Archive | January 17th, 2013

The Geopolitical Reordering of Africa: US Covert Support to Al Qaeda in Northern Mali, France “Comes to the Rescue”

NOVANEWS
Global Research

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance? decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-QaedaAQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

….

LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.

In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.

Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

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Lest We Forget–Mossad ‘Death Squad’ Killed the kids at Sandy Hook

NOVANEWS

Students at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, are being guided to get out of the school after the December 14, 2012 deadly shooting.

ed note–Again, let us ask ourselves the following question–When Foxman, Schumer, Dershowitz & co read articles such as this, what is their initial reaction?

Fear?

Anger?

Panic?

…or laughter???

 

By Dr. James H. Fetzer

Press TV

While liberals and some conservatives believe the time has come to ban assault weapons, the graver threat to our nation’s security has been swept under the rug.

The Sandy Hook massacre appears to have been a psy op intended to strike fear in the hearts of Americans by the sheer brutality of the massacre, where the killing of children is a signature of terror ops conducted by agents of Israel. 

This is being used as powerful incentive for banning assault rifles, where most of the public is unaware of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has acquired 1.5 billion rounds of .40 caliber, hollow-point ammunition, which is not ever permissible in warfare under the Geneva Conventions. 

A Senate Subcommittee has issued a report (3 October 2012) based upon its review of 680 “fusion center” reports (from 2009-2001) and found not a single indication of any domestic terrorist threat-not one! None! Since the only domestic “terrorist threats” are ones contrived by the government, especially the FBI, the public needs to know. 

This information-as well as the existence of more than 300 FEMA camps and special boxcars to carry dissidents to them-has been deliberately withheld from the American people, because if they were aware of the facts of the matter, it would become obvious that those camps and ammunition are intended to be used against them. 

When DHS is gearing up to conduct a massive civil war against the American people, what better excuse could there be for banning assault weapons than the massacre of 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School? 

The choice appears to be covertly revealing, where “Sandy” means guardian of men (as an allusion to guns) and “Hook” as a euphemism for hooking, gathering or confiscating the only weapons that DHS fears. And who better to slaughter American children than Israelis, who deliberately murder Palestinian children? 

Mike Harris of Veterans Today has exposed the pattern relating what happened there to earlier assaults: “This is exactly what Israel did in Norway; the political party that voted sanctions against Israel was retaliated against by a ‘lone gunman’ who killed 77 children. This is what Israel always does, they go after the children. 

“It is what they do in Gaza every day. It is what was done in Norway. It is what happened at Sandy Hook. Nobody buys the ‘one gunman’ story anymore, not with the Gabby Giffords’ shooting, not with the Aurora “Batman” shooting, certainly not with Breveik, and certainly not in Connecticut.”

The most likely scenario, given what we know now, is that Adam Lanza and his mother killed the day before. Adam’s body picked up by local police. He was attired in a SWAT outfit, including body armor, and stored in the school. 

A three-man team entered the school, one was arrested in the school–cuffed and put on the lawn–two went out the back door, one was arrested, the third appears to have escaped. You can find this on helicopter videos. 

Those arrested are currently not in police custody; their names were never released. That is a telling sign that we are being sold a story that is based on fiction, not on fact. What else are the local police concealing? 

A parallel situation in Aurora, where there appear to have been multiple participants, but the police concealed information about them. The DC Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, was even a active member of Delta Force, but the public was not informed. 

His assistant in this killing spree, Lee Boyd Malvo, had been detained in Seattle but was released, even though he was an illegal alien, where INS has refused to explain how that happened. Did “higher authority” intervene? 

Nidal Malik Hasan, the US Army Major who killed 13 and wounded 29 during a rampage at Ft. Hood, Texas, even sat next to the Director of Homeland Security during an event at George Washington University. Can that be coincidental? 

When the “long gunman” cover story falls apart, then the national press, which William Colby told us was infiltrated by agents of the CIA-“The agency owns everyone of significance in the major media”-resorts to stories of Mind Control and use of drugs. 

We have to see through the smoke and mirrors. These attacks typically involve three-man shooting teams, where, once the story is tainted with bogus MK/Ultra conspiracy disinformation, crucial data, like the assault rifle the Sandy Hook having been left in his car, swiftly disappears. 

Lenin and Trotsky were terrorists. Lenin was an outspoken proponent of terrorism. The founder of the Lukid Party and sixth Prime Minister of Israel was an Irgun terrorist. Study its history. No nation in the world cares more about its own interests and less about those of the United State than Israel. 

The bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946, was a stunning example. The attack on the USS Liberty and Israel’s bombing of its own Embassy and Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994 are other illustration.

Those who study 9/11 are all too aware of the role of the Neo-Cons and the Mossad. But the American press covers it up-and Congress is controlled by AIPAC. As Bill Casey, former CIA Director, observed, “Our disinformation program will be complete when everything the American public believes is false.” Sandy Hook is the latest example.

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Mali: Italy to offer France logistical support

NOVANEWS

Mali: Italy to offer France logistical support

Giampaolo Di Paola, the defence minister, told the Italian Senate that the logistical support would be confined to air operations, not ground operations.

Giulio Terzi, the foreign minister, confirmed Italy’s willingness to offer logistical support.

“It is important to find a rapid solution to this crisis and to avoid terrorist forces becoming firmly established in this part of the world,” he told the Senate.

An undersecretary for foreign affairs warned that there was a danger ofMali turning into an “Alqaedistan” of Islamist extremism.

Staffan De Mistura, who has long experience of conflicts in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, told Corriere della Sera: “This is the first time that a territory the size of France has fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda.

“Even if one risks a new Afghanistan, or even an ‘Alqaedistan’, we cannot have a country like Mali falling into the hands of a fundamentalist dictatorship that threatens the world.

“The French have intervened to try to prevent this happening. From Mali the rebels can menace the Mediterranean.

“Demonstrating solidarity with the French is important. This is not just a war against a group of rebels – the interests at stake are much greater than that.” Rome was informed in advance of the launch of the French operation last week, according to the Italian press.

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Zio-Nazi Gistapo ‘provoked Palestinian teenager and then shot him

NOVANEWS

Israeli army provoked Palestinian teenager and then shot him claim family

ed note–this is corroborated by what former NYT reporter Christopher Hedges wrote in his piece ‘A Gaza Diary’ that was originally published in Harper’s Magazine
It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.
“Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”
I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”
The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.
A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.
Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the ageof eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad,and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered—death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipersput children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo—but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.

telegraph.co.uk

A Palestinian schoolboy killed by Israeli gunfire near the West Bank separation barrier had been reacting to insults shouted by soldiers with loudhailers before he was shot, eyewitnesses have said.

The claim contradicts an account given by the Israeli army, which says 16-year-old Samir Awad was shot after cutting through a section of the security fence as he tried “infiltrate into Israel”.

The teenager died on Tuesday after being shot three times. He was hit from behind as he was running away from Israeli troops in the village of Boudrous, according to his family. Doctors at Ramallah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said he had suffered gunshot wounds to his neck, leg and torso.

An Israeli Defence Forces spokesman said the shooting happened after soldiers initiated “standard rules of engagement”, which include live fire, to respond to such incidents.

That was challenged on Wednesday by Samir Awad’s family, teachers and school friends, who said he had approached the fence only after being incited by Israeli troops, who had used loudspeakers to provoke pupils at Boudrous Secondary School, which sits 200 yards away, into a confrontation.

“They were shouting, ‘Come dogs, Come to the wall,” 10-year-old Khaled Shaheen told The Daily Telegraph. “They were also calling us sons-of-bitches and saying your mothers are dogs and adulteresses. They were shouting on the loudspeakers before Samir left his class.

His description was confirmed by several older pupils at the school, who said the soldiers uttered other obscenities they were reluctant to repeat.

An Arab language teacher, Nader Shalash, 37, said shouted insults from the army patrols were a daily occurrence.

“They went to say to the pupils, ‘We are here. Come and get a bit of trouble’,” said Mr Shalash, who described the teenager as intelligent and a

good student. “Some of the soldiers are Druze and some are Jewish. They also play loud music. We built a wall and fence around the school and also erected three gates which we keep locked during school hours because we don’t want any provocations. However, they happen.”

Family and friends say Samir was running away from the security barrier after soldiers fired tear gas. As he tried to head towards the school, he was intercepted by two other soldiers who had been hiding in a trench dug by the Jordanian army during the 1967 Six-Day War.

While his friends managed to get away, Samir’s escape route was cut off, forcing him to run back towards the barrier. It was at that point he was shot, witnesses say.

The incident happened shortly before 10am on Tuesday just after the teenager had finished a midterm science exam.

The Israeli human rights group, B’tselem, say the Israeli soldiers called for an ambulance but apparently did not administer treatment. They left the scene when villagers, including Samir’s brother, Jibril, arrived and carried him away.

Last night the IDF said it could not comment on the allegations of incitement as an investigation was underway into the shooting which is beign carried out by the military police.

On Wednesday, as the Awad family observed three days of mourning, The Daily Telegraph witnessed further confrontations in the area between the school and the security barrier. Israeli soldiers fired rounds of tear gas after several Palestinian youths approached the barrier, which consists entirely of fencing in the region around Boudrous.

The village achieved fame after being the first West Bank village to organise regular protests against the barrier, eventually succeeding in getting its route changed. The Awad family say they lost five acres of land to the barrier’s construction and that four of Samir’s brothers have been wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

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Nazi Forces Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)

NOVANEWS

 

  • 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

–       The 4 civilians were killed at the border area as a result of excessive use of force.

 

  • 2 Palestinian civilians were shot by the settlers in the northern West Bank.

 

  • The Israeli forces conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 

–       At least 29 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were arrested in the West.

–       A young man and a child were arrested when they attempted to cross the border into Israel.

 

  • The Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.

–       A Palestinian civilian was wounded in al-Nabi Saleh peaceful protest, northwest of Ramallah.

–       6 international and Israeli activists were arrested in the abovementioned protest.

 

  • Israel has continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.

–       The Israeli forces established dozens of checkpoints in the West Bank.

–       At least 5 Palestinian civilians were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank.

 

  • Israel has continued efforts to create a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem.

–       2 houses were demolished in Beit Hanina and Sour Baher, due to which 15 Palestinians became homeless.

 

  • Israel has continued settlement activities in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.

–       2 houses and 2 agricultural rooms were demolished south of Hebron.

–       The settlers uprooted 210 olive trees in Nablus.

Summary 

Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (10– 16 January 2013):

 

Shooting:

The Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded 4 others in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  2 were killed and a third one was wounded in the Gaza Strip, while 2 others were killed and a third one was wounded in the West Bank. In addition, 2 other civilians were shot by Isareli settlers.

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and wounded a third. The 2 others were shot by settlers.

On 12 January 2013, the Israeli forces positioned along the security fence, south of al-Ramadin village in the south of Hebron, killed a Palestinian worker named Oday al-Daraweesh, 21, from Doura in the southwest of Hebron.

On 15 January 2013, the Israeli forces killed a Palestinian child from Budros village, west of Ramallah and al-Bireh, while he was with his friends near the annexation wall.

In the same context, the Israeli forces continued to systematically use excessive force against peaceful protests organized by Palestinians and Israeli and international activists against the construction of the annexation wall and settlement activities in the West Bank. As a result, a 21-year old civilian was wounded by a live bullet to the left cheek during al-Nabi Saleh weekly protest, northwest of Ramallah. Moreover, the Israeli forces arrested 6 international and Israeli activists and transported them to an unknown destination. Besides, dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation or sustained bruises.  They were all treated on the spot.

Additionally, 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded in 2 separate shooting incidents carried out by armed settlers in Nablus on 10 January 2013. The first incident happened when a group of settlers from “Yitzhar” settlement attacked a number of Palestinian civilians from Ourif village, south of Nablus. The other incident took place when an armed settler opened fire at the Palestinian civilians, wounding Ammar Masamir, 20, was wounded.

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian civilians and wounded a third one. On 11 January 2013, the Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, east of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded a second one.

On 14 January 2013, the Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip while he was standing with his friends in a farmland 1,200 meters away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

 

The full report is available online at:

http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9182:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-10-16-january-2012&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183

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A Gaza Diary

NOVANEWS

by  Christopher Hedges

Thursday morning, June 14,
Jerusalem

The artist Joe Sacco and I are driving up through the Jerusalem Hills to Beit Agron, the government-run press building. Beit Agron was the first place I visited in 1988, when I moved to Jerusalem as the Middle East bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News. I had no office, no staff, and no experience in the Middle East. I had arrived from Lausanne, where for four months I had studied Arabic. My teacher, an Egyptian, used to write on the board phrases such as “The Arabs are good. The Jews are bad.” I later took the Hebrew University conversational Arabic course, taught by a kind and gentle Palestinian professor, Omar, who became a close friend.

Arabic is a delicate and beautiful construct. The language is poetic, magical, with calls and responses, ornate greetings and salutations, for everything from eating to entering a house. When someone brings you food you say, “May God bless your hands.” If offered a coffee you say, “Coffee always,” meaning may we always drink coffee during moments like this. Seven years later, now the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times, I had spent 600 hours of study and reached the conclusion that mastery of Arabic was a lifelong pursuit. A little of it, though, goes a long way. After being captured by the Iraqi Republican Guard in Basra in 1991 during the Shiite uprising following the Gulf War, I was able to recite strings of bad Arabic jokes and talk about my family. I wrote Omar a thank-you note when I was released.

Joe and I pass the rusting hulks of crude Israeli armored vehicles, left as a monument to the 1948 war that made possible a Jewish state. We skirt the old walled city, its quadrilateral shape and network of streets laid out by the Roman emperor Hadrian. In the distance stands the Jaffa Gate, where, in 1538, in ornate and cursive Arabic, an inscription was placed by Suleiman, the second Ottoman ruler of Jerusalem:

In the name of Allah the Merciful, the Great Sultan, King of the Turks, Arabs, and Persians, Suleiman son of Selim Khan—may Allah make His Kingdom eternal—gave the order to build this blessed Wall.

Beit Agron is a dirty yellow stucco affair in the center of Jerusalem with tiled floors and poorly lit corridors. It has the feel and smell of a public high school. The reporters and photographers whose lives intersected mine here more than a decade ago are mostly gone now. Some I see only rarely, bumping into them in various shattered corners of the globe; others are dead.

The stories we worked to tell, which flashed briefly across a screen or a front page before receding from the public’s consciousness, are, for us, still vibrant. A shooting at a road junction in Gaza—a brief item on the wire—remains hard to retell. Years later we recount the mishaps, the funny anecdotes that, taken at face value, made our life a romp. The real stuff is alluded to only in brief, almost codelike asides and silences.

It was in Gaza, where I lived for weeks at a time during the seven years I spent in the Middle East, that I came to know the dark side of the Israeli Defense Force. During the first Palestinian uprising, begun in December 1987 and ended in 1993 with the Oslo peace accords, the army had little interest in crowd control. It fired live rounds at boys hurling rocks. And on a few occasions the Israeli soldiers, angered at the coverage, turned their weapons toward groups of photographers and cameramen. They shot rubber bullets into their legs—doing it with a self-congratulatory arrogance that came to define the occupation for me.

In Beit Agron I run into familiar Israeli press officials. They are efficient: our press cards are ready in minutes. They welcome me back. They ask about New York. They hand out cell-phone numbers and tell us to call if we need assistance. Joe and I get up to leave, but we are blocked at the door by a man in his early sixties wearing a gray leisure suit. His name is Yusuf Samir, and he is a reporter for the Israeli Arabic service. He tells us that he was kidnapped recently in the West Bank by Palestinian gunmen and held for several weeks.

“The Palestinians are animals,” he says. “They are less than human. They are savage beasts. Israel is a land of love. People in Israel love one another. But the Palestinians do not love. They hate. They should be destroyed. We should put fire to them. We should take back Beit Jala, Bethlehem, take back all the land and get rid of them.”

The Israeli press officers are beaming.

“He is a great man, a poet,” one says as we leave. “He is a man of peace.”

 

Thursday afternoon, June 14, 
en route to Gaza City

I fall asleep in the taxi to Gaza, and Joe rouses me when we come to the Erez checkpoint, in the north of the strip that separates Gaza from Israel. Erez is deserted. The multilane highways that once allowed goods and traffic to travel back and forth now resemble unused runways. The low sheds and warehouses, once used to corral Palestinians as they waited for buses to take them into Israel, are vacant.

Israeli soldiers hunker down in concrete bunkers, the black nozzles of their machine guns poking out between the sandbags. Gun battles between Palestinians and Israelis are frequent here, especially after dark. I hoist on my body armor, which has the word press emblazoned across its front. The twenty-six pounds of Kevlar plating make me feel as if I were wearing a body cast.

We approach the Israeli office, where our passports and press cards are checked and our luggage is screened. I mount our bags on a little wheeled cart, the kind you use in airports, and pull it behind me as we walk the quarter mile of empty asphalt to the Palestinian side. High concrete walls hem the lanes. I will drop to the ground next to these walls if firing breaks out.

We cross the checkpoint at about 4:00 p.m. At the last Israeli guard post, the blue-and-white flag with the Star of David on a pole overhead, the young soldiers peer out and tell us jokingly to have a nice trip.

I point to the word press on my chest.

“Shoot me here,” I say, laughing.

And then I point to my head.

“Not here.”

 

Friday morning, June 15,
Gaza City

Joe and I share a room at the Diera Hotel in Gaza City, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The Diera was built after Yasir Arafat returned to Gaza in July 1994 to set up the Palestinian Authority under the terms of the Oslo peace agreement. His limited rule was, most hoped, meant to lead to a two-state solution. The assassination of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin scuttled any chance of that.

Over the last seven years Arafat has become isolated and unpopular, largely because the promised economic improvements and freedoms have not materialized. Only his refusal to accept the mutated statelets offered to him at Camp David has saved him from complete pillory.

The hotel is thus a symbol of what should have been, an airy, elegant place with domed roofs, muted-sienna stucco walls, deep blue tiles, and balconies looking out at the sea. It resembles, with its arched doorways, the beach hotels in Tunisia. In the fall of 2000, after Islamic militants burned down all the liquor stores in Gaza and all the hotels that sold alcohol, the Diera hastily padlocked its bar. Wine can still be ordered discreetly. It is served in white teapots. There are small screw-top wine bottles in the refrigerator in our room. But the hotel has the feel of a proper Islamic establishment. Arafat’s senior officials gather here in the evenings to sit on the terrace with their wives and girlfriends, few of whom sport traditional head scarves.

In the morning, as Joe and I are loading up on omelettes and bread to avoid having to eat at the dirty stalls in the Khan Younis refugee camp, we are joined on the terrace by my friend Azmi Kashawi. Azmi—who with his girth could easily play Falstaff, were he not a devout Muslim who does not drink—is a fellow reporter. We have been through a lot together. In October 2000, at the Nezarim junction in Gaza, we were caught in a brutal Israeli ambush. A young Palestinian about fifteen feet from us was shot through the chest and killed. Since then we have always driven by the junction with a slight shudder, a sudden coldness. Azmi, involuntarily, will sometimes mutter the word “remember.”

Without Azmi many doors remain shut. I am grateful that he has agreed to accompany us to Khan Younis.

We sit looking out at the sea. Azmi has a tea. The black silhouette of an Israeli gunboat lies menacing and still on the horizon.

 

Friday afternoon, June 15,
Abu Holi

Joe and I lift our body armor into the small trunk of Azmi’s car, where Azmi keeps his own vest and a television camera, and head down the coast road for Khan Younis. Azmi beats the wheel with his fingers and hums along to a tape of the Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez. He keeps urging us to look at the coast; he himself drives with his head turned to the side, watching the rolling white surf, praising the sea. We weave around trucks and buses. One must trust Allah and Azmi’s horn—used in lieu of brakes—when one climbs into Azmi’s small, yellow car.

The gaiety of our drive is cut short when we reach the Israeli-controlled junction at Abu Holi, about fifteen miles outside of Gaza City. The landscape here is lunar. For acres around, fields have been bulldozed, houses demolished, and olive trees felled and hauled away. In the distance sits a conical cement tower manned by Israeli soldiers. On either side of the checkpoint long lines of cars wait to cross. The coast road is the only way to get to southern Gaza and Khan Younis, and at this point it crosses a highway used by Jewish settlers and the Israeli army. When the settlers speed by in their white armored cars, all Palestinian traffic is stopped. Weeks can pass with the intersection closed or the soldiers letting through only a thin trickle of traffic. One of Azmi’s friends, who lived in Khan Younis and worked in Gaza City, gave up trying to make the commute and moved in with friends in Gaza.

Azmi shuts off his tape player. He insists that everyone open a window. We do not speak. We unbuckle our seatbelts. In all war zones everyone needs a door and a swift way to roll out onto the ground if shooting breaks out. We creep forward in the stop-and-go traffic until we face the tower. Azmi leans forward over the wheel. He narrows his eyes and concentrates on a disembodied hand poking out of a slit in the bulletproof glass. The flat palm means stop. A bad read, a lurch past the tower when the Israelis do not want you to move, could see your vehicle raked by gunfire. Suicide bombers, who conceal explosives in donkey carts, view spots like these as prime targets. We do not move. We wait. Finally the hand behind the thick Plexiglas flutters, motioning us through.

Azmi, sweating now in the heat, begins to drive cautiously over the speed bumps. Joe sketches the scene in his notepad. We cross the settlers’ road—Palestinians are not allowed to use it—and pass the long line of cars waiting on the other side. It is several minutes before Azmi agrees to roll the windows up and restore the air-conditioning. None of us feels like talking.

