Saturday, 17 October 2009

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL calls for implementation of Goldstone recommendations


- October 17, 2009

UN Human Rights Commission

United Nations Human Rights Council
REPORT – 12th Special Session
MORNING, 16 October 2009

Demands that Israel Immediately Cease All Excavation Work Around Al Aqsa Mosque and that it Allow Palestinian Citizens Access to Their Properties and Religious Sites

The twelfth Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem concluded this morning after adopting a resolution in which it endorsed the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international Fact-Finding Mission led by Justice Goldstone and called on all concerned parties to ensure their implementation. Read More…

Aqsa preacher champions steadfastness in face of IOA schemes


[ 17/10/2009 - 08:23 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The preacher of the Aqsa Mosque asked the Friday congregation in the holy Aqsa Mosque to remain steadfast and never abandon the holy site.

Sheikh Yousef Abu Snene described the Israeli occupation authority's (IOA) ban on entry of men under 50 into the Aqsa Mosque as an "oppressive" act that is made with the hope to eventually lead to abandonment of the Mosque and its destruction.

He emphasized, however, that the IOA policy of imposing de facto conditions would ultimately fail, adding that the daily confiscation of land, detention, construction of settlement, isolation, opening tunnels and closing roads would not persist.

The Sheikh described as a "shame" the Arab rulers' silence towards what was going on against the holy Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli security blocked tens of young Palestinian worshipers from accessing the holy site to offer their prayers while others were allowed only after delivering their IDs to those security men at the gates of the Mosque and were given numbers to restore their IDs after completion of the prayers.

For his part, Hamas MP Ahmed Abu Halabia, who is the rapporteur of the Jerusalem committee in the Palestinian legislative council, said in a speech on Thursday that the IOA was launching a systematic and programmed attack on occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

He described the Zionist offensive against the Mosque, during a conference for the international Quds institution in Gaza, as "rabid".

The MP charged Arab countries with collusion with the IOA, adding that such collusion is an assistant factor in wiping out the identity of occupied Jerusalem.


October 17, 2009 at 8:41 am (Gaza, Health Crisis, Humanitarian Aid, Israel, Palestine, War Crimes)

Treatment is sought in U.S. for 3-year-old victim of white phosphorus attack in Gaza

Philip Weiss


The Goldstone report is not an abstraction for me. My delegation was in Gaza at the same time as Judge Richard Goldstone was last June. We saw things that he also saw. I used the word “persecution” at the time; so has he now. One day human-rights-worker Fares Akram brought my group to a house in Beit Lahiya in the north of Gaza. He wanted to show us the hole in the roof made by a white phosphorus shell. It was smaller than a manhole, and throughout the apartment building the walls were still blackened and the studs charred.

The matriarch in that house was Sabah Abu Halima, 45. Today she is a psychological wreck. In the few instants in which the long tentacles of white phosphorus were trapped in her house, she lost her husband, three sons, and her only daughter. Relief workers from the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund say that Sabah is plagued by “nightmares and deep feelings of sadness.”

Sabah also lost a daughter-in-law. The woman, whose name I don’t know, died in Egypt, being treated for her burns after the war. When this woman whose name I don’t know died, her badly-burned daughter was alongside her: 3-year-old Farah Abu Halima. The Egyptian hospital sent the girl back to Gaza before long, not fully treated. Her picture is below. An uncle is holding her. Farah is also psychologically damaged. She can’t remove her fingers from her mouth when people come to visit, and she clings to her uncle.

Our group saw Farah clinging to her uncle in the charred house, and we saw the horrible spectacle that her uncle is about to present in the image above. He takes off her pants– or lifted her dress, when we were there– to show the third-degree burns on Farah’s legs. Her face is also burned, under her chin, and her hand too. You can see the burns on her abdomen.

“I felt so many conflicting things,” our delegation’s leader, Felice Gelman, later told me. “The idea that a little child like that had been in constant pain for months– that was unimaginable to me…. And I know what happens to people with untreated burns. The older she grows, the more deformed she will become. And the idea that the only way that anyone could do anything for her was to display her. It was horrible.”

Gelman speaks for me and the other 11 members of our delegation. As I left the house, I shoved all my money into the uncle’s hand. (A friend back here had given me $200, to use as I saw fit.) As Gelman left she made a commitment to do what she could for Farah Abu Halima. “I will try to get help.” Gelman got back and called Steve Sosebee, the head of the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund in Kent, Ohio; and Sosebee has thrown himself into the case. Those scars are contracting Farah’s body. They are already deforming her development. She needs surgeries, many. She needs psychological help, an escape from the blackened shell of a house where she still lives.

Sosebee has been trying to get Farah out for months. Next week, maybe, or maybe the week after– he is crossing his fingers– he thinks she might get a visa into Egypt, along with three other children, two of them with war injuries, who need treatment. And maybe then they will finally get to the U.S. Four children were gotten out in September in this way. The Egyptians finally let them go (the Israeli border– you can’t get anything across there). And of those four, the two teenage amputees are already back in Gaza. Two others are still here, including a ten-year-old, continuing vascular surgery for shrapnel wounds.

There’s an NGO with a chapter in San Diego that has said it will treat Farah Abu Halima for free there, Doctors Offering Charitable Services (DOCS). Sosebee has been at this 20 years, getting children out of Palestine for treatment, or teams of doctors into the occupied territories. He has gotten treatment for 1000 Palestinian children. It is his way of addressing the core injustice behind the conflict. He couldn’t command sympathy for adults under occupation, or even get them treatment. But the children, that is different. And 300 children were killed in the Gaza slaughter, and many many more injured.

Farah will need months of surgeries, and steady psychological assessment. Her grandmother would be the natural relative to accompany her, but the grandmother is a wreck. An aunt will come with her. (Farah is dependent on her uncle, but Sosebee’s fund has learned that they can’t bring Arab men into the U.S. for a number of reasons.)

A lot of people are now pushing to get Farah out. Gelman, Sosebee, even Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian P.M. in the West Bank, he understands the urgency of the case. Those who are reading this, you might call the State Department, to remind them about this little girl.

Sosebee has another agenda. He hopes that if Farah gets to San Diego, there will be media coverage of her case, and an American community will learn about how she was so grievously injured. “Our media is not showing this. If she comes here and people see this, it educates people and that is a positive thing. It gives the San Diego community a chance to be involved, and to help a child,” Sosebee says.

Today the U.S. is in official denial, enabled by our media, about such basic assertions of the Goldstone report as its uncontradicted allegation that the Israelis, in a war crime, used white phosphorus in civilian areas. Farah Abu Halima is living proof of that. If we can heal her maybe we can start to heal ourselves.

Source Via Uruknet

War Is Peace, Ignorance Is Strength


By John Pilger

New Statesman

Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, is planning another war to add to his impressive record. In Afghanistan, his agents routinely extinguish wedding parties, farmers and construction workers with weapons such as the innovative Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of your lungs. According to the UN, 338,000 Afghan infants are dying under the Obama-led alliance, which permits only $29 per head annually to be spent on medical care.

