Archive | July 23rd, 2011

Peoples March

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Private contractors now intergral to Afghan occupation


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The US Congress may express concern at the cowbody behaviour of many mercenaries in Afghanistan (which, of course, lessens local support for the glorious liberation they’ve experienced since 2001), but such things don’t concern former IDF prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg. He writes a curious post about protecting these brave souls who are presumably doing America’s fine work in the field of duty:

A couple of nights ago, I was hanging around a major Middle Eastern airport, on a long layover. I had just come from Islamabad (yes, I realize I didn’t share the information that I was in Pakistan with Goldblog readers while I was there — trust me, it was for my own good) and was waiting for a flight to the States, and I began to notice something very troubling (I’m not naming the airport, the airline or the flight number for reasons that will become clear).

It became instantly obvious that this flight was going to carry a large number of Afghanistan-based American contractors and active-duty military personnel back home. It wasn’t that the soldiers were in uniform — American soldiers don’t travel in uniform on international flights, for security reasons — but they may as well have been. One small example: I was sitting, at one point, next to an American man of obvious military bearing, a real barrel-chested freedom fighter sort, who wore a polo shirt inscribed with the words, “Army Aviation Association.” He was also carrying a camouflage tactical rucksack with his last name stitched on the back. He seemed like a senior-enough guy to have a Google profile, so I typed into my iPhone his last name, plus Afghanistan, plus “army aviation” and came up with his exact identity in 20 seconds. He is one of the key leaders of the military’s drone programs in Afghanistan. Now if I weren’t a patriot, but instead an anti-American jihadist, I might have seen this as an opportunity to do some damage.

Now of course, we were in an airport, a good airport with what I think is good security, but still, it seemed as if these people were inadvertently making themselves into obvious targets. I counted, in the crowd waiting to board the flight, five different guys wearing “Dyncorp” hats or shirts; Dyncorp is one of the biggest military contractors. I saw others wearing shirts labeled “General Dynamics” and “Iomax” and still others were wearing “Bagram Air Base” t-shirts, and almost all of these men — dozens and dozens of them — were wearing khaki tactical pants, Caterpillar boots, the whole non-uniform uniform. (And fanny-packs and those ridiculous wallet-on-a-string-around-your-neck things, but that is a separate fashion conversation.)

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

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One-state solution (Israeli style): New Knesset bill to extend Israeli law to settler museums

Jul 21, 2011

Kate

Knesset approves first reading of bill to extend Israeli law over West Bank museums
Haaretz 20 July — The Knesset passed a preliminary reading on Wednesday of a bill that would extend Israeli law to museums in West Bank settlements. The bill passed by a vote of 51 to 9. According to its creator, National Union MK Uri Ariel, the bill is the first in a series whose purpose is to strengthen Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and put an end to the “humiliating discrimination” against the settlers.

And more news from Today in Palestine:

In Pictures: Village fights for survival
Al Jazeera 19 July — Wadi Fukin village, which sits just west of Bethlehem along the 1967 border, was destroyed when the Israeli army dynamited much of the town during and in the years following the 1948 war, and then rebuilt when residents returned almost 20 years later. It was the only time, as far as many Palestinians can recall, that residents rebuilt a town destroyed in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Now the town’s 1,200 residents are facing what many fear could be its second death. The neighbouring Beitar Illit settlement has the highest birthrate of any settlement in the occupied West Bank and currently houses more than 40,000 Israeli settlers. The expanding settlement, deemed illegal under international law, continues to take more of Wadi Fukin’s land. Ironically, it is often the men from Wadi Fukin who run the jackhammers and build the settlement’s multi-story homes. Land confiscation, along with cheap Israeli produce that has flooded the Palestinian markets, is putting farmers in this verdant valley out of business and pushing them into construction jobs within the settlement. Under the proposed route of the Israeli wall, Wadi Fukin will eventually be surrounded on three sides, cutting the village off from the rest of the West Bank.
link to www.aljazeera.com

Once fertile valley dries up as Jerichoans face drought and demolition
IrishTimes 19 July — … On the second floor of an old building, the words “Egyptian Arab Land Bank est 1880” bear witness to the town’s heyday as the centre of a thriving agricultural area at the very time European Jewish colonies were being established in Ottoman- and British-ruled Palestine. At the turn of the last century, my friend Dyala’s grandfather, Mohieddin al-Husseini, built canals of clay and mud brick and brought water to Jericho from the foothills of the Judean range to the west. He was the first to plant bananas, citrus, wheat and barley alongside Jericho’s date palms, famous in ancient times. A fuzzy photo shows him in white kaftan and Arab headdress: a man of vision and vigour determined to make the desert bloom in Jericho and develop markets for its produce in Jerusalem, Nablus, and Tulkarem. Today the small Jericho enclave administered by the Palestinian Authority is surrounded by an Israeli trench that restricts the freedom of movement of the town’s 20,000 citizens, as well as its ability to expand.
link to www.irishtimes.com

Israel demolishes farm structure in the Jordan Valley
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 20 July — Israeli forces demolished a farm structure on Wednesday in the Az-Zbeidat village in the central Jordan Valley. An agricultural committee reported that an animal barn belonging to farmer Fayez Ahmad Ali was destroyed by soldiers.  The barn had been built along with ten others as part of a project implemented by the committee to support farmers in the Jordan Valley. The cost of each barn was €1,372 … The demolished barn was built on February 23, 2010 in an area adjacent to the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Argaman. The Israeli settlement of Argaman has annexed more than 800 dunams of land belonging to Az-Zbeidat and the Tamoun Valley.
link to www.maannews.net

Israeli authorities raze Palestinian home, threaten to raze another
NAZARETH (PIC) 20 July — The Israeli authorities sent bulldozers to raze a two-storey Palestinian house in Majd Al-Kurum in the north of Palestine occupied in 1948 without prior notice at the pretext of lack of construction permit. Palestinian sources said that a big number of policemen and border police backed by a chopper surrounded the area at dawn Wednesday and blocked traffic in and out of it before breaking into the home of Fayez Khalaile and ordering all its occupants out without giving them time to take with them their personal belongings. Khalaile said that the Israeli authorities refused his repeated attempts to license the house at the pretext it was near to the main road of Akka-Safad.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2b

IOF arrests teen after Silwan clashes
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 20 July — Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Jerusalemite teenager in Silwan town south of the Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday evening after clashes erupted between the inhabitants and IOF troops. Tensions ran high in Bir Ayub suburb in Silwan after the IOF soldiers installed a roadblock in the suburb and started searching cars and checking IDs. Eyewitnesses said that the teen Maher Sarhan was passing by in the neighborhood and did not take part in the clashes, adding that the soldiers detained him after failing to arrest any of the stone throwing youths. They said that soldiers used rubber bullets while young men threw stones at them.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Settlers

Palestinian man assaulted, others arrested during attacks in the West Bank
WEST BANK (PIC) 20 July — A Palestinian man was hospitalized Wednesday morning after Jewish settlers assaulted him during riots in Al-Khalil city in the southern West Bank. The settlers raided several areas in the West Bank and set up military checkpoints. Locals said the gang pummeled Palestinian man Hilal Baradhi‘i near the Kiryat Arba settlement. He was taken to the government hospital in the city for treatment.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd

Poll shows new low in settler and haredi trust in legal system
Haaretz 20 July — People in ultra-Orthodox and settler communities are unlikely to consider the court system in Israel legitimate, according to a new poll. The report also showed that compared to other Western countries, degree of trust placed on the justice system by the Jewish population inside the Green Line is also low.
link to www.haaretz.com

IDF commander Nitzan Alon visits haredi leader
Ynet 19 July — Following attacks from extreme right wing elements, Judea and Samaria Division Commander visits Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv, seeks blessing. Rabbi condemns infiltrations into Joseph’s Tomb
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israeli forces

Video shows IDF officer pointing loaded gun at unarmed Palestinian
YouTube video uploaded by B’Tselem shows an IDF officer cocking his gun and pointing it at a Palestinian man during an IDF operation in the West Bank; IDF says will open investigation into the matter.
link to www.haaretz.com

IDF officer aims rifle at Palestinian civilian’s head
Ynet 20 July —  A video posted on YouTube Wednesday shows an IDF officer cocking his weapon and aiming it at the head of a Palestinian civilian during military operations in a West Bank village [Beit ‘Ummar]. While the video does not show whether the officer’s weapon was loaded, IDF officials admitted that on the face of it the incident appears to be grave, adding that a Military Police investigation has been launched. The video, filmed last month, shows the Israeli officer yelling at Rabi Abu Maria and aiming a rifle at his head twice. The incident followed after Abu Maria’s cousin was detained by IDF troops …   Abu Maria recounted the incident in a conversation with Ynet: “I’m a taxi driver and I was next to a gas station. I saw my cousin who works at the station being detained, and I told the troops I only wish to say goodbye to him. The officer got upset at me and aimed his weapon at my head, saying ‘why do you care, go away.'” The Palestinian man told Ynet that since the incident he has been having trouble returning to the site and is no longer able to drive his cab. “I don’t understand why they did it to me. I’m just a person who wishes to live, with a wife and four children. My wife is also scared after a weapon was aimed at her husband, and the children aren’t doing too well either.”
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israeli forces arrest 2 in village raids near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 July — Israeli forces raided the village of Talluza near Nablus on Wednesday morning and arrested two Palestinians. The Israeli army carried out an air drop into the town at dawn on Wednesday, locals told Ma‘an, and raided several homes in the village, arresting a father and his son. Local residents accuse the army of stealing gold and other valuables from homes. Rabah Salahat, a resident of the village, told Ma‘an that soldiers stole gold belonging to his wife [probably her dowry, her ‘insurance’ against family disaster – death, divorce, etc] after raiding his home at 2.00 a.m. and ordering his family outside. Soldiers damaged the contents of the house, smashed windows and stole the identity card of his wife, in addition to taking jewelry worth four thousand dinars, he told Ma‘an.
In a separate incident, Israeli aircraft carried out air drops and military drills at the entrance to Tubas in the northern West Bank, while military vehicles patrolled the streets in the Jenin district. No arrests were reported. Security sources said that Israeli military vehicles had raided Jenin, and the villages of Faqqua, Deir Abu Da‘ef and Beit Qad. An Israeli army spokesman said he was unaware of any detentions or unusual activity in the district.
link to www.maannews.net

Gaza

Air strikes hit targets in Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 July — Israeli jet fighters launched air strikes on two sites in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning.  The Az-Zaitoun and Ash-Shujaiyeh neighborhoods south of Gaza City were targeted causing massive structural damage. No injuries were reported. Israel sources said that a home-made projectile had landed in Sderot on Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.
link to www.maannews.net

Israeli raid causes big damage in Gaza City
GAZA (PIC) 20 July — Israeli warplanes launched a fresh air raid on Gaza city at a late hour on Tuesday night causing big material damage but no casualties reported yet. Eyewitnesses said that an Israeli F-16 warplane dropped a bomb at Shujaia suburb east of Gaza city that exploded near a school. They added that the school and a big number of nearby homes were damaged as a result, describing the sound of the explosion as “powerful”.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2

Israeli navy attacks ‘Oliva’ boat
GAZA (PIC) 10 July — Israeli navy forces attacked the international boat, Oliva, run by human rights activists to monitor Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen, on Wednesday inflicting damage to it. Sources in the marine police told the PIC reporter that the Israeli navy chased the boat then attacked it, adding that several international activists were on board. The navy used water cannons against the boat causing damage to its engine, they said, adding that the activists boarded a fishing boat to return to Gaza while Oliva was towed to shore by another boat.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

In tweets: an encounter between Gaza fishermen and Israeli patrol boats/ Harriet Sherwoood
Guardian 20 July — Harriet Sherwood went out with Gaza fishing boats to check claims they were coming under attack from the Israeli military. She used Twitter to report what happened next.
link to www.guardian.co.uk

Video: Gaza fishermen defy naval blockade
Al Jazeera 20 July — Israel responds with water cannons and live fire when Gazans try to fish beyond Israeli-imposed limit — Emboldened by the ‘Freedom Flotilla’s’ attempt to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea, some Gazan fishermen have been trying to sail beyond the three nautical mile limit imposed by Israel. The Oslo Accords allowed fishermen to work within 20 nautical miles of the coast, but Israel later reduced the limit on the premise that allowing more space will potentially allow Gazans to receive smuggled weapons. Israel responds to the fishers’ actions with water cannons, and sometimes with live gunfire. Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza. [This video should remind Americans of the fire hoses used full force on civil rights activists, even children, in the southern US in the 1960s. Seethis page. And their cause won in the end.]
http://english.aljazeera.net//video/middleeast/2011/07/201172063013965193.html

Protesters blockade UNRWA headquarters in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 — The UNRWA headquarters in the Gaza Strip was blockaded by protesters for two hours on Wednesday. A number of Palestinians were protesting against what they described as UNRWA “minimizing its services.” “The UNRWA building was closed for two hours, during which time UNRWA vehicles were barred from moving,” an official in charge of the popular committee of refugees, Mueen Madares, told Ma‘an. “Today we began a warning strike and we allowed the cars to move after two hours after the beginning of the strike. But tomorrow an escalating strike will begin and will be comprehensive to all of the main entrances of the UNRWA building so that the UN body will submit to the demands of the refugees that were approved by the UN and international
bodies when UNRWA was founded.”
link to www.maannews.net

Video: Gaza’s building boom defies siege
Al Jazeera 16 July — With supplies from Egypt easier to get, the Palestinian enclave’s construction industry is thriving again — Thousands of construction workers are being asked to return to work as the Gaza Strip finds itself in the middle of a building boom. The Contractors’ Association says more than 14,000 new construction jobs have been created this year.  The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave over the past four years had brought construction to a standstill. But since the Egyptian revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, supplies have been easier to come by. Gazans say rather than force them to haul construction material through the tunnels, Israel should end its siege and allow lorries to bring the material over the border. Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza.
link to english.aljazeera.net

Wife battering and sexual abuse get attention in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 20 July — Most safe-houses in the Gaza Strip are meant to provide protection for armed militants on Israel’s target list. Now Gaza is offering protected shelter to battered Palestinian women. Its lone women’s safe-house, opened two months ago, has had eight clients, all guarded by police from the Islamist Hamas movement that runs the enclave and enforces a conservative though not radical Muslim religious code. So-called ‘honour killings’ are rare but not unknown among religious [? irrelevant] Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank, and like every society it is not immune to wife-beating … Sobheya Joma, a woman lawyer at the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), said there was no way to know for sure if honour killings were really eradicated. “The ICHR is worried because it has recently noticed that some deaths were listed as unexplained or accidental,” Joma told Reuters in her Gaza city office.
link to www.swissinfo.ch

Freedom Flotilla II

All foreigners aboard seized Gaza flotilla yacht to leave Israel by end of day
Haaretz 20 July — Interior Ministry spokeswoman says five foreign activists have already flown out; Dignite Al Karame was intercepted by IDF on Tuesday.
link to www.haaretz.com

AL slams seizure of Gaza-bound ship
PressTV 19 July — The secretary general of the Arab League has condemned Israel’s interception of a boat attempting to break the Gaza blockade, calling it an act of piracy. “I strongly condemn the act of piracy on the high seas that the Israeli forces carried out today,” Nabil al-Araby said, a Press TV correspondent reported on Tuesday. “I call upon the international community, as represented by the Security Council, to take a decisive stance on this act of piracy,” al-Araby added.
link to www.presstv.ir

Video: Welcome to Palestine concluding press conference
AIC 19 July — Organizers of Welcome to Palestine Campaign held a concluding press conference at the AIC offices in Jerusalem on July 18, 2011. In response to a Palestinian invitation, hundreds of international visitors reserved flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport for July 8th. The Israeli government did everything in its power to stop them, including pressuring seven commercial European airline companies into abruptly canceling a large number of the flight reservations. However, the international guests who did did manage to enter participated in a week of solidarity activities from July 8th until July 16th. [Includes interview with Australian activist who successfully appealed her deportation order]
link to www.alternativenews.org

‘Welcome to Palestine’ deportee ready to try again / Mya Guarnieri
SARASOTA, Florida (Ma‘an) 20 July — Laura Durkay spent 100 hours in an Israeli prison simply for declaring her intention to visit Bethlehem and its neighboring Aida refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. But the 29-year-old activist and filmmaker says, if she had the money, she’d gladly do it again. And she’s quick to add that her ordeal is “nowhere close to what happens to Palestinians” who resist the Israeli occupation. Durkay participated in the July 8 fly-in, a protest organized to call attention to freedom of movement restrictions that affect both West Bank Palestinians and those who dare to sympathize with them.
link to www.maannews.net

Activism / Solidarity

‘Know your heritage’ participants visit ‘Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem
[a sort of Palestinian ‘Birthright’? But unlike diaspora Jews, these kids can’t come to stay] PNN 20 July — The young Palestinian Americans who arrived on Monday in Bethlehem were welcomed in ‘Aida Refugee Camp on Tuesday by a performance of the Boy Scouts, further highlighting the importance of their visit for the Palestinians. The group was composed of people from 18 to 25 years old and the organizers of the initiative, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HLCEF) with Ratbe Rabie as head of the programme, had a tour of the camp led by Karim Amira. A resident of ‘Aida himself, he told them about the creation of the camp in 1950, meant at first, along with the 84 other refugee camps all around Palestine, as a temporary facility until they could be relocated, the growth of its population, and the worsening of the living conditions there. He also told them about the richness of the culture in the camp, as it brought together at its birth Palestinians from various backgrounds such as farmers, employees, wealthy and poor people. The camp is now a mixture of these different experiences which have one common ground: the oppression from the Israeli occupier.
link to english.pnn.ps

Jailed Fatah leader Barghouti urges mass protests
RAMALLAH (AFP) 20 July — Jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti has called for large-scale peaceful protests in support of a Palestinian bid for United Nations membership in September. In a statement released from his cell in Israel’s Hadarim prison, Barghouti, who is widely considered as the architect of the second Palestinian intifada, said winning the “battle of next September” would require mass mobilization in the territories and abroad. “Winning the battle of next September, which is an important step in our struggle, requires the biggest peaceful popular protests here and in the diaspora, and in Arab and Muslim countries and international capitals,” Barghouti said in the statement.h
link to www.maannews.net

