Archive | November 4th, 2011

Nazi’s in Iraq: Full Weapons Grade Uranium Use Proven – We Mean “Nukes”

NOVANEWS

Use of Nuclear Weapons In Iraq Exposed

Clear evidence of the use of highly enriched uranium weapons in Iraq brought out during lawsuit.


Shoah Media

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Alaa Abdel Fattah: Portrait of an Egyptian Revolutionary

NOVANEWS

“When will Egypt supreme council of army forces -SCAF- understand that many revolutionaries are afraid of their tender loving mothers more than they fear death or torture,” Abdel Fattah wrote in independent Egyptian newspaper, Al-Shorouk.

Alla Abdel-Fattah

Prominent Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah was summoned on Sunday, 30 October to Cairo’s notorious C28 military prosecution headquarters to face charges of incitement to violence in the violent 9 October Maspero clashes between Coptic-Christian protesters and military police.

Abdel Fattah, who rejects the notion of civilians being tried by military courts, has refused to be interrogated by military prosecutors as a matter of principle. He has also vociferously criticised the idea that the military prosecution should investigate the Maspero clashes, in which military police were directly involved.

As a result, the military prosecution ordered his detention for 15 days pending investigation.

Abdel Fattah is considered one of Egypt’s pioneer bloggers, along with his wife, Manal Hussein. Since 2004, both have been publishing their political opinions in well-known blog www.manalaa.net.

Originally, as a software developer and activist, Abdel Fattah has supported initiatives that promote social media, freedom of expression and political activism. In 2005, Alaa and Manal won the Special Reporters without Borders Award in Deutsche Welle’s Best Blogs competition.

It is not the first time Abdel Fattah finds himself facing allegations by the state. In May 2006, he was arrested while participating in a peaceful protest in solidarity with Egypt’s free judiciary movement. His arrest caused an international uproar, as it was seen as an attempt to crack down on blogging activity in Egypt by targeting one of its most influential bloggers.

Abdel Fattah was eventually released in June 2006 after 45 days in detention, during which an international campaign was launched on blogs and on Twitter with the hashtag “#FreeAlaa” – a hashtag that again found its way to many Twitter accounts following news of his latest detention.

Born in 1981, Abdel Fattah was brought up in a family of leftists with a long history of political activism. His father, Ahmed Seif El-Islam Hamed, is a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who used to run the Cairo-based Hisham Mubarak Law Centre. Ahmed Seif El-Islam was arrested in the 1980s and imprisoned for five years for his political activity.

Abdel Fattah’s mother, Laila Soueif, is a professor of mathematics at Cairo University, while his aunt is Ahdaf Soueif, an Egyptian novelist of international renown. Alaa’s sister, Mona Seif, meanwhile, is one of the founders of the “No to military trials for civilians” campaign.

Abdel Fattah’s wife, Manal, also comes from a family with a long activist pedigree. Manal’s father is Bahi El-Din Hassan, a founder of Egypt’s contemporary human rights movement and current head of the Cairo Centre for Human Rights Studies.

Abdel Fattah and Manal moved to South Africa in 2008, where they lived until January of this year, when they took the first flight to Cairo to join Tahrir Square protesters as the revolution erupted. His first day in the square coincided with what has become known as the “Battle of the Camel,” when pro-government thugs attacked demonstrators, leaving dozens dead.

“Alaa fought bravely to defend the square and was never worried that he might lose his life,” said Wael Khalil, prominent blogger and leftist political activist imprisoned with Abdel Fattah in 2006.

Following Mubarak’s ouster and concomitant promises of democratic transition, the couple decided to return to Egypt on a permanent basis. Through their twitter accounts, “@alaa” and “@manal,” the couple announced their intention to have a baby. The baby, they noted, would be named Khaled after Khaled Said, the young man from Alexandria beaten to death by police last year who became a posthumous icon of Egypt’s revolution.

The last thing Abdel Fattah wrote publicly, in independent daily Al-Shorouk, was his eyewitness account of the Maspero clashes and the two days spent at a Coptic hospital morgue battling for autopsy reports. He also spent this time mourning the death of Mina Daniel, the Coptic activist who was run over by military police during the clashes.

-An interview with Alaa Abd El Fattah

“When will the SCAF understand that many revolutionaries are afraid of their tender loving mothers more than they fear death or torture,” Abdel Fattah wrote in Al-Shorouk.

Statement of Solidarity by Egyptian blogs aggregator: Alaa Abd El Fattah Boycotts Military Trials

Sunday, October 30, 2011
We, the Campaign to End the Military Trials of Civilians, condemn in the strongest possible terms the imprisonment of prominent Egyptian activist and blogger, Alaa Abd el Fattah and the unjust and illegal system of military tribunals implemented by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) since becoming rulers of Egypt on January the 28th, 2011.

SCAF deadly crackdown on Egypt Copts on October 9th at Maspero, downtown Cairo.

Today Alaa Abd El Fattah was summoned to the Military Prosecutor’s office, accused of assaulting military personnel, stealing and destroying military weaponry and inciting violence against the military in the events of 9 October at Maspero.

On questioning, Abd El Fattah declined to answer the prosecutor’s questions, stating that it is illegal and a clear conflict of interest for the military, as a party accused of a crime in the same events, to hold proceedings or adjudicate fairly. He was sent to detention pending further military investigation.

As of today we refuse to co-operate with the military prosecution of civilians and we call on all Egyptian citizens to stand with us.

At least 12,000 Egyptian civilians have been subjected to summary, covert military trials. The accused are often denied counsel, the opportunity to review evidence or examine witnesses; there are limited avenues of appeal. Eighteen death sentences have been handed down so far.

Mina Daniel

Abd El Fattah’s targeting is only the latest example of the systematic targeting of journalists, media figures, bloggers and activists by SCAF.

Abd El Fattah is being held responsible for violence on October 9th, the night when the Army killed at least 28 peaceful protesters and injured several hundred more. Several respected human rights organisation have attested to this.

Furthermore, it is perverse that Mina Daniel is listed as the first name on the Military Prosecutor’s list of the accused. Mina Daniel was killed by military gunfire on October 9th.

Abd El Fattah is now being held for fifteen days in prison by a body which has no legal authority to do so. The fifteen days can be renewed indefinitely. Twenty eight more people are in jail against the background of the same event. Mina Daniel and others have already paid with their lives.

We demand that Alaa Abd El Fattah be freed immediately, that military trials of civilians be stopped and all those sentenced thus far be released or, at least, retried before civilian courts. We support all of those who similarly refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the military prosecution.

Sources: Egyptian Blogs Aggregator, Ahramonline and manalaa.net

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Palestine Granted Full UNESCO Membership

NOVANEWS 

Controversial move endorsed in UN cultural agency vote despite US threat of withholding £50m in funds

The UN Cultural and Educational AgencyUNESCO has granted Palestine full membership in a move that Israel and the United States say could harm Middle East peace efforts.

Delegates approved the membership by 107 votes to 14.

France, which had voiced serious doubts about the motion, in the end approved it along with almost all Arab, African, Latin American and Asian nations, including China and India.

Israel, the United States, Australia, Canada and Germany voted against, while Japan and Britain abstained.

Israel’s ambassador Nimrod Barkan admitted before the vote that he was resigned to the Palestinians gaining entry. Barkan slammed countries that “have adopted a science fiction version of reality by admitting a non-existent state to the science organisation…. UNESCO should deal in science not science fiction” he said.

He admitted the vote, while symbolic, could have a knock-on effect:

“There is potential for a cascading effect of this resolution on many other UN specialized agencies and in New York.”

Palestine Vote: Statement by UNESCO Director-General


English Statement starts at 2:39

UNESCO members vote one-by-one on whether to allow Palestinians full membership to the cultural agency.

Huge cheers went up in UNESCO after delegates voted to approve the membership.

One shouted “Long Live Palestine!” in French.

“Gutless UK abstained…. collapse of stout party. Expect big sulk, toys being thrown out of pram etc.” — Stuart Littlewood (VT’s UK Correspondent)

Sources: Reuters /AFP / The Guardian, UK

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Fukushima Sabotage – Japanese Journalist Accuses IsraHell

In retaliation for Japan’s support of an independent Palestinian state

Source: American Free Press  … by Richard Walker    October 24, 2011

edited by  Jim W. Dean

A Natural or Man Made Disaster ?

A leading Japanese journalist recently made two incredible claims about the Fukushima power plant that suffered a nuclear meltdown in March 2011, sending shockwaves around the world.

First, the former editor of a national newspaper in Japan says the U.S. and Israel knew Fukushima had weapons-grade uranium and plutonium that were exposed to the atmosphere after a massive tsunami wave hit the reactor.

Second, he contends that Israeli intelligence sabotaged the reactor in retaliation for Japan’s support of an independent Palestinian state.

According to Yoishi Shimatsu, a former editor of Japan Times Weekly, these nuclear materials were shipped to the plant in 2007 on the orders of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, with the connivance of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The shipment was in the form of warhead cores secretly removed from the U.S. nuclear warheads facility BWXT Plantex near Amarillo, Texas.

While acting as the middleman, Israel transported warheads from the port of Houston, and in the process kept the best ones while giving the Japanese older warhead cores that had to be further enriched at Fukushima.

Vincent Carnaby – Shot, Cuffed, Bleeding to Death

Shimatsu credits retired CIA agent and mercenaryRoland Vincent Carnaby with learning the warheads were being transported from Houston.

In a strange twist, Carnaby was mysteriously shot dead less than a year later by Houston police at a traffic stop.

He was shot once in the back and once in the chest. He did not have a weapon in his hands.

Intelligence sources said he had been tracking a Mossad unit that was smuggling U.S. plutonium out of Houston docks for an Israeli nuclear reactor.

In an even more explosive charge, the journalist says that 20 minutes before the Fukushima plant’s nuclear meltdown, Israel was so upset with Japanese support for a Palestinian declaration of statehood that it double-crossed Japan by unleashing the Stuxnet virus on the plant’s computers.

The virus hampered the shutdown, leading to fallout from a section of the plant housing uranium and plutonium retrieved from the warheads supplied in 2007.

Japan’s House Burns Down

While it is impossible to verify some of Shimatsu’s claims, there was a massive cover-up at the time of the Fukushima disaster in March. Explosions at the site were immediately downplayed.

While it was subsequently reported that three reactors suffered meltdowns, Japanese authorities tried to rate the disaster as a Level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, although outside experts declared it a 7, which is the highest level.

