Archive | April 3rd, 2011

Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

 

Dear Friends,

Normally I would file a report as the first under ‘militarism in education.’  However that would not sufficiently depict the event, which is rightly described above as “education toward hatred of Arabs.”  For not only did a group of 12th graders spend a class trip on an army base, but they also spent it practicing shooting, and not only that, but at targets wearing keffiyahs—a traditional Palestinian headdress.   Given such class trips, it is no wonder that in item 2 we learn that “close to half of Israel’s Jewish youth were supportive of the notion of revoking the basic political rights (such as election to the Knesset) of the country’s Arab population.”  Item 2 is a longer report of the poll whose results were included in my message a few days ago.  It’s main focus is the importance that teenagers and those in their early 20s attach to nationalism.  This is frightening.  It is reminiscent of the early 1930s in Germany.  And the youth holding these ideas will be the ones who determine the future of Israel.

Item 3 informs us that time for a peace offer is rapidly running out, with September coming closer with every passing day.

Item 4 contains 2 brief reports from the West Bank.  The first relates that settlement construction is ongoing in the Salfit governate, as is land theft.  The settlers and their government are not headed for peace, nor want it, preferring instead expansion and colonization.

The second report of only a few lines reports a killing of a Palestinian by Jews.

Item 5 relates that Israeli authors have joined the campaign against deporting bookseller Munther Fahim, and for his continuing to run his book shop.

Item 6 is properly entitled (in part) “At a loss for words.”  It is about “A congressional double standard on incitement,” and brings to the fore congressional denouncement of Palestinian incitement to hatred against Israel, while totally ignoring Israeli incitement to hatred of Israeli Arab citizens.  The author reminds us of a number of instances of the latter.

All the best, and perhaps tomorrow will be a better day.

Dorothy

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1.  Haaretz,

April 3, 2011


Students on trip to IDF base simulated shooting targets with Arab headdress

Incident took place during at a military base where students were being escorted as part of an ‘IDF preparation’ project, sanctioned by the Education Ministry.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/students-on-trip-to-idf-base-simulated-shooting-targets-with-arab-headdress-1.353728

By Or Kashti

Twelfth-grade students from Herzliya’s Hayovel High School took part in a simulated shooting attack in which the targets were figures decked out with the Arab keffiyeh headdress, Haaretz has learned.

The incident took place at a military base last week during the annual 12th grade trip. The students were being escorted to a commanders’ base in the Negev as part of an “IDF preparation” project, which is sanctioned by the Education Ministry.

According to a person familiar with the details, the event was tantamount to “educating toward hatred of Arabs.”

“Some citizens of the State of Israel wear keffiyehs,” the source said. “Now they are viewed as legitimate targets for a shooting simulation.”

The trip concluded on Thursday. In a notice that was sent to parents, the school said that “the course of the trip is an inseparable part of the educational curriculum in general, and the ‘IDF preparation’ in particular.”

The first day of the trip included “activities with soldiers in commanders’ school,” according to the notice. The students met with soldiers on the base and heard lectures about the army and the importance of conscription.

During one of the discussions, the students were told that whoever does not serve in a combat unit “does not perform meaningful service.”

During the visit to the base, some of the students took part in an “electronic shooting range,” a computer-generated simulation that recreates a setting in which a soldier uses a laser-guided weapon to shoot targets. According to sources, the images in the electronic shooting range were outfitted with keffiyehs.

“From what I understood, the boys were more excited about this visit than the girls, some of whom preferred not to take part,” said the parent of one student on the trip. “I don’t think that it’s the education system’s job to train students to shoot.”

The “IDF preparation” project usually entails the visit of army officers to schools as well as occasional class trips to army bases for educational and instructional activities. This is believed to be one of the first times a visit to an army base has included students’ participation in a military activity. Children who are eligible for conscription usually undergo introductory military training as part of “Gadna Week,” which is not under the purview of the school system.

A school official said that the use of an electronic simulator that depicted a target wearing a keffiyeh “is certainly problematic, but this is a wider and more fundamental issue than our visit to the base. We have no intention of teaching the students to shoot people with keffiyehs.”

The Education Ministry did not issue a comment as of press time.

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2.Jerusalem Post,

April 3, 2011 15:43 IST

Jewish nationalism is top priority for Israeli youth

http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=214885&utm_source=Pulseem&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Jpost_Newsletter_03/04

By RUTH EGLASH

03/04/2011

New book shows democracy not the most important objective for youth, reveals radically opposing views among Israeli Arabs and Jews.

Jewish nationalism – and not democracy – emerged as the most important objective for Israel’s youth in 2010, according to research featured in a new book by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, published last week.

Entitled All of the Above – Israeli Youth: Identity Paradoxes, the book, written in cooperation with the Macro Center for Political Economics, includes in-depth Dahaf Institute research carried out last summer on the attitudes and beliefs of some 1,600 young people – “both Arabs and Jews” – living here.

Among the questions addressed to the 800 teens (aged 15 to 18), and 800 youths (21 to 24), was a series relating directly to the rule of law and governance in this country.

Asked to rate what was important and unimportant in terms of running the country, democracy came in only third place, with 14.3 percent seeing it as essential to the state; while 26% of Jewish respondents said that Jewish nationality was the most important factor.

The majority of Jewish youths questioned by the poll also emphasized the need for a strong leadership, over the rule of law.

In addition to examining attitudes and values regarding Zionism, democracy and national institutions, the study also probed opinions and values regarding the treatment of minorities in Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust.

“The results show the near future of Israeli society,” said the publishers in a statement.

“The opinions and values of the youth can be used as a seismometer for detecting social change and future developments.”

Examining attitudes of young Jewish Israelis toward Arab-Israelis, and vice versa, the study found that close to half of Israel’s Jewish youth were supportive of the notion of revoking the basic political rights (such as election to the Knesset) of the country’s Arab population.

Asked whether they believed the statement “Most Arabs do not accept Israel’s right to exist and would destroy us if they could,” close to half said that it was “highly likely.”

Within the Arab-Israeli community, attitudes were equally disparaging, with the majority of Arab teens and youths saying they did not feel in any way part of Israeli society. Indeed, only 18% of the 15-18 age group, and 19% among the 21-24 yearolds, felt otherwise.

On the question of whether Jews and Arabs could live side by side in the same neighborhoods, both communities said it was not desirable, and not important. Only a handful of respondents showed a willingness to do so.

On a positive note, most of the youths surveyed said they supported peace negotiations with the Palestinians – but rejected compromises, preferring the existing situation.

“These positions of theyouth in Israel are not optimistic regarding the prospects of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, or regarding the future of Israel as a democratic and pluralistic society,” co-publisher of the book Dr. Ralf Hexel said in a statement.

“It is evident that the values and opinions described present a real challenge to those social and political forces committed to the values and goals of Israel’s founding fathers.”

His publishing partner, Dr. Roby Nathanson, added: “The results of the study are unpleasant, but we, and the youth surveyed, do not live in a black-and-white world, but in a world characterized by constant change. The most important thing is that Israel must increase significantly the investment in democratic education.

“The unequivocal result of the study shows that the youth in Israel are not conscious enough of democracy as a value, and of democratic values.

Democracy is not merely voting every four years, but includes values such as tolerance and consideration of the rights of minorities, of the weak and of the different.”

The book, which will be published in English in May, also contains a comparison to previous studies on Israeli youth conducted in 2004 and 1998, as well as a series of essays and opinion pieces by some of the country’s top commentators, political figures and other celebrities.

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

3.  New York Times,

April 2, 2011

In Israel, Time for Peace Offer May Run Out

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/world/middleeast/03mideast.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast

By ETHAN BRONNER

JERUSALEM — With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has been steadily building support for such a resolution in September, a move that could place Israel into a diplomatic vise. Israel would be occupying land belonging to a fellow United Nations member, land it has controlled and settled for more than four decades and some of which it expects to keep in any two-state solution.

