Saturday, 8 January 2011

Egypt’s Muslims attend Coptic Christmas mass, serving as “human shields”

Posted: January 8, 2011 by crescentandcross

Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night, offering their bodies, and lives, as “shields” to Egypt’s threatened Christian community
Yasmine El-Rashidi ,
Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.
From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.
Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole.

“This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”
In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

The attack has rocked a nation that is no stranger to acts of terror, against all of Muslims, Jews and Copts. In January of last year, on the eve of Coptic Christmas, a drive-by shooting in the southern town of Nag Hammadi killed eight Copts as they were leaving Church following mass. In 2004 and 2005, bombings in the Red Sea resorts of Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh claimed over 100 lives, and in the late 90’s, Islamic militants executed a series of bombings and massacres that left dozens dead.

This attack though comes after a series of more recent incidents that have left Egyptians feeling left out in the cold by a government meant to protect them.

Last summer, 28-year-old businessman Khaled Said was beaten to death by police, also in Alexandria, causing a local and international uproar. Around his death, there have been numerous other reports of police brutality, random arrests and torture.

Last year was also witness to a brutal parliamentary election process in which the government’s security apparatus and thugs seemed to spiral out of control. The result, aside from injuries and deaths, was a sweeping win by the ruling party thanks to its own carefully-orchestrated campaign that included vote-rigging, corruption and rife brutality. The opposition was essentially annihilated. And just days before the elections, Copts – who make up 10 percent of the population – were once again the subject of persecution, when a government moratorium on construction of a Christian community centre resulted in clashes between police and protestors. Two people were left dead and over 100 were detained, facing sentences of up to life in jail.

The economic woes of a country that favours the rich have only exacerbated the frustration of a population of 80 million whose majority struggle each day to survive. Accounts of thefts, drugs, and violence have surged in recent years, and the chorus of voices of discontent has continued to grow.

The terror attack that struck the country on New Year’s eve is in many ways a final straw – a breaking point, not just for the Coptic community, but for Muslims as well, who too feel marginalized, persecuted, and overlooked, by a government that fails to address their needs. On this Coptic Christmas eve, the solidarity was not just one of religion, but of a desperate and collective plea for a better life and a government with accountability. 
Egypt’s Muslims support Coptic Christians on religious holiday
By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Faith overcomes fear in Egypt

(CNN) — Egyptian Muslims attended Christmas services Friday in a show of solidarity with Coptic Christians days after a bombing killed 23 congregants in the country’s north.
Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas Day according to the Julian calendar, and observed it on Friday this year.

Security was tight around churches after the blast on New Year’s Day outside the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria.

Congregants were forced to empty their pockets before the start of the service as part of security measures set up after the bombing.

“Police plan a large-scale security operation for tonight to protect Egypt’s Coptic Christians and their churches.” Col. Alla Mahmoud of the interior ministry said Thursday.

Protests have broken out in Christian areas of Egypt every night since the car bombing outside the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria.

Hundreds of officers — outfitted in helmets with visors, body armor and carrying shields and night sticks — lined the streets, leaving a path for demonstrators to pass.

Egyptian authorities have released a sketch of a man they think is responsible for the attack.
“The man in the picture is unknown and authorities are trying to confirm his identity,” Mahmoud said.

The interior ministry used forensic technology to recreate the face of the suspected suicide bomber.

About 9 percent of Egypt’s 80 million residents are Coptic Christians.

Coptic Christians base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt, according to St. Takla Church in Alexandria, the capital of Coptic Christianity.

The religion is known for its rift with other Christians in the fifth century over the definition of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Christmas in Bethlehem off limits for Gaza's Christians

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 7 January 2011

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
Palestinian Christmas under occupation. (Eva Bartlett/IPS)
GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) - "We try to be happy and celebrate with our families during Christmas, but the atmosphere is not cheery as in other parts of the world," says Hossam Tawwil. And as around Christmas on 25 December, so for Orthodox Christians preparing to celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

"We are from Palestine and our lives aren't easy: we are under occupation, under siege, and we're prevented from visiting our holy city, Bethlehem," says Tawwil, Member of Parliament in Gaza. "We don't truly feel like we are celebrating holy days, not in the way we'd like to."

Bendali Tarazi is a Christian living in Gaza City. "We celebrate Christmas as we can. On Christmas morning, my family and I pray at the church, and after the service we visit our relatives then go home for a Christmas meal together."

Like most Palestinians in Gaza, Tarazi suffers from Gaza's imprisonment under siege and the constant threat and reality of Israeli attacks.

"Everything is difficult here, for all Palestinians, not just Christians. We are in a huge prison together, and not just locked in but under complete siege, where virtually nothing and no one gets in or out through the borders. And there are constantly new Israeli bombings and demolitions."

Israeli authorities and various news outlets announced exit permits for 500 Gazan Christians to Bethlehem this Christmas. But Tawwil says this news is not as it seems.

"Of the 500, there are Orthodox Christians and Catholic Christians. The Catholics celebrate on 25 December, and the Orthodox celebrate on 7 January. Those who celebrate in January were given permits to go to Bethlehem before their holy day. Those Christians who would like to have gone for the 25th didn't get a permit."

Bethlehem and Jerusalem are two of Palestine's holiest sites, and for both Christians and Muslims, they are infinitely out of reach.

"The Israeli occupation authorities prevent Christians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank from going to Bethlehem at Christmas just as they prevent Muslims from going to al-Quds [Jerusalem] during Ramadan," Tawwil says.

Attaining a permit is no easy matter. "You must be older than 35 years, which immediately eliminates the majority of Gazans," explains Tawwil. "And, the Israeli occupation forces arbitrarily decide who may exit or not, regardless of age or even holding a permit. They never have to explain the reason why."

According to Tawwil, although 500 Palestinians from Gaza may have been granted exit permits, in reality not all 500 will be able to leave, or want to, depending on when they celebrate Christ's birth.

Bendali Tarazi has experience with this. "Last year I got a permit to travel to Bethlehem, but when we learned that my wife didn't get one, I couldn't leave without her, as much as I wanted to see Bethlehem at Christmas. It's our holy city, our land, but we aren't allowed to go to it at the most important time of the year."

This is common, says Hossam Tawwil. "Sometimes parents will get the permit but their children will not, so no one goes. Or only one of a couple will get the permit, so neither goes."

Families suffer from other siege and war-related consequences.

"Virtually every family has lost someone from their family. Maybe they have a child imprisoned in an Israeli jail, or who was martyred in Israeli attacks, or was ill and died because he couldn't get treatment under the siege," Tawwil says. "During holidays families remember their lost loved ones all the more. Any holiday, without loves ones, isn't a good holiday."

With Israeli attacks newly escalating, the threat of a new war on Gaza clouds the holiday merriment. "Many feel there is a new Israeli war coming to Gaza soon. There are already random bombings," Tawwil says.

The siege and war-orchestrated financial disaster of Gaza's economy means that families lack the money and means to celebrate as Christians worldwide might.

"No work, no money, we can't buy the gifts and special foods that make the holiday magical," says Tawwil.

Tawwil disputes reports of Muslim-Christian animosity. "Muslims have the same problems as Christians do in Gaza. We live together, as neighbors, under the same siege, occupation and same Israeli attacks."

Ahmed Mahdi, a Muslim in Gaza City, has Christian neighbors. "We are good friends with our neighbors, and visit them during their Christian holidays," Mahdi says. "And they visit us during our Muslim holidays. We feel and act like family."

Like Mahdi, Tawwil and other Christians share Muslim holy times.

"We are with them for Muslim holidays, we celebrate with them as if its our holiday. We don't feel a difference between Muslims and Christians in Gaza."

"The occupation does not allow for freedom for any religion other than Judaism. Aside from banning us from our holy places, the Israelis have attacked and destroyed our churches and mosques," notes Hossam Tawwil.

Ahmed Mahdi's message is simple. "I just wish that this year is better for Palestine's Christians, and that Christians everywhere celebrate and enjoy their holy day."

All rights reserved, IPS -- Inter Press Service (2011). Total or partial publication, retransmission or sale forbidden.

Palestinian Fighters Injure 4 Occupation Soldiers in Gaza Clash

07/01/2011 Palestinian resistance fighters reportedly ambushed an Israeli occupation force east of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip and injured four of them during an exchange of fire and mortar fire.

Israeli Channel 10 reported that two soldiers were taken to the Soroka Hospital in occupied Beer Al- Saba’a by helicopter and two others were treated on the scene.

Witnesses who spoke to AFP said the firefight lasted 20 minutes, and that one Palestinian was said to have been wounded.

Witnesses also reported that the Israeli forces fired tank shells and a rocket during the incident.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment. An occupation soldier told Channel 10 that the army was still learning the details of the event.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

After Declaring Deal Finalized, PM in NY to Meet Abdullah, Clinton

07/01/2011 Only one day after ending his private vacation and returning to the Lebanese capital Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri headed to New York on Friday where he's expected to meet with Saudi King Abdullah and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the political crisis in Lebanon.

Hariri, who anticipated his new trip by declaring that the deal between Syria and Saudi Arabia over the Lebanese crisis was finalized a long time ago, is expected to discuss the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its expected indictment with Abdullah and Clinton who are expected to hold another separate meeting during the day.

Hariri's trip to New York comes at the time Lebanese are awaiting the outcome of the Saudi-Syrian efforts to resolve the crisis raised after the national opposition highlighted the political aspect of the so-called international tribunal, telling the whole world that it was nothing but a tool in the hands of Lebanon's enemies to target the country as well as its Resistance.

Despite the fact that Hariri's allies, mainly those who are believed to be the closest to the United States, denied the presence of any Saudi-Syrian initiative in this regard, Hariri admitted on Friday that the mentioned initiative was not only effective as Speaker Nabih Berri stated, but it was even finalized.

Hariri, who was speaking to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, announced that he was visiting New York to meet with the king for the second time in 10 days in a bid to boost Saudi-Syrian efforts to defuse the crisis. "I am going there to discuss ways of boosting the mediation efforts that are a guarantee to Lebanon's stability," he was quoted as saying.

The Prime Minister revealed that Saudi-Syrian mediation had led to an agreement a few months ago but accused the opposition of not living up to its end of the deal. He said the agreement was struck before King Abdullah went to the United States in November for back surgery. "Any commitment on my part will not be carried out until the other party implements what they agreed to," the premier told Al-Hayat.

Meanwhile, a government official close to Hariri said the Syrian-Saudi deal calls for clear steps to ease tensions in Lebanon and reduce the rhetoric among the rival political parties. "All of the steps centre on a single objective which is domestic stability and the ability of Lebanon to absorb the indictment," he told AFP. "The government has been paralyzed for months and the political leaders should be able to discuss issues and that has not been happening," the official added. "We hoped to see the process translating into tension-easing steps but that has not so far happened," he said. "The ball is in their court."

The government official brushed aside as "off the mark" persistent reports in Lebanese and other newspapers that the Saudi-Syrian mediation deal calls for Hariri to reject the tribunal. "A pre-emptive rejection of the tribunal is unthinkable," he said. "The prime minister has not agreed to such a rejection. This is a tribunal requested by Lebanon, a tribunal requested to get the perpetrators (of Hariri's assassination), this is a national cause," the official stressed.

However, Minister of State for Administrative Reform Mohamad Fneish blamed the government paralysis on Hariri's camp. He said that the deadlock could be resolved if the cabinet agreed to debate the issue of alleged fake witnesses in the Hariri case.

Speaker Nabih Berri has on Thursday told Al-Manar that January will be decisive in solving the Lebanese crisis and stressed there is no alternative to the Saudi-Syrian initiative. "The initiative is active and has returned" to the Lebanese scene, he said after a phone talk with Hariri. He reiterated that the Arab efforts to solve the crisis had reached a standstill with Saudi King Abdullah's illness but said "the initiative recovered and the level of optimism began rising."

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Photostory: home demolitions in Lydd

Photostory, The Electronic Intifada, 6 January 2011

On 13 December 2010, Israeli bulldozers, flanked by hundreds of municipal, riot squad and border police forces, demolished seven homes belonging to the Abu Eid family in Lydd, a city a few miles east of Tel Aviv.

The demolition, which took several hours, subsequently displaced 67 members of the entire family, including dozens of children, during one of the worst rainstorms of the season. Dozens of other Palestinian homes have been demolished over the years in Lydd.

Lydd is a so-called "mixed city," as is the neighboring city of Ramle. Both are home to a significant population of Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship living in segregated areas, separated from the Jewish majority. Palestinian residents of these communities have been chronically discriminated against and brutalized by police.

Oren Ziv, a photographer with the ActiveStills photography collective who witnessed and photographed the demolition told The Electronic Intifada: "I've been documenting [home demolitions] for seven years and this was one of the biggest demolitions I've ever seen." Ziv added that when the bulldozers finished demolishing the seventh house, children were starting to come back from school only to find their homes reduced to rubble.

The images included in this photostory were all taken by Ziv on the day of and the day after Israel's destruction of the Abu Eid family's homes in Lydd.

Related Links

No Israeli aggression likely ...until late 2011'

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

Oxford Analytica: Excerpts:

"... Israel does not expect anything to come from the talks. While preparations for an attack are going ahead, a number of factors are making them more difficult and complicated than initially anticipatedIsraeli military preparations for an assault on Iran are proceeding apace. Following the closing of Turkish airspace to Israeli air force training manoeuvres earlier this year, the Israelis have begun making more use of other countries' airspace for long-range aerial training exercises. They are also training special forces for an attack.  Moreover, by choosing Yoav Gallant as the new chief of staff, and Tamir Pardo as the new head of the Mossad, the Israeli government is sending a powerful, if indirect, message. Both men are known as operational field operatives, rather than administrators .........However, both budgets and events elsewhere are affecting their plans. Furthermore, Israeli planners are having to try to balance several timelines simultaneously .....  Israel and the United States are coming closer in their assessments of the pace of Iran's nuclear development. Both now estimate that, depending on how effective future covert operations and sanctions are, it may take 2-3 years before Iran has a testable bomb... 

US constraints. Although Washington has stressed that it has operational military plans to deal with the Iranian threat, it remains reluctant to become involved in a new war amid continuing economic challenges and deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a minimum, the Israelis would need silent US backing for any assault. Any assault would, almost inevitably, force Israel to end up fighting a three-front war. Israeli military planners fully anticipate that should Israel attack Iran, their homefront would come under fire from the thousands of rockets now in the possession of Iranian allies Hizbollah and Hamas.  .... Israel's entire military posture for decades has been based on the principle that offence is the best form of defence. For that reason, Israel has always focused most of its military purchases on offensive weaponry such as the latest generation of fighter-bombers. However, beginning with the 1991 Gulf war, and especially since the 2006 Lebanese War and the 2008-09 incursion into Gaza, there has been growing public pressure to increase Israel's passive defensive capacityHowever, because of the costs, six Israeli villages on the border with Gaza have yet to be equipped with adequate shelters, and there are only enough gas masks for 60% of the population. Many home front services such as fire-fighting units remain woefully under-equipped.  In addition, the introduction of new, Israeli-designed Iron Dome anti-rocket missile batteries is being delayed because of costs ....   even if all this economic aid had been appropriated, the Israelis would still only have the means to protect a few air bases and not the population as a whole.... 
Regional security factors. Another potential complication in decision-making on Iran is internal domestic instability in Lebanon and Gaza ... The Israelis fear that Hizbollah could create a series of border incidents, and even another full-scale war, in order to unite the Lebanese public behind it. The Hamas administration in Gaza has recently been under increasing pressure from even more extremist groups to renew rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. There has been an increase in the shelling of Israeli civilian targets in recent weeks........ the balance of various factors means that the Israeli government will likely choose to wait out the next few months in order to follow developments before taking stock of issues such as the state of the Iranian nuclear programme, the impact of covert operations and sanctions, their own defensive preparedness, and the US political climate as the presidential campaign gets underway.
Posted by G, Z, or B at 4:50 PM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Prof Richard Falk: Israel Prepares Major Offensive against Gaza: Hopes of Gaza Cast in Lead

Friday, January 7, 2011 at 1:07AM Gilad Atzmon

Israel is gearing up for another major offensive into Gaza, yet the world community still remains bafflingly silent.

It is dismaying that during this dark anniversary period two years after the launch of the deadly attacks on the people of Gaza - code-named Operation Cast Lead by the Israelis - that there should be warnings of a new massive attack on the beleaguered people of Gaza.

The influential Israeli journalist, Ron Ren-Yishai, writes on December 29, 2010, of the likely prospect of a new major IDF attack, quoting senior Israeli military officers as saying "It's not a question of if, but rather of when," a view that that is shared, according to Ren-Yishai, by "government ministers, Knesset members and municipal heads in the Gaza region".

The bloody-minded Israeli Chief of Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi, reinforces this expectation by his recent assertion that, "as long as Gilad Shalit is still in captivity, the mission is not complete". He adds with unconscious irony, "we have not lost our right of self-defence".

More accurate would be the assertion, "we have not given up our right to wage aggressive war or to commit crimes against humanity".

And what of the more than 10,000 Palestinians, including children under the age of 10, being held in Israeli prisons throughout occupied Palestine?

Red herrings
Against this background, the escalation of violence along the Gaza/Israel border should set off alarm bells around the world and at the United Nations.

Israel in recent days has been launching severe air strikes against targets within the Gaza Strip, including near the civilian-crowded refugee camp of Khan Younis, killing several Palestinians and wounding others.

Supposedly, these attacks are in retaliation for nine mortar shells that fell on open territory, causing neither damage nor injury. Israel also had been using lethal force against children from Gaza, who were collecting gravel from the buffer zone for the repair of their homes.

As usual, the Israeli security pretext lacks credibility. As if ever there was an occasion for firing warning shots in the air, it was here, especially as the border has been essentially quiet in the last couple of years, and what occasional harmless rockets or mortar shells have been fired, has taken place in defiance of the Hamas effort to prevent providing Israel with any grounds for the use of force.

Revealingly, in typical distortion, the Gaza situation is portrayed by Ashkenazi as presenting a pre-war scenario: "We will not allow a situation in which they fire rockets at our citizens and towns from 'safe havens' amid [their] civilians."

With Orwellian precision, the reality is quite the reverse: Israel from its safe haven continuously attacks with an intent to kill a defenceless, entrapped Gazan civilian population.

Silence is complicity
Perhaps, worse in some respects than this Israeli war-mongering, is the stunning silence of the governments of the world, and of the United Nations.

World public opinion was briefly shocked by the spectacle of a one-sided war that marked Operation Cast Lead as a massive crime against humanity, but it has taken no notice of this recent unspeakable escalation of threats and provocations seemingly designed to set the stage for a new Israeli attack on the hapless Gazan population.

This silence in the face of the accumulating evidence that Israel plans to launch Operation Cast Lead 2 is a devastating form of criminal complicity at the highest governmental levels, especially on the part of countries that have been closely aligned with Israel, and also exhibits the moral bankruptcy of the United Nations system.

We have witnessed the carnage of 'preemptive war' and 'preventive war' in Iraq, but we have yet to explore the moral and political imperatives of 'preemptive peace' and 'preventive peace.' How long must the peoples of the world wait?

It might be well to recall the words of one anonymous Gazan that were uttered in reaction to the attacks of two years ago: "While Israeli armed forces were bombing my neighbourhood, the UN, the EU, and the Arab League and the international community remained silent in the face of atrocities. Hundreds of corpses of children and women failed to convince them to intervene."

International liberal public opinion enthuses about the new global norm of 'responsibility to protect,' but not a hint that if such an idea is to have any credibility it should be applied to Gaza with a sense of urgency where the population has been living under a cruel blockade for more than three years and is now facing new grave dangers.

And even after the commission of the atrocities of 2008-09 have been authenticated over and over by the Goldstone Report, by an exhaustive report issued by the Arab League, by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, there is no expectation of Israeli accountability, and the United States effectively uses its diplomatic muscle to bury the issue, encouraging forgetfulness in collaboration with the media.

It is only civil society that has offered responses appropriate to the moral, legal, and political situation. Whether these responses can achieve their goals, only the future will tell.

The Free Gaza Movement and the Freedom Flotilla have challenged the blockade more effectively than the UN or governments, leading Israel to retreat, at least rhetorically, claiming to lift the blockade with respect to the entry of humanitarian goods and reconstruction materials.

Of course, the behavioural truth contradicts the Israeli rhetoric: sufficient supplies of basic necessities are still not being allowed to enter Gaza; the water and sewage systems are seriously crippled; there is not enough fuel available to maintain adequate electric power; and the damage from Operation Cast Lead remains, causing a desperate housing crisis (more than 100,000 units are needed just to move people from tents).

Also, most students are not allowed to leave Gaza to take advantage of foreign educational opportunities, and the population lives in a locked-in space that is constantly being threatened with violence, night and day.

This portrayal of Gaza is hardly a welcoming prospect for the year 2011. At the same time the spirit of the people living in Gaza should not be underestimated.

I have met Gazans, especially young people, who could be weighed down by the suffering their lives have brought them and their families since their birth, and yet they possess a positive sense of life and its potential, and make every use of any opportunity that comes their way, minimising their problems and expressing warmth toward more fortunate others and enthusiasm about their hopes for their future.

I have found such contact inspirational, and it strengthen my resolve and sense of responsibility: these proud people must be liberated from the oppressive circumstances that constantly imprisons, threatens, impoverishes, sickens, traumatises, maims, kills.

Until this happens, none of us should sleep too comfortably!
Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades, most recently editing the volume International Law and the Third World: Reshaping Justice (Routledge, 2008).

He is currently serving his third year of a six year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The Myth of Defensible Borders

The Myth of Defensible Borders

"...Israeli security orthodoxy has long been built on two related premises: first, that Arab and Muslim hostility toward Israel is both inexorable and irrational -- so neither withdrawal nor peace is likely to offer Israelis major security dividends -- and second, that foreign powers and international institutions cannot be trusted to protect Israel.
To be sure, Israel's leaders have at times questioned the continuing relevance of these premises. Indeed, when seeking the Knesset's support for the Oslo agreement in 1993, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin declared, "No longer are we necessarily 'a people that dwells alone,' and no longer is it true that 'the whole world is against us.'"
Over the last decade, however, widespread disillusionment with the Oslo process, and the sense that their unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip served to embolden, rather than placate, enemies such as Hezbollah and Hamas, have led many Israelis to conclude that genuine peace is an elusive dream. Moreover, they cite the perceived failure of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Gaza to prevent rocket attacks on Israel as evidence that when the going gets tough, Israelis can rely only on themselves for security. Presented with this bleak security picture, many Israelis see the retention of West Bank territory -- i.e., the concept of defensible borders -- as not only politically desirable but also a strategic necessity.
Israelis have learned the wrong lessons from the wars of the last decade. Although defensible borders would preserve Israel's latitude to act independently in the short run, it would undermine, rather than promote, its long-term security. Israel's refusal to relinquish territory occupied in 1967 would give its enemies increased motivation to attack -- and bolster the perceived legitimacy of violence among Arabs disillusioned with the international community's failure to make good on the promise to deliver land for peace. And it would only marginally limit the capacity of Israel's enemies to inflict damage: Israel's efforts to shift its population away from its crowded coastline, along with steady advances in the range of missiles and rockets possessed by militant groups and nearby states, will leave Israelis vulnerable regardless of where the state's borders are drawn. And as the international community presses further toward accountability for war crimes, Israel will find it increasingly costly, legally and politically, to use overwhelming military force to deter attacks. ..."
Posted by G, Z, or B at 9:53 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Friday, 7 January 2011

Jen Marlowe: One Family in Gaza (video)

Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:44AM Gilad Atzmon
Just months after the Israeli assault that killed 1,390 Palestinians, I visited Gaza. Among dozens of painful stories I heard, one family stood out. I spent several days with Kamal and Wafaa Awajah, playing with their children, sleeping in the tent they were living in, and filming their story.

Wafaa described the execution of their son, Ibrahim. As she spoke, her children played on the rubble of their destroyed home. Kamal talked about struggling to help his kids heal from trauma.

What compelled me to tell the Awajah family's story? I was moved not only by their tragedy but by the love for their children in Wafaa and Kamal's every word.

Palestinians in Gaza are depicted either as violent terrorists or as helpless victims. The Awajah family challenges both portrayals. Through one family’s story, the larger tragedy of Gaza is exposed, and the courage and resilience of its people shines through.

For more information or to purchase a DVD or organize a screening, please contact

One Family in Gaza from Jen Marlowe on Vimeo.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

13 IOF bullets penetrated the head and heart of an elderly Palestinian man

[ 07/01/2011 - 02:48 PM ]

Qawasmi's wife showing journalists where her husband was murdered in cold blood

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Haj Omar al-Qawsmi, 65 years, was asleep in his bed at 4:15 Friday morning when IOF troops quietly sneaked into his flat and went straight to his bedroom and riddled his head and upper body with 13 bullets leaving his brain splattered on the floor mistaking him for Wael al-Bitar.

His wife was praying when she heard the shooting and she cried aloud, the occupation soldiers immediately closed here mouth and dragged her to another room, when they ascertained her identity and that of her husband they went to Wael al-Bitar’s flat searched the flat and arrested him. The IOF soldiers also questioned Wael’s wife before leaving according to the family.

Meanwhile the family of Mohannad Neiroukh, another captive in Abbas’s jails who was released after 40 days of hunger strike, said that the IOF troops encircled their home and raided it amid firing of flares and stun grenades and took Neiroukh, who is unconscious, to an awaiting ambulance.

The family of Majd Obaid said that IOF troops encircled their home, broke windows and doors and took Majd, who is not able to walk after going through a 40-day strike in Abbas’s jails, to an awaiting ambulance.

The same was relayed by the families of Ahmad Oweiwi and Wisam al-Qawasmi about the kidnapping of their sons who were only released on Thursday evening from Abbas’s jails by IOF troops.

Israeli occupation kidnaps five Palestinians hours after being released from PA

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Dagan: Hezbollah’s Firepower 90% Stronger than World Countries

07/01/2011 Meir Dagan, who retired from his post as Mossad chief on Thursday after eight years, does not believe Iran will have nuclear capability before 2015.

In a summary given to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Dagan claimed that Iran was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, following a series of “failures” that had set its program back by several years. Therefore, he said, Iran will not get hold of the bomb before 2015 approximately.

Dagan handed over the job to his successor, Tamir Pardo, in the Prime Minister’s Bureau Thursday morning, after having parted from the ministers during last Sunday’s cabinet session.

The former Mossad chief had said on various occasions in the past that Israel should go to war only if attacked, or if in immediate danger of survival.

According to a Wikileaks report, Dagan told a senior American official that it would take a series of coordinated moves to stop the Iranian nuclear program. He reportedly suggested increasing the economic sanctions against Iran, preventing the export of products required for the nuclear project to Iran, covert warfare, and encouraging minority and opposition groups to “topple” the Iranian regime.

Analysts told Israeli daily the Jerusalem Post Iran would use Hezbollah to launch massive rocket attacks against Israel if Tel Aviv targets Tehran's nuclear facilities.

"The Iranians – who are largely responsible for building up Hezbollah to such an extent that today it has more firepower than 90 percent of the countries of the world – would 'call in their chips,' and the organization would launch massive rocket attacks against Israel's home front," the analysts said about a possible Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. "It is probable some of the Hezbollah attacks would come from Syria, which means that Damascus would be drawn into the conflict," according to the daily.

The analysts told the Post that the new Mossad chief is climbing to the top of the intelligence community pyramid with working assumptions already in place on a number of issues, notably the possible strike on the nuclear facilities and its aftermath.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Those who sow hate can only blame themselves when they reap it multi-fold‏

By Nahida

Jewish zionists continue their malevolent acts of sowing hate, causing mayhem, setting ablaze regions and destabilizing societies of multi-faiths, multi-cultures who have peacefully coexisted for millennia, watch how they do it on their prime TV shows:

This was aired by "israeli" TV just days before the bombings of a Copt (Christian) Church in Alexandria (Egypt), on New Year's eve.

The sudden multiplication by such bloody attacks on Christians in Muslim countries (Iraq, Egypt, Sudan...ect) has all the marks of Mossad's false flag operations. Only haplessly ignorant people would believe that Muslims have suddenly, out of the blue, developed hatred of Christians, and are bent on killing them and destroying their churches which they have protected for centuries.

Even the pro-west Egyptian diplomats are overt on their assumption that this is Mossad's deed. In fact the date itself has their signature. Christmas and new year!


Flash back:


The zionist not only that they have their hands dripping of the blood of Palestinians since they decided to rob Palestine, they murdered their own “friends” and “allies”; as when they bombed the USS Liberty in order to blame it on Egypt

They even did it against their own people, as they did to Iraqi Jews to force them to flee their homes

And they have been doing again with commendable achievement in Iraq to flare up a civil and sectarian war:

DIVIDE AND CONQUER is their best game

Iran mosque blast plotters admit Israeli, US links: report


Operation Susannah

In 1956, as reported by the Times Of London, during one of Israel's perpetual wars with its neighbors, the Israeli Mossad tried to trick the United States into siding with Israel against Egypt by blowing up a US facility in Cairo and blaming the Egyptians for it. The plot was wrecked when the operatives were caught and confessed, creating a huge scandal. This event was referred to as the Lavon Affair named after the Israeli Defense Minister, Pinhas Lavon, at that time.

{……….In 1954, Israel sponsored bombings against US and UK interests in Cairo aiming to cause trouble between Egypt and the West.[4] This operation, latter dubbed the Lavon Affair cost Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon his job. Israel (where it is known as “The Unfortunate Affair”) finally admitted responsibility in 2005.[5]………}

Operation Susannah

Operation Susannah was a false flag operation conducted in 1954 by Israeli operatives in Egypt against American and British targets, designed to appear as though Egyptian Arabs had carried out the attacks. Israeli agents had infiltrated Egyptian society and recruited Egyptian-born Jews to carry out the operation. The U.S. Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo as well as a British-owned theater were bombed on July 14, 1954. No injuries or casualties occurred during the bombings, except to one of the operatives, when his bomb exploded prematurely. Egyptian authorities uncovered the operation, initially not realizing it was an Israeli operation. After the Israeli spy ring was broken up, trials followed. Two suspects were acquitted, while two culprits were hanged, and several others were sentenced to lengthy prison terms. One or two other operatives committed suicide.

Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign in 1955. Consequently, the aftermath of Operation Susannah is often called The Levon Affair.

by the Iraqi Jew Naeim Giladi

The Iraqi Jew Naeim Giladi wrote a book detailing how Israelis performed terrorist actions and caused the deaths of many Jewish Iraqis during the 1950s so that Arab Iraqis can be blamed for it. The purpose of these terrorist actions was to cause Jews to migrate to Israel from Iraq. All but 6,000 of the 125,000 Jews in Iraq fled to Israel.


The Jews of Iraq - bintjbeil. com

"I write this article for the same reason I wrote my book:
to tell the American people, and especially American Jews, that Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate willingly to Israel; that, to force them to leave, Jews killed Jews; and that to buy time to confiscate ever more Arab lands, Jews on numerous occasions rejected genuine peace initiatives from their Arab neighbors.

I write about what the first prime minister of Israel called "cruel Zionism."

I write about it because I was part of it.


King David’s hotel

Menachem Begin was the terrorist head of the Irgun when it bombed
the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing nearly 100 people.

 Begin had been a criminal in the Soviet Union (1940) before bringing his terror methods to Palestine.

On the morning of July 22, 1946, a group of 15-20 Irgun terrorists dressed as Arabs entered the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. They unloaded 225 kilograms of explosives hidden in milk churns.(1) The King David Hotel housed the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and Headquarters of the British Forces in Palestine. When a British officer became suspicious, a shootout took place and the Irgun lit the fuses and fled. The explosion destroyed part of the hotel and killed 91 people. Most of the victims were British but 15 innocent Jews also died. It must not be felt that Begin was merely suspected of being behind these murderous deeds. Begin admitted that the Irgun committed these acts and that they were necessary for the establishment of a Jewish state.

The Outrage  King David Hotel

USS Liberty

On June 8, 1967 Israel used unmarked fighters and torpedo boats to launch an hour and one-half attack on the American Navy ship the USS Liberty, costing 34 American lives and 171 wounded. The Israelis first attacked the Liberty's radio towers in an attempt to stop the Sixth Fleet from learning that the Israelis were the attackers. After unmarked Israeli fighters horrendously bombed and strafed the Liberty, Israel sent in torpedo boats to finish the job. They even machine gunned the deployed life rafts in an effort to ensure that there would be no survivors (witnesses) who could expose them. Just as in the Lavon Affair, Israel hoped to blame this act of war on their enemy, the Egyptians. This time, only the courage and resourcefulness of the Liberty's crew prevented a further compounding of the travesty.

The air strike on Libya
On April 15, 1986 US war planes bombed the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. They destroyed the home of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and killed at least 30 civilians, including many children. Gaddafi himself, the main target of the air strike, was not hurt.

According to Victor Ostrovski, a defector from the Israeli Mossad, the US was tricked into bombing Libya when the Israeli Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Tripoli which sent out fake orders to "terrorists" which the US could intercept. The faked orders caused Libya to be blamed for a German disco bombing. As a result of this fake transmission, Reagan used it as evidence to bomb Libya killing 30 innocent people including Qaddhafi’s baby daughter.

Attempt to blow the Mexican Congress

It was Israelis who were armed with 9mm pistols, nine grenades, explosives, three detonators and 58 bullets and caught in Mexico in an attempt to blow the Mexican Congress up on October 10, 2001, one month after 911. Curiously these Israelis were found not with Israeli passports in their possession but with Pakistani passports. The Israelis were booked for conspiracy to destroy a building by means of an explosive by the Mexican police.

If they were successful in blowing up the Mexican Congress then like 911 it would have been blamed on Muslim terrorists, especially if Pakistani passports were found at the scene of the crime. They got caught red-handed here and only God knows how many other incidents that innocent Muslims are being blamed for that was really done by Israelis.

See the following link for more on this:


BBC Reported Building 7 Collapse 20 Minutes Before It Fell

Israeli 911 terrorism ties FOX news report now CLASSIFIED


It is now official: Israeli spies fed fake evidence to US government

Netanyahu: 9/11 attacks good for Israel



The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor

mossad and 9-11

Zelikow's Key Role in 9/11 Cover-Up

Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth

9 11 truth

Architects& Engineers for 9 11 truth

Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice

pilots for truth 9 11

7/7 London Bombings

"Ludicrous Diversion – 7/7 London Bombings", Documentary, 28mn
You probably think you know what happened that day. But you don’t.

Israelis support nuking Iran

Poll: 71% of Israelis want U.S. to strike Iran
Poll: Most Israelis support using nukes


The zionazi criminals don’t realize that the world would never be as merciful or as compassionate as the Palestinians when retribution comes to plague them
They never learned the basic lesson:
Those who sow hatred can only blame themselves when hatred comes bouncing back at them in multi-fold

nahidazionists get the hell out of Palestine’
~ Helen Thomas

To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war.
 ~ Ludwig von Mises

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says . . .  I'll try again tomorrow.      
 ~ Anne Henninghake

Justice in the Bazaar

Posted by Qifa Nabki ,
The Syrian-Saudi negotiations over the fate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) are a persistent topic in the Arab press these days.

According to an interview with Saad al-Hariri which will appear tomorrow in al-Hayat, an agreement about how to mitigate the STL’s repercussions has already been reached, and is just waiting implementation on the Lebanese scene. For background on this issue,

I recommend reading the International Crisis Group report, as well as a recent opinion piece by Michael Young.

It will be interesting to see how the Syrian-Saudi agreement is unveiled and presented to the Lebanese public. The gist of the “concessions” expected of Hariri is straightforward: he will be required to help distance Lebanon from the Tribunal in some fashion. Whether this involves going so far as to end Lebanon’s cooperation with and recognition of the STL is uncertain, but we can assume that he will, at the very least, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the STL’s proceedings, and categorically reject the validity of any indictments against members of Hizbullah.

On the other hand, the question of what concessions (if any) will be extracted from Hizbullah is much more perplexing. Unlike Hariri — who has already made some initial concessions  — Hizbullah has not indicated that it will budge from its maximalist position of rejecting the STL as a Zionist plot targeting the resistance. In the International Crisis Group’s discussion of the “contours of a possible deal” (see pp. 28-29) there is no hint at what price Hizbullah and its allies might pay to make the STL become a distant memory. The formulas presented are all essentially March 14 concessions.

The current situation reminds me of an encounter I had several years ago when I was living in Morocco, studying the music of the great chaabi ensemble, Nass el-Ghiwane. I spent the first couple months of my stay in Fes, where I befriended a rug merchant named Ahmad who owned a small shop deep in the old medina.

Over the course of the year, I bought several rugs from Ahmad, which I gave as gifts to friends and family members. As one might expect, each purchase was preceded by a long bargaining process, accompanied by cups of mint tea and endless amusing discussions about history, religion, and politics.

As I neared the end of my stay in Morocco, I set off to visit Ahmad with the intention of buying one last rug from him. It was a beautiful piece: a large, hand-knotted crimson rug with faint tracings in an eggshell color, hanging on a wall in the shop. I had been eyeing it covetously throughout my time in Morocco, but the asking price was well above my budget: $400, which was at least four times more than my piteous, penniless self had previously spent on any other rug in his shop.

When I came to him and expressed my interest, he smiled knowingly and replied: “Of course, ya habibi. Name your price.”

I gritted my teeth and said, almost apologetically, “I’ve got a hundred dollars. Can we make a deal?”
As it turns out, I was telling the truth. I had no more than one hundred dollars left in my savings, but Ahmad didn’t know that, and so he assumed that my offer was  part of a routine bargaining strategy. He thereupon settled into his familiar protestations about the value of the rug, the craftsmanship, and the great loss he would incur by giving it away for such an insultingly low sum.

Over the next two hours, Ahmad’s asking price fell steadily as we chatted in our usual meandering way. My offer, however, remained the same: “One hundred dollars. Take it or leave it.”

As afternoon turned to evening, a group of Ahmad’s friends assembled in his shop, watching this negotiation with amusement. Finally, Ahmad gave up. “Ok. One hundred dollars,” he said. “But you have to buy me a pack of cigarettes.”

I started to insist that I didn’t even have the money to buy him a pack of cigarettes, when his brother leapt to his feet, grabbed me by the arm, and led me outside.
“You will go buy him a pack of cigarettes,” he hissed at me,
 pressing some of his own money into my hand.
I was baffled. “Why? What does it matter?”

His brother shook his head and left me in the street holding a couple of coins for cigarette money.
It took me a while to understand this strange exchange, but it eventually became clear. The symbolic value of the pack of cigarettes was more important to Ahmad, in the context of our bargaining process, than the $100 I paid him at the end. Why? Because it represented something above my original offer. It was more than what I had originally offered to pay. Even if it was only a paltry amount, and even if the whole bargaining process was an elaborate charade, the fact that he had extracted something from me that I hadn’t been willing to pay was a necessary condition of a successful transaction.

This is not so different, I would suggest, than the position that Hariri finds himself in today. He has already brought his “price” down by exonerating Syria and recognizing the existence of “false witnesses”. He has also exonerated Hizbullah’s leadership from any connection with the crime and offered to help sell the narrative that the perpetrators were rogue elements. All that’s left is for him to join his opponents in claiming that the STL was infiltrated by Israel and that his father was the victim of a Zionist plot.

That he can probably do. But I would argue that he needs something in return — the proverbial “pack of cigarettes” — or else, I believe, he will not be able to contain the fallout of Sunni humiliation and frustration that will result from the lopsided transaction.

This doesn’t mean that any paltry concession by Hizbullah will be enough to enable Hariri and his government to sweep the STL under the rug. Depending on the nature of the evidence in support of the indictments, selling at such a low price — with or without a pack of cigarettes from Hizbullah — may be more politically damaging for Hariri than simply resigning from his post. But in the absence of some kind of meaningful concession from Hizbullah, it is hard to see what kind of solution Syria and Saudi Arabia could possibly have in store.

Berri, Hariri: Saudi-Syrian Initiative Completed, Effective

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

IOF Strike Gaza, Execute Old Palestinian Man, kidnaps five Palestinians hours after being released from PA

Qawasme's wife

07/01/2011 Israeli occupation troops shot an old Palestinian man in Al-Khalil early Friday while he was sleeping in his bed. The man killed was identified as Amr Qawasme, 66.

Qawasme 's son said that "Israeli soldiers enter our house while my mother was praying so they put her in my disabled brother’s room, then they entered my father’s bedroom and shot him.

The soldiers left the house after they arrested the citizen Wael Mohammed Said Al-Bitar, who lives on the first floor in our house. "

"After the soldiers arrested Wael Bitar, we went into our house and were surprised to see our father dying in a pool of blood. We didn't hear any gun-fire, they must have used silencers," he explained. Qawasme’s son also said that they "immediately opened fire when they came into my father's room, without verifying his identity."

Medical sources said an old Palestinian man, who was reported to be an unarmed civilian, was brought dead to hospital with several bullet wounds to the upper part of his body.

An Israel military spokesperson expressed “regret” for the mistake of killing an innocent civilian who was not involved in any “terror activity”. "He was not a target, it was definitely not intentional," he said.

The Israeli army was raiding Al-Khalil to re-arrest six Hamas members that the Palestinian Authority had released only the day following an intervention from the emir of Qatar. The PA had taken the six into custody in September in a campaign to arrest Hamas activists after a drive-by shooting against Israeli settlers in the area.

Hamas movement said that it “holds the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank responsible, along with the occupation, for this crime,” Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters at a news conference in Gaza City, describing it as a “dangerous escalation.”

In a separate development, Israeli warplanes have carried out three airstrike on the Gaza Strip, but there is no word yet on any possible casualties. Two of the air raids targeted the east of Gaza City and the third airstrike hit an area east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli military has not commented on the attack so far.

Israeli occupation kidnaps five Palestinians hours after being released from PA

[ 07/01/2011 - 12:33 PM ]

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- IOF troops kidnapped, Friday at dawn, five Palestinian men from the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil, only hours after being released from PA jails after spending 40 days on hunger strike reflecting a high degree of security coordination between Abbas’s militia and the IOF.

The wife of Wael al-Bitar told PIC that a large number of IOF troops raided their neighbourhood and entered her uncle’s flat and killed while he was asleep thinking that he was her husband.

“It seems they went by mistake to my uncle’s flat, they killed him and assaulted his family then forced them on the street,” she said.

She considered what has happened an exchange of roles between the PA and the Israeli occupation and held Mahmoud Abbas personally responsible for what happened and added: “let the whole world see what happened to us at the hands of Fatah’s authority and the [Israeli] occupation in the West bank.”

Local sources also informed the PIC correspondent that IOF troops raided at the same time all homes of the captives who were only released on Thursday evening from Abbas’s jails.

The sources said that as well as Wael al-Bitar, the IOF kidnapped Mohannad Neiroukh (who was unconscious), Majd Obaid, Ahmad al-Oweiwi and Wael al-Qawasmi.

The IOF action created a state of rage in the city with the people and the families of the kidnapped men holding Abbas’s authority full responsibile for what happened.

The PA had released six men after went on a hunger strike for 40 days to protest being kept in jail despite a court ruling over a year ago ordering their release.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian