Saturday, 14 May 2011

FYI, they are called "anti-Peace" rallies!


They are 'hostile' & they hurl stones!
(AP)- "... Arab hostility: Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered at Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday ahead of "Nakba Day," which will be marked by the Palestinians in two days to commemorate the "disaster" inherent in the State of Israel's establishment...."
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:21 AM
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Haneyya calls for mega dawn prayer tomorrow in all Palestine mosques - Abu Hilal calls for end to West Bank security cooperation

[ 14/05/2011 - 04:37 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya invited the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and all the occupied Palestinian lands to perform a mega dawn prayer on Sunday in all mosques of Palestine on the 63 anniversary of the 1948 Nakba.
Premier Haneyya intends to lead the congregation at dawn tomorrow in the grand Omari Mosque in central Gaza city, and all will appeal to God to help the Palestinians end the occupation, achieve victory, and return to their homes.

Abu Hilal calls for end to West Bank security cooperation

[ 14/05/2011 - 04:34 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Khalid Abu Hilal, secretary-general of the Palestinian Ahrar movement, called for an end to the phenomenon of security coordination with Israel in the West Bank.
In a statement Saturday evening, he called on the Palestinian factions to exert every effort to actualize the recent national reconciliation agreement.
He called on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to urgently stop “poisoning” the reconciliation atmosphere by the resumption of daily political arrests and summonses by its security agencies.
Two days backs, the West Bank intelligence agency arrested a Bethlehem man who served time in Israeli jails.
PA security agencies have recently summoned several ex-prisoners in Al-Khalil and Nablus for questioning as well.
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"Why I blew the whistle!"


"... The "peace negotiations" were a deceptive farce, whereby biased terms were unilaterally imposed by Israel and systematically endorsed by the US and EU capitals. Far from enabling a negotiated fair end of the conflict, the pursuit of the Oslo process has deepened Israeli segregationist policies and justified the tightening of the security control imposed on the Palestinian population as well as its geographical fragmentation. Far for preserving the land on which to build a State, it has tolerated the intensification of the colonisation of the Palestinian territory. Far from maintaining a national cohesion, the process I participated in, albeit briefly, proved to be instrumental in creating and aggravating divisions amongst Palestinians. In its most recent developments, it became a cruel enterprise from which the Palestinians of Gaza have suffered the most. Last but not least, these negotiations excluded for the most part the great majority of the Palestinian people: the 7 million-Palestinian refugees. My experience over those 11 months spent in Ramallah confirms in fact that the PLO, given its structure, was not in a position to represent all Palestinian rights and interests.... ... ...  
I feel reassured that the people of Palestine overwhelmingly realise that the reconciliation between all their constituents must be the first step towards national liberation. The Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians in Israel and the Palestinians living in exile have a future in common. The path to Palestinian self-determination will require the participation of all, in a renewed political platform."
Ziyad Clot is a French lawyer of Palestinian descent and author of "Il n'y aura pas d'Etat palestinien" Ed. Max Milo (There will be no Palestinian State). He was a legal adviser in the Annapolis negotiations between Israel and the PLO.
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 10:07 AM
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Hussein: Palestine cause is a priority for Egypt

[ 14/05/2011 - 04:11 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Secretary General of the Egyptian Labor party Majdi Hussein said that his country has embraced the Palestine cause anew as one of its priorities.

Hussein, also a presidential hopeful, told the first session of the Palestinian Ahrar movement’s general conference, that the Egyptian people pay special attention to the Palestinian question and to the siege on Gaza.

He affirmed that his country would not allow the return of suffering to the Gaza Strip.

Hussein, who is currently visiting Gaza, called for ignoring rumors about the Egyptian revolution, which he described as a political “Tsunami”.

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"Muhammad Al-Bu`azizi is still burning!"

"Via FLC

The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Muhammad Al-Bu`azizi: "My weekly article in Al-Akhbar: 'Muhammad Al-Bu`azizi is still burning .'"

Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 8:19 PM
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Israel tightens security measures to disturb 63rd Nakba anniversary

[ 14/05/2011 - 08:37 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have intensified tight security measures in the occupied city of Jerusalem and at its entrances to the West Bank to prevent the Palestinians from organizing marches on the 63rd anniversary of the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe).

The Hebrew radio said thousands of policemen and troops were deployed throughout the holy city and at the gates of the Aqsa Mosque.

The IOF also set up military checkpoints inside the city and barred the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank.

The Israeli security apparatuses expressed fears that the marches on the Nakba anniversary would turn into an uprising like what happened in some Arab countries.

Palestinian youth groups had announced their intention to organize events and marches on the Nakba anniversary in all occupied territories and neighboring Arab countries.

On Friday, the IOF kidnapped 13 Palestinian young men in occupied Jerusalem on allegation they wanted to cause riots on the eve of the Nakba day which falls on Sunday.

In this regard, Palestinian movements and organizations in the 1948 occupied lands invited the Palestinians to participate on this occasion in a massive march to be organized on Saturday.

In a meeting on Thursday, they said the march would start from Bab Al-Amoud square, one of Jerusalem's oldest gates, and pass through Sultan Suleiman and Salahuddin streets towards the Palestinian homes that extremist Jewish groups seized or intend to take them over in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in central Jerusalem.

Dozens injured, three arrested during West Bank march crackdowns

[ 14/05/2011 - 08:01 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Dozens were injured and at least three arrested, including foreign activists, during Friday marches in the West Bank.

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) sent a barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets on marchers in Na'lin west of Ramallah as they neared the separation wall south of the village, injuring four young men who were treated on the spot.

The marchers raised Palestinian flags and those of varied Palestinian factions, and called for the release of West Bank political prisoners, so as to implement the Hamas-Fatah unity deal signed days ago in Cairo.

In Ma'sara, the IOF arrested Hassan Barijiya, the coordinator of the popular committee to resist the wall in Bethlehem, and two more foreign activists during a crackdown on a weekly march to protest the separation wall and settlement activity.

The march also came to mark the 63rd Nakba (disaster), commemorating the occupation of Palestine at the hands of Zionist gangs.

Three Palestinians were injured and dozens suffered the effects of breathing tear gas after IOF soldiers clashed with marchers in Bil'in village.

Demonstrators, highlighting the Nakba, dressed in traditional clothing and carried baggage on a cart pulled by a donkey, symbolizing that those displaced would return to their homes.

The soldiers showered them with stun grenades, rubber-coated bullets, and tear gas, and sprayed them with waste water mixed with chemicals.
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Human Trafficking in Israel

Human trafficking, sex –slavery " The old central bus station area,
Tel Aviv, on the street with the most sex brothels’.
Sometimes it's surprising to see who the customers are.
Emese Benko Photography

Human Trafficking in Israel

 By Stephen Lendman

In February 2003, the Tel Aviv-based Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW) published a report titled, "Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings in Israel," saying:

"In September 2002, a new 'Deportation Police' (Immigration Administration) was set up (to) expel 50,000 migrant workers" by year end 2003. Unprecedented in scope at the time, it reflected Israel's longstanding "official policy towards migrant labor."

HMW's report showed a pattern of denying migrant workers basic rights "to such an extent as to result in modern slavery and trafficking in human beings."
Ever since Israel allowed non-Palestinian migrant workers entry in the early 1990s, their rights steadily eroded. More recently, HMW said:
"Its primary manifestations include debt bondage, restrictions and violations of basic human freedoms, and renting and selling of workers," policies ongoing today.
Beneficiaries include employers, employment agencies and smugglers, reducing human beings to chattel. Though aware of the problem, authorities have done little to prevent it. Moreover, they're complicit by binding workers to employers, not enforcing applicable laws, and arbitrarily deporting migrant workers called "illegal" for reasons like refusing to work for abusive employers at low pay under degrading or sub-human conditions.
In fact, combined, these policies facilitate "conditions of slavery and trafficking in human beings in Israel," made possible by:
  • companies recruiting workers abroad;
  • using exploitive employment service intermediaries;
  • binding workers contractually to a single employer;
  • extracting large fees up to $15,000, entrapping them in debt; in fact, importing workers solely for that purpose;
  • paying below legal minimum wages and extracting large overcharges for food and housing;
  • providing sub-human living conditions;
  • restricting worker freedoms;
  • confiscation of passports;
  • letting employees terminate workers unilaterally, leaving them vulnerable to jailing and deportation;
  • letting them sell workers to other companies like chattel; and
  • overall affording no legal rights under international law.
International Law Prohibitions on Slavery and Human Trafficking Paragraph 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."
The 1926 Convention on Slavery, amended by the UN in 1953, prohibited slavery in all forms, defining it in Article I (1) and (2) as:
"the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised, (including) capture, acquisition or disposal of a person with intent to reduce him to slavery...."
The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (called the Palermo Protocol or Trafficking Protocol) defines the practice as follows in Article 3:
"Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs...."
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obligates nations to respect and safeguard all individuals within their territory, as well as prevent, investigate and prosecute violations of their rights.
Other relevant laws include:
  • the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others;
  • the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
  • the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and
  • the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.
Like many other nations, including America, Israel ignores them all, despite its own laws protecting migrants as human beings. As a result, HMW said:
"By focus(ing) on punishing foreign workers while ignoring their rights," Israel treats them "as objects that can be brought in and sent back, imported and allocated as quotas, transferred from one employer to another, bought and sold, exploited and deported."
At the same time, Israel calls this "an effective and humane solution that will reduce or totally eliminate the number of illegal aliens in Israel." In fact, it facilitates human trafficking and modern slavery, affording migrant workers no rights, leaving them vulnerable to the will of employers and state authorities. "In the final analysis, a heavy price is being paid, not only by the migrant workers themselves, but by all citizens of Israel."

Israel's Proposed New Slavery Law

On March 28, 2011, Haaretz writer Merav Michaeli headlined "The Modern slavery law," saying:
The Knesset Interior and Environmental Committee was considering legislation "that would yoke foreign nursing-care workers to a specific employer and area of the country," preventing them from leaving voluntarily. However, enactment will circumvent Israel's 2006 High Court ruling that limiting them this way constitutes illegal modern slavery.
Debate occurred at the same time authorities avoided negotiating with striking social workers to enforce greater pressure for low pay. "Indeed, before the import of foreign caregivers, there were many more Israeli (ones), both men and women, employed under much better working conditions."
As a result, dependent elderly or disabled people must choose between a poorly paid foreign caregiver or expensive nursing facility. In contrast, government officials see no "problem in exploiting weakened, aging citizens (as well as) subjugating even weaker" caregivers, afforded no rights.
On March 24, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) addressed the same problem in an analysis headlined, "The 'Slavery Law' and Beyond: New Bills Targeting Foreign Residents," saying the Knesset is considering three bills to restrict the legal status of non-Jews in Israel. If enacted, their basic rights will be more compromised on the pretext of reforming current immigration policy.

(1) The "Slavery Law"

Mainly affecting migrant women, the first bill restricts nurses and caregivers, giving the Interior Minister power to bind them to employers or specific work like caring solely for the elderly, disabled or minors, as well as in one location. Violators would be arrested and deported. As explained above, Israel's High Court ruled this illegal.

(2) A second bill stipulates that persons remaining in Israel illegally may acquire legal status only after a 1 - 10 year "cooling period" outside the country. It applies to:
  • spouses of Israeli residents and citizens;
  • parents of Israeli minors, disregarding their welfare;
  • children and elderly parents of Israeli residents and citizens;
  • non-citizens;
  • native Negev Bedouins, Israeli citizens afforded no rights;
  • migrant workers;
  • victims of human trafficking;
  • humanitarian cases; and
  • others.
Persons this bill mostly harms will be families of Israeli citizens and non-citizen spouses, parents and children. Moreover, Israel's High Court addressed this issue in 1999 and 2006, ruling it illegal to require non-resident spouses of Israeli citizens to leave the country before or until their status is clarified. The Court also said doing so fails the proportionality test because of the harm caused to married couples' rights.

(3) The third bill establishes a Justice Ministry immigration and status tribunal. As part of the executive branch, justices will be allowed to rule with no public or oral debate. Authorities will also be exempt from "presenting various documents to the court and will be allowed to demand ex-parte hearings (where one party isn't present or given notice of court proceedings)."

If enacted, it will thus subvert "every rule of natural justice" by giving the Justice and Interior Ministries total authority over immigrants and non-Jews. These ministries will then have extrajudicial power to determine policies, "introduce procedures, execute them, judge them, and" decide on their legality, irrespective of Israeli and international law.
Increasingly in Israel, the rule of law is null and void, mainly affecting the most vulnerable, including migrant non-Jewish workers.

A Final Comment

On May 11, Haaretz writer Akiva Eldar headlined, "Israel admits it covertly cancelled residency status of 140,000 Palestinians," saying:
It affects those traveling abroad between 1967 and 1994, "in a new document obtained by Haaretz." During that period, "Palestinians who wished to travel abroad via Jordan were ordered to leave their ID cards at the Allenby Bridge border crossing," exchanging them for another valid for three years.
Palestinians not renewing them on time were no longer residents. The document includes no warning or information about the process, leaving travelers uninformed and vulnerable, including students studying abroad, businessmen, and laborers who worked in the Gulf.

The Center for the Defense of the Individual said that:

"mass withdrawal of residency rights from tens of thousands of West Bank residents, tantamount to permanent exile from their homeland, remains an illegitimate demographic policy and a grave violation of international law."
Article 13 (1) and (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in fact, states:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state." 
Moreover, "(e)veryone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."
Israel, of course, ignores international laws and standards, especially for Palestinians and its Arab citizens.

Editors NOTE

Also Read the, FACTBOOK on Global Sexual Exploitation  ( Israel),7340,L-3225396,00.html
Photo-essay on prostitution in Tel Aviv
"Palestine is the heart of Arab countries" - PalestineFreeVoice
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Hamas protestors in the West Bank call for release of political prisoners

[ 13/05/2011 - 09:35 PM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- Hamas has organised a number of rallies in the West Bank cities of al-Khalil, Ramallah and Qalqilia to call for the release of political prisoners from PA jails.

PIC correspondent said that hundreds of Hamas supporters participated in the protest in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil in a march that started after the Friday prayers from the Husain mosque to Manarah Square in the city centre. The march was led by the PLC speaker Dr. Aziz Dweik, a number of Islamic MP’s representing the district and a number of community leaders.

Participants in the march, who raised Palestinian flags as well as the green flags of Hamas, emphasised the importance of national unity, stressed the importance of implementing the articles of the reconciliation agreement and condemned the continued detention of political prisoners in PA jails, most of whom are Hamas supporters.

The march ended in a rally were Dr. Aziz Dweik made a short speech calling for protecting national reconciliation and starting to release political prisoners from PA jails.

Demonstrators were then dispersed by the PA security when part of the demonstration came close to Israeli occupation roadblocks in the city.

In Ramallah hundreds of Hamas supporters demonstrated after the Friday prayers at the Grand mosque in al-Beireh carrying the Palestinian flags and the green flags of Hamas.

Hamas MPs Ahmad Mubarak and Abdel-Jabbar Fuqaha, participated in the protest along with leading figures in the movement such as Hasan Abu Kweik, who called on the PA to release all political prisoners and to reopen more than 300 charities and human rights organisation which were closed down by the PA.

Eyewitnesses said that the march started at the Grand mosque and headed towards the Manara Square in the centre of Ramallah and that PA security men a companied the demonstration and filmed those who participated.

Hamas also organised a similar demonstration in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia which started from the Ali Bin Abu Taleb Mosqu after the Friday prayers at the same time that a women march started from Husneyya Mosque.

Hamas MP Imad Nofal as well as Hamas leading figures Reyad al-Walwil and Hasan al-Hardan led the demonstrators.

In his speech, Nofal called for an end to political detention, reinstating all those who were sacked from their jobs based on their affiliation and a return of the spirit of unity.

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The On-Going Nakba of Palestine … 63 Years Later

Posted on 14/05/2011 by reham alhelsi

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Jeffrey Feltman's 'three pronged formula' for Bahrain?


"... Sources close to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq believe that the efforts of Dr Adel Abdul Mahdi, who «has during the past few days paid successful visits east and west», relay that Abdul-Mahdi met by the Deputy Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman and delivered to him a clear message stating that «what is happening in Bahrain so far is still under control .... That the street is still 'manageable', in spite of all this injustices, oppression and abuse....but that the situation is not 'sustainable' and that the ISIC blames the United States for the fluid situation ... The sources added that Feltman's reply was 'surprising', as assured Abdul Mahdi that the Americans were also worried that things can slip and expressed the US's willingness to make every effort to 'diffuse the situation.' ..... ... ...  that 'there is widespread resentment in Congress and the White House due to what is happening in Bahrain and apparently, Feltman devised the following three pronged formula for a solution: First, to launch a dialogue between the the Wifaq Movement and the King, (with the Crown Prince, who started such a dialogue, present). Second, the withdrawal of Saudi security forces from Bahrain, and third, the return to the pre-riots status. ...According to the Iraqi sources,  the Americans are 'embarrassed and fear the reaction of the Saudis' who have already threatened to stop doing business with Washington in response to an earlier American initiative. So, according to the sources, Washington believes that the best solution is to to have a 'third party, namely the ISIC,  who maintains good  relations with Riyadh, mediate... Abdul-Mahdi was quick to seize the initiative, during this meeting, and relayed it to the concerned parties such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Saudis have allegedly, expressed their readiness to deal with the initiative, provided that Iran has NO role whatsoever. The Iranians, who are known to be savvier than the Saudis, expressed their willingness to 'provide assistance', even under the table, in order to ensure cooperation with Saudi Arabia..."
Posted by Dido at 8:59 PM

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The tide is still in favor of Reform-Resistance option

The tide is still in favor of Reform-Resistance option
Has the tide turned in favor of the Assad government
Franklin Lamb
From Damascus 
As many of us observe the great Arab and Islamic awakening of 2011 in stunned amazement, as it rapidly spreads across the region,  this observer agrees with those who declare, “ well it’s about time—Godspeed  to the  rebels and goodbye to the despots.”
 Indeed, most of the despots had been installed and propped-up by the US government and its allies without many American citizens’ awareness or liking.
 What I continue to find in Syria and what I saw during my first 24 hours in Damascus shocked me.  It was not at all what one expected to find having read a fair bit of the Western and some of the Arab media reports, and arriving from the Syria-Lebanon border at Maznaa.
One expected to see fear, tension, and people hiding in homes, ubiquitous police and partially hidden and disguised security personnel in the shadows, watching from behind tinted glassed cars, curtained windows and from roof tops. I expected to see military vehicles, empty streets after dusk, reticence to discuss politics, tense faces on the streets.
 None of this was to seen in Syria’s capital and villages to the west.
Relaxed and tension free.
Today, Damascus is as it always has been during my visits, bustling, clean, parks filled with families and couples, ubiquitous green spaces with beautifully planted and manicured gardens, packed outdoor cafes and coffee houses with young and old seemingly discussing any subject including current events and appearing very much at ease. 
The streets of parts of Damascus as late as two in the morning appear like Georgetown on a Friday night. Of course, it did not take long for an American acquaintance to say precisely what I was thinking:  “which American city would anyone feel as carefree and comfortable meandering around at any hour of the day or night with no policeman in site, as in Damascus.  Not my city for sure!” 
 Life in Damascus, even during this period, is a far cry from Beirut in many aspects including the welcomed fact that Damacene drivers do not insanely honk their horns constantly and insult one another, people actually wear seat belts, drivers stop for red lights and don’t always race their cars if they see 20 feet of unoccupied road space ahead of them and drivers here seem to respect pedestrians and don’t appear to frantically search for every chance to gain an inch on the vehicles next to them by  quickly cutting in front and  pretending not see the other driver.
 In short, Damascus appears energetic but relaxed and tension free.
Exactly what is going in some parts of Syria cannot easily be reliably known to foreigners given the sporadic and unverified, often politically skewed reports, but it is clear that the areas visited are normal, at least on the surface. 
While lunching this week with old and new friends in a house that was built in 1840  in the heart of Old Damascus and its Souks, near Hamman Al Bakra,  and restored in the mid- 1990’s to its original authenticity, one could not help recalling what history teaches about this special ancient place known for tolerance.
 Located near the Jewish quarter of Damascus, we enjoyed a truly divine meal of Mukabbelat (seemingly endless plates of delicious Syrian oeuvres) near an old Synagogue, next to a 12th century Mosque and around the corner from a Byzantium Church.  

Jewish Wedding 1904

An old Jewish man taught us with his stories about the brotherliness that existed in this region before the 19th century Zionist colonial enterprise glopped itself onto Palestine and commenced modern history’s most sustained criminal campaign of ethnic cleansing, now in its 7th decade..

Americans in Syria I spoke with, some tourists and a number of students studying Arabic are not alarmed by the ‘travel warnings’ issued from the US Embassy advising them to leave. As in Lebanon Americans here learned long ago that Embassy warnings for them to leave or not visit, appeared more related to periodically punishing Lebanon and its economy for supporting the Hezbollah led resistance than concern for the safety of US citizens. More times than the State Department wants to admit, both Hezbollah and the Syrian government have not only protected US citizens but also US Embassies as they seek stability in both countries.
With respect to protecting and evacuating Americans from danger in the region, some bright student will, one of these days, write an MA quality thesis on the US State Department’s own performance during the July 2006 war.
The research will presumably detail how Americans citizens were left stranded-particularly-but not solely-in the Tyre region of South Lebanon. There is much available data on how those Americans most in need of departure assistance, while sheltering from American bombs and US artillery shells gifted to Israel, got short shrift form their government.
 Embassy Beirut failed in 2006, even to publicly protest their bombardment as the huddled Yanks at Tyre port waited for a promised US destroyer to evacuate them. When an American craft finally approached the harbor, it hastily turned tail 180 degrees because the Israeli government ignored US entreaties to “let our people go.”  
Smoke rises over Tyre, July 2006
Memories are still clear and feelings still raw as American citizens recall panicked calls from Tyre to Embassy Beirut and  the notorious American Citizen Services staffer “John” shouting at desperate Americans to “ God damnit, stop tying up our phone lines” and to  “make your own way to Beirut.”  “John” may not have known that the Israelis were targeting convoys of civilians who were desperately trying to do the latter. 
Explosion after an Israeli hit - Zahrani bridge, July 2006
Currently, some US citizens in Syria express cynicism about their Embassy issuing ‘warder travel advisories.”  While perhaps generally well meaning, pessimism persists about their real purpose which in the case of Syria are widely believed to be just another political sanction aimed at squeezing the Assad government to stop supporting the Resistance to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Both the US and Syrian governments know that these “travel advisories” deprive the Syrian economy of millions of dollars per day and much more during the current tourist season.
The American we met all agreed that beautiful Damascus this spring in a great place to be.
The US and its allies, despite good/bad cop statements from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, appear to agree with Russia and China that the Assad regime should be pressured to make broad reforms and end corruption but that regimes change is unwarranted, illegal and extremely ill advised. 
 The Assad government appears to have weathered the current storm.
Many of the demands from outside of Syria for reforms are the same ones that are heard from Baath party officials, and Ministers of the Assad government and from Syrian citizens in many walks of life including students at the Law and Medical colleges in central Damascus.
Several high rankling Syrians, particularly in the offices that work in press, printing, publishing and distribution of government information cogently explained that President Assad himself is leading the fight within the regime for meaningful change and that a majority of the population supports him and want to help change Syria for the better.
Talking with a range of Syrian citizens, one senses a general willingness to believe their President and certain of his advisers and to allow the regime a little more time to make good on its promises.
Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmud declared on 5.13.11 that “the coming days will witness a comprehensive national dialogue in various Syrian provinces. The Syrian cabinet is currently preparing to execute a “comprehensive program of political, economic and social reform to serve the people’s interest,” he said in a press conference, according to the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
“In light of the situation that has erupted in some provinces due to armed groups’ killing citizens, terrorizing residents and burning public and private property… army, police and security units have been sent to hunt down those carrying weapons.”
Mahmud also said that the besieged protest epicenter Daraa is not in need of any kind of supplies, adding that “we notified the UN that there is no need for any aid in Daraa.” 
Bashar Assad’s regime will likely survive despite some foreign efforts to capitalize on domestic Syrian problems.
One editor of a major Syrian newspaper expressed sentiments that one hears from other Syrian officials and citizens alike:  “We know we must change and please believe me when I say we want change more than you know. We have made mistakes. If our brothers and sisters who are overwhelmingly Syrian patriots will work with us and not turn to anarchy we can bring the change that all of us demand without more delay.”
Franklin Lamb, currently in Syria, is doing research Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon.
He contribute to Uprooted Palestinis Blog and can be reached c/o
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Nakba: An Ongoing Struggle and Determination to Establish Justice

Thursday, 12 May 2011 11:16 Bassam  

The day of the Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe”, is referred to by historians as  the 1948 Israel-Arab war that saw the erection of a new state and the collapse of another. More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homeland as Zionist forces depopulated more than 450 towns and villages, most of which were then demolished. 

For Palestinians, the day of the Nakba is an ongoing struggle and suffering. Home demolition, land confiscation, siege, separation wall, check points, and discrimination are all examples of what Palestinians in their homeland endure on a regular basis.  Palestinians in refugee camps continue to suffer unimaginable harsh living conditions. Palestinians living across the Arab world are targeted with extreme restrictions to work, education and other civil services. Palestinians across the western world are intimidated by strong pro-Israeli lobbies and threatened by anti-Semitism laws in spite of their legitimate cause.
The day of the Nakba marks the day Palestinians lost the right to their homeland and that of their fathers, but never the loss of their identity. Ben Gurion wrote in his diary in July 1948, after Israel was created that "We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return... The old will die and the young will forget".  Contrary to Ben Gurion’s thoughts, the Palestinian refugees’ will and desire to return to their homeland will never vanish, and for many generations to come. The day of the Nakba marks the beginning of a quest for Palestinians to re-establish justice and obtain their rights. Let us not commemorate the day of Nakba, let us end it. 
You might ask what is it that we have as Palestinians that will allow us to change the status quo. The answer is simple: Justice is on our side. Our love to Palestine is beyond any personal gain or faction association. The day of Nakba is what unites Palestinians around their rights. In order for us to see change in the current situation, each one of us shall take action within their personal ability and domain. Over the past 63 years, Palestinians have called upon others to help them and to give them back their rights. It is time to take it upon ourselves to claim our rights as Palestinians. Each one of us has a role to play, as it is no longer acceptable for us to sit back and watch the news as it unfolds. 
A lot of positive developments are happening in the Middle East as we speak, and we should carry that momentum forward as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
Aside from the protests and waving flags, Palestinian Canadians will need to focus their energy on grass-root initiatives that would shift the Canadian public opinion and allow for their pleas to be taken more seriously. Palestinian Canadians have a lot to explain to fellow Canadians regarding what happened and what help we are asking for. 
What do you ask of our fellow Canadians? Send your opinion to

Third Intifada Launched in Tahrir Square While US Peace Envoy Quits

George Mitchell

 “May be the Arab-Israeli conflict doesn’t need any more US special envoy, may be president Obama shouldn’t bother appointing a replacement, for, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, they had enough of this backstage Zionist-manipulated politics disguised as peace envoys” 

Cairo's iconic Tahrir square packed with
thousands rallying in solidarity with Palestine.

Dr. Ashraf Ezzat  

It is hard to believe that those are the same people who were on the verge of being torn apart by the deadly sectarian violence just a few days ago.
It is hard to imagine those are the same people who are yet struggling out of a revolution that weighed down heavily on their economy and security.
How could they, in just few days, grow out of their grief and overcome the dreadful shadow of civil war.
How could they easily wipe the tears, put out the fire that meant to engulf the whole country and instead put on a smile, hold hands and head for Tahrir square once again.

How could the people of Egypt, while preoccupied and deeply engaged in sorting out the post-Mubarak mess, find the time, or better yet the drive to show solidarity to their Palestinian brethren?
We can only understand this through a historical perspective. Only a people who go back thousands of years and who have been exposed to all sorts of experiences and historical episodes could come up with this remarkable construct of resilience.

Knesset member, Hanin Zoabi.

Calls for third intifada from Cairo and Tel Aviv

 With the dawn break of Friday, May 13th, the prefixed date for Egyptian masses to support the Palestinian cause, thousands rallied in Tahrir square calling for national unity between Muslims and Christians and at the same time showing their everlasting solidarity for the Palestinians and their legitimate struggle to liberate their homeland from the Israeli occupation.

According to a facebook page created by Arab and Palestinian activists, these Friday rallies at the Cairo’s iconic square are meant to, not only revive the popular support for the Palestinian cause but to officially launch Egyptian mass rallies toward Gaza, in a move that would encourage Palestinians in return to take to the streets and start their third intifada.
This call for a third intifada comes at a critical time the wind of change is storming the whole Arab world. And since Israel has been deliberately inserted inside the heart of that world, it will be hard for the politicians in Tel Aviv not to feel the mighty daft.
As a matter of fact the call for a third intifada has been resonating inside Israel itself and specifically from the Israeli Knesset as Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Knesset representing the Balad party called for a third intifada against Israel.

Zoabi, the first Arab woman to be a Knesset member, recommended the Palestinian intifada would be fashioned after the Egyptian Tahrir square peaceful protests which she added should be the model for all the Arab youth.

And in response to Zoabi’s call, other knesset members said she should be stripped of her parliamentary immunity and put on trial for calling for rebellion.

But while charges of inciting rebellion could be filed against Hanin zoabi for her support for a nonviolent third intifada aimed at ending the brutal siege on Gaza, defiant statements by Avigdor Leiberman, Israel’s foreign minister, declaring that Israel will not entertain any new building freezes and will not consider more peace negotiations with the new Palestinian coalition pass uncommented upon.

But again, the timing of this call for a third intifada comes on the same day George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s special Middle East peace envoy, plans to resign after more than two unsuccessful years of trying to press Israel and the Palestinians into negotiations.

We have to admit that political endeavors to see an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have utterly failed and may be that what Mitchell’s resignation is trying to say.

The only thing that the American-brokered so called peace talks did is buy more time for Israel to grab more Arabic land and create a hard to change or negotiate reality on the ground.

But more wasted time is a luxury Palestinians cannot afford.

May be the Arab-Israeli conflict doesn’t need any more US special envoy, may be president Obama shouldn’t bother appointing a replacement, for, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, they had enough of this backstage Zionist-manipulated politics disguised as peace envoys.
And may be what the whole Middle East conflict needs right now is a new kind of politics, the politics of the street, the kind that is driven by the power of the people.
In fact, it could very well be the third intifada, that we need.

For more articles by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat visit his website

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Posted by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat on May 13 2011. Filed under America at War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian


May 14, 2011 by freedemocraticsyria
About 100 Syrian Soldiers and members of the security forces were martyred by armed terrorist groups who manipulate the legitimate demands as to carry out sinister schemes targeting Syria’s security and stability, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, the Presidential Political and Media Advisor declared Tuesday.
Interviewed by the New York Times, Dr. Shaaban asserted that Syria has ever been capable of handling and overcoming crises, describing the said groups as a ‘ combination of fundamentalists, extremists, smugglers, and people who are ex-convicts and are being used to make trouble,’
You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion
” You can’t be very nice to people who are leading an armed rebellion.” said Dr. Shaaban expressing the hope that ‘we are witnessing the end of the story’ and the belief that ‘now we’ve passed the most dangerous moment. ”
Dr. Shaaban disclosed that the national dialogue has started in Syria and that she met in Damascus last week a number of opposition figures, where the talks focused at issues related to information law, political parties and elections law, saying ” in the next week or so, we will broaden it- national dialogue-.”

Opportunity to try to move forward on many levels

”We want to use what happened as an opportunity. We see it as an opportunity to try to move forward on many levels, especially the political level.” added Dr. Shaaban.
Commenting on sanctions, the Political and Media Advisor said ” this is a weapon used against us many times; once security is back, every thing can be arranged. We’re not going to live in this crisis forever.”
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian