grandchildren with him.
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/10/15277/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29

State moves toward legalizing illegally built synagogue in West Bank outpost
Following more than a year of legal debate, Defense Ministry agrees to consider license for El Matan building as long as residents keep structure sealed over course of process.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/state-moves-toward-legalizing-illegally-built-synagogue-in-west-bank-outpost-1.321246?localLinksEnabled=false

Neighbors of Haredi town planning expansion fear more ‘ultra-Orthodox abuse’
Kiryat Ye’arim draws up expansion plan despite objections of green groups and residents of neighboring Yad Hashmona and Abu Ghosh.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/neighbors-of-haredi-town-planning-expansion-fear-more-ultra-orthodox-abuse-1.321162?localLinksEnabled=false

The Nakba and the ‘great book robbery’ of 1948, Adam Horowitz
60,000 Palestinian books were systematically looted by the newly born State of Israel during the 1948 war. The story of the stolen books is not only at the heart of our project but also the launching pad of a much bigger and wider endeavor: We intend on communicating the scope and depth of the Palestinian tragedy through the destruction of Palestinian culture in 1948. . .  The drive to “collect” the books came from the management and librarians of Israel’s National Library – a leading cultural institution of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel – where all the valuable books ended up. Another thirty thousand (30,000) Palestinian books were “collected” in Haifa and Jaffa.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/the-nakba-and-the-great-book-robbery-of-1948.html

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Report: Caterpillar to delay supply of D9 bulldozers to IDF
Caterpillar, the company which supplies the IDF with bulldozers, has announced that it is delaying the supply of D9 bulldozers during the time that the trial of Rachel Corrie proceeds, Channel 2 reported on Monday.  The company does not usually manufacture a military version of the D9 but it has many features that make desirable for military applications and the IDF has used them extensively for operations.  Rachel Corrie was a US activist who was killed in Gaza seven years ago by a bulldozer driver who struck and killed her. Her family charged that the IDF and its officers had acted recklessly, using an armored Caterpillar D9R bulldozer without regard to the presence in the area of unarmed and nonviolent civilians.
http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=192744

Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement
CHICAGO, October 25—In response to a call to action from the Christians of the Holy Land, The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PC(USA)] voted at its annual meeting to join the international boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).  The first targeted products for the boycott are Ahava Cosmetics, King Solomon Dates, and Jordan River Dates, imported into the United States from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
http://endtheoccupationblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/presbyterian-mission-network-joins-bds.html

OECD and Israel’s “tourist” colonization of Syria’s Golan, Charlotte Silver
On 20 and 21 October, the 86th session of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tourism committee was held in Jerusalem. Leading up to the conference, there was conjecture on how the member countries in attendance would handle Israel’s tourism policies regarding the occupied territories: the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11589.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

‘There is no such thing as tourism in an occupied city’, Philip Weiss
There are days that I think that Israel can be redeemed without violence, and this video gives me hope. Watch these human-rights activists, many of them Israeli speaking Hebrew, leading creative protests of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) annual tourism conference held in Jerusalem last week. “Jerusalem-based activists were on-hand to highlight the reality of the Israeli apartheid system, and let OECD delegates know that there is no such thing as tourism in an occupied city,” says the video.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/there-is-no-such-thing-as-tourism-in-an-occupied-city.html

Don’t close your eyes to Apartheid
Despite Israel’s persistent violation of human rights as protected by the law, the OECD(Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) — whose member countries include most of the rich countries of the world — granted Israel membership on May 27th this year. This not only symbolized diplomatic approval of Israel’s policies on the part of the most powerful countries in the international community, but also brought many potential economic benefits to Israel.
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/10/15266/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29

The Palestine Buy-cott
The first official boycott of Israel was spearheaded by the Arab League immediately after Israel was established in 1948. In 2005 Palestinian Civil Society issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel complies with International Law, and universal principles of human rights. Since then that call has been endorsed by hundreds of organizations which aim to challenge Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
http://www.illumemag.com/zine/articleDetail.php?The-Palestine-Buy-cott-13354

As Israel fires on activists, BDS movement claims victories
At least fifteen Palestinians were injured in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday, 22 October, when Israeli forces opened fire at a demonstration against the wall and ongoing land confiscation.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11590.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

#BDS: Dear Chilean miners, please do not accept Israel’s invitation
Dear Survivors of the Chilean Mine Trap,  You do not know me. I am just an American blogger/peace actvist who has followed your heroic efforts to survive your 69 day ordeal and the heroic efforts to save you. With wonder I watched as you were brought up one by one to freedom from your underground hell, where for so long you did not know if you would live or die. Indeed the whole world watched as you were rescued in thunderous joy that you would be reunited with your loved ones who had sat vigil for you for so long, insisting you were alive, insisting the rescue effort keep on, praying together for your safety. The entire world rejoices in your safe return above ground to your loved ones.
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2010/10/bds-dear-chilean-miners-please-do-not.html

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement/Racism & Discrimination

2 Gaza workers killed inside tunnel
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Two Palestinians died Monday in an accident in a smuggling tunnel under the Egypt-Gaza border, medics said.  Musa Sleima and Abd Muhammad Zurob, both 20 years old, were killed by an electricity short, medics said.  They were taken to hospitals in Rafah, where they were pronounced dead on arrival, medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmieh said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327551

Government releases documents detailing Gaza import guidelines, Amira Hass
Since Hamas took control of Gaza, officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor goods from aid groups entering the Strip to ensure amount was in line with what Israel permitted.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/government-releases-documents-detailing-gaza-import-guidelines-1.321154

Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – Sep 26 – Oct 23
http://www.gazagateway.org/2010/10/industrial-fuel-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-sep-26-%e2%80%93-oct-23/

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Sep 26 – Oct 23
http://www.gazagateway.org/2010/10/goods-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-sep-26-%e2%80%93-oct-23/

The mathematics of strangulation of Gaza, Jesse  Bacon
When the specifics of Israel’s siege of Gaza came to light, it appeared almost random in its insanity and cruelty. The famous example is the prohibiting of pasta while allowing rice, all the while claiming this was somehow ensuring Israel’s security. Well wonder no longer. Through the heroic efforts of Gisha, whose work we feature regularly here on The Only Democracy?, the actual policy has been released. It turns out there is a detailed series of charts and formulae that look like someone attempted to translate the lectures of Glenn Beck into public policy. In the driest of terms, it represents a calculus of human misery, equations of despair that add up to the starvation of Gazans and a protracted conflict.
http://theonlydemocracy.org/2010/10/the-mathematics-of-strangulation/

Collective Punishment or Not, Gaza Blockade Illegal (Part I), Noura Erakat
Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal irrespective of the manner in which it is imposed because a blockade is an act of war and an occupying power cannot declare war upon the territory it occupies.
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/255/collective-punishment-or-not-gaza-blockade-illegal_%28part-i%29

Israeli army opens investigation into use of 16-year-old girl as human shield
An investigation has been opened in the case of a 16-year-old girl from Nablus, who reported being used as a human shield by the Israeli army in February 2010.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=1681&CategoryId=1

Hebron 13-Year Old ‘Banned From Attending School’
After being arrested, detained, beaten and fined by the Israeli army, Karam Daana, 13, has been placed under house arrest for five months during which he cannot attend school. His father has lost his work permit. Karam is yet to receive a trial.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1583

Voices from the Occupation
A 15-year-old boy is arrested near a road used by Israeli settlers, and accused of throwing stones. He reports being given electric shocks during an interrogation in Ari’el settlement.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/press/Voices_2010-10-26.pdf

Israeli troops blamed for Korans burned during arrest raid (AFP)
AFP – A Palestinian woman on Monday accused Israeli troops of burning two Korans when they came to arrest her husband during an overnight raid in the northern West Bank.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101025/wl_mideast_afp/israelpalestiniansconflictarrestkoran

Shin Bet requests extension of order which allows detention of Palestinians without a hearing
‘Security situation in Israel has not changed over the past three years and there is therefore a need to extend the temporary order,’ says top Shin Bet official.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/shin-bet-requests-extension-of-order-which-allows-detention-of-palestinians-without-a-hearing-1.321113?localLinksEnabled=false

Shin Bet supports revoking citizenship of Israelis convicted of terror
Interior Minister Eli Yishai’s proposal has been presented as a method of deterring potential criminals from embarking on terrorist activities, seen as targeting Israeli Arabs in particular.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/shin-bet-supports-revoking-citizenship-of-israelis-convicted-of-terror-1.321269?localLinksEnabled=false

Scenes from the ‘Jewish & democratic’ state: Galilee politician works to prevent sale of homes to Palestinians
You do not want Arabs in Karmiel? Report to Purple Email!  Karmiel’s Deputy Mayor, Oren Milstein, does not want any Arabs in his town. Therefore he urges the public to report real estate deals with Arabs to a special email address, and his bureau assists the anti-Arab initiative. Milstein: “The email address is operated by a private person”.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/scenes-from-the-jewish-democratic-state-galilee-politician-works-to-prevent-sale-of-homes-to-palestinians.html

Rightist Settlers Paint Slogans Praising Kahane in Jaffa
On Tuesday morning, the slogan “Kahane Tzadak” (Kahane was right) was found written on the walls of restaurants, stores and on the walls of the Latin church in Jaffa City.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59748

Kahane memorial to be held in Jerusalem despite local opposition
Memorial event for the right wing extremist to be held under slogan ‘Rabbi Kahane was right’; will be attended by MK Michael Ben Ari, possibly others.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/kahane-memorial-to-be-held-in-jerusalem-despite-local-opposition-1.321159

Israel and the Palestinian Minority: Political Monitoring Report by Mtanes Shihadeh (MADA Al Carmel)
In our previous political monitoring reports, we dedicated much space to describing the legislative and political process that impinges on the human rights of the Palestinian minority. This report, too, which deals with June, July, and August 2010, continues our survey of these processes.
http://www.mada-research.org/UserFiles/file/PMP%20PDF/PMR10-ENG/pmr10-eng-final.pdf

Violence & Aggression

Gaza medics: Man with disability injured by Israeli fire
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Medics said a Palestinian man with a mental disability was injured by Israeli fire near the northern border in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.  The unnamed man, from the Ash-Shuj’aiyah neighborhood, sustained a gunshot wound to the leg near the Erez pedestrian crossing was taken to the Kamal Adwan Hospital, where his injury was not described as serious, medics reported.  A military spokeswoman said she would look into the report.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327638

Detainees

Israeli Troops Kidnap 6 Palestinians in Jerusalem
The Israeli army abducted, on Tuesday morning, six Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem claiming they were hurling stones at Israeli police vehicles. The detainees were taken to al-Maskobeya detention and interrogation center in West Jerusalem.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59753

Israeli forces detain 5 in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces seized five Palestinians from the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district early Tuesday morning, including a minor, the Palestine Solidarity Project said.  PSP spokesman Muhammad Awad said troops ransacked several homes in the town, and identified those detained as Hasan Kathim, 20, Yousif Alqam, 19, Wajih Sabarnah, 19, Hamza Sabarnah, 16 and Yousif Sabri Awad.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327647

1 detained in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) – Israeli troops detained on Monday at dawn a Palestinian man in central Hebron and gave his brother a notice to see the intelligence.  Yasser Al-Jamal, 35, was taken to an undisclosed location after Israeli troops raided four houses in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood, his brother Yosri said.  Yasser’s other brother, Khamis, received the notice to see intelligence.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327465

Army Kidnaps Five Palestinians from Hebon
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday morning, five Palestinians from the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank, after first invading and searching several homes.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59750

Palestinian Legislator Sentenced To Six Months
The Israeli Ofer Military Court sentenced Palestinian Legislator of the Hamas’ Change and Reform Bloc, to six month in administrative detention without presenting any charges against him.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59749

EU Parliament reviews prison conditions inside Israel
DCI-Palestine has lodged a submission relating to conditions faced by Palestinian child detainees held in Israeli interrogation and detention facilities and prisons.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/display.cfm?DocId=1685&CategoryId=1

War Criminals

MK Dichter cancels Spain trip for fear of arrest
Yuval Karni – Ynet – Planning on taking part in an international peace summit, Dichter requested to look into the possibility that he may face legal action in Spain over complaints against him for his involvement in the Salah Shehade assassination, and for his involvement in Operation Cast Lead, Dichter was Ministerof Public Security at the time).
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3975066,00.html

‘Mavi Marmara’ passenger: IDF didn’t treat wounded
Israeli-Arab who was on flotilla ship when it was boarded by Israeli Navy tells Turkel Commission that passengers were left bleeding.
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=192707&R=R2

Israel’s Chief Military Advocate General Not Telling the truth, Richard Lightbown
On 26 August the Turkel Committee took evidence from Israel’s Chief Military Advocate General, General Mandelblit. The morning session was open although a number of documents that the participants referred to do not appear on the website. In the afternoon the Advocate General apparently spoke amongst other matters on the intended IDF policy towards future flotillas. 
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16354

Israel’s Arab Helpers

PA ministry: Atarot not a settlement
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of National Economy responded to allegations that its minister’s office violated a total boycott of settlement goods on Tuesday by saying it did not describe the Atarot Industrial Area as an illegal Israeli settlement.  Initially unavailable for comment when the report surfaced, Abdul Hafiz Nofal, the ministry’s undersecretary, told Ma’an Radio that while the Israeli-built industrial area falls east of the Green Line in Jerusalem, it is not considered a settlement because of several Palestinian investments.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327676

Hamas: PA detains 3 supporters in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority’s security services of detaining three party supporters across the West Bank, a statement issued Tuesday read.  Hamas said PA forces detained the three in Salfit and Nablus in the northern West Bank.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327608

Political Developments

Abbas renews threat to pursue UN recognition of Palestinian state
The Palestinian president said Monday that Israel has been taking unilateral steps for decades by building settlements, so the Palestinians might take one of their own – asking the UN to recognize their independent state.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=120794

Hamas to PA: End negotiations, now and forever
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas demanded on Monday that the Palestinian Authority cease negotiations with Israel.  “The PA should stop negotiations now and forever. Israel does whatever it wants without a thought to Palestinian rights,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.  “What is needed from the PA is a declaration of their withdrawal from negotiations and encouragement of resistance, which is the only means through which Palestinian will regain their rights.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327518

Other News

Report: Turkish intelligence severed relations with the Mossad
Turkish newspaper reports agencies stopped exchanging intelligence and conducting joint operations following Turkish government decision.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/report-turkish-intelligence-severed-relations-with-the-mossad-1.321167?localLinksEnabled=false

Palestinians thank Saudi for 100 million dollars in aid (AFP)
AFP – The Western-backed Palestinian Authority on Monday thanked Saudi Arabia for providing more than 100 million dollars (72 million euros) in aid.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101025/wl_mideast_afp/palestiniansaidsaudi

Pentagon in charge of aid to Israel?
Republicans considering transferring Israeli security aid budget from State Department to Pentagon, in order to ensure it continues while enabling them to stop money flow to other countries.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3974773,00.html

Israel’s best diplomatic option is accepting Arab peace initiative, study finds,  Akiva Eldar
Study led by Herzliya’s Interdisciplinary Center Dean says accepting initiative would improve Israel’s security and economic situation.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/israel-s-best-diplomatic-option-is-accepting-arab-peace-initiative-study-finds-1.321185?localLinksEnabled=false

CPI: Israel among OECD’s most corrupted
Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Israel 22 of 33 most corrupt nations among OECD members, 30th overall. Denmark hailed as world’s least corrupt, Somalia ranked last.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3975114,00.html

