Archive | November 3rd, 2011

Nazi Gestapo’s to ‘Prevent’ Aid Ships Reaching Gaza Israeli navy says it will stop two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists from reaching blockaded territory.

NOVANEWS

Nazi Gestapo has announced that its navy will attempt to stop two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists bound for the Gaza Strip, in the latest attempt by activists to break the four-year Israeli blockade against the territory.

Zio-Nazi military spokesman’s office said the country’s navy was “prepared to contact” the vessels and had “completed the necessary preparations in order to prevent them from reaching

the Gaza Strip”

.

The Canadian boat Tahrir and the Irish boat MV Saoirse left the port of Fethiye in southwest Turkey on Wednesday after Turkish authorities gave them permission to sail to the Greek island of Rhodes.

Al Jazeera’s Casey Kauffman, on board one of the ships, said that in total it would be a 50-hour journey, and they were currently one-fifth of the way there.

“Everyone on the boat wants to get to Gaza,” he said, adding that while the activists are prepared for the possibility of an Zio-Nazi interception, the initiative will not be wasted.

“It will still bring attention to the situation in Gaza, and the blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich, an Zio-Nazi military official, would not say how the boats might be stopped, saying only “we will have to assess and see if we are facing violent passengers.”

Describing their journey as a “provocation”, she said Zio-Nazi would offer to unload any aid supplies on board and deliver them to Gaza.

Sailing under the flag of the Comoros Islands, the Tahrir is carrying six activists, a captain and five journalists.

The Saoirse – sailing under the US flag – has 12 Irish nationals on board, none of whom are journalists.

‘Support from Turkish society’

David Heap, a member of the steering committee on board the Tahrir, told Al Jazeera that the activists chose to leave from Fethiye because of the strained relations between Turkey and Israel.

“The Turkish government has been creating more distance from Israel diplomatically and we know there is support from Turkish society for what we are doing.

“Our judgment was that the Turkish state would not interfere with us if we didn’t make too much of a public issue of our plan to depart from there,” Heap told Al Jazeera.

It will take at least a couple of days before the boats reach the Palestinian waters of the Gaza Strip, where they expect to be approached by the Israeli navy.

“We have some distance to cover between where we are now and Palestinian territorial waters of Gaza.

“Obviously we are going to avoid going through IsraHell territorial waters.

“Our plan is to go directly from international waters into the territorial waters of Gaza – within a couple of days.

The activists say the new attempt the break the siege on the Gaza Strip is part of a campaign they call “freedom waves”, implying that more such efforts will follow.

Both ships were part of previous attempts to break the siege on the Gaza Strip that was stalled when the Greek government refused to let a flotilla leave from its shores in July this year.

The Tahrir, the larger ship of the two, was intercepted by the Greek coast guard with more than 30 pro-Palestinian activists onboard.

Two of them were detained for defying Greece’s ban on setting sail to Gaza. The vessel was stopped about 10 minutes after it left port on the island of Crete.

The Irish boat allegedly suffered damage when it was sabotaged while waiting to join the flotilla from Turkish waters. The ship has since been repaired and kept in dry-dock in Turkey.

Posted in GazaComments Off on Nazi Gestapo’s to ‘Prevent’ Aid Ships Reaching Gaza Israeli navy says it will stop two boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists from reaching blockaded territory.

US House Committee Okays Sweeping Sanctions on Iran

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross in Uncategorized 

by Jim Lobe

Amid growing tensions in the Middle East, including speculation about a possible Israeli attack on Iran, a key U.S. congressional committee Wednesday approved two bills that would impose sweeping new economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran.

The legislation, which includes sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank and strict curbs on official diplomatic contacts between Washington and Tehran, was approved unanimously by voice vote of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.

The committee chairperson and major sponsor of the legislation, Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said she hoped the whole House and the Senate would act quickly on the two bills so that their enactment would “hand the Iranian regime a nice holiday present,”presumably a reference to the Christmas holidays.

But lobbyists on Capitol Hill predicted that the Democratic-led Senate would be unlikely to act until after the New Year and that, barring any major new crisis between Tehran and Washington, the legislation’s more radical provisions would eventually be watered down.

Still, the fact that such draconian legislation is making headway in Congress is likely to further stoke rising tensions in the region, particularly in the wake of U.S. accusations last month that“elements” of Iran’s government plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and simmering press speculation that the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is actively considering an attack on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

Indeed, Israel’s test-firing Wednesday of a long-range ballistic missile — the first such test in more than three years — appeared designed to heighten the speculation. The fact that the test was overseen by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who, along with Netanyahu, is reported to favor an attack, did nothing to dispel that notion, despite denials by the government.

According to some observers, the war talk in Jerusalem may be intended primarily to encourage U.S. lawmakers to support the strongest possible sanctions legislation, which Netanyahu has repeatedly called for over the last several years.

“My guess is that this sudden campaign on the part of the Israelis is intended to scare the U.S. and the Europeans into a very strong diplomatic and economic response when the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] report providing additional information on Iran’s weaponization activities comes out next week,” said Barry Blechman, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Stimson Center.

“The bluster on military strikes tends to coincide with periods in which new sanctions are considered,” noted Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, which opposed the legislation approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The Israelis push this on the U.S. and the EU [European Union] by arguing that, absent new strong sanctions, Israel will be ‘forced’ to do strikes, and the U.S. then uses that argument to push sanctions on other states in and outside of the [U.N. Security Council]. We’ve seen this pattern several times before,” said Parsi, author of an award-winning 2007 book, Treacherous Alliance, on the history of secret dealings between the U.S., Israel, and Iran since 1979.

If that indeed was Israel’s intent, it seems to have succeeded in the House Committee where Democrats joined Republicans in expressing the need to punish Tehran.

The first bill, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Reform and Modernization Act, would impose penalties against any individual or company — foreign as well as domestic — that has facilitated the transfer of equipment that could be used in Iran’s nuclear program. It also would bar access to the U.S. of any vessels that have visited ports of any of the three countries in the last two years.

The second bill, the Iran Threat Reduction Act, is more comprehensive.

Among other provisions, it would sharply reduce the president’s authority to waive existing sanctions against any individual, company, or country doing business with Iran; expand existing sanctions against companies that sell Iran refined petroleum to include any barter transactions; and impose sanctions against any individual, company, or country that conducts a transaction with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is believed to control as much as 40 percent of the Iran’s national economy.

Three last-minute additions to the bill also attracted special notice.

One provision would eliminate the president’s authority to waive, for humanitarian reasons, sanctions against companies that sell spare parts or repair services to Iran’s civilian aircraft industry, which has suffered more than 1,000 deaths in plane crashes over the past decade, in major part due to faulty or worn-out equipment.

A second provision would ban any contact between any person employed by the U.S. government and any Iranian official or agent unless the president certifies to Congress at least 15 days in advance that a failure to make such a contact “would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States.”

“If enacted, this legislation … would prevent any exploration of ways to resolve disagreement over that Iranian nuclear program that we are supposedly so intensely concerned about,” wrote Paul Pillar, the U.S. intelligence community’s top Near East analyst from 2000 to 2005, on his blog.

“And it would prevent any diplomacy to keep U.S.-Iranian incidents or crises … from spinning out of control, unless the crisis conveniently stretched out beyond the 15-day notification period,” he added, noting that the nuclear standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis lasted 13 days.

“It is impossible to imagine any purpose being served by such a provision other than enabling politicians to express once again how much they hate Iran and how implacable they are willing to be toward Iran,” noted Pillar, who now teaches at Georgetown University.

A third provision would require the president to determine within 30 days of the bill’s enactment whether Iran’s central bank is supporting the country’s alleged biological, chemical, nuclear, missile, or advanced conventional weapons programs, supporting the IRGC, or aiding international terrorism.

If such a determination were made, the president would then be required to ban any foreign bank that does significant business with Iran’s central bank from engaging in economic activity in the U.S.

Even Washington’s European allies are known to have serious reservations about such a far-reaching step, which, administration officials have quietly warned, would almost certainly be challenged by Russia, China, and other major emerging countries, as well as provoke a nationalist response in Iran that would strengthen more hard-line factions.

“Today’s actions by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to legislate even more draconian, extraterritorial and unilateral sanctions on Iran … fly in the face of facts on the ground, the demonstrable failure of previous sanctions to achieve their stated purpose, and the basic rules of diplomacy among nations,” said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, a business association representing U.S. and foreign multinational corporations.

“The committee’s approach would foreclose any constructive engagement by the administration and put the United States on a forced march to counterproductive confrontation,” he added.

(Inter Press Service)

Posted in USA1 Comment

Zio-Nazi suspends tax pay transfers to Palestinians as punishment for UNESCO bid

NOVANEWS

 by crescentandcross in Uncategorized

 

Associated Press

The Palestinians said Thursday Israel has carried out its threat to suspend transfer of tax payments totaling some $100 million to the Palestinians Authority to protest this week’s admission of Palestine to the United Nations’ cultural agency.

The Palestinian bid to join the agency, UNESCO, is part of a broader campaign to win U.N. recognition of an independent state of Palestine, in defiance of U.S. and Israeli opposition. UNESCO’s acceptance of Palestine as a member on Monday buoyed the Palestinians but infuriated Israel because it endowed the Palestinians with greater international legitimacy.

Israel later said it would punitively suspend the monthly transfer of roughly $100 million in customs, border and some income taxes that it collects each month on behalf of the Palestinians and relays to their government in the West Bank.

On Thursday, Palestinian officials said Israel has not made this month’s transfer. The funds are usually sent in the first three days of the month.

The Israeli Finance Ministry had no immediate comment.

The funds are critical for the Palestinian Authority, which employs tens of thousands of people. The cut-off comes just days before a Muslim holiday. The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, said he had borrowed from local banks to make sure people get paid ahead of the holiday.

The U.S. cut off contributions – some $60 million – to UNESCO after the Palestinians won membership and Canada swiftly followed suit, together depriving the agency of about 25 percent of its annual funding.

Israel Radio reported on Thursday that Israel, too, would withhold its annual $2 million contribution, but a government spokesman said he couldn’t immediately confirm that.

After gaining membership in UNESCO, the Palestinians said they planned to seek membership in other U.N. agencies as part of their campaign for statehood. But in Cannes, France, on Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that “millions” of beneficiaries worldwide could suffer from cuts in U.N. funds if Palestinians join its other agencies beyond UNESCO.

A top Palestinian leader suggested the U.N chief should lean on U.S. lawmakers instead.

“I think it would be easier for Mr. Ban Ki-moon to ask the Congress to change their laws,” said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian health official in the Gaza Strip said two Palestinian men have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said he had no information about the men’s identities.

The Palestinians say gunbattles began after Israeli soldiers entered Palestinian farmland inside northern Gaza. They said Israeli planes then carried out an airstrike.

The military confirmed the airstrike, and said the clashes began after Palestinian militants fired at soldiers on a routine patrol on the Gaza-Israel border. It says the soldiers were on Israeli soil.

The clash marred a brief lull that followed the most serious flare-up in violence in months. At least 10 militants and an Israeli civilian were killed in the earlier round of fighting.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Zio-Nazi suspends tax pay transfers to Palestinians as punishment for UNESCO bid

The Greek government has defaulted. Should we rejoice?

NOVANEWS

‘I don’t mind you being rich – I mind that you have bought my government’

– placard at the Occupy movement

For the most part Greece has defaulted on the impossibly high interest rates it has been asked to pay for borrowing money to survive in a system of economic duplicity and political corruption. Any smidgen of growth Greece can wring from its depleted economy will go towards paying interest rates forced upon them by the undemocratic ratings agencies such as Standard and Poor, and the banking cartel who like to think they have us all firmly stitched up in their grubby little mits.

The third world – or that which we laughingly call the developing world – which has been prevented from developing largely by the sharp practice of the IMF, the World Bank, and utterly mis-named fair trade agreements, has been in this position for decades, with any economic surpluses being put not towards their own growth, but to the bottomless coffers of the banking fraternity in the form of interest rates, infamously know by its other name: usury.

Some of us look upon the panic in the EU and the US with wry amusement. Some of us are taking part in the downfall of the industrial-military-political complex of greed by getting out there and Occupying. Others are wringing their hands because life as we know it is ending.

St Paul’s Cathedral, the chair and trustees of which are drawn from the financial conglomerates of Lloyds Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and Pricewaterhouse Coopers , has, by a twist of fate been hosting the London Occupy movement in the face of enormous pressure from the Establishment. Yet it has remembered its first calling, the people, and faced down the bankers.

Italy is next in line to default, and the sharp suits lining up at the G20 belie the panic. The Euro currency is falling apart. When EU monetary union was formed, they forgot the story of the Three Little Pigs, and built their houses on straw. But it is not the Big Bad Wolf which is blowing their houses down, it is the quiet decisions of the people.

Peacefully they congregate in the face of violence. They know it will work. Governments send in the troops to put off other would-be occupiers, but still the movement grows.

Young people are rising above their tick box education with the vision to see right through this system of greed. The bankers, blinded by decades of unfettered greed, have wormed their way out of a mere 0.05% on financial transactions commonly known as the Robin Hood Tax. Aided and abetted by government they spontaneously combust at the thought of higher taxes on the rich – even though a one-off, one year only, tax of 20% on the top 10% UK wage earners would wipe out the £800 billion UK deficit in one foul swoop.

Their greed is paving the way to their own undoing. They think they can buy us all. They have bought our governments, and manipulated our systems for the furtherance of their own pointless gratification. Ordinary people are feeling stitched-up. They have stopped buying ‘stuff, they have stopped listening to the propaganda. The sword of Damocles hangs over every job in town and the belts are drawing tighter. Economic growth is no more. Bankers and governments are looking like ridiculous parodies of Canute as they try to force back the incoming tide of change.

We don’t want a new system, we want those who are being paid to improve our lives to get on and do the job – to work for the future health and security of people and planet.

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/the-bankers-backing-st-pauls1.html

http://www.glasgowmediagroup.org/content/view/44/45/

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on The Greek government has defaulted. Should we rejoice?

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Bronner lets controversy subside, then cancels 92d St appearance w/ Perle and Bolton
Nov 01, 2011 11:34 pm | Philip Weiss

No surprise– New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner has cancelled his scheduled appearance on an Islamophobic panel at the 92d Street Y organized by the Clarion Fund with neocons Richard Perle and John Bolton sharing the stage. The Times tells Politico’s Ben Smith that Bronner didn’t know what Clarion is, or who his stagemates were.

But look for the Islamophobic neocon cirque de soleil to go on, on Lexington Avenue, without the beard! (The 92d Street Y, which cannot have a Palestinian on stage by himselfZionism is corrupting our intellectual tradition.)

And note the playbook: Bronner let a week or so pass following the controversy over his appearance (set off by Eli Clifton) so that it would not appear that he was leaving under pressure. (Look for the Times to follow the same procedure when it announces, inevitably, during a lull some months from now, that Bronner is leaving the Jerusalem bureau, nothing to do with the criticisms…)

‘You lost’ — reporters at State say UNESCO vote isolates U.S. from world opinion (and possibly from intellectual property enforcement)

Nov 01, 2011

Philip Weiss

Below is the transcript of the amazing interchange yesterday between State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland and AP’s Matt Lee, among other reporters at the daily briefing. The reporters have had it with the emperor’s new clothes.

Matt Lee points out repeatedly how the United States has isolated itself from world opinion on the UNESCO vote, damaging our standing. The claim that the vote upsets the peace process is bull, Lee says; all the UNESCO vote does is “it upsets Israel.” And a nettled Nuland accuses him of engaging in “a polemic.”

Also note the back-and-forth about intellectual property conventions. The Palestinians are now certain to gain membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, another UN body.

When the U.S. deals itself out of UNESCO, the interests of American multinational corps are hurt. As Lee comments, “I used to think that this government, my government, had some intellect itself, but this just seems ridiculous.”

Finally, note the exchange over the Madrid process, which began 20 years ago and has only resulted, a questioner says, in Palestinian land being gobbled up. What does the U.S. have to show for the peace process? At the end Nuland says fretfully, “Moving on, please!”

Excerpts:

Matt Lee: All right. So, this was not particularly a banner day for U.S. diplomacy. If you count the abstentions, you had — 159 countries did not vote the way you did. Only 13 did. That would seem to suggest that these countries don’t agree with you that this is such a big problem. Those countries included the French – France. They included numerous members of the Security Council. What happens to them now that you’re punishing UNESCO? What happens to these countries that voted to, in this regrettable way that is going to undermine the peace process?

MS. NULAND: Well, those countries obviously made their own national decisions on this vote. We disagree with them. We made clear that we disagreed with them before the vote. We make clear that we disagree with them after the vote. We also make clear here today that we want to continue our relationship with UNESCO. But as we said before this vote, and as we have had to say today, legislative restrictions compel us to withhold our funding now. And that will have an impact on UNESCO.

QUESTION: But going back to – you said in your opening you said that this was regrettable, premature, and undermines our shared goal. Who’s shared goal? Who shares this goal, other than the 13 other countries that voted with you, now?

MS. NULAND: Countries all over the international system share the goal of a Palestinian state and secure borders —

QUESTION: Why would the possibly do something – how could they possibly do something that you say is so horrible and detrimental to that process? How can they – how can you still count them – count on them as sharing this goal?

MS. NULAND: You’ll have to speak to them about why they made the decision that they made. We considered that this was, as I said, regrettable, premature, and undermines the prospect of getting where we want to go. And that’s what we’re concerned about.

QUESTION: Okay and then how does it undermine, exactly? How does it undermine the prospect of where you want to go?

MS. NULAND: The concern is that it creates tensions when all of us should be concerting our efforts to get the parties back to the table.

QUESTION: The only tensions that it creates – the only thing it does is it upsets Israel and it triggers this law that will require you to stop funding UNESCO. Is there anything else? There’s nothing that changes on the ground is there?

MS. NULAND: Our concern is that this could exacerbate the environment which we’re trying to work through so that the parties will get back to the table.

QUESTION: How exactly does it exacerbate the environment if it changes nothing on the ground, unlike say, construction of settlements? It changes nothing on the ground. It gives Palestine membership in UNESCO, which is a body that the U.S. didn’t — was so unconcerned about for many years that it just wasn’t even a member.

MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know that this Administration is committed to UNESCO, rejoined UNESCO, wants to see UNESCO’s work go forward —

QUESTION: Well, actually, it was the last Administration that rejoined UNESCO, not this one. But the – I need to have some kind of clarity on how this undermines the peace process other than the fact that it upsets Israel.

MS. NULAND: Again, we are trying to get both of these parties back to the table. That’s what we’ve been doing all along. That was the basis for the President’s speech in May, basis of the diplomacy that the Quartet did through the summer, the basis of the statement that the Quartet came out with in September. So, in that context, we have been trying to improve the relationship between these parties, improve the environment between them, and we are concerned that we exacerbate tensions with this, and it makes it harder to get the parties back to the table.

QUESTION: Since the talks broke off last September until today, how many times have they met together with all your effort?

MS. NULAND: How many times have the parties met?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. NULAND: I think you know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Correct.

MS. NULAND: It doesn’t change the fact that we all are committed to trying —

QUESTION: So how can things get worse than they already are?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I think you’re engaged in a polemic here rather than questions.

Said. Please.

QUESTION: You think you’re going to get better from the next person?

MS. NULAND: Go ahead, Said.

QUESTION: Yes, Victoria. On the shared values, does that mean that hundred and seven countries, you do not share values with?

MS. NULAND: A hundred and seven countries made their own decision on this vote.

QUESTION: Right….

QUESTION: And then in terms of the impact on related organizations, several high-tech and pharmaceutical firms are said to be meeting here at State this afternoon to discuss how the lack of financial support from the U.S. might have an impact on their ability to work in the countries where UNESCO and the WIPO have their work being conducted. What more can you tell us about this meeting? How does this affect the Apples, the Googles, the pharmas of the world, when they’re looking at potentially being shut out of potentially lucrative markets?

MS. NULAND: Well, Ros, I think you’re referring to the meeting that Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Esther Brimmer is having today with representatives from some of the U.S. majors around the world to explain what the implications of this vote might be for U.S. business abroad. But my understanding is Assistant Secretary Brimmer is particularly going to call their attention to the potential that the Palestinians may now gain admission to the World Intellectual Property Organization. So – and that might have some implications for our ability to work in that organization. And of course, that’s a very important organization for companies, like the high-tech list that you cited.

QUESTION: And then —

QUESTION: — quick follow-up?

QUESTION: Well, then, what do you do – then what is the U.S. Government then telling these companies, which have been extremely concerned about intellectual piracy, dummy drugs, dummy consumer products? Does – is U.S. business being unfairly impacted because of this legislative restriction, and how can the U.S. Government try to resolve it? Or rather, the Executive Branch, how can it resolve it so that the business community isn’t unduly upset by all this?

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, she wants to make sure that these companies understand the implications of what has already happened, but also with regard to the intellectual property organization, WIPO, she wants to make sure that companies understand that Palestinian membership in WIPO could trigger – would trigger similar funding restrictions and could diminish U.S. influence in an organization that’s very important to these companies. So we need to make sure that our companies understand the implications of what’s happened and begin that conversation with them.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to suggest that perhaps, with this meeting, the State Department is hoping to induce these companies to lobby for a change, an easing of these restrictions on UNESCO funding?

MS. NULAND: I think the stage that we are at is to make sure that our companies understand what may or may not be happening in this circumstance so that we can open a conversation about how we protect their interests going forward.

..QUESTION: Back on the WIPO, actually, I was just wondering if you’d go a little bit further and explain to us what she’s telling the companies would be the effect of the reduced U.S. funding or an eliminated U.S. funding in WIPO. Does that – what would that – what effect would that practically have on U.S. companies operating overseas? Would it make the whole mechanism less efficient or would it reduce the protection for U.S. companies? What is the threat there to U.S. companies?.

MS. NULAND: Andy, let me see if I can get a little bit more for you on the specifics of the message being given, but certainly to make clear that if there’s an application to WIPO then – and the Palestinians become WIPO members, that it will trigger the same kind of funding cutoff, so already the organization will have less money to work with, but also that it could diminish our influence within WIPO, which has been very important to these companies.

QUESTION: Quite apart from the congressional lot, you’re opposed to the Palestinians having membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization?

MS. NULAND: We are.

QUESTION: You are?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Because the Palestinians don’t have any intellectual property, or because their intellectual property, because they’re not a state, is somehow less protectable or less worthy of protection?

MS. NULAND: Because this is a cascade effect of the decision in the UNESCO which we consider —

QUESTION: What does protecting intellectual property have to do – anything to do with statehood?

MS. NULAND: It has to do with the declaration of state status in UNESCO, which cascades into WIPO, that we are opposed to.

QUESTION: I used to think that this government, my government, had some intellect itself, but this just seems ridiculous. You are going to oppose them in some kind of international weather organization as well? The Civil Aviation Organization?

MS. NULAND: Our position on this with regard to all the UN agencies is the same.

QUESTION: You can – you think that there is somewhere – somewhere in this building that someone can draw a intellectually responsible and acceptable argument that membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization should not be granted to the Palestinians because they are not a state, because their intellectual property, because they’re not a state, is somehow less deserving of protection than anyone else’s, including the Syrians, including whoever else?

MS. NULAND: Matt, the move here is not with regard to the aspiration that we all have for the Palestinians to have access to and full rights of all of these UN organizations. The concern here is trying to shortcut the process of statehood, trying to establish statehood through the back door —

QUESTION: But see, that’s the —

MS. NULAND: Can I finish my point, please?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. NULAND: Thank you. Rather than establishing true statehood the way it has to be done, which is in direct negotiations with their neighbor. And from that can flow all of the benefits of these organizations.

QUESTION: But not even the Palestinians themselves say that this is a way to statehood. They —

MS. NULAND: Well, but what has been granted here —

QUESTION: They know that this is not – this does not mean statehood.

MS. NULAND: What has been granted here in UNESCO is Palestinian membership and statehood status. That’s what’s of concern.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, and the Palestinian vote on that?

MS. NULAND: Excuse me?

QUESTION: The Palestinians didn’t vote for this. A hundred and seven other countries, including some of your best friends, voted for this. The Palestinians didn’t vote for it; they just simply put it up for – they put it up for a vote. They didn’t have a vote on this.

MS. NULAND: This began —

QUESTION: You lost.

MS. NULAND: Matt —

QUESTION: Why —

MS. NULAND: Are you asking me a question that you’d like me to answer, or are you just going to have an argument with me today?

QUESTION: No, no. I’m – I want to know why you think, and everyone else – which is a position that everyone else disagrees with, that this is somehow – that this hurts the peace process or hurts the ability of the Palestinians to get a state, short of just upsetting the Israelis?

MS. NULAND: Start with the premise this process in UNESCO began with a Palestinian petition for membership, which we thought was ill-advised and ill-considered, and which we so said to the Palestinians at the time. So the Palestinians made a move here that we didn’t think was conducive to the environment for the talks or conducive to getting us back to the table. That is our concern. We want to get the Palestinians their state. It’s only going to happen if we can get these parties back to the table. We have to create an environment that gets them back to the table, and this is not helpful.

QUESTION: Okay. But you accept that 107 countries disagreed with you.

MS. NULAND: A hundred and seven countries made their own decision. We disagree with them.

QUESTION: Right. Exactly. So, I mean, isn’t it maybe – doesn’t that tell you anything, that if you add in the abstentions, which included the Brits, your special ally, who abstained, then 159 countries disagreed with you?

MS. NULAND: It tells us that we are not any closer to a Palestinian state by virtue of this vote today. We are trying to get to that end state that we want, that the Palestinians want, and we don’t think this is helpful.

QUESTION: I’m just curious. Did the Secretary have any personal diplomacy on this subject? Did she make any calls to Brits, French, whoever, in recent days specifically regarding this UNESCO vote?

MS. NULAND: The Secretary has been making the case personally against this move in the UN agencies for weeks and weeks and weeks, and she had many, many conversations about this, particularly when we were in New York.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on your efforts to bring both parties to the table? And what about the meetings that – or the meeting that Under Secretary – Deputy Secretary Nides had today with Tony Blair?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on the Tony Blair meeting. If we have anything to report, we’ll get it to you tomorrow.

I think you know where we are, that we had – Quartet had separate meetings with the parties last week. We have encouraged both parties now to go back and start working on concrete proposals for each other on land and on security. We will be working in Quartet format with each of the parties, and our aspiration still is to have them present real, meaty proposals to each other within the 90-day time clock from when this meeting happened last week.

QUESTION: Has the UNESCO vote changed or quickened the pace of lobbying at the UN mission in New York to prevent a vote for statehood in the GA?

MS. NULAND: I think the UNSC process is moving apace. They are still at the stage of analyzing the request, gathering information, et cetera.

Said.

QUESTION: Toria, today marks a milestone: It’s the 20th anniversary of the Madrid process, the Madrid peace conference, begun exactly 20 years ago. And during that time, there was a great deal of intense negotiations and some stoppages and so on and other processes and many agreements, yet the settlements have gone on throughout all this time, although the United States position was expressed very clearly at the time that settlements must stop, yet they go on. Do you have a position today reflecting on all the settlement processes over the past 20 years?

MS. NULAND: Well, let me first say that we’ve also been working for peace for 20 years, and it remains a challenge. But our position on settlements hasn’t changed, and we continue to make it.

Anything else on this subject, or can we move on?

QUESTION: So what – if we just take it just a bit further, what incentive should the Palestinians have today when they see that a great deal of the land initially allocated for their state has been gobbled up by settlement? What incentive should they have to go back to negotiations?

MS. NULAND: I think the Secretary has said this best when she said that only when borders are settled is it going to be absolutely clear where they are. So if you want all of this to be settled, you have to go back to the negotiating table and you have to, before that, present your own proposals on land and security. So that’s what we’re asking the Palestinians to do. If they are concerned, as we are, by what is going on, then come back to the table and let’s get firm borders.

QUESTION: Okay. So why wouldn’t the United States then take the initiative and call for a peace conference to actually discuss the borders of the Palestinian state, period?

MS. NULAND: Because we don’t think, and our Quartet partners don’t think, and frankly, the parties don’t think, that having a big conference is going to get us any closer. We think that the next step ought to be concrete proposals by each side on borders and on security. This will give the Palestinians an opportunity to present to the Israelis and for the Israelis to present to the Palestinians what they think the right answer are that will allow us to see how close we are, allow us to see how we can move the process forward. That’s the right way to get closer to a state and secure borders.

QUESTION: Sticking to this 90-day process that was worked out last week for both sides to come up with proposals?

MS. NULAND: Correct, correct.

QUESTION: Just on the cascade effect, if it does happen, presumably the votes will be similar to the one in UNESCO, because you are in a distinct minority in pretty much every UN group in which you don’t have a veto – although you’re in a minority there as well – you seem to be admitting that the Palestinians have you over a barrel here. They can, if they continue to go to these various agencies, force the United States to withdraw into almost a shell by – maybe not immediately, but if you get kicked out of UNESCO for having not paid your dues in two years. I expect that the other organizations have similar rules, and so you will have shrunk your international outreach, correct?

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to get too far down the tracks here. We are trying to make clear what the implications for us, what the implications for these organizations, are of the move that the Palestinians started here. And we are hoping that this will end here and we can get back to the peace talks, because that is the place where we’re going to be able to achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people. I mean, one of the things that’s most distressing about all of this is that not a single thing changes on the ground for a single Palestinian; life does not get better, as a result of what’s happened in UNESCO. And that’s been our concern from the beginning. If you care about quality of life for Palestinians and their having their own state, this is not the way to go.

QUESTION: Well, I didn’t want to get back into this, but the whole fact that nothing changes on the ground is exactly the argument that people make for saying this is not such a big deal and bad deal. But I want to get back to this. The Palestinians seem to have acted shrewdly here, no?

MS. NULAND: We disagree. We disagree.

QUESTION: Why? You’re going to —

MS. NULAND: For the reasons that I —

QUESTION: You’re going to lose your influence in UNESCO because of this, which you —

MS. NULAND: Because it doesn’t get them any closer to the state that they want, that they need, that they deserve. And it does exacerbate tensions in the region, which makes it harder to get back to the table. And it certainly doesn’t help our ability to help them through UNESCO, which does support cultural heritage sites in the Palestinian territories and throughout the Middle East. So we think it’s a mistake.

Other – can we move on? Moving on, please.

Goldstone sugarcoats persecution to try to save Israel

Nov 01, 2011

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz

Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in the Times today saying that it is “slander” to say that Israel practices “apartheid” is shocking at a number of levels. It is shocking that the eminent judge, who damaged his international reputation last spring by stepping away from a UN report he had co-authored in 2009 that was highly critical of Israel, would now step out as an Israel apologist, employing hackneyed and cookie-cutter arguments about a little democracy contending with hostile neighbors. And it is shocking that a judge with a former reputation for dispassionate examination of the facts would go as far as he has here to misrepresent the reality of the situation to try and make Israel look good.

That is where it is most important to take Goldstone on and do so emphatically—on the facts of the situation. A few of Goldstone’s points:

–Palestinians inside Israel are subject to “some… discrimination” but by and large they are full citizens, getting the identical treatment that Jewish people do, electing members of the Knesset. When they are separate, it is generally because they have separated themselves.

First and foremost this ignores how Israel’s Jewish majority was created in the first place. To say that Palestinians “have separated themselves” is to ignore that they were driven off their land in 1948, and not allowed to return. Those who stayed inside the 1949 armistice lines where kept under martial law for the next 18 years, during which time their homes and land were destroyed and taken by the state. Today, the Israeli government, through the Israel Land Administration and quasi-state organizations like the Jewish National Fund, manages 93% of the land inside the 1967 borders, and that land is reserved for Jews only. So while yes, Jews and Palestinians live very separate lives inside Israel today, it is a gross distortion to claim Palestinians have separated themselves.

And while Goldstone says that the separation of Palestinians is not an official systematic one in Israel, which is highly debatable, he is overlooking a reality, in which Palestinian communities are the last to receive water, in which Bedouin villages are decreed “unrecognized” and then demolished.

The reality today is that there is Jim Crow inside Israel. Yes, Palestinains can vote, but Palestinian parties are never represented in the ruling coalitions–a situation reminiscent of the Democratic Party in our country not seating black delegates to the presidential nominating convention in 1964. The Jewish state requires Jewish leaders; there is no way that a Palestinian Obama would be allowed anywhere near the corridors of policy-making. .

Even in Jim Crow days, America was integrating our armed forces. Palestinians are not required to serve in the army—and with the exception of the Druze, they don’t—because they are officially mistrusted. Another example: when Israeli Yonatan Shapira was asked last year to explain Palestinian status inside Israel, he said that Israel has granted permission to Jewish Israelis to start countless new towns since 1948, but no new Palestinians town has been created.

–Goldstone says that Palestinian conditions in the West Bank are much better than the “cruel” South African apartheid system he was a witness to, where blacks could not go to black beaches, could not marry whites, could not be in white areas without a pass, and yet could bleed to death waiting for a “black” ambulance.

There is no question that the “persecution” of Palestinians as the Goldstone report characterized Palestinian conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, is of a different character than South African persecution of blacks. But this is not to say that it is not as cruel or even crueler.

Palestinians must get permits to travel from the West Bank into occupied Jerusalem and into Israel, and this pass system is the subject of bitter endless discussion—Palestinans will tell you that it is a cruel system, and they are the best judges of that. 1.5 million Gazans cannot get passes to travel outside the boundaries of a strip of land about half the size of New York City due to a policy of collective punishment that the Goldstone Report said was a war crime.

It’s especially ironic that Goldstone uses the example of ambulances in South Africa when there are countless examples of Palestinians suffering under the same conditions. Many Palestinians in the West Bank have bled to death at checkpoints that Goldstone cruelly fails to mention in this op-ed. Millions of Palestinians in the West Bank cannot go to the beach a few miles away, a beach many of their parents grew up going to, because of the pass system. And as for not marrying whites, non-Jews cannot marry Jews under Israeli law, and Palestinian families are legally broken apart by legal classifications that seek to separate West Bank Palestinians from East Jerusalem Palestinians from Gazan Palestinians, all in the name of Israeli security.

It is shocking that Goldstone sugarcoats or fails to mention many conditions that he described as amounting to a crime against humanity—persecution– in his earlier report. For instance, he refers blandly to “disparate treatment on West Bank roads.” But he is talking about Israeli roads built inside occupied Palestine that Palestinians are not allowed to drive on.

The Israeli system of control in the West Bank is all organized around the principle of separation, hafradah in Hebrew, which translates into apartheid in Afrikaans—a principle that the state enforces by granting one group higher legal status than the other. In Israel’s case the separation is enforced so as to preserve a Jewish majority inside non-Palestinian areas. And it is racial: in his recitation of Israeli freedoms, Goldstone fails to mention that more than half a million Jewish settlers who live inside Palestine have the right to vote in Israeli elections, while their non-Jewish neighbors, whose land and water they have taken, are denied the right to vote for representatives of the government that controls their lives. This explicit privileging of 500,000 Jews over the 2.5 million Palestinians they are living alongside is apartheid plain and simple. In the Palestinan case however the borders and governance of the Bantustans have just not yet been established.

People will ask, why did Goldstone shred his reputation? The judge gives a powerful signal about his thinking when he begins his piece by speaking about the threat to the two-state solution from those who would “delegitimize” the state of Israel. The plain truth is that Palestinian are enraged by the conditions we have cited above, and their support for the two-state solution has collapsed after more than 20 years of a ruthless peace process that has only extended the occupation and stolen more of their lands. Few Palestinians see a happy future for them with a Zionist neighbor, and out of solidarity for their suffering, people around the world have undertaken an honest inventory of Zionism’s actions. Many have come to the conclusion that Israel is delegitimizing itself. When Goldstone told the truth in the Gaza report he honored Palestinian voices — and was accused of hurting the peace process and endangering the two-state solution. Now he is denying those same voices, apparently in an effort to revive the two-state solution and save the Jewish state.

But it will be hard to get the toothpaste back in the tube. That is the one good thing about the judge’s latest role. It is so at odds with Goldstone’s earlier statements that it will only draw further attention to the real cause of the end of the two-state solution, the cruel Israeli occupation.

Caption contest
Nov 01, 2011 03:00 pm | Adam Horowitz

UNESCOUS
(Photo: Thibault Camus/ AP)

Permanent delegate of the US to UNESCO David Killion, center, reacts as delegates vote on the Palestinian membership, during a session of UNESCO’s 36th General Conference, in Paris, Monday Oct. 31, 2011.

(h/t Angry Arab)

South Africans think Israel is practicing apartheid

Nov 01, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Paging Judge Goldstone . . . From the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa:

The HSRC commissioned an international team of scholars and practitioners of international public law from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel and the West Bank to conduct the study. The resulting 300-page draft, titled Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law, represents 15 months of research and constitutes an exhaustive review of Israel’s practices in the OPT according to definitions of colonialism and apartheid provided by international law. The project was suggested originally by the January 2007 report by eminent South African jurist John Dugard, in his capacity as Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council, when he indicated that Israel practices had assumed characteristics of colonialism and apartheid . . .

Regarding apartheid, the team found that Israel’s laws and policies in the OPT fit the definition of apartheid in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Israeli law conveys privileges to Jewish settlers and disadvantages Palestinians in the same territory on the basis of their respective identities, which function in this case as racialised identities in the sense provided by international law. Israel’s practices are corollary to five of the six ‘inhuman acts’ listed by the Convention. A policy of apartheid is especially indicated by Israel’s demarcation of geographic ‘reserves’ in the West Bank, to which Palestinian residence is confined and which Palestinians cannot leave without a permit. The system is very similar to the policy of ‘Grand Apartheid’ in apartheid South Africa, in which black South Africans were confined to black homelands delineated by the South African government, while white South Africans enjoyed freedom of movement and full civil rights in the rest of the country.

The Executive Summary of the report says that the three pillars of apartheid in South Africa are all practiced by Israel in the OPT. In South Africa, the first pillar was to demarcate the population of South Africa into racial groups, and to accord superior rights, privileges and services to the white racial group. The second pillar was to segregate the population into different geographic areas, which were allocated by law to different racial groups, and restrict passage by members of any group into the area allocated to other groups. And the third pillar was “a matrix of draconian ‘security’ laws and policies that were employed to suppress any opposition to the regime and to reinforce the system of racial domination, by providing for administrative detention, torture, censorship, banning, and assassination.”

The Report finds that Israeli practices in the OPT exhibit the same three ‘pillars’ of apartheid:

The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.

The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”

Does the UNESCO vote pave the way for broader Palestinian acceptance within the UN system?

Nov 01, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Phyllis Bennis discusses the fallout of the UNESCO vote on Democracy Now.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray says the UNESCO also sets a precedent for Palestine to join the International Criminal Court:

The UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.

As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity, acceding to the statute of Rome would not only confirm absolutely that Palestine is a state, it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.

There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, underArticle 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.

Of course, this also means the US could end up withholding funding to many more parts of the UN system. The Christian Science Monitor asks – will the UNESCO Palestine vote lead the US to defund nuclear watchdog IAEA, too?

Goldstone contra Goldstone

Nov 01, 2011

Jamie Stern-Weiner

From the New Left Project:

The degeneration of Judge Richard Goldstone continues. In April, you’ll recall, he penned an op-ed for the Washington Post that said essentially nothing, but gave the strong impression of retracting the central conclusions of the Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Gaza massacre. The key point, documented in Norman Finkelstein‘s comprehensive dissection of the recantation, is that, whatever the reasons for Goldstone’s reversal, it wasn’t based on new evidence.

After months of silence, Goldstone has now resurfaced with more of the same. He has written an op-ed for the New York Times – the paper that turned down his April recantation, forcing him to offer a more sensationalised version to the Post – devoted to refuting those who analogise Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to South African apartheid. It has predictably induced much gloating among those who not long ago were smearing him as an antisemite and a traitor. The thrust of the op-ed argues against the use of the apartheid analogy to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, either within Israel itself or within the West Bank. Goldstone slams the analogy as a “malicious” “slander”. If this is what Goldstone truly believes – something about which there is much cause for doubt – one wonders why he has taken so long to raise his voice. After all, the apartheid analogy is hardly a recent one, nor is it especially controversial. A partial list of Goldstone’s malicious slanderers includes such authorities as the Association for Civil Rights Israel; South African Nobel Leaureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu; former US President Jimmy Carter; former Israeli government ministers Yossi Sarid and Shulamit Aloni; and the “father” of South African human rights law John Dugard[note: some of these references are via Finkelstein, forthcoming]. Here’s the editorial board of Ha’aretz, Israel’s most important newspaper:

“the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact; millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation, and in the future they will turn the Jews into a minority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.”

Here’s the verdict of B’Tselem, Israel’s premier human rights organisation:

“Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the Apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Goldstone devotes two paragraphs of the op-ed to attacking the argument that Israel is practicing apartheid within the Green Line, as distinct from its occupation of Palestinian territories. But this is a straw man. Proponents of the apartheid analogy typically either restrict its application to the occupied territories, or they apply it to the system of control encompassing the entire territory between the river and the sea, on the grounds that Israel possesses de facto control over both its own and occupied Palestinian territory (that is, they reject the distinction between Israeli rule within the Green Line and Israeli rule in the oPt that Goldstone proposes as his starting point).

Goldstone then attempts to prove Israel’s innocence of apartheid in the West Bank by – there is no other way to put it – systematically lying about its conduct there. It is child’s play to show that virtually every substantive statement he makes is not only false, but was pre-emptively refuted by the Goldstone Report (PDF) itself:

Goldstone op-ed: “Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for its self-defense.”

Goldstone Report:

Israel’s restrictions on movement in the West Bank “are disproportionate to any military objective served”. They are intended to “consolidate its permanent hold on the West Bank” and amount to “a deliberate policy of closely controlling a population in order to make use of areas of its land”. [335] Despite “the claim by Israel that restrictions of movement within the West Bank are imposed on Palestinian residents for security purposes, most of these internal restrictions appear to have been designed to guarantee unobstructed travel to the Israeli inhabitants of the settlements.” [54] They therefore constitute “violations of fundamental rights”, including the Palestinians’ “right to self-determination”. [335]

The cumulative effect of the restrictions on movement has been to “effectively split” Palestinians in the West Bank from their families in Israel, from Gaza, and from East Jerusalem. [57]

Goldstone op-ed: “The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks”.

Goldstone Report:

The route of the wall is “to a great degree determined by the objective of incorporating settlements into the Israeli side” and has “contributed to the fragmentation of the West Bank into a series of enclaves”. [54] Where located on Palestinian territory (as “some 85 per cent” of it is [329fn873]) it is contrary to international law; is part of a policy aimed at (quoting an EU report) “the illegal annexation” of East Jerusalem [53]; and amounts to “the de facto annexation” of 9.5% of the West Bank. It therefore constitutes “acquisition of territory by force”, a violation of the UN Charter. [335]

Goldstone op-ed: Israel has “no intent to maintain ‘an institutonalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group'”. In Israel, “equal rights are the law”.

Goldstone Report:

Israel’s “systematic discrimination, both in law and in practice, against Palestinians” violates international law, and possibly amounts to a crime against humanity [324]. In the West Bank, “a two-tiered road system has been established” with the main roads are reserved for Israelis. [55] Israel’s legal practice in the occupied territories has resulted in “institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians… to the benefit of Jewish settlers”. Domestically Israel’s legal regime is “two-tiered”, granting Jews “superior rights and privileges”; meanwhile Palestinian inhabitants of occupied territories are categorised as “alien persons”. [57] The Report notes the conclusions of a study by the respected Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) that Israel’s “discrimination in planning and building” and other policies in Jerusalem “are concrete expressions of an Israeli policy designed to secure a Jewish majority in Jerusalem and push Palestinian residents outside”. [332]

Needless to say, where the Goldstone Report cites pages of evidence, from the most authoritative human rights organisations and international bodies, to support its conclusions, Goldstone’s op-ed cites nothing. If Goldstone could have cited authoritative sources to support the conclusions of his op-ed, he no doubt would have; he didn’t, because as exhaustively documented in the Goldstone Report, those sources comprehensively refute him.

Jamie Stern-Weiner studies politics at the University of Cambridge, and is particularly interested in the history of political thought, contemporary British foreign policy, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. His articles have been published on New Left Project, Le Monde Diplomatique and Znet. You can follow him on twitter at @jamiesw.

80 year old Palestinian woman stoned by settlers

Nov 01, 2011

Seham

438645112
80 year old Palestinian woman stoned by settlers

Settlers stone elderly Palestinian lady
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 Oct — A group of Jewish settlers Monday stoned an elderly Palestinian lady as she was picking olives in Mukhmas, a village southeast of Ramallah in the West Bank, according to local sources. The 80-year-old woman was reported to be injured in the head and transferred to hospital for treatment.

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, Property, Resources Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of Movement

Displacement of Palestinians ‘a war crime’
Spokesman for Jerusalem mayor dismisses NGO report as based on “misleading facts, blatant lies and political spin”.

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday demolished five homes belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, locals said. The demolitions, in Khan al-Ahmar near the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adumin, displaced 71 people, including 60 children, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Mufti calls for the protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israeli attacks
The Mufti of Egypt has condemned the “regular and continuous abusive practices” of the Israeli occupation authorities “which violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque” in occupied Jerusalem. The mosque is the third holiest place in Islam, said Dr. Ali Gomaa, and he appealed to the world’s Muslims “to protect Al-Aqsa and stop Israel’s violations” there.

link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

NGO: Settlers destroyed 2,600 olive trees in October
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees released a report on Tuesday which found that over 2,600 olive trees were destroyed by settlers in October. The report by the Gaza-based NGO issued findings on settler violence and attacks against Palestinian agriculture in October. According to the report, 55 attacks took place across 37 villages and in eight cities. Over 53 percent of settler attacks took place in the Nablus district.

link to www.maannews.net

Request Filed for Further Inspection of the Read Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance Program
In July 2011, three civil society organizations filed a complaint with the World Bank’s Inspection Panel regarding the Bank’s studies for the Red Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance project that aims to divert water to the Dead Sea, which has been shrinking for years.

Resheq: Deporting Sheikh Salah undermines credibility of the British judiciary
Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has criticized the British judiciary for endorsing the deportation of Sheikh Raed Salah despite his proven innocence of charges leveled against him.

link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israeli Authorities Prevent Farmers Reaching their Farmlands
On Tuesday, the Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their farmlands, which are located behind the Annexation Wall in Kufr Jamal village, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, the Palestine News & Info Agency reported.

Irrigation Water Cut-off in Ayn al-Beida Village
Mekorot, the Israeli water company has stopped pumping irrigation water to Ayn al-Beida village in the northern Jordan valley yesterday morning. The village still remains without irrigation water today. On the same day the occupation forces attacked the village and raided homes in a search that began under the pretext of theft of surrounding settlers’ property. This property theft pretext has been used many times by the occupation forces even though it has been proven in the past that thefts occur between the settlers themselves.

Four-thousand Acres in al-Negev under Siege by Settlers

After the displacement of almost 30,000 Arabs from their unrecognized villages in the Negev, many facts are coming out of the lands that they are being given to special Jewish farms which have spread in al-Negev. These facts were revealed after the Israeli farmer “Shai Dromi” put a siege around 4,000 acres which related to “his farm”.

Impact on Palestinian Workers under Israeli Occupation
Since the beginning of this Intifada in 2000, Israel has transformed the already harsh conditions under occupation into a nightmare of destruction and imprisonment. Economic life has severely suffered and unemployment has skyrocketed. Since September 2000, over 432 factories and 9,735 small shops and street seller stalls have been destroyed while Gaza’s industry has suffered complete breakdown due the destruction wrecked upon the Strip in the 2008/9 attack by Israel and the ongoing siege.

Israeli Regime Violence

Israeli MK calls for targeting resistance leaders in Gaza
Member of the Israeli Knesset Shaul Mofaz has called for liquidating commanders of Palestinian resi

weiss 

Bronner lets controversy subside, then cancels 92d St appearance w/ Perle and Bolton

Nov 01, 2011

Philip Weiss

No surprise– New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner has cancelled his scheduled appearance on an Islamophobic panel at the 92d Street Y organized by the Clarion Fund with neocons Richard Perle and John Bolton sharing the stage. The Times tells Politico’s Ben Smith that Bronner didn’t know what Clarion is, or who his stagemates were.

But look for the Islamophobic neocon cirque de soleil to go on, on Lexington Avenue, without the beard! (The 92d Street Y, which cannot have a Palestinian on stage by himselfZionism is corrupting our intellectual tradition.)

And note the playbook: Bronner let a week or so pass following the controversy over his appearance (set off by Eli Clifton) so that it would not appear that he was leaving under pressure. (Look for the Times to follow the same procedure when it announces, inevitably, during a lull some months from now, that Bronner is leaving the Jerusalem bureau, nothing to do with the criticisms…)

‘You lost’ — reporters at State say UNESCO vote isolates U.S. from world opinion (and possibly from intellectual property enforcement)

Nov 01, 2011

Philip Weiss

Below is the transcript of the amazing interchange yesterday between State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland and AP’s Matt Lee, among other reporters at the daily briefing. The reporters have had it with the emperor’s new clothes.

Matt Lee points out repeatedly how the United States has isolated itself from world opinion on the UNESCO vote, damaging our standing. The claim that the vote upsets the peace process is bull, Lee says; all the UNESCO vote does is “it upsets Israel.” And a nettled Nuland accuses him of engaging in “a polemic.”

Also note the back-and-forth about intellectual property conventions. The Palestinians are now certain to gain membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization, or WIPO, another UN body.

When the U.S. deals itself out of UNESCO, the interests of American multinational corps are hurt. As Lee comments, “I used to think that this government, my government, had some intellect itself, but this just seems ridiculous.”

Finally, note the exchange over the Madrid process, which began 20 years ago and has only resulted, a questioner says, in Palestinian land being gobbled up. What does the U.S. have to show for the peace process? At the end Nuland says fretfully, “Moving on, please!”

Excerpts:

Matt Lee: All right. So, this was not particularly a banner day for U.S. diplomacy. If you count the abstentions, you had — 159 countries did not vote the way you did. Only 13 did. That would seem to suggest that these countries don’t agree with you that this is such a big problem. Those countries included the French – France. They included numerous members of the Security Council. What happens to them now that you’re punishing UNESCO? What happens to these countries that voted to, in this regrettable way that is going to undermine the peace process?

MS. NULAND: Well, those countries obviously made their own national decisions on this vote. We disagree with them. We made clear that we disagreed with them before the vote. We make clear that we disagree with them after the vote. We also make clear here today that we want to continue our relationship with UNESCO. But as we said before this vote, and as we have had to say today, legislative restrictions compel us to withhold our funding now. And that will have an impact on UNESCO.

QUESTION: But going back to – you said in your opening you said that this was regrettable, premature, and undermines our shared goal. Who’s shared goal? Who shares this goal, other than the 13 other countries that voted with you, now?

MS. NULAND: Countries all over the international system share the goal of a Palestinian state and secure borders —

QUESTION: Why would the possibly do something – how could they possibly do something that you say is so horrible and detrimental to that process? How can they – how can you still count them – count on them as sharing this goal?

MS. NULAND: You’ll have to speak to them about why they made the decision that they made. We considered that this was, as I said, regrettable, premature, and undermines the prospect of getting where we want to go. And that’s what we’re concerned about.

QUESTION: Okay and then how does it undermine, exactly? How does it undermine the prospect of where you want to go?

MS. NULAND: The concern is that it creates tensions when all of us should be concerting our efforts to get the parties back to the table.

QUESTION: The only tensions that it creates – the only thing it does is it upsets Israel and it triggers this law that will require you to stop funding UNESCO. Is there anything else? There’s nothing that changes on the ground is there?

MS. NULAND: Our concern is that this could exacerbate the environment which we’re trying to work through so that the parties will get back to the table.

QUESTION: How exactly does it exacerbate the environment if it changes nothing on the ground, unlike say, construction of settlements? It changes nothing on the ground. It gives Palestine membership in UNESCO, which is a body that the U.S. didn’t — was so unconcerned about for many years that it just wasn’t even a member.

MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know that this Administration is committed to UNESCO, rejoined UNESCO, wants to see UNESCO’s work go forward —

QUESTION: Well, actually, it was the last Administration that rejoined UNESCO, not this one. But the – I need to have some kind of clarity on how this undermines the peace process other than the fact that it upsets Israel.

MS. NULAND: Again, we are trying to get both of these parties back to the table. That’s what we’ve been doing all along. That was the basis for the President’s speech in May, basis of the diplomacy that the Quartet did through the summer, the basis of the statement that the Quartet came out with in September. So, in that context, we have been trying to improve the relationship between these parties, improve the environment between them, and we are concerned that we exacerbate tensions with this, and it makes it harder to get the parties back to the table.

QUESTION: Since the talks broke off last September until today, how many times have they met together with all your effort?

MS. NULAND: How many times have the parties met?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. NULAND: I think you know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Correct.

MS. NULAND: It doesn’t change the fact that we all are committed to trying —

QUESTION: So how can things get worse than they already are?

MS. NULAND: Matt, I think you’re engaged in a polemic here rather than questions.

Said. Please.

QUESTION: You think you’re going to get better from the next person?

MS. NULAND: Go ahead, Said.

QUESTION: Yes, Victoria. On the shared values, does that mean that hundred and seven countries, you do not share values with?

MS. NULAND: A hundred and seven countries made their own decision on this vote.

QUESTION: Right….

QUESTION: And then in terms of the impact on related organizations, several high-tech and pharmaceutical firms are said to be meeting here at State this afternoon to discuss how the lack of financial support from the U.S. might have an impact on their ability to work in the countries where UNESCO and the WIPO have their work being conducted. What more can you tell us about this meeting? How does this affect the Apples, the Googles, the pharmas of the world, when they’re looking at potentially being shut out of potentially lucrative markets?

MS. NULAND: Well, Ros, I think you’re referring to the meeting that Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Esther Brimmer is having today with representatives from some of the U.S. majors around the world to explain what the implications of this vote might be for U.S. business abroad. But my understanding is Assistant Secretary Brimmer is particularly going to call their attention to the potential that the Palestinians may now gain admission to the World Intellectual Property Organization. So – and that might have some implications for our ability to work in that organization. And of course, that’s a very important organization for companies, like the high-tech list that you cited.

QUESTION: And then —

QUESTION: — quick follow-up?

QUESTION: Well, then, what do you do – then what is the U.S. Government then telling these companies, which have been extremely concerned about intellectual piracy, dummy drugs, dummy consumer products? Does – is U.S. business being unfairly impacted because of this legislative restriction, and how can the U.S. Government try to resolve it? Or rather, the Executive Branch, how can it resolve it so that the business community isn’t unduly upset by all this?

MS. NULAND: Well, obviously, she wants to make sure that these companies understand the implications of what has already happened, but also with regard to the intellectual property organization, WIPO, she wants to make sure that companies understand that Palestinian membership in WIPO could trigger – would trigger similar funding restrictions and could diminish U.S. influence in an organization that’s very important to these companies. So we need to make sure that our companies understand the implications of what’s happened and begin that conversation with them.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to suggest that perhaps, with this meeting, the State Department is hoping to induce these companies to lobby for a change, an easing of these restrictions on UNESCO funding?

MS. NULAND: I think the stage that we are at is to make sure that our companies understand what may or may not be happening in this circumstance so that we can open a conversation about how we protect their interests going forward.

..QUESTION: Back on the WIPO, actually, I was just wondering if you’d go a little bit further and explain to us what she’s telling the companies would be the effect of the reduced U.S. funding or an eliminated U.S. funding in WIPO. Does that – what would that – what effect would that practically have on U.S. companies operating overseas? Would it make the whole mechanism less efficient or would it reduce the protection for U.S. companies? What is the threat there to U.S. companies?.

MS. NULAND: Andy, let me see if I can get a little bit more for you on the specifics of the message being given, but certainly to make clear that if there’s an application to WIPO then – and the Palestinians become WIPO members, that it will trigger the same kind of funding cutoff, so already the organization will have less money to work with, but also that it could diminish our influence within WIPO, which has been very important to these companies.

QUESTION: Quite apart from the congressional lot, you’re opposed to the Palestinians having membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization?

MS. NULAND: We are.

QUESTION: You are?

MS. NULAND: Yeah.

QUESTION: Because the Palestinians don’t have any intellectual property, or because their intellectual property, because they’re not a state, is somehow less protectable or less worthy of protection?

MS. NULAND: Because this is a cascade effect of the decision in the UNESCO which we consider —

QUESTION: What does protecting intellectual property have to do – anything to do with statehood?

MS. NULAND: It has to do with the declaration of state status in UNESCO, which cascades into WIPO, that we are opposed to.

QUESTION: I used to think that this government, my government, had some intellect itself, but this just seems ridiculous. You are going to oppose them in some kind of international weather organization as well? The Civil Aviation Organization?

MS. NULAND: Our position on this with regard to all the UN agencies is the same.

QUESTION: You can – you think that there is somewhere – somewhere in this building that someone can draw a intellectually responsible and acceptable argument that membership in the World Intellectual Property Organization should not be granted to the Palestinians because they are not a state, because their intellectual property, because they’re not a state, is somehow less deserving of protection than anyone else’s, including the Syrians, including whoever else?

MS. NULAND: Matt, the move here is not with regard to the aspiration that we all have for the Palestinians to have access to and full rights of all of these UN organizations. The concern here is trying to shortcut the process of statehood, trying to establish statehood through the back door —

QUESTION: But see, that’s the —

MS. NULAND: Can I finish my point, please?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. NULAND: Thank you. Rather than establishing true statehood the way it has to be done, which is in direct negotiations with their neighbor. And from that can flow all of the benefits of these organizations.

QUESTION: But not even the Palestinians themselves say that this is a way to statehood. They —

MS. NULAND: Well, but what has been granted here —

QUESTION: They know that this is not – this does not mean statehood.

MS. NULAND: What has been granted here in UNESCO is Palestinian membership and statehood status. That’s what’s of concern.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, and the Palestinian vote on that?

MS. NULAND: Excuse me?

QUESTION: The Palestinians didn’t vote for this. A hundred and seven other countries, including some of your best friends, voted for this. The Palestinians didn’t vote for it; they just simply put it up for – they put it up for a vote. They didn’t have a vote on this.

MS. NULAND: This began —

QUESTION: You lost.

MS. NULAND: Matt —

QUESTION: Why —

MS. NULAND: Are you asking me a question that you’d like me to answer, or are you just going to have an argument with me today?

QUESTION: No, no. I’m – I want to know why you think, and everyone else – which is a position that everyone else disagrees with, that this is somehow – that this hurts the peace process or hurts the ability of the Palestinians to get a state, short of just upsetting the Israelis?

MS. NULAND: Start with the premise this process in UNESCO began with a Palestinian petition for membership, which we thought was ill-advised and ill-considered, and which we so said to the Palestinians at the time. So the Palestinians made a move here that we didn’t think was conducive to the environment for the talks or conducive to getting us back to the table. That is our concern. We want to get the Palestinians their state. It’s only going to happen if we can get these parties back to the table. We have to create an environment that gets them back to the table, and this is not helpful.

QUESTION: Okay. But you accept that 107 countries disagreed with you.

MS. NULAND: A hundred and seven countries made their own decision. We disagree with them.

QUESTION: Right. Exactly. So, I mean, isn’t it maybe – doesn’t that tell you anything, that if you add in the abstentions, which included the Brits, your special ally, who abstained, then 159 countries disagreed with you?

MS. NULAND: It tells us that we are not any closer to a Palestinian state by virtue of this vote today. We are trying to get to that end state that we want, that the Palestinians want, and we don’t think this is helpful.

QUESTION: I’m just curious. Did the Secretary have any personal diplomacy on this subject? Did she make any calls to Brits, French, whoever, in recent days specifically regarding this UNESCO vote?

MS. NULAND: The Secretary has been making the case personally against this move in the UN agencies for weeks and weeks and weeks, and she had many, many conversations about this, particularly when we were in New York.

QUESTION: Do you have any update on your efforts to bring both parties to the table? And what about the meetings that – or the meeting that Under Secretary – Deputy Secretary Nides had today with Tony Blair?

MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything for you on the Tony Blair meeting. If we have anything to report, we’ll get it to you tomorrow.

I think you know where we are, that we had – Quartet had separate meetings with the parties last week. We have encouraged both parties now to go back and start working on concrete proposals for each other on land and on security. We will be working in Quartet format with each of the parties, and our aspiration still is to have them present real, meaty proposals to each other within the 90-day time clock from when this meeting happened last week.

QUESTION: Has the UNESCO vote changed or quickened the pace of lobbying at the UN mission in New York to prevent a vote for statehood in the GA?

MS. NULAND: I think the UNSC process is moving apace. They are still at the stage of analyzing the request, gathering information, et cetera.

Said.

QUESTION: Toria, today marks a milestone: It’s the 20th anniversary of the Madrid process, the Madrid peace conference, begun exactly 20 years ago. And during that time, there was a great deal of intense negotiations and some stoppages and so on and other processes and many agreements, yet the settlements have gone on throughout all this time, although the United States position was expressed very clearly at the time that settlements must stop, yet they go on. Do you have a position today reflecting on all the settlement processes over the past 20 years?

MS. NULAND: Well, let me first say that we’ve also been working for peace for 20 years, and it remains a challenge. But our position on settlements hasn’t changed, and we continue to make it.

Anything else on this subject, or can we move on?

QUESTION: So what – if we just take it just a bit further, what incentive should the Palestinians have today when they see that a great deal of the land initially allocated for their state has been gobbled up by settlement? What incentive should they have to go back to negotiations?

MS. NULAND: I think the Secretary has said this best when she said that only when borders are settled is it going to be absolutely clear where they are. So if you want all of this to be settled, you have to go back to the negotiating table and you have to, before that, present your own proposals on land and security. So that’s what we’re asking the Palestinians to do. If they are concerned, as we are, by what is going on, then come back to the table and let’s get firm borders.

QUESTION: Okay. So why wouldn’t the United States then take the initiative and call for a peace conference to actually discuss the borders of the Palestinian state, period?

MS. NULAND: Because we don’t think, and our Quartet partners don’t think, and frankly, the parties don’t think, that having a big conference is going to get us any closer. We think that the next step ought to be concrete proposals by each side on borders and on security. This will give the Palestinians an opportunity to present to the Israelis and for the Israelis to present to the Palestinians what they think the right answer are that will allow us to see how close we are, allow us to see how we can move the process forward. That’s the right way to get closer to a state and secure borders.

QUESTION: Sticking to this 90-day process that was worked out last week for both sides to come up with proposals?

MS. NULAND: Correct, correct.

QUESTION: Just on the cascade effect, if it does happen, presumably the votes will be similar to the one in UNESCO, because you are in a distinct minority in pretty much every UN group in which you don’t have a veto – although you’re in a minority there as well – you seem to be admitting that the Palestinians have you over a barrel here. They can, if they continue to go to these various agencies, force the United States to withdraw into almost a shell by – maybe not immediately, but if you get kicked out of UNESCO for having not paid your dues in two years. I expect that the other organizations have similar rules, and so you will have shrunk your international outreach, correct?

MS. NULAND: I’m not going to get too far down the tracks here. We are trying to make clear what the implications for us, what the implications for these organizations, are of the move that the Palestinians started here. And we are hoping that this will end here and we can get back to the peace talks, because that is the place where we’re going to be able to achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people. I mean, one of the things that’s most distressing about all of this is that not a single thing changes on the ground for a single Palestinian; life does not get better, as a result of what’s happened in UNESCO. And that’s been our concern from the beginning. If you care about quality of life for Palestinians and their having their own state, this is not the way to go.

QUESTION: Well, I didn’t want to get back into this, but the whole fact that nothing changes on the ground is exactly the argument that people make for saying this is not such a big deal and bad deal. But I want to get back to this. The Palestinians seem to have acted shrewdly here, no?

MS. NULAND: We disagree. We disagree.

QUESTION: Why? You’re going to —

MS. NULAND: For the reasons that I —

QUESTION: You’re going to lose your influence in UNESCO because of this, which you —

MS. NULAND: Because it doesn’t get them any closer to the state that they want, that they need, that they deserve. And it does exacerbate tensions in the region, which makes it harder to get back to the table. And it certainly doesn’t help our ability to help them through UNESCO, which does support cultural heritage sites in the Palestinian territories and throughout the Middle East. So we think it’s a mistake.

Other – can we move on? Moving on, please.

Goldstone sugarcoats persecution to try to save Israel
Nov 01, 2011

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz

Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in the Times today saying that it is “slander” to say that Israel practices “apartheid” is shocking at a number of levels. It is shocking that the eminent judge, who damaged his international reputation last spring by stepping away from a UN report he had co-authored in 2009 that was highly critical of Israel, would now step out as an Israel apologist, employing hackneyed and cookie-cutter arguments about a little democracy contending with hostile neighbors. And it is shocking that a judge with a former reputation for dispassionate examination of the facts would go as far as he has here to misrepresent the reality of the situation to try and make Israel look good.

That is where it is most important to take Goldstone on and do so emphatically—on the facts of the situation. A few of Goldstone’s points:

–Palestinians inside Israel are subject to “some… discrimination” but by and large they are full citizens, getting the identical treatment that Jewish people do, electing members of the Knesset. When they are separate, it is generally because they have separated themselves.

First and foremost this ignores how Israel’s Jewish majority was created in the first place. To say that Palestinians “have separated themselves” is to ignore that they were driven off their land in 1948, and not allowed to return. Those who stayed inside the 1949 armistice lines where kept under martial law for the next 18 years, during which time their homes and land were destroyed and taken by the state. Today, the Israeli government, through the Israel Land Administration and quasi-state organizations like the Jewish National Fund, manages 93% of the land inside the 1967 borders, and that land is reserved for Jews only. So while yes, Jews and Palestinians live very separate lives inside Israel today, it is a gross distortion to claim Palestinians have separated themselves.

And while Goldstone says that the separation of Palestinians is not an official systematic one in Israel, which is highly debatable, he is overlooking a reality, in which Palestinian communities are the last to receive water, in which Bedouin villages are decreed “unrecognized” and then demolished.

The reality today is that there is Jim Crow inside Israel. Yes, Palestinains can vote, but Palestinian parties are never represented in the ruling coalitions–a situation reminiscent of the Democratic Party in our country not seating black delegates to the presidential nominating convention in 1964. The Jewish state requires Jewish leaders; there is no way that a Palestinian Obama would be allowed anywhere near the corridors of policy-making. .

Even in Jim Crow days, America was integrating our armed forces. Palestinians are not required to serve in the army—and with the exception of the Druze, they don’t—because they are officially mistrusted. Another example: when Israeli Yonatan Shapira was asked last year to explain Palestinian status inside Israel, he said that Israel has granted permission to Jewish Israelis to start countless new towns since 1948, but no new Palestinians town has been created.

–Goldstone says that Palestinian conditions in the West Bank are much better than the “cruel” South African apartheid system he was a witness to, where blacks could not go to black beaches, could not marry whites, could not be in white areas without a pass, and yet could bleed to death waiting for a “black” ambulance.

There is no question that the “persecution” of Palestinians as the Goldstone report characterized Palestinian conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, is of a different character than South African persecution of blacks. But this is not to say that it is not as cruel or even crueler.

Palestinians must get permits to travel from the West Bank into occupied Jerusalem and into Israel, and this pass system is the subject of bitter endless discussion—Palestinans will tell you that it is a cruel system, and they are the best judges of that. 1.5 million Gazans cannot get passes to travel outside the boundaries of a strip of land about half the size of New York City due to a policy of collective punishment that the Goldstone Report said was a war crime.

It’s especially ironic that Goldstone uses the example of ambulances in South Africa when there are countless examples of Palestinians suffering under the same conditions. Many Palestinians in the West Bank have bled to death at checkpoints that Goldstone cruelly fails to mention in this op-ed. Millions of Palestinians in the West Bank cannot go to the beach a few miles away, a beach many of their parents grew up going to, because of the pass system. And as for not marrying whites, non-Jews cannot marry Jews under Israeli law, and Palestinian families are legally broken apart by legal classifications that seek to separate West Bank Palestinians from East Jerusalem Palestinians from Gazan Palestinians, all in the name of Israeli security.

It is shocking that Goldstone sugarcoats or fails to mention many conditions that he described as amounting to a crime against humanity—persecution– in his earlier report. For instance, he refers blandly to “disparate treatment on West Bank roads.” But he is talking about Israeli roads built inside occupied Palestine that Palestinians are not allowed to drive on.

The Israeli system of control in the West Bank is all organized around the principle of separation, hafradah in Hebrew, which translates into apartheid in Afrikaans—a principle that the state enforces by granting one group higher legal status than the other. In Israel’s case the separation is enforced so as to preserve a Jewish majority inside non-Palestinian areas. And it is racial: in his recitation of Israeli freedoms, Goldstone fails to mention that more than half a million Jewish settlers who live inside Palestine have the right to vote in Israeli elections, while their non-Jewish neighbors, whose land and water they have taken, are denied the right to vote for representatives of the government that controls their lives. This explicit privileging of 500,000 Jews over the 2.5 million Palestinians they are living alongside is apartheid plain and simple. In the Palestinan case however the borders and governance of the Bantustans have just not yet been established.

People will ask, why did Goldstone shred his reputation? The judge gives a powerful signal about his thinking when he begins his piece by speaking about the threat to the two-state solution from those who would “delegitimize” the state of Israel. The plain truth is that Palestinian are enraged by the conditions we have cited above, and their support for the two-state solution has collapsed after more than 20 years of a ruthless peace process that has only extended the occupation and stolen more of their lands. Few Palestinians see a happy future for them with a Zionist neighbor, and out of solidarity for their suffering, people around the world have undertaken an honest inventory of Zionism’s actions. Many have come to the conclusion that Israel is delegitimizing itself. When Goldstone told the truth in the Gaza report he honored Palestinian voices — and was accused of hurting the peace process and endangering the two-state solution. Now he is denying those same voices, apparently in an effort to revive the two-state solution and save the Jewish state.

But it will be hard to get the toothpaste back in the tube. That is the one good thing about the judge’s latest role. It is so at odds with Goldstone’s earlier statements that it will only draw further attention to the real cause of the end of the two-state solution, the cruel Israeli occupation.

 

Caption contest
Nov 01, 2011

Adam Horowitz

UNESCOUS
(Photo: Thibault Camus/ AP)

Permanent delegate of the US to UNESCO David Killion, center, reacts as delegates vote on the Palestinian membership, during a session of UNESCO’s 36th General Conference, in Paris, Monday Oct. 31, 2011.

(h/t Angry Arab)

South Africans think Israel is practicing apartheid
Nov 01, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Paging Judge Goldstone . . . From the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa:

The HSRC commissioned an international team of scholars and practitioners of international public law from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel and the West Bank to conduct the study. The resulting 300-page draft, titled Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law, represents 15 months of research and constitutes an exhaustive review of Israel’s practices in the OPT according to definitions of colonialism and apartheid provided by international law. The project was suggested originally by the January 2007 report by eminent South African jurist John Dugard, in his capacity as Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council, when he indicated that Israel practices had assumed characteristics of colonialism and apartheid . . .

Regarding apartheid, the team found that Israel’s laws and policies in the OPT fit the definition of apartheid in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Israeli law conveys privileges to Jewish settlers and disadvantages Palestinians in the same territory on the basis of their respective identities, which function in this case as racialised identities in the sense provided by international law. Israel’s practices are corollary to five of the six ‘inhuman acts’ listed by the Convention. A policy of apartheid is especially indicated by Israel’s demarcation of geographic ‘reserves’ in the West Bank, to which Palestinian residence is confined and which Palestinians cannot leave without a permit. The system is very similar to the policy of ‘Grand Apartheid’ in apartheid South Africa, in which black South Africans were confined to black homelands delineated by the South African government, while white South Africans enjoyed freedom of movement and full civil rights in the rest of the country.

The Executive Summary of the report says that the three pillars of apartheid in South Africa are all practiced by Israel in the OPT. In South Africa, the first pillar was to demarcate the population of South Africa into racial groups, and to accord superior rights, privileges and services to the white racial group. The second pillar was to segregate the population into different geographic areas, which were allocated by law to different racial groups, and restrict passage by members of any group into the area allocated to other groups. And the third pillar was “a matrix of draconian ‘security’ laws and policies that were employed to suppress any opposition to the regime and to reinforce the system of racial domination, by providing for administrative detention, torture, censorship, banning, and assassination.”

The Report finds that Israeli practices in the OPT exhibit the same three ‘pillars’ of apartheid:

The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.

The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”

Does the UNESCO vote pave the way for broader Palestinian acceptance within the UN system?
Nov 01, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Phyllis Bennis discusses the fallout of the UNESCO vote on Democracy Now.

Former British Ambassador Craig Murray says the UNESCO also sets a precedent for Palestine to join the International Criminal Court:

The UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.

As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity, acceding to the statute of Rome would not only confirm absolutely that Palestine is a state, it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.

There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, underArticle 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.

Of course, this also means the US could end up withholding funding to many more parts of the UN system. The Christian Science Monitor asks – will the UNESCO Palestine vote lead the US to defund nuclear watchdog IAEA, too?

Goldstone contra Goldstone
Nov 01, 2011

Jamie Stern-Weiner

From the New Left Project:

The degeneration of Judge Richard Goldstone continues. In April, you’ll recall, he penned an op-ed for the Washington Post that said essentially nothing, but gave the strong impression of retracting the central conclusions of the Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Gaza massacre. The key point, documented in Norman Finkelstein‘s comprehensive dissection of the recantation, is that, whatever the reasons for Goldstone’s reversal, it wasn’t based on new evidence.

After months of silence, Goldstone has now resurfaced with more of the same. He has written an op-ed for the New York Times – the paper that turned down his April recantation, forcing him to offer a more sensationalised version to the Post – devoted to refuting those who analogise Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to South African apartheid. It has predictably induced much gloating among those who not long ago were smearing him as an antisemite and a traitor. The thrust of the op-ed argues against the use of the apartheid analogy to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, either within Israel itself or within the West Bank. Goldstone slams the analogy as a “malicious” “slander”. If this is what Goldstone truly believes – something about which there is much cause for doubt – one wonders why he has taken so long to raise his voice. After all, the apartheid analogy is hardly a recent one, nor is it especially controversial. A partial list of Goldstone’s malicious slanderers includes such authorities as the Association for Civil Rights Israel; South African Nobel Leaureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu; former US President Jimmy Carter; former Israeli government ministers Yossi Sarid and Shulamit Aloni; and the “father” of South African human rights law John Dugard[note: some of these references are via Finkelstein, forthcoming]. Here’s the editorial board of Ha’aretz, Israel’s most important newspaper:

“the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact; millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation, and in the future they will turn the Jews into a minority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.”

Here’s the verdict of B’Tselem, Israel’s premier human rights organisation:

“Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the Apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Goldstone devotes two paragraphs of the op-ed to attacking the argument that Israel is practicing apartheid within the Green Line, as distinct from its occupation of Palestinian territories. But this is a straw man. Proponents of the apartheid analogy typically either restrict its application to the occupied territories, or they apply it to the system of control encompassing the entire territory between the river and the sea, on the grounds that Israel possesses de facto control over both its own and occupied Palestinian territory (that is, they reject the distinction between Israeli rule within the Green Line and Israeli rule in the oPt that Goldstone proposes as his starting point).

Goldstone then attempts to prove Israel’s innocence of apartheid in the West Bank by – there is no other way to put it – systematically lying about its conduct there. It is child’s play to show that virtually every substantive statement he makes is not only false, but was pre-emptively refuted by the Goldstone Report (PDF) itself:

Goldstone op-ed: “Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for its self-defense.”

Goldstone Report:

Israel’s restrictions on movement in the West Bank “are disproportionate to any military objective served”. They are intended to “consolidate its permanent hold on the West Bank” and amount to “a deliberate policy of closely controlling a population in order to make use of areas of its land”. [335] Despite “the claim by Israel that restrictions of movement within the West Bank are imposed on Palestinian residents for security purposes, most of these internal restrictions appear to have been designed to guarantee unobstructed travel to the Israeli inhabitants of the settlements.” [54] They therefore constitute “violations of fundamental rights”, including the Palestinians’ “right to self-determination”. [335]

The cumulative effect of the restrictions on movement has been to “effectively split” Palestinians in the West Bank from their families in Israel, from Gaza, and from East Jerusalem. [57]

Goldstone op-ed: “The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks”.

Goldstone Report:

The route of the wall is “to a great degree determined by the objective of incorporating settlements into the Israeli side” and has “contributed to the fragmentation of the West Bank into a series of enclaves”. [54] Where located on Palestinian territory (as “some 85 per cent” of it is [329fn873]) it is contrary to international law; is part of a policy aimed at (quoting an EU report) “the illegal annexation” of East Jerusalem [53]; and amounts to “the de facto annexation” of 9.5% of the West Bank. It therefore constitutes “acquisition of territory by force”, a violation of the UN Charter. [335]

Goldstone op-ed: Israel has “no intent to maintain ‘an institutonalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group'”. In Israel, “equal rights are the law”.

Goldstone Report:

Israel’s “systematic discrimination, both in law and in practice, against Palestinians” violates international law, and possibly amounts to a crime against humanity [324]. In the West Bank, “a two-tiered road system has been established” with the main roads are reserved for Israelis. [55] Israel’s legal practice in the occupied territories has resulted in “institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians… to the benefit of Jewish settlers”. Domestically Israel’s legal regime is “two-tiered”, granting Jews “superior rights and privileges”; meanwhile Palestinian inhabitants of occupied territories are categorised as “alien persons”. [57] The Report notes the conclusions of a study by the respected Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) that Israel’s “discrimination in planning and building” and other policies in Jerusalem “are concrete expressions of an Israeli policy designed to secure a Jewish majority in Jerusalem and push Palestinian residents outside”. [332]

Needless to say, where the Goldstone Report cites pages of evidence, from the most authoritative human rights organisations and international bodies, to support its conclusions, Goldstone’s op-ed cites nothing. If Goldstone could have cited authoritative sources to support the conclusions of his op-ed, he no doubt would have; he didn’t, because as exhaustively documented in the Goldstone Report, those sources comprehensively refute him.

Jamie Stern-Weiner studies politics at the University of Cambridge, and is particularly interested in the history of political thought, contemporary British foreign policy, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. His articles have been published on New Left Project, Le Monde Diplomatique and Znet. You can follow him on twitter at @jamiesw.

80 year old Palestinian woman stoned by settlers
Nov 01, 2011

Seham

438645112
80 year old Palestinian woman stoned by settlers

Settlers stone elderly Palestinian lady
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 Oct — A group of Jewish settlers Monday stoned an elderly Palestinian lady as she was picking olives in Mukhmas, a village southeast of Ramallah in the West Bank, according to local sources. The 80-year-old woman was reported to be injured in the head and transferred to hospital for treatment.

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land, Property, Resources Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Restriction of Movement

Displacement of Palestinians ‘a war crime’
Spokesman for Jerusalem mayor dismisses NGO report as based on “misleading facts, blatant lies and political spin”.

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday demolished five homes belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, locals said. The demolitions, in Khan al-Ahmar near the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adumin, displaced 71 people, including 60 children, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Mufti calls for the protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israeli attacks
The Mufti of Egypt has condemned the “regular and continuous abusive practices” of the Israeli occupation authorities “which violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque” in occupied Jerusalem. The mosque is the third holiest place in Islam, said Dr. Ali Gomaa, and he appealed to the world’s Muslims “to protect Al-Aqsa and stop Israel’s violations” there.

link to www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk

NGO: Settlers destroyed 2,600 olive trees in October
NABLUS (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees released a report on Tuesday which found that over 2,600 olive trees were destroyed by settlers in October. The report by the Gaza-based NGO issued findings on settler violence and attacks against Palestinian agriculture in October. According to the report, 55 attacks took place across 37 villages and in eight cities. Over 53 percent of settler attacks took place in the Nablus district.

link to www.maannews.net

Request Filed for Further Inspection of the Read Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance Program
In July 2011, three civil society organizations filed a complaint with the World Bank’s Inspection Panel regarding the Bank’s studies for the Red Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance project that aims to divert water to the Dead Sea, which has been shrinking for years.

Resheq: Deporting Sheikh Salah undermines credibility of the British judiciary
Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has criticized the British judiciary for endorsing the deportation of Sheikh Raed Salah despite his proven innocence of charges leveled against him.

link to www.palestine-info.co.uk

Israeli Authorities Prevent Farmers Reaching their Farmlands
On Tuesday, the Israeli authorities prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their farmlands, which are located behind the Annexation Wall in Kufr Jamal village, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, the Palestine News & Info Agency reported.

Irrigation Water Cut-off in Ayn al-Beida Village
Mekorot, the Israeli water company has stopped pumping irrigation water to Ayn al-Beida village in the northern Jordan valley yesterday morning. The village still remains without irrigation water today. On the same day the occupation forces attacked the village and raided homes in a search that began under the pretext of theft of surrounding settlers’ property. This property theft pretext has been used many times by the occupation forces even though it has been proven in the past that thefts occur between the settlers themselves.

Four-thousand Acres in al-Negev under Siege by Settlers

After the displacement of almost 30,000 Arabs from their unrecognized villages in the Negev, many facts are coming out of the lands that they are being given to special Jewish farms which have spread in al-Negev. These facts were revealed after the Israeli farmer “Shai Dromi” put a siege around 4,000 acres which related to “his farm”.

Impact on Palestinian Workers under Israeli Occupation
Since the beginning of this Intifada in 2000, Israel has transformed the already harsh conditions under occupation into a nightmare of destruction and imprisonment. Economic life has severely suffered and unemployment has skyrocketed. Since September 2000, over 432 factories and 9,735 small shops and street seller stalls have been destroyed while Gaza’s industry has suffered complete breakdown due the destruction wrecked upon the Strip in the 2008/9 attack by Israel and the ongoing siege.

Israeli Regime Violence

Israeli MK calls for targeting resistance leaders in Gaza
Member of the Israeli Knesset Shaul Mofaz has called for liquidating commanders of Palestinian resi

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

The Israeli Authority escalate its closure campaign against the Palestinian local NGOs in Jerusalem

NOVANEWS 

The Palestinian Institutions in Jerusalem strongly condemn the closure of four Palestinian NGOs in Jerusalem . Part of the Israeli policy to control and undermined the role of Palestinian civil society presence and effort Jerusalem . On the 25th of October, the Israeli Police handed a closing order to four registered Palestinian Jerusalemite NGOs for one month. The four NGOs provide services for Palestinian community in Jerusalem . The four NGOs include:

·   Shua’a Women Association: is a community based organization working in Jerusalem . Shua’a is, well known, and well respected Palestinian NGO dedicated to the empowering of women in Jerusalem to achieve their social, economic and political rights.; it provides educational opportunities and capacity building for Palestinian women in Jerusalem , strengthening their abilities and presence in their communities through education, enhancing leadership, capacity building workshops and training activities. 

·   Al Quads development foundation: Al Quads foundation is a well-known repected developmental and charitable institutions located in Dahiat Al bareed junction.  It provides legal intervention for targeted areas in Jerusalem such as AL bustan/Silwan. It provides material and financial support for poor and marginalized families in East Jerusalem . It organizes alternative tours of Jerusalem mainly the old city. It provides support to schools and students, such as computer centers and recreation projects.

·      Work without border: It is professional Center which provides employment opportunity for youth on line.

·         Saeed educational Center: It is an educational institution located in Kufour Aqab. It provides educational support to schools and students. It provides creative educational programs for students. It provides educational training on creative education style for east Jerusalem schools. It provides academic counseling and consultation for academic institutions.

 

The closure of the four NGOs is not an isolated incident of socio-cultural repression in East Jerusalem . Since August 2001, the Israeli authorities closed approximately 28 organizations serving the Palestinian community, including the reputable Orient House, the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce and the Arab Studies Society. Since the beginning of 2009, Israeli authorities have banned, and physically prevented, numerous peaceful, cultural, and educational activities marking the declaration of Jerusalem as the “Capital of Arab Culture 2009.” In addition, the Palestinian National Theater, which hosts folkloric dancing festivals, art exhibitions for Palestinian artists, and a Palestinian festival for literature, was subjected to several closures during 2009. Other institutions subjected to closures include the Cultural Forum Society, the Agricultural and Industrial Chamber of Commerce, the Higher Tourist Culture Center , and the Small Project Center , established by the European Union. The activities carried out by these institutions were publicized in the media, and all relate to the social, cultural, and economic development of the Palestinian community. 


The closure of these and other Palestinian institutions are part of a broader policy through which the Israeli authorities seek to stifle Palestinian development in Jerusalem and increase the strength of Israel ’s occupation over East Jerusalem .  These closures relate to the overarching policy that includes violations of housing rights, revocation of residency, and ultimately results in the forced displacement of Palestinians from Jerusalem . 


East Jerusalem is incontrovertibly recognized under international law as an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory over which the Palestinian people are entitled to exercise their right to self-determination. As a fundamental principle of international human rights law, the right to self-determination includes the right of peoples to freely pursue their social, cultural, and economic development. Furthermore, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are also fundamental guarantees enshrined under international human rights law that are systematically denied to the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem

 

The Palestinian Institutions in Jerusalem call upon the international Community, the United Nations, and the EU, to take responsibility to uphold their obligations towards the protected persons under occupation in Jerusalem .  We demand the International community to oblige the Israeli government to refrain from closing the Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem .


Posted in Human RightsComments Off on The Israeli Authority escalate its closure campaign against the Palestinian local NGOs in Jerusalem

Occupy Wall Street not Palestine!

NOVANEWS 

We are part of the world’s 99% yearning for freedom, justice and equal rights!

 

If a people one day wills to live                     fate must answer its call

And the night must fade                                   and the chain must break

— Abou-Al-kacem El-Chebbi (Tunisia)

Occupied Palestine  – The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the largest Palestinian civil society coalition struggling for Palestinian rights, is proud to stand in solidarity with the movements struggling for a new world based on democracy, human rights and economic justice. From New York to Athens, from Madrid to Santiago, from Bahrain to Rome, these huge mobilisations provide a much needed reminder of something that Palestinians have always known – that another world, a dignifying one, is possible and ordinary people can create it.

Our aspirations overlap; our struggles converge. Our oppressors, whether greedy corporations or military occupations, are united in profiting from wars, pillage, environmental destruction, repression and impoverishment. We must unite in our common quest for freedoms, equal rights, social and economic justice, environmental sanity, and world peace. We can no longer afford to be splintered and divided; we can no longer ignore our obligations to join hands in the struggle against wars and corporate exploitation and for a human-friendly world community not a profit-maximizing jungle.

The Occupy Wall Street movement and its counterparts across the US, Europe, Latin America and elsewhere are — at least partially — inspired by the Arab Spring for democracy and social justice. Leaders of the Arab popular revolts tell us that they, in turn, were largely inspired by our own, decades-old struggle against Israel’s occupation of our land, its system of discrimination that matches the UN’s definition of apartheid, and its denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return home.

The rapidly emerging movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law is a key and effective part of the Palestinian struggle. Anchored in universal principles of human rights and struggling for freedom, justice and equality, the BDS movement, established in 2005, is deeply rooted in decades of Palestinian peaceful resistance to colonial oppression and is inspired by the South African struggle against apartheid as well as the civil rights movement in the US. It is adopted by a near consensus among Palestinians everywhere, with all the main political parties, trade unions, professional syndicates, women’s unions, student groups, NGO networks and refugee advocacy networks represented in the BNC, the reference for this growing movement to end Israeli impunity.

The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a global effort of groups, from South Africa to Britain, from Canada to India, and within Israel itself, all committed to ending Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights. It is endorsed by towering moral leaders of the calibre of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Holocaust survivor and co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Stephane Hessel. It is supported by world renowned cultural and intellectual figures such as Alice Walker, Naomi Klein, Roger Waters, Judith Butler, Sarah Schulman, John Berger, Ken Loach, John Greyson, and Adrienne Rich.  Massive trade union federations such as COSATU (South Africa), CUT (Brazil), TUC (UK), ICTU (Ireland), among many others, have also adopted BDS.

The movement has scored in the last two years some spectacular achievements when internationally renowned artists and music groups heeded the cultural boycott of Israel and refused to perform there or cancelled scheduled appearances. These have included the Pixies, Elvis Costello, Snoop Dogg, Meg Ryan, Vanessa Paradis, Gil Scott-Heron, among many others. The Norwegian state pension fund, among others, major European banks and some corporations have all been convinced to divest from businesses implicated in Israel’s violations of international law. Increasingly, BDS is recognized as a civic movement capable of ending Israeli impunity and, crucially, contributing to the global struggle against the war-mongering, racist agenda which Israel has persistently played a key role in.

So as you break your own chains and build your own effective resistance against corporate tyranny, we ask you to demand a just peace for all the peoples in the Middle East, based on international law and equal human rights. Palestinians, too, are part of the 99% around the world that suffer at the hands of the 1% whose greed and ruthless quest for hegemony have led to unspeakable suffering and endless war. Corporate power has not just profited from our suffering but has colluded in maintaining Israel’s occupation and apartheid to perpetuate an unjust order that profits oil and military companies and multinational financial institutions.

We call upon all the spreading social movements of the world to think critically when considering their attitude towards the Israeli ‘social justice’ protests, which have almost completely ignored the key issue at the heart of all of the problems faced by ordinary Palestinians and even Israelis: Israel’s costly system of occupation, colonialism and apartheid over the Palestinian people. Without putting an end to that multi-tiered Israeli system of oppression, our entire region will never enjoy a comprehensive and lasting peace, one that is based on justice and human rights.

Money for jobs, health and education, not for racist oppression and occupation!

Nowhere is this more important than in the United States. Despite Israel’s persistent denial of Palestinian rights, the US has provided Israel with unconditional political and military assistance that directly contributes to the denial of Palestinian rights, but also to the problems faced by ordinary US citizens. Could the $24bn of military aid provided to Israel in the period 2000-2009 not been better spent on schools, healthcare and other essential services? Did Israel not play a major role in prodding the US to launch and continue its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, at immense human and material cost, mainly borne by the poorest in those countries?

But, we must remind ourselves all the time that this struggle will never be easy, and reaching our objectives never inevitable. As Martin Luther King once said:

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

The refreshing scenes of determined peaceful protest for justice from around the world tell us that we, the 99% of the world, are in the process of straightening our backs, collectively, with unwavering fortitude and boundless hope.

Posted in USAComments Off on Occupy Wall Street not Palestine!

The View From Below the Human Rights Drones in Libya

NOVANEWS

By Moeen Raoof

You may recall, on Monday, 16 May 2011, right after our visit to the mother of the 19-year old Army recruit, a few hours after leaving the district outside Tripoli (estimate 20-30 Miles or so), when we returned to Tripoli for our meeting with the Fact Finding Commission, NATO Planes circled this location outside of Tripoli and let behind a layered trail of smoke circles. You may also recall it was a cloudy day as the photos attached show clearly. Shortly afterwards Drones launched missiles on a target that was almost dead centre of the smoke circles during the afternoon of the day.

While the significance of this is not immediately apparent, it begs the question why would NATO send in Four Manned Aircraft at considerable cost to its budget for the attack to take place about half an hour after the smoke circles are placed to indicate the location of the target, by unmanned Drones (UAV’s). Note that the smoke circles are layered one on top of the other in 4-rings. This means manned aircraft which presumably were fully armed with two making the rings while two kept watch and in support of the ring-makers, then left presumably returning to base in Southern Italy (most likely or a carrier off Libyan International waters), without firing any missiles at any target on the day.

The only conclusion to reach in this case is that there is a very serious flaw with the operation of the unmanned Drones and the ability of the Operator sitting thousands of miles away to identify a target and to carry-out a successful attack without a “X” marks the spot indicator most at approximately 10,000 feet above. This means that Drones are a redundant asset in warfare and NATO is trying to justify it by ensuring targets are being identified prior to the Drone reaching the targeted area.


Posted in LibyaComments Off on The View From Below the Human Rights Drones in Libya

Dorothy Online Newsletter

Dear Friends,

The initial 2 items furnish news, the remainder commentary, except for the final item, the 8th, ‘Today in Palestine ’ which contains both news and commentary.

 

Item 1 informs us that Israel killed two more Palestinians in Gaza today, which undoubtedly means retaliation from Gaza , which means that the south of Israel can expect to sit in their shelters (those who have them) and listen for booms, while Gazans can expect also to have a sleepless night.  The item is from the Palestinian standpoint.  You can read Ynet for the Israeli slanthttp://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4143565,00.html

 

Item 2 tells us that Israeli doctors neglect to report evidence of torture on Palestinian detainees.  So it goes for ethics in Israel . 

 

Item 3 warns that an Israeli attack on Iran would stir regional conflict.

 

But in item 4, Uri Avnery says with no holds back that Israel is not going to attack Iran —the barking dogs don’t bite theory.  May Uri be right.

 

There are quite a few editorials on Israel today.  I’ve found one in the Independent (the link is with item 3), one in Haaretz (item 5 ) and one in the LA Times—none positive.  The Haaretz one claims that “ Israel is led by a right-wing , myopic government.”  I could not have stated it better myself, except perhaps to add that it is one that cares not a whit for the lives of its people.

 

Item 6 is the LA Times editorial: “The lopsided vote for Palestinian entry into the UNESCO”—and is highly critical of Israel , as is item 7 on the same subject, Richard Falk’s “Welcome to UNESCO.”   Meanwhile, UN president Ban ki-Moon has spent the day telling the Palestinians not to try to apply to other UN agencies—what’s he up to???

 

The final item, item 8 is, as I have said, ‘Today in Palestine .’

 

All the best, and may Uri Avnery be right that Israel will not attack Iran .  Please, may he be right.

 

Dorothy

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

 

1.  Israel raid kills 2 Palestinians in Gaza

Thu Nov 3, 2011

 

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/208200.html

 

Palestinians mourn relatives killed in an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip, October 31, 2011.Israeli forces have killed two Palestinians in an attack on the northern part of the blockaded Gaza Strip as Tel Aviv steps up attacks against civilians in the besieged territory, Press TV reports.

 

The incident occurred on Thursday, when armed clashes broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the north of the besieged coastal sliver.

 

The Israeli army has increased its attacks against the Gazans, vowing to continue to act against Palestinian fighters allegedly poised to fire rockets across the border.

 

Palestinian groups say they are observing an Egyptian-brokered truce agreement but reserve the right to reply to any Israeli aggression.

 

On Wednesday, the Israeli regime gave the green light to its military to prepare for a ground offensive against the Gaza Strip, under the pretext of halting rocket fire from the coastal strip.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that Tel Aviv would operate “vigorously and resolutely” against those that would “threaten Israel ‘s security.”

 

“A security philosophy cannot rely on defense alone,” Netanyahu said. “It must also include offensive capabilities, the very foundation of deterrence.”

 

Israeli warplanes have been pounding the long-blockaded Gaza Strip since Saturday, killing more than 12 Palestinians in the latest attacks.

 

2.      The Guardian Thursday, November 03, 2011  08.53 GMT

 

Israeli doctors ‘failing to report torture of Palestinian detainees

‘Human rights groups accuse doctors of failing to document signs of torture and returning detainees to interrogators

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/03/israeli-doctors-report-torture-palestinian

 

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem  

 

Israeli doctors are ignoring the complaints of Palestinian patients who claim they have been mistreated, according to the report. Photograph : Frank Baron for the Guardian

Medical professionals in Israel are being accused of failing to document and report injuries caused by the ill-treatment and torture of detainees by security personnel in violation of their ethical code.

 

A report by two Israeli human rights organisations, the Public Committee Against Torture (PCAT) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), claims that medical staff are also failing to report suspicion of torture and ill-treatment, returning detainees to their interrogators and passing medical information to interrogators.

 

The report, Doctoring the Evidence, Abandoning the Victim, to be published later this month, is based on 100 cases of Palestinian detainees brought to PCAT since 2007. It says: “This report reveals significant evidence arousing the suspicion that many doctors ignore the complaints of their patients; that they allow Israeli Security Agency interrogators to use torture; approve the use of forbidden interrogation methods and the ill-treatment of helpless detainees; and conceal information, thereby allowing total immunity for the torturers.”

 

Alleged ill-treatment of detainees, some of whose cases are detailed in the 61-page report, includes beatings, being held for long periods in stress positions, hands being tightly tied with plastic cuffs, sleep deprivation and threats. Israel denies torturing or ill-treating prisoners.

 

Doctors are failing to keep proper medical records of injuries caused during interrogations. The report cites “countless cases wherein individuals testified to injuries inflicted upon them during detention or in interrogation, and yet the medical record from the hospital or the prison service makes no mention of it.”

 

Without such evidence, the report says, it is very difficult to obtain legal redress for ill-treatment. “Effective documentation of the injury can be a decisive factor in initiating an investigation, in bringing the perpetrators to trial and in ensuring that justice is carried out.”

 

A medical report should include a description and photograph of the injury, the victim’s account of events and a record of treatment, the report says.

 

Among the cases it cites is “BA”, arrested in November 2010. In an affidavit he alleged he was beaten, held in stress positions and deprived of sleep. He said he told doctors of his ill-treatment and said he was suffering from severe arm, leg and back pain. His medical record shows that he was seen by doctors but the only comment noted is that the patient had no complaints and was in good overall condition.

 

Another, “MA”, arrested in June 2008, claimed in an affidavit that his hands were cuffed with tight plastic ties, he was held in kneeling position resting on his fingertips for hours, and his head was slammed into a bench 20 times causing an eye injury. A medical report the following day included a comment from a doctor: “Overall condition satisfactory, heartbeat regular.” A further examination, two weeks later, resulted in doctor’s comment: “Complains of pain in teeth, eyes”. A few days later, a judge referred MA to an eye doctor for treatment with the comment, “Claims he was beaten in the course of his arrest, complains that he does not feel well and complains of blurring in the eyes”.

 

The report also accuses medics of returning detainees to interrogators following treatment of injuries. This, it says, is in violation of ethical obligations and “also serves as a stamp of approval for the interrogators, who rely on the doctors’ action as having granted medical permission to continue with their practices”.

 

Among the PCAT/PHR report’s recommendations are clear guidelines regarding the medical treatment of prisoners, investigations of and disciplinary action against staff who violate rules, and protection for whistleblowers.

 

Israel prohibits torture or “inhuman treatment” during interrogation, although its high court has ruled that physical means of interrogation could be defensible to save lives.

 

“In Israel it is illegal to abuse inmates, including security prisoners,” said government spokesman Mark Regev. “Guidelines have been passed to the relevant authorities. If years ago the guidelines were not clear, they are today. And if there are allegations of wrongdoing against people in custody, they are investigated thoroughly.”

 

ministry of health and prisons service did not respond to requests for comment.

3.  Ynet

Thursday, November 03, 2011

 

Word of Warning

 

 Big mistake. Riedel Photo: Saban Center

 

    ‘Attack on Iran would ignite regional conflict’

Former adviser to US administration says Israeli strike on Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities could mean a disaster for both Jerusalem , Washington ; spark regional war ‘from Gaza to Afghanistan ‘

 

http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-4143358,00.html

 

[see also today’s Independent’s editorial on the subject http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-israels-leaders-adrift-in-a-fastchanging-world-6256158.html ]

 

Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON – An Israeli strike in Iran will have disastrous ramifications and place Israel and the United States at risk, Bruce Riedel, the former special assistant to the US president and senior director for near east affairs on the National Security Council, told 

 

“An Israeli attack on Iran could ignite a regional conflict from Afghanistan to the Gaza strip,” warned Riedel, adding that “for the Americans and the Obama administration it will be a disaster.”

 

 Riedel, a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution, noted that such a scenario would lead to an Iranian ballistic missile attack on Israel and another possible front with Hezbollah. 

 

“Hezbollah will see an attack on Iran as a threat to their patron and there is a very good chance that they will initiate (another) Lebanon war only this time (with) even more rockets and missiles than in 2006,” said Riedel, adding that an Israeli strike in Iran must include a preemptive strike on Hezbollah.

 

IAF fighter jet holding drill in Italy (Photo: IDF)

 

The former CIA analyst said The Brookings Institute made a war game simulating an Israeli attack on Iran , and came to the conclusion that a perfect strike is impossible, and would place Israel in a vulnerable position – and the United States in an even tougher spot. 

 

“We have every reason to believe that the Iranian will see an Israeli attack on their nuclear facilities as a joint American-Israeli attack and they will retaliate not only on Israeli targets but on American targets. 

 

 

In vulnerable position. US forces in Iraq (Photo: Reuters)

 

“The Iranian (have the) capacity to retaliate against America not only in the Middle East and the Persian gulf – (but even more so) in Afghanistan where we have 90,000 troops and where the Iranians (have) well-established links to the Taliban,” he said.

 

‘Media feeds the flames’

Riedel commented on the recent media frenzy in Israeli papers surrounding the possibility of an IDF strike in the Islamic Republic, saying: “I took a look at your papers. It’s crazy. I don’t really understand why now. 

 

“It almost feeds the flames. Either the Netanyahu government has something new that the rest of us don’t know about, or (he is) misreading the events in the region. 

 

“Perhaps the spoiled assassination (attempt) against the Saudi ambassador would make the Obama government more sympathetic to an attack on Iran . If that’s the case, they are making a very big mistake,” Riedel noted, adding that “the Obama administration made it clear from day one that they don’t support an Israeli military strike on Iran .”

 

Meanwhile on Wednesday, UK-based newspaper The Guardian reported that Britain ‘s armed forces are stepping up their contingency plans for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern over Tehran ‘s nuclear program.

 

British defense officials told the newspaper that the “the window (of opportunity) is closing and the UK needs to do some sensible forward planning” by the 2012 US presidential elections.

*===================================

4.  Hi’

Hope this may interest you.

Shalom, Salamaat,

uri

 

—————————————–

4. Uri Avnery

November 5, 2011

http://original.antiwar.com/avnery/2010/04/04/hold-me-back/

 

                                                            “Hold me back!”

 

EVERYBODY KNOWS the scene from school : a small boy quarrels with a bigger boy. “Hold me back!” he shouts to his comrades, “Before I break his bones!”

 

Our government seems to be behaving in this way. Every day, via all channels, it shouts that it is going, any minute now, to break the bones of Iran .

 

Iran is about to produce a nuclear bomb. We cannot allow this. So we shall bomb them to smithereens.

 

Binyamin Netanyahu says so in every one of his countless speeches, including his opening speech at the winter session of the Knesset. Ditto Ehud Barak. Every self- respecting commentator (has anyone ever seen a non-self- respecting one?)  writes about it. The media amplify the sound and the fury.

 

“Haaretz” splashed its front page with pictures of the seven most important ministers (the “security septet”) showing three in favor of the attack, four against. 

 

 

A GERMAN proverb says: “Revolutions that are announced in advance do not take place.” Same goes for wars.

 

Nuclear affairs are subject to very strict military censorship. Very very strict indeed.

 

Yet the censor seems to be smiling benignly. Let the boys, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense (the censor’s ultimate boss) play their games.

 

The respected former long-serving chief of the Mossad, Meir Dagan , has publicly warned against the attack, describing it as “the most stupid idea” he has  ever heard”. He explained that he considers it his duty to warn against it, in view of the plans of Netanyahu and Barak. 

 

On Wednesday, there was a veritable deluge of leaks. Israel tested a missile that can deliver a nuclear bomb more then 5000 km away, beyond you-know-where. And our Air Force has just completed exercises in Sardinia , at a distance larger than you-know-where. And on Thursday, the Home Front Command held training exercises all over Greater Tel Aviv, with sirens screaming away.

All this seems to indicate that the whole hullabaloo is a ploy. Perhaps to frighten and deter the Iranians. Perhaps to push the Americans into more extreme actions. Perhaps coordinated with the Americans in advance. (British sources, too, leaked that the Royal Navy is training to support an American attack on Iran .)

 

It is an old Israeli tactic to act as if we are going crazy (“The boss has gone mad” is a routine cry in our markets, to suggest that the fruit vendor is selling at a loss.) We shall not listen to the US any more. We shall just bomb and bomb and bomb.

 

Well, let’s be serious for a moment.

 

 

ISRAEL WILL not attack Iran . Period.

 

Some may think that I am going out on a limb. Shouldn’t I add at least “probably” or “almost certainly”?

 

No, I won’t. I shall repeat categorically : Israel Will NOT Attack Iran . 

 

Since the 1956 Suez adventure, when President Dwight D.

Eisenhower delivered an ultimatum that stopped the action, Israel has never undertaken any significant military operation without obtaining American consent in advance.

 

The US is Israel ‘s only dependable supporter in the world (besides, perhaps, Fiji , Micronesia , the Marshall Islands, and Palau .) To destroy this relationship means cutting our lifeline. To do that, you have to be more than just a little crazy. You have to be raving mad.

 

Furthermore, Israel cannot fight a war without unlimited American support , because our planes and our bombs come from the US . During a war, we need supplies, spare parts, many sorts of equipment. During the Yom Kippur war, Henry Kissinger had an “air train” supplying us around the clock.

And that war would probably look like a picnic compared to a war with Iran .

 

 

LET’S LOOK at the map. That, by the way, is always recommended before starting any war.

 

The first feature that strikes the eye is the narrow Strait of Hormuz , through which every third barrel of the worlds seaborne oil supplies flow. Almost the entire output of Saudi Arabia , the Gulf States , Iraq and Iran has to run the gauntlet through this narrow sea lane.

 

“Narrow” is an understatement. The entire width of this waterway is some 35 km (or 20 miles ). That’s about the distance from Gaza to Beer Sheva, which was crossed last week by the primitive rockets of the Islamic Jihad.

 

When the first Israeli plane enters Iranian airspace, the strait will be closed. The Iranian navy has plenty of missile boats, but they will not be needed. Land-based missiles are enough.

 

The world is already teetering on the verge of an abyss.

Little Greece is threatening to fall and take major chunks of the world economy with her. The elimination of almost a fifth of the industrial nations’ supply of oil would lead to a catastrophe hard even to imagine.

 

To open the strait by force would require a major military operation (including “putting boots on the ground”) that would overshadow all the US misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan . Can the US afford that? Can NATO? Israel itself is not in the same league.

 

 

BUT ISRAEL would be very much involved in the action, if only on the receiving end.

 

In a rare show of unity, all of Israel ‘s service chiefs, including the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet, are publicly opposing the whole idea. We can only guess why.

 

I don’t know whether the operation is possible at all. Iran is a very large country, about the size of Alaska , the nuclear installations are widely dispersed and largely underground. Even with the special deep penetration bombs provided by the US , the operation may stall the Iranian efforts – such as they are – only for a few months. The price may be too high for such meager results.

 

Moreover, it is quite certain that with the beginning of a war, missiles will rain down on Israel – not only from Iran , but also from Hizbollah, and perhaps also from Hamas.

We have no adequate defense for our towns. The amount of death and destruction would be prohibitive.

 

Suddenly, the media are full of stories about our three submarines, soon to grow to five, or even six, if the Germans are understanding and generous. It is openly said that these give us the capabilities of a nuclear “second strike”, if Iran uses its (still non-existent) nuclear warheads against us. But the Iranians may also use chemical and other weapons of mass destruction. 

 

Then there is the political price. There are a lot of tensions in the Islamic world. Iran is far from popular in many parts of it. But an Israeli assault on a major Muslim country would instantly unite Sunnis and Shiites, from Egypt and Turkey to Pakistan and beyond. Israel could become a villa in a burning jungle.

 

 

BUT THE talk about the war serves many purposes, including domestic, political ones.

 

Last Saturday, the social protest movement sprang to life again. After a pause of two months, a mass of people assembled in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square . This was quite remarkable, because on that very day rockets were falling on the towns near the Gaza Strip. Until now, in such a situation demonstrations have always been canceled.

Security problems trump everything else. Not this time.

 

Also, many people believed that the euphoria of the Gilad Shalit festival had wiped the protest from the public mind.

It didn’t.

 

By the way, something remarkable has happened : the media , after siding with the protest movement for months, have had a change of heart. Suddenly all of them, including Haaretz, are sticking knives in its back. As if by order, all newspapers wrote the next day that “more than 20,000” took part. Well I was there, and I do have some idea of these things. There were at least 100,000 people there, most of them young. I could hardly move.

 

The protest has not spent itself, as the media assert. Far from it. But what better means for taking people’s minds off social justice than talk of the “existential danger”?

 

Moreover, the reforms demanded by the protesters would need money. In view of the worldwide financial crisis, the government strenuously objects to increasing the state budget, for fear of damaging our credit rating.

 

So where could the money come from? There are only three plausible sources : the settlements (who would dare?), the Orthodox (ditto!) and the huge military budget.

 

But on the eve of the most crucial war in our history, who would touch the armed forces? We need every shekel to buy more planes, more bombs, more submarines. Schools and hospitals must, alas, wait.

 

So God bless Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Where would we be without

him?    

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

 

5.  Haaretz Editorial

 03.11.11

 

Israel led by a right-wing , myopic government

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/israel-led-by-a-right-wing-myopic-government-1.393406

 

If Israel had a sober and responsible, peace-seeking leadership, it would welcome the PA’s membership in UNESCO and even its upgraded status in the United Nations.

 

Haaretz Editorial

Tags: Palestinians UN

 

A week after Avigdor Lieberman declared Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas an “obstacle to peace,” it turns out the foreign minister is not alone in the campaign to eliminate the Palestinian interlocutor. Shortly after Israel signed the deal to free soldier Gilad Shalit and revealed the PA leadership to be an empty vessel, the forum of eight senior ministers decided on Tuesday to embark on a campaign to punish the PA leadership.

 

The government took advantage of the PA’s acceptance as a full member of UNESCO – the United Nations cultural organization – as well as its efforts to become a member of other UN agencies, to declare a retaliatory action that will further undermine Abbas’ position. The forum decided to move ahead with the construction of 2,000 housing units in the settlements and in East Jerusalem, and to withhold more than NIS 300 million in taxes that Israel has collected for the PA, money intended to pay the salaries of PA employees ahead of the Muslim feast of Id al-Adha. The forum also decided to begin the process of revoking senior PA officials’ VIP documentation.

 

The UN envoy to the region, Robert Serry, told Haaretz this week that the perpetuation of the status quo will lead to the dismantling of the PA and to “throwing the keys back to Israel .” This gloomy prediction, which has the army very concerned, doesn’t worry the government. On the contrary, the eight senior ministers’ decision shows that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is following the path of Lieberman, who is calling for the severing of ties with the PA.

 

The political elimination of Abbas and his partners will lift international pressure on Netanyahu to freeze construction in the settlements, and will release him from the need to begin negotiations based on the 1967 borders. The takeover of the West Bank by terror groups – and the process of turning it into a clone of the Gaza Strip – will allow the government to occupy the territories again and do whatever it wants there. Such a development will amplify the influence of Iran and radical Muslim organizations, and will magnify the threat to Israel ‘s security.

 

If Israel had a sober and responsible, peace-seeking leadership, it would welcome the PA’s membership in UNESCO and even its upgraded status in the United Nations. Unfortunately, and distressingly, Israel is being led by a right-wing , myopic government.

 

6. LATimes

Thursday, November 2, 2011

 

Editorial

Using the United Nations

The lopsided vote for Palestine ‘s entry into UNESCO shows how isolated the U.S. and Israel are.

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-unesco-20111102,0,2129467.story

 

In past decades, Palestinian nationalists thought they had to hijack planes or blow up Israeli civilians in order to attract international attention. Some still do, but moderate leaders are lately discovering that the path to recognition might lie instead through the United Nations. On Monday, they won a key victory when Palestine — a state that doesn’t technically exist — was granted membership in the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. That’s giving the Obama administration fits and angering pro-Israel members of Congress from both U.S. political parties, but regardless of how one feels about the proper borders of Israel , the Palestinian switch to a diplomatic strategy represents progress.

 

It is also working brilliantly, if the Palestinians’ goal is to bring attention to their cause. The UNESCO vote showed that it is the United States and Israel , not the Palestinians, that are internationally isolated. The U.S. was on the losing side of a 107-14 vote in favor of membership, with 52 countries abstaining, including staunch U.S. ally Britain ; another close European ally, France, voted in favor of the Palestinians. That result came in spite of a fevered campaign by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to shore up support in foreign capitals for the U.S. position.

 

Because of laws passed in the early 1990s that bar American funding for any U.N. agency that grants membership to Palestinians, Washington must now withhold $80 million from UNESCO, about 22% of its budget. That’s of little immediate consequence. UNESCO, which runs anti-poverty, educational and cultural programs around the world , is a low priority for Washington, which pulled out completely from 1984 to 2003, and other countries will probably step up to fill the agency’s budget hole. But the success is likely to embolden Palestinian leaders to seek membership in agencies with much bigger impacts on U.S. interests, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (which helps protect patents and copyrights and is of great importance to Hollywood and Silicon Valley ), the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization. That would force the U.S. to pull its funding from, and eventually lose its membership in and influence over, these bodies.

 

The anti-Palestine laws should be repealed. What’s needed are policies that would encourage the Israelis and Palestinians to settle their differences at the bargaining table, but these laws exert no such pressure, have little impact on U.N. votes (possibly because the loss of U.S. funding doesn’t pose as big a threat as it once did) and could greatly reduce American influence around the world. Political reality being what it is, we have no expectation that Congress will do the right thing. The likely result will not be a more peaceful Middle East, but a more isolated United States .

 

7.  Al Jazeera

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

 

Welcoming Palestine to UNESCO 

 

With Palestine getting full membership to the UNESCO, it also serves as a political reminder of its bid for statehood.

 

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/11/20111128926149164.html

 

Richard Falk

02 Nov 2011 11:29

inShare1EmailPrintShareFeedback

 

 UNESCO delegates applaud after the General Conference admits Palestine as UNESCO member state in Paris [EPA]

 

It may not ease the daily pain of occupation and blockade or the endless anguish of refugee status and exile or the continual humiliations of discrimination and second class citizenship, but the admission of Palestine to membership in UNESCO is for so many reasons a step forward in the long march of the Palestinian people toward the dignity of sunlight! The event illuminates the path to self-determination, but also brings into the open some of the most formidable obstacles that must be cleared if further progress is to be made.

 

The simple arithmetic of the UNESCO vote, 107 in favor, 14 opposed, 52 abstentions, and 21 absent fails to tell the story of really one sided was the vote. Toting up the for and against votes obscures the wicked arm twisting, otherwise known as geopolitics, that induced such marginal political entities as Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, and Vanuatu to stand against the weight of global opinion and international morality by voting against Palestinian admission as member to UNESCO. This is not meant to insult such small states, but to lament that their vulnerability to American pressure should distort the real contours of world public opinion. Such a distortion makes a minor mockery of the idea that governments can offer adequate representation to the peoples of the world. It also illustrates the degree to which formal political independence may hide a condition of de facto dependence as well as make plain that voting within the United Nations System should never be confused with aspirations to establish a global democracy in substance as well as form. As an aside this consistently compromised electoral process within the UN System demonstrates the urgency and desirability of establishing a global peoples parliament that could at least provide a second voice whenever global debate touches on issues of human concern.

 

What is most impressive about the UNESCO vote is that despite the US diplomacy of threat and intimidation, the Palestinian application for membership carried the day. There was enough adherence to principle by enough states to provide the necessary 2/3rds vote even in the face of a determined American diplomatic effort, bolstered by threatening punitive action in the form of refusing further financial support for UNESCO, which amounts to some $60m for the current year, and overall 22 per cent of the organization’s annual budget of $643m in 2010-11 (which is projected to be $653m for 2011-12). Actually this withholding of funds is an American policy embedded in legislation that derives from the early 1990s, and cannot be attributed to the ridiculously pro-Israeli present Congress that would have acted in a similar fashion, and probably feels deprived of an opportunity to draw fresh UN blood. Indeed rabid pro-Israel members of Congress are already showboating their readiness to do more to damage so as to exhibit their devotion to Israel . 

This unseemly demand to punish the UN for taking a principled stand is worse than just being a poor loser, it amounts to a totally irresponsible willingness to damage the indispensable work of cultural and societal cooperation on international levels just to show that there is a price to be paid to defy the will of Israel, with the United States as willing enforcement agent. It is an excellent moment for the governments of other states to demonstrate their commitment to human wellbeing by helping to restore confidence in the UN. One way to do this is to help overcome this unanticipated UNESCO budget deficit, and what would deliver a most message to Washington and Tel Aviv would be a collection campaign that generated more funds than those lost. It seems a useful opportunity to show once and for all that such strong arm fiscal tactics are no longer acceptable and don’t even work in the post-colonial world.

Such an outcome would also confirm that the geopolitical tectonic plates of world order have shifted in such a way as to give increasing prominence to such countries as China , India , Russia , Brazil , and South Africa all of whom voted to admit Palestine to UNESCO. At least for the moment in this limited setting we can obtain a glimpse of a genuine ‘new world order’! The Security Council has proved unable and unwilling to change its two-tier structure to accommodate these shifts, but these countries can by their own action become more active players on the global stage. It is not necessary to wait until France and Britain read the tea leaves accurately enough to realize that it is time for them to give up their permanent place at the UNSC.

 

“The Americans have lost their moral right to leadership in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict,it is time for Europe to step into the fray.”

 

Micheal Rocard-former Socialist party Prime Minister of France

 

Perhaps, more enduring that the vote itself is the reinforced image of the wildly inappropriate role given to the United States to act as intermediary and peacemaker in seeking to resolve the underlying conflict and ensure the realization of Palestinian rights that have been so cruelly denied for more than six decades. Observers as diverse as Michel Rocard, the former Socialist Party Prime Minister of France, and Mouin Rabbani, a widely respected Palestinian analyst of the conflict, agree that this effort to thwart an elemental Palestinian quest for legal recognition and political participation, demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt, although such a reality has long been apparent to even the most casual serious observer of the conflict, that the time has come to disqualify the United States from presiding over the resolution of this conflict. It has always verged on the absurd to expect justice, or even fairness, to flow from a diplomatic framework in which the openly and extremely partisan ally of the dominant party can put itself forward as ‘the honest broker’ in negotiations in a setting where the weaker side is subject to military rule and exile. To have given credibility to this tripartite charade for this long is itself mainly a commentary on the weakness of the Palestinian position, and their desperate need to insist henceforth on a balanced international framework if negotiations are ever to have the slightest prospect of producing a sustainable and just peace.

 

Leadership role lacking

 

Yet to find a new framework does not mean following Rocard’s incredibly Orientalist prescription: “The Americans have lost their moral right to leadership in resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is time for Europe to step into the fray.”  As if Europe had recently demonstrated its capacity for rendering justice by the NATO intervention in Libya ! As if the colonial heritage had been rebranded as a positive credential! As if the Americans ever had a ‘moral right’ to resolve this conflict that was only now lost in the UNESCO voting chamber! It is not clear how a new diplomacy for the conflict that is finally responsive to the situation should be structured, but it should reflect at the very least the new realities of an emergent multipolarity skewed toward the non-West. To be provocative for once, maybe Turkey , Brazil , Egypt , and India could constitute themselves as a more legitimate quartet than that horribly discredited version of a quartet composed of the United States , the EU, Russia , and the UN.

 

Returning to the UNESCO controversy, it is worth noting the words of denunciation used by Victoria Nuland, the designated State Department spokesperson. She described the vote as being “regrettable, premature” contending that it “undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East .” Even Orwell might be dazed by such a diversionary formulation. Why was the vote regrettable and premature? After all to work for the preservation of religious sacred sites within the halls of UNESCO is hardly subversive of global stability by any sane reckoning.

And after enduring occupation for more than 44 years, it qualifies as comedic to insist that Palestine must not yet in from the cold because such entry would be ‘premature.’ And how can it be claimed that Palestine participation within the UN System ‘undermines’ the ‘shared goal’ of regional peace in the Middle East ? The only answer that makes any sense is say that whatever Israel says is so , and the United States will act accordingly, that is, do whatever Israel wants it to do in the global arena. Such kneejerk geopolitics is not only contrary to elementary considerations of law and equity, it is also monumentally irrational and self-defeating from the perspective of national wellbeing and future peace.

 

Serving common interests

 

What in the end may be most troubling about this incident is the degree that it confirms a growing impression that both the United States and Israel have lost the capacity to serve their own security interests and rationally promote the wellbeing of their own people. This is serious enough with respect to the damage done to such societies by their own maladroit behavior, but dealing with these two military heavyweights who both possess arsenals of nuclear weaponry is sheer madness. These are two holdout government that continue to rest their future security almost exclusively on an outmoded reliance on hard power calculations and strategy, the effects are potentially catastrophic for the region and the world. When Israel alienates Turkey , its only surviving friend in the Middle East , and then refuses to take the minimal steps to heal the wounds caused by its recklessly violent behavior, one has to conclude that the Israeli sense of reality has fallen on hard times! And when Israel pushes the United States to lose this much social capital on the global stage by standing up for its defiance of international law as in relation to rejecting the recommendations of the Goldstone Report or refusing to censure the expansion of its unlawful settlements or the collective punishment of Gaza, there is no longer much doubt that Israeli foreign policy is driven by domestic extremism that then successfully solicits Washington for ill-advised backing.

 

The situation in the United States is parallel. Many excuse, or at least explain, America ‘s unconditionally irrational support for Israel as produced by the fearsome leverage exerted by AIPAC over electoral politics in the country as practiced by Congress and rationalized by conservative think tanks. But what this is saying is that the United States Government has also lost the capacity to pursue a foreign policy in a crucial region of the world that expresses its own national interests, much less provides guidance based on a wider commitment to a stable and just Middle East . The Arab Spring created a second chance so to speak to redeem the United States from its long embrace of vicious autocratic rule in the region, but this opportunity is being squandering on the altar of subservience to the vindictive whims, expansionist visions, and paranoid fears of the Netanyahu/Lieberman governing coalition in Israel .

 

Welcoming Palestine to UNESCO is a day of celebration and vindication for the Palestinian people, and a political victory for PLO leadership, but it is also a day when all of us should reflect upon the wider Palestinian tragedy and struggle, and seek to take further steps forward. UNESCO has given a momentary respite to those who were completely disillusioned by what to expect from the UN or the system of states when it comes to Palestinian aspirations, and instead put their hope and efforts into the initiatives of global civil society, especially the growing BDS campaign. Now is not the time to shift attention away from such initiatives, but it does suggest that there are many symbolic battlefields in the ongoing legitimacy war being waged for Palestinian self-determination, and several of these lie within the network of institutions comprising the United Nations.

 

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California , Santa Barbara . He has authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades, most recently editing the volume International Law and the Third World : Reshaping Justice (Routledge, 2008).

 

He is currently serving his third year of a six year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

 

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Dorothy Online Newsletter

How’s that for turnaround time? — US cuts off funding for UNESCO

NOVANEWS

by ADAM HOROWITZ 

 

 

Update: Check out this must see video of the AP’s Matt Lee grilling State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland over the US UNESCO vote. Sami Kishawi has a full transcript on his blog Sixteen Minutes to Palestine.

Haaretz:

The Obama administration has decided to cut off funding for UNESCO because it approved a Palestinian bid for full membership.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Monday’s vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached . . .

Nuland went on to say the U.S. would refrain from making a $60 million payment it planned to make in November.

But she said the U.S. would maintain membership in the body.

Posted in USA6 Comments

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

November 2011
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930