“We are facing a diplomatic-political tsunami that the majority of the public is unaware of and that will peak in September,” said Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, at a conference in Tel Aviv last month. “It is a very dangerous situation, one that requires action.” He added, “Paralysis, rhetoric, inaction will deepen the isolation of Israel.”

With aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thrashing out proposals to the Palestinians, President Shimon Peres is due at the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Obama and explore ways out of the bind. The United States is still uncertain how to move the process forward, according to diplomats here.

Israel’s offer is expected to include transfer of some West Bank territory outside its settlements to Palestinian control and may suggest a regional component — an international conference to serve as a response to the Arab League peace initiatives.

But Palestinian leaders, emboldened by support for their statehood bid, dismiss the expected offer as insufficient and continue to demand an end to settlement building before talks can begin.

“We want to generate pressure on Israel to make it feel isolated and help it understand that there can be no talks without a stop to settlements,” said Nabil Shaath, who leads the foreign affairs department of Fatah, the main party of the Palestinian Authority. “Without that, our goal is membership in the United Nations General Assembly in September.”

Israeli, Palestinian and Western officials interviewed on the current impasse, most of them requesting anonymity, expressed an unusual degree of pessimism about a peaceful resolution. All agreed that the turmoil across the Middle East had prompted opposing responses from Israel and much of the world.

Israel, seeing the prospect of even more hostile governments as its neighbors, is insisting on caution and time before taking any significant steps. It also wants to build in extensive long-term security guarantees in any two-state solution, but those inevitably infringe the sovereignty of a Palestinian state.

The international community tends to draw the opposite conclusion. Foreign Secretary William Hague of Britain, for example, said last week that one of the most important lessons to be learned from the Arab Spring was that “legitimate aspirations cannot be ignored and must be addressed.” He added, referring to Israeli-Palestinian talks, “It cannot be in anyone’s interests if the new order of the region is determined at a time of minimum hope in the peace process.”

The Palestinian focus on September stems not only from the fact that the General Assembly holds its annual meeting then. It is also because Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced in September 2009 that his government would be ready for independent statehood in two years and that Mr. Obama said last September that he expected the framework for an independent Palestinian state to be declared in a year.

Mr. Obama did not indicate what the borders of that state would be, assuming they would be determined through direct negotiations. But with Israeli-Palestinian talks broken off months ago and the Middle East in the process of profound change, many argue that outside pressure is needed.

Germany, France and Britain say negotiations should be based on the 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps, exactly what the Netanyahu government rejects because it says it predetermines the outcome.

“Does the world think it is going to force Israel to declare the 1967 lines and giving up Jerusalem as a basis for negotiation?” asked a top Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That will never happen.”

While the Obama administration has referred in the past to the 1967 lines as a basis for talks, it has not decided whether to back the European Union, the United Nations and Russia — the other members of the so-called quartet — in declaring them the starting point, diplomats said. The quartet meets on April 15 in Berlin.

Israel, which has settled hundreds of thousands of Jews inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem, acknowledges that it will have to withdraw from much of the land it now occupies there. But it hopes to hold onto the largest settlement blocs and much of East Jerusalem as well as the border to the east with Jordan and does not want to enter into talks with the other side’s position as the starting point.

That was true even before its closest ally in the Arab world, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, was driven from power, helping fuel protest movements that now roil other countries, including Jordan, which has its own peace agreement with Israel.

“Whatever we put forward has to be grounded in security arrangements because of what is going on regionally,” said Zalman Shoval, one of a handful of Netanyahu aides drawing up the Israeli proposal that may be delivered as a speech to the United States Congress in May. “We are facing the rebirth of the eastern front as Iran grows strong. We have to secure the Jordan Valley. And no Israeli government is going to move tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes quickly.”

Those Israelis live in West Bank settlements, the source of much of the disagreement not only with the Palestinians but with the world. Not a single government supports Israel’s settlements. The Palestinians say the settlements are proof that the Israelis do not really want a Palestinian state to arise since they are built on land that should go to that state.

“All these years, the main obstacle to peace has been the settlements,” Nimer Hammad, a political adviser to President Abbas, said. “They always say, ‘but you never made it a condition of negotiations before.’ And we say, ‘that was a mistake.’ ”

The Israelis counter that the real problem is Palestinian refusal to accept openly a Jewish state here and ongoing anti-Israeli incitement and praise of violence on Palestinian airwaves.

Another central obstacle to the establishment of a State of Palestine has been the division between the West Bank and Gaza, the first run by the Palestinian Authority and the second by Hamas. Lately, President Abbas has sought to bridge the gap, asking to go to Gaza to seek reconciliation through an agreed interim government that would set up parliamentary and presidential elections.

But Hamas, worried it would lose such elections and hopeful that the regional turmoil could work in its favor — that Egypt, for example, might be taken over by its ally, the Muslim Brotherhood — has reacted coolly.

Efforts are still under way to restart peace talks but if, as expected, negotiations do not resume, come September the Palestinian Authority seems set to go ahead with plans to ask the General Assembly to accept it as a member. Diplomats involved in the issue say most countries — more than 100 — are expected to vote yes, meaning it will pass. (There are no vetoes in the General Assembly so the United States cannot save Israel as it often has in the Security Council.)

What happens then?

Some Palestinian leaders say relations with Israel would change.

“We will re-examine our commitments toward Israel, especially our security commitments,” suggested Hanna Amireh, who is on the 18-member ruling board of the Palestine Liberation Organization, referring to cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli troops. “The main sense about Israel is that we are fed up.”

Mr. Shaath said Israel would then be in daily violation of the rights of a fellow member state and diplomatic and legal consequences could follow, all of which would be painful for Israel.

In the Haaretz newspaper on Thursday, Ari Shavit, who is a political centrist, drew a comparison between 2011 and the biggest military setback Israel ever faced, the 1973 war.

He wrote that “2011 is going to be a diplomatic 1973,” because a Palestinian state will be recognized internationally. “Every military base in the West Bank will be contravening the sovereignty of an independent U.N. member state.” He added, “A diplomatic siege from without and a civil uprising from within will grip Israel in a stranglehold.”

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4.  SALFIT,

April 3, 2011

(WAFA) – Settlers from (Etz Efraim) settlement Sunday escalated settlements’ construction and land razing around the settlement, in Baat abo rezeiq area, in Mas-ha, a town west of Salfit city, north of Nablus.

http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=15766

Coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlement in Salfit, Nasfat Khuffash ,told WAFA that  Israeli ‘Peace Now’ sources monitored construction  of settlements in the West Bank which aims to build 62 new settlements’ units, in ‘Etz efraim’ settlement; of which six have been already built and four are under construction.

These constructions threaten hundreds of dunums located between ‘Etz Efraim’ settlement and the new razed land which are all behind the Separation Wall, he added.

‘Etz  Efraim’ settlement was established in 1981. It is located between Ariel and Rosh HaAyin settlements, within the settlements’ regional grouping which includes ‘Elqana’ settlement,  ‘Sha’are Tikva’ settlement located at an elevation of 200 meters north-east of ‘Rosh HaAyin’ and east the green line near ‘Elkana’ in north-western West Bank, and ‘Ornit’ settlement.

Settlers of these settlements had razed Palestinian land for the expansion of settlements after the establishment of the Separation Wall ; which has isolated thousands of dunums of Masha, Al Sawyeh villages, in west Salfit, Beit Amin, Azun Sanniriya and Atma villages, south of Qalqilya.

W.S./F.R.

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

Jewish Extremists Severely Attack Palestinian in West Jerusalem Date : 3/4/2011   Time : 19:36

http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=15765

JERUSALEM, April3, 2011 (WAFA) – A group of Jewish extremists in West Jerusalem Sunday attacked a 23 year old Palestinian, Sa’id al-Mughrabi, and severely beaten him.

Mughrabi’s family said that “early this morning, while Sai’d was heading to his work, in the western part of Jerusalem, specifically in Jaffa Street’s sub road, one of the group stepped towards him, asked about a direction of a street, and when he was sure that he is a Palestinian, he gave a signal to the group, who started beating him with truncheons and sharp tools till he fainted”, adding that his injuries are moderate.

