Saturday 10 January 2009

How can anyone go to sleep?

Hitting the wall

Laurie King writing from Washington, DC, the United States, Live from Palestine, 10 January 2009

The walls of cruelty must be torn down. (Haytham Othman/MaanImages)

About a year ago, I had a vivid dream. Somewhere in the West Bank, on a hot and dusty day, I was standing with a news team filming a story at the Separation Wall. A correspondent with a microphone in his hand was watching in astonishment as a long line of young Palestinian men ran up and forcefully threw their bodies against the towering concrete barrier, followed by dull thud after dull thud.

The reporter turned to me in the dream, pushed the microphone into my face, and asked, "Can you tell us what on earth they are doing? This is senseless! No one can break a wall with his body!"

Just as I was about to respond, a young man hit the wall and it cracked open. Everyone shouted for joy and began pouring through the fissure like a rush of water.

For exactly half my life, I've been angry and outspoken about the tragedy of Palestine. It seems like I've been shouting at a wall for the better part of three decades. Like others Americans who call attention to the illegality, immorality, and illogic of unconditional US support for Israel's treatment of the people displaced by its national project, I am familiar with "hitting the wall." Perhaps it's more accurate to say walls -- concentric walls.

Most salient is the wall of apathy. If you haven't been to the Middle East, if you've never known a Palestinian who's been dispossessed, occupied, and dehumanized, if you've never heard an Israeli express horror at his or her army's actions, you probably haven't had the occasion to be outraged by the daily violations of international humanitarian law in the West Bank and Gaza.

An even more imposing wall is an edifice of fear that halts many from voicing criticism of Israel lest they be labeled anti-Semitic. And after the 11 September 2001 attacks, criticism of America's unwise adoption of Israel's unilateral militarism and defiance of international law meant one risked being called anti-American, too.

In academe, few dare to say anything too publicly about the suffering in Palestine until they have tenure. Even then, it's risky: if you want that grant, that fellowship, that book award, you'd best watch your tongue. In two job interviews for academic positions I heard some version of the question "We see you have been very outspoken about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Would you continue this if you were on the faculty here?" This is not a question one would get for being outspoken (as indeed we all should be) about massive human rights abuses in central Africa.

The wall of ignorance exists, too, of course. But it is less solid. Once people begin to see the misery in Palestine not as a battle of good against evil, or an example of identity politics gone wild, or a clash of civilizations, it's not very hard to begin to think, feel and act. If ignorance were not such a weak wall, Israel would not be so keen to deport anyone, including UN representatives like Richard Falk, who try to see the situation for themselves at first hand. Nor would it be so vigilant in barring foreign correspondents from Gaza.

Now we reach the most implacable wall of all, which is constructed of very resilient stuff: unacknowledged but formidable boundaries of cognition, emotion, and axiomatic suppositions that "go without saying because they came without saying," in the words of the late sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. These walls are constantly under construction and reconstruction; they set the parameters and moral cartography of our social reality by demarcating the orthodox from the heterodox.

I discovered these walls in myself in the early 1980s as a college student working on an archeological expedition in the southeast Dead Sea region of Jordan. There, I gradually became aware of the fact that the wonderful older men from the Jordanian Ministry of Antiquities who taught us to be patient excavators, who made sweet tea for us every morning over small, carefully tended fires, who taught us to sing "Yaa Mustafa!" and clapped and sang when it was anyone's birthday, and who showed us how to dance to "banaat al-Iskandariyya" (the girls of Alexandria) with scarves tied around our hips one evening around a bonfire, that these men were all Palestinians from Hebron and Jericho.

I was taken aback. Although I had not realized it, my middle-class American worldview apparently included, as a key foundation stone, the assumption that Palestinians were evil and mean. Weren't they terrorists? Did they not want to destroy Israel and finish off the job Hitler had started? How could I possibly like them?

One of the first phrases I learned in Arabic, besides "shway, shway!" ("slowly, carefully! Don't erase half of the early Bronze Age trying to get that pottery shard loose!"), was "hadha wad'a sa'ab" ("This is a difficult situation").

So I learned from Muhammad, a son of Jericho who'd learned archaeological techniques as a child in the famous Wheeler-Kenyon expedition at the edge of his hometown years earlier.

One day, as he was helping me graph the emerging contours of a stone wall in my quadrant of the dig site, the air reverberated with the sonic booms of Israeli air force jets across the Dead Sea. Muhammad sighed, told me it was nothing dangerous, and muttered that Menachem Begin (then Israel's prime minister) was crazy. Over the next days, we talked about Palestine and Israel, and I told him that several of us were going to go see Jerusalem after the dig was over, two months hence. He said, "You will see how the situation is so difficult -- hadha wad'a sa'ab."

