Archive | October 21st, 2010



October 21, 2010

by Debbie Menon

The Viva Palestina convoy of almost 150 vehicles, 370 people from 30 different countries and $5 million of aid has entered Gaza.

YouTube – Veterans Today

Amidst scenes of jubilation from thousands of Palestinians there to greet the convoy, Kevin Ovenden, the convoy director, expressed his joy at being in Gaza once again. “We have driven more than 3,000 miles to bring this essential aid and to break this illegal siege of Gaza.

We have been joined by supporters from Morocco and Algeria and from the Gulf States and Jordan, to make this the biggest convoy ever to break the siege of Gaza. We are absolutely overjoyed to be here and to bring with us the soil from the graves of those who were massacred on the Mavi Marmara which will be used to plant trees as a memorial to their sacrifice.”

The convoy set out four weeks and five days ago from London. It travelled through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria. Everywhere the reception was fantastic and the generosity of well-wishers unsurpassed. Towards the end there was a frustrating delay in Syria whilst negotiations at the highest levels were conducted with the Egyptian authorities. In the end it was all worth it as the Egyptian authorities decided to allow passage of the whole convoy, sadly excluding just 17 members of the convoy including George Galloway.

The convoy will be handed over in its entirety to the relevant bodies tomorrow and the members of the convoy then expect to leave Gaza and return home in the next 48 hours after celebrations and formal thanks are given.

YouTube – Veterans Today –

Tuesday 19th October


After a wait in Syria lasting sixteen days, the convoy of 150 vehicles and 370 people is just setting sail from Latakia, Syria, on the final leg of the epic journey to deliver aid to Gaza. The last formalities have been completed and the vehicles are on board.

Convoy members are jubilant that their objective of bringing medical aid to the besieged people of Gaza is finally in sight. Some 30 of the human rights activists, including survivors of the Mavi Marmara, will make the voyage to Al Arish in Egypt, passing the place at which the Mavi Marmara was attacked.

A memorial ceremony will be held at the exact spot where the massacre was carried out. The convoy will reach Al Arish tomorrow evening.

The bulk of the activists from Britain, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Qatar, Malaysia and more than a dozen other countries will be reunited with their vehicles there, having flown the final leg of the journey into Egypt. Convoy leaders are now hopeful that the convoy will enter Gaza on Friday. 

For more details go to:




October 21, 2010

by Gordon Duff  



Jerusalem – (VT)  Reports of the capture of a known bin Laden associate has come in today from Jerusalem.  “We were able to make an arrest based on an informant inside the terrorist cell.”  Local sources indicate that the terrorist mastermind, believed to be from Pakistan and under direct control of General Hamid Gul, was planning to disrupt religious holidays and planned assaults on places of worship.

Taken from an audio tape released by the Israeli government:

“I am going to destroy Israel and send everyone in it to hell”

Voice analysis experts at FBI Headquarters at Quantico have, as yet, been able to compare this recording with earlier threats.  A spokesman said;

“Thus far, voice analysis has been inconclusive but there is a real similarity with recordings found near Tora Bora.  We are also looking into possibilities he may have been directly involved in 9/11.  This terrorist has shown some unique talents and abilities that would have made some of the seemingly impossible aspects of the 9/11 attack more…how do you say it….believable?”

The Department of Homeland Security’s spokesman in their Zionist interest section added:

“Loaves and fishes, wine from a rock, dissolving buildings, I think we have our 21st suspect.  He thinks he can walk on water.  When we get through with him he will never want


to see water again.”

An unnamed authority within the Israeli Ministry of Interior stated:

“Arresting a dangerous racist and anti-Semite, one bent on spreading, not only conspiracy theory but attacking the very basis of the Jewish people, has been a major effort.  We wish to thank both the CIA and Department of Homeland Security, our American allies, for their help in this effort.”


The Canadian Bureau of Political Correctness is seeking extradition based on charges of “hate speech” and varying from accepted doctrine.  A sentence of 5 years imprisonment has been imposed in advance of trial, part of the new expedited justice system now in place in Canada.


A search of the terrorists hotel room in Jerusalem revealed some startling discoveries.  Among the inventoried items:

  • A case of box cutters
  • A Nigerian passport with a US visa
  • A subway map of New York city with a number of sites labeled “blow these up first”
  • A Koran
  • A subway map of New York city with a number of sites labeled “blow these up first” and personally signed, “Your friend and fellow Jew hating terrorist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”
  • An audio tape labeled:  “Terror threat from Osama bin Laden, please give to Rita Katz immediately…”
  • An autographed photo of Ken O’Keefe
  • A “Veterans Today” t-shirt
  • A pamphlet titled; “How to Make Nano-Thermite in Your Basement”

Reported on Israeli radio today:  “Bearded terrorist maniac has a worse mouth than Mel Gibson..”

Below, the manifesto indicating a litany of threats as issued by terrorist spokesman  “Matthew”

Then spake (our terrorists mastermind) to the multitude, and to his (local terrorist cell),

Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?

And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.

Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?

Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.

And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.

And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 

For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.





October 21, 2010

by Gordon Duff  


Dear Gordon Duff, I would be most grateful if you would be so kind as to publicize the following Declaration and urge readers to endorse it.

Those who wish to endorse it, send their names, titles/occupation and city of residence to me, at

With my kindest regards and wishes for your work.
Elias Davidsson, Bonn, Germany


A. On the basis of the study “No evidence that Muslims hijacked planes on 9/11″ by Elias Davidsson (2008), that we have carefully examined, and other similar studies, we undersigned are now convinced that the U.S. authorities did not prove [beyond reasonable doubt*] their account on the mass murder of September 11, 2001, in particular their claim that Muslims/Arabs committed this crime.

B. The presumption of innocence, as a civilised principle, is enshrined in Article 11 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to which, every person “charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law (…)” While the presumption of innocence was particularly drafted to protect the rights of persons already charged of a penal offence, it evidently applies to persons who have not even been formally accused of any offence.

C. On the basis of the above findings, we consider the publication and dissemination of the allegation that Muslim/Arabs committed the mass murder of 9/11, as a grievous and unconscionable form of character assassination. Such an allegation violates the principle of the presumption of innocence. It also violates Articles 1, 3, 5 and 8 of the Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists of the International Federation of Journalists, the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Statement of Principles of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), and Resolution 1003 on the ethics of journalism, adopted by the Council of Europe in 1993.

D. We, therefore, call upon journalists to refrain henceforth from attributing, either directly or indirectly, the commission of the mass murder of 9/11 to Muslims or Arabs or to any Muslim or Islamic organisation; to publicise the unreported fact that the U.S. authorities did not produce any evidence of Muslim/Arab participation in the actual mass murder of 9/11; and to publish an apology to the families of those maligned, without foundation, for the mass murder of 9/11. 

(*) The requisite standard of proof in US criminal cases

First Signatories;

  • Dr. Kevin Barrett, Arabic-Islamic Studies; author, radio host. USA. See also

  • Hartmut Barth-Engelbart, Author, Musician, Cabarttist, Gruendau/Hanau, Germany

  • Dr. med. Eric Beeth, Brussels, Belgium

  • James R. Carr, Professor, Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada U.S.A.

  • John B. Cobb, Jr. Prof. Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology. See:

  • Bernd Juergen Dröge, Psychological Counselor, Muenster, Germany

  • Prof. James Fetzer, USA. (See also:

  • Anneliese Fikentscher, Arbeiterfotografie, Köln, Germany,

  • Dr. Freddy Gardiol, Honorary Professor (ret.), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland. Founder and former Director of the Laboratory of Electromagnetism and Acoustics at EPFL. Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

  • Reinhard Gebhart, Author, Germany

  • Dr. David L Griscom, Research Physicist (ret.), Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. USA

  • Jean-Luc Guilmot, Bio-Engineer, MBA, Belgium. Editor of

  • Dr. Niels Harrit, Associate Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, U. of Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Klaus Hartmann, Chairman, German Federation of Freethinkers, Germany

  • Sander Hicks, media activist, community organizer and journalist, USA,

  • Folker Hoffmann, Borås, Sweden,

  • Carol Holland, NY 911 Truth Activist

  • Ingar Holst, Department of Semantics, The Ahlefeldt-Holst Center, USA

  • Prof. Steven Jones, American physicist. See

  • Claudia Karas, Palästina-Forum Nahost, Frankfurt, Germany

  • Yakup Kilic, Musician, Berlin, Germany

  • Hans-Peter Koehn, Social Manager, Germany

  • Dr. Pétur Knútsson (ret.), University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

  • Anthony Lawson, international prize-winning commercials director, cameraman, film and video editor, Thailand

  • Gérard Lazare, Vidéaste indépendant, Viry-Chatillon, France

  • Prof. Dr. David MacGregor, Canada (See also:

  • Dr. Graeme MacQueen, (ret.), McMaster University, Canada

  • Vincent Moreau, Video editor, France

  • Rowland Morgan, co-author of “9/11 Revealed” (London & NY, 2005), author of “Flight 93 Revealed” (London & NY, 2006), and of VOICES (internet publication 2009), Great-Britain

  • Andreas Neumann, Arbeiterfotografie, Köln Germany

  • Klaus von Raussendorff, Author, Germany

  • Vincent Robeyns, enseignant et militant pour la vérité, Liège, Belgique

  • Dr. Erik A. Röyrvik, Research Fellow, Norway

  • Kevin Ryan, former Site Manager for Underwriters Laboratories, USA

  • Dr. med. Pascal Sacré, Bruxelles, Belgique

  • Dr. Peter Dale Scott, Professor Emeritus of English, University of California, Berkeley,

  • John Spritzler, Sc.D., author of The People as Enemy: The Leaders’ Hidden Agenda in World War II, co-editor of, and author or co-author of numerous articles about HIV infection in medical journals, USA

  • Thomas Immanuel Steinberg, Steinberg Research, Hamburg, Germany,

  • Catherine Thirion, Ingénieure, militante pour la vérité, Pessac, France

  • Willi Uebelherr, IT engineer, Halle, Germany

  • Rémi Vandangeon, St. Baudel, France

  • Alfred Vestring, Former Ambassador, Bonn, Germany

  • Dr. med. Jens Wagner, member of the Association of Physicians Against Nuclear Arms, Stade, Germany
    Gerhard Wisnewski, Journalist, Author, Munich, Germany. See (in German)

  • Wojna, Musician, Die Bandbreite, Germany

  • Sami Yildirim, physicist, Germany

  • Barrie Zwicker, Media critic and author, Canada




Dear All,

This message contains but 2 items—both about the Rachel Corrie trial session yesterday.  I’ve read about a dozen reports (Haaretz, Ynet, Guardian, LA Times, NY Times, e.g).  The 2 below are, I believe, the most thorough and revealing.

The Al Jazeera report is more a reaction of the journalist to the trial (as the title suggests), but I learned from it why there was no room for myself and my spouse.  Well, actually the fact that the defense filled the room with its observers is only part of the reason.  The room for the trial is one of the smallest ones in the building, with 2 rows, each seats about 15 people.  Undoubtedly, whoever assigned the room knew that this would be a trial that would draw numerous media people, friends of the Corries, and general well wishers.  The fact that the room selected was among the small ones tells us something about what we can expect.

The Independent, by contrast to the briefer Al Jazeera report, furnishes some background and fills in more details than the other reports that I have seen.

From the way the trial has been going, the chances are very small of the Corries seeing justice at the end.  May I be proven wrong. 

Another message from me follows this one—the Shadi Fadda compilation.  I am sending it for 2 main purposes: (1) so that you have some idea of how things are going during the olive harvest and the demonstrations against the route of the wall, and what is happening in East Jerusalem.   (2) so that you can watch a brief video of how students at one institution of higher learning quietly taught Israeli soldiers who came to speak to them that they were not wanted.  It takes but a few minutes—3 or 4.  Do watch, please.