Yitzhak Rabin memorial ceremony won’t be aired on major TV networks
The ceremony, which is planned to take place in Tel Aviv on Saturday night at 8 P.M. will be broadcast live on Channel 8 on cable network HOT.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/yitzhak-rabin-memorial-ceremony-won-t-be-aired-on-major-tv-networks-1.321125?localLinksEnabled=false

Hamas warns officials: Israel may booby-trap new cars
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Hamas-led government in Gaza has warned officials and leaders of Palestinian factions to avoid buying the new cars that have been entering the Strip over the month, according to media reports late Monday.  “A note has been circulated to all concerned parties, warning them of the new cars the Israeli occupation has allowed in Gaza before they undergo special tests by security services,” a Gaza security source said according to one report.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327589

Culture

Uncovering the Ancient Crafts of Nablus, Palestine Monitor
The Old City of Nablus is one of the oldest cities in the world. Founded by Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, the city has survived Byzantine, Crusader, Islamic, and Ottoman rule. Now under Israeli occupation, the Old City of Nablus remains a charming and well-preserved cultural experience.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1584

Egyptian song and dance lift Gaza weddings
Samara is the name of a new Palestinian-Egyptian dance troupe that has started a craze in the Gaza Strip. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11586.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Abbas Visits the Restoration Works of the Nativity Church
On Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited the site of restorations being carried out on the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59743

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Above the Law: Israeli Settlements & the End of the Two-State Solution, Osamah Khalil
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision not to renew the settlement “freeze” has left the Obama administration scrambling to save the negotiations from collapse.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/osamah-khalil/above-the-law-israeli-set_b_763032.html

Cut, cut, cut the budget (just don’t touch Israel), Alex Kane
If the GOP’s electoral wins next week are enough to take over Congress, one thing they’ve pledged to do is “stop out-of-control spending,” as their “Pledge to America” policy blueprint says. But don’t even think about touching the over $3 billion in annual aid the United States gives to Israel.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/cut-cut-cut-the-budget-just-don%e2%80%99t-touch-israel.html

Tissue, Skin, Bone and Organ Harvesting at Israel’s National Forensic Institute/Body Parts and Bio-Piracy, NANCY SCHEPER-HUGHES
Editorial Note: Nancy Scheper-Hughes is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, where she directs the doctoral program in medicine and society. Since 1996, she has been involved in active field research on the global traffic in human organs, following the movement of bodies, body parts, transplant doctors, their patients, brokers, and kidney sellers, and the practices of organ and tissue harvesting in several countries – from Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba, to Moldova, Israel and Turkey, to India, South Africa, and the United States. She is a co-founder of Organs Watch, an independent, medical human rights, research and documentation center at UC Berkeley.
http://www.counterpunch.com/hughes10252010.html

David Frum’s world is scary, Philip Weiss
He and his wife got off an Air France flight out of Paris in 2004, she relates, because they saw two guys who “looked… to be of Arab descent” and who “elaborately” prayed to Mecca in the departure hall.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/david-frums-world-is-scary.html

Nahla Assali and the assault on Palestinian dignity, Philip Weiss
The most meaningful phrases in the Goldstone report are the statements that Israel conducted an assault on Palestinian dignity in Gaza, and that the dignity of Palestinians is being eroded throughout the occupied territories. Now that I have toured Palestine extensively, I know these words are true. The Israelis have assaulted Palestinian dignity for more than 60 years. The assault is racially-based, and it disfigures Jewish life for all the world to see. And still it goes on.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/nahla-assali-and-the-assault-on-palestinian-dignity.html

Doron Spielman Doron Spielman, Philip Weiss
A number of friends have pointed out a slightly-unsettling-in-a-way-you-can’t-put-your-finger-on-it aspect of the 60 Minutes piece last Sunday night on occupied East Jerusalem: the affable spokesman for the religious occupiers, with an American accent, is one Doron Spielman.  And Doron Spielman is also featured in the documentary Budrus, as a spokesman for the Israeli government as it builds its wall on Palestinian lands. The same guy, a few years earlier.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/doron-spielman-doron-spielman.html

New Scandal Rocks Zionist Federation, Iqbal Jassat – Pretoria
The latest scandal to hit a self-confessed pro-Israeli organization in South Africa, the SA Zionist Federation, [SAZF] is likely to invigorate the ‘Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions’ [BDS] campaign against Israel and its affiliates. This remarkable turn of events involves a Johannesburg-based bag manufacturing company, Saley’s Travel Goods, who refused to supply the SAZF with goods on the grounds that it did not want to “aid and abet” organizations responsible for “crimes against humanity”.  The SAZF, known for its links to apartheid Israel, has in the recent past been embroiled in a number of headline grabbing controversies surrounding its defense of Israeli war crimes.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16356

The Organization That Cries Wolf, Josh Ruebner, National Advocacy Director, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
My late grandfather was a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. Many other members of my extended family were not so fortunate and perished in the Holocaust. Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), established in 1913, were designed to fight against this scourge of anti-Semitism in particular, and racism in general. However, sadly, the ADL has long since strayed from its original core mission “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”
http://endtheoccupationblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/organization-that-cries-wolf.html

‘The Burning Truth of White Phosphorus’: Responding to the ADL’s ‘Anti-Israel’ List, Alex Kane
Among the groups on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of the “top ten anti-Israel groups in America” was Students for Justice in Palestine, a  nationwide group of organizations on a variety of college campuses working on Palestine solidarity in universities.  SJP chapters have been instrumental in moving the cause of Palestinian justice and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement forward in the United States.  At Hampshire College, the SJP chapter successfully pressured the college’s board of trustees to divest from holdings it had in companies that profit from the Israeli occupation, a first in the United States.  Last academic year at the University of California, Berkeley, the SJP chapter there attracted international attention for its groundbreaking effort to push their college to divest from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation, although their initiative was ultimately felled by a veto from the president of the student government.
http://alexbkane.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/the-burning-truth-of-white-phosphorus-responding-to-the-adls-anti-israel-list

“You’re Not Alone”, KATHY KELLY
A week ago, at the small guest house where friends and I stayed while visiting Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers (AYPV) in Bamiyan, eight of us huddled around one cell phone to participate in a conference call organized by Fellowship of Reconciliation members in the United States.  The call was part of an ongoing effort to foster a connection between the AYPV and volunteers at the Rachel Corrie Center in Gaza.  The Gazan center was started by Cindy and Craig Corrie, whose daughter, Rachel, had tried to stop an Israeli bulldozer driver from destroying the home of a Gazan family that had befriended her.  The bulldozer driver crushed her to death.
http://www.counterpunch.com/kelly10252010.html

Karma Nabulsi on the Palestinian revolution, Max Ajl
Karma Nabulsi is an academic at Oxford, and used to be a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization. She is giving the 13th Eqbal Ahmad lecture a week from Thursday at Hampshire with Amira Hass (if you’re in the area, go). She is also, as far as I know, the first Palestinian voice to appear in the London Review since Edward Said died. By turns, I found the essay below intriguing, bewildering, mesmerizing, rending. It is rare to read a writer being so blunt and so beautiful about the reality that faces her people: “The Palestinians are stuck fast in historical amber…No one cares any longer for talk of liberation.” The common parlance is talk of managed capitalism and global social democracy. The left speaks too much about withdrawal into the interstices of capitalist domination. Anti-colonial struggles and Bandung and the Idea of the Third World are antiquities when every settler-colonial state has been restructured or overthrown, and the people bizarrely speak of the end of apartheid in South Africa as a model for Palestine. Nabulsi will have none of it: “Palestinians remain stubbornly – one could almost say, willfully – in the anti-colonial, revolutionary phase of their history.” She also identifies the how and why of solidarity efforts very clearly: “Palestinian civil society organizations have channeled” the mounting rage at Israeli human rights violations “into a vivid and well-organized campaign of solidarity through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.” And she identifies the process of how revolutions proceed, where they come from, how burning underbrush suddenly becomes conflagration. Read it.
http://www.maxajl.com/?p=4333&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+http%2Fwwwmaxajlcom%2Ffeedrss2+%28Jewbonics%29