He was right; I did. And that was more than 26 ago, when life in the West Bank was a paradise compared to what it is now.

Today, striving to focus on other work as the television spews scenes of carnage, I am hitting another wall -- one of anger, frustration, outrage, and astonishment that this situation can continue and worsen yet still garner the endorsement of the US Senate, still be presented by the US mainstream media as a necessary evil, still be dismissed by pundits as something Israel was forced to do, so please don't think about this. Please don't speak out about it. Please don't push beyond the walls of thinkable thought. And please don't imagine that you can knock down concentric concrete walls with your body or voice.

I hear another sound, though -- not the thud of falling bodies, but a subtle cracking. I hear it in the comments of friends, relatives, neighbors, and even a few journalists who are alarmed that something stunningly disproportionate and unfair is happening. Maybe the Lebanon war of 2006 wore down the walls of silence and shook the architecture of axiomatic assumptions, maybe there is a limit to swallowing lies.

Maybe Americans are astonished that, even with the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, their government can still afford to give millions of dollars a day to Israel as it digs a deeper hole for itself, the Palestinians, and America.

These walls have to come down. They are killing Palestinians, deforming the Jewish people, and preventing the American government from staying true to the founding documents of the United States and the principles of the Geneva Conventions.

For nearly 30 years, I've been watching this ugly barrier grow. I've seen it devour lives, hopes, dreams, and ideals; farms, towns, friendships, and families. I've seen people driven up walls of acute psychological suffering as they try to live their lives in spite of, beneath, or in opposition to these imposing monoliths of injustice and cruelty.

Mr. Obama, please, please, tear down these walls.

Laurie King, a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, was the North American Coordinator of International Campaign for Justice for the Victims of Sabra and Shatila ( from 2001 until 2003. She is now the managing editor of The Journal of Palestine Studies in Washington, DC.

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BY TOPIC: Gaza massacres

Israeli massacre at UN school exposed

Sat, 10 Jan 2009 10:07:20 GMT

The Israel massacre of civilians in a UN school has been confirmed as unprovoked, despite claims by officials in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli military has reportedly admitted that the shelling of a UN school, which killed dozens of Gazan civilians, was "unprovoked".

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said senior Israeli military officials have confessed that there was no gunfire emanating from the school when it came under fire from one of its tanks.

"In briefings senior officers conducted for foreign diplomats, they admitted the shelling to which IDF forces in Jabaliya were responding did not originate from the school," The Haaretz quoted Gunness as saying on Saturday.

Tel Aviv has attempted to justify its Jan 6 attack on the United Nations school as a response to "militant gunfire" and has released footage of the incident to substantiate its claims.

Gunness, however, asserted that the footage released by Israel dated back to 2007 and was not related to the current incident.

Israeli attacks on three UN-run schools has killed at least 45 civilians and injured over 150 others -- most of whom were seeking shelter inside the school to escape the arbitrary Israeli strikes.

The United Nations had reacted in shock to the incident and stepped up calls for an independent inquiry into the attack -- perhaps the deadliest since Israel's Operation Cast Lead on Gaza began on December 27.

"There must be a serious and independent investigation into the shocking loss of civilian life that took place near the UN school and that has characterized this conflict," said deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork.

The Israeli offensive has so far killed 804 Palestinians and wounded at least 3,330 others. According to the UN, one-third of the dead or injured in Gaza are children.

A UN report released on Friday has also revealed that Israeli forces moved nearly 110 Palestinians into a house and 24 hours later shelled the building repeatedly, killing about 30 people.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, pointing to the mass killing of Gazan civilians, has demanded that echelons in Tel Aviv be tried for war crimes.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry has also called for an international investigation into Israel's violations of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.

The rising civilian death toll in Gaza starkly disputes Tel Aviv's promises that it would not target "children and women or prevent humanitarian aid."

An Israeli military official claimed that Tel Aviv could not always be concerned about the welfare of Palestinian civilians and that its soldiers are its top priority.


