Archive | December, 2010

ZIONIST MU-BARAK BANS ACTIVISTS FROM GAZA CONVOY

NOVANEWS
Dec 30, 2010

Members of the Asia to Gaza Caravan
Zionist Mu-Barak has prevented some 50 Iranian and Jordanian activists on the Asia 1 aid convoy from reaching the Gaza Strip through its soil.

The Pro-Zionist Egyptian embassy in Damascus, Syria, has informed the convoy of a permit that allows only 120 activists to pass through Egypt and then enter Gaza via El Arish port, the Zionist Mu-Barak Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported Thursday.

Palestinian authorities said that Zionist Mu-Barak is also denying entry to 10 generators donated by Iranians. This will decrease the size of the humanitarian convoy to below 300 tons, which will be limited to food and medical aid, in addition to toys, for the besieged Palestinians.

Gaza has been under a crippling blockade since 2007.

The Asia to Gaza Caravan, or Asia 1, consists of activists from more than 15 countries, including Iran, India, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Kuwait. It was scheduled to reach Gaza by December 27, in time for the second anniversary of Zio=Nazi’s 22-day Holocaust on the Strip that started on December 28, 2008.

Over 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed and thousands others injured or maimed in the three-week Zio=Nazi holocaust. Half of Gaza’s infrastructure was destroyed and remains unrepaired as a result of Nazi’s siege, which includes a ban on the entry of building materials into the coastal sliver.

The convoy has travelled 7,000 kilometers but has been stuck in Latikia, in Syria, since last week awaiting Egypt’s permission.

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WIKILEAKS BEING ‘ EXPLOITED TO SPREAD CONSPIRACY THEORIES,’ JEWISH GROUP CLAIMS

NOVANEWS

The release of thousands of US diplomatic cables by the secrets outlet WikiLeaks has unintentionally led to the proliferation of anti-Israel conspiracy theories, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The ADL said that conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have circulated through online publications, where it has been suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange struck a secret deal with Israeli officials over the leak of diplomatic cables; or that Assange actually works for Israel.

“The WikiLeaks affair has given new life to the old conspiracy theories of underhanded Jewish and Israeli involvement in an event with significant repercussions for the US and many nations around the world,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said, according to a published statement.. “The news is being exploited by conspiracy theorists, some world leaders, and various Web sites across the ideological spectrum to spread false and malicious conspiracy theories against Israel.”

The narrative about Israel negotiating with Assange probably first surfaced in Al Haqiqa, an Arabic language webzine affiliated with a Syrian opposition group, ADL suggested. The story was picked up by a writer at IndyMedia UK, who, citing Al Haqiqa, said that Israel learned that the documents contained information about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008. These documents were destroyed by Assange at the request of the Israelis, according to the anonymous writer.

However, there’s no evidence to support such an extraordinary claim.

A few world leaders have alleged that WikiLeaks is connected with Israel as well.

On December 1, Huseyin Celik, a deputy leader of Turkey’s ruling party, hinted that Israel could be responsible for WikiLeaks during a press conference, saying that “Israel is very pleased [with the WikiLeaks controversy]” and “has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents.”

After a leaked diplomatic cable revealed the Palestinian Fatah party had asked Israel to attack Hamas in 2007, the party condemned the release as “fabrications and lies” and claimed it was a conspiracy by the Israel Security Agency.

Conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have been fueled by the release of cables that suggest officials in Arab nations are frightened by Iran’s nuclear program. In one such cable, Saudi King Abdullah urged a US ambassador to strike Iran to halt its nuclear program.

Israeli officials said the cables vindicated their aggressive stance towards Iran.

“Maybe there’s an indirect benefit that the truth is coming out, that the entire Middle East, including Arab states, are very fearful from the Iranian nuclear threat, and are calling on the West to be much more aggressive toward Iran,” Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview with Israel Radio.

Although Arab countries have been the subject of numerous troublesome leaked cables, Israel has not been entirely excluded.

According to a leaked cable, in August 2007 the head of Israel’s intelligence agency urged US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, to join with Israel in carrying out a five-part strategy to implement regime change in Iran.

Mossad Director Meir Dagan acknowledged at the meeting that the American analysis of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program was different from Israel’s, but he insisted that the threat from Iran was “obvious” and stated that Israel was willing to take action unilaterally.

Responding to the contents of the diplomatic cable, Scott Horton, the Los Angeles radio host behind Antiwar.com, said that by declaring they’d wage a war against Iran by themselves, the nation of Israel was effectively “blackmailing” the United States into combat operations.

 

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ZIONIST CNN TAPS ASSANGE AS ” MOST INTRIGUING PERSON OF THE YEAR”

NOVANEWS
Jason Ditz,
 
December 30, 2010

It may not be as noteworthy as Time’s Person of the Year, but CNN appears to have actually stuck to the results of its voting in selecting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange their “Most Intriguing Person of the Year.”

Though the article spends much of its time carping about whether Assange is a hero or a villain, and went on about his Saturday Night Live character, it at least acknowledges what is truly the big story of the year, the leaks.

Assange beat out President Obama and several others in the poll. The only person seemingly deserving comparable levels of attention, Pfc Bradley Manning, was once again snubbed by not even being on the list.

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SHLAIM SHILLS EMPIRE

NOVANEWS

 

Avi Shlaim is relatively sound on Israeli political history and pretty unsound on quite a few other things, among them Zionism, a solution to the conflict, and the Nakba. Although The Iron Wall is a pretty good book, I consider him something close to providing flak for the Zionist entity. In that respect, I just finished reading Shlaim’s recent article on The Hill, “Obama and Israel: The pessimistic perspective a couple days ago.” The article gets everything wrong—Shlaim’s mind is not a sharp cutting instrument. He starts by taking standard IR analytical units, nation-states, and tells his readers in Washington, D.C. that the “American-Israeli special relationship is a classic example of the tail that wags the dog.” These terms obscure more than they reveal, in part because they treat as a bundle a set of policies whose drivers vary depending on the range of their effects.

It’d be one thing to discuss undue Zionist influence on American policy-making vis-a-vis the Israel-Palestine conflict in a local newspaper. It’s quite another to blunder into the debate in a Capitol Hill house organ, where that kind of talk will have no plausible effect whatsoever–Shlaim writes as though policy-makers simply need to be coaxed with a bunch of rusty cliches into a better understanding of the “national interest.”

He is right to say that “Peace talks that go nowhere slowly provide Israel with just the cover it needs to pursue its relentlessly expansionist agenda on the West Bank,” but silly to say that “America has lost all credibility in the eyes not only of the Palestinians but of the wider Arab and Muslim worlds”—first, America doesn’t care about its credibility; second, the collaborator regimes in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etcetera putter smoothly along going along with American policies of neo-liberal capitalism in the context of maximizing oil profits for the oil majors and ensuring the sale of high-tech junk to the Arab states; third, the “peace process” has been in full-throttle since 1990 and as long as it can keep on processing, the imperialist-Zionist-capitalist domination of the Near East can continue apace, while the Arab dictators can claim that they are “pushing for peace,” the better to tamp down unrest amongst their populations and delay the inevitable revolutions.

Shlaim goes on to write, with colonialist aplomb, “A just settlement means a two-state solution, the emergence of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with a capital city in East Jerusalem. Only America can push Israel into such a settlement. It has the leverage but it has not exercised it. America gives Israel money, arms, and advice. Israel takes the money, takes the arms, and ignores the advice.” This is not the place for purity tests but a two-state “solution” is not just, although it is not unimaginable that it’s a way-station on the road to justice.

Anyway, “America” does not give Israel money, nor does America give Israel “money”: it routes American taxpayer money through the Israeli territory, where it lands back in the American military-industrial complex, with 25 percent of it “allowed” to stay in “Israel” where it contributes to building up the “Israeli” defense-industrial base, most of which is listed on American stock-changes and owned by American or Israeli-American investors.

Shlaim notes that “Barack Obama’s election was widely expected to usher in a more even-handed policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”—by who? Never mind, distract us with a cutesy aside: “However, to use an American phrase, he is better at talking the talk than at walking the walk.” Shlaim writes, “Obama had three showdowns with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on this critical issue but he backed down each time. Why did the most powerful man in the world allow himself to be defeated and humiliated by his junior partner?

The answer must lie, to a large extent, in the persistent power of the Israel lobby in the United States,” finally getting something partially correct: the settlements are an internal Israeli matter, and the Lobby conveys the Israeli reasons to refuse to halt settlement building to the corridors of power in Washington, where American policy duly reflects the policy of its ally.

That last word is key. The Lobby is the force that pushes for American government acquiescence to settlement building. But it gets that acquiescence, in spite of the fact that other sectors of power wish otherwise, because it provides services to American and global capital, keeping the Middle East destabilized, with high oil prices ensuring maximal profits for oil majors, those same oil profits wending their way into the coffers of the arms companies, and all of it tied up nicely with the Israeli-Gulf Cooperation Council push for the Middle East Free Trade Area, meant to ensure the dominance of neoliberal capitalism in the Middle East.

The dictatorships are happy to play along with this game, so long as they get what they want out of it: to remain dictatorships, a confluence of interest with Israel which needs either dictatorships or destabilized states in the region in order to continue to repress the Palestinians. Analysis that insists on missing the regional context, or worse, claims that to do so is to shift the blame from the Lobby or Israel onto an amorphous metaphysical imperialism, is like physiological analysis that insists on staring intently at a human lung trying to discern its function independent of the human body in which it does its work.

Shlaim writes that “Obama’s position is pusillanimous and, for a superpower, indescribably feeble. Instead of leaning on the stronger party, he presses the weaker party to make more and more concessions. Under these conditions, the prospects of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are close to zero. With Obama in charge of the so-called peace process, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, only more illegal settlements, and consequently more strife, more violence, more bloodshed, and ultimately a third intifada,” which may indeed be true, but it’s not clear what those pushing for a one-state solution want from Obama.

Certainly, he was never going to emplace such a solution, so why obsess over the humiliation of a man with the blood of tens of thousands all over his hands? (Oddly Chomsky used similar rhetoric here; as leftists we should consistently want our war criminal presidents to be humiliated; in fact, we should despise them).

Shlaim tells us that “The damage that Israel causes to American interests is incalculable. During the Cold War Israel was a strategic asset for America. Today it is a political, diplomatic, and strategic liability,” a banal bit of bullshit that should disqualify Shlaim from ever being referred to as a leftist in polite circles ever again. The “Cold War” ending means very little for American empire, which moves merrily along to the next excuse for constant intervention—now it’s terrorism—while “America” has no interests; rather, classes within America have interests, inflected by Zionism.

So yes, Jewish money disproportionately funds the parties, and that probably plays a role in how Israel was constructed and constructed itself as an imperial asset in the 1948-1967 period, a story that has yet to be adequately told, but nonetheless, capital does just fine with an Israeli dog running wild in the Middle East. Despite Shlaim’s nonsense about the “American national interest,” he finally and fleetingly gets on track when he writes that “the argument that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank serves the American national interest is simply preposterous”; quite right, but it’s important to figure out why that occupation endures with American support, and the Lobby does not provide a sufficient answer to that question, although it should not be ignored, as some like Zunes tend to do.

An “incalculable” amount of damage should be easy to prove, but what does Shlaim put in front of us? “As CENTROM commander, General David Petraeus, told Congress, Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is jeopardizing U.S. standing in the entire region. And as Vice President Joe Biden reportedly told Netanyahu: ‘What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.’” So Shlaim wants us to take a stand against occupation so imperial managers can cluster-bomb brown people more effectively in Iraq (Shlaim is of Iraqi extraction, which makes this paragraph not merely idiotic but actually disgusting, shilling for American empire while arguing for bombing his own people).

The security of the troops matters to me, which is why I say bring them home; failing that, at least buy them armor for their humvees. But the empire’s managers don’t care about the safety of our troops. Why should they, when they’ll never serve and they continue with the policies that make it ever-more alluring to join the US military as heartland-industry has been hollowed out and exported? Shlaim concludes that “The basic problem is that Israel is a domestic issue in the US, not a foreign policy one”; but all foreign policy is domestic, and it all relates to the central and structuring social system in this country: capitalism, in which the Special Relationship is a whirring cog, lubricated by the Lobby. Both should be destroyed, I agree with Shlaim on that, but not a whole lot else here.

Technorati Tags: Avi Shlaim, Gaza, Israel, occupation, Palestine, the lobby 

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WIKILEAKS: JUST DO IT

NOVANEWS

December 30, 2010

 

From The Peninsula, a Qatari newspaper:

Top officials in several Arab countries have close links with the CIA, and many officials keep visiting US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily to establish links with this key US intelligence agency, says Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks.

These officials are spies for the US in their countries, Assange told Al Jazeera Arabic channel in an interview yesterday.

The interviewer, Ahmed Mansour, said at the start of the interview which was a continuation of last week’s interface, that Assange had even shown him the files that contained the names of some top Arab officials with alleged links with the CIA.

Assange or Mansour, however, didn’t disclose the names of these officials. The WikiLeaks founder said he feared he could be killed but added that there were 2,000 websites that were ready to publish the remaining files that are in possession of WikiLeaks after he has been done away with.

If I am killed or detained for a long time, there are 2,000 websites ready to publish the remaining files. We have protected these websites through very safe passwords, said Assange.

Currently, his whistle-blowing website is exposing files in a responsible manner, he claimed. But if I am forced we could go to the extreme and expose each and every file that we have access to, thundered the WikiLeaks founder. We must protect our sources at whatever cost. This is our sincere concern.

Some Arab countries even have torture houses where Washington regularly sends suspects for interrogation and torture, he said.

 

Philip Agee released this sort of information, and lived into his 70s, being fortunate enough to fall in love with a German woman who married him, enabling him to obtain German citizenship. He spent much of his life after the late 1970s in Germany and Cuba. Ecuador has already offered residency to Assange, and other South American countries, such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil, might do so as well if he requested it. So, there are places where Assange can live outside the reach of the US, or, at least, not any less so than Agee did.

Within this context, it is worth recalling Agee’s motivation for releasing confidential information about the activities of the CIA around the world, especially in the Americas:

Agee had left the CIA in 1969 after 12 years working mainly in Latin America, where he gradually became disgusted by the agency’s collusion with military dictators in the region and decided to blow the whistle on their activities. The Mexico City massacre of student protesters in 1968 also stiffened his resolve. His 1975 book Inside the Company: CIA Diary spilled the beans on his former employers and enraged the US government, not least because it named CIA operatives.

It was a time in the 70s when the worst imaginable horrors were going on in Latin America, he told the Guardian in an interview published a year ago today. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador – they were military dictatorships with death squads, all with the backing of the CIA and the US government. That was what motivated me to name all the names and work with journalists who were interested in knowing just who the CIA were in their countries.

 

Of course, it is easy for someone like me to suggest that Assange should publicly release the information that he mentioned in his Al Jazeera interview. But there is no question that the worst imaginable horrors are going on in northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia today, just as they were in the Americas (and Greece as well) when Agee worked for the CIA. For example, consider what is happening now in Tunisia, a police state unknown to most Americans that is considered an important ally in the global war against terrorism.

If Assange is speaking truthfully, wikileaks has documents in its possession that will expose US complicity in the abuse, torture and suppression of peoples throughout the Muslim world in places beyond the usual suspects, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, one should not forget to include Indonesia as one of the possible countries involved, even if, strictly speaking, it is inaccurate to characterize it as Arab.

Hat tip to Marcy Wheeler. Labels: , , , , , , , ,

 

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ZIO=NAZI RACIST SOCIETY

NOVANEWS

December 30, 2010

“But those Arabs who do serve in the IDF are respected and honored” — Not

With regard to the Arab population of Israel, there do exist issues. Nobody’s denying that, but they’re the result of the conflict and of the Arab unwillingness to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces. Those who do serve, however, get the same privileges as the Jews do in all walks of Israeli life.

This is the kind of nonsense Zionists can peddle with impunity because, logically, we can’t trace every last Israeli Arab who served in the army to see if they’re granted the same rights as the Jews. We’ll have to make do, then, with those who make it to the headlines. A few days ago, Ynet reported:

Arabs flee home due to racist threats

Five residents of the north, four Muslims and a Druze, were forced to leave their apartment in southern Tel Aviv due to threats and persecution by their Jewish neighbors, Ynet learned Thursday.

“I felt humiliated by the hatred,” said Ganem Abbas, the young Druze man, who has served in the IDF.(…)

[T]hree days ago the friends returned home in the evening to see that their main water pipe had been broken. Gas bottles had been stolen.

“The landlady told me that people from the neighborhood had threatened to torch the house and attack her if we don’t get out, because we’re Arabs,” Abbas said.

He also described a particularly humiliating moment. “The neighbors came out and started to yell that they don’t want to see Arabs in the neighborhood, and that it is for Jews only,” he recounted.(…)

“This act destroys coexistence. I feel humiliated from this intolerable cruelty. Despite serving in the army and telling the neighbors this, but [sic] they didn’t care and only gave us the evil eye. I have heard stories about Arabs who were fired for speaking their mother tongue – even that disturbs the racists.”

Please note that the young Arab was kicked out of the apartment not because the attackers didn’t know that he was an IDF veteran, but in spite of such awareness.

One can only pity the Druze community, who made many years ago the decision to allow the IDF to recruit their children, maybe in the hope that one day the Jews would accept them as part of the mainstream Israeli society. Bad news for them: Israeli Jews are not interested in any Arab, IDF service or not.

The bright side, though, is that the Tel Aviv municipality, in a face-saving effort, apologized to the young Druze and offered to find accomodation for him in a less hostile neighborhood.

Just kidding!

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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?

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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

 

 

 

Posted in USAComments Off on WHY IS ISRAELI SPY JONATHAN POLLARD BACK IN THE NEWS?

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