Archive | April 28th, 2011

NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS

Restriction of movement / Control 

Modes of control: Easter at Qalandiya / Lauren Banko
…To get any type of permit to cross into Jerusalem, even for Palestinians whose families, villages, and even streets are cut off from their neighbors by the separation wall, the applicant must meet age qualifications. Once a Palestinian child from the West Bank turns twelve years of age, he will be given a blue West Bank identity card and is banned from entering Jerusalem, even with his parents. Those West Bank Palestinians who do have permission to enter Jerusalem are not allowed further than Jerusalem into the 1948 borders of Israel. I am currently living in the town of Birzeit, close to the de facto Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah and about twenty-two kilometers from Jerusalem, and as an American, I hold an Israeli tourist visa. As a foreigner with an Israeli visa, I usually do not have problems passing through Qalandiya checkpoint — besides the usual being treated as less than a human, or as part of a herd of cattle along with the Palestinians.
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16822

Hebron reflection: a morning like any other / Inger Steyrbjorn
Christian Peacemaker Teams 26 Apr —  “Biladi, Biladi … my country, my country…” the Palestinians’ national anthem echoes from loudspeakers in schools all over Hebron, where Nina and I stand at the checkpoint and note how many children have their bags searched.  

I count the children, but I also see that today the soldier stays inside the trailer where the metal detector is, probably so I cannot see how he treats the Palestinians. The metal detector beeps for each person who passes.  I hear the beep several times without anyone coming out, which means that people inside are undergoing a thorough search.  A young boy waits, presumably for his schoolmate.  He is trying to see what’s happening, but the brusque soldier pulls the door shut.  When the door eventually opens, a small child comes out.  After several walks through the detector, the boy is finally free.
http://cpt.org/cptnet/2011/04/26/hebron-reflection-morning-any-other

The military bars Palestinian journalist from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jerusalem-Maysa Abu Ghazalih/PNN 26 Apr – On Tuesday the Israeli military banned Palestinian Journalist Farid Saleh from Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s old city for 15 days. The army forced Saleh to sign a ban order with a bail of  3,000 NIS (800 USD) if he violates the order. Saleh who works for the children’s TV channel, Touyor al-Janna, along with two cameramen working with him were filming a charity event for children that was taking place at al-Aqsa Mosque.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9953&Itemid=56

Israeli army harassment of the Al Ras Al Ahmar community continues
Jordan Valley Solidarity 24 Apr –Today, 1pm, Palestinian workers from Al Ras Al Ahmer were taken by the Israeli army from the village and detained at the side of the road for half an hour. Each man had his ID checked by both the army and then the police who arrived later. The men were returning home after working in a nearby settlement. The settlement is only 10 mins drive from the village but the army only opens the gate into the village twice a week. This means that every day the Palestinian workers have to drive 50 mins past the Hamara check point and on a small dirt track over the hill to reach their homes.
http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=240

Settlers attack Palestinians in Hebron’s Old City
Hebron (PNN) 26 Apr — Israeli settlers attacked on Tuesday Palestinians inside the Old city of Hebron, southern West Bank and injured one man. Witnesses told local media that Firas al-Khateb was attacked by settlers with gas spray and rocks near the illegal settlement of Tal Romida in Hebron old city. Doctors at Hebron hospital said that al-Khateb was slightly injured and suffered effects of gas inhalation due to the settlers attack.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9955&Itemid=64

Activism / Solidarity

South Hebron Hills: Palestinians prune trees as act of resistance in Susiya
Christian Peacemaker Teams 25 Apr — On the morning of 23 April, Palestinians from the village of Susiya pruned olive trees on their land in an act of protest against land confiscation and violence by residents from the nearby Israeli settlement, also named Susiya.  Six days earlier, Israeli settlers had attacked and injured a local Palestinian in the area near these olive trees. The Palestinians, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, began working on their trees at approximately 10:00 a.m. Almost immediately, Israeli soldiers appeared and stood above the orchards.  They did not interfere with the pruning. At approximately 11:00 a.m., four Israeli settlers arrived, then four more.  The soldiers, now re-enforced by Israeli police, did not allow them to approach the Palestinians pruning the olive trees.  After talking with the settlers, the soldiers insisted that all Israelis and internationals leave the area.  The Palestinian families were able to remain and continue working. As the Israeli and international activists slowly departed, the soldiers moved the settlers away also.  By noon, the villagers had successfully completed their pruning of the olive trees.
http://cpt.org/cptnet/2011/04/25/south-hebron-hills-palestinians-prune-trees-act-resistance-susiya

Weekly Palestinian popular demonstrations met with harsh Israeli violence
AIC 26 Apr — 16 demonstrators were injured this past weekend in demonstrations against Israel’s occupation …The weekly demonstration in Bil‘in commemorated the second anniversary of the killing of Bassem Abu Rahmah from a tear gas canister during a village demonstration. Demonstrators carried photos of Bassem and his sister Jawaher, who was killed from tear gas inhalation during a village demonstration, and of Marwan Barghouti. The demonstration opened with the national anthem and a call for a united national front against Israel’s occupation. When demonstrators reached the Wall, soldier shot tear gas, stun grenades, rubber coated steel bullets, live bullets and 022 bullets at them, in addition to skunk water. Demonstrators succeeded in pulling down part of the Wall and placing a Palestinian flag on an army jeep.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3551

Volunteer in Gaza with the ISM
25 Apr — The International Solidarity Movement is appealing for activists to join our team in the besieged Gaza Strip. We are hoping that this coming month’s Freedom Flotilla along with the Italian Stay Human convoy will bring an influx of activists into Gaza who will help carry on the important work that Vittorio Arrigoni was an essential part of before his death … Those interested in joining the ISM Gaza team are required to attend a preliminary training in their home country and have communicate with the volunteers in Gaza prior to arrival. Entering Gaza is an arduous process that requires some time to be spent in Egypt. Also recommended: -Previous experience with organizing / activism, preferably in the Middle-East… gazaism@…
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/04/17347/

Activists prepare new 15-boat flotilla to Gaza
ISTANBUL (AP) 26 Apr — Pro-Palestinian activists say a planned convoy of aid ships to the Gaza Strip will be twice as big as a similar flotilla that was raided a year ago by Israeli forces, leaving nine people dead on a Turkish boat. Organizers say they hope to depart around the May 31 anniversary of the fatal raid, but say it could happen later than that. Huseyin Oruc, a spokesman for an Islamic aid group in Turkey, said Tuesday that an international coalition of 22 non-governmental organizations plans to send 15 ships with a total of 1,500 people.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110426/ap_on_re_eu/gaza_flotilla_1

International [land] convoy to Gaza
25 Apr — On the 21st April, a meeting regarding the discussions and reflections on the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni was held in Rome amongst different activists. From the gathering, the need to organize a convoy to Gaza through Egypt was decided. Let’s start this process by sharing those points: -We want to go to Gaza through Rafah Border Crossing with all in the world that need to say aloud what Vittorio used to say: Stay human! We want to do it from Egypt because, in the post Mubarak era, that border must be opened to break the siege imposed for too long on the people in Gaza….
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/04/17937/

Gaza

Housing ministry: Reconstruction of razed housing ongoing despite siege
GAZA, (PIC) 26 Apr — The ministry of public works and housing in Gaza said that reconstruction of Palestinian houses razed during the Israeli war on Gaza Strip was ongoing although at a slow pace. The ministry said in a statistics report on Monday that it was proceeding in reconstructing 1327 houses out of a total of 3407 houses which were completely destroyed during that war. It said 100 of them were completed while finances for the reconstruction of 800 others in 2011 were promised. The ministry said that UNRWA offered more than 58 million dollars in cash money to refugees in Gaza to repair their homes. [End]
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Gaza: Single border crossing partially open
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)  26 Apr — Israeli authorities opened Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing Tuesday to allow the limited entry of goods and humanitarian aid into the besieged coastal enclave. The opening followed several closures for Israel’s observance of the Jewish Passover holiday, and a week-long closure before, after and during a spate of border clashes. UN reports noted shortages in cooking gas and wheat following the closures.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382182

Egypt to re-open Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Apr– Following a one-day closure for Egypt’s spring holiday, the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip reopened Tuesday, allowing travelers with permits to pass in both directions, officials said
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382165

86 Palestinians enter Gaza from Cairo airport
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — The Palestinian embassy in Egypt announced Tuesday that 86 Palestinians were allowed to land at the Cairo International Airport. Airport staff escorted the group to the Rafah crossing and facilitated their return to the Gaza Strip. The embassy warned travelers trying to enter Gaza that Cairo’s airport would be closed from Thursday until Monday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382317

Detention

Israeli occupation forces arrest Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh
AIC 26 Apr — In the early hours of dawn on Thursday, 21 April 2011, a large force of Israeli soldiers and intelligence officers raided the home of the prominent Palestinian writer and academic Dr. Ahmad Qatamesh 1 in Al-Bireh and arrested him. An hour earlier, Qatamesh’s wife, 22-year-old daughter and two other female relatives, including a 14-year-old child, were taken hostage by Israeli troops in another apartment to compel him to surrender himself. He was led to “Ofer” detention center in Beitunia. Ahmad Qatamesh was born in 1950 in a cave in Bethlehem to a refugee family expelled during the Nakba from the village of Al-Malihah, near JerusalemIn 1992, he was arrested by a massive Israeli force in the presence of his then 3-year-old daughter. Accusing him of being a particularly “dangerous” national leader, the Israeli Shabak tortured and illtreated him 2 for a hundred days, an experience that he articulately exposed in his well-read prison notes titled I Shall not Wear Your Tarboush … Qatamesh’s detention was renewed continuously for almost six years, making him the longest serving administrative detainee ever. In April 1998, after a persistent public pressure campaign by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights activists and organizations, Qatamesh was finally released.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3549

Israel ignoring Palestinian prisoners’ urgent need for medical help
GulfNews 26 Apr — Ramallah: The Palestinian Prisoners Club, an organisation working for the welfare of Palestinians detained in Israeli jails, has accused the Israeli authorities of intentionally neglecting the medical needs of the Palestinian prisoners in order that they eventually die of their diseases. The club on Tuesday urged international humanitarian and legal organisations to intervene immediately in the situation and help the Palestinian prisoners who needed medical help.
http://gulfnews.com/israel-ignoring-palestinian-prisoners-urgent-need-for-medical-help-1.799539

Israel turns back detainee relatives at checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Apt — Israeli authorities refused Tuesday allow families of detainees to pass a checkpoint to visit relatives in Israeli prisons. Three buses were en route to Majdo, Shatta and Ramon prisons inside Israel. The passengers had permits to visit their relatives, the Tulkarem Prisoners’ Society said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382325

Teitel seeks conjugal visits
‘Jewish terrorist’ Jack Teitel appeals to court after Prison Service rejects request citing security reasons — [He committed] a number of severe offenses including the murder of two Palestinians
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060835,00.html

Nablus shooting

Haaretz editorial: Nablus shooting is a deadly mistake until proven otherwise
26 Apr — As long as an inquiry into the death of Ben-Yosef Livnat is ongoing, it is improper to treat the shooting as a terror attack that must be avenged — The tragic death of Ben-Yosef Livnat in Nablus could have been prevented. The preliminary investigation shows that Livnat and his companions decided to visit Joseph’s tomb without coordinating their trip into the Palestinian Authority with the Israel Defense Forces. They apparently broke through a Palestinian roadblock, and Palestinian police officers shot them in response.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/
nablus-shooting-is-a-deadly-mistake-until-proven-otherwise-1.358098

Palestinian Authority to probe shooting death of Israeli in Nablus
Haaretz 26 Apr — …Nablus Governor Jibrin al-Bakri and the heads of the Palestinian security services in the city met with their Israeli counterparts on Sunday night in an effort to calm the situation. The Palestinian Authority also announced that it was setting up a committee to investigate the incident — Palestinian Military Intelligence is investigating the killing of a Bratslav Hasid, Ben-Yosef Livnat, early Sunday morning by the Palestinian police in Nablus. The worshipers had reportedly sneaked into Joseph’s Tomb.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/
palestinian-authority-to-probe-shooting-death-of-israeli-in-nablus-1.358074

The mystery of Joseph’s Tomb / MW
Palestine Monitor 26 Apr — Truth is one of the first casualties of this conflict, and no one should assume the violence at Joseph’s Tomb will be any different. It could happen any time but it usually occurs under the cover of the night. Settlers come down from the mountain above the Palestinian city of Nablus to pay their respects to the purported resting place of Joseph, Patriarch and 11th son of Jacob. The early morning of Sunday, April 24th should have been no different. Sometime early in the morning, close to thirty settlers packed in five cars arrived in the area around Joseph’s Tomb to pray. After these established facts, the fog of war obscures … An old mustachioed shopkeeper in Balata village near Joseph’s Tomb did not see or hear anything unusual.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1774

Political/Diplomatic/International news

More than half of Egyptians want to cancel peace treaty with Israel
AP 26 Apr — More than half of all Egyptians would like to see the 1979 peace treaty with Israel annulled, according to results of a poll conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center released Monday. According to the poll results, only 36 percent of Egyptians are in favor of maintaining the treaty, compared with 54 percent who would like to see it scrapped.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/poll-
more-than-half-of-egyptians-want-to-cancel-peace-treaty-with-israel-1.358107

Turkey: Israel shouldn’t repeat its Gaza flotilla mistake
Haaretz 26 Apr — Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week, Turkish FM says it is Israel’s responsibility to lift its blockade on the Strip, saying no one nation owned the Mediterranean — Israel mustn’t attempt to stop a planned aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip, Turkey’s Foreign Minister told in an interview on Monday, adding that Turkey could do nothing to stop organizers from launching the flotilla.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/
turkey-israel-shouldn-t-repeat-its-gaza-flotilla-mistake-1.358162

Netanyahu to visit London, Paris for talks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 26 Apr  — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Britain and France next week for talks on the peace process, his office said Tuesday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382398

Other news

Jerusalem’s time tunnels / Nir Hasson
Haaretz 24 Apr — Horizontal excavations throughout the Old City of Jerusalem and Silwan are producing important archaeological discoveries, but opponents charge that they are undermining Palestinian foundations, in more ways than one
http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/jerusalem-s-time-tunnels-1.357872

‘Gaza’s Tears’ wins Al Jazeera prize
26 Apr — Norwegian film director Vibeke Løkkeberg has won one of the main prizes up for grabs at the International Documentary Film Festival, organized by global news network Al Jazeera, for her film Gaza’s Tears … The film documents the Israeli attack on Gaza during late 2008 and early 2009 by following the stories of three children. It was described as “the ultimate antiwar film” by the Hollywood Reporter when it aired at the Toronto Film Festival.
http://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/04/26/gazas-tears-wins-al-jazeera-prize/

Traditional bath offers relief to people of Gaza
GAZA, April 26 (Bernama) — Dozens of Palestinians visit Hamam al-Samra, one of the traditional baths in the Gaza Strip, every day to bathe themselves and cleanse their skin while sitting in rooms filled with high temperature steam. The bath is open on three shifts each day. The first shift in the morning is for men, the second shift in the afternoon is for women, and the third shift is, again, for men at night … As part of history, the traditional bath is located in a compound containing an archaeological site that includes the Al-Omari mosque, the old market and the Catholic church. The bath was built by the Mamaleek empire, which ruled Palestine from 1260 to 1570.
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=581825

