Saturday, 14 November 2009
The Israeli audacity makes one sick to the stomach, they kill, occupy and steal then they accuse the Palestinians of violence and theft! Honestly, how can one steal what he already owns?
Palestinians denied access to water
Israel dubs Palestinian farmers trying in vain to irrigate their lands “water pirates”.
Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, or “water pirates” as Israeli occupation forces prefer to call them, are siphoning off drinking water pipes in an effort to secure water to irrigate their farmland.
Water is an increasingly disputed resource between Israel and the Palestinians…
A World Bank report has accused Israel of using four times more water than Palestinians from the so-called Mountain Aquifer that bridges Israel and the territory and runs along the West Bank.
Israel disputes that claim and says the Palestinians are jeopardising the resource through illegal use.
Palestinians argue they are being denied access in order to force them off their land.
This exclusive report from Al Jazeera shows Israeli occupation forces dismantling a farmer’s water pipes in the agricultural village of al-Baqa.
Badran Jaber, a Palestinian farmer, told Al Jazeera: “We were surprised by a large group of soldiers and settlers who surrounded the entire area. We asked them: ‘why are you doing this and what do you want?’ They refused to speak to us.
“Men who came with the soldiers stormed the field and pulled out all the irrigation pipes, destroying the crops.”
Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland reports on how Israeli rules blight the lives of many Palestinians.
Road restrictions for West Bank Palestinians
by Al Jazeera
Roads in the occupied Palestinian Territories are vital arteries connecting West Bank towns and villages.
But major routes have been closed off to tens of thousands of Palestinians, for the benefit of a handful of Israeli settlers.
Now, in the first ruling of its kind, Israel’s supreme court has ordered the army to open up a West Bank highway to Palestinian traffic again.
Nicole Johnston reports from the occupied West Bank.
Leave a Comment
Sat, 14 Nov 2009, Press TV
The intelligence chiefs of the United States, Israel, Egypt and Jordan have held an unprecedented secret meeting to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
The conclave of intelligence chiefs was held in Amman in the first week of November, reported DEBKA an Israeli web site which has close links to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad.
The chief of Jordan’s General Intelligence Service, Gen. Muhammad Raqed hosted the meeting, which was attended by senior officials of the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Defense Intelligence Agency, Israel’s Mossad chief, Meir Dagan and military intelligence head Brig. Amos Yadlin along with Egypt’s intelligence minister, Gen. Omar Suleiman.
The report comes as Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Sky News on November 7 that Tel Aviv’s persistent threats to attack Iran are not just a bluff.
Israel and its staunchest ally, the US, continue to insist that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon program, while lacking any evidence to prove their claim.
The reports by International Atomic Energy Agency issued so far — and even reports released by the United States’ main intelligence agencies — all point to the contrary.
Tehran, an Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)-signatory, has called for the removal of all weapons of mass destruction across the globe.
Israel, which has so far refused to sign the NPT, is believed to be the sole possessor of nuclear arms in the Middle East with over 200 ready-to-launch warheads in its stockpile.
[ 14/11/2009 - 08:16 AM ]
GAZA, (PIC)-- One Palestinian boy was killed, another was taken to hospital and three others were kidnapped before noon on Friday during an Israeli military incursion into Johr Al-Deek area, east of Gaza Strip.
Palestinian medical sources confirmed to the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the victim was a 17-year-old boy called Mustafa Wadi from Bureij refugee camp and was transferred to Al-Aqsa hospital after he was shot dead by Israeli troops.
Local sources told the PIC that 25 Israeli soldiers infiltrated into the garbage dump in Johr Al-Deek area and opened fire at a group of children and boys who were hunting birds, which led to the death of Wadi and the kidnapping of four of his friends, one of them were injured and transferred to the Israeli Barazillai hospital.
Earlier, the Hebrew radio alleged that an Israeli military force advanced east of Gaza and opened fire after spotting resistance fighters who were trying to plant an explosive device near Nahal Oz post.
For its part, the Palestinian ministry of prisoners’ affairs held the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) fully responsible for the lives of the four young men who were kidnapped east of Gaza.
Information director of the ministry Riyadh Al-Ashqar appealed to the Red Cross to urgently intervene to disclose the fate of the young men especially the wounded ones and ensure they receive appropriate medical treatment.
Ashqar said that the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) intensified the kidnapping of civilians from Gaza after opening fire at them at the pretext they approached the border fence, noting that this escalation points to Israeli malicious intents to displace Palestinian citizens from their lands near the eastern borderline of Gaza.
In another context, the ministry of prisoners’ affairs received Thursday in its headquarters in Gaza city the delegation of Miles of Smiles aid convoy in the presence of families of prisoners.
Director-general of the ministry Baha Madhoun along with the families briefed the delegation on the suffering of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail and talked about the ways to activate their humanitarian issue internationally.
Among the speakers was an eight-year-old girl called Jumana, the daughter of prisoner Ala’a Abu Juzar, who made some of the attendees cry when she talked about her life after the detention of her father and the death of her mother especially when she wakes up every morning.
The Founding Fathers, and Mother, of Israel
Only by their actions have they spelled out more clearly their deliberate and premeditated intent, which provides more than adequate self-incrimination for condemnation and conviction as perpetrators of War Crimes, Genocide, and other Crimes Against Humanity.
When will enough be enough? When the last Palestinian is dead? When they go on, and go after the rest of the Arab Middle East? When they continue on, and come after you?
Hear it from their own mouths! See it on your own TV and read about it in your own press today… if you happen to live outside of the USA.
They have already bought, bribed or blackmailed, captured, or enslaved North American, the US and Canadian, Australian and New Zealand politics and public opinion. Do not wait for them to solidify their position of dominating influence in your countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Central and South America.
Resist! Support the resistance in Palestine. Get the word out! The enemy is approaching your gates!
They are inside your gates!
Fight them today in Palestine and you will not have to fight them tomorrow in your own Congresses, Parliaments, Assemblies, on your streets and in your own homes.
And, you will not ever have to send your own children off to fight their wars, to kill and be killed by their chosen and designated “enemies”
Listen to the barking dogs! They bite!
David Ben Gurion
Prime Minister of Israel
1949 – 1954,
1955 – 1963
“We must expel Arabs and take their places.”
– David Ben Gurion, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.
“We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
– David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
“There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
– Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp. 121-122.
“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
– David Ben Gurion, quoted in The Jewish Paradox, by Nahum Goldmann, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978, p. 99.
“Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”
–David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan’s “Zionism and the Palestinians pp 141-2 citing a 1938 speech.
“If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.”
– David Ben-Gurion 1938 (Quoted on pp 855-56 in Shabtai Teveth’s Ben-Gurion in a slightly different translation).
“…we should remove all Arabs and take their place.”
–David Ben-Gurion, First Israeli Prime Minister.
“If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with zisrael … that is natural: we have taken their country.”
–David Ben-Gurion, Father of Israel
“I don’t see anything immoral in it.”
–David Ben-Gurion, First Israeli Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Israel
1969 – 1974
“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”
– Golda Meir, statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969.
“How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”
– Golda Meir, March 8, 1969.
“Any one who speaks in favor of bringing the Arab refugees back must also say how he expects to take the responsibility for it, if he is interested in the state of Israel. It is better that things are stated clearly and plainly: We shall not let this happen.”
– Golda Meir, 1961, in a speech to the Knesset, reported in Ner, October 1961
“This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”
–Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971
Prime Minister of Israel
1974 – 1977,
1992 – 1995
“We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?’ Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said ‘Drive them out!”
– Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.
“[Israel will] create in the course of the next 10 or 20 years conditions which would attract natural and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the west Bank to Jordan. To achieve this we have to come to agreement with King Hussein and not with Yasser Arafat.”
Amazon.com Widgets–Yitzhak Rabin (a “Prince of Peace” by Clinton’s standards), explaining his method of ethnically cleansing the occupied land without stirring a world outcry. (Quoted in David Shipler in the New York Times, 04/04/1983 citing Meir Cohen’s remarks to the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defense committee on March 16.)
Prime Minister of Israel
1977 – 1983
“[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”
– Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the ‘Beasts,”‘ New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
“The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized …. Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for Ever.”
–Menachem Begin, the day after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine.
Prime Minister of Israel
1983 – 1984,
1986 – 1992
“The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz Israel from the Sea to the River Jordan for future generations, for the mass aliya (=Jewish immigration), and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country.”
– Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declares at a Tel Aviv memorial service for former Likud leaders, November 1990. Jerusalem Domestic Radio Service.
“The settlement of the Land of Israel is the essence of Zionism. Without settlement, we will not fulfill Zionism. It’s that simple.”
– Yitzhak Shamir, Maariv, 02/21/1997.
“(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.”
– Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988
Prime Minister of Israel
1996 – 1999
“Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.”
–Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.
Prime Minister of Israel
1999 – 2001
“The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”….
– Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000
“If we thought that instead of 200 Palestinian fatalities, 2,000 dead would put an end to the fighting at a stroke, we would use much more force….”
– Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, quoted in Associated Press, November 16, 2000.
“I would have joined a terrorist organization.”
– Ehud Barak’s response to Gideon Levy, a columnist for the Ha’aretz newspaper, when Barak was asked what he would have done if he had been born a Palestinian.
Prime Minister of Israel
2001 – 2006
“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”
– Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.
“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”
– Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.
“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.”
– Israeli Prime Minis ter Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online
“No one has the right to put the State of Israel on trial.”
–Arial Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minister
“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours.”
–Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister
“There is a country which happens to be called Palestine … a country without people.”
–Chaim Weismann, Israel’s first President
“We’ve come to conquer a country from people inhabiting it.”
–Moshe Sharatt, Second Israeli Prime Minister
“…There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
–Moshe Dayan, Former Israeli Defense/Foreign Minister
“There is no more Palestine. Finished….”
–Moshe Dayan, former Israeli Defense/foreign Minister
[ 14/11/2009 - 09:50 AM ]
LONDON, (PIC)-- The British federation of trade unions announced the initiation of a campaign to boycott the Israeli products manufactured in settlements in the West Bank, which were built on occupied Palestinian lands in violation of the international law.
British trade unionist Tony Woodley said that Israel must be pressured to stop violating the international law.
For his part, Derek Simpson, the Joint secretary-general of the UK's biggest private-sector trade union, Unite, stated that the "awakening" happened after the Israeli war on Gaza, which he described as the straw that broke the camel's back, adding that the killing of more than 1,300 Palestinians necessitated such a move.
This boycott move is similar to other steps taken by European countries and institutions in protest at the Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian lands, where in less than one month, Sweden and Norwegian institutions had withdrawn their investments from Israeli companies because of their involvement in building the apartheid wall and settlements.
Sue Blackwell, a British professor at the university of Birmingham, had launched the first academic boycott campaign against Israel years ago in Britain.
A delegation from the Israeli university of Ariel was also barred from participating in an international competition in Spain a month ago when the Spanish ministry of housing rejected its participation because the university was built on Palestinian lands.
Earlier last month, the US investment fund decided, after tens of shareholders submitted a petition, to withdraw its investments from the Africa-Israel company because of its participation in settlement activities in the West Bank.
By Jeff Gates,
Janet Napolitano, Secretary Homeland Security is greeted on Capitol Hill by Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
November 13, 2009
Was Fort Hood really the target of a terrorist attack? The first clue to the real culprit emerged when Senator Joe Lieberman sought to blame this mass murder on the U.S. military. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, he promised hearings on how the Pentagon protects its personnel from domestic terrorists.
Will Lieberman, an avowed Zionist, use this incident to insist that the U.S. do more to protect Jewish nationalists? More importantly, what do his concerns mean for homeland security?
Joe Lieberman has an ally in Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security. In April, this former Arizona governor warned about potential terrorism from U.S. troops returning from deployment in the Middle East. Though roundly attacked, she defended her position, calling it an “assessment not an accusation.”
When Army Major Nidal Hasan killed U.S. troops on the nation’s largest military base, was this evidence of “militant Islam”? Or did this military psychiatrist snap under pressure while treating returning vets on a base averaging ten suicides a month? Is there an undisclosed agenda behind those seeking to portray this act as the work of “Islamo fascists”?
To answer these questions requires a grasp of how “assets” are deployed by those skilled at waging war by way of deception. An asset is someone who has been profiled in sufficient depth that—when placed in a pre-staged time, place and circumstance—the person can be relied on to behave consistent with their profile.
Best Story Wins
Since the end of the Cold War, the predominant geopolitical narrative has been The Clash of Civilizations and its military counterpart: The Global War on Terrorism. How better to advance that storyline than to kill American soldiers even before they leave the U.S.? What’s the motive?
Imagine if the intelligence that induced the U.S. to war was proven “fixed” around a preset goal. What if the common source of that treachery is poised to become transparent? If you were complicit in this deception (an act of treason), how would you obscure those facts? How would you sustain a “Muslim terrorist” narrative once the intelligence “facts” are exposed as pre-staged fictions meant to advance an undisclosed Israeli agenda?
For those marketing The Clash premise, Dr. Hasan’s psychotic break was a blessing. At Family Security Matters, President Carol Taber describes this incident as “the Ft. Hood terrorist attack” by an “Islamist gunman.” Editor Pam Meister promotes “the shocking TRUTH (sic) behind these attacks so that we might ward off those yet to come.” Executive Vice-President Linda Cohen, who also serves as a trustee of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), offers advice certain to appeal to Lieberman and Napolitano:
“No one is safe now. Not you, not the military, not your children, not office workers nor subway riders, nor anyone who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Is there a precedent for combining aberrant behavior and a mass murder to advance a preset agenda? Do you recall the sniper attacks around Washington, D.C. in October 2002?
Those murders commenced one day before debate began on Senate Resolution 46 proposed by Joe Lieberman to authorize the use of U.S. forces in Iraq. In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, Lieberman and Arizona Senator John McCain urged that the U.S. target not Al Qaeda but Iraq.
The nation’s capital became a city under siege when those attacks created insecurity and heightened anxiety as serial murders left ten dead and three wounded over a 10-day period. Those random shootings transformed the terror of 9-11 into a personal reality for Washington residents while Lieberman deployed phony intelligence to promote the invasion of a nation that had no hand in the mass murder of 9-11.
Assets and Sayanim
Once again: assets are profiled personalities catalyzed to act out known dysfunctions in ways that are advantageous based on the time, place and circumstances of their behavior. The totality of the facts suggests that Dr. Nidal Hasan may well have been such an asset.
Assets are typically identified, profiled and developed over lengthy periods of time. Their potential to act out a known personality disorder is held in reserve in the same way that a military commander holds troops in reserve for deployment at an opportune time.
How is an asset developed in plain sight and then tasked at the right moment? Only a careful investigation can identify those influences particular to Dr. Hasan, including what decisions led to his transfer to Ft. Hood and the circumstances there that triggered his behavior.
News reports to date are consistent with this analysis. For instance, his name appears as a participant for public briefings at the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. As a registrant in the Obama presidential transition task force (“Thinking Anew—Security Priorities for the Next Administration”), he would have interacted with a team of nine “task force briefers.” Judging from their surnames, at least seven were Ashkenazim.
As a combat-stress psychiatrist, Dr. Hasan dealt daily with troubled vets at Walter Reed Hospital where the most grievously wounded are sent to recover, many of them amputees, disfigured or otherwise handicapped for life. While coping with that vicarious trauma, he was taunted for his Muslim beliefs and harassed for his Middle Eastern heritage even though he was born, raised and educated in the U.S..
Despite clear indications of internal turmoil, including repeated attempts to resign his commission, he was dispatched to a post known for its huge population of combat-stressed vets. He arrived anticipating orders to deploy to Afghanistan, realizing his worst nightmare. Meanwhile a commander-in-chief promising change made matters even worse in the region.
Israeli psy-ops rely on an extensive cadre of sayanim (Hebrew for volunteers) who are shielded from legal culpability by being told only enough to perform their narrow role when tasked to assist with operations on an as-needed basis. Otherwise, they gather and report useful intelligence. Thus the presence of sayanim throughout the U.S. government. A sayan may well have identified Nidal Hasan as a potential asset who could be developed and, as here, deployed.
At What Cost?
With evidence emerging that Israelis and pro-Israelis were the source of the sham intelligence that induced the U.S. to war, those responsible are scrambling to cover their tracks. Americans will soon realize what the facts confirm: Jewish nationalists deceived the U.S. in order to deploy our military to pursue Israel’s expansionist agenda for the Middle East.
Americans will soon awaken to the cost of this entangled alliance in blood and treasure. U.S. deaths in Iraq could top 4,300 this month with more than one million Iraqis dead from the war and from violence unleashed by those who manipulated this alliance to induce an invasion.
That brings us back to the uncomfortable but essential question: Was Homeland Security created to protect the U.S.? Or was it created to protect those who deceived the U.S.? Was this incident another example of the murderous misdirection deployed to pit Americans against Muslims to advance unacknowledged Zionist goals?
By shifting blame to the military, do Lieberman and Napolitano intend to use federal law enforcement to contain the outraged reaction of an informed public and an awakened military? Was Dr. Nidal Hasan a terrorist? Or was he a troubled pawn in an ongoing psy-ops campaign meant to revive a narrative that—like the fixed intelligence—was losing credibility?
Both the false intelligence and the anti-Muslim narrative feature a theme of fomenting hate and intolerance. On October 28th, President Obama signed into law ADL’s model hate crime legislation. Will that federal law now be deployed by Homeland Security to silence those who make transparent the common source of this deception?
How much longer before a long-deceived public—both in the U.S. and abroad—takes the steps required to ensure that never again is duplicity allowed to operate on such a scale?
* Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide; an adviser to policy-makers worldwide; former counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee; and author of numerous articles and books including his latest book Guilt by Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War, Democracy at Risk and The Ownership Solution. See www.criminalstate.com
November 13, 2009 Posted by Elias
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
I have not been to Beirut since I was five years old (but I do remember some things of it) and I was a bit nervous since much has happened in the decades since. Lebanon and Palestine together with Jordan and Syria have always been connected; only after the British and French decided to divide us and give part of the land to European Jews to replace the natives that we became separated and disconnected (and sometimes querreling). I was invited as a representative of the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem for a conference on water rights in the Jordan River basin . Our Lebanese hosts treated us like family: extremely gracious and hospitable. I was also anxious to visit the refugee camps in Lebanon and meet with activists (Lebanese and Palestinian) who I knew via the internet. I had written extensively on refugees and even reviewed a book on the massacre of Sabra and Shatila . (I was told that camps in the north and in the south need a special army permission to enter.). I met with some refugees from Mar Elias and other camps in Lebanon and on Monday visited the Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts  which serves Lebanese and Palestinian youth from marginalized communities. An old friend (Raja Mattar) from Jafa who runs Palestine Student Aid arranged for a young Palestinian to take me to on an early morning trip to Sabra and Shatila. We met in front of the grandiose Crown Plaza hotel in the opulent AlHamra Street and the cab takes us to the edge of the camp and as we try to enter, the traffic snarls (the roads are really not designed for two way traffic). So we leave the cab stuck in the traffic and walk. I need to walk. We pass by a marketplace were the marginalized do their shopping (Lebanese and Palestinian). The market has everything from vegetables to used (and rather dirty looking) cloths and shoes to pieces of pipes, to books. Each of these things is laid out separately with their owners trying to sell their products to people who are just as poor as they are. Most of these stalls are not stalls at all but rather a sheet of plastic or even newspapers on which they had spread the “goods” they are trying to peddle. From what I observed, some of them would happily sell you all the contents of their area for less than $20. I have of course been to marketplaces in poor areas but this was a bit different. The appearance is of a busy market place where things are bought and sold for very inexpensive prices (usually less than a dollar which here equals 1500 Lebanese liras). But as we move through the “market place”. But it is not a noisy place; the vendors were not calling out like they do in Bethlehem. There was little of the sounds of buying and selling of haggling of jokes. It was a subdued affair that puzzled me. Perhaps more merchants than customers I thought. Maybe it was not the peak time of shopping. It is as if it was a museum where visitors move around and look in silence at paintings occasionally asking in hushed subdued voices about something that intrigues them. As we get closer to the camp, the smell really becomes stronger. It is hard to describe it, a mixture of sewage and decaying trash, a pungent odor that perhaps is the opposite of fresh air, a staleness that and suffocating harshness that makes me wonder if I am hallucinating. But then we make a turn into the camp and nothing prepared me for this. I have been to over 30 refugee camps in Jordan and the West Bank and I did expect the refugee camps in Lebanon to be worse. I have read a lot and even seen pictures and some videos but still I was shocked by what I saw, what I smelled, what I heard and what I felt. The words I write cannot do justice to this. As I was videotaping and I was hoping to move my camera up to videotape the jumble of hundreds of crisscrossed wires overhead (home made infrastructure to bring electricity and phone service to those who could make the right connections (figuratively and literally), I hear a women’s voice addressing me. “Shoo bitsawwer” (what are you photographing)? The first thing that occurs to me is that she will complain about my photographing (that happens in conservative societies) and I mumble something about coming from Bethlehem and touring the camp and she starts to tell me about the clinic doctor. I am a bit confused. She says there is one doctor and hundreds of patients. And that she could not get the doctor in the UNRWA clinic to see her daughter. It was then that I noticed the girl shyly hiding behind her mother. I make stupid useless words since I really don’t know what to say as her daughter tells her to move on. I go back to videotaping the wires and the political posters and the people. Children are everywhere and they like my camera. I note no toys around, no bicycles, no balls, no squeaky ducks or stuffed animals. A couple of the kids have found things that they considered toys: a stick, a rubber band, a segment of a plastic pipe. Some have even connected these things to make things with no use. I videotape some of them and rewind and show them their smiley faces. I smile and speak to them feeling like I do with my own family. But my mind is tortured. I fight back the tears as I pan my camera from their smiley faces to the open sewers that are running right next to them. This is their playgrounds I think. Most of them have never been outside of this camp. This is all they know. A man tells the kids to leave us alone.
A woman at a window on the second floor beats an old rug to get rid of the dust. My “guide” Waseem warns me about puddles or obstacles in the narrow alleys (there must a better word to describe a meter wide dirt opening between dense dwellings in impoverished areas, maybe masarib in Arabic?). Waseem is from Nahr El Bared, a camp that was essentially completely destroyed by shelling as the Lebanese army fought a group of extremists. The camp is still not reconstructed so his family lives at the edge of camp in temporary dwellings. Anyway, we go back to taking in the sounds, smell, feel, and sight of this camp. Too many emotions run over me and not one of them uplifting. We pass by the UNRWA clinic and I see lots of Palestinian mothers going in with their children. Right next to it, there are some workers using a jackhammer to dig the street. The kids jumping around and over the open hole in the ground (yes with sewage) almost seemed like they were mocking the work. My first analytic thought comes to mind: this is not a place to try to fix anything at the margins, it should all be changed, and these people need to go back to their villages from where they were ethnically cleansed. But then I feel strangely guilty for thinking something I have thought of a million times before and have worked hard on. The guilt is maybe due to the fact that here and now, I actually can do very, very little. The hopeless tangle of wires, pipes, shaky dwellings seemed not to be of help to thousands living here. But now it seemed that the infrastructure has its own life and that the people are not its friend but its foe and I am now trapped with them although for a short time. I remember a horror movie I saw as a kid and simply think that before my father died, I should have asked him if at age 5 when we visited Beirut, did we visit the refugee camp and if not why not. Time is an enemy and we have other commitments. We make our way to go to the edge of the camp where there is a memorial for the 1982 massacre. The memorial is in a fenced yard) behind another street that was remade into an open marketplace. It seems slightly busier than the other marketplace. In front of the entrance they are selling watches, cloths, and shoes but inside the only inhabitants are a group of chickens (strangely of a fancy breed). The memorial is neglected, empty and quite except for the muffled sounds from the street. There are banners that seem to be old and fading. Here the camp smell I described earlier is replaced by another smell, the smell of death mixed with chicken feathers. Or maybe I am hallucinating since it is actually relatively clean place. Maybe I am now totally crazy. Waseem seems even more subdued here. He finally points to another banner and simply says, “this is to commemorate other Israeli massacres.” I take short clips of video and I remember merely walking out and not looking back. Waseem tells me not to video on the street outside the camp because of presence of military people and the Kuwaiti embassy (that is heavily fortified). But I had not intended to do that anyway. We walk in silence. Later in the taxi, away from it all, I start to ask him about himself: he just graduated an electrical engineer. No jobs for people like him from the camps. Nothing to do. He refuses to let me pay for the cab either way. I go back to my hotel room and only then I cry. I cry for these refugees abandoned by an uncaring world, I cry for all the other things I heard and felt on this trip, and I cry for our injured humanity. In visiting the American University of Beirut (where so many Palestinians studied including my uncle who died young at age 27 after finishing his PhD), there is a McDonalds hamburger joint right in front of the University. A day later in Jordan being driven by my friend Zuhair to his house, we pass by Jordan University and I see another Macdonald also in front of the University. I complain about this globalization (especially of Zionist-run Starbucks and other franchises that aid ethnic cleansing and hurts our causes). Zuhair reminds me that there are so many people who collaborate in the rape of Palestine and so many people who just stand there and watch. There are really few activists like the ones I met in Beirut. But we reminisce that good people (Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinians, and Internationals) make a difference in society every day. It has always been like that. The institute that invited us (Ibrahim Abd-ElAl Institute) represent the memory of such a person and the attendees represent such people): individuals who do not put personal interest ahead of people interests, individuals who care and who act on this caring. Those are the people who give us hope for a better future where we all work together against apathy and against the evil that keeps us apart.
