Saturday, 6 June 2009

Hezbollah no threat: former Lebanese PM

Link



The group ‘is not the monster it is made out to be in Israel and the West'

By PATRICK MARTIN

A respected former Lebanese prime minister says the West has nothing to fear should the Hezbollah-led opposition win Sunday's national election.

For one thing, says Salim el-Hoss, prime minister from 1976 to 1980, from 1987 to 1990 and from 1998 to 2000, the Change and Reform bloc that includes Hezbollah will almost certainly have no more than a narrow majority with which to wield power. Because of Lebanon's consociational democratic system (which divides power among the country's religious communities in a way that keeps any one from gaining too much power), other factions would have more than the one-third of the 128 seats in the legislature required to veto legislation.

More importantly, says Mr. el-Hoss, a Sunni Muslim, “Hezbollah is not the monster it is made out to be in Israel and the West.”

“Nasrallah has made it clear that he does not wish for Hezbollah to take power,” Mr. el-Hoss added, pointing out that the Hezbollah leader has been content to let the party's Shia ally, Amal, hold the influential parliamentary Speaker's position and a greater number of cabinet posts than Hezbollah could have claimed.

“He has also put Michel Aoun forward as the leader of the opposition bloc.”

General Aoun, a former chief of Lebanon's military, entered into an agreement with Hezbollah in 2006 calling for his largely Christian Free Patriotic Movement to work with the Shia party. It was the first time such a move has been made across sectarian lines in Lebanon.

Gen. Aoun has also made unprecedented overtures to Syria, which not that long ago wanted him dead.

In 1989 he fought Syrian forces after attempting to take over Lebanon's Syrian-backed government. Gen. Aoun would ultimately lose that battle, but only after several months and more than 1,000 deaths. He took refuge in the French embassy, which negotiated a deal allowing him to go into exile in France; he returned to Lebanon only after Syrian forces had left 15 years later.

It is noteworthy that Mr. el-Hoss should sing Gen. Aoun's praises, given that he was the prime minister that the general attempted to overthrow.

“That's past,” said Mr. el-Hoss, now 80 and in poor health. “I've come to believe that reaching across sectarian lines is exactly what this country needs, and this man can pull it off.”

He points to the south of the country where Christian communities are interspersed among Shia towns and villages. “These days, there are no clashes between those communities,” Mr. el-Hoss said. “They used to happen on a daily basis.” He credits the alliance between Gen. Aoun and Hezbollah with achieving this calm.

Sheik Nasrallah, he says, stood up to an Israeli invasion in 2006 and was still standing after Israel retreated. “It's appropriate,” Mr. el-Hoss said, “that Hezbollah should have a role in determining the next government.”

Is he not concerned that Hezbollah would want to create an Islamic state?

“Nonsense,” the former prime minister said. “No one can make anything of the kind out of Lebanon. It's too hard to get people to agree.”

“Look,” he concluded, “Sunnis are the people most sensitive to any threats from Shiites. I'm Sunni, and I can assure you, there's nothing to worry about.”

Source

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 5:51 AM

Robert Fisk’s World: A glimpse of Obama in a Cairo emptied of its people and its poor


link

The sight of POTUS was enough, a lithe, athletic figure by a dumpy little old lady

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Go into the average newspaper office and you'll find the reporters staring at Sky News or the BBC or Al-Jazeera International.

But visit the studios of Sky News, the BBC or Al-Jazeera International, and you'll discover that all the journalists there are reading newspapers. Its an odd form of osmosis which - being an old-fashioned reporter – I'm not very happy about. I still believe, along with an encouraging number of young Arab and Israeli reporters, that we've got to be out on the streets, just as I was when I started in journalism in the Blyth office of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. So Fisk was prowling the streets of Cairo this week, hunting for Obama and Lady Hilary.

A colleague gave me Obama's detailed schedule, and there was the key: "11.50 am: POTUS and Sec of State Clinton tour mosque." Poor old Obama, I thought. Surely he didn't deserve to be reduced to a codename like POTUS – until dimwit Fisk realised this stood for "President of the United States". How very American. The Sultan Hassan mosque was just below the citadel and with my faithful driver Amr (the Egyptian equivalent of my even more faithful driver Abed in Beirut), we swept through the police-heavy streets of Cairo to track down the POTUS and his lady. So empty were the drab boulevards of downtown Cairo that we drove at 60mph. I should add that Amr comes from the Citadel area of Cairo and knew every back street to avoid the thousands of cops thronging the usually filthy highways of this raving hot city. And we got there. The mosques and the great Citadel of the Mamlukes baked in the noontime sun and around them lounged or stood to attention or snooped thousands of uniformed or plain-clothes mukhabarat security police. They stood in the street, they stood atop 13th century mosques with rifles, they sat glowering in tea-shops. They had emptied the place of real people, genuine Egyptians, and had "become" Cairo. The plain-clothes lads - no women, of course – were all dressed in horrible 1970s suits with gun butts protruding from the bottom of their jackets. Each wore an outrageously florid tie of indeterminate quality.

"You cannot stay here," one of them muttered at me – I had planned to hide in a local tea-house until I discovered that all the tea-drinkers were cops – "and anyway, they're going through the other gate". Thanks mate. And sure enough, round the corner were a hundred more officers. There were police generals and police colonels and police captains and a vast horde of black uniformed security men (all standing to attention with their backs to the road). One of the generals had so much sparkling braid on his hat that I feared it might fall off because of the weight of gold.

And they were cheerful. This foolish, obviously mad Englishman, wandering around in the midday sun, was a source of amusement to these bored men. I've come to see the POTUS, I explained. One of them examined my press card. "Fisk! ," he shouted. "I read what you write about us." This was not great news since I hadn't been terribly kind about his president of late – but I think he was lying. He did admit to me, though, that those ghastly police ties were all bought by the authorities. I had thought as much.

I found only one other journalist there, a friendly Egyptian photographer for Reuters who helped to talk me through the last checkpoints until there we were, bang in front of the entrance to the mosque. "They're on their way!" one of the thugs shouted. And a swishing convoy of black limousines was suddenly upon us, three of them sporting huge American and Egyptian flags. There were 32 security vehicles in all, some of them with Egyptian gunmen leaning half out of the window with their rifles.

A glimpse of the POTUS was enough, a lithe, athletic, tall figure beside a dumpy little old lady – that's what happens when the "Sec of State" wants to appear alongside her boss – and they were gone, followed by a trail of hop-skip-and-jump White House press corps girls and boys trying to keep up. Above them all, on the mosque walls, were massive, ancient gashes in the stones, shellfire from a much earlier age. Did the Egyptians, I wonder, tell the POTUS who performed this sacrilege? For the culprit was another young and powerful Western leader, fascinated by the Middle East: Napoleon Bonaparte.

Only when I left did I see the Egyptians behind the police lines, old ladies with birds in wooden cages, a broken cripple with a wooden stick, Dickensian urchins without shoes, scarved girls licking ice-creams. And I began to have my suspicions. These people were no threat to the POTUS and the little American lady. Indeed, I felt sure they would have been grateful for that strong handshake which is so willingly bestowed upon safe, blue-eyed Germans and Brits.

And I rather suspect the POTUS would like to have met these poor people. It was the police who would have disapproved. Not to mention the President of Egypt. So the POTUS had been – to use Churchill's fine description of Lenin as the Germans passed him through their land to infect Russia with Bolshevism – sealed off like a bacillus.

The POTUS wasn't being protected from danger, I was sure. He was being protected from the words these Egyptians might utter, from their views of the Arab world, of Egypt, from their views, perhaps, on the nature of democracy amid all these cops and security lads. They might have spoken of corruption and nepotism and violence. But the POTUS never saw them. Anyway, he had too tight a schedule: there were words to utter across town, about human rights and justice in what he called "the timeless city of Cairo". Timeless yes. And its people silent.

Sunday Election Looms in Lebanon

Link


Christian Voters Seen as Key to Outcome of Major Vote

By Jason Ditz

With less than 36 hours remaining until the start of Lebanon’s hotly contested election, polls continue to suggest that the Hezbollah-led opposition bloc bolstered by its anti-corruption stance will gain markedly, and has a realistic chance of seizing power over the small Mediterranean state.

But while the power struggle has focused on the ruling March 14 Alliance, led by the mostly Sunni Future Movement, and the Hezbollah-led March 8 Alliance, the vote is almost certain to hinge on the results among Lebanon’s Christian minority, where former military commander Michel Aoun’s party is united behind the Hezbollah bloc.

Lebanon’s political system is set up to guarantee representation to each religious group. The Sunni bloc will break overwhelmingly for the Future Movement, the Shi’ites for Hezbollah and its allies. This means that, accord to the experts, “this election comes down to a few Christian districts.”

The Future Movement’s popularity is waning to some extent, as what is being called a “campaign of fear” wears a bit thin with its constituency. They offer little except anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian sentiment, and their message is that a vote for the opposition is tantamount to a vote to “hand the country over to Iran.”

By contrast Hezbollah has run an uncharacteristically upbeat campaign, with the Christian Aoun out front as a symbol of religious reconciliation. It seems set to dramatically increase their power, but will it be enough to make them the ruling party?

If so, the United States will be left in an uncomfortable position. Last month Vice President Joe Biden visited the nation and as much as said US foreign aid hinged on the ruling bloc winning. But experts are saying while the US would almost certainly pull military funding in the event of a Hezbollah victory, they will be unwilling to completely disengage from the nation, for fear Iran will eagerly take their place.

Source


Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 2:29 AM





Once again the United States has decided to put the Lebanese parliamentary elections under the spotlight as another sign to its “interference policy” in the internal affairs of the country.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffery Feltman said it would be naïve for some to think that the outcome of the Lebanese elections won't affect US policy in Lebanon.

In a joint interview with both dailies An-Nahar and al-Hayat on Saturday, Feltman said: "The election's outcome will naturally affect world's stance towards the new Lebanese government and the manner in which the United States and Congress deal with Lebanon. I believe the Lebanese are smart enough to understand that there will be an effect.”

He went on to indirectly criticizing the head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP General Michel Aoun saying: "one of your politicians is proposing that Christians shouldn't depend on the United States. I hope the Lebanese had accurately listened to the president's [Barack Obama] speech that specifically pointed to the widest Christian religious minority in Lebanon, the Maronites. The president spoke about the need for respecting all peoples in the region including minorities…I hope the Lebanese would ask themselves: do we want to be on the side of the international community and close to the stances that president Obama made? I hope they would say yes."

Feltman concluded his interview by “advising” the Lebanese to vote peacefully saying, "President Obama's speech [in Cairo] rejected violence as means for achieving political goals this is a message that I hope Lebanese voters would take into consideration when they head to the polls on Sunday."

Source

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 3:50 AM

Tony throwing down "farting" again

Believe it or Not: Hamas is Asking for Help From....The Pharaoh! What Vision; What Leadership; What Clarity! I am Going to Throw Up Again!

Hamas warns of harming Qassam members, asks Egypt to intervene

"......Hamas asked Egypt to adopt a clear and frank position towards what is happening in the West Bank and immediately intervene to stop the massacre.

It also asked Fatah faction to clarify its stand regarding these crimes.

Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, voiced a similar statement asking Cairo to act to bridle Fatah, which is destroying all Egyptian inter-Palestinian conciliation efforts.

He charged that the PA security forces were acting on behalf of Israel in liquidating Palestinian resistance fighters [COMMENT: It took Hamas that long to figure that out? Is Hamas still calling for "reforming" the Dayton forces? How about "unity" with Fayyad, who was one of Haniyyah's "ministers" for a while? Barf, again!] ........"


"Habila" Speaks, Again:


Two years ago he, the "same consitant donkey" wrote:

"Hamas should consolidate its position in Gaza and work with the patriotic and clean elements within Fatah to rebuild the security structures ..."


He, Tony, the preying donkey" asked Ritalin: "But unity about what?"I would say its a good question.

"My answer is unity of the resistance." Ritalin answered hittig the nail. I claim that Ritalin is aware why the dialoge between Hamas and Fateh failed. Hamas refussed to bow to Pharoah.
Cornered by Ritalin answer he preyed
"ritalin,
I agree about unity behind the resistance. My only caution is to be careful about what the real goal of the resistance is. .....
"All the efforts behind the scene, involving EU envoys and others, aim to get acceptance and recognition of Hamas. In return, it appears, Hamas would be willing to stop the resistance and to control others who may want to continue resisting. It is déjà vu, all over again!
Tony Sayegh Homepage 06.02.09 - 1:38 pm #
If thats true, Hamas could have done that 2 years ago and saved all the blood shed and the destuction
If "Hamas became, ..... a part of the traitorous PA. ...... which was created by Oslo, is intended to help the Israeli occupation and to control the Palestinians." as the donkey claimed, Why would the PA is killing Hamas leaders??
HAMAS: NOT BUILT FOR SURPRISES,
When Abass/Dahlan crossed the Red line in Gaza "Put an end to Resistance option" Hamas acted to avoid whats going on now in West Bank. Hamas took the blame from almost all palestinian factions, and went to Cairo to futher expose the Zinonist Colour of the traitors in Both Ramalla and Cairo.
Politically, Hamas considered forming an Alternative PLO, but the stage and the palestinian puplic opinion was not ripe.
I used to say: Blood shall defeat the sword,
The blood of Hamas freedom fighters shed to unite torn Fateh around Ramulla traitors, please Israel and Obama, backfired. The same palestinians who greeted PA with candy, with flowers, demonstred after Qalqilia killings "cursing the Palestinian Authority. People were chanting slogans against the Palestinian Authority–the same slogans that Palestinians once chanted against Israeli Occupation Forces."
Because the West bank is likely ripe for more than third intifada, the dealing with PA as Ocupation Sub-contractor is justifighted. The Israeli occupation authority has expressed extreme satisfaction at the success of Abbas’s security men in assassinating Qassam resistance fighters wanted by the IOF for a number of years.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise, then, that resistance is now promising to turn its guns on the collaborationist authority as imemc reports:
The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, issued a statement on Thursday calling on all fighters in the West Bank to defend themselves against the security forces of president Mahmoud Abbas, the same way the fighters counter the Israeli occupation.
Yes It took Hamas that long to convince both, the assholes who blamed Hamas for acting in Gaza, and expose the "revolutionary" assholes wanting Hamas to burn all the phases and turn its arms to fight Egypt and PA.
"Habila", aware of Gaza's geopoltics, responsiple for feeding 1.5 million Gazans is adressing brainwashed Palestinians, Egyptions, and Arabs, more than adressing Pharoah to intervene.

Poll: Do you think Hamas may bow and recognize Israel and sellout ROR

First day Results:

Yes: 0
No: 10

Please feel free to vote

The Wild Wild West Bank

If Israel were to roll up tonight and demolish my house, arrest my father and shoot my neighbors, Dayton’s security forces will be nowhere to be found. So it’s definitely not my security that these forces are protecting. But if I pick up a gun and vow to fight Israel and its settlers, I’ll be labeled an ‘outlaw’ and tracked down by Dayton’s boys.he Wild Wild West Bank

By Mohammad


wanted-poster-500Although Abbasshole recently referred to life in the West Bank as ‘good’, it’s feeling more and more like living in the Wild West. Foreign settlers roam, heavily armed, burning the natives’ lands and killing their children, while an American general leads his army in raids against ‘outlaws’.

That would be US General Keith Dayton, who has been charged over the past three years with developing and training a ‘Palestinian’ security force to implement ‘law and order’ in the West Bank. As for whose benefit this security clampdown is, it certainly is not for average Palestinians. If Israel were to roll up tonight and demolish my house, arrest my father and shoot my neighbors, Dayton’s security forces will be nowhere to be found.

So it’s definitely not my security that these forces are protecting. But if I pick up a gun and vow to fight Israel and its settlers, I’ll be labeled an ‘outlaw’ and tracked down by Dayton’s boys. Usually that would’ve meant arrest and a bit of torture here and there before being handed over to the Israeli masters. But things have gotten decidedly more bloody this week.

On Saturday night, Shalom Fayyad ordered Dayton’s boys to arrest Hamas’ military commander in the West Bank. Mohammad Samman had been on Israel’s wanted list for 7 years and had eluded capture all those years. A mass wave of arrests against Hamas affiliated over the past few weeks seemed to have led the PA forces to his hideout, in the Kfar Saba neighborhood of Qalqilia. The house, in which Samman, his aide Mohammad Yassin and the homeowner were staying, was surrounded by a huge contingency of security forces who enlisted the help (under gunpoint, naturally) of the two Hamas men’s relatives to convince them to give themselves up. The fighters refused and according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Yassin stepped outside the house to appeal to neighbors to lift the siege. He was immediately gunned down, and a firefight ensued between the trapped Samman and the soldiers surrounding the house. By dawn, Samman and the homeowner had been killed, along with three PA men.

Never had an internal Palestinian gunfight ended so bloodily, and the status of those killed immediately brought back a tension in the Gaza Strip and West Bank not seen since the days of Gaza’s infighting. The PA decried Samman and Yassin as ‘outlaws’ who were threatening ‘state security’ (but there is no Palestinian state. Hmmm). Shalom Fayyad visited Qalqilia in the aftermath and said that he would not apologize for what happened, that the PA was insisting on imposing law and order. But again, whose law and order? Samman and Yassin were not threatening Palestinians, but they were actively working against Israel. That the PA would go as far as to liquidate the two men suggested a new stage in coordination between the Israeli occupation and its Palestinian security contractor. The response from Hamas was swift and predictably angry. The killings occurred during the ongoing unity talks in Cairo, and to many Hamas supporters this seemed like the final straw after the party had dropped its objection to talking to Fatah as the latter continued to arrest hundreds of political opponents in the West Bank. Hamas’ spokesmen made it clear: their fighters would not give themselves in any more.

Yesterday, the scenario repeated itself and again in Qalqilia, the town entirely encircled by Israel’s apartheid wall. A large number of PA troops surrounded a building in which three more Hamas fighters were hiding. Again, the same tactics were used: enlist relatives to convince the fighters to give themselves up, and take them dead when it doesn’t work. One of the fighters was wounded and taken prisoner; the other two were killed, along with another PA officer.

Hamas’ military wing later named four top PA security officers it claims were directly responsible, and announced that all four were ‘wanted’ to the Qassam Brigades and would be dealt with like Israeli soldiers.

The political and social ramifications of the murders (because that is what they are-there is absolutely no justification for them) are potentially huge. The Kfar Saba neighborhood represented a real turning point in the interaction between Hamas fighters and Israel’s Palestinian security contractors-and the second incident was an immediate manifestation of that change. I doubt that we will be seeing a repeat of the scenes from Gaza two years ago in the West Bank any time soon, because militarily Hamas is still underground here.

There will be further incidents, further assassinations and possibly reprisal attacks against PA forces. It will further polarize Palestinian society, but the sad thing is that it doesn’t need to. Many Fatah supporters feel alienated by Abbas and are openly hostile to Fayyad. However, Fatah’s figureheads shelved their principles long ago in favor of short sighted political status and openly support the killings in public.

The sad thing is this ‘good behavior’ will not get Palestinians anywhere towards achieving their fabled state. It just makes it easier and less costly for Israel to normalize and expand its occupation, settlement and unofficial annexation of the West Bank. Meantime, the Qalqilia killings will just distract Palestinians from fighting this occupation and turn their attention to internal strife.

on khalil

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Posted on May 31, 2009 by marcy/مارسي newman/نيومان

everything you ever wanted to know about zionist colonialism and terrorism in palestine can in many ways be encapsulated by visiting khalil: from refugees (new and old) to martyrs, to house demolitions, to political prisoners, to military and colonist terrorism all within a few square kilometers.

my friend and i went to khalil today to do some shopping–she wanted to visit a pottery factory to order plaques for her parents’ graves and i wanted to continue my quest for palestinian-made kuffiyas, which are only made in one palestinian factory now. and it is in khalil. (for those in the united states who wish to buy palestinian-made kuffiyas please click this link for the kufiyeh project–and they also have a video on their site about the last palestinian kuffiya factory.) everywhere else in palestine if you really ask and look closely you will find they are all made in china now. and we finally found them at the palestinian women’s cooperative in the old city. but we wandered around the old city of khalil first and along the way met some interesting families. the first family who invited us into their home live at the end of a street because it has been boarded up because israeli terrorists colonized the entire area on the other side. he wanted us to come up to see his home which has been taken over, on one side, by the colonists, and on top of his roof is an israeli terrorist sniper tower. the room on the top floor of his house was set on fire by these israeli terrorists and two of his brothers were murdered by them as well. he gave us an overview of his neighborhood from the roof of his house. for instance, he showed us where some families had cows, but israeli terrorists poisoned them.

as we walked around the city we saw dozens of israeli terrorist soldiers’ jeeps patrolling the streets and terrorizing the palestinian residents. we saw dozens of israeli terrorist colonists in full prayer gear with m-16s strapped around their back. we saw palestinian homes demolished. we saw dozens of checkpoints compacted into a tiny area. i’ve been here before, but not for at least three years–not in this area where the streets are blocked off and where many palestinians cannot walk down the street (we actually got stopped at a checkpoint for walking the wrong way today). we also met another man who lives across the small valley separating his street and the israeli terrorist colony known as kiryat arba. he gave us tea and some respite from the sun and showed us film footage of his neighbor’s home in the valley below that was set on fire last december by israeli terrorist colonists (i blogged about this here). the photographs i took today that you will find below are pretty much self explanatory, but important with respect to showing the ongoing nakba of khalil. this is, of course, no different than the ongoing nakbas in al quds or aqraba or the naqab, but the difference here is that it is tightly packed into such a small space. below you will see many israeli terrorist colonists and their settlements, including a new one that is merely a tent right now. rory mccarthy’s report in the guardian the other day makes it clear that there is increasingly stronger rhetoric from the u.s. about israeli terrorist colonies. however, in electronic intifada ali abunimah reminds us of the fact that words mean nothing unless followed by action:

Obama has told Netanyahu firmly that Israel must stop building settlements on expropriated Palestinian land in the West Bank, but such words have been uttered by the president’s predecessors. Unless these statements are followed by decisive action — perhaps to limit American subsidies to Israel — there’s no reason to believe the lip service that failed in the past will suddenly be more effective.

for those who do not know a lot about khalil here are a few short videos that explain the context with maps and palestinian witnessing of events in their own homes and neighborhoods:





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DSC00008

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door to family's home with zionist terrorist checkpoint on roof

door to family's home with zionist terrorist checkpoint on roof


family whose home was set on fire by zionist terrorists

family whose home was set on fire by zionist terrorists


zionist terrorist colonies taking over family's house in khalil

zionist terrorist colonies taking over family's house in khalil


israeli terrorist soldier in his checkpoint on the roof of palestinian family's home

israeli terrorist soldier in his checkpoint on the roof of palestinian family's home


DSC00067

palestinian children on the roof of their house with israeli terrorist soldier aiming at them

palestinian children on the roof of their house with israeli terrorist soldier aiming at them


palestinian made kuffiyas at the women's coop

palestinian made kuffiyas at the women's coop


israeli terrorist colonist with his m16 walking the streets of khalil

israeli terrorist colonist with his m16 walking the streets of khalil


DSC00128


palestinian pottery factory in khalil

palestinian pottery factory in khalil


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palestinian homes demolished with another israeli terrorist checkpoint

palestinian homes demolished with another israeli terrorist checkpoint


israeli terrorist checkpoint below kiryat arba colony

israeli terrorist checkpoint below kiryat arba colony


israeli terrorist colonist coming out of kiryat arba colony with his m16

israeli terrorist colonist coming out of kiryat arba colony with his m16

'israeli
palestinian home below israeli terrorist colony kiryat arba that is regularly attacked by israeli terrorists

palestinian home below israeli terrorist colony kiryat arba that is regularly attacked by israeli terrorists


israeli terrorist soldiers terrorizing the palestinians of khalil

israeli terrorist soldiers terrorizing the palestinians of khalil


palestinian boys retrieving their ball in the old city of khalil

palestinian boys retrieving their ball in the old city of khalil




sub-contracting occupations

Link
Posted on June 5, 2009 by marcy/مارسي newman/نيومان
hopeinafghanistan5

i find it disturbing that there are people who seem to think that there was something new or who were impressed by obama’s speech because he used the word “occupation.” here is the paragraph in which obama used that word:

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive.

the word i want to hear him utter is “nakba.” i want him to acknowledge the root of the problem and the only roadmap that will fix it, united nations resolution 194 that mandates palestinian refugees have a right to return to their land under international law. i find it increasingly problematic to use the word “occupation” because the word automatically signals the false notion that only land stolen by the zionist entity 42 years ago is “occupied.” but the entirety of palestine is occupied. is colonized. not just what is called the west bank and gaza strip. there is little difference between those zionist colonizers who occupy palestinian land whether in haifa or in khalil. and no the two people do not have equal legitimate aspirations.

there was an interesting debate on the speech on the pbs newshour, surprisingly enough, that featured abderrahim foukara from al jazeera, as’ad abukhalil, rami khoury, and some woman named sumaya hamdani whose reading of the speech was rightfully critiqued by the other panelists. this discussion was far more sophisticated and specific than anything i heard on al jazeera english because unlike al jazeera english, the newshour seemed to not make it a priority to find arabs and muslims who were salivating over the speech. you can also hear two good interviews nora barrows-friedman did with ali abunimah and robert knight with sami husseini yesterday on flashpoints that put the speech into its proper context.

helena cobban interviewed hamas leader khaled mesh’al yesterday for ips news in which mesh’al rightly states that palestinians want to see actions not words:

“We need two things from Obama, Mitchell, the Quartet, and the rest of the international community. Firstly, pressure on Israel to acknowledge and grant these rights. The obstacle to this is completely on the Israeli side. Secondly, we need the international actors to refrain from intervening in internal Palestinian affairs. You should leave it to the Palestinians to resolve our differences peacefully. You should respect Palestinian democracy and its results,” he said.

This latter was a reference to the hard-hitting campaign that Israel, the U.S. and its allies have maintained against Hamas ever since its candidates won a strong victory in the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s parliamentary elections in January 2006.

That campaign has included sustained efforts to delegitimise the Hamas-led government that emerged from the elections, attempts by Israel to assassinate the government’s leaders, including during Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, and the mission that U.S. Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton has led in the West Bank to arm and train an anti-Hamas fighting force loyal to the U.S.-supported Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

In his reaction to Obama’s speech, Meshaal referred to the U.S.’s role in this intervention, saying, “Rather than sweet words from President Obama on democratisation, we’d rather see the United States start to respect the results of democratic elections that have already been held. And rather than talk about democratisation and human rights in the Arab world, we’d rather see the removal of Gen. Dayton, who’s building a police state there in the West Bank.”

this issue of american-zionist forces collaborating with the palestinian authority came to a head yesterday as obama delivered his speech. ghassan bannoura reported the events as follows for imemc:

Four Palestinians were reported dead and numbers injured as Palestinian security forces announced that clashes with Hamas fighters ended in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia on Thursday midday.

The clashes started early morning and lasted till midday, The security forces and the gunmen exchanged fire after the gunmen opened fire at a vehicle that belongs to the Palestinian security forces, officials reported.

A security official in Qalqilia stated that the Hamas fighters hurled a grenade at the security patrol killing one officer and wounding several others. The security forces surrounded a building where three fighters of Hamas barracked themselves. Witnesses speaking under conditions of immunity told IMEMC that security forces stormed the building after heavy exchange of fire and found the three fighters dead.

Tension was high in Qalqilia since the start of the week. On Sunday a group of Hamas fighters clashed with the Fatah controlled security forces in the city. The clash left two fighters, one civilian and three security officers dead.

Meanwhile Fatah security forces in the West Bank and Hamas forces in Gaza arrested members of each other’s factions all week.

here is some footage from the associated press of the gun battle yesterday in qalqilia:





nora barrows-friedman’s interview with diana buttu the other day reveals the important details about these events and its relationship to larger concerns among palestinians more generally. here is nora’s post on her blog and below that is a partial transcript that i typed up from the interview.

Listen to my interview with former PLO advisor Diana Buttu earlier this week about the Palestinian Authority’s moves to:

1) accept “counter-terrorism” training from a US military colonialist-orientalist, Lt. Keith Dayton;

2) use that training to turn against Palestinians trying to resist the illegal occupation and apartheid regime of Israel;

3) further fractionalizing any national unity coalition to fight occupation and subjugation by Israel and the US.

here is a partial transcript of the interview with some revealing and insightful analysis and questioning (the link below is to the actual interview, which i highly recommend listening to):

Nora Barrows Friedman: …The PA placed the entire city of Qalqilia under curfew, which is reminiscent of Israeli tactics as they did their search and seizure mission. Can you give us your assessment of this in the current climate of the Occupied West Bank at this point?

Diana Buttu: Certainly, one of the interesting things about this case is that one of the individuals with Hamas who ended up being killed is somebody who was being sought after by the Israelis and who had gone under cover for a period of nearly 7 years. Rather than–so the irony is that instead of Israel person, the body that assassinates, it ended up that it’s the Palestinian Authority that has killed this man. And so it points to the direction that the Palestinian Authority is heading into: that is being the security sub-contractor to the Israeli Occupation.

NBF: And this also comes just three days after Israel assassinated another Hamas leader, Abed Al-Majid Dudin, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. You know, let’s talk about the timing of all of this. The PA security services have been ramping up their suppression of the civilian population, within the West Bank, and more and more Palestinian civilians are unimpressed, you could say, with the PA’s involvement with the Israeli government and the United States. You know, after this meeting with Obama, what’s the significance really of the timing of all of this under the Abbas leadership?

DB: It’s very significant. The significance of it is that President Abbas wants to demonstrate to the Americans that he is the address, particularly since his mandate expired in January 2009. And the only way he can demonstrate he is the address is–and Salam Fayyad being the prime minister who has now twice been appointed and not been confirmed by the PLC–the only way that they can that is by showing that they can take control of security. In other words, it’s become very clear that the equation is that the Palestinian Authority has to crack down on Hamas and demonstrate that it can actually take control and take charge of security in the West Bank. And in exchange for that there may, perhaps, be some pressure brought to bear on Israel–not to dismantle settlements, but just to simply freeze settlements. It’s becoming clear that this is the equation. Especially in light of the fact that President Abbas’ mandate expired in January of this year.

NBF: Diana, let’s talk also about the training of the PA services by the U.S. contra-style military commander Lieutenant Keith Dayton. Dayton has been employed in the West Bank for a couple of years. His contract was just renewed for another two years. And he’s been tasked to train Palestinian Authority forces in so-called “counter-terrorism tactics,” not against the illegal israeli occupiers, but against their own people in the Hamas movement. What are your thoughts on the appointment and employment of Dayton?

DB: Well this is, again, part of the long-term strategy and the long-term thinking when it comes to this region. Nobody–and certainly not the United States–they do not recognize that this is an occupation. They do not realize that this is a political issue that has some security ramifications. But instead they view it as a lack of security and security only, thinking that this is a security problem and that if we address the security side of things, in other words, approach Israel’s security first, then somehow the political ducks will line themselves up. But that’s clearly not been–that’s proven to be false in the past and, of course, it will be proven to be false in the future. What’s interesting about Dayton and the forces that he’s been training in the West Bank is that when Dayton thought to give his first interview to an Israeli paper, one of the key sentences and one of the messages that he sent to the Israelis was the following: what they were doing is that they were training the Palestinian Authority forces not to combat Israel’s occupation or even to resist Israel’s occupation, but instead they were training the security forces to undermine those very individuals who at any point in time believe that it is alright to resist Israel’s military occupation. In other words: pit Palestinian against Palestinian rather than ensure that the Palestinians are able to resist Israel’s military rule.

NBF: And, Diana, how does this kind of Iran-contra style tactic play out in the Palestinian street?. How are Palestinians looking at what’s going on here?

DB: Well Palestinians are looking at it with a lot of horror and a lot of disgust. I actually remember 15 years ago, when the Palestinian Authority first came into the area. This is an Authority that was greeted with candy, with flowers, people were throwing rice–with a lot of jubilation thinking that somehow there was going to be a Palestinian presence, a Palestinian entity that was going to rule over their lives rather than being an Israeli entity, an Israeli force. You have to contrast that with the demonstration that happened yesterday where people were cursing the Palestinian Authority. People were chanting slogans against the Palestinian Authority–the same slogans that Palestinians once chanted against Israeli Occupation Forces. So you can see the connection that is being made, that people are making between Israel’s occupying forces soldiers and those of the Palestinian Authority. And unless this equation gets broken somehow, unless the Palestinian Authority re-gears itself or re-directs itself, which I don’t think is likely, then you’re going to see a much higher level of cynicism along with much more acts of a police state, which the West Bank is now turning into being.

perhaps it is in this context that you can see why some palestinians call the palestinian authority collaborationist. for instance the palestinian information center reported that the zionist entity is rather pleased with its subcontracted army here in the west bank:

The Israeli occupation authority has expressed extreme satisfaction at the success of Abbas’s security men in assassinating Qassam resistance fighters wanted by the IOF for a number of years.

Occupation military sources described the assassination of Muhammad Atteya and Eyad al-Abtali and the wounding of Ala’ Deyab in the city of Qalqilya as an important operation carried out successfully by Abbas’s security men, especially that this operation comes only two days after the assassination of Qassam commander Muhammad al-Samman and his assistant Muhammd Yassin after a 6-year pursuit by the IOF.

The Israeli occupation army radio said that Abbas’s forces besieged the hiding place of the Qassam fighters, which was in the cellar of a house, and when they failed to make them surrender they poured large quantities of water into the cellar drowning two of them and wounding and arresting the third.

it should come as no surprise, then, that resistance is now promising to turn its guns on the collaborationist authority as imemc reports:

The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, issued a statement on Thursday calling on all fighters in the West Bank to defend themselves against the security forces of president Mahmoud Abbas, the same way the fighters counter the Israeli occupation.

In a press conference in Gaza, Abu Obaida, spokesperson of the Al Qassam, said that the brigades will prevail in the West Bank “in spite of the aggression of the occupation and its tails”, and that if the security forces think that the Al Qassam is vanishing in the West Bank, “they should know we are here, and here we will prevail, God willing”.

He added that the Brigades considers the security forces of Abbas as “outlawed militias, that violate the morals of the people and the country”, and added that “the only way to deal with them is by resistance; we call on our fighters to fight the gangs of Abbas the same way they fight the occupation”.

He held Abbas and his Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, responsible for the events in Qalqilia, and added that “no talks or future agreements would pardon them or grant them security”.

in spite of all this kenneth bazinet reported in the daily news that obama had to send out an email assuring american jews that he still supports the zionist entity in all its destruction and war crimes that they commit on a daily basis with the help of the palestinian authority and the united states:

The White House tried to ease Israeli concerns over President Obama’s fence-mending speech Thursday to the Muslim world, insisting he remains loyal to the strong U.S. relationship with the Jewish state.

In an e-mail sent to some Jewish groups and the U.S.-based lobby for Israel, the White House insisted Obama’s outreach to the mainstream Muslim majority is no threat to relations with its key Mideast ally.

“The President’s commitment to Israel’s security is as firm as ever, which he has emphasized many times,” the e-mail said.

it seems that they do need reassuring because all one needs to do is take one look at joseph dana and max blumenthal’s video of zionist terrorist colonists in al quds last night after the speech (one view of this video and you’ll see what i mean by terrorists):





oddly enough, in spite of all the racist ranting in the above video, there is a newish restaurant i pass by in between beit lahem and al quds just before you reach the old city that seems to pay homage to the new american president:

zionist terrorist colonist pizza restaurant in al quds

zionist terrorist colonist pizza restaurant in al quds


and today a brand new colony is being built on palestinian land named after barack obama:

Israeli settlers established a new illegal West Bank outpost on Thursday, dedicating it partly to US President Barack Obama.

The settlers, calling themselves the “Land of Israel Loyalists,” named the outpost Oz Yehonatan, near Binyamin, but were calling part of it the “Obama Hut,” according to the Israeli news agency Ynet.

And according to a report from Israel’s Arutz Sheva news agency, the outpost was named “in recognition of the president’s actions, which have led to a dramatic increase in the number of outposts being built throughout Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].”

of course in spite of what those zio-nazis say in the above video, the united states, and obama are firmly supporting only jewish suffering and a jewish state. obama confirmed this today when instead of traveling to nearby gaza to see the damage created by american weapons in the hands of the israeli terrorist army he chose to look back and history to see what europeans did to jews, and in his comments there he reinforced the deeply flawed logic that palestinians should pay the price for european sins as mark smith reported in the star tribune:

President Barack Obama witnessed the Nazi ovens of the Buchenwald concentration camp Friday, its clock tower frozen at the time of liberation, and said the leaders of today must not rest against the spread of evil.

The president called the camp where an estimated 56,000 people died the “ultimate rebuke” to Holocaust deniers and skeptics. And he bluntly challenged one of them, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, to visit Buchenwald.

“These sites have not lost their horror with the passage of time,” Obama said after seeing crematory ovens, barbed-wire fences, guard towers and the clock set at 3:15, marking the camp’s liberation in the afternoon of April 11, 1945. “More than half a century later, our grief and our outrage over what happened have not diminished.”

Buchenwald “teaches us that we must be ever-vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not our problem, and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests,” Obama said.

He also said he saw, reflected in the horrors, Israel’s capacity to empathize with the suffering of others, which he said gave him hope Israel and the Palestinians can achieving a lasting peace.

this point of view is why most people in this region will never believe the rhetoric coming out of the united states even if the president’s middle name is hussein. zeina khodr’s report for al jazeera on the afghan response to obama’s speech is indicative of this sentiment:



egyptian blogger hossam el hamalawy also spoke out against the obama speech eloquently in an interview with al jazeera’s james bays, although there is some vapid woman sitting next to him who i wish would shut up to enable hossam to have more time to explain his important points:



and natalie abou shakra kindly translated khaled saghiyyeh’s article in al akhbar today on the speech:

People, let’s hear it out for Mr Obama who has just recognized Islam as a religion! Not only so, but he also recited Koranic passages at his University of Cairo speech!

And we, the “colonized” overwhelmed by permissiveness, did not stop clapping every time we heard a sura recited in English. But, frankly, despite this harmonious wonder between cultures and religions, it is worthy to note that the problem with the American administration was never cultural to begin with, and has not been merely a difference in political perspectives.

The difference lies in the bloodshed of hundreds of thousands that were killed in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan…. either by American-made weapons, American support, or by Americans themselves as is the case with war on Iraq for the so-called struggle for democracy, and the war on Lebanon as a passage to a New Middle East.

However, there’s no use crying over spilt milk, for Mr. Obama has thus spoken and has asked us to start over a new beginning. Simply, in a snap of his fingers he asks us to put aside all that without the need for an apology to the victims of these wars. We do not mean to waste the precious time of this new emperor, but is he asking us to be his partners? And, are we supposed to believe him? But, wait a minute… we have a lot to learn from our “big brother.” Not only shall he impose on us his democracy, but also imposed on us what he thinks of human rights… O, Mr. Obama, thank you for reshaping the etiquette.

More so, as the first step to this new recipe, Obama asks of the Lebanese Maronites to look onto themselves as minorities, just as the Copts, and he shall be the one who will defend their rights. As for “Hamas”, who was democratically elected by the way, he thinks they “represent, maybe, some of the Palestinians.” And based on his account of human rights, he emphasized the wrongness of the “violent” resistance. And what is the alternative? The same old talk about the two-state solution and the road map in Palestine, completely ignoring the right of return and the issue of the refugees. As for Iran, it should [according to Obama] abandon its nuclear dreams in the purpose of preventing an arms race in the Middle East- as if Iran was the one who begun the race! Hello Mr. Obama!!

Imperialism did not always come in the form of violent speeches. But, rather, it usually came in with a stronger sense of allure. Well, it seems that “development” rates will hit the ceilings again. Prepare yourselves for more bloodshed and victims to fall… this time in the name of humanity and progress.

and for those readers questioning me yesterday when i doubted the sincereity of obama in reference to his promises about iraq and guantanamo, just click on these recent news stories by jeremy scahill and you will start to understand what i mean:

IN FOCUS: “Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama” (AlterNet): The ‘Black Shirts’ of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and ‘dousing’ them with chemicals.

WORLD VIEW: UN Human Rights Council Blasts US for Killing Civilians, Drone Attacks and Using Mercenaries: The UN group is also calling on the US to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate crimes by US officials.

HMMM: Obama Wants $736 Million Colonial Fortress in Pakistan: Critics say the White House wants to use the new “embassy” for “pushing the American agenda in Central Asia.”

SAY WHAT??: Mastercard-istan: Ex-Bush Henchman Wants to be “CEO of Afghanistan” (Literally): Obama may allow famed neocon Zalmay Khalilzad to become the unelected shadow leader of Afghanistan to “push American interests.”

and as for obama and all his words of supporting muslims in the united states one only needs to remember the holy land 5, most recently, or check out this story by cath turner on al jazeera about an egyptian man, youssef megahed, who was found innocent of “terrorism” charges, but who is still being targeted by the american authorities:

welcome to amrika and its empire. oh, and by the way, check out this article on the bbc yesterday that wrote up a piece on those tweeting about obama’s speech. my tweets seemed to have made it onto their radar screen:

Mr Obama also came in for some sharp comments on his treatment of democracy: “How about Mubarak and his ruthless suppressing the rights of others?” tweeted Marcy Newman, who describes herself as a teacher, writer and activist in Palestine.

And “Obama does this mean you will be recognizing Hamas given they were democratically elected?”

“we’re not racists, we just don’t want arabs” so say zionist terrorist colonists

Link

Posted on June 6, 2009 by marcy/مارسي newman/نيومان

if you saw my post earlier today with the video from max blumenthal than you know how zionist terrorist colonists openly express their racism verbally. it is normal. the problem is that it is normally associated with extreme violence as well. just now a palestinian, who was on his way home from work, was attacked while racial slurs were being hurled at him. of course, this won’t be described as terrorism in the media and likely few sources other than imemc will report it:

A 20-year old Palestinian man from Jerusalem was wounded on Thursday at night after he was attacked by a group of extremist settlers.

Resident Husam Al Za’tary, from Jerusalem, works at a bakery in West Jerusalem. He was attacked while waiting at a bus stop as he was heading back home.

He was approached by a group of young settlers who first insulted him for “being an Arab”, and then violently attacked him, and were even joined later on by another group of settlers, students of a Talmud School in the area.

An armed school guard also took part in the attack, and pointed his gun at the head of the Palestinian man threatening to kill him.

The man was later on hospitalized at an Arab hospital in the city.

there were more examples of racism in the news today coming from zionist terrorist colonists in jaleel. check out this article by eli ashkenazi in ha’aretz showing “liberal” zionist terrorist colonists who think “we’re not racists, we just don’t want arabs” and imagine any other category being inserted into that sentence and how the world’s reaction might differ:

Residents of the Misgav bloc of communities in the Galilee consider themselves to be liberal, peace-loving people who support coexistence with their Arab neighbors and even root for Bnei Sakhnin, the soccer club based in a nearby Arab town considered a prominent symbol of that community. Which is why they were shocked this week when proposals raised at local council meetings to accept only applicants who shared their Zionist principles drew negative headlines and criticism for alleged racism.

“The label upsets me,” South Africa-born lawyer Michael Zetler, who founded the Misgav community of Manof in 1980 with other immigrants from what was then an apartheid state, said Thursday. “It hurt me. I am not a racist.”

Although few people will say so, the panic that spurred the submission of the controversial proposals are related to the High Court of Justice’s ruling two years ago that upheld the right of Ahmed and Fahina Zubeidat, an Israeli Arab couple, to buy a house in the exclusively Jewish community of Rakefet notwithstanding the local admissions committee’s objection.

Since then, some residents of Jewish communal settlements in the Galilee fear that the region’s substantial Arab population might seek to buy property in their communities, where the standard of living is far higher, causing Jews to move out. In some areas of the Galilee this has already taken place: Portions of the once-exclusively Jewish town of Upper Nazareth are now populated by newcomers from the nearby Arab city of Nazareth.

“I agree that there is a problem, but whether this is the right way to deal with it, I am not sure,” Zetler said yesterday. “Experience will tell. But there is a problem in the Galilee and people are challenging the political right of [Jewish] communities.”

Residents of the Misgav bloc are not used to being accused of racism, and dismay at being compared to Jewish settlers in the West Bank. “It’s unpleasant and even offensive to wake up one morning and find that you’ve turned into [Avigdor] Lieberman when in fact it’s the other way around,” Alon Mayer, another resident of Manof, said, referring to the hawkish Yisrael Beiteinu chairman who proposed that Israeli Arabs be required to take an oath of loyalty to the state.

Mayer pointed out that the right-wing party headed by Lieberman garnered only 2.5 percent of the town’s vote in the last Knesset elections – far below the national average. Despite feeling on the defensive, Mayer will not apologize for supporting the demand that applicants who seek to buy property in the communal settlement should adhere to the locals’ basic cultural and political beliefs.

“When we decided to move to Manof, we sought a community that chose similar basic principles to our own, such as good education for children, culture, celebrating a Jewish communal lifestyle and protecting the environment,” a woman from Manof said. “We joined this community knowing it is founded on these values.”

Some Misgav bloc residents accuse Arab rights groups such as Adalah, which would rather Israel be defined as a binational state than a Jewish one and championed the Zubeidats’ cause in the courts, of intentionally causing provocations. “An Arab narrative exists that proclaims ‘we were not conquered, we did not desert,’” said Danny Ivri, a resident of the Misgav bloc community Yodfat. “They say ‘we were manipulated in various ways, such as through military rule and suppressing our development by placing Jewish communities between our own communities.”

Misgav bloc residents also fear increased tensions that could result from Arabs and Jews living in close proximity, and point at the occasional spurts of sectarian violence that break out in nearby non-Jewish towns between Muslims, Druze and Christians. “You can’t impose a demographic mix on us that will recreate the sort of friction between Muslims, Christians and Druze that exists in Maghar, Peki’in and Rameh,” Mayer said, referring to cities prone to periodic unrest. “High Court justices don’t understand what it’s like to live in a small community which was founded with great hardships, a community which is trying to hold on to a certain way of life.”

A few weeks ago a ceremony was held in Yuvalim, the largest town in the Misgav bloc, which exemplified its inveterate ties to the state of Israel. The regional council unveiled a promenade in memory of slain Israel Defense Forces soldier Arbel Reich, whose father was among Yuvalim’s founders.

“It was an emotional ceremony,” recalled regional council head Ron Shani. “This event was part of the community’s narrative, part of its spirit, just like the fact that we educate our children to serve in combat units. That’s what it’s like here and we’re proud of that.

“A resident who wishes to join Yuvalim will have to feel comfortable at such a ceremony, and if not he can go elsewhere, where he wouldn’t be offended,” he said.

it is in this context of racism that it is worth watching writer alice walker’s three-part interview with anjali kamat of democracy now! while she was in gaza a couple of months ago. she compares the treatment of palestinians to african americans under legal jim crow segregation, which she fought against in the civil rights movement. the problem with this interview is that walker at once refuses to acknowledge palestinians’ right to armed resistance and is patronizing when she talks about the need for palestinians to take up non-violent resistance and at the same time when she is asked directly about the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement she does not commit to supporting that non-violent resistance strategy either.




it is also racism, of course, that created the savaging of gaza to begin with and that continues the siege that affects the 1.5 million palestinians living there. irin news is reporting yet again on the hurdles palestinians rebuilding must deal with:

In the face of the ongoing Israeli ban on imports of building materials Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are looking at new building methods, and one project is using clay and rubble.

Local Palestinian NGO Mercy Association for Children began building a school for handicapped children in Gaza City on 24 May to test a recently developed method using clay blocks, salt and rubble – with the source material coming mainly from the hundreds of buildings demolished during the Israeli offensive (27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009).

Fourteen construction workers on the 5,000 square metre building site in the Shujayah neighbourhood of the city haul buckets of clay for moulding into large blocks from which the structure, with its domed ceiling, will be made.

“If the school, upon completion, proves structurally sound we will move forward with other construction projects in Gaza,” said lead engineer Maher Batroukh of the Mercy Association for Children. “The school is the first building of its kind in Gaza.”

The three-storey school, occupying about 1,025 square metres, will contain no steel, cement or concrete, said Batroukh.

here is an idea of what these new mud-brick homes look like–they are just amazing looking and so much more practical in terms of climate and available materials than ordinary homes here:

"The Lebanese, Sarkis Naoum, had been sitting with us ... but when he realized where I was from he passed on the opportunity and fled..."

The Link


Ben Smith on Syrian & Lebanese journalists 'passing on' the opportunity to interview Obama because of Israelis presence., when 'others' accepted the edict "happily"... Politico, here

An Israeli newspaper reported today that two Arab journalists refused to participate in an interview with President Obama because an Israeli reporter would be one of the eight present.

Yedioth Ahronoth's Nahum Barnea wrote, according to a translation from the Hebrew original, of an incident that seems to underscore the size of the gap Obama is seeking to bridge:

After Obama’s speech yesterday at Cairo University, we gathered, six senior journalists from all over the Muslim world and I, the reporter for Yedioth Ahronoth, around a circular table in a side room. The president wanted to give us an interview.

The original group had eight. The Syrian did not show after hearing that a reporter from Israel had been invited. The Lebanese, Naoum Sarkis, had been sitting with us all at the front of the hall but when he realized where I was from and whom I was representing, he passed on the opportunity and fled.

The others accepted the edict with respect, and some even happily. They included the Saudi Jamal Khashoggi, the Egyptians Fahmi el-Awadi and Magdy el-Galad, and the Palestinian woman Wafa Amr, Malaysian Shahnaz Habib and Indonesian Bambang Harimurti, who were flown by the Americans all the way from the Far East. I was the only one who knew Obama from previous meetings.

Barnea reported that he found Obama "both likeable and chilly," and that Rahm Emanuel stood behind the president through the interview.

Posted by G, Z, & or B at 6:52 PM

Obama's Non-Starter - New Style, Same Substance


link

By STANLEY HELLER
Courageous Egyptian journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy put it straight in of all places the New York Times, “President Obama should not have decided to come to Egypt. The visit is a clear endorsement of President Hosni Mubarak, the ailing 81-year-old dictator who has ruled with martial law, secret police and torture chambers. No words that Mr. Obama will say can change this perception that Americans are supporting a dictator with their more than $1 billion in annual aid.”
Not only is Mubarak a dictator, he’s an active collaborator in the strangulation of the Gaza Strip. Desperate Palestinians attempted to flee Israel’s Gaza Massacre, but were almost all turned away. Six months later humanitarian missions to bring Gaza supplies only get through if they include world renowned personalities or if they go on hunger strikes.

I suppose going to Cairo was no worse than Obama’s last stop, Saudi Arabia. There he saluted the absolute monarchy, with its head chopping executioners and its police on the lookout for women drivers.

If he really was going to make a new start of things he should have spoken in Lebanon, where popular demonstrations drove out the Syrians, where a guerrilla war expelled the Israelis and where sectors of Christian and Shi’a are working together in the coming elections.

His speech in Cairo was the usual glittering generalities, the dropping of an Arabic word here and there, a sophisticated tone, and the pledge to tell “the truth”.

But look what he said about Iraq: “Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible.” Though the war was controversial the Iraqis are “better off”. Over a million dead from sanctions, invasion, and civil war, and Obama had the utter gall to declare the Iraqis “better off”. Our only problem was not recruiting enough flunkies to join the effort. Some on the Left immediately declared that Obama remarks were a “denunciation” of the Iraq war. Keep on dreaming.
He repeatedly denounced “violent extremists”. Fair enough. The al-Qaeda continues to commit terrible crimes. But what about the “violent extremists” that are our allies, principally the government of Israel? Its spokespersons threatened huge massacres of Palestinians all last year and lo and behold that’s just what they did.
Obama did mention the dire situation in Gaza. I suppose we should be endlessly thankful. But what did he say? He said the “continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security”. What’s important here is Israel’s security. The hideous suffering of Ghada Abu Halima who died in March twelve weeks after being burned by white phosphorus or seven month old Zein Ad-Din Mohammed Zu'rob who died June 3rd after Israelis wouldn’t let him go to a Jerusalem hospital to get proper treatment for his lung infection, that isn’t an issue. Anyway what’s going on in Gaza is not a “humanitarian crisis”. Those are caused by tsunamis or hurricanes. The disaster in Gaza is entirely man-made, an Israeli-U.S.-European-Egyptian medieval siege. If Obama really wanted a new start he could have given a Ronald Regan “tear down this wall” speech and demanded the Israeli let goods and people flow freely into and out of Gaza. Of course, he gave nothing of the kind.
He lectured Muslims about Holocaust denial. “Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.” Denial is “baseless, ignorant and hateful.” He reports his next stop is to the remains of Buchenwald death camp. Holocaust denial is idiocy, but what about the idiocy of Nakba denial, denial that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were deliberately driven from their homes in 1948 and 1967 to make it easier to establish a Jewish superiority state? When will he or any U.S. President make a visit to Deir Yassin, the site of one of the 1948 Israeli massacres?
He lectures the Palestinians. “Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights.” I wonder if Obama has heard of the U.S. Civil War. It completely abolished slavery and won (for a time) full and equal rights for blacks. But, hey, non-violence is cool. If he wanted to be helpful why not talk about the many Palestinian campaigns of non-violent resistance. Why couldn’t Obama hail the courageous people of Bil’in who go out every Friday peacefully and in return get shot at and tear-gassed and in the case of Bassem abu-Rahme get murdered?
At one point Obama says, “We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children.” That’s a shameless untruth. When did Obama reject the mass murder of 400 Gaza children during the massacre? When did he even remark about the scores of Gaza Palestinians who lost one, two or even three limbs? What was Olmert if not a “violent extremist” Why doesn’t Obama call for Israelis to abandon violence or even to come clean about the greatest fear Muslims have about Israel, that it will attack them with nuclear bombs?
Obama does bring up the nuclear issue, but only in connection with Iran. He piously says he wants to avoid a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but this “truth-teller” cannot admit the race began long ago, with Israel gathering a huge nuclear arsenal and the ability to launch via land, sea and air. He graciously says Iran can have nuclear power when it abides by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which it does), but can’t even mention that Israel has never signed the NPT.
He’s committed to “governments that reflect the will of the people.” within each country’s traditions. “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election.” Tell that to the Palestinians who had a completely fair legislative election, gave Hamas a victory and saw their government boycotted and their living standards devastated. Tell it to that the Lebanese people whom Joe Biden threatened that the U.S. would stop their foreign aid if they elected the wrong people.
Face it. It wasn’t a new start. It was just a new style. The sooner the Left realizes it, the better.
Stanley Heller is host of “The Struggle” TV news magazine Contact him at mail@TheStruggle.org
Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 2:52 PM