Something worth noting is how in 2009, two years after Shimatsu says the warheads were secretly moved to Japan, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a veiled warning to Japan not to abandon its anti-nuclear weapons policy.

The IAEA had to know, however, that Japan has long retained the potential to build nuclear weapons.

That was made clear as far back as 1996 when a leaked Ministry of Foreign Affairs document exposed how Japan had been promoting a dual strategy in respect to nuclear weapons since the mid-1960s.

It would often publicly profess a non-nuclear policy while maintaining the ability to build a nuclear arsenal. The Liberal Democratic Party, which has dominated Japanese politics, has always said there is no constitutional impediment to nukes.

A factor that undoubtedly would have encouraged the Bush-Cheney White House to provide Japan with the means to secretly build nukes was the growing power of China. Cheney and Bush sought to arm Japan and India with nuclear weapons as a means of curbing China.

Was the Israeli Stuxnet Virus Designed for Iran Used on Japan?


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Dorothy Online Newsletter

NOVANEWS

Dear Friends,

What difficult times these.  I don’t know any more than you do whether or not the US , England , and Israel will actually attack Iran , but from the media it seems very likely.  Well, England (see today’s Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/02/uk-military-iran-attack-nuclear ) and the US–their populations, at least– don ’t need more wars, but they are at a distance that makes it unlikely that they will be hit if Iran fights back (as surely it will), though undoubtedly some of their soldiers will be killed and injured.   This, however, doesn’t seem to bother the elected officials of these countries.  But if Israeli leaders go for it , then they really care nothing for the lives of their citizens–Jewish or other— for it is highly unlikely that Iran will not fight Israel with every ounce of power it has.   Bloody mess, it will be.  No need to discuss one vs two states here.  The war, if it happens, will decide that issue, more or less. 

 

But since all this is still speculation—albeit the war drums keep drumming louder—let’s talk about today’s 7 items.

 

The first item, published in the New York Times 2 days ago, is maddening and depressing at the same time—maddening because of what it says, and depressing because of who says it—no less than Richard Goldstone.   He argues that Israel is not an apartheid state, and does it badly.  For one thing, he confuses means for ends.  For another, he in the 6th paragraph quotes the 1998 Rome statute definition of apartheid, which begins with the words “Inhumane acts.”  Goldstein does not explain what he believes these words mean—but I wonder if he considers home demolitions by the thousands  ‘inhumane acts’—and these not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also for Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.  In any event, quite a number of others have responded to him.  Item 2 is one of these.  Some time back I wrote a response to an argument similar to Goldstein’s http://maurice-ostroff.tripod.com/id303.html , if it interests you.  I find Goldstein’s argument depressing because it is so immature, coming from a person of his stature.

 

Item 3 made me feel really good momentarily— Amira Hass tells the Palestinian leaders not to resume negotiations with Israel .  I was so delighted that I shot off a note to Amira to tell her.  Of course she is absolutely right.  Ever since negotiations began Israel has increasingly expanded and colonized.  The Palestinians have thus lost much of the 22% of historic Palestine that they hoped to have.   Not that it makes any difference to the world , which refuses to sanction Israel for anything.  But neither is it wise for the Palestinians to continue to pursue a policy that is absolutely not in their interest.  I don’t mean to tell them what to do.   It is their future.  But I think that Hass’s advice is sound.

 

And this is particularly so in light of Netanyahu’s plans to expand, stating in item 4 that “ It is Israel ’s right and obligation to build in Jerusalem .”  So far as I can see, this is his attitude and policy towards the entire West Bank .  Well, build then.  And sooner than we thought would happen we’ll have a single state.  Of course at first it will be a Jewish state.  But since it will have as many Palestinians as Jews, it will eventually become a state for all its citizens, I hope.  Not a binational state, because then we’ll solve nothing.  But a secular state for all its citizens would be a dream for me come true.  Meanwhile, the ‘great powers’ are all once again waving  their fingers at Netanyahu, “Nu! Nu! Nu!, bad boy,”  which only goes to show that they believe in the policy of  doing nothing that will bring Israel to its knees.

 

In item 5 MJ Rosenberg enlarges on “The UNESCO Mess.”

 

Item 6 is a short video about “the battle for babies.”  Yes, it does have to do with Isra-Palestine.  Indeed it does. Enjoy.

 

Item 7 is “Today in Palestine .”  Do at the least glance through the summaries, tough as it is to swallow the information they furnish.

 

And, lest I forget, 2 ships with about 20 passengers aboard, are on their way to Gaza .  The Israeli navy plans to stop them, as usual.  The TV report about the ships stated that even if they do not arrive in Gaza , they will keep the situation in Gaza alive by attracting media attention.  We’ll see tomorrow whether or not they are right.  Wishing them luck.

 

Finally, please, please, let us all hope that war stays far from our doorsteps.

 

Dorothy

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

1.  New York Times

October 31, 2011

 

Israel and the Apartheid Slander

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/opinion/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander.html

 

By RICHARD J. GOLDSTONE

 

THE Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure. The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

 

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.

 

While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa . It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel , calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

 

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.

 

In assessing the accusation that Israel pursues apartheid policies, which are by definition primarily about race or ethnicity, it is important first to distinguish between the situations in Israel , where Arabs are citizens, and in West Bank areas that remain under Israeli control in the absence of a peace agreement.

 

In Israel , there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel ’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

 

To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination. But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel , equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

 

The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa ’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.

 

But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed. As things stand, attacks from one side are met by counterattacks from the other. And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of “apartheid” is invoked.

 

Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship. Road restrictions get more intrusive after violent attacks and are ameliorated when the threat is reduced.

 

Of course, the Palestinian people have national aspirations and human rights that all must respect. But those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace.

 

Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and the West Bank cannot be simplified to a narrative of Jewish discrimination. There is hostility and suspicion on both sides. Israel , unique among democracies, has been in a state of war with many of its neighbors who refuse to accept its existence. Even some Israeli Arabs, because they are citizens of Israel , have at times come under suspicion from other Arabs as a result of that longstanding enmity.

 

The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.

 

Richard J. Goldstone , a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court , led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.

2.  Al Jazeera Wednesday, November 02, 2011

 

Goldstone’s ‘apartheid’ denial sparks strife  

The author of the Gaza War report erroneously argues that Israel does not practice apartheid.

 

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/11/201111274233586837.html

 

[See also the longer commentary regarding this Goldstone editorial by Philip Weiss and Adma  Horowitz in

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mondoweiss/95222938161 ]

inShare0EmailPrintShareFeedback

 

Judge Richard Goldstone courted controversy by dismissing claims that Israel practices “apartheid” [EPA]

 

After his famous article earlier this year on Gaza , Judge Richard Goldstone has written a new op-ed, this time seeking to defend Israel against charges of apartheid.

 

There are numerous problems with Goldstone’s piece, but I want to highlight two important errors. First, Goldstone – like others who attack the applicability of the term “apartheid” – wants to focus on differences between the old regime in South Africa and what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Note that he does this even while observing that apartheid “can have broader meaning”, and acknowledging its inclusion in the 1998 Rome Statute.

 

As South African legal scholar John Dugard wrote in his foreword to my book Israeli Apartheid : A Beginner’s Guide, no one is saying the two situations “are exactly the same”. Rather, there are “certain similarities” as well as “differences”: “It is Israel ‘s own version of a system that has been universally condemned”.

 

Goldstone would appear not to have read studies by the likes of South Africa ‘s Human Sciences Research Council and others, who conclude that Israel is practicing a form of apartheid. The term has been used by the likes of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter , and Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem.

 

Goldstone’s second major error is to omit core Israeli policies, particularly relating to the mass expulsions of 1948 and the subsequent land regime built on expropriation and ethno-religious discrimination. By law, Palestinian refugees are forbidden from returning, their property confiscated – the act of dispossession that enabled a Jewish majority to be created in the first place.

 

As an advisor on Arab affairs to PM Menachem Begin put it: “If we needed this land, we confiscated it from the Arabs. We had to create a Jewish state in this country, and we did”. Within the “Green Line”, the average Arab community had lost between 65 and 75 per cent of its land by the mid-1970s. Across Israel , hundreds of Jewish communities permit or deny entry according to “social suitability”. Goldstone’s claim that there is merely “de facto separation” rings hollow.

 

Successive Israeli governments have pursued policies of “Judaisation” in areas of the country where it is deemed there are “too many” non-Jews, i.e. Palestinian citizens. The current Housing Minister has called it a “national duty” to “prevent the spread” of Palestinians. In the Negev , there is a plan to forcibly relocate some 30,000 Bedouin citizens, a population group President Shimon Peres described as a “demographic threat”. A racialised discourse about birth rates is commonplace: In 1998, the mayor of Jerusalem , Ehud Olmert, told reporters that “it’s a matter of concern when the non-Jewish population rises a lot faster than the Jewish population”.

 

The other side of the story

 

“If we needed this land, we confiscated it from the Arabs. We had to create a Jewish state in this country, and we did.”

 

– Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin

 

Startlingly, Goldstone does not mention even once Israel ‘s illegal settlements in the West Bank, a network of colonies at the heart of apartheid policies vis-à-vis land usage, freedom of movement, transport links, military courts, water usage, and the Wall (not an exhaustive list). This military occupation has been going on for 44 years, 70 per cent of Israel ‘s total history.

 

A reality routinely condemned by the UN and major human rights organisations as against international law and discriminatory by design is, for Goldstone, all about “self-defence”. Human Rights Watch has described Israel ‘s “two-tier system” where Palestinians face “systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity and national origin” – discrimination that Amnesty International says “is the dominant feature of Israel ‘s settlement policy”.

 

As Israeli professor Oren Yiftachel has put it, “a credible analysis of the Israeli regime … cannot conclude that Israel is a democracy”. Goldstone’s op-ed was not about “credible analysis”, but hackneyed hasbara talking points.

 

Instructively, Goldstone began his piece by expressing his concern that “hope for any two-state solution [is] under increasing pressure”. Indeed, a one-state solution is increasingly discussed – and this worries the defenders of Jewish privilege in Palestine/Israel, for whom the implementation of international norms and human rights constitutes a “threat”.

 

Coincidentally, the idea that “equality means national suicide” has an historical echo: Those were the words of South Africa ‘s prime minister in 1953, speaking some 40 years before internal and external resistance silenced the apologists for apartheid. This same process of struggle and hope is the best chance for “peace and harmony” in Palestine/Israel, not denial and delusion.

 

Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer, specialising in Palestine and Israel . His first book, Israeli Apartheid : A Beginner’s Guide, was published by Pluto Press in 2009, receiving praise from the likes of Desmond Tutu, Nur Masalha and Ghada Karmi.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera 

3.  Haaretz

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Palestinians must say no to negotiations with Israel

Diplomatic moves in the United Nations, no matter how refreshingly daring, are not enough.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/palestinians-must-say-no-to-negotiations-with-israel-1.393255?trailingPath=2.169%2C2.225%2C2.227%2C

 

By Amira Hass

 

Now that Palestine has been recognized by the United Nations’ cultural organization, UNESCO, it will be no more of a non-state and no less occupied than it was before. Its citizens will be no less unfree than they are today, no less under the yoke of Israeli foreign rule. But their civil disobedience versus Israel , the United States and the Quartet raises the hope that the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table – because negotiations have become an obstacle to the decolonization process, the essential condition for peace.

 

The Palestinians’ application for membership in the United Nations was welcomed, even by critics of the Palestinian Authority, because it was understood as the close, albeit belated, of an overly long chapter. This was the chapter in which the Palestinian leadership, in exchange for dubious guarantees and slivers of privilege for a small group, took part in a charade of negotiations, while in reality, the area intended for the realization of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination kept being reduced and fragmented. This chapter exposed the fact that the parties in Israel ‘s various coalition governments disagree on only one thing : the number and size of the Palestinian Bantustans in Israel ‘s master plan.

 

Ordinary Palestinians understood the application to the United Nations as an act that creates new rules of the game. Therefore, many supporters of the move wake up in the morning with trepidation: Have the steamroller tactics of the European Union and the United States worked? Have PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his eternal negotiators returned to the same sterile table, when it is clear that Israel has no intention of changing its master plan?

 

The extent to which the term “peace negotiations” has been prostituted can be gleaned from a remark by the EU’s envoy to the Quartet, Helga Schmid. On October 26, in a last-ditch attempt by the Quartet to stop the Palestinians from applying to UNESCO, she said – according to sources in Ramallah – that the application for membership is like construction in the settlements : a provocation. It is not enough that the EU countries are not punishing Israel for building the settlements (Ma’aleh Adumim or Givat Assaf, all are equally felonious ); now the EU envoy is creating symmetry between years of violence by the occupying overlord and legitimate defense of the occupied.

 

Indeed, the Oslo Accords created false symmetry between the occupier/colonizer and the occupied/colonized. This symmetry denied the Palestinians an important asset in negotiations for their independence: recognition in principle of Israeli and international responsibility for having wronged the Palestinians and robbed them of their homeland and rights.

 

But Western countries, first and foremost the United States , did not even uphold this symmetry. At most, they scolded Israel while bolstering its international economic and political status, demonstrating that occupation pays. But they punished, and continue to punish, the Palestinians as if they were the aggressors.

 

The Quartet, in a conditioned neo-colonialist reflex, threatened that the big boss would stop contributing to UNESCO: Shame on you, natives, it’s your fault. It is a threat that grates on the ears, so unlike the music emerging from Occupy Wall Street and its like-minded movements.

 

But diplomatic moves in the United Nations, no matter how refreshingly daring, are not enough. Hints that the Palestinian Authority could be dismantled are also not enough to make clear that the pyromaniacs in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are putting both Palestinian and Israeli wellbeing at risk, if not the wellbeing of many others in and beyond this region.

 

There is no substitute for the strategy of popular resistance, in which there are no distinguished VIPs watching from the sidelines (and also no more Qassam rockets or other methods that target civilians, which have proven their practical and moral worthlessness ). But not returning to negotiations is an essential step in order to disrupt the routine of dispossession, to which the Quartet is a partner.

 

4.  Haaretz

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Netanyahu: It is Israel ‘s right and obligation to build in Jerusalem

PM says Israel must continue to develop Jerusalem , asserts construction there is Israel ‘s basic right and not simply a punishment to Palestinians.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-it-is-israel-s-right-and-obligation-to-build-in-jerusalem-1.393341

 

By Jonathan Lis

Tags : Benjamin Netanyahu Jerusalem Israel settlements

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that construction in Jerusalem is Israel ‘s right and obligation, referring to his recent decision to accelerate settlement building in response to the Palestinians’ newly granted UNESCO membership.

 

“We will continue developing Jerusalem , its neighborhoods, and people,” Netanyahu said during a special Knesset session. “This is our right and obligation – not as punishment to the Palestinians but as our basic right.”

 

On Tuesday, Netanyahu and his forum of eight senior ministers decided to initiate a new wave of settlement construction in the West Bank, as part of a wider set of sanctions Israel decided to impose on the Palestinian Authority after it was accepted to UNESCO as a member on Monday.

 

Netanyahu’s office said Tuesday that the construction of 2,000 housing units planned in East Jerusalem , Gush Etzion, and Ma’aleh Adumim should be expedited.

 

The eight senior ministers also decided to suspend the transfer of tax money which Israel has collected for the Palestinian Authority in October. The money, which amounts to more than NIS 300 million, was supposed to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority before the Eid al-Adha holiday, when the money was to be used to pay the salaries of policemen and clerks of the Palestinian Authority.

 

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the decision on Tuesday, saying that Israel had decided “to speed up the destruction of the peace process ” by deciding to accelerate the construction of settlements on land where the Palestinians aim to found an independent state.

 

Nabil Abu Rdainah also described as “inhumane” Israel ‘s decision to temporarily halt transfers of funds to the Palestinian Authority.

 

On Monday, UNESCO accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member of the organization.

 

In response, the U.S. decided to cut off funding to the UN cultural body. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that since the vote triggered a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.

5.  Al Jazeerz Tuesday, November 1, 2011

 

The UNESCO mess  

The Obama Administration says there will be further cutoffs if other UN agencies follow suit in recognising Palestine .

 

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/11/201111175413649373.html

 

MJ Rosenberg Last Modified: 01 Nov 2011 09:15

inShare4EmailPrintShareFeedback

 

Palestine became the newest member of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body, after a vote  [EPA]

 

It was bound to happen sooner or later. At some point, both the president and Congress would be faced with a clear choice between US national interests and the demands made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his powerful Washington lobby.

 

In the larger sense, it happens all the time. US policy toward the Palestinians endangers our interests throughout the Muslim world, including – first and foremost – our civilian and military personnel in the Middle East , as well as our strategic and economic interests.

 

But usually, as is the case with some Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights like the Gaza blockade, the situation is not completely clear-cut. The Palestinians charge illegality under international law; the Israelis cite a different law.

 

And the US can (and invariably does) say nothing, or it takes the side of the Israelis. The entire world expects that from the United States by now and understands precisely why we operate that way. It understands that Israel is an important friend whose security we would never jeopardise.

 

They understand quite clearly that it is our absurd system of campaign funding that dictates that we follow Israel ‘s lead on defending the occupation and preventing Palestinians from achieving any kind of recognition or sovereignty. The US always chooses Netanyahu’s interests over the rights of the Palestinians.

 

Watershed vote

 

However, Monday’s United Nations vote to admit Palestine into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) presented US policymakers with a watershed choice. US interests and the Israeli government’s desires are directly pitted against each other.

 

To put it simply, Israel expected the United States to quit UNESCO and any other international agency that admits Palestine to membership. Hard US interests would dictate that we not even consider such a move.

 

This is not a question of US interests vs Israeli interests, which is why I refer to the Israeli government’s desires. Israel opposes UNESCO membership for Palestine as part and parcel of its policy to deny recognition of Palestine in any forum until Israel grants permission. It’s pure symbolism.

 

But for the United States , the implication of the policy of withdrawing from an important UN agency because its members recognise Palestine affects our national security in very direct ways.

 

It is happening because, under pressure from Israel and its lobby, the United States Congress in the 1990s passed legislation requiring the United States to not contribute to any UN entity that admits Palestine as a member.

 

According to former Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO) at issue are two laws from the early 1990s that prohibit the United States from providing financial contributions to any United Nations entity that admits Palestine as a member. The laws are strict: if Palestine is admitted to a UN agency, the United States must stop paying its membership dues. The restrictions provide no authority for the president to waive these prohibitions even if it is in the national interest to do so.

 

With a clear majority of countries around the world prepared to back Palestinian ambitions at the United Nations, the United States is poised to lose its leverage over several UN bodies that advance American interests and promote our ideal.

 

As Wirth explains, UNESCO “leads global efforts to bring clean water to the poor, promotes educational and curriculum building in the developing world, and manages a tsunami early warning system in the Pacific, among other important tasks. This critical work would be jeopardized if UNESCO’s top funder stops paying its bills.”

 

Political fallout

 

According to Politico Jonathan Allen, the funding cut would have a damaging effect on “American tech companies – such as Apple, Google and Microsoft – and movie studios that use UNESCO to open markets in the developing world and rely upon an associated entity, the World Intellectual Property Organization, to police international disputes over music, movies and software.”

 

Potentially, the damage can be much, much worse if Palestine seeks and gains recognition from such other critical UN entities as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

 

The IAEA is the agency that the US government has relied on to restrain nuclear weapon development (and proliferation) by Iran , North Korea , and others. The WHO works with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to protect us from potential pandemics like the avian flu.

 

No matter. Pursuant to the congressional ban, if the Palestinians join any of these entities, the US stops its funding and is, essentially, out.

 

Thanks to a powerful lobby, the United States would not have a seat at the table when critical matters of life and death are discussed.

 

Unfortunately, at this point, it appears that both the White House and Congress will put Israel ‘s demands above US interests of the most fundamental kind.

 

In fact, within hours of the vote today, the Obama administration announced that it is cutting off funding to UNESCO – cutoffs that, no doubt, will be followed if other UN agencies follow suit.

 

Truth be told, the Obama administration has no choice. The law gives the president no discretion about withdrawing aid if a UN agency recognizes Palestine . In fact, AIPAC made sure that the traditional “national security” waiver was not included in the law.

 

That means that President Obama is in a box, although Congress could, if it chooses, vote to waive the provisions of the law.

 

But that would mean putting US national interests above pleasing campaign donors. When was the last time that happened?

 

MJ Rosenberg is a senior foreign policy fellow at Media Matters Action Network. The above article first appeared in Foreign Policy Matters, a part of the Media Matters Action Network.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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

6. Nov2.11 video the battle for babies   forwarded by Ruth

 

http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/10/31/flower-israel-battle-for-babies.cnn

 

7.  Today in Palestine for November 1, 2011–11–02

http://www.theheadlines.org/11/01-11-11.shtml

 

 

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Of course Afghan government can’t live without privatised forces

Posted: 02 Nov 2011

 

Don’t believe anybody who says that private security and mercenaries won’t increasingly be in the front-line of US-led wars (if not in the headlines). The New York Times reports:

President Hamid Karzai’s plan to disband private security companies that protect billions of dollars worth of aid projects and replace them with government forces is fraught with problems and unlikely to meet the president’s March deadline to complete the transition, according to a six-month assessment of the program.

The assessment, conducted by NATO and the Afghan Interior Ministry, outlines dozens of issues that have slowed the development of the new security force and raises questions about the government’s capacity to carry out and sustain the program and others as international aid and military support dwindle in coming years.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, comes as international development companies are becoming increasingly worried about the security of their workers, many of whom are Afghans.

Mr. Karzai has said that replacing the private companies with his country’s forces is an important step toward Afghan sovereignty. Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, has also made it a central issue, according to a Western official.

“It’s become a top priority because if it doesn’t work, everything grinds to a halt,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with diplomatic protocol. “If it isn’t sorted out, everyone will pull out because they don’t want some fly-by-night security protecting them.”

NATO, the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development are setting up a task force that could grow to more than 170 people to advise and help train the guard force, according to a senior American official and a senior NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Pentagon will also be asking Congress to appropriate $35 million to $40 million in new and reallocated money to pay for the task force, a senior NATO official said.

The assessment makes it clear that much work needs to be done. Of 166 “essential” criteria to determine if the government was able to recruit, train and sustain the guard force, less than a third could be fully met, the assessment found. Sixty-three of the measurements could not be met at all.

Among the shortfalls: the program, which is overseen by the Interior Ministry, “has no money available to procure necessary supplies and equipment”; its training center is not teaching leadership skills and cannot generate enough guards to meet the forecasted demand; and the ministry has failed to provide the seed money — about $10 million — to prop up a state-owned business to run the program.

The program has already failed to supply personnel and equipment for some of its contracts, the report said. Its authors concluded that the police protection force “is not on track” to assume the responsibilities of the private security companies by March.

With Libya “free”, the Islamic Republic may soon receive freedom bombing

Posted: 02 Nov 2011

Peace-loving Britain, America and Israel may soon engage in yet another “liberation” in the Middle East:

Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme, the Guardian has learned.

The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.

In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign.

They also believe the US would ask permission to launch attacks from Diego Garcia, the British Indian ocean territory, which the Americans have used previously for conflicts in the Middle East.

The Guardian has spoken to a number of Whitehall and defence officials over recent weeks who said Iran was once again becoming the focus of diplomatic concern after the revolution in Libya.

They made clear that Barack Obama, has no wish to embark on a new and provocative military venture before next November’s presidential election.

But they warned the calculations could change because of mounting anxiety over intelligence gathered by western agencies, and the more belligerent posture that Iran appears to have been taking.

Wikileaks on real role of New York Times in setting media agendas

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 08:20 AM PDT

Julian Assange on The New York Times: Part 1 from NYT eXaminer on Vimeo.

Assange on British court’s approval of extradition to Sweden

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 08:01 AM PDT

More here.

Noam Chomsky speaks at #OccupySydney, 2 November 2011

Posted: 02 Nov 2011

Last night, just before Noam Chomsky delivered the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize, he spoke at #OccupySydney. I filmed his short appearance:

Some of my photos from the Chomsky visit here and here.

The never-ending march of Serco in Western Australia

Posted: 01 Nov 2011 10:30 PM PDT

So:

The State Government has announced the company Serco is its preferred tenderer for services at a new young adults corrective centre.

The Corrective Services Minister Terry Redman says the company was chosen to provide services at the facility in Murdoch after an extensive evaluation of its standards.

Mr Redman says Serco’s performance will be closely monitored by both the Government and the Inspector of Custodial Services.

My source in Western Australia tells me:

Prior to the last election the [Liberal] Barnett mob gave a undertaking this facility would not be privatised but after they were elected  they reversed that decision and decided to privatise the facility. Serco had a couple of years to lobby and prepare for the tender. Serco were the only tenderer, they were actively involved in developing the specifications for the facility and its various programs and it is reputed that a senior executive with responsibility for the facility within DoCS has links with Serco.

Contract management WA style!

The Community and Public Sector Union knows what this latest contract means; less jobs, lower wages and less accountability:

The CPSU/CSA has condemned the Barnett Government’s announcement today that multi-national company Serco will operate a new Young Adults Facility in Western Australia.

CPSU/CSA Secretary, Toni Walkington, says that the decision to outsource the new Young Adults facility will be disastrous for the state and put public safety at risk.

“Colin Barnett’s Government says they care about Law & Order but they are outsourcing key parts of the justice system to private companies, said Ms Walkington.

“Private companies exist to make profits for their shareholders – they do not exist to keep the community safe. Over recent months serious doubts have been cast over multi-nationals and their management of prisons, detention centres and public services.

A recent comprehensive evaluation of public versus private management of a new facility shows there is no benefit to the state from outsourcing this facility.

If the State Government walks away from its responsibilities it will not be able to protect the community.”

Ms Walkington said that a government that talks tough on Law & Order should not be outsourcing jobs in the justice system and putting public safety at risk.

Spirit of resistance still lives inside Iran

Posted: 01 Nov 2011

A new graphic novel, Zahra’s Paradise, is released that shows the long and ongoing struggle of Iranians for a better, safer and non-fundamentalist future. The New York Review of Books:

The people that Zahra and Hassan come across in their quest tell them stories: of missing relatives, confiscated property, executions, and the like. Hassan, for example, visits at his home a young man who shared a cell with Mehdi and others at Kahrizak Prison—the Tehran detention center where both male and female prisoners were allegedly assaulted and tortured during the 2009 protests. He describes these horrors: “I was raped! Raped in the name of their God, in the name of their Iran! Raped in the name of their prophet…It is their Islamic republic—not me—that is covered in filth!” Khalil’s drawings reconstruct this event as the young man is remembering them: his interrogators forcing him to face a cell wall; his trousers being pulled down; the document he was forced to sign afterwards, presumably saying he was well treated.

The novel’s drawings often reveal this kind of terrible irony. They represent a distinctly Iranian style of humor, a means of puncturing pretence and power. Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, is depicted as the Caliph of an all-male harem, choosing a new favorite among the politicians and clerics who are vying for his attention. The Revolutionary Court is pictured as a Kafkaesque maze of stairs, running upside down and sideways and seemingly going nowhere. Iran’s judiciary is evoked by a huge, gaping set of a mullah’s jaws. Moving stairs and runways, carrying an endless line of the accused enter the jaws from one side; they emerge from the maws of the mullah, after side trips to the torture chamber and the confession room, carrying signs of their prison sentences: “10 years,” “2 years,” “17 years.”

The protagonists of Zahra’s Paradise are in many ways representative types. Zahra is like the thousands of mothers who in Iran today persist in the search for missing sons and daughters and who courageously demonstrate before detention centers and in public parks, and issue open letters to the authorities seeking the freedom of their incarcerated children. Even today, a number of these mothers gather every Saturday in a Tehran park for this purpose, often risking arrest. This gathering is included in the book, and the police are shown dispersing the women. The brother, Hassan, provides an entrée into the world of Iran’s irreverent youth culture: into bedrooms plastered with posters, endless hours on the internet, intense camaraderie and the furtive but easy interaction between men and women in internet cafes. A taxi driver, taking Zahra and Hassan on their ronds, abandons his cab in the middle of Tehran’s perennially snarled traffic to fetch himself and his passengers a glass of his favorite watermelon juice. As the drawing appropriately shows, his absence hardly matters, since the traffic is not moving at all.

Chomsky warmly welcomed in Sydney

Posted: 01 Nov 2011


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Turkish harbormaster let 11 of us sail (and 25 are left behind)

Nov 02, 2011

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Mazin Qumsiyeh is part of the ground crew for the latest Gaza flotilla. A letter he just sent out to friends.

Dear friends and colleagues,

This letter was written and rewritten four times as the ups and downs of the last few days.  When you get it two boats would have left Turkish waters and I am not on one of them.  I finalize this letter from a boat returning to port in Turkey.  Tears are dry (of joy at success of our comrades and sadness for not being with them).  The will is still there and I promise myself to get to Gaza next time.

The boats now in International waters are named Saoirse (http://irishshiptogaza.org/) and Tahrir (http://www.tahrir.ca), Irish and Arabic for Liberty and Freedom.  The Canadian steering committee that invited us to join selected 11 from the 36 slated to go because they were unfairly reduced to that number by the Turkish harbor master. We are very disappointed that 25 of us were left behind.  Some of us left behind are trying different ways to catch up and we may still succeed.  In fact if you do not hear from me in 24 hours it means most likely I have succeeded to get on a boat. We hope that those who took the boats do arrive to the besieged strip on the Mediterranean where 1.6 million people are held under and immoral and illegal blockade/siege.  A small group of us took a small boat to try to meet one of the boats in waters off the coast but that did not work out (Turkish coast guard and timing).  But it felt important to try.

I personally wanted so bad to visit many friends in Gaza some of them I have not seen in years.  I wanted to visit Hiam and her family.  I last saw Hiam and her mother 10 years ago when we brought Hiam to CT (she was then less than 8 years old) to get a prosthetic eye after she was shot deliberately by an Israeli soldier.  She is one of hundreds of children who lost their eyes between 2000-2005 (for her story and pictures, see link to qumsiyeh.org).  I wanted to visit with friends like Dr.
Heidar Eid whom I saw only when he was able to get out of Gaza and I was able to get out of the occupied West Bank so that we can meet in a faraway country in Europe. I want to look in the eyes of Gaza children and tell them that we, the human family, care about them.  We will keep trying. I figure, not trying would be far harder on all of us.