Gilad Atzmon - Board of Deputies of British Jews: on the road to nowhere

By Gilad Atzmon • Jan 10th, 2009 at 11:42 • Category: Analysis, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Gilad Atzmon, Hasbara Deconstruction Site, Israel, Newswire, Our Authors, Palestine, Religion, War, Zionism

Yesterday evening I was informed about an email notification from the most rabid Zionist institutes operating in Britain, The Board Of Deputies of Brithish Jews (BOD). The email suggested that the BOD had cancelled Sunday's Solidarity Rally with Israel

According to the ‘official email’ The BOD has decided to cancel their solidarity rally because they grasped that it would be very unwise for the British Jewish community to associate itself voluntarily with the inhuman crimes practiced by Israel in Gaza. I have to admit that this would be the most clever thing a Jewish institution could do.

Read the text and judge for yourself:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Board of Deputies of British Jews Cancels Sunday's Solidarity Rally

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, in consultation with a coalition of prominent organisations in the Anglo-Jewish community, have decided to cancel the planned Israel Solidarity Rally, due to occur on Sunday 11th of January.

This decision has been taken after intense discussions within the community, due to a feeling that such a demonstration would not be in accordance with the Board's wish to bring the conflict to an immediate conclusion. It was thought that the demonstration might be perceived as the community taking one side in the tragic war in Gaza and Israel, and might be seen as supporting Israel's military campaign.

The Board calls for an immediate ceasefire, immediate negotiations between Israel and Hamas, and for lifting the economic blockade of Gaza, in order to allow the Gazan and Israeli people to live together in peace. There is no military solution, only a political one.

The Jewish community does not wish to be seen as a participant in the conflict, and in taking this stand we hope to be a part of the solution. The Board stands in solidarity with the besieged and injured people of Gaza, as well as the victims of terrorism in Israel, and we oppose all violence as contrary to the tenets of the Jewish religion. We would like to reach out to the British Muslim community, as well as those of no religion who have demonstrated against Israel's military campaign-we share your anguish at the destruction and loss of life caused, and hope that our action in calling off our demonstration will be a small step towards peace.

Board of Deputies of British Jews and The Jewish Leadership Council

For all enquiries contact:

The Board of Deputies of British Jews

6 Bloomsbury Square

London WC1A 2LP

Tel: +44 (0)20 7543 5400

Fax: +44 (0)20 7543 0010


According to the press release the BOD was concerned that the coming rally “might be perceived as the community taking one side in the tragic war in Gaza and Israel, and might be seen as supporting Israel's military campaign.” Moreover, “The Board stands in solidarity with the besieged and injured people of Gaza”, they as well oppose all violence as contrary to the tenets of the Jewish religion.”

Life is wonderful, I thought to myself, even The BOD, a racist Zionist organisation has managed to gather that "enough is enough". The text may even hint that Global Zionism is starting to crack after all. I thought to myself that the BOD has managed to sense the growing resentment towards Israel and Jews who blindly support its genocidal tactics. Naively I thought for a few seconds that for the first time we were seeing an institutional Jewish body facing Palestinian misery. For the first time we saw a significant move of ‘Jews against Zionism’.

But then I woke up, I thought that just before I vindicate the entire institutional world Jewry as represented here in the UK, I had better check out The BOD’s website. The bitter truth appeared on my computer screen immediately. The BOD, the representative body of British Jews does support the Israeli war. Nothing really changed. The email was a hoax. Yet it was a very clever and significant one. It outlined exactly what Jewish institutions should have done if they want to join humanity!!!

At that stage, I still wanted to believe that the BOD may be slightly more clever than what appears on its official website, I thought that perhaps they just failed to update their site due to the Sabbath. I called my three informers within the British Zionist community and they confirmed to me that the Rally is indeed going on as planned, they were as well aware of the ‘hoax letter’.

I must admit that by then nothing could take me by surprise. The nature of the conflict is fully determined. There is nothing world Jewry can do to save their beloved Israel.

If world Jewry continues to support Israel, as they momentarily do, it affirms to us all that Israeli war crimes are indeed committed in the name of the Jewish people and with their support. This would be enough to explain (rather than justify) the rapid increase in anti Jewish resentment that these communities claim is happening.

If Jewish institutions would be clever enough and withdraw their support of Israel, this would be more than welcome. It wouldn’t save Israel but it would mean that Israel is committing all these crimes in the name of the Jewish people but without the Jewish people's consent. This is the most reasonable thing Jews can do to save themselves. For some reason, they fail to do it yet.

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Gilad Atzmon is a jazz musician, composer, producer and writer.
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Ramzy Baroud - Is Israel Winning the "Media War" over Gaza?

By Ramzy Baroud • Jan 10th, 2009 at 11:15 • Category: Analysis, Israel, Newswire, Opinions and Letters, Palestine, Resistance, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Uprooted Palestinians' Testimonies, War, Zionism

"We are all Hamas," screamed a scrawny Mauritanian, repeatedly, as he determinedly drew his face closer to a TV camera. Behind him, thousands more tunefully chanted similar words, chants that were heard in different Arabic dialects, in fact in many different languages all across the globe.

Yet, Israel, somehow is claiming victory in the media war, which it calculatedly unleashed weeks before its most violent attack on Gaza yet. Thousands have been reportedly killed and wounded in the first two weeks, starting Dec. 27, in the tiny stretch of land (roughly 140 square miles), yet densely populated Gaza Strip of 1.5 million people.

"Whenever Israel is bombing, it is hard to explain our position to the world," said Avi Pazner, former Israeli ambassador to Italy and France, and "one of the officials drafted in to present Israel's case to the world media," according to the Jewish Chronicle. "But at least this time everything was ready and in place."

"Fewer military officers; more women; tightly controlled messages; and ministers kept on a short leash. This was Israel's new media game plan in Operation Cast Lead," the newspaper reported.

It's always difficult to fathom Israel's giddiness and sense of triumph as defenseless civilians are pulverized by mostly U.S.-supplied warplanes and bombs. Even if one chooses to empathize with Israel's dodgy claim, parroted endlessly by the George W. Bush administration, that the Israeli army is in a state of self-defense, one can never fully grasp the wisdom of its military tactics.

"Fatalities in Gaza are already over 400 and injuries close to 2,000 so far as is known. Total Palestinian civilian casualties are 400 times greater than the casualties incurred by Israelis," wrote three-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader in an open letter to Bush, five days into the Israeli onslaught. Nearly one week after the devastating airstrikes, Israel unleashed a ground offensive which is pushing the causality figures to unprecedented heights, made mostly of civilian victims, which by January 9, reached 795 dead and over 3,000 wounded.

Much of Israel's war machine is financed, manufactured and supplied by the United States. U.S. financial and military generosity has served as the backbone of all of Israel's wars against its neighbors, including the Palestinians. In Israel's war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006, lest it runs out, the U.S. rushed 'emergency' military supplies, including cluster bombs to the Israeli army, allowing the latter to ensure the demise of its arch enemy: thousands of dead and wounded Lebanese civilians.

In the ongoing war against Gaza, neither the U.S.' "dedication to the security of Israel," nor Israel's dedication to inflicting maximum harm on civilians have been in any way altered. While Bush brazenly chastised Hamas and the Palestinians for the death wrought on them by Israel, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama had nothing to say.

"The scale of bloodshed in Gaza over five days is the same as if almost 2,000 Israelis had been killed and 9,000 wounded in the same period. Imagine the consequences for Israel in such an event," wrote author and former BBC correspondent Deepak Tripathi. Would Obama find the staggering number worthy of cutting short his Hawaii vacation, even for a brief comment, if the tables were turned? Candidate of change, he said.

But Israel is winning the media war, reports Israel; a peculiar claim by any standards. If the reference is made to a 'victory' that helped win over mainstream U.S. media, one has to wonder if the corporate media has ever expressed any sympathy for Hamas, or any resisting Palestinian faction, be it secular, socialist or Islamist?

The opposite has always been true. Any violent Palestinian response to the Israeli occupation and its inherit violence has been dubbed "terrorist" for decades, even if Palestinians were targeting Israeli soldiers or paramilitary settlers. Aside from allowing a 'moderate' Palestinian commentator an occasional limited space to write a watered down op-ed, now and then – which serves as a feel-good moment that demonstrates the 'objectivity' of U.S. media - the pro-Israel mantra has defined every major American newspaper in every city in every state. That requires a separate discussion, but the persistent question remains: what is Israel winning exactly?

More Israeli women are stating Israel's case to the media, according to reports. The strategy is both sexist and underhanded. Following the Lebanon war, Israeli bikini models flooded U.S. men''s magazines exhibiting their barely covered bodies. Former Miss Israel, model Gal Gadot defended her nude photos, promoted partly by the Israeli consulate in New York as her attempt to help "improve Israel's war-torn image," reported the New York Post in June, 2007. Now as Israeli bombs are lightening the sky of Gaza, similar tactics are underway, in Maxim and other magazines.

Kadima leader and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni took its message to YouTube, conveying the same redundant but "tightly controlled" misinformation, that attempts to explain why imprisoning, starving, then senselessly bombing 1.5 million Palestinian Muslims and Christians is good for world peace, for democracy, for security, for the future of the region and the world.

