Archive | May 18th, 2011

Pakistan military protests after NATO incursion wounds soldiers

NOVANEWS

Reuters

 

NATO helicopters from Afghanistan intruded into northwest Pakistan Tuesday, wounding two soldiers, officials said, prompting a protest from the military already seething over the secret U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistani Army said it had lodged a “strong protest” and sought a flag meeting with NATO commanders over the incursion in Pakistan’s North Waziristan near the Afghan border which has been repeatedly targeted by U.S. drone aircraft as a hub of al Qaeda linked militants.

A Western military official in Kabul, however, said two NATO helicopters supporting a base in eastern Afghanistan had returned fire after being attacked from Pakistan, but declined to say whether they had crossed into Pakistani airspace.

A senior Pakistani security official said NATO has lodged its own complaint with Pakistan, accusing its forces of “unprovoked firing.” Western military officials in Kabul had no immediate comment about the possible complaint.

The incident is certain to weigh on relations between the U.S. and Pakistan have been pushed almost to the breaking point after the May 2 raid on Abbottabad that killed bin Laden, with Pakistan’s parliament condemning the operation as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty.

It also came hours after Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani landed in Beijing for a visit that underlines Islamabad’s close and productive ties with another major power.

A Western military official, who asked to remain anonymous, said NATO helicopters had fired at targets inside Pakistan, but only after they were attacked from across the border.

Pakistan’s frontier has been described as a global hub for militants, and Tuesday, police said they had killed five suspected al Qaeda militants who had tried to carry out a suicide bombing at a paramilitary checkpoint in the southwestern city of Quetta.

The would-be bombers included three women and were believed to be foreigners, police said.

Quetta is believed to be a base for the Afghan Taliban leadership and if the attack had been carried out, it would have been the second targeting Pakistan’s military since bin Laden was killed and the Pakistan Taliban vowed to avenge his death.

BREACH OF AIRSPACE?

A local government official said two NATO helicopters crossed into North Waziristan and remained for about 10 minutes in the area, known to be a hub for al Qaeda-linked fighters including the Haqqani network that is leading the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan.

The helicopters retreated after Pakistani border forces opened fire in the Datta Khel area about 40 km (24 miles) west of the main town of Miranshah, a security official said.

“A shell struck a mountain nearby and two of our soldiers were wounded by the rubble,” the official said.

The Western military official said the helicopters came under fire first.

“Our initial reports indicate that two ISAF helicopters were in the area in support of FOB (forward operating base) Tillman, as the FOB had been receiving intermittent direct and indirect fire from across the Pakistani border,” he said.

“Upon arrival the helicopter received fire from across the border but did not immediately return fire. Upon receiving fire from across the border a second time, the helicopter returned fire,” he added.

The official said the NATO-led coalition had received reports two Pakistani troops had been wounded. He declined further comment, including on whether the helicopters had entered Pakistan airspace.

Pakistan has in the past reacted angrily to incursions by NATO aircraft, even though its air space is routinely breached by unmanned drone aircraft.

A previous incursion on September 30, 2010, killed two Pakistani troops and wounded four more when NATO helicopters crossed the border while pursing insurgents. Pakistan retaliated by shutting down the supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

TENSE US TIES

In Pakistan this week, Senator John Kerry who is close to U.S. President Barack Obama, tried to smooth relations in the wake of the bin Laden raid, but also warned that Washington would not tolerate any of Pakistan’s alleged double-dealings with militant groups.

Bin Laden’s discovery in the comfortable garrison town of Abbottabad, only 50 km (30 miles) from the capital, has deeply embarrassed the military and spy agency, reviving suspicion that Pakistan knew where he was and has been playing a double game.

Pakistan has rejected that as absurd, but the United States has stepped up drone attacks against suspected militants since bin Laden’s killing despite Islamabad’s objections.

Several Pakistani helicopters took off from Waziristan’s main town of Miranshah toward the site of Tuesday’s reported incursion, a Pakistani officials said.

“After the May 2 incident, there is a high alert on the border,” a security official said. “Forces have been ordered to respond quickly if there is any attempt of intrusion.”

Separately, a Pakistani helicopter gunship destroyed a wireless communication installation established by militants in mountains near Miranshah town in an strike Tuesday, an intelligence official in the region said.

North Waziristan is the base of the Haqqani network blamed for the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. U.S.-led drone aircraft have targeted the area over the past year and Washington has repeatedly urged the Pakistan military to launch a ground operation.

Many militants, including foreign fighters loyal to al Qaeda, are based in Datta Khel. It is a stronghold of fighters loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur and has been a frequent target of U.S. drone strikes.

Monday, unmanned U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles in Datta Khel killing 12 militants, Pakistani officials said.

An intelligence official said that one of the dead militants, an Arab, was the son of an al Qaeda operative identified as Abu Kashif. There was no way to verify the death toll. Militants often dispute official accounts of drone attacks.

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Pakistan and NATO Trade Fire Near Afghan Border

NOVANEWS

 

Reuters

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani soldiers exchanged fire with two NATO helicopters that crossed into Pakistan’s airspace from Afghanistan early Tuesday, the Pakistani Army said, as United States senators increased calls in Washington to suspend or put conditions on billions of dollars in American aid to Pakistan.

The firefight, in which Pakistan said two of its soldiers were wounded, was the latest episode in a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the United States and Pakistan after the Navy Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.

That Bin Laden was discovered at a compound not far from the capital has heightened American distrust of Pakistan, while the raid inflamed Pakistani sensitivities over sovereignty.

Since then, the Obama administration and its allies in Congress have scrambled to keep tensions from spinning out of control and provoking Pakistan to shut down transit routes into Afghanistan that supply United States troops there.

Those tensions were laid bare on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as Democrats and Republicans voiced anger and bewilderment at providing $3 billion a year in aid to Pakistan, only to have that nation’s leaders criticize the United States for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty during the raid on Bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad, a small city about 75 miles by road from the capital that is home to a major military academy.

“Americans are getting tired of it, as far as shoveling money in there to people who just flat don’t like us,” Senator Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho, said at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing to review Pakistan policy.

The committee’s chairman, John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, fresh off the plane from a 24-hour visit to Islamabad to meet with senior Pakistani leaders, including President Asif Ali Zardari and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the army chief of staff, reported on his efforts to smooth ties, including an agreement to return to the United States the tail of an American helicopter damaged in the raid.

But many senators were not in a conciliatory mood. Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, complained that Pakistan was playing a “double game” by accepting American aid and fighting terrorists that threatened Pakistani government targets, but also supporting proxy forces in Afghanistan that killed American troops. “They are both a fireman and arsonist in this regional ongoing conflagration,” he said.

Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said it was time for Congress to put conditions on the military and economic aid, doling out assistance only if Pakistan met certain benchmarks in combating militants. “Most of us are wanting to call time out on aid until we can ascertain what is in our best interest,” he said.

Separately, five Senate Democrats, including Dianne Feinstein of California, chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday urging them to re-evaluate security aid to Pakistan.

Despite the anger on both sides, the Americans would like to maintain Pakistani cooperation as they try to wind down the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan would like to keep aid flowing from the United States, which has amounted to more than $20 billion in the past decade.

When asked at Tuesday’s hearing about the impact of suspending aid to Pakistan, Gen. James L. Jones, President Obama’s former national security adviser, warned, “I would counsel against what might be a very tempting thing to do, but it might have long-term consequences that we would then have to deal with.”

American officials fear the exchange of fire on Tuesday will provide yet another irritant for both sides. NATO officials could not immediately confirm whether the helicopters had indeed entered Pakistan’s airspace, but said they were looking into the episode, which took place at Admi Kot Post in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan.

An American military official said the Pakistanis were injured by a rock slide, not gunfire.