Recently many young Palestinians from Jerusalem were subjected to similar attacks, one of these attacks, caused the death of Hussam al-Ruweidi. However, Israeli police usually registers these crimes against unknown.

Y.Y./F.R.

For more information from WAFA see

http://english.wafa.ps/

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5.  The Observer   Sunday 3 April 2011

Israeli authors join campaign to keep Arab bookseller in the country

For years Munther Fahmi has been living in the city of his birth on a series of tourist visas after his permanent residency lapsed. Now the authorities have warned they may not issue any more

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/03/munther-fahmi-jerusalem-bookshop

Conal Urquhart

Michael Palin and Munther Fahmi at the Palestine Festival of Literature. Photograph by Raoof Hajj Yehia.

On the edge of the busy forecourt of Jerusalem’s world-famous American Colony hotel, Munther Fahmi is in his usual spot; sitting in the bookshop that has become a haven of tolerance for scholars in a bitterly divided city. For 13 years, Fahmi has lined his shelves with works of history and literature, written by Arabs, Jews and scholars from around the world. Over that time, he has created what has been described as “the only decent English-language bookshop in the country”.

“It’s the most enjoyable thing I have ever done in my life. It has been such a part of the life of Jerusalem,” he told the Observer. “I really did not fully appreciate how much until it was under threat.”

The threat is real and imminent. Fahmi is due to find out in the next few days whether the Israeli ministry of the interior will order him to leave the city where he was born because, like many Israelis and Palestinians, he spent an extended period of his life abroad and his residency lapsed. Since returning from America in the 1990s, the 56-year-old has been living in Jerusalem on a succession of temporary tourist visas, which 18 months ago the authorities warned that they would not renew. His predicament has outraged two of Israel’s most celebrated novelists, Amos Oz and David Grossman, who have signed a petition asking the authorities to allow Fahmi to stay. From the British Isles, Ian McEwan, Roddy Doyle and John Banville have also offered their support.

Simon Sebag Montefiore, the author of Jerusalem: The Biography, came across Fahmi and his bookshop while working in Jerusalem. “For me a bookshop is a sacred place, a temple which should be above politics,” he said. “Some bookshops have an agenda; Munther’s does not. He simply celebrates books about the Middle East, Israeli writers, Palestinian writers. He’s exactly the kind of person a country needs to be staying and running this kind of business.”

Grossman said that Fahmi was one of many Palestinians whose residence in Jerusalem was threatened by Israeli laws. “He was born in Jerusalem, he has lived most of his life in Jerusalem and his family lives in Jerusalem. What is being done to him is an outrage. It’s part of an attempt to embitter the lives of Palestinians so that they leave.”

Fahmi was born in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1954, when it was under Jordanian military control. After the six-day war in 1967, Israel annexed east Jerusalem. Like most Arab residents, Fahmi’s family chose not to acquire Israeli citizenship. Instead they were granted permanent residency.

As Israeli-Palestinian tensions grew, Fahmi decided, at the age of 21, to go to business college in New York and later set up his own insurance company in St Louis, Missouri. In order to maintain his “residency” in Jerusalem, Fahmi returned regularly but, in 1983, pressure of work kept him in the US and his permit expired. As he possessed a US passport, it didn’t seem to matter, but 10 years later times had changed.

In 1993 the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and the Israeli prime minister, Yitzak Rabin, shook hands in front of the White House. Palestinians and Israelis believed that decades of strife was at an end. Munther recalled: “I was so optimistic, like so many people. We thought that peace was finally here. I didn’t know what I would do, I thought I would just go to Jerusalem and figure it out.”

Fahmi noticed how hard it was to get English-language books. Many Israeli authors who wrote in English could not sell their books in their own country. “I bought a selection of books and hosted a book fair in Tel Aviv. When that succeeded I took it to the American Colony hotel and fell in love with the place,” he said. He opened the shop there in 1998.

The American Colony is one of the few 19th-century landmarks of Jerusalem. The building was bought from a local nobleman by American pilgrims who eventually turned it into a hotel. For years, Fahmi had travelled to Jerusalem on a three-month tourist visa, leaving before it expired. “I needed to travel for work regularly so it was easy to manage,” he said.

The authorities appeared content to let the arrangement continue, but have recently refused to renew his visa. Last year Fahmi lost a bid to win back his residency rights. An appeal was rejected, but he was given 30 days to ask the interior ministry to stay in Jerusalem on humanitarian grounds. The ministry is now considering his request.

A spokesman said: “We do not just decide to cancel someone’s residency. They do it. If he makes an application to the ministry for residency on humanitarian grounds, we will consider it.”

Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford University, described the treatment of Jerusalem’s most famous bookseller as symptomatic of the “chauvinistic and intolerant” behaviour of Israel’s current government under Binyamin Netanyahu: “Things have come to a pretty pass when a Palestinian, born in Palestine, who has a business, who has done no harm to anyone, is hounded out of his bookshop because he does not toe the party line.”

Now Fahmi must wait. “I have made no plans. I can’t envisage leaving. I have a very sick mother who depends on me. I’m 56; I can’t start my life all over again. I’m just hoping that this government will look favourably on me,” he said.

· Middle East BooksBooksellers · David Grossman · Ian McEwan · Roddy Doyle · John Banville More news

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6. [forwarded by Ruth H.]

At A Loss For Words

A congressional double standard on incitement

http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/04/01/a_congressional_double_standard_on_incitement?sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4d9626144c41675a,0

Posted By Matthew Berkman  Friday, April 1, 2011 – 2:32 PM   Share

This week, in response to the highly publicized murder of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, a group of 27 U.S. senators signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to press Palestinian leaders to end “incitement directed against Jews and Israel within the Palestinian media, mosques, and schools.” According to the letter, the grisly killings in Itamar (for which no suspects, Palestinian or otherwise, have been identified), “is a sobering reminder that words matter, and that Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israel can lead to violence and terror.”

As evidence for the allegation of pervasive anti-Jewish incitement in Palestinian society, the letter cites a recent, official ceremony honoring Delal Mughrabi, a perpetrator of the 1978 coastal road massacre in Israel, as well as a payment of financial compensation made by the Palestinian Authority to the family of a deceased terror suspect.

Such actions are deserving of condemnation. But if it is indeed the case that “words matter” -and if the elimination of violent and dehumanizing rhetoric is, as the letter says, “critical to establishing the conditions [for] a secure and lasting peace”-then what can explain the senators’ silence on the veritable carnival of hate and racist incitement against Arabs and Palestinians that has lately engulfed Israeli society?

Anyone who reads Israel’s press these days will find it difficult to do so without chancing upon yet another outrageous example of such incitement. Be it the declaration of Rabbi Dov Lior, a senior authority on Jewish law in the Religious Zionism movement, that the offspring of non-Jews possess “genetic traits” of “cruelty and barbarism”; or an open letter signed by dozens of Israel’s municipal chief rabbis calling on Jews “to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews”; or the wives of those state-sponsored rabbis urging Jewish girls not to date, work with, or perform national service in the company of Arabs; or even news of the publication of “The King’s Torah,” a theological text widely endorsed by settler rabbis that authorizes the killing of non-Jewish children and babies, since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.”

Could it be that the senators who so rightfully condemn the glorification of violence when it issues from an obscure Palestinian official are simply unaware of the multiple proclamations of such a prominent figure as Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party (a member of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s governing coalition) and a former Chief Rabbi of Israel’s Sephardi Jewish community?  “It is forbidden to be merciful to [Arabs],” Yosef was quoted as saying in 2001, “You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.” More recently, Yosef sermonized that “Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] and all these evil people should perish from this world.” “God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians,” he said.