But the fact is, Israel never won the media war in the United States for, frankly, there was never one to begin with. Yet somehow, millions of people around the world managed to read through the filters, the propaganda, the perplexing logic, the Maxim cover pages, and took to the streets in a collective act of passion and dismay, without billion-dollar media crafters "tightly controlling" their every move, scripting their chants or directing their hoarse voices: We are all Palestinians and "with our souls, with our blood, we will die for you Gaza."

What has Israel won exactly, aside from the haunting images of Palestinian youngsters in UN schools, homes and hospitals, mutilated, some silent and others screaming? This is no victory, but a brief illusion of one. As for the long-term repercussions, that is a whole new story. Israeli bombs over Lebanon in 1982 gave rise to Hezbollah, and its war of 2006 turned a small, resisting militant movement into a major powerbroker that will certainly help shape the future of Lebanon. Israel is now doing the same in Gaza. A victory, indeed.

- Ramzy Baroud ( is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London).

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Ramzy Baroud is is an author and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, London). His own website is

When the Truth is Anti-Semitic.

Friday, January 9
When the Truth is Anti-Semitic.

Thinking about what to say and not having much success is where I am today. Most of the time, I am preaching to the converted here as the commentary shows. Seldom do I ever get any negative responses and we are starting to average over a hundred comments per entry. That’s a mystery to me. Out of old habit, I often will post these essays at this site where I seldom get any positive comments. The people there are mostly professionals. There are doctors and lawyers and business owners. They are all Americans except for a scattering of Canadians.

Here I am considered an anti-Semitic. This is because the truth is anti-Semitic and if you are going to tell the truth that is what you are labeled as. Criticism of Israelis and Zionist Jews is not welcome. It wouldn’t matter what evil they may do. It is okay. Many of the people at this site are as murderous as the Israelis. They joke about the murders or they talk in convoluted circles about how complex it all is. In any case… none of it is Israel’s fault. This item in the MSM today says it all. What can anyone say to justify such evil? Nothing… there is nothing you can say.

The people at this forum believe that Bin Laden is still alive. They believe that a handful of Stone Age Arabs attacked The World Trade Center. They believe six million Jews were executed in Germany while the death count at Auschwitz was lowered from over four million to one million. They deny the testimony of the men who were hired to build gas chambers at death camps after the war. This is truth and the truth is anti-Semitic.

I don’t know how many died in camps or how they died. What I do know is that someone is lying and the lies that are being told are for the justification of terrible behavior in the aftermath by the survivors. I also know that Jewish lives are no more important than gentile lives. I also know that Zionist Jewish interests were responsible for more deaths in Russia and The Ukraine than ever died in Germany and Poland. I know this. This is true and it is anti-Semitic.

At this forum I mentioned, no one has been able to refute me. They can insult me and slander me but they can’t alter the truth of what I say. I have no need to post my work there. I receive more traffic at this blog than that entire forum. People from all over the world come to this blog and they know that the things I am saying here in this essay and the things I have said in the past are true. These are informed people. I have one of the most intelligent audiences on the internet. Some portion of them could do what I do equally as well. I post at that forum because they need to hear what I say. They may seethe. Their heads may catch fire as the hot coals of denial burn their minds but… they can’t argue with what I say.

Recently I mentioned that Jews were involved in the slave trade. There was a hue and a cry because I referenced a book from The Nation of Islam. The question is, is it true? Is it true? Yes it is true but they don’t want to hear it. Anyone who has watched the movies of the last century can see how Jewish interests in Hollywood portrayed black people. They made them as google-eyed step’n fetchits. Intelligent black academics know this. They know who the slumlords are and were and they know about many of the business industries that have profited from the black economy in their neighborhoods. I don’t want to know these things but… is it true? I am a novelist and a singer songwriter. I’m not much of a musician but I can write and sing… yes, I can dance too. I have committed career suicide by telling the truth and asking uncomfortable questions. No doubt as my star continues to rise… as I have been told it is going to… I will be the object of focused opprobrium and find my words manipulated into something other than what they said and intend. There is nothing I can do about this.

I’ve lived around Jews for much of my life. I have lived in the highest concentration of Jews in America for much of my life. I have decades old friendships with Jews and I am a supporter of the True Torah Jews and Neutera Karta. At no time will I ever say that all Jews are evil as I know that it is not true. What it is is that some very evil people happen to be Jews. Some of them happen to be Christians too. I’m going to tell the truth and ask the difficult questions and I don’t care what you think about me.