Here is a short (less than 5 minutes) and poorly edited video (I am an amateur) I put on youtube on my short trip (I wish I could stayed longer but had to go back to teaching)
- Article in Arabic about the conference http://www.almustaqbal.com.lb/stories.aspx?StoryID=378186
[ 14/11/2009 - 09:11 AM ]
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has closed down the Ibrahimi Mosque in central Al-Khalil city before Muslim worshipers for undeclared "security reasons".
Local sources said that the closure which started immediately after the Friday congregation would continue in effect on Saturday.
Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi, the chief Islamic justice in Palestine, denounced the decision in his Friday sermon at the Ibrahimi Mosque.
He described such measures against the Ibrahimi and Aqsa mosques as an all-out war waged by the IOA against "our people and holy shrines" with the support of the American administration.
Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) installed a number of roadblocks within Al-Khalil city and in nearby villages and launched a storming campaign of local houses especially in Halhul and Dora.
Local sources told the PIC on Saturday that the IOF soldiers detained a Palestinian citizen from Al-Khalil at a road barrier southeast of occupied Jerusalem.
[ 13/11/2009 - 11:57 AM ]
Ramallah, (PIC)-- The IOF has abducted, at dawn Friday, five Palestinian citizens from various West Bank localities, according to Israeli radio reports.
A spokesman for the IOF told Israeli radio that IOF troops detained five "wanted" Palestinians.
The spokesman further claimed that the IOF found a homemade weapon and a bullet-proof vest at the home of one of the abducted Palestinians.
Meanwhile, a report issued by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights on Thursday reported that within the past 7days IOF troops made 28 incursions into various West Bank towns, villages and refugee camps and abducted 40 Palestinian citizens, including 12 children.
[ 13/11/2009 - 07:32 PM ]
GAZA, (PIC)-- Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesman of Hamas Movement in the Gaza Strip, said on Friday that the declaration of the Palestinian elections committee of its inability to hold elections in the presence of the rift between Gaza and the West Bank proves that Abbas’s edict was wrong and Hamas’s opinion was right.
In an interview with the Quds Press, Barhoum explained, “This is natural decision because the elections should be a result for the Palestinian harmony and not as preemptive step to enhance Abbas’s position at the expense of the Palestinian national harmony”.
He added, “The recommendation of the elections committee in this regard proves that Hamas’s opinion that no elections could be held in the absence of the national reconciliation was right”, saying that the committee’s decision removed one obstacle of a group of hindrances put by Abbas on the way of achieving national reconciliation.
Hanna Naser, the chairman of the PA elections committee announced Thursday that his committee couldn’t heed Abbas’s edict of holding the elections on the 24th of January next year due to the Palestinian political dispute.
Mohamad Shmaysani Readers Number : 553
13/11/2009 A wave of stormy questions has been on the rise within Israeli security and military apparatuses after Yedioth Aharonoth unveiled a document demonstrating the level of Hezbollah’s knowledge of Israeli activities, deployments and tactics in northern occupied Palestine.
The widely read Israeli paper revealed that Hezbollah knows just about every detail concerning Israel’s military, particularly the 91st brigade in the north.
Perhaps the most pressing concern for the Israeli command is that Hezbollah might have been able to infiltrate sensitive security services thus acquiring top secret documents and data.
“Israeli experts and retired servicemen who served in the north have said that the data gathered by Hezbollah by means of the document was highly sensitive and that part of it had been cloned by Hezbollah from secret documents belonging to the 91st brigade. They detail the nature of the Israeli army’s deployment in the north. Those who see the documents know that they have been copied page by page from the original top secret documents. Hezbollah might have gathered the data by means of spies or by infiltrating into the Israeli side to take pictures,” Ronen Bergman, an Israeli expert in intelligence affairs told Israeli television Thursday.
Yedioth said that the 150-page document “shows to what extent Hezbollah intelligence succeeded in penetrating into the Israeli army, and proves that Hezbollah has enough sources of information," even about Israeli military naval and aerial activities, including drones.
“There is no doubt that Hezbollah knows the weapons used in every Jeep of every patrol. They even know the diameter of every mortar in the Jeep and the time of every patrol, including the documents that are usually sent from the division chief to the brigade chief. In fact they have information that cannot be seen through binoculars, so how did they get it?” an Israeli Channel 10 commentator asked.
The former head of Israel’s National Security Giyora Eiland admitted – after Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s speech on Wednesday – that Israel will undoubtedly fail in any coming war. He added that the outcome will not be different than that of the 2006 war ‘because Israel and Hezbollah’s capabilities have improved in parallel.
“Should the Third Lebanon War erupts tomorrow, it will not be different than the Second Lebanon War despite of all the improvement in the army. Israel cannot win over an organization that possesses thousands of missiles on the other side of the border. If we want to win, the war should instead be waged against the Lebanese government and its infrastructures of which Hezbollah has become part of,” Eiland told Israeli television.
Sayyed Nasrallah warned Israel on Wednesday that there was no point in occupied Palestine that the rockets of the resistance cannot reach. His eminence also vowed to crush any Israeli force that sets foot on Lebanese soil, regardless of its size and equipment.
On Tuesday, Israeli occupation army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned that Hezbollah is currently armed with thousands of missiles, some of which could reach the southern city of Dimona, Tel Aviv and other major cities in occupied Palestine.
"Some of them have a range of 300 km and some of them have a range of up to 325 km," Ashkenazi said, adding that the missiles were ready for use.
In his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah also tackled “the beautiful yet poisonous fish” which the Israelis have recently named “Nasrallah”. According to the Israeli media, this has also been a concern for the Israeli command.
“Nasrallah reads all our journals, reads all the details and memorizes them. We can say that he is the sole Arab leader who is aware of what is taking place in Israel. His approach was very precise when he spoke about the poisonous fish and, in fact, he took advantage of it in the media to say that Hezbollah bites and wins and therefore, this image fits Hezbollah,” Tseva Yehezkeli, an Israeli expert in Arab affairs, told Israeli television.
Hasan Hijazi contributed to this report
Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog
Friday, 13 November 2009
November 13, 2009
Inch by inch, house by house
by Ramzy Baroud - CounterPunch - 10 November 2009
When British Foreign Secretary David Miliband uttered a few words regarding the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, many wanted to believe that London was taking a sharp stance against Israel’s continued violations of international law. Alas, they were wrong.
The fact is Miliband’s statement, made during a press conference that followed talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, in Amman, was merely tactical, aimed at lessening the negative impact of the feeble position adopted by Washington regarding the same issue.
This is what Miliband had to say: “Settlements are illegal in our view and an obstacle to peace settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements challenge the heart of… a Palestinian state.”
But then, he added: “It’s so important for all those who care about security and social justice in this region that discussions about borders and territory are restarted in a serious way, because if you can progress on border and territory, you can resolve the settlements issue.”
This is classic Miliband. While his clear and decisive statement regarding the illegality of the settlements and the fact that their construction is an obstacle is to be welcomed, one cannot decipher a politician’s statement in increments; to be truly appreciated, they must be understood as a whole.
The danger lies in Miliband’s follow up statement, where he purposely changed the order of the proposed solution to the Middle East crisis to be “discussions about borders and territory are restarted in a serious way”, which means unconditional negotiations, because “progress” at that front would “resolve the settlements issue.”
But isn’t this the exact type of dialogue that Israel wishes to take part in: peace talks with no conditions, no deadline and no specific end, while it persists in building its illegal settlements in flagrant violation of international law, unabated? More, isn’t this what Palestinians, all Palestinians, have vehemently rejected?
The Palestinian leadership understands that unconditional negotiations will yield Palestinians, the weak party in any negotiations, nothing but further humiliation, while the strong party will determine a solution, any solution, it finds suitable to its interests.
Considering that Israel is under no serious pressure, but occasional lip service to the peace process, from Washington, and London, the rightwing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has no reason to stop, or even slow down its illegal settlements project and the subsequent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Miliband is a clever politician. Although his words reek with contradictions, they are stacked in such away to give the impression that a substantive policy change is in fact in the making.
Miliband’s supposedly strong statement on the settlements came at a time that the Obama Administration’s policy, a meager attempt at presenting itself as the antithesis to the hated George Bush legacy, is falling apart.
In May, following President Obama’s first meeting with Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton wanted to leave no doubt regarding the US new policy on settlements. The US “wants to see a stop to settlements – not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions.”
This sounds great, even better than Miliband’s recent statement. But since then, the Obama Administration has obviously discovered the limits of the “audacity of hope”: a strong, unified pro-Israel lobby, decisively rightwing Israeli government, a unified US Congress backing Israel’s every move, a wishy-washy international community, fragmented Muslim and Arab countries, and all the rest.
Therefore, it was no surprise to see Mrs. Clinton, during her recent Middle East trip backtracking on every promise that her government had made. She “claimed (on November 1) that halting settlement building had never been a pre-condition to resuming talks,” reported The Times.
Worse, not only did she fail to convince Netanyahu of the US position, which was more or less consistent with international law, she commended him for failing to meet what was once considered a strong US demand.
The switch happened during her recent tour’s one-day visit to Jerusalem. “What the Prime Minister (of Israel) has offered in specifics of restraint on the policy of settlements … is unprecedented,” she said of Netanyahu’s dismal promise to slow down settlement activities in the West Bank.
There are over 500,000 Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, living in many settlements that are all considered illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention and numerous UN resolutions.
To add insult to injury, Mrs. Clinton, continued, at every stop, to demand Arabs and Muslim to reach out to Israel. What has the latter done to deserve any Arab or Muslim normalization, open markets and establishment of diplomatic ties? Why should Israel be rewarded for its massacres in Gaza, entrenching of its military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the consistent attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and more?
Concurrently, the Palestinian Authority is, perhaps, realizing its error of trusting that the Obama Administration’s resolve would prevail over Israel’s obstinacy.
Top PA official Nablil Abu Rudeinah said that the “negotiations are in a state of paralysis,” blaming both “Israeli intransigence and America’s back-pedaling.”
“There is no hope of negotiations on the horizon,” Abu Rudienah added.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s words, during a press conference in Ramallah, in the West Bank, on November 4, were gloomier, however. It maybe time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “tell his people the truth that with the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option,” he said.
He said what many don’t want to hear, including Miliband himself, who insists on breathing life into an outdated ‘solution’, while doing nothing to turn it into reality.
“It’s important we don’t lose sight of the importance of a two-state solution for all peoples of the region. I think the alternatives are dark and unwelcome for all sides,” Miliband said.
He failed, however, to enlighten us on how his ‘bright and welcomed’ solution is to be realized, as Israel continues to seize Jerusalem and the West Bank, inch by inch and house by house, in front of international media and with the knowledge and subtle agreement of ‘back-pedaling’ politicians, Mrs. Clinton and himself included.
Ramzy Baroud is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London).
My Translation (Forgive my English)
I added links and photos
Resistance forms the core of our policy, both in the past and in the future.
Resistance is at the heart of the new Middle East we have.
In supporting resistance, we support peace.
Many people shall not understand why Assad would speak so clearly and frankly about resisting occupation. No body is asking Assad to raise the ceiling. The real resistance group are well aware of all forms Syria support.
On the other hand, his statements shall not change the opinions of Syria critics on Syria roll on the Arab - Israeli struggle.
They shall repeat the old song (SHIT) about Syria, fighting on other's land and other's blood, avoiding direct confront.
Syria critic are two groups, the first is aware of what Syria is doing, and wants Syria to commit the suicide of fighting Israel traditionally. The second believe that Syria is using resistance, not for liberation, but to strengthen its regional power.
Both refuse to admit that only the Syrian policy during the last three decade was productive, and fruitful, especially in defending its regime (Regime Change), embracing the most effective resistance movements, and slowing the Arab regimes rush towards total surrender.