Pakistani military officials said the NATO helicopters came about 400 yards into Pakistani territory. The Pakistani Army “lodged a strong protest and demanded a flag meeting,” it said in a statement, referring to a meeting between officials from Pakistan and NATO on the border.

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China is Pakistan’s ‘best friend’: Gilani

NOVANEWS

 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has hailed China as his country’s best friend, as relations between Islamabad and Washington remain strained.“We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend, and China will always find Pakistan standing beside it at all times,” Gilani said on Tuesday as he began his visit to China, AFP reported. 

“We appreciate that in all difficult circumstances, China stood with Pakistan. Therefore, we call China a true friend and a time-tested and all-weather friend,” he added.

Gilani’s remarks come as Pakistan has come under severe criticisms from the US over allegations of protecting al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was allegedly killed by the US special forces on May 1.

Islamabad has voiced outrage at the “unilateral action” the United States carried out without Pakistan’s permission, saying the attack has violated the country’s sovereignty.

US Senator John Kerry, who has just returned from a visit to Pakistan, said US lawmakers have threatened to cut billions of dollars in aid to the South Asian country. Kerry has demanded Pakistan to do more to fight terrorism.

Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Tuesday that “Pakistan has made very important contributions in international counter-terrorism cooperation.”

China is the main arms supplier to Pakistan. The two sides are expected to sign a series of cooperation agreements during Gilani’s visit to China.

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Argentina’s Jewish community wins injunction against Google over anti-Semitic websites

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross

 

DAIA request for the injunction lists some 76 websites which it says are ‘highly discriminatory,’ including some which deny the Holocaust.

Haaretz

The umbrella organization of Argentina’s Jewish community, DAIA, has won an injunction against Google, preventing the world’s most popular search engine from “suggesting” anti-Semitic and racist websites to its users.

The presiding judge at the Buenos Aires court, Dr. Molina Portela, also ruled that Google cannot run adverts on these websites, which are illegal under Argentine law.

The DAIA request for the injunction listed some 76 websites which it described as “highly discriminatory,” including some which deny the Holocaust took place. The common denominator of the sites, said the DAIA on its website, “is the incitement to hatred and the call to violence.”

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Report: Uzi Arad leaked secret info to media

NOVANEWS

Former Zionist National Security Council head Uzi Arad leaked sensitive information to the media, and then resigned to avoid being indicted, Channel 10 reported Tuesday evening.

Prime minister announces national security advisor has asked to end his term, says he is reviewing an overseas capacity for him together with Foreign Minister Lieberman, who blocked Arad’s appointment as London ambassador.

According to the report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior Shin Bet officials informed Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that Arad was responsible for the breach.

Weinstein asserted that Arad’s disclosure of the confidential details was a slip of the tongue, and decided not to prosecute him.

In July 2010, the Shin Bet was requested to investigate a leak of sensitive security information that originated in the Prime Minister’s Office. In addition to Arad, who failed the lie detector test, communications advisor Nir Hefetz and Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser were also investigated. Both Hefetz and Hauser were found to be speaking the truth.

The investigation came to a close, and in February Arad announced his resignation and intention to return to the academic sector. But new evidence uncovered by the Shin Bet paint a new picture: Arad was the one responsible for the leak that damaged Israel’s ties with a significant ally.

It remains unclear which national security information was leaked. Elements involved in the case said after the investigation was exposed that “apparently it wasn’t a one-time event, but a series of sensitive leaks.” Other sources linked the Shin Bet query to the leak that touched upon a meeting between Netanyahu and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev regarding the sale of Russian missiles.

When the investigation became public knowledge, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu did not instruct the Shin Bet to use a lie detector, but asked to find out how the national security data was leaked.

“We are not in the habit of addressing investigation matters, even when the claims are fundamentally false and full of inaccuracies,” the Prime Minister’s Office responded in a statement. “As it was previously stated, Dr. Uzi Arad has asked of his own accord to resign at the end of his second term.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the request, and acknowledged his significant contribution to Israel’s National Security Council… and his strict devotion to its rules and policies.”

The Justice Ministry said in response that Arad took responsibility for the events leading to the publication of secret information but denied doing it deliberately and later announced his retirement.

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US, EU considering more pressure on Syria

NOVANEWS

 

 

 

Washington – The United States and European Union vowed Tuesday to take additional steps against Syria if President Bashar al-Assad’s regime does not end the brutal repression of protesters.

‘We discussed additional steps that we can take to increase pressure and further isolate the Assad regime,’ US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, standing beside EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton after their meeting in Washington.

The US and EU have already enacted sanctions against Syrian officials following the crackdown against protesters that has left hundreds dead. Those sanctions stopped short of targeting al-Assad.

Ashton said the US and EU are ready to take further actions if al-Assad’s government refuses to change course, and will look to see where sanctions can be strengthened.

‘We’re all very aware that the situation is so grave that it’s now in a situation where we need to consider all of the options,’ Ashton said. ‘And I think there will be a number of moves in the coming hours and days that you will see.’

Syria has faced widespread international condemnation for using force against demonstrators seeking political reforms.

‘They have embraced the worst tactics of their Iranian ally, and they have refused to honor the legitimate aspirations of their own people in Syria,’ Clinton said. ‘President Assad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed, brutal crackdown shows his true intentions.’

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Limited Kinetic Action: Gates Denies US ‘At War’ With Libya

NOVANEWS

 

antiwar.com

 

Speaking today on 60 Minutes, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates denied that the US was actually “at war” with Libya, saying he prefers to think of it as a “limited kinetic action” against Libya.

At the same time, Gates conceded that if he was “in Gadhafi’s shoes” he would think of it as a war. The comments come two months after a UN resolution which authorized a “no-fly zone” that directly led to US and French attacks on Libya.

Interestingly enough, Gates had been critical of the “no-fly zone” calls in early March primarily because it would, by his own admission, mean a war against Libya. Now that the war is not only ongoing but mired in stalemate, its redefinition seems to be convincing no one.

This is not the first time the Obama Administration has tried to redefine the Libyan War as the Libyan “not-quite-a-war.” Shortly after the attacks began, officials were calling the conflict a “kinetic military action” as well.

In practice it is a distinction without a difference, but the Obama Administration isn’t doing so entirely without reason. With growing questions about the fact that the war is, as of next Friday, running afoul of the War Powers Act for not consulting Congress about a use of troops lasting 60 days or longer, an attempt to downplay the conflict as something minuscule could be part of a political effort to avoid debate.

 

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Uprisings in Syria Appear to Be The Work of Foreign Agitators

NOVANEWS


By Keith Johnson

On April 29, this writer interviewed Jonathan Azaziah, a prolific journalist and researcher specializing in international Zionism. Azaziah is also a staff writer for Pakistan’s Opinion Maker and editor for Mask of Zion.

AFP asked Azaziah about the Salafi groups triggering Syria’s unrest. By all credible accounts they appear to be proxies of a more nefarious hidden hand manipulating this so-called peaceful revolution.

“It was clear that there was something violently wrong with these Syrian protests from the beginning,” said Azaziah. “In Syria, Assad enjoys an 80 percent approval rating. This is simply not the behavior of dignified Syrian people, who have rejected sectarianism and have offered their full support to the Lebanese resistance and Iran.”

Azaziah continued, “In reality, the protesters are split between two foreign-backed camps: the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which is being manipulated and ordered around by Jordan and Saudi Arabia—two of Israel’s greatest allies—and a more techno-savvy group of reformists which are being funded, guided and organized by the Reform Party of Syria, a U.S.-based organization led by Farid el-Ghadry. El-Ghadry is a Syrian exile, who is a proud member of AIPAC [American Israel PublicAffairs Committee] and is known for being the first Syrian to give a speech to the Israeli Knesset.”