Analysis / Opinion

Letter: Inspiring theatre must take risks / Naomi Wallace & Erin Meet
Guardian 26 Apr — Conal Urquhart gives the impression that Juliano Mer Khamis was an unpopular, quixotic outsider, disliked by most and hated by some, and a victim of irreconcilable cultural differences (A killing inspired by drama not politics, 22 April). He quotes extensively from a “fatwa-style” extremist leaflet and speaks with a “group of elderly women” . But to the public who went to the Freedom Theatre and the actors and students who participated in its productions, this Palestinian theatre was extraordinarily popular and successful.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/26/inspiring-theatre-must-take-risks

‘For as long as I can, I will continue’: Hajo Meyer interviewed
EI 26 Apr — Since being interviewed by The Electronic Intifada in 2009, Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer has toured numerous countries to speak about his efforts to combat Zionism and his support for the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and equality … In a new interview with The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof, 86-year-old Hajo Meyer about his continued activism in the past two years. Adri Nieuwhof: In our interview two years ago — in which you compared your childhood experiences to that endured by Palestinian youth today — you said you planned to continue to be active because you “had still so much to say.” Can you tell us more about what happened  since then?
http://electronicintifada.net/content/long-i-can-i-will-continue-hajo-meyer-interviewed/9867

Costs of arming Israel can no longer be ignored / Josh Ruebner
EI 25 Apr — Israel may be forgiven for failing to realize the current fiscal woes of the United States. After all, US military aid to Israel not only sailed unscathed through this month’s passage of the 2011 budget, but reached the record level of $3 billion. The US additionally provided Israel $415 million for procurement, research and development of joint US-Israeli missile defense projects, including $205 million to fund Israel’s newly-deployed Iron Dome system.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/costs-arming-israel-can-no-longer-be-ignored/9873

Palestinians not invited / Yousef Munayyer
26 Apr — When it comes to US-Israel relations, few people are more effected by the dynamics of this relationship than Palestinians. Billions of dollars in military equipment shipped from the United States to Israel most often ends up used against Palestinians. Seemingly endless American diplomatic support for Israel permits them to wantonly ignore international law at the expense of Palestinians and their land in occupied territory and refugee camps. Yet, when it comes to debating the US-Israel relationship and its implications, Palestinians are systematically excluded from the discussion.
http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2011/04/palestinians-not-invited.html

A. B. Yehoshua and Zionism identity politics / Joseph Dana
26 Apr — A.B. Yehoshua, the acclaimed Israeli fiction author, has an opinion piece in today’s Haaretz where he addresses a fundamental question: why has the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gone on for so long. For Yehoshua, the answer is simple; identity … if we understand the conflict in terms of Zionism (i.e. identity of the Jewish people, claim to the land, historical justice, etc), then we can forget about the unmitigated aggression of Israel in its maintenance of its military occupation of Palestinian land. The Palestinians merely become another people which have similar claims to the land.
http://josephdana.com/2011/04/a-b-yehoshua-and-zionism%E2%80%99s-identity-politics/

Michael Oren: Israeli is the ultimate ally
Israel’s ambassador to Washington publishes article in which he numerates reasons why Jewish State is best friend America can have. ‘In return for its aid, US receives not only an armed but an innovative ally,’ he claims
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060605,00.html

JPost Editor’s Notes: The moralist / David Horowitz
22 Apr — When your enemies do not follow the rules of war… An eye-opening interview with the man who helps set the IDF’s ethical parameters [fascinating look at the thinking of the man who influences the  ‘morality’ of the IDF]
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=217479

Iraq

Monday: 5 Iraqis killed, 23 wounded
At least five Iraqis were killed and 23 more were wounded in the latest violence. Also, an official at the Human Rights Ministry said that over 14,000 Iraqis have gone missing since 2003. Army forces surrounded al-Ahrar Square in Mosul this morning to prevent demonstrators from reaching it. Clashes broke out, wounding ten people. Security forces claim that they didn’t cause any injuries, but hospital sources reported some baton injuries among the wounded….
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/04/25/monday-5-iraqis-killed-23-wounded/

U.S.

US condemns WikiLeaks release of Gitmo files / Jason Ditz
White House officials today condemned WikiLeaks, again, for the release of classified documents that are hugely embarrassing to the administration. The latest leaks, the Guantanamo Files, detail the information the administration has and the treatment of detainees. Officials said the leaked files were “unfortunate” and condemned the various media outlets around the world for reporting their contents to the American public. They also expressed concerns about a possible backlash. And not without good reason. The documents detail a shameful number of detainees being mistreated or held under ridiculously dubious circumstances.
http://news.antiwar.com/2011/04/25/us-condemns-wikileaks-release-of-gitmo-files/


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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Why can’t we just leave glorious and triumphant Sri Lanka alone?

Posted: 27 Apr 2011

 

The world post 9/11 is polluted with “terrorism experts”, usually academics who love to be romanced by armies in the business of brutally killing declared “enemies”.

Rohan Gunaratna is intimate with the thugs in Colombo. In an interview with a Sri Lankan newspaper he offers advice for the government to avoid having to take accountability for the latest UN report on war crimes committed by the Rajapaksa regime and Tamil Tigers during the end of the civil war (though the Wall Street Journal, who never sees a counter-insurgency it doesn’t like, urges critics to focus less on the past and more on the present).

The interviewer is clearly only interested in hearing suggestions how Sri Lanka can ignore international opinion and Gunaratna is happy to oblige, painting a picture of a post-war nation that is simply untrue; Tamils are still treated like second-class citizens:

Q: The UN claims the panel of experts set up to advise Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on accountability issues with respect to the final stages of the conflict in Sri Lanka has found ‘credible reports of war crimes’ committed by both the Government and Tamil rebels. How valid are these assertions in your opinion?

The Sri Lankan government should respond, not react, to the panel report. This should be viewed as an opportunity for Sri Lanka to tell its side of the story. The UN Panel of Experts never visited Sri Lanka and interviewed the key players. For instance, the Panel should visit the centres rehabilitating former LTTE leaders and cadres, the unprecedented development in the north and the east devastated by 30 years of war, review the documentation on how government provided humanitarian assistance to the LTTE controlled areas, and interview the formation commanders that fought in the last war. The UN panel report is largely based on reporting by human rights, media, and international organizations heavily lobbied by the LTTE as well as front, cover and sympathetic organizations of the LTTE. For instance the Panel quotes from the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), a LTTE front group acknowledged by the international security and intelligence community as a principal provider of funds for LTTE procurement of arms, ammunition and explosives. While the Sri Lankan government lacking in public diplomacy failed to reflect the ground reality of the fight in the terminal phase (October 2008-May 2009), LTTE’s aggressive and selective reporting influenced human rights, media and international organizations.

In Iraq and Afghanistan where over a million civilians have been killed, there is no UN Panel advising the UN Secretary General to investigate war crimes. In May 2009, Sri Lanka was successful in dismantling the LTTE the battlefield but failed to counter the LTTE led misinformation and the disinformation campaign globally. Governments, International organizations and NGOs today react to lobbying and campaigning, a capability Sri Lanka needs to build and operationalize in the coming months and years.  The number one lesson from Sri Lanka for contemporary and future war fighters is that they must win both the battlefield and the information operation campaign.

Q: The UN statement issued on the release states that ‘The Secretary-General sincerely hopes that this advisory report will make a contribution to full accountability and justice so that the Sri Lankan Government and people will be able to proceed towards national reconciliation and peace.’ Given the long term repercussions of the report, how would you recommend the government’s respond to the contents of this report?

In addition to a point by point rebuttal of what is factually inaccurate, the Sri Lankan government should respond to the Panel report in many other ways. The outcome of such a Report signifies a massive failure on the part of the Sri Lankan government especially of the Ministry of External Affairs to respond to a new type of threat.

The Sri Lanka government should produce a White Paper detailing what happened in the terminal phase of the battle and recommendations to ensure that Sri Lanka will remain stable and peaceful. The White Paper should also list what government has done since May 2009 to build reconciliation between the different communities, rehabilitation efforts to give a second life to LTTE leaders and cadres, and the unprecedented development in the north and the east. Sri Lanka must highlight that not a single terrorist incident has occurred in the country since the LTTE was dismantled and all communities in Sri Lanka now live in peace and harmony.

Q: The panel in its recommendations calls for ‘initiating an effective accountability process beginning with genuine investigations’. How far do you believe the government should go in heeding these recommendations?

The Sri Lankan government routinely investigates allegations of atrocities. Whenever there is a credible allegation, it is absolutely essential for the Sri Lankan criminal justice and prisons system to act.  If a soldier or an officer is found guilty, the state has the responsibility to punish that individual. However, there is a distinction between isolated acts of atrocities conducted by individual soldier and systematic war crimes conducted by an army. The UN Panel report alleges that there were war crimes committed by both the Sri Lankan military and by the LTTE. It is apparent that the LTTE had a policy of conducting massacres of border villages, bombings of public places and forced recruitment of children. Even during the IPKF period, the LTTE used hospitals as cover to attack Indian peacekeepers causing high fatalities and casualties among Indian soldiers. In defence, when the IPKF fired back, both LTTE cadres and civilians were killed. As a professional military trained by the US, UK, India and other countries, the Sri Lankan military did not systematically and deliberately kill or injure civilians. In contrast, the LTTE has been notorious for using human shields, human bombs and provoking retaliatory attacks. After penetrating a government declared zone for civilians, the LTTE deliberately hid behind a human wall and attacked causing suffering, injury, and death to both civilians and military personnel. Alleging that Sri Lankan security forces intentionally and wilfully targeted civilians stated by a UN panel of experts need careful study. Similar allegations by UN agencies, NGOs, and other bodies have been levelled against the armies of US, UK, Israel and other standing militaries fighting brutal insurgencies.

Murdoch broadsheet gives lesson in how not to report news

Posted: 27 Apr 2011

 

Murdoch’s Australian has spent the last months demonising NSW Greens Senator elect Lee Rhiannon. The main reason is her strong and principled support for sanctions against apartheid Israel and her progressive politics.

Today’s paper features a Labor party press release dressed up as a news story. Memo to reporters there; only quoting one political enemy of Rhiannon isn’t news; it’s propaganda:

Claims that NSW senator-elect Lee Rhiannon has been victimised because of her past links to socialism have been rubbished by NSW Labor upper house MP Luke Foley.

Sydney academic Wendy Bacon yesterday compared the public scrutiny of Ms Rhiannon over her support for a boycott of Israel to McCarthyism.

In an article on ABC website The Drum under the headline “The character assassination of Lee Rhiannon”, Professor Bacon said the high-profile Greens member had been subjected to unfair attention because of the political beliefs she and her parents held in the 1960s.

“Her sin: her family’s membership of the Socialist Party of Australia which continued to support the Soviet Union after its 1968 invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia. All of that happened more than 40 years ago,” wrote Professor Bacon, who is director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.

“This attack smacks of McCarthyism.”.

But Mr Foley, who has been vocal in his criticism of Ms Rhiannon’s support for the campaign to boycott Israel, said Professor Bacon’s claims were simply untrue.

He said Ms Rhiannon was rightfully subjected to scrutiny over her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, which had nothing to do with her political past.

“My criticisms of Lee Rhiannon are around her activities in the here and now,” Mr Foley said. “I think what is important here is the extremism of the Greens . . . and Lee Rhiannon is the most high-profile supporter in Australian politics of the BDS.”

Impact of Wikileaks in India

Posted: 27 Apr 2011

Here.

Breaking news; Facebook didn’t bring down Mubarak

Posted: 27 Apr 2011 08:11 AM PDT

Pew shames a Western media that routinely praises the internet for bringing revolutions to Egypt and beyond (thanks to The Angry Arab):

Role of Social Networking: Nearly a quarter of Egyptians (23%) say they have used social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to obtain news about their country’s political situation; 6% access these sites but have not used it as a source of political news. About two-thirds (65%) do not use the internet or email.

ABCTV News24 on human rights in China, Gitmo torture and Sri Lankan war crimes

Posted: 27 Apr 2011

 

I appeared last night on ABCTV News 24′s The Drum alongside ABC journalist Marius Benson and lobbyist Sue Cato (video here).

While China, we learn via Wikileaks, ignores Australia’s supposed concerns for human rights, I asked if Prime Minister Julia Gillard actually cared about human rights as there had been no public comments from her after this week’s Guantanamo Bay files on countless innocent prisoners tortured by the world’s super-power. US crimes are not abuses in the eyes of our political and media elites. The words “human rights” are used as a political weapon as opposed to being something to cherish. Gillard’s current trip to China is solely about trade and military ties. Can the media and politicians be honest about this, please?

We discussed the alleged medical experimentation in Guantanamo Bay and the doctors complicit in the process. Both David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib have accused the US of doing this to them and yet we still don’t take their allegations seriously; how much did the Australian government know?

Finally, the UN report on war crimes in Sri Lanka during the country’s civil war (the massive allegations have unsurprisingly been denied by Colombo). The fact that up to 40,000 innocents may have been murdered by Sri Lanka (and far less by the Tamil Tigers) requires a robust and international trial. I called on Australia and the global community to back a transparent inquiry (a positionsupported by a Guardian editorial). Like the Goldstone report into Israeli and Hamas crimes, this latest UN investigation warrants the most serious response, despite China, the US, the West and Australia all likely to not show much enthusiasm.

Sadly, Canberra is more concerned about working with Colombo to stop poor Tamils getting onto boats and coming to Australia. So much for our priority ever being human rights accountability.

Orwell is alive and well in Washington DC over Gitmo

Posted: 27 Apr 2011

 

Really:

Anyone surfing the Internet this week is free to read leaked documents about the prisoners held by the American military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to print them out or e-mail them to friends.

Except, that is, for the lawyers who represent the prisoners.

On Monday, hours after WikiLeaks, The New York Times and other news organizations began publishing the documents online, the Justice Department informed Guantánamo defense lawyers that the documents remained legally classified even after they were made public.

Because the lawyers have security clearances, they are obligated to treat the readily available files “in accordance with all relevant security precautions and safeguards” — handling them, for example, only in secure government facilities, said the notice from the department’s Court Security Office.

Vast majority of Gitmo prisoners were innocent and we shrug

Posted: 26 Apr 2011

 

God bless the US:

 

Lock them up in Gaza and don’t be surprised with the brutality

Posted: 26 Apr 2011

The recent murder in Gaza of Italian human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni was a shock to all of us. He was killed by a self-proclaimed Salafi jihadi group. The isolation of Gaza almost guarantees some extremism, writes Jared Malsin in Foreign Policy:

Beyond the tragic events of the story itself, however, Arrigoni’s death highlights a complex political context, a web of power relations among various actors in Gaza including Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, the Salafis, other Palestinian factions, and the international community. At the root of these dynamics is the Israeli and Western policy of isolating Gaza and ignoring Hamas. The crippling four-year-long blockade of Gaza has created the conditions of human misery and desperation in which a handful of people have turned to extremism. A new report from International Crisis Group states that the blockade has amounted to “an assist provided to Salafi-Jihadis, who benefit from…Gaza’s lack of exposure to the outside world.”

UN knows war crimes committed in Sri Lanka so act already

Posted: 26 Apr 2011

The UN-led report on the country’s civil war is clear. Death and destruction on a massive scale. Former UN spokesman Gordon Weissin Colombo says that the UN kept quiet during the last months of the war instead of speaking honestly about what they knew was happening in the north of the country:

ALI MOORE: This report criticises the UN for failing to take action, especially by not publicly talking about casualty figures, which the report and the authors say could have strengthened the call for the protection of civilians. You were the UN spokesman. Why didn’t that happen?

GORDON WEISS: Yeah, well, I was the UN spokesman and I was making statements about numbers, but there was obviously a decision taken not to use the specific figures that we were gathering. I was also part of that particular cell that’s mentioned inside the report who were trying to calculate casualty figures on a daily basis. But there was a decision taken up the chain not to use those figures.

ALI MOORE: Was that a decision you believe that was taken under pressure from the Sri Lankan Government? Was it a calculated decision to ensure the UN could stay in the country?

GORDON WEISS: I think the broader view was that if the UN used those figures it would make the UN’s position in the country untenable, and the UN mission was not a political mission or a peace-keeping mission or an observer mission, it was a humanitarian mission. So you had a lot of humanitarian agencies who were there trying to deliver the basics to those who were caught up in the siege.

ALI MOORE: So was that in essence a judgement that it was better to be there and be silent than not be there at all?

GORDON WEISS: I think it was, yes.

ALI MOORE: Was that right, do you think, in hindsight?

GORDON WEISS: No. I didn’t believe that it was right, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to change that.

ALI MOORE: In your view, though, clearly the UN could have done more?

GORDON WEISS: Yes, but in my view the UN can always do more. I mean, I don’t think the UN is ever in situations where it just gets things right. You know, this was a very, very tough theatre. It was the cutting edge of humanitarian action. It was always going to be tough. So that the UN got something wrong is no surprise; the question really is the degree to which it got it wrong.

The international community now has an obvious decision to make. Take action against Sri Lanka or remain silent, therefore guaranteeing other states will behave similarly (Israel, the US, China etc). The UN report is very clear on what both Colombo and the Tamil Tigers did to civilians. Tragically, in yet another example of UN gutlessness, it appears that directions were given to local staff to remain silent during the war. Shameful:

After the Sri Lanka war crimes report by the UN Panel of Experts was quietly presented to the UN Security Council by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Inner City Press asked Ban two questions about the report.

Among his answers on Sri Lanka, Ban implicitly acknowledged the report’s charge that the UN withheld casualty figures during the conflict.

Asked  to “respond to the criticisms in the report that the UN failed in those last months to do what it could to help protect civilians, including keeping statistics of the actual casualty figures back,” Ban said that the Sri Lankan authorities said that they couldn’t guarantee the safety of UN staff:

“the security situation was very precarious, at the last stage of the crisis. And we were told by the Sri Lankan Government, as I understand and remember, that the Sri Lankan Government would not be able to ensure the safety and security of United Nations missions there. Then we were compelled to take the necessary action according to their advice.”

Assange defended by world

Posted: 26 Apr 2011

Damn right:

A 24-country poll found that most people believe WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange is not a criminal and should not be charged by the U.S. government for releasing thousands of secret U.S. documents.

The poll by Ipsos found 79 percent of people were aware of WikiLeaks and two-thirds of those believed Assange should not be charged and three-quarters supported the group’s bid to make public secret government or corporate documents.

U.S. respondents had a far more critical view, with 81 percent aware of WikiLeaks and 69 percent of those believing Assange should be charged and 61 percent opposing WikiLeaks’ mission.

The countries found least likely to support legal action against Assange by the U.S. government were South Africa, Germany, Russia and Argentina, while the highest support was in the United States, South Korea, Britain, India and Indonesia.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

5 things you may not know about Silwan


 

The Israeli group Solidarity sent along

this flyer from a joint action they did with Silwanic, a Palestinian center

in the Silwan neighborhood that seeks to counter the erasure of Palestinian

history by the right wing settler group ElAd that has been given dominion

over its archeological sites. Feel free to downloadand share with any right

wing family members you have who talk about the “City of David”  while

ignoring its Palestinian residents.

You can also take part in Solidarity’s action on hipster travel guide Lonely Planet,

to get them to exclude  ElAd from their book.

Common Solidarity protest signs read “Jerusalem is not Hebron.” For a stark video

reminder of what it would mean if these settlers were to succeed in Silwan, here’s a

video of a Palestinian family’s walk home from school in Hebron, h/t to

Dorothy Naor of New Profile. Ironists should note that this takes place during the

first day of Passover, the Jewish holiday commerorating the flight from slavery and

subsequent wandering to reach home. This story has inspired countless other struggles

throughout history, including the recent Egyptian revolution, but not as it appears the

Israeli military.

More Recent Articles:

 

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on 5 things you may not know about Silwan

Ex-CIA chief: Kadhafi was good partner

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross


AFP

 

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland (AFP) – The former chief of the CIA on Tuesday praised Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s past cooperation and said his downfall could complicate US interests in the short term.

Retired general Michael Hayden, who led the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 under president George W. Bush, said that restive Syria also helped US intelligence but only in selective areas.

Speaking at a conference of the Marine Corps University, Hayden said the CIA had worked well with Kadhafi and Mussa Kussa, the foreign minister who defected last month as Libyan forces moved against rebels.

“Whatever you think of Kadhafi and Mussa Kussa… they were good and they were good counter-terrorism partners,” Hayden told the conference near Washington.

Hayden said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “pretty good” at fighting Sunni Muslim militants but supported Shiite radicals. Assad belongs to the Alawite sect, a Shiite offshoot despised by Sunni extremists such as Al-Qaeda.

“In both cases, you have real near-term turbulence that could — that will — make the closer fight in the immediate time-frame much more difficult,” Hayden said.

But Hayden said the wave of unrest across the Arab world could prove beneficial to the United States in the long term by changing the dynamics of the region.

The uprisings “will make the ground far less fertile for the type of extremism that Al-Qaeda proselytizes, but it’s a long time between here and there,” Hayden said.

Kadhafi, a longtime international pariah due to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and other attacks blamed on Libyan spies, started to reconcile with the United States in 2003 and found common interests in fighting Al-Qaeda.

But Western powers led by France and Britain launched air strikes on Kadhafi’s forces last month due to fears of mass civilian casualties as they mobilized against rebel strongholds.

Syria, meanwhile, on Tuesday bolstered troops around the flashpoint town of Daraa, triggering calls for a foreign intervention. A Syrian rights group said the crackdown has killed 400 people since mid-March.

Hayden also voiced concern about Yemen, a frontline in the US-backed campaign against Al-Qaeda.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key US partner who has been in power for 30 years, has agreed to a plan to step down.

“I would never claim that President Saleh was, kind of, an easy fit as a partner with regard to anything. But I don’t know what’s on the next page,” Hayden said.

“Now you’ve got the Yemeni government at best distracted and perhaps worse,” he said.

Posted in USAComments Off on Ex-CIA chief: Kadhafi was good partner

‘US at risk of war with China, Russia’

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

The US is at the risk of a war with Russia and China as its main objective behind engineering the Libyan war and Syrian unrest is to remove the two world powers out of the Mediterranean, a former US official warns.

“Washington is all for invading against Libya and is putting more and more pressure to intervene in Syria because we want to … clear China and Russia out of the Mediterranean,” Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary to US Treasury in Panama City said in an interview with Press TV.

On one hand, China has massive energy investments in eastern Libya and is relying on Libya and on the other hand, Russia has a large naval base in Syria and it gives it a presence in the Mediterranean, he pointed out.

“Those two countries are just in the way of American hegemony in the Mediterranean and certainly the Americans do not want a powerful Russian fleet stationed there and they certainly don’t want China drawing energy resources,” Roberts added.

“Once Russia and China come to the conclusion that the Americans simply cannot be dealt with it in any rational way and are determined to somehow subdue them and do them damage, all kinds of escalations can result. This is the real danger and we’re risking a major war,” the former senior US official cautioned.

Meanwhile, the US does not want to overthrow the governments in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, where both governments are using violence against protesters “Because they’re our puppets and we have a large naval base in Bahrain,” Roberts argued.

Many civilians have reportedly been killed since the US-led coalition unleashed a major air campaign against Libya’s regime forces on March 19 under a UN mandate to protect the Libyan population.

According to Libya’s National Transitional Council, since the revolution against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s regime began in mid-February at least 10,000 people have been killed and another 30,000 injured in clashes with pro-Gaddafi forces in the North African country, while 20,000 more are still listed as missing.

Elsewhere in Syria, scattered protests have broken out since mid-March. Several people have reportedly been killed in clashes between security forces and armed groups.

Roberts argued that “Washington was caught off guard by the outbreaks of protests in Tunisia and Egypt, but quickly learned that they could use and hide behind Arab protests to evict Russia and China without a direct confrontation … so they’ve engineered these protests.”

In recent months, a wave of revolutions and anti-government uprisings has swept the Arab world.

In January, a revolution in Tunisia ended the 23-year ruling of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In February, another revolution led to the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after three decades of authoritarian rule.

Other revolutions have erupted in Yemen and Bahrain, while more anti-government upheavals have swept Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait and Algeria.

Meanwhile, more Arab countries are expected to witness similar revolts.

Posted in USAComments Off on ‘US at risk of war with China, Russia’

A Letter to a Sleepy Acquaintance

NOVANEWS

By “Digger,” reader of The Ugly Truth

Dear Sleepy…

I have tried many times in the past to communicate politely to you about these pressing issues and I no longer have the patience to be polite – with you, or people like you who ‘choose’ not to see this rough beast, whose hour has come round at last as it slouches downward upon us that we can only refer to as the Jewish New World Order. We have no more time to be polite about this situation we find ourselves in.

I am saddened to see you in the mental state you are in. I don’t say that in jest. What I mean by that is you like all the other sheeple, you have been totally and absolutely usurped by the Judaic, Talmudic mind-lock.

You have had a successful accumulative psychological operation done on you. You are in a Jewish trance, hypnotized/comatized by Jewish psychological warfare.

In a way I should be more understanding – after all “Why would you not be propagandized?’ when you read the Jewish-owned newspapers (Jewspapers) watch the Jewish controlled TV (talmudvision) and listen to the Judaic radio, having absorbed all the rabbinical predictive programming through courses and education (indoctrination) system to capture all your opinions and outlook on life.

You undoubtedly have swallowed up all the mainstream propaganda and therefore can only operate and regurgitate what you have been programmed to think and say – just like an organic computer. Your thoughts are not your thoughts.

You believe lock stock and barrel in the holohoax (holocaust) and empathize with the poor eternal-victim Jews.

You most definitely have fallen for the latest and deadliest of all the Judaic poisons out there, meaning Islamophobia.

You have conveniently justified slaughtering two million plus innocent people in Iraq under the pretext of that other Judaic fantasy, meaning WMDs.

You probably haven’t even questioned the ‘official’’ story of those crazy 19 ‘Mooooozlims’ highjacking planes and crashing them into the Twin Towers on September 11 2001. Well, surprise, surprise–it wasn’t the Muslims -IT WAS THE JEWS just as were the 7/7 London bombings.

But hey – why should you question it? The mainstream media would never lie to us. Especially the kosher BBC.

Everything is OK, Sleepy…

Or is it that deep down you don’t even care…You don’t care about the 1.5 million Palestinians barely surviving, cramped up as they are in an open-air prison camp under horrific and dangerous conditions.

My guess is you don’t care that the UK/US taxpayers have funded the illegal wars in and across the Middle East in order to implement Israel’s long dreamed of Armageddon.

Yes WWIII, another Jewish war which they–the Jews–have openly boasted about instigating in their doctrines [The Protocols of The Learned Elders of Zion].

But as you say “That’s nonsense”.

Of course the intense independent impartial research I’ve done over the last 5 years must be nonsense too. Along with the millions of independent eminent political analysts also whistling this same tune–they must also be talking nonsense.

But then again why should you care when you can pop along to your art class and go swimming and do your various hobbies and pastimes.

You said on the phone “It’s a good time to be alive”. Well, yes, for you in your cozy little middle class bubble in Lala land, it certainly must be. Well HELLO, here’s a news flash–There’s another world out there. A world of reality. Harsh reality you won’t dare to face. Not only in this country but in other parts of the world.

Can you not see this Orwellian police state creeping upon us?

Do you trust in these nefarious flu jabs?

Do you believe we have honest courts where people can get justice?

Do you believe what the politicians tell you?

My God, the cognitive dissonance must be unbearable.

“A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts who refuse to believe that government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the police state dictatorship its going to get…”–Ian Williams Goddard

How prescient, as they say…

You are munching away at a potato and thinking it’s an apple. All the people you mix with are also eating potatoes thinking they are apples and so are the characters on your goggle box (TV) and this your normality and reality. This is mass hypnosis and what Orwell described as “The new normal’s”.

Sleep…sleep…sleep – do not think – obey authority – watch TV trust big brother – war is peace – focus on your hobbies slavery is freedom – everything is OK – sleep sleep sleep.

This is why trying to engage in logical conversation about these vitally important issues with people like yourself is futile. The repetitive programming is too insidious, the hypnotic Judaic mantras have penetrated too deep.

Let’s talk instead about meaningless selfish inconsequential small talk…..college courses, art classes, trivia, and, of course, how everything is OK.

I have no real alternative to talk to you other than in this assertive brutal way. Superficial kindness will not help you.

Because I care about you enough to warn you of an impending, dangerous storm that I use this metaphoric cold, wet towel to slap across your face in waking you from this deep, unnatural and dangerous slumber.

I sent you some links last week on these topics – and predictably no response from you whatsoever. I have physically pointed out the chemtrails to you in the sky and you glaze over as if I’ve pointed at a tree. I have posted you endless amounts of material for you to just look at, again with zero response from you.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it…”–Albert Einstein

Again, how prescient…

I clearly gain the impression you just don’t want to know anything that goes on outside your cozy insulated cocoon mentality.

How much longer will you continue to hit that snooze button so as to remain snug under your duvet (?)

Call it bird flu, if you like but I am sickened by the ostrich-like attitude of humans who should know better and should care. Your passivity and detached approach to your own demise is like cancer to the eyes, and my inclination is to look away…

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it”–Martin Luther King jr.

What irritates me most is that when told there is a train barreling down the tracks at you, you don’t even bother to turn and look. No effort whatsoever on your part to investigate the fact that your country, your civilization and your people are dying. Your myopic naive trust in the media, the government, the doctors, the establishment is pathological. Your sense of curiosity has been incrementally eroded by this Judaic acid and replaced with a fascination for a version of reality that does not exist. This is social engineering. You have been Talmudized.

Paradoxically you claim to be well informed because of all your fancy degrees, awarded you by a system that rewards complacency. You read the Times or the Guardian and listen to radio 4. Ohhh it’s so painful and if it wasn’t so serious it would laughable.

What do you know about Zionism, Judaism, and the “New world order’? Probably much less than you know about “Islamo-Fascism”, right? Has it not struck you that you know all about “the Koran” but have not even heard mention of the Babylonian Talmud? That you know all about “The Taliban” but not the Protocols?

The mere fact that you can’t see that we are moving headlong towards WW3 I find shocking/disturbing. The freight train moves along at lightning speed towards you, but you don’t hear its engines or feel the rumble beow your feet.

I partially understand our parent’s generation not grasping this situation because back in their day times were more amenable – more freedom, more work, much more social generation. More importantly, they only really had the mainstream media for their information.

Today however, there is no excuse for this epidemic of ignorance. There is the internet now. There is the alternative media.

I find it increasingly difficult to communicate with you and people like you who are wrapped up in the judaic matrix. I feel we can only restore our bond until you

WAKE UP

“Until we do wake up, nothing sounds more absurd than the assertion that we are dreaming, and nothing seems more solid than this world and reality of the senses”–Unknown author

Suggested de-programming information and for the unvarnished brutal truth:

www.theuglytruth.wordpress.com and

www.theuglytruth.podbean.com excellent archive of articles and

videos explaining global events

www.iamthewitness.com excellent repository of books, articles and audios from eminent well-researched independent authors on real world history and the direction we are heading and who is behind it.

www.johnkaminski.info prolific writer – current/world events

www.wideeyecinema An eclectic range of material outlining the Zionist/Jewish control on the world

www.theforbiddentruth.net Interesting mixed range of topics, some quite controversial.

www.800pg.co.cc

Holocaust revisionism

The Babylonian Talmud

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion

The Kabbalah/Cabala

Codex Alimentarius

Chemtrails

Agenda 21

Fluoridation of the water supply

Vaccinations and the flue jab

Film: They Live by John Carpenter

Film: The Khazarian Conspiracy

Film: 9/11 Missing Links

Films: The Money Masters and Money as Debt

Film: Occupation 101

Film: Jenin Jenin

Book: George Orwell .1984′

Book: Aldous Huxley .Brave New World’

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on A Letter to a Sleepy Acquaintance

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

 

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem

Chair of West Midland Palestine Solodarity Campaign

The siege, and Hamas’s inability to ease it, only empower jihadist groups

Apr 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

Jared Malsin has a fine piece of reporting at Foreign Policy on the Salafi groups in Gaza, one of which is held responsible for the murder of international volunteer Vittorio Arrigoni. Note that the leader of one of the Salafi groups was imprisoned till Cast Lead, when the Israeli attack on the prison freed him. Excerpts:

Arrigoni’s death highlights a complex political context, a web of power relations among various actors in Gaza including Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, the Salafis, other Palestinian factions, and the international community. At the root of these dynamics is the Israeli and Western policy of isolating Gaza and ignoring Hamas. The crippling four-year-long blockade of Gaza has created the conditions of human misery and desperation in which a handful of people have turned to extremism. A new report from International Crisis Group states that the blockade has amounted to “an assist provided to Salafi-Jihadis, who benefit from…Gaza’s lack of exposure to the outside world.”

The subset of jihadi or militant Salafis in Gaza includes four main groups:

Jund Ansar Allah (Soldiers of God’s Supporters), Jaysh Al-Islam (Army of Islam),Jaysh Al-Umma (Army of the Nation), and finally Tawhid wa Al-Jihad (Monotheism and Jihad), whose members were blamed for the killing of Vittorio Arrigoni. Although membership estimates vary widely, the jihadi groups are believed to include no more than a few hundred activists, mostly young men, some of them still in their teens. Two Hamas officials said these groups together number fewer than 100 members. Many of these adherents are recruited from the armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. An unknown further number of cadres within these larger factions have sympathy for the Salafis or may participate in Salafi armed action.

The jihadi Salafis are opposed to Hamas over two primary issues: implementation of Islamic law — the jihadis want the imposition of a puritanical reading of sharia — and ceasefires with Israel, which they oppose on principle.Tawhid wa Al-Jihad, the organization whose alleged members were blamed for killing Arrigoni, is said to be one of the smaller groups. According to Hamas and other Salafis quoted by Crisis Group, the group’s leader, Hisham Sa’idni, is “more vehemently against Hamas than other Salafi-Jihadis.” Saidini’s first arrest by Hamas was followed by an escape, Crisis Group reports, during Operation Cast Lead, when Gaza’s central prison was destroyed…

This is the crux of Hamas’ dilemma: if it allows attacks on Israel, it risks massive retaliation from the Israelis; if it imposes too strict a ceasefire, it risks eroding its credibility among its political base in Gaza, particularly among its armed cadres. A U.N. diplomat, quoted anonymously by Crisis Group explained the problem: “How long can Hamas sustain a policy of not engaging in resistance, while this non-engagement doesn’t produce any results in terms of liberating Palestine, easing the blockade, or any other political goal for which the movement exists?”…

The man [a member of Jund Ansar Allah interviewed by Malsin], who appeared to be in his twenties, said he was originally a member of Islamic Jihad but prefers Salafism because, “I believe it’s good to follow a respected ideology than a corrupt one. We are completely against any truce with Israel. We will attack our enemy by every means according to our military capabilities, we will never hesitate or shy from resisting.”

The role of the Salafi jihadis is not to be exaggerated, and much ambiguity still surrounds these groups’ activities, intentions, and relations with other internal and external forces. [Hamas] Interior Ministry spokesman Ehab Al-Ghusssain theorized that by targeting them for assassination, Israel was attempting to elevate these groups’ importance. The jihadis have become, he said, “like a white paper, whatever you write on it, it will be.”

‘Mathilde Redmatn’ and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Apr 26, 2011

Tim Haughton

As someone who spends a lot of time performing critical analysis of the press as well as studying propaganda in general, there are occasionally stories which prick my interest. A couple of days ago, a story appeared on the IDF Spokesperson’s Website which did just that. The story essentially reports on an interview with one “Mathilde Redmatn”, deputy head of the Red Cross in Gaza. The author quotes Redmatn as saying:

“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” she explains. “If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach.  The problem is mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to goods, concrete for example. Israel has the legitimate right to protect the civilan population…”

As one might expect, this “bombshell” was quickly scooped up by the corporate press, and covered (sometimes with extra spin) by CNNHaaretzJPost and so on. Now, I’m naturally skeptical of anything that appears in the corporate press or in a government press releases, and this was no exception, although I do have respect for the ICRC.

The story was going to be important in terms of the War of Narratives, so I thought it prudent to check it since it didn’t come in the form of an official ICRC publication. What became immediately apparent is that seemingly no one within the corporate media had bothered to check the veracity of the story. Had they done so, they would have found that there is no one bearing the name “Mathilde Redmatn” in the employ of the ICRC. There issomeone called “Mathilde De Riedmatten”, a trivial fact that I was able to glean from speaking with the ICRC in Jerusalem, a fact that not one journalist seemed to care about enough to check.

This is a perfect example of what Herman and Chomsky described as the corporate media’s “symbiotic relationship with powerful sources of information” – the simple, reciprocal understanding that if you provide the information, I’ll print it, without question.

The gloating of the Israeli right surrounding this story is an indication of just how far their moral compass is out of alignment. That one person at a respected human rights organisation, in an unofficial document stating that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” can be a source of unbridled joy is certainly perplexing. We already knew from the Palestine Papers that:

“As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to (U.S. embassy economic officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,” whilst keeping the Gazan economy “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis”.

A noble strategy indeed.

From the Palestinian perspective, the term “humanitarian crisis” is to be used by the corporate media, propagandists and humanitarian organisations. It in no way, shape or form alters the reality on the ground. What might amount to normalcy in Gaza would undoubtedly be viewed as a crisis in say the US for example. So, whilst it is of little value to debate the existence or non-existence of a “humanitarian crisis”, it is useful to remind ourselves of the facts.

  • We know from the UN’s March update that a majority of Gazans are food insecure and rely on aid.

  • We know that Gaza’s fishermen are limited to fishing within 3 miles of the shore, in a stretch of water heavily contaminated with raw sewage. (Incidentally this raw sewage also contaminates Gazas “nice beach”)

  • We know that 35% of agricultural land is off limits to farmers, unless they wish to find death at the hands of the IDF, and this doesn’t take into account agricultural land rendered inoperable as a result of the Gaza Massacre.

  • We know that 90% of drinking water extracted from the aquifer is brackish and fail’s to meet the WHO’s standard for drinking water.

In the drive to reduce the plight of the people of Gaza down to a sound bite, the details get lost, the facts become noise. Let’s not make that mistake. Let’s look at the documentary record and let’s expose the corporate media for what they are – the faithful servants of established power. I have asked the ICRC in Jerusalem for clarification on this issue, and await their reply.

Christian Zionists are wrong; this is not a religious conflict

Apr 26, 2011

Craig Nielsen

I would like to thank all the people who took the time to reply to the article I postedyesterday, “A concoction of distortions, half-truths and emotionally-potent oversimplifications of scripture is Christian Zionism.” I would like to clear up some points that I probably did not make clear in the initial article.

My statement that Orthodox Jews do not believe that the exile is over refers to Orthodox Jews that are believers in the Torah. It seems that term “Orthodox Jew” can also be used for Jewish people who observe the lifestyle of Orthodoxy while not being believers, i.e. agnostics or even atheists. My usage of the term did not include these and so my comments were not very clear on this point. For this I apologise. As far as all my own research has gone, plus conversations with every Orthodox religious Jew that I could find, religious Orthodox Jews do not believe that the exile is over. As for the religious Jews in the settlements in the West Bank, I guess I did not really consider them as Orthodox. I think that they represent a minority of religious Jews and so my statement would be better put as “the vast majority of religious Orthodox, believing Jews do not believe the exile is over.” I think this statement is far more accurate.

It is not my intent to delegitimize the conversion experience of anyone. My comment about the coming and going of spiritual fads in the church in no way devalues anyone’s conversion experience. I have been involved in some of these fads myself and my involvement in them in no way affects the validity of my conversion experience and anyone else’s involvement in these fads does not invalidate their experience either. A valid conversion experience in no way guarantees that a believer will not take on views that stray or even contradict the ideas and values that the believer started with. What even constitutes a valid conversion experience is not obvious either. I do not agree that my statements about fads in the church imply that I invalidate the religious experiences of anyone in the Christian church or anyone of any faith regardless of the existence of these fads or who has been involved in them.

As far as the Oaths of the Talmud are concerned, I think that while they hold very little significance for many Jews today, they did have far greater importance for Jewish people in the past. The habit of dismissing anti-Zionist religious Jews as nuts and fanatics is unfair. I think that the rejection of Zionism by the vast majority of believing religious Orthodox Jews in the latter part of the 19th century went far deeper than the simple fact that the Zionists were secular. I think Professor Rabkin’s book clears this point up quite well.

Regarding the point I made about the Old Testament’s teaching about the conditionality of the Jewish people’s occupation of Canaan, I stand by what I said. I think this teaching is abundantly clear. If a person considers the Old Testament to be a flawed book of human origin, well that is his/her right, but that does not change what I feel is a fairly plain teaching of the Bible. If the Jewish people do not accept that particular interpretation of the Bible or choose to ignore the Torah completely then their decision to do so must be respected. The point of my article was to show that the Christian Zionist teaching that Christians must unconditionally support the State of Israel does not hold water Biblically even given the sort of presuppositions that they themselves hold to about the scriptures. I do not believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a religious one at all. The Christian Zionist doctrine that attempts to legitimise the Zionist state of Israel on religious grounds is completely unjustified and in the end is extremely unhelpful.

The Christian Zionist movement has, in my opinion, only fanned the flames of this conflict. My understanding of Christian Zionist teaching comes from not only reading mountains of their literature, but by being lectured by them for hour upon hour as to why I should be supporting the state of Israel unconditionally rather than being concerned with Palestinian calls for justice and human rights in the land of their birth.

I do not believe that the survival of the Jewish people is dependent upon the existence of the Zionist state of Israel. If it did, then I would be compelled to support the Israeli state like the many Jewish people who do indeed think that the Jewish people will perish if Israel does not exist in the form it does today. The Jewish people (thankfully) survived the Holocaust, without the Zionist state. I believe that they will endure as a people come what may, as they have done for thousands of years. Many times it has occurred to me that the Zionist state of Israel has not created a better world for the Jewish people, despite its lofty aims.

In the end I believe that the ethical traditions of Judaism are an inspiration to all who seek justice and equality in our world. That reality is a far greater reason to celebrate than the existence of the Zionist state of Israel.

Just imagine that pruning trees on your land was an act of resistance

Apr 26, 2011

Kate

and other news from yesterday and Today in Palestine:

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

Settlers attack Palestinian children in East Jerusalem
IMEMC 25 Apr — Palestinian sources reported Monday morning that a group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers attacked, on Sunday evening, a group of Palestinian children in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem … Eyewitnesses told WAFA that approximately 50 – 70 extremist settlers entered a Muslim graveyard in Sheikh Jarrah to pray on a grave said to be for a Jewish figure, and held prayers at the grave site. Later on, the settlers hurled stones at local Palestinian homes, and attacked three children with pepper spray wounding one.
http://www.imemc.org/article/61132

More than 150 residents of Silwan arrested in 4-month period
Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 25 Apr — Throughout this year the city of Jerusalem has witnessed an ongoing campaign of arbitrary arrests of Palestinian residents on “security” charges. Arrest numbers have soared in particularly volatile areas, such as Silwan, Al-Thouri, Shu‘afat, Anata and Issawiya, all of which have been subject to sustained clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. The largest number of detentions and arrests have been in the village of Silwan. Israeli forces executed over 150 detentions and arrests of Palestinians in Silwan between the months of December 2010 and March 2011. Included in this staggering number were 65 children detained by either Israeli police, military or undercover forces. Some were taken on the streets; others from their homes. This figure does not include the number of youth detained by Israeli forces stationed throughout the village for on-the-spot investigation.
http://silwanic.net/?p=15153

Unprovoked settler attack and military house invasion in Shuhada Street, Hebron
ISM 25 Apr — At approximately 11pm on Sunday 24, two Palestinians were physically beaten, one also attacked with pepper spray, by Israeli settlers in Hebron. Shortly afterwards, a reported 20 Israeli soldiers forcibly entered a house in Shuhada Street and ordered all under-16s out into the street.
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/04/17960/

Settlers attack Palestinians in Hebron’s Old City
Hebron (PNN) 26 Apr — Israeli settlers attacked on Tuesday Palestinians inside the Old city of Hebron, southern West Bank and injured one man. Witnesses told local media that Firas al-Khateb was attacked by settlers with gas spray and rocks near the illegal settlement of Tal Romida in Hebron old city. Doctors at Hebron hospital said that al-Khateb was slightly injured and suffered effects of gas inhalation due to the settlers attack.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9955&Itemid=64

For 2nd year, settlement sewage floods town
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Apr — Beit Ummar residents on Monday accused Israeli settlers of opening sewage pipes and causing a flood of human waste in fields growing grapes. The flood is the second in as many years, coming almost a year to the day after a 2010 flood from the Kfar Etzion settlement. Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Awad Abu Sway said a pipe running north of the town near Wad Shakhat was opened, covering more than 10 dunums of privately-owned vineyards with waste. Ibrahim Odeh Sabarneh, one of the owners of the flooded fields, said he was plowing the earth on Sunday morning and did not see any contamination at all. He accused settlers of “taking advantage of the night” and opening the pipes.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=381949

13-year-old boy among five Palestinians injured by Israeli settlers on Sunday
IMEMC 25 Apr — Several groups of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian with rocks on Sunday, mainly in the Nablus area in the northern West Bank. At least five were wounded, including a 13-year old boy who was hit in the head with a rock, and taken to Rafidiya Government Hospital in Nablus. Settlers also torched one car, and broke the windshield of another. According to local eyewitnesses, Israeli settlers gathered on hilltops near Beit Furik, ‘Urif and Madama villages on Sunday afternoon, and began throwing rocks at Palestinian villagers in the area. One group of settlers attacked Palestinian drivers on a road near Huwwara, south of Nablus, setting fire to a taxi belonging to Murad Mustafa Al-Yatem, and breaking the windshield of a car carrying three passengers – two of whom were injured in the attack.
http://www.imemc.org/article/61130

Ancient home for friends of the Jordan Valley
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an)  25 Apr — Looking at the oldest straw-clay building in the Jordan Valley, it is hard to believe it is still standing. It is believed to date back to Ottoman times, and was originally built to be a clinic. As the years passed, the building was deserted and its features began to fade. But the building was bought by a popular campaign led by Palestinian and international solidarity activists, known as ‘Save the Jordan Valley.’ After a year of intensive work and with the help of volunteers, the building was rehabilitated and began to attract solidarity activists. It became the headquarters for the campaign itself.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382084

Violence

Palestinian worker injured by police dogs
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Palestinian worker Hatem Abdul Razzaq At-Talahma, 42, was injured Thursday morning in the city of Hebron, when Israeli military police dogs bit him at his workplace. At-Talahma told Ma‘an that he believed the dogs were released in order to attack him, as he worked in the area adjacent to a wall separating the city’s settler population from Palestinians in the Ar-Ramadeen area. Medics said the man was treated for dog bites on his limbs and body. At-Talahma said that following the attack, Israeli forces refused to give him first aid. He was evacuated to hospital by Palestinian Red Crescent medics.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=381899

Father says son’s liver damage caused by tear gas
NABLUS (Ma‘an) — Eleven-year-old Muhammad Bilal Abdul Salam At-Tamimi was taken to the intensive care unit in Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, his father told Ma‘an, saying the boy’s condition had deteriorated throughout the week. Muhammad had been hit by a tear-gas canister during a protest against land confiscations in the central West Bank village of An-Nabi Saleh, and was admitted to hospital at the time but was released the same day. The child’s father said Muhammad’s health had deteriorated during the week, prompting him to return to the hospital, where he said doctors ran tests and determined that there were injuries to the liver and kidneys.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=381868

Restriction of movement / Control

Modes of control: Easter at Qalandiya / Lauren Banko
…To get any type of permit to cross into Jerusalem, even for Palestinians whose families, villages, and even streets are cut off from their neighbors by the separation wall, the applicant must meet age qualifications. Once a Palestinian child from the West Bank turns twelve years of age, he will be given a blue West Bank identity card and is banned from entering Jerusalem, even with his parents. Those West Bank Palestinians who do have permission to enter Jerusalem are not allowed further than Jerusalem into the 1948 borders of Israel. I am currently living in the town of Birzeit, close to the de facto Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah and about twenty-two kilometers from Jerusalem, and as an American, I hold an Israeli tourist visa. As a foreigner with an Israeli visa, I usually do not have problems passing through Qalandiya checkpoint — besides the usual being treated as less than a human, or as part of a herd of cattle along with the Palestinians.
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16822

Hebron reflection: a morning like any other / Inger Steyrbjorn
Christian Peacemaker Teams 26 Apr — “Biladi, Biladi … my country, my country…” the Palestinians’ national anthem echoes from loudspeakers in schools all over Hebron, where Nina and I stand at the checkpoint and note how many children have their bags searched.  

I count the children, but I also see that today the soldier stays inside the trailer where the metal detector is, probably so I cannot see how he treats the Palestinians. The metal detector beeps for each person who passes.  I hear the beep several times without anyone coming out, which means that people inside are undergoing a thorough search.  A young boy waits, presumably for his schoolmate.  He is trying to see what’s happening, but the brusque soldier pulls the door shut.  When the door eventually opens, a small child comes out.  After several walks through the detector, the boy is finally free.
http://cpt.org/cptnet/2011/04/26/hebron-reflection-morning-any-other

The military bars Palestinian journalist from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jerusalem-Maysa Abu Ghazalih/PNN 26 Apr – On Tuesday the Israeli military banned Palestinian Journalist Farid Saleh from Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s old city for 15 days. The army forced Saleh to sign a ban order with a bail of  3,000 NIS (800 USD) if he violates the order. Saleh who works for the children’s TV channel, Touyor al-Janna, along with two cameramen working with him were filming a charity event for children that was taking place at al-Aqsa Mosque.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9953&Itemid=56

Israeli army harassment of the Al Ras Al Ahmar community continues
Jordan Valley Solidarity 24 Apr –Today, 1pm, Palestinian workers from Al Ras Al Ahmer were taken by the Israeli army from the village and detained at the side of the road for half an hour. Each man had his ID checked by both the army and then the police who arrived later. The men were returning home after working in a nearby settlement. The settlement is only 10 mins drive from the village but the army only opens the gate into the village twice a week. This means that every day the Palestinian workers have to drive 50 mins past the Hamara check point and on a small dirt track over the hill to reach their homes.
http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=240:israei-army-harassment-of-the-al-ras-al-ahmar-community-continues&catid=14:2009&Itemid=21

Gaza

International activists harvest on Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Apr — Just a kilometer from the ‘security fence’ separating Israel and Gaza, international solidarity activists and Palestinian volunteers on Monday began a wheat and barley harvest on behalf of landowners who fear Israeli artillery and gunfire in the no-go zone. Several Palestinian farmers have been killed and injured in the area as they tended their land or collected crops. The Israeli army imposes a no-go zone inside the Gaza Strip border areas, citing security concerns.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382104

Housing ministry: Reconstruction of razed housing ongoing despite siege
GAZA, (PIC) 26 Apr — The ministry of public works and housing in Gaza said that reconstruction of Palestinian houses razed during the Israeli war on Gaza Strip was ongoing although at a slow pace. The ministry said in a statistics report on Monday that it was proceeding in reconstructing 1327 houses out of a total of 3407 houses which were completely destroyed during that war. It said 100 of them were completed while finances for the reconstruction of 800 others in 2011 were promised. The ministry said that UNRWA offered more than 58 million dollars in cash money to refugees in Gaza to repair their homes. [End]
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Gaza: Single border crossing partially open
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)  26 Apr — Israeli authorities opened Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing Tuesday to allow the limited entry of goods and humanitarian aid into the besieged coastal enclave. The opening followed several closures for Israel’s observance of the Jewish Passover holiday, and a week-long closure before, after and during a spate of border clashes. UN reports noted shortages in cooking gas and wheat following the closures.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382182

Egypt to re-open Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Apr– Following a one-day closure for Egypt’s spring holiday, the Rafah crossing on its border with the Gaza Strip reopened Tuesday, allowing travelers with permits to pass in both directions, officials said
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382165

86 Palestinians enter Gaza from Cairo airport
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 26 Apr — The Palestinian embassy in Egypt announced Tuesday that 86 Palestinians were allowed to land at the Cairo International Airport. Airport staff escorted the group to the Rafah crossing and facilitated their return to the Gaza Strip. The embassy warned travelers trying to enter Gaza that Cairo’s airport would be closed from Thursday until Monday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382317

Detention

Israeli occupation forces arrest Palestinian writer Ahmad Qatamesh
AIC 26 Apr — In the early hours of dawn on Thursday, 21 April 2011, a large force of Israeli soldiers and intelligence officers raided the home of the prominent Palestinian writer and academic Dr. Ahmad Qatamesh 1 in Al-Bireh and arrested him. An hour earlier, Qatamesh’s wife, 22-year-old daughter and two other female relatives, including a 14-year-old child, were taken hostage by Israeli troops in another apartment to compel him to surrender himself. He was led to “Ofer” detention center in Beitunia. Ahmad Qatamesh was born in 1950 in a cave in Bethlehem to a refugee family expelled during the Nakba from the village of Al-Malihah, near Jerusalem … In 1992, he was arrested by a massive Israeli force in the presence of his then 3-year-old daughter. Accusing him of being a particularly “dangerous” national leader, the Israeli Shabak tortured and ill-treated him 2 for a hundred days, an experience that he articulately exposed in his well-read prison notes titled I Shall not Wear Your Tarboush … Qatamesh’s detention was renewed continuously for almost six years, making him the longest serving administrative detainee ever. In April 1998, after a persistent public pressure campaign by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights activists and organizations, Qatamesh was finally released.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3549-israeli-occupation-forces-arrest-palestinian-writer-ahmad-qatamesh

Israel ignoring Palestinian prisoners’ urgent need for medical help
GulfNews 26 Apr — Ramallah: The Palestinian Prisoners Club, an organisation working for the welfare of Palestinians detained in Israeli jails, has accused the Israeli authorities of intentionally neglecting the medical needs of the Palestinian prisoners in order that they eventually die of their diseases. The club on Tuesday urged international humanitarian and legal organisations to intervene immediately in the situation and help the Palestinian prisoners who needed medical help.
http://gulfnews.com/israel-ignoring-palestinian-prisoners-urgent-need-for-medical-help-1.799539

Israel turns back detainee relatives at checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Apt — Israeli authorities refused Tuesday allow families of detainees to pass a checkpoint to visit relatives in Israeli prisons. Three buses were en route to Majdo, Shatta and Ramon prisons inside Israel. The passengers had permits to visit their relatives, the Tulkarem Prisoners’ Society said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382325

Prisoner on hunger strike
JENIN (Ma‘an) 25 Apr — A Palestinian prisoner spent a fourth day on hunger strike Sunday in protest over the Israeli prison administration’s refusal to provide him with adequate medical treatment. Officials identified the striking prisoner as Yehya Hafeth Ash-Ishreida from the West Bank city of Tubas. He was imprisoned in 2002 and served sentenced to 22 years in prison for affiliation with groups involved with resistance activities. The Prisoners’ Society in Tubas said Ash-Ishreida was suffering from multiple disorders, forcing him to consume a liquid-only diet which was exacerbating his condition.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=381462

‘Hamas planning more kidnappings’
Ynet 25 Apr — Editorial published in Hamas’ newspaper al-Risalah claims organization ‘taking advantage of relative calm in south to plan more abductions in order to improve bargaining position’ … According to the authors, another kidnapping “would create essential pressure that would lead to the release of Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel as part of an exchange deal.”
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060284,00.html

Teitel seeks conjugal visits
‘Jewish terrorist’ Jack Teitel appeals to court after Prison Service rejects request citing security reasons — [He committed] a number of severe offenses including the murder of two Palestinians
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060835,00.html

Nablus shooting

PA orders its security elements not to open fire at Israelis in self-defense
RAMALLAH (PIC) 25 Apr — The Fatah-controlled Palestinian authority (PA) in Ramallah issued strict instructions to its security apparatuses in the West Bank not to open fire at Israeli troops or settlers even if it was in self-defense. The source affirmed that the leaders of the PA security apparatuses told their cadres that they would not be lenient with anyone of them shooting at Israeli troops and settlers under any reason, even if it was for self-defense because such act would be detrimental to the higher national interests and only serve the occupation as they said.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

Haaretz editorial: Nablus shooting is a deadly mistake until proven otherwise
26 Apr — As long as an inquiry into the death of Ben-Yosef Livnat is ongoing, it is improper to treat the shooting as a terror attack that must be avenged — The tragic death of Ben-Yosef Livnat in Nablus could have been prevented. The preliminary investigation shows that Livnat and his companions decided to visit Joseph’s tomb without coordinating their trip into the Palestinian Authority with the Israel Defense Forces. They apparently broke through a Palestinian roadblock, and Palestinian police officers shot them in response.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/nablus-shooting-is-a-deadly-mistake-until-proven-otherwise-1.358098

Palestinian Authority to probe shooting death of Israeli in Nablus
Haaretz 26 Apr — …Nablus Governor Jibrin al-Bakri and the heads of the Palestinian security services in the city met with their Israeli counterparts on Sunday night in an effort to calm the situation. The Palestinian Authority also announced that it was setting up a committee to investigate the incident — Palestinian Military Intelligence is investigating the killing of a Bratslav Hasid, Ben-Yosef Livnat, early Sunday morning by the Palestinian police in Nablus. The worshipers had reportedly sneaked into Joseph’s Tomb.
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/palestinian-authority-to-probe-shooting-death-of-israeli-in-nablus-1.358074

The mystery of Joseph’s Tomb / MW
Palestine Monitor 26 Apr — Truth is one of the first casualties of this conflict, and no one should assume the violence at Joseph’s Tomb will be any different. It could happen any time but it usually occurs under the cover of the night. Settlers come down from the mountain above the Palestinian city of Nablus to pay their respects to the purported resting place of Joseph, Patriarch and 11th son of Jacob. The early morning of Sunday, April 24th should have been no different. Sometime early in the morning, close to thirty settlers packed in five cars arrived in the area around Joseph’s Tomb to pray. After these established facts, the fog of war obscures … An old mustachioed shopkeeper in Balata village near Joseph’s Tomb did not see or hear anything unusual.
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1774

Activism / Solidarity

South Hebron Hills: Palestinians prune trees as act of resistance in Susiya
Christian Peacemaker Teams 25 Apr — On the morning of 23 April, Palestinians from the village of Susiya pruned olive trees on their land in an act of protest against land confiscation and violence by residents from the nearby Israeli settlement, also named Susiya.  Six days earlier, Israeli settlers had attacked and injured a local Palestinian in the area near these olive trees. The Palestinians, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, began working on their trees at approximately 10:00 a.m. Almost immediately, Israeli soldiers appeared and stood above the orchards.  They did not interfere with the pruning. At approximately 11:00 a.m., four Israeli settlers arrived, then four more.  The soldiers, now re-enforced by Israeli police, did not allow them to approach the Palestinians pruning the olive trees.  After talking with the settlers, the soldiers insisted that all Israelis and internationals leave the area.  The Palestinian families were able to remain and continue working. As the Israeli and international activists slowly departed, the soldiers moved the settlers away also.  By noon, the villagers had successfully completed their pruning of the olive trees.
http://cpt.org/cptnet/2011/04/25/south-hebron-hills-palestinians-prune-trees-act-resistance-susiya

Weekly Palestinian popular demonstrations met with harsh Israeli violence
AIC 26 Apr — 16 demonstrators were injured this past weekend in demonstrations against Israel’s occupation …The weekly demonstration in Bil‘in commemorated the second anniversary of the killing of Bassem Abu Rahmah from a tear gas canister during a village demonstration. Demonstrators carried photos of Bassem and his sister Jawaher, who was killed from tear gas inhalation during a village demonstration, and of Marwan Barghouti. The demonstration opened with the national anthem and a call for a united national front against Israel’s occupation. When demonstrators reached the Wall, soldier shot tear gas, stun grenades, rubber coated steel bullets, live bullets and 022 bullets at them, in addition to skunk water. Demonstrators succeeded in pulling down part of the Wall and placing a Palestinian flag on an army jeep.
http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/news/3551-weekly-palestinian-popular-demonstrations-met-with-harsh-israeli-violence-

Volunteer in Gaza with the ISM
25 Apr — The International Solidarity Movement is appealing for activists to join our team in the besieged Gaza Strip. We are hoping that this coming month’s Freedom Flotilla along with the Italian Stay Human convoy will bring an influx of activists into Gaza who will help carry on the important work that Vittorio Arrigoni was an essential part of before his death … Those interested in joining the ISM Gaza team are required to attend a preliminary training in their home country and have communicate with the volunteers in Gaza prior to arrival. Entering Gaza is an arduous process that requires some time to be spent in Egypt. Also recommended: -Previous experience with organizing / activism, preferably in the Middle-East… gazaism@gmail.com
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/04/17347/

Activists prepare new 15-boat flotilla to Gaza
ISTANBUL (AP) 26 Apr — Pro-Palestinian activists say a planned convoy of aid ships to the Gaza Strip will be twice as big as a similar flotilla that was raided a year ago by Israeli forces, leaving nine people dead on a Turkish boat. Organizers say they hope to depart around the May 31 anniversary of the fatal raid, but say it could happen later than that. Huseyin Oruc, a spokesman for an Islamic aid group in Turkey, said Tuesday that an international coalition of 22 non-governmental organizations plans to send 15 ships with a total of 1,500 people.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110426/ap_on_re_eu/gaza_flotilla_1

International [land] convoy to Gaza
25 Apr — On the 21st April, a meeting regarding the discussions and reflections on the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni was held in Rome amongst different activists. From the gathering, the need to organize a convoy to Gaza through Egypt was decided. Let’s start this process by sharing those points: -We want to go to Gaza through Rafah Border Crossing with all in the world that need to say aloud what Vittorio used to say: Stay human! We want to do it from Egypt because, in the post Mubarak era, that border must be opened to break the siege imposed for too long on the people in Gaza….
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/04/17937/

Flyers threaten eviction, raise awareness
Yale Univ. Daily News 22 Apr —  Many students were surprised to wake up Wednesday to fliers warning that their suites would be demolished within three days. Luckily, the eviction notices were not real. They were distributed by members of the group Students for Justice and Peace in Palestine to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians whose homes are being demolished by the Israeli government. 
http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/apr/22/flyers-threaten-eviction-raise-awareness/

Farewell to Vittorio Arrigoni

Mourners gather in Palestine and Italy for Vittorio’s funeral
ISM 25 Apr — Yesterday evening mourners gathered in Ramallah and Gaza in memorial events for ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni. The events were planned to coincide with Vittorio’s funeral in Bulciago, Italy, which was attended by hundreds of people.
VIDEO from Ramallah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ju8q_EkETU
http://palsolidarity.org/2011/04/17976/

Video: Bella Ciao Vik
Italian TV 24 Apr – short (1.25 min) excerpt from Italian funeral of Vittori Arrgioni in Bulciago, Italy [The family has asked friends and comrades of ‘Vik’ not to send flowers to the funeral but to donate the money to the Palestinian people.]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmJiwE1Zo5Y

Video: Bella Ciao al funerale del partigiano Vittorio Utopia Arrigone  — Bulciago 24 aprile 2011
24 Apr — After the religious funeral, mourners sing the WW II partisan song Bella Ciao
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRfnm96OPi0

Beit ‘Ula names garden after slain Italian activist
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Apr — Hebron’s Youth Development Association re-named a small garden west of the city after murdered Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni in a Sunday ceremony. Beit ‘Ula Mayor Rateb Al-Omla presided over the event … Organizers invited solidarity activists working in the southern West Bank to the commemoration event, thanking them for their service to the Palestinian people.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=381631

Italian researcher in Gaza: Arrigoni murder will not affect Palestinian support
GAZA, (PIC) 25 Apr — Italian researcher Dr. Paola Manduca, who is currently visiting the Gaza Strip, has said that the murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni will not affect the solidarity the Italians and world peace activists have with the Palestinians. The statement came during a meeting with Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim, after the latter sent the condolences of those working in the ministry and Palestinian government to Arrigoni’s family.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Vik, you are missed / Vera Macht
Salem News (ROME ISM) 24 Apr — Vik, you wanted only happy farewell letters. Vik, we didn’t often agree on things. After some time, my friend, when it’s less painful. You are missed with such an intensity that makes you even more present … And Gaza of course, which I can’t imagine without you, probably no one here can imagine it without you yet. Your Arabic vocabulary of: Mushkile? Leeesh? Mish Mushkile! Yallah! was completely enough to brighten up the people around you, and to make everyone in Gaza your rafiq and your rafiqa. 
http://salem-news.com/articles/april242011/vik-missed-vm.php

Political/Diplomatic/International news

Abbas: Obama led me on
In unusually blunt remarks to Newsweek, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas lashes out at US president over his handling of peace process with Israel, attitude to Egypt’s Mubarak
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060435,00.html

Lingering PA cabinet calls for halt to settlements
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an)25 Apr — Palestinian Authority ministers convened for a weekly meeting in Ramallah Monday, despite President Mahmoud Abbas’ announcement seven days prior that a new cabinet would be appointed within the week.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382116

Germany will not support Palestinian statehood declaration
IMEMC 25 Apr — Despite ongoing diplomatic talks and efforts carried out by Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and his teams, Germany announced it will not be supporting the Palestinian intentions to declare statehood this coming September at the United Nations. German paper, Der Spiegel, reported that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, wants to pressure Abbas during his upcoming visit to Berlin, in order to try to convince him to cancel the plan.
http://www.imemc.org/article/61134

PLO official: PA prefers negotiations to unilateral declaration of Palestinian state
dpa/Haaretz 25 Apr — PLO Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo calls for ‘real and serious’ negotiations with Israel in interview with Al-Hayat newspaper, says Palestinian state must be based on 1967 borders and population transfer not an option.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/plo-official-pa-prefers-negotiations-to-unilateral-declaration-of-palestinian-state-1.358002

Israeli settlement programme blamed for collapse of peace process
MEMO 25 Apr — A senior member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has blamed the Israeli government for the collapse of the peace process. Saeb Erekat, who, as the ex-Chief Palestinian Negotiator, has insider knowledge of the stalled negotiations, has said that Israel chose its settlement programme over peace and rejected the terms of reference for the discussions.
http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/news/middle-east/2274-israeli-settlement-programme-blamed-for-collapse-of-peace-process

Egypt oil ministers to be tried over Israel deal
CAIRO (AFP) 24 Apr  — Two former Egyptian ministers are to face trial for selling natural gas to Israel at a low price, judicial sources said on Saturday. Sameh Fahmi and Mahmud Latif are accused of costing the state $714 million in losses because of the deal, the sources said.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=381653

More than half of Egyptians want to cancel peace treaty with Israel
AP 26 Apr — More than half of all Egyptians would like to see the 1979 peace treaty with Israel annulled, according to results of a poll conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center released Monday. According to the poll results, only 36 percent of Egyptians are in favor of maintaining the treaty, compared with 54 percent who would like to see it scrapped.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/poll-more-than-half-of-egyptians-want-to-cancel-peace-treaty-with-israel-1.358107

Turkey: Israel shouldn’t repeat its Gaza flotilla mistake
Haaretz 26 Apr — Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week, Turkish FM says it is Israel’s responsibility to lift its blockade on the Strip, saying no one nation owned the Mediterranean — Israel mustn’t attempt to stop a planned aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip, Turkey’s Foreign Minister told in an interview on Monday, adding that Turkey could do nothing to stop organizers from launching the flotilla.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/turkey-israel-shouldn-t-repeat-its-gaza-flotilla-mistake-1.358162

Netanyahu to visit London, Paris for talks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 26 Apr  — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Britain and France next week for talks on the peace process, his office said Tuesday.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=382398

Other news

Jerusalem’s time tunnels / Nir Hasson
Haaretz 24 Apr — Horizontal excavations throughout the Old City of Jerusalem and Silwan are producing important archaeological discoveries, but opponents charge that they are undermining Palestinian foundations, in more ways than one
http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/jerusalem-s-time-tunnels-1.357872

‘Gaza’s Tears’ wins Al Jazeera prize
26 Apr — Norwegian film director Vibeke Løkkeberg has won one of the main prizes up for grabs at the International Documentary Film Festival, organized by global news network Al Jazeera, for her film Gaza’s Tears … The film documents the Israeli attack on Gaza during late 2008 and early 2009 by following the stories of three children. It was described as “the ultimate antiwar film” by the Hollywood Reporter when it aired at the Toronto Film Festival.
http://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/04/26/gazas-tears-wins-al-jazeera-prize/

Traditional bath offers relief to people of Gaza
GAZA, April 26 (Bernama) — Dozens of Palestinians visit Hamam al-Samra, one of the traditional baths in the Gaza Strip, every day to bathe themselves and cleanse their skin while sitting in rooms filled with high temperature steam. The bath is open on three shifts each day. The first shift in the morning is for men, the second shift in the afternoon is for women, and the third shift is, again, for men at night … As part of history, the traditional bath is located in a compound containing an archaeological site that includes the Al-Omari mosque, the old market and the Catholic church. The bath was built by the Mamaleek empire, which ruled Palestine from 1260 to 1570.
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=581825

Palestinian prime minister celebrates Easter with promise of return to Jerusalem
IMEMC 24 Apr 18:30 — The Palestinian Prime Minister of the appointed Fateh government in the West Bank, Salam Fayyad, told Christian worshipers in Bethlehem Sunday that it would not be long before the blockade would be lifted, and they would be able to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem as they had traditionally done for 2,000 years before Israeli authorities blocked access. Fayyad emphasized that Muslims and Christians in Palestine are brothers and sisters, and that Easter is an important holiday for both religions (Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as an important prophet in the lineage of prophets, although they do not accept him as the Messiah).
http://www.imemc.org/article/61129

In pictures: Iran Jews celebrate Passover, Persian-style
Haaretz 25 Apr — Iran’s Jewish community celebrated Passover this week, gathering to pray at the Pol-e-Choubi Synagogue in Tehran, a synagogue catering to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel … Iran’s Jewish community has decreased from 80,000 before the Islamic revolution, to about 20,000 today. It is represented in parliament by a Jewish lawmaker and is the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/in-pictures-iran-jews-celebrate-passover-persian-style-1.358018

Analysis / Opinion

Young Mizrahi Israelis’ open letter to Arab peers
24 Apr — In a letter titled “Ruh Jedida: A New Spirit for 2011,” young Jewish descendants of the Arab and Islamic world living in Israel write to their peers in the Middle East and North Africa — …We, too, live in a regime that in reality — despite its pretensions to being “enlightened” and “democratic” — does not represent large sections of its actual population in the Occupied Territories and inside of the Green Line border(s). This regime tramples the economic and social rights of most of its citizens, is in an ongoing process of minimizing democratic liberties, and constructs racist barriers against Arab-Jews, the Arab people, and Arabic culture. Unlike the citizens of Tunisia and Egypt, we are still a long way from the capacity to build the kind of solidarity between various groups that we see in these countries, a solidarity movement that would allow us to unite and march together–all who reside here–into the public squares, to demand a civil regime that is culturally, socially, and economically just and inclusive.
http://972mag.com/young-mizrahi-israelis-open-letter-to-arab-peers/

When a child becomes an enemy / Joseph Dana
25 Apr …As we swam in the cool water, the topic of conversation turned to his reserve service. This friend of mine, let’s call him Avichai, had just finished a round of reserve duty in the Palestinian village of Ni‘ilin, where I often attend and cover the demonstrations against the Separation Barrier. I was shocked to hear that he had served there and quickly realized that he had probably fired tear gas, rubber bullets or live ammunition at me. Our conversation took an uncomfortable turn. I asked him directly, “what does it take for you to look at children and shoot at them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire?” He nonchalantly informed me that they are not children, rather enemies on a battlefield.
http://josephdana.com/2011/04/when-a-child-becomes-an-enemy/

Will a Palestinian Autumn follow an Arab Spring? / Yousef Munayyer
22 Apr — With much of the Arab world experiencing uprisings in recent months, there has been one resounding question among Palestinians: why not us? It is a sad irony that the Palestinians, under Israeli occupation for nearly 44 years, watch from the sidelines as other Arabs shake off their repressive shackles by pouring into the streets – a tactic employed by Palestinians in the first intifada two decades ago. But the transformational moments of this “Arab Spring” may be outdone by a Palestinian Autumn. Indeed, a combination of events taking place around September may reorient the Palestinian struggle for liberation in a fundamental way.
http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/28840/pid/2254

Letter: Inspiring theatre must take risks / Naomi Wallace & Erin Meet
Guardian 26 Apr — Conal Urquhart gives the impression that Juliano Mer Khamis was an unpopular, quixotic outsider, disliked by most and hated by some, and a victim of irreconcilable cultural differences (A killing inspired by drama not politics, 22 April). He quotes extensively from a “fatwa-style” extremist leaflet and speaks with a “group of elderly women” . But to the public who went to the Freedom Theatre and the actors and students who participated in its productions, this Palestinian theatre was extraordinarily popular and successful.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/26/inspiring-theatre-must-take-risks

‘For as long as I can, I will continue’: Hajo Meyer interviewed
EI 26 Apr — Since being interviewed by The Electronic Intifada in 2009, Auschwitz survivor Hajo Meyer has toured numerous countries to speak about his efforts to combat Zionism and his support for the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and equality … In a new interview with The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof, 86-year-old Hajo Meyer about his continued activism in the past two years. Adri Nieuwhof: In our interview two years ago — in which you compared your childhood experiences to that endured by Palestinian youth today — you said you planned to continue to be active because you “had still so much to say.” Can you tell us more about what happened  since then?
http://electronicintifada.net/content/long-i-can-i-will-continue-hajo-meyer-interviewed/9867

Costs of arming Israel can no longer be ignored / Josh Ruebner
EI 25 Apr — Israel may be forgiven for failing to realize the current fiscal woes of the United States. After all, US military aid to Israel not only sailed unscathed through this month’s passage of the 2011 budget, but reached the record level of $3 billion. The US additionally provided Israel $415 million for procurement, research and development of joint US-Israeli missile defense projects, including $205 million to fund Israel’s newly-deployed Iron Dome system.
http://electronicintifada.net/content/costs-arming-israel-can-no-longer-be-ignored/9873

Palestinians not invited / Yousef Munayyer
26 Apr — When it comes to US-Israel relations, few people are more effected by the dynamics of this relationship than Palestinians. Billions of dollars in military equipment shipped from the United States to Israel most often ends up used against Palestinians. Seemingly endless American diplomatic support for Israel permits them to wantonly ignore international law at the expense of Palestinians and their land in occupied territory and refugee camps. Yet, when it comes to debating the US-Israel relationship and its implications, Palestinians are systematically excluded from the discussion.
http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2011/04/palestinians-not-invited.html

A. B. Yehoshua and Zionism identity politics / Joseph Dana
26 Apr — A.B. Yehoshua, the acclaimed Israeli fiction author, has an opinion piece in today’s Haaretz where he addresses a fundamental question: why has the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gone on for so long. For Yehoshua, the answer is simple; identity … if we understand the conflict in terms of Zionism (i.e. identity of the Jewish people, claim to the land, historical justice, etc), then we can forget about the unmitigated aggression of Israel in its maintenance of its military occupation of Palestinian land. The Palestinians merely become another people which have similar claims to the land.
http://josephdana.com/2011/04/a-b-yehoshua-and-zionism%E2%80%99s-identity-politics/

Michael Oren: Israeli is the ultimate ally
Israel’s ambassador to Washington publishes article in which he numerates reasons why Jewish State is best friend America can have. ‘In return for its aid, US receives not only an armed but an innovative ally,’ he claims
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4060605,00.html

JPost Editor’s Notes: The moralist / David Horowitz
22 Apr — When your enemies do not follow the rules of war… An eye-opening interview with the man who helps set the IDF’s ethical parameters [fascinating look at the thinking of the man who influences the  ‘morality’ of the IDF]
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=217479

Izzie in HolyLand Part 21 — Hell freezes over in Israel / Ami Kaufman
Izzie: Ruthie! Get me the minister of interior security in here! Ruthie: Yes Mam! YitzhakAharonovitz: Mam, you called for me? Izzie: Yeah. Sit down, Yitzhak. Aharonovitz: What can I do for you? Izzie: I just read about this brutal murder in Jaffa. Aharonovitz: Oh yeah, that. Five members of the XXX family. Terrible, terrible. Izzie: And there’s no suspect? Aharonovitz: Nope. But I can promise you we’ll do everything we can. Izzie: I want you to do more. Aharonovitz: Such as? Izzie: Well, I saw what happened in Awarta after the murder of the Fogel family from Itamar. Aharonovitz: Well, Ms. HolyLand, those are tactics we use only in the West Bank. Izzie: Are you saying there’s a different law for Palestinians? Aharonovitz: Well…. Izzie: What is this, some kind of apartheid state?!?! Aharonovitz: Well, I wouldn’t go so far as — Izzie: Yitzhak! Shut up and use the Awarta technique! Now! 
The next morning, Izzie picks up the paper and reads the Haaretz lead story: “6,000 citizens of Bat Yam arrested, city under siege BAT YAM — The Israeli police literally took over the town of Bat Yam yesterday in an effort to search for the murderers of the XXX family last week. Just under 10% of the city, 16,000 people, have been taken into custody and been held without due process…..”
http://972mag.com/izzie-in-holyland-part-21-hell-freezes-over-in-israel/

U.S.

WikiLeaks – just a few examples from The Guardian:
‘Guantánamo files’: Dozens held were innocent
AJ video 25 Apr — The United States released dozens of so-called “high-risk” detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison facility and held more than 150 innocent men for years, according to new reports about a trove of leaked military documents.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2011/04/201142561524783918.html

Video: Guantánamo Bay files: ‘The vast majority were not extremists’
Guardian 25 Apr — Clive Stafford Smith, legal director of Reprieve, discusses the ‘extraordinarily thin’ evidence used to hold prisoners and the ‘nonsense’ cooked up by a group of serial informers to get privileges… what this material shows you is the sheer bueaucratic incompetence of the US military when it comes to sweeping people up
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-bay-files-reprieve-video

Guantánamo files: US agencies fought internal war over handing of detainees
Guardian 25 Apr — One of the biggest and most explosive clashes at Guantánamo Bay has been fought not between guards and prisoners but between US interrogators, the leaked files reveal. It was a fundamental clash of cultures: between those who stuck rigidly to US law and those who, in the frightening post-9/11 world, adopted techniques from a US manual detailing psychological and physical torture used by China during the Korean war.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-internal-battle-interrogators?CMP=twt_fd

Guantánamo Bay files: Torture gets results, US military insists
Guardian 25 Apr — Camp X-ray authorities defiant in face of official criticism, arguing ‘harsh interrogation’ yielded valuable leads from 9/11 suspects
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-qahtani-salahi-torture

Guantánamo Bay files: Children and senile old men among detainees
Guardian 25 Apr — The Guantánamo files reveal the often fragile physical and mental condition of Guantánamo’s oldest and youngest residents, who have included an 89-year-old man and boys as young as 14.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-children-old-men

US condemns WikiLeaks release of Gitmo files / Jason Ditz
White House officials today condemned WikiLeaks, again, for the release of classified documents that are hugely embarrassing to the administration. The latest leaks, theGuantanamo Files, detail the information the administration has and the treatment of detainees. Officials said the leaked files were “unfortunate” and condemned the various media outlets around the world for reporting their contents to the American public. They also expressed concerns about a possible backlash. And not without good reason. The documents detail a shameful number of detainees being mistreated or held under ridiculously dubious circumstances.
http://news.antiwar.com/2011/04/25/us-condemns-wikileaks-release-of-gitmo-files/

How your tax dollars fuel the hatred of Muslims / Alex Kane
AlterNet 18 Apr — Public servants are regularly presented with misleading, inflammatory, and dangerous information about the nature of the terror threat — The decade after the 9/11 attacks has seen the creation of a profitable cottage industry of self-styled ‘experts’ on Islam. As Sarah Posner recently noted in an article on Religion Dispatches, anti-Muslim fear-mongers, ranging from politicians to national security experts, have “cultivated a wide-ranging conspiracy theory that totalitarian Islamic radicals are bent on infiltrating America, displacing the Constitution, and subverting Western-style democracy in the U.S. and around the globe.”
http://www.alternet.org/rights/150648/how_your_tax_dollars_fuel_the_hatred_of_muslims/

Iraq

Sunday: 12 Iraqis killed, 28 wounded
State-run television broadcast Mass last night so that Iraq’s Christians could safely celebrate Easter at home today. Nevertheless, attacks left 12 dead and 28 wounded across the country. At the signing of a prisoner exchange agreement between Iraq and Iran, Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimari reminded those in attendance that the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran would be expelled from Iraq this year, generating fears that the agreement would mean the forced repatriation of Camp Ashraf‘s residents.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/04/24/sunday-12-iraqis-killed-28-wounded/

Monday: 5 Iraqis killed, 23 wounded
At least five Iraqis were killed and 23 more were wounded in the latest violence. Also, an official at the Human Rights Ministry said that over 14,000 Iraqis have gone missing since 2003. Army forces surrounded al-Ahrar Square in Mosul this morning to prevent demonstrators from reaching it. Clashes broke out, wounding ten people. Security forces claim that they didn’t cause any injuries, but hospital sources reported some baton injuries among the wounded….
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2011/04/25/monday-5-iraqis-killed-23-wounded/

‘Haaretz’ bolsters Goldstone conclusion that Fakhoura St ‘massacre’ was disproportional– and says Israel failed to investigate it because it felt ‘persecuted’

Apr 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

There is a breathtaking piece of investigative journalism in Haaretz‘s magazine today by Shay Fogelman on the most cursed event (in Israel’s view) of the Gaza onslaught two years ago: the mortar attack on the Jabaliya refugee camp on January 6, 2009 that killed between 34 and 43 civilians gathered near a UN school in al-Fakhoura Street.

The piece begins unforgettably with a portrait of Lina Hasan, a 10-year-old girl killed in the attack when she was going out to buy candy. The horrifying images of carnage outside a school stirred international outrage and helped to establish the factfinding mission that would lead to the Goldstone Report. The words “Family Massacre” occur as a drophead in the Haaretz account– and describe the mortar dropped on the Deeb family house, killing 11 of 16 family members.

The thrust of the Haaretz report is clear: yes there were Hamas operatives in a nearby orchard, but the most reliable accounts of Palestinian firings undermine the Israeli official accounts — a claim of “mortal danger” to Israeli troops 2 miles north– and leave unanswered questions about why the Israelis would fire four mortar shells into an area teeming with civilians. The Israeli investigations of the incident are completely unconvincing in Haaretz’s view. Note that the investigator the IDF provides to Haaretz for an interview claims that the mortar attacks were in the morning, when they took place near 4 in the afternoon, approaching dusk.

Though yes, Fogelman appends an afterword concluding that Israel did not deliberately target civilians in the incident (displaying merely shocking negligence and disproportion) and that the IDF’s sense of “feeling threatened and persecuted” by international pressure has kept it from investigating the episode in any meaningful way.

Here are some excerpts of the report:

In regard to the location of the Palestinian mortar unit, the officer says, “We know that it is outside the school, at a distance of 80-100 meters from it, in an orchard. If someone had said to me, ‘Listen, there is a crowd there, all the schoolchildren are standing next to that place,’ and mortar fire against me had continued, I would not have opened fire at the place. By the way, it’s not certain that that would be the right thing from the military viewpoint, but that’s what I would have decided….[B] because we understood that it was far enough from the school and that this barrel was firing repeatedly – not one or two shells – authorization was given to return fire.”

However, a very different picture emerges from many testimonies given by paratroopers who took part in the incident and from a large number of previously unpublished documents obtained by Haaretz Magazine. None of the soldiers who were interviewed for this article and none of those who gave testimony to Breaking the Silence – an organization of veteran soldiers seeking to raise awareness of the reality of life in the occupied territories – described similar feelings of mortal danger. Many of them do not even remember coming under mortar fire. Moreover, some of the operational logs and military reports summing up the Gaza operation also make no mention of Palestinian mortar fire at the paratroopers in Al-Atatra.

A previously unpublished report drawn up by the fire coordination unit of Southern Command, based on the spotting of mortar and missile fire from the Gaza Strip, indicates that all the shells fired by Palestinians from the area of Jabalya refugee camp landed inside Israel, far from where the paratroopers were located. One landed near Sapir College in Sderot, the report states, another in Begin Square in Sderot and the others in open areas, mainly around nearby Kibbutz Gevim.

Another document obtained by Haaretz – “Summary of Major Events,” a routine daily report drawn up by the operations section of the Gaza Division detailing all the incidents of the past day – lists all the cases in which the [sraeli] paratroopers in Al-Atatra [2.5 miles away] came under fire on January 6, not only from mortar shells. According to this report, only four cases of firing took place in the hours that preceded the mortar attack by the IDF (which took place at about 3:45 P.M. ) – at 8:41 A.M., 9:06 A.M., 11:59 A.M. and 12:38 P.M. True, five soldiers were wounded lightly in the first of the four instances, and the division’s log states, “Light arms and mortar shells fired at our forces.” But later it turned out that all five soldiers were wounded by the light-arms fire, not by a mortar shell, as all the later summaries for that day also note.

Another daily summary, drawn up by the operations branch of the Gaza Division, also states that during the whole of that day, a total of four mortar shells were fired at Israeli forces in the northern sector of the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, the shells landed near a Golani Brigade force that was operating in the sector, and not near the paratroopers. In sum, none of the reports and events logs obtained by Haaretz states that mortar shells were fired that day from Jabalya at the paratroopers in Al-Atatra. Incidentally, the senior officer, who made it clear at the start of the interview (which was arranged through the IDF Spokesman’s Unit ) that he is well informed about the details and that he witnessed “the event from end to end,” insisted on two different occasions that it occurred in the morning. Even when he was shown army documents stating that the Israeli mortar shells landed in the street close to 4 P.M., along with soldiers’ testimonies to the same effect, he continued to insist: “Morning. Near midday.” It is also noteworthy that on the January day on which the incident occurred, sunset was at 4:52 P.M., meaning that the mortars were fired toward the onset of twilight.

…. Taken as a whole, the testimonies and other evidence show that the first three mortar shells landed in the middle of Fakhoura Street, just meters from the UNRWA school. The fourth shell hit the porch of the home of the Deeb family – at least 50 meters away from the place where the Palestinian mortar squad could have been operating.

Photographs that were taken in the course of a classified internal investigation conducted by a highly regarded international human rights organization whose reports are generally reliable, show shrapnel and the tail ends of shells that were found on the street and in the home of the Deeb family. The report of the investigation, which was obtained by Haaretz Magazine, also locates the places where the Israeli shells fell according to map coordinates based on GPS technology. The findings closely match the Goldstone Report and the testimonies taken from Gaza residents for this article. They show that the four IDF mortar shells fell a few dozen meters apart, across a total distance of 160 meters. The “aiming point” – the average strike point of the shells – is about 150 meters from the site of the Palestinian mortar squad according to both the senior officer and the report of the General Staff.

Video footage shot within seconds of the incident on Fakhoura Street leaves no room for doubt about where three of the shells struck. The footage shows a busy street with buildings all around….

the paratroopers apparently had direct eye contact with the area of the Fakhoura School, at a distance of only 1,600 meters, and in that case could see that the area was bustling with people. With binoculars, they could also identify relatively easily the armed individuals and distinguish them from the dozens of civilians on the street. This raises serious questions about the decision to use mortar fire…

a number of pilots who took part that day in Operation Cast Lead and were interviewed for the article vehemently rejected the allegation that the air force was unavailable for the mission. According to one of them, “We maintained a constant presence in all the combat sectors. And even if there was a technical hitch with one of the [aircraft], or someone left the area in order to rearm, there were always backups.” Moreover, the combat logs from that day describe a number of events in which paratroopers on the ground guided helicopters and aircraft to targets, sometimes even to eliminate a wall or other barrier, certainly against armed individuals…

The Israeli response to the Goldstone Report stated that the military advocate general had “also found that the IDF’s choice of weapons was appropriate under the circumstances. The Israeli forces employed a burst of four Keshet 120 mm mortar rounds, fired in quick succession. The Keshet mortar contains advanced target acquisition and navigation systems.” This description of mortar shells is hardly consistent with reality. As anyone who has ever fired a mortal shell knows, the shell plummets like a stone from the sky and cannot navigate itself to the target. No evidence exists either in the professional military literature or in the catalogs of the leading manufacturers of mortar shells that these weapons “contain advanced target acquisition and navigation systems.”…

The military advocate general found that the IDF response had been “measured” and “proportional,” a finding that is difficult to accept given the result in practice: the death of dozens of civilians. Israel’s response to the Goldstone report stated, “Israel acknowledges that, while the strike was effective in removing the threat to Israeli forces, it also resulted in the regrettable loss of civilian lives … [T]he MAG reiterated the recommendation of the special command investigation to formulate more stringent definitions in military orders to govern the use of mortars in populated areas and in close proximity to sensitive facilities.”

The IDF does not elaborate about the “more stringent definitions” that were drawn up concerning the use of mortars in populated areas in the wake of the Fakhoura Street incident. It’s a pity that many civilians had to die to prompt the IDF to redefine what should have been self-evident. Beyond this, it might have been expected that the paratroopers who fired the mortars would be more cautious in choosing the mode of response, target and weapon, even without a formal order. True, they fired at Hamas combatants who were operating in the area, and hit a few of them, but what effort did they make to avoid harming innocent civilians? In response to a query from Haaretz Magazine, the IDF Spokesman chose not to address specific claims and not to reply to questions about the seeming contradictions between the comments of the senior officer and those of the military advocate general.

This is journalism to fill your eyes with tears and your mind with questions. Why has no American newspaper undertaken this kind of inquiry, when day after day we are subjected to hectoring about the Goldstone “reconsideration”? Why is this all on Haaretz’s shoulders? Where are the American Jewish groups to lend support to brave Haaretz? Why is the New York Times bureau chief in the middle of this story a man with an Israeli wife and a son in the Israeli armed forces– a position that forced the Times correspondent in Gaza, Taghreed El-Khodary, who surely could have matched this Haaretz report with on-the-ground reporting, to quit her job in embarrassment?

These are historic times, dire times that have called on the best that journalists have to offer. Fogelman along with Roni Efrat and Rayad Zuabi have risen to the challenge. I pray that the New Yorker, which praised Haaretz’s contribution a few weeks back in a 10,000-word article, will give the newspaper some reinforcement here, and do its own investigation of the orders during Cast Lead, and subsequent investigations.

‘Foreign Policy’ puts out a swimsuit issue

Apr 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

Foreign Policy runs a cheesecake story with photos from Alexandria’s beaches in the ’50s, to prove what I’m not sure– the fluidity of culture, the error of the burqa, the radicalization that is Zionism, or Islamism, or just a naked cry for traffic?

An apology to International Solidarity Movement activists

Apr 26, 2011

Mohammed Said AlNadi

Dear all ISM activists,

I’m awfully sorry for this belated letter; please forgive me. For days, I wasn’t able to write anything. Every time I wanted to write, I felt like there were no words to exactly describe how I felt upon knowing Vik [Vittorio Arrigoni] was killed; I couldn’t find words to express my condolences to you. At that moment, “I’m sorry for your loss” seemed unworthy. And as I’m writing to you right now, I don’t know if my words will be of any comfort to you. Probably not, for Vik now is gone.

We are sorry we couldn’t protect your friend and save his life; we couldn’t cut off the dirty hands before they touched him. However, on behalf of every Palestinian, I would like to offer you my deepest condolences for having lost your comrade Vittorio Arrigoni. I know what Vik meant to you. Not only was he your colleague, but also he was a brother, a friend and a compassionate humanist. Vik was one of the oldest ISM members; he came to Gaza on the first Free Gaza boat in 2008 and stayed until he took his last breath. He was the finest paradigm of how we can be truly human.

Dear friends, I know you are still heartbroken, and some of you even still refuse to believe Vik was murdered. I know it’s difficult for all of you to succumb to the fact that Vittorio is no longer around. All of you knew Vik when you came to Gaza and joined the ISM, and soon you became one family because of the vibrant big hearts and boundless humanity you all had. Yes we as Palestinians are sad because we lost a great custodian and defender of the Palestinian cause, but I’m sure the shock was even harder for you. You were all more than one family: you were brothers and sisters, you lived together, you protested together, you always did your utmost to serve whoever needed help in Gaza, and you always were at the forefront together along with farmers and fishermen defying Israeli bullets and inhumane blockade. You so passionately embraced us and our cause with open arms; you lived among us, where you endured the same hardships and suffering. You all are undisputedly Palestinians, of whom we are most proud.

It might be inappropriate of me to explain to you how the people of Gaza felt when they heard that it was some Palestinians who committed this crime, because you know better; you know that those bunch of criminals don’t represent the Palestinians at all. I, however, am sorry for them because they killed someone who they knew very well was for them; they betrayed a person whose heart overwhelmed Gaza with love and warmth. I also feel sorry for them because of the tragic end they deserved. Did they not think about it? Didn’t they know that this was what Israelis wanted, and that they were doing them an invaluable favor? Stupid!

Dear friends, for Vik is gone now, let’s not make the Israelis happy. Let’s show them who we are and what we can do. Let’s show them the undying spirit of Vik living in all of us. Let’s just follow in his steps and continue the noble work he began. Vik did an unparalleled job, and it’s time for him to take rest; I’m sure he is very happy now seeing how much we love and honor him, how we are becoming more and more determined to go on in our struggle for freedom and justice and how his death has further inspired us, and awakened humanity in millions of people as well.

Dear friends, I assure you that your endurance, perseverance and dignity in the face of the unjust and cruel Israeli occupation has added so very much to the Palestinian cause; without your tireless efforts, we would be lost and forgotten. You have proved unbreakable determination against injustice and atrocity. Vik and you have taught us how to “Stay Human”, and we will definitely continue on this route together.

Dear friends, thank you all from the bottom of my heart and much love and reverence for you all… A big hug

Stay human Yours, Mohammed

‘Foreign Policy’ seeks ‘rebuttal’ of Oren tripe from Satloff, Benn, Goldberg and oh, Walt

Apr 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

This is discouraging. I thought we were having a little perestroika in these parts. But no, Foreign Policy yesterday ran a piece of pure propaganda by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren saying that the U.S. and Zionists have had utterly-overlapping interests since the days of George Washington and forever after, and who did it ask to respond in “rebuttal”? Aluf Benn of Haaretz, Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (a lobby group), and Jeffrey Goldberg of the Iranian frenzy patrol. I can’t motivate myself to read the Goldberg and the Satloff, but how’s this for a rebuttal, from Benn:

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, asserts rightly that in view of the current political upheaval, America has no better or more trustworthy friend in the Middle East than Israel.

Oh and Steve Walt. Who cleans the floor with Oren in a long piece that combines realism with a fullthroated human-rights argument. Excerpt:

Oren would prefer that the United States continue backing Israel to the hilt no matter what it does. His first line of argument is the odd suggestion that Americans have been Zionists ever since the Founding Fathers (i.e., even before modern Zionism existed). Some early U.S. leaders did have biblically inspired notions about “returning Jews to the Holy Land,” but that fact tells us nothing about the proper relationship between the United States and Israel today. America’s Founding Fathers also opposed colonialism, for example, so one might just as easily argue that they would oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and support the Palestinians’ efforts to secure their own independence. George Washington also warned Americans to avoid “passionate attachments” to any foreign nations, in good part because he believed it would distort U.S. domestic politics and provide avenues for foreign influence. Thus, Oren’s highly selective reading of past U.S. history offers little grounds for unconditional support today.

Oren’s second line of argument is the familiar claim that the United States and Israel share identical “democratic values.” Yet this argument cannot explain why the United States gives Israel so much support, and gives it unconditionally. After all, there are many democracies in the world, but none has a special relationship with the United States like Israel does.

It is true that both states are formally democratic, but there are also fundamental differences between the two countries. The United States is aliberal democracy, where people of any race, religion, or ethnicity are supposed to enjoy equal rights. Israel, by contrast, was explicitly founded as a Jewish state, and non-Jews in Israel are second-class citizens both de jure and de facto. To take but one example, Palestinians who marry Israeli Jews are not permitted to become citizens of Israel themselves. This may make sense given Israel’s self-definition, but it is wholly at odds with deep-rooted American values.

Just as importantly, Israel’s democratic status is undermined by its imposition of a legal, administrative, and military regime in the occupied territories that denies the Palestinians there basic human rights, as well as by its prolonged, government-backed effort to colonize these conquered lands with Jewish settlers.

In the end, it is hard not to see Oren’s article as a sign of desperation. A more open discourse about Israel is beginning to emerge in the United States, and that will gradually make it harder for American politicians to continue their craven subservience to the lobby. Furthermore, younger American Jews are less enchanted with an Israel that is drifting steadily rightward and whose political system is increasingly dysfunctional and ridden with scandal. Autocracies like Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt actively colluded with Israel, but future Arab leaders are likely to be more responsive to popular sentiment and less tolerant of Israel’s brutal suppression of Palestinian rights. If the United States wants these countries’ policies to be congenial to its core interests, it will have to make its own policies more congenial to Arab peoples, not just their rulers.

Tolerance project at leading D.C. theater will take on Islamophobia. Not

Apr 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

My theme that Jews are the most significant element in the liberal American cultural/political establishment. From today’s Washington Post. No comment necessary:

Ford’s Theatre has announced a five-year project to mount one play each season with themes of tolerance, equality and other social issues and pair them with a month of weekly dialogues.

“The Lincoln Legacy Project,” a new initiative, will start in the fall with the musical “Parade,” the theater announced Tuesday. The play follows the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager in early-20th-century Atlanta, who, after being accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl, was lynched by a mob.

Ford’s has enlisted several partners for the “Legacy Project,” starting with the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in the wake of Frank’s lynching in 1913; the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington; the D.C. Jewish Community Center…

The founding sponsor of the project, the theater also announced Tuesday, is Ronald O. Perelman, chairman of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., who pledged $500,000.

Helen Thomas withdraws from Move Over AIPAC conference

Apr 26, 2011

Philip Weiss

As everyone already knows (I’m always late to report news, inspired by Eugene Roberts, who used to say that great stories don’t break, they ooze), Helen Thomas has withdrawnfrom the anti-AIPAC hoedown in Washington in late May. Jim Abourezk at Counterpunchsays that she was pressured to withdraw.

I’m fencesitting on this. In an earlier post I said it was a tactical mistake to invite Thomas because it would alienate the center and Jewish groups. Though yes I essentially agree with her view of the Jewish importance in the establishment, I find it crude. My friend Gail Miller takes me to task:

It’s a disappointment to me that you have contributed to this. I’m surprised that you think making nice to centrists and the Jewish community is the way to make progress on these issues; it’s dirty work that leaves behind a pile that smells bad. You kind of try to backtrack in the body of the post but I think the damage done by her withdrawal because of concerns from within MoveOverAIPAC will be, at the end of the day, damaging to our movement.

Fair enough. Gail has a lot more political experience than I do. Though I’d (typically) seek to extract good news: in the rallying of Arab-Americans and leftwingers around Thomas, I see a solidification of the movement behind the awareness that conservative Jewish influence must be addressed — the lobby, which is coextensive with the Jewish leadership– and therefore the importance for Jews of reconstructing Jewish identity before Zionism eats the media completely.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Utah church offers free Korans in Easter gesture

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

In juxtaposition to those who would burn Korans, a Church in Utah is giving away free Korans.

(Reuters) – A Utah church is giving away free copies of the Koran in an Easter season ecumenical riposte to the recent burning of the Islamic holy book by a controversial Florida pastor.

The Wasatch Presbyterian Church has ordered 50 copies of the Koran to be distributed at a local bookstore starting on Monday.

“We’re not promoting Islam, we’re not saying the Koran is the Bible,” said Scott Dalgarno, the church’s pastor. “We’re just saying that if people are curious, if they want their consciences informed on this issue … then let them pick up a copy on us and read it and decide for themselves what to think.”

Dalgarno says each Koran, which the world’s nearly 1.6 billion Muslims believe is God’s final testament, will have a bookmark insert that reads: “This book was donated by the leaders of Wasatch Presbyterian Church who are not afraid of truth wherever it can be found.”

He said the giveaway was a response to Terry Jones, the leader of a fringe, fundamentalist church in Gainesville, Florida.

In a move that prompted riots in Afghanistan, Jones’ tiny church in northern Florida burned a Koran last month following a mock “trial” of the text.

“When we found out that Terry Jones had actually carried through on this and 20-plus people had died as a result we thought we can’t stay silent here,” said Dalgarno.

Jones was in court on Friday in Dearborn, Michigan — home of one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States — where he wants to hold a demonstration outside the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the country.

Dalgarno says he has received some negative feedback since word of the Koran giveaway was announced but that he would do the same thing for other faiths.

“If someone in Salt Lake burned a copy of the Book of Mormon, we’d probably do the same thing,” he said. “We’d buy copies of the Book of Mormon and say read it and inform your conscience.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Utah church offers free Korans in Easter gesture

Afghan jailbreak inside job, US Involvement Suspected

NOVANEWS

 

by crescentandcross

 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says hundreds of inmates who have escaped from a central prison in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan, must have received inside help.

The escape of all the inmates through a tunnel in the jail is indicative of cooperation and assistance from inside the prison, Karzai’s office said in a statement on Tuesday following an initial report from the justice minister.

Also on Tuesday, Afghan authorities said they recaptured 65 prisoners who were among some 541 escapees, a Press TV correspondent reported.

It is said that 106 of the inmates are key Taliban commanders.

General Ghulam Dastgir, the governor of the jail, said many of the prisoners are on the run and have possibly found safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.

The prisoners had dug a 360-meter-long tunnel under the prison’s ground, which took over six months to complete, according to Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi.

Taliban claim that the move was pre-planned and that Taliban vehicles had been waiting for the prisoners at the end of the tunnel, somewhere outside the prison.

Afghan officials say local and foreign forces are to blame for allowing the prison break.

They say US troops, who had been present at the jail for four months as the tunnel was taking shape, should have noticed something.

Analysts have also faulted foreign forces for the incident. They say Washington is trying to convince Americans as well as the Afghan public that the Taliban threat is still serious.

They say it is to justify the US presence in the country, especially at a time when many are opposed to Washington’s plans for the establishment of permanent US bases in Afghanistan.

The US authorities have set a big budget for a strategic agreement with Kabul, which is reportedly set to be distributed among the members of the traditional grand assembly — Loya Jirga — who will decide on the establishment of the US bases.

The Afghan president has announced his strong opposition to the establishment of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.

Karzai said Washington presented a draft document on strategic relations which is still under review.

Posted in Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Afghan jailbreak inside job, US Involvement Suspected

Syrian opposition asks world’s help to stop Assad

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

 

Damascus opposition members plead with West to pressure regime into ceasing brutal crackdown on protesters. US, UK say military response in Libya does not dictate similar action in Syria

Members of the Syrian opposition meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday pleaded for international help to persuade President Bashar Assad to halt a brutal crackdown on a popular revolt.

“Our friends in the West, in Turkey, in the Arab world, if they want to help us, then they can do that by… putting the clearest possible pressure on the Syrian regime to stop targeting civilians,” Anas Abdah, the British-based chairman of the Movement for Justice and Development, told Reuters.

Abdah was speaking on the sidelines of a gathering of opposition and rights groups organized by Turkish non-government organizations to highlight the Syrian people’s plight.

“It looks like Bashar al-Assad has taken a strategic decision to crush a non-violent movement in Syria by ordering his brother Maher al-Assad… to go and storm Deraa city,” Abdah said.

Double standard?

Meanwhile, both the US and British defense chiefs dismissed the notion that because the international community responded to unrest in Libya with military force, the same should be done in Syria.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates met Tuesday with his British counterpart Liam Fox, after which Fox said that the world’s response to popular revolts across the Middle East and North Africa “must be tailored to the circumstances of each case.”

In a joint appearance with Fox at the Pentagon, Gates made a similar point, noting that before the military campaign in Libya was launched, there was a diplomatic process that resulted in calls for action by the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the United Nations.

Other Washington officials said that “at this time” the United States still prefers to exhaust diplomacy and possible sanctions against Syria.

“Our focus is… with respect to options in Syria, in the diplomatic and financial space at the moment,” said Jacob Sullivan, director for strategic policy and a close advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“At the moment, we’re not actively considering shutting down our embassy in Syria,” said Sullivan. “We believe that our diplomatic lines of communication there offer an opportunity to communicate directly with the Syrian government in ways that we would like to continue to do.”

Sullivan reiterated that the United States condemns the repression in Syria, saying the actions taken by Assad “are totally unacceptable” and “completely inconsistent” with those of a responsible leader.

The US, he concluded, “Will evaluate the effectiveness and benefits of the tools at our disposal,” before making any further decisions.

As for the situation in Libya, Gates said that there had been some “momentum” in the Libyan conflict in recent days, but stressed that NATO forces were not targeting Moamar Gaddafi specifically.

The comments come after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the coalition of exceeding its UN mandate to protect civilians, saying attacks on Gaddafi’s palaces indicate the aim was to kill the Libyan leader.

Putin accused the nations taking part in the Nato-led operation of straying from the UN mandate to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on Syrian opposition asks world’s help to stop Assad

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