We arrived at Istanbul at the 88th anniversary of proclamation of Turkey as
a republic in 1923.  Ataturk’s Turkey evolved quickly into a modern state
at par with other European states. On the news we witness earthquake
destruction in Eastern Turkey and I see a beautiful young girl with casts
on her legs smiling at one point, sad at another and I do not have to
understand the language to understand human tragedy. The damage from this
natural disaster is chillingly similar to the damage of the man-made
disaster in Gaza: collapsed multistory building, burying dead, injured
people.  But Gaza is not allowed to recover.

From Istanbul to Dalaman and then to a small lovely town where we stayed
until the launch time.  People here are very friendly.  They become even
friendlier (if that is possible) when they hear I am from Filistin.  But
then the whole place reminds me of Filistin (especially northern Palestine
areas of the Galilee).  I take a deep breath and soak the views of Olives,
Citrus, Figs, Almonds, Loquots, mullberies, Jasmine, cactus, old stone
terraces, and old men playing cards or backgammon. The colors are so
bright, the smells so refreshing, the water so abundant.  Smiley
comfortable faces with the wrinkles of the hillsides reflected on the faces
of the old people.  The shops, restaurants and hotels are family run and
the young are playful and energetic.  The evening call to prayer emanates
from the mosque. The bicycles all around are never locked and even our
hotel rooms were left open much of the time.   I feel like I am again
visiting North Palestine where my grandmother is from a place that was also
etched in her face and her memory till the day she died.

Before I proceed any further, I pause to tell you who were most on my mind
in the last four days as we went through the ups and downs and countless
meetings to come to this point.  What was on my mind were victims of the
Israeli apartheid state including these US victims:

1) The 34 sailors killed on the USS Liberty attacked deliberately in
International waters in 1967 (http://www.usslibertyveterans.org/,
http://www.gtr5.com/ ) and the survivors who have later died without ever
seeing justice for the murderers.

2) Rachel Corrie, 23 year old American student killed deliberately by
Israeli bulldozer in Rafah

3) Furkan Dogan, 19 y. o. Turkish American citizen, who was executed at
point blank range on the Mavi Marmara ship (see
link to www.globalresearch.ca and smuggled
videos at link to www.youtube.com  and
link to www.youtube.com )

I thought of their bravery as I watched fellow human beings from 10
countries try and even compete to get on boats (some have been to Gaza
several times and some tried to get to Gaza several times).  Driven only by
belief in our common humanity, I as a Palestinian cannot help but feel a
weight of gratitude for these brave souls. We had lots of glitches in the
past few days here with both bureaucratic and political rollercoaster. I
will spare you the gory details because the ultimate goal is Gaza. Briefly,
we arrived Saturday and were in meetings Sunday when negotiations started s
the boats arrived at docks.  Monday we find that we are unable to
accommodate all passengers per the Turkish authorities (who were not told
our destination).  Monday night we had a meeting till nearly midnight.
Tuesday was a an emotional rollercoaster as those selected were approached
individually to give their passports. Those of us who were not asked knew
then we were not selected. Passport data went to Ankara and further delays.
Wednesday at 11 AM came back green light to go but a little later, we heard
glitches happening and the authorities were at the doc. When the boats
finally left, five of us “the crazies” raced to our locally chartered boats
to try and meet.  The cruise Wednesday did not succeed and we had to go
back, disappointed.  But we hope that our colleagues on the Tahrir and
Saoirse will not be intercepted by the navy of the apartheid regime that is
enforcing an illegal and immoral siege on Gaza.

We live in an Orwellian world where humanitarian activists are persecuted
and war criminals get wined and dined in five star hotels.  We live in a
world where for seeking membership in a cultural and scientific
organization (UNESCO) and getting it by a democratic vote:

– the organization is punished with losing members withholding dues

– the internet service of 4 million Palestinians under occupation is
targeted by spams and attempts to shut it down (slowed down so far but it
is not clear if the Palestinians will cope with this

– the occupation authority decides to “punish” the Palestinian population
by building more settlements and by withholding Palestinian tax money (this
is Palestinian money from their taxes due to them).

– the US congress cuts humanitarian aid going to the Palestinian people
(not going to the Palestinian authority or even passing through its hands).

It was hard for me to see why we had to be secretive about a humanitarian
operation like this.  It is hard for me to see why the Turkish authorities
limited us to 11 passengers on each boat.  It is hard for me to see why
activists had hard feelings about each other or why choices were made the
way they were.  I had so many questions left on my mind but for now sadness
and anticipation overwhelms everything.

The human language is so limiting in expressing emotions and feelings on
this day. Words like anticipation, exhilaration, hope, fear, love, are all
rather limiting.  But there is one thing I think is interesting: when I am
in the Galilee, in Al-Walaja, in Aida refugee camp, in an Israeli holding
cell or jail, or attempting to get to Gaza, it is precisely these times in
my life that I feel most alive and most human because I am having “joyful
participation in the sorrows of this world”. Fellow human beings from
Ireland, Canada, USA, Denmark and elsewhere are inspiring and I quickly
became friends with those I did not know before.  They share me these
strong feelings and this makes it even more meaningful. You can see why
Vittorio Arrigoni ended his messages to us with the note “stay human”. May
we all stay most alive and stay most human.

If you want to help, please use all possible communication means (emails,
twitters, facebook, calls) to let all people especially media and
politicians know you support lifting the siege on Gaza and you want our
ships protected from Israeli piracy.  It is long overdue.

Now imagine: link to youtu.be

For a previous adventure of the Canadian boat, see

link to www.cbc.ca

November anniversaries

2/11/1917 Britain issued the infamous Balfour declaration promising some
one else’s country to become a national homeland for a racist Zionist
movement

3/11/1956 Khan Yunis massacre by Israeli forces of civilians in Gaza

9/11   International Day of Action Against the wall (coincide with fall of
Berlin wall)

10/11/1975 UN General Assembly resolution condemning Zionism as a form of
racism

13/11/1974 PLO Chairman Address UN General Assembly

15/11/1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence

22/11/1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242 “Emphasizing the
inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and “achieving a
just settlement of the refugee problem”

29/11/1947 UN GA 181 recommending partition

29/11 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
inaugurated by the UN GA

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

Students protest Israeli spokesperson at Wayne State University

Nov 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

hoffmanprotest
Student’s silent protest during GIl Hoffman talk. the students walked out en masse. (For more photos see Facebook here)

wsumarch

UNESCO vote shows the US and Israel represent the 1% against the 99% of world opinion

Nov 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Phyllis Bennis writing in Salon about the UNESCO Palestine vote:

Apparently the U.S. made the judgment that stiffing the organization, risking the likelihood of being kicked out on its unilateralist behind, is a price worth paying – to make the unsurprising political point that Washington is not happy about Palestinian statehood on any terms other than its own. Palestine’s right to membership in this particular world body means UNESCO can make the determination that Palestine, rather its occupying power Israel, has the right to nominate World Heritage Sites in its own territory, such as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It may not be the “independent and sovereign Palestinian state” the U.S. claims it supports – but it certainly helps achieve a few of Palestine’s long-denied rights. And the 20 years of U.S.-controlled “peace process” has produced nothing for Palestinians except a tripling of illegal Israeli settlers on their land – certainly nothing remotely resembling a Palestinian state.

The decision to withhold the dues was in the interest of the foreign policy 1 percent — Israel and its most hard-line supporters in the U.S. – not in the interest of the rest of us. In fact there are potentially hazardous consequences ahead for a lot of us, including some of those most of the time part of the 1 percent. Because achieving full membership in UNESCO is only the first step in the broader Palestinian plan at the UN.

Other organizations will follow – and one of the first is likely to be WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization. WIPO is hardly a household word but it is an important entity. WIPO figures out how to protect patents, royalty arrangements and trademarks, so not only cultural workers but the biggest high-tech industries have a huge investment there too. That’s why the Obama administration convened a high-power meeting of corporate giants – Google, Microsoft, Apple and others – the day before the UNESCO vote, to see if they might have ideas to get out of the impasse.

It’s complicated, because this isn’t just a political decision by the administration to cut the funding. Congress passed specific legislation, dating back to 1991 and 1994, requiring the U.S. government to do just that – to withhold funds from any UN agency that recognizes Palestine on an equal basis with other states. And those laws didn’t include the kind of presidential waiver congress often adds when they know they’re passing really stupid resolutions that are just for domestic political consumption. Like every year when members of Congress demand that the U.S. move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem – something no country in the world does– they always include language that says “unless the President certifies that keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv is in the national security interest of the United States.” That’s the out.

Who pays the price?

This time, there’s no obvious out. The problem is that if the United States has to leave WIPO, a lot of powerful corporations are going to be very unhappy. After WIPO, which UN agencies will be next to be de-funded? Will it be the International Atomic Energy Agency, on whose reports U.S. strategists rely to figure out Iran’s nuclear power program? If an IAEA member state doesn’t pay its dues, will it still have access to the agency’s classified reports? Will it be the World Health Organization, leaving the U.S. Centers for Disease Control outside of the global collaborations it depends on to fight the spread of devastating diseases?

And that’s all just talking about what affects the U.S. and Americans directly. What happens to children – the world’s children, living across the impoverished global South – when UNICEF loses 22 percent of its budget? UNICEF is probably the most popular UN agency in the United States – will this year’s Halloween trick-or-treat Pennies for UNICEF campaign mark the last U.S. money to support the children’s fund?

There has rarely been a clearer example of domestic politics – in this case influence of the pro-Israel lobbies – undermining national interests. Senator Lindsay Graham, one of the most influential Republicans on foreign policy, said “There’s a lot of bipartisan support for cutting off funding to any political U.N. organization that would do this. What you are going to do is eventually lose congressional support for our participation in the United Nations. That’s what’s at risk here. That would be a great loss.” But while claiming to recognize U.S. interests in the UN agencies, Graham still plans to introduce a Senate resolution calling for withdrawal from UNESCO – or any other UN agency recognizing Palestine on an equal basis. Graham is known as the most pro-UN among Republicans (admittedly a low bar). Yet as The Cable reported, “when it comes to the issue of Palestinian recognition, the politics just don’t allow any room for compromise, he said.”

The Netanyahu Guide to Middle East Peace

Nov 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

guidetopeace
(Image: o0Ax0o via Reddit)

(Thanks to Mondo reader James for passing it along)

Goldstone’s major error: By looking for South Africa, he missed Israel’s own brand of apartheid

Nov 02, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guideresponds to Richard Goldstone’s recent New York Times Op-Ed:

There are numerous problems with Goldstone’s piece, but I want to highlight two important errors. First, Goldstone – like others who attack the applicability of the term “apartheid” – wants to focus on differences between the old regime in South Africa and what is happening in Israel/Palestine. Note that he does this even while observing that apartheid “can have broader meaning”, and acknowledging its inclusion in the 1998 Rome Statute.

As South African legal scholar John Dugard wrote in his foreword to my book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, no one is saying the two situations “are exactly the same”. Rather, there are “certain similarities” as well as “differences”: “It is Israel’s own version of a system that has been universally condemned”.

Goldstone would appear not to have read studies by the likes of South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council and others, who conclude that Israel is practicing a form of apartheid. The term has been used by the likes of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, and Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem.

Goldstone’s second major error is to omit core Israeli policies, particularly relating to the mass expulsions of 1948 and the subsequent land regime built on expropriation and ethno-religious discrimination. By law, Palestinian refugees are forbidden from returning, their property confiscated – the act of dispossession that enabled a Jewish majority to be created in the first place.

As an advisor on Arab affairs to PM Menachem Begin put it: “If we needed this land, we confiscated it from the Arabs. We had to create a Jewish state in this country, and we did”. Within the “Green Line”, the average Arab community had lost between 65 and 75 per cent of its land by the mid-1970s. Across Israel, hundreds of Jewish communities permit or deny entry according to “social suitability”. Goldstone’s claim that there is merely “de facto separation” rings hollow.

Successive Israeli governments have pursued policies of “Judaisation” in areas of the country where it is deemed there are “too many” non-Jews, i.e. Palestinian citizens. The current Housing Minister has called it a “national duty” to “prevent the spread” of Palestinians. In the Negev, there is a plan to forcibly relocate some 30,000 Bedouin citizens, a population group President Shimon Peres described as a “demographic threat“. A racialised discourse about birth rates is commonplace: In 1998, the mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, told reporters that “it’s a matter of concern when the non-Jewish population rises a lot faster than the Jewish population”.

‘Freedom Waves to Gaza’ flotilla leaves Turkey headed to Gaza; Organizers: ‘It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free.’

Nov 02, 2011

Ben Lorber

View Flotilla II from Turkey in a larger map

On Wednesday, November 2, two international ships left the Turkish harbor to carry humanitarian aid through the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The event, called ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’,  unites 27 activists from 9 countries, including America, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Australia, alongside Palestinians from Bethlehem and Haifa, in a broad-based international movement to break Israel’s illegal and immoral suffocation of the 1.6 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. The Irish yachtSaoirse (Freedom), which carries 15 activists, and the Canadian boat Tahrir (Liberation), which holds 12, will attempt to carry $30,000 in medical supplies beyond the Israeli blockade later this week. ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’ is the 11th attempt by international activists to deliver humanitarian aid through the Israeli blockade of Gaza since 2008.

For more Democracy Now reporting on the Freedom Waves flotilla see here.

As the boats navigate international waters, Palestinian youth activists will parade a large wooden effigy of the aid boats through the streets of Ramallah, while distributing white armbands and ribbons emblazoned ‘Freedom Waves for Gaza’. In addition, they will hold a demonstration outside of the UN office in Ramallah on Thursday, demanding that the UN end its compliance with the Israeli blockade and protect the humanitarian mission.

Indeed, in a letter given to the UN on Wednesday, Palestinian youth insisted that “it is incumbent upon the UN to take urgent steps to protect the boats en route to Gaza and all of the humanitarian volunteers aboard, as well as to declare its support for nonviolent, humanitarian action, designed to do what the UN and its members states have thus far failed to do.”

tahrir boat for web
The tahrir docked in Turkey. (Photo: Lina Attalah)

Organizers of the flotilla mission withheld the news from the world until the boats reached international waters, to prevent Israeli or international sabotage that plagued previous aid attempts. Though the humanitarian vessels departed from Fethiye, Turkey, organizers insist that the Turkish government is not involved with Freedom Waves for Gaza. Says Huwaida Arraf, “because Freedom Flotilla 1 was mostly an international effort, and because with the Mavi Marmara Turkish people were killed, it became mainly a Turkish thing…which detracted from the fact that it really was an international effort. So this time we want to show that it’s not just Turkey, its an international effort.” In fact, no Turkish citizens are aboard either of the two ships.

Freedom Waves for Gaza comes at a time when minor improvements to the situation- such as the opening of the Rafah land crossing from Egypt to Gaza in May- or minor concessions by Israel- such as its allowance of minor consumer goods into Gaza in the wake of the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010, touted internationally as an ‘easing of the blockade’ (though it led led 10-year-old Gaza schoolchild Abed Rahmen Jadee to lament ‘I don’t want any more snacks or coke. I want a new school’)- have done little to meaningfully alleviate the humanitarian crisis that plagues the 1.6 million inhabitants of Gaza, half of whom are under the age of 16.

Organizer Huwaida Arraf, chair of the Free Gaza movement, stresses that “by reaching Palestinians through their own port, the flotilla defies the dehumanization of a whole population and supports the continuing efforts of the people of Gaza to assert their dignity. The Palestinians will accept nothing less than a total end to the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and all forms of violence and discrimination against them.”

The most recent figures published by the UN and international humanitarian and human rights organizations confirm that roughly 75 – 80% of the population rely on international aid in order to survive; 65% live below the poverty line; 52% are food insecure; approximately 40% are unemployed; there are no building materials for much-needed schools and hospitals; 90 – 95% of the drinking water is contaminated and unfit for consumption; seriously ill patients cannot get access to the specialist treatment that would potentially save their lives; and children are suffering untreated post-traumatic stress as a result of the white phosphorous shells used illegally in Israel’s invasion in January 2009.

In its declaration to the UN, the Palestinian youth stated that “in our schools, universities and through our organizations, we are taught about human rights and international law, and yet it seems like Palestinians fall into a class of people upon whom these rights don’t apply. Like the blacks in America a half a century ago, or in South Africa two decades ago, we are victims of an exclusivist ideology and those who tolerate and enable it.”

The declaration continues- “Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has been returned to his family, removing one of Israel’s main pretexts, albeit not a justification, for its Draconian closure policy.  And while 1027 Palestinian prisoners have been exchanged for Shalit (although 550 have yet to be released), over 1.5 million Palestinians remain caged in the prison that is Gaza.”

During the campaign, Witness Gaza (witnessgaza.com) will be a central information hub, in contact with representative organizations from activists’ home countries. Palestinian youth representatives will be updating the world via Twitter at #PALWaves, as will international activists aboard the ships- unless Israel jams the communications signal, as has occurred in previous flotilla aid attempts.

In Wednesday’s press release, Majd Kayyal, a Palestinian activist from Haifa aboard the Tahrir, insisted that “Israel has caged Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, prohibiting physical contact between us. We want to break the siege Israel has imposed on our people. The fact that we’re in international waters is already a victory for the movement.”

As new Israeli airstrikes are claiming lives in Gaza, and as Benjamin Netanyahu threatens to intensify the bombardments, it is due time to once again bring to the world’s attention what the UN in 2009 called the ‘protracted human dignity crisis’ caused by Israel’s closure of Gaza. Says Huwaida Arraf, “the people of Gaza have called on the peoples and governments of the world to challenge an illegal, immoral, and irrational Israeli naval blockade that has caused, and continues to cause, incalculable human suffering. We are responding to that call. Our primary aim is to overcome the continuing blockade of Gaza through civil resistance and non-violent direct action, and to establish a permanent sea lane between Gaza and the rest of the world.”

For up to the minute information on the Freedom Waves flotilla:  http://witnessgaza.com/

On Twitter: @PalWaves #FreedomWaves

Ben Lorber is an American activist with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank and a journalist with the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem. Visit his blog at freepaly.wordpress.com.

Editor note: Below is a press release and call to action that was sent out today:

For immediate release, November 2, 2011

TWO BOATS WITH PASSENGERS FROM 5 COUNTRIES (INCLUDING THE U.S.)

HAVE SET SAIL TO GAZA

Organizers say: “It is time to lift the siege of Gaza which deprives 1.6 million civilians of their rights to travel, work, study, develop their economy and be free.”
The Canadian ship Tahrir and the Irish ship Saoirse have successfully reached international waters, initiating the “Freedom Wave to Gaza.” The boats have embarked from Turkey and are on the Mediterranean Sea. In all, the 2 boats carry 27 passengers from Canada, Ireland, U.S., Palestine, and Australia.

Kit Kittredge on board the Tahrir was previously a passenger on the American ship, The Audacity of Hope, which attempted passage to Gaza last July. Kittredge says, “ The only obstacles in our way are Israel’s military and the complicity of the Obama administration but in our sails is the wind of worldwide public opinion which has turned against the illegal blockade.”

Ann Wright retired US army Colonel and former US Diplomat says, “We carry inspiration from the Arab Spring and the worldwide “Occupy” movements that are demanding freedom and justice. Where governments fail, civil society must act. As Americans we are fed up with our government’s unquestioning support of Israel no matter how violent, illegal and oppressive its actions. We will not stand by and watch $30 billion of our tax money committed to buying Israel weaponry used to carry out this illegal occupation of Palestine including the blockade of Gaza.”

Jane Hirschmann added, “Our sailing coincides with UN agency UNESCO’s recognition of Palestine as a member state, defying US threats to cut off $80 million of US funding in retaliation. This shows the growing strength of opposition by the international community to U.S. and Israeli policies in Palestine. We call on the international community to go further and take effective action to lift the siege of Gaza. Hirschmann was one of the organizers this past summer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope which is still captive in Greece.

Act now!!

BOATS SAILING  NOW TO GAZA! SPREAD THE WORD. 

Israel and the US outsourced the siege of Gaza to Athens last summer by preventing 8 boats in the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human from sailing from Greek ports to Gaza. Despite this we were able to bring world-wide attention to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Our efforts in Greece only fueled our determination to challenge the imprisonment of the people of Gaza. We said we would continue to sail and so we are!!!

At this moment, two boats are in international waters in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza.  One boat, the Saoirse from Ireland, includes parliamentarians among its passengers.  The other, the Tahrir, carries representatives from Canada, the U.S., Australia, and Palestine.  The U.S. Representative on the Tahrir, Kit Kittredge, was a passenger on the U.S. Boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope mission in Athens in July.  A journalist from Democracy Now is on the Tahrir also. Civil society organizations in Gaza await their arrival, and look forward to the delivery of letters collected from thousands of U.S. supporters in the To Gaza With Love campaign.

We need your help to make this mission a success. Please take these actions immediately.

1. Check these websites for updates:  US to Gaza, Irish Ship to Gaza and Canadian Boat to Gaza,  watch  or listen to Democracy Now for live coverage from the Tahrir..  Look for twitter hashtag #Freedomwaves.

2. Spread the word far and wide – send this alert to your contacts.

3. Call the State Department  and the White House- demand that they take immediate action to ensure the safe passage of these boats and to put an end to the siege of Gaza.

Call the State Department:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 202-647-5291
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro 011-972-3-519-7575
Office of Israel/Palestinian Affairs Paul Sutphin 202-647-3672
Office of Consular Affairs, Kim Richter 202-647-8308

and the White House: 202-456-1414

email President Obama at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Here are some talking points or suggested messaging:

Gaza has been under siege since mid-2006, depriving 1.6 million people of their liberty and basic human rights.  Although the siege has been condemned by the United Nations, the Red Cross, and many national governments, nothing has been done to ease the plight of these civilians.  Civil society has had to act where governments would not.  Two ships with 27 passengers from 5 countries are sailing to Gaza to confront the Israeli naval blockade, and to bring medical supplies and letters of support.

As Americans we insist that our government (which sends Israel $3 billion in military aid every year), demands that Israel insures the ships’ safe passage and ends its illegal blockade of Gaza. There is absolutely no excuse to subject 1.6 million people to collective punishment. Ask your local press to cover this story.  Up-to-date information will be available at www.ustogaza.orgwww.irishshiptogaza.org  and www.tahrir.ca

FORWARD THIS ACTION ALERT TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS, PLEASE INCLUDE THE PRESS RELEASE.

THANKS
FELICE GELMAN, JANE HIRSCHMANN AND ANN WRIGHT

Update:

The Center for Constitutional Rights issued this statement:

Two boats carrying twenty-seven human rights activists from five countries, including the United States, have made it to international waters and are headed to Gaza.  Today, the flotilla set sail unannounced from Turkey with the aim of ending the siege and isolation of Gaza.  The boats are carrying letters from people in the United States to the people of Gaza, as well as medicine.  This latest attempt comes less than six months after the “Stay Human Flotilla” was detained and sabotaged in Greece by local port authorities in response to mounting pressure from the United States and Israel.

In light of Israel’s attack on the May 2010 flotilla, which killed nine civilians including 18-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) calls on the international community to ensure the safe passage of the ships through international waters into Gaza and prevent a repetition of last year’s lethal assault by Israeli forces.

Said CCR senior staff sttorney Maria LaHood, “CCR applauds the persistence of civil society to break the siege on Gaza, where Palestinians remain imprisoned and isolated, without access to the supplies necessary to sustain and rebuild their lives.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights also denounced the introduction in early October of House Bill H.R. 3131, in which the sponsors “express gratitude to the government of Greece for preventing the [July 2011 Freedom Flotilla II-Stay Human] from setting sail” and “direct the Secretary of State to…report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the [flotilla] should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization.”  The Freedom Flotilla II was a July 2011 attempt by human rights activists to break the Israeli blockade and deliver aid to the Gaza Strip.  As the International Committee of the Red Cross recently stated, “the easing of the closure inJune 2010 has had little impact on the daily lives of the residents in Gaza,” and “Israel retains effective control over the Gaza strip, in particular the movement of persons and goods.”

 CCR issued the following statement:

“The Center for Constitutional Rights denounces H.R. 3131 as another example of the increasing use of the word ‘terrorism’ to create fear and stoke irrational response to activism, including the growing use of ‘material support’ charges to punish people for humanitarian activity and expressions of international solidarity or dissent.  The Center for Constitutional Rights has long called for the end of the siege of Gaza and has supported the flotilla efforts, which, at their core, seek to end the isolation of Palestinians living in Gaza.   In May 2011, CCR filed a lawsuit against numerous government agencies, including the Defense, Justice, and State Departments, seeking the release of documents regarding the U.S. government’s knowledge of, and actions in relation to, the May 31, 2010 attack by Israel on a six-boat flotilla in international waters, resulting in the death of nine civilians, including a 18-year old U.S. citizen Furkan Doğan.  It is Israel’s illegal blockade and the May 2010 killing of unarmed flotilla participants by Israeli commandos that should be condemned and for which accountability should be sought, rather than the victims’ attempts to break the siege on Gaza.”

“H.R. 3131 is a disgrace and an attempt at fear-mongering based on the libelous assertion that if you are against the illegal blockade of Gaza, you are a terrorist.  This is yet another attempt to silence the voices of ordinary citizens acting in good conscience.  We will continue to organize and send boats in order to show our support for the imprisoned population of Gaza. We will not be silenced,” said Jane Hirschmann, one of the organizers of a U.S. boat with the Stay Human flotilla to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope.

The July 2011 flotilla was not the first aid attempt to be stopped.  On May, 31, 2010, more than 700 civilians from nearly 40 countries on the Freedom Flotilla I sought to bring aid and supplies to the Gaza Strip, but Israeli commandos intercepted the six-boat flotilla in international waters, killing nine passengers, including one U.S. citizen, Furkan Doğan.  There had been five successful voyages to Gaza in 2008, and all four attempts to reach Gaza in 2010 were forcefully blocked.

Also, Monday, UNESCO voted to recognize Palestine as a full member of the organization, which Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys said demonstrates that the international community increasingly rejects the United States’ isolation of the Palestinian people, and is a small step toward their self-determination.   Because of the vote, the United States is cutting funding to UNESCO.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is engaged in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation seeking information about the U.S. knowledge of, and response to, the attack on last year’s flotilla. For more information, please see our case page.  For a factsheet about the illegality of the blockade of Gaza and the attack on the Gaza flotilla, please click here.

Sadly, Americans need permission from Israeli heroes to stick a fork in Zionism

Nov 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Our own State Department said 64 years ago that establishing Israel would just create one war after another in the region. Yes, right up to the Iraq war. Moshe Dayan’s widow Ruth, 95, says the same thing, speaking to Rula Jebreal, at the Daily Beast: (thanks to Nima Shirazi):

“I am a proud Israeli. I’ve lived through every war, endured every moment of suffering, but I never stopped believing in peace. I lost friends and family members. I’m a peacemaker, but the current Israeli government does not know how to make peace. We move from war to war, and this will never stop. I think Zionism has run its course.”

Halper: Israel may attack Iran so that we won’t hear the word ‘Palestinian’ for another 5 years

Nov 02, 2011

Philip Weiss

Israel may well attack Iran in an effort to distract the world from the Palestinian issue, Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions said last Saturday in New York.

“There’s a very real possibility that Israel will attack Iran,” he said. At a time when there is tremendous international pressure on Israel to end the occupation and even the U.S. discourse is beginning to shift on Israel, an Iran attack would be the “ultimate deflection… it would deflect everything.”

“It’s a delaying thing. You won’t hear the word Palestinian for another five years,” Halper said. And Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, government ministers from rightwing and centrist parties, could work together on the effort, seamlessly.

The Minnesota born activist, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, spoke at the Tree of Life conference on the conflict at Advent Lutheran Church on the Upper West Side. And Halper spoke frankly of the American interest and of the issue of dual loyalty.

“I don’t want to become all jingoistic,” he said, but there are real questions of where AIPAC is leading the US that should be in the conversation politically: “You’re an American member of Congress not an Israeli member.”

At the beginning of his term, Obama was talking the national-interest talk: “Resolving this issue is in the vital national interest of the United States.” Halper said that Ronald Reagan played the same card when he sold the AWACs airplanes to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s– it’s not in Israel’s interest but it’s in the American interest.

And when the issue is framed in that manner, most American Jews are going to fall into line “150 percent.” Even AIPAC supporters’ greatest fear is that they are going to be seen to have dual loyalties because there is a “conflict between the interests of Israel and the United States,” Halper said, and that cleavage ought to be stated now.

That has been Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas’s achievement in going to the U.N.: U.S. support for Israel is “really beginning to bring the United States down,” in the eyes of the world. Obama’s speech before the General Assembly in September was met by “stony silence;” he has “alienated the entire audience.”

(Ron Paul subliminal advertising moment)

Halper also said that the two state solution is no longer viable, and that one great outcome of the U.N. process is that 140 members of the General Aseembly are likely to vote for a Palestinian state, and then send their ambassadors to Jerusalem. And then if Palestinians march on a checkpoint, and if one Palestinian is shot, it would “absolutely be a war crme,” in the eyes of the world.

The Tree of Life conference will continue this weekend in Old Lyme, CT. See Ashley Bates, Mark Braverman, Daoud Nasser, Laila El Haddad and Adam Horowitz among others…

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

Nov 02, 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 tryi

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Only fools believe we should stay in Afghanistan

Posted: 01 Nov 2011

 

After more than 10 years of Western-led war in Afghanistan, The Guardian’s Jonathan Steele says that it is a conflict that we’ll (thankfully) never win. Take note America, Britain and Australia:

Two days after 9/11, I wrote a column in The Guardiansaying that if the U.S. reaction was to put boots on the ground in Afghanistan and try to occupy that country and to bring about regime change, they would suffer exactly the same fate as the Soviet Union. And I’m afraid to say that I’ve been proved right on that, because they’re following exactly the same techniques as the Russians. It’s what I call the garrison strategy. You hold the main cities, you try and keep the roads going open between them, and you make little forays into the countryside and try and push out a bit. But it doesn’t work, because you create new resistance by being there. The resistance comes because you’re there; you’re not there because of the resistance. The occupying force itself creates the resistance.

And so, the crucial thing now is to recognize that the war is unwinnable. It is a stalemate. There is no military victory. And this is the lesson that I’m afraid President Obama hasn’t yet learned from what the Soviets did, because Mikhail Gorbachev came into power in the Kremlin in 1985, after five years of war, when 9,000 Soviets soldiers had already died. He inherited somebody else’s war from his predecessor. And he realized immediately that the war was unwinnable. He consulted his military. They also said the war is unwinnable. They didn’t say, “We want a surge.” They didn’t say, “We want new troops, new equipment, you know, more scope, more money.” They recognized that the thing is a disaster. Obama hasn’t yet recognized that. And in fact it’s worse than that, because people like General Petraeus are still convinced that there can be a military victory. He has the ear of the President. He’s the head of the CIA, sees him virtually every day. And so, it’s really important, I think, that the American public—and we know from the polls that more than half are against this war—really make their voice heard.

Finland signed up to American network of terror after September 11

Posted: 01 Nov 2011

Yet more evidence is emerging of the global scope of torture post 9/11 by the Bush administration with virtual bi-partisan support. Just the latest (via Reprieve in the UK):

As a front-page article in Finland’s leading daily Helsingin Sanomat today explains, the Finnish government have reluctantly been compelled, in response to requests by Amnesty International, to release some data about suspicious planes passing through Finnish territory between 2001 and 2006. But does the government have the will to investigate the loose ends which this data has brought to light?

The mysterious flight of N733MA in March 2006 is a case in point. According to the data released by the Finnish foreign ministry, this plane flew from Porto in Portugal to Finland, arriving in Helsinki at 20:37 on the 25th of March. After that, it disappears from the record, with no onward route given – except that we know from other sources that two hours later it had mysteriously reappeared in Lithuania. According to the parliamentary inquiry on the establishment of CIA secret prisons in Lithuania, on its arrival there this plane was not greeted by the usual border checks, because the security services had written to the border guard the day before … asking them not to check the plane.

Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah filed a case against the government of Lithuania in the European Court of Human Rights last Friday, concerning his secret detention in Lithuania in 2005-6, so the time is ripe for the Finnish government to look seriously at the implications of this, and other, new disclosures. On 23 September Reprieve and partners Access Info Europe filed a freedom of information request about more potential renditions planes passing through Finland. The response, from transport agency Trafi, is now well overdue. Will they, and the government, make the necessary effort to get to the bottom of this murky history? They are likely to be faced with increasingly difficult and embarrassing questions in the near future if not.

Condi Rice reassures world; Bush made space for Arab Spring

Posted: 01 Nov 2011

Yes, and Iraq is a liberated nation with peace and tranquility. Delusional:

“The demise of repressive governments in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere during this year’s “Arab spring,” she says, stemmed in part from Bush’s “freedom agenda,” which promoted democracy in the Middle East. “The change in the conversation about the Middle East, where people now routinely talk about democratization is something that I’m very grateful for and I think we had a role in that. It would be a mistake to make the leap of faith that this [Arab Spring] would somehow have worked in Iraq,” she says in her first newspaper interview about her memoir, No Higher Honor. […]

“Gadhafi … wasn’t Saddam Hussein in terms of his reach and capacity,” she says. “I do think that an Arab spring in Iraq would have been unthinkable under Saddam Hussein.

Let’s be clear; Australia has no interest in helping Palestinians end Zionist occupation

Posted: 31 Oct 2011

Last night’s UNESCO vote, that confirmed Palestine as a full member, showed just how few nations in the world are true client states of America, craven (hello, Australia!) or both:

There were 14 “no” votes, 52 abstentions and 107 “yes” votes (there were also 20 Member States absent):

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

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

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

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

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80% of IsraHell believe Iran strike will lead to war with Hamas, Hezbollah

NOVANEWS

by crescentandcross in Uncategorized 

ed note–a regional war is EXACTLY what Israel is banking on as she is addicted to war per her Old Testament rearing.

Haaretz

A large majority of Israeli citizens believe that a military operation in Iran will lead to a regional flare-up with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah to the north of Israel in Lebanon, a Haaretz poll revealed Thursday.

According to a Haaretz-Dialog poll, 80% of respondents said they believed an attack on Iran will lead to war with Hamas and Hezbollah. 59% of respondents said they believe that it is highly likely that such a scenario will occur and 21% said that it is fairly likely that it will occur.  Meanwhile, 20% said that the probability of a war is unlikely or entirely improbable.

The poll, which queried both Jewish and Arab respondents, also asked whether people trusted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak “on the Iranian issue.” Here the answer was more clear-cut, with 52 percent saying they do, compared to 37 percent who do not. Only 11 percent have no opinion.

According to the poll, Israelis are almost evenly split on whether Israel should attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, with 41 percent supporting such a strike and 39 percent opposed. The remaining 20 percent said they were undecided.

54% of Arab respondents believ that Israel should not attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, while 21% support such an attack. Furthermore, 37% of Russian Israelis support an attack, while only 10% are undecided, or do not have an opinion.

The poll also shows that 50% of ultra-Orthodox respondents support such an attack, while 43% of Orthodox and 45% of observant Jews support a strike.

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The Merchants of Death and Me

NOVANEWS

 by crescentandcross in Uncategorized 

Philip Giraldi

I attended a recent talk on “defense cooperation” between the United States and the Arab world. Inevitably, no one on the panel of five bothered to ask why the United States should be fueling an arms race by selling to nearly every country in the region, but as each speaker had a personal interest in arming everyone to the teeth, the omission was perhaps understandable. It reminded me of Upton Sinclair’s famous quip that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

One panelist was a senior employee of a major defense contractor. The other speakers were also cogs in the military-industrial complex. Most of the panelists were somewhat nuanced in their pronouncements even if they could not avoid slipping into government-speak with its mixture of acronyms and expressions like “kinetic” and “COIN doctrine” that are only used when Pentagon guys get together over a brewski (or when they are trying to impress a congressional committee).

The defense contractor representative made clear that his comments had not been reviewed by his employer, so one has to assume that he spoke from the heart, though he was obviously conditioned by the snake oil that he sells to make a living. He started out by saying that there are a lot of “irreconcilables” out there in the world who are plotting to kill Americans and carry out terrorist acts. They represent a serious threat to the United States and the American people. He stated his belief that something has to be done about such people and went on to describe the use of drones and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) assassination teams to kill targets in those foreign countries where they shelter as “constabulary action,” repeating the expression a number of times.

He likened the situation to a U.S. marshal serving a warrant while being supported by a police SWAT team, which is heavily armed to deal with a possible violent reaction from the miscreant. These “irreconcilables”are unwilling to submit to the forces of law and order, so they are most often killed, justice being served by their deaths in what is, after all, a “constabulary action.” You have to understand that it is just law enforcement going about its business in a slightly unusual way, traveling around the world and delivering the last judgment on those who are enemies of the United States.

Conceding that there is considerable controversy over the use of drones, the defense contractor representative noted that the program speaks for itself. Frontline leaders of terrorist groups used to be in their thirties and are now in their twenties, indicating that the mortality rate at middle levels has reduced their effectiveness, with new, inexperienced cadre replacing those who are killed. He also praised the technical advances, improved training of the joystick Air Force pilots in Nevada, and better targeting information that has enabled the program to approach the goal of “acceptable levels of collateral damage” whenever a Hellfire missile is fired into a group of people on the ground.

He admitted that there were a lot of lethal mistakes in the past, but the situation has improved. As for the targeted killing of American citizens by drones, he commented that there are plenty of lawyers involved in the approval process and that they look at everything very carefully.

The defense contractor panelist concluded with some parting shots at the government’s inability to emulate Hollywood in selling a product. He noted that the “enemy” has been very good at promoting its narrative, particularly among the young, and that the U.S. government has lagged in getting its story out. He described the failure to do so as a matter of some concern.

Another panelist let drop that he had recently attended a classified briefing that revealed there are a lot of targeted killings taking place regularly, presumably carried out by JSOC and possibly CIA paramilitaries, in all parts of the world. He praised the assassination program as exemplary because, unlike the publicity generated by the drone strikes, no one talks about it or leaks it to the press and it gets the job done.

Where to begin? First of all, America’s lashing out at the world is the product of a phony narrative that suggests that there are thousands of rabid terrorists standing by waiting to board the next Icelandic Air flight to arrive in Newark and start spreading havoc. It just ain’t so. Most of the people we regard as terrorists are local folks who are fed up with their own governments and wouldn’t be able to do anything if transplanted into another culture in another land even if some obliging FBI agent were to provide them with a phony bomb to use.

The shrinking handful who might be able to operate internationally have not exactly been enjoying a run of success of late, pursued as they are by virtually every government and intelligence service. If one excludes war zones, when was the last time an American was killed by someone linked to a terrorist group? June 2009, when a soldier was shot dead outside a military recruiting center in Arkansas by a convert to Islam who somewhat implausibly claimed to be tied to al-Qaeda.

As for justice being signed, sealed, and delivered by drones and killer teams, it is quite a stretch to see such instruments of death as analogous to the Gary Cooperesque amiable local sheriff in the white hat riding out to capture the desperado. To put it simply, there can be no justice where the accused has no right to confront the accusations against him and defend himself. Consider for a moment that if America is empowered to carry out “constabulary action” worldwide, so is everyone else. Laws, criminal justice systems, and constitutions have been created in many countries precisely to inhibit the arbitrary exercise of power by government, particularly the power to kill.

If a senior employee of a major corporation cannot see and understand that point, he probably needs to read through the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was created to restrain the government, not to empower it to behave arbitrarily, and it certainly does not give the government carte blanche to kill anyone anywhere, be they a U.S. citizen or not. That means there can be no “constabulary action” causing an “acceptable level of collateral damage” when Predator drones and assassination teams are unleashed.

Apparently quite a few Americans now believe that the United States can, without any acceptable legal framework, assassinate anyone anywhere and that there are no consequences related to such activity. As this panel demonstrated, many would even praise the willingness to do so and the technical marvels that make the killing possible. As an American citizen, I for one would like to learn just how many foreigners have been killed extralegally by my government using drones or special-ops soldiers and paramilitaries since 9/11. I would like to know what the standard of evidence is for setting up an assassination, and I would further like to know how much collateral damage has been done along the way, and by collateral damage I mean the dead bodies of people who have been killed either because they were misidentified or were standing too close to a target.

And I want to hear what accountability there has been for all those people killed because of intelligence errors or technical failures in Nevada. What exactly do all those government lawyers look at to render a verdict when they set up a killing? Who exactly are those lawyers, and whom do they answer to?

But perhaps the most startling insight revealed by the panel is the inability to understand why the United States has been unable to sell its message “Hollywood style.”Well, it should be obvious even to the masters of war who create the ordnance that goes off with a bang all around the world that the narrative proposed by the United States, i.e., that “we are here to protect you,”doesn’t sell too well in any part of the world where the people can look around and see the devastation that has actually been delivered. Garbage is still garbage no matter how you gift wrap it.

When the panel left the stage, with congratulations all around, I thought to myself, “What monsters we have become. Someone hand me a tomato so I can throw it.” Alas, there were no tomatoes.

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