If you read nothing more of Shadi’s collection than the summaries, you will learn much more than had you not read them.

All the best,



Al Jazeera,

October 21st, 2010.

Justice, Israeli style

By Sherine Tadros in  Middle East

“Does anyone know the Hebrew word for ‘occupation’?” A question from the state assigned Hebrew translator to the packed out courtroom.

And that kicked off the trial into the killing of US activist Rachel Corrie, which took her family seven years to secure.

Today, several months later, we were back at Haifa District Court to hear from the Israeli soldier who was driving the bulldozer that killed Rachel whilst she was peacefully protesting against Palestinian home demolitions in Gaza in 2003.

And hear is all we could do – thanks to an unusual request filed by the state, and accepted by the judge, the driver and other soldiers testifying in this case have done so behind a dark screen to protect their identity (for “security” reasons).

I can’t tell you the driver’s name (there is a gag order) but I can say that he is a Russian immigrant to Israel that, ironically, shares the same birthday as Rachel.

It was a long and painful testimony, the driver answering the questions with variations of the phrase: “I don’t remember.”

He couldn’t even recall the time of day Rachel was killed and claimed he did not realize when he knocked Rachel down and drove over her with his four-tonne Caterpillar bulldozer.

Presumably, he also didn’t realize when he then backed up over her a second time crushing her body with his blade.

For Cindy Corrie, a retired music teacher from Olympia, Washington, that was the hardest part of the day: “Hearing the man who killed my daughter, without a shred of remorse in his voice, say he couldn’t remember when it happened.”

As Cindy says, even if he did it by mistake, how could he not recall the time of day he killed a 23-year-old girl?

Apart from the fact that it took five years from the time the Corries filed the lawsuit to the trial date – the court procedures and last minute changes by the Israeli state attorneys are simply embarrassing for a country that claims to be a democracy and practice the rule of law.

Sub par translators, erratic trial dates and a judge that stops proceedings because he has made other appointments (as happened today cutting the session short by two hours) have delayed the trial and frustrated everyone.

The Corries, journalists and rights groups were told they could enter the courtroom at 9am this morning.

At 8.15am the state filled the room with its “observers”, which meant apart from the family and their lawyers, only three or four journalists were allowed (in rotation) into the trial room to listen and report on what was happening.

I was inside for barely half an hour – just enough time to hear the driver make the point that he was simply following orders.

His superiors, he says, gave him instructions to continue with the demolitions despite the civilians protesting by the houses.

And therein lies the reason why this trial is so important.

It is not looking to blame or hold to account the soldier that dealt the final blow to Rachel.

The Corries are suing the state of Israel, for a nominal one dollar, for allowing, and at some points encouraging, its soldiers to act with impunity.

Whether they are preventing an aid ship from getting to Gaza, or in Rachel’s case stopping an activist defending a Palestinian accountant’s home, Israeli soldiers too often act with force, which shows they believe they are above the law.

And, as will be shown if the Corries lose this case, it’s because Israeli law will always protect them.


The Independent,

22 October 2010

Bulldozer driver insists he did not see Rachel Corrie

Israeli behind crush death testifies from behind a screen

By Donald Macintyre


The family of Rachel Corrie had a long and painful wait for the opportunity to come face to face in court with the driver of the Israeli Army bulldozer that crushed her to death in southern Gaza more than seven years ago. But yesterday they were denied the chance – listening instead to the driver’s voice from behind a screen during four hours of testimony as he gave his own version of what happened on that fateful March afternoon.

They heard the 38-year-old insist repeatedly that the first time he had seen the American non-violent activist was after he had gone into reverse, she had been fatally hit and friends had rushed to her aid. “I didn’t see her before the incident,” the Russian-born former reservist said. “I saw people pulling the body from the earth.”

The former driver, named in court only as YB after a gagging order forbidding publication of any identifying details, was visible only to the lawyers and the judge presiding over the civil suit being brought by the family against the State of Israel.

Ms Corrie had been in Rafah in 2003 as part of an International Solidarity Movement group seeking to protect Palestinians from house demolitions when she died. An army investigation concluded she was partially hidden behind a dirt mound and ruled her death was an accident. The driver and his commander were not charged or tried and no one was punished.

The driver said at one point yesterday that he heard over his headphones that he had hit a person. “I drove backwards and I didn’t understand what was happening. There was a thought that something wasn’t right. I wasn’t sure. There was just a possibility I had hit someone.”

Ms Corrie’s mother Cindy said after yesterday’s hearing that the family had appealed for at least herself, her husband and Rachel’s sister to be allowed to see the former driver give evidence, but had been refused.

“I do feel the state of Israel is saying that Craig, Sarah and I are security risks. I am affronted by this. I wanted to see the whole person, not just hear the words.”

The driver’s evidence painted an at times confusing and contradictory picture which exposed apparent deviations from statements made by witnesses – including himself – to a Military Police investigation.

While two soldiers had said she was buried while standing on the far side of a mound of earth – away from the approaching bulldozer – YB declared: “I am absolutely certain that she was between me and the pile.”

He said that with protective armour on the front of his 66-ton bulldozer, he had a “dead” area of vision which meant that he could see ground only from about 30 metres in front of him. When he was reminded that he had told the military police that the dead area was only three metres, he insisted: “It’s not three or four metres. It’s more.”

On the fact that he had not gone to help Ms Corrie as she lay on the ground he said: “We are not allowed to leave our vehicles.” Asked why he had not radioed for an ambulance, he said: “It was not at my level of command.” He acknowledged that he knew there were foreign activists in the area.

When the family’s attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein, put it to him that he had nevertheless been ordered by his commander to keep working, he insisted that he had seen no one in his path.

He added: “I told him that there are people around. Our instructions were not to stop and we can’t allow them to stop us working. It was not my decision, it was the officer’s. I am a soldier. You carry out orders.” His unit had been told, among a “whole bunch of things”, to be “careful” and that there were civilians in the area.

Asked later in his testimony if he had seen the foreign activists carrying anything that suggested they were “terrorists” he said: “They were carrying loudspeakers and a sign.” Asked further if he had suspected they were dangerous, he said: “I suspect everyone.”

Mrs Corrie said: “I wanted to keep Rachel’s humility and compassion for everyone in my heart but it was very hard because I did not hear one word of remorse from the witness today.”

She added: “My sense is that there were other people on the ground and in the rear who were giving the orders… and allowed the things that happened to Rachel and continue to happen.”

In the firing line…

Tom Hurndall

Tom Hurndall, a 21-year-old British photojournalism student and volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) – the same organisation for which Rachel Corrie worked – died in January 2004, nine months after being shot in Gaza by an Israel Defense Forces sniper. Taysir Hayb was convicted of manslaughter by an Israeli military court in 2005.

James Miller

Just three weeks after Tom Hurndall’s shooting, another Briton, the documentary-maker James Miller, was shot and killed in the Gazan city of Rafah. His film, Death in Gaza, depicted Miller and his colleagues carrying a white flag as they walked through a refugee camp. The Israeli army decided that the soldier suspected of firing the shot would not be indicted as they could not establish for certain that his shot was responsible.

Tristan Anderson

Another ISM volunteer, the American Tristan Anderson, was critically injured after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops in March last year, as they tried to disperse a demonstration. Anderson underwent emergency brain surgery in Israel, where doctors had to remove part of his frontal lobe and fragments of shattered bone. Anderson’s girlfriend, an American-Israeli, said he was taking photographs when the canister was fired. After more than a year in a Tel Aviv hospital, Anderson returned home to California.

[Omitted from the above are internationals as Brian Avery (alive but badly hurt when shot squarely in the face), and Caoimhe Butterly from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was shot and injured in 2002; follow this link for stories about some of the killings and injuries

Several Israelis participating in demonstrations against theft of Palestinian land have also been injured.  Many more Palestinians have paid with their lives and injuries.


Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER




October 21, 2010

by Maidhc Ó Cathail

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari –

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published Irish author and journalist. He has been living in Japan since 1999. Ó Cathail’s articles and commentaries have appeared on a number of media outlets and newspapers including, Arab News, Foreign Policy Journal, Khaleej Times, Information Clearing House, Palestine Chronicle, Tehran Times and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Maidhc joined me in an exclusive interview and responded to my questions about the 9/11 attacks, the influence of the Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration, the prospect of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the prolonged controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, and the freedom of press in the United States.

Kourosh Ziabari: The Iranian President’s recent proposal for the establishment of a fact-finding group to probe into the 9/11 attacks stirred up widespread controversy in the United States. American politicians reacted to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s plan with frustration. Is it because they are aware of some evidence which suggests that Israel was behind the attacks?

Maidhc Ó Cathail: I would say that most American politicians are totally unaware of the Israeli “art students,” the so-called “dancing Israelis,” the Odigo warnings and other facts that point to Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, they probably considered Ahmadinejad’s questioning of the official 9/11 narrative to be yet another unwarranted provocation of the United States by the Iranian leader.

KZ: You’ve recently written an article about the bill proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman which claims the entire internet and the whole global computer network and everything on it as a “national asset” of the United States, thus giving the power to the U.S. President to kill the internet in the event of a national cyber-emergency. How does this bill, as you’ve put it precisely, kill the internet? In what ways is this proposal contradictory to American freedoms and incongruous with international law?

MÓC: Titled “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010,” the bill stipulates any internet firms and providers must “immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed” by the “National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications,” a new section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If the bill becomes law, not only American citizens but people everywhere could have their right to access and share information cut off at any time by this increasingly powerful government department.

Interestingly, the Department of Homeland Security owes its origins to a bill co-sponsored by two of Israel’s biggest supporters on Capitol Hill: Senator Lieberman and Senator Arlen Specter, who was seen as “the go-to guy for the Jewish community on Israel.” As I wrote in an article entitled “The Merchants of Fear,” Israel has profited enormously from “homeland insecurity” in the United States and elsewhere since 9/11. It’s hardly a coincidence that the source of this latest expansion of Homeland Security at the expense of civil liberties is “the No. 1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress.”

KZ: In your articles, you’ve alluded to some facts which American citizens might be unaware of. Israel is claimed to be the “staunchest ally” of the United States, but as you’ve mentioned in your articles, it frequently and inexcusably undermined the strategic interests of the U.S. Why does the U.S. government continue to offer its unconditional support for Israel while there are influential voices within the U.S. administration who acknowledge that Israel will betray the United States after all?

MÓC: On this issue, domestic politics invariably trumps the national interest. Any president who offers anything less than unconditional support for Israel will be immediately reprimanded in an AIPAC-drafted letter signed by 76 senators, whose overriding desire to be re-elected apparently blinds them to the incalculable damage Israel is doing to American interests.

I’m not sure if there are “influential voices” within the administration who question Israel’s value to the United States. Those who hold such heretical views as Charles Freeman, Admiral Blair’s nominee for chairman of the National Intelligence Council, are generally kept out of government by the Lobby.

KZ: Controversy over Iran’s nuclear program has spanned more than six years and we’re witness to erosive, unfruitful and unconstructive approaches to this issue. What do you think about this standoff? Don’t you believe that Iran has become the subject of an unfair, unjustifiable exercise of double standards while Israel, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, possesses up to 200 nuclear warheads and is immune to any kind of investigation or accountability before the international community?

MÓC: It beggars belief that no sooner than Iraq had been invaded over non-existent WMDs, the so-called “international community” began falling for the same lies – from the same source – about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons programme. We are also supposed to believe that Israel’s massive nuclear arsenal is justified by what Obama called its “unique security requirements,” whereas “evil” Iran must want them to “wipe Israel off the map.” Of course, in the real world, the “Iranian nuclear threat” is all about Israel’s fear of having its regional hegemony challenged. And that’s why, as Marsha B. Cohen expertly documented in a recent article, “In the wake of 9/11, Israel put Iran into ‘Axis of Evil.’”

KZ: The mainstream media in the United States frequently boast of their independence and professionalism and usually lash out at the media in developing, non-aligned countries by labeling them state-run and state-controlled. The unanticipated expulsion of Rick Sanchez from CNN over his remarks about the dominance of Jews in the U.S. media demonstrated that the media in the United States are not as free and self-determining as they claim. Is it practically possible to dissolve the Israeli lobby’s stranglehold over the U.S. media? If not, what are the reasons for that?

MÓC: As Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old victim of a vindictive Lobby, recently observed, “You cannot criticize Israel in this country and survive.” That’s because there are very few major U.S. media that are not owned and run by pro-Israelis. I can’t see that changing anytime soon. However, the internet is, as John Mearsheimer put it, a game changer. Perhaps that’s why Joe Lieberman seems so eager to “kill” it. It may be that he is less afraid of “cyberterrorism” than he is of the truth.

KZ: Let’s switch to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. What is, in your view, the prospect for this erosive and unremitting war? Will the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations bear any fruit and bring about peace between the two sides? Is Israel capable of keeping up its aggressive attitude towards the Palestinian nation? Will it submit to international pressure to lift the blockade of Gaza? Above all, will Israel succeed in surviving politically with its shaky, unsteady foundation?

MÓC: As Charles Freeman recently stated, “Only a peace process that is protected from Israel’s ability to manipulate American politics can succeed.” So, to paraphrase the neocons, the road to Jerusalem leads through Washington. As long as the Lobby holds sway inside the Beltway, Israel can do what it likes in the West Bank and Gaza.

Unless the Palestinians can be forced to accept a series of disjointed Bantustans and call it a “Palestinian state,” there is going to be a single apartheid state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean which would be difficult to sustain over the long term. In order to forestall that threat to its vision of a “Jewish and democratic state,” Israel may be about to embark on another wave of the ethnic cleansing it began in 1947-49.

KZ: A brief review of the contemporary history of international relations reveals that the United States has never been faithful and loyal to its stooges. It held up Saddam Hussein, unconditionally aided him, supported him, funded him and persuaded him to invade Iran in the 1980s and executed him 20 years later. It backed and sponsored the House of Saud and Bin Laden family until an international terrorist gang was framed out of it, and now is bombarding Northern Pakistan in an attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden, the man whose relationship with the Bush family is known to almost everyone. So can we conclude that a similar destiny is awaiting the state of Israel?

MÓC: First of all, Israel has never been a “stooge” of the United States. If there is any stooge in this relationship, it is America. After all, it is the U.S. that has been fighting and paying for Israel’s wars, not the other way around. However, if enough Americans ever learn about the well-documented examples of Israeli treachery – the Lavon Affair, the USS Liberty, Operation Trojan and Jonathan Pollard come to mind – the Jewish state may be left to fight its own wars. Perhaps then, as Ahmadinejad really said, the occupation regime over Jerusalem will “vanish from the page of time.”

Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist and interviewer. He has received the national medal of Superior Iranian Youth from the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his journalistic activities.

Related posts:

Ahmadinejad & 9/11

YouTube – Veterans Today –




In Uncategorized 

October 21, 2010

by crescentandcross



Most Popular Content All 


“Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” and Jesus answered, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers who stripped him and beat him and left him for dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way, and when seeing him passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also saw him and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came to where the man was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.

He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three was the neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?” and the lawyer said, “He who showed mercy” and Jesus said to him “Then go and do likewise.”

– Luke 10:30–37

There are certain anti-climactic moments you wish had just never taken place–like finding an old lottery ticket with all the winning numbers on it but then learning they closed that game down right before you won–You’re better off not running into that kind of “good luck” for all the damage it does to your mood.

Likewise with the recent news that the Catholic Church has finally–after a measly hundred or so years–taken an interesting the goings-on in the very grounds where Jesus of Nazareth lived and died–

Bishops blame Israeli-Palestinian conflict for spurring Christian exodus from Mideast

Bishops summoned to the Vatican to discuss the flight of Christians from the Middle East blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for spurring much of the exodus and warned that the consequences could be devastating for the birthplace of Christianity.

Some bishops have singled out the emergence of fanatical Islam for the flight. But others have directly or indirectly accused Israel of discriminating against Arab Christians and impeding solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In fact, the working document of the two-week synod accused the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories for creating difficulties in everyday life for Palestinian Christians, including their religious life since their access to holy sites is dependent on Israeli military permission.

Pope Benedict XVI called the two-week synod, which continued Wednesday, to try to encourage Christians in the largely Muslim region, where the Catholic Church has long been a minority and is shrinking as a result of war, conflict, discrimination and economic problems.

In Iraq alone, Catholics represented 2.89 percent of the population in 1980; by 2008 they were just .89 percent. In Israel, home to important Christian holy sites, Catholics made up 3.8 percent of the population in 1980; by 2008 they were just 1.82 percent.

Patriarch Gregory III, archbishop of the Greek-Melkites in Damascus, Syria, said fundamentalist movements such as Hamas or Hezbollah had been borne from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned Tuesday that the resulting flight of Christians would make a society with only one color: only Muslim.

“Should this happen, should the East be emptied of its Christians, this would mean that any occasion would be propitious for a new clash of cultures, of civilizations and even of religions, a destructive clash between the Muslim Arab East and the Christian West,” he said.

American Cardinal John Foley, a longtime Vatican official who now raises money to support Christian sites in the Holy Land, also said the conflict had contributed to the growth of Islamic fundamentalism but blamed Israeli policies specifically.

“While many including the Holy See have suggested a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the more time passes, the more difficult such a solution becomes, as the building of Israeli settlements and Israeli-controlled infrastructure in East Jerusalem and in other parts of the West Bank make increasingly difficult the development of a viable and integral Palestinian state,” he told the gathering.

Granted, it is a mainstream news story coming right out of the Jewish press–never friendly to the church or anything Christian in general, but nevertheless, how do we–the civilized world–not shake our collective head in disgust when reading it?

First, what is glaringly-apparent (at least according to the info given in the article) is that the Church has not shifted into high-gear over this situation because of the mountain of incalculable human suffering that has taken place. Rather, it is a number’s game, and the church’s “concern” over the situation in the Holy Land can be summed up thus–

“Oy, Vey…Customers are leaving…Business is bad…Must do something…”

Like it or not, that is the Sine qua non, or the singular issue revolving around this story. Christians are leaving the Holy Land, and with each Christian gone, there is less and less Christian claim to the area, resulting in diminished influence on the part of the Church.

Next–there is no “Israeli/Palestinian conflict”. The very word intimates two players of equal strength contending over something not entirely clear or defined and where there is no aggressor and no victim. Those who know just a communion wafer-sized smidgeon of information about this event know this is not the case. It is as much a “conflict” as a woman fighting off her would-be rapist.

What we are dealing with here is the attempted extermination of an entire people from the womb of the Holy Land and this people‘s attempt to remain alive, plain and simple. Of all entities, the Church should know this better than anyone else.

For them to term this a “conflict” is playing with words in the same way that the pro-abort crowd refers to turning an unborn person into chopped liver (literally) as “termination of pregnancy” or something innocuous and sterile. They complain about the “culture of death” so pervasive throughout the West and yet, for nearly a century, they have sat by, silent as death, as the people of the Middle East have been run through the Zionist meat grinder.

Keep in mind that every other week for the last half century this–the same church claiming to be God’s mouthpiece–has pontificated on the evils of anti-Semitism and has made it clear how the entire world is morally-bound to wear IN PERPETUA the black armband of mourning over the Holocaust and Jewish suffering.

But yet, the suffering that has taken place in locales such as Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan et al and it takes a full century to finally getting around to discussing it, and then when it does take place, what do we get?–a “sit down” where (in between extravagant, 5-course meals) a discussion takes place on how to boost religious sales in a slagging spiritual economy.

What’s worse is the fact that that the one institution that could have prevented the present apocalypse from taking place was the very one now sitting down and kvetching over it. All 5-alarm infernos don’t start off full-blown, but rather as a spark and grow from there, and the one fire department with the muscle to have put a stop to this from the beginning was Rome.

And now, as the entire world sits at the brink of destruction, the fire department shows up–a million days late and a billion dollars short–and decides it’s high time to do something about it? Talk about anti-climactic.

Remember, when Herzl was making his rounds through Europe trying to get the various heads of state to sign on to the project of raising from the dead this thing known as the Jewish state, he passed by the Vatican. Having made his pitch to Pius X, he did not get the positive nod he had hoped for, but it ended there. Pius X (effectively the most powerful western leader at that time, given the sheer numbers of subjects under his command) did nothing to warn the world about the impending catastrophe that was to take place. And let’s not make the mistake of thinking he and his organization should not have known better.

What kind of gift of prophecy does it take to predict the outcome of throwing a lit match into a tinderbox? The unavoidable result of allowing a people who embrace a violent ideology such as Judaism to move into an area they believe they are commanded to ethnically-cleanse is a no-brainer, and Herzl, proposing to start a fire that would effectively burn down all civilization got nothing more than a mealy-mouthed grumble of discontent from the Church and nothing more.

And it just continued from there. Every succeeding Pope–told as we are to be gifted with eyesight that gives them a bird’s eye view into everything of importance–fully paralyzed by their fear of the Jews, remained blind, deaf and dumb to the situation as it has unfolded today.

There are many of course who will be very uncomfortable with a discussion such as this, but what we have to keep in mind is that–just as John Adams once wrote–“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence…”

So, at the risk of overstepping my bounds, nevertheless if I may be so bold as to give counsel to the same church that has counseled me my entire life, let me say this–

Excuse the disrespect here, your various Excellencies, Eminences and Holinesses, but what did you freakin’ expect? Of all people and organizations, you should have known–A CENTURY AGO NO LESS–that it would come to this. This being the case, we the people cannot look upon this latest pronouncement as anything but a show–no different in its essence from a candidate running for public office who kisses babies or–once being elected–who forms “committees” to deal with such-and-such problems he couldn’t care less about.

Your concern over the events in the very birth place of Jesus is no different in essence than a man being beaten by thugs on the sidewalk in full view of the wealthy patrons eating in a fancy restaurant and only when the victim’s guts are spilling out all over the sidewalk and the patrons begin to lose their appetite does the owner of the restaurant decide to take the matter seriously enough to pull the shades down.

Having said this, how are we the people then not to note the similarities in the Church’s turning a blind eye to what has taken place in the very homeland of Jesus to the very same Levites and Pharisees in the parable of the Good Samaritan who watched as an innocent man was beaten and left for dead and yet who kept on a-walkin?

Your house is left unto you desolate, and if you truly wish to salvage what little is left of your once-great house, begin by putting out the fires of Zionism that threaten to destroy everything in its path, including you and the very same pompous halls in which you hold your synods and sit-downs, for as your commander in chief warned centuries ago, “When salt looses its saltiness, what good is it, other than to be thrown on the ground where it is trampled by men and beasts?”

© 2010 Mark Glenn

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on WHEN SALT IS NO LONGER SALT





PHR-Israel: Delayed Exit of a Toddler from Gaza Results in Death

By Jesse Bacon

Saturday, a child the same age as my daughter was killed in Gaza. She was not killed

by a missile, or a suicide bomber, or any of the other dramatic ways children die in the

Middle East. She was killed by an Israeli  policy, that the people of Gaza are to be

imprisoned as punishment for who the adults voted for. While many children have been

killed by this policy, this case sounds particularly horrific. Her family and Physicians

for Human Rights tried valiantly to get her admitted into Israel for treatment, to no avail.

I can imagine no worse nightmare for a parent, to watch your child dying knowing there

is medical care a few miles away that you are not allowed to seek out. The next time someone

tells you things aren’t so bad in Gaza any more, or that Israel is not responsible for what

goes on there, remember this story. There can be no justification for allowing a sick child

to die when you have the means to prevent it.

PHR-Israel has the story,

Nasma Abu Lasheen died on Saturday, October 16, 2010 in Gaza. Israel failed to

issue her an urgent entry permit for life-saving medical treatment at Ha-Emek

Medical Center in Afula, Israel. She was two years old.

Abu Lasheen, a young resident of Gaza diagnosed with Leukemia, was referred

for emergency treatment in Israel on October 6, 2010. When requests to the

Israeli Army for an entry permit went unanswered for several days, by way

of B’tselem, the family contacted Physicians for Human Rights- Israel (PHR-Israel)

for additional help. That very same day, on October 13, 2010, PHR-Israel contacted

the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) demanding a permit be issued

immediately to the baby and her father to enable their entry into Israel.

A military approval was finally granted the next afternoon, October 14, 2010.

Abu Lasheen’s medical condition had been deteriorating rapidly and by the

time the permit was received, the treating doctor in Gaza,

Dr. Mohammad Abu Sha’aban, said she was too sick to travel. Nasma died

in the early morning hours of October 16, 2010.

PHR-Israel immediately lodged a complaint with the head of the Israeli

DCO, demanding an immediate inquiry into those responsible for the

delayed response.

Abu Lasheen’s death comes just days PHR-Israel testified to the Israeli

Turkel Commission which investigates the Flotilla incident, on the

humanitarian situation in Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s closure policy.

In their October 13th testimony, PHR- Israel pointed to the rising numbers

of Gaza patients denied exit for treatment in hospitals outside the Strip,

a phenomenon that has intensified since Israel’s tightened closure took effect

June 2007. PHR-Israel emphasized that for the patients, a delayed or non-approved

permit could mean the difference between quality of life and preventable

pain and suffering, and in many cases, even the difference between life and

death, as demonstrated by the Abu Lasheem case. 

PHR- Israel calls on the Israeli authorities at Erez Crossing to investigate

those responsible for delays involved in Nasma Abu Lasheen’s case. PHR- Israel

reiterates its demand that Israel fulfill its obligations vis-à-vis the residents

of Gaza by ensuring them full and timely access to medical treatment unavailable

in the Gaza Stip.

For more information, please contact Ran Yaron, Director of PHR-Israel’s Occupied Territories Department by telephone: +972-54-7577696 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +972-54-7577696      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or via E-mail


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PHR-Israel: Delayed Exit of a Toddler from Gaza Results in Death




Oz journalists dare to mention Serco (just a little)

21 Oct 2010

All praise this rarity. A story in the Australian media (yesterday’s Australian) on Serco. Short but oh so sweet:

A security company contracted by Serco is being investigated over claims it used unlicensed guards at police detention centres.

Serco is responsible for running Australia’s rapidly expanding network of immigration detention centres.

Northern Territory Licensing, Regulation and Alcohol Strategy executive director Micheil Brodie confirmed that investigators from the Department of Justice had visited the Darwin offices of MSS Security yesterday.

The visit was in response to claims that the firm was using unlicensed security guards.

“The visit was productive and the firm is co-operating fully,” Mr Brodie said.

“It would be premature to form any conclusions at this stage.”

In June 2000, Serco won a five-year contract worth $370 million to run Australia’s detention network.

It has come under periodic fire over its management of the centres, following a number of escapes.

A spokeswoman for Serco confirmed that MSS was one of its subcontractors, but declined to answer further questions. MSS Security also declined to discuss the claims.

A spokesman for the Immigration Department said Canberra was aware of the ongoing investigation.

The news of the investigation came as a Senate estimates committee heard that up to 44 countries may be included in the definition of the government’s proposed regional processing centre.

During a late-night hearing on Tuesday, the head of the Immigration Department, Andrew Metcalfe, said although negotiations for a regional processing centre were ongoing, the region would largely be defined by the member countries of the Bali Process, which works to combat people-smuggling.

“I think there are 44 . . . As I have said, we are largely talking about countries where displaced persons are travelling through, so, of course, we would include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, other countries in Indochina, but the Bali Process incorporates a number of other countries as well,” Mr Metcalfe said.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop called on the government to “immediately define” what countries would be included in the region.

“Ms Gillard has promised to stop the boats with a ‘regional’ processing centre, and yet cannot define what constitutes the ‘region’,” Ms Bishop said. “This will create an enormous magnet. “I think we’ve come across a real Achilles heel of this plan.”


Scared Zionist sees Germany and imagines colonial Israel

21 Oct 2010

This is officially pathetic. So here’s a Zionist Australian, Alan Gold, arguing that because multiculturalism has supposedly failed in Germany, proponents of the BDS movement and one-state solution are misguided. We should just really embrace partition and separation and apartheid. Because that’s working so well for Israel right now. No mention of the occupation, of course:

If ever a lesson should be learned about the impossibility of a one-state solution imposed by the Arab nations and their collegial “useful idiots” in the West upon Israel, one need look no further than Germany today.

In a speech given to the youth division of her Christian Democratic Union party at Potsdam last weekend, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has conceded that her nation’s attempts to create a multicultural society in which people from different cultural backgrounds live together peacefully, has failed.

Multikulti was a concept touted by German sociologists and academics as the best way for the post-Hitler nation to bond its different factions together. Multiculturalism gained speed with the vast influx of Turkish workers into the rapidly expanding German economy, at the same time as which Germany was dealing with massive problems caused by the integration of East and West Germans following the dismantling of the Iron Curtain.

Indeed, Merkel’s colleague, Horst Seehofer, the leader of the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria, told the same meeting that Germany was committed to a dominant German culture and opposed to a multicultural one.

At a recent meeting between Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two leaders pledged to do more to improve the poor integration record of Germany’s two and a half million strong Turkish community.

Which makes one have to look very closely and question the reasoning behind the upsurge in support for the international Union movement’s support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, a transparent device to force a one-state solution on Israel by collapsing the Israeli economy.

Even the most cursory investigation of the Palestinian problem shows that Israeli Arabs have more rights, a better standard of living and greater equity, than any other general Arab population (excluding, of course, the ruling potentates and oil plutocrats). Where Germany and France have so patently failed in their multiculturalism, against all odds, and despite the voices screaming ‘apartheid’, Israel’s integration of its diverse populations, seems to have succeeded. How? Because it was a process of consensus and cooperation, and not one imposed from outside.

Multiculturalism, and the successful melding of disparate units into one, can only succeed given willingness and time. Which is why the BDS program is destined to backfire on itself.

Because of the cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians on the West Bank, the Palestinian economy (though not obviously that of Gaza) is going ahead in leaps and bounds. Any BDS success will have the effect of strengthening Israeli resistance to a settlement, and of ruining the Palestinian economy.

So will the Unions, and universities, running the BDS campaign, now turn their focus against Germany, where it has admitted that its multicultural program is not working? Presumably not, because despite the fact that there are so many immoral dictatorships, repressive regimes, one party governments and totalitarian rulers who seem to escape the notice of Union leaders and academics, they have shown themselves to be concerned only with Israel.

Merkel’s statement, especially in light of vast sums of money spent over decades in attempting to make Germany into a multicultural nation, needs closer attention than just its admission of failure. For there is a growing mood in the West, including many Jews, that Zionism and Israel are a 19th century anachronism, and that the only proper solution to the hatreds, is a one-state solution; one in which Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Muslims and Christians, will live in some sort of utopian harmony.

This nonsense might have appeal in some academic sociological paper, propounded by such usual suspects as Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky or Australia’s hairy-chested Antony Loewenstein, Peter Slezak and Peter Singer, but their eyes, shielded from reality, have probably not looked at the mess German society is in today. And should they look at other European nations, they might also examine France, whose recent Islamic demonstrations caused terrible ructions in the French disposition, or the UK which is a new breeding ground for violent Islamism.

Israel’s proposal of a two-state solution, with an border that enables trade, security and humanitarian exchanges, very much like the border between the USA and Canada, or France and Germany, has always been the most logical way to end this interminable conflict.

One can only hope it arrives with this series of negotiations. Because if it doesn’t, and Israel is forced to accept an imposed solution, there will be no Israel.


Israel loves colonies so keeps on building merrily away

21 Oct 2010

This is how Israel shows its love for apartheid; entrenching it:

Israeli settlers have begun building new homes at a quick pace since the government lifted its moratorium on West Bank housing starts – almost 550 in three weeks, more than four times faster than the last two years.


What good friends do for each other; sell death

21 Oct 2010

I‘ve written before about the massive US arms deal to Saudi Arabia (US$60 billion).

Now it’s been officially approved by the powers that be in Washington, so see how the State Department defends the weapons to one of the most brutal regimes in the world.


Resist disaster capitalism in Cameron and Clegg’s Britain

21 Oct 2010

No Shock Doctrine in the UK.


The UK is entering a period of extremes and mad capitalism is to blame

20 Oct 2010

Britain has embraced rampant capitalism and the effects, writes The Independent’s Johann Hari, will be severe:

Margaret Thatcher is lying sick in a private hospital bed in Belgravia but her political children have just pushed her agenda further and harder and deeper than she ever dreamed of. When was the last time Britain’s public spending was slashed by more than 20 per cent? Not in my mother’s lifetime. Not even in my grandmother’s lifetime. No, it was in 1918, when a Conservative-Liberal coalition said the best response to a global economic crisis was to rapidly pay off this country’s debts. The result? Unemployment soared from 6 per cent to 19 per cent, and the country’s economy collapsed so severely that they lost all ability to pay their bills and the debt actually rose from 114 per cent to 180 per cent. “History doesn’t repeat itself,” Mark Twain said, “but it does rhyme.”

George Osborne has just gambled your future on an extreme economic theory that has failed whenever and wherever it has been tried. In the Great Depression, we learned some basic principles. When an economy falters, ordinary people – perfectly sensibly – cut back their spending and try to pay down their debts. This causes a further fall in demand, and makes the economy worse.

If the government cuts back at the same time, then there is no demand at all, and the economy goes into freefall. That’s why virtually every country in the world reacted to the Great Crash of 2008 – caused entirely by deregulated bankers – by increasing spending, funded by temporary debt. Better a deficit we repay in the good times than an endless depression. The countries that stimulated hardest, like South Korea, came out of recession first.

David Cameron and George Osborne have ignored all this. They have ignored the warnings of the Financial Times, the newspaper most critical of their strategy. They have dismissed the warnings of Nobel economics laureates like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, who have consistently been proved right in this crisis. They have refused to learn from the fact that the country they held up as a model for how to deal with a recession – “Look and learn from across the Irish Sea,” Osborne said – has suffered the worst collapse in the developed world. They have instead blindly obeyed the ideological precepts they learned as baby Thatcherites: slash the state, and make the poor pay most.


Guide for the 21st century

20 Oct 2010


Posted in Middle East1 Comment




Bibi’s poodle

Bibi’s poodle

Oct 20, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Barack Obama, at Cairo University, June 4, 2009. Speech was titled “A New Beginning:”

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s.  The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.  (Applause.)  This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace.  It is time for these settlements to stop.  (Applause.)

AP tonight, Karin Laub reporting:

Israeli settlers have begun building new homes at an extraordinary pace since the government lifted its moratorium on West Bank housing starts — almost 550 in three weeks, more than four times faster than the last two years.

And many homes are going up in areas that under practically any peace scenario would become part of a Palestinian state, a trend that could doom U.S.-brokered peace talks

Politico’s Laura Rozen reports:

“They’re really upset,” one Washington Middle East hand in close contact with administration officials said Tuesday. “At the end of the day, they made this incredibly good faith effort to keep Bibi at the table.” And Bibi proved as yet unwilling to budge.

“’We put our asses on the line,’” the sense of dismay among the U.S. Middle East team at Netanyahu’s rejection of the U.S. package was described. “’We worked with your defense minister and gave you this amazing deal, all the cover you needed to extend the freeze. And you not only rejected it, but put forward a counterproposal [demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] pandering to the right and a stalling tactic.’”

Ayed Morrar, the moral giant of Budrus

Oct 20, 2010

James North 

All 1500 residents are heroes in the documentary film Budrus, named for their West Bank Palestinian village, as are the international and Israeli solidarity activists who joined their nonviolent protests against the military occupation back in 2003-04. But one person stands out: Ayed Morrar, a thoughtful, quiet man who leads with calm courage and by example.

Ayed, now in his late 40s, has been in the Palestinian freedom struggle his entire life; he spent 6 years in Israeli prisons and another 3 on the run. He and his 4 brothers have not been able to all get together for years; at least one of them is always jailed or in hiding. His courageous and outspoken teenage daughter Iltezam, a future doctor, is also a convincing presence in the film.

Budrus is located near the “border” with Israel, and the so-called “security wall” was planned to amputate the village from some of its lands and uproot its ancient olive groves. (The film’s only real weakness is that it does not explain that so much of the separation wall is on Palestinian territory as part of further land-grabbing, not for “security;” you see Israeli colonies/settlements in the distance, but they are never explained.)

The filmmaker Julia Bacha shows us the courage of the villagers as they nonviolently confront heavily armed Israeli border police and yellow Caterpillar bulldozers – a perverse kind of product placement the American company’s publicity department is surely regretting. At first, the protesters are only men, but then Ayed’s daughter insists that women should also be allowed to join in. Then likeable internationalists and sympathetic Israelis also show up to help. In one memorable scene, a little boy, no more than 4 or 5 years old, is wearing a tee-shirt that reads BDS and smiling.

The film makes absolutely clear that without the outsiders, and the accompanying press coverage, the Israeli military would have been even more violent. In the end, the Israelis crack down anyway, using live ammunition against Palestinian teenagers who are throwing stones despite Ayed’s pleading.

The Israelis have their say in the film, including a woman border policeman and an army spokesman who has an accent that could be from Cleveland or Milwaukee, but they are deaf to their own arrogance and their testimony only strengthens the Palestinian case. After 10 months of protest, Israel does change the route of the security wall, sparing most of Budrus’s olive groves.

The film is showing in New York City until October 28, and should hopefully continue into wide circulation.

public sculpture in Israel… uh, really?

Oct 20, 2010

Philip Weiss

Jewish settlers, returned to the land of the bible, burn a girls school and beat farmers trying to harvest olives

Oct 20, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/Land, property & resource theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing
Settlers torch, vandalize Nablus school
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of Israeli settlers broke into an all girls’ school in the Nablus district village of As-Sawiya on Wednesday, setting fire to its storehouse containing furniture and unused sports equipment, the headmistress said.  Maysoon Sawalha said the school’s cleaning woman arrived to find the lock on the main door broken as well as that of the storehouse, with all its contents torched.

Palestinian school set on fire, vandalized with ‘regards from the hills’ graffiti
Incident appears to be the latest action in the ‘price tag’ campaign of extremist settlers.

Settlers suspected of assaulting farmers
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A number of Palestinian farmers were “brutally beaten” as they harvested olives in the northern West Bank village of Burin in Nablus on Monday by extremist settlers, locals said.  Witnesses told Ma’an that one of the farmers, Munir Qadus, sustained several cuts and bruises in the assault and was transferred to hospital. They added that after beating the farmer, the suspects stole his harvested olives.  They also said Ismail Qadus was detained by Israeli forces. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she would look into the report.  Earlier on Wednesday, settlers were suspected of setting fire to a school in the same district.

3500 Olive Trees Victimized by Settler Crimes in Past Week
Ramallah – PNN – The PLO International Relations Department warned of a war by Israeli settlers against olive trees, saying that in the past few days over 3500 trees had been burned or destroyed across the West Bank.  Image The department said in a press statement that settlers had unprecedented power over Palestinian land, having recently attacked the northern villages of Urta, Tel, and Burin, as well as the surrounding areas of Nablus, Salfit, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, and Qalqiliya. They burned trees and stole crops, preventing farmers from reaching their lands near the wall.  The statement said the settlers were working in concert with the army, who facilitated their entry into Palestinian fields and pursued those who try to defend them.  According to local and international statistics, there are more than 10 million olive trees in Palestine, comprising about 938,000 dunums of land. A dunum is about a quarter of an acre. About 24 million tons of olive oil are produced in a good year, though less has been produced in recent years. The wall runs through these lands, separating about 40,000 dunums and preventing landowners from reaching them. In the past year, settlers have destroyed about 13 million trees, most of them olive trees.

Israel to raze more 220 graves in Islamic cemetery of Mamanullah
Palestinian minister of religious affairs Taleb Abu Sha’ar warned that the Israeli municipal council in occupied Jerusalem intends to demolish more 220 graves in Mamanullah cemetery soon.

Palestinian homes in Deir Ballut due to be demolished over `lack of permits`
ARIJ – The military government`s legislation, designed to fit with Israeli strategic aims rather than the Palestinian population`s needs, makes the obtaining of permits very difficult. As a result, a growing number of Deir Ballut villagers is doomed to a life of uncertainty in the shadow of the bulldozers which can show up at any moment. The Applied Research Institute in East Jerusalem assembled detailed information.

Bill: Owners must pay for razing of illegal homes
Knesset set to pass law forcing transgressors to pay for demolitions, but exempts West Bank residents.,7340,L-3972315,00.html

Israel stops Palestinian digging in Salfit
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian farmer said Wednesday that Israel’s Civil Administration ordered him to stop his digging work in the Deir Istiya village in the northern West Bank district of Salfit.  Hussein Zeidan said Civil Administration forces seized a vehicle used for digging and stopped workers from approaching the area until he provided them with proof of land ownership.  The land in question lies close to the Revava settlement. A spokesman for the Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Palestinians deny seeking UN resolution to evict settlements
A Palestinian official denied Tuesday seeking a UN Security Council resolution to force Israel to evacuate Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  The official, Jamal Muhissen, said that the Palestinians seek an international recognition of a state within the 1967 borderlines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.  As renewed peace talk hit an impasse, the Palestinian leadership is waiting for the expiration of an Arab-given chance to Israel to stop building settlements within one month.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

‘Manufactured’ Israeli Charges Against Former Yale Professor Dismissed
(BETHLEHEM) – After a third trip to Ofer military compound near Ramallah on October 18, 2010, and much expenses in terms of time and money, I am pleased to report that my trial based on manufactured charges by Israeli police was dismissed by the military judge. It was partially observed by Tamar and Aya, Israeli women of conscience who report regularly from the West Bank (see  It was a manufactured “traffic violation” but in reality it was for “driving while being Palestinian” and even though both the policewoman and the prosecutor both lied and tried to twist the facts, the judge was decent enough to see through this. (see: Israel Does Not Give Peace a Chance – Tim King and An Encounter with Israeli ‘Police’ – Mazin Qumsiyeh

‘US Boat to Gaza’ to join efforts from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia & the Netherlands to form the Freedom Flotilla II in March 2011
We are writing with an exciting update report on the plan to send a U.S.-flagged ship as part of the next Freedom Flotilla sailing to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.  Representatives from the US BOAT TO GAZA have just returned from Geneva where an important meeting took place with representatives from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia, the Netherlands and The Free Gaza Movement. US TO GAZA has joined the steering committee of the Freedom Flotilla II and we are now deeply involved as part of the international team planning for the next mission which will be leaving at the end of March 2011. First, about the timing: after much discussion, the decision was made by the international group to wait until Spring of 2011 to sail.  This is in response to the outpouring of people who want to join this effort from more countries, to have more boats and more of civil society participating. The international movement is growing and voices of condemnation against illegal Israeli policies are stronger now than ever before.

New Gaza peace flotilla to have up to 20 boats: organisers (AFP)
AFP – Aid groups planning a second peace flotilla to Gaza hope to send at least twice the number of boats as took part in the first ill-fated attempt in May, they announced Tuesday.*

Dutch Company Face Criminal Charges For Building Separation Wall, Palestine Monitor
Human rights group Al-Haq have initiated criminal proceedings against a Dutch construction company for supplying equipment used to build the Separation wall and settlements. A complaint has been lodged with the state prosecutor, who pending the results of a police raid on Riwal’s headquarters in Holland, may pursue criminal convictions.

Guns N’ Roses: An Opportunity to Untie your Hands An Open Letter from PACBI
Dear Guns N’ Roses,  The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was dismayed to read reports that you are considering performing in Israel later this year [1].  PACBI, supported by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society and, in particular, by almost the entire community of Palestinian cultural workers [2], views such a performance in Israel as a form of complicity in whitewashing Israel’s occupation, apartheid and war crimes.  More importantly, your upcoming performance would violate the appeal of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement [3] which urges people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Tell Georgia State University to end its relationship with the Israeli police force
US Campaign member group Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia (MEIAG) needs your help to demand Georgia State University shut down its Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program.

Harvard student government condemns Peretz fund and calls for an investigation on the decision to honor him
Harvard’s Undergraduate Council voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of a bill calling on President Drew Faust “to establish a commission of concerned faculty, students and administrators to investigate” the decision to honor Martin Peretz. The Undergraduate Council is the representative body of Harvard’s more than 6,700 undergraduate students.  The “Student Response to Peretz Fund Act,” passed by a vote of 26-7-4, was presented to the student government by the Harvard Islamic Society, the Black Students Association, Latinas Unidas, the Society of Arab Students and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.

Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Carter in Syria: Israel must fully lift Gaza blockade
Former U.S. President meets with Syrian President Assad and Hamas politburo chief Meshal in Damascus.

Jimmy Carter says Palestinians live in a ‘cage’ (AP)
AP – Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that Palestinians are “living in a cage” in Gaza and that the militant group Hamas must be included in all major efforts for peace.*

Earning a Living in No Man’s Land, Mel Frykberg
EREZ BORDER CROSSING, Northern Gaza, Oct 19, 2010 (IPS) – Crossing through the metal-caged tunnel that leads from the Israeli side of the border into northern Gaza towards the Palestinian checkpoint, several groups of young Palestinian men and boys can be seen scavenging through piles of rubble.

Food insecurities plagues poverty-stricken Gaza Strip
GAZA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — At the beginning of every month, Sobheya Bakroun, a tall, brown-skinned woman goes to an aid distribution center in Gaza run by the World Food Program (WFP) to get food for her 15-member family to survive.  Sobheya has become a breadwinner since she got divorced. Her brother, the only man in her family, lost his job six years ago and has been suffering from diabetes for two years.

“The priority is to return and remain”
The Electronic Intifada contributor Jillian Kestler-D’Amours spoke with Hassan Jabareen, the founder and director general of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, about Israel’s new loyalty oath and what it means for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Occupation affects every aspect of olive oil production
London, UK (IRIN) – The first day of the Palestinian olive harvest officially began on 15 October, and Rani Ali and his family — like hundreds of others — were out among their olive trees, starting to bring in what looks to be a good harvest.

Racism & Discrimination

Safed Rabbis urge Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs
Rabbis’ letter says renting properties to Arabs would deflate value of homes as well as those in neighborhood.

MK Zoabi slams minister over ‘cultural superiority’
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch says prevention of honor killings is achieved through change in culture, sparks outrage of Balad Knesset member.,7340,L-3972405,00.html

Palestinian workers in 1-day strike at Israeli factory
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Palestinian workers went on strike Tuesday at an Israeli factory that has refused to pay them minimum wage.  Seventy-two workers at the Soul Or factory in the Tulkarem district stopped work and demanded that the factory administration implement an Israeli labor law, passed in early 2008, requiring that Palestinians be paid minimum wage.

Israeli-Arabs fear for their future
Arab citizens say they feel increasingly unwelcome in Israel and fear forced transfer to a new Palestinian state.  Like other Arab citizens of Israel, Leyla Ahmoud is anxious about her future. A young mother of two girls with another on the way, Ahmoud says recent moves by the Israeli government are making it increasingly obvious that the Arabs are not welcome in their own country.  “I feel like my life is not in my hands,” said 24-year-old Ahmoud, who lives in Umm al-Fahm, a mountain-ridge town of some 43,000 inhabitants in northern Israel. “The government decides how I live and where I live. We exist in fear, from one day to the next.”

The Return of Kahane, Palestine Monitor
Perhaps no one in the world wields as much power as Avigdor Lieberman. In Israeli coalition politics, he is a kingmaker. In the current peace talks, he is a deal-breaker. In the Middle East, he exemplifies Zionist bigotry. In world diplomacy, his belligerence destabilizes a fragile region.

Justice Minister: I’ll quit if loyalty oath applies only to non-Jews
Only 56 of 120 MKs say they support the bill requiring all citizens to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.


Palestinian old man wounded in IOF shooting
A 65-year-old Palestinian man was shot and wounded by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) east of Rafah city, south of the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday morning, medical sources reported.

Israili Military Invades Ethna near Hebron
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday morning, the town of Ethna, north-west of Hebron and searched the house of Abed al-Qaisi and many other houses.

Clashes Reported East of Khan Younis, Gaza
Palestinian sources reported, Wednesday morning, that clashes took place between Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers near the Kissufim Israeli military post, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.


Israeli court extends detention of Palestinian teen
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Ofar military court extended the detention of Sayel Abu Quweider, 15, from Hebron, for another 10 days.  His lawyer, prisoners society advocate Elia Theodory, said the military prosecution is inflexible and has refused to release Abu Quweider on bail because Israeli soldiers say they saw him throwing stones.  Israeli soldiers detained the boy in the Ar-Ras neighborhood of Hebron last month.

Israeli Police Assault and Arrest Mahmoud Rwidy of Silwan
Today Israeli police beat and arrested Mahmoud Rwidy, a 40-year-old resident of the Silwan Spring area in Wadi Hilweh, while he was away with his son to visit the doctor.  Eyewitnesses confirm that police fired pepper spray heavily and directly at Mahmoud Rwidy, and that they then beat and arrested him.

Two Detainees Start Their Twenty-Fifth Year in Israeli Jails
The Palestinian national committee for supporting detainees stated, on Wednesday, that two detainees, Ibraheeb A’layan, 45, detained on October 10th,1986 and Sameer Abu Ne’mehn, 50, detained on October 20th,1986, both from Jerusalem, have entered their twenty-fifth year in Israeli jails.

Prison Destroyed His Dreams: Ma’moun Dar Issa, Victim of Three Dark Years
Maysa Abu Ghazala – Jerusalem – PNN/Exclusive – “For three years, it destroyed my dreams,” said Ma’moun Dar Issa of al-Khader, near Bethlehem. “I was getting ready to go to my wedding party. I had just completed my vocational education.”

Hamas MP released after 4 years in prison
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Tuesday released a Hamas-affiliated lawmaker who served 54 months in prison.  Ali Rumanin of Jericho was seized in 2006 as a bargaining chip following the capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza.  Without accusing them of involvement, Israel arrested 45 Hamas lawmakers in the aftermath of the abduction in June 2006.


PA Intelligence head in Al-Khalil brags about using torture in W. Bank jails
Director of the intelligence Mahmoud Hamdan proudly admitted that the security apparatuses in the West Bank use torture against prisoners, describing it as a policy that cannot be dispensed with.

Fatah declines Hamas invitation to hold reconciliation talks in Gaza
Senior Hamas official Dr. Salah Al Bardawil said Fatah refused Hamas’s proposal to hold a meeting aimed at achieving Palestinian reconciliation in the Gaza Strip.


12 injured in blast at Qassam training site
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Twelve Palestinians, including five children and three women, were injured in an explosion at a training site of Hamas’ military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades on Wednesday in Rafah, southern Gaza.  Locals said a “huge explosion” occurred in the Tel As-Sultan neighborhood, causing damage to residents’ windows.  Ambulances and civil defense crews deployed at the scene to transfer the injured to the Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah city, Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said, describing their injuries as slight.

Last rapper in Gaza struggles to make voice heard
Sponsors, studio owners and party organisers shun Mothafar Assar’s Street Band Rappers due to Hamas disapproval.
War Criminals

Rachel Corrie case: Israeli soldier to testify anonymously
Family criticises decision to allow soldier who drove bulldozer that killed daughter to give evidence from behind screen.  The Israeli soldier at the controls of a bulldozer that crushed to death 23-year-old Rachel Corrie in Gaza in March 2003 is due to give evidence tomorrow in the civil lawsuit brought by the American activist’s family.  However the judge hearing the case in Haifa has ruled that, for security reasons, the soldier can testify anonymously from behind a screen, denying Cindy and Craig Corrie the opportunity to face the man who directly caused their daughter’s death.

Political Developments

Fatah: Syria humiliated us
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah said it delayed a meeting with Hamas in Damascus on Wednesday to discuss a unity deal because “Syria humiliated us” at a recent Arab League summit, Nabil Sha’ath told Ma’an.  “Hamas has nothing to do with postponing the meeting, but it would be difficult for us to send a delegation to Damascus after the Syrians humiliated us in their speech at the Sirtre summit,” Sha’ath said.

Abbas suspends PFLP financial allocations
Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the suspension of the financial monthly allocation of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cashed by the Palestinian national fund, PFLP sources said.

Israelis, Palestinians agree not to embarrass Obama before midterm elections
JERUSALEM — The Obama administration has secured pledges from senior Mideast leaders to continue their fitful peace negotiations until after next month’s U.S. midterm elections, largely to avoid handing the Obama administration an embarrassing diplomatic setback before the Nov. 2 elections.  Israeli and Palestinian officials told McClatchy Tuesday that efforts to reach a compromise would continue until at least Nov. 3, a move they said “served the current American government.”  “The time frame we are following has been designed around the elections in America,” said a senior member of the Palestinian negotiating team. “We have been asked not to issue announcements that could embarrass negotiation officials.”

Holding pattern: Middle East peace track at impasse until after midterms
Behind the scenes, the Obama administration is still absorbing the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to date rejected a proposed American compromise package that would have offered various security and other assurances to Israel in exchange for a 60-day renewal of a partial West Bank settlement freeze that expired last month.  The American team is said to be frustrated and upset at Netanyahu’s dismissal to date of the package, which was drafted by the NSC’s Dennis Ross in close consultation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho.

Assad: Israel not capable, not willing to achieve peace
Bashar Al-Assad has charged that Israel was not willing and was not capable of achieving peace, adding that only just and comprehensive peace is capable of achieving stability in the region.

Israel’s U.S. ambassador: No one will dictate Israel’s borders
Michael Oren speaks at event marking 25 years since establishment of Free Trade agreement between Israel and the U.S.

Other News

Report: German mediator back in Gaza
Despite repeated denials by Hamas, Kuwaiti media insists Gerhard Conrad visited Strip in attempt to propel Shalit talks.,7340,L-3971819,00.html

Canada denies arrest of suspect in Dubai assassination
Dubai police chief says Canadian official informed him of the arrest in July, though Ottawa officials say the claim is ‘baseless’, the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail reports.

Mossad chief may stay on during sensitive period
Agreement would preserve stability in top security service hierarchy ahead of a sensitive period in terms of peace talks with the Palestinians and effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Uproar at Tel Hai College: Nakba marked on calendar
Students return identity cards after finding out college calendar marks Palestinian commemoration days. ‘What’s next? Will they mark Six-Day War as national occupation day?’ One of them asks.,7340,L-3972371,00.html

Call to stem Rabin memorials causes storm in Labor Party
MK Einat Wilf suggests focusing on pre-murder euphoria, says party should cancel yearly rally and remove former premier’s photo from Kneset hall.

Anonymous ‘Free Yigal Amir’ posts sent to politicos’ Facebook accounts
The inflamed political tensions surrounding the 15th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination are seeping into social networking sites.

Akko: ‘Kahane was right’ on Rabin monument
Police estimate graffiti wasn’t sprayed by residents of northern city; mayor denounces ‘this cowardly act’ .,7340,L-3972377,00.html

Friedman: Lunatics in Israeli cabinet
Renowned New York Times journalist says Jewish state behaving like spoiled child, ‘feels no compunction about spurning an American request for longer settlement freeze after billions and billions of dollars in US aid’.,7340,L-3972320,00.html

IDF to block Facebook, Gmail to prevent ‘gifts for Hamas’
List of popular websites to be blocked on army bases, offices, to avoid inadvertent leaks of classified information.

PA ready to start construction of West Bank international airport
$340 million project would be built on 8-square-kilometer plot of land east of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Israel eyes US trade pact with Palestinians
WASHINGTON – Israel hopes a US-backed initiative that helped it expand trade and economic ties with Egypt and Jordan could be part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, a top Israeli official said on Tuesday.  “We would like to do that with the Palestinians as well, OK? I hope that this year would be a year of breakthrough, then we would be delighted to do that with them,” Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Reuters after a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce.  The comment came as the outlook for US-brokered peace talks aimed at reaching a deal to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel remained very much in doubt.

For Palestinian snake charmer pythons ‘part of family’ (AFP)
AFP – A lot of fathers would prefer their two-year-old daughters not to ride a giant Burmese python down the street like a pony — but not Jamal Amwasi of Ramallah.*

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

US: The dishonest broker, Avi ShlaimDespite high expectation for Barack Obama, the US president has not convinced Israel to cease settlement construction.

Palestine: The latest Middle East security state?
On recent trip to Ramallah, I spoke with a senior Fatah official and former Palestinian Authority minister about the state of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Consistent with most other Israelis and Palestinians who I’d met, he was not particularly optimistic. The conversation turned to the advances in security and economic development in the West Bank under the widely hailed leadership of Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. I asked whether progress on political reform had tracked at all with the progress in those other areas.  After acknowledging the vastly improved security (demonstrated most definitively by the depth of cooperation between Israeli occupation authorities and Palestinian security forces) and economic growth (which is real, despite being donor driven, and thus unsustainable), the official dispatched my question with a flick of his cigarette.  “Political reform?” he smiled. “It’s a joke.”

Two state idea is over because U.S. was ‘repeatedly diddled by a client state’, Philip Weiss
This morning on his WNYC show, Brian Lehrer expressed some impatience with the Palestinian refusal to come to the table without any Israeli shift re settlements. Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian rep to the U.S., pointed out that negotiations have masked a continuous colonization of the territory on which Palestinians are supposed to make a state (on 1/5 of the original land of Palestine) and that these neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that Lehrer described as Israeli are illegally occupied. I wonder why these inequities are not as obvious as the nose on Netanyahu’s face, and disturbing to American liberals.

Israel lobby group urges State Department to begin undercover manipulation of Palestinian websites, Philip Weiss
A new report by the Israel lobbyist org Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (with help from the Dershowitz Group) monitored Palestinians’ use of the internet and found that Palestinians speak freely on internet forums, without “manipulation.” And these Palestinians believe that the two-state solution is dead and are generally opposed to the peace negotiations that the Obama administration is conducting, to the point that the authors of the report recommend that the Obama administration should basically forget about the negotiations and… start manipulating the online forums!

Brian Lehrer’s evenhandedness disappears when it comes to Israeli violence,  Philip Weiss
Yesterday, Brian Lehrer, the popular liberal talkshow host on New York’s public radio station, had religious scholar Karen Armstrong on to talk about different religious traditions. At the end of the segment, Lehrer said, in so many words, But doesn’t Islam have to deal with the issue of violence? Isn’t violent jihad sanctioned by a large percentage of Muslims worldwide? In a word: Isn’t violence inherent to the practice of Islam?

New tourism law shows the more the Israeli narrative gets challenged, the greater need there is to enforce it,  Elinor Amit
A proposal for a new law has been submitted to the Israeli parliament which states that only Israeli citizens would be permitted to serve as tour guides in Israel (does “Israel” includes the occupied territories? That’s not clear from the law), when the tour involves non-Israeli citizens. In essence, this law would put hundreds of East Jerusalemite tour guides out of work. The sponsors of the law explained their motivation and I think it speaks for itself.

Abulhawa: ‘As Palestinians, we are facing our own extinction’, Susan Abulhawa
The other day at the Boston Book Festival, novelist Susan Abulhawa did what few have achieved over the years, and reduced Alan Dershowitz to a small pile of feathers. She did so by sticking to the truth of her own experience, keeping calm under his assaults, pointing out the infantile character of his insults, and even twitting him for his constant interruptions. He must be afraid of what I have to say, she said. And just what did she have to say? Abulhawa, the author of Mornings in Jenin, recounted the ordeal of the occupation in a forthright manner. Here are the author’s opening remarks at that discussion:

How many lies can Alan Dershowitz tell in 60 seconds?, David Samel
How many lies can Alan Dershowitz tell in 60 seconds? There have been several posts concerning the recent debate between Dershowitz and Susan Abulhawa at the recent Boston Book Festival. Many have noted the dramatic contrast between the calm Abulhawa and the manic Dershowitz. A full dissection of Dershowitz’s falsehoods over the full hour of video would be too time-consuming, but let’s take a look at a single minute of his rantings, from about 34:15 to 35:15.

first they ignore you, then they ignore you, then they ignore you, then they melt down like Dershowitz, Philip Weiss
The Wall Street Journal page is attacking Breaking the Silence. Wow. Paul Gigot carrying the heavy water for the Israel lobby, as the tradition holds. Still: why do they care about some little frikkin veterans’ group in Israel? Yes why. Because the debate is changing on them fast fast. We’re massing in the hills.

‘Haaretz’ author says that Diaspora Jews have dual loyalty, Philip Weiss
You’d never see this in the New York Times, alas. Because dual loyalty is an antisemitic canard, right? In Haaretz, intern Bianca Ambrosio says the obvious, that Jews in Italy have dual loyalty, acting politically out of concern for Israel. (Me, I don’t say Jews, I say Zionists).

Who are the real prisoners?, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
When I asked in my previous article, “Until when this conspiracy of silence?” concerning more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners kidnapped from their homes by Israeli intelligence officers, and suffering the cruelest torture at the hands of sadist jailers in Israeli prisons, I wanted to say that Western silence regarding this brutality was only because the victims are Arabs. But the responses of some Arab bloggers to my article reminded me of a more dangerous silence, the silence of Arab people. It is more dangerous because it indicates a collapse of thought and identity. When a Palestinian youth sacrifices his life to prevent the demolition of a house in the Salwan neighborhood in Jerusalem, and when an unarmed Palestinian girl faces the Israeli military oppression machine on her own, they do so because both of them believe in their land, their nation and their duty toward both, not only toward their families and villages, but also toward Palestine.

Israel’s Longstanding Middle East Plan, Steve Lendman
In 1982, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior advisor Oded Yinon published a revealing document for regional conquest and dominance. Still relevant today, it’s titled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s, translated, edited, and retitled “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East” by distinguished Professor Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001), longtime activist, analyst, and outspoken Israeli critic.

JNF caught with its hands on the tillers
This is great news. First there was a letter in The Guardian calling on Ed Miliband to distance himself from the ethnic cleansers of the Jewish National Fund. Then there was a letter from the JNF completely misrepresenting what the JNF exists for. Now there are two letters in The Guardian exposing the JNF’s denial. Now read on.

Guilty of being Muslim: A review of ‘Entrapped’, Anthony Alessandrini
The new documentary “Entrapped,” which was aired as a special report by Democracy Now! on October 6 and is due to be released on DVD by Big Noise Films, is that rare documentary that not only informs us about an issue, but in doing so, actually transforms our understanding of this issue.


12 Israeli jets violate Lebanon airspace
The Lebanese army says 12 Israeli fighter jets have entered the country’s airspace in violation of the international law.  The army said in a statement on Tuesday that the jets flew over several areas in southern Lebanon, including the city of Sidon, a Press TV correspondent in Beirut reported.  The overflights contravene United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which obliges Israel to keep out of Lebanon’s airspace.  Israel, however, violates Lebanon’s airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming they serve surveillance purposes.  According to evidence submitted to the UN by the Lebanese government, Israel has breached the provisions of the resolution on more than 7,000 occasions by violating Lebanon’s airspace, territorial waters, and border.

Hezbollah slams UN ‘interference’ in Lebanese affairs (AFP)
AFP – Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement Wednesday accused the United Nations of interfering in Lebanese affairs, days after the world body warned tension in the country could affect the entire region.*

The Saker’s Q&A with “Lebanese Christian” about Hezbollah-Christian relations
Today it is my real pleasure to submit to you the text of a Q&A I have had with “Lebanese Christian”.  One of the most misunderstood aspects of the socio-political reality of Lebanon is the fact that Hezbollah is very open to Christians as long as they are real Lebanese patriots and not proxies for Israel and the USA. I asked “Lebanese Christian” to comment on some of the aspects of the relationship between Christians and Hezbollah and he kindly agreed to reply to my question, for which I am deeply grateful to him.


16 people wounded in Mansour District blasts
15 people were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Al Mansour District in Baghdad, a source from the Interior Ministry reported. Another roadside bomb in Al Mansour District wounded a civilian, the source said.

Tuesday: 19 Iraqis Killed; 25 Iraqis, 15 Iranians Wounded
Today’s attacks concentrated on police personnel, but one also came close to harming the United Nation’s top envoy to Iraq. At least 19 Iraqis were killed and 25 more were wounded in those and other attacks. As many as 15 Iranian pilgrims were injured as well. Also, an Iraqi general says he will investigate claims that journalists are still being beaten by security personnel.

IED kills Sahwa fighter, injures 5 in Baghdad
One Sahwa fighter was killed and four others were wounded Tuesday in a bomb explosion in Baghdad, a police source said.

Top UN official survives bomb blast after meeting Iraq’s Sistani
Ad Melkert, the top UN official in Iraq, was unhurt after a roadside bomb following a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. An Iraqi policeman was killed in the blast.

Iran tells Iraqi prime minister ‘get rid of America’
“The Iraqi nation is vigilant and aggressors cannot dominate this country again,” Mr Khamenei told Mr Maliki, according to a statement put out by his office. “May God get rid of America in Iraq so that its people’s problems are solved.”

Priests marrying helps Christianity in Iraq: bishop (AFP)
AFP – Allowing priests to marry has contributed to the survival of the Christian faith in Iraq, said Lebanese Bishop Guy-Paul Noujaim Tuesday, on the sidelines of a Middle East synod at the Vatican.*

Abuse Of Temporary Marriages Flourishes In Iraq
The practice, a way of having a “legitimate affair,” was banned during Saddam Hussein’s reign but returned after the American invasion. Some say there’s a right way to do the muta’a marriage but others claim rampant misuse.

Union-Busting in Iraq, SHERWOOD ROSS
It is only in comic books and Hollywood movies that America’s superheroes exist to defend the underdog. In practice, the armies of America have fanned out around the globe to show they are the willing servants of the corporate overdog. As Noam Chomsky writes in his book “Imperial Ambitions” (Metropolitan), “You can almost predict (U.S.) policy by that simple principle: Does it help rich people or does it help the general population? And from that you can virtually deduce what’s going to happen.” There is no more disgraceful example than Iraq.

And the Winner is … Muqtada, Pepe Escobar
Western media have often spun that Iran masterminded a sort of coup d’etat in Baghdad. It’s much more subtle than that.

Kurds are Iraq’s kingmakers
In Iraq’s current political stalemate, it is the Kurds that hold the power to determine the country’s direction.

Iraq’s gas profitability could be very far off
LONDON: Investors in Iraq’s huge gas reserves will have to be very patient if they want healthy profits after Wednesday’s natural-gas auction. The short term is dominated by security problems and political deadlock. Combined with uncertain local demand and slim margins because of plentiful global gas supply, the challenges are expected to deter big bids.

Children of Iraqi Insurgents Face Uncertain Future
Unregistered children are denied citizenship, meaning they have no right to basic services.  The widows of insurgent fighters in Diyala province are demanding that the government acknowledge the hundreds of children whose fathers died leaving them without Iraqi citizenship.


US, Israel agree Iran prime threat to Mideast
The United States and Israel on Monday said Iran is among the “greatest challenges” to stability in the Middle East and reaffirmed their commitment to preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran to try ‘US spy suspects’
Americans detained near border with northern Iraq will be charged with espionage and entering the country illegally.

U.S. Other Mideast/World News

Obama expands his Islamophobia to include Sikhs as well
The White House team which visited India last month ruled out Obama wearing the traditional scarf on his head. Indian officials were informally told that Obama wearing a headscarf to visit the Golden Temple may convey an image of him appearing to be a Muslim. This is one misinterpretation Obama’s advisors did not want at any cost, given the political sensitivities over this issue in the US.  It’s hard to imagine anything more insulting to his hosts than this. But of course Obama had absolutely no qualms about wearing a religiously-mandated head-covering when he visited the Wailing Wail, holy to Jews, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as part of his pandering to US Zionists and other racists when he was running for president, as the photo above from his July 2008 visit to Israel and occupied Jerusalem shows (The Guardian).  This is only the latest in a long line of incidents of Obama pandering to Islamophobia rather than standing up to it. During that same election campaign visit to Israel and Jordan, Obama  aides were instructed not to wear green clothing, as that is supposedly the color of Islam. Also during the campaign two Muslim women enthusiastically attending an Obama rally were required to move out of camera shot, so that the Post Racial candidate would not be pictured with them.

“… Israel supporters should vote Republican!..”
“… So, count 54 Democrats for Hamas and 78 Republicans for Israel. ….Democrats are somewhat evenly split on Israel, but Republicans favor it by a 5-to-1 ratio. A consensus exists that the two parties are growing farther apart over time. Pro-Israel, conservative Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe finds that “the old political consensus that brought Republicans and Democrats together in support of the Middle East’s only flourishing democracy is breaking down.” Anti-Israel, left-wing James Zogby of the Arab American Institute agrees, writing that “traditional U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not have bipartisan backing.” Thanks to changes in the Democratic party, Israel has become a partisan issue in American politics, an unwelcome development for it. In late March 2010, during a nadir of U.S.-Israel relations, Janine Zacharia wrote in the Washington Post that some Israelis expect their prime minister to “search for ways to buy time until the midterm U.S. elections [of November 2010] in hopes that Obama would lose support and that more pro-Israel Republicans would be elected.” That an Israeli leader is thought to stall for fewer congressional Democrats confirms the changes outlined here. It also provides guidance for voters.”

U.S. Pushes to Ease Technical Obstacles to Wiretapping
They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.

Britain says it’s still US ‘wingman’ despite defense budget cuts
Britain’s sharp defense budget cuts target 8 percent of the military’s $59 billion budget. Prime Minister David Cameron called President Obama to reassure him that the UK would remain a ‘first rate’ military power.

Extracts from David Hicks’ memoir, Guantanamo Bay
My Journey : We are publishing three extracts from Hicks’ book, Guantanamo Bay: My Journey which is available from today.

To prison anyway — despite acquittal?
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan — the judge in the first trial in a federal civilian court of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (charged with grave acts of terrorism) — has shocked President Obama and his puppet Attorney General, Eric Holder. Judge Kaplan prohibited the testimony in the case of a key prosecution witness, Hussein Abebe.

U.S. Trying to “Kill Its Way Out” of Afghan War?,  David Martin
Air strikes in Afghanistan are up 50 per cent and now Defense Secretary Gates has ordered a second aircraft carrier, the USS Lincoln, into the fight. Two carriers operating off the coast of Pakistan means about 120 aircraft available for missions over Afghanistan. And that’s not counting U.S. Air Force missions flown out of Bagram and Kandahar.

Afghan leader says prisoner killed in NATO custody
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the killing of an Afghan detainee held by NATO-led troops in a Taliban stronghold in the volatile south of the country, his office said on Tuesday.

NATO aircraft breach Pakistani airspace once again
NATO’s aircraft breached Pakistani airspace once again Tuesday morning at Pakistan- Afghanistan border town Torkham in the northwest of Pakistan, local media reported.

Taliban Influence Grows in North
The Taliban’s influence in northern Afghanistan has expanded in recent months from a few hotspots to much of the region, as insurgents respond to the U.S.-led coalition’s surge in the south by seizing new ground in areas once considered secure.

Video shows Papuans being tortured
A graphic and disturbing video shows a Papuan man being poked in the genitals with a fiery stick as he is interrogated by a group of men who appear to be members of Indonesia’s security services.

Islam in the West

O’Reilly: ‘There is a Muslim problem in the world’
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is doubling down on his claim that “Muslims killed us on 9/11” which caused two co-hosts on ABC’s The View to walk off the set last week.  The Fox News host opened his interview with Deepak Chopra Tuesday by saying, “You must be horrified by me.”  “Don’t walk out on me,” joked Chopra.  “I believe there is a Muslim problem in the world,” announced O’Reilly. “I think we should acknowledge it and try to solve it.”

3 Jews showed this video last night at NYU, challenging Zionism

Oct 20, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Three years ago a Palestinian friend sauntered down Broadway and said, I have only one goal in life, I want to end Zionism. I was shocked that a person would say something like that, I thought he must be a violent revolutionary. Well a lot has changed, and last night I went to an event at NYU where three Jews sat at the front of the room and said their goal is to end Zionism inside Jewish life and thought. The biggest battle field is still between powerful American Jews’ ears; and I know these young people are the vanguard and the Zionist brand is over.

Theodor Herzl died in 1904 running from one European court to another, the Nakba happened in 1948, they dropped white phosphorus on the refugees in Gaza in 2008. I don’t see why a young Jew would embrace the brand if he saw what I saw at NYU last night.

The three Jews were Micha Kurz, Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana. When Saba Quraishi, a member of the audience, said that she didn’t understand why her well-educated Jewish friends were so quiet when she sent them links about the Gaza slaughter or the Mavi Marmara– “what is this magic brainwashing?” –Max Blumenthal said the “sclerotic Jewish establishment” is facing “impending collapse,” Abe Foxman and David Harris and Malcolm Hoenlein are “embalmed characters” who do not speak for young Jews. And Joseph Dana said that American Jewish identity is constructed on two faraway poles that have nothing to do with American life, Israel and the Holocaust.

Joseph Dana is a scholar of Jewish history. He has degrees from the Hebrew University and a university in Budapest, Herzl’s town. All that learning has made him an activist. For the next month or so, he will be touring the country selling tshirts for Anarchists Against the Wall, and talking to people about the Jewish history unfolding right now in Israel and Palestine with Jews reaching out across a deep divide to support brave Palestinian nonviolent resisters. The most important thing Dana thought he could do was to show the video above. That was his purpose last night, to talk about the Palestinian civil society movement that resists the occupation of their land, and the Israeli and international support for that movement. Oh lift them up.

The room was hot and it had gone on 2 hours when he showed the video. I don’t think I’ve seen a more powerful video about the Israel/Palestine conflict. You just have to watch it. It’s from the Bilin demo, back in August of 2008. Shot by Yisrael Puterman, an old Israeli guy.

Dana said the man in the video, Adeeb Abu Rahma, is a father of 9, and a few weeks after the video above, the Israeli security forces came to Adeeb Abu Rahma’s house in Ramallah and arrested him, and he hasn’t been out since. 

When you see the video, you’ll understand why they did that. And you’ll understand what a Jewish democracy looks like to Palestinians.

You just have to watch Adeeb Abu Rahma. The amazing part is about 4 minutes in. I won’t even try and quote him. He’s talking Hebrew, Joseph Dana explained to us, talking the soldiers’ language. I may put this video up every day till everyone sees it. J Street should be showing this guy, B’nai Jeshrun should be showing this guy, Beth Elohim in Brooklyn and Rabbi Andy Bachman should be showing this guy to American Jews to see what we have perpetuated in Palestine out of our weak lame selfish Jewish identity–

and to see the nobility and great spirit that oppression has brought out in Palestinians. 

“They ask where the Palestinian Gandhi is,” Dana said. “This is the Gandhi. There are many like him, sitting in jail.”

I felt the earth move

Oct 20, 2010

Philip Weiss 

How would it feel if god really came down from the mountain, if you weren’t doing ecstasy or a 10-day wheatgrass fast but were just sitting at your kitchen table reading the newspaper and god appeared? I think like this. Tom Friedman writes in the Times today that Israel is behaving like a spoiled child. The only problem is, I don’t think god knows how to write, or even how to think.

He’s not a thinker really, god. There isn’t a fresh idea in here, anything that qualifies as an insight. Nothing for instance about American Jewish life, which is the reason Israel can act this way. But then Friedman is the deity of American Jewish life, so he can’t very well write about it. God doesn’t write about himself, that would be unlordly, and it turns out god thinks about just what we thought he thinks about, saving the “Jewish democracy” and about humoring a right wing foreign leader’s concerns about maintaining his all-Jewish governing coalition… Same old god….

here’s another stubborn fact: Israel today really is behaving like a spoiled child.

Please spare me the nonsense that President Obama is anti-Israel. …At the same time, Obama believed — what a majority of Israelis believe — that Israel can’t remain a Jewish democracy in the long run if it continues to control 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.

… I know this is a crazy, radical idea — when America asks Israel to do something that in no way touches on its vital security but would actually enhance it, there is only one right answer: “Yes.” It is a measure of how spoiled Israel has become that after billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid and 300,000 settlers already ensconced in the West Bank, Israel feels no compunction about spurning an American request for a longer settlement freeze — the only purpose of which is to help the United States help Israel reach a secure peace with the Palestinians. Just one time you would like Israel to say, “You know, Mr. President, we’re dubious that a continued settlement freeze will have an impact. But you think it will, so, let’s test it. This one’s for you.”

Yes, I know, Netanyahu says that if he did that then the far right-wingers in his cabinet would walk out.

first they ignore you, then they ignore you, then they ignore you, then they melt down like Dershowitz

Oct 20, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The Wall Street Journal page is attacking Breaking the Silence. Wow. Paul Gigot carrying the heavy water for the Israel lobby, as the tradition holds. Still: why do they care about some little frikkin veterans’ group in Israel? Yes why. Because the debate is changing on them fast fast. We’re massing in the hills.

The internet cleansing of Pappe

Oct 20, 2010

Philip Weiss


Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER



Spending review 2010: cuts hurt families with children most

Families with children are the biggest losers from the Coalition’s spending cuts and tax rises, leading economists disclosed.

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent 

21 Oct 2010

Parents with school age children will lose more than single people, childless couples and pensioners, according to the IFS 

Middle-class parents will lose child benefit, while poorer families will have their tax credit payments cut Photo: GETTY

In every income group, from the richest to the poorest, parents with school age children will lose more than single people, childless couples and pensioners, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The IFS – the country’s most respected economic forecaster – picked a row with ministers by calculating that the burden of spending cuts and tax rises would fall disproportionately on the poorest families, contradicting government claims. 

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George Osborne has outlined £81 billion of spending cuts, which he says will combine with £29 billion of tax rises to eliminate the structural deficit in the public finances in five years’ time. Despite David Cameron’s promise to make Britain “the most family-friendly country in Europe”, many of the Chancellor’s measures affect families with children.

Middle-class parents will lose child benefit, while poorer families will have their tax credit payments cut. Benefits for pensioners, by contrast, were largely protected, with the winter fuel allowance, free television licence and free bus pass left intact.

The IFS calculated that the average family with children will be losing £1,964 of its £29,242 net income a year by 2014-15, when the spending cuts and tax rises announced by this Government and the last have taken effect.

That loss will be equal to a 6.7 per cent drop in income, the IFS said. By contrast, the average pensioner will lose 2.9 per cent, and childless adults will lose 2.7 per cent.

Carl Emmerson, of the IFS, said the Coalition had started to reverse Labour’s agenda of favouring parents, instead prioritising spending on pensioners.

“The cuts to welfare spending mean that benefits will be focused more on pensioners and less on families with children,” he said. “Across every income group, families with children are the biggest losers.”

The IFS calculated the impact of planned tax rises, spending cuts and benefits changes on different households according to their position on the income scale. In every group – each representing one tenth of the population – parents will lose more than others by 2014-15.

In the second wealthiest group of families with children – who are better off than 80 per cent of the country – a household with a total net income of £58,000 will be £2,875 worse off, a loss equivalent to 5 per cent of their income. By contrast, the second wealthiest group of pensioners – with a net income of £35,500 – will lose £826, equivalent to 2.3 per cent of their income.

The second wealthiest group of childless adults lose £719 of their £41,953 net income, or 1.7 per cent.

In the poorest group, the six million people on the lowest income, the figures show a similar pattern.

Here, a family with children has a net income of £15,900 and will lose £1,112, or 7 per cent.

Pensioners in the bottom group will lose £252 from their £8,636 income, a 2.9 per cent loss. And a childless adult in the bottom group will lose £492 from their £8,178 net income, a 6 per cent loss.

Government sources insisted the Coalition had taken action to protect low-income families from the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review and Budget changes.

“The spending review maintains free early learning for three and four year-olds implemented by this Coalition, and creates a new entitlement to 15 hours a week of free early education and care for all disadvantaged two year-olds from 2012-13,” said a source. “We are increasing the child element of tax credits by an additional £30 next year and a further £50 the year after, in addition to the increases announced at Budget.”

Ministers have said that the richest will pay the most for the deficit reduction package, and Treasury projections published this week showed that households with a net income of £48,000 a year could lose as much as £2,500 a year over the next four years.

However, the IFS said that, as a share of their income, poorer people would pay more than the better-off.

The total impact of tax rises and spending cuts is “regressive”, where the poor are harder hit than the Continued from Page 1

wealthy, rather than “progressive”, where the rich bear more of the burden, “across most of the income distribution,” Mr Emmerson said. The cuts announced on Wednesday “reinforced that”.

The IFS analysis – which includes cuts to benefits excluded from the Treasury’s models – also showed that the losses of those in the very highest income group were up to twice as much as the Government had suggested.

Downing Street questioned the IFS analysis, pointing out that the institute had excluded the richest two per cent of people from some of its calculations.

Yesterday Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, appeared to accuse the IFS of deliberately distorting the figures. “People who are trying to take only one bit of the equation and say ‘Ah, that shows it is all very unfair’ – they are not being very straight with people and frankly they are frightening people and that is not right, frightening people and claiming we are doing unfair things when we are not,” he said

But Mike Brewer of the IFS insisted the institute had no agenda.

On a visit to the East Midlands yesterday, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg were confronted by members of the public who accused them of unfairly targeting the poor and vulnerable.

Labour, backed by some economists, has argued that the speed and depth of the Coalition’s cuts risks pushing the economy back into recession.

However, Mr Osborne’s measures were yesterday endorsed by the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development, which described them as “tough, necessary and courageous”.



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