Archive | February 17th, 2011

Pakistan: PPP’s Mean-Sprited Ministers

NOVANEWS

By Saeed Qureshi

It does not behove the PPP ministers to castigate and revile their former counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, holding the prestigious portfolio of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. These foul mouthing ministers retaken in the cabinet are no angels themselves. I wonder if these guys including Babar Awan, Fauzia Wahab, and Ahmad Mukhatar possess an iota of dignity and honorable conduct as to heap indignities and diatribe on Shah Mehmood whose ouster was patently not on the basis of certain pious principles but for ulterior motives that are now well known.

A respectable colleague is now being branded as villain and unwanted simply because he did not agree with questionable postures of the prime minister and the president of Pakistan on certain foreign policy issues notably that of Raymond Davis who killed two Pakistan citizens, Even if someone like Mr. Qureshi who has been and is still a party loyalist cannot concord with certain decisions of the party command or the prime minister, he should be given a warm, hearty and honorable send off.

Has Shah Sahib’s personality undergone a metamorphosis in a matter of a few days that he is being vilified and despised with bitter acrimony and scathing remarks? By doing so the minions of the PPP in power are demeaning themselves and not Shah Sahib.

If the PPP high command is sending a message that whosoever takes an independent stand would be shown the exit door, then it is a sordid attempt on self defacing and shows shallowness of the prime minister and his cabinet ministers. The condemnation of Shah Sahib by the PPP ministers does not lower his stature and rather it has been glorified further.

If Shah Sahib takes a tough stand against the Indian duplicitous   attitude towards Pakistan and also cannot endorse that Raymond was a diplomat and enjoyed the diplomatic immunity, then instead of punishing him by way of relieving him of his post, he should be praised and commended for a highly moral, principled and rightful stand.

There must be enormous pressure on the president and the prime minister from America for dispensing with Mr. Qureshi. The sacking of Shah Mehmood Qureshi bears out the unpalatable fact that a person now under trial for killing Pakistani citizens was more powerful and important than the foreign minister of Pakistan who is also a member of the ruling party with resolute loyalty and unflinching commitment.

It appears that the PPP high command treats its ministers as garbage to be disposed off if it becomes too burdensome. The PPP is being run on personal whims, likes and dislikes and with vendettas against the dissenting voices within the party. The critics no matter how sincere and well-intentioned they may be are being penalized for offering saner and sound counsels.

The PPP”s revolutionary fervor has been down sliding ever since the incumbent lot of this party came into power. It is one of the incomprehensible enigmas of the present times that a person who is overburdened by serious allegations of corruption and money laundering is now the president of Pakistan as well as an all powerful chairman of his party. That he takes the crucial decisions about the destiny of Pakistan and makes high profile appointments of ministers, ambassadors and the chief executives of the state corporations is simply mind-boggling.

He has such worthies in his retina of power and glory who not long ago were treated as the scum of the earth, bootleggers, and were running errands of bureaucrats for small favors. The law minister is the worst enemy of law and the defense minister is a past master in all such matters that ruin the security and imperil the safety of the citizens of this hapless nation. These pygmies in power have no fear of God and openly defy and ridicule the rulings of the superior judiciary. The level and dimension of misappropriations of national wealth and pulling all the dirty tricks and immodest machinations for self-enrichment have never been as frightening and limitless as of now.

Every good plan or suggestion is sidetracked and every vicious and self perpetuating scheme is floated. The uproars of the masses suffering due to myriads counts, be it power outrages, the scarcity of water, lawlessness, travesty of justice, unemployment, health and education hazards, the poverty and poor utilities the government seems to be impervious. Even in case of Haj scandals certain questionable and inappropriate appointments were made in haste to scuttle the due process of law.

The PIA scandal that entailed colossal financial loss to the country and immense sufferings and hardship to the air passengers was taken lightly and no timely remedial action was taken one of which was to remove the controversial MD of the airlines.

So in case of Raymond Davis, the PPP government is bent upon taking the side of the culprit who killed Pakistani citizens in cold blood for no compelling reasons. To argue that he is a diplomat and therefore should be released I would bet that if a Pakistan diplomat kills even one person in a western country he will not be  allowed to go his home country. Let all the diplomats carry arms, kill at will and with abandon in a host country and then be released because of the diplomatic status they enjoy under the Vienna Convention. The diplomats seldom carry firearms on their body and roam in the crowded suburbs where the ordinary people live. Let a Pakistani diplomat kill a Saudi national for very pressing reasons and just watch what happens to him. 

The incumbent Pakistani government is weak, morally bankrupt and unable to withstand the external pressures because it has no popular support or legitimate domestic locus standi. It is a kind of a stooge that can lower itself to any depth even if it means sullying the national honor. What about the devastated families of three young men who lost their lives  and what about Shumaila who committed suicide as she could not bear the shock and loss of her husband Faheems’s gruesome murder?

Do we have an iota of feelings about the young bride who embraced death in a state of sheer mental agony and utter helplessness? Even after her death there is no national mourning that she deserves. The people in power have stony hearts. 

Senator John Kerry now in Islamabad is a friend of Pakistan. He along with Senator Lugar sponsored the so called Kerry-Lugar bill for allocation of $ 7.5 billion aid to Pakistan over a period of five years. During his press conference in Islamabad with regard to Raymond Davis case, he maintained a low and humble profile. He quoted the sayings of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad in order to appease Pakistanis and solicit support by way of pardoning the American citizen. But at the same time he weighed the adverse implications for Pakistan in case Raymond was nor freed.

His main thrust of the argument was that by virtue of his diplomatic status Raymond was entitled to be released and handed over to the United States for the American courts to try him. He also argued that it was not an infringement of the laws of Pakistan if Raymond was released under the provision of diplomatic immunity.

The Raymond case puts Pakistan in a very tight corner and it would be interesting to watch how Pakistan government can accommodate American request or pressure for release of Raymond Davis and simultaneously justify it before the people of Pakistan as well as meet the imperatives of Pakistani laws.

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Zionism Contra Democracy

NOVANEWS

 

By Stephen J. Sniegoski

Author’s Prologue

I write this article as the bottoms-up Egyptian democratic revolution has just brought down what had seemed until very recently to be the solid regime of Hosni Mubarak.  It was an amazing accomplishment achieved by the power of the whole people—something that is often sloganized but never realized.  And the fact that this was accomplished without violence on the part of the revolutionaries is equally amazing.  While one can only admire the courage and tenacity of the Egyptian people and take pleasure in their jubilation, it is also necessary to look at the ongoing realities, with the recognition that the process is only beginning, and that there are intelligent minds, cold, calculating, and totally unsympathetic to the aspirations of the common people of the Middle East, who are already developing sophisticated strategies to thwart its fruition.

Despite the usual mantra about Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East, it is quite apparent that the Jewish exclusivist state has been, and in fact must be, opposed to democracy in the Middle East.  The fact that it is a state based on Jewish exclusivity means that it must treat the Palestinians in an undemocratic manner in both the occupied territories and in Israel itself, because the Palestinians pose an existential threat to the Jewish state by virtue of their very existence.

Moreover, the negative reaction of Israel and its devotees to the revolution for democracy in Egypt illustrates that Israel’s detrimental effect on democracy goes far beyond the boundaries of historic Palestine.  Israeli leaders are terrified that this democratic revolution might bring about a radical change in Egypt’s foreign policy, since Mubarak had acquiesced to and actually in some ways facilitated Israel’s regional hegemony, which the general public neither in Egypt nor anywhere else in the Middle East would voluntarily support.

The same would apply to many of the other autocratic friends of the U.S. in the region, who have paid lip service to Palestinian rights simply to placate their people, while taking only half-hearted actions to advance their cause.  As has been widely discussed, the democratic revolutionary fervor in Egypt is showing the potential of spreading throughout the region, which would not leave the issue of democracy and human rights for the oppressed and subjugated Palestinians unaffected.

Israel and its global supporters have tried to obfuscate their fear of a popular-based democratic government in Egypt with the use of the “Muslim Brotherhood” bogeyman.  In this horror story scenario, the Muslim Brotherhood has been presented as the likely ultimate alternative to the Mubarak dictatorship.  The Brotherhood allegedly would make use of democratic procedures to gain power, but once it took power would eliminate anything resembling democracy and establish a totalitarian, Islamic theocracy.   

In reality, there is no evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood, though seeking to inject Islam into the body politic, actually plans to impose an undemocratic Islamic theocracy on the nation, nor is there evidence that it would have the power to do so even if it wanted.  The actual uprising was led by young secularists, and among the hundreds of thousands of protestors, there was virtually no mention of political Islam, but rather expressions in favor of democracy, freedom, and toleration.  It is hard to believe that supporters of radical Islam would be able to so mask their views; and it is equally hard to believe that the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who confronted the Egyptian security police and army would be cowed into submission by shadowy Islamists who would somehow emerge out of nowhere.

Aaron David Miller, a Middle East expert, in a sympathetic account of Israel’s fears, acknowledges that it is unlikely that Egypt would turn to Islamic radicalism and that the real Israeli fear is popular government in Egypt.  He writes:  “But there’s no doubt that a new Egyptian government and president, more responsive to public opinion – indeed, legitimized by the public in free elections – will be, by necessity or inclination, far more critical of Israeli actions and policies and far less likely to give Israel the benefit of any doubts.” Not only did Egypt sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, which set the stage for other Middle East countries to normalize their relations with the Jewish state, but the Mubarak regime collaborated with Israel in closing off the Gaza Strip, essentially creating a large, open-air prison for the 1.5 million people living there.  Miller continues:  “Mubarak met regularly with Netanyahu; it’s hard to imagine a new [popularly elected] Egyptian leader doing so without demanding concessions for Palestinians or progress in the peace negotiations.”

[“Why Israel fears a free Egypt,” Washington Post,  February 4, 2011,

An Egyptian government shaped by popular opinion is apt to be concerned about the nation’s  dignity, as many of the Egyptian protestors emphasized, and thus will avoid being servile toward Israel’s interests.  It is very likely to pursue a quite different policy in which it might contest Israel’s nuclear policy, refuse to collude in Israel’s brutal siege of Gaza, and demand that Israel abide by international law and treat the Palestinians fairly.  Miller summarizes the consequent deterioration of Israel’s position:  “Without Egypt, there can be neither peace nor war, and for 30 years Israelis had the first and avoided the second.  Peace with Jordan, the neutralization of Iraq and the U.S.-Israeli relationship all left the Israelis – despite their constant worries – fairly confident that they could deal with any threats to their security.  But now, with Egyptian politics in turmoil, Iran emerging as a potential nuclear threat and the prospect of trouble in Jordan and elsewhere, they’re not so sure.  That Mubarak is falling not by an assassin’s hand but because of a young generation of tweeters is hardly consolation.  This is one pharaoh that Israelis wish had stayed on the throne.”

Sometimes the American mainstream media have made it appear that Mubarak was a beneficent dictator—at least this was the case before his fall from power.  And certainly American leaders, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice-President Joe Biden, and even President Obama, have had favorable things to say about him.  Biden even went so far as to deny that Mubarak was a “dictator.”  But according to Human Rights Watch torture and police abuse loomed large under Mubarak.  And even the U.S. State Department joined international human rights groups in describing a culture of torture within Egypt’s security agencies, issuing a 2009 report in which it listed alleged abuses ranging from electroshock to sodomy.

During the past decade, the U.S. has relied on Egypt to interrogate terror suspects via extraordinary rendition.  The Egyptian coordinator of this rendition program has been said to be none other than current vice-president Omar Suleiman, who had extensive experience in directing torture in Egypt and who Israel and the United States hoped would lead Egypt during the transition period—offering a presumably more acceptable form of authoritarianism, though it seems odd to have the torture chief perform such a task.

It cannot be said that Mubarak was simply a misguided patriot who upheld brutality solely for what he thought was the good of his country; rather, Mubarak managed to make use of his power over the government to amass immense wealth for his family, estimated at $40 billion to $70 billion, which is believed to be kept in banks outside of Egypt. (Switzerland announced it has frozen his account in that country.)  This government corruption which extended throughout the governing elite obviously hindered economic productivity and contributed to the impoverished condition of the average Egyptian—the annual income per family is a meager $2,070, according to the World Bank.

Furthermore, Mubarak’s regime maintained the usual panoply of repressive measures that are the staple of most unfree societies—tight censorship, arbitrary imprisonment, persecution of journalists, sham elections.  In particular, Mubarak’s regime has used a continuous state of emergency, put into effect after Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981, to justify the suppression of political dissent in the name of security.  

While Egypt did not reach the level of a totalitarian society in its deprivation of human freedom, it should be pointed out that many far less repressive regimes have been overthrown by revolutions.  In fact, the justification for revolution in Egypt was far greater than it had been for the American revolutionaries of 1775-1776, enraged as they were by taxation and the lack of sufficient representation.  And it might be added that, despite all the talk in U.S. mainstream media about the danger of unrest in the country, the Egyptian revolution, so far, would seem to be one of the most non-violent in history, and significantly less violent than the American, which even at its outset included mob action directed by the “Sons of Liberty”–which included the practice of pouring boiling tar on people who disagreed with their measures.

Now the United States quite readily supported tyrants during the Cold War under the rationale that American security was at stake.  Supporting petty dictators would presumably prevent the victory of a much broader and thorough Communist totalitarian hegemony that would seriously endanger U.S. security.  And the U.S. stance here was not an aberration since in World War II the U.S. had supported Stalinist Russia, one of the most repressive regimes ever to exist, in order to defeat Nazi Germany.  But the idea of the forcible imposition of an Islamic global caliphate resulting from the downfall of Mubarak seems infinitely less likely than the victory of the Soviet Union in the Cold War or Nazi Germany during World War II.  Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were both superpowers, whereas the caliphate does not even exist. 

Moreover, there is no reason to see how support for the Mubarak dictatorship or any dictatorship in Egypt actually served vital U.S. interests.  U.S. support for Mubarak certainly helped Israel, and would seem to become an American interest only by virtue of the U.S. support for Israel, which results from the efforts of the Israel lobby.  Vice President Joe Biden revealed the centrality of Israel in U.S.  policy toward Egypt when he told PBS Newshour on January 27 that “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things.  And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel.”

With the downfall of Mubarak, America’s position on Egypt still seems to revolve around the interests of Israel.  For example, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, says that the transition period to democracy in Egypt “must include constitutional and administrative reforms” that “are necessary for legitimate, democratic, internationally-recognized elections to take place with peaceful, responsible actors who will not only advance the aspirations of the Egyptian people, but will continue to enforce Egypt’s international obligations.”  These “international obligations,” of course, pertain to the 1979 peace accord with Israel.

[“Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Egypt’s future:  Reject the Muslim Brotherhood,” Miami Herald, February 11, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/RosMuslimBH ]

Moreover, Ros-Lehtinen adds that “The U.S. and our allies must focus our efforts on helping to create the necessary conditions for such a transition to take place.  We must also urge the unequivocal rejection of any involvement by the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists who may seek to exploit and hijack these events to gain power, oppress the Egyptian people, and do great harm to Egypt’s relationship with the United States, Israel, and other free nations.”  So in short, Congressperson Ros-Lehtinen is all for the Egyptian democracy as long as no opponents of Israel are allowed to play a role in any government and relations with Israel stay the same as they did under Mubarak.  This view of Egypt, of course, assumes that it is not really a fully independent, sovereign country, and is the type of foreign influence, once exercised by the British, that the Egyptians thought they had thrown off in the first half of the 20th century.