Anyway, Assad said what he said,
Its coincidence with Nasralla's statements tell those able or willing to understand, the type of relation between Syria and resistance, that paved the way towards a strong relation with resistance in Palestine, especially with Hamas.
Who would have imagined such a relation between Secular Syria and Islamic resistance groups having different ideology? Part of it is a part of Moslem brothers who tried to change the regime and were crushes without mercy.The difficult fact facing anti-Syrian is the fact that Assad is the son of pragmatic school, who would avoid the storm without compromise on rights and without putting his country at risk.
Consequently, Assad un-necessary statements, confirms that Usrael project is stuck. Let us not forget that Assad was a full partner in July war.
He was on the ground, without telling anything, his stores where open supply the resistance with weapons needed not only to stop the enemy but to defeat him. He paid high price for that. A time shall come and the concerned parties shall tell if Assad was ready to fight. But Israel did its best to avoid that, and the resistance was not in need for his direct involvement in the war.
But, What Assad statement tells??
On the Arab official level, its difficult for Arab regimes to ignore Assad's logic, in any discussion to stand about peace. It could be a tuning point in dealing with occupation file and facing it. It shall raise questions in Arab Capitals facing political, security, military and moral crisis, for its stand towards resistance.
Moreover, Assad's stand shall be lift to resistance movement accumulation, with direct and special Syrian support, during the past three years, which shall reflect on many issues in deferent directions.
Assad said what he said at a regional political moment, where American can't claim they are fighting to change the region face, and Israel is not capable to Act. Even if Israel acted in Lebanon Palestine or beyond, its act shall be the act of frightened not the act of confident, as it was in its old wars.
What Assad said is a message to all Arabs insisting that negotiations and giving up rights it the only way to satisfy Usrael. Abbas latest stand represents the great depression of such Arabs.
A sample from Mullistine
"11/11/2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that Syria was not setting conditions on making peace with Israel, but that it did have rights that must be restored, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.
"Resistance (to Israeli occupation) forms the core of our policy, both in the past and in the future.[ That is a good one, Mr. Rabbit, tell us some more fiction!] We do not put forward conditions on making peace, but we do have rights that we will not renounce," he told a meeting of Arab political parties.
"If we are strong we will achieve the peace we seek. Resistance is at the heart of the new Middle East we have begun to build," Assad said......"
And his "resistance" starts in......Paris!
Syrian president pays work visit to France on Thursday
" DAMASCUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is scheduled to pay a two-day work visit to France on Thursday, during which he will meet with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy and other French officials, the official SANA news agency reported.....
Sarkozy added that the talks with Assad will deal with the Middle East peace process and the situation in Iraq and Lebanon.
In a statement to SANA, French Ambassador to Syria Eric Chevallier said Assad's visit to France is very important, "it paves the way for a new era of bilateral relations in light of the common will to give a new momentum to the Syrian-French relations, based on historic roots."....."
The Rabbit was apparently summoned by Sarkozy who wants to follow up his discussions with Netanyahu, just concluded in Paris.
«إن المقاومة بمعناها الثقافي والعسكري، وبكل معنى آخر، هي جوهر سياساتنا في سوريا اليوم وفي الماضي وستبقى في المستقبل، وهي جوهر وجودنا (…) وإن عملية السلام تظهر بعد 18 عاماً أن قوة إسرائيل الوهمية هي في ضعف العرب الحقيقي. إن جوهر السلام ليس فقط مفاوضات، بل هو مقاومة أيضاً، ومن الخطأ أن نعتقد أن السلام يأتي من خلال التفاوض، بل يأتي من خلال المقاومة. لذلك، يجب علينا دعم المقاومة، لأننا بذلك ندعم عملية السلام».
سيكون صعباً على كثيرين فهم الأسباب التي تدفع الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد إلى التحدث بهذا الوضوح وهذه الصراحة عن موضوع مقاومة الاحتلال. هو أصلاً في وضع لا يطالبه فيه أحد بأن يرفع سقف المواقف، باعتبار أن قوى المقاومة الجدّية تعرف حقيقة الدور الذي تؤدّيه سوريا في دعمها، وبكل الأشكال.
على أيّ حال، قال الأسد ما قاله، وتوقيت تصريحاته المتزامن مع تصريحات الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله يشير لمن يرغب في الفهم إلى نوع العلاقة القائمة بين الجهتين، وهي العلاقة التي أسست لعلاقة قوية وصلبة تربط دمشق بقوى المقاومة في فلسطين، ولا سيما حركة حماس، إذ هل كان البعض يتخيّل مثل هذه العلاقة بين النظام البعثي في سوريا وفصائل إسلامية تمتلك عقائد مخالفة لعقيدة النظام في سوريا، وبعضها هو جزء من حركة الإخوان المسلمين التي واجهت النظام في سوريا بحرب قاسية، استخدم فيها النظام نفسه قساوة لمنعها من النجاح.
By Philip Giraldi
The American people, barely coping with nearly 20% in actual as opposed to statistical unemployment, a broken health care system, a skyrocketing federal deficit, and a collapse in home values really don’t need another war, but another war is what they are going to get. Blame the usual players in Congress and the mainstream media for a lot of it, but the case being made that Iran is a threat to the remainder of the world is largely being cranked up by Israel and its yapping poodles loosely described as the Israel lobby. That Iran spends only 1% as much on its military as does the United States appears to be irrelevant to the argument because everyone who reads the Washington Post and New York Times knows that those wily mullahs have nukes hidden up the sleeves of those loose gowns that they wear, secret warhead programs, and ballistic missiles that will be able to strike Europe someday for reasons that continue to be somewhat elusive.
Israel, which gets nearly $3 billion in “military assistance” and numerous other perks from Washington annually and spends twice as much as Tehran on its own military gets a free pass even though it has a secret and uninspected nuclear arsenal that undoubtedly contributes to Iranian paranoia. Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has made very clear that he wants the United States to attack Iran. What Israel wants from Washington it usually gets and there is no sign that President Barack Obama has the guts needed to change that sorry history.
Over the past several weeks Israel and its many friends have been particularly busy in beating the war drum. Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon declared emphatically on November 6th that Israel’s frequently stated willingness to attack Iran is not just a bluff. On the previous day, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again cautioned Iran, pressuring the country to accept a tentative agreement on its nuclear program that would have denied it the right to enrich its own uranium, warning “We will not alter it and we will not wait forever.” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen also joined the chorus. On November 8th the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Mullen “said last week in Washington that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel. Mullen said he would prefer that the US work diplomatically to keep the country from acquiring nuclear weapons, but hinted that should such efforts fail, the US air force and navy could be put into action as well.”
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, at the November 3rd Jerusalem Conference, a gaggle of congressmen convened to pledge everlasting loyalty to a foreign nation. Democratic Representative Howard Berman and Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, co-sponsors of the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009 which advocates cutting off gasoline imports, spoke emotionally about the “Iranian threat.” Berman, who reportedly once took an oath of office to represent all of the American people, confirmed “I was a Zionist before I was a Democrat” and added “This administration is serious about preventing a nuclear Iran.” Also present was the ever reliable Senator James Inhofe, who said “There are people who want to take Israel off the map, and the US is next.” He clearly meant Iran though he did not state who those “people” might be or exactly how they were going to do it.
And then there are the good old Southern Baptists, always quick to defend religious freedom worldwide unless it happens to involve Israeli repression of Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. On November 2nd leading Southern Baptist evangelical Richard Land of the what-must-be ironically named Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission joined Jewish and other evangelical Christian leaders in New York to demand immediate sanctions to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The evangelical and Jewish groups support the Berman proposal to sanction firms or governments that export refined petroleum to Iran to “engender (sic) significant steps toward ending the Iran regime’s murderous pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Richard had apparently not heard about the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that stated that Iran had abandoned its weapon program in 2003. Nor had he read, or had no interest in reading, the June 2009 report by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor which noted that Israel discriminates systematically against Christians. It protects holy sites under a 1967 law, but only if they are Jewish. The report noted that Christian and Muslim sites are fair game for exploitation by real estate entrepreneurs.
As the Goldstone report on Israeli war crimes in Gaza is about to be debated in the UN General Assembly, Tel Aviv presumably feels a need for some good PR, but some of the recent propaganda coming out of Israel and uncritically replayed in the US media does not pass the smell test. On November 4th, Israel seized an Antiguan registered freighter named the Francop, alleged to be carrying weapons in international waters. Bibi Netanyahu was beside himself, calling the weapons a “war crime” and declaring “Whoever still needed indisputable proof that Iran continues to send weapons to terror organizations got it today in a clear and unequivocal manner. Iran sends these weapons to terror organizations in order to hit Israeli cities and kill civilians. The time has come for the international community to put real pressure on Iran for it to halt this despicable activity and back Israel when it defends itself against terrorists and their patrons.”
One has to be amused when Bibi Netanyahu calls a possible ship load of weapons that had not been delivered anywhere as a “war crime” while at the same time refusing to investigate last January’s carnage in Gaza. Some have also noted that the daring Israeli commando action looked like it might have been staged. In its first press announcement, Israel claimed that the weapons had been picked up when the ship stopped in Syria. But the ship had not yet been to Syria and why would Damascus send Iranian weapons by ship when it would have been far easier to do by land? Later Israel claimed the ship was traveling from Iran to Syria, but the shipowners stated that the vessel’s actual itinerary was Egypt to Cyprus to Lebanon, ending in Turkey. So where did the weapons that were displayed by Israel after its commandoes seized the ship and towed it into the port of Ashdod come from and who was supposed to receive them? It is, to say the least, not clear and the Israeli story has a number of holes in it, most particularly its confident assertion that the weapons were bound for Hezbollah. Immediately after the seizure, the Israelis released the captain and crew, saying that they had had no knowledge of the hundreds of tons of weapons that were alleged to be on board. To keep the story fresh, six days later Israel’s Army Chief Gabi Ashkenazi resurrected the tale, stating, without providing any evidence, that Hezbollah has tens of thousands of rockets capable of hitting most Israeli cities.
A strange story, but no stranger than the spin about the Iranian nuclear facility located near Qom. Readers will recall that the facility was initially described by the US media as a secret weapons facility, proving that the evil Iranians were producing weapons of mass destruction that would immediately be handed off to terrorists who would then use them to blow up the Statue of Liberty. Even though US intelligence had know about the site for several years and had not been particularly alarmed by it, the Obama Administration quickly jumped on the story, denouncing the Iranians and accepting the premise that the hidden facility automatically means a secret weapons program.
On November 3rd Israeli Military Intelligence Chief Major General Amos Yadlin claimed that the Qom site has “no possible civilian use,” adding that Iran is “horizontally expanding” its nuclear program so it will be able to develop a weapon in the shortest possible time. But it now turns out that the Qom facility was started by the Iranian government in early 2007 when the Bush Administration had combined three aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf region and was threatening to go to war over alleged Iranian interference in neighboring Iraq, a claim that was largely contrived. In any event, the facility was not developed with any urgency by the Iranians and currently, more than two and a half years later, it is little more than a potential back-up site for uranium enrichment clearly constructed over concerns that Israel or the US would attack the main facility at Natanz. The site was recently inspected by the UN’s IAEA and Mohammed El-Baradei described it as a “hole in a mountain” and “nothing to be worried about.”
And let’s not forget about Hamas, also ranked high in the evil incarnate stakes behind Hezbollah and Iran. On November 3rd the ubiquitous General Yadlin also accused Hamas of test firing a missile capable of hitting Tel Aviv, hinting darkly that the weapon might have come from Iran. In reality, the Gaza Strip, 25 miles long and an average of six miles wide and frequently described as “one big prison,” is hemmed in by overwhelming Israeli firepower on three sides and cut off by the Egyptians to the south making the import of new military hardware a bit problematic. As a military threat, Gaza is the mouse that roared.
And so the propaganda campaign, referred to during the cold war as agitprop, continues with Iran in the crosshairs. There are reports that Israel has funded a group of young bloggers who have good English to go onto websites to disseminate the party line, particularly regarding Iran, so it is safe to assume that an Orwellian conflict that has no rhyme or reason will be promoted all over the internet. There will be no rest in Congress, within the media, and in the corridors of power in Israel until Iran is defanged. And if it will take the deaths of a few thousand more young Americans and the total destruction of the US economy to accomplish that objective, so be it. Congress and the White House have not been answerable to the American people for quite some time so why should another war change anything?
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D. is the Francis Walsingham Fellow at The American Conservative Defense Alliance (http://www.acdalliance.org/) and a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer.