Saturday, 26 March 2011

Ten tons of cement await entry into Gaza Strip on Egypt’s Rafah border crossing

March 25, 2011 posted by Adam Morrow ·
RAFAH (Mar. 25) – On Thursday afternoon, a flatbed truck bearing ten tons of cement arrived at Egypt’s Rafah border crossing en route to the besieged Gaza Strip. The shipment, which was accompanied by a 15-member delegation from the Egyptian-International Coalition for Lifting the Siege and Rebuilding Gaza, is now awaiting written permission from the relevant authorities to enter the coastal enclave.

“Since the border is officially closed on Fridays and Saturdays, we’re hoping to get permission to bring the cement into Gaza on Sunday morning,” said coalition coordinator Ahmed Elassy. “Based on our positive experiences with the Egyptian Armed Forces and intelligence services in the past, along with the warm assistance we’ve received from the office of Egypt’s new foreign minister, HE Dr. Nabil al-Arabi, we’re confident that this consignment of cement will arrive to the strip as planned.”

Members of the delegation, which consists of concerned Egyptian citizens and foreign nationals, set out from Cairo at 8AM. They arrived at the Rafah crossing at approximately 2:00PM after rendezvousing with the cement-laden truck in the city of Al-Arish, some 55 kilometers west of Rafah.

The initiative comes following the successful outcome of the coalition’s earlier March 6 campaign, when it entered the strip via Rafah with a single, symbolic 50kg bag of cement. That campaign represented the first formal entry of building supplies into the Gaza Strip since the siege of the territory first went into effect in 2006 and the first humanitarian aid delegation to enter the strip since Egypt’s January 25 Revolution.
The current campaign, however, is not a humanitarian aid convoy, but a commercial transaction, as all the cement involved was paid for in advance by the Arab-International Committee for Building Gaza.

“We’re not interested in charity or handouts,” Kanan Obaid, chairman of Gaza’s Engineers Syndicate, told delegation members during the coalition’s previous March 6 visit to the strip. “We don’t want to be consumers, we want to be producers. But in order to do this, we need raw materials — especially cement.”
The Gaza Strip remains in desperate need of construction. Along with killing more than 1500 people, the three-week-long Zionist assault on the territory in 2008/2009 destroyed some 5000 residential units and partially destroyed another 50,000. An estimated 95 percent of the strip’s factories and workshops, meanwhile, remain closed until today as a direct result of the illegal blockade on the territory.

Gaza’s need for reconstruction was highlighted again this week by a series of attacks by the Zionist state targeting several districts of the besieged coastal enclave. According to coalition members camped out on the border, the artillery barrages were easily heard from Rafah.

“The dire circumstances under which the people of Gaza are living has only served to steel our resolve,” said Elassy. “We plan to stay at the border as long as it takes until this consignment of cement is allowed across the border.”

“Most of us participated in the recent January 25 Revolution, which led to the ouster of the longstanding Mubarak regime,” said coalition member Mohamed Mahmoud Aweida. “From that experience, we’ve learned how to exercise patience to achieve our objectives.”

ENDS

Special UNHR Watchdog for Iran


Posted on March 25, 2011 by rehmat1|

Yesterday, Washington finally succeeded in diverting world’s attention from Israel’s human rights violations by blackmailing (US pays 22% of the UN’s annual budget of $1.18 billion) the 47-members UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Iran. Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Palestinian Territories has been a thorn for both Tel Aviv and Washington.

The proposal championed by the United States and Sweden won approval in a 22-7 vote at the council. As many as 14 nations abstained, and four of the council’s 47 nations did not participate.

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, the US representative at the council, told members before the voting that the U.S. and other countries “are gravely concerned about the situation in Iran, where respect for fundamental human rights has deteriorated dramatically in recent years.”

Iran’s UN mission disagreed, saying that the United States has committed human rights abuses against Palestinians by supporting Israel, against Afghan civilians and against secretly held detainees who also have been tortured.

This politicizes the process,” said Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Zamir Akram, speaking for the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which represents 57 Muslim nations. “As a matter of principle, Pakistan does not support country mandates,” he said. “No country in the world can claim to have an unblemished human rights record.”

Geneva-based HRC is in the final week of a month-long session in which it will adopt up to six resolutions condemning Israel. The Cuba-born Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee (Irving Moskowitz, a funder of illegal Jewish settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem – was her major election campaign contributor) has asked Obama to withdraw from the HRC and “explore credible, alternative forums to advance human rights.”

The UNHRC was established in 2006 to replace the 60-year-old Human Rights Commission. The US joined the body in 2009 when NewZealand withdrew in its favor.