But one might reasonably wonder how Israel’s fear of democracy in Egypt squares with the pro-democracy position taken by the neoconservatives, which was supported by Israel.  In that case, democracy was basically a weapon to be used against those autocratic regimes that were enemies of Israel in order to bring about their removal.  Any governments that would possibly emerge would not likely be more hostile to Israel than the existing autocratic regimes. 

Moreover, it was widely believed by both the Israeli right and the neoconservatives that the autocratic regimes maintained the national unity of their countries,  and that if the regimes were eliminated as a result of war, the countries would fragment into warring sectarian and ethnic groups, thus greatly diminishing any future threat to Israel.  This would seem to be the case for Iraq, which since the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime has broken up into antagonistic Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.  In some indefinite future it might be to Israel’s advantage to have all of its neighbors fragmented and weakened, but at the present time, stable nation-states that serve to advance Israel’s interests are more valuable in their existing form.

With the downfall of Mubarak’s regime, what is likely to be Israel’s position toward post-Mubarak Egypt?  First, working through its lobby, Israel will try to insure that Egypt retains its favorable policy toward Israel.  Since this would be unlikely in any authentically democratic government that expressed the public’s will, it would be essential to have a post-Mubarak political system strongly influenced by the military elite.  Undoubtedly, the military elite would intend to maintain its privileged status in Egyptian society—which has allowed high military officials to amass considerable wealth and power—and this would likely be threatened in a democratic, civilian-run government.  In short, the interests of the military elite and Israel overlap.  The fact that the U.S.  provides Egypt with over $1.3 billion in military aid annually, appropriated by a Congress under the sway of the Israel lobby, provides the latter considerable leverage over the Egyptian military—which has close ties with its Israeli counterpart–and concomitantly over Egyptian policy toward Israel.  Of course, the people of Egypt who had the power to remove Mubarak probably possess the power to shape foreign policy toward Israel if they put forth a sustained effort, but it is unlikely that there would be sufficient concern about this one particular issue if the post-Mubarak political system brought about political improvements domestically.

Israel would also be protected from any Egyptian anti-Israel policy if the post-Mubarak political system proves dysfunctional and the military steps in to run the state, returning to something like Mubarakism without Mubarak.  And should Egypt break up into warring factions, it would not be able help Israel, but, on the hand, it would not be able to pursue policies detrimental to Israeli interests, either.  

Israeli fear of democratic revolution in Egypt has been understandable from the perspective of Zionism.  The Egyptian revolution, which itself was inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia, has already inspired incipient revolutionary outbreaks in  other autocratic Arab states—Yemen, Algeria, Jordan—and will possibly spread throughout the entire Middle East region, affecting the oil producers of the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia.  In most of these countries the rulers are less hostile to Israel—often paying only lip service to the cause of the Palestinians—than are the people as a whole.  (It should be added that revolutionary upheaval also threatens the Palestinian authority, which is likewise undemocratic, corrupt, and more pro-Israel than its alternative.) [Karl Vick, “Why the Palestinian Authority Is Worried About Egypt,” Time, February 5, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/PalestineRevolutionDem]

Assuming that many of these countries do have democratic revolutions that lead to governments more hostile to Israel, how would that affect the Jewish state?  The danger facing Israel would not be war since it has a sophisticated military machine, including nuclear weapons, that dwarfs the combined power of all of its neighbors.  Moreover, Israel is capable of handling the most serious terrorist threats.  Instead, the greatest danger involves vastly increased negative publicity; more hostile world opinion, including Western opinion; greater pressure from international bodies such as the UN;   and delegitimization.  For what provides Israel its strength in the West, especially in the United States, is the image that it is morally superior to its enemies—that right is on its side.  Israel’s supporters go to great lengths to bolster this reputation.  The success of all of this stems from the fact that pro-Zionists have controlled the discourse in the U.S., and much of the West.

The moral stature of nascent Middle East democracies would put great weight behind their charges against Israel for violating human rights, making it much more difficult for Israel and its partisans to combat than when such charges have been brandished by autocratic regimes.  When made by the latter the effective pro-Israel riposte is simply a counterattack against the non-democratic, brutal nature of Israel’s enemies.  Israel is good by comparison making it unnecessary to dwell on the specific charges of its brutality.  Thus, Israel has been able to maintain its favored status in the West, especially the United States, by the claim that it is the only democracy in the Middle East.  In essence, the moral defense of Israel rests heavily on the lack of other democracies in the region. 

Israel’s effective defense by comparison, thus, would be diminished if it were confronted by democratic countries—and especially ones that have captured the imagination of the world.  With accusations coming from accusers who have the moral stature to make such charges, the focus would be placed on the actual activities of Israel and to what extent it really does allow for democracy and human rights.  And it would be difficult for Israel and its partisans to hide the fact that the essence of Israel is not democracy and universal human rights but rather that it is fundamentally a Jewish supremacist state, in which Palestinians can only exist as a subordinated group in Israel proper as well as the occupied territories.  While many westerners see the moral need to protect a democratic society and the lives of Israeli Jews from radical Islamists, many fewer would feel the moral need to guarantee Jewish supremacy over Palestinians.  The effect of diminishing U.S. support for Israel ultimately would be apt to lead to the delegitimization of Israel and its becoming, in the eyes of the world, a pariah state like the former white-ruled South Africa. 

The Jewish exclusivist state, however, could not continue to exist if it provided the Palestinians full civil and political rights within Israel proper and allowed for the creation of a viable and truly sovereign Palestinian state that would essentially encompass all the land within the pre-1967 boundaries (which would entail full control of that area’s vital resources—most importantly water—and borders.)

The Israeli government and its supporters have in the  past few years expressed serious  concern about the grave danger of Israel being delegitimized, and have been planning and taking preventive measures.  They have already begun to try to channel the democratic revolution toward Israel’s enemies, Syria and Iran, and will likely substantially increase their efforts to get the United States to increase its use of propaganda and other means, including military aid to opposition elements, in this endeavor.  If such an approach did not actually lead to the overthrow of those regimes, highlighting those countries could, at least, serve to divert attention away from Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians in the all-important United States media.  One can already see elements of this in the American mainstream media where commentators discuss how the revolution for democracy might affect the regimes in Iran and Syria, with nary a mention of its possible impact on Israel’s undemocratic control over the beleaguered Palestinians.

If the U.S. had complete control of the situation this approach might work, but in this global media age, such a monopoly of the discourse is unattainable.  Most Middle Easterners are far more interested in liberating their brethren from Israeli domination than in bringing about regime-change in Iran or Syria.  And with the new global media, which demonstrated its power so saliently in the Egyptian democratic revolution, the United States cannot isolate its citizenry from foreign sources of information.  Therefore it would seem that if  the Egyptian revolution, and the other revolutionary efforts in the Middle East now in incipient stages, reach fruition, the effect would be to make the existence of a Jewish exclusivist state far more tenuous. 

From the perspective of Israel’s interests, Israel and its supporters were correct in hoping that the revolution would be quashed in Egypt, but then democracy is far from being implemented in Egypt, much less in the other still autocratic states of the Middle East, and thus there is still plenty of time for Israel and its supporters to find ways to derail and discredit it. 

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Egypt presidential hopeful: Peace treaty with IsraHell is over

NOVANEWS

 

Dr. Ayman Nur, a secular and liberal member of the opposition, tells Egypt radio that it would behoove the new government to renegotiate the terms of the Camp David accord.

By Haaretz

A leader of Egypt’s secular opposition declared Sunday that the country’s 30-year peace treaty with Israel was “over”, despite assurances by the new military rulers that it would honor the accord in the wake of President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.

“The Camp David accord is over,” Dr. Ayman Nur, leader of the Tomorrow Party who is planning to seek candidacy in the Egyptian presidential elections, told Egyptian radio. His remarks were carried by Israel’s Channel 2.

Egypt Israel peace

Anwar Sadat, left, Jimmy Carter, center, and Menachem Begin on the White House lawn, after signing the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979.

Photo by: Archive

“Egypt must at least renegotiate the terms of the accord,” said Nur, who spent years incarcerated in Egyptian prison and was released with the help of U.S. intervention.

Nur is not a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, but rather a secular liberal. His remarks contradicted the military’s statement on Saturday reassuring its international allies that there would be no break in its peace deal with Israel

The military statement, aired on state TV, was a first and cautious attempt to define the next steps after Mubarak handed over power to a council of his top generals and resigned on Friday in the face of an 18-day wave of popular protests.

Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, voiced confidence in the military’s intention on Sunday when he told ABC that he did “not think the relationship between Israel and Egypt is under any risk or that there is any kind of operational risk awaiting us.”

Mahmoud A-Zahar, a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip has meanwhile urged Cairo to amend its treaty with Israel in order to ensure redeployment of Egyptian troops throughout the Sinai Peninsula.

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How school trips to Hebron resemble visits to Auschwitz

NOVANEWS

 

Just as upon return from the state-sponsored trips to Auschwitz, Jewish students will come back from Hebron feeling more nationalist than ever before.

By Gideon Levy

More than half of Jewish school children in Israel have visited Auschwitz; each year more than 10,000 go on a trip to Poland or on the March of the Living, a pilgrimage to the death camps. They come back shocked and nationalist. These tours mislead the weeping students for a moment as they wrap themselves in the national flag, before and after downing a Vodka Red Bull in their rooms.

These programs bring back thousands of teens who have learned nothing about the danger of fascism, who have heard nothing about morality, humanity and the slippery slope on which a dangerous regime might pull down a complacent society. Just more and more blind faith in strength, xenophobia, fear of the other and inflamed passions. So in their current format, these tours are missed opportunities whose damage is greater than their use.

Now Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar wants to add a tour to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Thousands of teens will be taken in armored buses to the danger zone, accompanied by soldiers and armed bodyguards. A safari in Hebron. During the visit, a curfew will be imposed on the last Palestinians left in the neighborhood. The students will be hurried into the ancient site that is believed to be the Cave of Machpelah – the tombs of the patriarchs and matriarchs who are probably not buried there. No one will show them what is around them. No one will tell them what happened to the thousands of people who lived near the tomb.

Their guides, the most violent and atrocious of the settlers in the territories, will not tell them what they have done. They will discuss the history of the place with Zionist selectivity. They will tell them about the 1929 Hebron massacre, but not about the 1994 Baruch Goldstein massacre. The students will see a ghost neighborhood around them and will not ask why it is abandoned, and whom the inhabitants were afraid of when they fled.

Here, too, as at Auschwitz, they will only scare them more and more. At Auschwitz they will make them frightened of the Poles and in Hebron of the Arabs. Everyone always wants to annihilate us. They will return from Hebron excited at having touched the ancient stones and even more blinded from not having touched the people who lived alongside those stones. They will see nothing and learn nothing. As at Auschwitz, they will come home even more nationalist: Hebron forever, and the force of arms.

After all, what will they be told? What are the hidden messages? That the sanctity of the place means sovereignty. That the place is sacred to us, but only to us. That there is Abraham but no Ibrahim. That the fact that there is Jewish history here must “sanctify” it, even in the eyes of secular students, whom one would suppose have nothing to do with anything holy. A mixed multitude of fabrications, propaganda and uneducational messages.

If the education minister were true to his job and his image as a relatively enlightened minister, he would have organized a true tour of Hebron. A “Let Us Ascend to Hebron” program? Indeed, but on condition that everything is included: the Jewish tradition and the Jewish injustice.

That will not happen, of course. If Sa’ar were honest, he would have also encouraged heritage tours for the Arab school children in this country. Let the Jewish kids go to Auschwitz and Hebron, and the Arabs to Deir Yassin and Sheikh Munis. They also deserve to learn about the history of their people and their country. It would be better if all Israeli school children, Jews and Arabs, went to all those heritage sites, learning each other’s fate. That will not happen either, of course. Instead, we have an education minister who tries to have it all: sitting like a liberal in Tel Aviv’s Cafe Tamar with Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich, and as a nationalist, sending students on trips to the occupied Tomb of the Patriarchs.

But the problem, of course, is not who is education minister. The problem is what we are instilling in our students; where we are taking them (and ourselves ) and what we are telling them there. The students who return from the annual field trip to Hebron will be worse students. They will learn to touch history and hide from reality. They will believe that Abraham the patriarch has been buried for thousands of years in Hebron, but they will learn nothing about justice and humanity, which are buried there a thousand times deeper.

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Funny. Funny haha or funny like fish, as my mother would ask? Like fish, mom

Feb 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

The U.S. is putting “heavy pressure” on the Palestinian Authority not to push a UN resolution that would condemn the settlements, says Haaretz. Emphasis is mine:

The draft uses language that the “Quartet” of Middle East peace negotiators – the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – have used in previous statements on settlements.

It says that “Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

Diplomats said Washington had attempted to persuade the Palestinian Authority not to go ahead with the resolution because the Obama administration would find it awkward to veto a resolution that it generally agreed with.

Yes and why would you do such a thing? Because of a powerful domestic lobby.

     

Beinart gave me a headache

Feb 16, 2011

Ira Glunts

 

 

My wife heard Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg at his press conference on TV, deliver what seems to me to be some refreshingly honest words —  and in so doing he jumps feet first into the forbidden territory of Jewish influence in Hollywood.  Describing the rounds of meetings for Oscar nominees, he says: 

I feel like when I was 13 and I had to go to bar mitzvahs every weekend. This is the same feeling. You have to put on a suit every weekend to go meet with a bunch of Jews. (in People)

Contrast Eisenberg to Peter Beinart’s rather cynical and calculated presentation at a lecture last night at Syracuse University.  I got a headache listening to his lecture, which had the same title as his overly praised New York Review of Books article, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.”  For a critique of Beinart, I refer you to Mark Braverman’s wonderful post here at Mondoweiss.  I also recommend Rabbi Brian Walt’s brief  statement in Tikkun, “Reflections on Liberal Zionism” for an activist’s view of the complete inadequacy of the Beinart position.  The bottom line for Beinart is that the occupation and the wars of aggression are caused by some tragic accident of history, and the beautiful innocent Israel which many have concluded never existed, can return with a nudge from the liberal American diaspora.  

In a significant departure from the tone of his NYRB article, Beinart came to this lecture, organized by the Judaic Studies Program, armed with a battery of stories detailing the oppression of the Palestinians, all of which are familiar to those who follow events in the region.  In doing so, he gained a lot of credibility with the members of the audience I spoke with after the lecture, all of whom truly sympathize with the Palestinian cause. 

These people almost uniformly overlooked Beinart’s glorification of Ehud Olmert and what Beinart insanely characterized as the ex-Prime Minister’s enlightened and almost successful negotiation with that paragon of realism and diplomacy, Mahmoud Abbas.   Also, few seemed to notice  the startling statement by this young (although comparatively older than Eisenberg) recently born-again Jew of conscience, that the American media is exemplary in presenting views critical of Israel.

My friends in the audience also ignored the fact that much of the Arab and Palestinian suffering that Beinart was publicly sobbing about was directly caused by this same Olmert he copiously praised.   Somehow the fact that as mayor, Olmert built many of the settlements surrounding East Jerusalem, or that as Prime Minister, he was the architect of Israel’s latest wars of aggression in Lebanon and Gaza, did not seem all that relevant.

Beinart also proffered the idiosyncratic analysis that JStreet, whom he of course loves, will be soon faced with a “challenge” of rebuffing its young liberal Jewish constituency which he mistakenly argues is becoming increasingly pro-Palestinian.   According to Beinart, these “enlightened youngsters,” seeing Obama’s retreat from the “peace process” will begin to pressure JStreet to support a boycott of the Jewish State. This little gem reflects both Beinart’s distorted view of the commitment of  JStreet Jeremy’s digital army, as well as Beinart’s exaggerated fear of truly condemning Israeli actions that a boycott implies.  

A young and clever Jewish actor may get away with an honest joke about Jewish influence in Hollywood, but Beinart’s unflinching glorification of his imagined liberal Zionist state, with all its dishonesty, is just not funny.

Is this my ancient homeland or are you just happy to see me?

Feb 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

Two entries from a really good blog Max Blumenthal spotted called Tinfoil Yarmulke. They’re written by a woman on a birthright trip (where Jewish people under 26 get a free trip to Israel in order to fall in love with the country and mate with other Jews) who offers her experience transparently so as to educate the rest of us. You go girl. (Her name is Liz and she also has a really funny post about her big nose on the site, too.) 2 entries.

Entry 1:

“Can you believe? The Jews had to purchase their OWN land. They paid the Turks MONEY to buy their own homeland back. That’s not how it usually works! It’s the newcomers who have to pay. The white faces arrive and buy the land from the natives. How much did the Dutch pay for the island of Manhattan? Twenty four dollars! In wooden beads! Now that’s how you make a bargain! But in Israel, only in Israel, did the native people have to buy their own land from the settlers.”

–Guide at Tel Aviv’s Independence Hall, getting worked up about how the Jews are more indigenous than the Arabs.

Entry 2:

Our security.  Avi always walks at the back of the group, always carries the rifle, and always flirts with every girl.

I should note that this photo was taken illicitly – we’re not allowed to photograph the gun.

 
     

I think Nir Rosen is jealous of Logan and Cooper’s success

Feb 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

I feel sad about the Nir Rosen case. The guy is a fabulous, independent reporter with great politics. Look at this piece from 2003; he was the first reporter to see that Muqtada al-Sadr was the person to watch in Iraq. He’s a leftwinger, and fearlessly outspoken about the “rogue” state that is Israel. Did his politics play a part in the attack on him for his vicious and unseemly tweets? Sure.

It’s good that he apologized and quickly, with ashes in his mouth, but, Why did he write such mean, idiotic stuff about a victim of sexual assault? He says it was the black humor of war zone reporting. Also he says this about his sexual politics:

So I need to state that my views on women’s rights have always been quite radical (in defense of women). Moreover the last eight years of working in the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia (like Afghanistan) and in Mexico only further outraged me, because I have seen first hand how brutally women are treated there….

A part of me was bothered by how celebrities, especially white ones, get so much attention, and before I realized it was a sexual assault I was sort of anticipating a return to the old theme about unleashed brown natives attacking a white woman. … I also let my personal dislike of Ms. Logan’s support for wars that have been very costly in terms of human life, which I have seen first hand, make it seem like I somehow actually think she deserved to be attacked.

There’s a lot of emotion about celebrities in those comments– at a time when we should be thinking about Lara Logan as another human being. My own observation is that Rosen is a big swaggery guy; and I sense that he’s jealous of Logan and also Anderson Cooper. One of his tweets said “it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.” So that’s not about sexism, that’s about hostility.

If you’re as successful professionally as Nir Rosen has been at a young age, you get a big head; and if you’re as competitive as someone has to be to achieve what he has, you measure yourself against people with higher status than he has (Logan, Cooper) and exclaim about how much less they know about the subject than you do (especially if they supported these outrageous wars). I’m very competitive and when I was young I used to fulminate about people who were doing better than I was: they were stupider, had worse judgment, couldn’t write as well as me, etc. And sometimes I used to express these feelings publicly. That was really stupid. It gets you nowhere in life, it is pure vanity. By the way, Cooper and Logan obviously have better social skills than Rosen, and that matters.   Here’s to his rapid rehabilitation. We need the guy.  

     

Welcome to Palestine…now let’s reset the relationship

Feb 16, 2011

Issa Khalaf

 

Welcome to Palestine, even if it’s a century later. Now let’s reset the relationship. You came from faraway lands claiming an already inhabited one. Oppressed, massacred, and socially separated in Christendom/Europe, you felt as outsiders subject to anti-Semitic threats. Eventually, with the colonial age, a group of you, Eastern Europeans called Zionists argued your right to Palestine, from which ancient Jews were virtually absent from the 1st century and of whom you claimed tenuous descent. You claimed that Jews had a three thousand year cultural and emotional attachment to the holy land; that you are a single group whose roots are to this land and whose heart, spirit, character and center is Jerusalem. That your project wasn’t settler-colonialism, conquest through immigration under the aegis of a colonial power, but return or restoration, rendered moral by your religious roots in the land and in your suffering, hence giving you title to the land that transcends Palestinians rights, claims, attachments, and needs. You insisted that Jews require sovereignty for their safety, protection, and, in the aftermath of the Nazi genocide, survival.

At the time you arose in the late 19th century, the Enlightenment had made great progress and emancipated Jews from ghetto enclaves, accelerating integration and erosion of identity leading some Jews to argue for cultural assimilation and others for distinctiveness and autonomy. Zionism in particular looked on emancipation and cultural integration as a threat, the death of a mythical Jewish nation. You insisted on a “Jewish problem,” a congenital Christian/Western anti-Semitism as natural as darkness in nighttime. As Zionists, you were a part of Judaism gone nationalist, and other Jews saw you as a contradiction to liberal, pluralist tradition that could only cause problems for Jews. Because you organized, politically lobbied and agitated, you, political Zionists, took the stage, getting increasing support among Jews in Europe and the US. Still, Zionism remained a tiny minority and did not significantly spread until the rise of Nazi Germany and the genocidal horrors that followed. At that point, the argument for a Jewish state seemed unassailable and found supporters among many non-Jews.

Of course, the reality from the very beginning was that another people existed in Palestine, becoming alive to its national identity and, by the end of WWI, aspirations for self-determination and independence. They populated villages, towns and cities, cultivated the land, had marvelous citrus groves, owned businesses and shops,  traded and built factories. They were naturally everywhere you looked. They were by the end of the Mandate, one of the most prosperous and educated people in the Middle East. This reality, their existence and your determination to ignore it, and the injustice and violence it has caused ever since, is the root of the conflict in Palestine.

It was not that you were blind to the fact that this place contained, when the World Zionist Organization was formed in 1897, over 95 percent Palestinian Arabs, both Muslim and Christian (12-15 percent of Palestinians) who constituted the overwhelming owners of the country, with the remainder constituting Jews, most of whom were non-Zionist, and others. Nor were you unaware that, by 1917, before the British took over and began to implement their promise to you for a “Jewish national home,” the Jewish colonist population constituted less than 10 percent of the total (50,000 to 60,000) and owned a tiny fraction of the land area. You could not create a viable Jewish state out of thin air, but only at others’ expense and who had nothing to do, and still don’t, with anti-Semitism, who did you no harm. You steadily came to Palestine, though you constituted a tiny fraction of the millions who preferred immigration to the US. By the time of the Nazi ascendance in Germany, immigration to Palestine accelerated as the US and Europe closed their doors. Still, by 1948, at slightly over 600,000, you constituted about 30 or so percent of the population and you owned 7-8 percent of the land surface, despite all your efforts of over fifty years.

So you took Palestine by force and ethnic cleansing, turning over half its population into refugees. Irony of ironies is that those Palestinian villagers whom you cleansed, or those you oppress in the occupied territories, were most likely more Jewish in lineage than you were, many of them descendants of early Jewish converts to Christianity, then to Islam. So are many of the current Palestinian Christians. The UN, after prodigious US arm twisting against its member states, recommended you get 55 percent of the country, gratis. You said you were reasonable and compromising by accepting this, but your argument was devilishly ingenious: you were “giving away” half of a whole you did not own, just as you claim to be compromising today, by merely considering the idea of “giving up” current occupied territory. In any case, your strategy was to wait until an opportune moment to expand. That happened immediately in 1948 as you ended up with 77 percent of Palestine, 22 percent more than was allotted to you by the UN, then again in 1967 when you took the remainder, now the West Bank and Gaza, at which point the Zionist colonial project proceeded in earnest where it left off in 1948.

Your dominant response to Palestinians’ existence was denial and the assertion of a transcendent moral right; the Palestinians after all were part of a larger Arab population of the Middle East, thus justifying exclusive Jewish possession in Palestine. As European colonists, you viewed the Palestinians with a racist lens, as Europeans did peoples of Asia and Africa. Palestine’s colonization was merely a “project” that could be implemented against the wishes of who to you were poor and illiterate people who should make way. Palestine’s Arabs became invisible, non-existent, literally less than human, needing to move over, disappear, for those with superior cultural and intellectual civilization. According to this logic, their resistance then and now is ascribable to their fear and repudiation of the benevolent progress and development Zionists bring with them, not to a natural defense to invasion and oppression.

There was a strong degree of self-delusion in your attitude. The Palestinians were both there and not there: to admit their existence, the reality of “the Arab problem,” was to confront unpleasant truths, to admit that your dream, your colonial project, was unrealizable, to be relinquished. So the Palestinians were imagined, canceled, and interpreted away, denied their humanity, and continue to be relentlessly and violently disbarred from unhindered, unequivocal self-representation. You assumed superiority that emanated in Jewish tradition, exemplified by the biblical phrase, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” You, as Jewish Zionists, are a superior, chosen, elevated people, People of the Book, who used your minds in religious, intellectual, and sublime pursuits while the inferior Goyim, the Gentiles, used their hands and muscle in pursuit of brawn, prostitution, and drunkenness. You were pure; the other degraded. Your life in the urban ghetto or rural village (shtetl) exaggerated the psychological differences.

Your superiority masked an equally strong sense of inferiority caused by centuries of humiliation and shame. This may have led you, Zionists, to overcompensate by emphasizing not only a sort of spiritual rebirth and redemption through labor in a hallowed soil, an activity Jews previously despised, but also a drive to unreflective military and material power, to crush opposition to your project and “threats to Jews.” The Palestinian Esau’s intellectual and cultural inferiority also justified the dismissal of his humanity, eliciting the Palestinians’ pounding with merciless violence and rage. European colonial racism was thus overlaid with the psychological complexity of the Jewish experience that has characterized Israeli Jewish attitudes to this day. This psychosis, the need to wish the Palestinians away and the sense of Jewish superiority mixed with humiliation, is at the core of your violence towards Palestine’s indigenous people.

So here you are. You got your state of 1948, including all you took by force, accepted by the international community. You have a prosperous economy, a vital society. You sport the strongest military in the Middle East. You possess ample stockpiles of fearsome WMDs, and not only nuclear, including the means to deliver them to distant cities, and are furtively engaged in advanced research to develop weaponry that annihilates the enemy without hurting the land.You have the West prostrated at your feet, so guilty are they for their inhumanity against the Jewish people. You plumped 500,000 Jews into the West Bank/Palestinian Jerusalem, many of them fanatics hailing from the US, and want the remainder of Palestine, all of it. You war against Palestine and Arabs and you reject all peace overtures and normalization. You energetically work to undermine yourself. You also continue Jewish separation and superiority, socializing a generation of confused young people and racists, insistent that the Palestinians do not share a common humanity with you. The gun falsely empowered and freed you from your historic weakness and humiliation, for you got oppression and chauvinism in return. You deny, with all the psychosis at your disposal, your guilt, unable to reconcile your moral exceptionalism with your tyranny against the Palestinians. How could they possibly be as human with real grievances and needs?

But the world goes around, and our sins catch up with us. You can’t cover the sun with your palm, as an old Arab proverb has it. Your might and power, your clinging to great powers and their elites to protect yourself and maintain your hegemony is beginning to fall apart. Your strategic environment is changing, your great power patron may not be up to the task in the coming decade or two. You’ve exhausted him anyway, cowed his politicians, confused his public, distorted the meaning of right and wrong. Yet, despite all this, all the craziness, you will not let go of your notion of an indivisible Jewish land, the Land of Israel, as if others are mere trespassers. It’s not that there’s only one narrative, that of the Palestinians, it’s that theirs is as truthful as truth gets, and it is logically and epistemologically false to claim the truth is in the middle. You can’t split the truth.

You seem ready to take down the Middle East with you if you have to. You will not leave your tormented victims alone by relinquishing the occupied territories, you will not award them citizenship, you will not establish an authentic peace, you will not accept being a part of the Middle East, your gaze firmly fixed to the west. Your leaders’ imagination is fossilized. Your young people can’t think beyond themselves because they’ve internalized, thanks to your education and socialization, the idea of besieged victims surrounded by violent Arabs ready to take them down. You teach them that the whole world is against them, you take them on trips to concentration camps to bolster the idea of Zionism and justify Israeli might and right, you scare them with the omnipresence of anti-Semitism and that they can exist only by force. What a future you’re constructing for them! Surely, there is a better way, for your young people and for the Palestinian young people. There is sharing. There is forgiveness. The Palestinians are the door to your redemption, the revivification of ethical Judaism. But you won’t grasp any of this.

Still, Palestinians and Arabs, Muslims and Christians, Palestinian children, welcome you. Let’s reset the past, yours and ours. Pretend you just arrived in the Middle East. Start anew. Take justice and peace, take reconciliation, take compassion, acknowledge your sins against the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian people generally, embrace their humanity, live with them in peace, security, and coexistence. This is all possible even at this moment, but you must make “radical” decisions, transcend your psychosis. Most of all you must look deep inside yourself. There is no other way, except the way of destruction.

(14 February 2011)

Issa Khalaf (Ph.D. Oxford University) is author of Politics in Palestine, Arab Factionalism and Social Disintegration, 1939-1948.
     

While the rest of the Arab world is waking to protests, in Al Arakib Palestinians are awakening to the sound of bulldozers (destroying their village for the 17th time)

Feb 16, 2011

Seham

 

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing/Settlers

Al Arakib update: Four consecutive days of demolitions
From the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF).  Last week brought four consecutive days of demolitions in Al Arakib. For the first time on February 9 we witnessed bulldozers clearly marked as belonging to the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), destroying tents that had been erected overnight by the residents. The JNF can no longer claim to have no involvement in the repeated destruction of Al Arakib.
http://theonlydemocracy.org/2011/02/al-arakib-update-four-consecutive-days-of-demolitions/

Bedouins Barricaded in Cemetery as Israel Demolishes Village for 17th Time, Injuring Children
The residents of the Bedouin village Al Araqib were forced from their land for the 17th time Wednesday (16/2) and barricaded inside the village cemetery, as Israel continues its ethnic cleansing efforts in the Negev.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/israeli-society/3305-bedouins-barricaded-in-cemetery-as-israel-demolishes-village-for-17th-time-injuring-children-

A House Surrounded on all Sides
After the Israeli Courts ruled against the demolition of Omar Hajaj’s home in Al Walajah, the Ministry of Defense ordered to surround his home with an electronic fence. If the plans are implemented, Omar and his family will be virtually entirely cut off from his village and surrounding land.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1688

Please Help Rebuild 13 Water Cisterns Destroyed by the Israeli Army
The situation of the Palestinian cave-dwellers in South Hebron Hills continues to be difficult. They suffer from permanent harassment carried out by the military and settlers. This year, however, has been even more difficult, due to a severe drought.
http://theonlydemocracy.org/2011/02/please-help-rebuild-13-water-cisterns-destroyed-by-the-israeli-army/

Violence and Aggression

Palestinian Youth Injured By Settlers Fire Near Nablus
Palestinian medical sources reported on Tuesday evening that a Palestinian youth was shot and wounded by settlers fire near Jaloud village, south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank.
http://www.imemc.org/article/60654 

Settlers shoot teenager south-west of Nablus
Settlers shot and wounded a boy of 18 whilst he was farming on his father’s land at 1400hrs today, in the village of Jaloud, south-west of Nablus. Wael Mahmoud Tobase Ayad was planting trees together with his brother. As they were finishing, three settlers from a nearby illegal settlement, armed with handguns and a rifle, appeared from amongst some trees between 50 – 100m away. One of the settlers shot and wounded him in his right side with a hand gun.
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/02/16676/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+palsolidarity+%28International+Solidarity+Movement%29 

Report: Settler violence not probed
Yesh Din issues report showing 91% of Palestinian complaints end without indictments. ‘Data show that people who lack rights under our rule are abandoned to their fates, and this has both moral and legal consequences,’ says Attorney Michael Sfard. Police: We’re looking into report’s findings.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4029576,00.html

Detainees

Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians overnight
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360260

Hamas: PA arrests 8 party members
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian security forces arrested eight Hamas affiliates in the West Bank.  Hamas said Palestinian Authority security forces arrested the party members in Nablus and Hebron.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360431

Israeli forces detain Palestinian at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli security forces on Tuesday detained a Palestinian from an ambulance at the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border, Palestinian sources said.  Muhammad Mussa Zu’rub, 38, was traveling with his brother, who suffers from cancer, to the Israeli Bilson Hospital, local sources said. Israeli security officials detained Zu’rub from the ambulance, sources added.  An spokeswoman for Israel’s District Coordination Office said the crossing was manned by a civilian security company, but that she would look into the report.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360274 

IOF troops kidnap patient’s escort
Family of Mohammed Zo’rub appealed to human rights groups to pressure the IOF into releasing their son who was kidnapped by those troops at Erez (Beit Hanun) crossing north of the Gaza Strip.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%

Ex-detainees: Prisoners in PA jails held in grave-like cells
A number of Palestinian ex-detainees released from West Bank jails said that the Palestinian authority security militias lock up prisoners in very small cells like “graves.”
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=

Siege/Humanitarian Issues/Racism and Discrimination

Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – Jan 16 – Feb 12
http://www.gazagateway.org/2011/02/industrial-fuel-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-jan-16-%e2%80%93-feb-12/

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Jan 16 – Feb 12
http://www.gazagateway.org/2011/02/goods-%e2%80%93-needs-vs-supply-%e2%80%93-jan-16-%e2%80%93-feb-12/

Tell Egypt: Open the Rafah Crossing Now!
The situation for the hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children in Egypt who have been trapped at the airport since 25 January 2011, the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution, is dreadful and getting worse each day.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3304-tell-egypt-open-the-rafah-crossing-now-

The Egyptian Blockade of Gaza – February 26, 2011 March to Gaza
To join the March to Gaza click here. There is much talk about who and what is behind the popular revolts in the Arab world and I find such talk as interesting as anyone. But more than talk I am interested in action. Indeed that is why tears of joy streamed down my face as I watched the Egyptian people cleansing themselves of the shame brought upon them by Mubarak and his fellow thieves and traitors. Clearly however, the job is far from complete. 
http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2011/02/egyptian-blockade-of-gaza-february-26.html

Egyptian officer: Rafah crossing to be opened regularly following arrangements
Senior Egyptian officer said that the Rafah border crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip will be soon opened on a regular basis after making security arrangements for that.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87M

Police revoke charges against East Jerusalem teen allegedly beaten by police during detainment
Murad Banna, 19, was arrested and held over seven months for allegedly throwing stones; he claimed he was forced to give false confession. 
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/police-revoke-charges-against-east-jerusalem-teen-allegedly-beaten-by-police-during-detainment-1.343577?localLinksEnabled=false

A Palestinian boy’s Kafkaesque trial in Israel’s military court, Joseph Dana
On a sunny day people usually stand outside or sit in the direct sun in the waiting area at the Ofer military court. To observe a trail at Ofer, one must enter the facilities and, in a way, become a prisoner. Visiting diplomats and human rights officials alike, are allowed to bring only money and cigarettes into the court area. Trials are given times in two vague categories –  before the lunch break and after. Often a trial is listed for ‘before the lunch break’ and so observers will arrive at the court around 9 a.m., only to find that it has been postponed until after the break, leaving the unlucky observers with five to six hours to kill in what is basically a large prison yard – buckled asphalt surrounded by watchtowers shaped like World War Two-era pillboxes, and chain link fences topped with rolls of barbed wire.
http://josephdana.com/2011/02/a-palestinian-boy%E2%80%99s-kafkaesque-trial-in-israel%E2%80%99s-military-court/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-palestinian-boy%25e2%2580%2599s-kafkaesque-trial-in-israel%25e2%2580%2599s-military-court 

16 Feb. 2011: In Silwan, like in Tel Aviv, Youth Law not enforced
On 4 February 2011, Ha’aretz published an article on the police’s handling of central-region youth suspected of drug use. According to the article, all the minors questioned in the matter, most of whom were about 17 years old, were interrogated without their parents present, although some parents requested they be allowed into the interrogation room. One of the young girls was informed by the “intelligence officer” that the interrogation was not even being recorded. 
http://www.btselem.org/English/Detainees_and_Prisoners/20110216_Minors_Interrogattions_Silwan_and_Gush_Dan.asp

URGENT APPEAL – Children of Silwan
An appeal to end the use of violence by the Israeli army and police during the arrest of children from Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem.
http://www.dci-pal.org/english/doc/press/UA_2_11_SILWAN_16_Feb_2011.pdf

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Action around the globe for Jawaher
Feb 16, 2011– More than a dozen protests, vigils and other actions were staged on the 10th and after in honor of Jawaher Abu Rahmah and in conjunction with the commemoration in Bil’in. Check out photos and reports from actions across the globe.
http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/2480.shtml

Contest Winner: Confronting the Wall
Feb 16, 2011– We wish to present the third winning video, “Confronting the Wall” This video won the Palestine Jury Prize. Watch the video here and learn more about Israeli Apartheid.
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2481.shtml

Solidarity visit to striking municipal employees in Jenin
Feb 15, 2011– Stop the Wall organized a solidarity visit to municipal workers in the Jenin governorate who have been on strike for the past consecutive weeks, and on hunger strike for the past three days. Workers are demanding that the Ministry of Local Government, along with the head and the council of the Jenin Municipality commit an interpretation of the law governing local bodies that guarantees employees and workers stable employment and dignified living.
http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2479.shtml

The doves return to Al-Arakib / Adam Keller
15 Feb – “Just like the demonstrators in Egypt were not deterred by the police violence, never left the square, so will we stick to Al-Arakib. This is the Negev’s Tahrir Square. Just like the demonstrators in Cairo won in the end, so will we win” said the young man who greeted us when the activist convoy – a full bus and a string of private cars – reached the hills northwest of Be’ersheba. 
http://adam-keller2.blogspot.com/2011/02/doves-return-to-al-arakib.html

#BDS: Action Alert: Ban Ahava from Professional Beauty 2011
“We, the undersigned, are aware that Ahava have a stand at Professional Beauty 2011 ExCel 27-28 February. We urge Professional Beauty to reconsider granting Ahava a stand for the following reasons.
http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2011/02/bds-action-alert-ban-ahava-from.html 

Knesset committee approves bill allowing Israel boycotters to be fined
Bill calls for heavy fines to be imposed on Israeli citizens who initiate or incite boycotts against Israeli individuals, companies, factories, and organizations.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/knesset-committee-approves-bill-allowing-israel-boycotters-to-be-fined-1.343596?localLinksEnabled=false 

Illegal for Israelis to support BDS?, Joseph Dana
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement endorsed by Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005 has become one of the most controversial issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the spirit of the boycott movement against Apartheid South Africa, BDS activists have racked up a number of successful cultural, academic and economic boycotts of Israel over the country’s treatment of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. This afternoon, the state of Israel took steps towards criminalizing support of BDS by Israeli citizens.
http://josephdana.com/2011/02/illegal-for-israelis-to-support-bds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=illegal-for-israelis-to-support-bds

Political Developments/News

The Palestine Papers – a matter of public interest
Following the leak of some 1600 documents a selection known as the Palestine Papers were released by Al Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper; they highlight previously unknown details relating to the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/resources/briefing-papers/2057-the-palestine-papers-a-matter-of-public-interest

Abbas: Israel has no vision for peace
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that the current Israeli government had no vision for an end to the occupation.  Addressing Palestinians released from Israeli detention at his Ramallah headquarters, the president said Israel continued to shut down all avenues to peace.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360208 

UN eyes vote on resolution against Israel (AFP)
AFP – The UN Security Council is likely to vote this week on a resolution filed by Arab countries condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, according to a Palestinian diplomat.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110216/wl_mideast_afp/israelpalestiniansunsettlementsrights

EU’s Ashton targets Palestinian state by September (AFP)
AFP – EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Tuesday said the international community still sought to achieve a peace deal and a Palestinian state by September, despite the region’s political turmoil.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110215/wl_afp/israelpalestinianspeaceeu

Envoy to UN says US will continue “frontal opposition” to attempts to “chip away at Israel’s legitimacy.”
NEW YORK – In an address given at the World Affairs Council in Portland, Oregon, on Friday evening, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice pledged American loyalty to Israel at the UN, saying that “efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will continue to be met by the frontal opposition of the United States.”
http://endtheoccupationblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/rice-israels-legitimacy-beyond-dispute.html 

Congress prepares “Middle East Stability” funding package
There’s a raging debate on Capitol Hill surrounding huge cuts to foreign aid funding proposed in the House Republicans’ latest spending bill. But several senators are looking to add a generous foreign aid package for Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and other Middle Eastern countries when the bill comes over from the House.
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/15/congress_prepares_middle_east_stability_funding_package 

Turkey wants Israel raid apology, regardless of UN
Turkey will insist on an apology from Israel for its bloody raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship as a condition for mending ties, regardless of the findings of a UN investigation, a Turkish diplomatic official said.  “We expect the UN investigation to be balanced so we won’t get what we want and Israel won’t get what it wants, but apology and compensation are a red line for us,” the official told a group of reporters in Ankara on condition of anonymity. (Reuters)
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4029221,00.html 

Palestine Analysis/Op-ed

Palestinian Revolution by Default, Mel Frykberg
RAMALLAH, Feb 16, 2011 (IPS) – The Egyptian revolution, and the threat to autocratic Arab regimes all over the region, have forced rapid changes on the Palestinian political scene – with major players Hamas and Fatah scrambling to catch up.
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=54495

Upheavals highlight tension between Jordan’s Palestinians and ‘East Bankers’
AMMAN // Like Yemen and Bahrain, Jordan recently has been shaken by popular protests stemming from rising food prices and high unemployment, especially among the young.  Yet the upheaval in Jordan also reflects a factor peculiar to the country – namely, its delicate demographic balance between indigenous tribes, known as “East Bankers”, and Palestinians who have emigrated to Jordan in the past six decades and have received Jordanian citizenship.
http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/upheavals-highlight-tension-between-jordans-palestinians-and-east-bankers 

‘Israeli filter’ colors U.S. response to Egyptian revolution, Alex Kane
Hosni Mubarak’s former regime got many things wrong, but Egyptian officials sure knew how to accurately read at least some parts of U.S. foreign policy.  A State Department cable written in December 2007 recently released by WikiLeaks describes how the Egyptian government believed that “their discussions with the United States” passed “through a perceived ‘Israeli filter.’”  It’s fair to assume that Egypt was referring to how, as Helena Cobban writes in Salon, “pro-Israeli groups and individuals in Congress and the rest of the American political elite” have enormous influence on how Washington conducts foreign policy.
http://alexbkane.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/israeli-filter-colors-u-s-response-to-egyptian-revolution/

Only in Palestine, Amra Amra
Those brave people who firmly stood up and fought for their freedom and independence against whatever type of inhumanity or injustice that was prevalent in their time. Reading about these infamous leaders in history inevitably has planted a seed of persistence and determination in us, yet we may not recognize it. As a Palestinian having spent most of my life abroad, I remember clearly my continual participation in Palestinian protests against the ongoing Israeli occupation in Palestine. Having lived in the US, I found myself struggling to firmly hold on to my ancestral Palestinian roots. Despite this, I fortunately managed to voice and express my beliefs and opinions with many other Palestinian solidarity activists by holding a megaphone, carrying a poster with pictures of innocent victims that have fallen as a result of the Israeli occupation, with the famous traditional Palestinian kuffiyeh wrapped around my neck. Yet no amount of protests, activities, or events could have prepared me, either physically and emotionally, for the reality of Palestine.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1685

Revolt in the Middle East

Slideshow: Protests Sweep Bahrain, Iran And Yemen
Following uprisings that deposed leaders in both Egypt and Tunisia, a wave of protest movements have engulfed the Middle East in recent days.  Protests have shaken the regimes in Bahrian, Iran and Yemen. Iran has arrested 1,500 demonstrators and two people were killed in protests in the capital, Tehran.  There have also been violent clashes between pro and anti-government factions in Yemen and the Kingdom of Bahrain, two protesters have been killed in clashes with the security forces.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/15/middle-east-protests-iran-bahrain-yemen_n_823503.html

Riz Khan – The Egypt effect
Thousands of people are taking to streets across the region demanding political and social reform.

The US Department of State: explaining its own hypocrisy (it is good)
“QUESTION: How about other countries – Bahrain, Yemen, or Algeria, or Jordan? Why you are not talking about those countries and you are condemning what is happening in Iran?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, actually, in the other countries there is greater respect for the rights of the citizens. I mean, we are watching developments in other countries, including Yemen, including Algeria, including Bahrain. And our advice is the same. As the Secretary made clear in her Doha speech, there’s a significant need for political, social, and economic reform across the region, and we encourage governments to respect their citizen’s right to protest peacefully, respect their right to freedom of expression and assembly, and hope that there will be an ongoing engagement, a dialogue between people in governments, and they can work together on the necessary forms.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/us-department-of-state-explaining-its.html

Jordan’s reforms
“Srour said Tuesday that protesters would still have to inform authorities of any gathering two days in advance to “ensure public safety” and that they would have to observe public order. However, he stressed that the government would no longer interfere in such matters.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/jordans-reforms.html

Jordan’s King is desperate
His Minister of Justice demonstrated yesterday calling for the release of the Jordanian soldier who shot at Israeli students.  He even called him a hero.  The minister does not know of the services by his King to Israel, it seems.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/jordans-king-is-desperate.html

Obama reassures Jordan king of U.S. support
The president made a weekend call to Jordanian King Abdullah II to assure him of U.S. support, but also to say that Washington wants Jordan to move toward reform.  With protests rocking the Middle East, the Obama administration is reaching out to King Abdullah II of Jordan, trying to reassure a badly shaken ally of its support even as it calls for greater political freedom across the Arab world.
http://feeds.latimes.com/%7Er/latimes/middleeast/%7E3/NqiObpboV90/la-fg-obama-mideast-20110216,0,216248.story

Mufti warns of revolution in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian Mufti Sheikh Yusof al-Ahmad has warned that unless the government fights poverty and unemployment, it will face a revolution like those in Egypt and Tunisia.
http://presstv.com/detail/165211.html

Egypt

Tariq Al-Bishri
The man who is assigned to head the committee to revise the constitution of Egypt is a supporter of the struggle of the Palestinians and a foe of Israel.  Please tweet that, o Zionists.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/tariq-al-bishri.html

Tariq Al-Bishri: the man leading the committee to revise the Egyptian constitution
Jamal sent me this: “You may want to point readers to a few items on Tariq al-Bishri.  Egyptian English-language blogger Baheyya referenced him several times in recent years as can be seen in these two posts on her blog:
In this piece from 2009 she wrote about how he had critiqued Sadat’s constitution in the early 70s for the powers it gave an unaccountable presidency: 
In this piece from 2007 she highlights how back in 2004 he had put out a piece defending precisely the types of non-violent resistance that just succeeded in overthrowing Mubarak (needless to say, more meaningful than anything Gene “who’s that guy” Sharp): 
Finally, regarding your totally correct point about al-Bishri being an enemy of US and Zionist imperialism, point your readers to his roughly decade-old book “al-3arab fi muwajahat al-3udwan”/”The Arabs in the Face of Aggression”.  I read it many years ago, so I might be slightly off here, but his main thesis as I recall was that in the face of dead subservient regimes, the only places that effective resistance to imperialism has arisen has been where the state is weak: i.e., the Lebanese resistance for example.  He did have some kooky 9/11 ideas of the “we don’t even know Bin Laden did this” variety, but it didn’t take away from his core point.  The entire book can be found online here.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/tariq-al-bishri-man-leading-committee.html

Ashkenazi: Israel ready for collapse of peace with Egypt
In his first appearance as a civilian, former IDF chief of staff says “there is a weakening of the moderate camp” in Egypt. 
http://www.jpost.com/VideoArticles/Video/Article.aspx?id=208215 

Egypt junta names panel to reform constitution
CAIRO – Egypt’s military regime warned on Tuesday that a wave of strikes sweeping the country was “disastrous,” as it gave a panel of civilian experts 10 days to revise the constitution.  Against a backdrop of persistent nationwide walk-walkouts and street protests, the junta promised to rapidly restore constitutional rule following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/02/15/egypt-junta-names-panel-to-reform-constitution/ 

Egypt labor not resting after Mubarak’s ouster
CAIRO (IPS) – Before his ouster on Friday, toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had made one of the biggest mistakes of his reign: not learning from the lessons of hundreds of small labor and professional strikes that littered the country since 2005.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11804.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

Sinai Bedouin and the revolution

Egypt’s Copts hope for bright future
As the country emerges from Hosni Mubarak’s rule, civil society is being opened to change. Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal reports from Alexandria on the historic union between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt – and their aspirations for the years ahead

Mubarak given up, wants to die in Sharm-Saudi official
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Egypt’s ousted president has given up and wants to die in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh where he has been living since a popular uprising ended his rule, a Saudi official said on Wednesday.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/mubarak-given-up-wants-to-die-in-sharm-saudi-official

Egypt’s Mubarak taking phone calls in Sharm-source
CAIRO, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Egypt’s deposed President Hosni Mubarak is in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and taking telephone calls, said a source who spoke to him on Tuesday.  “He’s fine,” the source said. “He is at his residence in Sharm el-Sheikh with his family. He is receiving telephone calls. I spoke to him at 3 o’clock (1300 GMT) this afternoon.”
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/egypts-mubarak-taking-phone-calls-in-sharm-source 

Report: Hosni Mubarak is in Israel
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak is in a luxury hotel in the Israeli city of Eilat, the Israel-based news site Al-Arab reported Tuesday.  Locals said there was a huge presence of Israeli security forces surrounding the hotel, and airplanes were hovering above monitoring activity in the area, the Arabic-language report said. A hotel employee revealed that Mubarak was a guest at the hotel, according to the news site.  The hotel declined to comment.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360317 

Mubarak’s residence in Sharm
Officially former president Mubarak has not left the country , he said it clearly that he would live in Egypt till the end of his life and will be buried in it after his death. Officially former president Mubarak is in Sharm El-Sheikh. Some sources say that he is so sick to the level of being currently in coma , other sources say that he is fine but he is deeply depressed, while other sources like the Times says that he eats Caviar and Swiss chocolate in his self-exile at the Red Sea. Der Spiegel shared with us the location of Mubarak’s palaces or rather villas at Sharm El-Sheikh Maritime peninsula hotel & resort.  Mubarak and his sons got three villas or rather palaces in an excellent location there. 
http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/02/mubaraks-residence-in-sharm.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EgyptianChronicles+%28Egyptian+chronicles%29 

Mubarak’s friends
The gallery
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/mubaraks-friends.html

The Mubarak grand kid was even being prepared for succession
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/mubarak-grand-kid-was-even-being.html

Mohamed ElFarmawy Assaulted by Police in #Tahrir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=DPBFIoJ1Reo

Bahrain

Bahrain protesters keep up pressure
Protesters demanding sweeping political reforms from Bahrain’s rulers held their ground in an Egypt-style occupation of the capital’s landmark square today, calling for a third day of demonstrations.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/bahrain-protesters-keep-up-pressure-2216370.html

Update: Clashes in Bahrain
Thousands have taken to the streets in Bahrain, as a second protester is laid to rest on Tuesday. For two days, demonstrators have been demanding government reform. Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Manama, who we are not naming for safety reasons, has the latest.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYaFh4CHaq4&feature=youtube_gdata 

Protesters occupy Bahrain square
Anti-government protests continue in tiny kingdom, despite apology by king for the deaths of two demonstrators.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121635518925202.html

Deaths stoke Bahrain tension
Offering apology, king says incidents will be investigated, but opposition group suspends parliamentary participation.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/02/2011215194859291708.html

US is freaking out over Bahrain
“The home of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet — and a recently-launched $580 million U.S. expansion effort slated to double the U.S. Navy’s acreage there — could be in jeopardy if Bahrain’s monarchy falls.” 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/us-is-freaking-out-over-bahrain.html 

From Bahrain
K. sent me this:  “Tomorrow Bahrain will definitely face even more media restriction than those seen in Cairo. The counter-revolution has already started with ‘Day of Happiness’ parades held on Saturday, (staged, perhaps to celebrate the promise of BD 1,000 (around $2650) handouts announced) and set to continue tomorrow, a Ministry of Interior twitter account – who knows which unfortunate has been given the honour of tweeting “Illegal rally in Karzakan 3 policemen attacked, Police had to fire 2 rubber buttons 1st as warning shot 2nd bounced & hit a demonstrator” on behalf of possibly the least respected and most notorious, corrupt, and brutal institution in the country. [continues]
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/from-bahrain.html 

Comrades from Bahrain
Bahraini people, the Bahraini King kills three protestors in the day to celebrate the national charter I just got home from the protests and have heard the news that it has been confirmed that three protestors were killed today, including an eight year old boy. I am absolutely fuming. In the protest that I was in which lasted about 20 minutes, the police arrived and started attacking us (mostly old women and children) with rubber bullets and tear gas aimed directly at as and at close range. I haven’t been through this before and I can tell you it was bloody scary. All we could do was dive to the ground and find somewhere to hide. The unfortunate thing is, that the police, mostly Pakistani, Syrian and Yemeni (many of them were out today) are completely irresponsible and trained to do one thing, to shoot at protestors and wave guns at you.
Two issues seriously p***ing me off:

1. Where is the media? The BBC is still reporting a minor skirmish in Karzakan village last night, when in fact thousands across the country protested resulting in 3 deaths. Aljazeera is reporting the deaths in its rolling text pane. Why aren’t they using all the footage on youtube like they did in Egypt showing peaceful protests being attacked? Bahrain is a Gulf state, is it too close to home for the Qataris to give a shit?

2. Three deaths in ONE day is the highest death toll that Alkhalifa’s thugs have been responsible for in the history of modern Bahrain. This is big. When two men were killed by the police in the nineties, it took five years to quell the uprising. This time, it might be much worse.
After the incident last night, our buffon royal foreign minister, tweeted that the photo being circulated was an old photo. Can you ask him if this photo is also old? Tweet about this you buffoonr, you have blood on your hands, and your obnoxious remarks are no longer tolerated.”
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/comrades-from-bahrain.html

From Bahrain
“One demonstrator killed already, Ali Abdulhadi Al Mushaima in his 20s has died in hospital as a result of being shot being in the back http://yfr​og.com/h4k​6gqtj, and Mohammed, both from Sitra critically injured http://yfr​og.com/h3g​yerrj.
Woke up this morning to the sound of helicopters; driving to work there were massive deployments of riot police stationed at the roads leading from the main highway of Budaiya; up to 8 police jeeps and a bus of riot police ready for unarmed people protesting peacefully (http://www​.youtube.c​om/watch?v​=R3LazFJ0w​a4). 
I witnessed myself, and according to reports from other gatherings around the country, demonstrators have deliberately taken a nonviolent approach; example, some 200+ people, men, women, children holding a sit-in at the sehla junction.
one demonstrator killed already, Abdulhadi Al Mushaima in his 20s has died in hospital as a result of being shot being in the back http://yfr​og.com/h4k​6gqtj, and Mohammed, both from Sitra critically injured http://yfr​og.com/h3g​yerrj.
Woke up this morning to the sound of helicopters; driving to work there were massive deployments of riot police stationed at the roads leading from the main highway of Budaiya ready for unarmed protestors (http://www​.youtube.c​om/watch?v​=R3LazFJ0w​a4). I witnessed myself (and according to reports from other gatherings around the country, demonstrators have deliberately taken a nonviolent approach). Several tweeters reported the blockage of internet sites, particularly videos showing police attacking demonstrators on youtube.
To keep track of events in English, http://twi​tter.com/m​aryamalkha​waja and in Arabic http://twi​tter.com/N​abeelrajab
For photos, pls see http://www​.facebook.​com/album.​php?id=687​160937​&aid=2​74586
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/from-bahrain_15.html

More from Bahrain
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/bahrain-today.html 

Live Broadcast
http://bambuser.com/channel/alaali/broadcast/1417785 

Bahrain Protest Videos

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsn4A-orHxo&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw_1w1RI_eg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYWruCI13rE&feature=player_embedded
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/aj150211.html 

Pictures from Bahrain
http://wattani.in/forum/showpost.php?p=1509291&postcount=2 
http://twitpic.com/3zu7ag

S E C R E T MANAMA FOR DNI BLAIR FROM AMBASSADOR ERELIE.O. 
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR MANAMA DIALOGUE, ….
12. (C) King Hamad is personable and engaging. He rules as something of a “corporate king,” giving direction and letting his top people manage the government. He has overseen the development of strong institutions with the restoration of parliament, the formation of a legal political opposition, and a dynamic press. He is gradually shifting power from his uncle, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who remains the head of the government, to his son, the Crown Prince. Crown Prince Salman received his high school education at the DOD school in Bahrain and earned a BA from American University in 1985. He is very Western in his approach and is closely identified with the reformist camp within the ruling family – particularly with respect to economic and labor reforms designed to combat corruption and modernize Bahrain’s economic base. 
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2011/02/wikileaks-bahrain-sheikh-khalifa.html 

Yemen

Yemenis protest amid crackdown
Violence escalates between government supporters and protesters calling for the president’s ouster.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121611012256401.html

Tensions rise between sides in Yemen
In Yemen, thousands of people returned to the steets for a fifth day demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down. At the same time, swelling numbers of government loyalists occupied strategic locations in the capital, chanting slogans and saying they won’t allow pro-democracy protesters to drive the country towards instability and chaos. Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra reports.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqwASfQYc4E&feature=youtube_gdata 

Fresh clashes in Yemeni capital
Security forces in Yemen’s capital Sanaa use tear gas and batons to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-middle-east-12476469 

Yemeni protest chants
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/yemeni-protest-chants.html 

Yemen Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bdEW0LgJ4E&feature=email 

U.S. to spend $75 million on new Yemen military training
The United States aims to spend $75 million to double the size of a special Yemeni counter-terrorism unit, a U.S. official said on Monday.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/14/us-usa-yemen-idUSTRE71D7AQ20110214

Libya

Hospital: 38 injured in Libya clashes
TRIPOLI (AFP) — Thirty-eight people were injured in clashes between Libyan security forces and demonstrators in Benghazi overnight, the director of Al-Jala hospital in the eastern city told AFP on Wednesday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=360552

Hundreds of Libyans demand the government’s ouster
Reports say they are calling for removal of the prime minister and strongman Moammar Kadafi, who has ruled for decades. Hundreds of Libyans calling for the government’s ouster took to the streets Wednesday in the country’s second-largest city as Egypt-inspired unrest spread to the country long ruled by Moammar Kadafi.
http://feeds.latimes.com/%7Er/latimes/middleeast/%7E3/bnFQ7vaw-8g/la-fgw-libya-riots-20110216,0,5114233.story

Libya: Video from protests
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=111774312231462
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aojjN96r2dk 

SNAP ANALYSIS-Riots break out in Libyan city of Benghazi
ALGIERS, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Several hundred people clashed overnight with police and government supporters in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, a witness and local media said.
http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/snap-analysis-riots-break-out-in-libyan-city-of-benghazi

Iraq

Teen killed as Iraq guards fire into demo (AFP)
AFP – A teenager was killed Wednesday when private guards shot at protesters who set fire to several Iraqi government offices, in the country’s most violent demonstrations since uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/iraq/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110216/wl_mideast_afp/iraqpoliticsdemosecurity

Three killed in Iraq protests as guards fire into demo
Three people were killed and dozens wounded in the southern Iraqi city of Kut on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and protesters demanding better basic services, police and hospital sources said.
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/02/16/137896.html

Iraq activists storm public offices
At least one person killed in clashes with security forces after protesters break into council building.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/2011216114058147154.html

Falluja citizens protest against Iraq government
Demonstrators called to stop arbitrary arrests, to resume conscription and to dismiss any foreign nationality holder from the government. They called as well to end the US deal.  Protestors give voice to their daily concerns as well evoking the electricity crisis, lack of ration cards and unemployment. Demonstrators accused Iraqi officials of corruption.  Local officials in the city of Falluja joined demonstrators in their rally calling for essential services and blaming the central government for not having spent the budget of Anbar Province.  Falluja rally is a continuity of protests all over Iraq showing the same denunciation to lack of services in the country. 
http://www.alsumaria.tv/en/Iraq-News/1-60425-Falluja-citizens-protest-against-Iraq-government.html

Tuesday: 8 Iraqis Killed, 12 Wounded
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 12 more were wounded in new violence, while two mass graves were discovered in Diyala province. Back in Germany, an Iraqi defector codenamed Curveball has admitted to lying about weapons of mass destruction. A lie that lead to the Iraq war.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/02/15/tuesday-8-iraqis-killed-12-wounded/ 

Recalling the Slaughter of Innocents
Twenty years ago, as Americans were celebrating Valentine’s Day, Iraqi husbands and fathers in the Amiriyah section of Baghdad were peeling the remains of their wives and children off the walls and floor of a large neighborhood bomb shelter.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27479.htm 

Iran

Iran funeral triggers new clashes
Government supporters and opposition activists clash at funeral procession for student killed in Tehran.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/02/20112169518348693.html

Iran confirms deaths in protest
Iran’s MPs call for the execution of the opposition leaders who called for demonstrations in several cities.
http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2011/02/2011215205829237551.html 

Iran’s protests: What follows?
Following Monday’s protests, in which at least two protesters died, the Iranian government is moving to hold the two opposition leaders who called for the demonstration to be held accountable.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TefcEE3aboc&feature=youtube_gdata

Other Mideast News

Origin: Embassy Cairo — Classification: CONFIDENTIAL : LEBANON 
4.(C) Afifi said that Saad Hariri was in Cairo, and had seen FM Aboul Gheit, and was scheduled to see President Mubarak that day (June 23). “He is in great spirits and is now a statesman,” Afifi said. From Cairo, Hariri will go to Riyadh, where Afifi said he expects Hariri will receive “guidance” on formation of a Lebanese government. Hariri told the Egyptians he did not foresee too much difficulty in government formation. Afifi assessed that the Lebanese opposition (of 2009′) “may not get the blocking third in the way that they want it,” and that Hizballah was focused on a compromise position that would keep the issue of Hizballah arms out of the national dialogue and obtain some kind of assurance that some executive and judicial positions would be designated for opposition members.
http://friday-lunch-club.blogspot.com/2011/02/wikileaks-egyptians-have-been-wrong-on.html 

Analysis/Op-ed

Inside Story – Can Egyptians forgive and forget?
Egypt’s police took to the street to show solidarity with protesters who toppled president Mubarak. Shouting they are hand in hand with the people, they said were following orders. Can the police force wipe out its bloody history with the people of Egypt? Will the Egyptians forgive and forget?

The New York Times story yesterday about the origins of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions
That story is still bothering me (see yesterday).  I have received many links and articles from colleagues and people in Latin America in particular about the role of Gene Sharp or AEI or the Einstein Foundation.  But all this is so irrelevant.  Even if US foundations brought youths from Egypt and even if they distributed translated works about non-violence, and even if some attended workshops all this affect a dozen or so of those youths.  This is a movement by hundreds of thousands of people and would not have succeeded if people who are NOT facebook or twitter generation did not join in.  And I still argue: the notion that people in Egypt know who Gene Sharp is is rather funny and crazy.  I mean, who buys that except Sharp himself to flatter himself?  Or those who believe those claims in the New York Times.  I want to also say this: the thesis of the article yesterday conforms with the thesis of the Mubarak regime itself: they for days in their official media peddled that thesis and argued that those youths had attended workshops by US foundations to do all that.  They had one disguised Youth member on TV one day: and it was so crazy.  He said: yes, they took us to a workshop and we stayed at a hotel and we attended lectures.  The anchorwoman said: and you got paid, right? He said: yes, we were paid.  She asked: what was the amount? He said: we were paid good money.  I got paid $500 for the leadership training program.  So $500 can buy a revolution? Against a puppet regime that you were desperate to keep?  But you know what it is?  The White Man can’t leave the natives alone. No matter what they do, he has to take credit for their actions–if they are not violent.  But if the natives engage in violence, Islam and culture are responsible, and the White Man washes his hands of the natives.  And now there is a new ridiculous claim: that this comic book about Martin Luther King inspired the Egyptian Revolution.  It is only going to get worse once the book are written (and articles appear in the New York Times magazine).  But what do I expect when I read that a speech by Condoleezza Rice  (who is hated throughout the region) actually inspired the uprisings.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-york-times-story-yesterday-about.html

Thomas Friedman on the Nile (still)
Just read the opening lines of this piece of…material from Friedman.  His writing style is so simplistic that it is jarring.  Only the Economist of mainstream press pointed out the obvious: that he is a lousy writer.  Notice how he is at pains to reassure Israel–and Zionists like himself–that Egyptians don’t dislike Israel and that their opposition and overthrow of the regime would not change Egyptian foreign policy.  Dream on, Friedman.  You think that a democratically elected foreign minister of Egypt would dare hold hands with Israeli foreign minister days before assault on Gaza?  But if you reach–with great difficulty–the end of the article you realize what was going on (in Arabic, there is a proverb: once the cause is known, surprise goes away): the only Egyptian that Friedman cites in this lousy article is none other than `Ali Salim: an untalented Egyptian playwright who specializes in the sleazy and crude humor.  But Salim is a shunned man who lives in isolation because out of a population of 85 million Egyptians he is the only one who openly calls for normalization with Israel (although the opportunist attacks Israel AND Jews when he appears on Aljazeera–almost all friends of Israel in the Arab world (a handful plus tyrants) are notorious anti-Semities, just as Sadat was).  He writes a column for the mouthpiece of Prince Salman (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat) and is a clown for House of Saud.  Salim was expelled from professional associations because he had visited Israel.  So to represent Egyptians, Friedman talks to this guy.  This is like taking Mithal Allusi in Iraq as the representative of Iraqis.  Oh, and Friedman says this:”The Arab tyrants, precisely because they were illegitimate, were the ones who fed their people hatred of Israel as a diversion.”  Of course, it is the other day round.  Arab tyrants are friends of Israel and the bit of anti-Israel rhetoric that comes out of them is forced by the people on them.
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/thomas-friedman-on-nile-still.html

Robert Fisk: Three weeks in Egypt show the power of brutality – and its limits
After three weeks of watching the greatest Arab nation hurling a preposterous old man from power, I’m struck by something very odd. We have been informing the world that the infection of Tunisia’s revolution spread to Egypt – and that near-identical democracy protests have broken out in Yemen, Bahrain and in Algeria – but we’ve all missed the most salient contamination of all: that the state security police who prop up the power of the Arab world’s autocrats have used the same hopeless tactics of savagery to crush demonstrators in Sanaa, Bahrain and Algiers as the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators tried so vainly to employ against their own pro-democracy protestors.
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-three-weeks-in-egypt-show-the-power-of-brutality-ndash-and-its-limits-2216121.html 

Egypt’s reform process: What, who, and how?, Helena Cobban
I am trying to follow– from the very great distance of central Virginia, USA, what is happening regarding the very necessary and WAYS overdue process of political/constitutional reform and rebuilding that Egypt so desperately needs if the democracy revolution of the past few weeks is to be able to survive and thrive.
http://justworldnews.org/archives/004164.html 

Seventeen Days That Shook The World
The astonishing Egyptian uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in two-and-a-half weeks of immense popular struggle has sent shock waves reverberating throughout the Middle East, putting Washington’s imperial clients on notice that their days of impunity are now numbered.  Close to two million flooded into Cairo’s Tahir Square. One million assembled in Martyr’s Square in Alexandria. 750,000 gathered in downtown Mansoura. A quarter of a million came together in Suez.
http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/02/seventeen-days-that-shook-the-world/ 

Why Tahrir Infuriates the Neo-Cons, Shiva Balaghi
Everywhere you turn, Niall Ferguson is berating Obama’s “muddling” of Egypt. He’s blogging on The Daily Beast, spewing angrily on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and inaugurating his new column in Newsweek with a cover story blasting Obama. Tahrir Square is the neo-cons’ worst nightmare… And Ferguson is one of the scribes who helped globalize and legitimize the neo-cons’ ideas. Since 9/11, Ferguson’s books on empire have become airport bestsellers, and he’s gone from Oxford to NYU to Harvard. 
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/647/why-tahrir-infuriates-the-neo-cons 

Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon?
We are living in extraordinary times. 2011 Egypt, in hindsight, will be seen as just as, if not more, “historic” as  the 1952 coup. This precedent and others should that this revolution is not the instantiation of thepolitical awakening of a “stagnant” part of the world, and nor was it brought to you (only) by Facebook or twitter. For now, the 2011 people’s uprising in Egypt and in Tunis resists categorization, and cannot be contained or explained by adjectives that Middle East “experts” have used to shape the dominant discourse on the Arab world such as Islamist, communist, liberal, pro-American, anti-American, fundamentalist, or feminist. We should cherish these moments of discursive resistance because they paint an image of life as it is lived, messy and contradictory.
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/648/tunisia-egypt-lebanon

Civic Institutions Essential for Egypt’s Democracy, Ralph Nader
Colman McCarthy, a former Washington Post writer and founder of the Center for Teaching Peace, must be very happy with the news from Egypt. For twenty-five years, McCarthy has been persuading high schools and colleges to adopt peace studies in their curriculum (for more information, contact him at cmccarthy@starpower.net). Now he has another example of a largely non-violent revolution—led by young people of all backgrounds—successfully ousting a dictatorial regime
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16656 

Egypt: Social Movements, the CIA and the Mossad, James Petras
The mass movements which forced the removal of Mubarak reveal both the strength and weaknesses of spontaneous uprisings. On the one hand, the social movements demonstrated their capacity to mobilize hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in a successful sustained struggle culminating in the overthrow of the dictator in a way that pre-existent opposition parties and personalities were unable or unwilling to do.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16653 

The Revolutionary Rebellion in Egypt, FIDEL CASTRO
Several days ago I said that Mubarak’s fate was sealed and that not even Obama was able to save him. The world knows about what is happening in the Middle East. News spreads at mind-boggling speed.  Politicians barely have enough time to read the dispatches arriving hour after hour. Everyone is aware of the importance of what is happening over there. 
http://www.counterpunch.com/castro02152011.html 

Samir Amin, “What Is Happening in Egypt”
The plan of the ruling system, supported by the United States of course, is not to allow that — it’s to make minimal concessions in order to safeguard the essentials of the system: that is, neoliberal capitalist integration into the global system, which is at the root of all these social devastations of course; but simultaneously a system aligned with US policy on the world and the region, which means also tolerating, allowing de facto, Israel to continue the devastation in occupied Palestine. . . . 
http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/amin150211.html

Why Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Isn’t The Islamic Bogeyman
Western fears of Islamist takeover in post-Mubarak Egypt are unfounded. During recent protests, the Muslim Brotherhood has demonstrated a commitment to peaceful political participation. The US now has an opportunity to support a truly democratic Egypt, including the Brotherhood. 
http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/363223 

The Egyptian Revolution and Democracy, Brian Napoletano
Imperial conquests have always had their ideological justifications. Even in earlier ages, exterminating a people, exploiting their resources, stealing their lands, and enslaving their children were generally non-starters when it came to firing up the local populace for another military campaign. Accordingly, the Romans “civilized” the barbarians, the Spanish conquistadores “brought the gospel” to the “New World,” and the English were “shining the light of civilization” on the Indian subcontinent. Although most history books tend to minimize the genocide and slavery that accompanied Europe’s string of conquests (including North America), few have any illusions about the true objectives of Rome, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, and other countries’ imperial adventures.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16654 

Revolution and counter-revolution in the Egyptian media / Ursula Lindsey
MERO 15 Feb – …And while social media and online communities did much of the spadework for the success of the protests — fashioning a new political consensus among hundreds of thousands of middle-class Egyptians and functioning as organizing tools — the revolution included many, many people, maybe a majority, who do not have Internet access at home, let alone Facebook accounts.
http://www.merip.org/mero/mero021511.html

Mahfouz’s Prophesy, RAOUF J. HALABY
During the past sixty years US politicians have convinced Americans citizens that some of the world’s tyrants and dictators are “strong and dependable allies of the US.” To wit the State Department’s official statements about Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak during the first few days of the uprising that has swept Egypt like a firestorm.
http://www.counterpunch.com/halaby02152011.html 

Egypt, Tunisia, and ‘The Resumption of Arab History’
The recent popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt attest above all to the indomitability of the human spirit, and the extraordinary capacity of collective action to bring out the very best in humanity. In these respects the daring, creativity, discipline, resolve, perseverance and euphoria of the people of Egypt and Tunisia  – while primarily theirs – belongs to us all, joining as they do an endless caravan of successful, aborted, hijacked and failed challenges to illegitimate authority across the globe since the dawn of time.
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/653/egypt-tunisia-and-the-resumption-of-arab-history 

The US Versus the Egyptian People
The last thing the U.S. policy elite wants is real democracy in Egypt. That country has been a linchpin of American foreign policy for more than 30 years precisely because its government has been able to defy the will of the Egyptian people.
http://original.antiwar.com/srichman/2011/02/15/the-us-versus-the-egyptian-people/ 

In Bahrain, protesters bridge Sunni-Shiite divide to challenge monarchy
Protesters in Bahrain, inspired by Egypt, face a stern test in the monarchy of King Hamad bin Isa, whose family has ruled the country for more than two centuries.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/JGpUj0z6viQ/In-Bahrain-protesters-bridge-Sunni-Shiite-divide-to-challenge-monarchy

Bahrain Rising, Robin Yassin-Kassab
On the tiny island state of Bahrain an intelligent, highly politicised Shia majority is ruled by an actively sectarian Sunni ‘king’ and his mercenary police force. To ensure minimum fraternisation, and to shrink the Shia majority, Sunni Arabs from such countries as Syria, Jordan and Yemen are awarded citizenship after loyal service in the police.
http://pulsemedia.org/2011/02/15/bahrain-rising/ 

Overcoming Israel’s attempts to discredit protest
In recent months, Israel’s tactics to discredit legitimate protestors have become increasingly Orwellian as it steps up its campaign against human rights activists within the country and abroad, especially in the United Kingdom. Ismail Patel comments for The Electronic Intifada.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11805.shtml?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electronicIntifadaPalestine+%28Electronic+Intifada+%3A+Palestine+News%29

The Long Arab Revolution, VIJAY PRASHAD
The Arab Revolt of 2011 is unabated. Protests continue in such unlikely places as Bahrain. On Valentine’s Day, a protest march in Manama had no love for the al-Khalifah royals. It wanted to deliver its message. “Our demand is a constitution written by the people,” the protestors chanted. Opposition leader Abdul Wahab Hussain told the press, “The number of riot police is huge, but we have shown using violence against us only makes us stronger.” The police fired rubber bullets and dispersed the as yet small crowd. “This is just the beginning,” Hussain said after he had been beaten off the streets.
http://www.counterpunch.com/prashad02152011.html 

Racist Subjectivity and Intellectual Dishonesty, Mohamed El Mokhtar
It felt sometimes quite depressing, and indeed demeaning, to be an Arab, living or going to school in America, during the Second Intifada, and hear ad nauseum the same old refrain chanted every minute in every media, at work, on campus: “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel this, Israel that..!”. It is all the more insulting that, besides being quite inaccurate to a large extent, it is, inherently, dishonest to say the least. It is, also, primarily meant to hurt some more than to extol others. This is certainly the case when coming out of the mouth of openly racist and cynically biased pundits like the O’Reillys, the Cavutos, or the Blitzers of this world, and the many spins doctors to whom they give, on a daily basis,  a free platform to air their one-sided and unchallenged view of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Muslim world.
http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16655

 
     

Palestinian queer activists challenge the ‘pinkwashing’ of the Israeli occupation

Feb 16, 2011

Maggie Sager

 

On February 16th, 2011 I attended a public forum entitled “Palestinian Queer Activists Talk Politics” in San Francisco’s Mission District. More than 20 groups including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Middle East Children’s Alliance sponsored the forum, moderated by lesbian Chicana activist and writer Cherríe Moraga. The discussion featured three speakers:

·         Abeer Mansour works for Aswat, a feminist queer Palestinian women’s group dedicating to “generat[ing] social change in order to meet the needs of one of the most silenced and oppressed communities in Israel.

·         Sami Shamali, who resides in the West Bank, represents Al Qaws, which aims to develop a “Palestinian civil society that respects and adheres to human and civil rights and allows individuals to live openly and equally, regardless of their sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity.”

·         Haneen Maikey, based in Jerusalem, is Al Qaws’ director.

I found the panel particularly compelling in light of its location, just outside of Dolores Park –a popular go-to spot for queer women in the Bay Area, in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the entire world. Because of San Francisco’s internationally known gay community, it has been a primary target of Israel’s re-branding campaign aimed at improving the country’s image through the use of “Pinkwashing.” Pinkwashing is the attempt to justify Israel’s occupation of Palestine by portraying it as a progressive and democratic haven for LGBT individuals in direct contrast with the rest of the Middle East. It plays into a larger effort that aims to disparage Israel’s neighbors in order to justify the country’s existence as necessary by any means, relying on the image of a lone democracy barely surviving surrounded by violent, intolerant, women-hating, and generally backward societies.

Active within the Bay Area LGBT community, I have personally witnessed attempted pinkwashes. In one particular instance, a protest erupted after the California Supreme Court issued its ruling that Proposition 8 (the initiative defining marriage as between one man and one woman) was constitutional despite its prior decision legalizing same-sex unions. Within hours thousands of people took to the streets in protest. After a procession of speakers demanding equal rights for gay and lesbian couples, the rally closed with a rabbi who took the microphone in order to emphasize Israel’s commitment to gay rights and opposition to Prop 8, and to ask us to support the Jewish State because of it. A few activists including myself were disgusted and immediately left. However the majority stayed, and later that year I found myself hearing the same sentiments repeated by prominent LGBT figures

Queer Palestinians, like Afghan and Iraqi women, have consistently found their discourse co-opted by neo-conservative hawks and progressives alike in order to justify war and occupation under the assumption that such actions will ‘liberate’ the oppressed. It is this cynical manipulation that the forum’s speakers work to disparage. Claiming their own voices and movement, queer Palestinian activists are clamoring to be heard and wish for their American brothers and sisters to spread their message. So what is it they have to say?

The clearest message resounding from all three speakers was that if one actually cares about LGBT rights within Palestine, one should be working to end the occupation. That Israel has cultivated a vibrant and open gay enclave is laudable, yet such accomplishments do not give the ‘Jewish State’ a free pass to violate human rights, including the rights of the gay Palestinians they allegedly care for. As Haneen dryly explained, “It doesn’t matter what the sexual orientation of the Soldier at a checkpoint is, whether he can serve openly or not. What matters is that he’s there at all.” Sami echoed the same sentiment, jibing that “the apartheid wall was not created to keep Palestinian homophobes out of Gay Israel, and there is no magic door for gay Palestinians to pass through.”

When pressed by an audience member as to which situation they would prefer, a perfectly egalitarian, queer-friendly society still under occupation or a free Palestine that still suffers from sexism, patriarchy and homophobia, the three became visibly angry. Abeer looked to the audience and asked, “Please raise your hand if you’d like to live one day under occupation,” before saying that occupied people cannot adequately address civil rights issues as they struggle for their very means of survival. Sami went on to contend that freedom transforms the mind, giving people the best opportunity to examine their previously held attitudes. Drawing on recent events in Egypt, he related that while sexual harassment is rampant within the country, in Tahrir square women remarked an utter absence of abuse during the mass protests. At the same time, if one does not wish to see the correlation between the unacceptably slow pace of social change and the increasing weight of the occupation, one cannot honestly contend that Israel’s actions do anything to help the plight of Palestinian women/LGBT individials.

Each had their own story to tell about the intersection of queer identity and Palestinian identity, agreeing that Palestinian homosexuality had its own unique experiences. Yet for all three, the liberation of their country reigned supreme in their minds. The meeting ended with a standing ovation as the moderator boomed, “Clap if you understand that queers will never be free until Palestine is free.”

While their discussion did not focus solely on Israel’s abuse of LGBT liberation struggles in perpetuating conflict, I took away from it a deepened understanding of just how much more the West unfairly expects of Palestinians than anyone else. We expect Palestinians to not throw stones at the IDF jeeps who come to teargas their protestations against the illegal confiscation of their entire villages while we wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a man who shot a robber attempting to take his television set; We expect them to not elect representatives that reflect their religious sentiments though no one is surprised when the Christian Right attempts to influence our political system and we ally ourselves with the likes of Saudi Arabia; and we expect Palestinian society to wholly unshackle itself from the bonds of misogyny, racism and bigotry before we acknowledge their entitlement to basic human rights, despite our own shortcomings, including the reality that the realization of LGBT equality within the United States itself is relatively new and still imperfect. In all of the struggles for liberation many Americans support, including civil rights for African Americans, we have never required such a high standard of “goodness” before acknowledging a group’s basic humanity.

Abeer, Haneen and Sami represent a growing coalition of brave Palestinian youth focused on transforming entrenched attitudes from within while simultaneously undermining the imposed constraints of colonialism. Their work is an invaluable contribution to ending the occupation and transforming our understanding of Palestinian society. The message of these activists and their organizations deserves to be heard widely. Please do your part in spreading it to those who claim to care about gay rights. If you would like to attend one of their panels, you can find information for the remaining tour dates here.

Maggie Sager is an American college student and activist in San Francisco. You can find her work at http//:www.resistingoccupation.com
     

We need to give more money to Israel

Feb 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

From Bruce Wolman: Your American tax dollars at work. While Americans lose their homes, jobs, unemployment benefits, winter heating subsidies, college grants, etc., aid to Israel is substantially increased. This is how Israel spends its money:

According to the document, “Tiberias is an ancient city more than 2,000 years old …. In Tiberias there are cemeteries that cover most of the area around the old city. So Cohanim do not use the roads in the center of Tiberias. The Israeli government decided to fund a project for making halakhic roads that would enable the passage of Cohanim.”
     

How Israel lost its soul during Gaza, and how Egypt has restored a vital principle of resistance

Feb 16, 2011

Philip Weiss

 

It’s a crazed day for me. Running. Chomsky, Bayoumi and Blumenthal are speaking in the city tonight, and last night I went to an event for ourGoldstone Report book at Alwan for the Arts and didn’t get home till 1.

I need to register two moving statements from the panel last night that resonate this morning. First, Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peacetalked about being in Israel during the Gaza onslaught, and how lonely it felt to be against the horrors taking place just 40 miles away. 

“It was the worst month of my life…. Sitting in Israel and not being able to do anything about it…. and a lot of activists felt the same way.”

During the Lebanon war of 2006, Israelis had been afraid, tense, Vilkomerson said. The entire country was caught up in the war, worried for their soldiers, and Israel evacuated the north. But there was none of that fear this time, complete indifference to what was going on. “The cafes were full, life went on entirely the same.”

Vilkomerson was shocked. She knew the West Bank, she went there to demonstrations all the time; but the level of the ferocity of the war was at a new level that she had not seen before, and that was evident from Day 1. They knew that 200 were dead at the end of Day 1, but Israel was unified.

The best example of the people’s indifference was that she would go to get her children from school and– “It was just like any other day. Hey, how are you doing, what’s up?” a friend would say. “I’d say, ‘I’m not good.’ ‘Oh why, what’s wrong?’ And when I told them, if they were on the liberal side, they would rearrange their features to look concerned.” And if they were on the right, they’d look at her like, what a stupid American.

She knew some Israeli activists who were so disturbed by the national mood that they did not leave their homes except to go to demonstrations. And they would go in groups to these demonstrations so as to be safe. And at these demonstrations, police barriers were set up from which war supporters threw rotten eggs at the demonstrators, and she would see people in business clothing, respectable people, literally trying to hurl themselves over the barrier to get at her to kill her.

“There was a sense of nationalism, we’re doing the right thing, how dare you criticize us.”

But she had to go to the demonstrations, she said, because she would have gone crazy sitting in her place, thinking she was the only person who was appalled. And let me remind you, our valiant president-elect, who only got by Hillary Clinton by opposing the Iraq war disaster, said not one word about the slaughter in Gaza.

Now here is the good news. Gaza catalyzed the people who were alone and enraged, it ruptured a significant part of the American Jewish community that had supported Israel without question. Rupture was her word. “Irreparable rupture in some portion of the Jewish community.” Yes.

And Jewish Voice for Peace was empowered. And the civil society coalition of Palestinians and Jews; and the demonstrations in the West Bank were enlarged. And Boycott From Within grew as a movement inside Israel.

What an amazing testimony.

The second statement I need to document for history was Felice Gelman’s very important comment from her visit to Egypt. By the way, we had a panel of four women and one man. Pretty good on gender diversity (and I speak as a reformed sexist pig).

Gelman was in Cairo for the worst days, the violence, and she said that when the Obama administration didn’t come out strongly in favor of the protesters, and when they were being attacked on that Wednesday of camels and horses, there was a  feeling among the protesters, “they had to win their own revolution.”

The Egyptian government thugs were using everything that the Israelis use against demonstrations on the West Bank. Teargas, rubber bullets, batons. And what did the demonstrators do: They threw stones. And they covered their heads in blankets– as helmets. My god, what bravery. But: they threw stones, and the world honored them for doing so.

“The Egyptian revolution has legitimized the right of nonviolent protesters to defend themselves,” Gelman said. “Which I believe the Israelis have taken away from us.”

She explained that in South Africa, there was some violence on the part of the anti-apartheid demonstrators, in India too. As historically there has always been, by resisters who are being crushed.

“The Israeli suppression of the intifadah [second] took away the right of nonviolent protesters to defend themselves. The Egyptian revolution has restored that right, in my mind. Palestinian deserve equal treatment to other protesters seeking exactly the same rights.”

Wow. I think of how brainwashed I have been by the debates over the nonviolent protests. By the insistence on the part of our media/officials that people on a boat attacked by commandos from helicopters in the middle of the night in international waters shouldn’t lift a stick to defend themselves as nine are mowed down dead. Now I am nonviolent (and afraid, not willing to die for please fill in the blank); but Gelman and Egypt have swept my thinking. And I urge the mainstream media to reflect this wisdom when they begin their wall-to-wall coverage of the surging West Bank protests.

There were other great statements last night, by Alia Malek on how wonderful it is to have good news at last; by Jamil Dakwar on how many reporters got into Cairo, but “Not a single reporter, not even Anderson Cooper, was able to get into the Gaza Strip, and that was not seen as a big deal”– that sweeps my thinking, too; and by my co-editor Lizzy Ratner on Desmond Tutu warning her not to be jaded about the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is vital to hundreds of millions of people around the world as an aspirational document.

And which, as Malek told us last night, 7-year-old Palestinian children can recite to you from memory. Yes: why?

(Goldstone book link at right; please buy it; I sold 9 copies at the table at the back of Alwan last night; then please write scathing/gossamer reviews of the book at Am*z*n or another vendor.)

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Mu-Barak and the Fall of the Zionist Running Dogs!

NOVANEWS

 

 

Good riddance to Mu-Barak and all Zionist Running Dogs. The revolution is coming, not just to the Mideast but to the whole world against International Zionism and Globalism.

 

To watch this powerful video, just click on it. Make sure that you help spread this video far and wide and don’t forget to rate and favorite the video as well as leave a comment!

 

Posted in EgyptComments Off on Mu-Barak and the Fall of the Zionist Running Dogs!

Mark & Spencer: Zio-Nazi Ally

NOVANEWS

 

The history of Britain’s biggest clothing retailer Marks and Spencer demonstrates how consumer habits in Britain are tied to the oppression of other peoples. Marks and Spencer has championed the state of Israel and thus connived in the dispossession and suppression of the Palestinians. Our comforts and pleasures, which Marks and Spencer so eagerly service, have been bought at an unacceptable price, as TREVOR RAYNE reveals.

Russian Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Pogroms against the Russian Jews followed. Many Jewish people fled to the USA, some came to Britain and a trickle went to Palestine – a land they called Zion. Among those coming to Britain was Michael Marks, who was settled in Leeds by 1884.

Read more: Marks and Spencer: ally of Israel

The Al Aqsa Intifada began on 28 September 2000.  The Victory to the Intifada campaign has been demonstrating outside branches of Marks & Spencer in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance every week for the 10 years since then, raising awareness about the struggle on Britain’s busiest shopping streets. Come and join us to mark 10 years of opposition to Marks & Spencer’s corporate sponsorship of the occupation of Palestine.

Israel is a racist construct, whereby a land which is holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who lived together in harmony there for hundreds of years, is designated as the sole property of the Jewish people.  The Zionist project of creating this land would not have been possible without the help of British imperialism, which saw the opportunity to create ‘a little loyal Jewish Ulster’ to look after its interests in the Middle East. This same motivation keeps the most powerful governments in the world today backing Israel with huge amounts of trade and aid, especially military. It is this imperialist support that allows the majority of Israel’s (Jewish) population to live a privileged existence in comparison to the majority of people in the Middle East, and that permits Israel to commit war crimes with impunity.

Read More

The ‘peace process’ is a farce. Israel has given nothing while building new settlements and new settlement roads, and intensifying its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Israel has continued to demolish homes, uproot and burn olive and fruit trees and restrict Palestinians’ movement by humiliating checkpoints. Designated Palestinian areas get smaller and smaller with every new ‘Peace Plan’, with Palestinians forced into controlled enclaves like Bantustans.

The failure of the Oslo Peace Process of the 1990s led to the start of the Al Aqsa Intifada on 29 September 2000, following Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit the previous day to the Temple Mount, which contains Islam’s third holiest shrine, Al-Aqsa Mosque, accompanied by 1,000 riot police, when police used live ammunition and rubber-coated bullets against unarmed rock-throwing Palestinian demonstrators, killing six and injuring 220.

In the first few days of the Intifada the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) fired 700,000 bullets and other projectiles in the West Bank and about 300,000 in Gaza. As in the Intifada that started in 1987, Palestinians began by using non-violent methods.  Repeatedly, however, peaceful protest was met with live ammunition.

In the 10 years, 29 September 2000 to 31 July 2010:

  • 6,545 Palestinians have been killed by the IDF in the Occupied Territories

  • 1,315 children, 32 medical personnel, 11 journalists and 15 international supporters have been killed

  • 30,545 Palestinians have been wounded by the IDF in the West Bank and Gaza

Israel continues to take land and homes from the Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and within Israel’s 1948 borders. There are plans for more settlements in East Jerusalem and Palestinians are being forced out of the Negev and the Jordan Valley.

Israel demands that Palestinians recognise Israel’s right to exist, but refuses to recognise the Palestinian people’s right to exist. Israel maintains that Jewish people all over the world have a right to ‘return’ to Israel but refuses to consider the Palestinian refugee population’s right to return to the land that they were dispossessed of in the last 63 years.

The people of Gaza have suffered most acutely as the Israeli regime punishes the people for democratically electing the Hamas government.  Following the barbaric military onslaught in 2008-9, in which over 1,400 people were killed, including over 400 children. 5,500 were injured, tens of thousands left homeless, and illegal weapons, such as DIME and white phosphorus used on the civilian population, the Zionists continue to keep Gaza under permanent siege. The vicious attack on the international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza on 31 May 2010 saw Israel invade a ship in international waters and kill nine civilians.

The vicious racism of the state of Israel continues with the backing of the British establishment. That is why we must take action now here in Britain.

Marks & Spencer is a Zionist British company with outlets across the country.  We target its stores to highlight not just IsraHell atrocities but the close support that the Zionists receive from Britain and British companies. M&S has a long history of supporting Zionism and remains one of the biggest British retail traders with the state of IsraHell. And reaching beyond strict trade relations, from the 1940s when M&S Chairman IsraHell Sieff advocated ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, to 2008, when Chief Executive Stuart Rose told Zionist charity World Ort ‘we share the same values’, M&S has maintained a politically supportive relationship with the Zio-Nazi  regime.

Posted in CampaignsComments Off on Mark & Spencer: Zio-Nazi Ally

Palestine: No Two-State Solution

NOVANEWS
 

The publication of over 1,600 secret documents leaked to Al Jazeera which cover peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine in the period between 1999 and 2010 shatter any illusions that Israel will ever agree to a two-state solution. BOB SHEPHERD reports on how the documents expose the spineless and cowardly nature of the PLO/Fatah negotiators who have gone to almost any length to appease Israel.

 

No matter how much the Palestinian leaders conceded, it has never been enough for Israel or for its imperialist backers. In fact the various peace talks are shown to have been little more than an exercise by imperialism to develop and foster a pliant pro-imperialist Palestinian leadership committed only to building a police state to suppress Palestinian resistance. For the Zionists such negotiations could be strung out as long as possible to make a two-state solution utterly impossible. Their arrogance is breathtaking: even after the publication of the documents the Israeli deputy prime minister Moshe Ya’alon felt able to declare: ‘We’re fed up with giving and giving and giving, and not getting any real substance [in return].’

According to the leaked documents, the PLO/Fatah negotiators, led by Ahmed Qureia and Saeb Erekat, were willing to allow Israel to annex all Zionist settlements in East Jerusalem bar one, Har Homa. Erekat declared in June 2008: ‘It’s no secret…we are offering you the biggest Yerushalayim in history’. Israeli representatives contemptuously rejected the offer because as their lead negotiator, then foreign secretary Tzipi Livni, put it, ‘We do not like this suggestion because it does not meet our demands…but I really appreciate it’.

Israel was secure in rejecting this craven offer from the PLO/Fatah because it knew it had the full backing of the US. Condoleezza Rice, then US Secretary of State, said in July 2008 that if the Palestinians insisted Israel could not keep the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel in the West Bank, ‘you won’t have a state’. She added that no Israeli leader could accept a deal ‘without including them in an Israeli state’. At one point she suggested that Palestinian refugees could be resettled in South America, possibly in Chile or Argentina. At every stage the US was negotiating on behalf of Israel.

Livni, regarded as being on the liberal wing of Zionism, declared at one meeting in 2007 that ‘the policy of the government for a really long time…is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that is impossible [for a Palestinian state], we already have the land and we cannot create the state’. The Kadima government, of which she was the deputy leader, was telling the world quite the opposite!

The right of return for Palestinian refugees, a historic demand of the Palestinian national movement, was another principle the PLO/Fatah negotiators gave away. Erekat declared that it was ‘a bargaining chip’ with Palestinian negotiators eventually agreeing to the return of a token number of 10,000 refugees out of a total of around five million over a ten-year period. Abbas is minuted as saying ‘it is illogical to ask Israel to take five million, or indeed one million…that would mean the end of Israel’. Livni was opposed to any Palestinian refugee returning and repeatedly pressed in 2007-08 for the ‘transfer’ of some of Israel’s own Arab citizens into a future Palestinian state as part of a land-swap deal that would exchange Palestinian villages now in Israel for Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

In 2008, discussing the opening of border crossings into Gaza, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad complained to Tony Blair, then the peace envoy of the Quartet of the US, EU, UN and Russia, that: ‘If Hamas is seen as having succeeded in opening them then the message will be that rockets yield results’.

Later, in 2009, Erekat told Mitchell that the tunnels from Egypt to Gaza were still functioning. Referring to the border he said, ‘11 kilometres! What’s going on with you and the US, the $23m [given by the US to block the tunnels]…? It’s business as usual in the tunnels, the Hamas economy.’ The documents also expose Palestinian Authority (PA) cooperation with the US in attempting to postpone discussion of the Goldstone Report into Israeli war crimes in Gaza at the UN despite public denials at the time. Erekat is minuted as telling the US Middle East Envoy George Mitchell, ‘on going to the UN [with the Report] we will always co-ordinate with you’.

The leaked documents show how the British Labour government played a central role in building up the repressive forces of the PA. MI6 drew up plans for a clampdown on Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other resistance forces, proposing internment without trial of leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the creation of a new security taskforce that would be outside the control of traditional security chiefs with ‘direct lines to Israeli Intelligence’. In 2005 Britain was funding the General Intelligence Service, Special Forces and Preventive Security arms of the PA security forces. In 2008 Human Rights Watch reported that both the General Intelligence Service and Preventive Security force were engaged in the unlawful arrests and torture of Hamas activists. The PA’s security forces now openly collaborate with Israel and are routinely accused of detention without trial and torture. Erekat proudly told a US official in 2009, ‘we have had to kill Palestinians to establish one authority, one gun and the rule of law…we have even killed our own people to maintain order and the rule of law’.

There can be no doubt now about Zionist intentions or the true character of the PLO/Fatah and the PA. Israel will never accept a two-state solution: it will not allow the establishment of any form of Palestinian entity. With complete imperialist support it will continue to establish ‘facts on the ground’ whilst relying on the PA to suppress all opposition. The PA itself will do anything to re-establish control over the people of Gaza even if it means condoning their starvation. Yet there is a chill wind blowing for these traitors: the uprisings and demonstrations in Tunisia, Yemen and Egypt show that their days will be numbered.

Settlement expansion accelerates

Given the spinelessness of the PA, it is no surprise that Israel has been able to continue its settlement construction in East Jerusalem with impunity. A new report, The Jerusalem Report 2010 Annex 1 and 2,* from the European Union Heads of Missions in Ramallah and Jerusalem to the European Parliament in Brussels, speaks of ‘the systematic undermining of the Palestinian presence’ in East Jerusalem, or in plain language, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The report highlights in its opening paragraphs what the realities of life are like for Palestinians in East Jerusalem and points to the open agenda of Israel which is to force Palestinians out of the city:

‘The continued expansion of settlements, restrictive zoning and planning, ongoing demolitions and evictions, an inequitable education policy, difficult access to health care, the inadequate provision of resources and investment and the precarious residency issue have not only serious humanitarian consequences, they undermine the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem.’

The report also explains Israel’s overall strategy concerning Jerusalem:

‘Successive Israeli governments have pursued a policy of transferring Jewish population into the occupied Palestinian territory in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law. In East Jerusalem 35% of the land has been expropriated for “state land”. Only citizens of Israel or those legally entitled to claim Israeli citizenship (ie Jewish) can buy property built on state land. As a consequence, out of a total of more than 500,000 settlers in occupied Palestinian land some 190,000 Israeli settlers today live in settlements inside East Jerusalem. Between 2001 and 2009, 37% of all settlement housing units in the occupied Palestinian territory were located in East Jerusalem.’

The Report documents continuous settlement expansion. From 10 November 2010: ‘Four new town plan schemes (the first since March) have been approved for public review, altogether for 1,275 new housing units in the settlements Ramot and Har Homa and 625 in Pisgat Ze’ev.’ On 16 January at least 1,400 homes will be authorised for Gilo. The Report states that at least 32% of all Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem do not have the necessary building permits, putting a potential 80,000 people under threat as such buildings are considered to be illegal by the Zionist authorities and are liable to demolition. According to the report, although Palestinians make up about 30% of the population of the city, only 10% of the Municipal budget is spent in Palestinian areas. This means that Palestinian areas are run down, with bad roads and poor sewage systems. 75.3% of Palestinian adults and 83.1% of Palestinian children live below the poverty line, and over 95,000 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem live in permanent poverty.

Apartheid Wall approaches completion

The Israeli army announced in mid-January that the Apartheid Wall around Jerusalem should be completed by the end of 2011. The Report states that of about 168km of the Wall already built around Jerusalem, only 3% is built on the 1967 Green Line, the rest is inside the West Bank. The racist apartheid nature of the Wall is highlighted by the situation of Al Walaja village which will be completely surrounded by the Wall with access only by a tunnel!

There has been an ongoing popular campaign against the construction of the Apartheid Wall in villages and communities along its route in the West Bank, a movement which Israel is attacking and attempting to suppress in ever more violent ways. In the village of Bil’in, the regular Friday demonstration against the Wall on 31 December 2010 was attacked by the Israeli army firing tear gas. Jawaher Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh, age 34, was overcome by the toxic gas and died in hospital the next day. She became the first Palestinian martyr of 2011. Her brother, Bassem Abu Rahmeh, had been killed in a similar manner protesting against the Wall on 17 April 2009 when he was shot with a tear gas canister point blank at his chest.

*http://english.aljazeera.net/mritems/Documents/2011/1/10/201111020542498442710_01_11_eu_hom_report_on_east_jerusalem.pdf

 

Siege of Gaza unending

The siege of Gaza continues, a report produced by the Palestinian Centre of Human Rights, shows that the unemployment rate is 50% with four out of five families dependent on food aid. 95% of all industrial establishments are closed and according to UN statistics poverty levels in the Gaza Strip are amongst the highest in the world. Today more than 1.1m people, approximately 75% of Gaza’s population, lack food security. The UN Special Rapporteur declared that the Israeli blockade has restricted ‘the flows of food to sub subsistence levels’.

Fatah opposes Tunisia uprising

As Palestinian resistance forces joined with progressive organisations across the world in expressing solidarity with the uprisings of the Egyptian and Tunisian people, the PA did quite the opposite. Mahmoud Abbas phoned to offer his support to Tunisia’s Ben Ali hours before he fled to Saudi Arabia. He also telephoned Egyptian President Mubarak on 29 January. The PA refused to issue a permit for a demonstration in Ramallah on 19 January in support of the revolt in Tunisia, and then broke it up when it took place anyway. It subsequently banned demonstrations in support of the uprising in Egypt. Mubarak’s support for the PA is crucial for its survival.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestine: No Two-State Solution

CAUGHT! FOX NEWS-RON PAUL MEDIA HOAX

NOVANEWS

 

FOX CHEERLEADERS, “SELLING THE BUNKUM”
MEDIA GIANT FALSIFIES COVERAGE OF REFORMER

Pro-War Network Switches Video, Cuts Cheers, Inserts Booing

By Gordon Duff

Fox News, the network of Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly and Limbaugh, the voice of Wall Street (they own the Wall Street Journal) and the Israeli lobby, was caught attempting to rig a political race.  This wasn’t the first time for Fox, the highly skewed “voice” of powerful interest groups that oppose reforms in America.

In the video below, Fox switches-suppresses coverage of throngs of supporters cheering Congressman Ron Paulfor president.  To make matters worse, a Fox correspondent confronts Paul, who was not in attendance, citing their falsified coverage.  Watch:


YouTube – Veterans Today –

Fox, an offshoot of a Hollywood movie studio established in the 1920s, was taken over by Australian born Israeli media giant, Rupert Murdoch.  Murdoch’s media empire has a virtual stranglehold on public opinion in the United States, Britain, Australia and 70 other countries, controlling, not only news and opinion but movies, TV entertainment and even internet.

Murdoch was allowed to take over Fox when Newt Gingrich, then a powerful American politician before his series ofsex scandals, worked to change laws allowing foreign control of television networks.  In return, Gingrich received a generous honorarium in the form of a book contract for $4.5 million.

The message of the Fox empires is clear and consistent.

  • Greed is good,

  • Laws don’t apply to the powerful.

  • Human life is cheap.

  • Israel should rule the world.

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The Us and IsraHell Can ill-Afford to Lose Egypt?

NOVANEWS

 

protest

 

By Asif Haroon Raja

Propelled by the happenings in Tunisia, the youth of Egypt decided to take to the streets. Protests started in Cairo on 25 January and soon spread to Alexandria and other cities. Police and paramilitary forces resorted to brutal actions to disperse the crowds and killed and injured people in dozens but the strength of protestors kept swelling. Their main slogans were ‘go Mubarak go’ and ‘liberation and democracy’. When fatalities reached the figure of over 300 and hundreds got injured, Mubarak handed over security to the Army and curfew was imposed. Defying the curfew, on 4 February one million people gathered at Tahrir Square in Cairo and camped there saying that they would not vacate it till President Mubarak resigned. Saturation of Tahrir with sea of people paralyzed the flow of traffic. The Egyptian Army emulated Tunis Army’s example and refused to shoot at the surging crowds and was satisfied that no anti-Army slogan was raised by the protesters.

82-year old Hosni dug his heels and refused to abdicate power despite surging pressure of the people and USA and key western countries veering away from him. His pledge to quit in September to ensure orderly transition was neither welcomed by the protesting Egyptians nor the world leaders including Obama. All favored swift and credible transition to democracy. His nomination of Lt Gen Suleiman Omar as his vice president on 29 January, dissolution of cabinet and recreation of fresh cabinet under new PM and his promise to carryout reforms didn’t calm down the people.

When Hosni addressed the nation late night on 10 February, contrary to the expectations of all that he will announce his resignation, he expressed his resolve not to quit till election of new president. After jeering at him the whole night, when the crowds started moving towards the presidential palace in Heliopolis menacingly, Hosni decided to throw in the towel, hand over the reins to Omar and to shift to his private residence in Sharm el Sheikh. The 18-day revolt of the youth launched with a revolutionary zeal without the support of a political party or a central leader ended on a victorious note on 11th night.

There were countrywide celebrations which are still continuing. While bulk has moved out of Tahrir Square under constant goading by the army, the diehards are not ready to move out till completion of transition to democracy. They say that they had not made sacrifices to replace a dictator with another one. The parliament has been dissolved and the constitution suspended. The situation is still in a flux since the army is taking its time and wants to continue with Hosni’s policies till completion of transition and formation of new government. The people are demanding release of political prisoners, lifting of state of emergency, closure of military courts, fair and free elections and swift handover of power to civil government.

Throughout the popular uprising, the US helplessly watched the unfolding events and made no effort to defuse the crisis. The west took a similar stance and asked Hosni to hasten the process of transition. Rather, it kept pressing Hosni for speedy and fulsome reforms and asked the Army to show restraint. It was apparent that America had given up aging president and was looking for a younger and fresh replacement.

Irrespective of its stance taken, fall of America’s protégés in Tunisia and in Egypt in a space of one month has consternated the Americans. One of the pillars of the US Middle East twin-pillar policy based on Saudi Arabia and Iran had crashed in March 1979 and ever since Iran is anti-America. It’s most trusted ally Turkey has started to distance itself from USA, EU and Israel and is moving towards the east after seeing double standards of the west in response to Peace Flotilla episode near Gaza coast. Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon have emerged as serious challenges to its strategic partner Israel while Iran is hastening to become a nuclear power.

Saudi Arabia’s King is also unhappy over the US dubious role in Egyptian crisis and is having second thoughts that like Hosni he too could be ditched by USA in case such a situation occurs in his country. In protest, he has extended a hand of friendship to Iran. Israel too is displeased since it kept urging Washington to play a pro-active role to save Hosni. It can ill-afford to have anti-Israeli regime in Cairo supportive of Hamas and can also not afford to lose oil and gas supply from El-Arish in Egypt’s North Sinai to Ashkelon on cheaper rates.

Under the circumstances, the US can ill-afford to lose the most populous and powerful Arab country which has proved to be a reliable ally. Egypt is strategically important since it controls vital Suez Canal which acts as a transition point between the Mediterranean and Red Sea; Ras Banas Base provides excellent landing facilities to US Special Forces to tackle any untoward situation in vital Middle East region; it is a secular state and is anti-Islamists and bounded by a peace treaty with Israel; it has influence both in Arab and African world. The US as well as Israel cannot afford to have an anti-American regime in Cairo since their stakes in Middle East are very high. Now that the heat of popular revolt has subsided, The US will try to hijack the movement and bring in a protégé of its choice.

The prospects of oppressed political parties in Egypt that had a small presence in the legislature to form next government have brightened up. These include Akhwan al Muslimeen which is the largest Islamic party in the Arab world, centre-right Wafd, the left-wing Progressive Unionist Party, centre-left Nasserite Party, Al-Ghad, and Kifaya. No sooner these conservative parties gain power and National Democratic Party occupies opposition seats, Camp David Accord will breathe its last and old antagonism between the two countries will reappear and will make Middle East politics more explosive. It would also heighten pressure on uncompromising Israel under right wing extremist coalition led by Netanyahu to stop illegal settlement on occupied Arab lands and to arrive at a negotiated settlement of Palestinian dispute. In case Israel continues with its dogmatism and persecution of Palestinians, possibility of 4th round of Arab-Israeli conflict would increase.

Possibilities open are that Vice President Omar takes over power. Army rule will be unacceptable to the people since Omar was responsible for unleashing brutal oppression against Islamists. The other is that Omar delays general elections till September and lets the same system to continue by propping up a civilian leader like Amr Musa or ElBaradei acceptable to senior leadership of the Army, the US and Israel, co-opt part of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as well as other friendly political parties/groups as junior coalition partners of NDP.  This may also not work since with little prospects of change, the MB will not accept the offer and the people will reject it. The third is to carryout essential constitutional and electoral reforms and hold free and fair elections in next three months time and let all parties to take part in elections. This option if exercised will calm down the people and will be welcomed but it may not be acceptable to USA and Israel if the Islamists win the elections. The Army instead of catering for American interests would do what is best is in Egypt’s national interest.

Posted in EgyptComments Off on The Us and IsraHell Can ill-Afford to Lose Egypt?

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