Morbid Theater: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, George Polley
Admittedly, I am a relative newcomer to this discussion, which is not the same thing as saying that I am an ignorant one, as one Israeli correspondent has implied, saying that I have ‘a huge anti-Israeli bias.’ If by that he means that I question the honesty and aims of Israel’s government in its reading of history and its dealings with its Palestinian neighbors and citizens, then I stand guilty as charged. I have followed this conflict and discussion about it for years. The difference between ‘then’ and ‘now’ is that I poke around and ask questions, such as.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16355

Palestinians Have the Right to Resist Occupation, Agustin Velloso
As a Western supporter (non Muslim/Arab) of the Palestinian cause, I have always find it rather difficult to talk (let alone to advocate) about how best Palestinians can resist occupation, especially when this occupation is usually extremely violent and genocidal at times.  Ramzy Baroud’s self-restrained criticism of Western and some other willing peace teachers, has prompted me to introduce a different point of view, which probably is much more common amongst Westerners than the Palestinians themselves would believe, although the mainstream media, as it happens with many other issues, have successfully managed to keep under a lid.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16358

U.S. mediates talks between Abbas and sculpture of comatose Sharon
Following the recent unveiling of a life-size sculpture of incapacitated former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, ex-Sharon adviser Ra’anan Gissin registered his opposition to artist Noam Braslavsky’s rendering of the politic0-military figure, saying that he did not care to remember Sharon in his current vegetative state but rather in his proper incarnation, when he was “always active, always doing something for better or for worse”.  Had Braslavsky been more considerate, he might thus have alluded to Sharon’s for-better-or-worse activity by installing his piece not at a Tel Aviv art gallery but rather at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem or the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut.
http://pulsemedia.org/2010/10/25/u-s-mediates-talks-between-abbas-and-sculpture-of-comatose-sharon/

And the real enemy is …, Lamis Andoni
The US will continue to fail to convince Arabs that Iran, not Israel, poses the greatest threat to regional stability.  No sooner had Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, left Beirut last week, than Jeffrey Feltman, the US secretary of state for Near East affairs, arrived in the Lebanese capital.  Washington wasted no time in seeking to counter what it views as Iran’s growing influence across the Arab world and Ahmadinejad’s message of resistance to Israel.  But it is precisely that message that has so far foiled the US’ relentless efforts to form a regional security pact to isolate and confront Tehran. Washington has failed – and will continue to fail – to convince Arabs that Iran, not Israel, is the real enemy.
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2010/10/20101025795996281.html

One good reason Iranians might hate us, James North
The Central Intelligence Agency used to be proud of its role in the 1953 coup in Iran, in which the democratically-elected nationalist leader, Mohammad Mossadeq, was overthrown, and the repressive Shah restored to power. Especially back in the 1950s and ‘60s, CIA officials oozed with smug self-satisfaction as they leaked accounts of their derring-do to sympathetic journalists.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/one-good-reason-iranians-might-hate-us.html

Lebanon

Cluster-bomb fragments kill mine clearer in south Lebanon
BEIRUT: One mine clearer was killed and several others wounded Monday when cluster bomb fragments exploded amid removal work in south Lebanon.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=2&article_id=120804#axzz13QJzRMjv

U.S. to continue its support to Lebanese army: officer
BEIRUT, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) — A high-ranking U.S. officer said Monday that the Obama Administration was still committed to supporting Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), following a hold of the support by the Congress.  According to a news release by the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, visiting U.S. Air Force Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Lieutenant General Mike Hostage told LAF commander General Jean Kahwaji on Monday that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is committed to working with the U.S. Congress to continue Washington’s support for LAF.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-10/26/c_13574911.htm

SLA Traitor: ‘State of Israel turned its back on me’
South Lebanon Army veteran Fuaz Najim’s money ran out after he and his wife fell ill, leaving him effectively homeless. ‘I never asked for favors, only what I deserved,’ he says.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3974867,00.html

Iraq

Monday: 1 Iraqi Killed, 12 Wounded
A second day of what appears to be underreporting of attacks saw casualties only in the capital. At least one Iraqi was killed and 12 others were wounded in Baghdad. Also, Iraq has asked for international help in removing an estimated 20 million landmines left after decades of war.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2010/10/25/monday-1-iraqi-killed-12-wounded-2/

Saddam Hussein Confidant Sentenced To Death
Iraqi state TV says former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz has been sentenced to death for persecuting Shiite political parties during Saddam Hussein’s regime.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130826969&ft=1&f=1010

Iraq asks for help to clear landmines
BAGHDAD — Iraq called for international help on Monday to clear the estimated 20 million mines which pose a death threat in one of the world’s most heavily mined countries after three decades of conflict.  “Removing mines from Iraq is difficult because there are no maps to indicate the mined areas,” Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said at a government-organised landmines conference in Baghdad.
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/VVOS-8AKPHE?OpenDocument&RSS20=02-P

’Child cancer skyrocketing in Iraqi city’

A suspected source of the afflictions is the depleted uranium (DU) used by the invading forces. It is reported that the United States and Britain used up to 2,000 tons of DU during the Iraq war.
http://en.apa.az/news.php?id=132800

Report: Iraq, Afghanistan among most corrupt (AP)
AP – An international watchdog group says Afghanistan remains the world’s second most corrupt country, and Iraq is not far behind.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101026/ap_on_re_eu/eu_corruption_index

New Iraqi alignment reveals US failure
New information about the killing of five American soldiers in 2007, and a political accommodation between Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, reveal a convergence of Shi’ite interests in Iraq. This balance of power leaves the United States the odd man out. – Gareth Porter
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LJ27Ak01.html

Wikileaks

Investigate: Iraq War Logs 2004 – 2009
http://www.spiegel.de/flash/0,,24236,00.html

Wikileaks, new US report fuel controversy about Iraq’s PM
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, under scrutiny for torture implications in the Wikileaks Iraq dump, raised US concerns after he moved to put Iraqi Special Forces under his control.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/AofM69dJIUo/Wikileaks-new-US-report-fuel-controversy-about-Iraq-s-PM

Israeli parallel universe: Israel MK wants UN investigation into alleged Iraq war crimes
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — In a letter to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, an Israeli Knesset member, Michael Ben Ari, calls for an investigation of those responsible for alleged war crimes in Iraq.  The National Union MK filed an official complaint asking that leaders from the US and those responsible for “the occupation, genocide and war crimes in Iraq [be held] accountable.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327534

Iraq war logs: How civilians have paid heaviest price
Leaked military files analysed by the Guardian reveal secret US tally of Iraqi deaths.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/oct/22/iraq-war-logs

Iraq war logs: Apache helicopters kill 14 civilians in hunt for insurgents
US Apache helicopters killed at least 14 unarmed civilians in a series of previously unreported “gun runs” in eastern Baghdad only four days after the notorious killing of two journalists and 10 other civilians that was captured on a leaked cockpit video released in April.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/22/apache-helicopters-kill-iraqi-civilians

Iraq war logs: Secret order that let US ignore abuse
Mistreatment of helpless prisoners by Iraqi security forces included beatings, burning, electrocution and rape.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/22/iraq-detainee-abuse-torture-saddam

Faceless Woman in Endless War
The WikiLeaks papers do a valuable job of shedding light on the sexual violence of the Iraq War, among other things. There are reports in the archive of attacks or attempted attacks in which the perpetrators are members of the Iraqi police and the Iraqi Army (including one in which the victim was an American servicewoman, who “broke loose” and got help), Iraqi special forces, insurgents, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Shiite militia members, a commander in the Sunni Sons of Iraq, common criminals, gangs, hijackers, and “well known persons.” There are also references to demonstrations to protest the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl by an American soldier. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2010/10/faceless-woman-in-endless-war.html#ixzz13OcJeXJM

Gulf states urge Wikileaks probe
The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) urges the US to investigate alleged “crimes against humanity” in Iraq after Wikileaks publishes scores of war logs.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-middle-east-11620667

The Secret Iraq Files – Part two
We are getting an insight into the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq – who pays for it and does it get its money? We will also reveal details about Iran’s secret war inside Iraq, and America’s massive use of air power – is it as pecise as they claim?

