Archive | November 13th, 2010

INDIA: THE STATE WILL FAIL

NOVANEWS

The State will fail if the Army and Air Force are used against the Maoist

Aruna Roy

Aruna Roy, a political and social activist, gave up her career in the Indian

Administrative Service in 1975 to devote her time to social work and social

reform. She has focused her energies on Rajasthan, where she helped establish

the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti

Sanghatan in 1990, a grass roots peoples organization that works for the empowerment of workers and peasants. In 2000, Ms. Roy won the Ramon Magsaysay award for community leadership and for her role in empowering Indian villagers to claim what is rightfully theirs

by upholding and exercising the people’s right to information. As Maoist violence continues unabated in the country, Ms. Roy spoke exclusively to Jyoti Malhotra for the Wall Street

Journal. Excerpts from the interview.

WSJ

especially in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, murdering people and damaging public property. As someone who has worked as an activist for many decades in rural India, what is the reason for this sudden violence?

: In recent weeks, India’s Maoists rebels have unleashed a reign of terror across the countryside,

AR the country. The Adivasis, or tribals who live here, are delinked from other parts of the country socially, culturally and politically, they are really like an island. Since Independence, most government officials have treated these areas as punishment postings. Few have wanted to live and work there and those who have gone have not treated the tribals as their equals. It’s been a sort of sahib-servant relationship. Several activists and those in the development sector did work there, but always came under surveillance like Binayak Sen. With Sen, as you know, he was arrested and put behind bars and accused of sympathizing with the Maoists.

An important group which reached the tribal areas were the Christian missionaries

who set up schools there, followed by Hindu right-wing groups who decided that the

tribals must be “saved” from the Christians. These religious tensions usually ended in

violence. In the meantime, the tribal belt, which is really the mineral belt of India, became

the focus of interest of multinational companies… : It is now widely accepted that development has not reached people in Chattisgarh and other parts of

WSJ

: Tell me the geographical extent of the tribal belt?

AR

of Maharashtra. Maoist rebels claim they control 182 districts out of 604 districts in the country. Because of this overwhelming mineral wealth and the desire of the MNCs to tap it, the government, very often, are in hand in glove with these MNCs, and rode roughshod over all democratic norms and principles of political equality and equity to acquire the land. The government tried to use the laws to clear the forests of the tribals who opposed the taking over of their lands. It didn’t work because the law also empowers the tribals to rights over land. When you touch a raw nerve like land, the people rise up. In fact, there is this contradiction today in India, where we talk about the right to property as a fundamental right .

But that should also mean that the right to property of the tribals is equally valid and important. So the “persuasion” tried by government and MNCs didn’t work. Alternative employment was offered, but it was so meager that there was an uncomfortable impasse for some time. Meanwhile, there remains no system of governance, no delivery, no sympathy or understanding on the part of the government per se.

: It’s huge, from Bihar and Bengal to Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, via Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and parts

WSJ

they were made to help the people?

: But there were several infrastructure projects that came up, dams and roads and bridges, surely

AR the oustees. Often the land gets sold to outsiders. I saw an interesting pamphlet the other day about “Jat land” in Chhatisgarh. Now the Jats are a community in faraway Haryana and Punjab and they’ve been sold land in Chattisgarh ! It’s illegal because it’s a violation of the rights of tribals who cannot be alienated from their land. So it’s a ‘benami’ transaction (carried out in someone else’s name).

: If you’ve been to any dam site you’ll realize that once dams are constructed, they often don’t benefit

WSJ

: How did the Chhatisgarh tribals end up selling their land to the Jats?

AR

often make uninformed choices and can be persuaded to mortgage their land and when they cant repay their loans, well, they sell it. In fact, the rest of India has allowed them to remain primitive in their responses. We have not done anything to offer proper opportunities for education or given them a meaningful stake in the mainstream.

: The tribals are still not only needy but also very naïve, they don’t know what their rights are, they

WSJ

: So how did the Maoists get involved?

AR

villain in every way possible. Of course, the state reacted too. With violence it wasn’t going to take things lying down. So they created, at least in Chhattisgarh, the ‘Salwa Judum’ or a people’s army. They armed people, including children, with guns to fight the Maoists. Several people opposed the creation of such a vigilante army, set up and supported by both the Congress and the BJP.

Now an army is mandated to fight an outside, invading force, but how can it fight its own people?

The need to seek political and developmental solutions remains on top of the agenda. But the State of Chhatisgarh has become a police state. All those who protested against the ‘Salwa Judum’ were and are being silenced and jailed. So in a situation where the tribals are beaten up by the forest guards, fired upon by policemen and even set upon by the Salwa Judum, what is their recourse without access to democracy ?

We have now set up a group called the ‘Citizens for Peace’ and our stand is that all peaceful means must be explored and political negotiations must take place.

: This fertile ground offered the Maoists the perfect opportunity because the state was seen as the

WSJ

: Home minister P. Chidambaram has said that you should negotiate on behalf of the tribals…

AR

negotiate on behalf of the tribals or with the government. It is the government’s business to negotiate, not ours.

: We have offered to come up with new ideas, and help set up a dialogue. But we are clear that we can’t

WSJ

: So what is your group going to do?

AR

cities know the power of the media and how the media has access only to one kind of thought. But people need to know both sides.

: We want to create public opinion that tells both sides of the story. Those of us who live in the big

WSJ

state has failed?

: Do you think Mr. Chidambaram’s offer to negotiate with the tribals is an acknowledgement that the

AR

crackdown against the Maoists. The Air Force is already supposed to have done a survey of the entire area.

If the Army and the Air Force do go in, it’s war. That is what we want to avoid. We have openly said that anybody who indulges in violence or kills is a murderer, be it a policeman or a tribal person.

However, I also want to make one thing clear. The law must be fair, there must be good governance and the state must allow independent monitoring teams into the area.

: The government has failed, yes! But the state will fail if the Army and Air Force are used to

WSJ

the Maoist violence?

: Do you think good governance will solve the problem? Isn’t there an ideological underpinning to

AR

: Good governance may not resolve it, but it will prepare some space for resolution.

WSJ

: But you don’t think it’s an ideological struggle ?

AR

The people have taken to this ideology because there is no alternative, or they see it as their best

alternative. If you give them a better alternative, the people will go there. I would like to quote the Bolivian prime minister Evo Morales here who said, there is the Left and there is the Right, but we are the people.

In our country, the way it often works is that when we vote for a particular political party, the vote is the most reasonable choice from the vast set of negative choices that we face. For the tribals, the truth is that there is no choice, or very little.

:The ideological struggle is for the Maoists. For the people it’s different; they are fighting for succor.

WSJ

arms because the government doesn’t exist?

: Are you saying that there is little alternative for the tribals but to follow the Maoists in taking up

AR

to exploit them.

: Yes. The truth is that the government doesn’t exist in any of these areas, or hardly. It has only existed

WSJ

: So why the violence? Do you think the violence is justified?

AR

many reasons. It’s a failure of listening to the people. If the state consistently doesn’t listen to the people who are the sovereign, then what results may seem like “irrationality.” Although I don’t think it’s irrational, the fact that the tribal is taking up arms to defend his life, his family, his land. If a man dies fighting for his country against Pakistan he is considered a hero. But if a tribal dies fighting for his land, why don’t we call him a hero? Isn’t it the same thing? As for the violence, we can’t justify it, but we have to understand the circumstances that lead people to choose violence over other means to fight for their lives and livelihood.

: These are two separate questions. Violence from either side cannot be justified, but it occurs due to

WSJ

why are the Maoists rebelling against them?

: What about a state like West Bengal which have been run by the Left parties for several decades,

AR

the Left in Bengal. This has had a direct impact in the elections. Nandigram and Singur, two sites in Bengal where large tracts of land were sought to be given to MNCs are an example of the alienation from people. Truth is, the people who have gone to the “other side,” who became Maoists, were once with the Left, they were supporters of the party. A party which used to consistently listen to the people and were its voice has, somewhere, not listened to them.

: There again, MNCs were brought in without consulting the people, which is why they rose up against

WSJ

Singur in West Bengal, Posco in Orissa are trying to build industry, improve per capita income and socioeconomic indicators…?

: You say that MNCs grabbed land in the name of development, but several MNCs like the Tatas in

AR

democratic process of consultation with people. The government has given large tracts of land to Special Economic Zones and to MNCs in the name of boosting export, but I would like to know whether exports have really gone up. Moreover, they hardly employ local people…We have to ask ourselves, who is benefiting from this industrialization. Who is losing?

: Let us say that most of the projects grab more land than they need and come in without any

WSJ

: Aren’t we romanticizing this? After all, industrialization is the way forward…

AR

transparency, that’s the problem. Nobody knows whether the MNC is telling the truth when they demand a certain acreage for developing a project. Or whether the people have really been consulted and whether the government has the people in mind when it agrees to certain terms and conditions. There have been so many betrayals…The breakdown of trust is more or less complete. Meanwhile, the question also is, what is “development”? If I don’t have food in my belly and my land has been taken away for a big project, is that “development?” How am I going to gauge it? Does 8% or 9% growth every year constitute “development”? Should we measure it by the property we own in the cities or the amount of gold that is bought and sold or whether the people of India have access to food, shelter and health?

And if someone thinks that this 8%-9 % growth is going to take India forward and India’s going to fly, then believe me, it is going to be pulled down by the remaining 80%. That is why this 80% has got to be nurtured, they have to be given rights and access, they need some share in this spectacular growth of ours.

: This is the voice of the people, not a few romantic young people with revolutionary ideals. There is no

WSJ

: And violence…

AR

has failed…History teaches us that violence only occurs when everything else has failed. If this is

beneficial development, why is there so much violent opposition to it?

: It is the absolute last resort. When reason has failed, when rationality has failed, when compassion

WSJ

: So this “red corridor” that runs through the heart of India, a state within a state…

AR

Gandhian way, which is talk to the other side and treat them as equals, negotiate, find out what’s gone wrong. But we can’t send the army in as Home Minister P.Chidambaram is threatening to do. In any case we must talk to the people who are facing the consequences the most.

: I don’t know how “red” it is. But we have to ask ourselves, how to take this forward. I would go the

WSJ

opposition parties which run the affected states, whether it is the Left in Bengal or the BJP in

Chhatisgarh?

: Its interesting that the Congress-led government at the Centre has the same views as all the

AR

different parts of the country at different times and nothing changed for the tribals. Moreover, the tribal leadership has either not been accepted and promoted, nor have their histories or ideologies become part of the mainstream. Instead, they’ve been forever the subjects or recipients of ideologies evolved by others.

One of the biggest failures of independent India has been the failure to give the tribals a place in the national scene.

: Why is that surprising? After all, every political party laying claim to a different ideology has ruled

WSJ

work in disaffected areas like these?

: Do you think government programs like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)

AR

peace, you can’t work in the fields if violence is breaking out all around you.

: That’s what the states are claiming. However, programs like the NREGA demand a modicum of

WSJ

4 years ago, what is the progress so far?

: On the Right to Information (RTI) Act, with which you’ve been closely associated since its inception

AR

commissioners or government to implement Section 4. (This mandates the government to publicly disclose as many as 17 bits of information, including its budget, personnel, areas of work, etc.) That’s why today the government can’t touch the RTI without touching the whole of India. Because it’s been used by a variety of people for a variety of reasons, with reasonable success. Sharing information is sharing power and nobody understands this better than the bureaucracy and the politicians, in that order.

But the people are now asking for their, for our share of governance, our share in decision-making, in fact if the tribals of India had had RTI 40 years ago, the situation that we face today wouldn’t have happened.

Wherever I travel, people feel the RTI is their Act and they own it. This is a fundamental change from what existed years ago.

Of course, a number of problems remain, of infrastructure, non-delivery, of systems not being in place, information commissioners not being trained, etc. But on the whole, the Act has worked.

: The RTI has become a lifeline for democracy in our country. Despite the failures of various state

WSJ

: But despite its success, the government wants to amend it. Why?

AR

reasons for decision-making should become secret. Which means you’ll know nothing about the process, just the end decision.

: The government wants to put all file notings under wrap. Meaning, all discussions, consultations, all

WSJ

: But so far the process has been open?

AR

Personnel & Training which comes under the Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for the

functioning of the RTI, is now saying that the “consultative process” as well as anything that protects the “candour” of people expressing their opinion, will not be revealed. Behind this move to amend the Act and to kill its spirit, is the bureaucracy.

: Yes, so far the process has been open, although they now want to close that. The Department of

WSJ

: So the government which gave the RTI to the people four years ago is now taking it away?.

AR

who is going to decide what that is? Possibly, the policeman or the ‘patwari’ (village revenue official) or the ‘sarpanch’ (village headman)… Naturally, everything will be “vexatious”…The move undermines the entire Act itself.

: Equally horrifying is that all applications which are “frivolous or vexatious” will be disallowed. Now

WSJ

: You’ve been involved with the NREGA on the ground, how well do you think it has worked?

AR

they can monitor it, where there has been concurrent evaluation, where we know what the losses or gains are. So, every time I read about corruption in the NREGA I am thrilled, not because there is corruption but because for the first time, so many people are protesting against waste of public money. India should be proud.

: I will say that this is the first rural development service where people know what they are receiving so

WSJ

: Give me an example…

AR

allowance because they applied for work and didn’t get it. According to the Act, you have to get work in 15 days within five kilometers of your village, and if the government can’t give you work, it has to pay you unemployment allowance…Could you ever think of something like this before?

: A women’s group in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, has got 1400,000 rupees ($29,710) as unemployment

WSJ

: But what about the enormous leakages and lakhs of rupees down the drain…

AR

swindled it and how it has been swindled. In Bhilwara, in Rajasthan, we have just completed a social audit. We used RTI to access public records and bring them out into the public domain, share it with people whose names are on the records and took a public meeting to testify whether their names were rightly or wrongly there.

You see, RTI is a mandatory provision in the NREGA, which means transparency and accountability on the part of government functionaries is now mandatory. That’s how you find out what’s going on, because now the people can’t be refused information. It’s mandatory for every ‘panchayats’ to do a social audit before the next installment of money is released by the government.

: For the first time, we know where the money has gone, even if its down the drain. We know who’s

WSJ

: What is a social audit?

AR

quality and choice. They are now taking place all over the country. In Andhra Pradesh, they do more than 2 dozen audits every day, and over the last few months they’ve recovered more than 60 million rupees from defaulters…For me, this is democracy at work.

: It is an audit where every penny can be tracked, but it goes beyond the money to questions like

WSJ

: Tell me about your Bhilwara social audit?

AR

money for materials was being wasted. There was this bicycle repair shop that was issuing bills for the supply of cement and materials worth lakhs of rupees. We traced this through VAT, etc, and now the whole lower political system and the lower bureaucracy is up in arms against us. I’ll give you a positive example too. Thirty Bhil tribal families, which have been migrating for several years looking for work in the big cities, for the first time did not migrate last year. Because of the NREGA, they found work in the village.

If there had been a process like this in Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand, in the tribal areas, why should there have been any violence at all? Fifteen years ago, when we talked of social audit, we were told we were Naxalites, but today a social audit is an institutional form of governance.

: We were able to get some transparency in the muster rolls, in the labor lists. Then we discovered how

WSJ

: So this is now being replicated all over the country?

AR

to look at the tools used by women in the NREGA. In the last 60 years, nobody has taken so much interest in tools used by poor women. What should the ‘gainti’ or the pick-axe be like, can fiber-glass rods be used to reduce its weight, and should it be both-sided or one-sided? What about the ‘tagari,’ or the tray in which the mud is lifted, should it be lighter? If you carry it on your hip, should it be shaped round or should it have a dent?

Now, with one click of the computer mouse you can find out the name of the man or the woman who has got work under NREGA, her job card number, how many days of work they’ve got, how they have been paid, etc. It’s all on the Web site and its open to everyone.

: Two years ago, an industrial design institute in Pune, Maharashtra, came to us asking us they wanted

WSJ

: Thank you very much. WSJ

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Safed, a war story

A campaign of racism and anti-Arab incitement is turning one of Israel’s holy cities into a ticking bomb

by Gideon Levy

The telephone rings. “Hello, this is Mustafa, I’m calling about the apartment.” The response comes quickly and emphatically: “No, it’s already been rented.” Or, “I only rent to women,” or “I only rent to families.” Or, in an angry tone: “Heaven forbid, do you want to stop me from reading the Torah on Shabbat,” or “I’m afraid of the rabbis.”

Abu Salah- Miki Kratsman

Abu Salah. Sometimes he introduces himself as “Tomer”.

Photo by: Miki Kratsman

For an entire hour, student Mustafa Shahin, a resident of Sakhnin who studies sociology and human resources at Safed College, made telephone inquiries – in vain. Because he is an Arab, the rental listings on the college bulletin boards are irrelevant. Mahmoud Abu Salah, Shahin’s representative in the student union (there are a total of eight representatives, but only one is an Arab ), says that he sometimes introduces himself on the phone as “Tomer” to get the conversation started. Now everyone has started calling Mahmoud “Tomer.” But that doesn’t mean people want to rent to Arab college students in Safed.

The city is roiling: It recently hosted an “emergency conference” of 18 rabbis and 400 of their followers on this issue. There was an armed attack on an Arab student apartment. A Jewish legal ruling was handed down by the city’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Eliyahu. Mayor Ilan Shohat and veteran resident Eliyahu Tzvieli, who rented an apartment to Bedouin students, have received threats. The message is: Arabs, go home.

In response to plans for establishing a medical school in Safed, flyers were circulated last week by some sort of “campaign headquarters,” declaring: “The smokescreen called a medical school obscures an evil scheme: to establish a refugee camp for psychotic, sadistic and debased Arabs, whose deceptiveness is, and always has been, aimed at tempting [Jewish women] and cruelly abusing them. On orders of the great rabbis of Safed, may they be blessed with a long life, we declare our protest and vehement resistance, and reiterate that it is forbidden under the law of the Torah to offer these people apartments for sale, rent, work or any form of entry. Our city will not succumb to wanton behavior – go back to your own locales and do not defile our camp.”

The language of this flyer slams the Safed College Internet site, which touts “a city that blends academia, tradition, kabbala and a magical atmosphere.”

Abu Salah reads the flyer and puts it in his pocket without uttering a word. For the time being, he and his peers are showing restraint, but a time bomb is ticking here. Safed is a war story in the making.

 Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria was born on Safed’s slopes, and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was born nearby. Today, the town’s artists’ quarter is being snuffed out by ultra-nationalist zeal. On Jerusalem Street, where Safed College is located, there is a Rav Hesed supermarket; a Galgal Hakodesh store that sells Jewish religious articles; and a furniture store with a special “bride-and-groom” deal for furnishing an entire apartment for NIS 8,888.

Safed College, operated under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University, has 1,700 students, and the whole campus seems to speak Arabic. Indeed, when we visited the institution last week, it seemed to have an absolute Arab majority. The most obvious exceptions were a policeman and a prison warden, both enrolled as students, and two lecturers who wore skullcaps and ritual fringes. Strolling around the sun-drenched campus, with its olive and cypress trees, were dozens of Arab students from the Galilee. Some, but not all, of the female students wore traditional head coverings; male students had hair gel. On the lawn, next to the modest library, a student set down his jacket, and kneeled to pray in the direction of Mecca.

The whole area is full of surreal contradictions: There is the bearded driver who shouts threateningly, in Arabic, at what he calls “el Yahud [the Jews]” – a group of Arab students, who cross the street and stare at him apathetically. The campus seems tranquil, while the city seethes with racist hatred. One sees Bratslav Hasidim and newly Orthodox and other pious Jews roam the streets along with hijab-clad, traditional Muslims.

A recent editorial, titled “The Ishmaelites,” in the Hamevaser newspaper proclaimed that one of the city’s rabbis conducted an inquiry and discovered that funding from the European Union and Saudi Arabia finance the college’s Arab students.

“I wish they did support us,” reflects the student activist, Mahmoud Abu Salah, aka Tomer, with a wistful smile. He embodies several contradictions: He claims that he served in the Israel Defense Forces as an undercover soldier, yet he is the student union delegate of the “Arab sector” (an Israeli expression ), and his dream is to become the state comptroller or an ambassador. “I don’t have any problem representing the state – this is my state,” he says wanly.

Not exactly minted in the “Danny the Red” mold, the young man allowed himself to be photographed in a triumphant pose, alongside the memorial to the “Liberators” who expelled his forefathers from the city. A second-year law student who already has a degree in social work from the college, he wears preppy white shoes and a Puma belt.

Abu Salah has already resided in four apartments in Safed. At present, he is compelled to commute each day from his village because it is nearly impossible for Arabs to find a room to rent in the city. Out of the college’s 900 Arab students, he says, only a few live in rented apartments, not including the 120 who live in the dormitories.

On a recent Saturday, Abu Salah met MK Ahmed Tibi in Jenin’s market, and asked the parliamentarian not to visit the college.

“We don’t need Arab MKs here,” he explains now. “We keep things quiet on our own. I think the college should take care of things here. I don’t want to organize demonstrations; I want to keep things calm. I stay silent, but the college has to do something. That’s what I told the college president. We have never encountered racism on the campus grounds – so they [Knesset members] can come make the rounds in Safed, but shouldn’t come here.”

This week Abu Salah met the Arab students’ representative at Netanya Academic College, and learned that it is also nearly impossible for Arab students in that coastal town to rent an apartment. He says he has Jewish friends who signed a rental contract in the name of Arab students. But after it was discovered, the landlord was threatened; he was told that his own house would be burned down if Arab tenants were to remain in the Safed apartment.

Abu Salah: “Rabbi Eliyahu thinks that we want to return Safed to the Arabs. They think that we want to remain in the city after our studies. But only a few [Arab students] remain here on Saturdays. An [Arab] student comes here solely for the purpose of studying. After that he’ll go anywhere, to get the hell out of here – what is there for us in such a poor town? A student spends an average of NIS 50 a day in the city, not including rent. We help Safed’s economy. I’m not even talking about the money they make from parking fees. Most come to study here, and are not looking for trouble.

Nobody comes looking to compile a criminal record … They [those who object to the Arab students] want us to organize; they want to remove us from here. But we want to be smarter than that, to show them that we exist, without causing an uproar,” explains Abu Sabah.

During his studies, he says, he has been employed in two local hotels, Rimonim and Canaan Spa, working as a shabbas goy – someone who assists devout Jewish guests on the Sabbath. He has provided similar services for neighbors: “I would return home, and a neighbor would tell me, ‘It’s cold.’ At first, I didn’t get it. What was I supposed to do, warm him up? But they spoke to me with gestures, so that I’d understand what they meant and light their furnace on Shabbat.”

He also has stories of residents spitting at Arab students, and of students entering stores and being told that they were “closed.” He has heard chants on streets, like: “An Arab is a son of a bitch.” I asked him how he would respond were someone to call him a dirty Arab. “I would ask him, am I really dirty? I take a shower twice a day and dress better than you,” Abu Salah quips.

At Hummus Atika, an ultra-Orthodox waiter served a smooth, kosher version of the chickpea paste, which was actually pretty tasty. The restaurant walls were covered with colorful portraits of past and present rabbinical sages, including the late Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, father of the Safed rabbi who is spearheading the Arab expulsion.

Haaretz’s Galilee correspondent, Eli Ashkenazi, told us he heard recently from Eliyahu Tzvieli, 89, the resident who was threatened after he rented an apartment to Bedouin students, that an Arab student entered a falafel joint Tzvieli rents to a Jewish proprietor, and ordered a meal. “I’ll give you poison,” was the response. Tzvieli tried to cancel the rental contract for the falafel stand, but was unsuccessful.

The student Mustafa Shahin lived last year in rental apartments located off Safed’s main pedestrian thoroughfare, and also in the Canaan neighborhood. This year, he spends 70 NIS a day on bus travel to and from his home. He has phoned dozens of landlords, explaining, “This is Mustafa, I’m calling about the apartment.” He was always rejected.

He phones a man named Viktor, who has an apartment for rent.

“Only women,” says Viktor.

“But I live alone,” pleads Mustafa. “I don’t make trouble and keep quiet.”

Viktor responds: “I have a problem. I would take you, but there are the rabbis. They give me problems. I would rent to women, I’m not afraid, but not to men. Good luck, Mustafa.”

Then there was a “fully furnished” apartment.

“Good afternoon, this is Mustafa, I’m calling about the apartment,” the student says.

“Try calling at night, I’m driving right now,” replies the landlord.

After several more fruitless phone calls, Mustafa gives up. Some students come up to us and relate their own experiences. A college bulletin board lists some living-room furniture for sale, and a wooden kitchen cabinet. Mustafa calls up, but is told the furnishings are no longer for sale.

Shinseki: Suicide Rates Soar Among US Vets

Agence France-Presse

The economic downturn and the trauma of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have pushed more US veterans to suicide, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Thursday.

As Americans across the United States and around the world celebrated the contributions of men and women in uniform on Veterans Day, Shinseki outlined a sobering picture for the approximately 23 million veterans in the United States.

Only eight million of those veterans are currently registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Shinseki said. Many slip through the cracks due to crippling mental health problems, homelessness, alcohol and illegal drug abuse or crime.

Several studies have shown that suicides are on the rise among youths who have left the military.

“It’s compounded by the stress, the trauma that goes with the current operations, where we have a much smaller military being asked to do so much and then repeat it tour after tour,” Shinseki told National Public Radio (NPR).

“I know the suicide numbers are up.”

In January, he indicated that 20 percent of some 30,000 suicides in the United States each year are committed by veterans.

Suicides claimed the lives of a record 309 servicemembers last year, up from 267 in 2008, according to Pentagon numbers. The number of suicides between 2005 and 2009 — 1,100 — exceeded that of the number of US military members killed in Afghanistan since 2001.

The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs do not keep statistics on veteran deaths.

Shinseki pointed to a backlog of Veterans Affairs cases or disability claims that has soared to over 700,000 this year, up from 400,000 to 500,000 the year before.

He noted that the number of new cases has increased faster than his agency’s capacity. Even though the Department of Veterans Affairs closed out 977,000 cases last year, it got another million new cases.

A large number of the new cases involve younger veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Department of Veterans Affairs has changed its requirements regarding PTSD claims, so that veterans no longer have to prove they got the disorder because they served in a warzone. There has also long been a stigma in the military associated with psychological problems.”If it’s verified, that connection is now automatic, it’s provided,” Shinseki explained, noting this had increased the number of cases he has to address.

“We have PTSD treatment going on with veterans that go back to World War II, Korea, Vietnam. So it’s a large generational issue.”

Asked whether the dour economy had increased veterans’ reliance on his agency, Shinseki noted that “the economic downturn has had that impact on families” over the past year and half, while he has struggled to meet a goal to end homelessness among veterans in five years.

“We’re doing fine, just not going fast enough,” he added.

A July report by the army on suicide prevention found that senior leaders have failed to track reckless behavior and monitor alcohol and drug abuse among soldiers back home as the military focused on fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over nearly a decade.

Repeated deployments with shortened dwell time have also strained the military, and the army hopes to soon give soldiers two years at home for every year deployed.

Netanyahu exploited his U.S. trip to embarrass Obama

(Haaretz) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to the United States this week damaged Israel diplomatically, undermined the country’s relations with the U.S. administration and showed Netanyahu up again as a rejectionist who does nothing but look for excuses and delays to avoid making decisions.

Netanyahu flew to the annual conference of the United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Federations of North America in New Orleans; from there he went on to New York. Strengthening ties with Diaspora Jewry is certainly a worthy cause, but Netanyahu took advantage of the stage he was given to embarrass the Obama administration.

His public call on the Americans to create a “credible military threat” against Iran merely exposed the disagreements between him and the administration, portraying Israel as a warmonger trying to drag America into another entanglement in the Middle East. No wonder Netanyahu’s declaration evoked a dismissive response from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Netanyahu focused on issuing warnings about Iran and the “delegitimization” of Israel, pushing the peace process with the Palestinians to the sidelines. His messages sounded coordinated with the scandalous speech by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the UN General Assembly.

Then came the reports about Israel’s approval of large construction plans in Har Homa and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods. Netanyahu again found himself in a public controversy with U.S. President Barack Obama and insulted Vice President Joe Biden, shortly after Biden had praised him enthusiastically in a speech.

Netanyahu was then forced to have “clarification talks” with Biden, whom he had embarrassed in similar circumstances only eight months ago with the declaration of the building plan in East Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood during the vice president’s visit to the capital.

Toward the end of the visit, Netanyahu hinted he would agree to an additional construction freeze in the settlements, but in exchange for some far-reaching demands. He wants extensive American security assistance and all the Arab states (apart from Saudi Arabia ) to sign peace agreements with Israel at the same time as the Palestinians.

Netanyahu apparently tried to show that the Republicans’ victory in the congressional elections rendered him immune to the administration’s pressures and that he had the upper hand in the controversy over the settlements. This is a shortsighted approach that endangers Israel’s interests. Israel needs a steadfast friendship with the United States.

REMEMBERING A MARTYR FOR PALESTINE: TO A CHILD WHO DREAMT OF FREEDOM

by Reham al Helsi

Faris Odeh

You dreamt of playing with your friends in the streets and alleys of Palestine, you dreamt of playing without fear of F-16s and tanks, you dreamt of playing without blood and tears. You dreamt of running in the streets, up the hills and on the beach. You dreamt of playing hide and seek in a world where playing wars and soldier and civilian would be just a game, an uninteresting game. You dreamt of a Palestine that is free.

You dreamt of Hebron, Haifa and Al-Jalil. You yearned for Jerusalem; spoke to its ancient houses and beautiful arches, you wished you were a bird to fly over its old city, kiss its sky and touch its hills, caress its houses, its mosques and its churches, and hug the city you love so much.

You stood steadfast in your land, the land of your parents, your grandparents and the generations that were before them and those that will follow. You confronted the occupier with your bare body, stood tall in the battlefield, armed only with a stone and the just cause. You stood in the face of the coward soldier hiding behind a killing machine, afraid of the truth that you incarnate, the truth that is moving to sweep away the occupation, the oppression and Zionism.

You refused to accept the status quo, you refused to be intimidated by armed soldiers, you refused to forget. You refused to accept the lie, refused to accept the distortion of history, you knew that the land is ours no matter how many massacres the occupier commits, no matter how many times the occupier bombs our homes, no matter how many of our villages the occupier deletes. You stood up to a Zionist soldier and told him in a strong clear voice: what are doing here? This is my land!

You feared Zion not, feared no merkava, no F-16 and no bomb. You knew no fear, for you are the owner of the land, the son of the land, and the land knows you, the land is part of you. You confronted the fully-armed soldier of Zion, you refused to be harassed or ordered around in your own country by a colonizer, a Zionist soldier whose hands are stained with the blood of your siblings, your friends, your comrades, your neighbours.

You refused to be oppressed by a Zionist land-thieve whose alien caravans are built on the ruins of the sitting room and playgrounds of Palestinian families. You feared this soldier not. You refused to be intimidated by his gun, by his tank and by his warplane. You held your little stone, aimed and shot, and watched as the fully-armed soldier fled in fear to hide behind his tank.

You stood steadfast as the Zionist soldier watched you from behind his fortress, trying to threaten you with his tank. You stood steadfast facing his fortress, armed with your thirst for freedom and your little stone. You saw the realization in his eyes; that this is a war the Zionists will never win, that this is a land the Zionists will never have, that this is a people the Zionists will never break, that this is a land that will never be anything but Palestine, that this is a people willing to fight to the last drop of blood for the sake of this land.

You stood facing the fire, saw your homeland, stood within your homeland, stood on its sacred soil and knew that no fire, no matter how strong, would be able to swallow up the courage in our heart, nor be able to erase the little home with the orange tree printed in your mind. You refused to run away, you refused to fear them, but stood tall and walked. And with every firm step you took, with every resolute look you gave them, you marched towards Nablus, marched towards Haifa, marched towards Al-Jalil, marched towards Jerusalem.

You marched between the killers, you marched and saw the fear and cowardice in their eyes as you passed them, you marched and marched until you saw the blue sky over Jerusalem and knew that the stone has triumphed.

You believed in the strength of a stone, a tiny stone capable of shaking the thrones of Zion. You held the stone in your little palm, caressed it and kissed it for it is a weapon more powerful than bombs and tanks and warplanes, and in your heart there is more courage than is in their army of cowards. Your words are painted in our books, are carved on the walls of our homes, printed in the sand along the Palestinian shore and mixed with the oil running through the olive trees decorating Palestinian hills.

Words your little mind memorized, words your little heart often sang, words you left us for safekeeping until return: even if they break my bones I am not afraid, even if they demolish my home I am not afraid.

You taught the world that had long lost its conscience the meaning of determination, courage and dignity. You taught the world that is hypocrite to the bone the meaning of steadfastness in the face of oppression, that rights are never begged, that the oppressed can never be equated with the oppressor. You showed the world that speaks a thousand tongues that for courage there is only one name, and for freedom there is only one name, and for the land between the River and the Sea there always was and will always be one name: Palestine.

You forced the blind world to open its eyes and see you walk in confidence, full of determination towards your oppressors, confront them, dance the Palestinian dance of resistance, of victory and show them who owns the land and to whom the land will always belong. You forced the blind world to open its eyes and see your sling confront the Zionist merkava and defeat it. You forced the deaf world to open its ears and hear your words about a little boy who wanted to know no fear of bullets that come raining every day, the words of a boy who wanted to know no fear of flying monsters that bomb homes at night.

 You forced the world to hear your songs about a little bird that wants to fly high over the sky of Jerusalem, wants to kiss Al-Aqsa and the Holy Sepulcher, wants to engulf the smells of the Jerusalem’s old city and swim in its colours. You forced them to listen to your voice, the voice that was louder than the fire, than the tank, than the occupiers, than the collaborators and the sellers and the bidders.

You challenged them all, showed them who is the owner of the land, whom the lands welcomes and embraces and who it vomits and rejects. Your only weapon was your heart, your love, your belief in the just cause that is ours. Your only weapon was your little stone, your constant companion in all the battlefields. With your weapon, the little stone, powerful than any other weapon, you confronted the occupier, you challenged their killing machine, your challenged the whole blind and deaf world. You showed them that your stone, your weapon, the weapon of a fighter for a just cause, is much stronger and powerful than all their weapons.

And as you lie on the ground, your blood streaming to water the sacred soil, your little heart beating slower and slower, you smell the poppies of Palestine, you feel the sea breeze in Akka, you see the blue sky over Jerusalem and you know that Palestine is forever yours.

They left you to bleed to death. They watched as your innocent soul left your little body. They watched as your little loving heart stopped beating. They did nothing to save you. They feared you. They feared the little boy who stood up to their might, stood up to their tyranny, stood up to their killing machine and feared it not. They feared you because you are the generation that should have forgotten Palestine, that should have forgotten Jerusalem, that should have forgotten how sacred a stone is.

They feared you because with your little heart and your little stone you told them a reality that haunts them: you won’t be able to delete our memory no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to delete our history no matter how hard you try. We are here to stay and Palestine will forever be from the River to the Sea.

Faris Odeh

You dreamt of freedom and you got it, you reached for freedom and you got it. You snatched it from the mouth of the monster, you snatched it for it is your right. You are free.
And as Jerusalem fills our hearts, and as Palestine thrives with our steadfastness, you will forever be remembered, you will forever live in our hearts, in our minds and in our Palestine.
You will forever remain, Faris Odeh, the 15 year old Palestinian hero who confronted the Zionist tank with his little stone and won.

Source: My Palestine

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

Reham Alhelsi is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian. She has worked extensively in the Palestinian Broadcasting Company and since 2000, when she moved to Germany, has trained at various radio and TV networks including Deutsche Welle, SWR and WDR. She is currently writing her PhD in Regional Planning with a focus on Palestinian Land Management and local government.

Cornerstone of Zionism is to Conquer, Not Negotiate

 

Violence–an inevitability in the Zionist project.. 
 

by Hasan Afif El-Hasan

Only through force and sheer violence, not negotiations, an exclusively Jewish state could be established in a country inhabited and owned by another people. It is humanly inconceivable that people surrender their country to strangers through negotiations. Thus violence against the indigenous Palestinians has been a central component of the Zionist movement since it was conceived as a colonial enterprise. Violence as an instrument to intimidate the Palestinians has been embedded in the Zionist ideology and in its popular culture.

Since they started colonizing Palestine, the Zionists have planted and cultivated a culture loaded with provocative racial themes in the daily life of the Jewish colonizers that dehumanize the Palestinians, like “the Arabs understand only the language of force” and “a good Arab is a dead Arab.” The Zionists’ myth refers to the Jews as superiors, “heroes” and the Arabs as inferiors, “villains” and “cowards” who have to be terminated. The Israeli Zionists educate their children to hate the Palestinians. Grammar-school children were pictured signing the bombs that killed Gaza children in 2008-09. 

Violence to coerce the Palestinians to submit, accept and acclimate took many forms including physical, political, cultural, legal, financial and symbolic. Violence has been inevitable in the Zionist project since it is required to create and maintain an ethnic Jewish home-land in a country where Jews constituted a tiny minority and owned a small percentage of its land.

Israel could not have been established with a Jewish majority as planned by the Zionist elites without using brutal force to cleanse the Palestinians from their home-land. According to Ilan Pappe, Ben-Gurion’s approach to the ethnic cleansing was to use force to reduce the number of Palestinians who constituted seventy percent of the total population in 1948 to “less than twenty percent of the overall population in Israel.”

Yediot Achrinot newspaper quoted Binyamin Netanyahu saying on December 17, 2003 that “if the relationship with these 20 percent Palestinians [in Israel] becomes problematic, the state is entitled to employ extreme measures.” Aron Soffer, a Professor of Geography at Haifa University, was inciting extreme violence according to the Jerusalem Post on May 10, 2004 saying, “So, if we want to remain alive, we have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day….If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist.”
 
The Zionist armies and militias used the massacres, terror and the threat of more violence to expel the Palestinians from their homes in 1947-48 war. They destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages completely including their cemeteries and created a hegemonic political culture to maintain the Jewish character of the state and dominate its Arab citizens. They enacted laws to legalize the expropriation of the Palestinian refugees’ lands and prevent their return. Refugees who tried to return were killed on the spot.

The Zionist foundational strategy has been to create the state of Israel in Palestine and exclude any reference to its indigenous population in its history. It tries to wipe out any physical evidence that may suggest that people other than Jews lived in Palestine. A team of archaeologists and biblical experts, called “the Naming Committee” was created for the only task of Judaizing Palestine’s geography. 

After destroying the fabric of the Palestinians’ society, the Zionist colonialists built Jewish settlements and national parks on the sites of eradicated Palestinian villages. They replaced the Arabic names of the towns, streets, mountains and landscape with Biblical names; thus denying the existence of Arab history in those lands where Palestinian villages had been bustling with life before their people were expelled in 1947-48.

The native Palestinians who survived the ethnic cleansing in Israel have been subjected to legal and institutional terror and discrimination. They were placed under martial laws for almost two decades and have been subjected to laws that deprived them of their lands, violated their civil rights and relegated them to second class citizens. The Israeli “Law of Return” gives Jews all over the world, regardless of their connection to the land, the right to be Israeli citizens while denying the same right to any relative of an Israeli-Arab citizen who had been born and raised in Palestine. Laws that discriminate against the Palestinians are manifestation of legalizing racism.

For further maintaining the domination of the ethnic Jewish character, the Israeli Zionists degraded the usage of the Arabic language in the Arab schools curriculum; and they organized the official national calendar according to the Jewish religion and the Zionist movement history. They enacted laws to prohibit any reference to the Palestinians’ national movement and their long struggle against the British and the Zionists. The Israeli Ministry of Education issued a decree forcing school children including the Arabs to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel by signing the Independence declaration which praises the founding fathers who planned and executed the massacres, the expulsion and the destruction of the Palestinian society.

The most hideous form of the Zionists symbolic violence is their obsession with the Palestinians demography in all historical Palestine especially in Israel proper.  The increase of the Palestinians numbers is called “demographic threat” by all Zionist political parties, groups, individuals and the press. An Arab baby born anywhere in Palestine is viewed by the Zionists as a “malignant cancer” rather than a human being. When he was minister of finance in 2003, Benjamin Netanyahu said “Israel’s big problem is its own Arabs not the Palestinian Arabs.” The Israelis call the ethnic Palestinians of Israel “Arabs” and those in the occupied lands “Palestinians”.

The Zionists spend time and resources planning and implementing strategies to control the perceived “demographic danger”. Roth Gabison, a candidate for Israel’s Supreme Court viewed the Palestinians growth as a problem that requires radical solution. She declared on December 1st, 2007 that “Israel has the right to control Palestinian natural growth.” Israeli Zionists have many blueprints for solving the “demographic problem” based on the usage of force not negotiations. The Israeli-Russian ethnic party of Avigador Lieberman and religious parties openly promote the “voluntary transfer” of the Israeli Arabs to the West Bank, a euphemism for ethnic cleansing.

Their solution in Gaza has been the unilateral withdrawal and placing the Palestinians in the Strip under all-out siege, daily targeted assassinations and bombardments, invasions and massacres. The Zionists do not hesitate to execute those trying to deliver symbolic humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinians. As for the occupied West Bank, the plan is to annex large parts of the Palestinian lands while leaving large population centers outside direct Israeli control. They built the 8 meters high separation barbed wall in the Palestinians’ land. To carve areas with least Palestinian population the wall 670 kilometer serpentine rout is twice the length of the border of Israel proper.

The Israeli military and the settlers confiscated Palestinian lands and built Jewish only settlements and roads; they caged the Palestinians into few Bantustans; enforced a South African apartheid system; and they threaten to withhold the Palestinians’ taxes, prevent foreign donors’ aid to reach the Palestinian Authority (PA) and starve its population should they resist the occupation.

The Israeli Zionists annexed East Jerusalem and its surroundings, declared it the eternal capital of Israel, built settlements on confiscated lands, demolished Palestinians’ houses, deported elected Palestinian legislators and passed laws and regulations to ethnic cleanse its Palestinian residents.

And in Israel proper, if it was not for the Palestinian minority own steadfastness and courage, the world would have witnessed the ethnic cleansing of the last Palestinian now living within Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a “state of the Jewish people”. The Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded that the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict “must not be land for peace, but an exchange of land and people.” The Israeli-Arabs have been paying a heavy price for their determination to challenge the Israeli plans to expel them. Their land has been appropriated; they were victims of discrimination and even bloody massacres by the Israeli military. They have been forced to witness the loss of their heritage, history and future.

The Zionists established Israel over Seventy-eight Percent of historical Palestine in 1948 using force and they are following the same strategy to swallow the remaining twenty-two percent. If the Palestinian leaders still believe that “life is negotiations” even in dealing with the Israeli Zionists, they have not learnt their lesson that the cornerstone of Zionism has always been to conquer, not to negotiate.

– Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. His latest book, Is the Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York), now available on Amazon.com. He contributed this article to www.PalestineChronicle.com.

Obama’s Fake Muslim Outreach

(C) 2010 Omar Ghraieb

US, November 10, (Pal Telegraph – Stephen Lendman) While slaughtering Muslims abroad, supporting Israeli’s illegal occupation and genocidal Gaza siege, as well as waging domestic war on Islam, Reuters, on November 9, headlined, “Obama says US earnest, reaching out to Muslim world,” saying:

From Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, “President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Washington’s effort to reach out to the Muslim world was earnest and would help improve security, although he acknowledged that there was still more work to do.”

At a news conference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhovono, he said, “With respect to outreach to the Muslim world, I think that our efforts have been earnest and sustained. We don’t expect that we are going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust that have developed over a long period of time, but we do think that we’re on the right path.”

On August 31, he wreaked of duplicitity declaring an “end to the combat mission in Iraq,” saying:

“Throughout this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility.” 

No matter that after two decades of war, sanctions, occupation, millions of deaths and displacements, disease, and insecurity, Iraq no longer exists. Divided in three parts (the Basra south, Kurdish north, and Baghdad center), it’s unsafe, corrupt, terrorized, tyrannized, contaminated, and permanently occupied like Afghanistan and wherever else America shows up, the scourge of the Muslim world.

On November 9, New York Times writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg headlined, “Obama, in Indonesia, Criticizes Israel on Housing,” saying:

“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations, and I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side make the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough.”

More duplicity by a president who partnered with Israel’s occupation project, funds its wars, supplies billions of dollars in annual aid, more on request, plus the latest weapons and technology. A president with no interest in peace or Palestinian rights. One spurning his own people, especially the poor, disadvantaged, and millions of American Muslims. Who chides Netanyahu’s construction plan for 1,000 new homes in the West Bank Ariel settlement, besides 800 more in East Jerusalem (all on stolen land). Who provides annual aid to fund them. Who now extends outreach to world Muslims with policies that betray them.

Obama plans a formal November 10 address, either at the University of Indonesia or a Jakarta mosque, venues that should spurn, not welcome him. So should Seoul, South Korea when he arrives Thursday for the G-20 conference, its agenda planning exploitation, not help for global millions in need, especially victims of US imperialism and persecuted Muslims everywhere who reject Obama’s rhetoric, the same fake populism his agenda exposes.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at  lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Iran Accuses IAEA of Leaking Info to US

Slams Amano Demand to Accept Additional Protocol

by Jason Ditz,  www.Antiwar.com

Faced with a new series of demands from IAEA chief Amano Yukiya, including a reiteration of the call for them to aceept the controversial “Additional Protocol,” the Iranian government rejected the calls, saying the IAEA can’t be trusted to conduct even wider inspections.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the international nuclear watchdog of leaking secret information regarding its civilian program to the United States. The United States has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran over its program.

The Additional Protocol would give the IAEA far greater rights of access to facilities, including the ability to probe any “suspected location” on short notice. Though Iran voluntarily complied with the protocol for a time, their parliament never ratified it, and ordered the government to stop complying with it in retaliation for UN sanctions.

Allegations of one or several secret nuclear weapons sites have endured, but barring specific evidence Iranian officials have repeatedly expressed concerns that the IAEA could be used to spy en masse against Iranian military sites simply by claiming those sites are “suspect.”

Interpol hunts two Israelis for Kosovo organ trafficking

Moshe Harel among seven indicted for membership of a criminal group trafficking people into Kosovo to remove human organs for transplant; another Israeli citizen, Zaki Shapira, identified as co-conspirator.

(Haaretz) — At least seven people, including an Israeli citizen, are suspected of involvement in an international network that falsely promised poor people payment for their kidneys and then sold the organs for as much as 100,000 euros ($137,000), according to an indictment obtained by The Associated Press.

Organs- AP- Nov. 12, 2010

A sign shows indicates the Medicus polyclinic in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.

Photo by: AP

The indictment is the starkest revelation of the extent of organized crime in the country since Kosovo declared independence in 2008.

Five Kosovo nationals, including Ilir Rrecaj, a former senior health ministry official, have been charged with five counts, ranging from trafficking in persons to unlawful exercise of medical activity and abuse of power. None of the suspects are in custody

Moshe Harel, an Israeli citizen, and Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez – are listed as wanted by Interpol. Sonmez is the subject of several criminal proceedings in other countries, including Turkey, for human trafficking and removal of organs, according to the indictment.

Both Sonmez and Harel are fugitive from justice, the indictment said.

Two other doctors, Israeli national Zaki Shapira and Turkish national Kenan Demirkol are identified in the 46-page document as unindicted co-conspirators.

The organized criminal group trafficked people into Kosovo for the purpose of removing human organs for transplant, EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel said in the indictment. “Some 20 foreign nationals were recruited with false promises of payments in 2008,” he wrote.

Victims were promised up to $20,000 (14,500 euros), while recipients were required to pay between 80,000 and 100,000 euros ($110,000-$137,000).

According to the indictment obtained by the AP on Thursday, the victims came from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey and lived in extreme poverty or acute financial distress.

The EU prosecution has made requests to secure evidence from authorities in Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan and Turkey, including access to e-mails of two suspects on servers in the United States.

The prosecution alleges that one of the five, Kosovo surgeon Lutfi Dervishi was the ringleader of the criminal group. It said Dervishi attended a medical conference in Istanbul in 2006 and asked for someone who could perform organ transplants. He was contacted by Sonmez six months later.

Dervishi and Sonmez then carried out the operations in the private medical clinic Medicus, managed by Dervishi’s son, Arban Dervishi, who is also indicted. Harel was involved in identifying, recruiting and transporting victims and ensuring the delivery of cash payments by electronic bank transfer prior to surgery, the indictment said. Two other doctors, Sokol Hajdini and Driton Jilta are also indicted.

Kosovo law forbids the removal and transplant of organs.

In 2008 investigators closed down the private health clinic where the doctors worked as part of the initial investigation. Kosovo police launched a raid triggered by suspicions that a Turkish man had sold his kidney to an Israeli recipient after he appeared fatigued at Pristina airport trying to board a flight to Turkey.

The man, identified in the indictment as Yilman Altun, told Kosovo police at the airport he came to the Balkan country to donate his kidney on invitation from the private clinics. A doctor found Altun was not in good medical condition, and sent him to the Pristina hospital for treatment.

When police searched the clinic in November 2008 they found an Israeli citizen in postoperative care, according to the indictment. Police seized medical records and supplies.

Rrecaj was fired from his governmental post after the raids and the suspects were arrested on Nov. 4, 2008. They denied all accusations and were released after 30 days in detention.

Soon after the raid, the Belgrade-based daily newspaper Blic alleged that Dervishi was linked to allegations that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army kidnapped Serb civilians and killed them for their organs, which they later sold.

The allegations of the trade stemmed from a book by former U.N. War Crimes tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte who claimed that organ harvesting took place in Albania’s remote north. Subsequent investigations did not substantiate the claims.

The indictment has been filed in a local court, according to EU officials who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the case. The officials said the prosecution can still add he names of other suspects to the indictment and details of their alleged crimes. A preliminary hearing is expected to be held by the end of the month, officials said.

The EU has 2,000 justice workers in Kosovo, including police, judges and prosecutors.

Kan. lawmaker: Muslim e-mail taken out of context

 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas House member said Thursday that he didn’t mean to offend anyone by forwarding a long-circulating e-mail message arguing that good Muslims can’t be good Americans because their highest loyalty is to Islam.

State Rep. Joe Seiwert, a Republican from the south-central Kansas town of Pretty Prairie, said he was simply passing on information he’d received from someone else. He sent the e-mail without comment last week to 40 other people on a personal account. He said forwarding the e-mail was not an endorsement of its contents.

“I’m not promoting it at all,” he said.

The unsigned e-mail message has circulated since at least 2006. It says good Muslims can’t be good Americans because they can’t truly accept the U.S. Constitution and “democracy and Islam can’t coexist.”

The Kansas Democratic Party called on Seiwert to apologize, and a spokesman for a national Islamic civil rights group called the e-mail an example of “anti-Islamic bigotry.”

Seiwert said he frequently gets questions from constituents about Islam’s influence in American society and saw the e-mail as “a story of interest” to pass on to a group of friends.

“If I offended anybody, I did not do it intentionally,” he told The Associated Press. “This whole thing is just basically blown up out of context.”

Asked whether he thinks Muslims can be good Americans, Seiwert said, “I think most of them try to be.”

Seiwert’s forwarding of the e-mail became public in a story published Thursday in The Hutchinson News, which also posted the text of the message on its website. Other versions — and rebuttals — can be found easily on the Internet.

Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, said he doesn’t see Seiwert forwarding the e-mail without comment as an endorsement of its views.

“I see nothing newsworthy to all this,” O’Neal said.

But Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the message is “one of the more prominent anti-Muslim e-mails out there.”

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of these anti-Muslim e-mails that have gone viral on the Internet,” he said. “Obviously, it would trouble us anytime an elected official would promote anti-Islamic bigotry.”

Seiwert said he received the message from someone in Wichita but declined to name the source.

The message concludes by saying that perhaps Americans should be suspicious of all Muslims in the U.S because, “They obviously cannot be both ‘good’ Muslims and good Americans.”

“Call it what you wish it’s still the truth,” the message said. “You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.”

Seiwert, a 59-year-old farmer, was elected to the Legislature in 2008 and re-elected this year in his Reno County district with 72 percent of the vote. Among other assignments, he serves on the House Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee.

He’s the latest of several Kansas Republicans to face criticism in recent years for perceived gaffes.

In July, the Hutchinson paper and Salina Journal withdrew endorsements of a Republican congressional candidate who said publicly that President Barack Obama needed to “come forth with his papers” to prove that he’s a U.S. citizen. Secretary of State-elect Kris Kobach said during a forum the same week that Obama could settle the controversy surrounding his citizenship by producing a detailed birth certificate.

GOP state Rep. Bill Otto of LeRoy posted a “RedNeck Rap” on YouTube in September 2009 in which he criticized Obama, the nation’s first black president, while wearing a ballcap calling opossum “the other dark meat.” Otto said the cap referred to his own “hillbilly” heritage and posted another video with praise for the president.

In August 2009, U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins remarked in a public forum that the GOP still was looking for “a great white hope.” She later said she wasn’t referring to Obama and didn’t know of the phrase’s past link to pre-civil-rights era racism.

Seiwert also drew criticism for remarks he made to The Hutchinson News about forwarding the e-mail.

The newspaper said that when he was told that Muslims live in Reno County, Seiwert replied, “Sure, there’s murderers, there’s tax evasion people, there’s all kinds of people live in my district.”

Kenny Johnston, the executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, called those comments “not only ignorant, but disgusting and offensive.”

Seiwert said his comments had been edited and taken out of context and that he was only pointing out that he has a diverse district that includes a state prison.

Mary Rintoul, the Hutchinson paper’s managing editor, said, “We stand by the reporting that our reporter did.”

//

Hearing over Tenn. mosque turns into ‘circus’ of attacks on Islam, vague rumors of Muslim plot

(Associated Press)–MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Islam is suddenly on trial in a booming Nashville suburb, where opponents of a new mosque have spent six days in court trying to link it to what they claim is a conspiracy to take over America by imposing restrictive religious rule.

The hearing is supposed to be about whether Rutherford County officials violated Tennessee’s open meetings law when they approved the mosque’s site plan. Instead, plaintiff’s attorney Joe Brandon Jr. has used it as a forum to question whether the world’s second-biggest faith even qualifies as a religion, and to push a theory that American Muslims want to replace the Constitution with extremist Islamic law.

“Do you want to know about a direct connection between the Islamic Center and Shariah law, a.k.a. terrorism?” Brandon asked one witness in a typical line of questioning.

Brandon has repeatedly conflated a moderate version of Shariah with its most extreme manifestations, suggesting that all Muslims must adhere to those interpretations.

At one point, he asked whether Rutherford County Commissioner Gary Farley supported hanging a whip in his house as a warning to his wife and then beating her with it, something Brandon claimed was part of “Shariah religion.”

The commissioner protested that he would never beat his wife.

County attorney Jim Cope objected to the question, saying, “This is a circus.”

The rhetoric has conjured up comparisons to another culture clash that played out in a Tennessee courtroom a hundred miles and nearly a century away from Murfreesboro, a college city of 100,000 that is among the fastest-growing communities in the country. In 1925, the world watched as evolution came under attack at the Scopes monkey trial in Dayton, Tenn.

Chancellor Robert Corlew has consistently given the plaintiffs leeway to present testimony by nonexperts and documents that they cannot prove are legitimate, saying he reserves the right to strike things from the record later.

Corlew, who holds an elected office, has given little explanation for why he has allowed the testimony to stray so far afield.

Since it is not a jury trial, the judge can ultimately disregard anything he deems irrelevant. Several attorneys suggested he may want the plaintiffs, three residents who object to how the mosque came about, to feel they were able to have their say.

That could explain why Corlew has allowed Brandon to repeatedly question witnesses about whether Islam is a legitimate religion — even after the Department of Justice stepped in with a brief stating that it was.

When Farley, the commissioner, told Brandon the federal government defined Islam as a religion, Brandon responded, “Are you one of those people who believes everything the government says? Are you aware the government once said it was OK to own slaves?”

Other faiths have risen to the defense of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. The newly formed Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, which is composed of prominent Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Southern Baptists and other Protestants, has filed a brief in the case.

It’s good for the mosque’s opponents to get their day in court — testimony is to resume Friday — said the Rev. Joel Hunter, an evanglical megachurch pastor and coalition member.

But it’s “really out there” to question whether Islam is a religion, said Hunter, who leads a Longwood, Fla., congregation called Northland, A Church Distributed.

Seeking to prove that the mosque has terrorist leanings, witnesses have pointed out that board member Mosaad Rowash previously had pro-Hamas postings on his MySpace page, something the mosque’s leaders have not denied. The U.S. government considers Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic political party with an armed wing that has attacked Israel, a terrorist organization.

The political views of Rowash — who hasn’t been called to testify and hasn’t commented publicly — and other board members are “totally irrelevant,” said Deborah Lauter, the director of civil rights for the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, which sponsors the interfaith coalition.

If all of the members of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro were public cheerleaders for Hamas, it would still be illegal to discriminate against them because the First Amendment protects freedom of worship, she said.

Managing director Ray Locker said the Washington group provided the information about Rowash to a Tennessee resident who sent an inquiry about the mosque. He said how such information is used is beyond his group’s control.

“We don’t consider all Muslims to be terrorists,” he said. “The vast majority of American Muslims just want to worship freely, just like members of other religions.”

That wasn’t the message of witness Frank Gaffney, the president and founder of the Washington-based Center for Security Policy and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

While acknowledging he was not an expert on Shariah law, Gaffney testified that Shariah, and by extension the new mosque, poses a threat to America.

Shariah isn’t really law, at least not law as a universally recognized, codified body of rules and rights, the way Americans have come to know it. Shariah is a set of core principles that most Muslims recognize as well as a series of rulings from religious scholars.

It’s some of those rulings, such as stoning a woman to death for committing adultery, that many non-Muslim Americans find reprehensible. But many Muslims, in America and around the world, are equally horrified by them, said Mohammad Fadel, an assistant professor of law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and an expert on Islamic law.

The mosque project has had problems outside court as well. A sign at the construction site was spray-painted with the words “Not Welcome” and torn in half, and federal investigators have offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in what they say was the arson of a dump truck on the grounds.

Hunter, the Florida pastor, said he studied American history in college and knows that what is happening to Muslims today has happened to other groups in the past.

“Every minority — and Islam is very much a minority in this country right now — has had to struggle for equal rights,” he said. “Islam is facing that now and we will not rest until they have equal rights with other religions.”

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IS AMERICAN PUBLIC ABOUT TO TOSS ISRAEL?

NOVANEWS

November 12, 2010

by Franklin Lamb

Some opinion analysts, like the 2009 Zogby International poll of American attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians, express surprise with what they are learning from the American public and detect significant changes in American public attitudes favoring US disengagement from Israel

Exclusive to Al Manar

Stop Aid to Israel

IMAGE: US activists successfully prevented the unloading of an Israeli cargo ship at the Port of Oakland. (The Electronic Intifada)

Ever so slowly over the past two decades, and gaining momentum since the April 2002 Israeli destruction of the West Bank town of Jenin, American attitudes toward Israel appear to be changing according to some public opinion analysts.

The American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy polling unit, that works  on behalf of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations  has argued that the American opinion shift accelerates with each perceived Israeli  outrage such as the saturation bombing of much of south Lebanon and south Beirut during the July 2006 war,  the massive civilian slaughter,  more than one-third women and children  in Gaza during the winter of 2008/9,  the May 2010 murders and carnage committed against  the Mavi Marmara, including  the assassination of 19 year old American Furkan Dogan,  and the cumulative effect of a half century of Geneva Convention and international law  violations  by Israel against  occupied Palestine and Lebanon.

Some opinion  analysts, like the 2009 Zogby International poll of American attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians, express surprise with what they are learning from the American public and detect significant changes in American public attitudes favoring US disengagement from Israel.

Such changes in attitudes are not yet evident in Congress or in the Office of the Vice President. But then, as one of Biden’s Democratic Congressional colleagues from Cleveland Ohio, just recently reelected and now planning to force a Congressional vote on withdrawing from Afghanistan noted this week, “Joe’s a nice fella but a God awful slow learner! Cracks and fissures are shooting around and inside Joe’s great American pro Israel public opinion vase etched  in gold with the words:  ‘US Support for Israel Must Continue Forever!”

The NYT’s Tom Friedman seemed to concur during meetings in Israel recently:  “US support for Israel could shatter like Humpty Dumpty– and it could get ugly…You are losing the American people who believe me, are fed up with the Mideast in general. But they’re also fed up with Israel. When they see their president working hard to try to tee up an opportunity. …”  And you say ‘No, first pay me – let Jonathon Pollard out of jail, have Abu Mazen sing Hatikva in perfect Yiddish, and then we’ll think about testing.’  It rubs a lot of Americans the wrong way.”

Changes of  US  citizens  attitudes toward Israel are evident in Lebanon also. Hundreds of Americans and other foreigners have visited Shatila and other Palestinian refugee Camps in Beirut in the past few years according to the Sabra Shatila Foundation that  conducts tours of the camp. Many visiting Americans have been surveyed by various firms and the results mirror recent surveys from the States. Several explanations are being offered by pollsters for the developing American public opinion shift away from support for Israel.

One is the growing  perception  that Israel, despite its consistent claims of self defense and accidents, when it attacks and kills civilian populations, is in fact the aggressor and lacks respect for non Jewish lives.
Growing American revulsion at  the increasing incidents of  verbal assaults on Arabs and Muslims, and racist hate speech graffiti by the Israeli public , internet defamation  by elements of the US Israel lobby,  and seeming encouragement by Israeli  officials and some Rabbi’s  ensconced  among the more than 100 illegal colonies in occupied Palestine.

Two  often mentioned examples are:

1) The followers of the  late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu who  regularly broadcast his calls that: “All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts”.

2) And  Rabbi Yizhak Shapiro, who lately published the book The King’s Torah, in which he detailed the “jurisprudence” sanctioning the killing of Palestinian infants and children. The White House has reportedly been surprised by the number of Americans objecting to, or even knowing about, these kinds of  outrageous and immoral US funded extremists that has been going on for half a century.

  • Americans are becoming weary of Israel constantly moving the goal post in the “peace negotiations ” and Israeli officials undercutting the American President and flaunting their power in Congress and using the US-Israel lobby and media juggernaut to ridicule him.  When Obama condemns Israeli settlement building and calls for suspension, within days, Israel often announces more settlement construction, often claiming mere coincidence.

  • A growing belief among the American public that Israel takes  the US for granted and  is only interested in its own  economic and military benefits at American expense.   Just this week, President Obama criticized Israel for announcing another stage in the approval process of 1,300 housing units in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa.  He warned:  “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.  I’m concerned that we’re not seeing each side making the extra effort involved to get a breakthrough.”

Israel’s reaction was immediate, condemnatory and harsh.  Knesset Members as well as AIPAC staff attacked President  Obama, saying that he is ignoring the reality of Israel’s needs in Jerusalem.

MK Avi Dichter,  told the Jerusalem Post that the American people are smart enough to  “understand that there is no chance that Jerusalem will return to the 1967 borders. But they are either not smart enough or still  don’t understand  that the most sensitive part of the negotiations is Jerusalem.  For their President to deal with Jerusalem at the beginning of negotiations is a recipe for failure.”

Bar Ilan University professor Ehud Gilboa  added that he does not think Obama will “lay off” Israel in the near future. “I believe he has an obsession with Israel. He will want to get the talks between Israel and the Palestinians  going only because he wants to be remembered in history as the one who is signed on the peace agreement. We expect him to be a one term President and I don’t think  he warrants being taken seriously.”

More Americans appear to be  tiring of Israeli officials telling them they don’t understand  how to view Israeli land confiscations, ethnic cleansing and use of American cash and weapons.

One poll conducted during October 2010 of Americans living in Beirut  asked about  Israeli PM Netanyahu calling  the United Nations’ Goldstone Report  “a modern day blood libel.”

Only 4% of the Americans  believed this.  But 85% believed that Israel manipulates this term and also the Nazi crimes against Jews during WW II to justify its occupation and treatment of Palestinians.

Opinion analysts at Rasmussen Polls Delaware  believe changes in US public attitudes are also  due to the collapsing American economy. The US public is getting angry, loud and distressed. Perhaps always a little paranoid, it is more despondent  and pessimistic.

Americans have generally believed in the country’s capacity for regeneration, that a new awakening is possible at any time. Now,  63 percent of Americans don’t believe that they will be able to maintain their current standard of living. American companies like Apple and Coca-Cola, Google and Microsoft are putting their money, not in the US but in Asia, where labor is cheap and markets are growing. The US government’s debt now exceeds 90 percent of the gross domestic product and more than half of all Americans don’t believe that the America Dream is still realistic but rather that their country is dysfunctional and its Congress corrupt.

It is not sure how the Tea Party will ultimately view Israel being given annually a total of approximately $ 5 billion and then investing approximately 60% of it in interest bearing accounts while every penny of the US taxpayer money it gets  must be borrowed by Washington with US taxpayers paying the interest on cash gift to Israel.

Isolationism and xenophobia are on the rise with growing numbers of Americans unhappy with what they see as Israeli “shenanigans at US taxpayer expense”, according to a Congressional staffer recently warned about speaking out against US aid to Israel  to fellow staffers during a recent ‘brown bag’ lunch in the Cannon Congressional  House Office building cafeteria.

The same source explained:  “ We’ve got two criminal wars, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, that have cost this country, in real terms more than two trillion. The government debt continued to grow, from 57 percent of GNP in 2000 to 83 when Obama got elected and the  national debt of $13.8 trillion and growing by the hour. That  amounts to 94 percent of GNP, and in two years it will exceed 100 percent.  We can’t afford Israel financially and never could afford them morally, politically or what they have done with American weapons!”.

Likely Republican Majority leader Eric Cantor, one of the three key leaders of the Israel lobby in Congress is reportedly terrified that the Tea Party will insist, as rumored, on enacting Legislation that terminates foreign aid of all kinds if the U.S. unemployment level rises above 4-percent. Consideration would be given to restarting foreign aid when the unemployment level drops below 4-percent and remains below 4-percent for 12 months. Cantor must figure out how to protect Israel’s cash with having the Tea Party come after him. It may be recalled that Cantor is floating an AIPAC scheme to take US funds of Israel out of Foreign Aid and call it “Homeland Security”  expenditures, “ in order to save it from foreign aid cutting zealots.”

Public opinion analysts are increasingly seeing that  the American public wants to distance itself  from Israel.  But it is unlikely  that Congress will, in the short term, follow the public’s lead.  This conclusion is supported by the just passed congressional amendments that authorized the increase of U.S. weaponry, ammunition and war supplies stored in Israel to a record $1.2 billion, Defense News reported this week.. The value of U.S. weapons to be prepositioned in Israel will reach $1 billion in 2011, with another $200 million added in 2012.

Once the weaponry arrives, the amount of U.S.-owned  materiel available for Israel’s emergency use will have jumped threefold since 2007. Over the past two years, logisticians and war planners from U.S. European Command and the Israel Defense Forces elevated war stocks to the  then Congressionally authorized threshold of $ 800 of equipment. Ready for Israel’s next war against Lebanon or Syria or Iran-or all three countries.

One pro-Israel group dismayed by the shift in American public opinion is the  Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which sounded the alarm this week at  the Canadian governments sponsored  Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA)  held at Parliament in Ottawa “to inspire parliamentary action against anti-Semitism around the world.”

Fifty countries from six continents sent delegations to help combat what ADL’s Abe Foxman, claims is a dangerous softening of US public opinion for Israel.  The conference adopted an Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism — building on the 2009 London Declaration on Combating Anti-Semitism of 2009, which has built on more than 50 similar initiatives over the past 98 years since ADL was launched in 1913. ADL’s current focus, according to  Christopher Wolf, who chairs ADL’s Internet Task Force on “cyber hate”, is” to take the lead and show the American public why they must stick with Israel during these days of Islamist terror against Americans and their only reliable ally, Israel.”

One of Abe Foxman’s problems is that many Americans are distancing themselves  from ADL’s nonstop “fear and smear” campaigns. Another is that history, along with the American public, is accelerating its rejection of the Zionist colonial enterprise in Palestine.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and in reachable at fplamb@gmail.com (Al-Manar )

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IRAN-BACKED AL-MALIKI TAPPED TO FORM GOVERNMENT IN IRAQ

NOVANEWS

November 12, 2010

by Michael Leon 

 

I don’t think there is any way to interpret what has happened except as a victory for Iran. –

By Juan Cole at Informed Comment

Iraqi politicians have finally begun forming a government at long last, 8 months after the parliamentary elections of March 7. Parliament finally met Thursday and elected Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani president once again. By the constitution, the president then asks the leader of the bloc with the largest number of seats in parliament to attempt to form a government, for which he has 30 days.

Talabani tapped Shiite lay leader Nuri al-Maliki, whose current (post-election) coalition has over 140 seats of the 163 needed for a majority in parliament. Al-Maliki leads the lay Shiite fundamentalist party, the Da`wa or Islamic Mission Party, which is at the core of the State of Law coalition. Al-Maliki had been a Shiite plotter against Saddam Hussein, based in Damascus, in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

Technically, Iyad Allawi’s secular, nationalist Iraqiya Party has 91 seats to al-Maliki’s 89. But al-Maliki has found a lot of new coalition partners since the election, which the Iraqi supreme court recognized as legitimate; that is, it said that post-election coalitions could legitimately be formed and could make a bid to form a government. Allawi was a Baathist in his youth but he broke with the party and became an important dissident.

In the 1990s, when he was based in London the CIA picked him up to recruit Iraqi officers to defect.) Allawi’s two constituents, the Sunni Arabs and the US, both want him to be influential in the government and to work against Iranian dominance of it. Some 80% of the Sunni Arabs voted for Allawi’s Iraqiya Party in March.

Aljazeera English reports that

Iraqiya has said its participation hinged on four conditions: a bill forming the security body, a committee examining cases against political detainees, codifying the power-sharing deal and annulling the bans against the three Iraqiya members.’

Once parliament met, with Iraqiya figure Osama al-Nujayfi as the new speaker, he moved to have parliament lift the ban on the 3– Salih al-Mutlak, Zafar al-Ani, and Rasim al-Awadi. The ‘Justice and Accountability Commission,’ led by partisan Shiites, had banned the three for being too close to the now-defunct Baath Party. But only 58 MPs voted to lift the ban,which looked to the Sunnis like bad faith. The largely Sunni members of parliament staged a walkout, which Nujayfi briefly joined, before returning to hold the election for president.

This walkout was not a signal that they might leave the government but simply a way of holding the ruling group’s feet to the fire on following through on the promises they made to the Iraqiya leadership.

The controversy about lifting the ban illustrates the problems with the formula reached Thursday. Much of what Iraqiya wants, and was promised, depends on further votes or legislation that may not go its way. For instance, Iyad Allawi was made the head of what is essentially a national security council, but that body is not in the constitution and will have to be approved by parliament, not just by the cabinet– and getting it through parliament may be difficult.

The US has hoped for some time that it could find a way to shoe-horn Allawi into a position that would allow him to be influential on national security, since he favors the US and dislikes Iran. Although the US got some of what it wants, on paper, on Thursday, I wouldn’t bet on that security council looking the way Washington wants it to look, or actually being about to over-rule pro-Iranian forces in the government and the armed forces (much less to get divert the loyalty of most of the armed forces away from al-Maliki, who has a certain number of the field officers reporting to him directly).

I don’t think there is any way to interpret what has happened except as a victory for Iran. Iran decided some time ago it wanted a second term for al-Maliki, presumably largely on security grounds. Iran had sided with al-Maliki in his crackdown on the Mahdi Army in Basra in 2008 (something I’m shocked former ambassador in Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad seems not to know– he is still depicting the Sadrist Shiites, who are fundamentalists and Iraqi nationalists, as in Iran’s back pocket.

The actual situation is far more complicated). Because Muqtada al-Sadr is residing in Iran, at the holy city of Qom, Iran was able to pressure him to bury the hatchet with al-Maliki and to support him for a second term as prime minister. Iran has been working very hard behind the scenes to put back together the fractured coalition of Shiite religious parties that had won the two previous parliamentary elections.

This outcome is the one Iran wanted. The Obama administration isn’t entirely displeased, since by now almost any government would be better than none. But this result was not the one Washington would have prefered. It would have liked Allawi to be prime minister, or at least to be far more powerful. And the hope that a national security committee will be powerful enough to offset the prime minister may be no more than a pious wish.

As the US withdraws its troops over the next year, Iran’s favorable position in Iraq will now likely be strengthened.

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JOSEPH C. WILSON ON GEORGE BUSH’S ‘DECEPTION POINTS’

NOVANEWS

November 12, 2010

by Michael Leon  

 

Bush Prays and Lies as Cheney Looks on

– Lame attempt to cleanse history –

By Joseph C. Wilson in the Huffington Post

Having read that people began lining up in front of bookstores before former President Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, was due to be released, I hurried off to purchase mine early on November 9, arriving about fifteen minutes after opening time. I have the distinction of being the first person to purchase Bush’s book in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I have a special interest in understanding how the former president sees his decision to invade Iraq and his use of intelligence to justify the invasion. I have also been curious about what he might have to say about the betrayal of a CIA covert officer’s identity, my wife’s, by, among others, two senior members of his staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Karl Rove. I had seen his interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer in which he volunteered that Scooter Libby was a “loyal” American who had been somehow caught up in the Valerie Plame affair.

I was thunderstruck by his description of a man convicted of four counts of lying to federal officials, perjury, and obstruction of justice, the chief of staff to the Vice President who knowingly offered up Valerie Plame’s name to a New York Times reporter, and who was so obsessed with destroying my reputation that he kept a three-ring binder on me and an annotated copy of my book. My expectations for truthful revelation in Bush’s book, after his comment, were naturally low. I have not been disappointed. In fact, Deception Points might have been a more appropriate title.

The former president deals with the Plame affair briskly, fairly early in the book, in the context of what he describes as the last and most “emotional personnel decision” of his presidency: what to do about Scooter Libby. He refers to the “agonizing decision” of whether to “let Scooter go to jail,” to pardon, or to commute his sentence. En route to the denouement of poor Bush’s “agonizing,” the reader is first subjected to a recitation of the right wing talking points designed to discredit us, including the debunked canard that “Wilson had been sent to Niger … on the recommendation of his wife.” What I didn’t find in the book is Bush’s explanation of the misuse of the intelligence in making the case for war with Iraq.

Instead of dealing with the inconvenient facts Bush simply refers again to the bogus British intelligence on uranium yellowcake, ignoring that his CIA had warned him at least three times that our own intelligence services did not believe the claim. Secretary of State Colin Powell omitted the assertion in his UN speech, but Bush still hides behind that shredded fig leaf.

Bush calls the controversy that followed the publication in the New York Times of my op-ed “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” a “massive distraction.” But nowhere does he acknowledge that the “distraction” was self-invented. After all, there are really only two germane points:

1) Joe Wilson wrote an opinion piece which asked about the president’s statement in the State of the Union on efforts to procure uranium yellowcake, “Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq?”

2) Within two days of the article’s publication the president’s spokesman told both the New York Times and the Washington Post that the statement should not have been in the State of the Union. Everything else surrounding this “massive distraction” was created by Bush and his minions: the leak of Valerie’s name and identity, the subsequent investigation, which, despite Bush’s entreaties to his staff that they cooperate with the special prosecutors took over two years, and of course the concerted disinformation and character assassination campaign waged against us by Bush’s minions. Bush cannot even bring himself to acknowledge that Valerie was what is now universally known: a covert CIA operations officer. Bush’s characterization is a pathetic euphemism: “Then it came out that Wilson’s wife’s position was classified.”

In the end, after resolving not to reward anyone who went outside the official channels, Bush bowed to Cheney’s insistence that a pardon be reviewed for Libby, and asked “two trusted lawyers” to review the case.

Not even they could find justification to pardon. When Bush told Cheney of his decision not to pardon, Cheney responded: “I can’t believe you are going to leave a soldier on the battlefield.” The president was perplexed that perhaps his friendship with Cheney would not survive. A couple of paragraphs later, the reader is informed this concern was unwarranted — the agony and the ecstasy, one supposes.

The president appears in this book to live in Htrae, the Bizarro world of DC Comics where society is ruled by the code that “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” To that might be added: Us hate truth.

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WESTERN MEDIA FRIGHTENED OF THE ‘F’ WORD IN ITS ISRAELI CONTEXT

NOVANEWS

November 11, 2010  

by Alan Hart  

There is a debate in Israel about whether the Zionist state is on the slippery slope to fascism or is already fascist. As far as I am aware the mainstream Western media has not drawn any attention to this.

It was Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics, who, along with 27 other most influential Jews, first warned of the danger of the rise of fascism in Israel. In a letter to the Editor of The New York Times published on 4 December 1948, when Menachem Begin was soliciting support in America, they said this:

    “Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

    “The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit.

    It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

    “Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin’s behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

    The public avowals of Begin’s party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.”

More than six decades on, under the headline Weimar in Jerusalem: The rise of fascism in Israel, Uri Avnery wrote: “Throughout the years, we were careful not to mention the word fascism in public discourse. It raises memories which are too monstrous. Now this taboo has been broken.”

Avnery recalled that Yitzhak Herzog, the minister of welfare in the Netanyahu government, a member of the Labour party, the grandson of a chief rabbi and the son of a president, had said a few days previously that “fascism is touching the margins of our society”. He was wrong, Avnery declared.

“Fascism is not only touching the margins, it is touching the government in which he is serving, and the Knesset, of which he is a member.” Einstein-like, Avnery warned that “fascism will overwhelm Israel” unless progressive forces “awake from the coma, understand what is happening and where it is leading to.”

On 3 September, under the Ha’aretz headline Fascism is already here, Yossi Sarid wrote that “Israeli democracy is mainly for decoration, like a tree grown for its beauty, not to bear fruit.” Sarid asked what a citizen could do when his or her soul “is fed up with occupation.”

And this was his answer:

“If he participates in the popular struggle against the separation fence, he will be buried outside the fence of the cemetery; if he demonstrates in Sheikh Jarrah, he will feel the heavy hand of the police; if he is a university lecturer, they’ll send the watchdogs after him in the name of Zionism; if he belongs to a theatre troupe, someone who can still see the Green Line in his mind’s eye, they will threaten the source of his income; if he is a school principal who tries not just to support settlements, they will look for a different institution for him because that is not how we do things; if he is a judge who dares deny that security is of the utmost importance, they will blame him for bloodshed; if he is a journalist who refuses to join in the chorus, there will be cries to boycott his newspaper; if he is a citizen who wishes to protect a child being threatened with expulsion from the country, he too will be blacklisted as an enemy of the people; and a long list remains.”

In a special investigation for Ynetnews on 21 October, Uri Misgav reported that “experts were divided on whether nationalistic trends in Israel were tantamount to fascism.”

He pointed out that over the years leftist demonstrators had chanted |”Fascism won’t pass!” but the Left, he added, “keeps on declining, while fascism is increasingly gaining a foothold here.

Significant parts of the Jewish public endorse blatant nationalistic and fascist principles, as shown by the Yedioth Ahronoth and Dr. Mina Tzemach poll published last week, including limited freedom of expression and association as well as limiting voting rights to Jews only.” As Misgav noted, there are scholars who are warning against using the term “fascism” too lightly and cheapening it.

Tel Aviv University Professor Yossi Shain was quoted as saying, “The question is whether a threat to democracy exists.” Among those who think there is such a threat were several hundred youth group members who held rallies across Israel to condemn the government’s loyalty oath decision as racist and anti-democratic.

This was after actors and authors had protested in Tel Aviv, read out the Declaration of Independence and published a new document entitled “Declaration of Independence from Fascism.” One of that protest’s initiators, author and journalist Sefi Rachlevsky, said: “This successful and miserable people, which experienced persecution and a holocaust, deserves independence, democracy and a life free of fascism. The real struggle today is not between leftists and rightists, but rather, between democrats and fascists.”

Misgav also noted that some religious figures are losing sleep over the latest trends. He quoted Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman as saying: “We saw the emergence of a new Jew in Israel; this does not include Lieberman alone, but rather, anyone who voted for the loyalty oath law, including religious parties. This Jew is no longer interested in religion or in Jewish values, but rather, uses his Jewishness to produce hatred and nationalism. The discourse around the loyalty oath gives rise to a corrupt situation: Instead of Judaism being used to criticize nationalism… it turns into a means that leads to fascism.”

As Einstein observed all those years ago, the American public “must” be informed about what is really happening in Israel. But there’s no chance that it will be as long as the mainstream media is unwilling to give voice to those Israeli Jews who can see fascism coming.

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Posted in PoliticsComments Off on WESTERN MEDIA FRIGHTENED OF THE ‘F’ WORD IN ITS ISRAELI CONTEXT

IN MOTION: THE PLOT TO DESTROY THE UNITED STATES

NOVANEWS

November 11, 2010

by Gordon Duff

  

Synthetic Aperture
CAMOUFLAGED TANKS AS SEEN BY MILITARY SATELLITE

SEE IT COMING AND STOP IT, EVEN IF IT COSTS YOU EVERYTHING

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

The 2010 election had one purpose, war with Iran, even if the risk is world conflict and the real loser, no matter what happens on the battlefield is the United States.”

Plans are in motion for a “false flag” attack on America.   Iran will be blamed, everyone knows that and Iran will be totally innocent.  This is the last thing Iran would ever want.  The most likely scenario is a nuclear attack.  Two bombs are missing, bombs built by Israel in South Africa and lost long ago.  These were supposedly Saddam’s bombs.  Now we are told Iran has them.  Israel has had them all along and the fear, they may be inside the United States already.

The Israeli game with these weapons is one of the worst kept secrets in the world and has already cost the deaths of many.  It will take nothing short of the detonation of one of this Hiroshima sized Israeli nukes to push America into Israel’s war with Iran, much as hunting for these nukes which Israel informed President Bush were in Iraq, led “the decider” to making one of the many blunders of his career.  Our next 9/11 will be nuclear.

The purpose will be to push America into a 20 year war that will destroy Iran and Pakistan, take oil to over $300 per barrel and collapse the dollar and Euro.  Iran isn’t Iraq of 2003, toothless and starving.  This will be America’s last military adventure, and the end of America’s place in the world as we know it.  We know the details of the proposed military campaign and the military and political leaders who support it are the worst imaginable incompetents and traitors.

Invading Iran is an impossible task for America.  Other than there be no reason whatsoever to engage in such folly, something that, of recent years, seems to concern fewer and fewer Americans.   Turn on the TV, if the “rodeo clown” says “wipe ‘em out” then we do it.

Invading Iran is an impossibility for America. Going to the moon was easier.  No matter how senseless, how impossible, the decision has been made, more in Tel Aviv than Washington, for sure, but one that will be obeyed.

There are only two scenarios that can fulfill the nightmare Israel and her shiny new congress have in store with us.  One is a preemptive nuclear attack on Iran and the other full scale total war with up to 500,000 Americans being drafted into the military.

FAILURE OF THE “VOLUNTEER ARMY”…..AS ISRAEL SEES IT

Forcing America to return to a draft and begin a major war, one America can never really win as with Iraq and Afghanistan and, let us not forget Vietnam, is something absolutely vital to hang around the neck of a Democrat, 

America at its best, TEA PARTY ART
RACE HATRED, AMERICAN KRYPTONITE

especially one of African American ancestry.  Anyone who doesn’t think the real heart of American politics has always been racism is a liar.  Family values means “white” family values.  African Americans know shame at the relief they have felt seeing Muslims targeted for persecution.  Every political position in today’s America is derived from institutionalized racism, be it immigration, health care or “constitution.”

When a return to the “constitution” is brought up, by people who wouldn’t know the document from a Croatian take-out menu, the reality is always race, fear, hate and envy, the glue that holds American society prisoner.  Decades ago, and even more recently during our last presidential election, African Americans were represented as animals, “goyim” to the Jews.  Now we play “Kill the camel jockey.”  Is this why the Christianized army we sent to Afghanistan murders innocent civilians for sport?

An America in total economic collapse will require another “decider” and more “Patriot Acts,” even more totalitarian and vicious than the last, that and an end to the even farcical elections that are now inundated with drug money and cash from US based foreign corporations.

This is the plan and a criminal gang in America, some in government and the military but more behind the scenes, “banksters” and media moguls, many with ties to Israel, are working feverishly to bring it about.  However clever the planners may think they are, their mechanations can be tracked through the media, the army of “Wolf Blitzers” that “work” the American people with the subtlety of carny shills.

WHY DO THEY HATE US SO MUCH?

Why would anyone want to destroy America, kill millions, leave the nation that has been there to save the world over and over a virtual wasteland?  If you think America’s castrated government or the military, now relegated to acting as virtual mercenaries for drug lords, oil cartels and bizarre Zionist plots, have the will or ability to stop what has already begun, you have not been paying attention for some time.  While the “circus of deception” went on, the utterly phony “war on terror,” imaginary enemies, the 9/11 disaster, orchestrated by Israel and its puppets,

Israel has decided that America is going to war with Iran.  The new congress, the one Israel openly boasts is under their total control, will make it happen, it was why they were put there.  The upcoming war will leave the United States crippled, castrated, a “third world” nuclear power like the old Soviet Union.  The plot isn’t against Iran and Pakistan, that’s just an excuse.  The real enemy is what is left of a free and democratic America.

The real goal is to end America’s leadership role in the world. 

Israel has plans for Russia, China and India, especially India, to rule the world with them pulling the strings.  America had been their “milk cow” for some time, now that cow is going to slaughter.

Iranian Patrol Boat
SCRATCH ONE SUPERTANKER OR DESTROYER

HOW IT BEGINS

This is how it is going to play out.  The news media has gotten their orders, Wikileaks is part of it.  From now on, key members of congress will, on cue, begin harping about the threat of Iran.  Governments in the Middle East that are under the total control of Israel and the American military will aid in every way possible.  Thus far, of all the Islamic nations in the world, only Syria and Afghanistan are not taking orders from Tel Aviv.

The next step will be to replace key military staff as was done prior to 9/11, with “Israel friendly” third stringers, “dominionists” and “Israeli firsters” who place “end times” religious mythology over the welfare, safety and sovereignty of the United States.  This group has been infiltrating the American military for years and has gained control of every service but the Marine Corps, starting with the United States Air Force.

The military pundits, with their laundered payoffs and free trips to Israel and the dozens of propaganda websites have already begun.  If you have a computer, you can check this easily.  Simply go into your email, it will be filled with warnings of Iran and nuclear terrorism.  An Israeli teenager paid dearly to bring you that message, spending a difficult night in a hotel with one of our political or military “pro-Zionists.”

Our newly elected “Tea Party’ gang will be visiting Israel soon, watch and see, there is a “Monica Lewinsky” in their future.  This is how it works, how it has worked for a long time and why we have sunk so low.

Anyone who talks about “liberal” media is part of it.  A cursory check of who owns the media, “liberal” or any other media is easy.  Israel owns our media, all of it.  The stories will start with tales of Iran controlling the Shiite government of Iraq.  Then you will hear of them controlling Karzai’s government in Afghanistan.

STEP ONE

Then the stories will start, Iran has to be tied to terrorist attacks on American troops.  Watch for this.  Americans will start dying and Iran will be blamed.  Wikileaks started this with their fanciful stories about Iranians training Iraq in making explosives.  A few years ago, we invaded Iraq because we believed they were building nuclear weapons, or so we were misinformed, now they can’t build pipe bombs without Iranian help?  Wikileaks is a clear demonstration at how childish, how outlandish the lies are going to be.  Wikileaks is prestaging terror attacks on Americans as much as if they made the bombs themselves, no question about that.

Every media outlet that, under specific directions, carries the “party line” on Wikileaks and the rest of it, no matter how absurd, carries these fabrications without question or embarrassment, should be considered a terrorist organization and their employees enemy combatants.

It will be Israel doing the killing just as with 9/11 and the USS Liberty and, frankly, so many other times Americans have died, like the Marines killed in Beirut, an attack Israel admitted knowing of in advance.  More and more, we are finding everything was “known” in advance, “known” because those who knew planned it.

Getting the scene set, all the assets in place, buying or blackmailing congress, keeping the president surrounded by Israeli advisors as he is today, silencing voices of reason in the military, all this is going on right now.

Years have been spent branding Iran and Pakistan as dangerous, the press continually ignoring reports that Iran has no nuclear program or endlessly repeating outrageous rumors that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are almost in the hands approaching “Taliban” forces.  With Karzai’s government Afghanistan openly negotiating with the Taliban after American forces, 9 years of fighting, have only managed to secure 3% of the country, building a case for war tied to Iranian “interference” in that conflict is going to be unmarketable.

This leaves Pakistan.  Drone attacks in Pakistan have brought about considerable destabilization and an increase in terrorism in Pakistan.  They have, as seemingly planned, worked to harm American interests in the region while attempting to bring about the dissolution of Pakistan.  Continual reports of American contractors in Pakistan, working for the CIA and State Department, aiding terrorists, go unreported in the American media.  Even when caught with weapons and explosives inside Pakistan, such reports are suppressed.

Increasingly, evidence is showing that the Mumbai attack, the massive terror assault on India blamed on Pakistan, was orchestrated by one of these American groups.

THE MONEY ISN’T THERE, AND WE KNOW IT

However, considering the financial collapse engineered though Bush era deregulation frauds combined with unstable tax policies and massive increase in government spending, combined with cost of two failed wars, America’s options are limited.  There is simply no revenue to pay the current military without rollbacks or sustain moderate capabilities and readiness.  America is too broke, not just to fight a new war but to continue the two that are going or even maintain a fully peacetime force at near current levels.

In fact, our military expenditures need to be cut by 30% or more, as studies being reviewed by the Department of Defense and congress are showing.  We have the choice of cutting back now or dealing with consequences later, including, not only cuts in military and veterans health care but substantial cuts in pensions and disability compensation as well. 

Another war, and there is no question that another war is planned, will push American debt to $20 trillion or more, half being military expenditures, always a combination of pork, payoffs and “misplaced” weaponry and the rest looted from the economy by the planned massive manipulation of oil prices made possible by the shutoff of world petroleum supplies.

HOW IRAN CONTROLS THE WORLD’S OIL SUPPLY, 8000 MISSILES

“IRAN WILL SHUT DOWN HORMUZ AND WORLD OIL IN ONE HOUR”

In March, 2010, a Chinese built missile factory opened in Iran.  The plant builds a variety of missiles, primarily anti-ship, with ranges from 100 to 300 miles or more.  These are advanced weapons that can be launched from hardened facilities along Iran’s rugged coastline, from aircraft, both fixed and rotary, from patrol boats, from nearly anything.  One of these missiles can sink a frigate, perhaps even a destroyer.  Several can disable an aircraft carrier.  Approaching Iran from sea is impossible.

Iran controls Hormuz, not just with missiles but patrol boats as well, and not just from their own shore but from the islands in the gulf, some of which were seized 30 years ago and are still held.

The government of the United Arab Emirates has discussed, from time to time, a canal bypassing the strait, through to Oman and into the Persian Gulf.  However, the cost would be outrageous as a ridge of hills would have to be crossed, something difficult to manage with a lock system capable of handing the largest ships in the world, oil supertankers. 

The missiles, the torpedo boats and the almost impossible network of islands and swamps along the coast would make suppressing Iran’s capabilities impossible.  The strait would close, oil would stop, Iraq, Iran certainly, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  In days, currencies would collapse, stock markets shut down, gas lines would form and gas rationing would be required around the world.  All western economies would disappear overnight.

Iranian
Facilities at Hormuz

WHY PAKISTAN HAS TO FALL

There is simply no way into Iran by land.  We can barely keep American troops in Afghanistan supplied with many routes being hundreds of miles long, narrow roads from the Port of Karachi in Pakistan.  Recently we found how easily this supply line could be cut off.  Agreements with Iran, not to mention religious affiliations between Shiites in Iraq, the majority there and the Shiite based government in Iran, make an approach through Iraq impossible. 

We could also consider that our existing forces in Iraq and the entire Persian Gulf could be cut off by Iran with no resupply by sea possible for, not only Iraq but Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq.  These nations and the US forces there would be immediately isolated.  The only way in to Iran, restricted because of the topography, is through the province of Baluchistan, a remote area of Pakistan that borders Iran.

NEW
YORK TO DENVER, ALL MOUNTAINS, NO ROADS

BALOCHISTAN

This isolated region has become the staging area for attacks against Iran, supposedly by Jundallah “rebels” but actually orchestrated by the Mossad and CIA.  There are two independence movements wanting to break Baluchistan from Pakistan.  One of the leaders I met in Islamabad while he was recovering from gunshot wounds.  The other lives in Israel, surprise-surprise. 

Because of the topography of Iran, the only way to approach Tehran is over more than a thousand miles of valleys.  They can only be approached through Pakistan and there is only one port that serves that region.  The only way to resupply other than through this small Chinese built port, Gwadar, is to truck into Kandahar, hundreds of miles, then back down into Pakistan, following the 500,000 man army into Iran in something closely akin to Napoleon’s ill fated invasion of Russia, but even worse if that is possible.

Gwadar, Baluchistan, Pakistan
 Tiny port, dirt roads, narrow gauge rail only

The military analogies are inescapable, Dien Bien Phu and Stalingrad are two that come to mind.  Though the government of Pakistan lacks strong civilian leadership and is largely dependent on US aid, the use of Pakistan’s territory for another aggressive war in the Middle East that will perceived by almost all the world’s population, not just Muslims, as a sign of Israel’s control of the United States and its ability to get America to commit any crime, will not be acceptable to the people of Pakistan.  It is also highly unlikely that even Karzai’s government in Afghanistan would abide such an action.

Thus, America could become beset, not just from Pakistan but by its own allies in Afghanistan and, quite possibly, the newly trained and surprisingly effective army in Iraq as well.

America would become a rogue state, even if purporting to respond to a devastating terrorist attack.  In the aftermath of 9/11, America lacks any credibility.  The second a disaster strikes inside America, the world will immediately assume the worst, Israel has deemed such an act necessary to push America to war.  No rational person could assume otherwise.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

In order to stabilize the situation with our allies, those likely to become enemies, it will likely necessitate the decapitation of several regimes, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan initially.  Others will quickly fall into line though some will be directly under the control of Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in particular.  They will become indefensible except through massive airlift, resources that will be needed elsewhere.  Half the troops needed to secure America’s lines of supply left military service after multiple deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq for nearly a decade.  Many are sick, some are homeless and hundreds of thousands are simply “fed up.” 

This leaves the new citizen army, the one America had to turn to because of a “9/11 – Pearl Harbor” disaster fewer and fewer believe the cover story on as days go by.  Even in America, despite what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks, you can only fool people so many times.  The most glaring example of the lack of foresight some of our “War College” grads have can be seen in the Gwadar Port facilities, the only place American can use for supplies for the most difficult invasion in history, with, perhaps, the exception of Okinawa.

TWO CRANES, TWO CRANES, TWO CRANES…COUNT THEM AGAIN, IT WILL STILL ONLY BE TWO CRANES

ECONOMIC BELT TIGHTENING AT HOME

The 2010 election paid for a war, there is no question of that.  Many of the puppets in America’s government had to be replaced as there was fear some of them might object to something as obscene as what is in the planning.  Lies, fear mongering and childish rhetoric had never reached the levels seen in 2010.  Never had a nation, since Germany in 1932, gone over to the “darkside” as clearly as America has done, a rejection of decency and common sense.

When the bill becomes due, and it most certainly will, that “smaller government” so many thought they would get will most certainly come true.  What won’t happen is a return to constitutional rule, that will be gone forever.  Habeas Corpus won’t be missed so much in a country where those without the cash to buy their way out of military service, yes, that great American tradition, will be one step ahead of the press gangs working to keep the military training camps filled to capacity.  America may, quite likely, have bitten off a bit too much, a world war, and this time, no allies, none, not a chance.

LESS GOVERNMENT, THE DREAM OF AMERICA’S “RIGHT”

  • SOCIAL SECURITY: Plans for less government have always been around, we have seen attempts to put these plans in place many times, starting with attempts to have Social Security declared unconstitutional back in the 1930s.  This will be first to go, Social Security.  Getting rid of Social Security has long been a dream of the GOP, either through outlawing it as “Socialism,” or “borrowing” the trust fund to cover war expenses or, more recently “privatization.”  Now, none of those will be needed.  The money will simply disappear overnight, not to pay war expenses, not hardly.  It will be split up and stashed in Swiss bank accounts the same place the “bail out” money went, the same place every 401k in America went, the same place the assets of our largest banks went.
  • MEDICARE/MEDIAID: They will be the next to go.  States will be asked to pay fund this themselves.  There won’t be any more questions about illegal aliens using our medical care, there won’t be any, not for them, not for the poor or not for the senior citizens who paid into medicare all their lives.  Just because it was paid for doesn’t mean the government can’t simply break its promise, there are loyalties more powerful and more important that our government has than to the people.  9/11 proved that to any rational person.
  • TAX INCREASES: The time for borrowing, counterfeit money, the “Federal Reserve System” and selling T -Bills will be over.  China and Iran are close.  China will be finished with us, India too and no more Arab money.  The dollar, the instrument we use to buy oil, fertilizer, metals and so many other things, will be worthless.  We are going to have to invent a new form of monopoly money or go on the barter system.  The dollar, as a world currency, will disappear.
  • SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN: One good thing, schools will shut down.  Thus, America’s inferior education system will no longer do the damage it once did.  Along with that, mothers will be home to take care of children, a “blast from the past.”  The downside, of course, the mothers will have lost their jobs, the homes will be unheated, some with no electricity, more with no water, all eventually repossessed and, unless the government starts giving out food as it had in the past, we will see starvation.  The money that financed Food Stamps will be long gone.
  • MILITARY AND VETERANS PENSIONS HALVED: Long seen as “freeloaders,” veterans and military retirees will be cut off.  Pensions once seen as a “promise” have long been referred to as “entitlements.”  Any entitlement can be “unentitled” and these will.
  • MILITARY PAY CUT: Troops in Vietnam were paid $30 dollars a week.  We are going to see that again.

THIS IS THE INEXORABLE FUTURE, BOUGHT AND PAID FOR

The draft, worthless money, gas lines, martial law, metal detectors in supermarkets, cameras everywhere, everything filmed, recorded, everyone every day, biometrics, face recognition, these things will be part of our lives from now on.  These are the plans and putting this machinery in place, much of it “designed” in Israel, is what Americans voted for, this and the invasion of Iran, part of a war where only Americans will fight and die.

No one cares about Iran.  No knowledgeable person ever thought they had nuclear weapons or wanted them.  It was never about them.  They were never a target, they were never a threat.  The threat, the target, was always the United States.  We were the danger, a free people.

Free people can’t be trusted, can’t be managed 

The plans are in place to bring that to an end.  How many Americans will continue to be a part of it?

 

Posted in USA1 Comment

UN HUMAN RIGHT COUNCIL CALLS ON U.S. TO ENFORCE ”LEAHY AMENDMENT”

NOVANEWS

November 12, 2010

by Johnny Punish 

Call for Greater Transparency and Accountability in U.S. Foreign Military aid and Programs

Rachel Corrie Foundation Joins First-Ever U.S. Universal Periodic Review

UN Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council

(Olympia, Washington) – The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday released its draft report on the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the U.S. human rights record. The report called for greater transparency and accountability in U.S. foreign military aid and programs. On Thursday, November 4, Gina Patnaik spoke at UN headquarters in Geneva, representing the Rachel Corrie Foundation in a side panel to the U.S. review, and called upon the U.S. Government to enforce two existing mechanisms for monitoring human rights abuses – the “Leahy Amendment,” and the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Last Friday, a high level delegation of the U.S. government presented the U.S. UPR report and answered questions from more than 50 nations about the U.S. human rights record. The U.S. delegation was led by Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; Harold Koh, Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State; and Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The delegation noted “President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s deep commitment to multilateral engagement, human rights, and the rule of law.” The U.S. delegation stated, “By admitting the possibility of imperfection, new opportunities to improve are revealed…”

The Universal Periodic Review was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006 to review human rights records of all 192 UN member states. Last April, the Rachel Corrie Foundation provided a submission for the review of the U.S. that focused on the following:

  • Lack of U.S. investigation of alleged human rights abuses committed by recipients of U.S. military aid;
  • Inconsistent application of U.S. laws that govern reporting of alleged human rights abuses by foreign militaries; and
  • Funding of exports and training for foreign militaries when credible evidence exists that these militaries engage in human rights violations.

The draft U.S. UPR report includes a recommendation from Norway “that the model legal framework expressed by the Leahy laws be applied with respect to all countries receiving the US’s security assistance, and that the human rights records of all units receiving such assistance be documented, evaluated, made available and followed up upon in cases of abuse.”

The Leahy Amendment is part of U.S. foreign assistance legislation and states that the U.S. must review all credible evidence of gross human rights violations committed by foreign militaries. It requires the U.S. Government to withhold U.S. funding for foreign military units when credible evidence of gross human rights violations exists and until perpetrators are held accountable.

In Geneva, Ms. Patnaik explained that there are systemic flaws in U.S. implementation of both the “Leahy Amendment,” and the Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices that prevent them from effectively identifying and remedying gross human rights violations. Patnaik stated that multiple sources have provided credible evidence of a persistent pattern of human rights violations committed by the Israeli military, including the killing and injury of international human rights monitors and Palestinian civilians, and demolition of civilian homes. However, to date, the U.S. Department of State has not conducted an investigation under the Leahy Amendment into any Israeli military violations of human rights law.

Ms. Patnaik asserted that inaccuracies and omissions in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices compound gaps in U.S. monitoring of human rights practices. Using the Country Report’s account of Rachel Corrie’s killing as an index for larger concerns, Patnaik noted that the way the report is constructed shapes and limits the narrative available to the Department of State itself and to the U.S. Government at large, and undermines its own ability to identify and assess patterns of gross human rights violations as required under U.S. law. 

Ms. Patnaik, a cousin of Rachel Corrie and PhD candidate at the University of California – Berkeley, spoke about the Corrie family’s ongoing efforts to seek accountability in the case of Rachel Corrie. The side panel discussed the role of the U.S. Government in oversight of corporations (such as Caterpillar, Inc.) that are complicit in human rights violations. It was convened by the International Federation of Human Rights, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Western Shoshone Defense Project.

American Citizen Rachel Corrie - Murdered
Murdered American Citizen Rachel Corrie

Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), spoke about the U.S. justice system’s failure to hold corporations accountable for complicity in human rights violations. CCR previously represented the Corries and four Palestinian families whose members were killed or injured in Israeli military operations using Caterpillar D9 bulldozers. In 2005, they filed a lawsuit against Caterpillar, Inc. charging that the company continued to sell its machines and services long after being on notice that these are used to commit human rights violations in the Occupied Territories.

In a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to dismiss Corrie v. Caterpillar, the Court stated that it was unwilling to infringe upon the powers of the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, which appropriate funds for Israeli purchase of Caterpillar D9 bulldozers through U.S. Foreign Military Financing. Gallagher detailed ways that failure to monitor corporate involvement in human rights violations continues to undermine the U.S. commitment to international human rights law.

The United States Government will return to the UN in March to discuss its efforts to address the 228 recommendations made during the UPR. The Rachel Corrie Foundation applauds U.S. participation in the UPR and encourages the U.S. Government to fully comply with current laws governing foreign military assistance and the Congressional mandates for accurate and complete reporting of human rights violations in the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices. 

 

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FISK: RISING TENSIONS THREATENING NEW CONFLICT IN LEBANON

NOVANEWS

November 12, 2010

by Debbie Menon  

 

Robert Fisk

Five years after Lebanese former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was killed, rising sectarian tensions and a teetering government are threatening a new conflict in Lebanon, Robert Fisk wrote on Friday.

In an article in British daily The Independent, Fisk pointed to the vibrations witnessed by Lebanese, noting that last week, F-16 fighter aircraft was flashing over the seafront and the streets of Beirut. “What message were the Israelis sending this time? That they do not fear the Hezbollah? That they can humiliate Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri?” he wondered.

“Heaven knows, they hardly need to do that, when Hariri has several times taken the desolate road to Damascus for a friendly chat with the man he believes murdered his father Rafiq, President Bashar al-Assad.”

“But who cares about the Israeli plane? Supposing a Syrian MiG had buzzed Tel Aviv during a busy shopping day last week? Hillary Clinton would be shrieking condemnation from the State Department, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon would have solemnly warned Syria of the consequences and the Israelis would be pondering an air strike on Syria to teach President Assad a lesson,” Fisk said.

According to him, the Israeli overflight was a clear contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, noting Israel breaks 1701 every day with overflights, but not at this low level. 

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent of The Independent, is the author of Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on FISK: RISING TENSIONS THREATENING NEW CONFLICT IN LEBANON

MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS

11/12/2010

Video shows Israeli soldiers celebrating the demolition of houses in Gaza

Nov 11, 2010

Adam Horowitz

The video above was posted to YouTube by Assaf Kintzer, an Israeli activist with Anarchists Against the Wall. The caption reads, “IOF soldiers celebrating the destruction of houses in Gaza during ‘Cast Lead’.” Kintzer says the video, which was shot using a mobile phone, was sent to him by an anonymous Israeli soldier who served in Gaza.

We would not have had to interrupt Netanyahu if the world listened to Palestinian voices

Nov 11, 2010

Emily Ratner 

Picture 5

Screenshot from Israeli news of Ratner being removed from the General Assembly.

There’s no getting around it:  What we did during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was shockingly rude.  We interrupted a head of state, repeatedly, shouting from the tops of chairs into a darkened hall of largely like-minded people, who most likely thought their space was safe from the ever-increasing disruptions of “Israel’s delegitimizers,” as some would call us.  Worse still, we did this in my community.  Neighbors, co-workers, professors, and fellow students were in attendance, or they’re otherwise finding out what we’ve done. My cheeks are still burning at the thought of what’s to come.  And, of course, there’s family.  Family.  Family.

But each time I think about the hurt I’ve caused with my actions, I’m reminded of the hundreds upon hundreds of New Orleanian Palestinians who have marched this city’s streets, demanding justice in a nation that isn’t listening.  I’m reminded of the dozens of Palestinians who stood outside of the Jewish Federations General Assembly on Sunday, braving the cameras of Israeli and US security, facing the very real possibility that because of their protest they’ll be permanently denied entry the next time they attempt to visit their homeland. 

Their demonstration was featured for fifteen seconds on a single local news channel, and those Palestinian protesters have far more to risk than I do.  I am ashamed of the hurt I have caused people that I love, but I am overcome with the bravery of the millions of Palestinians who struggle daily to carve justice into a global structure that finds their very existence inconvenient and inappropriate.  I am doubled over by the reality of more than sixty years of displacement, of the state-sanctioned murder of so many mothers, sisters, brothers, and fathers; of homes destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again. Of checkpoints.  Of landlessness.  Of criminalized identity.  Of siege.  

And I am pulled to my feet by the steadfastness of the people who are at the heart of this struggle.  From the Palestinians who remain incarcerated for the crime of protest, who have found themselves barred from home forever for the truths they’ve spoken, who have been shot down by soldiers as they held a rock, a Palestinian flag, a child.

The five of us who jumped onto our chairs on Monday and the others who worked hard to realize this effort have received an incredible wave of support from so many people around the world.  Young and older Jews alike have called, emailed, reposted, and in other ways embraced us for shouting truths that hurt their hearts daily.  Some Palestinian friends and their allies have celebrated this momentary injection into a “dialogue” that silences and criminalizes an entire people. 

And while I’m proud of what we’ve done, our actions are a small, highly-documented moment in a long history of resistance, led by people who have risked and lost far more than we have, or will.  As we celebrate the possibilities that some are seeing in this moment, it feels important to remember where we’ve come from, and to think about how our history informs a responsible future.

Certainly there is a long history of Jewish resistance to injustice, and a specific history of Jewish resistance to the crimes our people have perpetrated in Palestine.  Many of us might not be willing to add our voices to the growing call for justice had we not, for example, read the diligently documented and painful histories of exiled Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe, or encountered the wisdom of elders like Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, who has been fearless in her demands for justice in Palestine.  As Jews we take inspiration from Israelis who demonstrate against the apartheid wall and housing demolitions, and the  shministim who have been incarcerated for refusing to serve in the IDF. 

We draw strength from the fearless actions of young people like Emily Henochowicz, the college student who lost her eye to a deliberately fired tear gas canister in the wake of Israeli attacks on the Freedom Flotilla.  There is a proud and strong legacy of Jewish resistance that, while small, must inform our efforts as Jews who work for justice in Palestine.

There is also a beautiful and inspiring history of allies, and especially allies of color, who have been fearless in their demands for justice for the people of Palestine.  We can take inspiration from organizations like Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, who lost $100,000 in Ford Foundation funding for publishing their Palestine Points of Unity, and were thus inspired to literally write the book on the non-profit industrial complex.

Or the incredible members of COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, which has refused to unload Israeli ships and has shown the rest of the world what overcoming apartheid through true solidarity can mean.  There are the brave activists who join the International Solidarity Movement, risking their physical safety and even their lives in efforts to prevent and document incidents of Israeli violence against Palestinians.  Rachel Corrie, whose family is still struggling for justice from the Israeli government.

 Furkan Dogan, the 19-year-old Turkish American who was killed along with eight others aboard the Mavi Marmara.  There are the millions of people around the world who take to the streets to demand justice for Palestine every time the Israeli government’s criminal actions hit a new low.

But most of all, there are the Palestinian heroes who have shown their allies how to struggle for justice.  Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians continue to inspire the world with their nonviolent and creative civil disobedience and protests, a method they’ve been employing for over sixty years.  The Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions National Committee (BNC) have offered a clear strategy for forcing the Israeli government to comply with international law, and we can see their strategy working within campuses, corporations, and governments around the world.  Families in Bil’in protest the apartheid wall weekly, and are regularly shot at and arrested. 

Residents of Silwan in East Jerusalem continue to resist illegal housing demolitions and forced evictions.  Scholars and professors like Dr. Haidar Eid teach traumatized students in Gaza while offering us a remarkable analysis from behind the walls of an awful siege.  Edward Said and Ali Abunimah reframe the conversation about occupation, while poets like Mahmoud Darwish and Suheir Hammadlace words through the emotions occupation can make difficult to express. 

Filmmakers like Annemarie Jacirproject the crimes of the past and present, as well as stunning visions of possible futures.  There are so many Palestinians who act and speak from a place of justice, patiently guiding us in solidarity efforts, but all too often their voices are distorted or completely lost in the haze of anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia and “Israel, right-or-wrong” lenses through which mainstream knowledge and experience are filtered.

Yes, what we’ve done is extremely rude.  But what’s far worse is the erasing of the people at the center of this struggle.  I understand why so many have called our actions inappropriate, but I don’t accept the idea that there is some better method available to us that we didn’t use.  I don’t accept the suggestion that we are silencing free speech when we disrupt an Israeli Prime Minister with calls for justice as he beats the drum yet again for war with Iran, or confronting delegitimizers, or whatever might next emerge from the ever-expanding grab-bag of “Israel’s Greatest Threat.”  But on one point I can agree with our detractors: This disruption never should have happened at all.

It shouldn’t take this kind of action to draw attention to these crimes.  The media should have cared this much about the dozens of Palestinians who marched outside the GA the day before Netanyahu arrived.  Palestinian voices should be heard, respected, and reflected in all coverage of Palestine.  The myriad examples of Palestinian nonviolence should be better known than those far fewer examples of violence that dominate Israel’s security narrative. 

And Israel’s violence should be known fully, and properly contextualized.  Most of all, Palestinians should guide us in understanding how best to address the atrocities perpetrated against them.  Until that day comes, there will be no end to the “delegitimizing” of a country that seems determined to delegitimize itself.

Love and thanks to the folks who planned and executed this effort, and to Jewish Voice for Peace  Some of you are risking far more than I have, and I have great respect for that.  So much love and respect also for New Orleans Palestine Solidarity (NOLAPS)–I am so proud to know and work with you.

Emily Ratner is a student at the College of Law at Loyola University New Orleans.  She is a member of New Orleans Palestine Solidarity (NOLAPS).

Israeli military threatens to raid West Bank secondary school unless they end commemoration of Yasser Arafat

Nov 11, 2010

Seham

 And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Israeli Bulldozers Demolish Sheep Farm in the Village of al-Issaweyeh, Jerusalem
Palestinian sources in Jerusalem reported, on Thursday, that bulldozers belonging to the Israeli controlled Jerusalem municipality demolished a sheep and horse farm in al-Issaweyeh village in North East Jerusalem.

http://www.imemc.org/article/59886

Gaza ministry condemns Israeli plan to build 1,000 new units in J’lem

The religious affairs ministry in Gaza denounced a plan by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality to build a thousand residential units in the southern section of the city.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k

Clashes as Israel demolishes East Jerusalem building

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities demolished part of a Palestinian-owned

sheep bard in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Isawiya on Thursday, the

owners said.  Photojournalists with the PA government news service WAFA captured

the demolition, which officials at the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem said they had

nothing to do with.  An Israeli police spokesman said he was unaware of the event.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332990

Palestinians Will Ask Security Council to Halt Israel’s West Bank Building

The Palestinian Authority will begin negotiations with members of the United Nations Security Council on a draft resolution demanding that Israel halt West Bank settlement activity, its envoy to the world body said.  Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour met today in New York with Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the U.K., which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, to inform him of the plan to meet with the representatives of the panel’s 15 member governments. Mansour said he hoped the council would take action before the end of November.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-10/palestinians-will-ask-security-council-to-halt-israel-s-west-bank-building.html

US rebukes Israel on settlements

Hillary Clinton joins international leaders in denouncing Israel’s plans to build new settler homes in East Jerusalem.

http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2010/11/20101110151411751598.html

US to pledge to veto Palestinian state if Israel freezes settlement for 3 month

An Israeli political official said the US administration may use its right of veto against any unilateral decision recognizing the Palestinian state in exchange for Israeli settlement freeze.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq

Kerry: Israel may extend settlement freeze (AFP)
AFP – Senior Democratic US Senator John Kerry, fresh from meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said Wednesday that Israel could decide to extend a freeze on settlement construction.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101110/pl_afp/israelpalestiniansconflictsettleruspoliticskerry

Crowley Reaffirms Obama’s Stance Against New Settlement Construction In Jerusalem
State Department Spokesperson, Philip J. Crowley, reaffirmed the stance of American President, Barack Obama, against the new Israeli plan to build hundreds of units for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem, and described the move as counterproductive to peace talks.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59872

Interactive: “Judaising” of Jerusalem
Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, its occupation of Jerusalem in June 1967, and subsequent annexation of the city in 1980, it has implemented policies that have shrunk the size of Occupied Jerusalem’s Palestinian population as well as its Arab and Islamic heritage. The ongoing light rail project is just the latest in this steady entrenchment of Israeli control.
http://gulfnews.com/multimedia/graphics/interactive-judaising-of-jerusalem-1.707942

J’lem attorney discloses Israeli plan for full destruction of city
The Israeli government is “planning to completely destroy the city of Jerusalem and a erect a new Jerusalem with a Zionist vision,” a Jerusalem attorney said Wednesday.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6

Settlement fatigue
If Israel were serious about negotiating a peace deal, wouldn’t it stop building? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that a segment of the Israeli political establishment simply refuses to accept the new reality — and that segment, mostly made up of right-wing and religious political parties, is crucial to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s delicate coalition government. Truthfully, the settler movement’s political power extends beyond the right wing; that’s why settlements have grown steadily regardless of what government was in power, including those of Labor Party Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-settlements-20101111,0,727949.story

MIDEAST: In Jerusalem, East Is Nobody’s
The Palestinian Prime Minister ventured into Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem bypassing Israeli security authorities who tried to stop him. The city’s Israeli mayor, who also wanted to venture into the eastern of part of ‘his’ city, was unable to because of objections from those same Israeli authorities.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53513

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Bil’in invaded for the fourth time in three days, Hamde Abu Rahme
Today, November 10th, the village of Bi’lin was raided again. The Israeli Army entered at around 8 pm for the second time today. In the morning, at around 3.00 am, they entered the village with five jeeps and searched Ashraf al-Khatib‘s home. The soldiers also broke down the door of the neighbor’s house, and went in. However, they were not able to find who they were looking for in either of the houses.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/bilin-invaded-for-the-fourth-time-in-three-days.html

VIDEO: From the Front Lines of the Palestinian Popular Struggle, Joseph Dana
Palestinian popular resistance to the Israeli occupation, settlements and the wall are a regular occurrence in the West Bank. Despite this, the overwhelmingly non-violent protests, often put down harshly by occupation forces, rarely make the mainstream news. Here is video of my lecture yesterday in Washington.
http://josephdana.com/2010/11/video-from-the-front-lines-of-the-palestinian-popular-struggle/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=video-from-the-front-lines-of-the-palestinian-popular-struggle

Euromed canceled again due to Arab threat to boycott over Israel
Some 50 presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers were due to attend the summit, which now has been canceled for the third time.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/euromed-canceled-again-due-to-arab-threat-to-boycott-over-israel-1.324052?localLinksEnabled=false

Greek Ship Captain Threatens to Leave the Gaza Road to Hope Convoy
(TOBRUK / SALEM) – “Now the captain is threatening to leave without us despite 75,000 dollars being paid to his agent for the charter of this ship. We are on the verge of a stand off using our bodies on the back of the ship,” wrote Ken O’Keefe, minutes ago.  And now, “We are being forcefully taken out of the harbour with the captain going crazy ordering the ship to leave!!!”  O’Keefe is a part of the Road to Hope convoy, over a dozen vehicles on their way to Gaza to deliver much needed aid. They have been stuck in Libya at the Egyptian border for over two weeks, hoping to gain entry and passage to Gaza.  Things looked quite hopeful at first, and the group was confident that they would be successful in getting through to Gaza with the aid. But things change very quickly, when politics and bureaucracy are concerned.
http://salem-news.com/articles/november102010/gaza-okeefebk.php

Arizona State University students protest IDF speaker
On November 2, 2010 Sun Devils for Israel invited Sergeant Nadav Weinberg who is a Israel Defense Soldier (IDF) to speak about the “Ethics of the IDF.” This is how ASU students responded.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/arizona-state-university-students-protest-idf-speaker.html

Thinking of Rachel Corrie during the olive harvest in the Galilee, Hatim Kanaaneh
It is olive gathering season and people in Arrabeh are at it again. This year the crop is good. A friend from Jerusalem had asked us for two jerry cans of fresh olive oil direct from the press. Raja Shehadeh was scheduled to have a book launch in Jerusalem and we decided to kill two birds. That morning, the next session of the Rachel Corrie case was being held in Haifa. We loaded the olive oil and headed to Haifa to start the day with this third bird. Knowing our friends in Jerusalem to be olive oil connoisseurs we loaded the new fifty-liter Italian-made stainless steel special container that we had purchased for our own use in the trunk of the car and headed out for a day of adventure and Palestinian camaraderie.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/thinking-of-rachel-corrie-during-the-olive-harvest.html

US Campaign to End the Occupation:  Rachel Corrie Foundation Joins First-Ever U.S. Universal Periodic Review
(Olympia, Washington) – The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday released its draft report on the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the U.S. human rights record. The report called for greater transparency and accountability in U.S. foreign military aid and programs. On Thursday, November 4, Gina Patnaik spoke at UN headquarters in Geneva, representing the Rachel Corrie Foundation in a side panel to the U.S. review, and called upon the U.S. Government to enforce two existing mechanisms for monitoring human rights abuses – the “Leahy Amendment,” and the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
http://endtheoccupationblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/rachel-corrie-foundation-joins-first.html

#BDS: Click here to download “Consumer Boycott” flyer for the US
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2010/11/bds-click-here-to-download-consumer.html

#BDS: Why the Cape Opera is wrong to tour Israel
The reaction by Zionists to the appeal by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for the Cape Town Opera to reconsider its proposed tour of Israel with Porgy and Bess echoes, unsurprisingly, what we used to hear from the apartheid regime when confronted with the cultural boycott of South Africa. His point is that it would be “unconscionable” for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel while millions of people living there are denied access to culture and education.
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2010/11/bds-why-cape-opera-is-wrong-to-tour.html

Dana: ‘I ask myself if I would have the moral clarity to behave as the Palestinians do if I were in their situation’,  Philip Weiss
And a week or two after that, Dana himself came to New York and showed the sensational video of Adeeb Abu Rahmah confronting the soldiers in Bil’in– a video that has all the transformative power of the legends of the American civil rights movement.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/dana-i-ask-myself-if-i-would-have-the-moral-clarity-to-behave-as-the-palestinians-do-if-i-were-in-their-situation.html

Visit MediaMarathon.StoptheWall.net
The New Stop the Wall site features an action and media calendar, a world map of activities, a constantly updated list of media coverage, an media kit for all those that want to participate in the Media Marathon and much more.Click here to visit the site!
http://mediamarathon.stopthewall.net/

Israeli Abuse of Palestinian Children

30 students inhale tear gas during Arafat memorial
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Thirty students under the age of 14 suffered tear-gas inhalation Thursday when an organized march commemorating the death of former president Yasser Arafat came into proximity with an Israeli patrol vehicle.  The children, part of a group of 300 marching from the school toward the town of Beit Ummar in Hebron, threw stones at a military vehicle, an Israeli army spokesman said, prompting the use of riot dispersal mechanisms from soldiers.  Officials from the primary school said some of the children threw up and others were nauseous for hours following what they described as an attack on the group.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332998

Israeli Settler Attacks Two Palestinian Children and Elderly Woman
Palestinian sources reported on Thursday that two Palestinian children and an elderly woman were wounded when an Israeli settler from the settlement of Tekoa, southeast of Bethlehem, attacked them with stones.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59884

Soldiers accused of attacking children near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Villagers accused Israeli checkpoint soldiers of beating two 13-year-old boys on Thursday, as the two crossed a flying checkpoint near the town of Beit Furiq.  The parents of Mustafa Ahmad Maletat, said he and his friend Ahmad Basem Taweel were taken aside and hit repeatedly when they attempted to pass the temporary road block in the northern West Bank.  An Israeli military spokesman said he was unaware of any incident in the area.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=333066

School closes ‘to avoid Israeli raid’
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces surrounded a school in the northern West Bank to prevent students from marking the death of anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian president.  Forces threatened to raid the school if the celebration did not immediately end, the director of education at the Jeet Male Secondary School east of Qalqiliya said. The principal said the school was evacuated.  An Israeli military spokesman said forces were responding to rock-throwing.  The school is on a main road between Qalqiliya and Nablus near the illegal Qedumim settlement.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332952

Child Labour in Jordan Valley Settlements
Dorien Vanden Boer – Jordan Valley Solidarity – The legal age for workers in Palestine was recently increased from 14 to 16, but this change has not materialised on the ground. Settlers avoid this law by recruiting through subcontractors, so that they have no direct contracts with minors, who have no official employee status or rights. Nonetheless, settlers are fully aware that children are working on their fields.
http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=114:child-labour-in-jordan-valley-settlements&catid=15:2010&Itemid=21

Refugees

Palestinian refugees suffering mental strain – study
BEIRUT: The destitute conditions of Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon has left a psychological strain on refugees, resulting in a high level of aggressive behavior toward their families, the neighborhood and the camp environment, according to a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released this week.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=121433

Special Report: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
A special CBC/Radio-Canada web collaboration documents the life of Palestinians in Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon.  The French and English services of CBC have teamed up to produce a web documentary about Palestinians in Lebanon. This week, CBC News correspondent Nahlah Ayed and Radio-Canada’s Ahmed Kouaou and Danny Braün are in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, one of 12 such camps that have existed in Lebanon for decades.  Ayed and Kouaou are filing daily blog posts from the camp — in English and French, respectively — providing glimpses of life in Shatila and sharing their experiences as they make the documentary, which will appear on this site in January.
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/10/26/f-lebanon.html?ref=rss#ixzz14vQLRe6d

Siege/Humanitarian Issues/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement

Gaza Health Ministry: The strip out of 79 critical drugs
Amid plummeting medical conditions in the Gaza Strip, the territory’s Health Ministry warned Wednesday that around 80 basic drugs have become out of stock.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Q

A glimpse at the Palestinians who build Israeli settlements
In the settlement of Ariel, Palestinian laborers readily admitted they were torn between politics and paychecks.   …Sitting inside a yellow tractor, Abed Abdel-Karim, 41, said he’d been working in settlements for 15 years. He said they threaten the future Palestinian state but said he has no other way to earn a living. He acknowledged it was a problem, but “it’s not my job to fix it … I’m married and have kids. I don’t want to be a millionaire. I just want to pay my bills.”
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/a-glimpse-at-the-palestinians-who-build-israeli-settlements-1.324108?localLinksEnabled=false

ISRAEL: Border barrier to keep asylum-seekers out
TEL AVIV, 11 November 2010 (IRIN) – Israel is building a 60km-long barrier on its southern border with Egypt aimed at physically keeping out African asylum-seekers amid a rising tide of intolerance towards people widely referred to as “illegal workers”.   The barrier will be built at two locations which witness the most crossings – near the Gaza strip and near Eilat. The estimated US$1.35 billion project is due to be completed at the end of 2013.   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted in July [ http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/netanyahu-illegal-african-immigrants-a-threat-to-israel-s-jewish-character-1.302653 ] as saying that the “flood of illegal workers infiltrating from Africa” into Israel was “a concrete threat to the Jewish and democratic character of the country”.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/21fa3da4b933ae6efad05bb3cb14e76d.htm

Who Controls the Palestinian Population Registry?
When the Palestinian Supreme Court in Ramallah issued a new ruling on 22.10.2010, commentators were quick to declare a breakthrough for the 35,000 Palestinian residents who live in the West Bank but whose registered addresses are in Gaza and who therefore live under the threat of deportation. The ruling ordered the Palestinian Interior Ministry to carry out all the necessary procedures to change these residents’ addresses from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
http://www.gazagateway.org/2010/11/who-controls-the-palestinian-population-registry/

New Report on Women’s Rights in Palestine
Bethlehem – PNN – Euromed Gender Equality Programme (EGEP) released a new report about gender equality and women’s rights in Palestine on Wednesday. The EGEP is an organization that studies and reports the gender equality issues around the world.  In a recent study they looked at Palestine, including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, to study the role that women play in the society.  The report found that, although Palestine is making improvements in the region, there are still significant hurdles to cross.  Some of these hurdles can be attributed to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9132&Itemid=63

Racism and Discrimination

Gang suspected of attacks on Arabs in Jerusalem
Young men have reportedly been roaming in and around Independence Park seeking Arabs to attack, trying to identify them by their accent.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/gang-suspected-of-attacks-on-arabs-in-jerusalem-1.324050?localLinksEnabled=false

Israeli Police: violent, trigger-happy and politically biased
This week, a policeman shot and killed a suspect. The deceased was suspected of harassment, of resisting arrest and of simply being too obsessive. There are those who also say he was suspected of an attempted vehicular assault, and he discovered that these were capital crimes. The late suspect was lucky not to be an Arab. As a Jew, the circumstances of his death are at the very least questioned.
http://972mag.com/israeli-police-violent-trigger-happy-and-politically-biased/

Bnei Brak to ‘expose’ landlords who rent out flats to Africans
City officials say landlords subdivide flats, cram refugees in them with ‘total disregard for general population’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3982899,00.html

Netanyahu’s father vomits his racism
“Q: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.
A: “The bible finds no worse image than this of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases.
The tendency towards conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetuate war.”
Q: Is there any hope of peace?
A: “Out of agreement? No. the other side might stay in peace if it understands that doing anything [else] will cause it enormous pain.
The two states solution doesn’t exist. There are no two people here. There is a Jewish people and an Arab population… there is no Palestinian people, so you don’t create a state for an imaginary nation… they only call themselves a people in order to fight the Jews.”
Q: So what’s the solution?
A: “No solution but force… strong military rule”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/11/netanyahus-father-vomits-his-racism.html

Now On Display: Israel’s Palestinians,  Audrey Farber
Come visit the Jewish state and while you’re at it, look at these primitive Arabs in their small, confined space – just like they lived before we swooped in and civilized this desert wasteland with milk and honey and fruits and wine and all that jazz. And guns. (Never mind the decades of British rule and before that centuries of Ottoman administration that preceded us.) We are preserving their heritage for them … by denying them opportunities to advance and succeed and confining them to their narrow, scuzzy alleyways, selling eggplants at a discounted rate and smiling and nodding ahlan wa sahlan for tour buses full of middle aged Americans. (You know they aren’t birthright kids because birthright kids aren’t allowed near Arabs: danger, danger!) Of course, not one of Haifa’s several museums – dedicated to everything from Japanese Art to Clandestine Immigration to the Israeli Oil Industry – represents Palestinian culture, art, or history.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/now-on-display-israels-palestinians.html

Violence & Aggression

IDF strikes target in central Gaza Strip
Aircraft, ground troops exchange fire with militants in Gaza; no injuries sustained by IDF soldiers.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-strikes-target-in-central-gaza-strip-1.324179?localLinksEnabled=false

Nights of Terror Continue in Silwan, Palestine Monitor
A week of terror in Silwan continued early this morning with the violent arrest of four youths during Israeli raids on several homes. The East Jerusalem suburb has been plagued by incursions throughout the week, with seven more arrests on Monday. All those arrested are under 21.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1607

East Jerusalem’s Issawiya Under Attack
Last Saturday (November 6), undercover Israeli police forces entered the East Jerusalem village of Issawiya in an attempt to get information from residents. Since then, Israeli police have set up daily roadblocks, disrupting the neighborhood and its residents.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/jerusalem/2991-east-jerusalems-issawiya-under-attack

Firing at workers near the Gaza perimiter fence
B`Tselem – Over the past year, B`Tselem has documented eleven cases in which soldiers fired at and wounded Palestinian civilians working in areas near the perimeter fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. In these eleven cases, the gunfire struck civilians who, because of the lack of jobs in the Strip, were compelled to earn a living by collecting building materials for recycling. The lack of jobs has grown since Operation Cast Lead and following the continuing siege on the Strip.
http://www.btselem.org/English/Gaza_Strip/20101103_Shooting_at_workers_near_the_Gaza_perimeter_fence.asp

Israeli police fire at, arrest Jordanian
Israeli police arrested a Jordanian citizen in Wadi Ara, north of Palestine occupied in 1948, on Wednesday after a few hours chase, a police report said.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd8

Detainees

Gaza prisoners ass’n says detainees need coats
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Center for Detainees in Gaza City said Wednesday that they had received word from several inmates kept in Israeli detention centers that they were in dire need of warm clothing and blankets.  The complaints, the center said, came from the Ramon and Nafha prisons, in central Israel and the Negev dessert.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332828

Hamas denounces political arrest of senior PLC member 
Sabr 10 Nov 2010 – [ 10/11/2010 – 04:26 PM ] DAMASCUS, ( PIC )– The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas strongly denounced Israeli authorities for the arrest of senior Palestinian Legislative Council official Mahmoud Al Ramahi Wednesday, calling for his immediate release.
http://palestinianprisoners.blogspot.com/2010/11/hamas-denounces-political-arrest-of.html
   
Rights group slams detention of Hamas MP
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A local Palestinian human rights group condemned on Thursday Israel’s arrest of a leading Palestinian lawmaker a day earlier.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights issued a statement strongly condemning Wednesday’s arrest of Mahmoud Al-Ramahi, the secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing Hamas. Such detentions constitute “reprisals and measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilians, which are prohibited according to article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949,” the statement said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332941

Israeli policemen humiliate Sheikh Salah during his trial
Israeli policemen on Wednesday deliberately insulted and humiliated Sheikh Ra’ed Salah as they were escorting him to a court in occupied Jerusalem to defend himself against new charges.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xy

Israel’s Arab Helpers

Report: Egypt aided Israel’s assassination of top Gaza militant
Time Magazine claims Egyptian intelligence tipped Israel off ahead of the arrival of a senior Army of Islam militant as part of its attempts to thwart terror activity in Sinai.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-egypt-aided-israel-s-assassination-of-top-gaza-militant-1.324151?localLinksEnabled=false

Behind an Israeli Strike in Gaza, Help from Egypt (Time.com)
Time.com – An Israeli missile assassinates a Gaza militant allegedly plotting against US forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Did Cairo provide the key assist?
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20101110/wl_time/08599203067100

Fayyad admits to violations against Hamas supporters in West Bank
Palestinian president in Ramallah Salaam Fayyad admitted to the existence of human rights violations in West Bank prisons under his jurisdiction, guaranteeing that all violators will be prosecuted.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6

Egypt’s national flags made in Israel?
Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper reports Cairo imports its national flags from Jewish state, but country’s industry and trade minister insists report based solely on rumors
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3983198,00.html

A Husni Mubarak journalist calls on Arabs to visit Israel, As`ad Abukhalil
Israel can’t get Arab world’s gifted writers, like Ala’ Aswanti, to support normalization with it.  So it is reduced to promoting the lousy writers of the Saudi sleaze website, Elaph, to endorse normalization with it.  One such writers on Elaph is a former functionary of Abu Nidal organization–kid you not.  This guy (another guy–not the Abu Nidal organization guy) appears on Aljazeera and rails against Israel on regular basis.   Here, he is inviting Arabs to visit Israel.  Left unmentioned is that this is a Mubarak regime tool.  It seems that orders have arrived to rush to Israel–all for you, o Jamal Mubarak. 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/11/husni-mubarak-journalist-calls-on-arabs.html

Commemorating Arafat

Fatah: Hamas police quash Arafat memorial
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Fatah lawmaker said Thursday that Hamas police entered his office in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah ahead of planned celebrations marking the death of the late President Yasser Arafat.  Ashraf Jom’a told Ma’an that he had announced a small event marking the sixth anniversary of the death of Arafat, which was set to include a film screening featuring Khalil Ibrahim Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), a slain resistance fighter affiliated with Fatah.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=333022

FPA: Hamas detains journalists at Arafat memorial
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned on Thursday the reported arrest of a television crew at a Rafah event celebrating the life of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.  In a statement, the FPA denounced “in the strongest terms,” the detention of the journalists, who the association said were detained and ordered to turn over news footage to the authorities.  “The total ban by the authorities on all stills photographers wanting to cover the same event is unacceptable,” the statement continued.  According to the association, “This is the latest in what seems to be a systematic campaign by Hamas to harass and intimidate journalists. Our members are professional journalists working for respected global news organizations. We demand that Hamas let journalists do their work and respect the basic right of freedom of the press.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=333140

Palestinians gather in Ramallah to mark anniversary of Arafat death
President Abbas scheduled to address memorial of the former PLO chief who died 6 years ago, as Hamas reportedly break up private memorial of long-time rival.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/palestinians-gather-in-ramallah-to-mark-anniversary-of-arafat-death-1.324167?localLinksEnabled=false

PA begins Arafat commemoration; millions to new museum
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — One and a half million dollars was approved by the PA Cabinet on Wednesday, for the completion of construction on the Yasser Arafat Museum in Ramallah.  The move comes as the PA prepares celebrations marking the 6th anniversary of the death of the former president, with provisions made in Wednesday’s cabinet meeting for free public transportation for West Bankers heading to the Ramallah festivities.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332743
  
Bethlehem celebrates Arafat
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Fatah movement officials in Bethlehem called on residents to gather in the Nativity Square Wednesday and commemorate the late President Yasser Arafat.  In the presence of several Fatah Revolutionary Council members, local mayors and officials, young and old lit candles and carried photos of Arafat, praying in unison for his soul to rest in peace.  Revolutionary council member Muhammad Taha Abu Alia spoke to those present, commenting on how Arafat had loved to visit Bethlehem, and did so frequently to spend time in its mosques and churches.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332848

Arafat; Do Palestinians Still Remember How He died?
Ghassan Bannoura – Bethlehem – PNN/exclusive – Today Palestinians marked the sixth anniversary of President Yasser Arafat death, the question I am asking, do they still remember how he died?
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9130

Other Political “Developments”

Abbas wants more than U.S. “slogans” on statehood
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday U.S. support for Palestinian statehood had yet to move beyond “slogans”. Abbas said views in the United States and Europe had started to shift in favour of the Palestinians but expressed frustration at recent U.S. opposition to the idea of taking the quest for statehood to the U.N. Security Council.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6AA17F.htm

Palestinian leader: Peace better than settlements
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday appealed to Israelis to choose peace over settlements, saying that opportunities for a peace deal must not be wasted.  Abbas spoke to thousands of flag-waving supporters at a rally marking the sixth anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. In the Gaza Strip, Abbas’ bitter political rival, the Islamic militant Hamas, suppressed all Arafat commemorations, a sign of the deepening political rift despite renewed attempts by the two sides to reconcile.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/11/AR2010111102097.html

Haneyya: Damascus meeting complicated
Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya has affirmed that the current national dialog session in the Syrian capital Damascus would not solve all pending problems between Hamas and Fatah.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/en/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87

Hamas: “Israel Seeking Failure Of Palestinian Unity Talks”
The Hamas movement issued a press release slamming the kidnapping of the secretary-general of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Mahmoud al-Ramahi, and stated that, by the ongoing arrests and the abduction of elected officials, Israel is seeking the failure of internal Palestinian unity talks.
http://www.imemc.org/article/59870

Hamas, Fatah fail to reach agreement at reconciliation talks
Rival Palestinian factions end their latest round of talks in Damascus without an agreement to narrow their differences on security issues.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/hamas-fatah-fail-to-reach-agreement-at-reconciliation-talks-1.324125?localLinksEnabled=false

‘US Support for Israel Must Continue Forever,’ says Biden
He reiterated what he said was the Obama administration’s deep commitment to Israel’s security and to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=194410

Clinton warns Palestinians and Israelis against ‘unilateral’ Mideast steps
Secretary of State criticizes Israel’s settlement plans as ‘counterproductive’; Egypt: Israel not doing what it is supposed to do.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/clinton-warns-palestinians-and-israelis-against-unilateral-mideast-steps-1.324038?localLinksEnabled=false

PM: Disagreements with US ‘temporary’
In New York meeting with senior media figures, Netanyahu plays down recent differences of opinion with US.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3982821,00.html

US giving Palestinians $150m aid  [Enough aid, they want freedom]
The United States is to transfer an additional $150m in aid to the Palestinian Authority and calls on other donor nations to increase their aid.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-us-canada-11729423

Other News

U.S. to store another $400m worth of emergency military equipment in Israel
Equipment to stand at Israel’s disposal in an emergency; hike will bring the value of American military equipment stockpiled in Israel to $1.2 billion by 2012.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/u-s-to-store-another-400m-worth-of-emergency-military-equipment-in-israel-1.324046?localLinksEnabled=false

US to Increase Arms to Israel by Additional $400 Million
Bethlehem – PNN – The United States has approved a plan to add 400 million dollars worth of military equipment to its emergency stockpile in Israel by 2012. This will bring the total value of stockpiled goods to 1.2 billion dollars.  The US Congress approved an increase late last month, as reported earlier this week by Barbara Opall-Rome for Defense News magazine. Such a show of military support for Israel undermines the position of the US as the unbiased moderator it has presented itself as in current peace talks.  The military equipment would be administered by US forces, but the Israeli military would be given control over the equipment in the event of a conflict. Such use is allowed according to a clause in the US foreign aid law which regulates military stockpiles for US allies.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9129&Itemid=61

IDF officer: Clash with Hamas inevitable
A clash with Hamas is inevitable and the IDF’s Gaza Division is taking steps to prepare for escalation, outgoing Division Commander Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg said Thursday.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3983356,00.html

No thaw in relations with Israel without apology for boat raid: Turkey
PARIS: Turkey will not begin to restore relations with Israel unless it apologizes for its “savage attack” on a Turkish protest vessel, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.”Israel will apologize. And Israel will have to pay compensation.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=121418

Lieberman: Syria a peace partner? No way
During visit to Golan Heights, foreign minister says ‘only a political hypochondriac can say Syria is a peace partner, especially under the current regime’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3983162,00.html

Bodies of IAF pilot and navigator found after F-16I crash in Negev
Pilot Maj. Amichai Itkis and navigator Maj. Emanuel Levy took off from the Ramon Air Force base and crashed during training exercise.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/bodies-of-iaf-pilot-and-navigator-found-after-f-16i-crash-in-negev-1.324188?localLinksEnabled=false

International aviation chief slams Israel for poor flight safety
Israel’s aviation safety status was downgraded to category two by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in January 2009.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/international-aviation-chief-slams-israel-for-poor-flight-safety-1.324055?localLinksEnabled=false

Ayalon: Recognize Mizrahi Jews as refugees
Deputy foreign minister supports new initiative calling on Palestinians to recognize Jewish refugees from Arab lands, says topic must be discussed in any future negotiations.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3982859,00.html

Public Security Ministry D-G quits suddenly, apparently over sex harassment complaint
External ministry adviser said that Peleg tried to harm her and her professional status, using verbal abuse and sexual harassment over a period of several months.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/public-security-ministry-d-g-quits-suddenly-apparently-over-sex-harassment-complaint-1.324049?localLinksEnabled=false

Analysis/Op-ed/Human Interest

The Palestinians of Israel are poised to take centre stage | Seumas Milne
With the peace process going nowhere, common experience on both sides of the Green Line is creating a new reality.  In a quiet street in the Sheikh Jarrah district of occupied East Jerusalem 88-year-old Rifka al-Kurd is explaining how she came to live in the house she and her husband built as Palestinian refugees in the 1950s. As she speaks, three young ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers swagger in to stake their claim to the front part of the building, shouting abuse in Hebrew and broken Arabic: “Arab animals”, “shut up, whore”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/10/palestinians-poised-to-take-centre-stage

Israel’s Arab citizens are not a negotiating chip, Jonathan Cook
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has insisted from the launch of the current peace talks that the Palestinians set no preconditions, while making his own precondition the centrepiece of negotiations. Mr Netanyahu has said talks are futile unless the Palestinians and their leader, Mahmoud Abbas, first recognise Israel as a Jewish state. “I recognised the Palestinians’ right to self-definition, so they must do the same for the Jewish people,” he told American Jewish leaders recently.
http://www.jkcook.net/Articles3/0523.htm#Top

Hey Obama: These are Israel’s red lines!
As President Obama and his advisors contemplate which of these paths to chose, it is vital that Prime Minister Netanyahu take this opportunity to once again clearly state Israel’s red lines in negotiating with the Palestinians. Whether this clarification serves to bolster our friends in Congress, or remind the Administration as they plan any new initiatives, it is crucial that our American allies understand where we stand on these issues as we inch closer to returning to direct negotiations with the Palestinians. Thankfully, the prime minister does not need to start from scratch. In his historic speech at Bar Ilan University in June of 2009, Netanyahu laid out three key areas where Israel’s red lines cannot be crossed. The Palestinians must agree to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people…. Israel must remain within defensible borders as the result of any peace agreement. We cannot compromise on territorial concessions in the Jordan Valley or on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria which overlook the center of our country… Finally, Jerusalem can never be divided… Without a clear stance on this most basic issue we will soon find ourselves chased out of the city we dreamed of for 2,000 years..
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2010/11/hey-obama-these-are-israels-red-lines.html

“Netanyahu convinced himself that the US needs him more than he needs it….”
“… The whole thing is playing out exactly as it did in March: Biden visit; housing announcement; U.S. pushback. In March, Prime Minister Netanyahu retorted with the defiant declaration: “Jerusalem is not a settlement”; yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu retorted with the defiant declaration: … I’ll just let you guess. The latest to-do, Aaron David Miller told me this morning, “reflects a much-diminished administration that got off on the wrong foot from the beginning.” Prior history as well as the prospects of continued Israeli-Palestinian negotiations give Netanyahu greater leverage, according to the former negotiator. The prime minister “knows that the administration believes the only way this Israeli-Palestinian problem is going to be resolved is negotiations, and so he’s convinced himself that they need him more than he needs them,”…. The timing of the announcement again seemed calculated to provoke and to assert Netanyahu’s (new?) upper hand ….  So, where are we now? A crucial thing to watch is Netanyahu’s meeting Thursday in Washington, D.C., with Secretary of State Clinton. Her bona fides as a friend to Israel are pretty much impeccable. But she was the one who, in March, famously upbraided Netanyahu on the phone for 43 to 45 minutes (depending on your source) for that prior settlement announcement. “If it’s a reprise of what happened in March,” explained Miller of the Clinton-Netanyahu get-together, “we’re not prepared to back it up. We just look weak—we look pathetic, frankly, it’s beyond weak.” How she and the administration handles this situation, I think, will be the most telling hint over the direction the circus will travel over the next few months.
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2010/11/netanyahu-convinced-himself-that-us.html

Why Netanyahu is engaging Obama in a spat over E. Jerusalem ‘settlements’ (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is engaging the US administration in a high-profile debate over settlement building two days before he meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address the impasse in negotiations.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20101110/wl_csm/342420

Peace Will Not Be Achieved By Deception
Henry Siegman – Huffington Post – Equally misleading has been Netanyahu`s repeated declarations that a peace accord depends on Palestinians matching Israel`s “painful concessions” with their own painful concessions. In fact, no one has ever asked Israel to make any concession to the Palestinians — whether territory, water resources, Jerusalem or sovereignty. All of these concessions are to be made on the Palestinian side of the 1967 border. No concessions were asked of Israel on its side of that border.
http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=43317

Why I still have faith in the American people, Stephen M. Walt
… some of the time” (or at least enough of them to get elected twice).  But when you lead the country into a series of debacles and disasters, it turns out they really don’t want to watch you rationalize your blunders on national TV. In other words, Bush’s interview with Matt Lauer, touting his new book, was a ratings bomb.
http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/11/10/you_can_fool_some_of_the_people

Obama Can Still Do It, George S. Hishmeh
Though obnoxious, Benjamin Netanyahu is no dummy. After all, the Israeli prime minister knows that if he got away with something the first time, he might as well take another shot at it the second time. And lo and behold, his victim on both occasions was Joe Biden, the ever-smiling American vice president.  When Biden visited Jerusalem last March in an attempt to help kick-start the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, stalled by Israeli expansionism into the occupied West Bank, the Israeli government unbeknownst to the visiting vice president, simultaneously announced its intention to build 1600 housing units in occupied Arab East Jerusalem which the Palestinians hope will be their capital once their state is established.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16406

Peace Held Hostage to US, Israeli Elections, Nicola Nasser
The statement by former U.S. President George W. Bush in his 497 – page memoir of ‘Decision Points’ that a secret peace deal was worked out between the then-prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, which “we devised a process to turn .. into a public agreement” had not Olmert been ousted by a scandal to be replaced in the following elections by Binyamin Netanyahu, who reneged on his predecessor’s commitments, is a piece of history which highlights the fact that peacemaking in the Arab – Israeli conflict and the peace process have been hostages to the rotating U.S. and Israeli elections since the Madrid peace conference of 1991
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16408

The Mavi Marmara is set to hit the big screen in Turkey, Adam Horowitz
Polat Alemdar is back! And this time he’s kicking ass and taking names in none other than the Holy Land.  f you don’t know what I’m talking about, Alemdar is the hero of the popular Turkish television show, and now film series, Valley of the Wolves. A 2006 film took aim at the American invasion of Iraq, and the upcoming movie is focused on exacting revenge for the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/the-mavi-marmara-is-set-to-hit-the-big-screen-in-turkey.html

U.S. Justice Department prepares for the ominous expansion of law prohibiting ‘material support’ for terrorism, Michael Deutsch
In late September the FBI carried out a series of raids of homes and anti-war offices of public activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. Following the raids the Obama Justice Department subpoenaed 14 activists to a grand jury in Chicago and also subpoenaed the files of several anti-war and community organizations. In carrying out these repressive actions, the Justice department was taking its lead from the Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion last June in Holder v. the Humanitarian Law Project which decided that non-violent First Amendment speech and advocacy “coordinated with” or “under the direction of” a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as “terrorist” was a crime.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/u-s-justice-department-prepares-for-the-ominous-expansion-of-law-prohibiting-material-support-for-terrorism.html

Right-wing Zionism and Islamophobia Meet Up in Tennessee, Alex Kane
Case in point to my contention that Islamophobia in the United States and the right-wing, Likudnik strain of Zionism are inextricably linked:  a Christian Zionist group is helping to fund a lawsuit against the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
http://alexbkane.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/right-wing-zionism-and-islamophobia-meet-up-in-tennessee/

NYT implies Muslims are the hostile ‘other’, James North
The New York Times is at it again.  In an article about President Obama’s mild criticism of Israel’s plans to build more settlements in occupied Palestine, the newspaper said:  Despite their efforts to build mutual trust, Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu seem to keep talking past each other. On Tuesday, they were worlds apart in symbolism as well as substance: the president voiced his criticism of Israel while on a visit to Jakarta, capital of the world’s most populous Muslim country.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/11/nyt-implies-muslims-are-the-hostile-other.html

Why the Oklahoma Shariah Law is Unconstitutional
On November 2, 2010, an overwhelming majority of Oklahoma citizens (slightly more than 70%) approved State Question (SQ) 755, as a state constitutional amendment, forbidding Oklahoma courts from “considering or using” international law or Shariah law. Oklahoma State Representative Rex Duncan, the amendment’s principal author, characterized the Shariah as a “cancer that must be removed with a preemptive strike.” A petition has already been filed with the United States District Court to seek a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of SQ 755. It remains to be seen whether the federal courts will strike down the amendment under the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution.
http://www.counterpunch.com/khan11112010.html

Lebanon

Six Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon
Six Israeli warplanes have penetrated the Lebanese airspace again and flew over parts of the country in flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution.  The Israeli aircrafts crossed into Lebanese airspace over the southern border village of Kfar Kila at 9:30 a.m. local time (0630 GMT) on Tuesday and conducted several unwarranted flights above southern Lebanon as well as the capital Beirut, a Press TV correspondent in Beirut cited a statement released by the Lebanese military.  The jets left the Lebanese airspace at 11:05 a.m. local time (0805 GMT) while flying over Alma al-Shaab – a town in southern Lebanon.
http://www.presstv.com/detail/150340.html

Sayyed Nasrallah to Address Recent Developments on Martyr’s Day
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is to deliver an important  speech on Thursday evening during Martyr’s Day festival, which would include Hezbollah position on the recent political developments in Lebanon.   The festival will take place at six-thirty in the evening, Beirut time (16:30 GMT) in Sayyed Shuhada’a complex in the southern suburbs of Beirut (Dahiyeh)- Ruwais.
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=161849&language=en

Cabinet Convenes in ‘Tense’ Session over False Witnesses
10/11/2010 Once again, the national-unity government in Lebanon seems to be “fighting”…  On Wednesday, the cabinet faces once again the “challenge” represented by the most sensitive issue nowadays, the false witnesses’ file.  The false witnesses in the assassination of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the witnesses who led to the arbitrary detention of four innocent officers for four years and who harmed the Lebanese-Syrian relations, are threatening the “divided” Lebanese cabinet… While the loyalty camp is seeking to “protect” them by rejecting the transfer of their file to the Judicial Council, the opposition is insisting such step should be the cabinet’s priority. The opposition says that resorting to the voting process is required whereas the loyalty is threatening to withdraw from the session in such case.  President Michel Sleiman and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt are exerting, in the meantime, intensive efforts to prevent such scenario.
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=161770&language=en

Lebanon postpones debate on UN tribunal witnesses
BEIRUT (DPA) — The Lebanese cabinet postponed on Wednesday a debate on witnesses accused of misleading UN investigators probing the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, in a bid to avoid more tension in the country.  The Hezbollah-led opposition and its pro-Syrian allies have insisted on a vote inside the cabinet on the issue in order to hand it over to the nation’s highest court.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332917

Report: Saudi court rejects death for Lebanese ‘sorcerer’
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia’s high court has rejected the execution sentence of a Lebanese man convicted of sorcery and recommended that he be deported after a new trial, a newspaper reported Thursday.  The Supreme Court in Riyadh said that the death sentence for Ali Sabat was not warranted because he had not harmed anyone and had no prior offences in the country, Okaz said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=332997

Iraq

Wednesday: 8 Iraqis Killed, 38 Wounded
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 38 more were wounded in new violence. Most of the attacks in the capital targeted Christians.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2010/11/10/wednesday-8-iraqis-killed-38-wounded/

UN condemns attack on Iraqi Christians (AP)
AP – The U.N. Security Council said Wednesday that it’s appalled by the latest terrorist attacks on Iraqi Christians, calling them a blow against religious diversity and democracy.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101110/ap_on_re_us/un_un_iraq

Iraq’s Christians Vow to Survive — With Muslim Help (Time.com)
Time.com – After the horrific church invasion on Halloween, Baghdad’s Christians suffer another day of assaults. But they have also won the sympathy of their Muslim countrymen
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20101111/wl_time/08599203074700

Another Baghdad Massacre: Iraqi Christians Are Already at Home, Ramzy Baroud
On Sunday, October 31, when a group of militants seized a church in Baghdad, killing and wounding scores of Iraqi Christians, it signaled yet another episode of unimaginable horror in the country since the US invasion of March 2003. Every group of Iraqis has faced terrible devastation as a result of this war, the magnitude of which is only now beginning to be discovered.  True, the situation in Iraq was difficult prior to the war. Having visited the country in 1999, I can testify to this. But the hardship suffered by many Iraqis, especially political dissidents, was in some way typical characteristic of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Iraq could, at that time, be easily contrasted with other countries living under similar hardships. But what has happened since the war can barely be compared to any other country or any other wars since World War II. Even putting aside the devastating death toll, the sheer scale of internal displacement and forced emigration is terrifying. This is a nation that had more or less maintained a consistent level of demographic cohesion for many generations. It was this cohesion that made Iraq what it was.
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/11/another-baghdad-massacre-iraqi-christians-are-already-at-home/

Cluster munitions maim and kill Iraqis every day
Iraq – Every year hundreds of Iraqis are killed or maimed by cluster munitions and landmines, due to Iraq’s contamination of millions of explosive remnants of war (ERW). According to Iraqi figures, the contamination claimed 14,000 victims between 1991 and 2007, while in the three Kurdish governorates the estimated number of victims (both injuries and deaths) was 8,174 between 1991 and 2008.
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-8B3T2N?OpenDocument&RSS20=02-P

Two asylum seekers deported to Baghdad and allegedly tortured were not Iraqi
Exclusive: Foreign Office letter seen by Guardian admits to confusion over men’s nationality and the claims of mistreatment made by them.  Two asylum seekers who were deported to Baghdad and claim they were tortured on arrival by Iraqi officials have been returned to Britain because they were found not to be Iraqi.  The confusion over the men’s nationality and the allegations they have made are among admissions made by the Foreign Office in a letter to the European court of human rights (ECHR) arguing for a resumption of removals to Baghdad.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/10/asylum-seekers-deported-baghdad-torture

Iraqi leaders reach deal to form new government; Maliki to retain power
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s political leaders have reached a deal on forming a new government that will break the political stalemate that has plagued the country for eight months and give Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a second term as Iraq’s leader.
http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/click.phdo?i=786daefcbb7c709dae56f584a715c5b2

Iraqi parliament seats distribution (AP)
AP – A look at the distribution of seats in Iraq’s parliament for various parties and alliances, based on vote returns from the March 7 parliamentary elections.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101111/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_parliament_glance

2000-year-old monastery found in Iraq’s Najaf
An ancient monastery dating to the 1st century A.D. has been discovered in the religious city of Najaf, an Antiquities Department official says.  Nazar al-Nafakh, Najaf’s leading archaeologist, said the monastery was revealed as bulldozers were leveling ground for Najaf’s new airport.  “It is about 2000 years old,” he said.  So far Nafakh has no clue of the name of the monastery, but Christianity was practiced widely in the area of Najaf south of Baghdad at the time.  The province of Najaf, of which the religious city of Najaf is the capital, has several monasteries but most of them are merely heaps of debris.
http://www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news\2010-11-10\kurd.htm

U.S. & Other World News

‘US World’s Biggest Arms Seller’
The United States has topped the list of global arms sellers, with Israel, UAE and India purchasing the bulk of arms including fighter jets, says a think tank.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/150343.html

Amnesty: prosecute Bush for admitted waterboarding
LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The United States must prosecute former President George W. Bush for torture if his admission in a memoir that he authorised waterboarding holds true, rights group Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE6A92G2.htm

Former British intelligence chairman all but calls Bush liar, says waterboarding didn’t stop terror plots
The ex-minister, Kim Howells, all but accused Bush of lying in a radio interview. He said he wasn’t convinced that waterboarding produced intelligence that helped foil terror plots at Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, in London, though he agreed that the plots were real. Howells is currently a Labour MP and served as a foreign minister of state from 2005 to 2008.  “I don’t think there was any doubt there were real plots,” Howells told the BBC Radio 4 Today. “Where I doubt what President Bush has said is that this, what we regard as torture, actually produced information which was instrumental in preventing those plots coming to fruition. I’m not convinced of that.”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/british-minister-calls-bush-liar-waterboarding-stop-terror-plots/

Video of Torture Hearing Released (VIDEO)
Some of war’s most disturbing moments don’t happen on the battlefield. Such was the case when Sergeant Chuck Luther sat before a Congressional committee and described how he was tortured by U.S. Army officials.  Luther had been confined to a closet at Camp Taji, Iraq. He was held there for over a month, under enforced sleep deprivation, until he agreed to sign documents saying his mortar fire wounds were caused by a pre-existing condition, making him ineligible for benefits.  Below is a video of Luther’s testimony, as he lays out the graphic details of his torture. As a reporter who covers veterans’ issues, I’m often asked what Americans can do to honor our soldiers. My answer: watch this video. Share it with your friends. Ask them to share it with theirs.  On this Veterans Day, don’t let the voices of soldiers like Sgt. Luther go silent.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joshua-kors/video-of-torture-hearing_b_781993.html

US close to decision on 9/11 trial for Mohammed
WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – The Obama administration is close to deciding where the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be tried and whether he will face a military tribunal, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday.
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N10205316.htm

NATO says occupation troops may have killed 3 Afghan civilians
It said four Afghan civilians had been brought to a nearby ISAF base after the fighting and that three of them had subsequently died.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/11/3063025.htm?section=justin

‘US to stay in Afghanistan until 2014’
Senior US officials have told McClatchy newspapers that the new policy will be made pubic soon during an upcoming conference of NATO countries in Lisbon.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/150467.html

Obama officials moving away from 2011 Afghan date
The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama’s pledge that he’d begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011, administration and military officials have told McClatchy.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/11/09/103468/obama-administration-moving-away.html

Canada ‘to extend’ Afghan mission
Canada considers keeping up to 1,000 soldiers in a non-combat role in Afghanistan beyond the 2011 pullout deadline.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/11/201011904741985694.html

US soldier on trial for Afghan murders
A US soldier accused of leading a murder squad that killed and allegedly mutilated Afghan civilians for sport, has appeared before court.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/150415.html

Iran slams Israeli war threats
Iran has lashed out at Israeli prime minister’s comments that encourage the US to take military action against Tehran.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/150330.html

Iran plans to test own model of Russia S-300 missile
Medvedev banned delivery air defense system to Iran in September, saying it would violate expanded UN sanctions against the country imposed in June.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/iran-plans-to-test-own-model-of-russia-s-300-missile-1.324008

A Backdoor to War with Iran?
Some Members of Congress are trying to create a “backdoor” to war with Iran by pushing a resolution supporting Israel’s “right” to launch a military attack on Iran.
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1439/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4557

Study: 100,000 Hispanics have fled Arizona since immigrant law
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — A controversial immigration law in Arizona has likely provoked the voluntary departure of 100,000 Hispanics from the southern US state, according to a study released Wednesday. “Several months after the law was applied, it’s possible to observe a lower number of Hispanics in that area of America. We estimate there are 100,000 less Hispanics compared to the start of 2010,” said the report by the private BBVA Bancomer foundation, released at the two-day Global Forum on Migration and Development, in the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/hispanics-fled-arizona-law/

Photos allege Sri Lanka massacre
Photographs obtained by Al Jazeera appear to show massacre of Tamils during final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/

Loyalists sweep Jordan Parliament elections after opposition boycott
AMMAN: Jordanians voted in large numbers to elect a parliament dominated by pro-government loyalists, with 13 women winning seats, after a boycott by opposition Islamists, official results showed Wednesday.The Islamic Action Front (IAF) disputed the official turnout figure, insisting most voters had stayed away, while US poll observers criticized the electoral system.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=2&article_id=121443

Fourth New Arab Woman Forum set to kick off in December
BEIRUT: The fourth New Arab Woman Forum (NAWF) was announced Wednesday amid calls for greater efforts from governments and private sector firms in advancing gender equality throughout the Middle East. The forum, which will kick off in December and bring together more than 400 representatives from 20 countries, was welcomed to Beirut.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=121432

Christianity’s place in the Middle East
Overextrapolating from the al-Qaida church attack plays into the hands of radicals wanting to push the clash-of-civilisations myth
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/nov/11/christians-middle-east-al-qaida-cathedral-attack

Disney world in which Chinese children ‘toil for 76 hours a week’
To Western children, Disney is a fairytale world of talking mice, princesses and dragons. To Chinese children, it sometimes means working from 8am to 10pm, handling chemicals without protection, being chastised for failing to hit production targets, and eating food laden with cockroaches.  Staff at two factories making Disney toys for Westerners employed children between the ages of 14 and 16 in breach of local labour laws and the entertainment giant’s own code of conduct, according to a report by China Labour Watch (CLW), a US NGO.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/disney-world-in-which-chinese-children-toil-for-76-hours-a-week-2130870.html

 www.TheHeadlines.org

Dana: ‘I ask myself if I would have the moral clarity to behave as the Palestinians do if I were in their situation’

Nov 11, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Why is the struggle changing? Why are perceptions of it changing? In large part through the cellular work of social media.

A week or two back Joseph Dana, an American-Israeli journalist, came to New York and showed the sensational video of Adeeb Abu Rahmah confronting the soldiers in Bil’in– a video that has all the transformative power of the legends of the American civil rights movement.

Two days ago Dana gave a talk on the theme of social media at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington on Tuesday called Video from the Front Lines. Measured and factual, it was addressed to the new audience: “Everyone here in internet world.” For at a time when the peace process is dead in the water, this is an area of real progress.

Notice his description at 26 and 27 minutes or so of the nature of this collective punishment. The Skunk is a chemical the Israeli soldiers shoot randomly into Palestinian villages, it gets on to people’s skin with a noxious smell and they can’t wash it off for three weeks. He shows photographs of the Israelis’ repeated invasions of the occupied Palestinian village of Nil’in after they had killed a ten-year-old boy and the Palestinians had demonstrated their outrage at the killing.

Dana explained how Israel’s only recourse to Palestinian nonviolence is to crush resisting villages and try and make the response violent, so that the resistance can then be processed and contained. He showed this photo of the tear gas blanketing the sky over the village due to a new Israeli device that shoots off scores of tear-gas canisters in no time, inside the village itself.skies

“It’s really not fun… [Though] it’s quite pretty to photograph. It’s really chaotic…

“Oftentimes the Israelis are trying to paint these demonstrations as violent because of the stone-throwings.”

The villages’ popular committees are against youths’ stonethrowing, as it plays into the Israelis’ hands. But how to quell stonethrowing? Two months ago I went to Bil’in and watched the “cycle of violence:” I saw the occupying soldiers being aggressive against peaceful Palestinian villagers, I saw the young men crying Allahu Akbar as they took great risk to throw stones at the soldiers. I saw the international photographers rushing after them, wearing white vests so that the soldiers wouldn’t shoot them.

Dana pointed out that stone-throwing is inevitable given the brute force of collective punishment. The Israeli court system has a 97 percent incarceration rate when it comes to Palestinian protest, and an average trial length of 13 minutes. What an outrage. If they put your father away under such a process, what would you do?

He said that most injuries caused by the stones are to Palestinians themselves, because there are usually activists between stonethrowers and soldiers.  I’m not condoning; I don’t think stonethrowing achieves anything. But to think for one second that American teenagers would do any differently under similar circumstances… (And yes, if these demonstrations were happening in occupied Afghanistan, I believe we would read more about them in the mainstream than we do about the Israeli occupation.) 

wall

Palestinian protesters pulling down a section of the wall on the anniversary of the Berlin wall’s fall.

Dana also spoke of coexistence. How astonishing that despite the radicalized environment, the Popular Committees have called for the release of Gilad Shalit, and they regularly do so in Hebrew statements to the invading Israeli soldiers….

And this experience has transformed Dana himself:

“I’m going to Nil’in every Friday… If you ask me why I am doing this, I would say I’m against the occupation, these are my friends. It’s just that simple, it’s not some grand political platform I’m trying to disseminate. It’s that these are my friends. We talk about the sports, we talk about the weather.”

He is regularly invited into Palestinian homes in the midst of all this to eat and rest. “I ask myself if I would have the moral clarity to behave as the Palestinians do if I were in their situation.” Would Israelis do such a thing in Tel Aviv if Palestinian soldiers were gobbling their lands? (I think not; I think we are dealing with cultural issues here, including the Jewish history of ghettoization and, yes, the hospitality tradition…)

Yes the peace process is going nowhere; but Dana has noticed that the simple message he is bringing to the U.S. is having a profound effect on audiences. And it is difficult for him not to be hopeful when he sees their response to evidence of the grassroots movement of Israelis and Palestinians building friendships and a means of co-existence. The battle in the U.S. is to get these people oxygen, give oxygen to the new model of coexistence.

Look at the photo below that Dana showed, of an Israeli hugging a Palestinian (both men on the ground) to try and prevent the man from being arrested, and tell me that new ways of being are not emerging.

coexist

All photos are from Activestills.org. Joseph Dana will be speaking at Hunter College a week from Friday. Go to his site for the detail

An open letter to participants in the Arava Institute’s online event “With Earth and Each Other”

Nov 11, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

November 11, 2010

Dear Participants in “With Earth and Each Other,”

We are writing because we’ve uncovered very troubling new information to add to the information that we have already publicized[1] about Israel’s Arava Institute for Environmental Studies[2] and the online event “With Earth and Each Other: A Rally for a Better Middle East.”[3] We fully understand that many of you are participating in the event from a sincere desire to build “a better Middle East.” Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear to us that supporting the Arava Institute and this event will actually damage the causes of justice and peace in the Middle East because Arava is a close and seemingly uncritical partner with right-wing institutions that continue to dispossess Palestinians from their homes and communities.

Any efforts by Arava and the November 14th event to foster dialogue and improve the environment are just minor sideshows to the larger projects of Palestinian dispossession implemented by Jewish National Fund[4] and the Israeli government that Arava is serving to legitimize. Therefore, the best action that you can take to help create a better Middle East is to withdraw from this event.

Recap of reasons to boycott the event: We’ve previously explained that, modeled on the movement against apartheid South Africa, Palestinian civil society has overwhelmingly called for a boycott of businesses and academic and cultural institutions[5] that are complicit in denying Palestinian rights. The Jewish National Fund is one of the primary institutions involved in taking over Palestinian land, erasing Palestinian communities by planting trees over Palestinian villages that were destroyed by Israel, and thereby privileging the rights of Jews and discriminating against Palestinians.

Arava and the JNF are close partners, and the JNF helps to fund Arava. According to the Arava Institute, Arava and “the Jewish National Fund (JNF) share a common mission to protect and preserve the land of Israel. This common mission has resulted in a formal partnership.”[6] Arava does not speak out against the JNF’s projects to secure Palestinian land for Israeli Jews, including this summer’s demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al Araqib in the Negev,[7] the home of Arava.

Arava claims that it is “nonpolitical,” and that the purpose of November 14th event is “not to take a side.” However, self-described “neutral” efforts to foster “dialogue” that fail to confront oppression merely serve to further an unjust status quo.

Arava Leaders featured at JNF Conference: Arava Institute Director David Lehrer notes on his blog that the Arava Institute has worked to keep folksinger and social justice activist Pete Seeger in the November 14th event, despite a number of public letters to Seeger calling on him to withdraw. In addition to Seeger, other participating entertainers include Ian Anderson, Dan Bern, Mandy Patinkin, Tuck and Patti, David Broza and Shuly Nathan. Lehrer explains on his blog that he met with Pete Seeger and Seeger’s daughter Tinya on October 8th at Seeger’s Beacon, New York home where “I also discussed the concerns raised about the Jewish National Fund’s sponsorship of “With the Earth and With Each Other.”[8]

Lehrer’s blog includes many of his daily activities. However, what he omitted from his blog, and what has just come to our attention, is that just two days after his visit with Seeger, Lehrer was a “Featured Speaker” at the Jewish National Fund’s National Conference in Atlanta, along with Friends of the Arava Institute Executive Director, David Weisberg, according to JNF’s program for the event.[9]Lehrer was rubbing shoulders with other featured speakers like JNF Board Chair Ronald Lauder, Likud stalwart and Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, a leader in implementing the Judaization of Jerusalem, and described by JNF in the conference program as “a rising political star.” Barkat unequivocally promotes a “united Jerusalem” under Israeli rule. On “60 Minutes” in October,[10] Barkat angrily defended the blatant takeover by Jewish settlers of the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

Arava silent on demolitions while others protest: Jewish activists protested both outside[11] and inside the JNF Conference,[12] and Jewish groups delivered a letter from 28 Israeli organizations and eight American Jewish organizations criticizing the JNF’s policies in the Negev and the JNF’s destruction of Bedouin villages like Al Araqib.[13] The JNF responded to the letter with an angry rebuke, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.[14] David Weisberg has claimed in emails to Adalah-NY that Arava supports the Bedouin residents of the Negev, but Arava did not sign the letter to the JNF, and made no public comments supporting the protests. Instead, as mentioned above, Arava’s leadership spoke alongside leading right-wing Israelis.

Arava partners with the Israeli government: David Lehrer never mentioned on his blog or elsewhere, the repeated demolitions of Al Araqib by Israeli forces between July and October, though these events occurred in Arava’s “backyard.” Instead, in his blog, Lehrer highlighted Arava’s negotiation “with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Development Aid Department (MASHAV) on an expanded program for 2011.” Lehrer wrote that members “were thrilled to hear about these global developments taking place in their own backyard.”[15] 

In another blog post during the same period, Lehrer wrote that on “August 24th, Dr. Shmuel Brenner, straight back from Brazil, Dr. Clive Lipchin and I met in Jerusalem at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,”[16] to discuss once more strengthening Arava’s partnership with the Israeli government. Lehrer’s actions and words clearly demonstrate that Arava has prioritized strong partnerships with the JNF and the Israeli government, the main actors in dispossessing the Bedouins in the Negev, over actions in support of the Bedouins. It appears clear that Arava has taken a political stand with the oppressors.

Recap of Israeli government and JNF Role: The Israeli government’s denial of rights and dispossession of its Palestinian citizens, including the Bedouin in the Negev, and the JNF’s role in that process, have been carefully documented by human rights organizations like Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Human Rights Watch.[17] The JNF has been engaged in the “Judaization” of Palestine[18] for more than 100 years.

After the 1948 expulsion of two-thirds of the Palestinian people from their lands, the JNF planted[19] fast-growing non-native trees on the ruins of Palestinian villages in a deliberate attempt to prevent refugees from returning to their land. Today, the JNF directly controls 13% of the land in Israel and effectively controls more than 93% of the land, renting and leasing only to Jewish citizens of the state in violation of the rights of the Palestinian minority.[20]

The growing boycott movement: In comments that are directly applicable to “With Earth and Each Other,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has emphasized that “Under conditions of colonial oppression… joint projects claiming to be ‘apolitical’ or aimed at promoting music, science, environmental protection, etc. as domains that are ‘above politics’ are misleading and injurious to the struggle against injustice.

By overlooking the oppressive reality of Israel’s atrocities and gradual ethnic cleansing, these projects in effect legitimize and contribute to perpetuating and normalizing oppression…. More than twenty years of such projects in Palestine… have led to nothing but further entrenching Israel’s colonization and progressive denial of Palestinian rights.”[21]

Palestinian civil society has issued a boycott call because close examination showed that so many businesses and academic and cultural institutions, including many that claim neutrality or appear well-intentioned, are actually complicit in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. Many organizations and artists are now refusing to conduct business as usual with a country that places itself above international standards. Elvis Costello,[22] Gil Scott Heron, Carlos Santana, Roger Waters,[23] Devendra Banhart,[24] and the Pixies are but a few of the artists who have refused to perform in Israel in the past year.

Our research has demonstrated that the Arava Institute is yet another Israeli institution that is deeply complicit in Israeli oppression, and therefore deserves to be boycotted. If you participate in the November 14th event, you will share in Arava’s complicity.

Thank you,

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel (New York)
www.adalahny.org

American Jews for a Just Peace (US)
www.ajjp.org

Artists Against Apartheid (International)
www.artistsagainstapartheid. org

Boycott! supporting the Palestinian call for boycott divestment and sanctions (BDS) from within (Israel)

boycottisrael.info

Educators for Peace and Justice (Toronto)

International Solidarity Movement – Palestine (Palestine)

www.palsolidarity.org

Jews Say No! (New York)

jewssayno.wordpress.com


[1] Letter to Pete Seeger from Jeff Halper, Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, http://icahdusa.org/2010/09/ jeff-halper-pete-join-the- artists-who-are-boycotting- israel/; Letter from over 40 organizations to Pete Seeger (including Adalah-NY), http://adalahny.org/letters/ letter-to-pete-seeger-from- over-40-orgs; Letter from 17 groups in the Gaza Strip to Pete Seeger, http://www.pacbi.org/ etemplate.php?id=1360; Letter to Pete Seeger from Israelis from BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS call from within http://boycottisrael.info/ content/boycotts-letter-pete- seeger; Fact Sheet: Boycott the Arava Institute’s “With Earth and Each Other,” Adalah-NY, http://adalahny.org/cultural- bds/fact-sheet-boycott-the- arava-institute-s-with-earth- and-each-other-a-virtual- rally-for-a-better-middle- east-October-20-2010; International Groups Urged to Abandon Online Israel Event, Adalah-NY,http://adalahny.org/press- releases-other/international- organizations-urged-to- abandon-online-israel-event

[2] http://www.arava.org/

[3] http://withearthandeachother. org/

[4] http://www.jnf.org/

[5] For more information, see the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (www.pacbi.org) and the Global BDS Movement (http://www.bdsmovement.net/)

[6] See Arava’s website, http://www.arava.org/cat.asp? catid=6&subcatid=46. According to the JNF’s form 990 for 2008, the JNF granted $357,315 to the Arava Institute in 2008,http://www.jnf.org/assets/pdf/ 20100604094231.pdf

[7] Israel Demolishes Bedouin in Village in the Negev for the Fifth Time, The Alternative Information Center, http://www.alternativenews. org/english/index.php/topics/ news/2853-israel-demolishes- bedouin-village-for-fifth- time-in-two-months-

[8] http://aravadirector.blogspot. com/2010/10/weekly-report- september-24th-to-october.html

[9] Draft Program: JNF National Conference, http://support.jnf.org/site/ DocServer/DraftProgram.pdf? docID=5201; JNF National Conference: Featured Speakers, http://support.jnf.org/site/ DocServer/Speakers.pdf?docID= 5202

[10]http://www.cbs.com/ primetime/60_minutes/video/? pid=uy1G4SkPH_4h5_u3BD_BNFT_ JuQxPgPb

[11]Bulldozers Return to a Bedouin Village for the Sixth Times, The Jerusalem Post, October 14, 2010,http://www.jpost.com/Israel/ Article.aspx?id=191324;

[12] Activists Disrupt JNF Conference, Mondoweiss, http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/ activists-disrupt-jnf-conferen ce-including-not-in-my-name- jews-who-are-labeled-traitors. html

[13] Open Letter to the Jewish National Fund: Equal rights, sustainability, and development for Israel’s Negev – not dispossession of the Bedouin!; http://bedouinjewishjustice. blogspot.com/2010/10/open- letter-to-jewish-national- fund.html

[14] JNF Rebukes Pro-Bedouin Petition, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 12, 2010,http://www.jta.org/news/ article/2010/10/12/2741250/ jnf-ceo-shoots-back-at- petition-criticizing- organizations-bedouin- activities

[15] http://aravadirector.blogspot. com/2010/08/weekly-report- august-1st-13th-2010.html

[16] http://aravadirector.blogspot. com/2010/08/weekly-report- august-15th-27th-2010.html

[17] Special Report: The Jewish National Fund, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel,, http://www.adalah.org/eng/jnf. php; Land Controlled by the Jewish National Fund for Jews Only, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, July, 2007, http://www.adalah.org/eng/ pressreleases/pr.php?file=07_ 07_29; Off the Map: Land and Housing Rights Violations in Israel’s Unrecognized Bedouin Villages, Human Rights Watch, March, 2008, http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/ 2008/03/30/map-0;

[18] Trees of Reconciliation, Curriculum and Teacher’s Guide, September, 2009, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, http://phillyjjp.org/ Philadelphia_Jews_for_a_Just_ Peace/Projects_files/Trees_ Curriculum_&_Teachers_Guide. pdf

[19]Trees of Reconciliation, Curriculum and Teacher’s Guide, September, 2009, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace

[20] Land Controlled by the Jewish National Fund for Jews Only, Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, July, 2007, http://www.adalah.org/eng/ pressreleases/pr.php?file=07_ 07_29

[21] West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Undermining Palestinian Civil Resistance and Violating Palestinian Cultural Boycott Guidelines, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel,http://www.pacbi.org/ etemplate.php?id=1196&key= Normalization

[22] It Is After Considerable Contemplation, Elvis Costello, http://www.elviscostello.com/ news/it-is-after-considerable- contemplation/44

[23] We Shall Overcome, Roger Waters, http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=vnMMHepfYVc&feature=player_ embedded#!

[24] Folk Singer Devendra Barnhart Cancels Israel Show, YNet, http://www.ynetnews.com/ articles/0,7340,L-3905372,00. html

Now On Display: Israel’s Palestinians

Nov 11, 2010

Audrey Farber 

IMG 0425

Sign on the times. (Photo: Audrey Farber)

My neighborhood doesn’t have street signs. And when it does, they don’t refer to names of streets anyone is familiar with. House numbers, too, are scarce. I didn’t know my own street address until yesterday – four and a half months after my arrival. My neighborhood doesn’t have the big plastic-and-glass street-side recycling cages that are conveniently placed around the rest of the city. Its streets are narrow and winding, and children on bikes navigate the obstacle course created by their siblings and cousins and neighbors playing soccer between doorway goal posts. There is one bus stop, few taxis, and I’d be surprised if there were street lights.

But it does have public restrooms, and signs directing adventurous tourists towards them in no less than three languages. It’s featured in all the guidebooks as the neighborhood in which the best falafel can be found, down a side alley in an unassuming hole in the wall. Although if you ask me, I think it’s on a pretty average street in a pretty average storefront. I guess it depends on your perspective.

My neighborhood is the location of the “Middle Eastern bazaar” and outdoor market, obligatory shawarma “stalls” and baklawa shops, and deliberately-placed public art pieces by, for the most part, Jewish artists depicting various themes of cooperation and coexistence. But no Jewish Israelis live in my neighborhood – indeed, most Jewish Israelis I know are shocked that I live here. “Is it safe?”

My neighborhood is condescendingly? patronizingly? affectionately? referred to in Lonely Planet as “Haifa’s grizzled old Christian-Arab quarter” and all signs (literally) point to it being maintained as such to lend the city an air of authentic “Middle Eastern-ness”, as long as it stays within its confines and preset boundaries. This is where the tourists go to get a taste of the old-school Middle East, a little Arab flavor in a Jewish-only melting pot.

It is smack dab in the middle of one of Israel’s few examples of pseudo-co-existence; one of the only places the Israeli government could stomach such a blatant display of the persistent existence of non-Jewishness. Throwing a tired old gnawed-out bone to all the civil rights defenders out there: look at our diversity!

Come visit the Jewish state and while you’re at it, look at these primitive Arabs in their small, confined space – just like they lived before we swooped in and civilized this desert wasteland with milk and honey and fruits and wine and all that jazz. And guns. (Never mind the decades of British rule and before that centuries of Ottoman administration that preceded us.)

We are preserving their heritage for them … by denying them opportunities to advance and succeed and confining them to their narrow, scuzzy alleyways, selling eggplants at a discounted rate and smiling and nodding ahlan wa sahlan for tour buses full of middle aged Americans. (You know they aren’t birthright kids because birthright kids aren’t allowed near Arabs: danger, danger!) Of course, not one of Haifa’s several museums – dedicated to everything from Japanese Art to Clandestine Immigration to the Israeli Oil Industry – represents Palestinian culture, art, or history.

This is a community on display. It is “the famous Wadi Nisnas whose charming alleyways have turned it into a tourist spot.” It’s the only remaining part of its Middle Eastern-ness that Israel can exploit without fear of criticism or retaliation, because the Orientalist inside all of us doesn’t see the ghettoization of the Arab as something that needs to be rectified. This community is stuck inside its bars, fed scraps of economic opportunity to pacify it but never allowed to forget that it is not equal in the eyes of the state. Capital “S” State.

Overshadowed by the imposing hotel towers at the top of the hill (read: affluent Jewish neighborhoods) and bound at its base by the militarized industrial port, it’s a small haven of an increasingly smothered culture, a segment of society whose rights are diminished by the day. And the best part is, living here makes you feel like you’re a part of the zoo, too. On display with the pita bread and fresh-caught fish, for the enjoyment of tourists everywhere. And they can even find the restrooms.

Audrey Farber did her undergrad at UPenn majoring in  Modern Middle East Studies. Her activism has involved resettling Somali, Iraqi, and Burmese refugees in Maine, researching forced migration issues in Amman, and she is currently interning at Mada al-Carmel – Arab Center for Applied Social Research, in Haifa. This post has been cross posted with Jewish Voice for Peace’s blog The Only Democracy?.

Arizona State University students protest IDF speaker

Nov 11, 2010

Adam Horowitz 

IDF soldiers seem to be facing similar protests wherever they speak:

Would Julius and Ethel be Zionists had they lived?

Nov 11, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The Nation has an excellent piece by Victor Navasky on the latest chapter in the Rosenberg saga– a new book that fingers Ethel Rosenberg’s brother and sister-in-law the Greenglasses as the spies. I will save you the details, it’s not my cup of tea. But what impressed me about Navasky’s piece was his willingness to look on the Rosenberg saga for what I have always seen it as, a reflection of the Jewish response to modernity:

Pardon me if I ask, “The Rosenbergs, the Rosenbergs’ in-laws… From the perspective of history, what’s the difference?” After all… both were poor, first-generation Americans whose immigrant parents had come from Russia. Both had joined the Communist movement. Both were Jewish in a post-Holocaust moment when fears of anti-Semitism were matched by fears of being charged with anti-Semitism (it was no accident that the sentencing judge, Irving Kaufman, was Jewish; that the prosecutor, Irving Saypol, was Jewish; and that his assistant, Roy Cohn, was Jewish)…

What I hear Navasky saying is that the Jewish attraction to Communism was sociocultural, that it reflected in part the Jewish experience of anti-Semitism in eastern Europe.

Jerry Muller says it best in his recent book, Capitalism and the Jews— when he says that often before the ideology came political identity formation issues:

Before addressing the issue of Jewish ideological responses to capitalism, it is worth recalling the range of Jewish political responses to modernity. For the sake of analysis, one can group them under four broad rubrics: integrationist, isolationist, socialist, and nationalist….

Muller says that integrationists were the largest group, and sought to make peace with modernity while keeping a distinctly Jewish identity. They were least concerned about anti-Semitism and tended to be pro-capitalist. As for Jewish communism, he treats it in part as a revolutionary/idealistic Jewish response to pervasive anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.

There the Jewish experience was played out against a background of deeply ingrained anti-Semitic sentiment. In the Russian empire and in Romania, that sentiment was expressed on the official level by the denial of citizenship rights, by restrictions on residency, and by limited access to educational institutions, and on the popular level by pogroms [The whole Palestinian experience today]…

Both authors show how the primal Jewish response to anti-Semitism and modernity predicts a lot of Jewish political behavior. And this explains why many nationalists and Communists have a lot more in common even today than either group has with the integrationists; for they are both more concerned with anti-Semitism than the integrationists are, they just have different ways of addressing it. My mother, for instance, took the side of the Rosenbergs back in the ’50s, brought me up to see the case as a bright-lights demonstration of how the U.S. treated Jews; and today she supports Israel because it is the place that the Jews made in a hostile world. She’s never been an active Communist or an active Zionist; but the two currents flow through her worldview, and they are not incompatible.

Obviously these are historical generalizations. Many former Jewish Communists are today anti-Zionist; they are a key component of anti-Zionism in the U.S. today. But I’d say that many more former Communists have morphed into liberal and rightwing Zionists– look at Israel itself– because even their Communism had an ethnocentric basis. 

And this demonstrates why, when Walt and Mearsheimer had the indelicacy to point out that neoconservative Zionists helped push the U.S. into war with Iraq, they were attacked not just by the neocons, but by former socialist Jews, many of whom are now liberal Zionists. Both groups share a concern for anti-Semitism, and both groups saw Walt and Mearsheimer through that lens, as goyim attacking Jews. “In Dark Times, Blame the Jews,” said the reactionary Forward headline.

I am saying that the response to anti-Semitism may be the baseline issue for predicting a Jew’s political behavior. For instance, my readiness to hear Walt and Mearsheimer’s teaching reflects my integrationism. I don’t mistrust the goyim, I don’t think anti-Semitism is a big problem. I was myself drawn to what was left of Communism as a kid in my own way– there were Communists around in my Jewish community and I care about economic justice– but I believe one reason I didn’t trend that way is that I liked the goyim.

And meantime some of the old Communists and Zionists have regrouped around a fresh Jewish concern, as dire in its way as anti-Semitism: assimilation, all the Jews marrying out, the disappearance of Jewish life. A real concern, yes… But that’s another issue.

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