The western voice of Syrian protests is Ammar Abdulhamid. According to Azaziah, “The mass media has already named him the Syrian Revolution’s spokesperson. But let’s not forget that Abdulhamid is a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, arguably the most influential Zionist think tank in the U.S.”

Azaziah concluded, “With these men—el-Ghadry and Abdulhamid—guiding the protests, coupled with the orchestrated chants of the Saudi-owned Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the more recent outcries of ‘Come Obama, come Israel, come take Syria, anything is better than Assad,’ it’s very clear who is behind these protests and why they began.”

Meanwhile, the march to Iran continues. As the West finishes up Libya, the next domino to fall could be Syria, Iran’s closest Arab ally and one of Israel’s most coveted prizes in its drive to create a Greater Israel. This long-held Zionist dream envisions a promised land that expands present day Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, encompassing all of the Arab Mideast.

Oded Yinon, once a senior advisor at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, laid out the blueprints for this ambitious plan in his 1982 paper entitled A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s that identified Iraq and Syria as “Israel’s primary target on the eastern front.”

Now that Iraq is in chaos, the Zionists have trained their sights on Syria. Using the recent Arab uprisings as cover, Israel’s Mossad and its allies within the American and British intelligence communities have been working within the framework of foreign-funded “color revolutions” to incite violence, unrest and instability.

For several weeks, international media outlets have glamorized protests breaking out across Syria as grassroots resistance movements intent on taming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, these so-called peaceful demonstrators have been running amok on the streets of Dara’a and elsewhere, tearing down monuments, torching buildings and terrorizing citizens.

Violence culminated over the Easter holiday when upwards of 120 civilians were reported killed, allegedly by Syrian troops and militiamen. Almost immediately, the International Committee of Jurists—which has repeatedly turned a blind eye to Israel’s countless atrocities—threatened to indict Assad on war crimes.

The following Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice called on the United Nations to impose sanctions against the Syrian government in response to “outrageous and ongoing use of violence against peaceful protesters.” The request was denied after Russia and India voiced their objections, citing numerous reports of Syrian forces being killed by armed insurgents.

On April 19, a few days prior to the violence that erupted in Dara’a,  Bassam Abu Abdulla of the Al Watan news agency in Damascus said that the protests were the work of Salafi groups, a minority faction of fanatical provocateurs imported by the West.

Keith Johnson is an independent journalist and the editor of “Revolt of the Plebs,” an alternative news website that can be found at RevoltofthePlebs.com.

 

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Muslim Offers Forgiveness for White Supremacist Who Shot Him in the Face

NOVANEWS

 

by crescentandcross

 

 

Dallas Morning News

Rais Bhuiyan saw Mark Stroman and his gun in the reflection of the window.

Then came the question a robber wouldn’t ask, Bhuiyan thought.

“Where are you from?”

“Excuse me?”

Within seconds, Bhuiyan, a store clerk, fell to the floor of the convenience store on Buckner Boulevard, bleeding profusely from a head wound from the gun blast. It blinded his right eye but miraculously didn’t damage his brain.

Stroman, a white supremacist, would later confess he was out for revenge against those of Middle Eastern descent in Mesquite and Dallas days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Already, Stroman had killed one Pakistani immigrant; two weeks later, he’d kill an Indian immigrant.

Now, Bhuiyan wants to forgive.

He’ll be asking for a stay of the July 20 evening scheduled execution of Stroman, and a stop to the “cycle of violence,” as he calls it.

“Sometimes, we human beings make mistakes out of anger,” said Bhuiyan, 37, in an interview Monday with The Dallas Morning News.

Stroman, a former stonecutter, was convicted of the Oct. 4 killing of Vasudev Patel, an Indian of the Hindu faith who owned a gas station and convenience store in Mesquite.

Stroman also confessed to the Sept. 15 Dallas killing of Waqar Hasan, an immigrant from Pakistan and a Muslim, in what is believed to be the first hate crime in the U.S. after the attacks. He was charged in the shooting of Bhuiyan, a Bangledesh immigrant, on Sept. 21.

Bhuiyan said his Islamic faith led him to realize “hate doesn’t bring any good solution to people. At some point we have to break the cycle of violence. It brings more disaster.”

Bhuiyan shows little sign of the shooting. A slim man with thinning hair and large, wide-set brown eyes, he can only see from his left one. He carries about 38 pellet fragments on the right side of his face, he said.

Bhuiyan said the event changed him and he now celebrates Sept. 21 as his new birthday because it was then he got his life back.

Bhuiyan has a full-time job in information technology but wants to return to college. Last fall, he contacted Dr. Rick Halperin, the director of the human rights education program at Southern Methodist University.

It was a coincidence that Halperin already knew many details of Bhuiyan’s story. Stroman had been corresponding with the professor, an anti-death-penalty activist, for two years.

Bhuiyan explained how the event had shaped his life, how he grew introspective about his faith and how he found answers to why he lived and others died.

The events, Halperin said, “raise questions about compassion and healing and the nature of justice.”

As for Bhuiyan, Halperin said, “I am amazed at the calm with which some can forgive the unforgivable.”

Hadi Jawad of the Dallas Peace Center said Bhuiyan’s actions serve as a lesson for others at a critical time for the nation and the world.

“With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming up, we need a narrative of compassion and healing. The world has gone through so much darkness,” Jawad said.

Halperin said that a stay of execution in favor of a lifetime sentence for Stroman will be difficult, but they are committed to trying. Stroman is scheduled to die by injection at about 6 p.m. in Huntsville, said a public information officer for the Texas Department of Corrections.

Within six months of Sept. 11, there were 1,717 incidents of harassment, violence or discriminatory acts against Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslims, according to the D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Bhuiyan said he still has fears he’ll be attacked again, particularly when he sees men with tattoos. Stroman had many. “I try to ignore them (fears), but I am a human being,” he said.

Bhuiyan is one of eight children, but he has no siblings or relatives in the United States. He and his former fiancée in Bangladesh went separate ways as he coped with his physical and psychological wounds. His parents wanted him to return home, but he “wanted to give it a fight.” And last November, he deepened his roots here by becoming a U.S. citizen.

He has prepared a petition drive for the stay of execution and is about to launch a website.

“You may not like me because of my skin color or because of my accent . . . but don’t hate me. We can educate people.”

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Historian writes of ‘pleasure’ at murder of pro-Palestinian activist

NOVANEWS

 

Not that Vik needs anyone’s defense, and so there’s no need to respond to the specific claims, but I just wanted to register how pathetic this Jewish Chronicle article by Geoffrey Alderman is:

Few events – not even the execution of Osama bin Laden – have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called “peace activist” Vittorio Arrigoni.

On Thursday 14 April Arrigoni was murdered in Gaza by members of Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (JTJ), who had him strangled and then dumped his body in a deserted Gaza apartment. This same group had previously had him kidnapped in order – apparently – to compel the Hamas government of Gaza to release the group’s leader, Sheikh Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi.

Hamas was naturally having none of this, and launched a search for Arrigoni, whose murder may have been ordered to prevent discovery of the kidnappers, though it is just as likely that the deed was carried out merely as a routine (so to speak) quasi-judicial punishment for the crime of being a foreigner (i.e. a non-Muslim) in a Muslim land.

JTJ is an al-Qaida affiliate. Its precise history is necessarily obscure, but it seems to have originated in Iraq, where it has resorted to any means (including the use of chlorine gas) in the pursuit of its goal of turning Iraq, post-Saddam, into an Islamic state.

In Gaza it has sought to establish itself as an alternative government to that of Hamas. Its religious leader, al-Maqdisi, by birth an Egyptian, is credited amongst many other things with having orchestrated the murder of western tourists in Sinai in 2006. He is certainly the author of a fatwa enjoining the kidnapping and killing of tourists in countries ruled by what he and his followers would regard as “apostate” Muslim governments. At the beginning of March this year he was detained by Hamas, perhaps at the request of the Egyptian authorities.

But my concern is less with Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi than with Vittorio Arrigoni, whose killing was immediately pounced upon by the western media as an affront to the civilised world. Even Hamas felt impelled to associate itself with these encomia.

The Italian was described as a “peace activist.” But the truth is very different. Vittorio Arrigoni, a disciple of the International Solidarity Movement, had travelled to Gaza to assist in the breaking of the Israeli naval blockade. As a supporter of Hamas he was a consummate Jew-hater. His Facebook page contained not merely the customary insults aimed at Israel but explicit anti-Jewish imagery, which may have reflected in part his Catholic upbringing: one image, for example, shows Jesus under arrest by Israeli soldiers.

The death of a consummate Jew-hater must always be a cause for celebration. In this case, however, the benefit is compounded by the dissensions that it has sown within the wider Israel-hating and Jew-hating fraternities.

Some members of these fraternities, ignoring or (in one case) making a virtue of the complete absence of evidence, have actually accused Mossad of his murder, alleging (in the wake of the Goldstone Retraction) that Arrigoni alone knew “the truth” of Operation Cast Lead. The Zionists, according to this argument, having forced Richard Goldstone to withdraw his contemptible allegation that during Cast Lead Israeli troops deliberately targeted civilians, needed to silence Arrigoni lest “the truth” be told.

But what particularly caught my eye was the emotional plea for Arrigoni’s life posted on YouTube by Ken O’Keefe, the former US marine who has taken it upon himself to espouse the cause of Hamas and with whom I appeared on Press TV last year.

Arrigoni is not the first ISM activist to be murdered by Palestinian Arabs. In September 2007 Akram Ibrahim Abu Sba’ was killed in Jenin by members of Islamic Jihad. But in his video plea O’Keefe ignored this precedent, and engaged instead a typical rant not only against the Jewish state but against its Christian supporters. Whoever had kidnapped Arrigoni, he argued, had branded themselves as collaborators of Israel and of its Zionist enterprise. And he repeated the charge of collaboration in a further video made after the discovery of Arrigoni’s body.

The idea that JTJ – or indeed any fundamentalist Islamic group of the Salafist variety – would collaborate with Israel is too fanciful to merit attention. But in putting forward this argument O’Keefe has revealed himself as completely detached from reality.

During our Press TV discussion O’Keefe challenged me to a public debate. Naturally I accepted, and we subsequently fixed the date – 28 April 2011. This date has come and gone. But if we manage to reschedule the event I’ll let you know.

That whatever sub-sector of the British Jewish community reads Alderman, that his editor basically defends him, is also pathetic. That a Jew wrote this in a Jewish newspaper in ostensible defense of “Jews” is also pathetic. These are sick people, and it’s a good thing that the Jewish people is a Zionist invention. One wouldn’t want to have anything to do with these people.

But please don’t get in too much in a tizzy over the aestheticized bigotry of the frothing far-right. The reaction is also a mirror. By ripping into it you (rightfully) engage in judgment. But then “we” (including the Chronicle‘s more “liberal” readers) erect themselves above the fray. Extremists on both sides, what shall we ever do? And so on, perfectly exemplified in the Guardian’s comment section: that Alderman, what a loon, and so on. We are not supposed to exult publicly over the deaths of our victims and those who struggle alongside them. Instead, better to simply not notice, or, noticing, wring our hands over the sheer intractability of the situation.

I’m reminded of Amos Oz: “What will become of us all, I do not know. If there is someone with an answer, he would do well to stand up and speak. And he’d better not tarry. The situation is not good.” Over in the real world, some people have had answers: march towards the borders the Israel state maintains with violence. And over in the real world, three days ago J Street called Palestinian non-violence “violence.” There is truth in that lie. For Washington technocrats and the rulers of the world, violence is just code for resistance. And that’s one thing that’s never permitted.

One wouldn’t want the rabble to get the idea that they can change the world without the approval of their masters.

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