Archive | January 1st, 2011



“The amount of death and destruction is inconceivable”

Safa Joudeh writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, December 27 & 28 2008

It was just before noon when I heard the first explosion. I rushed to my window and barely did I get there and look out when I was pushed back by the force and air pressure of another explosion. For a few moments I didn’t understand but then I realized that Israeli promises of a wide-scale offensive against the Gaza Strip had materialized. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzpi Livni’s statements following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the day before yesterday had not been empty threats after all.

What followed seems pretty much surreal at this point. Never had we imagined anything like this. It all happened so fast but the amount of death and destruction is inconceivable, even to me and I’m in the middle of it and only a few hours have passed already.

Six locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza City. The images are probably not broadcasted on US news channels. There were piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you looked at them you could see that a few of the young men were still alive, someone lifts a hand, and another raises his head. They probably died within moments because their bodies were burned, most had lost limbs, some of their guts were hanging out and they were all lying in pools of blood. Outside my home which is close to the two largest universities in Gaza, a missile fell on a large group of young men, university students.

They’d been warned not to stand in groups as it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. Seven were killed, four students and three of our neighbors’ kids, young men who were from the Rayes family and were best friends. As I’m writing this I can hear a funeral procession go by outside; I looked out the window a moment ago and it was the three Rayes boys. They spent all their time together when they were alive, they died together and now they are sharing the same funeral together.

Nothing could stop my 14-year-old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn’t spoken a word since.

What did Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mean when he stated that we the people of Gaza weren’t the enemy, that it was Hamas and Islamic Jihad which were being targeted? Was that statement made to infuriate us out of out our state of shock, to pacify any feelings of rage and revenge?

To mock us? Were the scores of children on their way home from school and who are now among the dead and the injured, Hamas militants? A little further down my street about half an hour after the first strike, three schoolgirls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a missile struck the Preventative Security Headquarters building. The girls’ bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.

In all the locations, people are going through the dead, terrified of recognizing a family member among them. The streets are strewn with their bodies, their arms, legs, feet, some with shoes and some without. The city is in a state of alarm, panic and confusion, cell phones aren’t working, hospitals and morgues are backed up and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men are kneeling on the ground, weeping. Their slim hopes of finding their sons still alive vanish after taking one look at what had become of their office buildings.

And even after the dead are identified, doctors are having a hard time gathering the right body parts in order to hand them over to their families. The hospital hallways look like a slaughterhouse. It’s truly worse than any horror movie you could ever imagine. The floor is filled with blood, the injured are propped up against the walls or laid down on the floor, side by side with the dead.

Doctors are working frantically and people with injuries that aren’t life-threatening are sent home. A relative of mine was injured by a flying piece of glass from her living room window and she had deep cut right down the middle of her face. She was sent home; too many others needed more urgent medical attention. Her husband, a dentist, took her to his clinic and sewed up her face using local anesthesia.

More than 200 people dead in today’s air raids. That means more than 200 funeral processions, a few today, most of them tomorrow, probably. To think that yesterday these families were worried about food and heat and electricity. At this point I think they — actually all of us — would gladly have had Hamas forever sign off every last basic right we’ve been calling for the last few months if it could have stopped this from ever having happened.

The bombing was very close to my home. Most of my extended family live in the area. My family is OK, but two of my uncles’ homes were damaged,

We can rest easy, Gazans can mourn tonight. Israel is said to have promised not to wage any more air raids for now. People suspect that the next step will be targeted killings, which will inevitably means scores more of innocent bystanders whose fates have already been sealed.

The longest night of my life

Here’s an update on what’s happening here from where I am, the second night of Israeli air (and sea) raids on Gaza.

It’s 1:30am but it feels like the sun should be up already. For the past few hours there’s been simultaneous, heavy aerial bombardment of Gaza City and the northern Gaza Strip. It feels like the longest night of my life. In my area it started with the bombing of workshops (usually located in the ground floor of private/family residential buildings), garages and warehouses in one of the most highly condensed areas in Gaza City, “Askoola.”

About an hour ago they bombed the Islamic University, destroying the laboratory building. As I mentioned in an earlier account, my home is close to the university. We heard the first explosion, the windows shook, the walls shook and my heart felt like it would literally jump out of my mouth. My parents, siblings and cousins, who have been staying with us since their home was damaged the first day of the air raids, had been trying to get some sleep. We all rushed to the side of the house that was farthest from the bombing.

Hala, my 11-year-old sister stood motionless and had to be dragged to the other room. I still have marks on my shoulder from when Aya, my 13-year-old cousin held on to me during the next four explosions, each one as violent and heart-stopping as the next. Looking out of the window moments later the night sky had turned to a dirty navy-gray from the smoke.

Israeli warships rocketed Gaza’s only sea port only moments ago; 15 missiles exploded, destroying boats and parts of the ports. These are just initial reports over the radio. We don’t know what the extent of the damage is. We do know that the fishing industry that thousands of families depend on either directly or indirectly didn’t pose a threat on Israeli security. The radio reporter started counting the explosions; I think he lost count after six. At this moment we heard three more blasts. “I’m mostly scared of the whoosh,” I told my sister, referring to the sound a missile makes before it hits. Those moments of wondering where it’s going to fall are agonizing. Once the whooshes and hits were over the radio reporter announced that the fish market (vacant, of course) had been bombed.

We just heard that four sisters from the Balousha family were killed in an attack that targeted the mosque by their home in the northern Gaza Strip.

You know what bothers me more than the bangs and the blasts, the smoke, the ambulance sirens and the whooshes? The constant, ominous, maddening droning sound of the Apache helicopters overhead that has been buzzing in my head day and night. It’s like I’m hearing things, which I’m not, but I am.

Safa Joudeh is an master’s candidate in public policy at Stony Brook University in the US. She returned to Gaza in September 2007 where she currently works as a freelance journalist.

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Top Military Rabbi tells Zionist troops to show no mercy to the innocent in Gaza

Rights Group Complains After Troops Told That Gaza’s Civilian Population Was Not Innocent

Israeli human rights group Yesh Din is calling for the ouster of the military’s top rabbi, Nazi Brigadier General Avichai Rontzki over his messages to soldiers during the 22-day Holocaust in the Gaza Strip.

The primary concern was a booklet which, among other things, contained a rabbinical edict against showing mercy.

The booklet contains quotes from a nationalist Nazi rabbi which declares that showing mercy during the battle would be “terribly immoral” and quotes a medieval sage who cautioned Jews not to “be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel.” Yesh Din says the booklet could have been seen by soldiers as official encouragement to act in violation of international law… an important issue as the Zionist  government scrambles to defend itself against accusations of massive war crimes during the war.

Another pamphlet told troops that the civilian population of the Gaza Strip was not innocent, and urges them to “spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us.” Over 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the war, a large number of them civilians.





The Hanukkah Massacre in Gaza




The Hanukkah Massacre in Gaza


“When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy…You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…”

–Book of Deuteronomy, 7:1-8

The aerial assault on Gaza thus far resulting in several hundred deaths and close to a thousand casualties (much of which will result in even more deaths) must–if it is to be understood correctly–be placed within the historical context of the religious ideas expounded by Judaism since its inception and which today constitute the philosophical lifeblood of the state of Israel.

It is an increasingly popular fad these days amongst those taking the moral high road against Israel’s 60 year-long orgy of violence and bloodshed against the indigenous Semites of Palestine, Lebanon and other surrounding areas to erect a separation wall between “Zionism” as a violent, racist political movement and “Judaism” as a “holy religion” devoted to the worship of God. Such arguments, whether made by groups such as Neturei Karta or “Rabbis For Human Rights” or whoever maintain that the two ideologies are as  different from each other as the lion is to the lamb.

Some go so far as to refer to Herzl, the founding father of Zionism as a “heretic” who abandoned the “godliness” of Judaism in favor of a secular, Marxist ideology responsible for creating the modern Jewish state.

However, despite some very impressive arguments made by prominent individuals and groups in trying to paint this picture the fact is that the aforementioned argument is as real as any other fantasy created by Jewish Hollywood that defies the laws of reason or reality. Modern day Zionism and Judaism are synonymous, and it has been the fundamental misunderstanding of this fact that has brought the situation to where it is today, both in the Holy Land and in the present “Clash of Civilizations” between the West and the Islamic world.

Judaism is based upon the Old Testament, and in particular, the first five books that constitute “The Law”, referred to as “The Torah”. As many undoubtedly remember from their Sunday school classes, it begins with the story of creation, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark and other seemingly harmless tales of persons and events.

The point at which it transforms into the creature responsible for so much of today’s mayhem is when Abraham, a landless, penniless nomad living in modern day Iraq, begins hearing voices in his head telling him he has been favored by a God named Yahweh who than promises him a future of wealth, land, power and superiority over all other persons, encapsulating this idea with “I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee”.

Shortly thereafter, he again hears voices in his head telling him to engage in the barbarity of human sacrifice by killing his own son Isaac in worshipping this God named Yahweh. With knife at the throat of his son and a mere few seconds away from becoming a murderer, he is then prevented from doing so by an angel, and some 3 generations later, his descendents (made up by 12 tribes) come to be known as “Israelites”.

Not long afterwards an Israelite named Moses also begins hearing voices from this same god, telling him to rescue the Israelites being “oppressed and persecuted” by the Egyptians. After a series of plagues brought against the oppressors–seemingly a fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise to “Curse those who curse” the descendents of Abraham, Moses–again, under the direction of the voices he is hearing–orders the Israelites to steal all the gold and silver of Egypt and to follow him to the land “promised” them by Yahweh residing between the two great rivers, the Nile and the Euphrates. Before entering this land however, Moses instructs the Israelites that they are to kill all the inhabitants, man, woman and child–”infant and suckling” and to rob them of all their possessions. An extermination campaign is mounted, in effect a “holocaust” of the Semitic peoples in the promised land, left unfinished by Moses but taken up again by his protégé Joshua and other subsequent leaders such as Saul and David.

By the time all is said and done, 31 cities inhabited by non-Israelite peoples–including but not limited to the Midianites, Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hivites–have been completely destroyed. The only non-Israelites allowed to remain alive are young girls “who have never slept with man” who then become concubines for the Israelites as well as those adults who resign themselves to live as “carriers of water and hewers of wood”–in effect, slaves for God’s chosen people.

Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, had nothing to say about Gaza
Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, had nothing to say about Gaza


So in other words, Zionism–the idea that the “Chosen people” were promised the land encompassing modern day Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and elsewhere and were given the commandment to expel, murder and enslave the peoples and civilizations already there got its start with Abraham and was later put into practice by Moses and those who came after him. By definition then, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Saul, David and all the other “Patriarchs” (the George Washingtons, Thomas Jeffersons and John Adams of “Israel”) were Zionists.

Putting this into context, any other person or group of persons claiming to have received divine messages from some “higher power” telling them they were superior creatures and commanding them to invade, slaughter, enslave and rob other peoples not like them would–rightly–be branded criminally insane, delusional, fanatical and locked away for life. As it is today though, this situation is not categorized as such. Rather, it has been made into a “holy” religion that guides the actions of a nuclear-armed nation.

As all who understand the situation in Palestine can attest, the moment the Jews made their “exodus” from the various lands they previously inhabited and returned to “redeem and make clean” the Promised land, they have repeated the very same process of killing, expelling and enslaving today’s version of the ancient Midianites, Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Hivites, etc of Moses’ heyday. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The Jews of today are in effect trying to implement 21st century BC ideas in a 21st century AD world with results no different than what took place as recounted in the Old Testament. It is this history that forms the foundation of their existence as a people and now as a nuclear-armed, messianic nation. The only difference between the Israelites of old and those of today is that when today’s Israelites “smite” the non-Israelite inhabitants living in close proximity to them they do not hack them to pieces with the edge of a sword or an axe but rather blow them to pieces with hellfire missiles, Apache attack helicopters and one-ton bombs made in the USA.

no more food
no more food


This being the case, it only stands to reason then that massacres such as what took place 2 days after Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ occur. Just as Christians go to church on Sundays and Muslims to mosque on Fridays to commemorate the persons and circumstances of their respective faiths, so too must the Jews engage in the same type of holy war against the non-Israelite peoples living in or near their “promised land” as a means of “keeping holy the Lord’s day”. This genocide against civilians is the glue that holds them together as a people and prevents what is an already organically-fractured nation from disintegrating from within.

The fact that this latest massacre took place during the religious festival of Hanukkah, (the festival of lights) where the Jews celebrate the “temple” being rescued and redeemed from the Assyrians over 2,000 years ago lends even more credence to the notion that for them it is all about religion and has nothing to do with the stated justifications of “security”. That the Gazans were starved for months upon months prior to this recent holocaust is yet one more manifestation of this religious mindset, and in particular the commandment to “Cut down the groves” of the non-Israelites living in the promised land.

A recent case (covered by Palestinian journalist Khalid Ameyreh) taking place in Israel just prior to the Gaza massacre  adds even more proof to this idea encompassing the theme of “Judaism VS the world”. Said case involves one Daniela Weise, a rabidly anti-Gentile “Israelite” who regularly quotes from the Old Testament, telling hundreds of Jewish fanatics it is a mitzvah (religious commandment) to attack Arabs and murder them because “their lives have no sanctity and their property belongs to us” and adding that “The Bible shows us the way we should be dealing with the Arabs.

The Bible can’t be wrong“. In another similar case, an American tourist in Israel recently engaged in a discussion with a Jew where the following exchange took place–

Israeli Jew–“You are a Christian, aren’t you?”


Israeli Jew–“Do you believe in the Bible?”


Israeli Jew–“Well then, you know God ordered the ancient Israelites to wipe off the goyim (gentiles) from the holy land of Israel. If that was right then, why can’t it be right now?”

As all are told (and have been on a daily basis now for the last century) Israel is not like other nations. Both secular and religious leaders have gone to great lengths in trying to sell the idea that the Jewish state is the “embodiment of God’s word” on earth. As former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once quipped Israel is “The fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself…It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”

What all of this means in the final analysis is that as long as Israel (a nation founded on the Old Testament tales of genocide, rape, pillage, expulsion and enslavement of “the other”) exists, massacres such as the one taking place against the Palestinians in Gaza will be a regular occurrence, just as they have been throughout the last 60 years. Having been nursed on the poisoned milk of tribal supremacism first envisioned by a greedy, covetous, ambitious nomad hearing voices in his head complimenting his own delusions of grandeur and later adopted by the great “Patriarchs” manifested in violence and bloodshed of innocents as extolled in the religion known as Judaism means that the Jewish state MUST engage in these acts as a means of paying homage to the deity Yahweh.

Although 2,000 years too late, it is imperative now more than ever that the world come to grips with these facts, and until it does that “great day of reckoning” commonly referred to as Armageddon will continue to barrel towards civilization like an out-of-control freight train. The curing of any disease begins with isolating the cause, and in the case of the present circumstance involving the Jewish state being at war with the entire world (and more specifically against the Arabs in Palestine) it is the recognition of the “I will bless those who bless thee and curse those who curse thee” mindset coupled with the justification of genocide and enslavement of “the other” that threatens all life on earth.

Anyone needing proof of this should simply visit some of the photos of the most recent massacre taking place against the Palestinians–Christian and Muslim alike–who are and have been sacrificed now for the last 60 years upon the altar of twisted Judaistic thinking. This most recent massacre taking place during the Jewish “festival of lights”, where Gaza was “lighted up” with balls of fire after 200,000 lbs of high-explosives were dropped on schoolchildren is proof positive that Israel is not a nation of people devoted to a righteous, loving God, but rather a civilization of vampires making up the caricature of the beast described in the Book of Revelation that threatens all life on earth. And unless the rest of the world comes to this “revelation”, they too will soon find themselves in the same place as those today being exterminated in the interests of appeasing the “God” of the Jews.

(c) 2008 Mark Glenn

Mark Glenn is a Lebanese Christian and correspondent for the weekly
populist newspaper,
American Free Press. He maintains an independent
The Ugly Truth. He lives and works in northern Idaho.

Correspondent, American Free Press Newspaper

Photos from The Palestine Chronicle


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Bil’in protester Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, dies of asphyxiation caused by tear gas inhalation

Jan 01, 2011

Jonathan Pollak



Video from Friday’s protest in Bil’in.

From a Popular Struggle Coordination Committee press release:

IMG 0752
Photo from Friday’s protest in Bil’in. (Photo: Hamde Abu Rahme)

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital yesterday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning this morning. Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who was also killed during a peaceful protest in Bil’in on April 17th, 2010.

Doctors at the Ramallah hospital fought for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life all night at the Ramallah Hospital, but were unable to save her life.

Abu Rahmah suffered from severe asphyxiation caused by tear-gas inhalation yesterday in Bil’in, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital unconscious. She was diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and did not respond to treatment.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bil’in activist, Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in the village on April 17th, 2009. See here for a video of his shooting.

Mohammed Khatib, a member of the Bil’in Popular Committee said this morning: “We are shocked and furious for Israel’s brutality, which once again cost the life of a peaceful demonstrator. Israel’s lethal and inhumane response to our struggle will not pass. In the dawn of a new decade, it is time for the world to ask Israel for accountability and to bring about an end to the occupation.”

Adv. Michael Sfard, who represents the village in an appeal against the Wall added: “The son was killed by a directly aimed projectile, the daughter choked in gas. Two brave protestors against a regime that kills the innocent and doesn’t investigate its criminals. We will not quiet, we will not give up, we will not spare any effort until those responsible will be punished. And they will.”

Entry 30: Haiku for Hanin

Dec 31, 2010

Pamela Olson


Entry 30 in the Mondo Awards end-of-the-year Inspire-us contest is a nomination of Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Israeli Knesset. 

Hanin Zoabi

braved the waters of Gaza

and of the Knesset.

Entry 29: What do you do/if you are a Jew

Dec 31, 2010

Laura Tillem


tillemEntry 29 in the Mondo Awardsend-of-year Inspire-us contest was read aloud by the author (left) at the celebration of International Day of Peace on September 21, 2010 at the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas (photo by Nathan Patrick). 

What do you do

if you are a Jew

who doesn’t believe in a Jewish state

A Christian state, nor a Muslim state,

not even a Buddhist or Hindu state.

Zionism says what you must support

is a nationalist scheme of the colonial sort


What do you do

if you are a Jew

who thinks about the Palestinians.

In the West Bank and Gaza they are occupied

In Israel proper – second class citizens.


What do you do if you are Jew

who thinks Zionism is a trap

set by those who should be taking the rap

Europe and the US refused Jews a haven

and used them then in a craven manner

against the Arab liberation banner

What do you do if you are Jew

who is proud of our history,

Tragic yes, but glorious too.

Before the Holocaust only a few liked Zionism.

We were a lot more interested in socialism.

What did Hitler hate about the Jews?

I will tell you, I hope this is not news:

We were people that could see clearly

that prejudice and exclusion cost a society dearly.

So now we have Israel, which we are supposed to love,

but it meant giving the Palestinians a terrible shove


The US pays three billion a year

To keep up a policy that costs us dear.

Some say aid to Egypt is just as big,

but listen to me and then dig:

that is our bribe to keep them on the side

Of our client Israel and its politicide.


What do you do

if you are a Jew

whose ancestors came from Poland and Russia?

When you say Israel is my homeland

I want to shush ya.


I’m 65

born in 45

This is the only time I can make that rhyme.

I graduated college in 67

I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in heaven

But I used to be proud

of my Jewish background

Not much of a Jew you might say

But I just buried my Dad in the Jewish way


If you speak out loud you’re called a self-hater

I think I’m just a good cogitator.

I was taught to tell the truth

So I am speaking to the youth

Mine’s a story you never hear

But I am not the only one.

John Lennon was a hero of mine

and I think you can guess which tune I mean

Let’s imagine no countries

and wash our bloody histories clean.


What do you do

if you are a Jew

whose sympathies lie with Palestinians

and those Israeli humanitarians

They are marching now

So tell me how

it makes sense to beat them,

jail them and send them into exile

It does no good to keep up the denial


This policy was born in the colonial mind

And now we are caught in a logical bind.

If we want to be fair

Then the answer is share

Two peoples – one fate

I hope it’s not too late.

