Archive | January 6th, 2012





By Mahmoud El-Yousseph

 A baby fighting for his life…

Parents are panic stricken…

Doctors desperate for help…

Permission to get medical help denied…

Welcome to Gaza!

The world’s largest open air prison in the world, with a population of 1.7 million Palestinians, 50% of which are children under the age of 18 years old.  80% of the population living on less than  $2 per day with  unemployment at 45%. Desperately needed medical supplies not being allowed in. Thanks to Tel Aviv and Cairo, Gazans are denied to get in or out of the strip, not even the mail.

The illegal Israeli siege on Gaza continues to take innocent lives daily.  Adham Baroud was the latest casualty. A seven month old baby who died on  December 26th in a slow and painful death from renal failure when he could be easily treated.

On December 1st Adham was referred to Israel for emergency treatment by his doctors in Gaza after his condition became terminal fallowing a catheter inserted four months earlier in a previous operation in Israel gets infected. Adham never made it.

Julia Hurley, a New York City area human rights advocate, lecturer, and blogger has posted Adham’s tragic story on  her blog [] with this  comment–

“This story in particular broke my heart because it was completely avoidable.This is dangerous. This is inhumane. There is NO excuse for denying medical treatment to ANYONE. This, right here, is collective punishment. It cannot, and should not, be tolerated.”

Adding salt to the injury, Israel has, according to a December 28, 2011 issue of the British Guardian, ‘upped’ the ante for those wishing to exercise their right to freedom of movement by requiring them to become informants–

“Palestinian patients and business people hoping to leave the Gaza Strip are being asked to collaborate with Israel in exchange for an exit permit, a leading Israeli human rights organization claims.Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) say that 172 people, mostly men aged 18 to 40, were called for interrogation by the Shabak, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, last month. Some who attended interviews were granted exit permits.”

The Guardian story  revealed more stunning information about Israel’s typically- ruthless and inhumane method of taking advantage of Palestinians who are seeking medical treatment in Israel. Case in point is the story of Ahmadd Hamada, a 20 years old who has suffered serious head injuries, including memory loss. His father Emad, arranged for him to receive treatment in Israel. He had worked there as a laborer for years and was stunned when a week before the appointment, his son was summoned for an interview with the Shabak on 19 September. He was led to an interrogation room deep beneath the Erez crossing terminal north of Gaza where an Israeli officer introduced himself in Arabic. Littering his conversation with Gaza slang, he asked briefly about his medical condition.

“I know everything,” he warned him. “You didn’t fall off a wall did you? Why are all those tubes inside you? Tell me the truth. Is your father Hamas? Who is Hamas in the port? Who in your neighborhood?”

“He became very angry when I kept answering that I didn’t know,” Hamada recalled. “I explained I couldn’t remember much since my fall. I was in pain and I just wanted to go home.”

After an hour of questioning, Ahmad was left alone in a locked interview room. The entire process had lasted four hours and he needed the toilet. As his knocks and calls went unanswered, he was forced to pee on the carpet.

Ahmad was eventually sent home and told he would be called for a second interview. He has not heard from them again but says he will refuse to go if they call. He now has a referral for treatment in Egypt but hasn’t gone due to the turmoil there.

The simple truth is,  Israel wanting to continue punishing the people of Gaza for voting for Hamas in democratic elections that took place years ago is inhumane and barbaric. The siege on Gaza is one of the greatest moral travesties of our time and we all have a role we can play in bringing the siege to an end. We have to wake up and educate ourselves and others about this crisis.

If we leave it to lame$tream media and to politicians who take their marching orders from Tel Aviv, this bully of the Middle East will continue oppressing the innocent people of Palestine and defy the rules of civilized nations and those of  human decency. In other words, we will continue to read and hear more about needless death and tragic stories similar to those of Adham Baroud and Ahmad Hamada of Gaza, Palestine.

Posted in GazaComments Off on NAZI’S IN GAZA



by Paul Craig Roberts. (Pictures and bolded notations by Lasha Darkmoon)


“I realized America was lost. Evil had prevailed.”

Writers who are critical of Washington’s illegal wars and the overthrow of the US Constitution could soon find themselves in indefinite detention. This is because criticism of Washington’s policies can be alleged to be aiding Washington’s enemies—which might include charities that provide aid to bombed Palestinian children and flotillas that attempt to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The Bush/Obama regimes have put the foundation in place for imprisoning critics of the government without due process of law. The First Amendment is being all but restricted to rah-rah Americans who chant USA! USA! USA! Washington has set itself up as world prosecutor, forever berating other countries for human rights violations, while Washington alone bombs half a dozen countries into the stone  age and threatens several more with the same treatment, all the while violating US statutory law and the Geneva Conventions by torturing detainees.

Washington rounds up assorted foreign politicians, whose countries were afflicted with civil wars, and sends them off to be tried as war criminals, while its own war crimes continue to mount. However, if a person exposes Washington’s war crimes, that person is held without charges in conditions that approximate torture.


Bradley Manning is the case in point. Manning, a US soldier, is alleged to be the person who released to WikiLeaks the “Collateral Murder” video, which, in the words of Marjorie Cohn, “depicts U.S. forces in an Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists. People trying to rescue the wounded were also fired upon and killed.”

One of the Good Samaritans was a father with two small children. The video reveals the delight that US military personnel experienced in blowing them away from the distant skies. When it became clear that the Warriors Bringing The People Democracy had blown away two small children, instead of remorse we hear an executioner’s voice saying: “that’s what he gets for bringing children into a war zone.”

The quote is from memory, but it is accurate enough. When I first saw this video, I was astonished at the brazen war crime. It is completely obvious that the dozen or so murdered people were simply people walking along a street, threatening no one, unarmed, doing nothing out of the ordinary. It was not a war zone. The horror is that the US soldiers were playing video games with live people. You can tell from their commentary that they were having fun by killing these unsuspecting people walking along the street. They enjoyed killing the father who stopped to help and shooting up his vehicle with the two small children inside.

This was not an accident of a drone, fed with bad information, blowing up a school full of children, or a hospital, or a farmer’s family. This was American soldiers having fun with high tech toys killing anyone that they could pretend might be an enemy.

“American soldiers having fun with high tech toys…”

When I saw this, I realized that America was lost. Evil had prevailed.

I was about to write that nothing has been done about the crime. But something was done about it. An American soldier who recognized the horrific war crime knew that the US military knew about it and had done nothing about it. He also knew that as a US soldier he was required to report war crimes. But to whom? War crimes dismissed as “collateral damage” are the greatest part of Washington’s 21st century wars.

A soldier with a moral conscience gave the video to WikiLeaks. We don’t know who the soldier is. Washington alleges that the soldier is Bradley Manning, but Washington lies every time it opens its mouth. So we will never know.

All we know is that retribution did not fall on the perpetrators of the war crime. It fell upon the two accused of revealing it–Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

Manning was held almost two years without charges being presented to a court. In December’s pre-trial hearings all Washington could come up with was concocted accusations. No evidence whatsoever. The prosecutor, a Captain Fein, told the court, if that is what it is, that Manning had been “trained and trusted to use multiple intelligence systems, and he used that training to defy that trust. He abused our trust.”

In other words, Manning gave the world the truth of a war crime that was being covered up, and Washington and the Pentagon regard a truth teller doing his duty under the US military code as an “abuser of trust.”

Captain Fein could not have put it any clearer. If you tell the truth and reveal Washington’s war crimes, you have aided the enemy. Captain Fein’s simple sentence has at one stroke abolished all whistleblower protections written into US statutory law and the First Amendment, and confined anyone with a moral conscience and sense of decency to indefinite detention and torture.


According to American officials, Manning is treated with kindness and consideration. This treatment consists of the following:

(1) Solitary confinement in a small cell for 23 hours a day,forcibly naked and without his prescription glasses so that he is effectively blind. He is allowed his glasses only when  reading; but if he pauses for a moment to muse on what he has read, his glasses are confiscated in case he attempts to commit suicide with them.  (2) Being hassled every five minutes with the infuriating question “Are you okay?” and being forced to answer “Yes.”  (3) One hour of “exercise” a day which involves walking round in circles in the prison yard with heavy shackles round his legs. His exercise is stopped instantly if he stumbles or pauses even for a second.  (4) He is not allowed to exercise in his cell to make up for his spitefully confiscated exercise while in the prison yard. (5)  At the whim of his jailers, he is forced to stand naked outside his cell while other prisoners are paraded past and allowed to mock his sufferings.

There is no record of Bradley Manning having been waterboarded so far, but future American detainees now face this additional prospect under the draconian National Defense Authorization Act passed by Obama on December 31, 2011.

On June 2, 2010, George W. Bush proudly confessed, Yeah, we waterboarded…I’d do it again.”

President Barrack Obama appears to be equally unconcerned about the torture of American citizens.  When recently asked about the prosecution of Bush administration officials for torture, he answered evasively, “I’m a strong believer that it’s important to look forward and not backwards.”

Washington, in a brazen display of hypocrisy, accuses other countries of human rights abuses, while Congress has passed and President Obama has signed an indefinite detention and torture bill that US Representative Ron Paul says will accelerate America’s “slip into tyranny” and “descent into totalitarianism.”

In signing the Bill of Tyranny, President Obama indicated that he thought that the tyranny established by the bill did not go far enough. He announced that he was signing the bill with signing statements that reserved his right, regardless of any law, to send American citizens, deprived of due process and constitutional protection, abroad to be tortured.

This is the US government that claims to be a government of “freedom and democracy” and to be bringing “freedom and democracy” to others with bombs and invasions.

The past year gave us other ominous tyrannical developments. President Obama announced that he had a list of Americans whom he intended to assassinate without due process of law, and Homeland Security, itself an Orwellian name, announced that it had shifted its attention from terrorists to “domestic extremists.” The latter are undefined and consist of whomever Homeland Security so designates.

None of this was done behind closed doors. The murder of the US Constitution was a public crime witnessed by all.

Local and state police forces have been militarized not only in their equipment and armament but also in their attitude toward the public. Despite the absence of domestic terror attacks, Homeland Security conducts warrantless searches of cars and trucks on highways and of passengers using public transportation. A uniformed federal service is being trained to systematically violate the constitutional rights of citizens, and citizens are being trained to accept these violations as normal. The young have no memory of being able to board public transportation or use public roadways without intrusive searches or to gather in protest without being brutalized by the police. Liberty is being moved into the realm of myth and legend.

In such a system as is being constructed in public in front of our eyes, there is no freedom, no democracy, and no liberty. What stands before us is naked tyranny.

While America degenerates into a total police state, politicians constantly invoke “our values.” What are these values? Indefinite imprisonment without conviction in a court. Torture. Warrantless searches and home invasions. An epidemic of police brutality. Curtailment of free speech and peaceful assembly rights. Unprovoked aggression called “preemptive war.” Interference in the elections and internal affairs of other countries. Economic sanctions imposed on foreign populations whose leaders are not in Washington’s pocket.

If the American police state were merely an unintended consequence of a real war against terror, it could be dismantled when the war was over. However, the evidence is that the police state is an intended consequence. The PATRIOT Act is a voluminous and clever attack on the Constitution. It is not possible that it could have been written in the short time between 9/11 and its introduction in Congress. It was waiting on the shelf.

The dismantling of constitutionally protected civil liberties is purposeful, as is the accumulation of arbitrary and unaccountable powers in the executive branch of government. As there have been no terrorist events within the US in over a decade except for those known to have been organized by the FBI, there is no terrorist threat that justifies the establishment of a political regime of unaccountable power. It is being done on purpose under false pretenses, which means that there is an undeclared agenda. The threat that Americans face resides in Washington, D.C.

I suspect that turning things around internally through the political system is not in the cards. Our chance to resurrect liberty might come from Washington’s hubris. Imperial ambitions and drive for power can produce unmanageable upheavals and a loss of allies. Overreach abroad with a demoralized, unemployed and downtrodden population at home are not the ingredients of success.

How much longer will the Russian government permit NGOs funded by the US Endowment for Democracy to interfere in its elections and to organize political protests?  How much longer will China confuse its strategic interests with the American consumer market? How much longer will Japan, Canada, Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, and the Middle East oil states remain US puppets? How much longer can the dollar retain the reserve currency role when the Federal Reserve is monetizing vast quantities of debt?

America’s salvation will come when Washington suffers defeat of its hegemonic ambitions.

The American public has no way of knowing whether tortured detainees are terrorists or political opponents. Why are Americans prepared to take the word of a government that told them intentionally the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat to America?

Power attracts the worst kind of persons. As Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prove, democracies are not immune to the evil use of power. Indeed, identical inhumane treatment of prisoners goes on inside the US prison system for ordinary criminals.

Over-fed goon cops taser little children and people in wheel chairs. They body slam elderly grandmothers. The police are a horror. They represent a greater threat to citizens than do criminals.

Punishment without crime is now the American Way.

In one decade the US has been transformed from a free society into a police state. The American population, to the extent it is aware of what has occurred, has simply accepted the revolution from the top.

Americans seem to welcome the era of tyranny into which they are now entering.


Posted in USAComments Off on AMERICA DOOMED

How To Succeed In Egypt Without Really Trying

by Keith Johnson

Late last month, Egyptian police raided the offices of 17 so-called “pro-democracy and human rights groups.” Among them were the U.S.-based International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House (FH) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). All of these organizations are heavily funded by the U.S. State Department and are used to keep political opposition groups in line with western foreign policy ambitions.

In reaction, the U.S. State Department called the raids “inconsistent with the bilateral cooperation we have had over many years” and urged Egyptian authorities to immediately halt “harassment” of non-governmental organization staff. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland even went so far as to say that military aid could be difficult to push through Congress if the situation didn’t improve.

Wow! I guess the U.S. doesn’t have as much control over the Egyptian government as we originally thought, right?…WRONG! That’s what they want you to think. This is just more smoke and mirrors. These raids would not have happened without first getting the green light—or direct orders—from the U.S.

All of these NGO’s have out served their purpose in Egypt and needed a viable exit strategy—and they got one. The U.S. has the Egyptians right where they want them and cannot afford to have loose cannons—that they trained—change directions against a long planned objective. You can be sure that there isn’t a white face among any of those arrested. These were expendable Egyptian “flower children” whose services were no longer needed.

Notice that the raids came just before the elections?  This is a strong indication that there truly is a confluence of interests between the Brotherhood and the ruling military generals. They didn’t want interference from secular activists (drunk on DEMOCRACY!!) who might get the bright idea of stirring up trouble or monitoring election results—which is precisely the kind of activity promoted by the NDI, FH and IRI.

The activists have been growing increasingly suspicious of a Brotherhood/military alliance in recent days. Here’s what one of them told an AP reporter recently:

“The military wants a safe return to its past life away from the limelight and with its privileges and prestige, and the Islamists want power. The two have a deal that’s at everyone else’s expense.”

That pretty much sums it up. We tried to warn you…but you just wouldn’t listen. Your precious NGO’s done sold ya down da river. Now it’s now time for the Muslim Brotherhood to take the reigns. You thought Mubarak was bad? Get ready for some pain freedom fighters!

Today we get this story from Haaretz:

“The Muslim Brotherhood gave the United States assurances regarding the maintaining of Egypt’s peace deal with Israel, a top U.S. official said on Thursday, despite recent comments by party leaders claiming that the 1979 treaty did not bind Cairo’s new regime.”

The comments they refer to are from the Brotherhood’s head deputy, Dr Rashad Bayoumi, who said “We will not recognize Israel under any circumstances; we are talking about an occupation entity and a criminal enemy.”

Holy smoke! You don’t hear this kind of talk from Syria’s Assad, yet he’s the one getting his butt kicked!

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (there she is again) dismissed Bayoumi’s comments and said, “I would say that it is one member of the Muslim Brotherhood. We have had other assurances from the party with regard to their commitment not only to universal human rights, but to the international obligations that the Government of Egypt has undertaken.”

Nuland’s defense of the Brotherhood is a godsend to the Zionists and certain to get a lot of play in the Israeli and pseudo-conservative press. I can just here it now: “Obama has thrown Israel under the bus—again!”…and…“The U.S. has turned its back on Israel—again!”

They’ll drone on and on about how U.S. policy towards Egypt is putting Israel’s security at risk and how Obama’s advisors are missing the warning signs that will ultimately lead to a confrontation. But that’s precisely the plan. In reality, Israel needs the Muslim Brotherhood and the violent rhetoric from some of its members. Israel has designs on reoccupying the Sinai. They can’t justify it so long as there is a peace treaty in place. They need a provocation…and believe me…they’ll get one as soon as the Muslim Brotherhood gets the O.K. from the C.I.A.

The cozy relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the West goes back decades. In his book “Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude,” Former CIA officer Robert Baer details how this relationship developed during the Cold War:

“The White House looked on the Brothers as a silent ally against (what else) communism. This covert action started in the 1950’s with the Dulles Brothers—Allen at the CIA and John Foster at the State Department—when they approved Saudi Arabia’s funding of Egypt’s Brothers against Nasser.”

“The logic of the Cold War led to one conclusion: “If Allah agreed to fight on our side, fine. If Allah decided political assassination was permissible, that was fine too, so long as no one talked about it in polite company.”

”Like any other truly covert action, this one was strictly off the books. There was no CIA finding, no memorandum of notification to Congress. Not a penny came out of the Treasury to fund it. In other words, no record. All the White House had to do was give a wink and a nod to countries harboring the Muslim Brothers.”

“As Tom Twetten said, the enemy of my enemy is always my friend. It’s an ironclad rule in the Middle East.”

This relationship still exists today and is alive and well in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc. The Brotherhood is the perfect face that the West wants to put on Islam. They’re violent, loud and crazy—and though they claim to be Muslim—all of their leaders have served an apprenticeship with the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.

And in case you didn’t know, Wahhabism is a perversion of Islam that is despised by Sunni and Shia alike. It was hatched in the 18th century by a Donmeh Jew by the name of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (whose grandfather was Tjen Shulman, a member of the Jewish community of Basra, Iraq). Wahhabism has far more in common with the Jewish Talmud than it does to the Koran. Call it Judeo-Islam if you will, much in the same way we refer to Christian Zionism as Judeo-Christianity.

Putting the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of Egypt and calling that country Islamic would be the equivalent of putting the notorious MS 13 Mexican street gang in charge of the U.S. and calling it Catholic.

It’s a nightmare in the making, but a dream come true for the U.S. and Israel. They took down Egypt with out really trying. No boots on the ground…no wasted ammo. They’ve done it before. Like Robert Baer says in the aforementioned book concerning the U.S. funding of the Brotherhood to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan:

“Washington has always prided itself with fighting wars on the cheap. If success was a high Soviet body count per dollar, then the Muslim Brothers were a fabulous bargain.”

Posted in EgyptComments Off on How To Succeed In Egypt Without Really Trying

Six common misconceptions about Gaza that are so 2011


In sixth place: “The civilian closure has been lifted and only security restrictions remain”.

Gaza is not as isolated from the rest of the world as it was a few years ago, but it is still cut off from the West Bank and it’s hard to find convincing security reasons why. For example, Israel prohibits students from traveling from Gaza to the West Bank – individual security checks are not even an option because the ban is sweeping. Israel does not allow goods from Gaza to be sold in the West Bank or Israel, while at the same time allowing exports from Gaza to Europe to be transferred through its own airports and seaports.

It also imposes restrictions on the import of building materials into the Gaza Strip. The impact is felt mainly by international organizations rather than the local government, which gets all the cement, gravel, and steel it needs from the tunnels. Ongoing restrictions make it difficult for Gaza’s economy to recover, but they also split families apart and impede Gaza residents’ access to higher education and the opportunity to acquire training in a number of highly needed fields.

In fifth place: “Israel gives Gaza money, electricity and water”.
True, Israel does give Gaza residents electricity and water. That is, if by “give” you mean “sells”. Israel also does not “give” money to Gaza’s residents – it does transfer tax monies it collects on their behalf, although sometimes with great delay.

In fourth place: “The Palmer Report concluded that the closure was legal”.
The Palmer Commission decided not to examine the legality of the overall closure of the Gaza Strip and determined only that the naval blockade imposed on Gaza was legal. In its report, the commission included a recommendation for Israel to continue easing restrictions on movement “with a view to lifting its closure and to alleviate the unsustainable humanitarian and economic situation of the civilian population”.

And one wishes to move to the West Bank? Rafah crossing, 3.30.2005. Photo: PHR  In third place: “Gaza has a border with Egypt, so Egypt should take care of the Strip”.
Six months ago, we posted the top ten reasons why the opening of Rafah Crossing just doesn’t cut it. The list is still valid, but here’s the gist of it: Even if Egypt fully opens Rafah to movement of people and goods, this would still not provide a solution for the problem of movement restrictions between Gaza and the West Bank.

The desire to push Gaza onto Egypt and therefore make it possible to cut the Strip off from the West Bank is a common one, but its implementation would entangle Israel legally and politically.

In second place: “Israel disengaged from Gaza and all it got was Qassam rockets”.

Firing Qassam rockets on civilians is an unjustifiable war crime. This much is clear. We should keep in mind that the rockets didn’t start after the disengagement from Gaza and that four and a half years of closure have done nothing to reduce the threat of rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel – but don’t take our word for it.

As for disengagement, Israel did remove its permanent military installations and civilian settlements from the Gaza Strip, but did this really end Israeli control over Gaza? Try asking a Palestinian from Gaza if she feels that Israel has really “disengaged” from her life. She wouldn’t think twice before responding in the negative. Israel controls her ability to study in the West Bankexport goodsfishfarm her lands and visit relatives. True, it’s hard to imagine control of a territory without permanent military presence on the ground, but this is exactly Gaza’s unique situation today.

And in first place: “Gaza’s residents voted for Hamas so they had it coming to them”.
Hamas’ victory in parliamentary elections in 2006, shortly after the “disengagement” was met with surprise. Withdrawal from Gaza didn’t bolster those in support of the peace process as many in Israel had expected. Today, more than five years after the elections were held, they are still used as an excuse for the closure.

First of all, it is important to stress that international law prohibits collective punishment of a civilian population and for good reason. Past experience has taught that civilians, irrespective of their political convictions, must remain “off limits”. This principle must be upheld in Gaza, in Israel and in all other places in the world facing conflict.

While we’re on the topic of the elections, and to be accurate, the elections Hamas won were not held just in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. It was more than a year after the elections, in June 2007, that Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

No elections have been held in Gaza since 2006 and the debate between the various political movements in the Strip has been ongoing. One way of following this debate is through polls, such as those published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. For example, a poll from December 2011 shows that if elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council were to be held now, Hamas would get 35% of the vote and Fatah 43%. It’s worth recalling also that over half of Gaza’s population is below voting age. How can children be blamed for the outcome of elections in which they didn’t take part?

Can you think of more misconceptions? Comment here.

Needs Vs. Supply

Building Materials
Needs Vs. Supply

Join us in promoting human rights – support Gisha
הצטרפו אלינו בקידום זכויות אדם – תמכו בגישה

המצעד: שש הטעויות הנפוצות על עזה לשנת 2011
יום ה’, 5 בינואר, 2012

במקום השישי: “הסגר האזרחי הוסר. נשארו רק הגבלות מסיבות ביטחוניות”
עזה אמנם פחות מנותקת מהעולם מבעבר, אך היא עדיין מנותקת מהגדה באותה המידה, וקשה למצוא לכך הנמקות ביטחוניות משכנעות: ישראל אוסרת על מעבר סטודנטים מעזה לגדה באופן גורף, למשל, מבלי לערוך בדיקות בטחוניות פרטניות; היא מונעת מסחורות שיצאו מעזה להימכר בגדה או בישראל, בזמן שהיא מתירה יצוא מעזה לאירופה דרך נמלי הים והאוויר שלה; והיא מטילה הגבלות על הכנסת חומרי בניין לרצועה, שפוגעות בעיקר בפעילותם של ארגונים בינלאומיים ולא בשלטון, שמקבל את כל המלט, החצץ והברזל שהוא צריך מהמנהרות. ההגבלות האלו לא רק מקשות על שיקומה של כלכלת הרצועה, הן גם קורעות משפחות לשניים ופוגעות ביכולתם של תושבי הרצועה לרכוש השכלה גבוהה ולהתמחות במגוון מקצועותחיוניים.

במקום החמישי: “אנחנו נותנים להם כסף, חשמל ומים”
נכון, ישראל נותנת לתושבי הרצועה חשמל ומים. כלומר, אם המילה “לתת” פירושה “למכור”. ישראל גם לא “נותנת” לפלסטינים כסף, היא רק מעבירה להם את כספי המסים שהיא גובה בשמם – וגם זה, לעתים קרובות, רק לאחר זמן ניכר.

במקום הרביעי: “פאלמר קבע שהסגר חוקי”
ועדת פאלמר החליטה לא לבחון כלל את שאלת חוקיות מדיניות הסגר הכולל על הרצועה, וקבעה רק שהמצור הימי שהוטל על עזה חוקי. היא גם כללה בדו”ח המלצה לישראל להמשיך בהקלות על הגבלות התנועה “מתוך כוונה להסיר את הסגר ולהקל על המצב ההומניטרי והכלכלי הרעוע של האוכלוסייה האזרחית”.

ומי שרוצה לעבור לגדה? מעבר רפיח 30.03.2005, צילום: רל"א ישראל  במקום השלישי: “יש להם גבול עם מצרים, שהיא תדאג להם”
לפני חצי שנה פירסמנו כאן “עשר סיבות מדוע לפתוח את מעבר רפיח זה לא מספיק“. הן עדיין תקפות, אבל הנה תמצית העניין: גם אם מצרים תפתח אותו לחלוטין לתנועה של אנשים וסחורות, מעבר רפיח לא יתן מענה לתנועה בין עזה לגדה, ששם נמצא הצורך העיקרי. המחשבה שחיבור של עזה למצרים יאפשר לנתק אותה מהגדה היא מתכון לעוד הסתבכות משפטית ומדינית של ישראל.

במקום השני: “התנתקנו מעזה והם ירו קסאמים”
ירי קסאמים על אוכלוסיה אזרחית הוא פשע מלחמה ולא ניתן להצדיק אותו. זה ברור. כדאי לזכור, עם זאת, שהירי לא החל לאחר ההתנתקות מהרצועה, וארבע וחצי שנים של סגר לא הקטינו את איום הרקטות על ישראל מעזה. ואת זה לא אנחנו אומרים.

באשר להתנתקות, ישראל אמנם הוציאה את כוחותיה מהרצועה ופינתה את ההתנחלויות בה, אבל האם באמת בזאת הסתיימה השליטה הישראלית על הרצועה? נסו לשאול פעם פלסטיני מהרצועה האם הוא חש שישראל באמת “התנתקה” מחייו, והתשובה המיידית תהיה “לא”. ישראל שולטת על יכולתו של אותו פלסטיני לצאת ללימודים בגדהלייצא סחורותלדוג, לעבד חלק מאדמותיו ולצאת לבקר קרובי משפחה חולים. נכון, קשה לדמיין שליטה בשטח מסוים ללא נוכחות צבאית קרקעית קבועה, אבל זה בדיוק מצבה הייחודי של רצועת עזה כיום.

ובמקום הראשון: “הם הצביעו חמאס”
ניצחון חמאס בבחירות לרשות הפלסטינית ב-2006, זמן קצר אחרי ה”התנתקות”, התקבל בהפתעה. הנסיגה מהרצועה לא חיזקה את תומכי תהליך השלום בצד הפלסטיני, כפי שציפו רבים בישראל. עד היום, למעלה מחמש שנים לאחר שנערכו, הבחירות ההן משמשות להצדקת הסגר.

קודם כל, חשוב להדגיש: החוק הבינלאומי אוסר על ענישה קולקטיבית של אזרחים, ולא לחינם. לקחי העבר לימדו שאזרחים, בלי כל קשר לעמדותיהם הפוליטיות, חייבים להישאר מחוץ לתחום – כך צריך להיות בעזה, בישראל ובכל מקום בו מתנהל סכסוך.

אבל אם כבר מתייחסים לאותן בחירות, כדאי לדייק. הבחירות שבהן חמאס ניצח לא נערכו רק ברצועה, אלא גם בגדה המערבית ובמזרח ירושלים. רק למעלה משנה אחרי הבחירות, ביוני 2007, השתלט חמאס בכוח על רצועת עזה.

מאז 2006 לא נערכו בחירות ברצועה וכל הזמן הזה ממשיך להתנהל בתוכה ויכוח בין תנועות פוליטיות שונות. דרך אחת לעקוב אחריו היא באמצעות סקרים, כמו אלה שמפרסם המרכז הפלסטיני למחקרי מדיניות וסקרים. למשל, הסקר האחרון מדצמבר 2011 הראה שאם היו מתקיימות עכשיו בחירות למועצה המחוקקת הפלסטינית, חמאס היה צפוי לתמיכה של 35 אחוזים, ואילו פת”ח ל- 43 אחוזים. כדאי גם לזכור שלמעלה ממחצית האוכלוסיה בעזה היא מתחת לגיל ההצבעה. כיצד ילדים יכולים לשאת באחריות עבור בחירות שהם מעולם לא השתתפו בהן?

מכירים עוד טעויות? הגיבו כאן.


צרכים מול אספקה

חומרי בניין

צרכים מול אספקה

Posted in GazaComments Off on Six common misconceptions about Gaza that are so 2011

Mondoweiss Online Newsletter


Trivializing the Holocaust charge

Jan 05, 2012

Nima Shirazi

Orthodox children wearing outfits intended to invoke the Holocaust during a rally in Jerusalem, Dec. 31, 2011. (Photo: AP/Bernat Armangue)

Shortly after reading the “Trivializing the anti-Semitism charge” post on Mondoweiss today, I came across this new Daily Beast article about the Israeli habit of trivializing the Holocaust. The article stems from the recent ultra-Orthodox rallies in Jerusalem which mimicked and exploited iconic Holocaust imagery to protest “an effort by secular Israelis to roll back gender segregation on some bus lines and in certain neighborhoods—a dispute that has surged in recent weeks.”

The article’s author, Dan Ephron, writes that “even as Israel zealously guards the memory of the genocide, many Israelis invoke it frivolously in a manner that can seem shocking to outsiders and might even be illegal in some countries (the EU has a provision against trivializing the Holocaust, as do several European countries individually).”

The litany of “misuses” of Holocaust analogies and references is familiar:

In its more benign form, Israelis might talk about the 1967 line that divides Israel and the West Bank as “the Auschwitz border,” or equate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Adolf Hitler. Bauer recalls that during Israel’s Lebanon war in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin famously likened the blockade against PLO leader Yasir Arafat in Beirut to the siege on Hitler’s bunker near the end of World War II.

That Ephron uses the word “benign” to describe these ridiculous comparisons is either proof of his own trivialization of the very thing he is seeking to sanctify or, more likely, evidence that he just doesn’t know the definition of the word “benign” (kindly, generous, gentle, benevolent). Surely, a benign reading of Ephron’s word choice would be to assume he meant “banal” instead (i.e. commonplace, mundane, trite, bromidic, clichéd).

He continues,

…it’s not uncommon to hear Israelis refer to other Israelis as Nazis as well. Jewish settlers regularly use the term against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, as when troops are sent to dismantle unauthorized outposts. The late Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a well-known left-wing intellectual, once described settlers as “Judeo-Nazis.” Israeli traffic cops occasionally complain they’re called Nazis by the motorists they pull over.

Holocaust historian and Yad Vashem academic adviser Yehuda Bauer explains, “People in Israel misuse the Holocaust in politics and other areas all the time,” lamenting, “The comparisons tend to dilute the real significance of the Holocaust.”

Still, the comparisons abound. Just today, a new headline at Ha’aretz reveals that Israeli Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman has “a very hostile attitude toward the media, reportedly calling Haaretz ‘Der Sturmer’ – the Nazis’ propaganda paper.”

After quoting the ever-inane Abe Foxman and describing a new effort in the Knesset to enact anti-trivialization legislation, Ephron ends with another quote from Bauer:

“Israel is a traumatized society that is thrown back onto the trauma all the time,” he tells The Daily Beast. “When a society is traumatized like that, any opponent or perceived enemy is immediately equalized with the worst enemy Israel ever had.”

Read that again. There are two important aspects of Bauer’s observation.

First is the unassailable truth that the idea of perpetual and singular victimhood pervades Jewish Israeli society (and perhaps the American and European Jewish communities at large).

Peter Beinart, in his much-discussed 2010 New York Review of Books article, noted “In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves.”

Last year, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu used a nearly identical formulation is his speech to an obsequious U.S. Congress. “As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously,” he bellowed. “We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.”

As this writer has pointed out before, Netanyahu’s turn of phrase is ironic considering the title of former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg’s 2008 book, “The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes,” in which Burg exposes the purpose of playing the victim. “Victimhood sets you free,” he writes.

Furthermore, over thirty years ago, in 1980, Israeli journalist Boaz Evron put it another way: “If we assume the world hates us and persecutes us, we feel exempted from the need to be accountable for our actions towards it.”

Though Bauer, as quoted in Ephron’s article, suggests that Israel is “thrown back onto trauma all the time,” Israeli professor and historian Avi Shlaim addressed that particular formulation almost exactly three years ago as Israeli bombs, bullets, and white phosphorous tore Gaza and hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children to shreds. He wrote in The Guardian:

As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim. This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath but the Biblical image has been inverted – a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, “crying and shooting”.

Seven months before that, in May 2008, Uri Avnery observed that

the Palestinians are suffering from several cruel strokes of fate: The people that oppress them claim for themselves the crown of ultimate victimhood. The whole world sympathizes with the Israelis because the Jews were the victims of the most horrific crime of the Western world. That creates a strange situation: the oppressor is more popular than the victim. Anyone who supports the Palestinians is automatically suspected of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

The second interesting aspect of Bauer’s concluding quote is that the Nazis, who were in power from 1933 to 1945, are described as “the worst enemy Israel ever had.” Israel was founded in 1948. Bauer is clearly – though perhaps unconsciously – equating “Israel” with “Jews” and utilizes his own Holocaust reference to reconstruct history and erase Palestinian existence altogether.

In so doing, Bauer conforms his worldview to the epitome of Netanyahu’s Zionist chauvinism: Israel is a “Jewish State” that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, rather than one built – violently, colonially, and deliberately – atop the ruins of Palestine.


Jan 05, 2012

Sarah Ziyad

(Photo: Sarah Ziyad)

August 24, 2011

Once again, I find myself in this place; I feel convicted, compelled to write—of things I’ve seen, of things I experienced, of things that shook me once again to my core and have haunted me ever since. I‘m speaking of Palestine, of the occupation—things I know could alienate me from some who prefer a different story, who will dismiss my words as bias, or simply refuse to read on. Because it’s a mess over there, and there are stories that rarely reach us in our tidy, partisan lives. But I must write. For now, I will only share one story.

After a slightly-painful-crossing into Israel (this time, they only questioned me 3 times, only made my friends wait for me for an hour), my friends and I boarded a bus to Jerusalem, relieved at our good fortune of having made the journey from Amman to Israel in less than half a day. Nearing the city, both bus driver and passengers were puzzled when traffic was re-directed—apparently, the road to the Damascus Gate was closed. Odd. 

We eventually found our way to an intersection near the bus stop, disembarking near the north side of the Old City. Immediately, we sensed something was wrong. Several Israeli officers on large, armored horses trotted quickly by us, and in the distance we saw flashing lights and a large crowd of agitated people.

 I rushed toward the disturbance, finding myself in the midst of a near-riot. Shouts of “Come, let us go down! Let us go pray!” filled the air, as throngs of people attempted to enter the gates to the historic Arab quarter. Police officers standing on barricades swatted at the young Palestinians, while mounted officers charged into the crowd to try and disperse those struggling to get inside.

A young German-Palestinian boy approached me and began to explain what I was witnessing: the Israelis had closed Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, for Friday prayers. No one from outside the city was allowed to enter, and inside the gates only those age 50 and up were allowed to pray. For all those attempting to come from other Palestinian towns, or, in my friend’s case, all the way from Europe, for this important pilgrimage, the answer was an unequivocal “No.”

The stranger soon vanished into the surging crowd once more, leaving me on the hot pavement, heart pounding painfully beneath the weight of this news. I can’t begin to describe to a non-Muslim the way these people were robbed. It is impossible for a non-Muslim to understand the significance of attending Friday prayers in Al Aqsa in Ramadan—or the sickening injustice of being blocked from doing so. I began to quiver with shock and indignation as I helplessly watched the batons swing at these would-be worshipers, there in the alleged “holy land.” 

Armed vehicles rolled into the streets, and water cannons were turned on the stubborn, shouting masses. As the situation escalated, some of the crowd began to dejectedly pull back, dizzy after so much shouting and jostling in the blistering sun (while fasting). Others continued to argue with the officers, arms waving and as they raised their futile pleas.

Suddenly, the buzz of the crowd was pierced by a lone, wistful cry—someone was reciting the call to prayer. “Allahu akbar….allahu akbar…” (“God is great, God is great…”)

“Time to pray!! Time to pray!!” shouted the crowd, as they clambered away from the soldiers and into quiet, neat rows behind the muzzein (caller). 

And so they prayed. In the street. Kneeled, prostrated, with bowed heads and closed eyes, as over two dozen armed officers, 9 mounted policeman, and two snipers (or more, if the others were better hidden) watched on. Watching their humble motions, dignified and utterly peaceful, I fought back bitter tears.

A thin man with a strong voice gave a sermon next as the worshippers sat quietly in the street, some holding flattened boxes over the elderly as shelter from the unforgiving sun. The man spoke with emotion, calling on his brothers to be strong, united, and faithful. He recalled that so many in neighboring nations were “suffering even more” than they—he cited Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen. He reminded them that God is near to us when we struggle and are victimized. He encouraged them not to lose hope and led the crowd in supplication, as they all raised open hands to the sky and murmured fervent petitions to their Lord. I joined them.

And when they finished with a resounding “Ameen,” they picked up their scraps of cardboard and carpet, and they left. 

They left in peace. 

I wish I could say as much for myself. I mean, yes, my friends and I went on to spend the next few days with Palestinian friends, exploring, laughing, dancing, and living. But I will never forget that Friday afternoon, and the horror I felt as the reality of the occupation came crashing another level deeper into my heart and mind. It was a relatively “small” incident in the grand scheme of things. Worse clashes have taken place, greater injustices have been done, and Palestinians (and Israelis) have been robbed of so much more than Friday prayers. I know this. Fifteen Gazans have been killed this week. My father, he was born in Gaza.

But I haven’t been sleeping well, I haven’t been eating much, because this sickness has infected me, now. I’ve been half-tormented ever since that day, because I carried those faces and voices home with me, and I hate the way those children were born into a world of walls. I hate the way no one will let me finish their story, when I try to speak. I hate this broken, broken “peace process,” and the way their world hangs on a web of agendas that looks more like a noose than a lifeline.
I need to learn so much more. I need to be the student of my Palestinian friends, the ones who live there, under the occupation, who never surrender their dignity or determination to live in freedom, but who, at the same time, cling steadfastly to hope and place their faith so beautifully in God. They take my breath away, with their sad eyes and gracious voices.

Lord, help us.

Jewish power + Jewish hubris = ‘moral catastrophe of epic proportions’

Jan 05, 2012

Philip Weiss

Jerry Haber
Jerry Haber

Jerry Haber wrote this in a new year’s post a week ago. I missed it. A non-Jewish friend sent it to me today, someone who loves Jews. This says it all. It’s why I pour so much energy into this site. (Jerry and I were bar mitzvah’d by the same cantor in the same shul. But I was in the inner city branch, he was in the suburbs.)

So let me start by repeating what I have said before: We are living in a long dark night for Judaism.

No this is no ordinary Jewish pessimism. Historically, American Jews, according to Jonathan Sarna, have often viewed their generation as the last, or next to last, before the American Jewish community went kaput.  My pessimism is of a different sort. If the Holocaust was a hurban, a physical catastrophe for Jews, the “New Chauvinism,” euphemistically portrayed as “Jewish Pride” (as if pride were anything but a vice in traditional Judaism), together with  real power and the loss of Eimat ha-Goyyim / Fear of the Gentiles, has been  a moral catastrophe of epic proportions for Judaism.

Every day Haaretz  publishes at least one article, usually buried somewhere, about how Palestinians are being cheated out of the birthright in a variety of ways by Israelis. It has nothing to do with Israeli security; it has nothing to do with Palestinian “terrorism;” it has everything to do with the theft of land, resources, and the infringement of liberty.

And yet, with very few exceptions among my coreligionists (God bless them), NOBODY CARES.  Of course,  people in general, and Jews in particular, need to feel moral outrage about something.  So they aim for a Jewish consensus in their expressions of such outrage.  Palestinians are being thrown out of houses that they purchased or received legally? Why not protest social injustice against Jews by Jews?  Palestinian women undergo humiliating strip searches by private security firms at checkpoints? Why not protest the separation of Jewish women from Jewish men on public transportation?

… as disgusting as this new practice of public separation is, it pales in comparison with what we Jews are doing on a daily basis to Palestinians.  So, yes, there is injustice here, and  I condemn it, — but Jewish tribalism shouldn’t dictate all priorities, and a sense of proportion should not be lost.

Mixed messages from Syrian National Council on U.S., Israel

Jan 05, 2012

Paul Mutter

This article first appeared on the Arabist.

According to Reuters, the Syrian National Council and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria – the two largest opposition coalitions in Syria – signed on the last Friday of 2011 a unity pledge that “reject[s] any military intervention that harms the sovereignty or stability of the country, though Arab intervention is not considered foreign.” However, remarks delivered to the U.S. and Israeli press by a Council spokesman seem to contradict the Council’s stated support for the new joint policy.

The rejection of (Western) military intervention is a significant concession on the part of the Syrian National Council – the smaller, more diaspora-oriented of the two main coalitions – as the Council had been calling for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone (“Safe Area for Syria“). The Council’s representatives have compared the situation in Syria to that in Libya (as such, it is not surprising that the transitional government in Libya is the only foreign government to have formally recognized the Council). Those analyzing the feasibility and costs of such intervention argue that Syria’s extensive air defense system and high population densities will make a no-fly zone difficult to enforce, leading to heavy civilian casualties and, ultimately, require major troop deployments.

Despite the unity agreement, one of the Council’s spokesmen/leaders, Samir Nashar, told theWashington Times that “the majority of SNC leaders agree with international military intervention as early as possible” even though “they might not be brave enough to express it openly.” Nashar’s statements (at least those made to the Washington Times) are expressly targeted at garnering U.S. support: he told the paper that intervention would present a “historic opportunity” for the U.S. in the region, and that most Syrians would welcome a replay of NATO’s 2011 Libyan engagement. It is not clear if Nashar’s statements have been approved by the rest of the Council. The Guardian reported that as of December 31, 2011, “the membership of the group [Syrian National Council] has yet to formally adopt” the full terms of the unity agreement.

Nashar, and the Council, may be hedging their bets at this stage. Even if a Turkish or Arab League military mission (the latter would ostensibly be “permitted” by the Syrian opposition) materialized to oppose Assad, the U.S. would be involved. And unless the Syrian military decides to stand down as the Egyptian and Tunisian armed forces did last winter (thus helping force Ben Ali and Mubarak out of office), it is unlikely Assad will find himself adrift within his own inner circle. A violent end, or sufficient threat of one, would really be the only option available to the opposition to secure victory over the regime.

Nashar’s statements have also been picked up by the Israeli media. Haaretz has focused on the Council’s new Israel policy. The Guardian reports that the unity agreement between the Council and the National Coordination Body only makes vague reference to “liberating Syrian territory,” which is almost certainly a reference to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Samir Nashar is quoted as saying that while the Council’s focus would be on rebuilding Syria, “the Arab Initiative will most probably be acceptable after the regime change, and we hope it will become a reality. After Syria will get back the Golan Heights, they will accept whatever will be accepted by the Palestinian people.” Haaretz also noted Nashar’s reiteration of the Council’spromise to distance Syria from Iranian influence if Assad is removed from power. Although Nashar was reticent about the status of Hamas and recognition of Israel, he is clearly striking the right notes for liberal hawks in the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

He’ll have to press harder, though. Despite Nashar’s latest comments, the U.S. and NATO have not publicly committed their forces to taking military or humanitarian action in Syria. The U.S.’s NATO ambassador said in November 2011 that “there has been no planning, no thought, and no discussion about any intervention into Syria.” The Cable reports that while conservatives and neoconservatives have been critical of Obama’s position on Syria, and of the Arab League observer mission, sources close to the administration say that the president is weighing his options for taking new steps against Assad.

Christian group dedicated to derailing divestment bankrolled by settler-funding philanthropy

Jan 05, 2012

Alex Kane


When United Methodists converge on Tampa, Florida this Spring, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) holds its general assembly in early July, the question of divestment from companies that profit off of the Israeli occupation will once again attract significant attention. Delegates at these church wide meetings will be confronted by an array of attacks on any resolution that promotes divestment as one route to pressure Israel and its control over the occupied Palestinian territories. And a familiar face to the delegates will be leading the fight against these resolutions: Sister Ruth Lautt, the national director of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East (CFWME).

Lautt is a member of the Dominican sisters order of nuns (Roman Catholic) and a former lawyer. Her organization, which she runs on her own (though there is a board), says it “advocate[s]” for “fairness” in American church dealings related to Israel/Palestine. In practice, this has meant leading delegations to Israel, promoting “positive investment” in the region instead of divestment, and working “behind-the-scenes” at religious conventions, “helping opponents of divestment draft motions [and] applying persuasion at the subcommittee and committee levels,” as the New York Times has reported.

But an analysis of donations to the organization reveals a much more complicated picture that raises questions about CFWME’s professed mission and their role in church politics on Israel. My investigation of donation tax records to CFWME show that the organization’s budget has more than doubled since its founding through the support of funders linked to illegal West Bank settlements and promoting Islamophobia in the U.S.

The settlement-funders who contribute to CFWME stand in stark contrast to the Dominican order’s position on Israel/Palestine. An Israel/Palestine briefing on a Dominican order website,part of the order’s “call to justice” which Lautt’s New York-based branch signed onto, calls for prayer and support for the Palestinian United Nations bid for statehood. It also expressed firm support for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which does BDS work.

Lautt did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Her organization’s website is filled with appeals to fairness, the two-state solution, the peace process and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians–nothing that on its face would seem to contradict the Dominican order’s take on the conflict. CFWME also routinely issues press releases blasting any church action or rhetoric in support of boycotts or divestment from illegal Israeli settlements.

Their most recent press release quotes a religious leader saying that “Fair Witness supports both the Israelis and Palestinians in their quest for peace. We therefore encourage Israel to continue to accept the Quartet proposal and we strongly urge the Palestinians to also accept the Quartet’s plan and sit down and negotiate directly with Israel. This is the only way peace can come to this region.”

It is a decidedly different Christian pro-Israel take than the usual fire and brimstone rhetoric from Christian Zionists.

“It gears itself, I think, towards otherwise liberal congregations,” said David Wildman, a longtime proponent of divestment who is the executive secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice at the United Methodist Church’s Board of Global Ministries. But Wildman, a critic of CFWME, also described the organization as an “attack group” that seeks to “block other efforts at achieving a just peace.”

New York Times profile of Lautt published in 2008 says that she “disassociates herself from Christian Zionists of the theological and political right…openly criticizes [the] occupation of the West Bank and laments Palestinian suffering.” The profile also reported that Lautt has “little contact with Jewish advocacy groups, none with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby.”

Sister Ruth Lautt (Photo: G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times)
Sister Ruth Lautt
(Photo: G. Paul Burnett/New York Times)

But that’s not true. According to the organization’s tax filings, donations to CFWME have steadily increased since the group was founded in December 2005, from $82,432 in 2006 to over $200,000 in 2008, although donations have decreased since then (in 2010, the group received $119,652 in donations). And right-wing Zionist, settler-funding philanthropic groups have contributed to the organization’s increase in funds.

Take, for example, the funding received from the Newton D. & Rochelle F. Becker Foundation, a group that gives to anti-Muslim, right-wing Zionist and neoconservative causes. In 2006, the foundation gave Lautt’s group $16,342, as well as giving $25,000 to the Central Fund of Israel (CFI), which the New York Times described as a multimillion dollar “vehicle” used to “channel donations” to West Bank settlements. A 2009 column by Akiva Eldar in Ha’aretz reported that the CFI gave money to the extremist yeshiva in a West Bank settlement “whose rabbi said it’s okay to kill gentile babies.” This foundation and its affiliated groups were identified by the Center for American Progress as one of the top donors to anti-Muslim causes in the U.S., giving $1.1 million to Islamophobic groups from 2001-2009.

Similarly, CFWME received $5,000 from the William Rosenwald Family Fund in 2006, a philanthropic group that has also contributed to neoconservative groups like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Commentary magazine. The foundation was also identified by the Center for American Progress as a main funder of anti-Muslim groups.

Other philanthropic groups that fund the organization tend to give to a wide array of causes, including liberal causes domestically, but also to groups tied to West Bank settlements. For example, in 2008 the Rosenfeld Foundation gave CFWME $1,500, as well as money to the American Jewish Committee, the Innocence Project, Middlebury college and more. The foundation also donated $1,000 to AISH New York, linked to the pro-settler Aish HaTorah network. A representative for Aish once publicly wished for the death of “a hundred Arabs or a thousand Arabs for every one Jew they kill.”

Another philanthropic group that gives to CFWME is the Jewish Communal Fund, which gave CFWME $2,000 in 2006 and $2,500 in 2007. The Jewish Communal Fund gave $18,000 to the Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, a Christian Zionist group that promotes settlements in the West Bank and has given money for settlement infrastructure. The fund has also doled out tens of thousands of dollars to the Aish network. And Jared Malsin recently reported inSalon that the fund also gives to the Hebron Fund, a group Malsin linked to incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in Hebron.

Further linking CFWME to right-wing Zionist causes is the fact that Dexter Van Zile, who hasworked for the David Project and currently works for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), has served on CFWME’s board. Many of the philanthropic organizations funding CFWME also fund CAMERA and the David Project. Van Zile declined a request for an interview, and said on Twitter that he has not been “involved with the organization for several years.”

According to Wildman, Van Zile is a constant presence at divestment battles in churches, lobbying against divestment efforts. The David Project helped lobby to reverse a pro-divestment Presbyterian church resolution in 2006. and CAMERA frequently issues statementsagainst BDS and blasts church divestment initiatives.

The funding revelations complicate the image CFWME projects as a liberal group working for a just peace in Israel/Palestine. Instead, CFWME is being funded by groups that are linked to anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. and that are partners in Israel’s West Bank colonization project. And Lautt’s advocacy is being bankrolled by people strongly opposed to the Dominican order’s view of the conflict, which calls for solidarity with Palestinian Christians.

Poof, Dome of the Rock, gone: IDF rabbinate edits Dome of the Rock out of picture of the Temple Mount

Jan 05, 2012

Today in Palestine

1312972697 63 600x600
Photo used by the IDF rabbinate


IDF rabbinate edits out Dome of the Rock from picture of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount
Photo appears in army packet on Hanukkah describing the Jewish revolt against Hellenistic rule; IDF spokesman: Image meant to illustrate a period in which holy Muslim site did not exist.
link to


Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

Trial of West Bank Civil Protester to Resume Sunday
RAMALLAH, January 5, 2012 (WAFA) – The trial of Bassem Tamimi, a resident of Nabi Saleh village, near Ramallah, and a known civil protester will resume Sunday, according to local activists. In the trial, Ofer military court near Ramallah will hear the testimony of an Israeli police inspector who took part in the interrogation of a Palestinian minor in order to incriminate Tamimi, arrested in March, said the sources. Inspector Jalal Aweida was one of the key interrogators of 14 year-old Islam Dar Ayyoub who claimed that Tamimi organized groups of youth into ‘brigades’ assigned with different responsibilities during the demonstrations including stone-throwing and blocking roads.
link to

IOA to confiscate 169 dunums of Salfit land
The IOA has notified the municipal council of Eskaka village, east of Salfit, that 169 dunums of the village’s land would be confiscated, the municipality chairman, Samir Haris, said.
link to

Israeli forces demolish 2 Jericho homes
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished two homes belonging to Jerusalem families in a village near West Bank city Jericho on Thursday. Bulldozers accompanied by military patrols tore down the homes in al-Duyuk, west of Jericho, also destroying the electricity connection to the site, residents told Ma’an. Forces told the owners the houses were built without a permit in Area C, which Israel fully controls under the 1993 Oslo Accords. Encompassing 60 percent of the West Bank, Israel only allows Palestinians to build in 1 percent of Area C, on land which is already heavily built up.
link to

Israel destroys storage containers in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces destroyed storage containers and confiscated commercial goods belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem on Thursday, locals said. Israeli forces and bulldozers entered al-Eizariya and confiscated stone displayed for sale in the al-Mashtal neighborhood near Maale Adumin settlement. They handed residents demolition orders and requested store owners present licenses. The store owners told Ma’an they had licenses from al-Eizariya town council but their requests for permits from Israeli liaison officials were rejected.
link to

The separation fence could divide the nuns from the monks at the Cremisan monastery, giving new meaning to gender segregation.

link to


Occupation authorities install cctv cameras inside the Aqsa Mosque
The Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage revealed that the Israeli occupation on Tuesday installed cctv cameras to monitor the Aqsa Mosque, especially from the side of the Maghareba Gate.
link to

Lebanese MPs: The Boogeyman of Tawteen
 Lebanese politicians habitually invoke the specter of permanent settlement of Palestinians in Lebanon (tawteen) at every political juncture to instill a fear of the other. The other, in this case, is the Palestinian refugee living in refugee camps.
link to

Violence / Aggression

Israeli Forces Raid Town near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, January 5, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli Forces Thursday raided Takou’, a town east of Bethlehem, according to security sources. They told WAFA that after raiding the town, Israeli soldiers raided a house that belongs to a Palestinian and searched it. No arrests were reported.
link to

Report: Occupation committed 120 violations against Journalists, arrested 17
The Palestinian Journalist Assembly said that 2011 witnessed an escalation of violations by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian journalists.

Vandals spray paint the ‘revenge’ on the truck’s side and ‘price tag’ on a nearby electrical closet.
link to

Hundreds of Israelis visit religious site in Palestinian village
SALFIT (Ma’an) Israeli forces escorted hundreds of Israelis to a religious site in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank early Thursday. Soldiers deployed along the streets and barricaded the entrances to Kifl Haris, near Salfit, to check villagers’ identity cards, locals told Ma’an. Dozens of armored buses transferred the Israelis into the village at 12.30 a.m., where they shouted slogans against Arabs, resident Amjad Abu Yacoub said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said “1,400 Israelis entered Joshus Binun tomb in the village, there were no disturbances.”
link to

Ban on 12 settlers in West Bank
Israeli police issue restraining orders banning 12 settlers from entering the occupied West Bank for up to nine months

link to

Systematic West Bank Settler Violence, Stephen Lendman
B’Tselem’s been on the story for years. Settler violence is longstanding, troubling, and largely without accountability. Since September 2000 alone (the beginning of the second Intifada), the toll includes 50 Palestinians killed. Since December 1987 (the first Intifada’s onset), it’s 115, besides many more injured, including children. With few exceptions, settlers initiate unprovoked violence. More recently, those under the “Price Tag” slogan rampage out-of-control. B’Tselem documented numerous incidents, including blocking roads, stoning cars and homes, torching fields, uprooting trees and other crops, as well as other forms of violence and damage.
link to

No jail for Jewish extremists in “price tag” attacks
Twelve Jewish extremists involved in “price tag” arson attacks on Palestinians in recent weeks have escaped jail time, but will instead be barred from the West Bank for up to a year, Israel’s military revealed in a statement on Tuesday. Referring to the men as “activists,” the statement said that one man has been banned for one year, while the others will not be able to enter the occupied Palestinian territory for varied periods between three and nine months.
link to

IDF Investigations: Will There Be Justice for Tamimi?
IDF policy requires a criminal investigation be launched immediately when military operations in the occupied Palestinian territories cause death. But a defective system essentially ensures that the investigation will not be conducted in a fair and impartial manner, enabling soldiers to continue to act with impunity. This article was first published in The Jerusalem Post and is reprinted with permission.

link to

French Court To Look Into File Of Child Shot In His Father’s Arms
A French court will be looking into the case of Mohammad Ad-Dorra, 12, who was killed after being repeatedly shot, on September 30, 2000, while seeking shelter from Israeli military fire in his father’s lap; the father was also shot by several rounds.
link to


Undercover Israeli soldiers kidnap Palestinian child

Undercover Israeli security forces kidnapped a Palestinian child in Aisawiye, to the north east of occupied Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening, local sources said.
link to

Palestinian Children Detained Oppressively in Isolation, Stephen Lendman
DCI/Palestine “is a national section of the international non-government child rights organisation and movement (dedicated) to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children,” according to international law principles. On December 28, it submitted a complaint to several UN authorities titled, “The use of solitary confinement on Palestinian children held in Israeli detention.” It’s specifically for five children held at Al Jalame and Petah Tikva interrogation centers in Israel.
link to

Report: Palestinian arrested in Beersheba

TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man in Beersheba on Wednesday, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. The man, from Jenin, is suspected of planning a stabbing attack and was transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning, the report said.
link to


Gaza man killed in tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A man was killed and another injured when a tunnel collapsed under the border with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Bilal Shaat, 24, from Khan Younis, died while working in the underground passage near al-Salam neighborhood in southern Rafah, officials said. An injured colleague was transferred to Abu Yousef al Najar hospital in Rafah along with Shaat’s body, they added.
link to

Anwar and Haneen: two beautiful girls murdered by Israel, Sarah Ali

Were 13-year-old Anwar and five-year-old Haneen terrorists? What could possibly explain the Israeli army’s targeting of children during its invasion of Gaza three years ago?
link to

5 January 2009: Amal al-Samouni
“I have constant pain in my head, eyes and ears. I have been having nose bleeds for the past three years. I can still feel the shrapnel move inside my brain”  On 4 January 2009 at around 6:00 Israeli forces surrounded the house where Amal al-Samouni (11) and 18 members of her extended family were sheltering, in Zeitoun neighborhood east of Gaza City. Israeli soldiers ordered the owner of the house, Amal’s father Attia al-Samouni (37), to step outside with his hands up. Upon opening the door he was immediately killed by shots to the head and chest. Soldiers then started firing bullets into the house, killing Amal’s 4-year old brother Ahmad al-Samouni and injuring at least 4 other people, of whom 2 were children.
link to

Who remembers Gaza?
For the moment, the Arab revolutions have marginalized the Palestinian issue. For the first time in over half a century, the agenda of the Arab world–both that of governments and the people–is not determined by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but by the social and political difficulties they are facing: poverty, economic development and democracy. And when the Palestinian issue is marginalized, the Gaza Strip is pushed to the margins of the margins.
link to

Six Common Misconceptions about Gaza that are so 2011
In the sixth place: “The civilian closure has been lifted and only security restrictions remain”. Gaza is not as isolated from the rest of the world as it was a few years ago, but it is still cut off from the West Bank and it’s hard to find convincing security reasons why. For example, Israel prohibits students from traveling from Gaza to the West Bank – individual security checks are not even an option because the ban is sweeping. Israel does not allow goods from Gaza to be sold in the West Bank or Israel, while at the same time allowing exports from Gaza to Europe to be transferred through its own airports and seaports. It also imposes restrictions on the import of building materials into the Gaza Strip. The impact is felt mainly by international organizations rather than the local government, which gets all the cement, gravel, and steel it needs from the tunnels. Ongoing restrictions make it difficult for Gaza’s economy to recover, but they also split families apart and impede Gaza residents’ access to higher education and the opportunity to acquire training in a number of highly needed fields.
link to

Activism / Solidarity

Video: 10 Years of Struggle for Justice
This year, contributions from supporters will allow us to plant 2,050 olive trees for Palestinian farming families in 2012. Thanks to your generosity, the US Campaign will be able to replace almost 25% of the olive trees destroyed by Israel this year.  Your support will also allow us to capitalize on a decade of tireless work, and challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid on an unprecedented scale in 2012.
link to

Discrimination / Racism / Sexism

High Court rejects petition against Israel’s controversial ‘Nakba Law’
Arab, Jewish citizens submit petition against law granting finance minister power to reduce budget of state-funded bodies that reject Israel as Jewish state or mark the Palestinian Nakba.
link to

Israeli credit card firm leaves women out of Jerusalem billboards
Activists working to bring images of women back onto ads in the capital, start a protest on Isracard’s Facebook page.
link to

Gynecology convention excludes female lecturers
PUAH Institute holds conference on female issues but only male experts are invited to speak; organizers claim rabbis prohibited participation of women doctors.
link to

Political Developments / Diplomacy & other Palestine / Israel news

Report: Israel submitted 22-point document to Palestinians
Ramallah – Israel submitted a 22-point document to the Palestinians this week during their first face-to-face meeting in nearly 16 months, a London-based Arabic newspaper reported Thursday. Nimr Hammad, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, confirmed to al-Quds al-Arabi that Israel had submitted the document, but declined to give details. The newspaper nonetheless reported it had ‘learned’ about the document’s content. It reportedly states that Israel is willing to withdraw from some Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem, but not to the lines that existed before 1967. It is also reportedly willing to evacuate some, but not all, West Bank settlements.
link to

Posted in Nova NewsletterComments Off on Mondoweiss Online Newsletter

Israel, wake up and smell the coffee


Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn’t cause a ripple, but one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander made all the difference.

By Gideon L


If I could, I’d send a modest bouquet of flowers as a gesture of thanks for the work of the rioters – the ones who infiltrated the Ephraim Brigade base in the West Bank last week. They achieved, at least for a moment, what others had failed to do: stir Israeli public opinion and maybe even the army and government against the West Bank settlers.

Good morning, Israel. You’ve woken up? Years of rioting against Palestinians, uprooting of trees, vandalism, arson, destruction, dispossession, theft, rocks and axes didn’t cause a ripple here. But one rock to the head of a deputy brigade commander, Lt. Col. Tzur Harpaz, made all the difference.

An all-out riot. Jewish terrorism. There are militias in the West Bank, settler-terrorists in a no-man’s-land. And all this due to a rock that drew a few drops of sacred Jewish blood.

Here they are again: arrogance and nationalist ideology. How is it possible that terrorism has arisen from the Chosen People? How could a few drops of blood from one person shock more than streams of other people’s blood? How did the rock that scratched Harpaz’s forehead reverberate immeasurably more than the teargas canister that ripped through the forehead of Palestinian Mustafa Tamimi, killed four days earlier by soldiers from the army Harpaz serves in?

No, the right wing’s hilltop youth haven’t endangered the State of Israel. They haven’t even distorted its image, as it’s now popular to proclaim. What do you want from them? They’ve been made accustomed to think that anything goes. Enough with the self-righteous clucking of tongues. Enough with the “condemnations” and expressions of bogus and belated shock. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the settlers. It’s not a “new level” of activity, and it doesn’t involve the crossing of “red lines.” The only line that has been crossed, perhaps, is the line of apathy.

We’ve been reporting for years about the settlers’ misdeeds, week after week. We’ve recounted how they have threatened Palestinians, hit their children on their way to school, thrown garbage at their mothers, turned dogs on elderly Palestinians, abducted shepherds, stolen livestock, embittered their lives day and night, hill and vale, invading and taking over. And it never touched a soul.

Now all of a sudden there is shock. Good morning, Israel. Why? What happened? You can’t chastise those young people after years of not only apathy toward their parents’ misdeeds but also the warm embrace of most of society and sweeping support from the IDF and every Israeli government. You can’t speak about them as brother-pioneers, give them huge budget allocations, promise they’ll be allowed to remain where they are forever, view them as a legitimate, not to say principled, segment of society, and then suddenly turn your back on them, condemning and attacking them. And all due to a rock.

You can’t change the rules that way, one fine day. And the rules were set long ago: It’s their land, the land of the settlers; they’re the masters of it and can do anything there. Only a distorted double standard would permit a change in the rules due to a minor injury to the Israel Defense Forces. Only in the name of a distorted double standard could you be shocked about the recent acts, which were by no means the most serious or cruel.

Of course Israel has the right (and duty ) to change the rules, but such a change must be revolutionary and be carried out across the settlement enterprise, halting it entirely and changing the illegal, unethical and intolerable reality that exists in our backyard. The government isn’t interested in such a change. The IDF isn’t either, and it’s doubtful most Israelis want such a change. But anything less than that is hollow lip service, nothing more than a small wave on the hull of this decades-long enterprise.

Until that happens, let’s leave them alone. There’s no point evacuating a chicken coop at the Mitzpeh Yitzhar outpost while the settlement of Efrat is lapping at the edge of Bethlehem. There’s no point waging war against the “illegal” outposts while the “legal” settlement of Ofra has been built on stolen land. And there’s no point issuing restraining orders to keep out a clutch of rioters while it never occurs to Israel to issue similar orders against all their brethren.

The violent demonstrators at the Ephraim Brigade base are the opposite of anarchists, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called them. They just want to preserve the existing order, just as most Israelis, led by the prime minister, do. Flowers for the rioters? On second thought, they haven’t done a thing.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Israel, wake up and smell the coffee

Shoah’s pages


January 2012
« Dec   Feb »