Why I like Wikileaks, Stephen M. Walt
George Orwell once wrote: “In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” I thought of that line as I tried to sort through my reaction to the latest set of releases by Wikileaks, consisting primarily of detailed action reports from Iraq. My question is: are we better off having an organization exploiting the viral potential of the internet in order to make public information that government officials would prefer to keep secret?
http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/25/is_wikileaks_a_good_thing_or_not

Echoes of El Salvador in US-Approved Death Squads, PATRICK COCKBURN
The Iraqi documents released by Wikileaks produce significantly more detail on US actions in the war in Iraq. The Pentagon will huff and puff with rage as it did over the Wikileaks release of US military documents about Afghanistan, when it took the contradictory position that there was little new in what has been leaked, but important sources of intelligence had somehow still been compromised.
http://www.counterpunch.com/patrick10252010.html

Fox News editorial: WikiLeaks employees should be declared ‘enemy combatants’
Leading the attack on whistleblower web site WikiLeaks, Fox News editorialist and former Bush-era US State Department official Christian Whiton said on Monday that the US should classify the proprietors of WikiLeaks as “enemy combatants,” opening up the possibility of “non-judicial actions” against them.  “So far, the Obama administration appears to have been asleep at the wheel in responding to this,” he wrote for FoxNews.com on Monday. “The same is true of the Democratic-controlled Congress, which has no fewer than ten committees of jurisdiction that could be doing something about this—but which are not.”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/fox-news-editorial-wikileaks-employees-declared-enemy-combatants/

U.S. and other world news

US Seeks Wider CIA Role in Pakistan
The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday the U.S. has asked Pakistan in recent weeks to allow more CIA officers and special operations military trainers into the country to participate in Washington’s efforts step up pressure on militants.
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/WSJ-US-Seeks-Wider-CIA-Role-in-Pakistan-105591273.html

Pakistan’s Defense Minister Urges US to Respect Pakistan’s Borders
Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar called on Washington to order the US troops to avoid violating Pakistan’s borders and show respect for the Muslim state’s sovereignty.
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8908020964

US airstrike kills 50 Afghan civilians
At least 50 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, the Taliban have announced.
http://www.abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=210440

25 killed in Nato air strike in Afghanistan, official claims
Fazal Bari, the head of Helmand’s provincial council, said local officials had told him that 25 people had been killed but that the casualty figures could rise because many bodies were still buried in the rubble.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8085360/25-killed-in-Nato-air-strike-in-Afghanistan-official-claims.html

US-led strike kills four Afghan civilians
Local witnesses say at least four people, including an Afghan child, were killed in the US-led airstrike in the central province of Wardak.
http://bit.ly/cCfcM1

Two Afghan students killed by NATO occupation troops
Afghan officials accused NATO-led troops of killing two schoolboys in central Afghanistan on Saturday after a patrol came under fire by Taliban insurgents, but foreign troops said the circumstances were unclear.
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/24-Oct-2010/Two-Afghan-students-killed-by-NATO-troops

Afghans hold anti-US rally
Afghan people have staged an anti-US rally after American troops killed two students and injured another one in Maidan Wardak province in central Afghanistan.
http://www.military-world.net/Afghanistan/4348.html

Journalists banned from major Afghan offensive
The Pentagon brass knows that they need to conceal the deaths of innocent Afghan civilians and American GIs to bolster popular support for the war. They knew that this operation would involve especially large numbers of both and decided that they could not take the risk.
http://michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/journalists-banned-major-afghan-offensive

Holbrooke: No ‘pure’ Afghan victory
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, is downplaying news reports of American “peace talks” with Taliban leaders, but he acknowledges that a “pure military victory” in Afghanistan “is not possible.”
http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/1010/Holbrooke_Pure_military_victory.html

Guantanamo inmate pleads guilty
Canadian Omar Khadr admits to throwing grenade that killed US soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/10/20101025142318598641.html

Amnesty International:  USA must address Omar Khadr rights violations following plea deal
US authorities urged to address human rights violations committed against Canadian national in spite of him pleading guilty to the charges against him at a Guantánamo military commission. Amnesty International today called on the US authorities to address any human rights violations committed against Canadian national Omar Khadr, in spite of him pleading guilty to the charges against him at a military commission at the Guantánamo Bay detention centre.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/usa-must-address-omar-khadr-rights-violations-following-plea-deal-2010-10-25
 
Human Rights Watch:  Morocco: “Stop Looking for Your Son”
This report documents a pattern of abuse under Morocco’s counterterrorism law, which was adopted 12 days after coordinated suicide bombings in Casablanca on May 16, 2003, took 45 lives. Many of these abuses violate the progressive legislation Morocco adopted to safeguard against torture and illegal detention, as well as international conventions that Morocco has signed.
http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/10/25/morocco-stop-looking-your-son-0

Inside Story – Bahrain elections: Rising tensions
As the Gulf state’s Shia opposition won the parliamentary elections, what does the victory mean for sectarian issues and the country’s stability?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7KRvVnXv-Y&feature=youtube_gdata

www.TheHeadlines.org

Kufur Qassim, Rachel Corrie and premeditated forgetfulness

Oct 26, 2010

Hatim Kanaaneh 

Hussain Abu-Hussain, the Corries’ lawyer, thought his was a depressing profession. I sought to cheer him up by pointing out the dismal case of the oncology specialty in medicine. It didn’t seem to work; he had spent the whole day trying in vain to trick witnesses of the murder of the late ISM volunteer into telling the truth. But the relevant portions of those witnesses’ memory were hermitically sealed behind an impermeable wall of forgetfulness. Limited in my scope of knowledge and understanding to the field of medicine, I am intrigued by the mystery of what effective mind-altering drugs the Israeli Defense Forces have at their disposal to wipe out selective segments of their soldiers’ recall and to effect such precise lacuna of brain damage.

Hussain and his fellow international human rights legal expert, Jamil Dakwar, spent the morning interrogating the young and aggressive head of the Military Police unit that had investigated and dismissed as incidental and irrelevant the fact of Rachel’s death in close proximity to two IDF D9R Caterpillars operating in the Gaza Strep. Despite his striking alertness and wide-eyed combative demeanor on the witness stand, he still lapsed into a state of amnesia when a question crept to within touching distance of the prohibited black hole of truth.

On more than one occasion he would throw up his hands in a dismissive private gesture of exasperation to the judge as if in intimate private conversation with him. He seemed to do that every time he felt that he had succeeded in debunking a clever ploy by Abu-Hussain or in adequately deflecting another of the latter’s attempts at reminding him of details he had consciously forgotten.

He confirmed, albeit indirectly, the statement previously made in court by one of his colleagues to the effect that “in war there are no civilians.” But he did so in such a circumspect and disconnected manner that the judge seemed to miss the point, for He (and the capital here is intentional, for that is how He seems to consider His position in the domain of His court of judgment) did not display any sign of distress or aggravation in line with what I have come to expect neurologically. Abu-Hussain grilled this witness on the specific point of what rules and regulations there existed on the subject of operating a D9 in the presence of civilians in the area.

The witness, whose name, Shalom, said it all, wavered between the written prohibition of operating the Caterpillar as a battle implement in close vicinity of civilians and the definition of what constituted a war arena and who were civilians and who were not and under what circumstances, etc. etc. ad infinitum. All that Abu-Hussain could prove was that it is very difficult to trick a man who is intent on forgetting to remember.

Two thoughts crossed my mind as I pondered the implicit oxymoron when one speaks of willful forgetfulness, thoughts that separated me momentarily from the court’s surroundings and carried me to my own private dream world causing my wife to poke me in the side every time my snoring disturbed her: inexplicably I found myself as a child in pre-1948 Palestine in the midst of my father’s apricot orchard.

It was Ramadan and I was fasting. I had learned that morning in our religion class that if a fasting person forgets and mistakenly eats or drinks something, it does not annul his or her fast and he or she gets full credit for the day despite eating or imbibing his or her fill. I had figured that if I spent enough time in the orchard I would be likely to forget and consume few delectable apricots from my father’s trees. But hard as I tried, I couldn’t forget the fact that I was trying to forget; the harder I tried to forget my fasting state the more I was aware of it.

I spent the whole afternoon focusing on selecting the fruits that I wanted to eat accidentally. My wife poked me in the ribs and admonished me to stop snoring. I came to and glared at the state’s defense lawyer who had a habit of moving her delicate hands in animated circles in front of her face as she raised an objection.

Her motherly fine features and the hypnotic motion of her tiny hands put me back to sleep. I was back in my physiology class at medical school: My favorite lecturer was asking us to try to tickle ourselves. It was impossible, he explained, because the tickling experience depended on the surprise element in it. Since our mind is incapable of surprising its own self, one cannot tickle one self.

But apparently I succeeded in breaking this rule of basic physiology. My wife poked me in the ribs again: “You shouldn’t giggle in court either!” Now, fully alert in the wee hours of the morning, I still fail to make full sense of these dreams though they seem not to be totally irrelevant to the subject of tricks our minds play on us. Can a clever lawyer make a witness forget his premeditated forgetfulness?

As I came to, the same witness was still on the stand. (I wonder if I shouldn’t capitalize Him as well. He did display certain godly pretensions in his upright combative posture and physical display of readiness to appropriate the space fronting him.) How comical it must have seemed to him: A civilian barrister putting words in his mouth in a futile attempt to force him, a military colonel, to remember facts long expunged from his memory, active and inactive, long and short, and filed away under ‘forgotten.’

And the barrister looks distinctly Arab and must have, it is safe for loyal Zionist citizens of Israel to presume, dislodged from his own memory any residue of the implicit oath of loyalty to them he must have taken. We all know Abu-Hussain received his law degree from the Hebrew University and should never be allowed to forget the civilizing influence of associating with ‘real citizens of the Jewish state.’ He should have been made to swear such an oath before getting his license to practice.

I recall swearing loyalty to Israel and its laws when I became a state employee. Nothing was new in that. But then I swore loyalty to Israel as my country and not the country of someone else. I assumed at the time that my Jewish colleagues may hold different interpretation of what Israel was. And I never knowingly broke Israeli laws, objectionable as many of them were. But, at the time, I could convince myself that I could work to change such laws and to adapt the nature of the state to accommodate me.

The question for my Zionist fellow citizens remains whether when I swore allegiance to Israel I meant it and whether it was specific enough as to whose state Israel was. No wonder so many legislators are now working hard to clarify the point: making citizenship contingent on declaring loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state. That will be followed in due course by mechanisms for the verification of real intent. Now that I have retired I am out of the loop, no longer professionally active in the public arena.

That is why I can only speculate on how others will react to the new laws of verifiable intent: Imagine a legal mind like Abu-Hussain’s grappling with the Kafkaesque quandary of swearing loyalty to an entity that excludes him out of its definition. To fall back on my field of expertise, how can a doctor who presumably had dedicated his life to preventing pain and saving lives swear allegiance to promoting illness? By swearing such an oath he would cease to be a physician though the law requires him to do so in order to be one. Let me give another simile for my differently-inclined fellow citizens: How can a member of the Yakuza swear an oath of allegiance to the Japanese police. There is a deeper psychological point here to which I will return later. It is enough to drive one to distraction.

The afternoon session was dedicated to a witness that the defense lawyers had asked that he be allowed to testify incognito for reasons of personal safety. He was the commander of the army unit operating the D9s in the vicinity of Rachel’s death incident. The court was adapted specifically for this occasion: a screen was set up between the audience and the witness stand.

The plaintiff team moved their seats closer to the judge’s stand to be able to see the witness. Abu- Hussain requested that the judge allow members of the Corrie family to move to that side of the court as well so they can see the witness but the request was denied. I could understand that: If all the Corries and their entourage of translators and reporters were to be exempted, my wife and I would be the only ones left. My wife is not a threat. She is not the violent type. And I would probably be asleep half of the time anyhow. Or else they could have blindfolded the two of us and did away with the screen altogether.

No such luck: the judge asked to have an armed guard at the door of the courtroom and warned us all not to take pictures at pain of arrest on the spot. This castigation induced in me a sudden urge to empty my bladder. I resisted till I could resist no more.

As I tried to exit, the guard tried to prevent me and I insisted. He went in and asked permission from someone, perhaps the judge, for me. Fortunately, the request was granted. To hear people in the Arab world criticize Israel’s judicial system as unjust towards its Arab citizens, you would think such gesture was impossible. Here was my proof to the contrary. Believe me, given the circumstances and with the pressure mounting inside me, being allowed to relieve myself was the greatest act of justice I had ever experienced in this country.

The mystery witness was the commander of the unit operating the D9s on the day and in the arena of Rachel’s death. Judging by the witness’s voice I figured he was a male in his forties of medium build and a smallish balding head that allowed for the evaporation of much of the previously stored bits of information in it in Israel’s hot sun. All he could remember from that day’s incidents was seeing the late peace activist sitting in a “pool of dirt.” Nothing more and nothing less. He also had little to enlighten the court about the rules of engagement with civilians for operators of D9s.

There were civilians, a dozen or so of them, in the battlefield, the battle that raged between D9s and Palestinian homes with the civilian foreign combatants in bright red and orange clothing running as decoys for the anti-Israeli structures which must have caused one D9 to mistake one of them for a menacing Palestinian home. That, at least is my best interpretation of the events of the day. But the commander had a different story to tell: All he saw is the dead body of the late Corrie woman in a “pool of dirt.”

Taking his testimony as ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” one is left with the question of what was he talking about when he spoke on the wireless from inside his D9 to the driver of the other D9 under attack by, and closer to, the civilian foreign combatants in the battlefield. He is heard to ask in Arabic “Did you kill him?” The answer comes loud and clear: “Allah Yirhamu — May Allah have mercy on his soul.” Did he think the dead person in the “pool of dirt” was a man?

He, of course, couldn’t remember any of that. What is more amazing is that this brief vocal exchange, recorded on video, was left out from the written transcription of the video’s soundtrack. None of the investigators, whether in the internal operational run of the army or in that of the military police, ever took notice of that last conversation. It was the Plaintiff’s lawyers who picked out the small gem. What remains is to figure out who exactly said what and what did he mean?

‘Allah Yerhamu’ is part of the well entrenched military jargon in Israel. Since whoever says it usually lacks full understanding of the meaning of each of its constituent words, the phrase is a less painful way of indicating the act of killing. Additionally, the phrase is a distinct high point in the collective memory of our community, the Palestinian citizens of Israel. On October 29, 1956 it cost us 49 innocent lives: children and elderly, woman and men. Britain, France and Israel had declared war on Egypt earlier that day to retrieve the Suez Canal, which Jamal Abdul Nasser had nationalized, to its lawful colonial owners. Military instructions were issued from on-high to impose total curfew on Arab villages in the center of Israel including the village of Kufr Qassim.

The unit commander asked the specific question of how to deal with farmers who might be out in their fields and would not have learned of the curfew. The answer came in clear and simple military jargon: “Allah Yerhamu!” With that farmers returning home from the field were stopped at the entrance to their village, lined up and mowed down; 49 of them including 23 children.

“Allah Yerhamu” is not the only connecting thread between Kufur Qassim and Rachel Corrie. The war came and went and Kufr Qassim didn’t even register on the Israeli military or government radar screen. Till communist agitators started doing what they knew how to do best: agitate. An investigation was launched and brigadier commander Issachar Shadmi was found guilty of a minor administrative offence and fined one Israeli cent. Emile Habibi, the master of tongue-in-cheek Palestinian writing, made ‘Shadmi’s cent’ a household term in our community.

This is where my blood starts to boil in anger against the inflated claims of the Corries: If the price of 49 Palestinian lives was set at one cent, how dare they ask for a whole dollar for the life of their daughter? Consider for a moment, please, the relative ratio of one Corrie life to one Palestinian life: One Israeli cent was one hundredth of a lira; the lira was scrapped and replaced with the shekel which was equal to ten liras; then that was scrapped and replaced in turn by the New Israel Shekel (NIS), a thousand shekels to one NIS. At the current rate of NIS 3.6 to the dollar

1 Corrie = $1 = 3.6 NIS = 3.6 x 1000 x 10 x 100 / 49 = 73468.8 Palestiniens.

And the world dared to question Israel when its fatality ratio during the recent Gaza ‘preventive military action’ stood at one to hundred.

Just to give the Israeli judicial system its due and just credit, I should add that some half dozen low-ranking soldiers were found guilty and received sentences of several years in jail each. In verifying the details of the Kufur Qassim account I called on my communist age-mate cousin, Toufiq, who served time with the same imprisoned Israeli soldiers.

At the time he had been sentenced to a dozen years in jail for playing a leading role in a youth demonstration in Nazareth in which he was accused of shouting pro-Nasser slogans. To this day he claims that I was the one who shouted “Long live Jamal Abdul Nasser!” not him. But I was not caught. Besides I was not a communist. Very early in the game I decided to wipe that incident off of my hard disc and to this day I have no memory of the event whatsoever.

Another thing that riles Toufiq to this day is that shortly after their imprisonment the soldiers were pardoned by Israel’s president while he served his full term. “If you do the right calculation, taking into account the nature of the crime and the number of days served in jail,” my cousin insists, “the value of an Israeli soldier is worth over a million Palestinian communists like me. I didn’t even shout the slogan about Nasser, for God’s sake!”

Be that as it may, in the current court proceedings, our mystery witness refused to be drawn into the memory lane that the plaintiff team labored so much to animate for him with the set of toy caterpillars that they had purchased for the purpose. And he refused to be drawn into creating a matching human form with the putty that the lawyers had brought for him. For the rest of the afternoon Abu-Hussain used the soft fistful of putty as a tool of physiotherapy for his arthritic left hand.

I had already noticed that the man had a habit of pressing his extended fingers against his neck to crack the aching joints. (I told you already that once I was a good diagnostician.) Still, all that the witness could recall was that he saw a dead person in a ‘pool of dirt.’ I wondered if Abu-Hussain was going to pull out a sack of soft dirt from his bag. As to the proximity of those D9s from the pool of dirt and similar specifics of the death incident, the lawyers’ efforts were unrewarded. Personally, I reached the conclusion that Rachel, Allah Yerhamu, had committed suicide by drowning in a ‘pool of dirt.’ After all, those were members of the most ethical army in the world and would not lie under oath.

This interpretation is not as farfetched as all that: Imagine a young idealist woman who dreamt of a just world including a just Israel. She arrives in Gaza to act on her commitment to let justice reign in the world. She discovers that Israel is unjust beyond redemption. She realizes that back in her own country campaigning against Israel’s injustices committed against the Palestinians will gain her the label of anti-Semitic. To wipe your slate clean of such a foul label you have to work for Israel’s benefit as per its own definition of itself. That, of course, includes throwing the Palestinian usurpers out of ‘our’ sacred holy land. To try to change the accepted American consensus regarding the just claims of Israel is another mission impossible. So, to fight against the threat of the smear of anti-Semitism, the prime label of bigotry, Rachel must have realized that she would need to become a bigot. Now that is another Kafkaesque quandary enough to send one into despair.

For an idealistic young woman trapped in such an insane vicious circle, suicide must have seemed to be about the only remaining logical choice. And what means are there in Gaza for committing suicide. Dirt is abundant. One looks for an appropriate ‘pool of dirt’ and, while everyone around is not looking, one jumps in and holds his or her breath under the soft cover of dirt. Or should it end with a soldier instructing Rachel to ‘take a deep breath’ as some other people were once instructed in the process of their execution?

Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for over 35 years to bring medical care to Palestinians in Galilee, against a culture of anti-Arab discrimination. He is the author of the book A Doctor in Galilee: The Life and Struggle of a Palestinian in Israel. This post originally appeared on his blog A Doctor in Galilee and a previous report from the Corrie trial for Mondoweiss can be found here

Me and ‘Nejad’ in Beirut

Oct 26, 2010

Khashayar Safavi 

Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s visit to Beirut just over a week ago created hysterical reactions in nearly every quarter of Lebanese society. While half the country went crazy in adulation for the leader of the country that they consider their closest ally (and has backed that commitment up with billions of dollars in relief, military, and development funds), the other half went just as crazy in over the top denunciations of the one of the most powerful men in the Middle East today.

His drive from the airport to Downtown Beirut made headlines around the world for the tremendous display and number of well-wishers who came out to welcome him, and in a highly symbolic gesture he waved out to the crowds of Palestinian well-wishers who lined the streets along Burj el Barajneh camp in South Beirut, a demographic usually ignored by foreign dignitaries keen on focusing on Lebanese prosperity or sectarian strife. The message was clear- Iran is a friend of the Palestinians, and Iran’s support to the Lebanese Resistance is Iran’s way of struggling to open the path for their Right to Return.

This theme of Iranian support for the struggle against Israel was repeated oft and again, and at various points in Ahmedinejad’s speeches he spoke directly to the Palestinians of Lebanon, reiterating his support for their Resistance and for Palestinian political unity. The crowds in Dahiyeh and the South went wild for “Nejad,” and the feeling of defiance and of strength, of being part of a larger project against imperialism and against colonialism, was infectious.

I had arrived in the Dahiyeh that Wednesday evening determined to observe the speech passively, as an observer, and kept my spirits even even as the Iranian flags and posters of Ayatollah Khamenei’s face were passed out en masse to the boy scouts seated around me, giddy as they were in their matching suits with small portraits of the late Ayatollah Khomeini on their left breast pockets.

But as the video footage of Hezbollah’s bloody victories over Israeli occupation began to play on the screen, and the music lauding the Hezbollah fighters’ bravery in the “Summer of Anger” of 2006 entered full swing, it was hard not to feel my heart racing and to stand up, waving my Iranian flag and shrieking with the masses around me to the representative of the country that had stood alongside the Lebanese Resistance unwaveringly for decades.

The feeling, however, would not last. Even as Iranian money had helped rebuild Lebanon after the 2006 war and was now being pumped into the Lebanese economy and infrastructure like never before (including a $450 million deal signed the week before with the Lebanese Energy Minister), Iran was repressing its own people’s right to speak and right to disagree more than ever before.

It was a hard deal for me to swallow, particularly as I myself am an Iranian citizen and I was arrested and beaten up during an opposition rally only a few months before Ahmedinejad’s visit to Beirut. While clamoring against Zionism and imperialism abroad and calling for equal rights for the Palestinians in Lebanon, Ahmedinejad was strangling our freedom back home and souring my friends’ interest or concern with the Palestinian and Lebanese causes.

The love among the Iranian Left for Palestine and the Resistance remains strong, but every day that passes that Ahmedinejad uses the Palestinians and Lebanon as an excuse for his tyranny, and they cheer him on unabashedly, the more worried we become that our compatriots’ compassion will begin to wear thin. The worst part about all of this for me as a progressive Iranian who supports the Palestinian struggle against Zionism, is that Ahmedinejad has disgracefully little to show for all the noise he makes about Palestinian rights.

If it is true that Ahmedinejad supports the Palestinians, why did Iran not get behind the Right to Work campaign organized among the Palestinians in Lebanon in June of this year? Why has Ahmedinejad been completely moot on the issue of the complete lack of social, civil, and economic rights for Palestinians in Lebanon, and why has he not pushed Hezbollah to work on this issue? Why did his predecessors not protest against the 2001 law revision that took the right to property away from the Palestinians?

The problem with Iran’s version of support for Palestine is that it is completely dependent on militarism and from a perspective that places armed resistance and nationalism above everything else. This perspective gives us great sound bites, but just like in Iran, it squeezes out room for an independent civil society which can struggle to attain rights through non-armed confrontation.

As much as Ahmedinejad posits himself as the anti-Zionist hero, the Palestinians must remember that his defense of their cause is through tried and unsuccessful means at best, and is antidemocratic and against the cause of a true national liberation movement at worst.

A recent letter from the former President Khatami’s brother, Seyyed Mohammed Reza Khatami, to Seyyed Nasrollah on the occasion of Ahmedinejad’s visit probably capture my feelings the best:

The expectations of our nation from all those who claim to be fighting against oppression and tyranny is to demand from those who have imprisoned these dear ones [imprisoned Green Movement leaders] to stop their oppression and tyranny and urge them to implement even the slightest of what they wish for the dignified nation […] of Lebanon, for their own people.

I don’t think he would disagree if I added the “dignified nation of Palestine” to that list as well.

Khashayar Safavi is an activist based out of Beirut, Lebanon.

Dennis Ross strokes AIPAC on delegitimization and 2-states (‘before it is too late’)

Oct 26, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Is it election season? Laura Rozen reports that Dennis Ross, the Obama aide at large, and really a representative of the Israel lobby, went to AIPAC in Florida to talk about Iran etc. Read the speech and you will see all the talk about the joint exercises with Israel and fighting delegitimization. Delegitimize appears twice. So the world is turning against Israel, but we’re not, Ross is assuring the Israel lobby. People are afraid, they hear footsteps.

This administration’s commitment to Israel has also been demonstrated in our work to defeat efforts in international organizations to single out or delegitimize Israel. Most recently, we successfully coordinated the opposition to a resolution at the IAEA General Conference singling out Israel’s nuclear program for rebuke. …

I don’t have time to go through how we are working intensively to jump-start negotiations today, but I do want to close with a couple of points about the need for peace and the importance for both sides to take the strategic and historic decisions that are required to preserve a two-state solution before it is too late.

Two questions: Why is it singling out Israel at the IAEA when Israel is the only power in the Middle East with actual nuclear weapons? If you’re talking about nuclear weapons in the Middle East then you have to talk about Israel.

Also, preserving a two-state solution “before it is too late.” What follows if we don’t get there? I don’t think we will. So what’s next, Dennis?

Israeli formula maintains a minimum of ‘breathing space’ in Gaza

Oct 26, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

More details on Israel’s official siege policy in Gaza. Amira Hass reports in Haaretz:

In the three years since Hamas took control of Gaza, Israeli officials have employed mathematical formulas to monitor foodstuffs and other basic goods entering the Strip to ensure that the amount of supplies entering was neither less nor more than the amount Israel permitted, according to documents released last week. . .

The formulas used coefficients and a formulation for “breathing space,” a term used by COGAT authorities to refer to the number of days remaining until a certain supply runs out in Gaza, to determine allowed quantities. . .

A high-ranking COGAT officer told Haaretz that “Regulation, supervision and evaluation of supply of inventories in Gaza” is a method of quickly identifying a shortage of any basic item in Gaza, and that despite the mathematical equations contained in the document, he had never intentionally limited the amount of goods allowed to enter, but on the contrary, verified whether inventories of certain basic supplies in Gaza were full.

The COGAT spokesman said that the regulations were formulated “based on well-known basic foodstuffs, in consultation with the Israeli Health Ministry and in consideration of family consumption habits in Gaza, as published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2006.”

The document contained “warning lines,” which were defined as “the days of [remaining] inventory beyond which the relevant official must pay attention to the deviation from reasonable norms and examine the correctness of the model.”

There were two types of warning lines. The “upper warning line,” which identified surpluses, was defined as an inventory exceeding 21 days for products with short shelf lives or 80 days for those with long shelf lives.

The “lower warning line,” which identified shortages, was defined as an inventory of less than four days for products with short shelf lives and of less than 20 days for those with long shelf lives.

The senior COGAT official said the upper warning line was never actually used and the lower line was an important tool for identifying and averting impending shortages.

No Justice, No Chickpeas: Philly activists go ‘Gaga’ to spread hummus boycott

Oct 26, 2010

Adam Horowitz

Philly BDS, a coalition of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, and Arab organizations, recently initiated a boycott campaign against Sabra and Tribe hummus products because of their connection to human rights abuses of Palestinians. Coalition member Hannah Schwarzschild explains:

“As a customer and a Jew, I hope that Fresh Grocer will heed the concerns of it’s community members and consider ceasing to distribute these products. Not only would this a be a huge step toward supporting the human rights of Palestinians and working for a more just and peaceful Middle East, it would also serve to educate the community about the power of our consumer choices.”

Learn more at http://www.phillybds.org/.

My nephew is about to serve

Oct 26, 2010

Yonah Fredman 

My nephew will be called up some time in the next few weeks to begin his three-year stint in the Israeli army.

He is not my first nephew to reach draft age. My brother’s four oldest sons have all passed that age, but they are part of the ultra Orthodox community and do not consider army service part of their lot in life or duty. My eldest sister lives on a kibbutz and her four sons have all served in the army.

But my kibbutz sister made aliya in 1982 and her sons (and daughter) were raised speaking Hebrew as their first language and though I love them dearly I cannot deny the existence of a language and culture barrier. My second sister made aliya in 1995 and lives in Ra’anana, a suburb of Tel Aviv that has a large English speaking community and so I am quite close to her family including the nephew who is about to be drafted. 

I almost served in the army myself. I first arrived in Israel in February 1972 and studied in the occupied territories at the yeshiva in Gush Etzion. (renowned in this blog for its sewage.) Yeshivat Har Etzion was less than four years old at the time and had less than a dozen Americans and about 150 Israeli students. The Israelis split their time between their studies and their army service. They would serve in the army six months at a time for three different periods spread out over a four year period, with the rest of the time spent studying in the yeshiva.

The oldest students in the yeshiva had served as paratroopers, but the army decided to channel the younger students into the tank corps instead. This was quite a disappointment to those who had their hearts set on becoming members of the elitist paratroopers.

In October of 73, the Yom Kippur War broke out and six Gush Etzion students plus two alumni were among the 2,521 (or 2,800) Israelis killed during the 19 days of that war. Before the war my plans were to return to the US at the end of the school year, but the war influenced me to stay in Israel and join the four year army/yeshiva program. But my parents’ permission was needed to sign up and they vetoed the idea and thus in July of ’74 my first stay in Israel came to an end and I returned to college in the US of A.

My politics in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War were right wing particularly on the question of settling the West Bank. But three years later in the aftermath of Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem and the resulting Camp David accords I was supportive of the peace accords including the plans for autonomy for the West Bank and Gaza. Further I felt that negotiations with the PLO were inevitable and necessary, a point of view that was not mainstream at the time.

Last weekend I spent Shabbat at my sister’s and I couldn’t help but be discouraged by the right wing views expressed by my nephew. I tried to remind myself of the evolution of my own thinking: “I thought the same when I was his age,” I reassured myself. But in fact, I never got a chance to serve, whereas he will serve. Although there are those like Micha Kurz who become more dovish as a result of their service, there are many who instead become hardened. 

And those are only the dangers to his soul and the danger he will present to others. What about the dangers to his life and limb? Do I trust the army and the prime minister to do the most for peace and to think things through before going to war? Hardly.

I am practically struck dumb when considering these dangers. So I am thrown onto my final line of defense: the Psalms (91:11) “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

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