Entry 28: I nominate Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt

Dec 31, 2010

Hazel Kahan


Entry 28 in the Mondo Awardsend-of-year Inspire-us contest is the nomination by Hazel Kahan of Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt:

I must bring to your attention Aya and Tamar, the two brave, stalwart, indefatigable Israeli women of Mahsanmilim who report from the checkpoints using the written word and “no comment” videos (available on their website). I admire them also for not simply reporting but for also following up, sometimes years later.

This morning I received their report from a military courthouse, Courtroom 2, where young Palestinian boys are sentenced, this time by a woman judge:

By Aya Kaniuk & Tamar Goldschmidt

Only two family members are allowed to come to the trial. This is usually the only time they can come and see their son, and they do. Time after time. They may bring cigarettes and money for the long day awaiting them. Nothing else. Not even medication, nor tissues, nor food, nor a book or a newspaper. We, visitors who are not Palestinian, are allowed to bring in a notebook and pen. But not tissues. We have no privileges concerning tissues.

Perhaps because tissues are evidence that there is something to cry over, and the State of Israel is not willing to name its own deeds at the end of which lies weeping. And its necessity is the evidence and the visibility of that which Israel is not willing to name, that and the anticipated weeping. Perhaps that is why tissues are not allowed in court.

One man managed to smuggle in a roll of toilet paper despite the order forbidding tissues. Apparently deep in his clothes he dared to hide toilet paper, soft as tissues. Now he moved from woman to woman, handing out bits of toilet paper to every single one of them, all the mothers, so they would have it ready for the tears when they would come. When he handed it to us as well we were ashamed, because we have no spouses or sons in jail. And because the man only had one roll of paper, we felt uneasy that we were getting some at the expense of someone else.

Finally we were lucky to have gotten it. Because all that remains in this accursed place is to weep. The warmth of the wet, salty tears is the only possibly warmth inside this sinister ticking mechanism that no word could encompass or cover.

And so child after child. Everything seems reasonable to her, and to the rest of those judges. Eight months, and six, and once again having to pay 5000 shekel.

This fine that is always eventually charged. More and more money to be paid by those who don’t have any to begin with. Or else the son will sit another few months, as many as the thousands of shekels that were required in payment.

A child arrives wearing a short-sleeved shirt, shivering with cold. Apparently he is fifteen but looks younger. Does not know who his lawyer is. No parents. Bites his fingernails. Sucks his thumb. His look is scattered and scared. He is accused of having thrown stones. Attorney Samara volunteers to take him on.

I request the postponement of this case in order to complete it by the 13th of next month, says the judge. Three weeks from today. And the defendant gives his parents’ phone number to the lawyer. The policeman has already shackled the child who rises and stands to be led out again, and the judge asks resentfully, why is he not dressed, just such a light shirt in this cold weather? How could this be?

Her pitying voice is not directed at anyone in particular.

Indeed, one should resent and hurt the fact that he is cold, your honor. But why just this? What about their having come in the dead of night to pick him up? That he has not seen a lawyer until now? That there was no adult present at his interrogation? That his parents have not been informed of his whereabouts? That he was arrested on the basis of denunciation? That he was not released on bail? That he has been in custody for months before his trial began?

And if he did throw stones, how would you know? Is this the way to find out? Can one find out at all?

And if he did, your honor, is this what he deserves?

Would this happen, your honor, were this a Jewish child who threw stones?

No need to answer, your honor, the answer is obvious.

Entry 27: Motherhood in Palestine

Dec 31, 2010

Randa Hamwi Duwaji


This is Entry 27 in the Mondo Awards end-of-year Inspire-us contest. The author gives her bio at the bottom.

Just because I cannot keep

My child away

From the battlefield

Outside our door


Just because I do not gather

All the stones from the streets

And tear his slings


Just because I am unable

To shield my children from the hail

Of raging bullets

Or lead away from a sniper’s aim


Just because neither I nor my children

Have a choice

But to suffer

And deal with pain in our own way

Depending on what

Today has offered

And tomorrow might bring


Just because you do not see me

Weep for him


Just because I try to greet

Each homecoming

With a measure of pride

And skillfully hide


My aching

You think I do not

Love my child?

I do grieve

Oh, how I grieve

But I try to do so bravely


I still hear

My young son’s voice

Resounding in the air

I feel so proud

My baby dared

To call out loud

For freedom


Those who believe

Themselves to be free

Take freedom for granted at times

Misuse it

Even abuse it


Is the ‘free world’

Truly allowed

To think freely today?


As their media travels

On a single track

Back, back, back


To medieval times

When it was heresy to say

Opposing things

Or think for oneself?


Today it is heresy of a kind

To state simple truths

Such as how and where

My children die


Heresy it would be

To find out why

-Palestinian Mother that I am-

I do not cry


Oh, Palestinian motherhood!

Your pain spans generations

Your new suffering at each juncture


The expansion of Israel


If only people

Could judge for themselves

Unswayed by the lies

Of Israel’s media machine

They would sympathize

With our desperate attempts

To break our confines

And be free!


They would recognize

That my child

Is a reckless hero


Just as theirs would be

If he tried with slingshots

To fight armed gangs

In the back- streets

Of western towns


But here, in this,

Our occupied land

Where we are stripped

Of everything

No present, no future, no dignity

No schools, no jobs, no security


Where our children get blinded

Soldiers aim for young eyes

Where our children get killed

Israel rids itself

Of young Palestinian lives


Where when one hero is down

There always rises


With a sling

To challenge

The mighty military machine


That has made this sacred land

A cemetery


And while all that goes on

Waiting at home

Are the worried, helpless mothers

Battling bereavement in our minds

Every waking moment

Of our lives


But wait

What’s happening outside?

Oh no!


It’s one of my own

This time!

Oh God! This is it

My day has arrived

And this

Is my moment


I let my husband support me

We ignore all the sorrowful faces

And look on as our child

In his white shroud

Is finally laid to rest


With some hesitation

We sprinkle the earth upon him

And suddenly, we both hear it

A friendly whisper from the crowds

Echoed again, out loud


A song of liberation

Transcending space and time

To the beginning of creation


“Your child is finally free…”


How true! Our child is finally free!


And my husband presses my hand

Yes, I know

His darling body is forever

In the best of resting places…

In the ever-loving embrace

Of Motherland.

The author states: As a young Syrian girl, travelling the world with my Diplomat parents, I’d felt protected… until I witnessed the two wars of 1967 and 1973. Diving into the basement did not save our neighbors from the Israeli warplanes which flattened their building and many others … while the bomb which landed in our garden failed to explode. As we stood that day by order of the bomb-squad at the secure perimeter they’d set up, looking, perhaps for the last time, at our home in Damascus, I realized the existence of another world which I felt guiltily-fortunate not to inhabit: The world of a Palestinian. I realized that nothing can compare to the suffering of valiant people, struggling every moment to live- and die- in their homeland. And I began voicing their pain: The pain of young boys and girls, of fathers and mothers.. of the elderly and the dying.. even the pain of their keys, who now have no owner and no home.

Protesters in Bil’in remove parts of Israel’s wall

Dec 31, 2010

Hamde Abo Rahmah


Hundreds of protesters marched on Friday at the village of Bil’in in a year-end protest of the Israeli-built wall on villagers’ lands.

Despite an Israeli army blockade on the village since early morning, Israeli and international supporters joined the protest. And the Palestinian Prime Minister and other local leaders joined the villagers of Bil’in this week.

As is the case for the past six years, the protest started after the midday prayers at the village mosque had ended. As soon as people reached the wall local youth then dismantled parts of it. Israeli soldiers stationed at the nearby gate separating local farmers from their lands fired tear gas.

A local youth was hit with a tear gas canister in his face and was moved to Ramallah city for treatment, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

“Today the wall was dismantled in Bil’in, soon it will fall all over the West Bank, Bil’in will continue its popular resistance.” Eyad Burnat, head of the local committee against the wall and settlement told Palestine News Network during a phone interview.

The Israeli High Court ruled that the path of the Wall in Bil’in is illegal and must be rerouted more than three years ago.  The court ruling gave the villagers 800 dunoms of the 2300 dunoms of land it took to construct the wall and the nearby settlement. The Israeli army still refuses to remove the wall.

Even though the nature of Bil’in protests was nonviolent in most case they have been meet with lethal force by the army. In September of 2009 Israeli soldiers shot and killed Bassem Abu Rahma while protesting the Israeli wall.

Sister of Palestinian killed last year in Bil’in now struggles for her life following gassing at today’s demo

Dec 31, 2010

Jonathan Pollak


Jonathan Pollak of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reports:

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas fired towards protesters in Bil’in earlier today. She is currently in critical condition and is not responding to treatment. Another protester required hospitalization after being hit in the face with a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him.

Doctors at the Ramallah hospital are currently fighting for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life, after an acute deterioration in her condition this evening. Abu Rahmah suffered during today’s demonstration in Bil’in from severe tear-gas inhalation, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital. She is currently diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and is not responding to treatment.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah is the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in Bil’in on April 17th, 2009.

The Phantom Menace: Fantasies, falsehoods, and fear-mongering about Iran’s nuclear program

Dec 31, 2010

Nima Shirazi


“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary.”

– George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Facts rarely get in the way of American and Israeli fear-mongering and jingoism, especially when it comes to anti-Iran propaganda. For nearly thirty years now, U.S. and Zionist politicians and analysts, along with some of their European allies, have warned that Iranian nuclear weapons capability is just around the corner and that such a possibility would not only be catastrophic for Israel with its 400 nuclear warheads and state-of-the-art killing power supplied by U.S. taxpayers, but that it would also endanger regional dictatorships, Europe, and even the United States.

If these warnings are to be believed, Iran is only a few years away from unveiling a nuclear bomb…and has been for the past three decades. Fittingly, let’s begin in 1984.

An April 24, 1984 article entitled “‘Ayatollah’ Bomb in Production for Iran in United Press International referenced a Jane’s Intelligence Defense Weekly report warning that Iran was moving “very quickly” towards a nuclear weapon and could have one as early as 1986.

Two months later, on June 27, 1984, in an article entitled “Senator says Iran, Iraq seek N-Bomb,” Minority Whip of the U.S. Senate Alan Cranston was quoted as claiming Iran was a mere seven years away from being able to build its own nuclear weapon. In April 1987, the Washington Post published an article with the title “Atomic Ayatollahs: Just What the Mideast Needs – an Iranian Bomb,” in which reporter David Segal wrote of the imminent threat of such a weapon.

The next year, in 1988, Iraq issued warnings that Tehran was at the nuclear threshold.

By late 1991, Congressional reports and CIA assessmentsmaintained a “high degree of certainty that the government of Iran has acquired all or virtually all of the components required for the construction of two to three nuclear weapons.” In January 1992, Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset that “within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb.”

Furthermore, a February 1992 report by the U.S. House of Representatives suggested that Iran would have two or three operational nuclear weapons by April 1992.

In March 1992, The Arms Control Reporter reported that Iran already had four nuclear weapons, which it had obtained from Russia. That same year, the CIA predicted an Iranian nuclear weapon by 2000, then later changed their estimate to 2003.

A May 1992 report in The European claims that “Iran has obtained at least two nuclear warheads out of a batch officially listed as ‘missing from the newly independent republic of Kazakhstan.'”

Speaking on French television in October 1992, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres warned the international community that Iran would be armed with a nuclear bomb by 1999. The following month, the New York Times reported that Israel was confident Iran would “become a nuclear power in a few years unless stopped.”

The same year, Robert Gates, then-director of the CIA, addressed the imminent threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. “Is it a problem today?” he asked at the time, “probably not. But three, four, five years from now it could be a serious problem.”

On January 23, 1993, Gad Yaacobi, Israeli envoy to the UN, was quoted in the Boston Globe, claiming that Iran was devoting $800 million per year to the development of nuclear weapons. Then, on February 24, 1993, CIA director James Woolsey said that although Iran was “still eight to ten years away from being able to produce its own nuclear weapon” the United States was concerned that, with foreign assistance, it could become a nuclear power earlier.

That same year, international press went wild with speculationover Iranian nuclear weapons. In the Spring of 1993, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Times, the conservative French weekly Paris Match, and Foreign Report all claimed Iran had struck a deal with North Korea to develop nuclear weapons capability, while U.S. intelligence analysts alleged an Iranian nuclear alliance with Ukraine. Months later, the AFP reported Switzerland was supplying Iran with nuclear weapons technology, while the Intelligence Newsletter claimed that the French firm CKD was delivering nuclear materials to Iran andU.S. News and World Report accused Soviet scientists working in Kazakhstan of selling weapons-grade uranium to Iran. By the end of 1993, Theresa Hitchens and Brendan McNally of Defense News and National Defense University analyst W. Seth Carushad reaffirmed CIA director Woolsey’s prediction “that Iran could have nuclear weapons within eight to ten years.”

In January 1995, John Holum, director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, testified before Congress that “Iran could have the bomb by 2003,” while Defense Secretary William Perry unveiled a grimmer analysis, stating that “Iran may be less than five years from building an atomic bomb, although how soon…depends how they go about getting it.” Perry suggested that Iran could potentially buy or steal a nuclear bomb from one of the former Soviet states in “a week, a month, five years.”

The New York Times reported that “Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than previously thought, and could be less than five years away from having an atomic bomb, several senior American and Israeli officials say,” a claim repeated by Greg Gerardi in The Nonproliferation Review (Vol. 2, 1995).

Benjamin Netanyahu, in his 1995 book “Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network,”wrote,”The best estimates at this time place Iran between three and five years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons.”

At the same time, a senior Israeli official declared, “If Iran is not interrupted in this program by some foreign power, it will have the device in more or less five years.” After a meeting in Jerusalem between Defense Secretary Perry and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, they announced that Iran would have a nuclear bomb in seven to 15 years.

On February 15, 1996, then-Israeli Foreign Minister Ehud Barak told members of the UN Security Council that Iran would beproducing nuclear weapons by 2004.

On April 29, 1996, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Shimon Peresclaimed in an interview with ABC that “the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option” and would “reach nuclear weapons” in four years. By 1997 the Israelis confidently predicted an active Iranian nuclear bomb by 2005.

In March 1997, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director John Holum again attested to a House panel that Iran would develop a nuclear weapon sometime between 2005 and 2007.

The following month, according to a report in Hamburg’s Welt am Sonntag, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) believed Iran had an active nuclear weapons development program and would be able to produce nuclear weapons by 2002, “although that timeframe could be accelerated if Iran acquires weapons-grade fissile material on the black market.” Eight days later, in early May 1997, a Los Angeles Times article quoted a senior Israeli intelligence official as stating that Iran would be able to make a nuclear bomb by “the middle of the next decade.”

On June 26, 1997, the U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf, General Binford Peay, stated that, were Iran to acquire access to fissile material, it would obtain nuclear weapons “sometime at the turn of the century, the near-end of the turn of the century.”

In September 1997, Jane’s Intelligence Defense Review reportedthat former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher declared, “we know that since the mid-1980s, Iran has had an organized structure dedicated to acquiring and developing nuclear weapons,” as then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Iranian nuclear technology program “may be the most dangerous development in the 21st century.”

Writing in the Jerusalem Post on April 9, 1998, Steve Rodanclaimed “Documents obtained by the Jerusalem Post show Iran has four nuclear bombs.” The next day, U.S. State Department spokesperson James Rubin addressed this allegation, stating, “There was no evidence to substantiate such claims.”

On October 21, 1998, General Anthony Zinni, head of U.S. Central Command, said Iran could have deliverable nuclear weapons by 2003. “If I were a betting man,” he said, “I would say they are on track within five years, they would have the capability.”

The next year, on November 21, 1999, a senior Israeli military official was quoted by AP reporter Ron Kampeas (who was later hired as Washington bureau chief for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency) saying, “Unless the United States pressures Russia to end its military assistance to Iran, the Islamic republic will possess a nuclear capability within five years.”

On December 9, 1999, General Zinni reiterated his assessment that Iran “will have nuclear capability in a few years.”

In a January 2000 New York Times article co-authored by Judith Miller, it was reported that the CIA suggested to the Clinton administration “that Iran might now be able to make a nuclear weapon,” even though this assessment was “apparently not based on evidence that Iran’s indigenous efforts to build a bomb have achieved a breakthrough,” but rather that “the United States cannot track with great certainty increased efforts by Iran to acquire nuclear materials and technology on the international black market.”

On March 9, 2000, the BBC stated that German intelligence once again believed Iran to be “working to develop missiles and nuclear weapons.”

The Telegraph reported on September 27, 2000 that the CIA believes Iran’s nuclear weapons capability to be progressing rapidly and suggests Iran will develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching London or New York within the next decade. CIA Deputy Director Norman Schindler is quoted as saying, “Iran is attempting to develop the capability to produce both plutonium and highly enriched uranium, and it is actively pursuing the acquisition of fissile material and the expertise and technology necessary to form the material into nuclear weapons.”

By the summer of 2001, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was warning that Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2005 and that, sometime in the next decade, the Iranian nuclear program would reach a “point of no return,” from which time “it would be impossible to stop it from attaining a bomb.” By the end of the year, despite an inquiry into the questionable validity of Israeli intelligence regarding the Iranian nuclear program, Mossad head Efraim Halevy repeated the claim that Iran is developing nuclear and other non-conventional weapons.

In early 2002, the CIA again issued a report alleging that Iran “remains one of the most active countries seeking to acquire (weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapons) technology from abroad…In doing so, Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons — chemical, biological, nuclear — and their delivery systems.” Soon thereafter, CIA Director George Tenet testified before a Senate hearing that Iran may be able to “produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of this decade…Obtaining material from outside could cut years from this estimate.”

During his “Axis-of-Evil” State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, George W. Bush declared that Iran was “aggressively” pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

On July 29, 2002, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Marshall Billingslea testified to the Senate that “Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons.” Three days later, after a meeting with Russian officials on August 1, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham stated that Iran was “aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons as well as [other] weapons of mass destruction.” By the end of the year, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was reiterating U.S. concerns about, what he termed, Iran’s “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities.”

In an interview with CNBC on February 2003, U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said that Iran is seeking technological assistance from North Korea and China to enhance its weapons of mass destruction programs. In April 2003, John Wolf, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, accused Iran of having an “alarming, clandestine program.”

That same month, the Los Angeles Times stated that “there is evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,” in a polling question regarding American attitudes toward Iran. The question followed, “Do you think the U.S. should or should not take military action against Iran if they continue to develop these weapons?” Fifty percent of respondents thought the U.S. should attack Iran.

The Telegraph reported on June 1, 2003 that “Senior Pentagon officials are proposing widespread covert operations against the government in Iran, hoping that dissident groups will mount a coup before the regime acquires a nuclear weapon.” The report contained a quote from a U.S. “government official with close links to the White House” as saying “There are some who see the overthrow of the regime as the only way to deal with the danger of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. But there’s not going to be another war. The idea is to destabilize from inside. No one’s talking about invading anywhere.”

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken in late June 2003 asked Americans, “How likely do you think it is that Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction?” 46% of those surveyed said “very likely,” while another 38% said “somewhat likely.” Only 2% replied “not at all likely.”

An August 5, 2003 report in the Jerusalem Post stated that “Iran will have the materials needed to make a nuclear bomb by 2004 and will have an operative nuclear weapons program by 2005, a high-ranking military officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.”

On October 21, 2003, Major General Aharon Ze’evi, Israel’s Director of Military Intelligence, declared in Ha’aretz that “by the summer of 2004, Iran will have reached the point of no return in its attempts to develop nuclear weapons.” A few weeks later, the CIA released a semi-annual unclassified report to Congress which stated Iran had “vigorously” pursued production of weapons of mass destruction and that the “United States remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.”

By mid-November 2003, Mossad intelligence service chief Meir Dagan testified for the first time before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and said that Iran was close to the “point of no return” in developing nuclear arms.

