Archive | November 1st, 2011

Gilad Atzmon on Red Ice Radio (1st hour)

NOVANEWS

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-on-red-ice-radio-1st-hour.html

Talking about: TWW, The Israeli Lobby, Norway massacre, Israel Shahak, Shlomo Sand, John Measheimer & Stephen Walt, History & Temporality, Jeffrey Goldberg, Self Hatred and beyond..

http://www.redicecreations.com/radio/2011/10/RIR-111027.php

Gilad Atzmon – The Wandering Who?

October 27, 2011

Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel, now living in the UK. He is a successful jazz musician as well as a prolific writer. Atzmon writes on political matters, social issues, Jewish identity and culture. He specializes in writing about Jewish identity politics and how it fits into Jewish ideology. His papers are published in many press outlets around the world. Gilad returns to Red Ice to discuss his latest book, The Wandering Who. Jewish identity is tied up with some of the most difficult and contentious issues of today.

In this interview, we‘ll discuss some of these issues including Jewish nationalism, Zionism, the Israel lobby and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. We also talk about the tolerance from the Gentiles and Shabbos goys. Gilad says many taboo issues need to be aired out to be fixed. Also, Gilad gives a warning about the serious problem he sees coming ahead. He urges people to stop listening to mainstream media and instead support the media outlets that are treading the deeper paths and moving beyond the boundaries of

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A Glimpse Into Israeli Nuclear Madness

NOVANEWS

 

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: Please read the following Haaretz report and ask yourself why does Israel need so many nuclear bombs? Why does it need ‘transcontinental missiles’? Why does the Jewish State think it terms of ‘second strike nuclear option’?

I am afraid that the answer is pretty devastating. Israel defines itself as the Jewish State. It is shaped by Jewish culture and driven by Jewish ideology. Israeli militarized madness is devastatingly consistent with the Biblical Samson story.

God granted Samson supernatural strength in order to combat his enemies but it didn’t take long before he killed himself in action while committing a genocide. ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ (Judges 16:30) says Samson as he pulls down the temple killing thousands of elders, women and children. Devastatingly enough, ‘suicidal genocide’ is well imbued in the Israeli strategic and tactical vision.

But Israel is also driven by a unique collective mental condition namely the Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD). Israel’s actions in the present are shaped by a future imaginary phantasmic trauma.

I guess that the combination of Samson’s ideology, Pre TSD and hundreds of nuclear warheads may as well mean an inevitable disaster.

The Wandering Who is an attempt to grasp the depth of Israeli morbidity and the danger it imposes on itself and the rest of us.   Available on Amazon.com  Amazon.co.uk

Report: Israel seeking to upgrade its nuclear weapons capabilities http://www.haaretz.com

Israel is extending the range of its Jericho 3 missiles and upgrading its sea-based cruise missiles, according to an independent U.K. commission report published in the Guardian.

Israel is working on improving its nuclear weapons capabilities, according to a report by the independent Trident commission in the United Kingdom that was published in the Guardian newspaper on Monday.

According to the report in the Guardian, Israel is extending the range of its Jericho 3 land-to-land missiles so they will have the capabilities of transcontinental missiles.

Transcontinental missiles are generally thought of as missiles with ranges of about 5,000 miles.

Click to read more …

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Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Huwaida Arraf: ‘They have lies to spin; we have truths to tell’

Oct 30, 2011

Yousef M. Aljamal

Yousef M. Aljamal of Gaza’s Center for Political Development Studies interviews with Huwaida Arraf, cofounder of the International Solidarity Movement:

Aljamal: First, could you please give us a brief introduction about ISM?

Huwaida with kids in Khan Younis
Huwaida Arraf with kids in Khan Younis.

Arraf: The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles. We founded this international coalition to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by providing the Palestinian people with a resource — international protection and a voice — with which to resist, nonviolently, an overwhelming military occupation force.

The resources the Israeli government has at its disposal are well-known – over $3 billion in military aid from the U.S., hundreds of millions of dollars in private funds, and the unquestioned diplomatic support of the only superpower in the world exercised through its veto in the UN Security Council of any resolution that would compel Israel to abide by international law. The Palestinians also need strong resources.

We focus on providing support for the Palestinian unarmed resistance, not because we take a hostile view to the armed resistance, but rather because we believe that unarmed resistance is strategically more advantageous to Palestinians. Seeing as Israel is superior to us militarily, it’s better not to fight them in that arena, but rather in an arena where we are stronger, or at least where we have the possibility of building up our strength. This arena is that of the popular struggle, or the strategic unarmed resistance. I also must note, that while I, personally, and the ISM as an organization, recognize the Palestinian right to use armed struggle to resist occupation (even if we don’t engage in or actively support it), we strongly believe that armed resistance MUST adhere to international law. It is true that Israel frequently violates the laws that regulate armed conflict, but we do ourselves no service by doing the same.

The first ISM campaign was in August of 2001. At that time over 50 civilians from various countries came to the Occupied Palestinian Territory to engage in a 2-week, coordinated campaign of nonviolent direct-action against occupation forces and policies. Since that time we’ve had nearly 7500 civilians from all over the world come join us. Many of our volunteers come North America and Europe, but we’ve also had a number of volunteers from Latin America, Africa and various Asian countries. The socio-economic and age range of the volunteers is vast, with the average age being over 30. A number of volunteers have been over the age of 60 and we’ve even had people in their eighties join us.

Internationals joining the Palestinian struggle is important for 4 key reasons, and these form the foundation of the ISM:

1) Protection: an international presence at Palestinian civilian actions/protests can insure a certain level of protection for the Palestinian people engaged in nonviolent resistance. Palestinians acting/resisting alone are often met with harsh and even lethal forms of violence by Israeli occupation forces, including arbitrary, long-term arrest, beating, severe injury and sometimes even death. The Israeli occupation forces have succeeded to label every Palestinian man, woman and child as a potential terrorists and thereby justify their actions. No body holds Israel accountable for Palestinian lives, but foreign civilians do have governments responsible for them and are harder to label as “terrorists.” As such, when internationals are present with Palestinians at popular actions, lethal forms of violence are usually not used by most Israeli soldiers.

2) Message to the mainstream media:
The Palestinian struggle is not being accurately reported by the mainstream corporate international media. Example: When Israeli troops open fire and kill Palestinian civilians, it is often reported as “clashes” and very rarely by what it really is, Israeli forces opening fire on civilians. The mainstream media tends to show the Israeli – Palestinian conflict as one in which two sides are fighting over a piece of land and can’t live together, instead of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, dignity, and human rights that it is. Palestinians are inaccurately depicted as violent people who hate Jews and want to destroy Israel. Internationals of various social, national and religious backgrounds, joining Palestinians in the freedom struggle can help to dispel this notion. The ISM volunteers from all over the world that join us can reach out to their respective media sources and give Palestinians the voice that we don’t have.

3) Personal witness and transmitting of information:
International civilians joining Palestinians on the ground can bear witness and return home to talk to their communities about what is happening. We encourage volunteers to talk to their friends, family, and colleagues when they return home, as well as to organize larger speaking events where they can present what they experienced to community members and to the media. This information and education can then be used to lobby policy makers in an effort to change US foreign policy. Currently we have many ISM volunteers and groups actively engaged in local Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) efforts, which is a powerful form of nonviolent resistance that is having a psychological as well as a financial impact on Israel. The kind of eyewitness reporting that ISM engages in helps to generate more action in support of the Palestinian freedom struggle.

4) Break isolation / provide hope:
The occupation isolates Palestinians and cuts the Palestinian people off from the rest of the world and from each other. At the very least, international civilians have been able to raise the morale of the Palestinian people living under occupation by standing with them and saying, “you are not alone.” We feel that this helps create or return hope that is vital to our struggle – hope that Israel keeps trying to extinguish. Hope, that people acting together can change things, has been a cornerstone of our philosophy.

While the primary purpose of the ISM has been to engage in and support the Palestinian unarmed, civilian-based freedom struggle against occupation, at times when aggression of the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians has increased, the ISM took up a role in providing humanitarian assistance and protection by using their status as internationals to escort doctors, ambulances, schoolchildren and other civilians to work, hospital and school. We have also engaged in internationals only efforts to disrupt military operations. Prime examples of these include breaking through Israel’s military cordons to put internationals in the presidential compound as well as in the Church of the Nativity when they were both under siege in 2002.

Aljamal: Well, What is the role of ISM to encounter Israeli propaganda?

Arraf: As I mentioned above, ISM provides people from all over the world to come and see with their own eyes what is happening on the ground in Palestine and to take part in the popular resistance. This kind of first-hand experience is important to countering the Israeli propaganda machine in three ways: (1) it provides many people from different backgrounds speaking different languages to give eyewitness accounts from places where Israeli attacks and other atrocities take place. This increases the likelihood that journalists will get information that they might not otherwise receive, as well as gets information out about what is happening in Palestine using alternative media sources; (2) when the volunteers return to their homes, their first-hand experience, stories and pictures provide a compelling and hard-to-argue-with narrative for other people that would not otherwise get this kind of information; and (3) the experience ends up being life-changing for so many volunteers and therefore they are driven to work hard when they return to their countries. It is this drive that is behind a lot of the activism for Palestine on college campuses, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions efforts, and others.

I believe that all of the above combined plays a very important and effective role in countering Israeli propaganda. This is not to say that we’re “winning” but we have to remember that Israel spends upward of $1 billion per year on their public relations efforts, compared to almost nothing that we spend. They have professional public relations firms working for them; we have the free voices of the people. They have lies to spin; we have truths to tell. Their money and political power might buy them the mainstream media and the politicians, but not for long as we continue to inform and mobilize the masses…

Aljamal: Do Palestinian communities in the West play a positive role in exposing Israel’s crimes?

Arraf: This is not an easy question to answer. My direct experience is with the United States where, unfortunately for too long, we were disorganized and divided in addition to many members of the Palestinian community choosing to be apolitical. Add to this the fact that what was mobilized around generally had to do with raising money to provide aid to Palestine. While this is important, Palestinian communities in the west focused all of their energies (which have been limited) to responding to the crises that Israel is so good at creating. In other words, we have been, and largely still are, reacting and giving our money to aid and not the political efforts that might lead to a change in the situation that has left Palestinians in need of aid.

That said, I have noticed a shift in recent years and young Palestinian activists have been leading this shift.

Aljamal: You played a major role in breaking Gaza’s siege and brought dozens of activists to Gaza. You were one of the activists on The Freedom Flotilla that was attacked in the International waters in May 2010. Do you think that Israel has lost its reputation as “the only democracy in the Middle East” in the West after its attacks on Gaza in 2008-2009 and its attack on The Freedom Flotilla?

Arraf: No, I don’t think that Israel’s brutal aggression has anything to do with its reputation as “the only democracy in the Middle East.” We must remember that democratic governments commit unspeakable crimes. Just look at what the US and the UK have done and are doing to Iraq and Afghanistan, to name just a couple. Israel’s self-proclaimed status as the “only democracy in the Middle East” should be challenged from a more factual basis. First, Israel is not the only entity in the Middle East with democratic types of government. What about the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon? In terms of the former, we don’t have a country to call a democracy, but we do have democratic traditions. No one will deny that our 2006 elections were democratic, free, and fair (something Israel, with the support of the international community, punished us for when they did not like the outcome!); in terms of Lebanon, she’s more accurately described as a republic, which is actually better form of government than a democracy. A republic (which can be democratic) is governed under a constitution that places certain limits on the voice of the majority in order to protect the rights of the minority, something that a democracy does not do.

But even if one considers Israel a democracy, this doesn’t mean Israel is not guilty of horrific crimes, which must be stopped. Perhaps the best analogy to make here is to that of the United States prior to the late 1960s. Everyone recognizes that the US is a democratic country. Well, the U.S. was a democracy while it practiced slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries, and after that, continued outright racism against the black minority in the US, depriving black people of equal rights and opportunity, not to mention subjecting them to degrading and abusive treatment. Just because Israel may be considered a democracy for its citizens this doesn’t mean that it’s not occupying, oppressing, killing, and maiming; it doesn’t mean that Israel doesn’t practice racism against its minority population; and it doesn’t mean that Israel is not a colonial, apartheid regime, which is not only illegal, but a crime against humanity.

In terms of its 2008-2009 assault on Gaza – Operation Cast Lead, and its lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla, Israel lost something more important than its reputation as a democracy. Israel lost its image of victimhood, and perhaps for the first time, was exposed clearly as a violent aggressor.

Aljamal: Does the Palestinian rift hinder ISM efforts to get the Palestinian voice heard in the West? How?

Arraf: Undoubtedly this rift hinders efforts. First of all, it allows questions about the divisions to be raised and detracts from the core issues. Second, it provides fuel for Zionists who love to point to the chaos in Palestinian society and our violence against each other in order to justify their repression and boost their colonialist claims. Third, it divides our community outside (albeit to a lesser extent) as it does inside.

That said, I’m going to point to a larger issue than the split between Fatah and Hamas. We have not been able to capitalize properly on the international solidarity movement with Palestine due to our lack of a unified representative leadership for our national liberation struggle. In theory, this leadership is supposed to be the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), but the PLO has been deliberately marginalized and for the past 18+ years existing in name only as an unelected and unrepresentative institution. This absence of a unified national resistance movement means that we also do not have a national strategy for effective resistance and are unable to communicate effectively with the solidarity movement what we want and what we want them to do to support us. To give an example of how this not only prevents us from taking full advantage of the solidarity movement but how it can actually be harmful to our efforts, I will refer to a UN Conference of Civil Society Organizations in Solidarity with the Palestinian People that I spoke at in 2002. I clearly remember an organizer of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee in South Africa telling us how they were working on promoting a boycott of Israel and even pressuring the South African government to cut relations with Israel. The South African government asked the Palestinian Representative Office in South Africa whether or not boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel was a demand of the Palestinian leadership? The Palestinian Ambassador said no. In this case, and in many others, the “official” Palestinian leadership hindered the ability of a solidarity organization to advocate for Palestine.

To make up for this absence of a unified national leadership with an effective strategy for fighting the occupation, Palestinians civil society has tried to step up and make their voices heard. The most successful example of this is the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). By releasing a statement and a call to action endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, we gave the solidarity movement some direction. So, Palestinian civil society has been trying to make up for what I consider a massive failure of our leadership. This is not enough however. I strongly believe that Palestinians, not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but also in 48 and all over the world need to focus on building or rebuilding a unified representative leadership to lead our national struggle forward. One of the ways to do this is by reviving the PLO and its institutions, starting with direct elections to the Palestine National Council (PNC).

Aljamal: You likely heard about “The Israel Project”, if Palestinians need to encounter such a project, what are the main points they need to shed light on?

Arraf: I don’t think that we need to focus on countering this project per se. We should focus on setting the agenda and shaping the debate. It is the Israel Project that should continue scrambling to devise ways to counter what we are doing. Everything the Israel Project produces is really empty and devoid of any truth, designed to manipulate people who don’t have accurate information and to give people that are already under the influence of the Israeli lobby hollow words and arguments to use to defend their support of Israel. This is all easily countered by facts and information that we put out.

If I would recommend that we take anything from the Israel Project, it is their focus on using language that resonates with the audience that it is trying to reach. This is one thing for us to keep in mind in our communications. Sometimes, we can really turn people away by using language that people might think is extreme, or that doesn’t mean much to them. Highly emotional language and images are understandable, but not very effective. This is not to say that we should not appeal to people’s emotions, we should, but through personal stories told in calm language. For example, an image of an elderly man standing in a cage that is one of Israel’s checkpoints can expose the racism and deliberate degradation that is part of Israel’s policies. People can relate to this, imagining their own fathers subjected to such humiliating treatment. Whereas if we show a picture of a bloody body, this will likely only inflame the emotions of those who already support our cause. Others will not relate this to a deliberate policy that is unjust, but rather to the unfortunate results of war. Israelis can show similar pictures.

Aljamal: If you have a message to the Palestinian young bloggers and writers who write in English, what would you say?

Arraf:I would say that I need to take advice from them! It’s wonderful that we have so many talented young writers. I don’t write much at all, which is a great weakness. I feel that our young Palestinian writers know better than me, but for the sake of stressing a few important points:

(1) Strive for accuracy: It’s often hard to get accurate information fast, but the more one focuses on her/his information accuracy, the more s/he will become a credible source of information, not only for the general public, but also for journalists. This is one thing we’ve tried to do with ISM volunteers. Because we have ISM volunteers in sensitive places where journalists do not often go, we have stressed the importance of getting accurate information that we can pass along to journalists in the hopes that they will report on actions and incidents. If you give a journalist wrong information, s/he will not be likely to use you as a source again. However, if you consistently provide accurate, reliable information, you will become a source for journalists and others, which can only be helpful in disseminating news about what is happening in Palestine.

(2) No need to exaggerate: This is another piece of advice we give to ISM volunteers. The things that happen in Palestine on a daily basis are bad enough, so there is no need to exaggerate anything. Tell it like it is.

(3) Personal stories: You want to try to relate to your readers and have them relate to you. I think this is best done through personal stories and experiences.

Aljamal: New Media motivated Arab youths express themselves, do you believe that Palestinians can make use of it to get rid of the occupation? How?

Arraf: New media, alternative media, social media – all of these can be used as tools in fighting the occupation. We will need more than media to get rid of the occupation, but effective use of various new media tools to communicate information and organize collective action can greatly strengthen us.

To get rid of the occupation, we have to change people’s behavior; we have to create situations where people’s actions that support the Israeli occupation are altered in order to weaken the occupation. For example – soldiers who refuse to serve in the Israeli army can help weaken Israel’s military capabilities; Israeli society that wakes up from it’s indifference or government-supporting trance can increase pressure on the Israeli government to alter its policies; governments that impose sanctions on Israel can weaken Israel’s political and economic power; people, organizations, and institutions that boycott Israel can create pressure on Israeli society to pressure its government, and create an image crisis for the Israeli state, etc. To motivate these and other sectors of society to act, we need to communicate effectively, and here, we use new media as a tool to disseminate information and to organize.

For example, as I talked about above, ISM volunteers go back to their home countries and spread the word about what’s happening in Palestine. We then want to transform this knowledge into action – to lobby government officials to change their policies and stop supporting Israeli occupation and apartheid, to boycott Israel, etc. So we use new media and other communication tools to inform, so that we can then turn that information and knowledge into action.

Also in terms of organization, we’ve seen how social media has helped to mobilize people. We can use social media tools to organize coordinated actions around the world designed to put pressure on Israel. But while social media can be a great organizing tool, I think that we should be careful about relying only on social media, especially for organizing local actions. We should not forget that many people don’t use the Internet, don’t use Facebook and Twitter as a source of information and we need to reach these people too. So, these media tools should be used in addition to other traditional means of communication

Aljamal: Why do you believe that one-state solution is the best one to the conflict?

Arraf: I actually do not advocate the one-state solution. This doesn’t mean that I support the two-state solution either. Rather, I take a “rights-based approach.” This means that I focus on the rights that we’re struggling to achieve and don’t spend time arguing about one state or two. In reality, I don’t care if it’s 10 states or no states, as long as the rights of Palestinians and all people are respected and implemented. This includes the right of our refugees to return and to compensation for their losses, the right to complete equality under the law, and other rights currently denied to Palestinians. As a political solution, one state would likely achieve this best. However, if two states were proposed that included the right of all refugees to return to their homes (even if not the exact homes they lived in) inside 48 Palestine, and guaranteed equality for all people, meaning that Israel would NOT be defined as a Jewish state, but a state that represented all her people equally, then that could also work. Since the two-state solution that has been and is currently talked about does not guarantee the above, in principle, I am opposed to it. But, instead of spending time arguing that one state is better, I choose to focus on the rights that we’re fighting for. This is my personal approach. I don’t argue that it’s the best approach, but I do feel that it focuses us on principles and rights, which are hard to argue with. For example, a Zionist argument against the one-state solution is that it seeks to wipe out Israel. Whereas it’s hard for a Zionist to say that they can’t agree to total equality of citizens within the state. I would say to a Zionist “no, I don’t want to wipe out Israel, but I want to be treated equally inside Israel.” This means that Israel cannot define itself as a Jewish state, because then it would need to maintain a Jewish majority. This means that it would need to take steps to ensure that Jews remain a majority, including preventing Palestinian families from reuniting, continuing to recruit Jews to bring to Israel while keeping Palestinians out, perhaps some day restricting the number of children Palestinians inside Israel can have!”

CPDS is a Gaza based non-profit organization facilitating Palestinians representing themselves “in the tongues of its own people”, to convey their own message to the world and enhance Palestine’s presence in world forums and international organizations.

 

A weekend of violence in Gaza

Oct 30, 2011

Seham

Israeli airstrikes kill nine Palestinians
Deaths have prompted a massive barrage of retaliatory rocket fire, officials say.

2 Fighters Killed In Gaza; 9 in Less Than 24 hours, One Israeli Killed In Asqalan
The Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, reported on Sunday at dawn, that two of its fighters were killed in an Israeli Air Strike targeting an area west of Gaza City. On Saturday afternoon, seven fighters were killed in Tal Al Sultan, in southern Gaza. Several Palestinians were injured. One Israeli was killed by a Palestinian shell in Asqalan (Ashkelon)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Fatah movement in Gaza strongly condemned an Israeli airstrike which killed five Islamic Jihad fighters in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, a statement said. The movement described the airstrike as an “assassination crime committed by Israeli occupation forces.” The Israeli government is attempting “to throw the region into a cycle of violence and systematic state terrorism against the Palestinian people,” the statement added.

Despite Declared Ceasefire; Israel Bombards Several Areas In Gaza
Despite a mediated ceasefire mediated by Egypt between the resistance in the Gaza Strip, and Israel, the Israeli army bombarded, on Sunday at dawn, several areas in different parts of the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian efforts at Gaza cease-fire fail (AP)
AP – Egyptian officials say efforts to persuade Palestinian militants in Gaza to hold their rocket fire on Israel have failed, after a day of deadly, escalated violence.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A medical official said a Palestinian man sustained injuries Thursday east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, while Israel’s army denied involvement.  Medical spokesman in Gaza Adham Abu Salmiya said a 32-year-old identified only as MA suffered an injury to his left hand after Israeli forces opened fire.  He was taken to Abu Yousef An-Najjar hospital and then to the European hospital.
And more news from Today in Palestine:

Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of movement

Israel finds new “home” for Bedouins: a garbage dump
The Israeli government plans to forcibly displace 27,000 Bedouins in the occupied West Bank within three to six

link to Electronic Intifada

Parents: Remove mobile towers near Bethlehem school

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Parents and students at a school in the town of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem, plan to hold a sit-in strike Saturday against the presence of cell phone towers near their classrooms. The close proximity of a Wataniya and Jawwal mobile towers to the Talitha Kumi School “may have in the short and long term negative effects on our children’s health,” a committee of concerned parents said. “The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Environment prevent the existence of the towers near schools because the children are at the stage of development and growth,” a statement said.  The sit-in strike, scheduled for one hour on Saturday at 8 a.m., is the first step in a campaign to remove the towers. There will be other activities in the days following the sit-in, the statement said.
link to www.maannews.net

A UK immigration court ruled yesterday that popular Palestinian leader Sheikh Raed Salah could be deported from the country, after being banned by Home Secretary Theresa May in June. The Electronic Intifada can now also exclusively reveal new details of an Israeli government role in the UK plot to exclude Salah.

link to electronicintifada.net

The Israeli Army shot at me and 3 Palestinian kids in Gaza today

After a lovely day of drinking excessive amounts of tea with a few families in South Gaza (Faraheen and Khuza’a, to be exact), an Italian colleague, Silvia, who used to live in Khuza’a, suggested walking down the road towards the local school.  It was late afternoon, about 4:30 p.m. and dozens of children played in the area.  We walked past  slices of a giant concrete wall placed in the middle of the road.  The slivers reminded me of Israel’s Apartheid Wall in the West Bank — 25 feet of reinforced concrete.   The local villagers had apparently retrieved these sections from a former settlement and placed them there so that children could play outside while being (somewhat) protected from Israeli army gunfirelink to notesfrombehindtheblockade.wordpress.comIsraeli army shoots at children and two ISM activists
Witnesses in Gaza today reported an escalation of Israeli aggression in the Khuza’a – Abasan, governate of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.  The Israeli army also shot at two ISM activists and local children. Israeli tanks entered Gaza this morning, from approximately 7.30 to 8.30, moving from the village of Faraheen to Khuza’a.  Residents reported hearing numerous gun shots. Suzanne, who lives in the north of Khuza’a, confirmed that in recent days, Israeli tanks have entered Gaza on a daily basis. Another women, Taragi, who lives in the south of Khuza, also confirmed that Israeli gunfire has become more frequent.

Other Israeli / Settler Terrorism Against Palestinians

Soldiers Attack A Nonviolent Protest Near Hebron, Injuries Reported
Israeli soldiers attacked on Saturday a nonviolent protest against Israeli settlements, in Beit Ummar town, near the central West Bank city of Hebron, five reporters and one resident were injured.

The Israeli military violently obstructed a peaceful demonstration against the Israeli separation wall in Al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, today. Around 25 Palestinians and a similar number of international observers marched from the village at 12:20 PM today and attempted to reach olive groves on Palestinian land just outside of Al-Ma’asara in time for this year’s olive harvest.  A line of thirteen soldiers, backed by reinforcements in three armoured vehicles, pushed and shoved protesters, including a small Palestinian boy, in order to prevent them from leaving the village.
The Israeli military is continuing to harass and intimidate Palestinians and international volunteers at checkpoints throughout Tel Rumeida, Hebron. On 25 October 2011, around 7.15pm, a Palestinian woman was held at checkpoint56 inTel Rumeida for around an hour after refusing to pass through the metal detector.  The woman claimed that she was unwell and had been instructed by her doctor that it was not safe to pass through metal detectors.  Although she produced papers from the doctor showing that she was ill, the soldiers refused to let her pass.  She was eventually allowed to continue her journey, without passing through the metal detector, after the Israeli police were called and allowed her to return home.
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A family in Nablus says Israeli settlers blew up a room in their home and firebombed their jeep early Thursday. Shaheer Hanini, 40, told Ma’an the family was woken by two blasts at their home in Beit Furik at around 2 a.m. They found a room at the back of the house burnt out and their jeep, parked in front of the home, on fire. Hanini says he used a water tank to put out the blaze.

Injuries in IOF, settlers attack on peaceful march
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired teargas and stun grenades at a peaceful march in Beit Ummar village, north of Al-Khalil, afternoon Saturday, local sources said.

Jewish settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in Azmut village to the east of Nablus on Saturday morning and prevented from collecting their olive crops.

On Tuesday, illegal settlers from the Susiya settlement harvested the olive trees belonging to the Abu Sabha family from Susiya and Yatta, South Hebron Hills.

Refusing to die in silence: Palestinians resist settler violence during the olive harvest, BEN LORBER
As this year’s olive harvest sends Palestinian families across all of historic Palestine out to their olive trees, a new nonviolent resistance group called Refusing to Die In Silence is patrolling the West Bank, protecting harvesters from increased settler violence.
link to mondoweiss.net

Palestinian Reprisal

Rockets pound south as barrages fired at Ashdod, Beersheba
Senior Egyptian official claims cease-fire agreed upon as of 6 am but at least 11 rockets and mortar shells fired at South overnight and early Sunday morning. Iron Dome intercepts two Grad rockets fired at Ashdod.link to www.ynetnews.com

Ashkelon rocket victim dies
Man who sustained serious shrapnel wounds in rocket attack on Ashkelon dies in hospital. At least 24 rockets, mortar shells fired at Israel Saturday.

Political Prisoners

Eight arrested in Tsur Baher raid
Israeli police, border guards and intelligence agents raided a home in Tsur Baher early Thursday morning, 27 October. Eight men were arrested in the raid on the home of the Attoon and Bkeerat families in the village just south of Jerusalem. They are currently being held at the Russian Compound. Family head Abu Ahmad Attoon told Silwanic that a huge number of Israeli forces stormed the house and arrested 7 members of his family: Ahmad Attoon Eyad (38), Ra’ed (36), Wa’el Mousa Attoon (43), Mousa Ahmad Attoon (21), his brother Luqman (19), Suhaib Ali Attoon (38) and Ezz al-Dien Mahmoud Attoon (17). Essam Bkeerat was also arrested. The 8 were taken to the Russian Compound in west Jerusalem.   Attoon commented that the raid had been conducted only a few short days after celebrations had swept the village, in honour of those prisoners returned home as part of the Israel-Hamas prisoner swap agreement. A long shadow has been cast over such bonhomie, in light of this new sweep of arrests.   The Jerusalem Prisoners Committee and the families of the returned prisoners have condemned the arrests as a disgraceful attempt to sour a rare moment of celebration for the Palestinian people. The Attoon family’s experience has been particularly bitter-sweet, as Ahmad Attoon’s brother, Legislative Parliament member Mahmoud Ahmad Attoon, was amongst those free as part of the swap deal. Mahmoud had served 19 years in jail under his life sentence.link to silwanic.net

The proof is all there: photos, videos, witnesses. All of them showed that Ashraf Abu Rahmah, one of the main activists of popular non violent struggle in the village of Bil’in, Palestine, walked peacefully on the road which goes from Bil’in’s recent liberated land to the center of the village, when an Israeli jeep passed besides him. Then it stopped. The soldiers stepped down, took the flag Ashraf carried and arrested him, forcing him to enter in the back of the vehicle under arrest, on October 23rd.

Zionist court refuses to release Muna Qaadan
The Zionist military court in Salem refused to release Muna Qaadan (39), from Arraba in Jenin district, on bail despite the fact that she was brought before court previously on the same charges.link to www.palestine-info.co.ukReleased DetaineesHumilation Against The Detainees ContinuesPalestinian detainees held by Israel at the Majiddo detention center, managed to leak a memo revealing that the violations against them have never stopped, adding that the Israeli Prisons Administration (IPA) is not abiding by vows it made to the detainees in order to end their hunger strike, the Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) reported Saturday.link to www.imemc.org

Lawmakers send letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying Palestinians convicted for terrorism should be denied entry to U.S.

GazaRussian aid convoy arrives in GazaA Russian aid convoy carrying medicines and medical equipment arrived to the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege for five years, through the Rafah crossing.link to www.palestine-info.co.ukSolidarity / Activism / Boycott, Divestment and SanctionsPro-Palestinian minister set to win Ireland presidencyDUBLIN (Reuters) — A former culture minister was on course to be elected Ireland’s president on Friday, beating an ex-IRA commander and a reality TV star, informal tallies showed as a rival conceded defeat., Michael D. Higgins, 70, a champion of Palestinian rights and a member of junior coalition party Labour, was ahead in most voting tallies across the country, state broadcaster RTE said., “It’s very clear that we will have a President Michael D. Higgins,” said David Norris, a gay-rights campaigner who said he expected to come third or fourth.link to www.maannews.netIslamic council in J’lem hails Saudi Arabia for eliminating Alstom
The higher Islamic council in occupied Jerusalem welcomed the decision taken by Saudi Arabia to exclude the French transport company Alstom from the construction of the Haramain train project.

Ezra Nawi: ‘I just feel sorry that my name caused David problems’
“Firstly, I think that being gay makes me more sensitive to other people’s problems,” he says. “Secondly, I used to have a Palestinian boyfriend in Ramallah, and when you go through the checkpoints and experience daily life for the Palestinians, it became real for me rather than something I’d just read and heard about. And the gay-rights movement here isn’t really concerned with the problems facing other groups like the Palestinians and the Bedouins.”
link to www.irishtimes.com

‘A historic forum:’ Sylvia Schwarz tells Minneapolis gathering that privileging Jews is racism, Sylvia SchwarzEditor’s note: Yesterday we posted Sylvia Schwarz’s account of an October 16 forum she participated in in Minneapolis, titled “Seeking Israeli/Palestinian Peace: Varied Voices from the Jewish Community.” The post got a lot of comment and we asked Schwarz, a member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, for the text of her prepared remarks. That follows. And below her text is a short response from Schwarz to the many comments.link to mondoweiss.netBoston Zionists fail to excommunicate Vilkomerson and her call for ‘equality, respect’ and boycott, Philip Weiss
The Jewish Advocate in Boston has a surprisingly fair piece on a boycott debate at a synagogue in the city earlier this week, featuring Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. Vilkomerson is quoted at length in the article and comes off as sincere, completely engaged with the Jewish community (and its fears, which I find self-absorbed– but there they are), and unapologetic about liberal values.link to mondoweiss.net

As long as the Israeli government uses art and culture to cover up Israeli war crimes, culture and politics are clearly intertwined.

link to electronicintifada.netPro-Israel Social Networking Activists Impersonate Tikun Olam, Richard SilversteinI wanted my readers to know that in addition to the blog posts I publish here, there is much short-form activism which I find more appropriate to post on Twitter or Facebook.  I encourage you to subscribe to my Twitter &/orFacebook feeds, where you’ll find material and research which doesn’t make it to this blog.link to www.richardsilverstein.comRacism / DiscriminationMeir Rotter, Radical Rightist Settler, Police Officer, Suppresses Israeli Palestinian Speech, Richard SilversteinI’ve written here before about the extremist pro-settler views of Israeli police officer, Meir Rotter, who has often been known to provoke fights with Sheikh Jarrah protesters.  He is the son of Rabbi Rotter, who runs one of Israel’s most popular internet news portals, somewhat akin to the Drudge Report, if you can imagine Matt Drudge wearing a talit katan and knitted settler-style yarmulke.link to www.richardsilverstein.comCriminal Investigation Against Ben Gurion Lecturer for Facebook Post, Richard SilversteinAfter Facebook groups boasting of hundreds of Israeli members have sprouted urging the hanging of Israeli Palestinian MKs and real settler brutes have killed Palestinian farmers and maimed Israeli Jewish activists helping them, all of which ended in not just no criminal charges but not even an investigation, the State prosecutor willopen a criminal investigation (and in English) against Eyal Nir, a Ben Gurion University chemistry lecturer.link to www.richardsilverstein.comPolitical Developments / Diplomatic NewsOccupation supplies Abbas’s forces with tear gas and rubber bullets
The Israeli occupation authorities provided Abbas’s Palestinian Authority and its security agencies with military supplies used in the suppression of masses and dispersing demonstrators.link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

European and Israeli diplomats say Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was presented with a compromise proposal, but that he had yet to respond.

Israel Sends Note To UN, Claims Abbas Responsible For Escalation
As part of its international campaign to isolate the Palestinian Authority and its statehood application, the Israeli government sent a letter to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, accusing Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, of granting the Hamas movement a green light to fire shells into Israel.

Bedouin Israeli in Egypt prison for 11 years to be freed next month in exchange for ‘political prisoners,’ Kuwaiti paper says.

Professor Julio Pino asks Ishmael Khaldi, the first Bedouin to serve in Israel’s foreign service, ‘how can the Israeli government justify providing aid with blood money from deaths of Palestinian children?’
Other News

Israeli professor suspected of distributing child pornography wanted in US
Professor Tzvi Tzfira charged in a federal criminal complaint and was declared a fugitive after leaving the US.

US: Haredi man sold Israeli organs
Levy Yitzhak Rosenbaum, an Israeli-American from Brooklyn pleads guilty to brokering illegal organ sales to wealthy buyers after being caught in FBI sting two years ago.

A group of Hasidim brutally attacked Avraham Hirschman, 36, a father of six, Thursday, resulting in his hospitalization with fractures and other serious injuries.
Other Mideast / U.S. News

Arab Spring activists win human rights award
Activists, including Tunisian fruit seller whose death sparked uprisings, awarded European parliament’s Sakharov Prize.link to english.aljazeera.net

Egypt prison guards accused of torture death
Man’s death after allegedly being filled with water from hoses raises comparison to case that helped spark revolution.

US-Israeli national freed in Jerusalem-Cairo deal thanks Israeli, US officials who helped secure his release US-Israeli national Ilan Grapel held a press conference in Jerusalem on Thursday after returning to Israel from Egypt where he was held for four months on espionage charges. Grapel thanked the Israeli and American officials who helped secure his release as part of a prisoner exchange deal which saw 25 Egyptian prisoners freed. He thanked Egyptian authorities, who he said treated him well and with respect from day one. He related details from his time in the Egyptian prison: “It was a tough ordeal as I was isolated, but the guards were OK. What I wanted to eat, they gave me, including fresh fish. They paid for my meals, more than the average Egyptian would get.”

VIDEO: Cairo taxi drivers’ role in uprising
Mishal Husain has travelled across the Middle East for a BBC series, exploring how activists used social media to get their message out.

US congratulates Saudi Arabia on “hardline” crown prince despite fears about counter-reform stance: United States congratulates Saudi Arabia on selection of Crown Prince
New Crown Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz, who is in his late 70s, has a reputation as being more conservative than either the former crown prince or king.

Saudi prince offers $900,000 to soldier abductors

Khaled bin Talal adds $900,000 to Saudi cleric’s $100,000 reward for whoever abducts Israeli soldier.

Syrian army operations continue in Homs
Activists say several people killed a day after fierce fighting breaks out between troops and army defectors.

Syrian Americans in Syria feel unfairly targeted by sanctions
Under the order signed by President Obama, an American working in Syria is deemed an exported service and in violation of the sanctions. The livelihoods of some have been devastated. Ahmad is not one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s cronies.

NTC at odds with ICC over Gaddafi’s son
New leaders want Saif al-Islam to be tried for war crimes in Libya, rather than at the International Criminal Court.
Insurgents attacked a convoy of Afghan and international occupation troops on Friday in eastern Afghanistan, sparking a gunbattle that left about 30 militants dead, NATO said.
The attack killed more than 20 people, including three Australian NATO soldiers, who were killed by an Afghan soldier they had been training with — when he turned his gun on them, officials said. The military bus was blown onto its side and completely charred.
The Switchblade is a one kilogram (2.2 pound) expendable (used only once) UAV that can be equipped with explosives. The armed version can be flown to a target and detonated, having about the same explosive effect as a hand grenade.
A U.S. pilotless aircraft fired four missiles on a house in Mir Ali area in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region Thursday night, killing at least six people, Dawn TV reported.
Around 2,000 Pakistanis demonstrated outside the country’s parliament yesterday to demand an end to US drone strikes, claiming they kill more innocent civilians than Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders.

Congress Hears Recommendations for Escalating Covert and Military Action on Iran“This was an act of war,” said Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee at a hearing on how the U.S. should respond to the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.

Google Refused U.S. Government Request To Pull Police Brutality Video
A U.S. law enforcement agency petitioned Google to take down a YouTube video showing police brutality, the web giant revealed in a new report. Google said it refused the request, placed sometime between June and January of this year, though it did not specify why. “We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove,” Google wrote in its Transparency Report. “Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.”
Occupy Wall Street
Supporters of the Occupy movement held rallies and marches throughout California on Saturday, signs that the seven-week-old national movement continues to strike a local chord.

Amy Goodman reports on Democracy Now! “thousands of people reclaimed the Occupy Oakland encampment in front of City Hall”  last night calling for a general strike on the city of Oakland. Violence inflicted on protestors by police Tuesday night resulted in Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen being hospitalized with a fractured skull after being shot by police. The footage in this broadcast shows a projectile shot directly into the crowd of people running to the rescue of Olsen, already fallen and wounded. Goodman interviews Olsen’s close friend Aaron Hinde and Jesse Palmer, the man who carried Olsen to safety.

Occupy Oakland protesters regroup – Iraq vet hurt
Seeking to cool the violent tone set by Tuesday night’s street clashes with Occupy Oakland protesters, police pulled down barricades Wednesday near City Hall, dramatically reduced their presence and said they would…

Update on San Francisco Bay Area Occupations
Occupy Oakland won a resounding October 26 victory by mobilizing 3000 people to respond to a police riot. They took down the police fence that exiled them from the plaza in front of city hall, set up tents again, and returned to dancing and receiving massage and acupuncture treatments. Some 1500 people later attended a daily General Assembly and voted for a general strike on November 2. It would be the first one in the United States since l946, which was also in Oakland. Such a strike calls on workers and students to stay home from work and school and try to shut down the city. Downtown banks were also encouraged to close and demonstrators vowed to enter them if they did not.

Oakland mayor now claims to ‘support’ the occupation

After playing a key role in sparking a night of violence and bloodshed, Jean Quan, the mayor of Oakland, issued a statement late Wednesday saying that the city is in “support” of the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations taking place around the nation. The position is stunningly different than what Mayor Quan published to her personal Facebook account on Tuesday morning, shortly after police forcibly evicted the peaceful demonstrators from their camp.link to www.rawstory.com

This footage is proof that Scott Olsen was shot in the face by police without provocation during the Occupy Oakland march on Tuesday October 25. The moment leading up to the shooting, Olsen was standing completely still. He was then hit in the head with a tear gas canister, which is potentially fatal. Also, no rocks or bottles were thrown before Olsen was shot, contrary to Police statements. Two angles of footage confirm this.

Injured vet’s uncle appalled by police action (AP)
AP – An uncle of an Iraq War veteran injured when anti-Wall Street protesters clashed with police in Oakland, Calif., said he was appalled by officers’ action.

Occupy Oakland: Egyptian Protesters To Hold Pro-Occupy Rally Friday
Egyptian protesters who have camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square are set to march to the U.S. Embassy Friday, in a rally of support for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Vigils for injured vet, police clear Tenn. protest (AP)
AP – Anti-Wall Street demonstrators held vigils for an Iraq War veteran seriously injured during a protest clash with police in California as some Occupy encampments came under growing pressure from authorities to abandon sites in parks and plazas.

In a “get well” video directed at Scott Olsen, the Marine whose skull was fractured by a police projectile in Oakland on Tuesday night, the faceless hacktivst group “Anonymous” pledges to honor the soldier’s sacrifice and stand in solidarity with him. “Scott Olson, it has come to our attention that you have been critically injured by the Oakland Police Department for standing up for the American peoples’ First Amendment Rights,” a digitized voice says in the video. “The honor and courage you have displayed on the battlefield is only overshadowed by the cowardice and dishonor displayed by those who have committed these inhumane crimes against you.link to www.rawstory.comOccupy San Fernando Valley Targets Major Banks – Studio City, CA Patch
The Occupy San Fernando Valley, with about 20 people in the group,began its protest by targeting major banks in Van Nuys. After forming up outside Van Nuys City Hall about about 12:30 p.m., the protesters marched north on Van Nuys boulevard, and stopped in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch on the corner of an Vanowen Street.

Twenty-nine protesters arrested in Nashville, Tennessee at 3 AM on Friday for refusing to comply with a newly-enacted city rule banning “overnight occupation” have been released after a judge refused to sign criminal trespassing warrants against them. According to The Tennessean, Night Court Magistrate Tom Nelson explained in an email to Davidson County’s General Sessions judges that “he ordered all of the protesters released from custody because the state had not given the protesters adequate notice that it was changing the rules.”

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

As Chomsky arrives in Sydney, here’s why his voice is so crucial

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

 

This year’s winner of the Sydney Peace Prize is soon to dazzle Australian audiences with thoughts so rarely expressed in the mainstream media. Take this:

 

Rupert worries that Stalin is reborn in NYC

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

 

While some in the Western media are accurately assessing the validity of the global Occupy movement, Murdoch’s New York Post takes the low road to typical sleaze (though with unintentional comedy):

Some 50 Occupy Wall Street protesters saw red yesterday — giving an enthusiastic welcome to a genuine communist.

Alex Callinicos, a professor of European Studies at Kings College in London, announced to his rapt audience, “I am a Marxist.’’

Asked if the upcoming revolution can be non-violent, he parroted the party line of the demonstrators, who call themselves the 99 percent of Americans lined up against the “1 percent’’ with power and money.

He said violence could be avoided only if the “1 percent accept the decisions of the 99 percent,’’ which he predicted would never happen.

Glenn Greenwald on political and business elites existing above the law

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

Maybe Anonymous can defeat Mexican drug thugs

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

Truly a story for the modern age, with web gurus pitted against drug lords:

An international group of online hackers is warning a Mexican drug cartel to release one of its members, kidnapped from a street protest, or it will publish the identities and addresses of the syndicate’s associates, from corrupt police to taxi drivers, as well as reveal the syndicates’ businesses.

The vow is a bizarre cyber twist to Mexico’s ongoing drug war, as a group that has no guns is squaring off against the Zetas, a cartel blamed for thousands of deaths as well as introducing beheadings and other frightening brutality.

“You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him,” says a masked man in a video posted online on behalf of the group, Anonymous.

“We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession,” says the man, who is wearing a suit and tie.

“It won’t be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are located,” says the man, who underlines the group’s international ties by speaking Spanish with the accent of a Spaniard while using Mexican slang.

He also implies that the group will expose mainstream journalists who are somehow in cahoots with the Zetas by writing negative articles about the military, the country’s biggest fist in the drug war.

“We demand his release,” says the Anonymous spokesman, who is wearing a mask like the one worn by the shadowy revolutionary character in the movie V for Vendetta, which came out in 2006. “If anything happens to him, you sons of (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5.”

The Commonwealth needs relevance bypass

Posted: 30 Oct 2011

John Kampfner is spot on in the Guardian last weekend:

The death knell of the Commonwealth has been sounded for as long as there have been summits. By accident rather than design, this anachronistic gathering of 54 states may actually say more about the state of global priorities than the participants realise. And the direction of travel is grim.

At their meeting in Perth over the weekend, the leaders rejected many of the recommendations of a report by a team of the great and good, the eminent persons group (EPG), designed to move the Commonwealth’s democratic laggards towards basic norms.

In search of a lowest-common-denominator consensus, the summit accepted some less controversial ideas, such as a charter. The idea of a human rights commissioner, however, proved too much. “There have been a few blips like in any part of the world but I don’t think it demanded a commissioner,” noted Suruj Rambachan, the foreign minister of Trinidad. Under pressure from South Africa and other states, the summit even refused to publish the EPG’s report.

The former prime minister of Malaysia, who chaired the EPG, said the summit would be remembered as a failure. Malcolm Rifkind, the former UK foreign secretary, described the unwillingness to publish the report as a disgrace. This is hardly surprising, as the Commonwealth comprises a veritable who’s who of governments with dubious human rights records – from Nigeria, Cameroon and Rwanda to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Singapore.

The prospect of progress at the next gathering in two years’ time – hosted in, of all places, Sri Lanka – is even more remote. The Colombo government denounces any attempt to call it to account for human rights abuses. In front of their Commonwealth colleagues the Sri Lankans dismissed a UN-commissioned report on massacres against the Tamils as “a travesty of justice and preposterous”. The Canadians, meanwhile, are threatening to boycott the 2013 heads of government meeting in protest.

The Commonwealth’s weakness is specific to its history and its constitution. Any whiff of British lecturing is given short shrift; at the same time, all major decisions have to be taken by consensus, allowing recalcitrant countries to stop changes in their tracks. The only sanction, and one used rarely, is expulsion.

But the problem is far bigger than the institution. It is one that has been exercising policymakers for years. What is the relationship between human rights and economic development? To what degree do they represent western or universal values? In my book, Freedom for Sale, I argued that the trade-off between liberty and prosperity had become more alluring than ever. Regimes that can satisfy what I call the “private freedoms” – such as travelling and making money – can quite easily ensure that citizens leave the public space to them. Singapore is the model in microcosm; China is rolling it out on a far bigger scale, with Russia and others not far behind. Economic growth is the motor; consumerism is the anaesthetic for the brain.

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

Hey haters, Serco is just doing its best to make as much profit from misery as possible

Posted: 30 Oct 2011

As Serco continues to make money from Australia’s incompetent immigration detention centres, the company comes out swinging, claiming it cares deeply for “these people” (also known as asylum seekers) to Perth’s Sunday Times:

Refugee deaths in detention are just part of the migration service business, according to Serco, the company managing Australia’s detention centres.

In a rare interview, Serco Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia chief executive Bob McGuiness also rejected claims Serco was a secretive organisation.

“To be described as a secretive organisation I was completely gobsmacked, I find that astonishing,” he told The Sunday Times.

The company has drawn criticism for refusing to release many details of how it runs the country’s detention centres, while unions also critcised the WA Government’s decision to award the services contract for the new Fiona Stanley Hospital to Serco, saying privitisation would affect patient care.

Asia Pacific chief executive David Campbell said claims of secrecy were “nonsense” and came about because the company was often “contractually obligated” to not discuss its business.

Serco was in the spotlight last week after the Department of Immigration confirmed the eighth death in detention since August last year a 27-year-old Tamil man.

Mr McGuiness said it was “absolutely tragic”, but inevitable, when detainees died on his company’s watch.

“We do everything in our power to look after these people,” Mr McGuiness said.

“Is it in our power for no one ever to pass away under those circumstances? Actually no, it’s not in our power, we’re not God.”

But he said he got “satisfaction” knowing Serco provided the service because otherwise it “would not be done so well”.

But not everybody agrees.

“If they were a responsible company they should have said, ‘We don’t want any part in this’,” Refugee Rights Action Network spokesman Phil Chilton said.

He said the company had “plenty of other fingers in plenty of other pies around the world”.

To offer quality service, the refugee advocate said Serco would need to provide a psychologist “24/7″ to help deal with the mental- health issues.

United Voice union has argued that Serco also poses a danger to health care in WA because privatising services at Fiona Stanley could result in profits before patient care.

The $4.3 billion contract is Serco’s biggest in its 23-year history in Australia.

Mr McGuiness said he guaranteed cost cutting would not result in service cuts because the company wanted to continue its relationship with the State Government and expand its WA operations.

The hospital contract is being investigated by a parliamentary committee, which held its first public hearing this week and was unsuccessful at getting a variety of documents needed to confirm the deal’s “value for money”.

Serco Group, which is the London Stock Exchange-listed parent company of Serco Australia, recently told shareholders the contract would create $30 million to $50 million in revenue in its “pre-operational phase”.

“From the opening of the hospital in 2014, annual revenues will be approximately $A160million,” it reported.

Mr McGuiness would not stipulate its profit margin, but said Serco like any other business would want to make a “fair return”.

Mr McGuiness said Serco wanted to develop its health care, defence, custodial and transport businesses in the region.

Reassuring all empire-watchers; Obama loves spreading the power far and wide

Posted: 30 Oct 2011 06:33 AM PDT

Any illusions about the American empire’s footprint reducing in the Middle East is fictional. Washington is keen to more closely partner with any dictatorship it can. But of course this isn’t meddling, it’s just what empire’s do. Note this irony-free comment in a lead New York Times piece that details the Obama administration’s desire to build a physical presence on the ground in a range of brutal states (all in the name of moving towards democracy, clearly):

“We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region, which is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region, which holds such promise and should be freed from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Tajikistan after the president’s announcement.

The Guardian editor on Wikileaks, phone hacking and being a digital-first group

Posted: 30 Oct 2011

Normalising Zionist occupation by oh-so-lovely fashion shoot

Posted: 30 Oct 2011

The current issue (Issue 44 Nov/Dec 2011) of Frankie magazine, a magazine aimed at young Australian girls, has on the back page a full page advertisement headed “Israeli Girls”:

The text reads:

Shai and Shelly on a Dead Sea Road Trip

Both girls work at our store in Tel Aviv. Shai is 18 years old and was born and raised there. She loves the beach, playing guitar, doing yoga and watching movies. She’s been working for the company for a few months, and is preparing to serve in the Israeli Defense Force. After the army, she plans to pursue a career in photography. Her favorite American Apparel style is the Flannel Shirt.

Shelly is 20 years old and has been with the company for about two years. She enjoys painting, making clothes and relaxing at the beach. Next year she will begin school to study fashion design. Currently, she’s obsessed with her American Apparel 3D Mesh Jumper.

THAT’S AMERICAN APPAREL ©

Americanapparel.com.au

Such advertisements play a key role in glamourising/normalising Israel and the IDF while, almost subliminally, linking Israel with the US. Occupation, violence or racial discrimination are ignored.

Write to the magazine’s editor (Jo Walker: jo@frankiepress.com.au) telling her that such material shouldn’t fool the readers and depoliticise Israeli actions.

English Defence League reveal appeal of fascism

Posted: 29 Oct 2011

Racism is on the march across Europe (including with the recent Norway massacre by Anders Breivik, covered in the new e-book, On Utoya):

Libya is now land of business opporunities

Posted: 29 Oct 2011

Well, that didn’t take long. Even before Gaddafi was found and murdered, Western businesses were dreaming of the huge profits that could be made. Disaster capitalism on crack.

Now, in a front page New York Times story, the joys continue:

The guns in Libya have barely quieted, and NATO’s military assistance to the rebellion that toppled Col. Muammar el-Qaddafiwill not end officially until Monday. But a new invasion force is already plotting its own landing on the shores of Tripoli.

Western security, construction and infrastructure companies that see profit-making opportunities receding in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned their sights on Libya, now free of four decades of dictatorship. Entrepreneurs are abuzz about the business potential of a country with huge needs and the oil to pay for them, plus the competitive advantage of Libyan gratitude toward the United States and its NATO partners.

A week before Colonel Qaddafi’s death on Oct. 20, a delegation from 80 French companies arrived in Tripoli to meet officials of the Transitional National Council, the interim government. Last week, the new British defense minister, Philip Hammond, urged British companies to “pack their suitcases” and head to Tripoli.

When Colonel Qaddafi’s body was still on public display, a British venture, Trango Special Projects, pitched its support services to companies looking to cash in. “Whilst speculation continues regarding Qaddafi’s killing,” Trango said on its Web site, “are you and your business ready to return to Libya?”

The company offered rooms at its Tripoli villa and transport “by our discreet mixed British and Libyan security team.” Its discretion does not come cheaply. The price for a 10-minute ride from the airport, for which the ordinary cab fare is about $5, is listed at 500 British pounds, or about $800.

“There is a gold rush of sorts taking place right now,” said David Hamod, president and chief executive officer of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce. “And the Europeans and Asians are way ahead of us. I’m getting calls daily from members of the business community in Libya. They say, ‘Come back, we don’t want the Americans to lose out.’ ”

Yet there is hesitancy on both sides, and so far the talk greatly exceeds the action. The Transitional National Council, hoping to avoid any echo of the rank corruption of the Qaddafi era, has said no long-term contracts will be signed until an elected government is in place. And with cities still bristling with arms and jobless young men, Libya does not offer anything like a safe business environment — hence the pitches from security providers.

Like France and Britain, the United States may benefit from the Libyan authorities’ appreciation of NATO’s critical air support for the revolution. Whatever the rigor of new rules governing contracts, Western companies hope to have some advantage over, say, China, which was offering to sell arms to Colonel Qaddafi as recently as July.

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UNESCO and Palestine

NOVANEWS

 

 

So the votes are in, and UNESCO has voted to accept Palestine as a full member. I have procured the full voting results, which to my knowledge, have not been made public yet. There were 14 “no” votes, 52 abstentions and 107 “yes” votes (there were also 20 21 Member States absent):

No: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.

Abstentions: Albania, Andorra, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zambia.

Yes: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sant Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, Comoros, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Madagascar, Maldives, Marshall Islands,ConFederated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Niue, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan.

Most of these are no surprise, although it is worth noting the division in Europe, with Spain, France, Ireland, Austria, Finland and Greece voting “yes,” Germany, Czech Republic and Sweden voting “no,” and the UK, Italy and Denmark abstaining.  It’s also probably worth noting that the US didn’t manage to get a “no” vote from such solid supporters as countries like Latvia (which voted “no” to bringing the motion to the General Assembly earlier this month but abstained today) and Tuvalu, Nauru and other island states that almost always support the US  in international forums. Another formerly stalwart US supporter who voted for Palestine is Iceland.

I remember chatting with an Icelandic diplomat during the Bush administration who had told me that after one particularly egregious instance of Washington dictating terms on what should have been a bilateral decision between Reykjavik and DC the US could no longer count on their automatic support in international forums.

Note: I’ve transcribed these from documentation, so there may be some typos, but I think the numbers add up. Let me know in the comments if I’ve made a mistake.

Update: I’ve added the Member States that were absent. I don’t know if they were present for the General Assembly and just skipped this vote, but even if no one from the Member State came, to the best of my knowledge, with the exception of South Sudan, each has a permanent delegation at UNESCO, so that’s relevant information as well. As a friend just pointed out to me, being absent is “also a means of abstaining.”

Update II: I’ve just been told that if a Member State hasn’t paid its dues, it loses the right to vote, which might explain some (or all?) of the absent countries.

 

Posted in Palestine Affairs2 Comments

A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

As Chomsky arrives in Sydney, here’s why his voice is so crucial

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

 

This year’s winner of the Sydney Peace Prize is soon to dazzle Australian audiences with thoughts so rarely expressed in the mainstream media. Take this:

 

Rupert worries that Stalin is reborn in NYC

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

While some in the Western media are accurately assessing the validity of the global Occupy movement, Murdoch’s New York Post takes the low road to typical sleaze (though with unintentional comedy):

Some 50 Occupy Wall Street protesters saw red yesterday — giving an enthusiastic welcome to a genuine communist.

Alex Callinicos, a professor of European Studies at Kings College in London, announced to his rapt audience, “I am a Marxist.’’

Asked if the upcoming revolution can be non-violent, he parroted the party line of the demonstrators, who call themselves the 99 percent of Americans lined up against the “1 percent’’ with power and money.

He said violence could be avoided only if the “1 percent accept the decisions of the 99 percent,’’ which he predicted would never happen.

Glenn Greenwald on political and business elites existing above the law

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

 

Maybe Anonymous can defeat Mexican drug thugs

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

Truly a story for the modern age, with web gurus pitted against drug lords:

An international group of online hackers is warning a Mexican drug cartel to release one of its members, kidnapped from a street protest, or it will publish the identities and addresses of the syndicate’s associates, from corrupt police to taxi drivers, as well as reveal the syndicates’ businesses.

The vow is a bizarre cyber twist to Mexico’s ongoing drug war, as a group that has no guns is squaring off against the Zetas, a cartel blamed for thousands of deaths as well as introducing beheadings and other frightening brutality.

“You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him,” says a masked man in a video posted online on behalf of the group, Anonymous.

“We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession,” says the man, who is wearing a suit and tie.

“It won’t be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are located,” says the man, who underlines the group’s international ties by speaking Spanish with the accent of a Spaniard while using Mexican slang.

He also implies that the group will expose mainstream journalists who are somehow in cahoots with the Zetas by writing negative articles about the military, the country’s biggest fist in the drug war.

“We demand his release,” says the Anonymous spokesman, who is wearing a mask like the one worn by the shadowy revolutionary character in the movie V for Vendetta, which came out in 2006. “If anything happens to him, you sons of (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5.”

The Commonwealth needs relevance bypass

Posted: 30 Oct 2011

John Kampfner is spot on in the Guardian last weekend:

The death knell of the Commonwealth has been sounded for as long as there have been summits. By accident rather than design, this anachronistic gathering of 54 states may actually say more about the state of global priorities than the participants realise. And the direction of travel is grim.

At their meeting in Perth over the weekend, the leaders rejected many of the recommendations of a report by a team of the great and good, the eminent persons group (EPG), designed to move the Commonwealth’s democratic laggards towards basic norms.

In search of a lowest-common-denominator consensus, the summit accepted some less controversial ideas, such as a charter. The idea of a human rights commissioner, however, proved too much. “There have been a few blips like in any part of the world but I don’t think it demanded a commissioner,” noted Suruj Rambachan, the foreign minister of Trinidad. Under pressure from South Africa and other states, the summit even refused to publish the EPG’s report.

The former prime minister of Malaysia, who chaired the EPG, said the summit would be remembered as a failure. Malcolm Rifkind, the former UK foreign secretary, described the unwillingness to publish the report as a disgrace. This is hardly surprising, as the Commonwealth comprises a veritable who’s who of governments with dubious human rights records – from Nigeria, Cameroon and Rwanda to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Singapore.

The prospect of progress at the next gathering in two years’ time – hosted in, of all places, Sri Lanka – is even more remote. The Colombo government denounces any attempt to call it to account for human rights abuses. In front of their Commonwealth colleagues the Sri Lankans dismissed a UN-commissioned report on massacres against the Tamils as “a travesty of justice and preposterous”. The Canadians, meanwhile, are threatening to boycott the 2013 heads of government meeting in protest.

The Commonwealth’s weakness is specific to its history and its constitution. Any whiff of British lecturing is given short shrift; at the same time, all major decisions have to be taken by consensus, allowing recalcitrant countries to stop changes in their tracks. The only sanction, and one used rarely, is expulsion.

But the problem is far bigger than the institution. It is one that has been exercising policymakers for years. What is the relationship between human rights and economic development? To what degree do they represent western or universal values? In my book, Freedom for Sale, I argued that the trade-off between liberty and prosperity had become more alluring than ever. Regimes that can satisfy what I call the “private freedoms” – such as travelling and making money – can quite easily ensure that citizens leave the public space to them. Singapore is the model in microcosm; China is rolling it out on a far bigger scale, with Russia and others not far behind. Economic growth is the motor; consumerism is the anaesthetic for the brain.

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter

Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

 

I begin this message with the good news.  Most of the other 7 items are not.  

 

By good news I refer of course to UNESCO having today voted by a sweeping majority to make Palestine a full fledged member notwithstanding the loss of US financial assistance.  Why is this act so important?  Is it what the Israeli representative claims: ‘science fiction,’ because ‘there is no Palestine on the ground.’  Does that mean that it doesn’t exist.’  Of course not!  It is not science fiction.  Palestine exists in the mind of every Palestinian and in the minds of many other people like myself.  The recognition today is therefore important.  Palestine has disappeared from most maps of the world.  UNESCO by admitting Palestine as a full member into the organization recognizes that Palestine exists, notwithstanding loss of its land, stolen by Israel , notwithstanding Israel ’s claiming ownership of the land.  Of course this act by UNESCO angers Israel ’s leaders, and also obviously worries them.  Even they begin to realize that Israel is becoming more and more isolated in the world.  If Israel does not change its ways, it might in the not too distant future find itself looked upon and treated as what it has indeed become : a pariah.

 

Item 2 warns Israel to take seriously Abbas threat to dismantle the PA.  Should he do that, then not only might we once again see violence, but without the PA Israel will revert to the position it was in prior to the Oslo accord, namely of having to supply Palestinians with medical care, and all the other social services needed to sustain a population.  So long as there is a Palestinian Authority, it tends (more or less) to these needs.  If it goes, Israel as occupier will be obliged to take the load upon itself, an onus it was only too happy to rid itself of via Oslo .

 

Item 3 is a Haaretz editorial expressing the view that Israel must end the Gaza blockade.  Amen.

 

Item 4 “ No home , no Homeland” is about demolitions in East Jerusalem .  Don’t these make you feel proud to be Israeli????  How would Jews feel if they lived under a military occupation that demolished their homes time and again?  Ugly. Ugly. UGLY!!!  Please step up the pressure on your elected officials to place sanctions on Israel , to boycott its goods.  These demolitions MUST STOP!!! Can you imagine what it is like to suddenly find your home—the kitchen that you loved, the bathroom, the bedrooms, the living room and dining room, the family photo albums, the computer and TV and refrigerator and stove and closets full of clothes and all the rest of one’s belongings suddenly turned into a pile of rubble?  CAN YOU IMAGINE????

 

In item 5 Netanyahu tells us that a nuclear Iran endangers Israel .  A crazy Netanyahu endangers Israelis even more.

 

Item 6 relates the degree to which Netanyahu’s Iran compulsion endangers our lives here.

 

Item 7 reports that more rockets were shot from Gaza into Israel this evening.  We can expect that Israel will hit back.  That’s the way it operates.  Not that I’m happy to have rockets being  shot at Israel—I don’t think that Palestinian violence will help people in Gaza.  Still, Israel being the more powerful, Netanyahu should remember the fable of the sun and the wind.  They argued over who was stronger, and decided to settle the issue via seeing who could most rapidly induce a man walking by dressed in a heavy coat to remove it.  The wind blew and blew and blew.  But the harder it blew, the tighter the man wrapped himself in his coat.  Then the sun came out and shone and warmed the man, who in short order removed the wrap.  In other words, trying to lift the siege from Gaza might go a great deal farther to stopping the rockets than does hitting back.  But the Palestinians are right.  Israel knows only the use of force.  Sad.

 

The final item is  ‘Today in Palestine ’ for October 30, which includes at the end a section on the Middle East in general.  There are so many items in this collection regarding events in Palestine that are important reading that I hesitate to recommend any.  Nevertheless, I will  mention 2.  One is about a new practice by some soldiers: head butting.  The other is about a historic forum in which Sylvia Schwartz tells the gathering that privileging the Jews is racism.  Excellent reading.  As for the rest, please at the least read the summaries.  They give you a broader picture of what is happening here than had you not read them.

 

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.  Maybe.

Dorothy


1.  Haaretz Monday, October 31, 2011

Latest update 15:14 31.10.11

 

UNESCO grants Palestinians full membership

Cultural body is first UN agency Palestinians have sought to join since opening bid for recognition; Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa and France vote in favor; U.S., Canada and Germany oppose, while Britain abstains.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/unesco-grants-palestinians-full-membership-1.392974

 

[see also BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15518173 ]

 

[watch it on video—very exciting http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/oct/31/palestine-unesco-membership-video]

 

By Barak Ravid and News Agencies

Tags: Palestinians Palestinian state Mahmoud Abbas

 

The United Nations’ cultural agency decided on Monday to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations.

 

UNESCO is the first UN agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.

 

The motion to admit the Palestinians was passed by UNESCO members meeting in Paris , with 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions.

 

The United States , Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership. Brazil , Russia , China , India , South Africa and France voted in favor. Britain abstained.

 

U.S. lawmakers had threatened to withhold some $80 million in funding to UNESCO if it approved Palestinian membership.

 

The U.S. is the biggest contributor to UNESCO, accounting for 22 percent of its $653 million budget.

 

U.S. officials opposed the Palestinian UNESCO request and say it could harm renewed efforts for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

 

Huge cheers went up in UNESCO after delegates voted to approve the membership on Monday. One shouted “Long Live Palestine!” in French.

 

Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but because that effort is expected to take some time, they separately pursued membership at Paris-based UNESCO.

2.  Haaretz Monday, October 31, 2011

Latest update 03:21 31.10.11

 

UN envoy : Israel must take Abbas threats to dismantle PA seriously

Robert Serry tells Haaretz that in the event that the PA crumbles, Israel should not expect the international community to ‘pay the bill’; does not discount possible eruption of

violence in West Bank .

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/un-envoy-israel-must-take-abbas-threats-to-dismantle-pa-seriously-1.392854

 

By Barak Ravid

Tags: Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas Israel occupation Palestinians Oslo accords Ramallah

 

Israel must take heed of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ threats to resign and dismantle the PA, a UN official who is close to the PA president told Haaretz, adding that the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians could cause violence to erupt in the West Bank, and the rest of the world will not bail out Israel if that happens.

 

“The Palestinians feel growing alienation towards the Oslo process,” said Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. “I hear many voices in Ramallah that call for the dismantling of the PA and to throw the keys back to Israel .”

 

“I don’t want to sound apocalyptic – but if things go wrong don’t expect the international community to bail you out,” Serry said in an interview with Haaretz on Friday in his office in the UN headquarters in Jerusalem . “We will not pay the bill.”

 

Of the foreign diplomats serving in Israel and the PA, Serry, who is from the Netherlands , is considered one of the closest to Abbas. The Mideast envoy, who also serves as the UN secretary-general’s personal representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, meets with Abbas almost every week, and like other diplomats, Serry has heard from Abbas that he intends to resign within a few months if no progress is made in negotiations.

 

Serry warned that violence could erupt in the West Bank.

 

” It is a sad and paradoxical situation,” said Serry. “On the one hand the Palestinians made progress in their state-building, but on the other hand, because there are no negotiations, and not only because of Israel’s fault, the Palestinians are starting to wonder if this [two-state solution] should be the direction. This trend should worry the Israeli government and the Israeli public. If things will stay like this – the good security situation [in the West Bank] will not continue.”

 

At a Fatah Revolutionary Council meeting in Ramallah on Wednesday, Abbas called on the council to consider dismantling the Palestinian Authority. After three days of debate, the Fatah leadership decided to establish a committee to discuss “the future of the PA in light of the continued Israeli occupation.”

 

Israel should take Abbas’ comments to heart, Serry said.

 

“Abbas is a wise man and he is committed to non-violence and to the two-state solution, but even he starts to think that it might be impossible,” said the UN official. “You need to take Abbas’ words seriously. Israel must not treat it as empty threats. If there will be no hope, it might turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

 

Time after time during the interview, Serry said he wanted to speak to the Israeli public: “On the surface the Israeli public thinks that the situation is good because there is no violence. But in order for the Palestinian leadership to continue to be committed to the security coordination with Israel , there has to be a political horizon. Otherwise it will be impossible.”

 

“If people think that now it is just a bad period and that in the future we will renew the negotiations,” he added, “it is an illusion.”

 

On Wednesday, Serry, who has served in his UN posts since 2007, participated in Quartet meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s adviser Isaac Molho and the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saeb Erekat. The meetings were a last-ditch attempt to restart the peace process and stop the Palestinians from seeking statehood through the United Nations.

 

Serry said he feels the Israeli public and the Netanyahu government are not paying enough attention to the despair coming from Ramallah.

 

“I think that the Israeli public has complicity in the situation,” said the UN official. “You think that this can go on. I doubt it. Israel ‘s character as a Jewish state is in danger. I am here four years and I see how you are continuing to build the settlements. You and the Palestinians are becoming Siamese twins. It will be impossible to separate you. Only separation will make the vision of a Jewish state for the Jewish people possible.”

 

Abbas was greatly hurt by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments calling him the “greatest obstacle” to regional order and statement that it would be a “blessing” if the Palestinian leader were to resign, Serry said.

 

“We spoke to both sides about the need to refrain from provocations – you can make your own conclusions,” he said.

 

The Quartet’s most recent efforts to conduct talks with Israel and the Palestinians separately, based on a preset schedule, is more significant than it looks, said Serry.

 

“I am involved in those talks,” he said. “We made clear to both sides that the next 90 days are for preparing serious proposals on borders and security. The clock is ticking. I hope both sides understand that the stakes are high.”

 

Despite the deep lack of trust between Netanyahu and Abbas, the Quartet’s talks with the two sides could allow them to hold “quiet talks” of their own.

 

“I am aware of the obstacles that exist,” said Serry. “I hope both sides will use the situation to start quiet talks. We shouldn’t expect immediate progress. We didn’t hear new things from the parties in the meetings with the Quartet. But both sides said they are committed to the process and to the timetable. Maybe now we will be able to get to direct talks – even on a quiet track.”

 

Serry spoke of how he and his staff have played a behind-the-scenes role in recent years in the contacts for the release of Gilad Shalit: “When the German negotiator came to Gaza for the first time, we were the ones that introduced him to Hamas.”

 

He called the Shalit deal a positive development, but said now Israel must act to strengthen Abbas and should consider handing over additional parts of the West Bank to be placed under Palestinian control.

 

“The Israeli government should consider transferring parts of Area C to Palestinian control and to plan the second phase of the Shalit deal prisoner release in favor of Abu Mazen,” said Serry, referring to Abbas.

 

“I have good contacts in the Israeli defense establishment and they understand the bad consequences,” he said. “They understand that after the Shalit deal they need to reach out to Ramallah. There has to be concrete steps regardless of negotiations.”

 

Serry and his staff also warned of the “price tag” revenge attacks on Arabs carried out by some West Bank settlers.

 

“Price tag is very concerning,” he said. “The Israeli government distanced itself from those actions and condemned them, but often those who commit them are not caught and are not brought to justice, and this is worrying.”

3.  Haaretz Editorial Monday, October 31, 2011


Israel must end the Gaza blockade

The blockade of Gaza and the boycott of Hamas, have not led to quiet for the inhabitants of the south. At the same time, the isolation of Gaza has augmented the international isolation of Israel and has contributed to a crisis in relations with Turkey .

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-must-end-the-gaza-blockade-1.392890

 

Haaretz Editorial

Tags: Gaza aid Gaza Hamas

 

This weekend the bloody ritual in the south exacted the life of a resident of Ashkelon , interfered with the lives of thousands of citizens and caused extensive damage to property. As in previous rounds, after the inhabitants of the region – on both sides of the border – paid the price of the violence a truce was declared, which was violated in short order. The spokesman of the military arm of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip announced that “the organization reserves the right to react to any aggression from the Israeli side,” and boasted that ” it is the enemy who will beg for a cease-fire .”

 

For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the Talmud at the government meetingm, saying: “If someone comes to kill you, kill him first” – and threatened that anyone who harms us will pay with his blood.

 

Presumably, Islamic Jihad would not succeed in operating the Grad launchers and firing dozens of rockets without the help of Hamas, the organization that controls the Strip, or at least without it intentionally turning a blind eye. Like any political power seeking to shore itself up, Hamas is interested in improving the living standards of the inhabitants of Gaza . To that end, it should bring about the lifting of Israel ‘s continuing blockade, which among other things includes arbitrary restrictions on the entry of consumer goods, and a situation of being almost totally cutoff from the outside world – even from the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem .

 

Long years of the blockade of Gaza and the boycott of Hamas, as well as Operation Cast Lead, have not led to quiet for the inhabitants of the south. At the same time, the isolation of the Gaza Strip has augmented the international isolation of Israel and has contributed to a profound crisis in relations with Turkey .

 

In addition to the danger to lives of Israeli civilians, the hostilities in the south are damaging the small chance that remains for renewal of the diplomatic process with the Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah.

 

The time has come for the government of Israel to reexamine the Gaza blockade policy, the total boycott of Hamas, the assassinations and the aerial attacks. The Shalit deal shows that even though the Hamas ideology does not enable it to recognize Israel ‘s existence or contribute to negotiating a solution to the Israeli-Palestinians conflict – with Egypt ‘s help, the organization can be an interlocutor which will help to manage it in nonviolent ways.

4.  No Home , No Homeland: East Jerusalem Ethnic Displacement 14:09 , 31-10-11  

No Home , No Homeland: East Jerusalem Ethnic Displacement

 

 http://www.icahd.org/?p=7845

 

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) will submit complaints to the UN’s Special Rapporteurs – claiming that Israel ‘s policy in East Jerusalem violates international law and may constitute a war crime.

In a press conference held this morning (Monday, October 31st) ICAHD launched its latest report on illegal Israeli practices in East Jerusalem: ‘ No Home , No Homeland : A New Normative Framework for Examining the Practice of Administrative Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem “. Speaking at the press conference were ICAHD Co-Founder and Director, Dr. Jeff Halper ; Co-Director Itay Epshtain, Advocate Michael Sfard , and Advocate Emily Schaeffer. Following the press conference, Dr. Halper led a tour of Ea st Jerusalem , to highlight report findings.

 

‘ No Home , No Homeland: East Jerusalem Ethnic Displacement’ Press Conference. 

 

ICAHD submitted three complaints this morning to the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Occupied Palestinian Territories . ICAHD demanded to open an investigation into the legality of Israeli policy in East Jerusalem .

 

 

The complaints are based on a report that states that Israel is committing severe violations of international law in East Jerusalem . The report, written by Advocate Emily Schaeffer and edited by Advocate Michael Sfard , analyzes Israeli policy and practice in East Jerusalem under international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The report concludes that Israel is perpetrating serious violations of these laws by denying the right to adequate housing, development, and self-determination, as well as violating the prohibition on residency revocation.

 

Furthermore, the report states that demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is, in the majority of cases, a war crime of destruction of property. By destroying homes, limiting the possibility to build legally, and denying permanent residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem , Israel is forcing the migration process on the basis of ethnicity – which violates international law, and is possibly a war crime.

 

The report also states that there is evidence that the actions and policies implemented by Israel in East Jerusalem are designed to preserve a demographic balance in the city of a Jewish majority – a motive that is forbidden by international law.

 

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is setting a precedent by turning to the UN. This is the first time that an Israeli organization has requested the opening of an investigation into Israeli practices. 

 

“Seeking justice, we appeal to the international community. UN bodies are better equipped to investigate and rule on Israeli profane policies.” Said Itay Epshtain, Co-Director of ICAHD in the press conference this morning. “Unfortunately, the Israeli High Court disregards Palestinians’ human rights, in particular their right to adequate, safe and permanent housing, development and national self-determination.”

 

Advocate Emily Schaeffer, author of the report, warned about the consequences of Israeli policies. “The Israeli practices toward East Jerusalem have set in motion a process of displacement of the Palestinians from the city, a process which can only be expected to increase should these policies and practices remain”.

 

East Jerusalem House Demolitions – Background Information

 

The pretext for home demolitions in East Jerusalem is solely administrative. Administrative home demolitions entail the demolition of homes and structures built without Israeli authorization.

 

While Palestinians represent about 30% of Jerusalem ‘s population, they live in an area that comprises only ​​9% of the city. The state of Israel is spearheading a policy for the Jewish population of Jerusalem to be a majority of 70%, while keeping the Palestinian population at 30%.

 

To preserve this ethnic ratio, the Israeli government has applied a discriminatory policy against Palestinians in East Jerusalem . One of the expressions of that policy is the extreme difficulty in planning and building new homes. Applications to rezone or increase density are regularly denied, as are applications to build in the small areas that are allocated for residential construction. Palestinians therefore have no opportunity to lawfully meet the housing needs of a growing population.

 

Palestinians in East Jerusalem hold permanent resident status, and it can be lost if they do not permanently reside in East Jerusalem . Therefore they struggle to stay in the area, but Israeli administrative policy poses a bureaucratic wall that makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to legally build homes.

 

Israeli policy leaves Palestinians nothing but two choices: stay in the area, build irregularly, and risk a demolition and forced displacement from their homes, or leave ​​ East Jerusalem , and endanger their residency status that includes losing the right to return to their homes.

 

If Palestinians have their residency revoked, they are rendered stateless and residency-less. That violates the right to practice self-determination, and the right to citizenship, residency and nationality, enshrined in international human rights law. This forced deportation, on the basis of ethnicity, is a violation of international law and may constitute a war crime under international humanitarian law.

 

Demolition of houses in and of itself is a denial of Palestinians’ right to adequate housing. Demolitions have major implications for the victims : the families whose homes are destroyed are not given alternative housing or compensation. A significant number of them spend months in makeshift tents or in the streets following the demolition of their homes. In addition to the loss of value of the home , and the destroyed property, owners are expected to pay heavy fines of tens of thousands of ILS.

 

Since 1967, Israel has demolished more than 2,000 homes in East Jerusalem . Between 2000 and 2011, 771 homes were demolished. The number of demolition orders issued to homes in the area currently stands at about 1,500.

 

For a presentation highlighting the report findings, press here…

 

 To download the ICAHD publication ‘ No Home , No Homeland : A New Normative Framework for Examining the Practice of Administrative Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem ‘, press here…< /p>

 

——————————————————————————–

Nowhere Left to Go: Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin Ethnic Displacement

 

ICAHD launches new publication to highlight growing risk of displacement for Jerusalem periphery Bedouin.

 

The Palestinian-Bedouin communities living in the hills to the east of Jerusalem are at an exceedingly growing risk of forced ethnic displacement. The communities have been informed by the Israeli authorities that they have no option but to leave the area, as part of a larger plan (to begin as early as January 2012) to relocate Bedouin communities living in Area C (Jerusalem periphery, Jordan Valley, and south Hebron Hills), where Israel retains control over security as well as planning and zoning.

 

The Bedouin homes are currently located in an area that holds strategic significance for further expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. This includes the E1 plan, which foresees the expansion of Ma’ale Adumim, an illegal Israeli settlement, and its linkage to Judaized East Jerusalem and Jordan Valley settlements. If implemented, these plans, along with Barrier construction in the area, risk preventing Palestinian growth and development and disrupting the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. The forced displacement of the Bedouin would also be detrimental to their semi-nomadic way of life. As available land shrinks, Bedouin refugees are faced with nowhere to go.

 

Meanwhile, the Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin are seeking ways to improve their general living conditions. Communities living in the area have appealed to local and international organizations to support projects that will contribute to improving their conditions, projects designed help the Bedouin to build sustainable livelihoods and resist forced ethnic displacement and the Israeli Occupation.

 

To download the ICAHD publication Nowhere Left to Go: Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin Ethnic Displacement, press here…

 

——————————————————————————–

Khan al-Ahmar Homes Demolished

 

Five family homes were demolished this morning (Monday, October 31st) in the Jerusalem periphery Palestinian-Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar.

 

15 army jeeps and a bulldozer showed up at the rural community, in the hills east of Jerusalem this morning, and demolished five family homes, displacing 71 people, including some 60 children.

 

ICAHD staff arrived at the community a few short hours after the demolition to find family members mourning the loss of their homes and property. Abu Khamis, a Khan al-Ahmar community activist told ICAHD staff: ‘We will not be forced off our land, if Israel demolishes, we will rebuild’. 

 

The recent house demolitions are part of an ongoing policy designed to forcefully transfer Bedouin of the Jerusalem periphery, as highlighted in the ICAHD publication ‘Nowhere Left to Go: Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin Ethnic Displacement’.   

5.  Haaretz Monday, October 31, 2011


Netanyahu : A nuclear Iran poses a serious, direct threat to Israel

PM warns of dangers threatening the world and Israel if Tehran obtains nuclear weapons; Netanyahu also speaks about recent escalation in south, promises to retaliate those who harm Israel .

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-a-nuclear-iran-poses-a-serious-direct-threat-to-israel-1.392991

 

By Haaretz

Tags : Benjamin Netanyahu Iran Iran nuclear

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Monday that a nuclear Iran would be a serious and direct threat to Israel .

 

“A nuclear Iran poses a heavy threat to the entire world – and to Israel in particular,” Netanyahu said during the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, warning that the regime Tehran is continuing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.

 

Netanyahu also spoke about the recent escalation with Palestinian militants along the Gaza border, saying Israel will position more Iron Dome anti-missile defense system batteries throughout Israeli cities in hope to intercept more missiles from Gaza .

 

“We will continue to act against those who try to harm us,” he said.

 

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: נתניהו: ישראל לא תשב בחיבוק ידיים מול הצעדים החד צדדיים של הפלסטינים

6.  Haaretz Monday, October 31, 2011

Latest update 03:21 31.10.11

 

Israel ‘s radical leaders tempted to drag us into war

U.S. presence in Iraq might tempt the Israeli radical leaders to drag Washington into a war in Iran against its will, as the object of an attack. In the face of history, the forces of reason must step on the brakes.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-s-radical-leaders-tempted-to-drag-us-into-war-1.392891

 

By Sefi Rachlevsky

Tags: Iran Palestinians Palestinian Authority Benjamin Netanyahu Ehud Olmert Iran nuclear Iraq

 

Under normal circumstances, the military establishment is to the right of the political establishment. The reason is obvious : The singer wants to sing, the writer wants to write, and the division commander wants to mobilize divisions. When Moshe Dayan said he would rather restrain galloping horses than prod lazy mules, he was not referring only to his generals. It is a common pattern on the world stage. Only rarely are the roles reversed for the military to find itself to be more moderate and circumspect than the political leadership. The vast majority of such cases – all of them, practically speaking, and not only in the 1930s – ended in disaster. The cause is simple : The military is not built to act as a brake on an extremist leadership over time.

 

Unfortunately, Israel , on the cusp of the winter of 2011, is in this rare and dangerous situation. This holds true with regard to the Palestinian Authority : The entire military establishment, including past and present leaders, recommends meeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas halfway. It recognizes the “miracle” of the past few years, with a government in the West Bank that enjoys a majority and takes firm action against terror. Israel’s political establishment, in contrast, is consciously going along with the declarations of settler Avigdor Lieberman and doing all it can to hurt our moderate Palestinian partner. It knows that the only way to hold onto the settlements and their messianic world is by buttressing the extremist Palestinian leadership, with which “dialogue is impossible.”

 

This holds, only more so, when it comes to Iran . All of the heads of the armed forces – the chief of staff, the heads of the Mossad, of Military Intelligence and of the Shin Bet security service, and the head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, both incumbent and a few generations back – are fiercely opposed to striking Iran now. But two people, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak see themselves capable of dragging the entire nation into a long war with many casualties on their own.

 

Last week’s image of the week was Netanyahu’s post-midnight meeting last Sunday with the radical-religious Shas party’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, party leader and Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias. The cellphones were put away, as befits a classified meeting, and senior Netanyahu aide Natan Eshel, from the national-religious camp, was temporarily put out of his hiding place next to the library. It wasn’t the nonagenarian extremist rabbi that Netanyahu had to convince of the necessity of attacking Iran now, but rather the country’s top brass, serving and retired, as well as the majority of Israeli citizens and Israel ‘s friends in the West.

 

People in deep denial, or without a mirror, complained about the situation in Tunisia , where a moderate Islamic party won 41 percent of the parliamentary seats and formed a coalition with liberal and leftist parties. But more than 45 percent of Israel ‘s Knesset members hold radical-religious, messianic, antidemocratic or racist worldviews. Take the 23 combined seats of Shas, United Torah Judaism, Habayit Hayehudi and the National Union; take Yisrael Beiteinu and half of the Likud MKs, such as Danny Danon, Yariv Levin and company. And in contrast to Tunisia , there are no liberal elements in the coalition. There’s a reason why Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman declared that he was working to make Jewish religious law Israeli law, and why most of the prime minister’s aides are from the settlement-supporting, messianism-marred radical religious world.

 

Barak likes talking about the one-third of Israelis who serve in the military, work and pay taxes. That one-third now faces the missiles and Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s forecasts of thousands of casualties. The enormous, expensive nuclear shelter that will protect all of the cabinet ministers and perhaps their families and cronies too is not an option for ordinary citizens. Neither is the protection being readied in the settlements that are not expected to be missile targets. The sites that have been spied out in central Israel as emergency mass burial grounds, in order to prevent the spread of disease, are not exactly a cheery option.

 

There is a slim chance that the reports raining down from on high about the possibility of an operation before the winter are just spin, aimed at putting the world in a panic. But they also get us accustomed to the idea of an attack. Even worse: It is tempting to get around the military establishment’s opposition through an urgent, precipitous and biased deliberation, “at the last moment before the clouds roll in” – like the discussion with Rabbi Yosef. Meanwhile, the U.S. presence in Iraq might tempt the Israeli radical leaders to drag Washington into a war against its will, as the object of an attack. In the face of history, the forces of reason must step on the brakes.

7.  Ynet Monday, October 31, 2011

Latest Update:   21:17 , 10.31.11

 

Under Fire

 

 Rocket attack on Ashdod Photo : Avi Rokach

 

    Rockets fired at greater Beersheba area

 

Southern sector on high alert once more as Gaza-fired projectiles land near Beersheba , outskirts of Ashkelon , Sderot. Iron Dome system intercepts one Grad rocket; major cities in south suspend schools

 

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4142040,00.html

 

Ilana Curiel

 

 

The fragile ceasefire with Gaza ‘s militant groups was breached on Monday, as several rockets were fired at Israel following a relatively calm morning.

 

The Iron Dome defense system intercepted at least one Grad rocket fired at Beersheba . Shortly afterwards, a rocket was fired at the city of Sderot . Residents of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council reported hearing an explosion within the council’s limit.

No injuries or damages were reported and security forces are canvassing the area for the projectiles.

 

Related stories:

 

Netanyahu: No ceasefire, no negotiations

Lieberman: Consider severing ties with PA

2 terrorists killed in IDF strike 

 

Monday afternoon saw rocket fire at the southern city of Ashkelon , as well. The projectile hit an open area and no injuries or damage were reported.

 

The cities of Beersheba , Ashkelon and Ashdod have decided to suspend all school activities on Tuesday, in light of the security situation.

 

Earlier in the day , the Home Front Command announced that the school system in the area will resume normal activity.

 

The French Foreign Office issued a statement Monday denouncing the weekend’s rocket fire at Israel , which claimed one life and left dozens of others injured.

 

 

Grad damage in Ashkelon (Photo : Shai Ben-Yishai)

 

” France is concerned about a possible escalation in the area and urges both parties to exercise restraint and respect the ceasefire,” the statement said.

 

Monday’s rocket fire followed the overnight landing of six Gaza-fired projectiles within the western Negev ‘s limits. No injuries or damage were reported.

 

The security situation in the southern sector escalated over the weekend, when Gaza militants fired dozens of Qassam and Grad rockets at Israel ‘s southern communities. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the majority of the rockets.

 

The IAF struck several Gaza targets following the fire, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that the IDF will not cease its operations in the Strip until the Gaza groups hold their fire.

 

Palestinian sources reported that nine militants were killed in the IDF’s strikes.

 

Meanwhile, Military Intelligence sources told Ynet that the Islamic Jihad did not use a multiple-rocket launcher to fire at Israel on Saturday and that the video showing its use – as aired on Palestinian television – was a fake.

 

The video depicted the simultaneous fire of four rockets, but no simultaneous landing was recorded by Israeli security forces.

 

Shmulik Hadad , Yoav Zitun and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report

 

8.  ‘Today in Palestine ’

 October 31, 2011

http://www.theheadlines.org/11/30-10-11.shtml

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

‘Zio-Nazi killing policy reflects terrorism’

NOVANEWS

Zio-Nazi Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu addresses KKK-nesset on October 31, 2011 in al-Quds.

A political scientist says Zio-Nazi Prime Minister Benjamin Naziyahu’s statement of “kill or be killed” is a typical example of Tel Aviv’s Nazi terrorist mentality.

“That is definitely terrorism and this is what terrorism is all about… They think they cannot exist without killing all the babies and all people,” Nada Hashwi said on Monday from Beirut during a telephone interview with Press TV.

Naziyahu said on Sunday that Zio-Nazi defense policy was based on two principles: “Kill or be killed” and “he who harms you should bear the blood on his head.”

Hashwi says it is shocking that such outrageous Zio-Nazi announcements have not ruffled any feathers in the West; the EU and the UN have practically turned a blind eye towards Zio-Nazi crimes against the Palestinian people.

She adds, “Israel has been using killings as their only weapon. This is their self-defense.”

The Beirut-based political scientist said the extremist regime in Tel Aviv thinks it cannot survive without a policy of relentless killing of innocent people.

Zio-Nazi has been committing crimes freely and this is the reason that now they “go in public and say we want to kill,”as if the Palestinians are not human beings anymore.

Hashwi stated, “I cannot believe they can get away with things like that.”

Nazi regime is going down the hill and the killing policy cannot save it now, the activist noted.

In addition, she emphasized IsraHell should know that times have changed and now the resistance fighters will retaliate if IsraHell persists with its murderous policy.

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Cuba Undergoing Silent Transition Toward A Free Market Economy

NOVANEWS
By Sherwood Ross

Cuba is undergoing a “silent transition” from socialism to a mixed economy but the U.S. hasn’t responded with diplomatic initiatives, an authority on Latin American affairs writes.

“A series of economic reforms are shrinking the size of the state-run economy and making room for a greatly expanded private sector,” says Michelle Chase, professor of Latin American history at Bloomfield (N.J.) College.

The reforms are being instituted slowly, however. Roberto Veiga Gonzalez, a progressive Catholic editor of a journal published by the Archdiocese of Havana calls the gradual transition “responsible,” but adds Cubans needs the reforms now because they can’t take the hardship any longer. Cubans are enduring hard times. Many families are already spending 80% of their income just on food.

Writing in the November 7th issue of The Nation magazine, Chase says some in the government want economic reforms modeled after China and Vietnam but others “want Cuba’s reforms to be tailored in a way that would give priority to small, worker-owned cooperatives” that are a kind of “decentralized socialism.”

Whatever the shape of the future, Raul Castro, who promised Cuba would never return to capitalism, appears to be doing just that. A year ago, Chase writes, he directed mass layoffs of government workers to trim a bloated bureaucracy and designated new areas for entrepreneurial expansion.

Since last April, Havana has granted some 330,000 licenses and the newly self-employed, known as cuentapropistas, are now allowed to hire Cubans outside of their own families. “The government’s stated goal,” Chase writes, “is to have nearly half the populace working in the private sector by 2015. For a country where nearly 90 percent of the economy was once in state hands, that will be a major about-face.”

Whereas in 1990, liberal reforms in Cuba were viewed as “a necessary evil” today, Chase explains, “the leadership actually embraces the notion of a robust private sector.” Adds Omar Everleny, a professor at the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana, “When you read the Guidelines and Raul’s speeches, you realize he’s determined to change things….he’s made the decision not to turn back.”

A key factor slowing Havana’s reforms “is undoubtedly the U.S. embargo,” Chase writes, as it has “a toxic, distorting effect on internal Cuban politics.” She explains, “Washington’s openly stated goal of destabilization and regime change creates a sense of permanent crisis, a siege mentality, in the leadership. This has long had the effect of limiting internal debate and bolstering hardliners who view any critique as a dangerous prelude to subversion.”

What’s more, by blocking American tourism, for example, “the U.S. government is in effect slowing the growth of Cuba’s private sector” where the government has opened the doors for Cuban businesses to operate.

Reviewing the past few years, Chase writes, it is apparent “a transition of sorts has already happened in Cuba. Raul Castro…and his cohort now openly embrace market reforms and have implemented measures to foster a large private sector….In addition, with the Catholic church serving as intermediary, the government recently released most political prisoners….If there has ever been a time for the US government to acknowledge internal reforms and reciprocate with increased diplomacy, that time is now.”

Americans, however, may have a long wait before Washington turns to diplomacy. The U.S. attitude has long been “do it our way (economically) or else.” Countries, including Cuba, whose rulers tried non-capitalist economic approaches, have been attacked militarily by the U.S. or its surrogates and/or destabilized by the Central Intelligence Agency. At times, the leaders of those countries were assassinated by the CIA.

America’s Founders established a policy of realism in matters of diplomacy. They held governments in power were governments the U.S. would recognize because we needed to treat with them, whether we liked them or not. Modern presidents trampled this common-sense approach for years by not recognizing Soviet Russia and Communist China. And they are still withholding it from Cuba. The authors of the Constitution might well be appalled if they knew the CIA backed the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, tried to poison the Cuban sugar crop and wreak other calamities on the country, and made at least eight attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

With Fidel out of power and his more rational brother in charge, now is the time for the U.S. to open talks leading to improved U.S. relations with Cuba, as well as full liberties and economic opportunities for the Cuban people.

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