New Yorkers demand retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from the Israeli occupation
July 19, New York, NY – At rush hour Tuesday in midtown Manhattan, seventy-five New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds protested outside the headquarters of US retirement-fund giant TIAA-CREF, demanding that it end its investment in the Israeli occupation. The New York demonstration is a part of national divestment campaigninitiated by Jewish Voice for Peace which saw similar actions in twenty cities nationwide marking the day of TIAA-CREF’s annual shareholder meeting, held this year in Charlotte, NC.
link to blog.endtheoccupation.org

ILO pledges $100,000 to entrepreneurial refugee women
Ramallah (PNN) 19 July — Today the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) signed a memorandum in Ramallah to support business start-ups for Palestinian refugee women with a financial pledge of $100,000. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at Anker Suites, Ramallah, where $100,000 was pledged in total. The funding, issued through the Spanish government, will help further the UN’s gender equality millennium objectives in the Occupied Palestinian Territories … The funding aims to allow at least 100 refugee women to create and expand their businesses over a nine-month period. The beneficial knock-on effects of this funding will not just be economic; the funding will help contribute to conditions at home and give the women’s daughters and young refugee girls’ positive role models to look up to.
link to english.pnn.ps

Israel bolsters borders, wary of September protests
TEL AVIV (Reuters) 19 July — Israel will reinforce its border defences in anticipation of protests by supporters of a Palestinian state in September and could target protest leaders with live ammunition, a military commander said on Tuesday … The officer said there must be no repeat of the events of May 15, when scores of Palestinian refugees and sympathisers, some hurling rocks, crossed a fenced and mined armistice line on the occupied Golan Heights. “It is the military’s duty to defend the country’s borders and sovereignty, and that is what we will do,” said the commander, who declined to be identified.
link to af.reuters.com

Detention

Israeli prison administration cracks down on Palestinian academic
GAZA (PIC) 20 July — Professor Mustafa al-Shannar, 49, a prisoner in the Israeli Megiddo prison and lecturer at the Al-Najah National University, was transferred to the prison’s clinic two days ago after experiencing sharp chest pains, the Tadhamon international human rights organization has reported. Tadhamon researcher and prisoner rights expert Ahmed al-Beitawi said the prison did not do enough regarding his condition, as a few tests were only taken. Along with previous health problems, Shannar underwent a catheter operation and heart implant just days after his arrest from Nablus in early June. The senior Palestinian academic is being held in administrative detention without charges or an investigation.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcO

Mother seeks care as prison neglects mystery ailment
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 20 July — A concerned mother says she does not seek condemning statements but only that her son, a Palestinian prisoner in the Israeli Gilboa prison, is given the proper treatment. Mohannad Juweihan, from Jerusalem, has complained of pain in the lower jaw and head. His mother, who managed to visit him recently, has called on rights groups to have a medical committee examine her son and ensure he is given the proper treatment, in a bid to circumvent the medical neglect he has experienced in the Gilboa prison. What concerns her most is not knowing the cause of the pain. She suspects that it could have been [caused] during his interrogation or arrest.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bc

Political / Diplomatic / International

Report: Turkey PM delays Gaza visit due to possible Israeli apology
Haaretz 20 July — It is believed that Erdogan is using Gaza visit as bargaining chip to pressure Israel into apologizing for the killing of nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-turkey-pm-delays-gaza-visit-due-to-possible-israeli-apology-for-2010-flotilla-raid-1.374251

Christian Zionists unite in DC to express support for Israel
Haaretz 20 July — Over 5000 Christians, mainly Evangelicals, gathered this week at the Convention Center in Washington for the annual conference of the organization CUFI, Christians United For Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Christian Zionist conference via satellite, telling them, “When you support Israel, you don’t have to choose between your interests and your values; you get both.” The prime minister encouraged the conference attendees to not only think of Israel as an ally of the Unites States, but as indistinguishable from it. “Our enemies think that we are you, and that you are us,” added Netanyahu. “And you know something? They are absolutely right.” 
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/christian-zionists-unite-in-d-c-to-express-support-for-israel-1.374161

NZ PM keeps mum on espionage allegations
Ynet 20 July — New Zealand Prime Minister John Key downplayed reports of “suspicious behavior” by groups of Israelis who were in Christchurch during the February 22 quake, Ynet learned Wednesday.  Key commented on the matter during a visit in the United States Tuesday, adding that the matter was under New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) investigation. He stressed that althoughOfer Mizrahi, the Israeli who was killed during the devastating quake, was found to be in possession of five passports, none of them were New Zealand passports … Jerusalem and Wellington’s relations were strained once before on a similar matter, when in 2004, two Israelis filed false papers in an attempted to get NZ passports and a local court ruled that they were Mossad spies.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Israeli drones violate Lebanese airspace
PressTV 18 July — Three Israeli reconnaissance planes have penetrated Lebanese airspace again and have flown over parts of the country in blatant violation of a UN Security Council resolution … Israel violates Lebanon’s airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.
link to www.presstv.ir

Racism / Discrimination

Report: Only 8% of Ethiopians seek academic studies
Ynet 20 July — New study says less than 1% of Ethiopians have academic degrees; sector avoids scientific studies … Chairman of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora affairs, MK Danny Danon, addressed this important report saying, “It saddens me to see that even after dozens of years of Ethiopian immigration, the academic degree – which is considered a ticket into today’s job market – remains only a dream to this community…”
link to www.ynetnews.com

Last Arab-Jewish public school in Israel may close its doors / Issa Edward Bourseh
972mag 19 July — Coexistence in Jaffa is under attack, as the Ministry of Education and the Tel Aviv municipality refuse to ensure parity in classrooms of the “Weizmann” mixed Jewish and Arab school
link to 972mag.com

Other news

PA reduces price of bread to counter economy crisis
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 July — The Palestinian Authority ministry of national economy decided to lower bread prices from 4 to 3.5 shekels per kilo (10 slices). The decision goes into effect Saturday. Economy minister Hasan Abu Libdah announced the decision Wednesday at a news conference in Ramallah. He said the ministry would introduce a series of procedures during Ramadan to cope with the dire economic conditions … Abu Libdah says his ministry will set prices for 16 more basic food products and 31 subsidiary products. Ministry inspectors will monitor the market and do inspections to make sure merchants comply. The Palestinian Authority remains unable to pay salaries as the new school year, Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr approach. Officials say there is no end in sight as the PA works to resolve the crisis.
link to www.maannews.net

Security academy in female recruitment drive
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July — The Palestinian Academy for Security Sciences is trying to increase the number of female staff members in line with its goal to enhance participation.  The academy’s vice-president Kamal Salamah said Wednesday that about 90 of the academy’s current 300 students are female. Salamah said the academy offers bachelor’s degrees in administrative information systems, security psychology, police sciences, public administration, and military sciences.
link to www.maannews.net

Palestinian mosaics on display in Hebron
[photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) updated 20 July — Jericho’s Mosaic Center is displaying items in Hebron starting Tuesday.  Mosaics from churches, mosques, palaces, and other locations and periods are “evidence of the rich and diverse historical, cultural and religious elements that coexisted in the past in the territory,” organizers said Saturday … Eight mosaic artists — two European and six Palestinian — joined to reproduce examples of some of the masterpieces realized in mosaics, following the ancient techniques and materials. The exhibition is on display in Hebron’s Old City Museum from July 19-August 8, then it heads to Europe.
link to www.maannews.net

Knesset votes against proposal to probe Israeli NGOs
Haaretz 20 July — Vote comes after Netanyahu urges Likud MKs to vote against the bill, put forth by Yisrael Beiteinu; Opposition leader Livni says bill is anti-democratic, damages Israeli interests … 28 Knesset members voted in favor and 57 voted against the two bills calling to set up two parliamentary panels of inquiry into NGOs
link to www.haaretz.com

Jerusalem’s religious sector growing
Ynet 20 July — Figures released by Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies reveal national-religious population about to become capital’s second biggest sector as haredim search for housing solutions elsewhere … According to figures released by Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, since 2003 there has been a 19% increase in the traditional-religious population (36,000 people in 2009), a 15% rise in the national-religious population (54,000) and 14% in the haredi population (78,000).  On the other hand, a 5% drop was recorded in the traditional-non-Jewish population (55,000) and a 10% drop in the secular population (55,000).
link to www.ynetnews.com

‘Some people think army is yeshiva’
As IDF officials continue to grapple over the subject of religious coercion in the army, the former head of Personnel Directorate said Wednesday that “there is indeed a problem with some people who don’t realize they have joined the army and not a yeshiva.” Brigadier-General (Res) Elaza Stern was responding to a letter circulated by the outgoing head of the personnel directorate, Avi Zamir, who complained that a battle for authority between the Education Corps and the Military Rabbinate was harming female soldiers and officers forced to abide by rules of modesty and religion …  [Stern] added that some religious rules have no place in the military, such as the prohibition on hearing a woman sing. “This is a pathetic demand,” he said.
link to www.ynetnews.com

Opinion / Analysis

Bad news for Murdoch can only be good news for Palestinians / Omar Radwan
MEMO 20 July — …As far as the Palestinians are concerned, bad news for Murdoch can only be good news for them. Murdoch’s deeply held sympathy for Israel and his enmity towards the Palestinians is clear for all to see.  His tabloid press have a track record of Islamophobia and of stirring up hatred against Palestinians.  This was seen most recently when Sheikh Raed Salah visited Britain and was arrested on trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism.  The Sun was at the forefront of the campaign of vilification against him, calling him a “hate preacher”. Over the matter of Sheikh Raed Salah’s arrest Murdoch’s press and David Cameron were in full agreement. Both were prepared to do Israel’s dirty work for it and victimise an innocent man.
There were many other examples over the years of Murdoch’s newspapers spreading hatred, disinformation, and lies against Palestinians. Perhaps the worst example took place during the Gaza war of 2008-2009. When Israel bombed the Fakhoura school on January 6 2009 killing scores of Palestinians who had been sheltering there, the Sun’s front page headline the following day did not say anything about this.  Instead it published a story saying that a  “hate hit list” targeting 100 British Jews, including well known entrepreneur and TV personality Alan Sugar, had been published on the Muslim website Ummah.com.  This “hit list” was later exposed as being planted by a Sun journalist. The expression “gutter journalism” does not begin to describe the despicability of such actions. The list of infamy goes on and on.
link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)
www.theheadlines.org (archive)

Fleitz of Fancy & A New Diehl on Iran: An update on fear-mongering about Iran’s nuclear program

Jul 21, 2011

Nima Shirazi

It has been nearly seven months since I wrote, “The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, Falsehoods, and Fear-Mongering about Iran’s Nuclear Program” (posted here on Mondoweiss), a time-line of false U.S., Israeli, and European assertions regarding the supposed inevitability and immediacy of a nuclear-armed Iran, hysterical allegations that have been made repeatedly for the past thirty years.  Whenever new predictions and claims about Iran’s nuclear program are released, I have added updates to my original piece.  To read all 47 updates, click here.  Here is the latest:

Alarmist editorializing about Iran, its regional influence, and its nuclear energy program has picked up considerably in the past few weeks. In the wake of the latest IAEA report this past Spring which revealed no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, a hefty Sy Hersh article confirming that all 16 American intelligence agencies still stand by their 2007 assessment that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, and the potential for a large-scale U.S. withdrawal from Iraq at the end of the year, career fear-mongers have been hard at work trying to re-raise the Iranian threat level from mild khaki to frantic crimson.

An opinion piece published last night in the Wall Street Journal is a perfect example of the heightened hysteria. The article, entitled “America’s Intelligence Denial on Iran“, was written by former CIA agent Fred Fleitz, a neoconservative Bomb Iraner who served as John Bolton’s State Department chief of staff and is currently a columnist for the right-wing outlet Newsmax.

Fleitz is intent on discrediting the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which has repeatedly found that Iran’s nuclear program is, at best, totally benign and, at worst, not an imminent threat to anyone. He leads with this:

Mounting evidence over the last few years has convinced most experts that Iran has an active program to develop and construct nuclear weapons. Amazingly, however, these experts do not include the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community. They are unwilling to conduct a proper assessment of the Iranian nuclear issue – and so they remain at variance with the Obama White House, U.S. allies, and even the United Nations.

Fleitz goes on to write that, “according to the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control,” Iran currently has enough “low-enriched uranium” for “four nuclear weapons if enriched to weapons grade” and repeats the propaganda line about “an item recently posted to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps website [which] mused about the day after an Iranian nuclear test (saying, in a kind of taunt, that it would be a ‘normal day’).” Fleitz claims that the “message marked the first time any official Iranian comment suggested the country’s nuclear program is not entirely peaceful.”

Beyond demonstrating a severe lack of understanding about what the IAEA has actually reported and his willful omission of the huge difference between low-enriched uranium and weapons grade material, Fleitz tips his hand by relying on the over-hyped “Nuclear Test” post on the Iranian Gerdab website last month for his nuclear scare propaganda.

Fleitz writes that the latest NIE assessment is just as “politicized” and “poorly written” as its 2007 predecessor and similarly downplays the “true account of the Iranian threat” due to what Fleitz claims is the U.S. intelligence community’s apparent aversion to providing “provocative analytic conclusions, and any analysis that could be used to justify military action against rogue states like Iran.” He accuses the 2011 NIE of “poorly structured arguments and cavalier manipulation of intelligence”, all the while boasting of his own objections, which he says were routinely ignored and rebuffed by the report’s supervisors. He lays blame on what he determines is the NIE’s reliance on “former senior intelligence officers, liberal professors and scholars from liberal think tanks.”

He concludes:

It is unacceptable that Iran is on the brink of testing a nuclear weapon while our intelligence analysts continue to deny that an Iranian nuclear weapons program exists. One can’t underestimate the dangers posed to our country by a U.S. intelligence community that is unable to provide timely and objective analysis of such major threats to U.S. national security – or to make appropriate adjustments when it is proven wrong.

If U.S. intelligence agencies cannot or will not get this one right, what else are they missing?

Reading this, one might be forgiven for wondering why, rather than merely attacking the credentials of NIE sources, Fleitz doesn’t reveal a shred of evidence for his declaration that “Iran is on the brink of testing a nuclear weapon.” Oh right, never mind.

This sort of “analysis” from Fleitz is far from unexpected. Back in August 2006, Fleitz – then a House Intelligence Committee staffer – was the primary author of a Congressional report entitled, “Recognizing Iran as a Strategic Threat: An Intelligence Challenge for the United States“, which served as a veritable catalog of false assertions about Iran’s nuclear program and, just like his Wall Street Journal piece, assailed the U.S. intelligence community for not sufficiently fear-mongering about the so-called Iranian threat. Among other exaggerations and outright lies, the report accused Iran of “enriching uranium to weapons grade” and stated that the IAEA had removed a senior safeguards inspector from Iran for “allegedly raising concerns about Iranian deception regarding its nuclear program and concluding that the purposed of Iran’s nuclear programme is to construct weapons” and for “not having adhered to an unstated IAEA policy baring IAEA officials from telling the whole truth about the Iranian nuclear program.”

The report contained so many false allegations and misrepresentations regarding the Iranian nuclear program, in fact, that the IAEA’s Director of External Relations and Policy Coordination Vilmos Cserveny wrote a letter to the Chairman of House Committee, Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), challenging the report’s “incorrect” assertions and criticizing it for promoting “erroneous, misleading and unsubstantiated information.”

Additionally, Cserveny described Fleitz’s accusations about the safeguards inspector as “outrageous and dishonest” and noted that “Iran has accepted the designation of more than 200 Agency safeguards inspectors, which number is similar to that accepted by the majority of non-nuclear-weapon States that have concluded safeguards agreements pursuant to the NPT.”

It appears that, five years later, Fleitz still chooses fantasy over facts.

Meanwhile, in the pages of the Washington Post, deputy editorial editor and Likudnik ideologue Jackson Diehl has picked up on the amplified push to blame the Iranian government for the recent deaths of American soldiers occupying Iraq. In an opinion piece published earlier this week, he writes, “The larger question is whether Iraq will be forced by a full U.S. pullout to become an Iranian satellite, a development that would undo a huge and painful investment of American blood and treasure and deal a potentially devastating blow to the larger U.S. position in the Middle East.”

Apparently, Arabs and Muslims are only truly liberated when under the influence of the United States.

Diehl believes that an Iraqi government that is bullied into allowing U.S. troops to continue occupying their country beyond the December 31, 2011 deadline would be “making the right choice.” If there is an American withdrawal, however, Diehl is worried about the potential consequences. He claims (citing a Fox News report) that an “offensive [is] already underway by Iranian-sponsored militias [which] shows that Tehran is ready to fight.” He writes that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, “like U.S. commanders in the Middle East, understands very well that without an American military presence, Iraq will be unable to defend itself against its Persian neighbor” and laments that, “without U.S. help, Iraqi forces cannot easily counter” Iranian-backed militias since “Iraq’s conventional forces are no match for those of Iran.”

Of course, what Diehl leaves out – beyond the fact that the evidence linking the Iranian government to recent resistance attacks in Iraq is sketchy at best – is that foreign occupation is what most people and non-U.S.-aligned governments in the region are most offended by, not alleged increasing Iranian influence. Yet, the horror of an Iraq allied with Iran is ever-present in the neoconservative community. Diehl even quotes career militarist Frederick Kagan of the neocon flagship, the American Enterprise Institute, as warning in a recent report that “[i]f Maliki allows the United States to leave Iraq, he is effectively declaring his intent to fall in line with Tehran’s wishes, to subordinate Iraq’s foreign policy to the Persians, and possibly, to consolidate his own power as a sort of modern Persian satrap in Baghdad.”

Oh dear, the Persians! Where are AristagorasLeonides and Themistocles when you need them?! It would be unsurprising to assume that Kagan’s neocon classicist fatherDonald is proud of his son’s ridiculous historical analogy.

To his moderate credit, Diehl does also present a slightly alternate perspective, one that naturally views Iran as a spooky menace (no other representation of the Islamic Republic is allowed in the mainstream press, of course), but that doesn’t necessarily see it as a hegemonic threat of imperial proportions. He reports that Antony Blinken, a senior aide to Vice President Joe Biden, resists the notion that Iran is capable of wielding such devious influence over Iraq, even without a massive U.S. military presence. “The danger of Iranian hegemony in Iraq,” Diehl writes, “is overstated by analysts such as Kagan,” according to Blinken.

Diehl closes by lamenting the recent departure Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who he describes as “the only Obama administration official who has publicly made the case for a continued U.S. military presence.” In a recent speech, Diehl recalls, Gates said that it would send “a powerful signal to the region that we’re not leaving, that we will continue to play a part,” adding, “I think it would be reassuring to the Gulf states. I think it would not be reassuring to Iran, and that’s a good thing.”

What Diehl omits is that Gates was actually speaking to the American Enterprise Institute when making these comments and that, much to the dismay of its many war-mongering members, has been credited by many as having single-handedly prevented an American attack on Iran.

The specter of a nuclear-armed and hegemonic Iran is still the bread-and-butter of Beltway Middle East reportage and analysis. Consequently, the fever-pitched fear-mongering never stops, despite what the facts are.

Nima Shirazi is a political commentator from New York City. His analysis of United States foreign policy and Middle East issues is published at WideAsleepInAmerica.com. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.

Knesset member Haneen Zoabi ‘democratically’ stripped of parliamentary privileges

Jul 21, 2011

Audrey Farber

In May of 2010, the Mavi Marmara sailed from Turkey with the mission of reaching Gaza. Remember? I will not go into details of what may or may not have happened, or what was or was not being transported, aboard that ship and its companions while they were in international waters.

Member of Knesset Haneen Zoabi (Balad/Tajamo’) was on board, along with other leaders in the Palestinian community in Israel, including Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel–Northern Branch. Clear in her intent to demonstrate support for the human rights of the people of Gaza, upon her return to Israel, she was attacked by other Members of Knesset for her participation.

She was also threatened, before and after her participation, with legislation from MKs of right wing parties. MK Danny Danon (Likud) initially proposed a bill in November of 2009, dubbed the “Haneen Zoabi Law,” to strip Members of Knesset of parliamentary privileges if they “‘[act] in support of an enemy nation or terrorist group engaged in armed struggle against Israel, [participate] in incitement to racism and [reject] the existence of Israel as a democratic Jewish state.’” The bill was then debated in June 2010, after MK Zoabi’s return to Israel.

At the time, Eli Yishai (Shas) also requested of the Attorney General that he be permitted to strip her of her Israeli citizenship [PDF] under the premise that her participation in the flotilla constituted treason.

Further, on June 7, 2010, the Knesset House Committee tasked with debating her punishment “recommended that the Knesset plenum rescind three of MK Zoabi’s rights as a member of Knesset (denial of rights requires the plenum’s approval): the right to exit the country; the right to hold a diplomatic passport; and the right to payment by the Knesset of a portion of a member of Knesset’s legal expenses if prosecuted for a legal offense. “ [PDF]

In the end, she did lose these privileges, though she was allowed to travel to countries with diplomatic relations to Israel.

Perhaps the most demonstrative insult hurled at MK Zoabi throughout this diplomatic and often-childish melee was a fake Iranian passport with her name and picture in it.

Fast forward one year. The French yacht, the lone remainder of the 2011 Flotilla, has been diverted to Ashdod and its passengers deported. On its heels, as if by clockwork, the Knesset stripped MK Zoabi of what remained of her parliamentary privileges and responsibilities; she has been reduced to near-observer status in the Knesset.

At the behest of Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), Danny Danon (Likud), and Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), “The Knesset Ethics Committee punished MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) on Monday for participating in last year’s Gaza flotilla, forbidding her to take part in all Knesset discussions until the end of the summer session – a decision Zoabi called “the decision of an automatic right-wing, racist majority.”

Though she will not be permitted to address the Knesset in debates or participate in committee votes, she will be able to vote in debates in the Knesest plenum.

Echoing her defenses from last year, she maintained in the face of this suspension that her participation in the 2010 Flotilla constituted “legitimate political activities, which are the right of every citizen, and certainly of a Knesset member…I upheld my right to political activity and freedom of expression, and did not break the law.”

Her suspension, too, comes on the heels of heated Knesset debates over bills calling for inquiries into Israeli NGOs, and the recent passage of the “anti-BDS” bill. When viewed in the broader context of the politics of the 18th Knesset, it becomes clear that “democracy” in Israel is a case of “democracy, but”: democracy if we like you, punishment if we don’t.

Obama is basing policy on Elliott Abrams’s ideas, not his own –Siegman

Jul 21, 2011

Philip Weiss

An excellent point from the great Henry Siegman at Huffington Post. It is about the power of the Israel lobby in American politics, on the Democratic side too. And so the question is: Why is Obama nullifying his own ideas in favor of a Republican neoconservative’s ideas? Didn’t Obama whup the neocons in ’08? No: the neocons have a beachhead inside the Democratic Party because the neocons are the hawkish part of the Jewish family and we are simply too important in Democratic politics to be cast aside. Siegman excerpt– here he urges Obama to hold Israel to the ’67 lines to create a Palestinian stat and concludes with that Abrams wisdom:

Yes, when Arab countries sought to prevent Israel’s existence and the U.N. passed the “Zionism Is Racism” resolution, they were the obstacle to peace. Since that resolution was withdrawn and Arab countries abandoned their opposition to Israel and offered not only peace but formal recognition and normal relations in return for an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in their Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, it is Israel that has been the main obstacle to peace, because it not only ignored that initiative but perversely increased its settlements and deepened its hold on the West Bank.

The only aspect of Obama’s approach to Middle East peacemaking that Abrams welcomes is his opposition to the Palestinian’s intention to bring the case for their statehood to the United Nations, a prospect that has thrown Israel’s right-wing government and its supporters in the U.S. into a frenzy of accusations that Israel has become the victim of a global campaign of delegitimization.

In fact, the only delegitimization taking place is Israel’s delegitimization of the Palestinians and their right to statehood within the 1967 borders. And it is doing this not with empty rhetoric or resolutions at the U.N. but with brutal “facts on the ground,” dispossessing Palestinians of their homes and lands in the Occupied Territories with its bulldozers backed by the IDF’s firepower, and transferring its own population into those areas in blatant violation of international law. It is a delegitimization that has gone on now for over 40 years. Yet when a resolution condemning this out-and-out rogue behavior was finally brought before the Security Council, the U.S. vetoed it, and now promises to once again veto a Security Council resolution that would affirm the Palestinian right to self-determination.

President Obama’s inspirational speeches in Cairo and at the Department of State notwithstanding, for all practical purposes, it is Abrams’ prescriptions rather than his own that he is allowing to prevail.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

occupier and occupied

NOVANEWS

Who looks more scared?

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Posted in Palestine Affairs, Human RightsComments Off on occupier and occupied

The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

 

by Michel Chossudovsky

Order Online Here

In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skilful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In this new enlarged edition –which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction– the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalisation.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Published in 11 languages. More than 120,000 copies sold Worldwide.

In these unprecedented economic times, the world is experiencing as a whole what most of the non-Industrialized world has experienced over the past several decades. Michel Chossudovsky takes the reader through a nuanced examination of the intricacies of the global political-economic landscape and the power players within it; specifically, looking at how the World Bank and IMF have been the greatest purveyors of poverty around the world, despite their rhetorical claims to the opposite. These institutions, representing the powerful Western nations and the financial interests that dominate them, spread social apartheid around the world, exploiting both the people and the resources of the vast majority of the world’s population. As Chossudovsky examines in this updated edition, often the programs of these International Financial Instittutions go hand-in-hand with covert military and intelligence operations undertaken by powerful Western nations with an objective to destabilize, control, destroy and dominate nations and people, such as in the cases of Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

To understand what role these international organizations play today, being pushed to the front lines and given unprecedented power and scope as ever before to manage the Global Economic Crisis, one must understand from whence they came. This book provides a detailed, exploratory, readable and multi-faceted examination of these institutions and actors as agents of the ‘New World Order,’ for which they advance the ‘Globalization of Poverty.’

Order Online Here

“In its entirety, the book can and should be read by all with an interest in world peace and the causes of poverty.” Frances Hutchinson, The Ecologist

“This concise, provocative book reveals the negative effects of imposed economic structural reform, privatization, deregulation and competition. It deserves to be read carefully and widely.” Choice, American Library Association (ALA)

“The current system, Chossudovsky argues, is one of capital creation through destruction. The author confronts head on the links between civil violence, social and environmental stress, with the modalities of market expansion.” Michele Stoddard, Covert Action Quarterly

“This detailed study by an economics insider shows the consequences of “reforms” in various parts of the world, reveals a clear pattern of callous neocolonialism. Definitely red-pill material.” Richard K. Moore, Whole Earth.

“As Michel Chossudovsky, author of The Globalisation of Poverty, has pointed out, an entirely undemocratic world body “has been casually installed in Geneva, empowered under international law with the mandate to ‘police’ country level economic and social policies”. This amounts to a “repeal of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, providing “legitimacy to trade practices which border on criminality [including] the patenting of human life forms”. John Pilger, New Statesman.

“More than just an austerity program, Chossudovsky believes the conditions the IMF demands of countries – with little choice but to accept – are draconian…He also believes the IMF is getting its direction from the wealthy Wall Street investment banks which act as informal policy advisers and more formally, help structure and deliver bailout packages. “There are powerful financial actors behind this,” he says. While Chossudovsky, author of The Globalization Of Poverty, is careful not to suggest a conspiracy, he says large multinational corporations and investment houses benefit from the chaos in countries like South Korea and Indonesia once their currencies are devalued.” Laura Eggertson, The Toronto Star

“Michel Chossudovsky is one of the leading intellectuals of the antiwar movement, perhaps the best, as I find he works his tail off in documenting the material he presents and is rigorous in his analysis.” Jude Wanniski, Polyconomics.

“Chossudovsky gives us a clear analysis of how the International Monetary Fund has well served this corporate plan. He gives us case studies of the ”restructuring” and subsequent impoverishment of the people in countries like Somalia, Peru and Russia. He lays out the blueprint for the rest of the world.”  Briarpatch

“… I  recommend to all interested in our political and financial future, unemployed or in work, to buy or borrow, one of the most informative books on the consequences of global poverty, written by Michel Chossudovsky.” Stan Kent, Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph

“University of Ottawa economist Michel Chossudovsky  calls our era a global ”cheap labour economy”. The underlying problem is only made worse by IMF-sponsored reforms that impoverish millions of people. Economic Justice Report

“Michel Chossudovsky, offers in his book The Globalisation of Poverty an impressive presentation of the destructive effects macroeconomic restructuring has had on Yugoslavia and its 24 million people.”  Paul Surlis, National Catholic Reporter

Read Review of First Edition

Read Review of First Edition (Covert Action Quarterly)

Reviews by readers who purchased the First Edition

Reviews by readers who purchased the Second Edition

Recent Amazon Reviews of the Second edition

“Battling Mainstream Economics” by Juliet ONeill (Biographical sketch of Michel Chossudovsky), Ottawa Citizen

Read mainstream media review: The Voice of America (VOA)

Links to Michel Chossudovsky’s writings (Google Search)

See also Michel Chossudovsky’s book entitled  America’s War on Terrorism, 2nd Edition

Michel Chossudovsky is the 2003 Recipient of the Human Rights Prize of the Society for the Protection of Civil Rights and Human Dignity, Berlin, Germany.

Globalization of Poverty, (German edition) was classified No. 2 in the Top Ten “best” non-fiction titles in Germany, July 2002, by a panel of writers, journalists and scholars.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine (1)

NOVANEWS

by Michel Chossudovsky

First published in 1994, Third World Resurgence and Le monde diplomatique

The IMF Intervention in the Early 1980s

Somalia was a pastoral economy based on “exchange” between nomadic herdsmen and small agriculturalists. Nomadic pastoralists accounted for 50 percent of the population. In the 1970s, resettlement programs led to the development of a sizeable sector of commercial pastoralism. Livestock contributed to 80 percent of export earnings until 1983. Despite recurrent droughts, Somalia remained virtually self-sufficient in food until the 1970s.

The IMF-World Bank intervention in the early 1980s contributed to exacerbating the crisis of Somali agriculture. The economic reforms undermined the fragile exchange relationship between the “nomadic economy” and the “sedentary economy” – i.e. between pastoralists and small farmers characterized by money transactions as well as traditional barter. A very tight austerity program was imposed on the government largely to release the funds required to service Somalia’s debt with the Paris Club. In fact, a large share of the external debt was held by the Washington-based financial institutions.’ According to an ILO mission report:

[T]he Fund alone among Somalia’s major recipients of debt service payments, refuses to reschedule. (…) De facto it is helping to finance an adjustment program, one of whose major goals is to repay the IMF itself.

Towards the Destruction of Food Agriculture

The structural adjustment program reinforced Somalia’s dependency on imported grain. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, food aid increased fifteen-fold, at the rate of 31 percent per annum.’ Combined with increased commercial imports, this influx of cheap surplus wheat and rice sold in the domestic market led to the displacement of local producers, as well as to a major shift in food consumption patterns to the detriment of traditional crops (maize and sorghum). The devaluation of the Somali shilling, imposed by the IMF in June 1981, was followed by periodic devaluations, leading to hikes in the prices of fuel, fertilizer and farm inputs. The impact on agricultural producers was immediate particularly in rain-fed agriculture, as well as in the areas of irrigated farming. Urban purchasing power declined dramatically, government extension programs were curtailed, infrastructure collapsed, the deregulation of the grain market and the influx of “food aid” led to the impoverishment of farming communities.’

Also, during this period, much of the best agricultural land was appropriated by bureaucrats, army officers and merchants with connections to the government.’ Rather than promoting food production for the domestic market, the donors were encouraging the development of so-called “high value-added” fruits, vegetables, oilseeds and cotton for export on the best irrigated farmland.

Collapse of the Livestock Economy

As of the early 1980s, prices for imported livestock drugs increased as a result of the depreciation of the currency. The World Bank encouraged the exaction of user fees for veterinarian services to the nomadic herdsmen, including the vaccination of animals. A private market for veterinary drugs was promoted. The functions performed by the Ministry of Livestock were phased out, with the Veterinary Laboratory Services of the ministry to be fully financed on a cost-recovery basis. According to the World Bank:
Veterinarian services are essential for livestock development in all areas, and they can be provided mainly by the private sector. (… Since few private veterinarians will choose to practice in the remote pastoral areas, improved livestock care will also depend on “para vets” paid from drug sales.’

The privatization of animal health was combined with the absence of emergency animal feed during periods of drought, the commercialization of water and the neglect of water and rangeland conservation. The results were predictable: the herds were decimated and so were the pastoralists, who represent 50 percent of the country’s population. The “hidden objective” of this program was to eliminate the nomadic herdsmen involved in the traditional exchange economy. According to the World Bank, “adjustments” in the size of the herds are, in any event, beneficial because nomadic pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa are narrowly viewed as a cause of environmental degradation.”

The collapse in veterinarian services also indirectly served the interests of the rich countries: in 1984, Somalian cattle exports to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries plummeted as Saudi beef imports were redirected to suppliers from Australia and the European Community. The ban on Somali livestock imposed by Saudi Arabia was not, however, removed once the rinderpest disease epidemic had been eliminated.

Destroying the State

The restructuring of government expenditure under the supervision of the Bretton Woods institutions also played a crucial role in destroying food agriculture. Agricultural infrastructure collapsed and recurrent expenditure in agriculture declined by about 85 percent in relation to the mid-1970s.” The Somali government was prevented by the IMF from mobilizing domestic resources. Tight targets for the budget deficit were set. Moreover, the donors increasingly provided “aid”, not in the form of imports of capital and equipment, but in the form of “food aid”. The latter would in turn be sold by the government on the local market and the proceeds of these sales (i.e. the so-called “counterpart funds”) would be used to cover the domestic costs of development projects. As of the early 1980s, “the sale of food aid” became the principal source of revenue for the state, thereby enabling donors to take control of the entire budgetary process.”

The economic reforms were marked by the disintegration of health and educational programmes.’3 By 1989, expenditure on health had declined by 78 percent in relation to its 1975 level. According to World Bank figures, the level of recurrent expenditure on education in 1989 was about US$ 4 Per annum per primary school student down from about $ 82 in 1982. From 1981 to 1989, school enrolment declined by 41 percent (despite a sizeable increase in the population of school age), textbooks and school materials disappeared from the class-rooms, school buildings deteriorated and nearly a quarter of the primary schools closed down. Teachers’ salaries declined to abysmally low levels.

The IMF-World Bank program has led the Somali economy into a vicious circle: the decimation of the herds pushed the nomadic pastoralists into starvation which in turn backlashes on grain producers who sold or bartered their grain for cattle. The entire social fabric of the pastoralist economy was undone. The collapse in foreign exchange earnings from declining cattle exports and remittances (from Somali workers in the Gulf countries) backlashed on the balance of payments and the state’s public finances leading to the breakdown of the government’s economic and social programs.

Small farmers were displaced as a result of the dumping of subsidized US grain on the domestic market combined with the hike in the price of farm inputs. The impoverishment of the urban population also led to a contraction of food consumption. In turn, state support in the irrigated areas was frozen and production in the state farms declined. The latter were slated to be closed down or privatized under World Bank supervision.

According to World Bank estimates, real public-sector wages in 1989 had declined by 90 percent in relation to the mid-1970s. Average wages in the public sector had fallen to US$ 3 a month, leading to the inevitable disintegration of the civil administration.” A program to rehabilitate civil service wages was proposed by the World Bank (in the context of a reform of the civil service), but this objective was to be achieved within the same budgetary envelope by dismissing some 40 percent of public-sector employees and eliminating salary supplements.” Under this plan, the civil service would have been reduced to a mere 25,000 employees by 1995 (in a country of six million people). Several donors indicated keen interest in funding the cost associated with the retrenchment of civil servants.”

In the face of impending disaster, no attempt was made by the international donor community to rehabilitate the country’s economic and social infrastructure, to restore levels of purchasing power and to rebuild the civil service: the macro-economic adjustment measures proposed by the creditors in the year prior to the collapse of the government of General Siyad Barre in January 1991 (at the height of the civil war) called for a further tightening over public spending, the restructuring of the Central Bank, the liberalization of credit (which virtually thwarted the private sector) and the liquidation and divestiture of most of the state enterprises.

In 1989, debt-servicing obligations represented 194.6 percent of export earnings. The IMF’s loan was cancelled because of Somalia’s outstanding arrears. The World Bank had approved a structural adjustment loan for US$ 70 million in June 1989 which was frozen a few months later due to Somalia’s poor macro-economic performance. ‘7 Arrears with creditors had to be settled before the granting of new loans and the negotiation of debt rescheduling. Somalia was tangled in the straightjacket of debt servicing and structural adjustment.

Famine Formation in sub-Saharan Africa:  The Lessons of Somalia

Somalia’s experience shows how a country can be devastated by the simultaneous application of food “aid” and macro-economic policy. There are many Somalias in the developing world and the economic reform package implemented in Somalia is similar to that applied in more than 100 developing countries. But there is another significant dimension: Somalia is a pastoralist economy, and throughout Africa both nomadic and commercial livestock are being destroyed by the IMF-World Bank program in much the same way as in Somalia. In this context, subsidized beef and dairy products imported (duty free) from the European Union have led to the demise of Africa’s pastoral economy. European beef imports to West Africa have increased seven-fold since 1984: “the low quality EC beef sells at half the price of locally produced meat. Sahelian farmers are finding that no-one is prepared to buy their herds”.”

The experience of Somalia shows that famine in the late 20th century is not a consequence of a shortage of food. On the contrary, famines are spurred on as a result of a global oversupply of grain staples. Since the 1980s, grain markets have been deregulated under the supervision of the World Bank and US grain surpluses are used systematically as in the case of Somalia to destroy the peasantry and destabilize national food agriculture. The latter becomes, under these circumstances, far more vulnerable to the vagaries of drought and environmental degradation.

Throughout the continent, the pattern of “sectoral adjustment” in agriculture under the custody of the Bretton Woods institutions has been unequivocally towards the destruction of food security. Dependency vis-à-vis the world market has been reinforced, “food aid” to sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than seven times since 1974 and commercial grain imports more than doubled. Grain imports for sub-Saharan Africa expanded from 3.72 million tons in 1974 to 8.47 million tons in 1993. Food aid increased from 910,000 tons in 1974 to 6.64 million tons in l993.

“Food aid”, however, was no longer earmarked for the drought-stricken countries of the Sahelian belt; it was also channeled into countries which were, until recently, more or less self-sufficient in food. Zimbabwe (once considered the bread basket of Southern Africa) was severely affected by the famine and drought which swept Southern Africa in 1992. The country experienced a drop of 90 percent in its maize crop, located largely in less productive lands.” Yet, ironically, at the height of the drought, tobacco for export (supported by modem irrigation, credit, research, etc.) registered a bumper harvest. While “the famine forces the population to eat termites”, much of the export earnings from Zimbabwe’s tobacco harvest were used to service the external debt.

Under the structural adjustment program, farmers have increasingly abandoned traditional food crops; in Malawi, which was once a net food exporter, maize production declined by 40 percent in 1992 while tobacco output doubled between 1986 and 1993. One hundred and fifty thousand hectares of the best land was allocated to tobacco .2′ Throughout the 1980s, severe austerity measures were imposed on African governments and expenditures on rural development drastically curtailed, leading to the collapse of agricultural infrastructure. Under the World Bank program, water was to become a commodity to be sold on a cost-recovery basis to impoverished farmers. Due to lack of funds, the state was obliged to withdraw from the management and conservation of water resources. Water points and boreholes dried up due to lack of maintenance, or were privatized by local merchants and rich farmers. In the semi-arid regions, this commercialization of water and irrigation leads to the collapse of food security and famine.

Concluding Remarks

While “external” climatic variables play a role in triggering off a famine and heightening the social impact of drought, famines in the age of globalization are man-made. They are not the consequence of a scarcity of food but of a structure of global oversupply which undermines food security and destroys national food agriculture. Tightly regulated and controlled by international agri-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.

(for footnotes see Chapter in the Globalization of Poverty)

Posted in Somalia1 Comment

Somalia: the Real Causes of Famine (1)

NOVANEWS

By Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research

For the last twenty years, Somalia has been entangled in a “civil war” amidst the destruction of both its rural and urban economies.

The country is now facing widespread famine.  According to reports, tens of thousands of people have died from malnutrition in the last few months. The lives of  several million people are threatened.

The mainstream media casually attributes the famine to a severe drought without examining the broader causes.

An atmosphere of  “lawlessness, gang warfare and anarchy” is also upheld as one of the major causes behind the famine.

But who is behind the lawlessness and armed gangs? 

Somalia is categorized as a “failed state”, a country without a government.

 

But how did it become a “failed state”? There is ample evidence of foreign intervention as well as covert support of armed militia groups. Triggering “failed states” is an integral part of US foreign policy. It is part of a military-intelligence agenda.

 

According to the UN, a situation of famine prevails in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle, areas in part controlled by Al Shahab, a jihadist militia group affiliated to Al Qaeda.

Both the UN and the Obama administration had accused Al Shahab of imposing “a ban on foreign aid agencies in its territories in 2009”. What the reports do not mention, however, is that Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM) (“Movement of Striving Youth”) is funded by Saudi Arabia and supported covertly by Western intelligence agencies.

The backing of Islamic militia by Western intelligence agencies is part of a broader historical pattern of covert support to Al Qaeda affiliated and jihadist organizations in a number of countries, including, more recently, Libya and Syria.

The broader question is: What outside forces triggered the destruction of the Somali State in the early 1990s?

Somalia remained self-sufficient in food until the late 1970s despite recurrent droughts. As of the early 1980s, its national economy was destabilized and food agriculture was destroyed.

The process of economic dislocation preceded the onset of the civil war in 1991. Economic and social chaos resulting from IMF “economic medicine” was a “precondition” for the launching of a US sponsored “civil war”.  

An entire country with a rich history of commerce and economic development, was transformed into a territory.

In a bitter irony, this open territory encompasses significant oil wealth. Four US oil giants had already positioned themselves prior to the onset of the Somali civil war in 1991:

Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major U.S. oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside.

According to documents obtained by The Times, nearly two-thirds of Somalia was allocated to the American oil giants Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the final years before Somalia’s pro-U.S. President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown and the nation plunged into chaos in January, 1991. …

Officially, the Administration and the State Department insist that the U.S. military mission in Somalia is strictly humanitarian. Oil industry spokesmen dismissed as “absurd” and “nonsense” allegations by aid experts, veteran East Africa analysts and several prominent Somalis that President Bush, a former Texas oilman, was moved to act in Somalia, at least in part, by the U.S. corporate oil stake.

But corporate and scientific documents disclosed that the American companies are well positioned to pursue Somalia’s most promising potential oil reserves the moment the nation is pacified. And the State Department and U.S. military officials acknowledge that one of those oil companies has done more than simply sit back and hope for pece.

Conoco Inc., the only major multinational corporation to maintain a functioning office in Mogadishu throughout the past two years of nationwide anarchy, has been directly involved in the U.S. government’s role in the U.N.-sponsored humanitarian military effort.(Quoted in  The Oil Factor In Somalia | COLUMN ONE : The Oil Factor in Somalia : Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. They could reap big rewards if peace is restored. – Los Angeles Times 1993)

Somalia had been a colony of Italy and Britain. In 1969, a post-colonial government was formed under president Mohamed Siad Barre; major social programs in health and education were implemented, rural and urban infrastructure was developed in the course of the 1970s. 

The early 1980s marks a major turning point.

The IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program (SAP) was imposed on sub-Saharan Africa. The recurrent famines of the 1980s and 1990s are in large part the consequence of IMF-World Bank “economic medicine”.

In Somalia, ten years of IMF economic medicine laid the foundations for the transition towards a framework of economic dislocation and social chaos.

By the late 1980s, following recurrent “austerity measures” imposed by the Washington consensus, wages in the public sector had collapsed to 3 dollars a month.

The following article first published in 1994 in Le Monde diplomatique and Third World Resurgence centers on the historical causes of famine in Somalia.

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ECHELON: The Global Eavesdropping Scheme Dwarfs Murdoch’s “News of the World”

NOVANEWS
By Sherwood Ross

As eavesdroppers go, next to Uncle Sam and John Bull, Rupert Murdoch, the moral force behind Fox News, is an amateur.

That’s because a global eavesdropping scheme being run today by the United States and Great Britain dwarfs anything that Rupert Murdoch’s editors at The News of The World (TNTW) ever dared attempt.

British Prime Minister David Cameron may well deny he knew TNTW was tapping the phones of members of UK’s Royal household or those of American 9/11 victims. But he can’t claim he doesn’t know his country is a partner in ECHELON, which, according to Washington journalist Bill Blum, is a “network of massive, highly automated interception stations” that is eavesdropping on the entire world.

“Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency (NSA) sucks it all up: home phone, office phone, cellular phone, email, fax, telex…satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications traffic, microwave links, voice, text images (that are) captured by satellites continuously orbiting the earth and then processed by high-powered computers,” Blum writes in his book “Rogue State” (Common Courage Press).

Calling it the greatest invasion of privacy ever, Blum says the ceaseless, illegal spy system sucks up perhaps billions of messages daily, including those of prime ministers, the Secretary-General of the UN, the pope, embassies, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, and transnational corporations and that “if God has a phone, it’s being monitored.”

Blum also said that during the countdown to its invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. listened in on the conversations of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, “and all the members of the UN Security Council…when they were deliberating about what action to take in Iraq.”

Launched in the 1970s to spy on Soviet satellite communications, the NSA and its junior partners in Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand operate ECHELON, which is a network of massive, highly automated interception stations covering the globe at the expense of American taxpayers.

Today, Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour opposition, is blasting PM Cameron on grounds that, according to The New York Times of July 19, “the recent scandals in British life were caused by a lack of accountability among those in high places.” Across Britain, Miliband said, “there is a yearning for a more decent, responsible, principled country.”

What makes the British public recoil is the sort of conduct by former TNTW reporter Clive Goodman, who pleaded guilty in Jan., 2007, to hacking the voice mails of aides to the royal family.

Pardon me, but how does that crime begin to compare with ECHELON, an organ of the U.S. Government, spying on the Secretary-General of the United Nations or the Pope? Or stealing, as it has, confidential business information and passing it along to favored firms?

I’ll say this for Mr. Murdoch: he’s closed down his biggest newspaper; he’s fired top editors and reporters for their part in the scandals. He’s gone before the public and begged forgiveness. By contrast, what have high U.S. officials done about the crimes committed via ECHELON? Zip, and they have no announced plans to do so. They continue to operate ECHELON unashamedly.

Rupert Murdoch’s TNTW was only attempting to do in a small way what the governments of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are doing big time every day. ECHELON is a criminal operation in violation of international law and terminating it might make America, too, “a more decent, responsible, principled country.”

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Palestine: the world’s next nation

NOVANEWS

Dear All,

The Palestinian people are calling on the world to recognise Palestine as a state. Over 120 countries have endorsed the call, but the US and Israel are opposing and key European leaders are on the fence. If we can persuade Europe and the UK to support this non violent, legitimate bid now, it could spur a dramatic shift towards peace. Click to sign the urgent petition:

Sign the petition

In four days the UN Security Council will meet, and the world has an opportunity to embrace a new proposal that could turn the tide on decades of failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: UN recognition of the state of Palestine.

Over 120 nations from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have already endorsed this initiative, but Israel’s right-wing government and the US vehemently oppose it. The UK and other key European countries are still undecided, but a massive public push now could tip them to vote for this momentous opportunity to end 40 years of military occupation.

US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the Palestinians to small areas, confiscated their lands and blocked their independence. This bold new initiative could be the best opportunity to jump start a resolution of the conflict, but Europe and the UK must take the lead. Let’s build a massive global call for the UK and other European leaders to endorse this statehood bid now, and make clear that citizens across the world support this legitimate, non-violent, diplomatic proposal. Sign the petition and send this to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/independence_for_palestine_uk/?vl

While the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex, most people on all sides agree that the best path to peace now is the creation of two states. But repeated peace processes have been undermined by violence on both sides, extensive Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, and the humanitarian blockade on Gaza. The Israeli occupation has shrunk and fragmented the territory for a Palestinian state and made daily life a crippling ordeal for the Palestinian people. The UN, World Bank and IMF have all recently announced that Palestinians are ready to run an independent state, but say the main constraint to success is the Israeli occupation. Even the US President has called for an end to settlement expansion and a return to the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land-swaps, but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has furiously refused to cooperate.

It’s time for a dramatic shift away from a futile peace process and on to a new path for progress. While the Israeli and US governments are calling the Palestinian initiative ‘unilateral’ and dangerous, in fact the world’s nations overwhelmingly support this diplomatic move away from violence. Global recognition of Palestine could crush extremists, and foster a growing non-violent Palestinian-Israeli movement in step with the democratic momentum across the region. Most importantly, it will rescue a path to a negotiated settlement, allow the Palestinians access to a variety of international institutions that can help advance Palestinian freedom, and send a clear signal to Israel’s pro-settler government that the world will no longer accept their impunity and intransigence.

For too long, Israel has undermined the hope for a Palestinian state. For too long, the US has appeased them, and for too long Europe has hidden behind the US. Right now, France, Spain, Germany, the UK and the High Representative of the EU are on the fence about Palestinian statehood. Let’s appeal to them to stand on the right side of history and support a Palestinian declaration of freedom and independence, with overwhelming support, and financial aid. Sign the urgent petition now to urge Europe to support the bid and back this move for long-term peace in Israel and Palestine:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/independence_for_palestine_uk/?vl

Palestinian statehood will not bring a resolution to this intractable conflict overnight, but UN recognition will change the dynamics and will begin to unlock the door towards freedom and peace. Across Palestine, people are preparing, with hope and expectation, to reclaim a freedom their generation has never known. Let’s stand with them and push European leaders to do the same, as they have stood with the people of Egypt, Syria and Libya.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Ricken, Stephanie, Morgan, Pascal, Rewan and the entire Avaaz team

MORE INFORMATION

Abbas vows to continue UN statehood bid
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/07/201171302020819197.html

Arab League will call for Palestinian State at the UN
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/14/us-palestinians-israel-statehood-arabs-idUSTRE76D21020110714

Palestinians and Israelis march for Palestinian statehood:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/israelis-and-arabs-march-in-jerusalem-for-palestinian-statehood/2011/07/15/gIQAQPnSGI_story.html

Israel campaign against UN vote:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/10/israel-plan-block-un-palestinian-state?INTCMP=SRCH

Palestinian call for statehood:
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/47a391f6-b121-11e0-a43e-00144feab49a.html#axzz1SefO7Aor

Palestinian statehood and bypassing Israel:
http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/06/20116168535227628.html

UN says Palestinians able to govern own state
http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/AHLC-Apr2011_UNSCOrpt.pdf

List of countries recognizing the state of Palestine
http://www.avaaz.org/en/countries_recognizing_palestine/?info

Posted in Palestine Affairs1 Comment

Take Action: Tell U.S. Not to Veto Palestine’s Membership in UN Security Council!

NOVANEWS

Dear All,

Sammi, Please take action today to support recognition of Palestine at the UN!

Add your name
to the petition today.

Tweet this Petition

Share on Facebook

Occupation isn’t Pretty:
Wear the message!

(above: CODEPINK’s new online organizer Sanaa
sports a t-shirt with a purpose.)

Last Friday an estimated 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis marched together through the streets of Jerusalem in support of Palestinian efforts to gain
UN membership
 and additional statehood recognition when the UN meets this fall.

Envisioning a future free of Israeli military occupation, apartheid and colonization, these protesters carried placards declaring “We March Together for Liberation,” and “Solidarity with Palestine.

Who stands in their way? Our government does. The United States might veto Palestine’s application to the Security Council and Palestinian statehood could be debated in the Security Council as early as next Monday, July 25, and we need to send a clear message to our US government not to veto.

Will you join us today in signing this important petition to the US State Department and to US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice?

Friday’s demonstrators reminded us: “Only Free People Can Negotiate.”  And Palestinians are not free people while living under Israeli occupation, as second-class citizens of Israel, or as refugees whom were exiled from their homes.

Palestinians are seeking membership in the United Nations as a way toward Palestinian freedom and self-determination, but President Obama mistakenly has equated this with “efforts to single Israel out” at the UN and has promised to “stand up against” this initiative.  The US Congress even passed a bill to place crippling sanctions on Palestinians if they continue to press for statehood in the UN or continue to actively seek recognition as a state from other countries.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail that the worst stumbling block to freedom’s advance is the person who “believes he can set the timetable for another” person’s freedom.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation will deliver this petition with signatures from many organizations and individuals to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice before the vote.

Want to learn more about Palestine UN membership and statehood recognition? Check out this FAQand analysis created by the US Campaign to to explore the political, legal and historical issues.

Join the US CampaignCODEPINK, and prominent national organizations including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Jews for a Just Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Friends of Sabeel–North America, Interfaith Peace-Builders, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)–USA, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Peace Action–to urge the Obama Administration not to set a timetable on another’s freedom by vetoing Palestine’s UN membership application.

Thank you for taking action to tell the Obama Administration not to veto Palestine’s UN membership application!

In solidarity,
Alli, Medea, Rae, Sanaa, and the CODEPINK Team

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