In early 2004, Ken Brill, U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA, reiterated the American position that Iran’s nuclear efforts are “clearly geared to the development of nuclear weapons.” One year later, on January 24, 2005, Mossad chief Meir Dagan againclaimed that Iran’s nuclear program was almost at the “point of no return,” adding “the route to building a bomb is a short one” and that Iran could possess a nuclear weapon in less than three years. On January 28, the Guardian quoted Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stating the same thing. He warned that Iran would reach “the point of no return” within the next twelve months in its covert attempt to secure a nuclear weapons capability. A week later, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on CNN that Iran was “on a path of seeking a nuclear weapon,” but admitted that Iran was “years away” from building a nuclear bomb.

By August 2005, a “high-ranking IDF officer” told the Jerusalem Post that Israel has revised its earlier estimate that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 2008, now putting the estimate closer to 2012. The same day, a major U.S. intelligence reviewprojected that Iran was approximately ten years away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, doubling its previous estimate.

Two weeks later, however, Israeli military chief General Aharon Zeevi contradicted both the new Israeli and U.S. estimates. “Barring an unexpected delay,” he said, “Iran is going to become nuclear capable in 2008 and not in 10 years.”

In November 2005, Mohammad Mohaddessin, chair of the so-called National Council of Resistance of Iran (otherwise known as the Islamist/Marxist terrorist cult Mojahadeen-e Khalq, orMEK, which is currently designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. government) addressed a European Parliament conference and proclaimed that the “Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is determined to pursue and complete Tehran’s nuclear weapons program full blast…[and] would have the bomb in two or three years time.”

On January 18, 2006, Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News that Iran was “acquiring nuclear weapons.”

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey conducted in late January 2006 asked, “Based on what you have heard or read, do you think that the government of Iran is or is not attempting to develop its own nuclear weapons?” 88% of those polled said Iran is.

82% of respondents to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken around the same time believed “Iran wants to use the uranium for military purposes, such as to build a nuclear weapons program.” 68% thought “Iran currently has a nuclear weapons program,” an increase of 8% from the previous year.

CBS News reported on April 26, 2007 that “a new intelligence report says Iran has overcome technical difficulties in enriching uranium and could have enough bomb-grade material for a single nuclear weapon in less than three years.”

In late May 2007, IAEA head Mohammad El Baradei stated that, even if Iran wanted to build a nuclear weapon (despite all evidence to the contrary), it would not be able to “before the end of this decade or some time in the middle of the next decade. In other words three to eight years from now.” On July 11, 2007, Ha’aretz reported that “Iran will cross the ‘technological threshold’ enabling it to independently manufacture nuclear weapons within six months to a year and attain nuclear capability as early as mid-2009, according to Israel’s Military Intelligence.” The report also noted that “U.S. intelligence predicts that Iran will attain nuclear capability within three to six years.”

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics opinion poll taken in late September 2007 found that 80% of Americans believed Iran’s nuclear program was for “military purposes.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres issued an official statement on October 18, 2007 that claimed “everyone knows [Iran’s] true intentions, and many intelligence agencies throughout the world have proof that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of war and death.”

Less than two months later, the New York Times released “Key Judgments From a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s Nuclear Activity,” a consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. The analysis, entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” concluded with “high confidence” that the Iranian government had “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003, “had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007,” and admitted that “we do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.” The NIE also found that “Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapon” and that “Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.” Also included in the report was the assessment that, if Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, “the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU [highly enriched uranium] for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely,” continuing, “Iran probably would be technically capable of producing enough HEU for a weapon sometime during the 2010-2015 time frame,” and adding that “All agencies recognize the possibility that this capability may not be attained until after 2015.”

report released on February 7, 2008 by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) asserted that Iran had tested a new, and more efficient, centrifuge design to enrich uranium. If 1,200 new centrifuges were operational, the reportsuggested , Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb in one year.

Less than a week later, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert told reporters, “We are certain that the Iranians are engaged in a serious…clandestine operation to build up a non-conventional capacity.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, in a speech at West Point that Spring, claimed that Iran “is hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons.”

On June 28, 2008, Shabtai Shavit, a former Mossad deputy director and influential adviser to the Israeli Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Sunday Telegraph that “worst-case scenario,” Iran may have a nuclear weapon in “somewhere around a year.”

In November 2008, David Sanger and William Broad of The New York Times reported that “Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts.” The article quoted nuclar physicist Richard L. Garwin, who helped invent the hydrogen bomb, as saying “They clearly have enough material for a bomb.” Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University and a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory said in the report that the growing size of the Iranian stockpile “underscored that they are marching down the path to developing the nuclear weapons option,” while Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council declared, “They have a weapon’s worth.” Peter D. Zimmerman, a physicist and former United States government arms scientist, cautioned that Iran was “very close” to nuclear weapons capability. “If it isn’t tomorrow, it’s soon,” he said, indicating the threshold could be reached in a matter of months.

David Blair, writing in The Telegraph on January 27, 2009,reported that the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) “has said Iran is months away from crossing a vital threshold which could put it on course to build a weapon,” continuing that “Mark Fitzpatrick, the senior fellow for non-proliferation at the IISS, said: ‘This year, it’s very likely that Iran will have produced enough low-enriched uranium which, if further enriched, could constitute enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon, if that is the route Iran so desires.'”

On February 12, 2009, CIA Director-to-be Leon Panetta, told a Capitol Hill hearing, “From all the information I’ve seen, I think there is no question that [Iran is] seeking [nuclear weapons] capability.” Later that month, Benjamin Netanyahu, then a candidate for Israeli Prime Minister, told a Congressional delegation led by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin that “he did not know for certain how close Iran was to developing a nuclear weapons capability, but that ‘our experts’ say Iran was probably only one or two years away and that was why they wanted open ended negotiations.” Soon after that, Israel’s top intelligence official Amos Yadlin said Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and was now capable of making a weapon.

In contrast to these allegations, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told a Senate hearing in early March 2009 that Iran had only low-enriched uranium, which would need further processing to be used for weapons, and continued to explain that Iran had “not yet made that decision” to convert it. “We assess now that Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium,” Blair said.

Speaking in private with U.S. Congressmembers in late Spring 2009, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak “estimated a window between 6 and 18 months from now in which stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons might still be viable.” In mid-June 2009, Mossad chief Meir Dagan said, “the Iranians will have by 2014 a bomb ready to be used, which would represent a concrete threat for Israel.”

On July 8, 2009, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned that the “window is closing” for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Mullen claimed that Iran was only one to three years away from successfully building a nuclear weapon and “is very focused on developing this capability.” A week later, Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency declared Iran was capable of producing and testing an atomic bomb within six months.

The following month, on August 3, The Times (UK) reported that Iran had “perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead” and “could feasibly make a bomb within a year” if given the order by head of state Ali Khamenei.

Meanwhile, a Newsweek report from September 16, 2009, indicated that the National Intelligence Estimate stood by its 2007 assessment and that “U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed.” Nevertheless, both ABC News/Washington Post and CNN/Opinion Research Corporationpolls taken in mid-October 2009 found that, “Based on what [they]’ve heard or read,” between 87% and 88% of respondents believed Iran to be developing nuclear weapons.

In November 2009, during a private meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Alexander Vershbow, and a number of senior Israeli defense officials in Israel, the head of Israel’s Defense Ministry Intelligence Analysis Production, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, “argued that it would take Iran one year to obtain a nuclear weapon and two and a half years to build an arsenal of three weapons.”

The Times (UK) reported on January 10, 2010 that retired Israeli brigadier-general and former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission Uzi Eilam “believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons,” despite the dire warnings from Major-General Amos Yadlin, head of Israeli military intelligence, who had recently told the Knesset defense committee that Iran would most likely be able to build a single nuclear device within the year.

In an interview with the U.S. military’s Voice of America on January 12, 2010, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, said there was no evidence that Iran has made a final decision to build nuclear weapons and confirmed that the key NIE finding that Iran has not yet committed itself to nuclear weapons was still valid. “The bottom line assessments of the NIE still hold true,” he said. “We have not seen indication that the government has made the decision to move ahead with the program.”

Barack Obama, in his first State of the Union speech on January 27, 2010 claimed that Iran was “violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Speaking in Doha, Qatar on February 14, 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed, what she called, “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Although Clinton said that the United States was attempting to “influence the Iranian decision regarding whether or not to pursue a nuclear weapon,” she added that “the evidence is accumulating that that’s exactly what they are trying to do, which is deeply concerning, because it doesn’t directly threaten the United States, but it directly threatens a lot of our friends, allies, and partners here in this region and beyond.”

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, taken at the same time as Clinton’s Doha visit, revealed that 71% of Americans believed Iran already had nuclear weapons. Of those remaining respondents who didn’t think Iran already possessed a nuclear bomb, over 72% thought it either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that “Iran will have nuclear weapons in the next few years.”

At an April 14, 2010 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lieutenant General Burgess, stated that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a year and in three years build one that could be deployed, despite having judged that Iran didn’t even have an active nuclear weapons program a mere four months earlier.

Perennial warmongers David Sanger and William Broad of theNew York Times reported on May 31, 2010 that “Iran has now produced a stockpile of nuclear fuel that experts say would be enough, with further enrichment, to make two nuclear weapons.”

On June 11, 2010, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates saidthat “Most people believe that the Iranians could not really have any nuclear weapons for at least another year or two. I would say the intelligence estimates range from one to three years.”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on June 24, 2010, introduced by Democratic Congressman Jim Costa of California, that “condemn[ed] the Government of Iran’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and unconventional weapons and ballistic missile capabilities.”

CIA Director Leon Panetta said on June 27, 2010, Iran would need two years to prepare two tested and operational nuclear weapons. “We think they have enough low-enriched uranium for two weapons,” Panetta told Jake Tapper of ABC News, continuing to explain that Iran would require one year to enrich the material to weapon-grade levels and “another year to develop the kind of weapon delivery system in order to make that viable.”

On July 22, 2010, nearly a third of House Republicans signedonto a resolution which stated that “Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons” and “express[ed] support for the State of Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel.”

On August 19, 2010, the New York Times quoted Gary Samore, President Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues, as saying that the U.S. believes Iran has “roughly a year dash time” before it could convert nuclear material into a working weapon.

Following the release of the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Telegraph declared that Iran was “on [the] brink of [a] nuclear weapon,” had “passed a crucial nuclear threshold,” and “could now go on to arm an atomic missile with relative ease.”

In his attention-grabbing September 2009 cover story for The Atlantic, entitled “The Point of No Return,” Israeli establishment mouthpiece Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that, according to Israeli intelligence estimates, “Iran is, at most, one to three years away from having a breakout nuclear capability (often understood to be the capacity to assemble more than one missile-ready nuclear device within about three months of deciding to do so).”

Joint Chiefs chairman Mullen, speaking in Bahrain on December 18, 2010, said, “From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilizing to the region.”

A week ago, on December 22, 2010, the great prognosticator Sarah Palin wrote in USA Today that “Iran continues to defy the international community in its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Two days ago, December 29, 2010, Reuters quoted Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon as claiming Iran would soon have a nuclear weapon. “I don’t know if it will happen in 2011 or in 2012, but we are talking in terms of the next three years,” he said, adding that in terms of Iran’s nuclear time-line, “we cannot talk about a ‘point of no return.’ Iran does not currently have the ability to make a nuclear bomb on its own.”

And Just hours after this article was originally posted on December 29, United Press International published the findings of a new public opinion poll conducted by Angus-Reid. The pollfound that 70% of respondents believe “the Government of Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Only 11 per cent of Americans do not believe that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program, while one-in-five (19%) are not sure.”

Despite all of these hysterical warnings, no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has ever been revealed. The IAEA has repeatedly found, through intensive, round-the-clock monitoring and inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities – including numerous surprise visits to Iranian enrichment plants – that all of Iran’s centrifuges operate under IAEA safeguards and “continue to be operated as declared.”

As far back as 1991, then-Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Hans Blix, made it clear that there was “no cause for concern” regarding Iran’s attempts to acquire nuclear technology. Twelve years later, in an IAEA report from November 2003, the agency affirmed that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” Furthermore, after extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, the IAEA again concluded in its November 2004 report that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

During a press conference in Washington D.C. on October 27, 2007, IAEA Director-General El Baradei confirmed, “I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons program going on right now.” He continued, “Have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weapons program? No.”

By May 2008, the IAEA still reported that it had found “no indication” that Iran has or ever did have a nuclear weapons program and affirmed that “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material [to weaponization] in Iran.” On February 22, 2009, IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming even issued a statement clarifying the IAEA’s position regarding the flurry of deliberatelymisleading articles in the US and European press claiming that Iran had enriched enough uranium “to build a nuclear bomb.” The statement, among other things, declared that “No nuclear material could have been removed from the [Nantanz] facility without the Agency’s knowledge since the facility is subject to video surveillance and the nuclear material has been kept under seal.”

This assessment was reaffirmed in September 2009, in response to various media reports over the past few years claiming that Iran’s intent to build a nuclear bomb can be proven by information provided from a mysterious stolen laptop and a dubious, undated – and forged – two-page document. The IAEA stated, “With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.”

In his Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, delivered on February 2, 2010, National Intelligence director Dennis Blair stated, “We continue to assess [that] Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that bring it closer to being able to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

In a Spring 2010 Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Related to Weapons of Mass Destruction, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis Peter Lavoy affirmed that “we do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to produce nuclear weapons.”

Speaking with Charlie Rose in November 2010, Blair once againreiterated that “Iran hasn’t made up its mind” whether or not to pursue nuclear weaponry. On November 28, 2010, a diplomatic cable made available by Wikileaks revealed that, in December 2009, senior Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad told Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher that “he was not sure Tehran had decided it wants a nuclear weapon.”

Back in October 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted former IAEA weapons inspector David Albright as saying, with regard to new reports about a possible Iranian nuclear weapons program revealed by the MEK, “We should be very suspicious about what our leaders or the exile groups say about Iran’s nuclear capacity.”

Albright continued, “There is a drumbeat of allegations, but there’s not a whole lot of solid information. It may be that Iran has not made the decision to build nuclear weapons. We have to be very careful not to overstate the intelligence.”

It appears that nothing much has changed in the past seven years, let alone the previous three decades.

Whereas the new year will surely bring more lies and deception about Iran and its nuclear energy program, more doublespeak and duplicity regarding the threat Iran poses to the United States, to Israel and to U.S.-backed Arab dictatorships, and more warmongering and demonization from Zionist think tanks, right-wing and progressive pundits alike, the 112th Congress and the Obama administration, the truth is not on their side.

“Facts are stubborn things,” John Adams said in 1770. “And whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Here’s hoping that, in 2011, the facts will begin to matter.

Happy New Year.

A version of this post originally appeared on Nima Shirazi’s blogWide Asleep in America.

Entry 26: Gaza Riviera

Dec 31, 2010

Morad Fareed


This is Entry 26 in the Mondo Awards end-of-year Inspire-us contest. The author also wrote our first Entry.

Gaza-ing through the bullet-lit sky

I wonder why I ignored the cries from this place

Where my feet now stand

Where even waste lays waste

I fertilize hope

So my son may get her face

I lean on the gods

That I may catch upto words.


Gaza-ing at the branches I never had time to see

I want to leave behind this place

Where blood blossoms on each tree

Where pride masks each face.

I am more self aware

I no longer chase

I am more afraid

He will get my face.

I can’t find the words.


Gaza-ing at the sea I had not the patience to understand

I just want to connect to this place.

Where an the act of opening your hand

Is to give – not take.

How could I have neglected such a special place

Where dreams have a dream

But only for dreaming’s sake.


Gaza-ing at the hills I will never truly know

I wish I could spraypaint the annals of this place

I’d hijack jills.

I’d roll up these hills.

I’d keep him safe.


When can I return to this place

Where the gods shrug to God

And he begs to Fate

But he too knows he arrived here

Just a little too late


Gaza is burning. 

Entry 25: Haiku for Rebecca

Dec 31, 2010

Pamela Olson


This is Entry 25 in the Mondo Awards end-of-year Inspire-us contest.

R. Vilkomerson

has worked steadily to bring

BDS to life

Posted in Middle EastComments Off on MONDOWEISS ONLINE NEWSLETTER




by Mehdi Hasan

 28 December 2010


New documents reveal the deliberate callousness and cruelty of the Israeli blockade.

I’m delighted to reveal that Amira Hass, the award-winning Israeli reporter and correspondent for Haaretz, and a journalistic hero of mine, has written our cover story on Gaza for the New Year special issue of the New Statesman – which hits the newsstands tomorrow. Two years on from the Israeli onslaught on the strip, Hass examines the legacy of the three-week war and asks whether Israeli troops are preparing for another conflict with the poor Palestinians of Gaza.

I’ve written a short “box” to go with her essay, in which I examine the ongoing Israeli-Egyptian blockade against the Gazans and note the release of three official Israeli government documents which suggest the Jewish state had considered “a policy of deliberate restriction” of basic goods into the strip.

Here’s an extract:

In October, the Israeli human rights group Gisha published three documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that outlined the Israeli government’s policy for permitting transfer of goods into Gaza prior to Tel Aviv’s attack on the international aid flotilla on 31 May. The released documents showed that the Israeli state approved “a policy of deliberate restriction” of basic goods, including food and fuel, to people living in the Gaza Strip.

The published papers contained a series of mathematical formulae, created by the Israeli ministry of defence, to calculate the “product inventory” inside the strip. “The calculations are presumed to allow Cogat [Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories] to measure what is called the ‘length of breath’,” the Gisha website notes. “The formula states that if you divide the inventory in the Strip by the daily consumption needs of residents, you will get the number of days it will take for residents of Gaza to run out of that basic product, or in other words, until their ‘length of breath’ will run out.”

The documents expose the cynicism of Israeli government officials – and yet, as the media analysis website Media Lens has remarked, not a single British newspaper has reported on their existence.

Read the full piece in the magazine tomorrow.

In the meantime, check out the Gisha website for the full selection of documents, translated from Hebrew into English.

Posted in GazaComments Off on THE STRANGULATION OF GAZA


Jan 1, 2011




‘Foreign hands’ behind Egypt attack


PA blasts Zionist over latest ‘war crime’


Iran denies report that Ahmadinejad was slapped


Gaza aid flotilla to dock in Egyptian port of el-Arish


Bil’in protester dies after exposure to tear gas shot by Zio=Nazi Gistapo


Mastercard Hosted Mossad Assassins, Blocked WikiLeaks


Man Strips at Va. Airport Checkpoint in Protest


Gaza war victims live in sorrow and silence


Iran accuses Zio=Nazi of kidnapping former deputy defense minister


Egypt bars Iranian activists from Gaza


Palestinian draft condemning Zio=Nazi illegal settlements designed to win U.S. support


Brazil hosts first Palestinian ‘embassy’ in Americas


‘UN must study abducted Iranians case’


‘No rift between IRGC and Iran govt.’


Iran to prosecute ‘heads of sedition’


Nazi troops attack anti-wall protesters


Settlers set fire to home as seven Palestinians sleep inside


Birth defects in Fallujah 11 times the norm


Research links rise in Falluja birth defects and cancers to US assault


Zio-Nazi official claims that US will block Palestinian efforts at UN


Another Way to Remember the Gaza War


Obama’s Selective Outrage: Rage Against Russia, Silence at Indian Injustice


Please check out the brand new book detailing Israel’s deliberate attack on the USS LIBERTY here 

Posted in UKComments Off on NOVANEWS**NOVANEWS




Dear Friends,


The initial 3 items do not bode well for the new year.  They all deal with the same topic: death.  The news begins with the announcement of a Palestinian woman being severely injured yesterday in Bil’in at the protest against the route of the wall and theft of village land, and continue today in item 2 with her death, and in item 3 her burial.  A protest of the killing is being held this moment in Tel Aviv.


 I’m not superstitious, but the protester’s injury the last day of the former year and death today seem to suggest that what was will be, that this year will only be worse not better than last year.  I hope that I am wrong.  We’ll learn whether I am or not when 2011 becomes 2012.


Following the three items on 36 year old Jawaher Abu Rahmah, item 4 from the Jerusalm Post says that its readers rated the story about Israel’s attack of the Mavi Marmara as the top news story of the year.  The Jerusalem Post report is surprisingly not favorable to Israel on the issue.


Items 5 and 6 are brief and in a more positive vein.  Item 5 tells us that Egypt will allow a boat carrying supplies for Gaza to dock, to unload some of its cargo, and to allow most of the passengers to accompany the cargo into Gaza via the Rafah crossing.  Considering Egypt’s past conduct regarding convoys into Gaza, this is an improvement.


Item 6 relates that there is a new orchestra in town: the Palestine National Orchestra.  May it have a long and successful life.




1.Press Release

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

January 1, 2011


Israeli Forces Kill Female Protester in Bil’in


Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital yesterday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning this morning. Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who was also killed during a peaceful protest  in Bil’in on April 17th, 2010.


Doctors at the Ramallah hospital fought for Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s life all night at the Ramallah Hospital, but were unable to save her life. Abu Rahmah suffered from severe asphyxiation caused by tear-gas inhalation yesterday in Bil’in, and was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital unconscious. She was diagnosed as suffering from poisoning caused by the active ingredient in the tear-gas, and did not respond to treatment.


Jawaher Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bil’in activist, Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in the village on April 17th, 2009. See here for a video of his shooting.


Media Contact: Jonathan Pollak +972-54-632-7736


Mohammed Khatib, a member of the Bil’in Popular Committee said this morning: “We are shocked and furious for Israel’s brutality, which once again cost the life of a peaceful demonstrator. Israel’s lethal and inhumane response to our struggle will not pass. In the dawn of a new decade, it is time for the world to ask Israel for accountability and to bring about an end to the occupation.” 


Adv. Michael Sfard, who represents the village in an appeal against the Wall added: “The son was killed by a directly aimed projectile, the daughter choked in gas. Two brave protestors against a regime that kills the innocent and doesn’t investigate its criminals.  We will not quiet, we will not give up, we will not spare any effort until those responsible will be punished. And they will.” 



2. Haaretz,

January 01, 2011


Bil’in protester dies after exposure to tear gas shot by IDF

Palestinian PM Fayyad also present at the weekly West Bank anti-separation wall demonstration where Jawaher Abu Rahmah was critically injured.


By Amira Hass and Anshel Pfeffer

Tags: IDF Israel news


A resident of the West Bank village of Bil’in died on Saturday morning in a Ramallah hospital after she was exposed to tear gas that was shot by IDF soldiers to disperse the crowd of demonstrators against the separation wall in the village on Friday.


[ Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists run away from tear gas in the West Bank village of Bil’in, December 31, 2010.

 Photo by: Reuters] 


Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36 years old, was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed by an extended-range tear gas projectile fired at his chest by IDF soldiers at a demonstration against the separation wall in Bil’in on April 17, 2009.


Weekly demonstrations against the fence have been held in Bil’in for the past five years, where villagers say the barrier unjustly separates them from their lands. In 2007, the Supreme Court accepted these arguments and ruled that the route of the fence should be moved, and that some 170 acres of land be returned to the villagers. The IDF has yet to implement the court’s decision.


The weekly demonstrations against the separation wall set out from the village under the banner ‘The Last Day of the Wall.’ Although the IDF announced that the area was a closed military zone and set up a number of roadblocks around the village, hundreds of Palestinian, Israel and international demonstrators succeeded in reaching the center of the village by foot.


Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was also present at the demonstration in order to show support for the Palestinian popular struggle in Bil’in and throughout the West Bank. Fatah youth from various locations across the West Bank came to the village on Friday to participate in the demonstration.


Over the course of the demonstration, activists succeeded in tearing three holes in the chain-link fence that comprises the separation barrier in Bil’in, and in removing a section of it, which they later mounted on display in the center of the village.


Demonstrators reported that IDF soldiers shot massive amounts of tear gas into the village, and that they felt that the tear gas was especially potent. After Abu Rahmah choked on the gas, she was taken to a hospital in Ramallah.


The doctors that treated Abu Rahmah told her family that she was not responding to their treatment. Over the course of the night, her condition worsened, and she died at nine o’clock in the morning on Saturday.


  Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (C) takes part in a march inside the West Bank village of Bilin, December 31, 2010.


Photo by: Reuters 


The IDF spokesperson has yet to issue an official public statement regarding the incident, but some IDF sources have said that there was no irregular use of tear gas at Friday’s demonstration.


The IDF sources say Abu Rahmah’s death may have been the result of an asthmatic condition compounded by the tear gas, and that if the gas had been any different than usual more people who have been negatively affected by it.


The sources added that the incident was under investigation and that they are awaiting clarifications from Palestinian medical officials, as they have up until now received inconsistent reports from the Palestinian side.


Over a year after Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s brother Bassem was killed by an extended-range tear gas projectile in April 2009, the IDF Military Advocate General ordered the army’s criminal investigations unit to investigate his death.


The investigation was initiated after video footage was produced showing that Abu Rahmah did not act violently and experts testified that the tear gas canister that killed him had been aimed directly at him, in violation of military orders.


Although Abu Rahmah’s death is still officially under investigation, IDF soldiers quietly resumed the use of the prohibited tear gas canisters to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank last month.


Ashraf Abu Rahmah, a cousin to Jawaher and Bassem, was also injured by IDF forces back in 2008. After being detained at a protest against the separation fence near the West Bank village of Na’alin on July 7, 2008, an IDF soldier shot him in the leg with a rubber bullet while he was bound and blindfolded.


The incident was caught on camera by a villager and released by the human rights group B’Tselem. The IDF soldier that shot Abu Rahmah told military police investigators that his battalion commander had ordered him three times to fire at the protester.


3.  Ynet,

January 01, 2011


    Abu-Rahma laid to rest


Jawaher Abu-Rahma whose brother also killed during non-violent protests against Bilin separation fence laid to rest day after inhaling tear gas,7340,L-4007411,00.html


Yair Altman


Jawaher Abu Rahma, who died less than 24 hours after participating in a protest against the West Bank separation fence at Bilin, was buried Saturday afternoon in her village. Abu Rahma was the sister of Bassem, who was killed at similar Bilin protest in 2009, and Ashraf, who was shot by an IDF soldier when his hands were cuffed.


The Palestinian Authority was quick to voice its condemnation, and the IDF is investigating the circumstances of her death.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Abu Rahma’s family to express his condolences. At the same time, Sultan Abu Al-Einein from the Fatah Central Committee came to the house to deliver a message of condolence from the Palestinian president, who is currently in Brazil. Palestinian media reported that Abbas condemned the “Israeli crime which is part of a series of crimes carried out by the occupation army against our helpless nation.” 


Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also voiced his condemnation, calling the killing a “war crime.”


“We condemn this appalling crime by the Israeli army against participants in a peace-seeking protest,” he said. “This is part of war crimes Israel carries out against our nation.” 


Palestinian sources said Abu Rahma died in a hospital in Ramallah from blood poisoning after inhaling a large quantity of tear gas. The IDF and the Civil Administration have opened investigations into the death. IDF sources claimed surprise at the death, because, they said, there had been no exceptional use of tear gas – neither quantity nor type.


Muhammad Abu Rahma, Jawaher’s uncle, spoke of her activities and the moment she was hurt. “She came to all the protests during the last five years,” he said.


“Yesterday (Friday) they fired an unprecedented quantity of tear gas at us, and Jawaher was trapped in an area where there was a huge cloud of gas. She didn’t manage to get out, lost consciousness, and inhaled large amounts of gas. We managed to locate her only after some minutes, because the gas made it hard to find her.”


4.  Jerusalem Post,

January 1, 2011      


 Photo by: IDF Spokesperson.


 Top Israeli news story of 2010: The Gaza flotilla raid





Like other military and diplomatic conflagrations in the past, the Gaza flotilla’s aftermath was most felt in its exposure of Israeli weaknesses. 


The results are in: Over 50% of readers voted the Gaza flotilla raid as the biggest Israeli news story of 2010. In second place were the fatal Carmel forest fires, with almost 35% of the vote.


Pistol shots before the break of down on May 31, 2010, signaled the plummeting of Israel-Turkey relations to an all time low.  The shooters, frogmen from the IDF’s elite Shayetet 13 naval commando unit had rappelled from black-hawk helicopters onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara in the Eastern Mediterranean, where they were swarmed by a stick-wielding mob.


When the dust settled, nine Turkish citizens lay dead, seven IDF commandos were injured, and Israel was dealing with a fresh round of international condemnation.


The Mavi Marmara was one of six ships taking part in the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” organized by the Free Gaza Movement and Turkish charity IHH that sought to break the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. The ships brought some humanitarian supplies, but their most important cargo were the cameras and broadcasting equipment that aired their message around the world in real time, before the Israeli hasbara machine could even get its shoes on.


The deaths on board the Mavi Marmara shone a light on the Gaza blockade in ways which surpassed Hamas in Gaza’s wildest dreams. Instantly, people across the world began to question whether the blockade was purely a security measure, or a form of collective punishment against the people of Gaza meant to weaken the ruling Hamas government. For the first time, the international community began to ask why items such as pasta or coriander were intermittently banned by the Israeli blockade, which on paper was presented as a security measure meant to protect the Israeli homefront from Hamas rockets and Iranian-supplied armaments that would rain death on the Israeli countryside if the blockade was lifted.

Less than a month later, Israel approved a plan to allow virtually all non-military items to enter the Gaza Strip. Egypt also eased their restrictions on the territory, opening the Rafah border crossing on the border with Gaza.


On the Israeli side, many saw the incident as the swan song of Israel’s solid, mutually beneficial military and economic alliance with Turkey. Instantly, large swaths of the Israeli public forgot that Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel (in 1949) and to disregard the strategic strength and billions of dollars in free trade annually that Israel gains from the alliance. Instead, Israelis began to question the merits of an alliance with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, which long before the Gaza flotilla raid showed signs of a worrying tilt away from the secular, western foundations of the modern Turkish republic.


In a sense, the raid on the flotilla was the culmination of a decline in Israel’s relations with Turkey ever since Erdogan became prime minister in 2003. The writing was already on the wall, with a number of highly publicized incidents including Erdogan’s verbal sparring with President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2009, and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon highly publicized upbraiding of Turkish diplomat Ahmet Oguz Celikkol in January 2010, who he forced to sit in a low chair in a tense meeting held to express Israeli concerns over a grossly anti-Semitic mini-series aired on Turkish TV.


Like other military and diplomatic conflagrations in the past, the Gaza flotilla’s aftermath was most felt in its exposure of Israeli weaknesses. Instantly, the world saw that even with Israel’s vaunted military and feared intelligence agencies, the country had no solution for a lightly-armed group of protesters playing chicken with the Israeli navy on the high seas. The flotilla also showed that in the absence of a sweeping, precise military solution, Israel’s diplomats fall far short of filling the void.


5.  Jerusalem Post,

January 1, 2011       


 Photo by: Creative Commons

 Gaza aid flotilla to dock in Egyptian port of el-Arish






Egyptian officials reportedly allow entry of 120 activists aboard Asia 1 while denying entry to 46 others from Iran, Jordan.  


An aid convoy to the Gaza Strip was expected to dock in Egypt’s el-Arish port on Saturday, Israel Radio reported.


Egyptian officials have given clearance to the Asia 1 to dock at el-Arish and enter Gaza from Rafah, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported on Friday.


The Asia 1, the first convoy to attempt to reach Gaza from Asia, began its journey from India and traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Syria before arriving in Lebanon last week.


Officials issued permits allowing for the entry of 120 of the activists aboard the ship, while denying entry to 46 others from Iran and Jordan, Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported.


According to the report, food, medical aid and toys were allowed to remain aboard the convoy, while 10 generators donated by Iran were among cargo that was banned by the Egyptians.


The convoy includes activists from more than 15 countries, according to Ma’an, including, Iran, India, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Kuwait.


Although activists aboard the ship were quoted by Iran’s Press TV as saying they were “completely non-violent,” the Israeli government was reportedly monitoring the convoy’s progress very carefully.


The mission was welcomed by Syria-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal while it was in Damascus last week, Press TV reported. 


6,  LA Times

December 31, 2010


WEST BANK: Palestine National Orchestra has its debut


Maher Abukhater in Ramallah, West Bank



Today an orchestra, tomorrow a state.


With these words, Suhail Khoury, director of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, introduced the Palestine National Orchestra in its debut Friday in the West Bank city of Ramallah.


More than 40 Palestinian and foreign musicians came together to make the dream of a national orchestra a reality. The task was not easy, particularly because most of the musicians also play with renowned orchestras around the world. But for most of them, putting together a Palestinian national orchestra is seen as a stepping stone toward building an independent state of Palestine.


“Today we are witnessing the birth of the Palestine National Orchestra at a time when the Palestinian struggle for independence is passing through one of its most critical and difficult moments,” Khoury said.


“The task of bringing Palestinian musicians together to add a new cornerstone in the building of an independent Palestinian state was a very difficult endeavor,” he said.


The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music was founded in the mid-1990s with a few students and part-time teachers. Today it has more than 500 students enrolled with more than 40 teachers introducing classical and oriental music to new generations of Palestinians, preparing them for the new state to come.


“We musicians truly believe that a state is not only about buildings and roads, but most importantly it is about its people, their values, their arts and their cumulative cultural identity,” Khoury said.


Some of the Palestinian musicians came from Arab countries, where they grew up as refugees after their families fled when Israel was established in 1948. For some it was their first time in their ancestral homeland, a dream they did not think will happen in their lifetime.


The national orchestra made that dream come true for them.


 Swiss conductor Baldur Bronnimann led the orchestra’s debut, playing music by Mozart, Beethoven and others to a packed auditorium. Mariam Tamari, born to a Palestinian father and a Japanese mother, performed the soprano solo in Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate.


The orchestra will have two more performances in the next couple of days, in Jerusalem and Haifa, Israel.


“The birth of the Palestine National Orchestra is the culmination of many years of preparation and hard work,” Khoury said.


“Although the Palestine National Orchestra will, for several years to come, be a one-time annual event, we will continue to work hard until this orchestra will become a full-fledged, full-time orchestra based in a free Palestine,” he said.


Posted in Middle EastComments Off on DOROTHY ONLINE NEWSLETTER



A few days ago we reported of the December 14 demolition of old and precious water cisterns by the Israeli military in the desert southeast of Hebron. These actions take place with a clear context; local Palestinian residents do not face only the military ruling their lives, but rather a military-settler conglomerate that is becoming increasingly violent, aggressive and arrogant.

For example, the cistern demolitions were carried out under the pretense that the cisterns (most of which were built before Israel controlled the region) are “unauthorized”. Who “authorizes” constructions in this remote West Bank region? South Hebron hills are part of “Area C” – the 60% of the West Bank which was kept under complete Israeli control in the Oslo accords. The intent of this arrangement was temporary, but since the accords collapsed, Israel has been treating “Area C” as part of its own territory – except, that is, for according any rights to its Palestinian inhabitants. Construction permits in “Area C” are granted by a “Civil Administration” committee manned mostly by ideological settlers. So a key component of the supposed formal authority of the military rule, is in fact directly controlled and manipulated by settler interests.

On December 13 – one day before the above demolitions – 15 settlers attacked the Wadi Ghesh hamlet south of Susya, severely beating Haj Khalil and Ibrahim (who subsequently needed to be hospitalized in Yatta) and causing considerable damage to their tents (see attached photos) – when we called the commander of the military forces in the area “Colonel Guy”, we were not surprised to hear from his manner of reply that he sees the settlers’ attack against the people of Wadi Ghesh as an understandable outburst.A settler outpost had some sheep missing, allegedly stolen by local Palestinians. Therefore, according to the ruling military-settler justice, it is perfectly understandable that settlers – whether the same ones or others sympathizing with them – take revenge upon some arbitrarily chosen Palestinian families, and we should just move on, “no harm done”.

Settlers, apparently feeling omnipotent on the ground but fearing geopolitical developments that will eventually curb their power, seem to be rushing to gobble up more Palestinian-owned farm and grazing lands, and lashing out in violence against vulnerable communities. The military, supposedly apolitical and formally in complete charge of law and order – but in fact completely dominated by settler interests in “Area C” – collaborates willingly.

And so the settler impunity invites more settler violence. Yesterday, Tuesday December 28, at 3 AM, Hajja Sara woke up to the sound of her dogs barking. Coming out of her living tent she saw her two adjacent kitchen tents going up in flames (pictures above). Then she noticed, on the dirt road, a vehicle starting up and driving towards the nearby Israeli Sussya settlement. Her son Ahmed woke up and managed to get the gas tanks out of the kitchen before they exploded.

Friends and neighbors began arriving to help. A firefighting vehicle sent from Yatta was held up by soldiers at a checkpoint, and arrived only after the residents had put out the fire themselves. They used a cistern dug last year, which we at the Villages Group had helped dig. When it was all over it turns out that Hajja Sara’s entire immaculate kitchen had burnt to the ground. The taboun earthen oven located in a nearby tin shack was burnt as well.

Hajja Sara is the sister of Haj Khalil who was beaten by settlers two weeks ago. She is especially vulnerable, living near the road connecting the settlement with the Israeli-run antique site and the notorious Dalia Har Sinai outpost, an outpost which sees its presence in the area as the continuation of a decade-long feud. This, by the way, is the same outpost whose settlers claimed the theft of sheep as a pretext to December 13′s attacks. A year ago Hajja Sara’s family succeeded in preventing a similar arson attempt, but they are the ongoing target for harassment and provocation such as young settlers speed-driving with ATV’s by their tents (two of the family’s dogs were run over during the past month).

The military and police authorities are, of course, well aware of the identity of the natural suspects for both attacks. Unfortunately, given the track record showing the settlers and military as two arms of the same effort to uproot the local population, and the total impunity accorded to the settlers by the military, there is little hope that any serious investigation will take place.

Instead, we ask you to contact Israeli embassies and consulates to alert them of this escalating wave of government-backed, government-sponsored criminal activity.Perhaps they will be more cognizant of how this makes Israel look.

Not less important, we continue to support our friends in the region in at this difficult time. If you would like to help us rebuild Hajja Sara’s kitchen, please contact Ehud at

Thank you.




A friend of mine here said that what we need are not “new year’s resolutions but new year’s revolutions.” So what do I hope for in this New Year? I hope for revolutions.

I hope the labor movements in Egypt overthrow their thug government, that the Palestinians in the Bantustan archipelago rid themselves of their mukhabarat, that the Arab monarchies collapse, that the Mizrahi Jews of Israel under the pressure of a burgeoning BDS campaign find themselves a leadership able to express their discontent in a way other than racism at those a little lower on the ladder than they are, that the Tunisian revolt explodes the Ben Ali regime, that the British student movement lights a radical fire under the feet of its neoliberal governments, that Russ Feingold runs for president and begins to rip apart the imperial arch in the Middle East, along with its keystone, Israel, that Palestine erupts in another Intifada, more like the first than the second; I hope that the third world unites in another Bandung around the issue of climate debt, that the Via Campesina destabilizes a few neoliberal governments in the global South, that there’s a global wave of land grabbing by peasants, and that the atomized US working class engages in a strike wave. And I hope that these aren’t just hopes, and that we turn them into the future.

To that end, I hope that the left and the Palestine solidarity movement move closer and closer, as they did at the United States Social Forum, at Detroit, and earlier this year in Albany, New York. So that’s my resolution: to do that little infinitesimal bit to make that revolution, to keep hitting the flint against the steel and to hope it hits dry tinder and to see that tinder erupt in flame.

So finally I hope too today that Jawaher Abu Rahma has not died in vain, and that the children being born today under Gaza’s grey sky can breathe free air before they have children, that my friends my age don’t live the rest of their youth amidst the psychic suffocation of siege, that my older friends, the revolutionary generations, Saber, Haidar, Mona, and the rest, can grow old to the joyous sound of shattering shackles and not to the soul-crushing clatter of them being forged.

The New Year is not so happy here in Gaza’s gloom, but like every day, it is full of hope—we can fill it with hope. Mahmoud Darwish, in an interview several years before he died, said that “Their national will is stronger in reaction to the challenge. They do not have another option but to continue to carry the hope that they are going to have a normal life. The Palestinian people feel that they are living the hours before dawn.” So I hope we can hasten dawn.

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