Within weeks of his inauguration, Obama started a new war in Pakistan, causing more than a million people to flee their homes. In threatening Iran - which his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she was prepared to "obliterate" - Obama lied that the Iranians were covering up a "secret nuclear facility", knowing that it had already been reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority. In colluding with the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, he bribed the Palestinian Authority to suppress a UN judgment that Israel had committed crimes against humanity in its assault on Gaza - crimes made possible with US weapons whose shipment Obama secretly approved before his inauguration.

The old dog whistle test

At home, the man of peace has approved a military budget exceeding that of any year since the end of the Second World War while presiding over a new kind of domestic repression. During the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, hosted by Obama, militarised police attacked peaceful protesters with something called the Long-Range Acoustic Device, not seen before on US streets. Mounted in the turret of a small tank, it blasted a piercing noise as tear gas and pepper gas were fired indiscriminately. It is part of a new arsenal of "crowd-control munitions" supplied by military contractors such as Raytheon. In Obama's Pentagon-controlled "national security state", the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, which he promised to close, remains open, and "rendition", secret assassinations and torture continue.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winner's latest war is largely secret. On 15 July, Washington finalised a deal with Colombia that gives the US seven giant military bases. "The idea," reported the Associated Press, "is to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations . . . nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 [military transport] without refuelling", which "helps achieve the regional engagement strategy".

Translated, this means Obama is planning a "rollback" of the independence and democracy that the people of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador andParaguay have achieved against the odds, along with a historic regional co-operation that rejects the notion of a US "sphere of influence". The Colombian regime, which backs death squads and has the continent's worst human rights record, has received US military support second in scale only to Israel. Britain provides military training. Guided by US military satellites, Colombian paramilitaries now infiltrate Venezuela with the goal of overthrowing the democratic government of Hugo Chávez, which George W Bush failed to do in 2002.

Obama's war on peace and democracy in Latin America follows a style he has demonstrated since the coup against the democratic president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in June. Zelaya had increased the minimum wage, granted subsidies to small farmers, cut back interest rates and reduced poverty. He planned to break a US pharmaceutical monopoly and manufacture cheap generic drugs. Although Obama has called for Zelaya's reinstatement, he refuses to condemn the coup-makers and to recall the US ambassador or the US troops who train the Honduran forces determined to crush a popular resistance. Zelaya has been repeatedly refused a meeting with Obama, who has approved an IMF loan of $164m to the illegal regime. The message is clear and familiar: thugs can act with impunity on behalf of the US.

Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls "leadership" throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee's decision is the kind of cloying reverse racism that has beatified the man for no reason other than he is a member of a minority and attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills. This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded. "When Obama walks into a room," gushed George Clooney, "you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere."

Extreme and dangerous

The great voice of black liberation Frantz Fanon understood this. In The Wretched of the Earth, he described the "intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged". Because political debate has become so debased in our media monoculture - Blair or Brown; Brown or Cameron - race, gender and class can be used as seductive tools of propaganda and diversion. In Obama's case, what matters, as Fanon pointed out in an earlier era, is not the intermediary's "historic" elevation, but the class he serves. After all, Bush's inner circle was probably the most multiracial in presidential history. There was Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, all dutifully serving an extreme and dangerous power.

Britain has seen its own Obama-like mysticism. The day after Blair was elected in 1997, the Observer predicted that he would create "new worldwide rules on human rights" while the Guardian rejoiced at the "breathless pace [as] the floodgates of change burst open". When Obama was elected last November, Denis MacShane MP, a devotee of Blair's bloodbaths, unwittingly warned us: "I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997."

© New Statesman 1913 – 2009

Posted by JNOUBIYEH at 11:09 PM

BEN-YISHAI: Strategic blow to Israel & Israel’s growing isolation



For the time being, Turkey is no longer a dependable strategic ally of Israel
Part 1

by Ron Ben-Yishai - Ynet News - 14 October

The Israel Air Force’s capabilities will not be significantly undermined. Turkey is not the only region where the IAF can hold drills simulating various combat scenarios: Long-range missions, operations in unknown territory, and cooperation with foreign forces. Nonetheless, the decision to cancel Israel’s participation in NATO’s aerial drill in Turkey must serve as a glowing warning sign in respect to the strategic and economic implications that may follow our growing diplomatic isolation.

The Muslim Turkey was for many years a formidable and reliable ally of Israel. At this time, however, our strategic relations with it appear to be at a freefall. The deterioration started after the failure of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s effort to mediate between former Prime Minister Olmert and Syrian President Assad; it turned into a tsunami during and in the wake of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.

The anger felt by Erdogan, the devout Muslim, towards Israel, and the tailwind he has been getting from the Turkish street prompted him to force his desires on the secular security establishment, whose heads are apparently still interested in ties with Israel. As a result, the openly visible as well as the more surreptitious security cooperation between the two states is increasingly being eroded.

New deals worth tens and hundreds of millions of dollars offered by Israel’s defense industries to the Turkish army, as well as cooperation with Turkish colleagues, are being put on hold or are cancelled altogether. Only recently, officials in Ankara preferred to purchase a spy satellite from Italy, even though it is inferior in quality and more expensive than the Israeli product offered to Turkey.

However, the cancellation of Israel’s participation in the aerial drill is a truly negative shift, even though we are dealing with a demonstrative propaganda move meant to appease domestic public opinion; the decision does not undermine Israel’s security directly or immediately.

However, Turkey (which is interested in gaining acceptance into the European Union) would not have dared adopt such move in defiance of Washington and its European allies had its government not reached the conclusion that the benefit it can expect among regional states by shunning Israel is greater than the potential damage.

In order not to sabotage whatever is still left of the relationship, officials in Jerusalem prefer to maintain a low profile and refrain from a significant response. However, we must recognize the fact that Ankara, for the time being at least, is no longer a dependable strategic and security partner for Israel. This fact already constitutes a substantial blow to our national security because it erodes our deterrent power vis-à-vis Iran and Syria. Anyone who looks at the regional map can easily understand this.

Israel has indeed embarked on a process of seeking substitutes to the strategic advantages offered by the relationship with Turkey. However, this process is difficult and complex, and it is doubtful whether it will compensate us for the lost ties with Ankara.

Israel’s growing isolation

Our global status is gradually being eroded as international pressure grows

Part 2

What should concern us about the deterioration in our ties with Turkey is that the Turks are not alone.

In recent years, up until several months ago, Israel’s intelligence community estimated that the fears of Arab Sunni-majority states in the face of the Iranian-Shiite threat would prompt a process of rapprochement between them and Israel. This assessment appeared to materialize during the Second Lebanon War. The positions adopted by most Sunni states, ranging from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, towards Hezbollah and its patrons in Tehran left little room for doubt as to where they stand.

However, then came Operation Case Lead in Gaza and changed the picture. The sights of carnage and ruin in the Strip, reinforced by the inciting commentary offered by Arab satellite networks, provoked unrest on the Muslim street. This unrest jeopardize the moderate regimes, which were forced to issue scathing condemnations over Israel’s actions and even adopt substantive steps against it, in line with Arab League demands.

The chances of tightening regional cooperation further declined after a Netanyahu-led rightist government was formed in Jerusalem, with Avigdor Lieberman becoming a major partner in it. The wave of hostility and media incitement grew in the face of Israel’s refusal to freeze construction in the settlements and the building in east Jerusalem, which were accompanied by provocative statements on the part of Netanyahu and his ministers.

All of the above curbed the Obama Administration’s nascent attempt to advance the resolution of the conflict by integrating it within the Saudi normalization initiative. Gulf States, which realized that the US Administration is failing to elicit Israeli concessions, responded (in line with popular pressure) by refusing to offer confidence-building gestures. The Goldstone Report on the Gaza war and the tensions in Jerusalem, which were fanned by radical Jewish and Muslim pyromaniacs, added more fuel to the fire.

The situation is not much better in the rest of the world. The developments reviewed here are gradually eroding Israel’s status not only in Asia, where most of the world’s Muslims reside.

We are seeing an anti-Israeli tide in Europe and in South America as well that at times gives rise to latent anti-Semitism. The list is long: Ranging from the media-covered conflict with Sweden over the “harvesting of body parts” affair (which was needlessly inflated by us) to the Norwegian decision to boycott the stocks of Elbit. It continued with the embargo imposed by Britain on the importation of spare parts to the Israeli Navy and the boycott on goods produced in the territories; finally, Honduras’ ousted president charged Israelis with using poisonous gases against him.

We are dealing with an accumulation of positions, declarations, and actions adopted by organizations and governments worldwide with growing intensity, in the aims of isolating Israel and thereby pressuring it to modify is political positions and force military restraint upon it. And this is the good case scenario.

According to the more negative scenario, they are trying to brand Israel as a “pariah state,” undermine the legitimacy of its very existence, and revoke its natural right and duty to defend its citizens – similarly to the manner in which the international community “took care” of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The ‘IDF’ Violated Nuremberg Principles During Operation ‘Cast Lead’

The ‘IDF’ Violated Nuremberg Principles During Operation ‘Cast Lead’

16/10/2009 Cesar Chelala – Commondreams
October 14, 2009

In what can be considered a sad paradox of history, an analysis of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) actions during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza shows that the IDF violated several of the Nuremberg Principles, as well as the principles of the Geneva Conventions.

The Nuremberg Principles are a set of guidelines established after World War II to try Nazi Party members. They were established to determine what constitutes a war crime. The Geneva Conventions consist of four treaties and three additional protocols that establish the standards in international law for humanitarian treatment of the victims of war.

According to Nuremberg Principle I, "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment." As detailed in the "Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict," also known as the "Goldstone Report," several crimes against unarmed civilians were committed by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The UN Mission investigated 11 incidents in which the IDF launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome. The facts in all except one case, states the Mission, indicate no justifiable military objective. According to the report, "From the facts ascertained in all the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life."

Both Israeli government and military officials are responsible for the IDF actions during Operation Cast Lead. As Nuremberg Principle III states, "The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relive him from responsibility under international law."
It has been argued that those that were following orders are not guilty of crimes, and the responsibility for those crimes falls on the superior officers. However, Nuremberg Principle IV states that, "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

Nuremberg Principle VI establishes three kinds of crimes punishable as crimes under international law: crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Among crimes against peace are those crimes "involving planning, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances."

Although the Government of Israel has the duty to defend its citizens, it is clear that Operation Cast Lead was a war of aggression against Gazans, out of any reasonable proportion and aimed at inflicting massive damage on Gaza's civilian population. According to a study carried out by B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, 1,387 Gazans were killed during operation Cast Lead, a figure that includes 773 civilians and 330 combatants.

Among the war crimes established by Nuremberg Principle VI are the, "...plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity." The UN Mission investigated several incidents involving the destruction of industrial infrastructure, food production, water installations, sewage treatment plants and housing. Among the installations destroyed by the IDF was the el-Bader flour mill, the only operating flour mill in Gaza.

As stated in the UN report, "...the Mission finds that there has been a violation of the grave breaches provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Unlawful and wanton destruction which is not justified by military necessity amounts to a war crime. The Mission also finds that the destruction of the mill was carried out to deny sustenance to the civilian population, which is a violation of customary international law and may constitute a war crime. The strike on the flour mill furthermore constitutes a violation of the right to adequate food and means of subsistence."

The UN Mission also investigated four incidents in which the IDF coerced Palestinian civilian men at gunpoint to take part in house search operations. The men, blindfolded and handcuffed, were forced to enter houses suspected of having combatants, ahead of the Israeli soldiers. "From the facts available to it, the Mission is of the view that some of the actions of the Government of Israel might justify a competent court finding that crimes against humanity have been committed," states the report.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel will never allow its soldiers and war-time leaders to appear before an international war-crimes tribunal regarding the IDF conduct during the war on Gaza. As stated in the UN Mission report, however, "In the context of increasing unwillingness on the part of Israel to open criminal investigations that comply with international standards, the Mission supports the reliance on universal jurisdiction as an avenue for States to investigate violations of the grave breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, prevent impunity and promote international accountability."

Dr. Cesar Chelala, a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award, writes extensively on human rights issues.

HANIEH: Arab Jews


October 17, 2009


by Adam Hanieh - - 16 October 2009

The official ideology of Israel, Zionism, has always portrayed itself as a liberation movement for all Jews. But although Zionism claims to offer a home for all Jews, that home has never been offered equally.

The question of Arab Jews strikes at the heart of the Zionist contradiction — an attempt to build an anti- Arab, exclusively Jewish state on Arab lands.

From the early days of the Zionist project, large numbers of Jews from neighbouring Arab countries were brought to Palestine. Ostensibly they were “returning home”, but in reality they came as cheap labour for their European counterparts (Ashkenazi Jews).

These Arab Jews were given the name Mizrahim (the eastern ones).

Official Israeli history presents the emigration of Mizrahi as a result of anti-Semitism within the countries where they lived or a religious devotion to the land of Palestine. This account forgets the economic interests of the Ashkenazi Zionists and the long and largely untroubled relationship between Mizrahi Jews and the other Arabs with whom they lived.

Mizrahim had lived in North Africa and the Middle East for millennia, and the vast majority were opposed to creating a Jewish state in Palestine. The Iraqi Jewish leadership, for example, cooperated with the Iraqi government to stop Zionist activity in Iraq; the chief rabbi published an open letter denouncing Zionism.

In 1920, Palestinian Jews signed anti-Zionist petitions denouncing Ashkenazi rule.

It is now well documented that Zionist underground cells planted bombs in Jewish centres to create hysteria amongst Iraqi Jews, hoping to encourage a mass exodus to Israel. On January 14, 1951, a bomb was thrown into an Iraqi synagogue, killing four people.

Of course these acts of terror by the Zionist movement did not happen in isolation from the corrupt Arab governments of the time, most of which were supported by the British, who had overtly backed the Zionist movement with the Balfour declaration of 1917.


The Mizrahim who arrived in Israel landed in corrugated iron transit camps where Israeli officials attempted to strip them of their “Arabness” by getting rid of their “unpronounceable” Arab names and replacing them with good “Jewish” names.

Most ended up in agricultural work, 10-12 hours a day in conditions of disease and squalor. Their high death rate was explained by one Zionist official as a “common and natural thing”.

One particularly damning example of the European approach to Mizrahim was the infamous “kidnapped children of Yemen” affair. Doctors, social workers and nurses worked together to kidnap 600 Yemeni-Jewish babies, telling their parents they had died and giving them to childless Ashkenazi couples.

A massive protest rally was held in 1986 to demand the truth, but it was ignored by the Israeli media. A few months later, Israeli television produced a documentary which blamed a bureaucratic system for spreading rumours and perpetuated the myth of Mizrahim as careless parents.

Today Mizrahim constitute around 50% of the Israeli population. Palestinian Arabs make up another 20%, so the total non-European population is about 70%. This rises to 90% with the inclusion of Palestinians from the occupied territories, making clear the colonial nature of Israel.

Mizrahim and Palestinian Arabs make up the vast majority of the Israeli working class, concentrated in lower paid sectors and largely ignored by the official trade union movement, the Histadrut.

Early protests

Such experiences have naturally led to protest. In 1959 a widespread rebellion began in a neighbourhood of Haifa called Wadi-Salib. It was crushed by the Israeli military.

A significant stage of the Mizrahi movement arose in the ’70s with the Black Panther movement. The Panthers took a revolutionary outlook from the black struggle in the US and Marxist movements in Latin America. They called for the destruction of the regime and a state that did not discriminate on the basis of religion, origin or nationality.

In May 1971 a demonstration of tens of thousands was organised by the Panthers against police repression. Some 170 activists were arrested and 35 were hospitalised through clashes with the police.

The Panthers were the first Mizrahim to make links with the Palestinian movement, even conducting talks with the then outlawed PLO.

Another Mizrahi movement known as the Tents movement developed. These activists protested against the squalid housing conditions of Mizrahim by squatting in vacant apartments in wealthy Ashkenazi suburbs and erecting large tent camps.

They drew links between the billions spent in the occupied territories to build settlements and the underprivileged neighbourhoods in which Mizrahim were forced to live.

The Zionist left in Israel, which consists mostly of western educated Ashkenazi, likes to portray Mizrahim as right wing, uncritical and easily swayed by populist demagogues.

The leaders of Peace Now, whose membership is almost exclusively Ashkenazi, scapegoat Mizrahim for “supporting the occupation”, “turning Israel into an anti-democratic state” and being “obstacles to peace”. These attitudes obscure important points.

Firstly, the policies of occupation and war have been designed and implemented by Ashkenazi, who have until recently dominated Israeli politics.

Secondly, the leaders of all the right-wing parties are Ashkenazim. It is true that a relatively large proportion of Mizrahim vote for Likud, but this has less to do with Likud’s policies towards Palestinians and more to do with the social devastation caused by years of rule by the Labour Party, the traditional party of Ashkenazi Zionism.

Thirdly, significant acts of solidarity with Palestinians initiated by Mizrahi have been erased from the history books.

Mizrahi and Likud

In the 1981 elections, Likud came to victory because of its image as the party of Mizrahim which would end Labour Party rule.

The leader of Likud, ex-paramilitary thug and Ashkenazi Zionist Menachem Begin, cultivated this image through cooption of many of the leaders of the Black Panthers and Tents movement.

Begin’s second in command was David Levi, a Mizrahi who knew how to use the Panthers’ rhetoric, but emptied of content. Levi ever since has used Mizrahi protests while preventing them from going too far.

During the Likud period in power, 1977-92, the social gap between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi did not narrow. Today David Levi continues as leader of his own party, Gesher, in the coalition government of Benyamin Netanyahu.

During the mid-’80s another reflection of Mizrahi discontent arose with the creation of the Shas party. Shas arose as a rebellion by ultra-orthodox Mizrahim who were studying in the Ashkenazi rabbinical schools.

Ultra-orthodox society is openly racist against Mizrahim, and Shas wanted to change this through establishing its own party and education system. Shas now wields important political power and currently has 10 seats in parliament.

It represents a false attempt to solve Mizrahi oppression by focusing solely on religion. However, it does reflect Mizrahi discontent with both Labour and Likud politics; one estimate puts four out of 10 Shas seats as due to the support of non-orthodox Mizrahi.

A new generation

Recently some developments in Mizrahi politics identify the root cause of Mizrahi oppression as the Zionist state and stress the need to build links with Palestinians.

One section of this movement is the Democratic Rainbow Movement, which is beginning a struggle over public lands.

Some 93% of Israeli territory is classified as state land, most of which was stolen from Palestinians who were expelled in 1948. Since the early ’90s, Labour and Likud have been attempting to privatise this land and public housing.

Most Mizrahi, who tend to live in the lowest standard public housing, will have no chance of owning their own apartments. However, the Kibbutz and Moshav communities (dominated by Ashkenazi) are being provided with free apartments under the legislation.

In the past, Mizrahim were often forced to live in development towns and settlements near the Israeli border or often within the occupied territories. As Israeli control has expanded, these areas have become prime real estate, leading to the eviction of Mizrahi and an influx of Ashkenazi.

This is particularly true of Jerusalem, where Israeli yuppies are now moving into settlements once populated by Mizrahi.

The Mizrahi movement inevitably comes up against the question of Palestinian rights. Rather than seeing their struggle as one for a “bigger slice of the Zionist pie” many Mizrahi believe the struggle must be a joint one.

Another Mizrahi movement is HILA, the Public Committee for Education in the Underprivileged Neighbourhoods. HILA works with activist parents in an attempt to reveal the distortions about Mizrahi history taught in Israeli schools.

Other groups have been established on universities and high schools that bring together Palestinian and Mizrahi youth. One of these groups, Tzah, organised a protest in April against a racist textbook used in the Hebrew University.

A founder of Tzah and a current leader of Hila, Shiko Behar, has written extensively on the real Mizrahi history, including opposition to Zionism and in support of Palestinian rights.

These activists also reject the attempt by Likud and Shas to speak for the Mizrahim. As one Mizrahi activist told Green Left, “We need to liberate Mizrahi and Arab-Jewish identity from the Zionist framework — and that means the framework of Likud and Shas as well”.

Adam Hanieh is a Palestinian-Australian who has lived in the West Bank town of Ramallah for several years. He is a researcher and human rights worker in Ramallah, the West Bank. He is the research and international advocacy coordinator for defense for Children International/Palestine Section, a Palestinian child rights nongovernment organization based in Ramallah since 1992. He is also a member of the Palestinian human rights organisation Addameer <> (”conscience”)

Hanieh is the former Birzeit University webmaster (1998-2000) and is currently (2002) working as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program. Hanieh is currently completing a Masters Degree in Regional Studies at Al Quds University, Jerusalem.


Report: US Working to Mend Ties between “Israel” and Turkey

Report: US Working to Mend Ties between “Israel” and Turkey

17/10/2009 Senior American diplomats have urged Turkey to work to restore relations with “Israel” in the wake of deteriorating ties, Army Radio reported on Friday.

According to the report, U.S. officials have asked the Turkish foreign ministry to ease tensions with Israel - which have cooled significantly since Israel's winter offensive in the Gaza Strip - explaining that the escalating conflict is harming U.S. interests in the Middle East.

The escalating tension between Turkey and Israel threatens regional stability and undermines the fight against “extremism” as well as the efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program, the U.S. diplomats reportedly told their Turkish counterparts. U.S. diplomats are also reportedly planning to meet with Israeli officials to discuss the conflict with Turkey.

Israel expressed outrage and rebuked the Turkish envoy this week over a new television drama airing on a state-sponsored channel in Turkey that depicts Israel occupation forces soldiers as brutal war criminals. The drama includes images of Israeli soldiers shooting children in Gaza and lining up a firing squad to shoot at a group of Palestinians.

Prior to the conflict over the television show, relations between Turkey and Israel had grown increasingly strained over the cancellation of a joint NATO air force drill. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that "diplomatic sensitivities" led his government to ban Israel from the NATO exercise, according to news reports. Erdogan added that the Turkish people had rejected Israel's participation in the drill.

Saving Face in Afghanistan

Saving Face in Afghanistan

16/10/2009 Ron Paul – ICH
October 14, 2009

This past week there has been a lot of discussion and debate on the continuing war in Afghanistan. Lasting twice as long as World War II and with no end in sight, the war in Afghanistan has been one of the longest conflicts in which our country has ever been involved. The situation has only gotten worse with recent escalations.

The current debate is focused entirely on the question of troop levels. How many more troops should be sent over in order to pursue the war? The administration has already approved an additional 21,000 American service men and women to be deployed by November, which will increase our troop levels to 68,000. Will another 40,000 do the job? Or should we eventually build up the levels to 100,000 in addition to that? Why not 500,000 – just to be “safe”? And how will public support be brought back around to supporting this war again when 58 percent are now against it?

I get quite annoyed at this very narrow line of questioning. I have other questions. We overthrew the Taliban government in 2001 with less than 10,000 American troops. Why does it now seem that the more troops we send, the worse things get? If the Soviets bankrupted themselves in Afghanistan with troop levels of 100,000 and were eventually forced to leave in humiliating defeat, why are we determined to follow their example? Most importantly, what is there to be gained from all this? We’ve invested billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives – for what?

The truth is it is no coincidence that the more troops we send the worse things get. Things are getting worse precisely because we are sending more troops and escalating the violence. We are hoping that good leadership wins out in Afghanistan, but the pool of potential honest leaders from which to draw have been fleeing the violence, leaving a tremendous power vacuum behind. War does not quell bad leaders. It creates them. And the more war we visit on this country, the more bad leaders we will inadvertently create.

Another thing that war does is create anger with its indiscriminate violence and injustice. How many innocent civilians have been harmed from clumsy bombings and mistakes that end up costing lives? People die from simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a war zone, but the killers never face consequences. Imagine the resentment and anger survivors must feel when a family member is killed and nothing is done about it. When there are no other jobs available because all the businesses have fled, what else is there to do, but join ranks with the resistance where there is a paycheck and also an opportunity for revenge? This is no justification for our enemies over there, but we have to accept that when we push people, they will push back.

The real question is why are we there at all? What do our efforts now have to do with the original authorization of the use of force? We are no longer dealing with anything or anyone involved in the attacks of 9/11. At this point we are only strengthening the resolve and the ranks of our enemies. We have nothing left to win. We are only there to save face, and in the end we will not even be able to do that.

SEALE: Israel’s dangerously battered image


- October 17, 2009

The admiration which Israel’s early state-building once aroused in many parts of the world has turned into angry impatience, outrage, even contempt, says Patrick Seale.
by Patrick Seale, Middle East Online - 16 October 2009

torn Israeli flag
In international politics, image counts. A country’s reputation, the aura it projects, the esteem in which its leaders are held — these are as important as its armed services in providing protection for its citizens. Most politicians know that soft power, skillfully used, can be at least as effective as blood-drenched hard power.

This is a lesson Israel appears to have forgotten. Its pitiless treatment of the Palestinians, whether under occupation on the West Bank or under siege in Gaza — not to mention its repeated assaults on Lebanon, its 2007 raid on Syria and its relentless sabre-rattling against Iran — have done terrible damage to its image.

The admiration which its early state-building once aroused in many parts of the world has turned into angry impatience, outrage, even contempt.

Few outside Israel itself — and outside the shrinking ranks of its diehard supporters in the United States and Europe — would today be prepared to defend its arrogant militarists, its fanatical land-grabbing settlers, its racist politicians.

Astonishingly, there is no sign that Israel’s political leaders have understood the magnitude of the problem or are doing anything serious to address it. On the contrary, they are busy digging deeper into a hole of their own making.

Turkey’s sudden cancellation this week of a major air force exercise with Israel was a salutary wake-up call. Evidently, Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan found it necessary to cancel the drill because of the widespread hostility to Israel among Turkey’s population. He has had to take Turkish public opinion into account. Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu spelled out the reasons in diplomatic terms: “We hope that the situation in Gaza will improve…and that will create a new atmosphere in Turkish-Israeli relations…”

To offend the Turks is no small matter. Israel cannot afford to ignore the warning or sweep it under the carpet. Turkey has for many years been Israel’s main regional strategic partner — indeed its only one since the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. Losing Turkey could turn out to be the worst setback Israel has suffered for a very long time.

Turkey’s army is the largest in the region; so is its industrial base. Its GDP, at over $1,000bn (in 2008) dwarfs that of the oil producers, whether Arab or Iranian, and is four times larger than Israel’s own. In recent years, Turkey has greatly improved its relations with Iran and with neighboring Arab states — Syria in particular — and is emerging as the wise “big brother” of the greater Middle East. It has offered to mediate local conflicts and is attempting to spread stability and security all around it.

From the moment Israel started hammering Gaza last December, it was clear that its insane war was a grotesque mistake, which would end up fuelling nothing but hate, and might even delegitimize Israel in the eyes of much of the world. The Goldstone report has now driven a giant nail into the coffin of Israel’s reputation by finding that, in Gaza, there was evidence that Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”

Instead of agreeing to carry out an independent investigation into these charges, as the UN mission demanded — before the matter was referred to the Security Council for prosecution at the International Criminal Court — Israel launched an all-out attack on Goldstone and his report. It used all its diplomatic clout to get the report discredited as biased and its examination deferred.

Not only is Judge Richard Goldstone an eminent international jurist with a towering reputation for integrity and fairness, but he is also a Jew and a self-proclaimed Zionist. He won praise for exposing the crimes of South Africa’s Apartheid regime and for his scrupulous work as chief UN prosecutor in Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

So anxious was he to be even-handed that, before accepting to head the Gaza fact-finding mission, he insisted that the mandate be expanded to include Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians. Indeed, his report found evidence that Palestinian armed groups also committed war crimes, as well as possible crimes against humanity.

Israel’s propaganda war on the Goldstone report has proved both wrong-headed and self-defeating. Among its victims is the hapless Mahmud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority who, under pressure from both Israel and the United States, agreed not to press for an immediate examination of the report by the Security Council. Recognizing his mistake, he has since tried to backtrack, but his leadership has been severely dented.

The result has been to undermine and weaken Palestinian moderates — such as Abbas — whom Israel, one might have supposed, would want to strengthen, and with whom it would seek to negotiate. But does Israel want peace? Does it want to negotiate? Or does it, on the contrary, seek to radicalize the Palestinians so as to avoid serious negotiations until it has seized more territory?

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s extremist foreign minister, has given the game away by declaring that there can be no peace with the Palestinians for several more years. In refusing to freeze settlements or engage in negotiations, what Lieberman and his boss, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are doing is to challenge not just peace-loving opinion around the world, but also — first and foremost — U.S. President Barack Obama.

The Israeli right-wing and its neo-conservative supporters in the United States have launched a frontal assault on a central goal of Obama’s foreign policy, namely a two-state solution of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. To undermine Obama, they have not hesitated to mount a vicious campaign of incitement against him. He is depicted as a Nazi, a Muslim and a Jew-hater. His Nobel Peace Prize has been mocked.

Israel is here venturing on very dangerous ground. So far, Obama has sought to persuade rather than to threaten. In his dealings with both Iran and Israel, he has tried to reach agreement by accommodation. With Iran, he has achieved some progress — breaking a 30-year long stalemate — and no doubt more progress will follow. With Israel, he has met a stone wall.

Israel should reflect. Obama’s patience is not endless. Losing Turkey is one thing. To risk losing America is quite another.

Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East, and the author of The Struggle for Syria; also, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East; and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire.

Scandal in the raw

Azmi Bishara, Al-Ahram Weekly, Oct 17, 2009

This article was originally published by Al-Ahram Weekly and is republished with permission.
Israeli soldiers observe Palestinian children in Bethlehem during a demonstration against the separation barrier. (Luay Sababa, Maan Images)

The decision to behave in Geneva like the made-in-Oslo Palestinian Authority (PA) was but an extension of the Israeli occupation was the final nail in the coffin of international solidarity with the Palestinian cause in its customary sense. Those who took this decision knew this. International solidarity was confounded by the questions stirred by the Oslo Accords, a treaty struck with the occupation power before a solution was in sight. Was the liberation struggle still in progress as the occupation was still in place? Or did the Oslo process mean that matters now rested with the ability of "the two sides" to reach a settlement? Although the solidarity movement revived somewhat with the second Intifada, the Palestinian rift and the behaviour of the PA towards the war on Gaza threw it into confusion again. Even so, as fragmented and disarrayed as they were, all grassroots and semi-grassroots organisations and movements mustered what spirit they could to stand behind the Palestinians, as divided as they are, in the wake of the Israeli assault on Gaza. The Goldstone Report was the product of this drive. But now, after 2 October in Geneva, who is going to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinians, how would they do so, and why should they?

The Palestinian party that declared, in Geneva, that it would withdraw its support from the Goldstone Report behaved not as though the Palestinians needed as much support as they could get, but as though this were part of the international order. Grassroots solidarity embarrasses such officials. It doesn't mesh with their self-image. They are up there with those in the White House, and who needs popular solidarity once you're a guest of the US president? Also, that solidarity movement can be more of an enemy than a friend at times. That movement supports the people in Gaza, for example, whereas the Palestinian officials in question stand on the other side of the blockade, working to obstruct any efforts that might give an advantage to their Palestinian political adversaries. These officials bade farewell to the liberation movement some time ago. "So long, liberation movement," they said well before liberation was even a glimmer on the horizon. That was painfully obvious to those who had eyes and ears. However, their behaviour in Geneva came as the definitive and impossible to miss adieu to the spirit and logic of liberation and solidarity movements.

The whole and essence of the Palestinian cause have been lost amidst the details of the political manoeuvres and the fine points of the settlement process that predominate the news. This is precisely the problem that responsible media committed to objectivity should overcome.

The international arena in the Obama era has teemed with political actions aimed more at kick- starting the peace process than at reaching a just peace. Granted, we may well see a peace conference in three months' time, according to some Arab officials, that will bring back the "glories" of Camp David II, albeit without Arafat and with Netanyahu. But then we can trust in the latter to turn down the very proposals that Arafat rejected and even more, for he is a very patriotic Israeli. Nor should we expect the current administration in Washington to depart from the rules set by its predecessors for the so- called peace process. The Obama administration may be the product of the failure of the neoconservatives' policies, down to its having to abandon the export of democracy and to acknowledge the failure of the Iraqi expedition. However, the situation of the Arab states is such that they could not exploit this administration's weakness in foreign policy. Even if they were able, the governments of the "moderate axis" are not interested in entering a fray over Palestine; so happy are they at the arrival of an administration that has abandoned the rhetoric of spreading democracy and human rights.

Apparently some Arab officials saw this as the opportunity to "pressure" Washington into backing down on its insistence that Israel freeze settlement expansion and focus instead on reviving negotiations for a lasting solution, ostensibly on the grounds that the settlement question would be resolved in this framework at any rate. But even in Iraq, where American foreign policy is the weakest, the official Arab order could not translate this weakness, which is the product of the achievements scored by the Arab resistance, into an Arab policy that would ensure that Arab interests and causes would be high on the agendas of negotiations between the US, Iran and Turkey. So, with regards to what Arab flights of "Oriental imagination" refer to as US pressures on Israel, Washington stuck to the old routine. The business of Mitchell's shuttle diplomacy can be summed up in three points: persuading the Arabs to undertake good will initiatives towards normalising relations with Israel; securing Arab assistance in the financing of the PA, which is funded primarily by Europe; ensuring that the Arabs are officially and solidly against those in power in Gaza.

Related Stories

The tears of the sea

Of tunnels, Goldstone and the 'peace process'

The bride who crawled through a tunnel

New crisis developing in Palestine

FAQ on Current Jerusalem Unrest

Through such moves, the Obama administration hopes to finish where Bush and Clinton left off in the attempt to convince Israel and the Arab world to translate the proposed Palestinian state into a complete "package deal". The "package" here is the establishment of a Palestinian state in exchange for the Arabs relinquishing the right of return for Palestinian refugees and demands that Israel withdraw from all the territories it occupied in June 1967, including East Jerusalem. For the Arabs, to conclude this deal would not only be to abandon the Palestinian cause as it is historically understood, but also the base line of the Arab peace initiative. Israel, for its part, has espoused this formula since Sharon. Since then, it has focussed its efforts on squeezing the proposed state into as small a patch of land as possible with as few rights of sovereignty as possible. Towards this end, it is taking advantage of the relinquishment on the part of the PA and the official Arab order of all instruments of conflict management apart from its format for negotiations in order to impose a "de facto peace" on the ground (where the standards and conditions of living of the people, including roadblocks and the like, become the foremost considerations), and it is exploiting the concept of the two-state solution in order to press for the Arab recognition of the Jewishness of Israel, which would implicitly entail the relinquishment of the right to return, a retroactive recognition of Zionism, and a retroactive recognition that Israel has been historically and morally right and that the Arabs been historically and morally wrong.

In the meantime, the new US administration has struck the tune of demanding a halt to Israeli settlements. The Arabs, including the Palestinians, echoed the refrain. It would be useful here to recall that in the history of settlement construction, the seasons in which construction was most prolific were the seasons when a settlement freeze was proclaimed. Anyone familiar with Israel and the way it works knows that planning and construction is a central activity of the state, which was founded on planning and construction. It plans for more than 20 years in advance. Any freeze that exempts construction projects for which the plans had been drawn up before the freeze permits construction to continue for another 20 years.

In all events, the current Israeli government could not even bring itself to a formal freeze because this government, unlike its predecessor, relies on political forces that hold that the mere declaration of a freeze, as fraudulent as it might be, is a moral compromise. Israel, in the opinion of the ultra right, must proclaim its lawful right to expand its settlements, instead of going about this furtively. The debate in Israel has not been about a freeze (since there never was or would be one in effect) but about whether or not to declare a freeze. For the Arab media to play along with this and in turn keep the Arab public focussed on the details of the settlement freeze theme is truly regrettable and disastrous, for it obscures the fact that settlement construction is proceeding full steam ahead, especially in Jerusalem right now, and that the blockade of Gaza remains as tight as ever and is little more than a continuation of the December/January war by other means.

Returning to the heart of the matter, the implementation of which clashes with Israel's ambitions, what about the right of return? Above all, we must stress that the right of return does not emanate from an international resolution and that the Palestinian and Arab people are committed to this right, even without a resolution to give it official sanction, though such a resolution exists. It is impossible to obtain the right of return through a settlement with Israel. It can only be realised through an Israeli defeat won in the context of the Arab-Zionist struggle. Therefore, if the Arabs give up the struggle, and even the strategy of struggle, then they are effectively relinquishing the right to return. Even if the Palestine Liberation Organisation still existed as a militant organisation, and even if the PA was an authority that operated in accordance with the logic of liberation, they could not obtain the right of return over the negotiating table with Israel for the simple reason that Israel regards this right as a negation of itself. Perhaps for this reason, many Arabs have moved away from the rhetoric of winning the right of return through a victory over Israel and to the rhetoric of the refusal to naturalise Palestinian refugees in the context of the negotiating process. Moreover, as things transpired in practice, the rejection of naturalisation more often than not came to mean "No to naturalisation in this country, though if other countries want to give them citizenship that's their business."

In fact, the position is a racist one which, like sectarianism and factionalism, flies in the face of affiliation to a single Arab identity. The rejection of the concept of naturalisation in countries that have made peace with Israel without including the principle of the right of return in the peace agreement, and in countries that are counting on an eventual peace agreement in order to recover the lands Israel occupied in 1967 and afterwards, will not bring the right of return. Do these countries think that the matter should be left to the Abbas-Fayyad government? Surely not, since in practical terms the PA relinquished the right of return a long time ago, and even if it hadn't it could not impose it in the context of its relationship with Israel. Then it must be that these countries see the right of return as a matter to be taken up not between themselves and Israel, but rather between the Palestinians residing in these countries and Israel. The only logical outcome would be racist incitement against Palestinian refugees in these countries, which would conform well to the spread of sectarian, provincial and tribal mentalities in the political culture of Arab societies and their ruling regimes.

How can the creation of a Palestinian state be a package deal? Here we must clearly enter the Arab/ American realm of imagination, irrespective of what the Israeli position is. In Washington's imagination, the dictates of realism will lead the Arabs to accept a land exchange instead of Israel's return to 1967 borders. It further believes that "creative solutions" for the holy places will solve the problem of Jerusalem without Israel having to withdraw from the Arab side of that city. As for the refugee question, this solves itself automatically through the existence of a state, which will turn the refugees into Palestinian subjects residing abroad and bearing Palestinian passports. Though, according to this pragmatic imagination, many problems will be left pending, the refugees' legal status will have been resolved with no need for the right of return or naturalisation.

This is the challenge now. The sordidness that is unfolding in Geneva and New York has avid servants for whom the ends justify the means as never before. These servants like to think of themselves as an integral part of the international order. They are no longer on the outside, like militant revolutionaries. Nor or they on the fringes, like Arafat during the Intifadas and the post-Oslo period. And through their mere membership in the international order, they imagine, they will succeed in his quest for a state. Here we find the source of the disdain for what liberation movements generally regard as the heart of their mission, such as mobilising the world against the crimes of foreign occupation in the hope of restraining the hand of the occupier at the very least. Here, too, we find motive for abandoning the very idea of conflict with the colonialist state. They regard themselves as hypothetical peers of that state, which entitles them to use the same terms and the same pragmatic language, and to belittle calls for justice and respect for human rights, as they did so flagrantly in the vote on the Goldstone Report in Geneva.

They are financially corrupt, they coordinate with the occupation power over security, they set up a repressive governing entity with a militia to beat the very notion of "solidarity" out of people's heads, and they take part in a cruel economic blockade against a huge portion of their fellow Palestinians. They are, indeed, acting in the very nature and spirit of an international order that lies about war crimes. There is no use even trying to get through to people like that because they will tell you that they were there and they see themselves as having matured and they see you as naïve. They belong to a generation that had a liberation movement, but they infected it with their own decay before it could lead to a state. In this they have proven unrivalled.

US Gave Israeli Green Light To Continue Its Violations In Jerusalem; Group Says

US Gave Israeli Green Light To Continue Its Violations In Jerusalem; Group Says

Thursday October 15, 2009 07:50 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC

The Islamic-Christian Committee in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites accused the United States administration of granting the government of Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to continue its violations in against the Arab homes and holy sites in Jerusalem.

Dr. Hasan Khater, secretary-general of the committee, stated that the US stances against Israel’s illegal settlement activities managed to disturb Israel’s leaders, but they soon evaporated into thin air.

“Once the American pressure was off, Israel resumed its violations against Jerusalem and its residents”, Khater stated,

“The US is proving day by day that it cannot, or even not willing, to stop the Israeli violations and crimes against the people, their lands and their holy places”.

He also said that the United States totally ignored what happened recently in Jerusalem, and disregarded the constant attacks and threats against the Palestinians.

“Dozens of TV stations filmed Israeli soldiers and policemen breaking into the Al Aqsa mosque, and chasing the worshipers while firing at them”, Khater stated, “Israel surrounded the mosque for a full week, attacked women and children, while the U.S. failed to intervene, not even by words, while Israel continued its crimes against peace and the city of peace”.

“How would the US and the world react if it was the other way around”, Khater added, “What if Arab or foreign forces were chasing Jewish worshipers and firing at them near a synagogue”.

“Where did the statements of a new era go”, he said, “Where did the promises of Barack Obama go, is this the promised new era of improved relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds”.

The Israeli One and Only War Crime

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 02:23PM

a short comment by Gilad Atzmon

Something positive happened today, for a change. The UN human rights council backed the Goldstone Gaza war crimes report.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, wanted the council to reject the Goldstone report. Here is what he had to say yesterday:

"Israel's only real crime is that it does not have an automatic majority in the UN," (Benjamin Netanyahu )

Indeed, no one could ever describe Jewish supremacy more eloquently.

Netanyahu must have learnt to believe that Israel is beyond law and ethics.

In fact, this sentence alone explains the Israeli inherent criminal reality more than any possible war crime report.

Gilad Atzmon Comments Off Share Article

“Israel’s” Right or Not to Exist: The Facts and Truth

by Hasan Idelbi

by Hasan Idelbi

by Alan Hart, October 16, 2009, source

On Monday 12 October, Prime Minister Netanyahu opened the Knesset’s winter session by blasting the Goldstone Report that accuses Israel of committing war crimes and vowing that he would never allow Israelis be tried for them. But that was not his main message. It was an appeal, delivered I thought with a measure of desperation, to the “Palestinian leadership”, presumably the leadership of “President” Abbas and his Fatah cronies, leaders who are regarded by very many if not most Palestinians as American-and-Israeli stooges at best and traitors at worst.

Netanyahu again called on this leadership to agree to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, saying this was, and remains, the key to peace. And he went on and on and on about it.


“For 62 years the Palestinians have been saying ‘No’ to the Jewish state. I am once again calling upon our Palestinian neighbours – say ‘Yes’ to the Jewish state. Without recognition of the Israel as the state of the Jews we shall not be able to attain peace… Such recognition is a step which requires courage and the Palestinian leadership should tell its people the truth – that without this recognition there can be no peace… There is no alternative to Palestinian leaders showing courage by recognising the Jewish state. This has been and remains the true key to peace.”

As Ha’aretz noted in its report, Netanyahu’s demand for Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state is for him “a way on ensuring recognition of Israel’s right to exist as opposed to merely recognising Israel” (my emphasis). This, as Ha’aretz added, is the recognition which Netanyahu and many other Israelis see as the real core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the name of pragmatism, willingness to “merely to recognise” Israel – meaning to accept and live in peace with an Israel inside its pre-June ‘67 borders – has long been the formal Palestinian and all-Arab position. Why does it stop short of recognising Israel’s “right to exist”, and why, really, does it matter so much to Zionism that Palestinians recognise this right?

The answer is in the following.

According to history as written by the winner, Zionism, Israel was given its birth certificate and thus legitimacy by the UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947. This is propaganda nonsense.

• In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine or assign any part of its territory to a minority of alien immigrants in order for them to establish a state of their own.

• Despite that, by the narrowest of margins, and only after a rigged vote, the UN General Assembly did pass a resolution to partition Palestine and create two states, one Arab, one Jewish, with Jerusalem not part of either. But the General Assembly resolution was only a proposal – meaning that it could have no effect, would not become policy, unless approved by the Security Council.

• The truth is that the General Assembly’s partition proposal never went to the Security Council for consideration. Why not? Because the U.S. knew that, if approved, it could only be implemented by force given the extent of Arab and other Muslim opposition to it; and President Truman was not prepared to use force to partition Palestine.

• So the partition plan was vitiated (became invalid) and the question of what the hell to do about Palestine – after Britain had made a mess of it and walked away, effectively surrendering to Zionist terrorism – was taken back to the General Assembly for more discussion. The option favoured and proposed by the U.S. was temporary UN Trusteeship. It was while the General Assembly was debating what do that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence – actually in defiance of the will of the organised international community, including the Truman administration.

The truth of the time was that the Zionist state, which came into being mainly as a consequence of pre-planned ethnic cleansing, had no right to exist and, more to the point, could have no right to exist UNLESS … Unless it was recognised and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law only the Palestinians could give Israel the legitimacy it craved.

And that legitimacy was the only thing the Zionists could not and cannot take from the Palestinians by force.
No wonder Prime Minister Netanyahu is more than a little concerned on this account.

Israel’s leaders have always known the truth summarised above. It’s time for the rest of the world to know it.
Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and globally as a researcher, author, and a correspondent for ITN and the BBC.

* Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews: The False Messiah (Zionism, the Real Enemy of the Jews). He blogs on and tweets on

Second chance at life


Posted by realistic bird under Politics Tags: , , , , , ,

Nawal Owda points at a picture of her daughter in the hospital in 2004-by Eman Mohammed

Nawal Owda points at a picture of her daughter in the hospital in 2004-by Eman Mohammed

by Eman Mohammed writing from the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 16 October 2009, EI

Touching the old scar on her forehead, 14-year-old Samah Owda fought back tears while telling her story. For the past four years she has carried on, proving that internal wounds are sometimes more difficult to heal than external ones. As a 10-year-old girl she was given a “new life” and a chance that at the time no one thought would be possible.

On 15 December 2004, Samah was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper while was playing with her cousins on the balcony of her home in the Gaza Strip. Describing the shock she felt when she was first told what happened, Samah’s mother Nawal says she was visiting her relatives near by when Samah was shot: “When someone tells you that your daughter has been shot and killed it is extremely hard. But to see her blood on the balcony where she was just playing is like ripping your heart out. I ran back [home] like a crazy person, thinking she was dead. She bled severely for a while and we all thought that was it!”

As she spoke, Nawal exchanged sad glances with her daughter before tears started streak both of their faces. Squeezing her hands and drying her tears, Samah described what happened. “The only thing I felt was my head hitting the floor, and what happened before and after was just a blurry nightmare I can’t remember anything about. That’s probably the hardest part — not remembering. Now I walk and talk normally but when I think about it something isn’t right.”
She added, “I had to go back to school as though I was in first grade. I had to start living life again. I can only thank God for giving me the strength to do it. There were times when I had no idea why or how I survived. However, now I feel just normal. I limp a little but I’m working on that too, it gives me such hope and inspiration when people ask about what happened and I just see that look of admiration on their faces when they know — it’s like they are proud of me and they don’t even know me!”

Samah had to go to the United States for treatment and medication not long after she was injured and she was eventually able to talk and walk again. As for her dreams for the future, she is determined to become a doctor to help those in need. She explained, “Someone will always need help and I want to be there to give for the people who need it — just like I had doctors and nurses to help me when I was considered to be dead.”

However, Israel’s constant bombardment of Gaza frequently brings Samah back to that terrible day. During Israel’s invasion of Gaza last winter, Samah relived the horror of the day she was shot again when the Israeli military started to fire randomly at her house and neighborhood. Her father Moeen explained, “Her eyes were wide open; she didn’t talk to me or to her mother. We started to worry because she didn’t show any signs of fear. She didn’t even move, for days after [the attack] she stayed in her room not talking to anyone. Finally, I decided to talk to her. She only said one thing that left me feeling paralyzed and helpless: ‘Why didn’t you leave me to die?’”

Moeen added, “[The] doctors said it would be only normal for her to bury the horrible memories and try to move on, but that it would take some time. We all started to deal with [her injury] after the war even more than before it. Rebuilding your life isn’t easy but with Samah’s dreams, I believe anything is possible “

Samah added, “Now I don’t have fears or regrets. I want to live my life as an ordinary girl.” With a laugh, she added, “Maybe even an extraordinary one!”

Eman Mohammed is a Jordanian-Palestinian freelance photojournalist and reporter based in the Gaza Strip since 2005.