 

Friday afternoon, June 15,
Khan Younis

Khan Younis is a dense, gray, concrete shantytown, the black waters from sewers running in thin rivulets down the middle of alleys. There are no gardens or trees. There is no place for children to play, other than the dunes in front of the neighboring Israeli settlements. Vendors in small, dingy stalls sell roasted corn on the cob or falafel. Hunks of meat hang on giant hooks, alongside wooden tables piled with tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers, and green beans. During the rains the camp floods with wastewater. Crude septic tanks, called percolating pits, lie outside homes, covered only by a thin layer of sand. When the pits overflow, the dirty water may slosh into the dwellings. The drinking water, which often does not flow for more than a couple of hours each day, is brackish and brown. It has left many in the camp with kidney problems. Only the lonely minarets, poking up out of the clutter, lend a bit of dignity to the slum.

The latest intifada erupted in September 2000, when Ariel Sharon, then the Israeli opposition leader and now the prime minister, visited the al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, with about 1,000 Israeli police. Arafat pleaded with then prime minister Ehud Barak to help stop the visit, fearing the violence that would surely erupt, but Barak could do nothing. Since then nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed, along with 100 Israelis and a dozen Israeli Arabs.

Khan Younis is one of eight refugee camps in Gaza. It is surrounded on three sides, like a horseshoe, by Israeli military positions. The soldiers there fire down on the roofs of the concrete shacks—asbestos mostly, held down by piles of rocks, cement blocks, and old tires. Bands of Palestinian gunmen, who often initiate the shooting, fire back.

A blistering white sun beats down on the camp. Our shirts become damp. Our shoes are soon covered with dust. We walk in single file through the concrete maze, jostling our way past groups of Palestinians. Finally we are afforded a look at the dunes hugging the camp. They are dotted on top with Israeli gun emplacements, sandbagged bunkers, large concrete slabs, and a snaking electric fence. Armored green jeeps and tanks roar and clank along the fence’s perimeter, throwing up clouds of dust. Knots of nervous Palestinians stand gazing in the direction of the behemoths until they pass out of sight.

The walls of the houses facing the settlements, especially in the El Katadwa neighborhood, on the western edge of the camp, are pockmarked with bullet holes. Jagged chunks of masonry have been ripped away by tank fire. Barrels filled with sand and stacked one on top of the other—for me, an eerie reminder of the Balkans—deny Israeli snipers a view of the streets.

Beyond the fence we can see a mobile crane, from which dangles a yellow metal box draped with camouflage. It lumbers inside the Israeli compound like a jerky robot. I am told that the snipers fire down from the box while suspended over the camp.

We turn down a crowded alley and come upon a group of older men seated on chairs in a patch of sand, playing backgammon. A black plastic water tank and a TV antenna loom over them. A radio, perched on a window ledge behind metal bars, plays Arabic music. At dusk these men, and the families that live along the perimeter, will move deeper into the camp to seek safety with relatives and friends. Bands of Palestinian gunmen will creep up to shoot at the Israeli positions, and the crackle of automatic fire will punctuate the night air.

 

Saturday, June 16,
Khan Younis

The Israeli positions on the dunes virtually surround the Jewish settlements, whose whitewashed villas and manicured lawns and gardens look as if they have been lifted out of a southern California suburb. Inside the fence are warehouses where cheap Palestinian labor once stitched together clothes for export or tended rows of vegetables in huge greenhouses.

We set off to find Fuad Faqawi, who runs the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees office in Khan Younis. Azmi leads us down one narrow passage and up another. We finally find the dwelling, a low concrete house surrounded by a cement wall, and bang on the metal door.

Faqawi greets us in a short-sleeved shirt and black loafers covered with a thin film of dust. A packet of Parliament cigarettes pokes out of his shirt pocket. He leads us under a corrugated roof that shades worn chairs and stools, their legs thrust into the sand. He clutches a walkie-talkie.

Faqawi was born in Khan Younis, which was established in late 1949 to provide aid to the some 200,000 Palestinian refugees who had fled the advancing Israeli army in 1948, an army that pushed displaced villagers toward Gaza. Like most refugee camps, Khan Younis was at first a vast tent city, a temporary encampment, set up for 35,000 refugees until people could return to their homes. The tents were replaced in 1953 by boxy concrete structures. The Egyptians, who first controlled Gaza, would not allow the camp to expand, nor would the Israelis, who gained control of Gaza after the war in 1967. Although roughly the same size as it was in 1949, Khan Younis now houses almost twice the number of registered refugees—58,891—that it did five decades ago. The population growth rate for the Palestinians is one of the highest in the world—3.7 percent compared with 1.7 percent in Israel. This is, simply, one of the most heavily populated spots on the planet.

The Palestinians in Gaza, 1.1 million of them, most of whom lack the means to leave, live in a 147-square-mile area. Twenty percent of that territory belongs to the sixteen Jewish settlements, home to about 6,000 Jewish settlers. In other words, one fifth of Gaza is in the hands of .5 percent of the people who live there.

Faqawi says that there was a point two decades ago when UNRWA, which runs schools and health clinics and distributes monthly sacks of flour and food, seemed as if it might have outlived its purpose. By the late 1980s some 40 percent of the men in the camp had jobs in Israel as menial laborers, and unemployment in Gaza was relatively low. The pay was not great, but it allowed them to buy food, televisions, and refrigerators. Israel’s decision to impose restrictions on tens of thousands of workers during the first uprising, and a further curtailment when Arafat supported Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, reversed the gains. Unemployment is now 40 percent, up 11 percent from last year. The U.N. estimates that one in three Palestinians lives on less than $2.10 a day. Palestinian economist Samir Hulaileh estimates that more than two thirds of the Palestinians in Gaza will be living below the poverty line by the end of this year.

The average family in the camp receives five kilos of lentils, five kilos of rice, five kilos of sugar, two liters of cooking oil, and fifty kilos of flour a month from UNRWA. There are 837,750 registered refugees in the Gaza Strip, 54.6 percent of whom (457,426) live in camps.

“Oslo meant almost nothing in practical terms to the people in Khan Younis,” Faqawi says. His small yard is filled with children, as ubiquitous in Khan Younis as grains of sand. They stand barefoot, their faces dirty, as they watch us sip demitasse cups of coffee. The smaller ones wear only ragged shirts. The children move in aimless bands throughout the camp, stealing, scavenging, cursing, smoking cigarette butts, and falling into rock-throwing wars. Wealthier Palestinians tend to keep their children indoors.

Faqawi darts into his house and brings out a worn pouch. He tenderly unfolds sepia documents. The papers, from the Government of Palestine, then a British mandate, permitted Faqawi’s father to sell tobacco and food in his grocery in Jaffa. He holds out the Register of Lands document, issued under the land settlement ordinance of 1928, that proves title to his father’s house.

“Our house in Jaffa exists,” he says, offering me the paper. “I have all the documents. Two Iraqi Jewish families live there. I visited them in 1975. We had coffee. They told me they knew it was my house. They said they had left four houses in Iraq. They told me to go to Iraq and take one.”

As a boy growing up in the camp Faqawi lived with his eight brothers in a tiny concrete shack. His family built a new structure on the foundations of the old one about fifteen years ago. The boys shared one bedroom. He had no shoes, no schoolbooks, and was plagued by disease and insects.

“U.N. officials would come to my elementary school and tell us to open up our shirts,” he says. “They would douse us with DDT. . . . When I saw pictures in magazines of the way other people lived I was jealous. I was especially jealous of children who could have long hair. We could not let our hair grow because of the lice.”

As we speak, a homemade mortar, launched a few blocks away, rips through the air. It, or one fired later, is sure to bring an Israeli response. Groups of Palestinian men and boys are already at the dunes throwing rocks at the Israeli jeeps patrolling the Gani Tal Jewish settlement. The soldiers will open fire and wound eight Palestinians, five under the age of eighteen. At about the same time in Halhoul, a town north of Hebron in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers will wound seven Palestinians, including two medics. The shooting will take place as Palestinians try to dismantle a barricade, built by Israeli soldiers, across the main road leading into the town.

Faqawi goes into his house again, a cigarette dangling from his mouth, and returns with twisted scraps of Israeli munitions, including black, dartlike needles known as fléchettes. The fin-tailed fléchettes are packed inside shells and spray out in a deadly mass when the shells detonate. Three women in Gaza were killed by fléchettes a few days ago.

Faqawi sighs. “We are seeing a lot of divorce, a lot of fighting in the homes, and a lot of shouting in the street,” he says. “But I still believe in negotiations.”

He looks at his two sons, who grimace when he speaks of compromise.

As we leave the house, Faqawi leans toward me and says quietly, “I can never say that the way to fight the Israelis is to blow ourselves up. I can’t allow my children to think like this. I will always disagree with them.”

He stops, his eyes weary.

“If I did agree,” he says, “I could never tell them.”

 

Sunday afternoon, June 17,
the dunes

I sit in the shade of a palm-roofed hut on the edge of the dunes, momentarily defeated by the heat, the grit, the jostling crowds, the stench of the open sewers and rotting garbage. A friend of Azmi’s brings me, on a tray, a cold glass of tart, red carcade juice.

Barefoot boys, clutching kites made out of scraps of paper and ragged soccer balls, squat a few feet away under scrub trees. Men in flowing white or gray galabias—homespun robes—smoke cigarettes in the shade of slim eaves. Two emaciated donkeys, their ribs protruding, are tethered to wooden carts with rubber wheels.

It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.

“Come on, dogs,” the voice booms in Arabic. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!”

I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: “Son of a bitch!” “Son of a whore!” “Your mother’s cunt!”

The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children’s slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.

Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered—death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo—but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.

We approach a Palestinian police post behind a sand hill. The police, in green uniforms, are making tea. They say that they have given up on trying to hold the children back.

“When we tell the boys not to go to the dunes they taunt us as collaborators,” Lt. Ayman Ghanm says. “When we approach the fence with our weapons to try and clear the area the Israelis fire on us. We just sit here now and wait for the war.”

 

Monday morning, June 18,
Khan Younis

In the morning we attend the boy’s funeral. It is easy to find. Trucks with mounted loudspeakers tour the camp urging residents to attend and giving the street address. Going to funerals is a prerequisite of covering conflicts. I have been to countless. In many places I have had to inspect the bodies and faces to verify or refute claims of torture and mutilation.

The boy’s father, Murad Abdel Rahman, stares vacantly as he stands up from one in a long line of purple plastic chairs placed in the street and shakes the hands of mourners. Posters of his dead son adorn the walls. Black flags of mourning, green banners with Koranic verses, the yellow flags of the Fatah militia, and signs from Palestinian factions surround the white canopy that has been spread out over the rutted, dirt street.

I shake his hand. I offer my condolences. We incline our heads together to talk. The small body lies a few feet away.

It is hard to concentrate. The frail form of the dead boy, wrapped in a shroud, reminds me of my eleven-year-old son. I was in a room once in Kosovo with a mother and her children shortly after her husband was murdered by the Serbs. The man’s young son kept looking at the photo of his father on his identification card and weeping. I want, as then, to flee. I want to go home to my children.

A truck, manned by militants, is parked at the end of the street. The bearded Islamists in white robes wait to turn the funeral into a rally. The boy’s body will be the prop. It is a familiar act. Martyrs, especially child martyrs, are a potent weapon in the hands of radical groups. It is hard to argue with death. Nationalists in Bosnia or Kosovo, insurgents in Central America, made a great show of funerals and the remains of those who were sacrificed for the cause.

The father says that he had no part in the decorations, which include posters of Saddam Hussein. He seems indifferent to the display. He speaks slowly, his puffy eyes and uncomprehending gaze giving the lie to the rhetoric of sacrifice and glory.

“This is what I worked so hard to prevent,” he says, his voice hoarse and low. “I took Ali with me every day to my restaurant at 6:00 in the morning on al-Bahar Street. I made him promise he would not go to the dunes to throw rocks. Yesterday he asked to go home at 3:00. He said he had to study for the makeup sessions they are holding because of all the school closings this year. A half hour after he left people came running to tell me he was shot in the leg. I ran through the streets to the hospital. They would not let me in. They said he would be discharged soon. They told me he was okay. I forced my way inside and saw him lying in the corridor dead with a bullet hole in his heart. I fainted.”

Several small boys stand glumly on the edge of the tent. They say they had called to Ali as he walked home to join them on the dunes.

“We all threw rocks,” says Ahmed Moharb, ten. “Over the loudspeaker the soldier told us to come to the fence to get chocolate and money. Then they cursed us. Then they fired a grenade. We started to run. They shot Ali in the back. I won’t go again. I am afraid.”

During the funeral, sixteen-year-old Aadel Hussein al-Muqannan, who was wounded with Ali, is pronounced dead at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. He was shot in the abdomen; the bullet severed his aorta. Aadel’s fifteen-year-old brother, Hussein al-Muqannan, was killed by Israeli troops on November 22, 2000, at the Tuffah checkpoint at the edge of Khan Younis.

The residents in the camp insist the Arabic accent is Lebanese. They believe that mercenaries from the South Lebanese Army, once a Christian proxy army for Israel and long a bitter foe of the Palestinians, have been integrated into the Israeli force. The word in Palestinian Arabic meaning “to shoot”—ahousak—is never heard over the loudspeakers but rather the Lebanese word in Arabic, atoohak. And the Palestinians in the camp say that they can hear Lebanese music coming from the guard posts.

Ali’s small body is loaded onto the back of a truck. A cadre of young men, some bearded and in robes, others dressed in black and wearing wraparound sunglasses, march in three rows, with automatic weapons pointed in the air, behind the bier. The crowd of several hundred, egged on by the speakers mounted on the truck, chant Islamic and anti-Israeli slogans.

“Mothers of Jews!” they shout. “We will make you weep like Palestinian mothers.”

The truck, with a generator in the back to power the loudspeakers, lumbers ahead of the procession. Posters are displayed of young martyrs, often holding clunky machine guns in front of a backdrop of the al-Aqsa Mosque. These boys probably never owned a gun or saw the mosque in their lives. The chanting crowd passes the murals and graffiti that smother the walls of the camp. One shows an Israeli bus, marked by a Star of David, smashed and on fire. “Don’t be merciful to those inside” reads the slogan underneath. “Blow it up! Hit it!” Hamas has signed the mural. Another shows masked Palestinian gunmen, AK-47 assault rifles strapped to their backs, loading a mortar to fire on a settlement. One mural shows a pile of yellow skulls, all marked with a blue Star of David. On one wall the skeleton of a settler has been painted hanging from a post. Nearby a huge hand thrusts a knife into the Star of David. Many walls list the names of the thirty-seven Palestinians killed in Khan Younis since September.

Every new death pushes the voices of moderation deeper into the background. Azmi, who has Israeli friends, says he no longer speaks of them for fear of being branded a collaborator. Those moderates who keep open the channels of communication are often the first to be silenced by their own side. As in most conflicts, all dialogue has been reduced to a scream.

 

Monday afternoon, June 18,
Khan Younis

Fahdi Abu Ammouna, thirteen, lies on a bed in the al-Amal Hospital, his feet propped up on a pillow. Dried blood covers the sheets. He says that some of his rocks hit the army jeep, though I doubt he or any of his friends could throw that far past the electric fence.

“The soldier said over the loudspeaker that those who wanted to live should run,” he says, “and those who wanted to die should stay. Then they swore at us. They said everyone who lives in Khan Younis is a dog. I started to run. I was shot. I never heard any shots. The bullet went through both of my legs. I crawled to the ambulance. It was the first time I went.”

His mother, seated next to him and wearing a black head scarf, slowly shakes her head. “He goes every day,” she says softly. “I sent my older son to bring him home. And he was not home five minutes before he went back. I tell the boys it is useless, throwing stones and becoming a martyr will not make the Israelis leave. My sister has lost a son. My brother has lost a son. One of my uncles was killed and a cousin is dead. I tell them to look at the history of our struggle. All these deaths achieve nothing.”

She begins to talk about the first uprising, which led to the Oslo peace agreement. Her husband, Samir, stands in a blue shirt, white pants, and sandals at the end of the bed. He was a prisoner then in Israel. One morning Israeli soldiers burst into her two-room house in the refugee camp while she was baking bread. Her son was six months old. They turned the place upside down and threw the boy on the stove. He was severely burned. As she speaks she gently places her fingers on his small arm, now hooked up to an intravenous tube.

Before we leave, we visit the office of Dr. Mahmoud al-Madhoun, the hospital’s director. He hands us plastic bags filled with bullet fragments he has taken out of his patients. All have the dates, the types of wounds, and the names of the victims printed neatly on the outside. Of the 1,206 killed and wounded, he says, 655 were under the age of eighteen. He cannot understand why soldiers would fire at children.

“In thirty years of practice,” he says, “I have never treated a patient who died after being hit by a rock.”

 

Tuesday, June 19,
Mawasi

We want to spend a day in Mawasi, a Palestinian village cut off from Khan Younis and surrounded by the Israelis. I call the army press office in Jerusalem and ask permission for Azmi, Joe, and me to cross the Tuffah checkpoint at the edge of town. It is agreed that we will be allowed to pass through the checkpoint at 11:00 in the morning.

We walk down the sloping asphalt road to the bleak Tuffah crossing. (Tuffah means “apple” in Arabic.) Behind me rises the El Katadwa neighborhood. Mounds of rubble, the remains of thirty-nine houses demolished by Israeli bulldozers in April, are interspersed with green tents and black plastic water tanks mounted on wooden frames. This was the first incursion by the Israelis into land that had, under Oslo, been given back to the Palestinians.

Nervous groups of Palestinians stand a few hundred yards from the checkpoint. The slogan “We will shield the al-Aqsa Mosque with our bodies from the Zionist enemy” has been spray-painted on the wall next to them. Straw, oil-covered sand, and crushed soda cans litter the road. An Israeli helicopter passes noisily overhead.

The Palestinians wait for the loudspeaker order to come forward in clusters of three. Only those who live in the coastal village of Mawasi can pass. All must have special Israeli identity cards. As the groups of three approach the concrete guardhouse, all lift their shirts to show that they are not hiding weapons or explosives. The women pull up their veils to expose their faces. Dogs trained to sniff out explosives root among suitcases and boxes. Many Palestinians clutch clear plastic bags filled with food or flour. They hold up the bags so that the soldiers can prod and inspect them.

Mohammed al-Magida waits to pick up vegetables grown by farmers in Mawasi. The tomatoes he loaded yesterday were left too long in the sun by the Israelis and spoiled. He has been here today for two hours. On the other side are crates he hopes to have passed to him by hand. But the soldier with the dog that sniffs the produce is not around.

“A lot depends on the mood of the dog,” he tells me.

Many items, such as bags of cement and propane tanks, are simply banned. No vehicles, save those of the Israeli army, are permitted to drive back and forth. Pregnant women in labor, held for hours at the checkpoint, often cannot get to the hospital in Khan Younis; two have given birth at the checkpoint. When someone dies in Mawasi the corpse must be carried across for burial in Khan Younis on someone’s back.

Ibrahim Abu Awad, a dirty and disheveled boy of ten, pesters me for a shekel, and finally stands and stares intently at the post. I ask him what he wants to do in life.

“Kill Jews,” he says.

A soldier barks an order in Arabic over the loudspeaker for Azmi, Joe, and me to approach the post, one by one. We enter a corridor of plastic barrels filled with sand. We pass through a metal detector. Coils of concertina wire spread out around us. I hand our Israeli press cards through the slit in the guardhouse. The area around the guardhouse is blackened by soot. The fence is a tangled mass of wire. This damage is the result of a suicide bomber who blew himself up at the post in May. After the explosion an accomplice threw grenades at the soldiers before being shot dead. The pictures of the two dead men cover the walls in Khan Younis.

Mawasi, with some 5,000 villagers, was split from Khan Younis in 1972 when the Israelis began to build the Neve Dekalim settlement, one in a chain of eleven small settlements along the Gaza coast that include a tourist hotel, a golf course, and horse-riding trails. The Palestinians who live in the village are prohibited from using the modern highway that runs north and south—it is only for the Jewish settlers and the army—and must travel along a one-lane asphalt track that runs parallel to the main road. Mawasi has most of the good farmland in the area. But the closure has left the fields fallow. Khan Younis once depended on Mawasi for 80 percent of its produce, and some 60 percent of the crop used to be shipped to the Gulf states. Now only a pittance gets out.

Once through the checkpoint we proceed down the narrow lane past heaps of rotting garbage. For the last eight months, Israel has refused to allow the Khan Younis municipal authorities, which are in charge of garbage collection on this side as well, to cross Tuffah.

Relations between the Palestinians in Mawasi and the settlers have never been good. But last January, Palestinian gunmen murdered a settler and escaped in the settler’s car. The settlers then went on a rampage. The settlement appropriated another 200 dunams (about 45 acres)of land after the killing and erected an electric fence around the barren brown fields. Ahmed Moustafa al-Magida, an imposing man of fifty who is one of the leaders in the village, insists that we take a look at the losses. We pile into his car and tour the area. All around us are confiscated fields, the blackened remains of Palestinian greenhouses, the charred hulks of tractors and farm carts. One Palestinian home has been gutted by fire. Electricity has been cut everywhere. Tonight, with the lights of the settlements shining above them, the residents of Mawasi will gather around wood-burning fires.

We decide to visit the beach, negotiating another Israeli checkpoint to do so. Mawasi has seen its fishing industry shut down. The small huts and shacks where Khan Younis residents once sat to drink Coke and swim in the surf are deserted. Fishing boats, the fiberglass hulls cracked from disuse, clutter the sand.

We come upon five fishermen who returned to their boats three days ago after eight months of being denied entry; the Israelis have promised to allow limited fishing near the coast.

“It has been eight months since my feet were wet,” says Naim Kanan, forty, a well-built man in a yellow bathing suit. “I am ruined. I sold my wife’s gold bracelets, the ones I gave her when we were married. All I hope now is that I can keep my boat.”

Joe picks up a small shell on the sand and notices that it has a hole in it. We decide to make a necklace for my daughter. When Kanan sees us searching in the sand, as well as Azmi’s impatience with our frivolity, he wades into the surf. He scoops his hands into the water and emerges with dozens of glistening white shells. He dumps them into a plastic bag for us. Later, when the Israeli soldiers pull us out of the car, they will poke deep into this bag, not sure what to make of it.

On our way back to Khan Younis, Joe and I stop at the settlement and peer through the chain-link fence at an Indian worker driving a tractor mower across a lawn, skirting the sprinklers. We ask the soldiers for permission to enter and are told that we must speak with a settlement official. We stand in the sun, gazing at the emerald lawns and the palm trees. Azmi waits for us down the road at a bus stop. Finally we are handed back our Israeli press cards and told to leave.

As we cross into Khan Younis, ambulances are leaving the dunes with eight more wounded, five under the age of eighteen.

 

Tuesday evening, June 19,
Khan Younis

It is the end of the day, but we have made plans to visit a factory. Nearly all commerce in Gaza has been shut down. The 12,000 Palestinian workers from Khan Younis who had jobs in Israel and the 2,000 who worked in settlement factories are now unemployed. The inexpensive piecework done in Palestinian shops may still be sent abroad, but raw materials no longer arrive. The textile- and furniture-factory floors are empty.

We find Abdullah Mousa al-Dosouki, fifty-one, just opposite the dunes, amid his sewing machines and large spools of white thread. Before Israel closed off the strip, he employed sixty people. He made uniforms for El Al, Israel’s national airline, and for Bezek, the Israeli telephone company.

“Once the closure began we could not guarantee delivery, and we lost our contracts,” he says. “I took out a $12,000 loan to buy new machines. I cannot pay it back. I had a good relationship with three Israeli companies. They now import from China.”

As night comes on, Dosouki and his neighbors have an even more pressing concern: water. The water in Khan Younis, when it is available, is salty and riddled with chlorine. Ten of the town’s twelve wells do not meet World Health Organization purity standards. Because of the violence at night, public-works employees often refuse to man the pumping stations at the edge of the settlement. In Mawasi many wells have gone completely dry, but the Israelis refuse to allow the villagers to drill new ones.

When I met a few days earlier with Osama al-Farra, the mayor of Khan Younis, he explained to me why the Israelis chose to build a settlement right between Mawasi and Khan Younis: “It is over the aquifers. In 1980 the Israelis began to drill. They have thirty-two wells. They built a pipeline in 1994 to carry the water into Israel. There are probably about 1,000 people in the settlement next to the camp, but they consume one third of our water supply, though about 160,000 people live in Khan Younis.”

This Arafat loyalist—he had a huge portrait of Arafat on the wall behind his desk—said that in general his city is nearly bankrupt. Revenues have fallen from $250,000 to $80,000 since the intifada began in September 2000. Salaries of public officials are paid only with assistance from the Gulf states.

The mayor, who is fluent in English, was just seven when his father was killed in the 1967 war. The body was never found. He worries that the current round of violence will lead, as it has in the past, to war.

“My five-year-old son was pretending to present the news,” he told me. “He began by saying that five Palestinians had been killed by the Israelis today. His two-year-old brother, who wanted to play, threw himself on the floor and said he was a martyr.”

 

Wednesday, June 20,
Khan Younis

The mosque dominates camp life. Five times a day, including calls before dawn and after sunset, the amplified chant of the muezzin lends a coherence and rhythm to existence here. Islam has squeezed out the secular, urban-educated Palestinian leadership in Gaza. In places like Khan Younis, Arafat’s Palestinian Authority bows to the militant’s interpretation of Islam. There is no alcohol sold in the camp. There are no cinemas. Women, even those who are not religious, find it prudent to walk the streets with their heads covered. Special Islamic reconcilers settle disputes and blood feuds. The militants, imbued with religious zeal, are intolerant of anti-Islamic practices, but they are also widely respected for being honest, in stark contrast with Arafat’s bloated and bribe-ridden government. Shop owners complain of having been forced to pay kickbacks to local Arafat officials in order to do business. Landlords say that Palestinian Authority officials rarely pay rent on stores or apartments. Many of Arafat’s officials have set up lucrative businesses importing duty-free goods, including cars, and selling them at huge profits.

In the afternoon we visit the cramped office of an Islamic charity that provides food to families in Khan Younis. The room is filled with young bearded militants. A truck has backed up to a warehouse next door, and men are unloading sacks of flour, sugar, and rice, as well as red lentils, tea, macaroni, tomato paste, and corn oil. The charity, which raises its money in the Gulf states, is not officially tied to the militant Islamic group Hamas. But it is here, I have been told, that I will meet Sheikh Younis al-Astal, the camp’s senior Hamas leader.

He enters dressed in a white robe. The men in the room fall silent. He speaks, as so many Hamas leaders do, in an even, gracious tone. He offers me tea or coffee.

Arafat loyalists in the camp, such as Faqawi, concede that Hamas is ascendant. If Oslo had led, as many had hoped, to a two-state solution, and thereby given Palestinians some glimmer of a better life, it is a fair bet that Hamas would be a marginal force in Gaza. But Israel’s occupation and Arafat’s mismanagement have made it only a matter of time before the militants come to power. They already rule the street. If Sharon unleashes Israel’s might, as he did in Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority will be his first victim.

“What has happened since the Palestinian Authority came to power?” the sheikh asks. “Everyone is poorer. The Israeli occupation has not ended. Hardship always brings people back to God. It is like sickness. To quote the Prophet, peace be upon him, a believer should never be afraid of being poor but of being rich. When you become rich you think only of things. This kills your soul. Islam has given Palestinians cohesion. We feel as one body, in our dreams and our agony. And Islam distinguishes us in that it prepares people to die for the sake of Allah. They are always ready to die for Allah. They are ready to spread the message of Islam, ready to rescue someone weaker than they, even animals.”

Hamas is primarily known outside Israel for its suicide-bomb attacks against Israeli civilians. The sheikh tells me that Hamas orders suicide bombers, under its military wing, the Iz al-Din al-Qassam, to attack Israeli civilian targets because Israeli troops and armed settlers routinely attack Palestinian civilians.

“As long as they target our civilians we will target their civilians,” he says. “When they stop we will stop.”

From 1987 to 1993, during the first intifada, Hamas targeted only Israeli soldiers and settlements. It began to attack individual Israeli civilians after a Jewish settler, Baruch Goldstein, gunned down twenty-nine Muslim worshipers in the lbrahimi Mosque in Hebron. But these attacks have had the added benefit of discrediting and weakening Arafat’s authority, of exposing his helplessness in the face of settlement expansion, closures, and the shooting of unarmed Palestinians. Still, even the sheikh has used his time during Friday prayers to implore the young boys not to go out on the dunes.

“I know that every father tries to keep his children away from the fence,” he says. “The teachers and the imams tell the children not to go. When I preach in the mosque I tell them to stay away. But these kids have no place to go. The 
only place to play is in the alleys or the dunes.”

The gun battles on the rim of the camp at night have fused the various factions. The Fatah Hawks, who once battled Hamas activists for control of the street, now swap weapons and ammunition with their old foes. The factions march together at funerals. We meet next with one of the leaders of the gunmen who fire on the Israeli positions at night. Mohammed Abu Rich, thirty-one, leads the Ahmed Abu Rich brigade, which is made up of a couple dozen men. The group is named for Mohammed’s brother, shot in November 1993 by the Israelis. He meets us in his house, a huge painting of his brother on the wall surrounded by three Palestinian flags.

He tells us that he spent six years in an Israeli prison. His parents died while he was incarcerated. He has no family left. He swings from polite conversation to a thinly veiled hostility. I am uneasy. For the only time in Gaza, I hand over my Swiss passport when asked for identification to avoid being judged as an American. He writes down our names and our passport numbers—Joe uses his Maltese passport—in a school notebook.

I have seen his type before in Bosnia, Kosovo, the Congo, and Central America. Driven by rage and somewhat intoxicated with the authority carrying an automatic weapon can bring to the dispossessed, these are the combatants I fear the most. They are always looking for hostages, sure we are all spies. During the first intifada, a group of Fatah Hawks hauled New York Times photographer Rina Castelnuovo and myself into a room and accused us of working for Israeli security. We were lucky to talk our way out.

As often happens in such encounters, I am soon the one being interviewed. He asks me what I think of the conflict, which Palestinians I have met with, where I have been in Khan Younis, and what I think of Israel. I mutter brief and tepid answers. Odds are that the next time I arrive in Gaza I will hear that this man has been killed.

“I can’t stand to see the children get shot,” he says as we stand to leave. “I don’t care about the others. But when the children get shot I cry. I can’t take it. I feel like I am sixty.”

 

Thursday, June 21,
Khan Younis

Sabha Abu Mousa, fifty-five, picks through the shattered tiles and stones that were once her home in the neighborhood of El Katadwa. She is searching for her daughter-in-law’s two gold bracelets. She and her husband ward off packs of scavengers, most of them young boys.

In one of the few gutted buildings that remain standing after the April attack, a ceiling fan, its blades shredded, hangs tenuously by a wire from what is left of the roof. The attack left the fifteen people who lived in this woman’s small house homeless. They have moved into two rooms in an unfinished housing project where they have no running water or electricity.

“My son is in an Israeli prison,” she says, standing near what’s left of her refrigerator. “He is serving a ninety-nine-year sentence for killing Jews. I saw him twenty days ago. Before that I had not seen him for seven months. We lost three refrigerators. We lost my son’s new bedroom furniture. And we lost the two bracelets.”

She pauses and looks toward the settlement.

“All will vanish in the end except Allah,” she says.

I pick up a child’s notebook. It belongs to the young boy who lived next door. It reads, in broken English, “It’s a pleasure to writ to you after a long time and I hope you are fine and I will visit you in Jericho in the winter holiday because the weather is fine. I am looking forward to seeing you. Remember to your family. Your cousin, Anis.”

The small boy’s room, which he shared with his brothers, is now a pile of stone and plaster.

There is shooting again at the dunes, though the only injury occurs when a fourteen-year-old boy suffers a fractured skull after being hit in the head by an Israeli tear-gas canister.

I watch Jihad Abu Mousa, twenty-two, kick at a few pieces of rubble. He is morose and silent. He has a closely cropped beard, wears blue sweatpants and a green shirt. He quit high school to work as one of the 2,000 Palestinian laborers in the settlement. He earned $10 a day tending vegetables in the greenhouses, arriving at work at 6:00 in the morning and leaving at 3:00.

On January 29 his twenty-three-year-old brother Mohammed was shot dead by Israeli soldiers while, Jihad says, playing a game of soccer. Jihad, considered a security risk, lost his job.

“I worked for them for two years,” he says. “They have quite a life—nice cars, big houses, yards, hot clean water, and electricity, not like us. But they treated me well. I have nothing now.”

He stops, the familiar thousand-yard stare of despair and incomprehension creeping across his face, the look beaten into him, beaten into his father and his father’s father and, no doubt, if he has children, a look that will be beaten into them.

“Today or tomorrow,” he says. “What does it matter when I die?”

 

Thursday afternoon, June 21,
Jerusalem

Joe and I cross back over Erez, our heavy body armor slung over our shoulders. I pull our bags behind us on the cart, which bounces over the pitted asphalt. We shove our bags through the metal detectors. We give our passports to a female Israeli soldier seated behind a long wooden counter. She hands each of us a slip of paper. She tells us to carry the slips to the last guard post into Israel. We walk into Israel and enter the vast, empty parking lot next to Erez. We climb into an old taxi, which we have arranged to meet us, and start for Jerusalem. The wide expanse of highway, the gleaming gas stations, the roadside restaurants, the stucco homes, the lush valleys filled with vineyards and crops, seem shockingly unfamiliar now.

It is not long before the ancient Mercedes gives out. The driver, an Israeli Arab, cannot budge it out of second gear. When he tries there is a loud bang. The car shudders. The pace is excruciating. He does not want to let us go. He talks about being met on the road by another car from his company, about waiting a little longer to see if the wreck will come back to life, about how little we have to travel until things will be fixed. I lose my patience. I insist he let us off at a bus stop on the highway, where a group of young Israeli soldiers, M-16 assault rifles slung over their shoulders, stand waiting for a ride.

We hitch a ride with two nuns in a van. The sisters run health clinics in Gaza. They speak in French, the common language of their religious order. As we rise steadily toward the Jerusalem hills, the banter reminds me of another era, when the educated upper classes in the Middle East were taught French. One may still stumble onto elderly French-educated doctors and intellectuals in Cairo or Damascus, but that world is all but gone, replaced with American slang and McDonald’s.

The afternoon light casts a soft golden glow over Jerusalem, on the crest of the hill before us. It is hard not to be moved by the city, by all that it has endured and will endure. It has seen its share of zealots, those who killed in the name of causes now forgotten. They, too, believed that they were faced with an insoluble human dilemma.

I have been invited to dinner with a friend, a surgeon, and his family in their affluent home in West Jerusalem. His father fled Vienna for Palestine shortly after the Nazis took over Austria. They are liberal Israelis, no friends of Sharon and no friends of the growing religious right. They support the creation of a Palestinian state. I worry about them every time a suicide bomb explodes in the city.

At the table I try to make them grasp, just for a moment, what I felt watching the children on the dunes in Khan Younis. I tell the story. They admit that it is wrong, and then add, “But you have to understand, the Palestinians are brainwashed.” I concede the point, hoping only to impart the raw cruelty of what I saw. I try again. I fail. I fall silent.

It is late when I leave. I walk toward the center of Jerusalem. The night air is a welcome relief after the summer’s heat. I am glad to be alone. I pass in and out of patches of light and dark cast by the periodic streetlamps. My shoes are covered with the dirt of the camp.

War has an alluring simplicity. It reduces the ambiguities of life to blacks and whites. It fills our mundane days with passion. It promises to rid us of our problems. When it is over many miss it. I have sat in Sarajevo cafés and heard that although no one wished back the suffering, they all yearned for the lost spirit of self-sacrifice and collective struggle.

War’s cost is exacting. It destroys families. It leaves behind a wasteland, irreconcilable grief. It is a disease, and in the night air I smell its contagion. Justice is not at issue here: war consumes the good along with the wicked. There will be no stopping it. Pity will be banished. Fear will rule. It is the old lie again, told to children desperate for glory: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

Chris Hedges, a reporter for the New York Times, was the Middle East bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, based in Jerusalem, from 1988 to 1990. He was the Middle East bureau chief for the New York Times, based in Cairo, from 1991 to 1995

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It Is All About IsraHell

NOVANEWS
R
by Philip Giraldi

Something curious is taking place. The nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense came under fire from the friends of Israel even before it was certain that President Barack Obama would name him to the post. Hagel demonstrably has no particular animus towards Israel but he, while senator, refused to kowtow to the Israel Lobby, failing to sign on to letters and position statements, saying that he was first and foremost a United States Senator, not a representative of a foreign power. He also favors negotiations with Iran to end the nuclear standoff, which critics immediately latched onto as a sign of weakness and a further indication that he did not have Israel’s back. Bill Kristol, head of the Emergency Committee for Israel, quickly piled on to the Hagel nomination, followed by the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin and Charles Krauthammer, convicted Iran contra felon Elliot Abrams, reliably liberal Rachel Maddow, Harvard’s own Israel firster Alan Dershowitz, Mitt Romney adviser Dan Senor, and Johns Hopkins’ Professor Eliot Cohen. Several critics, including the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka, accused Hagel of being anti-Semitic and Islamophobe Pamela Geller described him as a “Jew hater.” Transplanted American now-living-in-Israel Caroline Glick somewhat more confusingly wrote that he “hates Jews that think that Jews have rights.” Major Jewish organizations including the Anti-Defamation League and The American Jewish Committee, quickly followed suit, with ADL’s Abe Foxman saying ”the sentiments he’s [Hagel’s] expressed about the Jewish lobby border on anti-Semitism in the genre of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt and former president Jimmy Carter” while the AJC’s David Harris added “We’re not in the opposition camp, we’re in the concerned camp. We’re going to count on the Senate to examine, as it must, key issues of concern.”

At that point a number of prominent American Jews who normally avoid any open criticism of the Israel Lobby became concerned and began to push back, noting that there was nothing to be alarmed about in Hagel’s record and that the perception that Jews as a group were blocking a qualified presidential appointment might create an unwelcome backlash. The counter-critics included prominent spokesmen like Thomas Friedman, Richard Haas, Joe Klein, Richard Cohen, Nick Kristof, David Ignatius, Aaron David Miller, and Peter Beinart and their view would appear to reflect the majority opinion of American Jews, though characteristically not the views of the leading Jewish organizations which are closely aligned with Israel’s right wing government and to major donors like Sheldon Adelson. To provide some space for the counterattack and to steer it away from being a Jewish issue, some Hagel supporters began to note that much of the opposition to the appointment was also coming from other sources, including disgruntled Republicans out to “get” Obama and defense contractors fearing budget cuts. Christian Zionists, whose unflinching support for both Israel and military spending is linked to their desire to hasten the end of the world and bring about the battle of Armageddon preceding the second coming of Christ, are also on the list.

While applauding the efforts of many Americans to pull out the stops in support the Hagel nomination, I would nevertheless argue that the attempt to identify some kind of rainbow coalition in the opposition to Hagel is pretty much a canard. It really is all about Israel, at least in the minds of most of those who seriously are seeking to block the nomination. Consider for a second whether Hagel would be facing any serious opposition at all if it were not for the claim that he is anti-Israel and not predisposed to use force against Iran. And bear in mind that Iran is really a subset of the Israel issue since it is Benjamin Netanyahu who is driving the belligerency even though the Iranians do not actually threaten the United States in any serious way. Consider also who is providing the muscle and the money to attack Hagel. It is organizations like Bill Kristol’s the Emergency Committee for Israel that was able to place a full page ad in the New York Times on Tuesday denouncing Hagel as the “anti-Israel nominee for Secretary of Defense.” The ad was signed by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch as well as two currently serving Democratic Congressmen, Shelley Berkley of Nevada and Eliot Engel of New York.

Christian Zionists might not like the Hagel nomination but they are not to my knowledge placing similar full page ads in leading newspapers, nor are they appearing on television talk shows, to which they have little or no access. Nor do they have the political pull to command the presence of hundreds of congressmen at their annual conference, as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is able to do. Defense contractors likewise are not attacking Hagel because they know that it will be a collective White House decision where and when to cut spending and Hagel will merely be the implementer of the policy. They also understand that while budget cuts are coming no matter who is Secretary of Defense because the government is running out of money they will continue to benefit from large military appropriations, even if the spending will not be growing dramatically as it has for the past eleven years.

No, the heart of the opposition to Hagel is in the hands of the ad hoc groups pulled together by Bill Kristol and others, to include fellow travelers in congress like Senator Mark Kirk, who explains why he will oppose Hagel while trying to appear high minded: “I am concerned about his past record and statements, particularly with regard to Iran and the U.S.-Israel relationship.” Kirk’s staff assistant Richard Goldberg has meanwhile been running an email campaign against Hagel consisting of multiple messages sent daily to fellow congressmen and friends in the media while Senator Lindsey Graham, who has already described Hagel as “very antagonistic toward the state of Israel,” leads the charge openly from the friends-of-Israel right where he is joined by a “deeply troubled” Senator Kelly Ayotte who wants to see a “fearful” Iran. It is Kristol and company as well as the politicians they have in their pockets who have the ability to appear on television to tell the American people why they should reject Chuck Hagel. They are the ones with the money, the organization, and the media savvy to lead the fight against someone whose fealty to Israel is not sufficiently established, not Pastor John Hagee and his mewling evangelical flock in Texas. For Kristol and his associates it is indeed all about Israel and it always has been. Every nominee to a senior defense, intelligence, or security council position must be vetted and judged by whether or not they are completely committed to support the Israeli government, no matter what it does and no matter what the impact would be on American interests. That is what Bill Kristol and his friends are all about.

And for those who still doubt that it is all about Israel, I would suggest a little history lesson. In 2004 Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission, admittedthat the Iraq war was fought to protect Israel, which he described as “the threat that dare not speak its name.” He meant that if there had not been the connivance of the Pentagon’s friends of Israel in creating a false weapons of mass destruction narrative coupled with the fulsome support of the Lobby a war on behalf of Israel would never have been endorsed by the American people. And it is also useful to review what happened to the last brave soul who dared to put American interests ahead of those of Israel.

That was Chas Freeman who was proposed as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council during President Obama’s first term in 2009. Freeman had an exemplary record as a public servant and was known to be an independent thinker willing to reconsider and challenge orthodox policies. Freeman had served as Ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia and was regarded as something of an Arabist, which immediately made him suspect to the usual crowd in congress and the media. For that he was immediately attacked by Israel’s friends, in what was described as a “thunderous, coordinated assault.” The critics frequently pretended that they were actually opposing Freeman’s views on China and his close personal ties to the Saudis, just as Hagel is now being falsely pilloried because he lacks management experience and because his wartime service in Vietnam will color his judgments. But no one was really fooled regarding Chas Freeman – it was all about Israel. Freeman, realizing that the debate over his views would become a distraction, asked that his name be withdrawn.

What it comes down to is that we live in a country where nearly everyone is willing to sell out if the price is right and, for the moment, Israel’s friends hold many of the cards. Being openly and enthusiastically a friend of Israel is a sine qua non on the path to power in Washington. In fact, Chuck Hagel recognizes that reality. He has recently apologized for his “errors” on Israel and Iran in an attempt to defuse the opposition to him. And only last week Senator Rand Paul, who some of us had hoped might break with the foreign policy consensus, visited Israel to burnish his presidential credentials. While there he did everything that he was expected to do and more, saying that Israel’s settlement policies are “none of our business” before adroitly backing away from cutting aid to Tel Aviv by noting that a bankrupt America would not be a good ally. “This does mean that we have to reassess who to give aid to, and when we do reassess that, I would begin with countries that are burning our flag and chanting ‘Death to America.’ No one is accusing Israel of that.” So if Rand has his way a gaggle of Muslim countries will get the boot while aid to “good ally” Israel will be untouchable.

Far better that Senators Paul, Lindsay Graham and Ron Kirk should stop worrying about what is good for Israel. They might instead emulate the Chuck Hagel who once upon a time was willing to declare that he was actually an elected official representing the United States and its people. Congress is the heart of the problem, funding and providing political cover for Israel’s completely illegal settlement policies as well as the iron fist apartheid-like control of the West Bank and Gaza. As a consequence, the U.S. is widely and rightly blamed for underwriting what Benjamin Netanyahu does and is no longer respected or considered credible, but I guess for all politicians who want to become president real bad it’s considered worth it. Well, I won’t be voting for any of them. The Israel Lobby wields enormous power in Washington, but many Americans are becoming tired of having their affairs micro-managed in Tel Aviv. Blowback is beginning and I would hate to see a bunch of esteemed Senators finding themselves on the wrong side of history. That would be a real shame.

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Indian Dubious Approach

NOVANEWS
By Sajjad Shaukat

On the one hand, India has been emphasising to strengthen the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) with Pakistan to normalise relations between both the countries, but on the other, it has continuously been giving a greater setback to the CBMs in one or the other way, which shows Indian dubious approach.

In this regard, Indian soldiers crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on January 6, this year and attacked a Pakistani check post in Haji Pir sector, killing one Pakistani soldier and injuring many troops. Besides, Indian troops shot dead two Pakistani soldiers at Hotspring on the LoC on January 10 and 15.

In this respect, the Pakistani Foreign Office summoned the Indian High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest on the repeated and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani foreign secretary also asked India to “thoroughly investigate the repeated ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) by Indian troops”, reiterating the offer to hold an independent inquiry through the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which India flatly refused.

There have been three blatant violations by Indian troops in five days, which have given a blow to the ceasefire of 2003 along the LoC.

While in order to justify its open aggression, India concocted a fabricated story of accusing Pakistan of killing and beheading its two soldiers in the same area of the LoC. Despite the fact that Pakistan’s civil and army spokesmen have denied Indian baseless allegations of beheading its two soldiers, Indian top officials, the opposition party and media have perennially been launching a blame game to distort the image of Pak Army and Pakistan.

In this context, Indian Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne stated on January 12 in threatening tone that India will be forced to consider other options, if ceasefire violations continue from the Pakistan side across the Line of Control. On the same day, senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rajnath Singh asked the Manmohan Singh-led government to stop all dialogue and confidence-building measures with Pakistan due to the alleged brutal beheadings of Indian soldiers and recall its High Commissioner to Islamabad over the alleged ceasefire violations.

On January 14, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh also threatened to retaliate against Pakistan for the alleged killing of two soldiers in fighting near the disputed border of Kashmir, saying, he had asked his commanders there to be aggressive in the face of provocation. Earlier, India’s external affairs ministry had summoned Pakistan high commissioner Salman Bashir to protest the killing of the two Indian soldiers.

Even Indian Prime Minister Singh allegedly said on January 15 that there could be no “business as usual” with Pakistan after a clash along the LoC in Kashmir in which two Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated.

However, ISPR spokesman stated that Pakistan has lodged a strong protest during a flag meeting between Pakistani and Indian military officials on continuous ceasefire violations including attempted raid by Indian troops on the LoC in which two Pakistani soldiers were martyred.

Meanwhile, while referring to the recent breakthrough in bilateral ties Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has pointed out in wake of Indian propaganda that she did not see the recent violations of the LoC ceasefire derailing or setting back the peace process with India, explaining that the government and people of Pakistan were committed to normalising relations with India.

Notably, Indian conflicting reports of Indian media and rulers have exposed New Delhi’s self-created story. In this context, some say that one Indian soldier was decapitated, while some reveal the beheading of two soldiers.

India is making noise with the assistance of its media to accelerate its venomous propaganda so as to show to the world that Pak Army is involved in violations along the disputed border of Kashmir, and Pakistan intends to derail the CMBs.

Regrettably, our media is so engaged in manipulating internal controversial issues that the incident of indiscriminate firing on Pakistani soldiers at LoC could hardly get any coverage. Country’s media commentators have totally failed in countering Indian propaganda campaign in this respect.

In fact, India is emphasising more on CBMs than to pay attention for the settlement of real issues. Notably, regarding the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to Pakistan on September 9, 2012, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khar stated that with her counterpart Krishna, she discussed all the outstanding issues such as terrorism, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, water and especially main dispute of Kashmir. Both the countries also signed agreements of liberalised visa regime and a memorandum of understanding on cultural exchanges in addition to agreeing on new cross-Line of Control (LoC) Confidence Building Measures related to trade and travel. Nevertheless, implementation of these agreements has started. In this context, Islamabad also signed a number of trade agreemens with New Delhi, which allowed India exports of mutltiple items across the Wagah border. It is also likely to grant India Most Favoured Nation status, which permits trade in almost everything. But like Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his trip, S M Krishna had warned that in case of Mumbailike incident; relations between the two countries could lapse.

As part of the CBMs, under the Aman Ki Asha initiative, recently renowned Pakistani and Indian media anchors, retired high civil and military officials including film stars have participated in various seminars and gatherings in both the countries to create favourable atmosphere to intensify the peace process, and to discuss practical solutions to the bilateral issues.

By setting aside the CBMs, recently, India decided to erect a ‘floating fence’, anchored by submerged metallic meshes, along the disputed Sir Creek border area with Pakistan. Sir Creek which sits in the Rann of Kutch marshlands is the 96 km narrow piece of water between India’s Gujarat state and Pakistan’s Sindh province is sovereign part of Pakistan’s territory.

It is due to New Delhi’s duplicity with Islamabad that Indian rulers availed various crises to suspend the process of Pak-India talks. For example, in 2002, under the pretension of terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, New Delhi postponed the process of dialogue. Again, in 2008, India suspended the ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by its secret agency RAW in connivance with Indian home-grown terrorists.

India and Pakistan had resumed the new phase of talks in March, 2009 which were the first structured bilateral talks. But every time, prime ministers and foreign ministers of the two countries ended their meetings with issuance of positive notes, and vowed that their parleys would pave the way for the settlement of real issues, particularly the core dispute of Kashmir, but the same failed without producing tangible results due to Indian double game. 

It is mentionable that Indian adamant stand regarding Pak-India parleys are not without some sinister designs. In this regard, India is determined to keep its hold on Kashmir which is considered by it as integrated part of the Indian union. It also wants to blackmail Pakistan by stopping the flow of rivers’ water towards Pakistan as major rivers of our country take origin from the occupied Kashmir. India is only fulfilling the formality through the new phase of talks as Indian rulers also want to show to the US-led western countries that they are willing to settle all the outstanding disputes with Pakistan including Kashmir. And New Delhi wants to continue state terrorism on the innocent Kashmiris who are waging a ‘war of liberation’ for their legitimate rights as recognised by the UNO.

In these terms, recent violations at the LoC and blatant aggression by killing two Pakistani soldiers in wake of insisting upon CMBs clearly indicate Indian dubious approach.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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‘Jew’ is the new ‘cool’ in Dutch, linguist says

NOVANEWS

Teenagers use the word “jood” as an expression of enthusiasm; Dutch also use Yiddish word “tof” as “good.”

jpost.com

Dutch teenagers are using the word “Jew” akin to “cool” or “awesome” in English, according to a linguist from Leiden University.

Professor Marc van Oostendorp wrote Monday on his blog that he heard the new usage of the word “jood” (pronounced yode) at a high school in Leiden shortly after learning about the phenomenon from an online forum about the Dutch language.

“One is at first unsettled by it. The word Jew is still a slightly sensitive issue if used improperly,” van Oostendorp wrote, adding an example of how soccer fans use it as a pejorative.

Van Oostendorp notes that Dutch already has one positive exclamation connected to Judaism in “tof,” which was borrowed from Yiddish and means “good,” but he writes that “it’s not clear if those two are connected. I don’t believe too many people are aware of the etymology.”

He notes that “the ideal word to express teenage enthusiasm would make parents raise their eyebrows” but would not invoke disciplinary intervention.

“The word ‘Jew’ is apparently suitable in that regard,” van Oostendorp wrote.

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The Sexual Subversion of America, Part 2 of 2

NOVANEWS

Dr. Lasha Darkmoon

An edited abridgement of E. Michael Jones’ 2003 essay, Rabbi Dresner’s Dilemma: Torah v. Ethnos, presented with pictures and captions by Lasha Darkmoon

der sturmer

 Anti-Jewish cartoon from a German school book for children (c. 1935) alleging  the sexual exploitation of German women by Jewish men. 

8.  The sexually corrupted have now become the corrupters

The impression one gets by reading Rabbi Dresner’s book—Can Families Survive in Pagan America?—is that over the course of the twentieth century in America the Jews have suffered one of the greatest defeats in their history.

Dresner blames this defeat on assimilation, but the irony is that the Jews were corrupting America’s morals at the same time that they were undergoing moral corruption themselves by assimilating so successfully in America.

Assimilation means the adoption of pagan sexual mores of the sort that nearly destroyed the Israelites at the time of the Book of Kings. The Jews who came to America, who arrived from the Polish shtetls, arrived to find a ruling class more interested in Darwin than in Christ. They adopted the worst aspects of modernity and became both the corrupted and—because of their influence in the media—the corrupters simultaneously.

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The success that Jews have achieved in media, publishing and academe over the course of the 20th century only magnified the corrupting influence which modernity inflicted on them—and which they would in turn inflict on their host culture.

Dresner’s antipathy toward both Woody Allen and Isaac Bashevis Singer stems from the fact that he is both an American and a Jew, and from the fact that Woody Allen and Singer can be seen as corrupting influences from both perspectives. Dresner’s anger is based on the fact that he sees American Jews succumbing to the perennial temptation of sexual idolatry.

The connection between Singer and Sabbatai Zevi is nothing if not explicit. Dresner notes Singer’s early “fascination with Sabbatianism.”  Singer writes: “I read whatever I could about the era of Sabbatai Zevi, in whose footsteps Jacob Frank had followed. In these works I found everything I had been pondering: hysteria, sex, fanaticism, superstition. (p. 184)

Dresner mentions Sabbatai Zevi and his successor Jacob Frank in connection with the sexual corruption of contemporary Jews.

Not only have America’s Jews been corrupted by Sabbatianism, the Sabbatian infection has become the majority position: the lifestyle of Jews has trumped the Jewish style of life based on the Torah as the Jewish norm.

Isaac Beshevis Singer

“Life is God’s novel, so let him write it.”

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)

Dresner is in many ways more upset about Singer’s popularity than he is about Woody Allen’s.

Are Singer’s writings ‘true’? [he asks]. The corruption, the adultery, the demonic, the philandering, the decay, the perversion that pervade Singer’s picture of Polish Jewry—is it all true? And if it is not ‘true,’ then why has someone not said so? (p. 177).

The silence of American Jews over Singer and Allen indicates ambivalence, which is to say, “their secret desire to repudiate the moral direction of three thousand years of Jewish history in favor of the worship of sensuality and fear of the demonic finding meaning in their animal nature instead of in the power of man to transcend himself.” American Jews have embraced Singer’s writings, “because they express what Jews secretly desire.”

And what is that? Sexual liberation in Jewish garb, which is to say, Sabbatianism.

9.  Sabbatianism: a Satanic cult promoting “salvation through sex”

The modern Jew is now the devotee of an alternate faith: Sabbatianism.

Jewish silence on Singer “may be a sign of a sickness so severe we do not perceive its symptoms,” Dresner notes.

He considers Singers’ writings one long calumny of eastern European Jews. Why, he wonders, are American Jews so interested in promoting this calumny? Because if eastern European Jewry is what Singer says it was, then, according to Dresner, American Jews

need feel no guilt; they can go about their way, not much different from other Americans, philandering, corrupting, and making of their faith a sham in the comforting belief that it was, after all, always like that. That’s what the Jews of Eastern Europe were—philanderers, adulterers and corrupters: why should American Jews be better?

The conclusion which Dresner draws from this is inescapable. If Woody Allen speaks for the majority of American Jews, then American Jews have been corrupted. They are now no longer followers of Moses, but rather followers of Sabbatai Zevi.

In the process of succumbing to that corruption, American Jews have played a major role in the corruption of American morals and culture.

American cultural life in the last half of the 20th century, in other words, has been dominated by Jewish rebellion against the Torah and the adoption of the sexual practices and worldview of Sabbatai Zevi.

sabbatai levi

 

[LD]:  Sabbatai Zevi (left), 1626-1676, the self-proclaimed false Messiah of the Jews, diagnosed as a manic-depressive by Jewish academic philosopher Gershom Scholem. The figure in the center isNathan of Gaza (1643-1680), Sabbatai  Zevi’s chief promoter, a mystic and seer steeped in Talmud and Kaballah who is said to have indulged in orgies of ecstatic dancing and emitted an intoxicating odor associated with the scent of the Garden of Eden. Jacob Frank (far right), 1776-1791, claimed to be a reincarnation of Sabbatai Zevi and preached the bizarre doctrine of  salvation through sin, more euphemistically known in Jewish parlance as  “purification through transgression.” (Pawel Maciejko, The Frankist Movement in Poland, the Czech Lands, and Germany (1755–1816). Oxford University Press, 2003. (Cited here)

The overwhelming majority of American Jews—as evidenced by the surveys Dresner cites—have defined themselves as sexual revolutionaries; and because of the disproportionate role which Jews play in publishing and the media, they have, in effect, established Sabbatian sexual degeneracy as the American cultural norm.

Judaism, according to Dresner, “stands as inexorably against the new paganism as it did against the old. And so should the Jew.” But at the same time that the American Jew was reaching cultural prominence, he was also converting to Sabbatianism, “an alternate faith.” As a result, “Jewish rebellion has broken out on several levels,” one being “the prominent role of Jews as advocates of sexual experimentation.”

The Jewish elite have used Woody Allen to define the Jew as a sexually deviant cultural bolshevist. As a result, anyone who objects to sexual deviance or Hollywood’s promotion of it gets defined as an “anti-Semite”.

The equation is very simple. Since Hollywood is run by Jews, being anti-Hollywood means being an anti-Semite.

The Woody Allen Jew is, in other words, engaged in Kulturkampf not only with the ‘Christian’ culture which he wants to destroy but with the Sam Dresner Jews who would define the Torah as normative. Since Woody Allen is a cultural icon for most Jews, most Jews have defined themselves as sexual degenerates.

10.  How the Anti-Defamation League indirectly helps to promote moral corruption and sexual deviance in America

Luke Ford was raised as a Seventh Day Adventist in Australia. He came to Los Angeles to study and after coming down with chronic fatigue syndrome, spent his time in convalescence listening to Dennis Prager’s radio program. As a result of listening to Prager, he converted to orthodox Judaism.

Since Los Angeles is the center of the pornography industry and since Ford was also interested in pornography, he noticed that Jews dominate the porn industry in Hollywood and decided to discuss the issue on his website, lukeford.com. Luke Ford noticed that “secular Jews play a disproportionate role throughout the sex industry”.

LD:  A long list of Jewish porn producers, including male and female Jewish porn stars, is provided next here. (89 names). If you wish to see what some of these characters look like, click on Jewish Faces in Porn

Foxman

 

Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League:
‘Those Jews who enter the pornography industry have done so as
individuals pursuing the American dream.”

According to Abe Foxman, even if Jews dominate a particular field, as is the case with both Hollywood and the related pornography industry, that bears no relationship to the fact that they are Jews. To say otherwise is to be an anti-Semite.

Rabbi Dresner notes:

An unusually high percentage of the material on sexual liberation was written by Jews. Jews have been strongly represented in the Playboy enterprises. B’nai Brith’s Anti-Defamation League had no problem presenting their American Freedom Award to Hugh Hefner.

In other words, the ADL was rewarding Hefner for the role he played in bringing about widespread moral corruption and the spread of sexual deviance in America.

11.  Pornography as a form of Cultural Warfare

Luke Ford, according to one report, “insists that pornography constitutes a deliberate attempt by ‘non-Jewish Jews’, alienated from normative Judaism and Christian mores, to undermine Western civilization.”

According to Ford, that is their aim because they are Jews, and they are reaching for even more control than they already have. This is the historic modus operandi of the Jews. They are outsiders everywhere except in Israel, and when they first appear in any Gentile society and begin reaching for power they are resisted. The society treats the Jews as outsiders, as aliens, and attempts to keep them from gaining control. The Jewish method of countering this opposition is to work quietly to accumulate as much wealth as possible. At the same time they work to corrupt the society’s leaders with money and to sow dissension among the masses, to set one social class against another, to break up the society’s solidarity and its cohesiveness, so that there will be less resistance to their penetration of the society.

During the latter half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century fomenting class warfare has been their most successful technique in Europe. In Russia, for example, they would have had difficulty in corrupting the enormously wealthy aristocracy with bribes, but their technique of fomenting class warfare succeeded in destroying Russian society and letting the Jews seize control through their Marxist movement.

In the United States, on the other hand, where the political leaders are essentially hucksters and lawyers, the Jews have had much more success with corruption.

Jewish involvement in pornography goes deeper both commercially and philosophically than Abe Foxman is willing to admit. The traditional animus against majority culture, combined with a decline in moral scruple, would naturally lead “the advocates of Woody Allen” to become involved in pornography as a form of cultural warfare.

The most significant thinker in this regard is Wilhelm Reich, a Jew from Galicia who was a student of both Sigmund Freud (quite literally) and Karl Marx. He was a man who tried to create an intellectual marriage between their two quintessentially revolutionary ideologies. Reich wrote the book on sexual revolution and many Jewish porn stars have read it. Richard Pacheco is one.

Five years before I got my first part in an adult film [Pacheco explained] I went down to an audition for an X-rated film with my hair down to my ass, a copy of Wilhelm Reich’s Sexual Revolutionunder my arm and yelling about work, love and sex, which were Reich’s three principles. These things have got to be in balance or your life is going to be fucked.

(Pacheco didn’t get the job, but he still went on auditioning.)

Five years later I auditioned for another X-rated film. That very day, I also interviewed at Hebrew Union Seminary to do rabbinical study. I made the choice that the kind of rabbi I would be, if I became one, was one that could have been performing in sex films as part of his experience.

LD: For an exposé of Reich’s perverted sex life, hitherto suppressed in the mainstream media, and more on Jewish porn star Richard Pacheco, see my Masters of Porn: The Systematic Promotion of Sexual Deviance.

The connection between Jews and pornography is like the connection between Jews and Bolshevism: both are forms of revolutionary activity.

Jews become involved in pornography for reasons similar to why they become involved in Communism, which is to say, not just because they happened to be Jews, but because being Jewish—as they and Sabbatai Zevi and Wilhelm Reich defined it—found logical expression in producing pornography as a form of cultural warfare through moral subversion.

Just as the Jews were the vanguard of the political revolution in Russia (1917 and later), so they are in the vanguard of sexual revolution in the United States (1960s and later). When the attraction of communism began to pale, they dedicated themselves just as fervently to sexual liberation.

Like Rabbi Dresner, Luke Ford feels that

Virtually all movements to change the world come from the Jews: Christianity, secular humanism, Marxism, Socialism, Communism, feminism, the labor movement. That’s part of the reason that Jews are hated. The world doesn’t want to be changed.

12.  Conclusion

Pornography becomes a Jewish fantasy. Even when Catholics are involved, they are generally involved on Jewish terms. According to one industry insider, “the leading male performers through the 1980s came from secular Jewish upbringings and the females from Roman Catholic day schools.” The standard porn scenario became, as a result, a Polish Jewish fantasy: the horny Jew schtupping the Catholic shiksa.

Porn star Nina Hartley agrees. “I have not yet met a Jewish guy who wasn’t a horny rabbit. They get to have sex with all these beautiful blonde women. Where else are you going to get a succession of shiksas [non-Jewish females] to bed you down?”

What Miss Hartley leaves out of her description is the cultural dimension. Pornography becomes a way of defiling Christian women, which, as Eldridge Cleaver pointed out in another context, is just another way of defiling Christianity and all it stands for.

“Rape,” according to Cleaver, “is an insurrectionary act.” By defiling the white woman, Cleaver “was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values,” something Cleaver found “most satisfying” (Soul on Ice, p. 14).

The same thing could be said of Jewish involvement in pornography.

When Luke Ford asked Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw magazine, why so many Jews were involved in pornography, Goldstein, unlike Abe Foxman, did not say the connection was fortuitous. He instead got to what one might call the theological heart of the matter:

The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don’t believe in authoritarianism.

Al Goldstein

“CHRIST SUCKS.”

Luke Ford interviewed Goldstein on one occasion. In response to Ford’s question, “Do you believe in God?” Goldstein answered,

I believe in me. I’m God. Fuck God! God is your need to believe in some super being. I am the super being! I am your God, admit it. We’re random. We’re the fleas on the ass of the dog!

The corrosive effects of Sabbatai Zevi’s ecstatic sexual messianism are with us today in the porn industry and in Wilhelm Reich’s philosophy of control through sexual demoralization.

“A really efficient totalitarian state,” Aldous Huxley once noted, “would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

A population of slaves will quickly swear its allegiance to what it sees as the source and guarantor of its pleasures.

These pleasures, in the form of the most addictive pornography, are now being promoted by organized Jewry as a form of political control. By demoralizing the masses, Jews help to weaken the power of the non-Jewish majority.Reply

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