Archive | December 30th, 2010

JALL POISONING ATTEMPT: ACCUSED ISRAELI SERIAL KILLER, ”MYSTERY MAN”

NOVANEWS

December 30, 2010

by Gordon Duff 

ANOTHER STORY “DISAPPEARED” FROM THE NEWS, “WIKI-STYLE”

“Prosecutor: Genesee County jail inmate tried to poison serial killing suspect Abuelazam

Suspected serial stabber Elias Abuelazam appears in court earlier this month.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FLINT, Mich. — The Genesee County prosecutor’s office says a jail inmate has been charged with trying to poison serial killing suspect Elias Abuelazam (EE’-lee-uhs A’-boo-LAH’-zuhm).  Prosecutor David Leyton tells the Flint Journal an inmate tried to put an oven cleaner in Abuelazam’s food.

Leyton says it happened some time ago and he isn’t revealing the suspect’s name. Attempted poisoning can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.  Abuelazam faces charges of murdering three people and trying to murder five others for a series of stabbings in the Flint area. He’s also charged with attempted murder in Toledo, Ohio, and suspected in similar attacks in Leesburg, Va., where he once lived.

Abuelazam was arrested in Atlanta on Aug. 11 while trying to fly to his native country, Israel.”

———————————————————–

EDITOR’S NOTE:  AS USUAL, THE MAINSTREAM PRESS, WITH ITS “WIKI-FASHION” CENSORSHIP, OR AS IT IS NOW CALLED “SENSITIVITY” TO ANYTHING ABOUT ISRAEL, HAS CONTAINED THIS STORY AS IT HAD THE “CROTCH BOMBER” OF LAST CHRISTMAS.  WHEN MILLIONS OF AMERICANS CAN’T MANAGE TO BOARD AIRCRAFT WITH OUR OWN UNDERWEAR INTACT, TERRORISTS WITH BOMBS, SERIAL KILLERS, NO PASSPORTS, VISAS, TICKETS, BUT WITH ISRAELI FRIENDS, TRAVEL LIKE ANGELS ON WINGS OF HEAVEN.

BELOW, THE AUGUST 2010 STORY AND, PERHAPS, SOME INSIGHT INTO WHY THIS INFAMOUS SERIAL KILLER CASE DISAPPEARED INTO THE WOODWORK, AND THE ACCUSED KILLER NEARLY DISAPPEARED WITH IT, FIRST TO ISRAEL AND THEN, TO THE NETHERWORLD 

“MIDDLE EASTERN” TERRORIST, 20 ATTACKS, 5 MURDERS, ISRAELI WITH EXPIRED PASSPORT REMOVED FROM PLANE

EVERY PASSENGER BOARDING A FLIGHT TO ISRAEL IS ROUTINELY QUESTIONED BY SECURITY PERSONNEL AT THE GATE.  THIS IS A LONG STANDING PROCEDURE INSTITUTED BY ISRAEL LONG AGO AND HAS BEEN HIGHLY EFFECTIVE IN ASSURING THAT NO PASSENGER WITHOUT GOVERNMENT APPROVAL CAN BOARD A PLANE FOR ISRAEL.

Toledo (VT) August 12, 2010

“If this lame f%#@ would have made it they never would have kicked him back”…..Robert Walsh, law professor

Elias Abuelazam, 33, an Israeli national arrested on suspicion of terror attacks in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia, leaving at least 5 dead and many wounded, was captured on a flight to Tel Aviv waiting for departure at the Atlanta airport by US Customs officers.  Elias was captured with an expired Israeli passport.  Israeli security officers that screen all passengers boarding flights to Israel had two reasons to stop him.  That Abuelazam was the subject of a nationwide manhunt in which Israeli security is routinely notified, is one.  The other, of course, is the expired passport.  A “special exception” had to be made to allow Abuelazam on the plane to Israel, a country with no extradition treaty with the United States.

Abuelazam worked at an Islamic owned convenience store in the small town of Beecher, Michigan.  Most of Abuelazam’s attacks were on African-American males including his latest, in Toledo, Ohio, the slashing of a church custodian.  The victims were all Christians.  The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli “right wing” publication, identified Abuelazam as a “Christian Israeli.”

Initially identified as a “budding serial killer,” Abuelazam managed to travel across the United States with no known source of funds or support, eventually attempting to flee to Israel when both a reliable likeness was distributed and his vehicle, a green Chevrolet Blazer, was identified.

Knife attacks in Flint or Detroit aren’t, in themselves, remarkable.  That a single suspect would quickly murder so many people and be involved in so many attacks, particularly a suspect mis-identified as an Arab, made front page news for weeks across the region, keeping communities in a very real state of terror.

“That Abuelazam could manage to get through the tightest airport security screening in the world, boarding a flight to Israel, without a valid passport should be impossible,” said an FBI spokeman “off the record.”

“Nobody gets into Israel that they don’t want.”

Of late, many Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin have been denied reentry to Israel.  In each case, they are refused boarding rights on planes.  No individual boards a flight to Israel without a security check, overseen by Mossad trained officers.

Another senior official working with Homeland Security stated,

“The whole thing sounds fishy.  In fact, it is too similar to the “crotch bomber” who boarded a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit without a passport.  The idea of a single male in his early 30s, especially one who is likely to be acting not just suspiciously but perhaps ‘disturbed’ getting through security for anywhere nowadays is not believable.  Make it a plane to Tel Aviv, no passport, a wanted fugitive and we have something clearly wrong.  These things simply don’t happen anymore, not without people losing their jobs or worse, perhaps much worse.  It was a lucky break that law enforcement officials caught him on video, this combined with the vehicle description sent him running.  There is no knowing how many more would have died.

Another point is his identity itself.  We are told he is in the United States “legally” but is an Israeli citizen.  Yet his passport is expired.  First he is “Middle Eastern” then Muslim, then Jewish then Christian.  It all sounds like someone didn’t have enough time to get their cover story in good shape.”

The Israeli paper, Haaretz, in a story about a 2007 attempt to extradite an orthodox Jew from Israel, in this case, a sexual predator indicted in New York, reports the following:

“The U.S. Justice Department has asked Israel to facilitate the extradition of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man suspected of raping and sexually abusing dozens of boys.

Avrohom Mondrowitz was investigated by the New York Police Department in the 1980s and was indicted for sex crimes against four boys in Brooklyn, N.Y., but fled to Israel before he could be arrested.

According to witness reports, 60-year-old Mondrowitz, a married father of seven, would pose as a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children that suffered sexual abuse.

Mondrowitz currently resides in Jerusalem. Over the years he has worked in several educational institutions, but he is now unemployed, and allegedly supports himself by selling forged academic degrees.  Mondrowitz refused to answer questions regarding the allegations against him.”

In a Russia Television report, the Israeli government indicates that it will no longer protect Jewish criminals from prosecution as they had in the past:

“Extradition Lawyer Eitan Maoz says that even if in the past Israel may have been considered a safe heaven for criminals, now it is no longer the case.

‘During the nineties, Israel was well-known to be a safe haven, especially for Jewish people that could come and get Israeli citizenship through the Aliya process and stay here very calmly because Israel won’t be extraditing its own citizens,” he said. “After the nineties this law was amended, and so Israel is no longer a safe haven for criminals.’”

The best known case thus far involved Samuel Shinbein, accused of killing, dismembering and burning a teenager in 1997.  The Israeli Supreme Court refused to extradite Shinbeing despite demands by Attorney General Janet Reno.  From Laura Blumenfeld and Kathryn Shaver of the Washington Post:

“Israel’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Samuel Sheinbein, charged with killing, dismembering and burning another Montgomery County teenager in September 1997, is a citizen of Israel and cannot be extradited to the United States.

Sheinbein, 18, who never lived in Israel but whose family sent him there three days after Alfredo Enrique Tello Jr.’s mutilated and charred torso was found, remains in custody, and Israeli officials said he will be indicted there within days on a murder charge.

The court’s ruling disappointed U.S. officials and created a furor among some Israelis, who said the country should not provide a haven for murderers. Tello’s mother, Eliette Ramos, speaking publicly for the first time since the death of her son, 19, denounced the court’s decision as “ridiculous.”

Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas Gansler said Sheinbein’s “guilt or innocence should be adjudicated here.”

“He should be held accountable here,” Gansler said. “Our view is that Mr. Sheinbein does not fit within [Israel’s extradition] law. He shouldn’t be able to hide himself under the law.”

Attorney General Janet Reno, who had fought for Sheinbein’s return, said, “We’re disappointed with the response, but at the same time, we’re going to be dedicated to doing everything we can to work with the local prosecutor and with Israeli authorities, if the case is tried there, to see that justice is done.”

Sheinbein claimed citizenship through his father, who was born in British-ruled Palestine before Israel became a country. Under a 1978 law, no Israeli citizen may be extradited.

A State Department official said the department recognized that the decision was made within a responsible judicial system, but added that U.S. officials might recommend that Israel consider amending its extradition law.”

Shinbein was tried in Israel and received a 24 year sentence for a crime that qualified, in Maryland, for the death penalty.

His victim’s family was outraged to learn that Shinbein was eligible for very early parole as the victim was not a Jew and that different sentences apply for Jews who murder Gentiles, even if the crime was committed in the United States.

With nearly one million Israeli passport holders in the United States, 500,000 of them in New York  alone, the threat of giving unrestricted residency and employment access to people who may not be subject to extradition, including untold thousands living in Israel specifically to avoid prosecution for financial crimes, or worse, represents a clear threat to national security.  When “superspy” Jonathan Pollard, responsible to giving the Soviets top US nuclear secrets at the height of the Cold War was offered protection by Israel, it became clear the threat was real.

The case for Abeulazam will, it seems, become less clear as time goes on.  If the Jerusalem Post has its way, tomorrow he will be Muslim, Paksitani and working for Iran.  The families of the dead and injured have questions.  Who put this man on a plane?  What would have happened if he had reached Tel Aviv?  Would he be a national hero like Pollard and the pilots who attacked the USS Liberty?

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on JALL POISONING ATTEMPT: ACCUSED ISRAELI SERIAL KILLER, ”MYSTERY MAN”

HILLARY PLAYS RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH JUSTICE

NOVANEWS

 

December 30, 2010

by crescentandcross 

 

By Yvonne Ridley

I wonder if Hillary Clinton really believes in the pompous invective that shoots from her lips with the rapidity of machine gun fire.

We had a classic example of it just the other day when she let rip in her grating, robotic monotones over a Moscow court’s decision to jail an oil tycoon.

To be fair to Clinton, she was not alone. There was a whole gaggle of disapproving foreign ministers who poured forth their ridiculous brand of Western arrogance which has poisoned the international atmosphere for far too long.

The US Secretary of State said Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s conviction raised “serious questions about selective prosecution and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations”.

Although Khodorkovsky, 47, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, 54, were found guilty of theft and money laundering by a Moscow court, critics like Clinton say the trial constitutes revenge for the tycoon’s questioning of a state monopoly on oil pipelines and propping up political parties that oppose the Kremlin.

Clinton’s censure was echoed by politicians in Britain and Germany, and Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, urged Moscow to “respect its international commitments in the field of human rights and the rule of law”.

Now while it may appear to be quite touching to see all these Western leaders express their outrage over a trial involving the one-time richest and most powerful man in Russia’s oil and gas industry, you have to ask where were these moral guardians when other unjust legal decisions were being made in US courts, for example?

So why have the Americans and Europeans rushed to make very public and official statements so quickly on a matter of oil and gas, in another country? Okay, so it is a rhetorical question!

But shouldn’t Clinton put a sock in it? The USA is still squatting in Cuba overseeing the continuing festering mess caused by one of the biggest boil’s on the face of human rights – yes, Guantanamo is approaching a decade of incarcerating men without charge or trial. At least Khodorkovsky had his day in an open court and can appeal.

Instead of sticking her nose in to other country’s courts, perhaps the US Secretary of State would care to look into her own backyard and tell us why one of her soldiers was given a mere nine month sentence earlier this month after shooting unarmed civilians in Afghanistan?

And after he’s served his sentence US army medic Robert Stevens can still remain in the army, ruled the military hearing. His defence was that he and other soldiers were purely acting on orders from a squad leader during a patrol in March in Kandahar.

Five of the 12 soldiers named in the case are accused of premeditated murder in the most serious prosecution of atrocities by US military personnel since the war began in late 2001. Some even collected severed fingers and other human remains from the Afghan dead as war trophies before taking photos with the corpses.

By comparison, just a few months earlier, Dr Aafia Siddiqui, was given 86 years for attempting to shoot US soldiers … the alleged incident happened while she was in US custody, in Afghanistan. She didn’t shoot anyone although she WAS shot at point blank range by the soldiers.

The critically injured Pakistani citizen was then renditioned for a trial in New York. The hearing was judged to be illegal and out of US jurisdiction by many international lawyers.

Did Clinton have anything to say about that? Did any of the foreign ministers in the West raise these issues on any public platform anywhere in the world? Again, it’s a rhetorical question.

Of course a few poorly trained US Army grunts, scores of innocent Afghans, nearly 200 Arab men in Cuba and one female academic from Pakistan are pretty small fry compared to an oil rich tycoon who doesn’t like Vladamir Putin.

But being poor is not a crime.

Exactly how would the Obama Administration have reacted if Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticized the lack of even handedness in the US judicial system and demanded Dr Aafia Siddiqui be repatriated? What would be the response if Medvedev called an international press conference and demanded to know why 174 men are still being held in Guantanamo without charge or trial?

Just for the record the US judicial system imposes life sentences for serious tax avoidance and laundering of criminally-received income – crimes for which the Russian tycoon has been found guilty. Sentencing will not take place until Moscow trial judge, Viktor Danilkin, finishes reading his 250-page verdict, which could take several days.

In her comments Clinton said the case had a “negative impact on Russia’s reputation for fulfilling its international human rights obligations and improving its investment climate”.

How on earth can anyone treat the US Secretary of State seriously when she comes out with this sort of pot, kettle, black rhetoric? This from a nation which is morally and financially bankrupt, a country which introduced words like rendition and water-boarding into common day usage.

My advice to Clinton is do not lecture anyone about human rights and legal issues until you clean up your own backyard. In fact the next time she decides to open her mouth perhaps one of her aides can do us all a favour and ram in a slice of humble pie.

* British journalist Yvonne Ridley is the European President of the International Muslim Women’s Union as well as being a patron of Cageprisoners.

Posted in USAComments Off on HILLARY PLAYS RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH JUSTICE

MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

12/30/2010

 

Never again? Elderly Palestinian women called ‘whores’ on Yad Vashem tour, while racism explodes across Israel

Dec 30, 2010

Max Blumenthal

 

yad
The only image of a Palestinian inside Yad Vashem depicts the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem sig heiling Nazi troops. (Photo: Max Blumenthal)

This week, a group of elderly Palestinian women were escorted to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance musuem to learn about the Jewish genocide in Europe. At the entrance of the museum, they were surrounded by a group of Jewish Israeli youth who recognized them as Arabs. “Sharmouta!” the young Israelisshouted at them again and again, using the Arabic slang term for whores, or sluts.

The Palestinians had been invited to attend a tour arranged by the Israeli Bereaved Families Forum, an organization founded by an Israeli whose son was killed in combat by Palestinians. They were joined by a group of Jewish Israeli women who, like them, had lost family members to violence related to the conflict. Presumably, both parties went on the tour in good faith, hoping to gain insight into the suffering of women on the other side of the conflict.

Unfortunately, the Palestinian members (who unlike the Israelis live under occupation and almost certainly had to obtain special permits just to go to Yad Vashem) learned an unusual lesson of the Holocaust: A society that places the Holocaust at the center of its historical narrative — that stops traffic for two minutes each year on the national holiday known as Yom Ha’Shoah — could also raise up a generation of little fascists goose-stepping into the future full of irrational hatred.

“In Palestinian culture, older women are most honored and they could not believe their ears,” said Sami Abu Awwad, a Palestinian coordinator of the tour. “We never talk like this to older women. The Palestinians, who were all grandmothers, were very shocked and offended.”

The report on this outburst of Jewish Israeli racism comes from the Israeli news website Walla! For some reason, I could not find reporting on it anywhere in English.

Perhaps the story was lost in the flood of reports about the anti-Arab racism that poured through the streets of Israel this week. Besides the publication of a series of rabbinical letters forbidding renting to Arabs and condemning relationships between Jews and Arabs, a school principal in Jaffaprohibited Palestinian-Israeli students from speaking Arabic to one another. In Bat Yam, a mostly Russian suburb just south of Jaffa, Jewish residents demonstrated against the presence their Arab neighbors. “Any Jewish woman who goes with an Arab should be killed; any Jew who sells his home to an Arab should be killed,” one protester reportedly shouted. And in Tel Aviv, locals rallied for the expulsion of foreign workers.

The Jerusalem Post reported:

On Saturday, three teenage girls born to African migrant parents were attacked and severely beaten by a mob of teenagers while walking to their homes in the Hatikva neighborhood.

That same night, someone tried to torch an apartment in Ashdod housing seven Sudanese citizens. The assailants set a blazing tire outside the front door of the apartment, and five of the seven residents were lightly hurt by smoke inhalation before they managed to break the burglar bars and flee through a window.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, a gang of Jewish youths was arrested after staging several random attacks on young Palestinian men with weapons including tear gas, which would be hard to acquire from anywhere except the army. Ynet reported:

The gang of teens was allegedly headed by a 14-year-old boy, and used a girl their age to seduce Arab youths.

The girl would then lead the young men to a meeting point in the city’s Independence Park, where they were allegedly brutally attacked by the teens with stones, glass bottles and tear gas. Police suspect the girl took part in three of the assaults.

 

Daniel Bar-Tal, a renowned Israeli political psychologist who has conducted some of the most comprehensive surveys of Israeli attitudes since Operation Cast Lead, found that the racist, authoritarian trends that are increasingly pronounced in Israeli society are products of a “psycho-social infrastructure” dedicated to promoting “a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering.”

 

This infrastructure is comprised of institutions like the Zionist education system, the Israeli Defense Forces, and even Yad Vashem, which explicitly links the Palestinian national struggle to Nazism.

 

Indeed, the only image of a Palestinian in all of Yad Vashem (at least that I am aware of) is of the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, who was forced by the British to flee to Germany, where he became a (not very successful) Nazi collaborator. In recent years, the Mufti has become a key fixture of Israeli propaganda efforts against the Palestinians. As such, a photo is featured prominently on a wall in Yad Vashem depicting him sig heiling a group of Nazi troops. However, there is no mention anywhere in Yad Vashem of the 9000 Palestinian Arabs the British recruited to fight the Nazis, or of the 233,000 North African volunteers who fought and died while battling the Nazis in the French Liberation Army (and whose heroic efforts were dramatized in the excellent film, “Days of Glory”).

 

According to Peter Novick, the author of “The Holocaust in American Life,” though the Mufti played no significant part in the Holocaust, he plays a “starring role” in Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. “The article on the Mufti is more than twice as long as the articles on Goebbels and Goring, longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined, longer than the article on Eichmann — of all the biographical articles, it is exceeded in length, but only slightly, by the entry for Hitler.” [Novick, p. 158]

 

Not only has Yad Vashem attempted through propagandistic means to link the Palestinian struggle to Nazism, it has promoted an exclusivist view of the Holocaust. In April 2009, Yad Vashem fired a docent, Itamar Shapira, because he had discussed the massacre of Palestinians in Deir Yassin with a group of students from the settlement of Efrat. “All I was trying to say is that there were people who lived here before the Holocaust survivors arrived, that they suffered a terrible trauma too, and that we shouldn’t hide the facts,” Shapira told me a month after his firing. “Yad Vashem carefully selected what facts it wanted to present, but deliberately avoided things like Deir Yassin, even though its ruins were just a thousand meters from the museum.”

 

Iris Rosenberg, a Yad Vashem administrator who was involved in Shapira’s firing, said of the verbal assault against Palestinian women at the museum this week: “Despite the regrettable incident at the entrance to the museum, the team’s visit to the Holocaust History Museum was conducted in a dignified manner which was significant and important.”

 

Tamara Rabinovitch, the Israeli leader of the Bereaved Families tour, told Walla! that her Palestinian counterparts “were very excited by the visit. Some of them approached me and told me they heard details of the Holocaust but did not know how painful it was. In two weeks we plan to visit an abandoned Arab village so that the Palestinian narrative is represented.”

 

This post originally appeared on Max Blumenthal’s website here.

 

Hatem, 17, was shot in the head while purchasing strawberries to sell at market in the Gaza Strip, about 800 metres from the border fence with Israel.

Dec 30, 2010

Seham

 

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Palestinians target settlements in UN resolution (AP)
AP – The Palestinians plan to ask the U.N. Security Council in the coming days to declare Israeli settlements illegal and demand a halt to their construction, officials said Wednesday, in a high stakes gamble aimed at increasing pressure on Israel.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians 

Palestinian draft resolution to highest UN body (AP)
AP – Excerpts of a draft resolution the Palestinian Authority intends to have presented to the United Nations Security Council in the coming days.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians_glance

PA: Israel continues land confiscations in West Bank
YATTA, Hebron (Ma’an) — Residents of the Saeer village south of Hebron said Wednesday that settlers had begun work on 1,500 dunums of lands confiscated for settlement expansion.  Heavy equipments were brought to the area and lands razed, residents said.  A day earlier, the PA cabinet condemned what it called “Israeli attacks on Palestinians and their property,” saying that within the past week, in addition to the land confiscation in the southern West Bank, 40 dunums in Nablus had been appropriated by the Israeli military, and dozens of trees had been taken down as the construction of the separation wall continues in Walajeh.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346370 

Israeli army: leave Khirbet Tana or else, Palestine Monitor
Last week, the Israeli army ordered the inhabitants of a small shepherd village near Nablus to vacate the premises because their homes were to be demolished. The village was destroyed, but Khirbet Tana’s men are still there, every day welcoming PA officials and NGO and international organisations’ workers coming to assess the rebuilding costs. They sleep in the mosque – the only structure that was left standing – and in makeshift tents, leaving their fate, in their own words, ‟in the hands of God.”
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1654 

Israel continues Negev home demolitions
AS-SADIR, Israel (Ma’an) — Several homes in the unrecognized Bedouin village of As-Sadir, in Israel’s Negev region, were bulldozed to the ground Wednesday morning, President of the Arab Democratic Party in Israel Talab As-Sane reported.  The official said the homes belonged to the Al-Freijat family, adding in a statement that the continued moves to demolish Bedouin homes in the Negev region was a “crime… wreaking havoc on the land and displacing peoples.”
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346351 

Israel plans to demolish homes in Yasul
The Wadi Silwan information center revealed Wednesday a wide-ranging Israeli plan to link Jerusalem’s Wadi Yasul district with Jewish settlements in Jebel al-Mokabbir.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k

Industrial Buildings Razed North of Jerusalem
Israeli forces demolished an agricultural storehouse, a gas station, and several other industrial buildings in the Palestinian village of Hazma, north of Jerusalem, PNN claimed on Wednesday.
http://www.imemc.org/article/60301 

Settlers Attack Reuters Journalist’s Car South of Hebron
Hebron – PNN – On Wednesday evening settlers attacked a car carrying two journalists, one from Reuters and another from “Ball Media,” as they took pictures on the road east of Yatta village, south of Hebron.  Yasri al-Jamal, who works as a cameraman for Reuters, said that a number of settlers from the settlement of Masa Ya’eir, built in the Umm al-Urays region of Yatta village, tried to pierce the tires of the car carrying him and another journalist as they took pictures.  Al-Jamal said the assault took place near Israeli police and under the protection of Israeli military troops.  There is no more information at present about the attack.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9346&Itemid=64

Jewish settlers desecrate mosque
Jewish settlers attacked and desecrated a mosque in Rubin village near Ramle city in 1948 occupied Palestine in an attempt to change it into a Jewish synagogue, AFEH said.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%

Witnesses: Settlers torch tent in Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the south Hebron hills overnight on Tuesday setting fire to a tent, local peace groups reported.  Residents of the illegal Suseya settlement threw flaming bottles at a tent in Susiya village, witnesses told Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove, who maintain a presence in the area.  The incident was the latest in a string of violent attacks against Palestinian communities in the area.  The owner of the tent filed a complaint with Kiryat Arba police, CPT said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346515 

Settler clashes in northern West Bank
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Settler clashes broke out in two locations in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, resulting in the destruction of several cars and fire damage to agricultural fields, officials said.  In the town of Asira Al-Qibliya south west of Nablus, farmers reported being attacked by settlers from the neighboring settlement of Yitzhar, for the second day in a row.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346428 

Palestinian activist withdraws appeal of order banning him from Jerusalem
The IDF Home Front commander banned Adnan Jith from Jerusalem for four months, saying he threatens public order.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/palestinian-activist-withdraws-appeal-of-order-banning-him-from-jerusalem-1.334132?localLinksEnabled=false

Israel applies the “price tag” strategy in East Jerusalem
Ir Amim – Ir Amim sharply condemns the decision to stipulate the eviction and sealing off of Beit Yehonatan on the eviction of additional Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, and calls on the Israeli authorities to come to their senses and apply sound judgment in the most sensitive area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=44251 

`Am al-Ara`is and Bi`r al-`Id
David Shulman – By now a truly amazing caravan of military and police vehicles have descended upon us; among the several dozen soldiers is Moshe, a portly major in the Civil Administration, which is in charge of arbitrating claims such as these. He knows the case. He approaches Yohanan, and we overhear him say to him in a low voice: “You know this fence is illegal.” But make no mistake. This doesn`t mean the field will be restored to its rightful owner. All it means is that, on some abstract level, someone high up in the Civil Administration has recognized, in a fleeting and perhaps unrepeatable moment, this theoretical truth.
http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=44250 

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Beit Hanoun demonstration commemorates “Cast Lead” as victims’ families mourn
A demonstration commemorating the beginning of “Operation Cast Lead” was held Tuesday in the Gazan city of Beit Hanoun. Families of victims were in attendance, as were 5 International Solidarity Movement activists. Two years have passed since the Israeli attacks on Gaza, which killed over 1400 people in just 23 days. The vast majority of victims were civilians, including 350 children, according to the United Nations and other major human rights organizations.
http://palsolidarity.org/2010/12/16259/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29 

Ayed Morrar: Not Just a Friend: One Palestinian’s View of Israeli Activist Jonathan Pollak
Jonathan Pollak’s upcoming imprisonment highlights the support of some Israeli activists for Palestinian-led unarmed protests, and the Israeli government’s effort to crush our joint struggle.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ayed-morrar/not-just-a-friend-one-pal_b_802468.html 

Seattle anti-Israel demonstration in wake of Metro ad controversy
“We’d like Israel to be held accountable for its actions and our government to stop spending our tax dollars to support Israel’s war crimes,” said Ed Mast, Mideast Awareness Campaign.
http://www.nwcn.com/home/?fId=112531474&fPath=/news/local&fDomain=10212

Students for Justice in Palestine condemns US government witch hunt
As students at over fifty American universities, we unequivocally condemn the abuse of grand jury subpoenas to chill the exercise of First Amendment rights by university students and anti-war activists speaking and organizing against Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinian people.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11705.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Spanish band plays at Hebron school
HEBRON (Ma’an) — A Spanish band on Monday gave a concert at a Hebron school for students who must cross military checkpoints every day.  The band performed at Corboda elementary school in Hebron’s Old City. The school was named after the Andalusian city in southern Spain.  The musicians played several compositions and pupils were given a chance to play their instruments.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=345739 

Youth groups paint murals in to mark Gaza war
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two youth groups in Gaza marked the second anniversary of Israel’s war on the Strip by painting murals on the walls of the destroyed government compound in Gaza City.  The Cultural Club and Free Spectrum organized the activity, commemorating the 22-day offensive which left more than 1,400 dead and injured over 5,000. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346379 

In photos: Wall art pops up in West Bank
Spanish artists paint on the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Qalqiliya, taking time to plant an olive tree near the site of their work in the latter on December 26, 2010.  The artists, members of Mujeres Artistas Por La Paz (Artist Women for Peace) were in the area for Christmas.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346510 

Campaign Against Mekorot Launched in Argentina
In response to Merkorot’s proposed involvement in the an Argentinian water project, The Palestinian Federation of Argentina has moblized to boycott the company and halt the deal under the slogan “Mekorot Out!”.  The contract was revealed this January. Following a visit to Israel, the Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires announced that a tender for the construction of a regional water treatment plant in La Plata would be awared a consortium, of which Mekorot is a part.
http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/2434.shtml

BDS 2010: More Powerful Than The Sword
It was two years ago today, 27 December, that Israel launched its invasion of Gaza, carrying out 22 days of murder and mayhem, killing 1400 and leaving 5400 civilians crippled for life. Since then it has continued to besiege the 1.5 million Gazans, causing hundreds more unnecessary deaths. Its actions were deemed war crimes by the UN Goldstone Report.
http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/12/bds-2010-more-powerful-than-the-sword/ 

Anti

Dutch Government Cuts Funding for Cordaid, NGO Involved in Palestine 
The foreign policy agenda of the new Dutch government depends upon its makeup—and right now, the kingmaker is the Freedom Party of right-wing extremist Geert Wilders, who must be consulted on most decisions cast by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats. Wilders is fervently anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant, having proposed a headscarf tax and a ban on immigration from Muslim countries.  “Wilders promotes ‘no money into the Third World,’” said Kosterman, “and especially no money into Muslim countries. He doesn’t believe in it.”  According to Kosterman, Wilders’ ideal funding boycott extends to countries such as Yemen and Pakistan as well, where international aid projects often cut recruitment numbers for extremist groups. Wilders himself is perfectly clear on his position on Palestine—in the leadup to the Dutch general elections in February 2010, he proposed that Jordan rename itself Palestine to provide “an alternate homeland” for Palestinians. 
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9344&Itemid=72

Photostory: Volvo equipment used in house demolitions (part 2)
Israeli forces are using Volvo construction equipment and trucks in the destruction of Palestinian property. This is the second part of a feature by The Electronic Intifada documenting the use of Volvo equipment by the Israeli government in its destruction of Palestinian property.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11704.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (16 – 22 December. 2010) 
http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7184:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-16–22-december-2010&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

Humanitarian Issues/Human Rights

UPDATED URGENT APPEAL – Children of the Gravel
Appeal to stop the targeting of unarmed children working near the border in Gaza – 23 cases documented.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/press/UA_4_10_Children_of_the_Gravel_UPDATE_29_DEC_+2010(b).pdf

Voices from the Occupation
Hatem (17) was shot in the head whilst purchasing strawberries to sell at market in the Gaza Strip, about 800 metres from the border fence with Israel.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/press/Gaza_Hatem_S_23_DEC_2010.pdf

PA: Israel detained 1,100 children in 2010
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 1,100 Palestinian children in 2010, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees’ Affairs said Wednesday.  The arrests were concentrated in East Jerusalem, where 500 children were detained, and in Hebron, the ministry found.  PA Detainees’ Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe said the high number reflected the Israeli policy to systematically pursue children, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem, where children were often put under house arrest. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346572 

The Gaza prison
“After four pages filled with detailed charts of the number of grams and calories of every type of food to be permitted for consumption by Gaza residents (broken down by gender and age), comes this recommendation: “It is necessary to deal with the international community and the Palestinian Health Ministry to provide nutritional supplements (only some of the flour in Gaza is enriched) and to provide education about proper nutrition.” Printed in large letters at the end of the document is this admonition: “The stability of the humanitarian effort is critical for the prevention of the development of malnutrition.”…Some of these changes are the result of international pressure exerted upon Israel. For example, when he visited Gaza last February, U.S. Senator John Kerry was stunned to discover that Israel was not allowing Palestinians to bring in trucks loaded with pasta….”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/12/gaza-prison.html 

Two Years After Gaza War, Gaza Remains Sealed-Off, Suffering Continues
December 27, 2010, marks the two-year anniversary of the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 23 day offensive on the Gaza Strip. This offensive – the single most brutal event in the history of the occupation – was characterised by systematic violations of international law. Its aftermath has been characterised by pervasive impunity.
http://www.imemc.org/article/60305

Video: I Shall Not Hate
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish tells the story of the death of his daughters during the Israeli attack on Gaza Uruknet Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian medical doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee Camp. Dr. Izzeldin has written a book called “I Shall Not Hate” published in April 2010 about his three daughters who were killed during the Gaza tragedy of January 2009.
http://uruknet.info/?p=m73376&hd=&size=1&l=e

Gaza farmers pack strawberries and hope for export
On a recent afternoon, farmers bearing cartons of strawberries lined up in front of the office of a local agricultural organization in the northern Gaza Strip. “This is a moment that fills me with hope,” said Ibrahim al-Musallami, 58, one of the farmers.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11694.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

B’Tselem 2010 Video Summary -Six Wishes
In a video clip to mark the end of 2010, B’Tselem makes 6 wishes for the coming year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HgWGZbk1vA&feature=player_embedded 

Racism & Discrimination

Rabbi’s wife: Arabs are the enemy
Woman who signed letter urging Jewish girls not to date Arabs says ‘separatism is what sustained the Jewish people throughout time.’ Meanwhile, Masorti Movement rabbi slams letter, says ‘our faith is strong enough in order to treat non-Jews with respect and equality’.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4006332,00.html 

Violence/Aggression

Israeli MK proposes killing Bedouin smugglers
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli Knesset member Ya’akov Katz on Tuesday proposed putting “a bullet into the head” of Bedouins who lead convoys of foreign workers entering Israel illegally, the Hebrew-language daily reported.  Katz, who heads the Committee on Foreign workers, presented his plan to residents of Tel Aviv’s southern neighborhoods who attended a Knesset meeting to lobby for “victims of the phenomenon of illegal infiltrators,” Ma’ariv reported.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346532 

Gaza City residents report shelling
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Locals in Gaza City said shelling was heard east of the city center near the border with Israel on Wednesday morning.  Israeli army officials said they were not familiar with any military activity in the area, and medics said no injuries were reported.  Wednesday afternoon the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades released a statement saying its fighters had opened fire on Israeli soldiers carrying out maintenance work north of Beit Hanoun.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346337 

Military chase sees Beit Ummar teen hospitalized
HEBRON (Ma’an) — An Israeli military vehicle’s pursuit of a Palestinian vehicle ended in injury on Monday, with 18-year-old Beit Ummar resident Hammad Ahmad Hammad Abu Maria hospitalized, local officials said.  Abu Maria was driving the car with one passenger inside, traveling through the Al-Baq’a and A’seeda neighborhoods of the village. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=345919     

Detainees 

Jenin resident detained at Allenby Bridge
JENIN (Ma’an) – Israeli forces detained on Wednesday a resident of Jenin at the Allenby Bridge crossing, the local detainees’ center said.  Mustapha Abu Rihan, from Tamoun village, was detained as he returned to the West Bank from Jordan, the center said.  Center director Mahmoud Sawafta condemned the detention and the practices of Israeli soldiers.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346541

Army arrests 1 in Nablus village raid
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers raided a Nablus village on Wednesday and detained a 20-year-old resident, locals said.  Ghareeb Ref’et E’zat Amir was detained after forces searched his home in Kafr Qalil. He was taken to an unknown location.  An Israeli military spokeswoman said Amir was detained on suspicion of terrorist activity.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346402 

Palestinian female detainee on four weeks of hunger strike
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Linan Abu Ghulma has been on hunger strike for four weeks after the Israeli prison services refused to unite her with her sister Taghrid in the Damon jail, the Dhameer society for prisoners said.  It said in a press release on Tuesday that its lawyer Samer Samaan met with Linan in Hasharon jail where the Israeli prison authority and intelligence official were pressuring her and playing on her nerves.  He said that the officials were trying to compel Linan to end her strike especially after she started to vomit and to suffer acute pain.
http://palestinianprisoners.blogspot.com/2010/12/palestinian-female-detainee-on-four.html

PA Repression

Hamas: PA detains 7 supporters
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas officials in the West Bank accused Palestinian security forces of detaining seven party affiliates in a statement issued on Wednesday.  The Islamist party said the men were detained in Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Qalqiliya, and accused the PA of continuing its policy of detaining Hamas members for political reasons. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346336

Detained journalist questions right to freedom of speech for Palestinians
West Bank security forces allegedly held George Canawati for five days after he reported on tensions within Fatah party
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/29/george-canawati-palestinian-freedom-speech

Rights groups announce plans to sue PA leaders
Rights groups are demanding that the West Bank-ruling Fatah authority releases the six hunger strikers from its prisons, and have announced plans to prosecute PA security militia leaders.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7

Hamas Repression

FIDA denounces raid on Gaza offices
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza government security forces on Tuesday shut down the Rafah offices of the Palestinian Democratic Union and detained several leaders of the party, the union said.  The leftist faction, known as FIDA, said the move was “a violation to national conventions that had prevailed during all the years of the Palestinian struggle,” in a statement issued Wednesday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346423 

Political Developments

Al-Aqsa Brigades Announce Official Ceasefire with Israel
Ayhab Maqdad, the leader of the brigades, said the ceasefire was just one step in the direction of national reconciliation and a way to refuse Israel the impetus to start a new war on Gaza.  Maqdad told Al-Quds newspaper, “After careful consideration the Brigades decided in the interests of general reconciliation to officially announce a ceasefire with the Israeli side, to avoid our people being drawn into a new war.”
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9341&Itemid=66

‘The Palestine Cables’: Other countries want to ’smoke out’ Israel on NPT and Mossad use of passports, Alex Kane
Whether it’s the Mossad’s use of foreign passports or the refusal to open up about its nuclear weapons program, Israel is developing a reputation as a rogue state.  Some of the nearly 2,000 secret State Department cables so far released by WikiLeaks and its media partners reveal that governments around the world are getting impatient with these practices. 
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/the-palestine-cables-other-countries-want-to-smoke-out-israel-on-npt-and-mossad-use-of-passports.html

No Palestinian-Israeli final status issues at UN, says U.S.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday that the United States opposes any attempt to take the final status issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the UN Security Council, insisting such efforts will not help the goal of a two-state solution.  “Final status issues can only be resolved through negotiations between the parties and not by recourse to the UN Security Council, so we’ ve consistently opposed any attempt to take these kinds of issues to the Council,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-12/30/c_13670613.htm

Erekat: We want UN settlement condemnation, not recognition for state
Chief PA negotiator says ‘Israeli government is witnessing an international isolation that it hasn’t witnessed before.’
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/erekat-we-want-un-settlement-condemnation-not-recognition-for-state-1.334060?localLinksEnabled=false

Palestinians seek more than a “Facebook state”: PM (Reuters)
Reuters – Palestinians expect wider recognition of their statehood in the coming year and it will mean more than the mere “Facebook state” predicted by an Israeli minister, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Wednesday.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101229/wl_nm/us_palestianians_israel_recognition 

Dahlan returning to West Bank to answer coup charges
Source close to Dahlan accuses Abbas of being “paranoid”; Fatah Central Committee suspends former Fatah security commander.  Former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan announced on Wednesday he plans to return to the West Bank this week to answer allegations that he plotted a coup against the Palestinian Authority leadership. A special commission of inquiry established by PA President Mahmoud Abbas is also trying to establish the sources of Dahlan’s personal fortune.
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=201460 

Other News

British secret file confirms Israeli nukes
Secret files released by Britain’s National Archives said on Wednesday that British officials feared Tel Aviv would use its nuclear weapons in case of another war with Arab countries in the region.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/157794.html

Presidential decree appoints Al-Fetyani governor of Jericho
JERICHO (Ma’an)– President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree on Tuesday appointing Majed Al-Fetyani governor of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, after his predecessor Kamel Hamid was appointed governor of Hebron.  Former Hebron governor Hussein Al-Araj was named to an advisory post in the office of the President in November. 
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346291

PA to update Palestinian registry, include East Jlem
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian government officials in Ramallah announced Tuesday a plan to update the Palestinian Authority’s National Registry, and upgrade the database to an electronic model.  The decision, announced during the PA’s weekly cabinet meeting, was ratified based on the recommendations of the National Committee to update the registrar.  Once complete, the new registry will include the residents of East Jerusalem, a cabinet statement said.  Officials said the updating of the registry was part of the ongoing effort of the PA to prepare the Palestinian government to assume the responsibilities of statehood.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=346373 

IDF officers warned of Iranian revenge
In detailed letter, army instructs reserve officers to take extra precautions in Israel and abroad following assassination of nuclear scientists in Tehran. Officers ordered to avoid travelling on same traffic routes, shopping for groceries at same place.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4006360,00.html 

Israeli diamond trader expelled
An Israeli trader is expelled from the country’s diamond exchange after being accused of “blood diamond” smuggling.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/business-12088658

Largest natural gas reserve discovered in Israel worth approximately $95 billion
More than 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered off Haifa shore in joint U.S.-Israeli drilling operation. 
http://english.themarker.com/largest-natural-gas-reserve-discovered-in-israel-worth-approximately-95-billion-1.334111?localLinksEnabled=false

Judgment day for Katsav as former president faces verdict in rape case
Charges of sex abuse relate to period during which Katsav served as Israel’s tourism minister and president.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/judgment-day-for-katsav-as-former-president-faces-verdict-in-rape-case-1.334146?localLinksEnabled=false

Analysis/Op-ed

Michael Sfard on the Gaza war and Jewish morality
It has been a year, just one year since, but we can already safely say it was not just another Operation Rainbow, Summer Rains, or Autumn Clouds, as IDF operations in Gaza were named in recent years.  Perhaps the officer in charge of naming the operations was replaced by another, or perhaps the IDF ran out of pastoral names.  In any event, our most recent brutal attack against Gaza was given a violent sounding name: Cast Lead.  Looking back, Operation Cast Lead was a turning point in the way Israeli society expresses its values.  There, in besieged Gaza Strip, we exposed ourselves to a crystal-clear, shameless, and unmasked truth that we had thus far avoided by using repression and self-deceit methods that became more complex and clever with every war and operation we waged.  Like that macho man who grew tired of pretending he was politically correct and angrily yelled at his wife to go back to the kitchen, we came out of the closet.  We are who we are and we are proud of it!
http://coteret.com/2009/12/31/michael-sfard-on-the-gaza-war-and-jewish-morality/

Gaza Two Years Later: War is never over, Sarah Ali
“Let it go for God’s sake,” one would suggest. “Two years passed; just move on.” Though quite infuriated by how simple it can be thought of, I can somehow see their point. We, people of Gaza, seem to be still whining over the losses of the war. Objectively speaking, it is pretty justified to find it weird for Gazans to be blaming, probably cursing, Israel for the last war till the moment. Why can’t we “move on”? why is it hard for us to “forgive” or to even “forget”?!
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/gaza-two-years-later-war-is-never-over.html 

Gaza Two Years Later: The world has come to recognize our plight, Mohammed Said AlNadi
It is odd that tragedies make obscure things more noticeable. For so many years, the tiny coastal belt, the Gaza Strip, being a needle-eye spot on the world’s map, was not present in the mind of the people across the world. They had no idea about what or where Gaza was, either because they were ignorant of it or they took the “hostile-entity” image for granted. But after Israel’s pogrom in winter 2008-2009, in which more than 1400 innocent people were massacred in Gaza, needless to talk about the extremely unrestrained indulgence in destroying businesses, civilian-owned houses, schools and mosques– Gaza has gotten into the very conscience of the world.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/gaza-two-years-later-the-world-has-come-to-recognize-our-plight.html 

Gaza was #11 in the long sad caravan of Israel’s wars of regime change, Helena Cobban
This week is the start of the 22-day-long second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead– a.k.a. # 11 in the long, sad caravan of wars of forced regime change that Israel has launched against its neighbors since 1948. I used to describe Cast Lead as #5 in Israel’s wars of forced regime change… Then I realized I should also count a bunch of Israel’s earlier wars, nearly all of which had amongst their key geostrategic goals a forced change in the political regime of one or more neighboring countries.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/gaza-was-11-in-the-long-sad-caravan-of-israels-wars-of-regime-change.html

Is Israel a democracy? Five actions in 2010 that fueled the debate
Recent actions by Israel’s religious and right-wing communities have challenged the rights of the country’s growing Arab minority.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/vLhWTBGJwNo/Is-Israel-a-democracy-Five-actions-in-2010-that-fueled-the-debate

On Palestine, the US is a rogue state, John Whitbeck
Nations covering 80-90% of the world’s population recognise Palestine as a state. The US, subservient to Israel, stands out.  On 17 December, Bolivia extended diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine within its full pre-1967 borders (all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem). Coming soon after the similar recognitions by Brazil and Argentina, Bolivia’s recognition brought to 106 the number of UN member states recognising the state of Palestine, whose independence was proclaimed on 15 November, 1988.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/29/us-israel-palestine-independence 

A (missed) opportunity for dialogue, Shiri Raphaely
This Tuesday, the Seattle Times began running a series of articles covering the response to The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign’s plan to place an ad criticizing US investment in “Israeli War Crimes” on Seattle Metro busses. Various groups from the Jewish community vehemently objected to the ad, including Richard Fruchter, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle who stated that he believes the ad is “designed to insult Israelis and the 50,000 members of the Jewish community, many of whom support Israel.” In response to the reaction against the ad, by Thursday, Metro announced that it would not be run, leading to a missed opportunity for dialogue and contributing to further isolation and separation within the Seattle community.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/a-missed-opportunity-for-dialogue.html 

Lanny Davis dismisses U.N. report on Ivory Coast because– U.N. blasted Israel,  Philip Weiss
Lanny Davis is a symbol for me of everything that’s wrong with the new establishment. A, It’s just as bad as the old establishment, in that it supports rightwing dictators in out of the way places, for cash; B, It’s a new establishment in that it’s permeated by the Israel lobby. Justin Elliott at Salonreports on CNN grilling Lanny Davis about his work for the Ivory Coast strongman Gbagbo.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/lanny-davis-dismisses-u-n-report-on-ivory-coast-because-u-n-blasted-israel.html 

Why doesn’t CNN hold Fran Townsend to the Octavia Nasr standard?, Philip Weiss
John Edelstein writes:  Last Wednesday, a group of prominent Bush-era Republicans, including former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris (per TPM) to speak in support of MEK, a Marxist Iranian exile group there — one that’s been designated an official terrorist organization by the U.S. (Frankly I’m more surprised they’re supporting Marxists.)
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/why-doesnt-cnn-hold-fran-townsend-to-the-octavia-nasr-standard.html

Am I allowed to be a Palestinian Jew?, Audrey Farber
“Our grandparents are from Poland and the Ukraine. They were communists, and they immigrated here from Europe. But our parents raised us as Palestinian – yeah, we’re Ashkenazi but we’re Palestinian. We went to Arab schools, we speak Arabic. Our friends are Arab.” Dumbfounded, I begged them to continue. I suppose it could have been the wine, but these Palestinian Jews veritably blew my mind.
http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/am-i-allowed-to-be-a-palestinian-jew.html

Hard times for Palestine
As 2010 comes to an end, Palestinians are facing the most difficult of times. They are locked into a process of “peace negotiations” with Israel that seem likely to lead nowhere, and achieve nothing., This is thanks largely to the White House, which is not only unable to halt illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory, but also impotent when it comes to demanding that Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu respect a temporary freeze on settlement construction.
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=17&article_id=123059#axzz19YS35sl9 

Lebanon

FM Summons British Ambassador over British FM Statements
29/12/2010 Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali Shami revealed on Wednesday that he had recently summoned British Ambassador to Lebanon Frances Mary Guy over recent statements by his British counterpart William Hague on the possibility of the eruption of violence in Lebanon.  Shami told NBN that he had asked Guy for an explanation of the statements as the Lebanese were concerned that they were based on secret intelligence.  Guy responded that Hague’s statements were not based on such intelligence nor do they represent the UK’s position, but they were only based on “personal analyses.”  Hague had recently told Britain’s Sky News television that he was worried about the situation in Lebanon and that he feared violence may break out in January. 
http://almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=167946&language=en

Kissinger: on having the Syrian regime “clean up” the Lebanese Left in 1976
“Kissinger: We first thought it would be good to have the Syrians clean up on the left;” 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/12/kissinger-on-having-syrian-regime-clean.html 

New York Times on Al-Akhbar, As’ad Abukhalil
So Robert Worth has an article about Al-Akhbar in the New York Times.  What do I think? Well, for one, it must be difficult to write an article about a paper that you can’t read.  How does one judge a paper that one can’t read even if you talk to many people?  I think that the article contains seeds of truth about the atmosphere of the paper.  As seasoned Lebanese mainstream journalist, Rafiq Khuri, told me over the summer: it is a reporters’ newspaper.  He commented on the lack of a big shot publisher.  The largest owner of the paper, Hasan Khalil, really does not interfere in the paper whatsoever (I once witnessed how editor-in-chief, Khalid Saghiyyah nixed an idea by Khalil and in strong language.)  When Khalil first called me (before we met in Beirut) to discuss the paper and my articles, he asked me if he could offer comments to me about my articles.  I said: you can as a reader, but I won’t accept them from you as the publisher.  The notion that Khalid and Omar “are Western-friendly” is outright silly: as if some diabolical conspiracy drive the paper–a paper that advertises (prominently) for Whiskey brands.  Of course, its Saudi and Hariri enemies have nothing to attack except to refer to the paper as “pro-Hizbullah” or as the mouthpiece of Hizbullah.  To them, I offer them a challenge.  They are indeed mouthpieces of House of Saud princes and Hariri family members: can they dare to ever mildly–to use the word of Worth–criticize any aspect of Hariri or Saudi policies, I would then accept their labels.  As Worth pointed out, the paper regularly carries criticisms of Hizbullah.  Worth did not mention that Ibrahim Al-Amin (who is friends with Hizbullah leaders) wrote one of the most strident attack on Hizbullah in the wake of the Salah `Izz Id-Din scandal referring to corruption with the party.  So has Khalid Saghiyyah.  I wrote a 2400 words article on how Hizbullah is a sectarian party.   But the publicity for Al-Akhbar is not bad these days: not that it needs it.  But Worth needed to place the success of the paper in the context of the bankruptcy of Arab media in general. [end]
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-york-times-on-al-akhbar.html

Iraq 

Wednesday: 7 Iraqis Killed, 8 Wounded
At least seven Iraqis were killed and eight more were wounded in light violence. In the worst attack, a noted police commander was killed during a suicide bombing in Mosul. Meanwhile, the murder trial for a British contractor accused of murdering two colleagues opened in Baghdad.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2010/12/29/wednesday-7-iraqis-killed-8-wounded/ 

Triple suicide bombing hits Mosul
Attack targets police chief involved in anti-al Qaeda operations in Iraq, kills four.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2010/12/2010122973842507940.html

Police chief killed in north Iraq
Suicide bombers attack a police battalion in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing the commander, officials say.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-middle-east-12088145 

Iraq war deaths ‘drop in 2010’
Group monitoring civilian deaths says total is less than 2009 but warns of lingering, low-level conflict in years ahead.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2010/12/201012302516691853.html

Murder trial for British contractor opens in Iraq (AP)
AP – The trial of a British security contractor charged with killing two of his colleagues last year opened Wednesday in Baghdad with testimony from a guard who said the contractor shot him.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_contractor_trial 

Iraq seeks to increase trade exchange with Egypt to $5 billion annually
An adviser in the Iraqi government for economic affairs, said on Tuesday, that Iraq is seeking to increase its trade exchange with Egypt to $ 5 billion annually.   Salam al-Quraishi, told that the Egyptian investment companies will play a serious role in implementing investment, construction projects, housing complexes, building malls, and schools.
http://www.kurdishglobe.net/display-article.html?id=8D3DCFB1BD6B77D9A4E23EFE0C3CD1B1

Prison legacy haunts Iraq neighborhood
BAGHDAD — The name has been changed, along with the management. But the specter of Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison continues to haunt local residents, many of who still call it the “House of Satan.”  Abu Ghraib, now called Baghdad Central Prison, became infamous in 2004 when pictures and reports emerged of horrific abuse carried out there by U.S. military police and other American agencies charged with running the facility.  Evidence of physical, psychological and sexual abuses led to the prosecution of 11 American troops. To many around the world, the shocking images that emerged came to symbolize the worst of America’s occupation of Iraq.  To those who live near the facility — most of them Sunni Arabs — the prison is to blame for a wide variety of social, economic and emotional problems that have beset the district in recent years.  The more superstitious residents talk about the area being haunted by those who suffered while behind bars.
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/12/29/3285937/prison-legacy-haunts-iraq-neighborhood.html 

US, Israel and Gulf dictatorships declare this the biggest security threat in the Middle East: Iranian ice-cream in Iraq
“In the heart of Baghdad’s Green Zone, just yards from the mighty fortress of the biggest U.S. embassy in the world, a small but symbolic challenge to America’s rapidly waning influence in Iraq is taking shape in the form of an Iranian ice cream parlor.” 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2010/12/us-israel-and-gulf-dictatorships.html

U.S. and other world news

Manufacturing Consent For Attack On Iran
Israeli Deputy PM: West has three years to stop Iran nuclear program: Moshe Ya’alon says Iran remains the govern.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/deputy-pm-west-has-three-years-to-stop-iran-nuclear-program-1.334040

Britain forms plan for Gulf evacuation in event of war with Iran
The British armed forces are drawing up contingency plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands of British residents and tourists from Dubai and other Gulf cities in the event of war with Iran.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/dubai/8228244/Britain-forms-plan-for-Gulf-evacuation-in-event-of-war-with-Iran.html

US withdraws Venezuela envoy’s visa
Decision to revoke visa for Venezuela’s ambassador to Washington follows rejection of US choice for Caracas.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/12/2010123023228116789.html

Espionage Act ‘threatens every left wing activist,’ son of executed US communists declares
As US officials investigated whether they can charge WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the 1917 US Espionage Act, a voice of remarkable experience with the controversial law spoke out in defense of the secrets proprietor, suggesting his indictment under the act would yet again transform “dissent into treason.”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/espionage-act-threatens-left-wing-activist-son-executed-communists-declares/ 

Judith Miller Lands At Newsmax
Judith Miller, the now infamous former New York Times reporter whose hilariously wrong pieces on Iraq’s WMD program were cited by Bush administration officials as a factor in their decision to invade Iraq (by design, considering international grifter-clown Ahmed Chalabi was telling Miller exactly what the Bush White House wanted her to hear: as Jack Shafer puts it, “Bush’s guy was the Times’s guy“), is causing a stir on the Tweetdecks of American journalists today because she has published her first reported piece in print for the right-leaning Newsmax (where she has already served as an online contributor).
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/29/judith-miller-lands-at-ne_n_802352.html

Many Arab officials have close CIA links
“These officials are spies for the US in their countries,” Assange told Al Jazeera Arabic channel in an interview yesterday.
http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/qatar/137385-many-arab-officials-have-close-cia-links-assange-.html

Capital’s war against WikiLeaks
When your Swiss banker throws you overboard, you know you’ve made some very powerful enemies.
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2010/12/2010122971637433801.html

Affidavit Details FBI “Operation Payback” Probe
The FBI has raided a Texas business and seized a computer server that investigators believe was used to launch a massive electronic attack on PayPal, The Smoking Gun has learned.
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/internet/affidavit-details-fbi-operation-payback-probe

Terrorist watch list: One tip now enough to put name in database, officials say
Senior counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip, as long as it is deemed credible, can lead to a name being placed on the watch list.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/29/AR2010122901584.html

Tunisia struggles to end protests
Demonstrations over unemployment and poor living conditions continue despite president’s warnings of reprisals.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2010/12/20101229122733122341.html

Ancient church unearthed in Syria
DAMASCUS, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — Syrian archeologists have discovered church remains dating back to the 5th century B.C., in Daraa province, south of the capital Damascus, Syrian official SANA news agency reported Wednesday.  The archeologists found foundations of a church’s wall near the southern side of a Roman Temple site in Daraa province, the report said.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-12/30/c_13669834.htm

www.TheHeadlines.org

SJP statement on FBI intimidation: ‘We live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal – we shall, therefore, make as much noise as we can’

Dec 30, 2010

Students for Justice in Palestine

 

National Solidarity Statement on Impact of Grand Jury Subpoenas on Students’ First Amendment Rights

December 29, 2010

“For if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.”

– James Baldwin, in an open letter to Angela Davis, November 19, 1970

As students at over fifty American universities, we unequivocally condemn the abuse of grand jury subpoenas to chill the exercise of First Amendment rights by university students and anti-war activists speaking and organizing against Israel’s continued oppression of the Palestinian people. Since September 24, 2010, the F.B.I. has served at least 24 grand jury subpoenas on students and activists in a secret investigation that many have called a witch-hunt. We call upon Attorney General Eric Holder and United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to respect the civil rights and free speech of all those who support the Palestinian struggle for freedom by immediately withdrawing grand jury subpoenas which threaten the First Amendment rights of students and activists around the country.

The government’s assault on organizations and individuals who support the Palestinian struggle for freedom has become increasingly authoritarian. The abuse of laws criminalizing “material support for terrorism” is unprecedented and, had they been implemented at the time of South African apartheid, would have effectively criminalized broad American support for the anti-apartheid movement. At the apparent behest of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the government today has cast a net so wide that it has entangled journalists, college students, and peace activists. We know that a campaign so indiscriminate will seriously impinge on the First Amendment and other civil rights of people living in the United States. This will, in particular, affect active and outspoken students on university campuses, especially those of Palestinian descent.

It is not only our right but also our moral duty to speak and act against American foreign policy and its destructive impact on innocent people around the world. Today, America unfortunately stands behind Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people with money, weaponry, and diplomatic support. We seek to reverse this situation so that American foreign policy stands on the side of people who work towards justice. We reject the government’s efforts to isolate the Palestinian people by severing them from their non-violent supporters abroad. Therefore we stand in solidarity with the victims of our government’s campaign both in America and around the globe.

If Attorney Fitzgerald’s campaign marks the morning of a new day, then we are certain of what awaits us in the night. Like Baldwin before us, we live in an age in which silence is not only criminal but suicidal – we shall, therefore, make as much noise as we can.

 

Signed:

American University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Arizona State University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Bard College, International Solidarity Movement

Benedictine University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Boston University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Brandeis University, Brandeis SJP

Brooklyn College CUNY, The Palestinian Club

Columbia University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Cornell University, United for Peace and Justice in Palestine

DePaul University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Eastern Washington University, SLAC

Florida International University, Students for Justice in Palestine

George Mason University, Students for Justice in Palestine

George Washington University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Georgetown University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Hampshire College, Students for Justice in Palestine

Harvard Law School, Middle East Law Students Association

Harvard University, Alliance for Justice in the Middle East

Harvard University, Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee

Harvard University, Harvard Law School Justice for Palestine

Hunter College, Students for Justice in Palestine

Loyola University, Middle Eastern Student Association

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Palestine@MIT

New York University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Northeastern Illinois University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Northwestern University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Ohio State University, Committee for Justice in Palestine

Pennsylvania State University, Students for Justice in Palestine

Rutgers University – New Brunswick, BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice

Saint Xavier University, Students for Justice in Palestine

San Diego State University, Students for Justice in Palestine

San Jose State University, Students for Justice in Palestine

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Students for Justice in Palestine

Temple University, Temple Students for Justice in Palestine

Tufts University, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Arizona, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, Berkeley, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, Berkeley Law, Law Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, Davis, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, Irvine, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, Los Angeles, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, Riverside, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of California, San Diego, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Chicago, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Florida, Students for Justice In Palestine

University of Illinois at Chicago, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Michigan, Students Allied for Freedom & Equality

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Palestine Solidarity Committee

University of New Mexico, Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

University of Pittsburgh, Pitt Students for Justice in Palestine

University of South Florida, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Southern California, Students for Justice in Palestine

University of Texas at Austin, Palestine Solidarity Committee

University of Washington, Students for Justice in Palestine

Vermont Law School, Law Students for Justice in Palestine

Wellesley College, Justice for Palestine

Yale University, Yale Students for Justice and Peace in Palestine

Why doesn’t CNN hold Fran Townsend to the Octavia Nasr standard?

Dec 29, 2010

Philip Weiss

 

John Edelstein writes:

Last Wednesday, a group of prominent Bush-era Republicans, including former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris (per TPM) to speak in support of MEK, a Marxist Iranian exile group there — one that’s been designated an official terrorist organization by the U.S. (Frankly I’m more surprised they’re supporting Marxists.)

Fran Townsend is CNN’s resident terrorism expert.

Now, recall how Octavia Nasr was fired for an impolitic tweet eulogizing Hezbollah’s Fadlallah. Double standards at CNN? Yet Townsend is often billed as a neutral National Security expert and her ties to Bush are rarely shown on the screen when she’s asked for her expertise. But she’s part of this group literally providing material support to Iranian Marxists that the US government has labeled as an official terrorist organization.

Here is the US Government’s legal definition of “material support” for a terrorist group:

(b) Definitions.— As used in this section—

(1) the term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel …

(3) the term “expert advice or assistance” means advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge.

Gaza was #11 in the long sad caravan of Israel’s wars of regime change

Dec 29, 2010

Helena Cobban

 

This is a crosspost from Helena Cobban‘s Just World News:

This week is the start of the 22-day-long second anniversary of Operation Cast Lead– a.k.a. # 11 in the long, sad caravan of wars of forced regime change that Israel has launched against its neighbors since 1948. I used to describe Cast Lead as #5 in Israel’s wars of forced regime change… Then I realized I should also count a bunch of Israel’s earlier wars, nearly all of which had amongst their key geostrategic goals a forced change in the political regime of one or more neighboring countries.

So here’s my list:

#1: Israel’s instigation and participation in the Tripartite (Israeli-British-French) assault against Egypt and Gaza in 1956, which had the goal of overthrowing Nasser. It failed in that goal.

#2: The “Six-Day” war of 1967, which had the goals of seizing the West Bank from Jordan and hopefully also overthrowing the regimes in either Egypt or Syria. The first goal was achieved, the other two not.

#3: Israel’s involvement in backing Jordan’s King Hussein in his anti-PLO assault of September 1970, which brought into place a very different kind of regime in Jordan– though still one headed, as before, by Hussein.

#4: The military aid Israel gave to the campaign that the Lebanese Falangists and their Chamounist allies mounted against the PLO in Lebanon in 1976. This one was, essentially a standoff.

#5: The direct Israeli military assault against Lebanon in 1978. This one aimed at putting pressure on the Lebanese to expel the PLO. It failed at that– but Israel did establish the Insecurity Zone deep inside south Lebanon in which it was to remain for a further 22 years.

#6: The even bigger Israeli military assault against Lebanon in 1982. This one aimed both at direct elimination of the PLO’s self-defense capabilities in Lebanon and at pressuring the Lebanese to expel what remained of the PLO. It also aimed at installing a dependent, pro-Israeli government in Beirut. It achieved the first two of those goals but its attainment of the third of them was much more fragile and short-lived– lasting only until Pres. Amin Gemayyel made his peace with Syria in February 1984. Meanwhile, of course, Israel’s occupation presence in a huge chunk of south Lebanon fomented the birth of Hizbullah….

#7: The large Israeli assault against Lebanon in 1993– this time, with the aim of pressuring the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbullah. Didn’t work.

#8: The large Israeli assault against Lebanon in 1996– once again, with the aim of pressuring the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbullah. Didn’t work.

#9: The large Israeli assault against all PA institutions in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002. This one aimed at directly destroying the PA’s ability to deliver any services to Palestinians and resulted in the dismantlement of just about all the infrastrcture the PA had built up since Oslo. It left a state of anarchy and hopelessness from which Hamas was to emerge much stronger than before…

#10: The truly massive Israeli assault against Lebanon in 2006– once again, with the aim of pressuring the Lebanese to repudiate Hizbullah. Didn’t work.

#11: The truly massive Israeli assault against Gaza in late 2008– with the aim of pressuring the Palestinians to repudiate/overthrow Hamas. Didn’t work. 

‘The Palestine Cables’: Other countries want to ’smoke out’ Israel on NPT and Mossad use of passports

Dec 29, 2010

Alex Kane

 

Whether it’s the Mossad’s use of foreign passports or the refusal to open up about its nuclear weapons program, Israel is developing a reputation as a rogue state.  Some of the nearly 2,000 secret State Department cables so far released by WikiLeaks and its media partners reveal that governments around the world are getting impatient with these practices. 

Israel joins India, Pakistan and North Korea as the only states to possess nuclear weapons without being a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty(NPT), the key pillar in the international effort to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. 

Some governments want to put an end to Israel’s official policy of “ambiguity” over its nuclear weapons program:

In February 2010, an Egyptian military official “called on the United States to not ignore the Israeli nuclear program. He stated that Israel’s nuclear program only gave Iran justification for creating its own nuclear weapons. If Iran obtained nuclear weapons, it would only embolden Iran to use Hezbollah and Hamas with impunity.”  Juan Cole comments that this cable is proof that “Israel’s nuclear stockpile inspires neighbors with fear and trepidation, and impels them to try to get a nuclear bomb themselves.”

–An American Assistant Secretary of State, Rose Gottemoeller, held meetings with a number of foreign diplomats about the NPT in May 2009.  Canadian ambassador Marius Grinius, whose country is one of Israel’s staunchest allies, told Gottemoeller that “it was time for the [Conference on Disarmament) to ‘smoke out’ Pakistan, Iran and Israel on their positions [regarding the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty].”

–An April 2009 cable meant to prepare Dennis Ross for a visit to Egypt states that the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “believes that a harder U.S. line in UN fora on Israel’s nuclear program would strengthen the U.S. position on demanding Iran cease working to develop nuclear weapons.”

A February 2010 cable describes efforts by the French and U.S. governments to entice Egypt to get on board with efforts to stop nuclear weapons spreading around the Middle East.  One way to do that, the French government suggested, was to push “Israel to accept CTBT [Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty].”

Ire has also been directed at Israel because of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, using foreign passports:

–After two Israeli citizens were sentenced to jail in New Zealand on charges of attempting to obtain a false passport, a U.S. diplomatic cable reportedin July 2004 that, “Prime Minister Helen Clark suspended high-level contact with Israel and announced a range of diplomatic sanctions, including placing Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials under ‘strict constraints’ in their contact with Israelis.”

State Department cables are also beginning to trickle out about the Mossad’s involvement in the January assassination of Hamas member Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, again with the misuse of passports being an issue. 

But it is the U.S. that is shielding Israel from accountability on both NPT and passport abuse.  

Despite calling for a world free of nuclear weapons, in August 2010 the Obama administration said that “Israel has [the] right to nuclear capability for deterrence purposes.”  A December 2009 cable reports that a U.S. diplomat strategized with the Israeli government on a “potential strategy in addressing Egyptian insistence on pushing for the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East, as a way to divert attention from Iran to Israel.”

The U.S. also “declined a request from the United Arab Emirates to assist an investigation into the assassination of a top Hamas commander,”according to a February 2010 cable.

For more WikiLeaks news and analysis relating to Israel/Palestine, see:

–Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam:  Wikileaks: State Department Lied, Denying Dubai Asked for Assistance in Tracking Mossad Assassins

–Asa Winstanley, New Left Project:  Wikileaks: Insights on Palestine from the Cables

–Reuters:  UAE considered keeping Mabhouh hit under wraps, WikiLeaks cables reveal

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and blogger based in New York City. You can read all of ‘The Palestine Cables’ reports here and he blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia in the United States at alexbkane.wordpress.com.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Lanny Davis drops Ivory Coast account

Dec 29, 2010

Philip Weiss

 

Ben Smith reports at Politico… He has Lanny Davis’s letter of resignation. This is almost as good as the Marc Rich scandal… He blames the Africans for not picking up the phone. I thought it was spelled Abidjan?

Unfortunately, as you know, the decision was made in Abijan not to allow President Obama’s call to be put through to Mr Gbagbo, despite my repeated objections to that decision. Nor have I been able to reach Mr. Gbagbo directly myself to offer him this advice, despite repeated requests, as recently as the last twenty-four hours. Therefore, without going into further details regarding disagreements between me and representatives of the government, of which you are aware, I have reached the conclusion that I have not been allowed to effectuate the mission that I was expressly asked to do by your government, despite all my best efforts to do so.

Am I allowed to be a Palestinian Jew?

Dec 29, 2010

Audrey Farber

 

Two brothers are on the couch next to me, speaking rapid Arabic and sipping their beers. Though they look white, they have no discernible accent and to my ear, their Arabic is flawless. I assume they’re Arab, even though there’s something not-quite-Arab about them. But this is a party, so we switch to English and the important things in life: wine, beer, and mopeds.

An hour later I’m talking to them again, and a revelation shocks me. “They’re Jewish! Did you know that?” I’m stunned – not because I don’t know Jews who can speak Arabic, because I do – but because they pulled it off so effortlessly. They gave no impression of putting on airs, pretending to be someone they’re not. They were completely at ease with the other mostly-Arab partiers, joking around with their friends with native fluency. But they’re Jewish, and we’re in Israel, so they must be Israeli, so….what?

“You’re Jewish?” “Yeah, we’re Palestinian and we’re Jewish.” More stunned-ness. My initial reaction was that they’re Palestinian Jews from before the founding of the state – there were, of course, Jews who lived in the Middle East before Israel existed. For the most part these Mizrahi (Arab, lit. Eastern) Jews have integrated into Israeli society, though there is discrimination facing this community as well and for the most part they would never identify as Palestinian. But racial profiler that I am, I knew these were not Mizrahi Jews. They looked too much like me, like my Ashkenazi Jewish and white Christian friends.

“Our grandparents are from Poland and the Ukraine. They were communists, and they immigrated here from Europe. But our parents raised us as Palestinian – yeah, we’re Ashkenazi but we’re Palestinian. We went to Arab schools, we speak Arabic. Our friends are Arab.” Dumbfounded, I begged them to continue. I suppose it could have been the wine, but these Palestinian Jews veritably blew my mind.

I pushed some more. “But how are you Palestinian?” They responded with a simple question. “You’re American, right?”

I began to realize I was still stuck in my jahiliyya (ignorant, in Arabic) framework in which Palestinian necessitated the co-descriptor Arab. I am, after all, a product of the worldview, framework, and conventional discourse surrounding us which tells us that this identity is impossible. As much as I normally resent and resist this imposed discourse, in my subconscious the Palestinian and the Jew are still enemies. We are told that Jewish and Palestinian are two irreconcilable identities, and we internalize this. Further, the conflation of the identities “Israeli” and “Jewish” is constantly forced on us and it is always juxtaposed with Arab and Palestinian. Indeed, this case of mistaken identity is so pervasive and so global that everyone accepts the definition of Palestinian as Arab and Israeli as Jewish and as against everything Palestinian and Arab.

A few years ago, I read a children’s book to my Hebrew School students about a Jewish boy and a Palestinian boy who play together during childhood. As they grow up they become enemy soldiers at war with each other because that is supposedly the inevitable – if sad – truth of this land. This is what we are taught and this is what we are still teaching our children.

Trapped by the predominant narrative of Jew versus Palestinian, even those of us “in the know” have trouble removing ourselves from this mentality. But who says they can’t be friends? Is there a dividing line between these identities? We are so accustomed to these ideas being mutually exclusive – but I bet if you asked, anyone who gave it a moment of thought will say a Jew can also be Arab. So why cannot a Jew be Palestinian, or a Palestinian a Jew?

Who drew these lines, and why do we abide by them? The Palestinian-Jew dichotomy is not only imposed, brainwashed into us, but it is completely fabricated. To be Jewish is to be a part of a religion, heritage, culture, and tradition. It is not a nationality. I repeat, and Netanyahu, take note: JEWISH IS NOT A NATIONALITY. On the other hand, to be Palestinian means to be a part of the community whose members can trace their lineage back to this land, the families who have historically owned homes and property in this corner of the world. For many, it is living here that makes them Palestinian. It is a national identity, a shared history, and a shared place. Palestinians are a diverse group: Muslims, Christians, atheists, Bedouin, Druze, Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Americans, Communists, Marxists, capitalists, anarchists… even Jews.

The dichotomy, if one exists at all, is not Palestinian-Jewish. A reasonable dichotomy is those who were already here versus those who came later, those who consider themselves native; much like I consider myself native to the US because I was born and raised there, in that culture. (Apparently there is a huge amount of post-colonial literature on this topic, in which the über-colonialist adopts the indigenous national identity in at attempt to sort of anti-assimilate, or claim the land as his own through identifying foremost with the native. I would say this is what happened in the US, and these brothers are the first of that phenomenon here.) In the same way that I am not Native American but am still American, they are Palestinian. I consider myself to come from there, it’s my culture, and my home. They were born and raised here, immersed in Palestinian Arab culture, and it’s their home. On Palestine, in Israel; they are Israeli citizens who, like the many of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, identify with the Palestinian national identity, rejecting the concept of an inherently racist, ethnocratic, xenophobic, verging on theocratic state.

Their Palestinian Jewish identity and the complicated questions it was raising was beginning to draw me in, not only because of the phenomenality of their identity, but because I could see a lot of myself in them – the über-colonialist, the Jew with conflicting identities, someone who is always told they can’t be who they believe they are. I was drawn to their story because it so mirrors my own.

They’ve been outsiders their whole lives. Theirs is the only white Jewish family in a neighborhood of Arab Muslims, Central Asian Jews, and Ethiopian Jews. They were the only non-Arabs in their classes throughout their entire schooling in Arab Christian schools. The older one keeps his identity a secret from his group of Jewish Israeli friends. They know he is leftist, speaks Arabic, and didn’t serve in the IDF, but they don’t know “the truth.” Unlike most Jewish Israeli citizens, they did not serve in the Army despite (somewhat) mandatory conscription. The way they see it, as Palestinians, it’s not their army. “They didn’t want me anyway,” said one. “I had to make them reject me,” said the other. (He told of a lawyer friend of their parents, who informed them of a little-known law which states that anyone – even an Israeli Jew – who identifies with Arab culture more strongly than Israeli Jewish culture are exempt, like most non-Jewish Arabs, from Army service.) But their complex identity is not always understood by other Palestinians. “Some guy told me I can’t be Palestinian because I’m not Arab – but that’s wrong. Palestinian is national, not ethnic.” Theirs has always been a life in direct opposition to a system which tells them what they can and can’t be and believe, and of them rejecting this and creating their own, unique identities.

I am Jewish. My father is Jewish. My mother was raised Presbyterian and never converted. Before my sister and I were born, my parents had a discussion about religion; my dad has never cared strongly for organized religion so was ambivalent about the whole thing, but my mom thought it was important that we be brought up with something. My dad countered with the stipulation that if there must be a religion in the house, it should be Judaism. So my sister and I went to Jewish preschools, went to Hebrew School, celebrated our B’nai Mitzvot, observed the holidays, and even kept Kosher for a few years. (We live in Maine, so finally had to acquiesce to the demands of eating fresh shellfish.) Both of us even underwent an Orthodox conversion. Despite this, my whole life people have been telling me that – regardless of my belief or my practice or my traditions – because my mother is not Jewish, I am not Jewish.

Being Jewish is an important part of my identity, and it will not be denied or defined by someone else’s limited perspective. In the same way, the Palestinian Jewish identity of these brothers flies smack in the face of our standard perceptions of identity in Israel/Palestine. These identities are a product of the discourse created by Israel’s power struggle which necessitates the synonymity of Palestinian and Arab, to the exclusion of every and all things Jewish. This binary distinction is sprouted from untruths and manipulation, created so Israel has free reign to act according to its belief that it has exclusive rights to speak for all of us (even when it doesn’t want us), a right upon which it depends for its political survival. In return we – Jews – must defend its principles and actions no matter what, comprising our values and personal identities in the cross-fire. Israel has co-opted my ancestral identity and turned it into racist nationalism by adopting it as an indispensable part of its rhetoric. Israel sullies the Jewish religious identity and simultaneously destroys the Palestinian national identity: in no other scenario are we told in such absolute terms how we can and cannot identify.

Mainstream definitions of our identities, and in particular those such as Arab, Jewish, and Palestinian, are formed and informed by dominant memes, formulations, and perceptions that we may not entirely understand or even realize exist. The antitheses used in popular discourse – Arab versus Jew, Palestinian versus Jew, Israeli versus Arab, and the amalgamation of Jew as Israeli and vice versa – have created boundaries, limiting what we can say and do and think and even who we are allowed to think we are. This identity crisis will continue until Jews and Israel are no longer used interchangeably and until we are allowed to define our own identities. Identity is complicated and nuanced and we take what we want from our various sides, but amalgamations should be permissive, not prohibitive. I can be American and Jewish, and they can be Palestinian and Jewish, because nationality and religion are not mutually exclusive. In this world of a separate church and state, these should be complementary characteristics.

We can so easily get fenced in by what someone else defines for us and not dare to expand our own definitions and boundaries. To be fully free to express our own complete identities, especially here where politics and media try so hard to control them, rejecting “Jewish” as a necessary and exclusive characteristic of the Israeli identity and rejecting Arab as a necessary and exclusive characteristic of Palestinian identity will lead the way to being able to identify as a Palestinian Jew.

If being Palestinian and Jewish is contradictory, it means neither Palestinians nor Jews are willing to coexist because they are inherently incompatible identities. The ability to combine these identities in one person is a prerequisite for equality in Israel. To achieve this, Judaism must be relegated to a religious, cultural, or ethnic – and not a national – identity. And the Palestinian identity must be secular, national, tied to a place and a geo-political history and all that that entails. In these terms, with these identities, there is no reason that a Jew cannot be Palestinian, or that a Palestinian cannot be a Jew.

“We are the future” one boy says jokingly. “It’s not a joke,” says his brother. The only liveable future is one in which the us vs. them mentality dissolves into the shameful recesses of history. They believe that soon – maybe in thirty years – Israel as we know it will be gone, and they’ll be prepared. They will already be rid of the mentality in which everyone is everyone else’s enemy. By internalizing both sides of a divisive dichotomy, they are the future. I, too, am a part of this future; we are dismantling divisive rhetoric, imposed and perpetuated by the mainstream media and created by Israel’s political needs, by taking these words, redefining them, and crafting our own identities to reflect who want to be, not who someone else told us we were.

Cast truth

Dec 29, 2010

Philip Weiss

 

The human rights attorney Michael Sfard on Cast Lead, at Coteret (original in Hebrew at Ynet):

Operation Cast Lead was our second war of independence. In the first, we freed ourselves of 2,000 years of living under and being oppressed by foreign regimes. In the second, we broke the shackles of Jewish morality and heritage that were shoved down our throats for years. We liberated ourselves of the ancient Jewish ban against killing the innocent with the evil, from the self-evident lessons and inevitable insights we should have reached of the our collective experience as a downtrodden nation that was denied its own civil rights, that was silenced, knocked down, downgraded, and treated as subhuman. Yes, we violated some of those rules in the past, but we did not even reveal that to ourselves.

Only Jews get to say it

Dec 29, 2010

Philip Weiss

 

People are talking about Jeffrey Goldberg’s very late epiphany that Israel is not much of a democracy for Palestinians and this clashes with American values. He cited both discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel and in the occupation:

[T]here’s very little Israel’s right-wing government has done in the past year or so to suggest that it is willing to wean itself from its addiction to West Bank settlements, and the expansion of settlements bodes ill for the creation of a Palestinian state — andthe absence of Palestinian statehood means that Israel will one day soon confront this crucial question concerning its democratic nature: Will it grant West Bank Arabs the right to vote, or will it deny them the vote? 

But Walt and Mearsheimer said much of this a long time ago. They were on to Israel’s intransigent refusal to end the occupation in 2006, and saw the clash with American values:

Some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values. Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a ‘neglectful and discriminatory’ manner towards them. Its democratic status is also undermined by its refusal to grant the Palestinians a viable state of their own or full political rights.

At that time (and even after W&M retracted/regretted the word “blood”) Goldberg said they were anti-Semitic, and so did a lot of other Israel lobbyists, in the New York Times, Yivo Institute, the Washington Post, etc. In fact, there’s a basic prejudice at work here. It’s OK if Jews say it, but not gentiles. That prejudice is based on the belief that Jews are outsiders, a minority, and are vulnerable. Not long after he was scolding Hannah Arendt for having insufficient love for the Jewish people, the great Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem said that only Jews could write Jewish history: “…Jewish historians… learned to insist, and rightly so, that Jewish history is a process that can only be understood when viewed from within…” Goldberg has the same view.

At this point in Jewish history, and American history, and American history, this attitude is an exclusive vanity. Jewish history is very important, and understanding American history means understanding Israeli and Jewish history, too.

The gateway for an understanding here is Michael Walzer’s brave statement at the Center for Jewish History a couple years ago about a new era of Jewish responsibility:

“We sustained a national existence for 2000 years without territory, sovereignty, and without coercive power… That is an extraordinary political achievement… one that has not been studied enough, or appreciated enough…. It may be that the talents honed by exile don’t fit the circumstances of statehood… We governed only ourselves, as best we could… Sometimes [we were] semi-autonomous… responsible only for ourselves. In the state of Israel, we have accepted responsibility for other people. That is something we have never had in all the years of exile, and we have not done terribly well.” 

With power comes accountability. Not just to ourselves.

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER

WHY IS ISRAELI SPY JONATHAN POLLARD BACK IN THE NEWS?

NOVANEWS
12/29/2010

Traitor Jonathan Pollard making headlines.

 

By Jeff Gates

Over the past two months, Benjamin Netanyahu has mentioned the fate of jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard six times in meetings with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Israel lobby also mounted a letter-writing campaign on Pollard’s behalf.

When Pollard was arrested for espionage in the 1980s, Tel Aviv swore he was part of a “rogue” operation. Only 12 years later did Israel concede he was their spy the entire time. That insider espionage by a purported ally damaged U.S. national security more than any incident in U.S. history.

During an earlier term as Prime Minister, Netanyahu secured a verbal agreement from Bill Clinton in 1998 to release Pollard. Clinton then faced a rebellion among U.S. intelligence agencies aware of the damage done. Clinton backed down and Netanyahu backed off.

Pollard took more than one million documents for copying by his Israeli handler. When transferred to the Soviets, reportedly in exchange for the emigration of Russian Jews, that stolen intelligence shifted the underlying dynamics of the Cold War.

What has its entangled alliance with Israel cost the U.S.? The U.S. committed $20 trillion to Cold War defense from 1948-1989 (in 2010 dollars). Pollard negated much of that outlay yet even now Israel pretends to be an ally. Few believe it; many realize the U.S. has been played for a fool.

Why Now?

The timing could be a Christmas season plea for clemency after 25 years of imprisonment. Former Assistant Secretary of State Lawrence Kolb now claims the sentence was excessive due to a personal distaste for Israel by then Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger.

At trial, Pollard claimed he wasn’t stealing from the U.S.; he was stealing secrets for Israel—with whom the U.S. has a “special relationship.” Aware of the harm done by Pollard during the Reagan-era defense buildup, Weinberger pressed for a longer sentence than the prosecution.

From 1981-1985, this U.S. Navy intelligence analyst provided Israel with 360 cubic feet of classified military documents on Soviet arms shipments, Pakistani nuclear weapons, Libyan air defense systems and other intelligence sought by Tel Aviv to advance its geopolitical agenda.

Even while in prison, Pollard’s iconic status among pro-Israelis may have played a strategic role. Or was it just coincidence that Tel Aviv announced a $1 million grant to their master spy ten days before 911? Is that how Israel signals its operatives in the U.S.?

Could that explain the timing of Israel’s latest announcement? Could this news flurry be a signal to pro-Israeli volunteers (sayanim in Hebrew) that another operation is underway?

Timing is Everything

Tel Aviv routinely schedules its operations during political “downtime” in the U.S. The Suez crisis was scheduled for the last week of President Eisenhower’s 1956 reelection campaign. Fast forward to 2008 and Israeli troops invaded Gaza just after Christmas, killing 1,400 Palestinians before exiting just prior to the Obama inaugural.

That well-timed provocation generated more outrage at the U.S. as Israel’s reliable enabler. The carnage also catalyzed reactions worldwide that undermined peace talks

This latest news about Pollard coincides with another political downtime. The U.S. Congress has adjourned and the White House has shut down for the holidays. Plus WikiLeaks successfully removed peace talks from the news and restored talk of war with Iran.

If there is another “incident” in the U.S. or the E.U., will the evidence point to Tehran? Islamabad? Damascus? If the U.S. cannot be persuaded to invade Iran, can it be provoked to do so? Stay tuned.

What Next?

Tel Aviv may be growing desperate and for good reason. Israel and pro-Israelis were the source of the fixed intelligence that induced the U.S. to invade Iraq in response to the provocation of 911. Those facts are well known to intelligence agencies worldwide.

As with Pollard, Tel Aviv denies it.

With Pollard back in the news, anything is possible. Recall how long it took for a confession that he was an Israeli spy. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Tel Aviv to concede its role in provoking its primary ally to pursue a Zionist agenda in the Middle East.

Absent the mass murder of 911, would the U.S. now find itself at war in the Middle East? Absent another provocation, Americans are not inclined to expand these wars. At least not yet.

“I know what America is,” Benjamin Netanyahu assured a group of Israelis in 2001, apparently not knowing his words were being recorded. “America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction.”

Pollard has long been a rallying point for Jewish nationalists, Zionist extremists and ultra-orthodox ideologues. Only time will tell why he is back in the news. And whether this news is a means for moving the U.S. in the right direction.

 
Article Source: Criminalstate.com

 

 

 

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KICKING THE GLOBAL WARMING DEAD HORSE

NOVANEWS
12/28/2010

by Jeff Davis

As airports all over the east coast and Europe are shut down by record blizzards and after the Climategate Scandal and the revelation that Global Warming “scientists” were hiding data from the public which showed that global temperatures were declining after 1998, you’d think that everyone would wake up to the fact that (1).the earth is NOT warming and (2).mankind is NOT causing significant Global Warming due to industrial pollution. Random variations in heat output from the sun completely overpower any effect that man has on the global temperature.

The Global Warming scam however has been driven deeply into the heads of many people so apparently we need to keep spreading the truth. Global Warming was a power grab by the Left. They planned to use this mythical problem as an excuse to heavily tax corporations (so they could get more money to fund all their usual liberal causes).

The Tory Aardvark blog reports: “As Britain braces itself for the coldest winter since 1927, the warming alarmists have already worked out the cause: Global Warning. Or Climate Change. Or Climate Disruption. Now the eco mentalists at the Potsdam Institute reckon that using their dodgy computer model and junk science they can prove just that. The overall warming of the earth’s northern half could result in cold winters.

The shrinking of sea-ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional heating of the lower levels of air – which may lead to strong anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents, a study recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows. ‘These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia,’ says Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study and climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. ‘Recent severe winters like last year’s or the one of 2005-06 do not conflict with the global warming picture, but rather supplement it.’ ”

So colder is actually getting warmer, then, Vlad? World record blizzards are due to the fact that earth is getting warmer? Got any other liberal wisdom there like “Black skin good; White skin bad”?

Or could it just be that the entire thing has been a hoax from the very start in order to bring about an assumption of worldwide control of industry and the planet’s resources by the ruling liberal elite?

Might that be possible, Vlad?

The Tory Aardvark goes on: “You have to grant a certain grudging respect to these people, no matter how ludicrous their statements. All roads eventually lead to Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming! Sheer brazen effrontery does not even get close.”

 

Posted in USA1 Comment

A COMMONSENSE SOLAR DEFENSE

NOVANEWS

December 29, 2010

by Jeff Gates

 

 

A Commonsense Solar Defense

Three days before Christmas, the U.S. Congress authorized $725 billion in defense spending for 2011. Adjusted for inflation, that’s the most since 1945, the last year of World War II.

With numbers that large, making comparisons is difficult. Yet consider this. The United Nations reports that 1.5 billion people still live without electricity. For less than $100, a solar panel can power a cell phone charger and four high-efficiency LED lights.

At that price, 1.5 billion people could become partially electrified for $150 billion. Defense-wise, which taxpayer outlay offers better long-term security?

With the U.S. humbled in Iraq, mired in Afghanistan and in danger of being drawn into Iran, is it time to replace aggression with development and firepower with solar power?

With extremism the new enemy, what’s our best defense? What if the U.S. projected its power by defending against the indignities of energy poverty and illiteracy?

Absent a strategy for addressing the roots of human indignity, it’s not clear that the war on terrorism can be won. Energy poverty is a war we know how to win.

Parents of children using solar-powered LED lights report how their grades improve when they have light for studying. While that’s not enough, it’s a good start.

Can the U.S. afford not to embrace a solar defense? If not literacy, what is the best long-term defense against extremism? For $12, a solar-powered LED system can power a desk lamp and a phone charger.

As yet, there is no business model for home-scale solar systems scattered across a continent. Large-scale solar projects are far easier to finance. Community-scale is where the Pentagon can play an immediate role.

A New Form of Defense

Women living in the Pashtun area between Pakistan and Afghanistan share similar goals. They want to charge their cell phones, power a few light bulbs and refrigerate their food.

That’s a challenge the Pentagon can meet. Solar panels can handle part of that task though not all. But again, that’s a good start. Widespread access to cell phones is also helpful.

Cell phones are fast becoming a key tool for transferring money in developing countries. Transactions seldom exceed $20. By improving personal communications, they also provide another incentive to electrify in order to recharge the phone.

Phones now feature applications able to facilitate distance education, coordinate testing and track student progress. What would be the impact of literacy and electrification on the long-term need for weapons-based defense spending? Is the enemy terrorism or indignity?

Cold War defense outlays totaled $20 trillion (in 2010 dollars) from 1948 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Clinton administration spent roughly $4 trillion. Republican G.W. Bush spent another $4.65 trillion and Democrat Barack Obama is on track to spend $5 trillion. That’s a 63-year bipartisan total of at least $33,650,000,000,000 ($33.65 trillion).

How many educations could that have financed? How many homes electrified? How many schools built? How much poverty eradicated? U.S. defense spending from 1998 through 2011 will total $7.2 trillion. What will we have to show for it?

In Defense of Empathy

Conventional defense strategy assumes we are hard-wired for aggression, violence and a radical self-interest. Yet research suggests we’re soft-wired for sociability, empathy and a drive to belong.

What is the best long-term defense against those who view us as The Other? Answer: a strategy that demonstrates U.S. sincerity in enhancing the capacity of others to flourish. Community is the relevant scale for such an initiative.

Though national governments can help coordinate, the impact must be felt at the level of the family and the neighborhood. Address unmet needs there and the impact will suppress secondary drives such as violence and aggression.

To ensure extremism, fail to address the insecurity of poverty and the vulnerability of illiteracy. An empathy strategy is the missing piece in the national security puzzle.

By demonstrating that America sees others as sojourners rather than enemies, the U.S. prepares the groundwork for lasting peace. To win at The Clash of Civilizations, Americans must show by their conduct how to create a truly empathetic civilization.

You can’t fake it. Either people have electricity or not. Their children can read and write or they cannot. Either commerce is enabled in ways relevant to communities—or not.

While it’s easy to kill, creation requires a long-term commitment. Absent an empathy component, what will change at the end of the next six decades of defense expenditures?

The U.S. can no longer afford $725 billion each year for defense, much of it borrowed. Given the poor return on our investment, it’s clear we need another strategy, one free of Zionist goals that advance behind serial conflicts and the debt incurred to fund them.

We know what to do. What’s required is the leadership to do it.

Jeff Gates is author of Guilt By Association – How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War. See www.criminalstate.com

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BEEN TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE LATELY? THE FBI MAY COME KNOCKING

NOVANEWS

 

December 29, 2010

by Michael Leon

American Democracy and civil liberties will have to suffer for the needs of the holy state of Israel

By Cecilie Surasky in MuzzleWatch

By the time she was in high school, Sarah Smith had already been named one of the 100 most influential women in Chicago by Chicago’s business magazine, Crain’s. Now Smith, who happens to be Jewish, has been subpoenaed by the FBI to appear before a grand jury on January 25 to explain her trip to Israel-Palestine with two Palestinian women friends. (As terrifying as this whole episode is for everyone involved, it says something about Palestinian safety that only Smith has come forward publicly.) All three young Chicago residents have been subpoenaed, joining ranks with 14 other peace activists from the Midwest who have been similarly targeted in recent months.

 

Here is Sarah Smith’s full statement from a December 6 press conference:

Friday morning, December 3, I received a phone call from an FBI agent. He asked if I had about 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him so he could ask me some questions. I asked about what and he said he “was not at liberty to discuss it.” I then asked if I needed a lawyer present and he said it was up to me but that I was not in any trouble and that they just had a few questions.

I felt something suspicious about him telling me he wanted to ask me some questions, but he would not tell me what these questions were. So I said that I had to consult a lawyer and check my schedule and that I would get back to him. I reiterated that it would be easier for me to meet him if I knew why an FBI agent wanted to sit down with me. He then said that it had to deal with the trip I took this summer. He then emphasized, “I think you know which one I’m talking about.”

The trip I took last summer was to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and wanted to see first hand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians. If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palestinians live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank. I went with 2 Palestinian-American friends. You would think Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and Palestine is something the U.S. government would encourage.

Instead, we are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a Grand Jury for going on that trip. The US government says it supports peace between Israel and Palestine. It says it supports separate Israeli and Palestinian states.

So why does the FBI investigate us because we went to see the Palestinian land? Top US government leaders meet with Palestinian leaders, so why does the FBI investigate us because we talked to average Palestinians on the street?

I went there so I could make up my own mind and talk about what I saw. It seems to me our government wants to hide what Israel is doing to Palestinians. I would like to thank the Committee Against Political Repression for standing up for me and my friends. You can learn about case at stopFBI.net, and please make a donation there. Or you can make a donation for our legal expenses: to NLG Foundation, memo line: FBI raids and mail it to Sarah Smith, 2961 S. Bonaparte, Chicago, IL 60608

Smith’s father, Stan Smith,  added “I think Patrick Fitzgerald, the US District Attorney, Robert Parker of the FBI need to see my daughter and her friends and apologize to them. And I think President Obama, who was elected in 2008 because he said he would stop this sort of thing, should make a point on his next trip to Chicago to personally apologize to my daughter and her friends for how his government is intimidating them.”

Meanwhile, there are actions across the country to protest this crackdown on peace activists (sign the petition here). Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola has this report:

The hunting down of activists began on September 24th when the FBI raided homes and offices of activists from Minneapolis and Chicago. Computers, phones, documents and other personal items were seized and the FBI officially subpoenaed 14 activists to appear before a Grand Jury. The FBI began to contact members of the “peace community” and ask them what they knew about the subpoenaed activists’ “material support for terrorism.”

The attorneys representing the activists have noted “the current definition of “material support’ can cover just about anything, like providing humanitarian aid that ends up in the hands of a group tagged as ‘terrorist’ by the US government, or posting a link to an informational website. The implications of this law, as it is being used, are troubling to anyone who does community organizing, or anyone who does journalistic reporting or academic research on wars, conflicts or controversial movements.”

Months later, the activists in Minneapolis and Chicago have not been charged with a crime, but they continue to face possible jail time if they refuse to go before a Grand Jury and participate in this “witch hunt.” They have yet to have their belongings, which were seized by the FBI, returned.

Democracy anyone?

By the time she was in high school, Sarah Smith had already been named one of the 100 most influential women in Chicago by Chicago’s business magazine, Crain’s. Now Smith, who happens to be Jewish, has been subpoenaed by the FBI to appear before a grand jury on January 25 to explain her trip to Israel-Palestine with two Palestinian women friends. (As terrifying as this whole episode is for everyone involved, it says something about Palestinian safety that only Smith has come forward publicly.) All three young Chicago residents have been subpoenaed, joining ranks with 14 other peace activists from the Midwest who have been similarly targeted in recent months.

Here is Sarah Smith’s full statement from a December 6 press conference:

Friday morning, December 3, I received a phone call from an FBI agent. He asked if I had about 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him so he could ask me some questions. I asked about what and he said he “was not at liberty to discuss it.” I then asked if I needed a lawyer present and he said it was up to me but that I was not in any trouble and that they just had a few questions.

I felt something suspicious about him telling me he wanted to ask me some questions, but he would not tell me what these questions were. So I said that I had to consult a lawyer and check my schedule and that I would get back to him. I reiterated that it would be easier for me to meet him if I knew why an FBI agent wanted to sit down with me. He then said that it had to deal with the trip I took this summer. He then emphasized, “I think you know which one I’m talking about.”

The trip I took last summer was to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and wanted to see first hand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians. If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palestinians live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank. I went with 2 Palestinian-American friends. You would think Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and Palestine is something the U.S. government would encourage.

Instead, we are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a Grand Jury for going on that trip. The US government says it supports peace between Israel and Palestine. It says it supports separate Israeli and Palestinian states.

So why does the FBI investigate us because we went to see the Palestinian land? Top US government leaders meet with Palestinian leaders, so why does the FBI investigate us because we talked to average Palestinians on the street?

I went there so I could make up my own mind and talk about what I saw. It seems to me our government wants to hide what Israel is doing to Palestinians. I would like to thank the Committee Against Political Repression for standing up for me and my friends. You can learn about case at stopFBI.net, and please make a donation there. Or you can make a donation for our legal expenses: to NLG Foundation, memo line: FBI raids and mail it to Sarah Smith, 2961 S. Bonaparte, Chicago, IL 60608

Smith’s father, Stan Smith,  added “I think Patrick Fitzgerald, the US District Attorney, Robert Parker of the FBI need to see my daughter and her friends and apologize to them. And I think President Obama, who was elected in 2008 because he said he would stop this sort of thing, should make a point on his next trip to Chicago to personally apologize to my daughter and her friends for how his government is intimidating them.”

Meanwhile, there are actions across the country to protest this crackdown on peace activists (sign the petition here). Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola has this report:

The hunting down of activists began on September 24th when the FBI raided homes and offices of activists from Minneapolis and Chicago. Computers, phones, documents and other personal items were seized and the FBI officially subpoenaed 14 activists to appear before a Grand Jury. The FBI began to contact members of the “peace community” and ask them what they knew about the subpoenaed activists’ “material support for terrorism.”

The attorneys representing the activists have noted “the current definition of “material support’ can cover just about anything, like providing humanitarian aid that ends up in the hands of a group tagged as ‘terrorist’ by the US government, or posting a link to an informational website. The implications of this law, as it is being used, are troubling to anyone who does community organizing, or anyone who does journalistic reporting or academic research on wars, conflicts or controversial movements.”

Months later, the activists in Minneapolis and Chicago have not been charged with a crime, but they continue to face possible jail time if they refuse to go before a Grand Jury and participate in this “witch hunt.” They have yet to have their belongings, which were seized by the FBI, returned.

Democracy anyone?

Posted in USAComments Off on BEEN TO ISRAEL/PALESTINE LATELY? THE FBI MAY COME KNOCKING

ISRAEL TRIES TO EXPEL WRONG TYPE OF PERSON-PALESTINIAN ORGANIZER-FROM JERUSALEM

NOVANEWS

 

December 29, 2010

by Michael Leon

Israel: We need lebensraum. And Americans, you can pay.

Imagine being expelled from your city–the city where you were born, the city where you grew up, the city where you started a family and where you are raising your four children, the city where you have always lived.

From Jewish Voice for Peace

This horrible expulsion edict has been issued by the Israeli authorities against Adnan Gheith, a Palestinian political organizer. The Israeli authorities have served him notice that they intend to banish him for four months from Jerusalem, his city, effective December 26th. That is the same day of a planned eviction of a Palestinian home and construction of a Jewish Israeli settlement in its place. The Israeli Supreme Court issued a last minute injunction, and Adnan’s hearing is Wednesday.

His crime?

You can watch the video and listen to Adnan himself explain it:

The reason I am persecuted by Israeli security:
I openly defy the policy of home demolitions.
I defy the policy of arresting children, and the policy of replacing the Arab residents of Jerusalem with settlers.

 

Please email the U.S. State Department today to express your concern about Adnan’s case. Forward this email to your friends and ask them to email and call before Wednesday.

Adnan resides in the historically Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. He is a member of the al-Bustan Neighborhood’s Committee, an organization formed to fight plans for increased demolitions of Palestinian homes.

The expulsion order against Adnan is arbitrary and politically motivated. Adnan was unable to legally defend himself since no charges or evidence were presented against him. With his removal, the Israeli authorities are trying a dangerous new tactic to repress the rights of local residents to protest. A few days after Adnan was notified of his impending exile, he was also forbidden to attend a conference with a senior foreign diplomat or to appear in any press conference.

Adnan’s banishment and the quashing of his freedom of expression are part of a larger pattern to “judaize” Silwan at the expense of its Palestinian residents. In recent years the Jerusalem municipality–in collusion with settler organizations–has intensified the policy of demolition of Palestinian homes in the neighborhood.

Adnan has spoken out against this and now is being penalized. He needs your help to stay in Jerusalem and continue struggling to protect his home and his community.

In Adnan’s own words:
“On my part, I am going to fight and resist in all legal ways possible to stay in Jerusalem. It is the duty of the international bodies, the international communities, and human rights organizations to address this issue of exceptional danger.”

Please heed Adnan’s call. Stand by him and by the people of Silwan.

In solidarity,

Sydney Levy
Jewish Voice for Peace

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2011: U.S PRIMED FOR FASCIST DICTATORSHIP

NOVANEWS

December 28, 2010

by Michael Leon

“Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”
– Lewis H. LaphamThe Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.

By Paul Craig Roberts at SOTT.Net—Sign of the Times

The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the US government of US law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.

2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.

If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the US government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.

In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”

As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.

Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants.

Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and coverups of the Bush regimes’ crimes to the New York Times.

With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by US troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known.

If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.

The lawlessness of the US government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.

As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.The situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the US government knows no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.

America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.

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THE GAZA MASSACRE & THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE

NOVANEWS

 

December 27, 2010

by Michael Leon

The Gaza massacre, which Israel launched two years ago today, did not end on 18 January 2009, but continues. It was not only a massacre of human bodies, but of the truth and of justice. Only our actions can help bring it to an end.

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada

The UN-commissioned Goldstone Report documented evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in an attack aimed at the very “foundations of civilian life in Gaza” — schools, industrial infrastructure, water, sanitation, flour mills, mosques, universities, police stations, government ministries, agriculture and thousands of homes. Yet like so many other inquiries documenting Israeli crimes, the Goldstone Report sits gathering dust as the United States, the European Union, Palestinian Authority and certain Arab governments colluded to ensure it would not translate into action.

This Time We Went Too Far – By Norman G. Finkelstein

Israeli attacks of the illegally occupied Gaza strip are nothing new. Veterans Today recommends Norman G. Finkelstein’s brilliant and powerful ‘This Time We Went Too Far,’ a shocking, rigorously researched book chronicling the “December 2008 Israeli invasion nightmare of unimaginable proportions” that left 1,400 Gazans killed, 6,000 homes destroyed or badly damaged, and … in one of the world’s poorest areas … destruction and disruption of economic life … estimated at more than $3 billion.”

“Better than any other book, ‘This Time We Went Too Far’ shows how the massive destruction visited on Gaza was not an accidental byproduct of the Israeli invasion but its barely concealed objective.” — Raja Shehadeh, author, Palestinian Walks

Israel launched the attack, after breaking the ceasefire it had negotiated with Hamas the previous June, under the bogus pretext of stopping rocket firing from Gaza.

During those horrifying weeks from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, Israel’s merciless bombardment killed 1,417 people according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza.

They were infants like Farah Ammar al-Helu, one-year-old, killed in al-Zaytoun. They were schoolgirls or schoolboys, like Islam Khalil Abu Amsha, 12, of Shajaiyeh and Mahmoud Khaled al-Mashharawi, 13, of al-Daraj. They were elders like Kamla Ali al-Attar, 82 of Beit Lahiya and Madallah Ahmed Abu Rukba, 81, of Jabaliya; They were fathers and husbands like Dr. Ehab Jasir al-Shaer. They were police officers like Younis Muhammad al-Ghandour, aged 24. They were ambulance drivers and civil defense workers. They were homemakers, school teachers, farmers, sanitation workers and builders. And yes, some of them were fighters, battling as any other people would to defend their communities with light and primitive weapons against Israel’s onslaught using the most advanced weaponry the United States and European Union could provide.

The names of the dead fill 100 pages, but nothing can fill the void they left in their families and communities (“The Dead in the course of the Israeli recent military offensive on the Gaza strip between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009,” PDF Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 18 March 2009).

These were not the first to die in Israeli massacres and they have not been the last. Dozens of people have been killed since the end of Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead,” the latest Salameh Abu Hashish last week, a 20-year old shepherd shot by Israeli occupation forces as he tended his animals in northern Gaza.

But the tragedy does not end with those who were killed. Along with thousands permanently injured, there is the incalculable psychological cost of children growing up without parents, of parents burying their children, and the mental trauma that Israel’s offensive and the ongoing siege has done to almost everyone in Gaza. There are the as yet unknown consequences of subjecting Gaza’s 700,000 children to toxic water supply for years on end.

The siege robs 1.5 million people not just of basic goods, reconstruction supplies virtually nothing has been rebuilt in Gaza), and access to medical care but of their basic rights and freedoms to travel, to study, to be part of the world. It robs promising young people of their ambitions and futures. It deprives the planet of all that they would have been able to create and offer. By cutting Gaza off from the outside world, Israel hopes to make us forget that the those inside are human.

Two years after the crime, Gaza remains a giant prison for a population whose unforgivable sin in the eyes of Israel and its allies is to be refugees from lands that Israel took by ethnic cleansing.

Israel’s violence against Gaza, like its violence against Palestinians everywhere, is the logical outcome of the racism that forms the inseparable core of Zionist ideology and practice: Palestinians are merely a nuisance, like brush or rocks to be cleared away in Zionism’s relentless conquest of the land. This is what all Palestinians are struggling against, as an open letter today from dozens of civil society organizations in Gaza reminds us:

“We Palestinians of Gaza want to live at liberty to meet Palestinian friends or family from Tulkarem, Jerusalem or Nazareth; we want to have the right to travel and move freely. We want to live without fear of another bombing campaign that leaves hundreds of our children dead and many more injured or with cancers from the contamination of Israel’s white phosphorous and chemical warfare. We want to live without the humiliations at Israeli checkpoints or the indignity of not providing for our families because of the unemployment brought about by the economic control and the illegal siege. We are calling for an end to the racism that underpins all this oppression.”

Those of us who live outside Gaza can look to the people there for inspiration and strength; even after all this deliberate cruelty, they have not surrendered. But we cannot expect them to bear this burden alone or ignore the appalling cost Israel’s unrelenting persecution has on the minds and bodies of people in Gaza or on society itself. We must also heed their calls to action.

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One year ago, I joined more than a thousand people from dozens of countries on the Gaza Freedom March in an attempt to reach Gaza to commemorate the first anniversary of the massacre. We found our way blocked by the Egyptian government which remains complicit, with US backing, in the Israeli siege. And although we did not reach Gaza, other convoys before, and after, such as Viva Palestina did, only after severe obstruction and limitations by Egypt.

Yesterday, the Mavi Marmara returned to Istanbul where it was met dockside by thousands of people. In May the ship was part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which set out to break the siege by sea, only to be attacked and hijacked in international waters by Israeli commandos who killed nine people and injured dozens. Even that massacre has not deterred more people from seeking to break the siege; the Asian Convoy to Gaza is on its way, and several other efforts are being planned.

We may look at all these initiatives and say that despite their enormous cost — including in human lives — the siege remains unbroken, as world governments — the so-called “international community” — continue to ensure Israeli impunity. Two years later, Gaza remains in rubble, and Israel keeps the population always on the edge of a deliberately-induced humanitarian catastrophe while allowing just enough supplies to appease international opinion. It would be easy to be discouraged.

However, we must remember that the Palestinian people in Gaza are not objects of an isolated humanitarian cause, but partners in the struggle for justice and freedom throughout Palestine. Breaking the siege of Gaza would be a milestone on that march.

Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament and a passenger on the Mavi Marmara explained last October in an http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11599.shtml with The Electronic Intifada that Israeli society and government do not view their conflict with the Palestinians as one that must be resolved by providing justice and equality to victims, but merely as a “security” problem. Zoabi observed that the vast majority of Israelis believe Israel has largely “solved” the security problem: in the West Bank with the apartheid wall and “security coordination” between Israeli occupation forces and the collaborationist Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and in Gaza with the siege.

Israeli society, Zoabi concluded, “doesn’t feel the need for peace. They don’t perceive occupation as a problem. They don’t perceive the siege as a problem. They don’t perceive oppressing the Palestinians as a problem, and they don’t pay the price of occupation or the price of [the] siege [of Gaza].”

Thus the convoys and flotillas are an essential part of a larger effort to make Israel understand that it does have a problem and it can never be treated as a normal state until it ends its oppression and occupation of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and fully respects the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees. And even if governments continue to stand by and do nothing, global civil society is showing the way with these efforts to break the siege, and with the broader Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Amid all the suffering, Palestinians have not celebrated many victories in the two years since the Gaza massacre. But there are signs that things are moving in the right direction. Israel begs for US-endorsed “peace negotiations precisely because it knows that while the “peace process” provides cover for its ongoing crimes, it will never be required to give up anything or grant any rights to Palestinians in such a “process.”

Yet Israel is mobilizing all its resources to fight the global movement for justice, especially BDS, that has gained so much momentum since the Gaza massacre. There can be no greater confirmation that this movement brings justice within our grasp. Our memorial to all the victims must not be just an annual commemoration, but the work we do every day to make the ranks of this movement grow.

Ali Abunimah is co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and is a contributor to The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict (Nation Books).

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