The poisonous effects of these statements are no less publically available than the statements themselves, and of equal concern to anyone seeking “to establish the conditions for a secure and lasting peace.” Polling has routinely documented the explosion of anti-democratic and militaristic sentiment in Israel, particularly among the youth population. In a Tel Aviv University poll released last year, 49.5 percent of Israeli high school students responded in the negative when asked whether “Arab citizens should be granted rights equal to that of Jews,” while a majority of 56 percent said that Israel’s Arab citizens should be ineligible to serve in the country’s parliament. “While an overwhelming majority (91 percent) expressed a desire to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces,” reported Haaretz, “48 percent said they would not obey an order to evacuate outposts and settlements in the West Bank.” As recently as this week, a new poll was released attesting to the diminished importance of “democracy” among Israeli teens (only 14 percent of whom consider it a national priority), as well as unprecedented levels of reverence for Israel’s military and a marked desire for “strong leadership” at the expense of minority rights.

Not surprisingly, this rising tide of racism in Israeli society has translated into both discriminatory legislation directed against Israel’s Arab citizens and into violent hate crimes which, while not as gruesome as the massacre in Itamar, are more pervasive, bordering on quotidian.

As the New York Times reported last week, a law passed by Israel’s Knesset on March 23 allows “that communities with 400 or fewer families [in the Negev and Galilee, areas with large Arab populations] may set up committees to screen potential residents for whether they fit in socially” – a statute intended to legitimize the barring of Israeli Arabs from Jewish villages. Yet another law, passed during the same legislative session, imposes financial penalties on state-subsidized organizations that would publicly mourn the losses incurred by Palestinians during Israel’s 1948 war of independence. This flurry of anti-democratic legislation follows the successful attempt last year by Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman (who supports a form of ethnic population transfer), to establish a “loyalty oath” requiring non-Jews seeking Israeli citizenship to pledge allegiance to the “Jewishness” of the state.

Such legislation promotes the sense among Jewish Israelis that Arab citizens of Israel present a threat to the body politic, and to the physical security of Jews.  It is therefore no coincidence that Israel has recently witnessed a spate of violent attacks on its Arab population. According to the Israeli news website Ynet, a gang of seven Israeli youth, including a fourteen-year old girl, were arrested in December for reportedly “luring” young Arab men to Jerusalem’s Independence Park, where the Arabs were “brutally attacked by the teens with stones, glass bottles and tear gas.” Earlier this week, four Palestinian laborers were assaulted in the middle of the night by police after being falsely accused of raping an 11-year-old boy (the boy later admitted he had fabricated the story). “The police treated us like dogs, not like human beings,” one of the Palestinians told Israeli Army Radio in an interview on Thursday.

But it should be made clear that the routine acts of violence against Arabs within Israel – and even the daily pogroms, or “price-tag” attacks, inflicted on West Bank Palestinians by rogue settler bands – are only the tip of the iceberg. The whole wide-ranging system of occupation in the West Bank, and the hardhearted policies that promote the economic asphyxiation of the entire civilian population in Gaza – themselves the most deadly form of “incitement” – are underwritten on the ethical and cultural plain by the growing disdain and racial animus against Arabs in Israeli society. On Thursday, Ynet reported that when “Asked how they feel when they think of Arabs, 25% [of Israelis polled] responded with ‘hate’ and 12% responded with ‘fear.'” Is it any surprise, then, that Israelis have grown increasingly tolerant and supportive of government policies that undermine not only the prospect of peace and coexistence with their neighbors, but also their country’s own, much vaunted democratic character?

The senators are correct to inveigh against Palestinian incitement. But doing so in the conspicuous absence of any assessment of Israel’s own rampant and destructive incitement speaks to an agenda driven less by a genuine concern for the physical and moral well-being of Israelis and Palestinians than by domestic politics. Leadership – and peace – demands more than that.

Matt Berkman is a Research Associate at the U.S./Middle East Project, a policy institute in New York City.

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Emotion charged meeting between Peres, Esther Pollard

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

“By saving Jonathan’s life and bringing him home now, you will actually be saving two souls — Jonathan’s and mine!” Israeli agent’s wife says.

Before leaving for Washington on Sunday to meet with US President Barack Obama, President Shimon Peres held an emotion charged meeting at Beit Hanassi with Esther Pollard the wife of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard who is now entering his 26th year of captivity within the framework of a life sentence for having passed classified information to Israel.

While Pollard’s supporters acknowledge that he did deserve some form of punishment, they have consistently noted that transferring classified information to a friendly country is decidedly different from giving state secrets to the enemy.

A tearful Esther Pollard implored Peres to save two lives – Jonathan’s and her own by seeking Jonathan Pollard’s immediate release when talking to Obama. ” By saving Jonathan’s life and bringing him home now, you will actually be saving two souls — Jonathan’s and mine!” she said.

The terminology, “bringing him home” is the correct one – and not merely an expression related to the Law of Return. Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995.

In recent years, prominent American figures including former and present leading politicians, legal experts, academics, religious leaders of many faiths and rank and file Americans have voiced their opinions and signed petitions to the effect that Pollard’s sentence was disproportionately harsh and that his continued incarceration is unjust.

Esther Pollard listed some of these personalities in her conversation with Peres, noting that today her husband has support from elected officials of both parties.

Unable to contain her tears, Esther Pollard, who has spent the whole of her married life campaigning for her husband’s release, broke down temporarily.

Already aware of much of what she told him, Peres listened with interest and empathy, nodding in agreement when she emphasized the humanitarian aspect of her plea, and promised that he would bring this to the attention of Obama..

Jonathan Pollard has been in ill health for some time and his condition is deteriorating. Esther Pollard has asked the public to redouble their prayers on behalf of Yehonatan ben Malka, in the hope that both his health and his freedom might be restored. There is nothing that she would want more than to have him celebrate Passover, the festival of freedom in Israel with her.

Whether President Obama will demonstrate more courage and humanity than his four immediate predecessors still remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, in a statement released by Beit Hanassi, Peres, referring to his upcoming meeting with Obama, described him as “a true friend of Israel committed to Israel’s security.” The characterization was not just politically correct lip service.

Peres stated that Obama had personally told him that for as long as he remained in office, Israel’s security would remain high on his agenda.

In discussing Israel security issues and enhanced cooperation with the US with the American President, Peres will also stress the importance of advancing peace in the Middle East and in particular resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

The latter issue has gained momentum against the backdrop of the turmoil which is snowballing through the region.

Peres emphasized that a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority is infinitely preferable to a UN resolution recognizing a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.

While America is likely to side with Israel at the UN, Peres nonetheless feels the need to impress on Obama how harmful a unilateral decision on Palestinian statehood would be to the peace process. “Israel cannot accept a unilateral decision,” Peres declared.

“An agreement has to be the fruit of negotiations between the two sides.” Though fully cognizant of the anti-Israel majority in the UN, Peres will nonetheless continue to push for the resumption of negotiations, without further delay.

Peres also related to the fact that Justice Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN fact finding mission on the alleged abuse of human rights by Israeli soldiers, has finally seen the light, after having painted Israel in such dark and damaging colors.

Peres charged that the Goldstone report constituted a “blood libel” against the Jewish People. “No-one has been libeled as much as the Jewish People,” Peres asserted, implying that the offense of libel of this kind was much graver when a Jew was responsible for it. Peres insisted that Goldstone, both as a human being and as a judge must make amends for the grievous harm that he has caused to Israel’s image in the world. The IDF (which was portrayed in an extremely negative light in the report) is one of the most moral armies in the world, Peres declared, adding that the IDF’s operations in Gaza were not for the purpose of killing or maiming, but for the defense of Israel against the missiles that were fired with such frequency at Israeli civilian targets.

Peres expressed tremendous pride in the IDF, which he said is a humane army that fights against terror under the most difficult of conditions.

Unable to ignore the impact of media reports about the frequent flying at the expense of others by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Peres said that there must be a single standard that applies to all dignitaries who fly abroad in service to the state.

Peres who is no stranger to criticism, said that certain standards must also be employed when criticizing the prime minister. While criticism is legitimate he said, character assassination is not, neither with regard to the prime minister, but especially not when it the members of his family are the victims of the assault.