In March 2009 – The council adopted a resolution sponsored by Pakistan and other Islamic states that condemned the “defamation of religion” as a violation of human rights, arguing that abuses against Muslims have mounted in the years following the 911 terror attacks. But European states criticized the Islamic resolution, saying it posed a threat to the right of free speech. Interestingly, many of these European states have laws which say: “Deny the Holocaust and go to prison“.


I suppose Israel-Firster and a major cheerleader for the US-led war on Iraq in 2003,  John Bolton, former US ambassador at UN – could be the best Special Rapporteur on Iran to counter Dr. Richard Falk’s (with a Jewish family background) criticism of Israel’s human rights violations. John Bolton, whose mother was Jewish – showed his paranoid nature about Islamic Iran during his speech at CPAC meeting in 2009.

“The fact is on foreign policy I don’t think President Obama thinks it’s a priority,” said Bolton. “He said during the campaign he thought Iran was a tiny threat. Tiny, tiny depending on how many nuclear weapons they are ultimately able to deliver on target. Its, uh, its tiny compared to the Soviet Union, but is the loss of one American city” – here Bolton changes his tone subtly to prepare for the joke – “pick one at random – Chicago – is that a tiny threat?”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Israel deploys air defense system 'Iron Dome' near Gaza to stop "Useless"

[ 26/03/2011 - 09:13 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli army is to deploy the mobile air defense system the "Iron Dome" in areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip on Sunday, a Hebrew press report said.
Yediot Ahronot said the deployment of the system to start on Sunday was in anticipation of further deterioration of the conditions on the "Gaza front" as calls are escalating for launching a large scale offensive against the besieged coastal enclave.

Two of the Iron Dome's systems would be initially deployed, the paper said, noting that it would not be practically operational for months.

However, heads of local councils surrounding Gaza doubted the Iron Dome's ability to ward off the danger of rockets fired from the Strip as it would not cover all those areas in the first stage.

The army announced that the Iron Dome, which is designed to intercept very short-range rockets up to 70 kilometers in all-weather situations, would not be able to cover and protect all settlements surrounding the Strip.
=======

In case you missed it: "Veteran" SAMI JADALLAH: 

"why would any one fire a ‘rocket” when this rocket is useless as those who manufacturer it and those who fires it?"

Another Palestinian Idiot smeared hamas for using useless "Mickey Mouse rocket"
and Mickey Mouse "Resistance" He spent years shaking the shit bag over his head  after hearing "Hamas declaring that it would stop an Israeli invasion of Gaza,"

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

14 arrested, several injured during West Bank protests

[ 26/03/2011 - 08:00 AM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- Fourteen Palestinians have been arrested and several injured as Israeli occupation forces (IOF) cracked down on protests across the West Bank on Friday.

The IOF fired stun grenades and rubber bullets and sprayed waste water mixed with chemicals to suppress the weekly Bil'in march in Ramallah city.

Three Palestinians were left injured, and dozens suffered from the effects of breathing tear gas.

Three more Palestinians were injured, dozens sustained breathing difficulties and 14 were arrested, most of them foreign activists when the IOF suppressed a weekly march in Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah.

The soldiers assaulted and pepper-sprayed the activists, blocked the village entrance, enforced a security cordon and occupied several homes and facilities, turning them into military barracks.

In separate incidents, the IOF intercepted a weekly march in the village of Al-Ma'sara near Bethlehem as protesters progressed towards the separation wall.

Meanwhile in the East Jerusalem district of Silwan, dozens of Palestinians, including senior citizens, choked as Israeli soldiers fired toxic gas and tear gas.

Clashes erupted after Friday prayers in the Al-Bustan neighborhood and quickly spread to most communities across Silwan as Palestinians fought back with stones and Molotov cocktails without report of arrest.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

ICG: "Bashar Assad has accumulated significant political capital, & many Syrians are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt


Rights group: Syria frees more than 260 political detainees

Via Friday-Lunch-Club

"... A window of opportunity still exists to change these dynamics, although it is fast closing. Unlike most of his peers in the region, President Bashar Assad has accumulated significant political capital, and many Syrians are willing, for now, to give him the benefit of the doubt. In fact, a broad range of citizens – including members of the security apparatus – are desperately waiting for him to take the lead and to propose, before it is too late, an alternative to spiraling confrontation. Although he has held numerous consultations and sent some signals of impending reform through the foreign media and other officials, he has yet to assume clear and palpable leadership.
Instead, faced with an unprecedented, multi-faceted, fast-paced and critical challenge, the power apparatus at best is implementing chaotic steps that convey a sense of confusion, at worst is reacting according to well-ingrained habits. Left to its own devices, it will send precisely the wrong messages to a population that will not wait much longer for the regime to get its act together and to put forward a comprehensive and credible vision. At this point, only one thing can change swiftly, dramatically and effectively for the better, and that is the president’s own attitude.
President Assad must show visible leadership and do so now. His political capital today depends less on his past foreign policy successes than on his ability to live up to popular expectations at a time of dangerous domestic crisis..... This should include several steps:
The President should speak openly and directly to his people, recognise the challenges described above, stress the unacceptable and counterproductive nature of repression, offer condolences to the families of victims,....
He should announce the following, immediate measures: release of all political prisoners; lifting of the emergency law;....
Upcoming parliamentary elections should be postponed pending a referendum on sweeping constitutional amendments which should be discussed with a wide and inclusive range of Syrians. Deeper change requires broad consultation and cannot be arbitrarily implemented.
Many within the regime argue against such a radical course of action. Their points might appear logical, but none should carry the day:
The regime has never responded to pressure, and this time-honoured principle has always served it well over the years, particularly in times of crisis. While this might have been true in the past, the current situation involves an entirely different and unprecedented kind of pressure, one that is relentless and grounded in deep-seated popular feelings. If resisted, it will only swell. This is not a time for business as usual or for standing still when all around is moving....
People do not know what they really want and express endless demands, some of which are unacceptable.
Again, this likely is true and, after years of suppression, wide-ranging aspirations cannot but be expressed. But the lack of a clear popular vision for orderly change offers the president the chance to convince citizens of the merits of his own.
The regime’s enemies are stirring things up and must be subdued before they do more damage.
In reality, none of the regime’s enemies possess enough support or influence in Syria to mount a critical threat. At best, they can try to make use of broad popular anger and steer it to their advantage. But by focusing on “enemies”, the regime is giving them more space while deepening popular discontent. 
There is, in short, reason to question whether a dramatic approach will prevail. But it is the only realistic way to avoid a perilous confrontation.
After decades of colonialism followed by authoritarian rule, the Middle East and North Africa are facing a new phenomenon: a demand for governments based on popular legitimacy. Rulers in Syria or elsewhere can pass this test of leadership, or they can fail it. Bashar Assad has important assets; he retains significant political capital measured by regional standards, and it is high time that he spends it.
As each day goes by, repression will both dissipate that capital and increase popular demands, making constructive action all the more difficult. Hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass may have served the regime well in days past. But now, it must fight against those instincts if it wants to preserve the possibility of a peaceful outcome."

Time for Nassrallah and Obama to talk?

“Just maybe!” hints the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)

"We in Hezbollah know when to hold em and when to fold em"
Franklin Lamb - Beirut

An experienced Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius, to his credit not among the most biased Israeli Hasbara spewers from  the Zionist daily, dropped by our Hezbollah neighborhood known as Dahiyeh the other day. During a hour meeting with Hezbollah Foreign Relations Officer Ammar Mousawi and his brilliant assistant, and friend to many Americans,  English Literature scholar Hussein Haider, the WP  reporter  came away apparently impressed with the quality of the discussion with the Lebanese political party that Israeli President Shimon Peres claims “is now Lebanon!”   Visiting Westerners are regularly surprised to learn firsthand that Hezbollah, the new majority party in Lebanon whose imprimatur will be stamped on all major Lebanese government decisions, including, enshallah (God willing), without any more nonsense, the internationally mandated civil right to work and to own a home for Lebanon’s quarter million Palestinian refugees, bears no resemblance to the past quarter century of Zionist Fox News- US Main Stream Media portrayal.
David Ignatius,
Washington Post columnist
But then, western epiphanies in Dahiyeh are old news.

SEPARATE HEZBOLLAH WINGS CONCEPT IS A FICTION

Like many observers of Lebanon’s new majority, Ignatius apparently wondered about the possibility of some sort of high level direct dialogue between Hezbollah and the Obama administration given the continuing US skid and waning influence in the region and the dramatic rise of Hezbollah and its allies against the backdrop of the Islamic-Arab Awakening that may be in just its early stages. So, as seems to happen every couple of years recently, an alert journalist makes contact with the US Intelligence Community and grist is offered for an intriguing column that the US might anoint for dialogue  the ”political wing” of Hezbollah as distinct from the “military wing” since the Party does not act much like  a “terrorist organization” should.
 
The “separate wings” concept is a fiction of course as there is no totally separate political-military command division within Hezbollah. There are many departments and units that do specialized work on health care, education, urban and environmental planning, post war reconstruction and fourteen other social service focused tasks. Specialized units keep an eye on the blue line and prepare to confront Israeli aggression against Lebanon.  The party is generally unified in its decision making following sometimes freewheeling  “best expert argument wins” debates as part of its almost Leninist ‘democratic centralism’ model with the buck stopping with the 7 member Shura or Executive Council. The Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah has significant power but he acts for and answers to the Shura and lacks the typical absolute authority of collapsing Arab despots.
WHITE HOUSE BELIEVES NASRALLAH IS SOMEONE THE U.S. CAN DO BUSINESS WITH

The “good wing-bad wing” pretense is favored by some in the US Intelligence Community as it allows political cover for desired engagement much as was the case for other ‘terrorist’ groups such as the PLO, the ANC and the IRA. For that reason John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser recently discussed the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Hezbollah that is nearing completion, with ‘draft ideas’ being circulated to key Members of Congress and AIPAC.

According to Congressional sources, the White House, has zero interest in attacking Iran and believes that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is someone the US “can do business with.”  Given Nasrallah’s admirers in Tehran, and his mass popular appeal in this region, some of the NIE drafters and White House staffers think Nasrallah could help with at least some US-Iranian antagonisms.
NASRALLAH CAN HELP WASHINGTON IMMEASURABLY TO WORK WITH IRAN

As Israel and its Arab collaborators quake  as Iran ascends in the region, the future determinate of Middle East Peace will be US Iranian relations”, according to a US Senate Intelligence Committee staffer, who added: “Many in Washington think we can work with Iran and Nasrallah could perhaps help both of us immeasurably.”
The same source opined that the White House appears split down the middle whether to seek direct contact with Hezbollah with some close Obama aides arguing that times are changing in the Middle East and maybe US policy should too following a decade of trillion dollar a year wars with nothing but carnage and US economy ruining deficits to show for them.  Obama aids are said to favor a regional approach that has already led to two U.S.-sponsored meetings on Afghanistan that included Iranian representatives – one in Rome last year and one in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 3/3/11.
OBAMA, KERRY FASCINATED WITH NASRALLAH

Opposed to this view is the Foreign Policy establishment which, committed to Israel, does not care much who is president as they always stay in power and exist in the form of the Council on Foreign Relations and other non-elected, self-appointed and  auto-replenished guardians of American foreign policy.  Their view, expressed this week by Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman, is still mired in:  “on the political level, there can be no dialogue with Hezbollah because it is a terrorist organization creating instability in the Middle East.”

Dialogue with political adversaries is a well-known hallmark of Hezbollah and some have suggested that Hassan Nasrralah and Barack Obama might have a fascinating private tete a tete given many shared life experiences and outlooks including work as community organizers, inclusive outreach advocates, multiculturalists, bright and broad minded progressive thinkers not much attracted to acceptance of stereotyping or political shibboleths.

Truth claimed, Congressional sources report that Obama, and his friend US Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerrey (D-Mass.) are fascinated with Nassrallah.  On the other hand, having been publically humiliated three times by Israel’s Netanyahu, Obama reportedly finds the latter intransigent, lacking any interest in a just peace in Palestine and fixated only in building illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. At the same time finding Netanyahu personally obnoxious.  Nasrallah might agree.
Some of the 16 Intelligence Agencies that comprise the US Intelligence Community are discussing the prospects, in the context of the expanding Middle East uprising,  that the single obstacle to normalizing relations between the US and the Middle East, the continued occupation
of Palestine by the 19th Century Zionist Colonial Enterprise, may be resolved, perhaps sooner than later. Some Israeli leaders reportedly concede privately that with the rising youth fuelled rebellions toppling US-Israeli backed despots the freedom tsunami might not ebb until Palestine is restored.

DE FACTO CONDITIONS PRECEDENT TO ANY MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE

There remains some heavy baggage around potential “let bygones be bygones” discussion between Dahiyeh and Washington.  During its 29 year history Hezbollah has had multiple indirect contacts with US administrations via Lebanese politicians, PLO figures, and European diplomats and even today, with Western countries queuing for dialogue with Hezbollah, understanding  mutual US-Lebanese resistance problems is no mystery.  The issues are clear.
While conceding that White House-Dahiyeh talks, based on mutual respect, could be historic, nevertheless neighborhood contacts suggest that there is a de facto condition precedent to meaningful dialogue.  It includes a political ceasefire from Washington.

Since the 1992 Lebanese elections when Hezbollah decided to participate in governing Lebanon, but even before, the American administration has waged with Israel, a continual campaign against the Lebanese resistance for one reason.  Hezbollah’s opposition to the theft of Palestine and the movements pledge to help return Palestine to its rightful inhabitants.

The same pledge millions of American and Western human rights advocates have taken and continue to pursue with increased solidarity during this Arab Spring.
Hezbollah has been incessantly targeted by Washington accusing it, without proof of “terrorism” and sometimes, even conceding US errors such as the admitted March 8, 1985 CIA ordered assassination of the erroneously identified “Hezbollah leader”, the late humanist, Mohammad Hussein Fadallah.  Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah escaped death, but more than 60 Lebanese civilians were slaughtered and more than 250 wounded outside his Hussayneyeh  
(Mosque) near my current home.
FELTMAN’S ANTI-HEZBOLLAH CAMPAIGN HAS JUST STARTED
After more than half the past decade of launching various anti-Hezbollah schemes, the Jeffrey Feltman team has made clear that its pressure on Lebanon’s new majority is just getting started. Analyst’s across the political spectrum in Lebanon claim they have never witnessed  such intense sectarian strife and vitriol as has been unleashed since the collapsed of the pro-US  March 14 government last January.  
Last week the US Treasury Departments reminded Lebanon of its skill at interfering with international banking and sent a warning that Lebanon’s banks were “on limits for scrutiny.” It hinted that a run on the banks from Gulf money could be expected.  Among those it seeks to intimidate is Lebanon’s richest businessman, Nijab Miqati who Hezbollah helped choose  for Prime Minister. Washington claims that some Lebanese banks laundry money for Hezbollah and allow Iran to avoid US sanctions while helping to fund the Resistance.  Current US Ambassador Maury Connelly told the media that the US actions “were part of the U.S. Treasury's global effort, under Section 311 of the Patriot Act to protect the U.S. financial sector from illicit activities. Lebanon's Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh Central Bank fired back that Lebanon’s banks abide by all national and international regulations and that the US should offer proof otherwise if it has any.

FELTMAN’S MARCH 14 TEAM EXPOSED BY WIKILEAKS CABLES

The Feltman teams: “It’s us or Nasrallah-it’s the US or Iran running Lebanon!” attitude has been exposed yet again by the publication of a bundle of Wilklikeaks Beirut Embassy cables, this past week.
The diplomatic cables confirm is that the US Embassy functioned as a virtual Israeli operations center during the July 2006 war and has saturated Lebanon with more intelligence and political penetrations than perhaps any country in the region, except Iraq.
During the July 2006 war, US embassy staff, led by Feltman who functioned as a kind of ‘godfather’ for Hezbollah’s detractors, received countless pro-Israeli  consigliere as they executed plans how to best manage the war for Israel  while protecting their own business  and sectarian interests.

On the degree to which some Arab leaders, in this case Bahrain, and its  ambassador, Houda Ezra Nonoo,  are collaborating with Israel while publicly pledging brotherly support for the Arabs “ central cause”, Palestine, a recent report is instructive

FELTMAN HAD NO PROBLEM IN CARPET-BOMBING DAHIYEH

Feltman, the cables make plain,  personally instructed Washington to tell Israel not to bomb bridges in what he derisively called “Maronistan areas” because that would weaken Christian support for Israel and affect logistics for US Embassy “staff” in Awkar.  Embassy Beirut apparently had no problem with Israel carpeting bombing  south Beirut, with American weapons, endangering  Shatila  and Burj al Barajneh Palestinian Camps around the  Bir Hassan  neighborhood which includes the ‘little Tehran’ neighborhood with Iranian media outlets and the Iranian Embassy.
FELTMAN SEEKS WAYS TO CAUSE SERIOUS DAMAGE TO HEZBOLLAH

 Five days after the July 2006 war was launched, Embassy cables to Washington which were immediately passed to Israel document: “The Ambassador asked Jumblatt what Israel should do to cause serious damage to Hezbollah. Jumblatt replied that Israel is still in the mindset of fighting classic battles with Arab armies. “You can’t win this kind of war with zero dead,” he said.
Jumblatt finally explained what he meant; Israel will have to invade southern Lebanon. Israel must be careful to avoid massacres, but it should clear Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon”. (July 17, 2006)

SANIORA’S GOV’T SUPPORTS CONTINUATION OF ISRAELI BOMBING FOR WEEK OR TWO

On August 5, Assistant Secretary David Welch and Ambassador Feltman met with a more than a dozen Christian leaders from the anti-Syria March 14 movement, The Embassy cable read: “While claiming to be fully supportive of Prime Minister Siniora’s call for a ceasefire, they are troubled that the current conflict might leave Hezbollah in a stronger position within Lebanon than at the beginning.

The Lebanese government will need to be in a position of strength to deal with Hezbollah once the conflict is over, the leaders argued. To this end, they would support a continuation of the Israeli bombing campaign for a week or two if this were to diminish seriously Hezbollah’s strength on the ground….Claiming to reflect PM Siniora’s private thoughts, several of the assembled leaders urged that Hezbollah be given a “real pounding” by the Israelis to the point that the group would be “soft enough to listen to reason.”

According to Boutros Harb, ( Ed: one of the anti-Palestinian Cabinet Ministers who prevented Palestinians from obtaining the internationally mandated Right to Work and Home Ownership on August 17, 2010)
if we are convinced that Israel can finish the job, then we can allow a few more weeks,”( Ed: of slaughter) though the consensus seemed to rest between seven to ten days.

If on the other hand Hezbollah were to emerge emboldened with a perceived sense of victory, “that would be a disaster.” (August 7, 2006)


SAAD HARIRI HOPED TO REMOVE LAHOUD, SLEIMAN, KHOURY

Another leaked Embassy Beirut cable: “Asking that his comments be kept close-hold, Saad Hariri whispered that, “We need to remove Lahoud, (LAF commander Michel) Sleiman, and (Head of the G2 army intelligence) George Khoury. They are in bed with Syria. They are in bed with Hezbollah.” While Hariri hopes to eventually recruit Nabih Berri’s critical support to achieve this, he asked that international pressure on Iran and Syria continues unabated.” (August 12, 2006)

ISRAEL HAS EMBASSY IN BEIRUT, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT

This close coordination with Israel during its July 2006 War on Lebanon which slaughtered more than 1,400 and wounded thousands, represented a rogue US government view of “noninterference in the internal affairs of Lebanon.” These strategy sessions, and a long list of other actions by some claiming to represent the American people in Lebanon has raised serious questions about the diplomatic status of Embassy Beirut and whether Embassy Beirut serves the American people or Israel. According to Lebanese Human Rights Ambassador Ali Khalil, “Israel has an Embassy in Lebanon representing its interests. The American people do not.”

FELTMAN TEAM CORRUPTED S.T.L.

Yet another serious allegation that the Feltman team corrupted the Special Tribunal of Lebanon has been leveled by As Safir a Lebanese daily in its 3/23/11 edition. According to its investigative report, the US sought to use the indictment of the STL to back Caretaker Premier Saad Hariri after his government was toppled by the Hezbollah-led alliance, and to bring Hariri back to power while sidelining Hezbollah.

The US plan was to have the STL issue the indictment after STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare filed an amended indictment earlier in the month for confirmation by pre-trial judge Danial Fransen. But developments in the Arab world, including the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's regime “thwarted the US plan to issue the indictment as a prelude to a change in the political balance of power in Lebanon with Feltman’s team concluding that the release of the indictment at this stage would have made it ineffective amid the ongoing Arab Awakening turmoil. Moreover, western diplomats informed March 14 officials that any STL indictment and Lebanon are currently at the bottom of their priority list, hinting that the release of the charges could be delayed for several months.

HEZBOLLAH FEELS TIME NOT QUITE RIGHT FOR DIALOGUE WITH U.S.
If true, this latest US action alone would destroy any remaining STL credibility as such a political corruption fundamentally violates UNSCR 1757.

Perhaps it is the above described US government campaign that is one of the reasons that Hezbollah contacts, in principle, genuinely interested in dialogue, feel the timing is not yet quite right.

Hassan Nassrallah, speaking on 3/19/11 to our neighborhood gathering in support of the Arab Spring Awakening, repeated Hezbollah’s position: “We will have something constructive to talk about and call for normalizing relations with the Americans once the US administration changes its policy on Palestine. We will reevaluate our stance on the United States' policies when it changes its stance on Palestine." 
One neighbor, a fan of Kenny Rodgers as Jeffrey Feltman is said to be, put it this way to me:  “We in Hezbollah know when to hold em and when to fold em. For now Hezbollah best hold our cards.  There will be time enough for talking when the dealings done.

Franklin Lamb is doing research in Lebanon and can be reached c/o fplamb@gmail.com

Israel is guilty, bears responsibility for latest violence

From Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine

[ 25/03/2011 - 09:40 PM ]

Ever since its genocidal onslaught against the Gaza Strip more than two years ago, Israel has had a free season on the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip. And every time the Palestinians sought to defend themselves, Israeli leaders would get quite mad, threatening to unleash their huge military machine against the unprotected Palestinian population.

On Tuesday, 22 March, Israel fired artillery shells on civilian Palestinian neighborhoods east of Gaza, killing eight people, including two children who were playing football outside their homes.

Some of the other victims had just prayed at the local mosque in Shujaiya before an artillery shell cut their life short.

Needless to say, the two children are added to a long list of children who were killed knowingly and deliberately by the very army of a state that doesn't hesitate to babble about the sanctity of human life every time a Jewish settler terrorist is hurt in the West Bank.

Israel has not changed; Israel won't change, it will always be a murderous, terrorist state that is hell-bent on killing the Palestinians and trying to liquidate their national existence.

This Nazi-like process didn't start yesterday or last month or last year. It started ever since this evil regime came into existence more than sixty years, and it has continued unabated ever since.

The Palestinian people, whether in Gaza or elsewhere, have every right to live in peace and security from the criminal specter of the Israeli killing machine. However, practicing that right has always been a distant dream for most Palestinians.

The reason is simple. Israel, the racist state whose very existence is based on ethnic cleansing and land theft, wants to steal as much as possible of Palestinian land in order to expand Jewish settlements as much as possible.

According to Zionist logic, Palestinians must never resist the unmitigated theft of their ancestral homeland by East European land thieves, or else they would be killed and maimed by the American-supplied Zionist killing machine.

This logic must be discarded and rejected. The Palestinian people have the right to freedom from Zionist terror; and if Palestinians can't be safe and secure in Gaza and Nablus and Jerusalem, then it is inevitable that Israelis won't be safe and secure in Jewish cities.

The Palestinians are never the starters of violence and bloodshed. The real starters of violence and bloodshed are those racist Khazari thugs who came from Eastern Europe to sow terror and bloodshed and usurp a land that doesn't belong to them; a land they wanted to arrogate based on highly doubted religious whims and mythology.

The explosion in West Jerusalem on Wednesday is another reminder that no matter what security precautions the Zionist regime takes and irrespective of the level of security coordination between that regime and the pliant Palestinian Authority, there will always be a Palestinian man or woman who would risk his or her life to demonstrate to the Israeli establishment that the occupation has a price.

In short, Israel will never ever be secure as long as this Nazi-like occupation continues. This is a fact of life that all Zionists and their allies must be sure of.

The Palestinians do realize that their struggle for freedom and justice is a long and difficult one. They also realize that this struggle has a price which they have to pay in terms of their blood and their lives. And they have, as the people of Palestine know quite well that their very survival as a people is inextricably entwined with their ability to keep up the struggle, otherwise they might experience definitive national demise since Israel's ultimate goal has always been and continues to bring out our national demise.

The recent pornographic bloodshed, especially in the Gaza Strip, is another reminder that the strife with Israel is not about to be settled or resolved, neither by political means, e.g., by way of a moribund and totally bankrupt peace process that even small children in the streets of occupied Palestine know has no real promise for a just and lasting peace, nor by the imposition of capitulation on Palestinians and Muslims.

With the auspicious revolutions now taking place in many Arab countries, there are good portents that the Arab and Muslim world will be in a markedly better position to force Israel to give up its theft of Arab land in Palestine.

The demise of several Arab regimes that only paid lip service to the Palestinian cause while effectively serving the Zionist cause by tormenting their own peoples and thus seriously restricting their countries' ability to stand in the face of Zionism is certainly good news for the Palestinian cause and bad news for Zionist insolence.

At the very least, the Zionist regime would from now on think twice before launching the kind of genocidal aggressions, such as the 2008-9 aggression on Gaza, which was carried out in connivance and collusion with the Mubarak regime of Egypt which has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The continuing loss of lives on the Palestinian side, especially in the Gaza Strip, is painful to every Palestinian, Arab and Muslim. However, Palestinians should always remember that their very survival as a people is at stake and that Zionism is a genocidal movement that always seeks to emulate the Third Reich in every conceivable aspect, from racism to the Lebensraum concept.

It is the Palestinian people's fate that we are at the forefront of the resistance against the colonialist Zionist enterprise, aiming at occupying our land and obliterating our very existence. Hence, we must escape our fate because doing so, God forbid, would jeopardize our very survival as a people.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Wikileaks: Hariri to Feltman: "clearly hoping to be recorded verbatim ... "Give me a chance, and I will Fuck Hizballah..."

Via friday-Lunch-Club

C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 002706
SUBJECT: LEBANON: HARIRI WANTS ....
.... 3. (C/NF) Seated in粑his funereal basement study, surrounded by images of his late father and fidgeting nervously with his prayer beads, Saad said that there needs to be "a different ball game" in the South. Responding to the Ambassador's complaints about LAF chief Michel Sleiman's recent 8/17 'Amr ul-'Amaliyyat' (Operations' Order) saying that the LAF would deploy "beside the resistance," implying tacit approval of an armed Hizballah, Saad said that Sleiman is hardly in a position to say anything else right now. So long as the army remains militarily weaker than Hizballah, he said, the LAF will have to maintain such a less-threatening posture. But once the army has "some teeth and some morale," Saad urged, then he promises to "smack Hizballah down."Growing morestrident (and clearly hoping to be recorded verbatim), Saad assured the Ambassador, "Give me a chance, and I will f*** Hizballah."
4. (C/NF) Bothered that the USG has not come through yet on items he has asked for previously -- Saad mentioned specifically machine guns and helicopters -- for the military and security forces, Saad urged that the U.S. do more to help strengthen these institutions. The Ambassador said that, indeed, we were increasing our assistance to both the LAF and ISF. But, he noted, it is difficult to find sympathetic ears in Washington when senior Lebanese officials like General Sleiman (not to mention President Lahoud) are still crowing about the merits of the resistance. It also makes it harder for us to convince the Israelis of the LAF's seriousness in containing Hizballah. Ticking off numerous speeches since Sleiman's that strike a different tone (his own, PM Siniora's, Walid Jumblatt's, Defense Minister Murr's), Saad implied the Ambassador is blowing Sleiman's statement out of proportion. He said that all that is needed is for the USG to lean on some of the Gulf Arab states -- Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, and Saudi Arabia -- to cough up military equipment for the ISF and LAF.... 5. (C/NF) Referring to lukewarm statements from Lebanese ministers, the Ambassador asked why the GOL is treating UNSCR 1701 as a burden rather than a blessing to help Lebanon secure its sovereignty. Why, for instance, is the GOL not willing to quietly ask for UNIFIL assistance at the ports, airports, and Lebanese-Syrian border to stop Iran and Syria from supplying arms to Hizballah and others? This is a key point. Saad replied that this is a sovereignty issue, adding shockingly (surely in reference to violations of sovereignty, not intent) that "there is no difference between UNIFIL and Syria." The Ambassador told Saad that this answer would not suffice in getting the Israeli blockade lifted, and if the GOL wants to achieve that objective, then they need to ensure effective monitoring at points of entry. 6. (C/NF) Saying that "we are the ones who control the port and the airport," Saad complained emotively that the U.S. policy has led to an "embargo that has suffocated the Cedar Revolution for one month." The embargo does not hurt Hizballah but cripples March 14. Saad assured the Ambassador that "99 per cent" of arms smuggled into Lebanon come across the Syrian frontier. Only very few come through the port and airport, and the GOL has made recent significant changes in security at BIA. When the Ambassador told Saad that ISF chief Ashraf Rifi had informed us that the BIA cargo terminal remains under the influence of LAF officers sympathetic to Hizballah (reftel), Saad picked up the phone and called Nabih Berri directly. Speaking in Arabic, Saad cle粑rly lied to Berri on the phone, saying that "the United Nations had told him to just change the Shi'a officers at the cargo terminal," and also that "that will be the end of the issue. (Comment. Striking throughout this meeting wasSaad's absolute disregard for Siniora's prime ministerial prerogative. End Comment.) 
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11. (C/NF) Locked away in his palace, 'Sheikh Saad' was in an erratic mood. His claim that the USG's failure to get supplies to the LAF leaves Michel Sleiman with no choice but to say the LAF would deploy "beside the resistance" is simply preposterous, and the Ambassador pointed out to Saad that it would have been better had Sleiman simply not mentioned "the resistance" at all. (Sleiman himself seems to have gotten the message about the outrageousness of comments, for he is busily spinning his comments -- delivered last Thursday -- as meaning that the army would stand with the "heroic people of the south," a dubious interpretation.) In addition, we were shocked by Saad's total dismissiveness of Siniora, particularly in phoning Speaker Berri, lying to him and asking him outright to "change the Shi'a officers" without consulting Siniora on this action. Saad tried to get through to Acting Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat following his call with Berri, presumably to inform Fatfat of his decision. Throughout the meeting, Saad referred to GOL actions over the past week (since his return from Paris) as if he himself had carried them out, not Siniora. One wonders whether Siniora might have preferred Saad to remain outside of Lebanon conducting his so-called "diplomatic resistance.".......... (Am I the only one who sees Feltman's contempt of 'Sheikh Saad'?)
Posted by G, Z, or B at 9:22 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian