Archive | November 26th, 2010

NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS

NOVANEWS

Bahrain names Jewish woman to parliament

King Hamad of Bahrain on Thursday appointed a Jew and a Christian among four women to the 40-member upper chamber, following a parliamentary election last month, state media reported.

The king kept 30 members of the outgoing Shura, or consultative, council including the speaker, Ali Saleh al-Saleh, according to a royal decree published by BNA news agency.

Nancy Khadhori joined the chamber after a fellow Jew, Huda Nono, left the house to take the role of Bahrain’s ambassador to the United States.

“I am very happy to receive the royal trust. I hope I will be up to the responsibility,” said Khadhori, one of only 37 Bahraini Jews who originated from Iraq.

Meanwhile, Hala Qarrisah entered the house as fellow Christian Alice Samaan, who was deputy head of the council, exited the parliament.

Bahrain’s Christian community numbers around 1,000.

The Shiite opposition emerged as the largest single bloc in Bahrain’s lower chamber following the parliamentary election on October 23.

The Shura Council has the authority to over-rule parliamentary decisions in the Shiite-majority archipelago which is ruled by a Sunni dynasty.

 

Iran helps rebuild Gaza

While settlements halt and resume construction, Gazans building in full speed. Strip’s current real estate hit is Hamas’ flagship project: New multi-story buildings for young couples, families of ‘shahidim’

Gaza’s residents are no longer complaining about a coriander shortage. Israeli snacks are flowing into the Strip as well, through the Kerem Shalom crossing – at the approval and under the full supervision of the Hamas government.

The lifting of the siege in June gave the Gazans room to breathe. With the money in the Strip – and there is quite a lot of it in dollars, dinars, and even shekels – they can buy whatever they want.

Report by BBC’s Arabic network broadcasted ahead of Eid al-Adha documents sophisticated animal smuggling apparatus using electric elevators from Egypt into Gaza Strip 
Full story 
 
Food and other products flow into Gaza with hardly any restrictions. What doesn’t come from Israel, because the price is too high, continues to flow in through the Rafah tunnels.

“There are a slew of products here, and beautiful restaurants. Is this the Gaza we have been hearing about?” A Sudanese official, who arrived in the Strip about a month ago with hundreds of visitors from Arab countries on the “Viva Palestina” aid convoy, was quoted by Palestinian news agency Maan as saying.

“Where is the siege? I don’t see it in Gaza. I wish Sudan’s residents could live under the conditions of the Gazan siege,” he reportedly added.

One of the main characteristics of the economic change in the Strip is the renovation and construction drive. Buildings are being built in every corner. Hamas is renovating the public buildings destroyed in Israeli air raids during Operation Cast Lead, including the bombed Legislative Council building on Omar al-Mukhtar Boulevard and the police headquarters.

But the renovation of public buildings is nothing compared to Hamas’ flagship project: The building of 25,000 new housing units in the city, some on lands of the former Gush Katif settlements.

The goal is not only to overcome the huge apartment shortage – which stems mainly from the natural growth, the damages of the war, and the halt in construction in the past three years – but mainly to benefit the people, whose support Hamas seeks in order to establish its rule.

The plan is to construct multi-story buildings (“we have no land to spare,” explains a Gaza housing ministry official) and neighborhoods built as independent residential areas. A mosque will be set up at the center of each neighborhood, alongside shopping centers, schools and kindergartens. Access roads will be paved and even playgrounds for children.

Bulldozers have begun clearing the land and preparing it for the new residential neighborhoods, some of which have already been named.

The neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip, west of the town of Beit Lahiya, will be named after the residence of the 72 virgins waiting in paradise. The al-Buraq neighborhood, named after the horse Prophet Muhammad rode from Mecca to the al-Aqsa Mosque, will be built on the lands of Gush Katif. The Andalus neighborhood is aimed at reminding the Muslims of their days of glory in Spain.

Only one neighborhood, set to be built near the Netzarim Junction, remains nameless. The Gazans will likely keep its original name, Juhor ad-Dik.

Who are the apartments for? Hamas’ housing minister Yousef Alamanti announced recently that the new homes would be sold in full transparency, according to a series of criteria of social justice.

First in line will be the families of ‘shahidim’ (martyrs), prisoners and casualties of war. Next in line will be young couples who have no apartment of their own and whose family doesn’t own a plot they could build on. They will be followed by families whose homes were destroyed by Israel, especially during Operation Cast Lead, which cannot be rebuilt. The remaining apartments will be handed out according to a housing ministry raffle.

And what about the prices? Apartments in the new neighborhoods will cost $25-40,000, a significant sum in Gaza. Buyers who have a safe and regular job, like Palestinian government workers, will be entitled to a bank loan. The rest will be able to take mortgages provided by Islamic associations. Islamic charity organizations will help the families of shahidim and prisoners.

A similar apartment in the nearby southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, by the way, costs a bit more: About NIS 500-600,000 ($135-163,000) for a new three-room apartment, and some NIS 800,000 (almost $220,000) for a four-room flat.

Hamas has allotted tens of millions of dollars to the building project. There is apparently no shortage of money. Generous donations are flowing in from Iran, Islamic associations across the Arab worlds, and governmental elements in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Western elements.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been mercilessly pursuing Hamas in the West Bank, is aiding Gaza with millions of dollars, boasting that 57% of the Palestinian Authority budget is directed at the Strip.

Abbas pays the salaries of 70,000 government workers from the post-Hamas era, maintains the health and education systems, and even funds some of Gaza’s electricity production expenses.

International organizations are also operating in Gaza in full force. Since the Turkish flotilla, Israel has approved – through the Civil Administration – 70 projects of building infrastructure for the health, education and sanitation systems by international elements.

At the request of the United Nations secretary-general, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the transfer of building materials – including gravel – for the construction of a large residential neighborhood for refugees in Khan Younis.

In addition, Hamas has been implementing a new tax system: 14% value added tax, 8% income tax. For each liter of gas flowing into the Strip from Gaza and sold for about NIS 2 (50 cents), the government charges 60 agorot (16 cents). A fee is imposed on all goods arriving from Israel. Each new motorcycle smuggled through the tunnels carries an NIS 300 ($82) tax.

In order to settle the contradiction between the new taxes and the laws of Islam, which state that the only taxes which can be collected are 10% of the Muslim’s income which must go to charity, Hamas says it is working to create a social justice system.

And so, in measured steps, without a siege and with a lot of foreign aid, Gaza’s economy is starting to recover, as is the agriculture and some of the industries. The Hamas government has recovered from Operation Cast Lead, emerged from the financial distress and is now focused not only on improving its military capabilities, but also on strengthening its hold of the government and imposing an Islamic rule in Gaza.

It’s safe to say that the Turkish flotilla has only benefitted Gaza. It led to the end of the siege imposed on the Strip as a means to pressure Hamas to release kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Israel gave into international pressure and opened the crossings to put an end to global complaints of shortage and hunger in Gaza.

Global pressure on Egypt following the deadly flotilla raid led to the opening of the Rafah crossing, which now gives Gazans direct contact with the world. The land crossing has been open to passengers and goods since then, and long aid convoys have been flowing into Gaza from Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and even Indonesia and Malaysia.

The naval convoys, aimed at aiding Hamas and de-legitimizing Israel, continue. At least three or four flotillas are expected to set sail in the coming months.

“In Gaza, the days are counted according to events,” Yusef Najar, a Gazan merchant, says in phone conversation. “The Turkish flotilla is such an event. Before it happened we experienced very difficult times. After the flotilla everything changed; things are much better.”

Civil Administration officials, who supervise the crossings, admit that all the goods entering Gaza are in the volumes required by the Palestinians, and all are brought in through Israel – apart from cement, iron and gravel, the basic building materials, which Israel prohibits for fear that they would be used by Hamas to build posts and bunkers.

But the Gazans have quickly adjusted to the situation. Cement and iron are smuggled into the Gaza City and Khan Younis markets like the new cars, televisions, sunglasses and Viagra pills, as well as rockets, missiles, and other weapons – through the tunnels.

The only thing missing is gravel. The Gazans have yet to find a way to transport it through tunnels, and the Strip does not have stony mountains which gravel could be grinded from. Without gravel, one cannot build houses and establish new neighborhood.

The Strip’s residents won’t despair, however. The infrastructure in sandy Gaza is built on layers of gravel, as in the case of the Dahaniya Airport in the southern Strip. It was built by former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat as one of the Palestinian national symbols, the Americans and Europeans help set up modern concrete runways, and all on a layer of gravel.

The same applies for the roads and infrastructure of buildings in the large Erez industrial zone, and the hundreds of homes destroyed in the recent war. All they have to do is dig in deserted construction sites and reuse the gravel.

And so gravel has become Gaza’s white gold and a source of income for thousands of Gazans. One ton of gravel is sold today for NIS 500 ($662) – five times more than before the siege, and there are those who are willing to pay even more. Everyone – men, women, elderly people and children – search for gravel with simple work tools in their hands.

The Dahaniya Airport is no longer visible. The gravel collectors have completed the crushing of the runways. The concrete platforms were dismantled and underwent a grinding process. Millions of tons of gravel have already been removed from the sand, sifted and transferred to Gaza’s construction markets.

The ruins of the Strip’s houses are worth a lot of money today. There are even gravel contractors, who buy the right to collect the gravel from the owners of the destroyed homes. One of these contractors is the Abu Varda family from the northern Strip, which has forcibly created a monopoly for removing the gravel from the old Erez industrial zone.

The gravel miners dismantle one building after another, dig under roads, grind the concrete and sift the sand of gravel. Their problem is the Israel Defense Forces, which shoots every time one of them approaches the border fence. Not one day passes without a gravel miners getting hurt.

“Gravel has turned into a leverage for moving Gaza’s weak economy forward,” says Ahmed Hamid, a Khan Younis merchant. “The gravel miners benefit from it, the owners of destroyed houses get money, and the contractors will build the new neighborhoods and employ many laborers. Gaza’s unemployment rate will drop, there will be more money, and perhaps, God willing, we’ll be slightly happier.”

 

Official: Mossad behind Egypt riots

Following clashes in Cairo between Christian Copts and Muslims, chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee in Egypt’s People’s Assembly says Israel ‘wants to undermine security and stability in country’

Who’s responsible for this week’s riots in Egypt, which left one man killed and dozens injured? Chairman of the Egypt People’s Assembly’ Foreign Affairs Committee Dr. Dr Mostafa El Feki on Thursday accused the Israeli Mossad of being behind the recent clashes between Christian Copts and Muslims.

Recently there have been a number of incidents between the Copts and the Muslims, which forced the involvement of Egyptian security forces.

One man was killed and dozens were injured on Wednesday in clashes between the Copts and security forces in the Giza area of Cairo after he local governor revoked a construction permit for a building adjacent to the church which was meant to serve the community’s needs.

At a conference in Ain Shams University El Feki said, “It is very clear that Western fingers are disrupting our nation’s capabilities and taking advantage of the election period to carry out their plans, to agitate the security and stability in Egypt.

“It is almost certain that the Mossad is involved in these events. The State is dealing with dangerous events that could not have succeeded without external intervention with Israel at its head.”

Christian Copts make up ten percent of Egypt’s population of 79 million. They claim that the Egyptian regime discriminates against them and harasses them over their religious beliefs. They are protesting the fact that unlike the Muslims, they must request permission to construct any community buildings, whereas the Muslims are allowed to build freely.

 

Syria warns Israel: Evading peace will lead to Mideast war

Syrian FM Walid Moallem says window of opportunity for Mideast peace is slowly closing, warns that new war could cause great damage due to advanced military technology.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on Friday criticized stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, warning that closing the horizons to peace could lead to war in the Middle East.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Moscow News, Moallem accused Israel of evading peace and said that the window of opportunity for a peace deal is slowly closing.

“The possibility of war always exists in our region since Israel almost always scandalously evades the commitment to peace,” said Moallem. “There is no doubt that closing the horizons to peace could lead to war,” he said.

Moallem warned of the ramifications of a new Middle Eastern war emerging, saying that in a new war everyone will lose due to the existing advanced military technology which could cause great damage even for the side with the greater military might.

On Tuesday, Syria condemned an Israeli bill that sets tough requirements for any withdrawal from the Golan Heights or East Jerusalem, saying it was further proof that the Israeli government was not interested in peace.

A Syrian Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday the bill makes a mockery of international laws and UN Security Council resolutions.

Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, and has demanded its return as the foundation of any peace agreement.

 

Lebanon PM: Netanyahu doesn’t believe in peace

In Washington Post interview, Saad Hariri accuses Netanyahu of destroying Oslo Accords, says ‘there is no leadership in Israel.’

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri criticized on Friday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s will to continue negotiations with the Palestinians, saying that he “doesn’t believe in peace.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Hariri said that in order to achieve a peace deal in the Arab-Israeli conflict, there must be strong leadership, something that Israel lacks.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

Photo by: AP

“There is no leadership in Israel,” he said. “At one point you had [Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin who wanted peace. He’s the one who believed in the peace in the region, but Netanyahu doesn’t believe in peace.”

Hariri accused Netanyahu of destroying the Oslo Accords and said that he is “somebody who is not willing to talk about real peace in the region.”

Moreover, he stressed that Israel can only have security if comprehensive peace was achieved between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and between Israel and the Arab world – which includes Syria and Lebanon.

“[Netanyahu] takes the issue of security as the basis of his whole political platform but you will only have security if you have peace,” he said.

On Monday, Hariri met with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyep Erdogan, who declared that Israel is endangering world peace by using exaggerated force against the Palestinians, breaching Lebanon’s air space and waters and for not revealing the details of its nuclear program.

  

Israel police under fire for abusing east Jerusalem children

 

Israel police under fire for abusing east Jerusalem children

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli police were accused of “flagrant violations” of the law Thursday over their harsh and at times violent treatment of Palestinian children suspected of stone-throwing in east Jerusalem.

The allegations were detailed in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a group of 60 Israeli professionals, among them experts in medicine, psychology, education, social work and law — all of whom work with children.

But Israel police flatly denied the allegations, with a spokesman telling AFP they “operate within the bounds of the law.”

The letter expresses concern about the growing number of testimonies submitted by Palestinian minors who have been arrested by police in occupied and annexed east Jerusalem, notably in the flashpoint neighbourhood of Silwan.

“We are writing … to express our deep concerns about the physical and emotional welfare and proper development of children and young people in east Jerusalem in the light of police behaviour during the investigation and arrest of minors in this area,” it said.

“Over the last few months, there has been a growing number of testimonies of minors and their families which point to flagrant violations of the rights of detained minors, and of the use of violence during the investigation of children and young people who are suspected of throwing stones in Silwan.”

Youngsters have testified how they were dragged out of bed in the dead of the night, cuffed and taken for investigation without being accompanied by their parents — and sometimes without their family even being informed, it said.

During the investigation, “they suffered threats and humiliation at the hand of the investigators .. which sometimes involved substantial physical violence,” it said, noting with concern the arrests of children under the age of 12.

Under Israeli law, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 12 years, and a child below the age of 14 is not eligible to receive a custodial sentence.

“Despite their young age, they weren’t spared difficult and harmful interrogation conditions,” it said, citing one case where police had interrogated an eight-year-old for four hours.

Police figures indicate that over the past year, more than 1,200 minors from east Jerusalem have been investigated for throwing stones, the letter said.

Questioned by AFP, Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld denied investigators were flouting the laws governing the rights of minors, although he did admit that police had questioned children under the age of 12.

“We operate within the bounds of the law,” he said.

“All the interviews are recorded and we never investigate children under 12 without the presence of a family member. Most of those arrested are older than that.”

Testimonies collected by the rights group Defence For Children International (DCI) showed that in the four-week period from October 8 to November 3, 21 minors were arrested in Silwan, two of them under the age of 12.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian man in Silwan on Thursday told AFP that his seven-year-old son Adam had been beaten in the legs and around the face by border police in the street after coming out of school.

A shopkeeper tried to intervene along with other passers-by and the boy had managed to run home, covered with bruises, said his father, Mansur Resheq, who took him to be examined at Sharei Tsedek hospital in west Jerusalem.

The crumbling neighbourhood of Silwan is the focal point of regular clashes between locals and hardline settlers, with police frequently rounding up youngsters on charges of stone-throwing.

The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state but Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its “eternal and indivisible” capital, a status not recognised by the international community.

 

Ex-Israel PM doesn’t deny air strike on Syria

(AP) Israel’s former prime minister said Thursday that he can’t deny ex-President George W. Bush’s claim in a new book that Israel destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria.

It was Ehud Olmert’s first public comment on the mysterious September 2007 incident, which happened while he was in office.

At the time, Syria announced that its airspace had been invaded by Israel but said nothing about what had been hit. The Israeli government has remained silent.

In Bush’s new memoir, the former president claimed the target was believed to be a Syrian nuclear reactor being built with North Korean assistance.

He said that Israel first asked the U.S. to bomb the site, and after the U.S. turned down the request, Israel carried out an attack itself. Bush also suggested that he approved the mission.

The strike came about a year after Israel’s inconclusive war against Hezbollah, in which Lebanese guerrillas battled Israel’s powerful army to a stalemate. The poor performance raised questions about Israel’s deterrent capabilities.

“Prime Minister Olmert’s execution of the strike made up for the confidence I had lost in the Israelis during the Lebanon war,” Bush wrote, adding that the Israeli leader rejected a suggestion to go public with the operation.

“Olmert told me he wanted total secrecy. He wanted to avoid anything that might back Syria into a corner and force (Syrian President Bashar) Assad to retaliate. This was his operation, and I felt an obligation to respect his wishes,” Bush wrote.

Speaking to foreign journalists Thursday, Olmert said Israel took a position that “we will never comment on it.”

He said he has not read Bush’s book, but had seen this section. “I can only say that I don’t want (to), and I can’t deny it,” he said.

Olmert served as prime minister from 2006 until 2009.

 

Locals: Israel Demolishes Long-Standing West Bank Mosque

As Settlement Construction Continues, Palestinian Buildings Razed

by Jason Ditz, antiwar.com

The Israeli government is continuing to expand the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, but perhaps even more deleterious to the stalled peace process is that the Israeli army is continuing to demolish Palestinian buildings in the region including, apparently, a local mosque.

Locals in the village of Khirbet Yarza reported today that among the several buildings demolished by the Israeli military was a long-standing mosque, which they insisted had been located on the site since long before the 1967 occupation began.

Israel denied being aware that any of the buildings were a mosque, describing the buildings destroyed as “temporary” structures built without the permission of the Israeli military. They insisted the demolitions were aimed at saving the Palestinians from a possible fire.

Yet photos from the site of the mosque appear to show a structure of stone and cement, not the temporary animal pens that the Israeli military’s official reports described. The Palestinian Authority condemned the destruction of the buldings, saying they were part of concerted effort of “state destruction” by the Israeli government.

Franco Frattini is either a fool or ignorant, or possibly both
 

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

During his recent visit to Israel and the Gaza Strip, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini revealed rather brazenly his low intellectual capacity, a scandalous lack of honesty as well as stunning ignorance of the situation in this part of the world. He made many strident statements which can be described as, inter alia, hasty, inaccurate, mendacious and ignorant.

While in the small Israeli town of Sderot, a conspicuously complacent Frattini told a group of Israeli jingoists and right-wingers, “You are victims of this extreme entity that is taking hostages its own people and attacking you.”

This, of course, is far from the truth; the people of Gaza are victims of the clear genocidal policies of Israel and Israelis. The Zionist state claims that it withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. In reality, Israel has maintained absolute control of the coastal enclave’s skies, territorial waters and border crossings. Furthermore, Israel imposed a draconian blockade on that territory, inflicting one of the harshest human tragedies in modern history with its collective punishment of the people of Gaza.

Israel claims that the siege was imposed in response to projectiles fired from Gaza on nearby Israeli colonies. However, the truth is that the siege was an established Israeli policy and the Zionist state has violated ceasefire agreements with Hamas consistently.

In brief, Israel wants to retain the “right” to murder and maim as many innocent Palestinians as possible with absolute impunity and without any response from the victims. Various statements from Israeli rabbis – never disowned by Israel’s political elite – demonstrate that racism is rife in Israel and non-Jews are regarded as inferior beings.

It is tempting to ask how the Italian Foreign Minister could refer to the people of Sderot as victims and the people of Gaza as aggressors when Israel has killed and maimed thousands of Palestinian civilians; 1,400 alone (one-third of them children) were killed during Operation Cast Lead last year; 13 Israelis were killed. It is safe to assume that Frattini wasn’t told by his Israeli hosts that Sderot was built on the ruins of the Palestinian town of Najd from which the Arab population was driven out by Jewish militias on 13th May 1948.

Are Palestinian lives that worthless? Or is Frattini indoctrinated in classical Italian fascism, albeit laminated with a thin veneer of pseudo-liberalism? Frattini told the settlers that Hamas “is taking hostage its own people and attacking you.” Even Israel acknowledges that Hamas has been preventing attacks by some splinter groups.

Does the Italian politician know – or care – that Hamas won the parliamentary election in the occupied territories in 2006, an election that was monitored closely by the international community, including the European Union (EU) and US, Israel’s guardian-ally? And that the election was declared to be “free and fair”?

It is true that the EU and US rejected the election outcome once it became clear that Hamas, not the western-backed secular puppets, was the winner. The blame for this does not lie with Hamas; it is and remains an expression of western hypocrisy, moral duplicity and false commitment to true democracy.

One of the most incredible statements uttered by Franco Frattini was that “the Israeli government wanted peace”. Is the man blind? Does he read the newspapers? Wasn’t he briefed by his diplomats before the visit? If he was, and was in possession of the facts of the situation, his statement would be even more scandalous than those made by someone steeped in ignorance.

How can a government that keeps building illegal settlements on occupied territories really want peace? How can a government that makes withdrawal from occupied territories contingent on the outcome of a referendum, in utter contempt of international law, be a true seeker of peace? How can a government be truly interested in peace when it gives heavily-armed, ultra-right wing Jewish settlers carte blanche to attack unarmed Palestinian farmers and vandalise their property? How can a government that includes in its coalition far-right parties whose spiritual leaders claim openly that non-Jews, presumably including Frattini, are merely donkeys and animals, view peace with its non-Jewish neighbours as a prime objective?

To cap it all, Frattini referred to the “danger” facing the whole world from Iran. What was the man talking about? Has Iran ever said that it seeks world domination if it acquires nuclear weapons? There is one aggressor and aggressive state in the Middle East which already possesses a nuclear arsenal; why didn’t Franco Frattini ask the Israelis about that?

Perhaps the Italian minister and his neo-colonial mindset still thinks that Muslims have to be pacified and kept under control, at the mercy of a nefarious Zionist state. When people like Frattini represent the West on visits to the Middle East, it is a clear demonstration that it is futile for anyone, least of all the Palestinians, to expect Western politicians to do anything to achieve peace with justice for the people in historic Palestine. In any case, as long as their Foreign Minister thinks that the Israelis want peace and Palestinians don’t, Italians can have no constructive role in the region.

ZIO=NAZI  Settlers Spray Arab Town with Gunfire

 

(palestine-info.co.uk) QALQALIA, (PIC)– A gang of Jewish settlers opened heavy fire on Palestinian homes on Wednesday in the village of Kafr Qadoum, east of Qalalia, the West Bank.

When the settlers neared the villagers’ homes they sprayed random machine gun bullets at the homes with the intent of scaring locals from the village, locals said.

No one was injured in the onslaught because the incident happened at night while residents were sleeping, the sources added.

Jewish settlers in the region are notorious for criminal assaults against Palestinians under direct protection by the Israeli army, which covers their tracks after each attack.

The incident was one of a series of organized settler activities in the West Bank targeting Arabs in villages near Jewish settlements.

 

West Is Ineligable to Discuss Human Rights

 

 

Iranian MP Mohammad Hossein Nejad-Fallah

(presstv.com) An Iranian lawmaker has slammed a UN resolution accusing Iran of violating human rights, saying Washington and Zionist leaders are the ones to stand trial.

“White House and Zionist leaders are not defendants of human rights,” IRNA quoted Mohammad Hossein Nejad-Fallah as saying on Thursday.

“Those whose hands are stained with the blood of thousands of the world’s innocent people cannot accuse others of violating human rights,” he noted.

The US must be held accountable for the lives of thousands of civilians, including women and children in Afghanistan, Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territories, the Iranian MP urged.

On November 18, the Third Committee of the UN, in a draft resolution, accused Iran, North Korea, and Myanmar of violating human rights.

The resolution, yet to be approved by the UN General Assembly, was sponsored by the US, the European Union, Canada, and other Western countries.

Nejad-Fallah questioned the sincerity of international rights groups for turning a blind eye to Israel’s blatant crimes against 1.5 million impoverished Palestinians who live under severe conditions under a crippling blockade imposed by Tel Aviv.

“International organizations should take these war criminals to court,” the Iranian lawmaker insisted.

He criticized the West for “accusing independent nations, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, through massive media propaganda campaigns of violating human rights.”

“But there is not the slightest reference to the disasters in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in the Western media,” he went on to say.

Nejad-Fallah said White House leaders must be answerable for the inhuman conduct in the CIA-run prisons in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

The US, Britain, and their sympathizers are not eligible to comment on human rights and thus cannot decide policies for other nations, he concluded.

‘Pakistan no launch pad for Iran attack’‎

 

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says Islamabad will never allow terrorists to use the country as a launch pad for attacking the Islamic Republic.

(presstv.com) The government of Pakistan will never allow the terrorists to use Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks on Iran, Zardari said on Thursday.

The remarks were made during a meeting with visiting Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on the sidelines of trilateral anti-narcotics summit with Afghanistan on Thursday.

Zardari also expressed his gratitude to the Iranian government and nation for their aid to Pakistan’s flood victims, IRIB reported.

Mohammad-Najjar relayed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s message to Zardari and announced Tehran’s readiness to dispatch more humanitarian aid for the displaced people of Pakistan.

The floods — the worst in Pakistan’s recorded history — started in July, caused by heavy torrential monsoon rains, and claimed lives of more than 1, 700 people and left five million people homeless.

Iran was among the first countries to send aid to Pakistan and has announced its readiness to participate in reconstructing the country’s flood-ravaged regions.

More than 150 Iranian rescue workers have helped Pakistan’s flood victims and nearly 100,000 flood-stricken Pakistanis have been sheltered in 14,000 tents set up by the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

Iran’s last relief convoy to Pakistan consisted of 2,700 tons of goods carried by 150 trucks.

Mohammad-Najjar arrived in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad on Wednesday to attend the 4th trilateral summit of Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan ministers aimed at fighting drug trafficking.

Iran was the initiator of the trilateral summit and the first such meeting was hosted by Tehran last year.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also announced earlier this month that Tehran is ready to host a three-way counterterrorism summit with Pakistan and Afghanistan on fighting terrorism in the region.

 

India test-fires nuclear-capable missile

  

(presstv.com) India has conducted a successful test of a short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile during a military exercise in the state of Orissa, officials say.

The upgraded Agni-I, with a 435-mile (700-kilometer) range, was fired from a testing range on an island off the eastern state of Orissa.

“The missile followed the trajectory perfectly and reached the designated spot in the Bay of Bengal, where ships witnessed its detonation,” said Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar, quoted by the Associated Press.

The missile, developed in India, has been tested several times in the past as well.

According to the ministry, Pakistan was informed ahead of Thursday’s test as part of a “standard practice.”
Nuclear-capable India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars, two over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir, routinely carry out missile tests but normally notify each other in advance under an agreement.

India and Pakistan have also occasionally tested conventional and unconventional weapons since their independence.

Both neighbors have refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other treaties that restrict developing or testing nuclear weapons.

 

Italian FM: Iran attack ‘catastrophic’

 

(www.presstv.com) Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has warned Israel against any military attack on Iran, saying it would lead to a full-blown catastrophe for the whole world.

Frattini, who was in Israel on a four-day tour of the occupied Palestinian territories, sought to caution the Israeli government about the dire repercussions of any military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities as the Tel Aviv regime continues with its rhetorical attacks against Iran’s civilian nuclear work, IRNA reported on Thursday.

“Any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations will have catastrophic consequences not only for Israel, but for the whole world as well,” said Frattini in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10 TV following his meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barack.

Early in November, Netanyahu urged the US administration to intimidate Iran with a military action on the off chance that the Islamic Republic would submit to halting its civilian nuclear work under such pressure. The US, however, flatly rejected the suggestion.

The remarks come against the backdrop of the US and Israeli-led allegations that Iran may be pursuing a military diversion in its civilian nuclear program.

Tehran has fiercely denied such charges as entirely baseless and argues that as a long-term member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has every right to utilize peaceful nuclear technology.

The Israeli regime, however, is widely believed to be the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with over 200 undeclared nuclear warheads.

The Italian foreign minister further called on the Israelis to steer clear of any possible military action against Iran, noting, “I will tell you that going to war [against Iran] would be catastrophic as the first target in this war would be Israel itself, and the entire world will be jeopardized as a result of such action”

The remarks come days after the Islamic Republic launched its largest nationwide air defense maneuvers aimed at upgrading the country’s defense capabilities in case of any foreign military attacks on its territory.

Iranian officials have repeatedly cautioned against any military action targeting anything within its territory, emphasizing that any such measure will trigger a rapid and rigorous response by the Islamic Republic that will encompass targets far beyond the immediate Middle East region.

 

‘Road to Hope’ aid convoy enters Gaza

 

  

(Presstv.com) A humanitarian aid convoy carrying aid supplies for the people of the besieged Gaza Strip has entered Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing.

The convoy, known as “Road to Hope”, left London on October 10 and arrived in Gaza on Thursday. It comprises of 30 vehicles and 101 humanitarian aid workers that include eight survivors of the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla in May that killed nine people onboard.
The Egyptian negotiators first allowed three members of the convoy, including its leader, to enter the territory, Press TV correspondent, who was present at the Rafah border crossing, reported late Thursday.

The convoy leader told Press TV that the aid fleet crossed France, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya on its way to Gaza. In Libya, he said, “we were supposed to take delivery of the ‘Al-Quds Five’ part of the convoy, but, unfortunately, it was not ready”.
Moreover, Libya failed to grant permission for the transit of the aid convoy through Egypt by land, leaving it stranded for nine days at the Libya-Egypt border.

“Then, because we were not able to go by road, we hired a Greek ship to go to El Arish port in Egypt”, he said.
Greek commandos boarded the ship after the captain brought the group against their will to the port of Piraeus. “The captain ‘kidnapped’ the aid workers, accusing them of being illegal immigrants”, he said. The aid workers later said that they were treated like terror suspects by the Greeks.

The convoy leader also said that the aid content included roughly USD 1 million worth of vehicles, medical aid, equipment for handicapped schools, educational material, blankets as well as toys for children.

Speaking from London, convoy spokeswoman Leyla-Rubaina Hyda said that only 37 members of the convoy had been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.

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US OFFERS ZIO=NAZI’S F-35 FIGHTERS

NOVANEWS
US Offers Bibi 20 F-35 Fighters, The Jordan Valley and a Free UN Pass
November 22, 2010

by Debbie Menon 

Nothing has changed since 1967. We are still dragged into wars we do not understand by war makers who peddle their militant wares as essential to security and peace. King knew this, as we can see and hear from his prophetic words in November, 1967.

 

By James Wall

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been meeting with his seven-member inner cabinet. They are discussing the offer Hillary Clinton made as an incentive to Israel to “freeze” settlement construction for 90 days.

If you are not a Palestinian or an American tax payer, what’s not to like in this proposed deal?

Israel agrees to reinstate a 90-day freeze on West Bank settlement construction, not including East Jerusalem. This means that a freeze that was never in effect will now be reinstated.

In return for reinstating, for 90 days,a freeze that was never frozen, Israel is handed a gift which even the New York Times‘ Tom Friedman, Israel’s Greatest Friend in American media, called a “bribe”.

Friedman is correct.  For reinstating a freeze that was never frozen, the U.S. agrees not to keep bugging Israel about any future freezes beyond the 90 day agreement.

Elected world officials have been distressingly silent over the offer the US has made to Bibi.

However, one set of voices has not been silent. The Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 issued a statement calling for the US and the rest of the international community to “insist on an end to all Israeli settlement activity”.  Former US President Jimmy Carter is a member of the Elders.

Desmond Tutu, the Elders’ chair, was blunt and forceful in his criticism of the US offer:

This news breaks my heart.  What is Washington thinking? Settlements are illegal; they contravene UN Resolution 242 and violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. The resumption of direct talks cannot be based on one side negotiating its way out of important question of international law.

Former Irish president Mary Robinson, who led a delegation of four Elders on a trip to the Middle East last month, added: “Doing a short-term deal on settlements to restart direct talks is desperate and wrong.”

The bribe includes 20 F-35 fighters, Israel’s control of the Jordan Valley for a year after a final border is established, and a guarantee that the US will veto any UN actions aimed at Israel, Stephen Lendman, a Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization reported in Veterans Today that the New York Times gives its typical pro-Israel slant on Clinton’s offer.

Times writers Ethan Bronner and Mark Landler, wrote on November 14, “A 90-Day Bet on Mideast Talks”:

The vote by Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet on (Obama’s) proposal is expected to be very close but (it’s) likely to pass by at least one vote, analysts said.

Likewise, while the Palestinians have objected partly because the proposed construction freeze does not include East Jerusalem which they want as the capital of their future state, that is not considered an issue likely to dissuade them from rejoining the talks, Lendman’s analysis of the Bronner-Landler report:

The Times and other major media writers are clueless on East Jerusalem. Palestinians don’t want it as their future capital. [It is already] non-negotiably theirs now, [a reality] neither The Times or other Western media will acknowledge, showing one-sided support for Israel.

Of course, a large portion of the rest of the world sees through this humiliating charade, described by the London Independent’s Robert Fisk, as an act of appeasement:

In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter’s reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else’s property would be regarded as preposterous.

Three billion dollars’ worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonization for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land.

In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama’s offer: appeasement.

It is a sign of just how far America (and, through our failure to condemn this insanity, Europe) has allowed its fear of Israel – and how far Obama has allowed his fear of Israeli supporters in Congress and the Senate – to go.

Three billion dollars for three months is one billion dollars a month to stop Israel’s colonisation. That’s half a billion dollars a fortnight. That’s $500m a week. That’s $71,428,571 a day, or $2,976,190 an hour, or $49,603 a minute.

And as well as this pot of gold, Washington will continue to veto any resolutions critical of Israel in the UN and prevent “Palestine” from declaring itself a state.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (FSJ) is not your run of the mill fighter.  It is part of a “joint, multinational acquisition program for the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight cooperative international partners.”

American F-35’s to Israel

By the addition of F-35s to its Air Force, Israel joins the US and its eight other international partners as members of a western alliance working together to create  what is “expected to be the largest military aircraft procurement ever.”

The stealth, supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft for the U.S. armed forces and its allied defense forces worldwide, which now includes Israel.

In short, Israel is not just receiving a gift of 20 F-35s. It is also becoming part of a procurement program designed to run through 2026 and possibly longer. According to the Global Security Report, the F-35 worldwide fleet “may well stay in service until 2060 or longer”.

This international procurement program benefits the US company Lockheed-Martin, which on October 26, 2001 won “the largest military contract ever, a possible $200 billion competition to build the Joint Strike Fighter,” winning a competition over Boeing.

Lockheed Martin Corp. is developing the F-35 at its fighter aircraft plant in Fort Worth, where the new stealth warplane is expected to provide about 9,000 jobs over the next three to four decades. Northrop Grumman Corp. is to build the F-35′s center fuselage in California and BAE Systems the aft body in England.

The Defense Industry Daily, reporting on the “largest single military program in history”, described the international dimension of the F-35 program:

For much of the free world’s military forces, the F-35 represents the future–a new family of affordable, stealthy combat aircraft designed to meet the twenty-first-century requirements of the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

The program is truly international in its scope and participation: Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Norway recently joined the F-35’s system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. All SDD partners will be active in the F-35’s development process and stand to gain economically from the program.

This “free world” reference in the Defense Industry Daily, suggests that the Clinton package is intended to benefit US arms dealers as much as it benefits Israel’s long range military planners.  And, lest we forget, arms dealers are generous with their gifts to politicians around election time.

The American war culture has become so dominant in our economy and politics, that official talk of peaceful solutions to world conflicts have become as antiquated as a Model T Ford sedan. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know this, which is why they perform the “settlement kabuki dance” with their best international pal, Bibi Netanyahu.

Clinton and Obama are trying to play to their political base while they dance with Bibi. Their base, which is much more progressive/liberal than the official Republican War Party is also dominated by PEPs (Progressive except on Palestine).

The progressive/liberal segment of our culture is slow to shift its focus. We need only to look back to 1967, when Martin Luther King, Jr., shocked his civil rights followers and media promoters by taking a strong stand against the American war in Vietnam.

The critical cries were loud: “The Reverend has stopped preaching and gone to meddling”.

Five months before he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, Dr.King called for his fellow Americans  to refuse to fight in an unjust and immoral war in Vietnam.

Dr. King’s November, 1967 statements in opposition to the war culture’s Vietnam project were not received well by the majority of the public and certainly not by the political leaders.

King was a Christian prophet demanding an end to a futile, immoral and unjust war in Vietnam. In his prophetic voice, King condemned his nation’s growing militarization. The Civil Rights hero had become a prophetic critic who ventured outside the nation’s consensus.

This was 1967-68, before opposition to the Vietnam War became more acceptable to the media and  the general public.

Glenn Greenwald found a clip of a 1967 King interview with TV host Mike Douglas. Greenwald posted a section of the interview on his website. His source for the video was the website, God Bless the Whole World.

Greenwald wrote:

King, among other things, is asked by a clearly hostile Douglas whether King’s emphatic anti-war position — which has now largely been whitewashed from his legacy — raises questions about the “loyalty” of black Americans generally.

King responded by saying his opposition to the war was not directed to his fellow African Americans (he spoke of “Negroes” at the time), but to all Americans. Douglas was so locked into the war culture’s endorsement of the Vietnam war, that he was unable to accept the reality that King’s prophetic voice reached beyond racial injustice.

Currently our nation is involved in two more wars. This time around, the war culture has delivered us into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars that are nothing less than a repeat of the Vietnam disaster which we prolonged seven additional years after King’s assassination.

We know about the missing WMDs that were used by Bush and Cheney to take us into war in iraq. What we are slow to accept is that in Afghanistan we are conducting a long term war in what should have been limited to an intensive criminal pursuit of the small number of men who planned and carried out 9/11.

Juan Cole reports on a recent survey of 1000 Afghan men:

An opinion survey carried out in Helmand and Kandahar provinces showed that 92% of the Afghan respondents (1000 men) had never heard of 9/11.

Most Americans are ambivalent about the Afghanistan War precisely because it is hard to dismiss the argument that the September 11 attacks were planned out there in some of 40 terrorist training camps that were aimed at waging war on the US.

If Afghans, 72% of whom are illiterate, have never even heard of September 11, then they have no idea why the United States and NATO are even in their country! And the entire lack of such knowledge would likely make them more hostile to that presence, since it would seem wholly unjustified and from out of left field to them.

King’s vision is needed as each new American president promises peace and promotes war. The King vision still remains. Prophetic voices could still be raised in opposition to bribes to war leaders, bribes that include gifts of F-35 fighters that are just itching, to quote a former Republican presidential candidate,  to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”.

James M. Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois.  From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine.  He has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region.  Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. Jim launched his new personal blog Wallwritings, on April 24, 2008. He can be reached at:  jameswall8@gmail.com

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BRIBING ISRAEL: ENHANCING THE SWAG

NOVANEWS

November 22, 2010

by Michael Leon 

– The appeasement of a militaristic country veering into fascism makes matters much worse –
 
By Phyllis Bennis

The breathless will-they-won’t-they coverage wasn’t quite as extreme this time, but there’s still been way more attention paid to the latest U.S. “settlement freeze” offer to Netanyahu than it deserves. What’s supposed to be the main point of it all – new negotiations leading to something remotely resembling a just, lasting and comprehensive peace – is simply not on the agenda of either Israel or the U.S.

The actual bribe – oh, sorry, I meant to say “incentives” – being offered to Israel this time around isn’t insignificant, of course. Among other things it will massively escalate the offensive capacity and reach of Israel’s air force, already by far the most powerful in the region. The offer starts with 20 brand-new state-of-the-art F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes – three billion dollars worth.

That’s $3 billion on top of the almost $3 billion of military aid already paid to Israel this year. According to the influential Israeli daily Ha’aretz, it will double the number of the F-35 stealth bombers that the U.S. will send to Israel – Tel Aviv had already ordered 20 using the “normal” military aid to Israel, now they’re being offered 20 more free of charge.

F-35 Stealth Bombers free of charge to Israel, that is – this offer will cost U.S. taxpayers $3 billion more, money that could instead pay for 600,000 new green jobs here at home.

Then there’s the guarantee that the U.S. will veto any effort in the United Nations aimed at winning Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state. And the promise to prevent any UN effort to hold Israel accountable for possible war crimes in Gaza, such as moving the Goldstone Report forward in the Council, and potentially moving the investigation to the International Criminal Court. From what we know of the offer (the final language is not yet settled – at least publicly) it will also include a broad commitment to automatically veto essentially any UN resolution that Israel claims undermines its already precarious international legitimacy.

I’ve been discussing these issues in the media quite a bit lately, including a couple of weeks ago on al-Jazeera’s “Inside Story” and yesterday on Russia Today (scroll down to the last video).

What it all means is that the Obama administration is promising to interfere with and prevent any effort to hold Israel accountable in the international arena. The U.S. is staking out a position that allowing the UN to function unhindered, or implementing UN resolutions such as the Goldstone Report, are simply gifts to be bestowed or withheld according to politically-driven, not international law-driven, considerations.

So basically, the U.S. government is now openly and publicly complicit in all the Israeli violations of international law and past UN resolutions.

And what does Israel have to give up for all of this? A one-time-only 90-day partial settlement moratorium in the West Bank, NOT including Occupied Arab East Jerusalem. Not a bad deal. Sure, most of the swag is stuff Israel would have gotten anyway. The U.S. has been vetoing Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel for decades; just a couple of weeks ago the Obama administration engineered the withdrawal of a mild request in the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, asking that Israel finally acknowledge its widely known but officially secret nuclear weapons arsenal. That’s nothing new. But 20 additional new F-35 warplanes, at $130 million a pop, paid for by U.S. taxpayers? Now that’s nothing to sneeze at.

On the other hand, sneezing at the “settlement freeze” isn’t such a bad idea. It simply isn’t serious. Settlement expansion – which translates into house demolitions, land grabs, and population expulsions – will be allowed to continue at its current record pace in Occupied East Jerusalem. Just six weeks after the last ten-month settlement moratorium ended, Peace Now reported that construction had virtually caught up to the level it would have reached anyway. And even if the new West Bank “freeze” is total (which it certainly won’t be), all it does is delay the settler building frenzy for 90 days – at which point it can explode again, since the U.S. promised that this settlement slow-down will be the last ever requested.

So with U.S. complicity, Israel’s illegal settlements – all of which are illegal, whether in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, whether tiny outposts or the giant settlement cities – will continue.

With 500,000 illegal settlers in the Occupied Territory who are breaking international law just by waking up in the morning, Israel will continue to violate the Geneva Convention’s prohibition on moving people into occupied territory. This “freeze” will do nothing to change that. In fact, the Israeli settlement real estate boom is being aided by U.S. organizations like the Hebron Fund, that raises tax-exempt funds to support the illegal and particularly violent settlers in Hebron.

Unfortunately the Obama administration seems not only to recognize, but to welcome the reality that the U.S. is supporting illegal occupation. According to the noted analyst and former head of the American Jewish CongressHenry Siegman, “How else to understand what Vice President Joe Biden told Netanyahu on November 8 in New Orleans before a gathering of Jewish Federation officials, that differences between Israel and the United States on the subject of construction in Jerusalem and in the West Bank are nothing more than ‘tactical in nature.’

Is the continuation of Israel’s military occupation and its denial of all rights to millions of Palestinians for nearly half a century nothing more than a minor tactical issue for the United States? Is that what President Obama told the Arab and Muslim world in his speech in Cairo? President Obama will have to take his own words about the Middle East peace process and its deep moral and strategic implications for America more seriously than he has so far if he expects Bibi Netanyahu to do so as well.”

We will have to take those words seriously too. Stay tuned to the action alerts of the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation for the latest.

I have been traveling again, most recently up to Canada where I did a four-city speaking tour mainly on Israel-Palestine, though with some discussion also about Afghanistan, particularly because of the 3,000 Canadian troops backing the U.S. war there. In Toronto I was honored to deliver this year’s James Graff Memorial Lecture, following Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and Richard Falk who have delivered that lecture in the past. I was speaking on “The U.S. in the Middle East: Peace Processes and War Fevers” if you want to take a look at the video. Then some other interesting events in London, Halifax, Ottawa…An interview on Rabble.ca (Canada’s answer to Pacifica Radio) is here.

Quite fascinating to see how the Israel-Palestine discourse is changing up there — not quite as rapidly as here in the United States, it seems, but nonetheless far more quickly than before. Of course the Canadians now face a similar challenge to what we in the U.S. faced for so long, with their Harper government — the same government that led to a common joke, Canadians are bemoaning the fact that their country is the only place left where George Bush is still president. Prime Minister Harper has embraced a position of hard-core support for all Israeli policies of occupation, apartheid, suppression of any criticism. Staking out a pro-Israel position even beyond that of the Obama administration, Harper announced a couple of weeks ago that Canada would stand by Israel and refuse even to “pretend” to be an “honest broker.”

But what’s exciting is the huge escalation in human rights activism in Canada, challenging the government’s support for Israeli occupation and apartheid, supporting Palestinian rights and using the global campaign of BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – to confronting Harper’s policies. The world, specifically the United Nations, is helping as well, having just voted to deny Canada a coveted two-year term in the UN Security Council, largely because of the Harper government’s embrace of Israeli violations. It was a shock to many Canadians, who for decades viewed their country as a key backer of the UN and multilateralism, the country of Lester Pearson, credited with inventing UN peacekeeping. Suddenly Canadians had to face that their once-and-future “UN country” was being dissed by the world…But maybe that’s a good thing. It certainly sparked some good discussions.

Finally, with all the unchanging grim news on the policy side, the discourse shifts are racing ahead. For any of you who may have missed it, I urge you to take a look at this amazing four-minute video of “young Jewish and proud” – an extraordinary portrait of a new generation of already experienced activists. These young people – organized by Jewish Voice for Peace – stood to confront Netanyahu as he addressed the heart of the U.S. Jewish pro-Israel establishment: the annual assembly of the Jewish Federation. As the Israeli prime minister railed against those who would dare to delegitimize Israel, they stood alone, one after another, to raise hidden banners and to shout “the OCCUPATION delegitimizes Israel!” “The LOYALTY OATH delegitimizes Israel!” “The SETTLEMENTS delegitimize Israel!” “The SIEGE OF GAZA delegitimizes Israel!” And more. Each one was grabbed, roughed up, thrown out. After each one, somewhere else in the vast hall, another stood. The crowd turned vicious, turning on the last of the protesters, Rae Abileah from JVP and Code Pink, throwing her into a choke hold. But they turned the narrative around. Their action should make all of us proud. And we’ve got a lot of work to do to catch up.

Phyllis Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author with David Wildman of the new Ending the U.S. War in Afghanistan: A Primer.

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9/11, THE BILL IS DUE

NOVANEWS

November 22, 2010

by Gordon Duff

RUMSFELD 

?FOOL, LACKEY OR CONSPIRATOR

NO LONGER A THEORY

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

When both Judge Napolitano and Geraldo Rivera, biggest names on “fair and balanced” Fox News, agree that calling 9/11 a “wingnut conspiracy” was a mistake, you would expect more to happen.  The government should be shaken to its roots, network after network should be picking up the story and something, anything, should be in the newspapers.

Instead, everyone, yes, everyone in the media, everyone in government, is pretending it didn’t happen, just hoping it will go away. The reason they are reacting this way is simple, if even part of 9/11 gets out, part of the easily proven truth, there can’t be enough unexpected “heart attacks’ and plane crashes to keep everything from crashing in.

9/11 is the key, the only story.  The seeming conspiracy over 9/11 is so far reaching, so many could be involved and, as it seems, are involved.  You can’t be a little bit pregnant or slightly dead.  WTC 7, or “Building ‘What’” as it is called, simply can’t be explained.  Instead, the biggest news story since the Kennedy assassination is being treated like a celebrity drunk driving arrest.

America is in two wars because of 9/11 and now we are told it was all a big mistake, the government “may” had done it but that’s just “water under the bridge,” or “forgive and forget.”  No way, no how, we aren’t forgetting, no, we aren’t forgiving, not those who did it, not those who covered it up nor the press that lied through their teeth about it, no, inexorable to all but the real “wingnuts,” co-conspirators who need investigation.

 

 

YouTube – Veterans Today –

BIGGEST “I TOLD YOU SO” IN HISTORY…

At least Geraldo admitted he had been wrong.  The others, how do they apologize for labeling 1.2 billion people as terrorists, years of rape, torture, secret prisons, wounded American soldiers treated like criminals?  Those responsible, if things go as planned, will never have to stand before a judge and say;

“I’m sorry, I will never commit treason, war crimes and mass murder again.”

Is everything supposed to be treated like a college prank, the Bataan Death March, the Holocaust, the USS Liberty, the Nanking Massacre, the Mavi Marmara, Abu Gharib?

 

YouTube – Veterans Today –

THE TONKIN GULF ANALOGY

America went to war in Vietnam over a lie.  On April 2, 1964, the United States claimed  one of its warships was attacked by four North Vietnamese patrol boats.  The US claims it responded with air attacks and gunfire, driving off the P 4 patrol boats.  Two days later, we were told another attack occurred.  A preponderance of evidence has now proven this second attack was entirely fabricated, an attack used to push congress into giving broad war powers to the American president, powers that sent the United States to the most brutal military defeat in its history.  A generation of American’s died in Vietnam, leaving a country to be led into decline by those who had “other priorities” than to serve.

Three years after the Tonkin Gulf incident, an almost identical attack;

  • an American warship,

  • torpedo boats (and aircraft),

  • same president,

  • same secretary of defense and

the same game, using presidential war powers behind the smoke screen of a “false flag” attack to get America into another war, this time in the Middle East.

What America had done, of course, was enter a pattern of behavior and a learning curve.  The pattern would lead to more and more audacious “false flag” incidents and the learning curve would teach future leaders to prepare for this kind of thing as “routine.”

News media would become trained “lap dogs” and every potential snag, law enforcement, the courts, honest military and intelligence leaders, would have to be derailed.  This all came together with the court appointment of George “W” Bush as president in 2001.

What immediately followed was utterly predictable, pieces were put in place and, just like clockwork:

9/11

THE USS LIBERTY INCIDENT, A STEPPING STONE TO 9/11

The ship, not the USS Maddox this time, was the USS Liberty and 271 of 296 crew members were killed or wounded.  The attacker, supposedly Egypt, turned out to be Israelis who had agreed to sink the Liberty and murder the crew as part of a deal with President Lyndon Johnson who was having a torid affair with an Israeli secret agent.

The evidence, as presented on the videos and as evaluated by America’s top “mainstream” news, finally, after so many years, shows 9/11 to be another “Tonkin Gulf,” another “USS Liberty.”

9/11, it seems has even more in common with the Liberty incident, the cast of characters, the “attackers” may well have been Israeli, always trustworthy, always reliable and always available.  As shown in the Lawson video, 5 were arrested under circumstances that leave no room for doubt regarding complicity.

WHAT IF, ANOTHER TONKIN GULF ANALOGY

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was killed.  The murder was covered up, little question about that.  With Alan Dulles running the investigation, the man Kennedy fired from the CIA, what else could we expect?  For years, blame has floated around and outrageous attempts to deflect blame, Oswald, the FBI, Cubans, Corsicans, a college prank gone wrong, the press never tires of them.

Last week, Geraldo, as seen on the video, forced to accept 9/11 as a government coverup, still is trying to work angles on the Kennedy assassination.  Why?

Did the 1963 killing lead to the 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident and the Vietnam War as Oliver Stone’s JFK dramatizes or is Mordechai Vanunu correct and Israel’s Dimona nuke program and the 1967 War, including the USS Liberty ploy to bring the United States in, are the the reasons?

 

Johnson

President Lyndon B. Johnson, Tonkin Gulf “decider”

Was 9/11 just another step in a list of tragedies, an American political leadership continually embroiled in plots and conspiracies, the “October surprise, the “under the table” deal cut with Iran over the hostages or “Iran Contra,” Reagans drug and gun trades.  How many financial conspiracies have been uncovered, BCCI, the Savings and Loan collapse and the series still going on today?  Are they connected or are they all proof that the business of government is and has been conspiracy, not just today but for decades?

Filed under 9/11 – War on TerrorAmerica at War · Tagged with ,

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A.LOEWENSTEIN ONLINE NEWSLETTER

NOVANEWS    

 

The global lure of Muslim resistance

 

25 Nov 2010

Amazing reporting by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in the UK Guardian:

British-based men of Afghan origin are spending months at a time in Afghanistan fighting Nato forces before returning to the UK, the Guardian has learned. They also send money to the Taliban.

A Taliban fighter in Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan last month told the Guardian he lived most of the time in east London, but came to Afghanistan for three months of the year for combat.

“I work as a minicab driver,” said the man, who has the rank of a mid-level Taliban commander. “I make good money there [in the UK], you know. But these people are my friends and my family and it’s my duty to come to fight the jihad with them.”

“There are many people like me in London,” he added. “We collect money for the jihad all year and come and fight if we can.”

His older brother, a senior cleric or mawlawi who also fought in Dhani-Ghorri, lives in London as well.

Intelligence officials have long suspected that British Muslims travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan each year to train with extremist groups.

Last year it was reported that RAF spy planes operating in Helmand in southern Afghanistan had detected strong Yorkshire and Birmingham accents on fighters using radios and telephones. They apparently spoke the main Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, but lapsed into English when they were lost for the right words. The threat was deemed sufficiently serious that spy planes have patrolled British skies in the hope of picking up the same voice signatures of the fighters after their return to the UK.

Welcome to expat jihadists:

The landscape of Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan is a quilt of fields outlined by earth berms, poplar trees and irrigation canals. Driving into the district to meet the area’s Taliban commander late last month, we passed men and boys who cooked rice in mud kilns, piled sacks of red onions on trucks or followed herds of goats and sheep.

Our escorts were a mix of Afghan ethnicities – Uzbek, Hazara, Tajik and Pashtun – from Baghlan and its neighbouring provinces. Most surprising, though, were the two who said they lived in Britain.

We were asked to wait for the district chief in the house of a burly, bearded man who spoke passable English with a hint of a London accent. For most of the time he lived in east London, he said, but he came to Afghanistan for three months of the year to fight. He was a mullah and had the rank of a mid-level Taliban commander.

“I work as a minicab driver there,” he said. “I make good money, you know. But these people are my friends and my family and it’s my duty to come to fight the jihad with them.

“There are many people like me in London,” he added. “We collect money for the jihad all year and come and fight if we can.”

He shared the compound-style house in Dhani-Ghorri with his brothers and sisters and their families. The oldest brother, a senior cleric or maulvi, also lived in London. Of his two younger brothers, one lived in Dubai and the other – a red-bearded young man who sat in the corner flipping prayer beads and whispering – in Norway.

The fighting season was coming to a close, they said, and the four of them were getting ready to return to their civilian lives abroad.

We can define what being Australian is

25 Nov 2010

Great essay by outgoing Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham in Crikey that discusses the effect of the web on writing and what, if anything, constitutes “Australian writing”:

The Australian voice became more in fashion after WW2, in a shift that was aided and abetted by Australia’s (well-founded) sense of itself as finally being a player on the world stage. This voice was encouraged by literary journals like Meanjin, and later Overland, as well as by newspapers of the day. It was a voice that was tied into a swelling of national pride.

These days, this association with a nationalist agenda complicates our relationship to the whole idea of an Australian voice. It’s a voice that can be associated with tirades and rhetoric. With blokes and the bush. With Les Murray’s attempt to write a preamble to the constitution for John Howard back in 1999: “We value excellence as well as fairness, independence as dearly as mateship.”

It can be hard to remember that our voice is more nuanced, less static, than these clichés would have us believe. It’s a voice created by poets (indeed, ones like Les Murray), by slam poets (looking at you Omar Musa and Easy Bee), cartoonists (take a bow First Dog), by essayists (Marie Takolander, Benjamin Law), historians (Michael Cathcart, Clare Wright), musicians (Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins), bloggers (Kerry Goldsworthy, Antony Loewenstein) and novelists (Christos Tsiolkas, Fiona McGregor). It’s not clear what it is that makes them distinctive, makes them Australian. But they clearly are.

Given that the move towards the digital realm follows on from other changes globalisation has wrought in the world of publishing and bookselling — debates around copyright, government policy making (parallel importation, etc), the financial imperative to reach an international audience —   it’s hard not to imagine that Australian writers are in danger of losing their distinctive voice. The question we need to ask next is: does it matter?

Memo to self; always check you have the right Nazi

25 Nov 2010

Oops:

The Independent was threatened with legal action today after being accused of emblazoning a picture of a Croatian actor across its front page and describing him as a German Nazi mass murderer.

In an incident that appeared to highlight the perils of quick-fire journalism in the age of Google and the internet, the newspaper devoted its entire front page on Tuesday to the case of Samuel Kunz, the 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect who died last week before facing trial in connection with the murder of more than 400,000 Jews at the Nazi death camp of Belzec during the second world war.

The large front-page picture purporting to be Kunz showed a sinister portrait of a man in the uniform not of the German Wehrmacht or SS, but of Croatian wartime fascist movement the Ustasha. The Ustasha “U” was clearly visible on the front of the man’s cap.

It appeared that the picture was a doctored still from The Living and the Dead, a 2007 Croatian film about the 1990s Bosnia war which also features flashbacks to the war in the Balkans in 1943.

The picture, the Croatian and Bosnian media reported today, was of Ljubomir Jurkovic, a 50-year-old Croatian actor from Karlovac, south of Zagreb, and not born until 15 years after the second world war’s end.

Israel should fear global opinion realising how it occupies

25 Nov 2010

This Associated Press story makes it to the Washington Post, a significant development in the rising global profile and impact of BDS. Israel can claim to be the victim as much as it wants; increasing numbers of people know how it treats the Palestinians:

There is a budding movement by foreign investors and activists to join a Palestinian campaign against companies doing business in the West Bank – aimed at hitting them in their pockets.

Pension funds in Norway and Sweden have divested themselves of holdings in some firms involved in building in settlements or helping to erect Israel’s contentious West Bank separation barrier.

European activists are cranking up pressure on companies by exposing the West Bank ties and picketing stores that sell settlement goods. And some major U.S. churches are questioning companies as a precursor to possible divestment.

The economic impact is still negligible. Jewish groups are pushing back and key institutions, including U.S. universities, have rejected calls to divest. But in business, where image is all-important, it’s tough to shrug off potentially negative publicity.

Israel accuses boycott advocates of trying to delegitimize the Jewish state. It also argues that plenty of companies with ties to states with horrendous human rights records are not similarly targeted.

The focus on corporate involvement comes against the backdrop of a wider Palestinian movement of divestment and boycott, inspired by the economic assault on apartheid-era South Africa.

The Palestinians hope such pressure will achieve what years of negotiations have not – end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands they want for a state. Israel withdrew all forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip, the other territory claimed by the Palestinians, in 2005.

While the Palestinians seek a blanket boycott of Israel, many foreign supporters do not.

“This is not divestment from Israel. It’s divestment from companies supporting the occupation,” said William Aldrich, head of the divestment task force at the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Divestment is meant to make a moral statement, said Aldrich, whose group recommends that Methodists sell stock in 29 foreign and Israeli companies, though that call has not been adopted by his church at the national level.

“The big success is that is has become an issue,” added Merav Amir of the Tel Aviv-based Coalition of Women for Peace, whose database of companies has become a resource for investors and activists.

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister who supports a West Bank pullout, said Israel should be concerned.

“There is a trend of ideological consumerism in some of the world’s countries, in addition to a delegitimization campaign against the state of Israel,” she told a business conference Wednesday. “I believe we have to light a few warning lights.”

America’s real priorities (and the arms industry are very happy)

24 Nov 2010

Some revealing facts from the essential War is Business blog:

$10.9 billion was the value of military training and sales agreements executed in fiscal year 2000 by the Pentagon’s global arms delivery service, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

$31.6 billion was the sum of the agency’s business in fiscal year 2010, which concluded at the end of September. The DSCA just released the new figures.

$4.7 billion of that total comprised training and equipment for the Afghan military and police services. (Eager recruits, pictured.)

$4.0 billion worth of hardware went to Israel, the DSCA’s top buyer.

$2.6 billion went to Egypt.

$463 million is the latest official tally of US aid to Pakistan for flood relief.

$250 million is how much China has pledged for flood relief. Swaths of Pakistan’s Sindh province are expected to remain underwater for months.

 

Using Wikileaks to sue the US

 

24 Nov 2010

The enduring power of Wikileaks:

Iraq’s Baath party, forcibly removed from power by the US-led invasion of 2003, believes leaked American military documents could help it sue the US government over the war.

Baathist officials are planning to meet with international law experts in March to discuss the possibility of taking legal action against Washington, party members said.

They believe the publication by WikiLeaks of 400,000 papers that the US army had intended to keep secret has bolstered the chances of making a case.

The WikiLeaks files, released last month, documented a litany of prisoner abuse and civilian deaths at the hands of US forces and, according to the whistle-blowing website, contained evidence of possible war crimes by US troops

“The [WikiLeaks] documents are very important because they expose the facts of the illegal occupation to the world,” Abu Mohammad, the official Baath party spokesman, said in an interview. “Perhaps they will constitute the basis for a future legal case against the criminals involved in the war, and will force them to pay compensation to the victims of the destruction of the state of Iraq.

“The documents are evidence and they will support proper legal action to secure the rights of Iraqis, if not by us now then by future generations.”

Abu Mohammad, who spoke on condition he be identified only by this nom de guerre, is the official spokesman of the Iraqi Baath party.

The Baathists are hardly human rights defenders but it is perfectly reasonable to hold the Americans to account for their litany of crimes against Iraq.

  

 

Talking to the DPRK is essential

24 Nov 2010

Acting sensibly over North Korea is clearly not in the playbook of Washington. War games beckon.

Investigative journalist Tim Shorrock has a great take at the Daily Beast (and here on Democracy Now!):

As the Obama administration dispatches an aircraft carrier to the region, following North Korea’s deadly and unprovoked shelling of South Korea, experts warn that the United States only has one choice in dealing with Kim Jong Il’s regime: direct negotiations.

That’s the message from several American Korea experts who have recently visited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and talked to its leaders.

Contrary to what has been advocated by the Pentagon, the Obama administration, and members of the Republican party, these experts say that direct negotiations are the only way to end Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, and eventually move toward a peace agreement to formally end the conflict.

“The only way out of this box is to negotiate,” Leon V. Sigal, the director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York, told The Daily Beast. Sigal, who visited Pyongyang last week with two former State department officials, added: “North Korea is prepared in detail to do things advantageous to the United States that are not impossible to do.”

The Obama administration, however, has made it clear that no talks with the North Korean government of Kim Jong Il are possible until the regime abandons its nuclear weapons program. In the wake of the shelling incident, President Obama announced that U.S. and South Korean forces will hold joint military exercises in the region that will include the aircraft carrier George Washington and other U.S. Navy warships. “We’ve had an underlying philosophy of not rewarding bad behavior with concessions,” a senior administration official told reporters.

In recent days, however, North Korea has opened the door for a possible shift in policy. In their meetings with North Koreans, Sigal and former U.S. officials Joel Wit and Morton Abramowitz were told that Pyongyang is prepared to ship out all of its nuclear fuel rods, the key ingredient for producing weapons-grade plutonium, to a third country in exchange for a U.S. commitment to pledge that it has “no hostile intent” toward the DPRK.

 

Keep those terror threats coming (the dollars are rolling in)

24 Nov 2010

The “war on terror” is making some people a lot of money. But it’s all about protecting us from terrorism, of course:

The companies with multimillion-dollar contracts to supply American airports with body-scanning machines more than doubled their spending on lobbying in the past five years and hired several high-profile former government officials to advance their causes in Washington, government records show.

L-3 Communications, which has sold $39.7 million worth of the machines to the federal government, spent $4.3 million trying to influence Congress and federal agencies during the first nine months of this year, up from $2.1 million in 2005, lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show. Its lobbyists include Linda Daschle, a former Federal Aviation Administration official.

Rapiscan Systems, meanwhile, has spent $271,500 on lobbying so far this year, compared with $80,000 five years earlier. It has faced criticism for hiring Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary, last year. Chertoff has been a prominent proponent of using scanners to foil terrorism. The government has spent $41.2 million with Rapiscan.

 

Corporate “journalist” channels juicy Zionist quotes over Tehran

24 Nov 2010

Are we supposed to thank the US administration for stopping Israel bombing Iran?

Some Israeli officials say the country’s fingers are off the hair-trigger that would launch a strike on the Iranian nuclear program, but that convincing the United States to take a harder line on Iran remains a top national priority.

The apparent willingness of the Israelis to postpone a demand for confrontation by months – at least – represents a success for the Obama administration, which has sought to convince Israel that it should give sanctions a chance to work.

It also, Israelis said, represents the belief on both sides that Iranian technical difficulties – some of them reportedly the result of a computer virus attributed to Israeli intelligence – have slowed the program.

“The Iranians are moving more slowly than they want to – but they are still moving,” said Yossi Kuperwasser, the deputy director general of Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry. “Everybody understands that you have to give some time for the sanctions to bear their full fruit.”

 

Inside the Serco British test-case

24 Nov 2010

Just what is Serco doing at Britain’s Yarl’s Wood detention centre?

The BBC investigates though does a pretty average job, only speaking to the Serco manager of the place. Maybe under-cover work would have brought far better results.

 

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