It is important to remember, said Peres that prime ministers and other leading figures have to travel abroad to meet with Jewish communities and with heads and governments of other nations who are often under pressure over their various relationships with Israel..

The visit to Washington will be intense, not only because of meetings that Peres will have with Obama and senior figures in the administration, but also because of his media and public diplomacy commitments.

Following his visit to Washington, Peres will proceed to New York for a working meeting with ambassadors representing member countries in the UN Security Council.

He will also meet with leading figures of the Jewish community and will present Israel’s viewpoint on a broad range of issues in interviews with major electronic and print media outlets.

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Iran warns of Western-IsraHell plots

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has warned against certain Western-Israeli conspiracies aimed at sowing discord among Muslim countries, urging regional states to reinforce unity.

“We recommend regional governments to heed their people’s demands in order to counter such conspiracies,” Mehmanparast said in an interview with Channel 1 of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on Sunday.

The Iranian official emphasized that regional governments should pay attention to the public demands “if they want to remain powerful.”

He pointed to the ongoing Islamic awakening in North African and Middle Eastern countries and highlighted the significant role played by certain states which fought against arrogant powers and maintained unity.

Despite pressure and sanctions over the past 32 years, the Islamic Republic is conquering peaks of honor, the spokesman said, adding that Iran is served as a model for regional countries.

He noted that the fulfillment of public demands, prevention of violent acts and non-interference of foreign forces in regional countries are among Iran’s main policies on the ongoing developments.

Mehmanparast questioned the West’s “dual” attitude to the regional events and said, “It seems that the presence of people in different countries and in the sensitive regions of Middle East and North Africa has raised concern for Western countries and Zionists who have explicitly announced that they are pursuing their own interests.”

He concluded that Western countries seek to dominate oil wells of regional countries, meet Israel’s interests, set up military bases and pursue Iranophobia project.

Posted in WorldComments Off on Iran warns of Western-IsraHell plots

Head of B’nai B’rith International Dennis Glick indicted on tax fraud

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross


 

Glick arrested on charges of falsifying tax returns for a client and lying about it to investigators; if convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

WASHINGTON –  Dennis Glick, who abruptly resigned as president of B’nai B’rith International, has been indicted on federal charges of tax fraud, JTA has learned.

Glick, a certified public accountant who held a variety of positions over the years at B’nai B’rith, including treasurer, was arraigned Thursday and released on $50,000 bail after entering a plea of not guilty. He was arrested March 23 on charges of falsifying tax returns for a client and lying about it to investigators. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $1.25 million.

The indictment by a Pennsylvania grand jury said Glick, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was “corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws, and willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and filing of false federal income tax returns,” according to the US Justice Department.

“We are bewildered that the government would file criminal charges under the facts of this case, and we fully expect Mr. Glick to be exonerated at trial,” Glick’s lawyer, Henry Hockeimer, told JTA.

Glick, 67, had been president of the organization since December 2009 and has a 40-year history with B’nai B’rith.

The B’nai B’rith statement Thursday announcing his resignation only cited “personal reasons.” It said that “B’nai B’rith thanks Glick for his many years of service and devotion to the organization.”

Sharon Bender, a spokeswoman for B’nai B’rith, told JTA that “These were personal business matters unrelated to B’nai B’rith International.”

According to the indictment, which is dated March 15, Glick falsified information on tax returns for a company called United Professional Plans Inc., which administers dental plans for labor union health and welfare funds. He also falsified tax returns for the company’s owner, Jonathon Felix, the indictment alleges.

Aside from falsifying returns covering four years, Glick lied to law enforcement officials in 2004 and 2005 who were investigating Felix’s returns, according to the charge sheet. Felix also was indicted.

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Goldstone’s forced redaction does not clear Israeli war crimes

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

by crescentandcross

 

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi

 

Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in The Washington Post is a direct result of tremendous and fierce pressure practiced by the Israeli and the Zionist lobby against him, his family and his friends in a frenzied campaign to force him to retreat from his report, an objective yet strong international condemnation against war crimes committed by Israel during its aggression against the Gaza Strip two years ago.

Goldstone’s personal revision –  done under duress – does not change anything related to the report. While carrying his name, it was not developed or written solely by him, but by a Commission he headed. The report remains a document adopted by the Human Rights Council and UN bodies.

Goldstone cannot undo or change a single fact of the report, which has become the most important document for the international condemnation of Israel and the war crimes committed in the Gaza Strip.

Israel is trying to exaggerate Goldstone’s statements, although it refused to allow him access to the West Bank and has refused to cooperate with the committee. What we are witnessing is the result of a campaign against Goldstone to force him to say things he is not convinced of. It is a model for the ferocity of the Zionist lobby when it decides to target a person or institution.

This campaign against Goldstone is aimed at clearing the face of Israel to justify a new aggression on Gaza. What is required from the Palestinian Liberation Organization is to take the Goldstone report and the decision of the Hague Tribunal on the apartheid wall and settlements, which has been neglected for a period of six years, to the General Assembly of the United Nations. There they should explicitly demand sanctions on Israel and state that any laxity in the use of these important documents would encourage Israel to launch a counter attack to cancel their influence.

While Benajmin Netanyahu said the Goldstone report should go to the dustbin of history, it is the system of apartheid that should be relegated to history’s dustbin. Israel’s apartheid and the policy of the coalition government of the settlers represented by Netanyahu. As the people of South Africa were liberated, the Palestinian people will be liberated and one day Israel will be condemned their war crimes in Gaza and be convicted of all their previous crimes.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Goldstone’s forced redaction does not clear Israeli war crimes

The agents of Washington and Britain within Libya’s opposition leadership

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

 

by crescentandcross

By Julie Hyland


The Interim Transitional National Council (TNC) was not officially able to participate in the conference held on Libya at London’s Lancaster House on Tuesday due to differences within the war coalition over support for the anti-Gaddafi leadership. However, Washington and London made clear their backing for what is being groomed as Libya’s government-in-waiting—once, that is, the military onslaught against the country has achieved its desired objective of regime change.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both held meetings with TNC Chairman Mahmoud Jibril. The UK’s Foreign Office hosted a press conference by Guma El-Gamaty and Mahmoud Shammam, described as leading figures in the Libyan opposition.

Despite persistent claims by London and Washington that no vested interests are involved in their intervention into Libya’s civil war, an outline of their relations with Jibril and El-Gamaty shows otherwise.

On March 28, the Boston Globe reported that Jibril “has played a key role in persuading the United States and its allies” to intervene militarily against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Just one day after Washington began launching missile strikes against the country, Jibril reportedly met Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts in a Cairo hotel “to outline his vision for Libya’s future.” Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Jibril had also met with Clinton and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the newspaper said.

Jibril (also known as Mahmoud Gebril ElWarfally) is “in many ways an unlikely leader of rebellion,” the Globe reported. He spent many years teaching in the US after he obtained his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh “under the late Richard Cottam, a former US intelligence official in Iran who became a renowned political scientist specializing on the Middle East.”

That really depends on what kind of “rebellion” one is leading. At any rate, in 1998, Jibril turned his dissertation—”Imagery and Ideology in US Policy Toward Libya’’—into a book and returned to the Middle East, where he became the president of a consultancy firm, providing training programmes for senior managers across the region including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan and Bahrain.

Jibril is still best known for his work with the Gaddafi regime. In 2004, then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair concluded the “deal in the desert” with Gaddafi that saw Libya brought in from the cold. In addition to being a key ally of the US and Britain in the Middle East, especially in the wake of the Iraq invasion, Gaddafi began opening Libya up to foreign investment.

Gaddafi’s son, Saif, appears to have led this drive and it was he who reportedly recruited Jibril’s aid. From 2007, Jibril headed Gaddafi’s National Economic Development Board, founded to facilitate the introduction of global capital.

These developing relations were helped by the Boston-based management consultancy, the Monitor Group. In recent weeks the firm has come under attack for its openly proclaimed efforts to “enhance the profile of Libya” and Gaddafi. Central to this was developing often lucrative relations between the regime and leading academics and institutions, particularly in the US and UK, including the London School of Economics.

But Monitor’s involvement also facilitated contacts between leading neo-liberal economic “reformers” in the regime and Western corporations. Jibril’s work put him “in frequent contact with US diplomats,” the Globe reported, as well as with US oil executives.

The newspaper pointed to a US diplomatic cable from January 2010, released by WikiLeaks. The cable provides an account of discussions between the US ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, and Jibril. Cretz recounts talks with Jibril in which the latter expressed his belief that “now is the time” for US businesses to exploit their “competitive edge” in the rush for trade and investment in Libyan projects.

“The US has the edge here,” Jibril told Cretz. “If you don’t step in, Singapore, the UK, Germany and France are ready.”

The cable concluded: “Jibril seemed to be a very open interlocutor,” one who appeared to be “well-connected within the regime” and who “may have a unique ability to influence decision-makers without challenging their authority.”

However, the newspaper reports, Jibril quit Libya in frustration after “hardliners in the regime stifled the reforms,” becoming one of the “opposition’s most potent weapons since the rebellion broke out in February.”

The Globe article complained that people like Jibril underscore “a major weakness of the movement to topple Gaddafi: their lack of military might.”

Seven members of the 31-member TNC are university professors, and only three are generals, it reported. This accounted for the “urgent appeal” issued by Ali Aujali, who resigned as Libya’s ambassador to Washington to join the opposition, “for the United States to provide weapons, training and logistical support to the rebels.”

What of Guma El-Gamaty, the TNC’s UK coordinator?

El-Gamaty is invariably described as a “Libyan writer, political commentator and frequent critic of the Libyan regime.” A researcher at the University of Westminster, his PhD was entitled the “Libyan Brain Drain and its Effect on Human Development in Libya.”

“It is people like him who, Coalition members hope, will provide a future for a new Libya,” the Independent newspaper reported. Yet, despite some 30 years as an oppositionist and writer in the UK, it is very hard to find anything substantive about El-Gamaty and his writings and research.

The Independent reported that El-Gamaty was among the group of protesters who gathered in London on April 17, 1984 outside the Libyan Embassy to protest Gaddafi’s rule. He “was just a few yards away when a gunman opened fire on them from the window of the Libyan embassy—hitting and killing PC Yvonne Fletcher,” the newspaper stated.

The police constable’s killing led to an 11-day armed police siege of the Libyan Embassy, after which its staff were expelled from the country. Britain broke off diplomatic relations with Tripoli.

El-Gamaty’s exact political affiliations are unclear, but the demonstration was organised by the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL).

There are numerous accounts that the NFSL, formed in October 1981, was established as part of US and Israeli efforts to assemble and train a military force to overthrow Gaddafi. Its core comprised those captured in Chad while fighting in a Libyan-supported rebellion against the US-backed government of Hissène Habré. Efforts to this end were supported and funded by Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, among others.

As the World Socialist Web Site has reported, earlier this week long-time CIA collaborator Khalifa Hifter was appointed the military head of the Benghazi-based opposition. The one-time colonel in the Libyan army went over to the anti-Gaddafi opposition while he was in Chad in the late 1980s. Just a few years later he emigrated to the US.

Hifter was referenced in a Washington Post report of March 26, 1996 dealing with an armed rebellion against Gaddafi. This cited witnesses reporting that the rebellion was led by Hifter, described as the leader of a “contra-style group based in the United States called the Libyan National Army.” (See “A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels”)

One month after PC Fletcher’s killing in London, the NFSL claimed responsibility for a military assault on Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Azizia on May 8, 1984—an action widely regarded as having being coordinated with the CIA. Gaddafi escaped, but 80 others were killed in the attack, which was followed by mass reprisals in Libya.

According to the whistle-blowing former MI5 officer David Shayler, the UK had engineered another plot to assassinate Gaddafi just one month earlier. This involved the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), considered the Libyan wing of Al Qaeda. British intelligence reportedly paid the LIFG £100,000 to plant a bomb under Gaddafi’s motorcade in Sirte. The wrong car was targeted and innocent bystanders were killed.

On April 14, 1986 the US, with British backing, carried out bombing raids on Libya. Although the Libyan dictator’s residence was bombed, he escaped. His adoptive baby daughter, however, was killed.

There are other reports of British intelligence involvement with Islamic opponents of Gaddafi in assassination plots throughout the 1990s. Shayler was jailed for six months in November 2002 for disclosing MI5 documents thought to relate to the 1984 plot.

In June 2005, the NFSL came together with a number of other groups to hold the first conference of the National Libyan Opposition (NLO) in London, dedicated to mobilising external and internal forces to oust Gaddafi. The NFSL, which reportedly withdrew from the NLO in 2008, held its last conference in the US in 2007.

El-Gamaty’s precise involvement with these machinations is unclear. But in recent years, especially since Blair’s 2004 deal, he has been invited to address the House of Lords twice on Libyan affairs.

In March 2007, El-Gamaty was praising news that the US was to help Libya build its first nuclear plant as “a significant reward for Gaddafi and a sign of how far relations between America and Libya have come…” He continued: “This will send a diplomatic signal to other more crucial countries, like Iran and North Korea, that if they follow Libya’s example and completely capitulate and give up to American pressure and toe the American line … they will be rewarded.”

In the more recent period, he has been responsible for some of the most extravagant claims about the Libyan civil war. These include assertions that Gaddafi was bound for Zimbabwe on a private jet stacked with gold bullion and that the regime had recruited “thousands of African mercenaries” to suppress the opposition.

El-Gamaty told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on February 24 that these “Africans who speak French or English … are totally alien to the Libyan society and they said they have been promised large amounts of dollars to fight for Gaddafi.”

“And these thousands of Africans are within the Bab al-Azizia barracks,” he continued. “It’s a huge complex and they unleash them out of the barracks into the streets of Tripoli to terrorise the population and to prevent them from coming out and demonstrating.”

He told the same programme that Libya had been suffering under what he described as “Shia oppression for 41 years.”

Posted: April 3, 2011 by crescentandcross in Uncategorized

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By Julie Hyland

WSWS, April 2, 2011

The Interim Transitional National Council (TNC) was not officially able to participate in the conference held on Libya at London’s Lancaster House on Tuesday due to differences within the war coalition over support for the anti-Gaddafi leadership. However, Washington and London made clear their backing for what is being groomed as Libya’s government-in-waiting—once, that is, the military onslaught against the country has achieved its desired objective of regime change.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both held meetings with TNC Chairman Mahmoud Jibril. The UK’s Foreign Office hosted a press conference by Guma El-Gamaty and Mahmoud Shammam, described as leading figures in the Libyan opposition.

Despite persistent claims by London and Washington that no vested interests are involved in their intervention into Libya’s civil war, an outline of their relations with Jibril and El-Gamaty shows otherwise.

On March 28, the Boston Globe reported that Jibril “has played a key role in persuading the United States and its allies” to intervene militarily against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. Just one day after Washington began launching missile strikes against the country, Jibril reportedly met Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts in a Cairo hotel “to outline his vision for Libya’s future.” Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Jibril had also met with Clinton and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the newspaper said.

Jibril (also known as Mahmoud Gebril ElWarfally) is “in many ways an unlikely leader of rebellion,” the Globe reported. He spent many years teaching in the US after he obtained his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh “under the late Richard Cottam, a former US intelligence official in Iran who became a renowned political scientist specializing on the Middle East.”

That really depends on what kind of “rebellion” one is leading. At any rate, in 1998, Jibril turned his dissertation—”Imagery and Ideology in US Policy Toward Libya’’—into a book and returned to the Middle East, where he became the president of a consultancy firm, providing training programmes for senior managers across the region including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan and Bahrain.

Jibril is still best known for his work with the Gaddafi regime. In 2004, then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair concluded the “deal in the desert” with Gaddafi that saw Libya brought in from the cold. In addition to being a key ally of the US and Britain in the Middle East, especially in the wake of the Iraq invasion, Gaddafi began opening Libya up to foreign investment.

Gaddafi’s son, Saif, appears to have led this drive and it was he who reportedly recruited Jibril’s aid. From 2007, Jibril headed Gaddafi’s National Economic Development Board, founded to facilitate the introduction of global capital.

These developing relations were helped by the Boston-based management consultancy, the Monitor Group. In recent weeks the firm has come under attack for its openly proclaimed efforts to “enhance the profile of Libya” and Gaddafi. Central to this was developing often lucrative relations between the regime and leading academics and institutions, particularly in the US and UK, including the London School of Economics.

But Monitor’s involvement also facilitated contacts between leading neo-liberal economic “reformers” in the regime and Western corporations. Jibril’s work put him “in frequent contact with US diplomats,” the Globe reported, as well as with US oil executives.

The newspaper pointed to a US diplomatic cable from January 2010, released by WikiLeaks. The cable provides an account of discussions between the US ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, and Jibril. Cretz recounts talks with Jibril in which the latter expressed his belief that “now is the time” for US businesses to exploit their “competitive edge” in the rush for trade and investment in Libyan projects.

“The US has the edge here,” Jibril told Cretz. “If you don’t step in, Singapore, the UK, Germany and France are ready.”

The cable concluded: “Jibril seemed to be a very open interlocutor,” one who appeared to be “well-connected within the regime” and who “may have a unique ability to influence decision-makers without challenging their authority.”

However, the newspaper reports, Jibril quit Libya in frustration after “hardliners in the regime stifled the reforms,” becoming one of the “opposition’s most potent weapons since the rebellion broke out in February.”

The Globe article complained that people like Jibril underscore “a major weakness of the movement to topple Gaddafi: their lack of military might.”

Seven members of the 31-member TNC are university professors, and only three are generals, it reported. This accounted for the “urgent appeal” issued by Ali Aujali, who resigned as Libya’s ambassador to Washington to join the opposition, “for the United States to provide weapons, training and logistical support to the rebels.”

What of Guma El-Gamaty, the TNC’s UK coordinator?

El-Gamaty is invariably described as a “Libyan writer, political commentator and frequent critic of the Libyan regime.” A researcher at the University of Westminster, his PhD was entitled the “Libyan Brain Drain and its Effect on Human Development in Libya.”

“It is people like him who, Coalition members hope, will provide a future for a new Libya,” the Independent newspaper reported. Yet, despite some 30 years as an oppositionist and writer in the UK, it is very hard to find anything substantive about El-Gamaty and his writings and research.

The Independent reported that El-Gamaty was among the group of protesters who gathered in London on April 17, 1984 outside the Libyan Embassy to protest Gaddafi’s rule. He “was just a few yards away when a gunman opened fire on them from the window of the Libyan embassy—hitting and killing PC Yvonne Fletcher,” the newspaper stated.

The police constable’s killing led to an 11-day armed police siege of the Libyan Embassy, after which its staff were expelled from the country. Britain broke off diplomatic relations with Tripoli.

El-Gamaty’s exact political affiliations are unclear, but the demonstration was organised by the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL).

There are numerous accounts that the NFSL, formed in October 1981, was established as part of US and Israeli efforts to assemble and train a military force to overthrow Gaddafi. Its core comprised those captured in Chad while fighting in a Libyan-supported rebellion against the US-backed government of Hissène Habré. Efforts to this end were supported and funded by Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, among others.

As the World Socialist Web Site has reported, earlier this week long-time CIA collaborator Khalifa Hifter was appointed the military head of the Benghazi-based opposition. The one-time colonel in the Libyan army went over to the anti-Gaddafi opposition while he was in Chad in the late 1980s. Just a few years later he emigrated to the US.

Hifter was referenced in a Washington Post report of March 26, 1996 dealing with an armed rebellion against Gaddafi. This cited witnesses reporting that the rebellion was led by Hifter, described as the leader of a “contra-style group based in the United States called the Libyan National Army.” (See “A CIA commander for the Libyan rebels”)

One month after PC Fletcher’s killing in London, the NFSL claimed responsibility for a military assault on Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Azizia on May 8, 1984—an action widely regarded as having being coordinated with the CIA. Gaddafi escaped, but 80 others were killed in the attack, which was followed by mass reprisals in Libya.

According to the whistle-blowing former MI5 officer David Shayler, the UK had engineered another plot to assassinate Gaddafi just one month earlier. This involved the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), considered the Libyan wing of Al Qaeda. British intelligence reportedly paid the LIFG £100,000 to plant a bomb under Gaddafi’s motorcade in Sirte. The wrong car was targeted and innocent bystanders were killed.

On April 14, 1986 the US, with British backing, carried out bombing raids on Libya. Although the Libyan dictator’s residence was bombed, he escaped. His adoptive baby daughter, however, was killed.

There are other reports of British intelligence involvement with Islamic opponents of Gaddafi in assassination plots throughout the 1990s. Shayler was jailed for six months in November 2002 for disclosing MI5 documents thought to relate to the 1984 plot.

In June 2005, the NFSL came together with a number of other groups to hold the first conference of the National Libyan Opposition (NLO) in London, dedicated to mobilising external and internal forces to oust Gaddafi. The NFSL, which reportedly withdrew from the NLO in 2008, held its last conference in the US in 2007.

El-Gamaty’s precise involvement with these machinations is unclear. But in recent years, especially since Blair’s 2004 deal, he has been invited to address the House of Lords twice on Libyan affairs.

In March 2007, El-Gamaty was praising news that the US was to help Libya build its first nuclear plant as “a significant reward for Gaddafi and a sign of how far relations between America and Libya have come…” He continued: “This will send a diplomatic signal to other more crucial countries, like Iran and North Korea, that if they follow Libya’s example and completely capitulate and give up to American pressure and toe the American line … they will be rewarded.”

In the more recent period, he has been responsible for some of the most extravagant claims about the Libyan civil war. These include assertions that Gaddafi was bound for Zimbabwe on a private jet stacked with gold bullion and that the regime had recruited “thousands of African mercenaries” to suppress the opposition.

El-Gamaty told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on February 24 that these “Africans who speak French or English … are totally alien to the Libyan society and they said they have been promised large amounts of dollars to fight for Gaddafi.”

“And these thousands of Africans are within the Bab al-Azizia barracks,” he continued. “It’s a huge complex and they unleash them out of the barracks into the streets of Tripoli to terrorise the population and to prevent them from coming out and demonstrating.”

He told the same programme that Libya had been suffering under what he described as “Shia oppression for 41 years.”

Posted in LibyaComments Off on The agents of Washington and Britain within Libya’s opposition leadership

Western military advisers become visible in Benghazi

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midlamd PSC

 

by crescentandcross


Liam Fox said there is division within Gaddafi's regime

 

Former Royal Navy officer is ‘consultant’ to rebels and small British convoy say they are ‘engineers’

The first discernible signs of mission creep by the coalition were detected in Libya yesterday. In several places around Benghazi, there were palpable signs that Western “assistance” was active on the ground.

Military and diplomatic operatives from the US and Western Europe – usually described as experts, consultants and advisers – turned up in the rebel capital, Benghazi. These include UK personnel, among them a former Royal Navy officer who had recently served as a diplomat in Afghanistan. He said he was in Libya as a consultant to the opposition administration.

A group speaking with English and Scottish accents was encountered on the road out of Benghazi towards the front line in three four-wheel-drive cars. They said they were carrying out engineering maintenance work. If such personnel are now operational, can military trainers be far behind?

Meanwhile, on the questioning of the former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa, the silence from Whitehall and No 10 continues to be deafening. Far from suggesting that his conversations with his inquisitors – somewhere in southern England, to use the popular, melodramatic phrase – are fruitless, there is no way of knowing whether they have spurred delicate negotiations or are proving less productive than first thought. Government sources were, understandably, not eager to speculate yesterday.

Ministers were only marginally more forthcoming, the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, appearing on Sky Television and Radio 4′s Today programme to say that he was convinced there was “division” in Gaddafi’s regime and that its members should recognise it “no longer has any legitimacy”. Asked about the treatment of Mr Koussa, and whether he had received any promises, especially about possible questioning of him over the Lockerie bombing in 1988, Mr Fox replied: “We are not going to give an ongoing discussion about that.”

There was last night at least some practical progress to report – on the humanitarian front. Ukraine announced it will send a ship to evacuate 600 Ukrainians, Americans, Britons and other foreigners wishing to leave Libya. Britain said it will provide emergency shelters for 10,000 people driven out of their homes. Some 2,100 tents are being flown out from UK stocks in Dubai, and will be distributed by the Libyan Red Crescent. The aid is expected to be focused around the Ajdabiya area in the north-east of the country. Another expert from Britain is to join a Turkish-UK-US humanitarian planning team based in Ankara helping with “emerging and urgent needs” in Libya.

The International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said: “As fighting continues in Libya, we need to ensure that the most vulnerable get the protection they need. That means shelter for those who suddenly find themselves driven out of their homes and often cut off from friends and family in their own country.

“It’s also about ensuring that we continue to provide help to poor migrant workers having to flee Libya, and that we get people in place to look at ongoing needs and how best we can meet them.”

 

Posted in LibyaComments Off on Western military advisers become visible in Benghazi

Shaath: Goldstone succumbed to pressure over report

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

by crescentandcross

Hamas says it fully cooperated with Goldstone inquiry; Abed Rabbo: Blood of Palestinians killed in Cast Lead won’t be erased by one changed mind.

Senior Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath on Sunday said that Judge Richard Goldstone apparently succumbed to pressure because he could not longer bear the terror directed at him, in an apparent reference to the way Goldstone was ostracized by South African and other world Jewish communities.

Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the blood of those Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead will not be erased by one person who changes his mind, Israel Radio reported on Sunday. “There was a war crime,” he said, adding that Goldstone has no right to retract a report based on documents that were examined by the parties and subject to specific criteria, not on a personal whim.

Goldstone published an opinion piece in Friday’s The Washington Post in which he said: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Saturday dismissed Judge Richard Goldstone’s “regrets,” saying that “his retreat does not change the fact war crimes had been committed against 1.5 million people in Gaza,” and claimed that the group cooperated fully with the fact finding mission.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Goldstone’s comments did not change a thing. “The report was as clear as the crimes that Israel committed during the war,” he said.

Goldstone published an opinion piece in Friday’s The Washington Post in which he said: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

Goldstone said the fact-finding mission’s allegations that Israel took actions which intentionally led to the death and injury of civilians, were based on the information available to him at the time.

He also defended portions of the report, particularly those that accused Hamas of violations and which he said marked the first time that Hamas was investigated and condemned by the United Nations. His report has also demanded that Palestinians investigate their human rights violations in Gaza.

While Israel has investigated its actions, he said, Hamas has done nothing. He had hoped, Goldstone said, that his report would sway Hamas to halt its rocket attacks against Israel.

Instead those attacks have continued, he noted.

“I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the UN Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted,” he said.

He called on the UNHRC to condemn Hamas rocket attacks against Israel and the Itamar attack, in which an Israeli couple and three of their children were killed.

Investigations conducted by the Israeli military into those incidents, which have been recognized by the UN, “indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” Goldstone noted in particular the work of the UN Human Rights Council’s panel, which monitors compliance with the report and delivered its own assessment of the matter to the council in its March session.

As an example, Goldstone pointed to one of the most serious attacks his committee investigated, in which 29 members of the Simouni family were killed in their home, apparently because of an erroneous IDF interpretation of a drone image.

“An Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack,” he said.

“I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes,” Goldstone wrote.

He added he regretted Israel’s lack of cooperation with the report.

Goldstone defended his committee’s work by stating that it had never intended to “prove a foregone conclusion against Israel” and said that Israel had a right to defend itself, just like any other sovereign nation.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Shaath: Goldstone succumbed to pressure over report

Israel to launch campaign urging UN to retract Goldstone report

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

 

by crescentandcross

 

 

Netanyahu asks National Security Adviser to establish committee focused on ‘minimizing damage caused’ by report, after Judge Goldstone retracts some of his conclusions regarding Israel’s alleged war crimes in Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel was planning to launch an international campaign to persuade the United Nations to retract the Goldstone Commission’s damning report on the Israel Defense Forces’ operation in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu told his cabinet at its weekly meeting that Goldstone’s retraction of his conclusion accusing Israel of war crimes was rare and deserving of further action.

Gaza war, AP, 2009 A cloud of smoke billows over Gaza after an Israel Defense Forces strike during the 2009 war.
Photo by: AP / Archive

“There are very few incidents in which false accusations are taken back, and this is the case with the Goldstone report,” Netanyahu told ministers.

The prime minister added that he had asked the new National Security Adviser, Ya’akov Amidror, to establish a committee focused on “minimizing the damage caused” by the report.

He added that he was expecting to receive suggestions on how to proceed in the coming days toward efforts to see the report officially retracted.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Goldstone had expressed regret for his accusation that the IDF targeted civilians during the Gaza war.

“We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report,” Goldstone wrote, adding, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in response to Goldstone’s retraction that Israel must force the judge to appear before international forums – particularly the UN – to explain the revision of his account.

“The Gaza front must be dealt with by the international community, as terrorists are fighting from within the civilian populace,” the defense minister said.

Barak expressed support for Israel’s decision not to cooperate with Goldstone’s fact-finding commission on Operation Cast Lead, calling the Commission for Human Rights which sponsored the report a “ridiculous forum of the enemies of Israel”.

President Shimon Peres called on Goldstone to apologize for his report, adding that the fact-finding mission had ignored the central reason Israel had gone to war against the Hamas-ruled territory.

Peres defended the IDF as having operated out of self-defense, adding that Israel had carried out an internal probe of its own on the matter.

“Goldstone ignored the main reason for the IDF’s operation in Gaza, the firing of thousands of rockets at innocent civilians,” said Peres. He also said that the IDF would continue to serve as one of the most moral armies in the world.

Source–Haaretz

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Israel to launch campaign urging UN to retract Goldstone report

US pastor vows new anti-Islam protest

NOVANEWS

 

Extremist Florida pastor Terry Jones provoked an international outcry last year after he announced plans to burn copies of the holy Qur’an on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The extremist American pastor who supervised the burning of a copy of Islam’s holy book on March 20 has said he will lead an anti-Islam rally outside the biggest mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, on April 22.

“Our aim is to make an awareness of the radical element of Islam,” Pastor Terry Jones in Florida told Reuters on Saturday.

On March 20, Jones, who had already caused an outrage worldwide by threatening to burn copies of the Qur’an last September, broke his earlier promise and burned the holy Qur’an after holding a mock trial at his fringe church in the city of Gainesville.

The Quran-burning has led to two days of deadly protests in Afghanistan and stoked anti-Western sentiments in the Muslim world.

Ten foreign workers for the United Nations were killed after a small number of furious protesters stormed the UN headquarters in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

At least ten Afghans were killed and 83 others left wounded in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Saturday, on a second day of violent protests over the desecration of the holy Qur’an.

An attack also hit a NATO military base in the Afghan capital, Kabul, the day after protesters overran the UN mission in Mazar-i-Sharif and killed seven foreign staff.

Unrepentant Jones, a former hotel manager turned pastor who claims the Qur’an incites violence, defiantly vowed to lead the protest in Michigan on April 22.

“We find it very tragic any time that someone is murdered but we do not feel any responsibility for that,” he said.

Pakistani people have also taken to the streets in a nationwide move to condemn the desecration of the holy Qur’an in the United States, calling such an act a threat to religious harmony.

US President Barack Obama has tried to calm tensions by denouncing the sacrilege, calling the Quran-burning a show of extreme intolerance and bigotry.

Posted in USAComments Off on US pastor vows new anti-Islam protest

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