When I think of the Jews I think of that nursery rhyme; “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead and when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid.” That says it all.

If I had one major criticism to make about Jews today I would say that I am very disappointed that they are not speaking out against the murders… the lies… the revisionism of history… the prosecution of people who question what ‘appears’ to be untrue. Sooner or later you are going to pay for having allowed some bad apples to poison the barrel. It is your duty as a human being to speak out against injustice and if you can’t clean your own house you shouldn’t be cleaning anyone else’s house.

Jews make up 2% of the American public and .0025 of the world’s population yet… they control major industries that affect the entire world. They didn’t do this by being smarter than the average goy. They did this by having access to the money supply and by using it to advance their interests and to suppress the interests of others. It is a very simple thing to follow the money and to see who is printing it. We are all being victimized by counterfeiters and it’s got to stop before the world’s outrage begins to focus on those who are committing the offense and which will certainly include all Jews which it should not. Unless Jews speak up and call these psychopaths on their activities they are digging their own grave with their silence.
Personally, I don’t think in terms of color… creed… sex or national origin. I take people as I find them. When I hear that Palestinians are launching rockets into the lands that once belonged to them from land that is presently disappearing under their feet, I say to myself that they have every right to do this. Israel has no rights. They stole these lands in the first place and are stealing more with each passing day. My heart is one hundred percent with the Palestinians and not at all with Israel.
Israelis watch the carnage through binoculars and toast one another and cheer. A very large majority of Israel supports this vicious murder of children. They have the most sophisticated weapons on Earth and they prey upon their neighbors relentlessly. They caused the Afghanistan and Iraq wars which they performed with American gentile lives while wiping out over a million people. This is true and I suspect it is also anti-Semitic.

I am determined to tell the truth. If you can show me that I am not telling the truth then I will discover this new truth and begin to speak that instead. I have been imprisoned before for telling the truth and I have no fear of it. This life of mine is a temporary thing and I would prefer to spend it on what I consider useful to others whatever the personal cost may be. I know that I am eternal so all anyone can possibly succeed at in silencing me will only involve a change of clothes and furthermore, free me to a more rarified plane.

Those good Jews who are on this planet had better wake up to the evil being done in their name and cry out against it. When the backlash comes they may not be distinguishable from their vicious kindred in the darkness. To be called anti-Semitic in these times amounts to a badge of honor for so few of us dare to speak the truth and question the lies. We are all one body. We should act accordingly.

Suzanne Baroud - Children of Gaza, Run to the Angels

Jan 10th, 2009 at 10:17 • Category: Analysis, Children's Corner, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Nakba and Right of Return, Newswire, Palestine, Religion, Resistance, War, Zionism

Ironically, it was in Palestine, 20 years ago, that I concluded that there is no God. For how could a God, who claims to love all and treat all with impartiality, allow such horrors like those in Palestine to happen?

This unbelief grew stronger with each curfew, with each strike that mourned the death of yet one more martyr, with a decapitation induced by gunfire in the main square on a sunny Ramallah afternoon so many years ago. But it was cemented the day I had to tell one of my fifth grade students that his brother had just been taken away by the Israeli army. His expression, his body going limp, the shuddering of his shoulders as he wept with his classmates…that’s what finally did it.

Nearly 20 years have passed since that day, and I have now married into a Gazan family. I am a wife and mother, the sister and aunt of so many kids living the horror of what Gaza has become. As we watch the footage of Israel’s onslaught, I hear myself, whispering as I see one more martyred child, “Run to the angels….run.” After so many years, this living nightmare is fostering a burning desire to believe once again in the afterlife.

Caged, starved, sniped, suffocated. They are slaughtered like sheep, but the leaders of the free world just cannot seem to find a moment to comment. Golfing, vacationing, Obama, Bush, even the EU, they just aren’t important enough. My mutterings have become a like a canter. I call out to these stricken and shattered little bodies, who frankly never experienced life to lose it. The only consolation to offer is the respite found in death.

A crowd gathers, shrouded in gas, smoke and dust. In the front stand eight young fathers, each holding a white swaddled bundle of what used to be a son, a daughter. For a few moments there is no screaming, no chanting or crying, but a moment of quiet and stillness that presses one to wonder just whom has been granted the greater mercy, the toddler who caught the snipers bullet, or the young father, who will have to find some way to live beyond this moment?

A young boy sits on the sidewalk beside his mother. She is propped up against the wall of a collapsed building and her life is bleeding out all over the sidewalk. It is spattered on his face and smeared on his shirt. She uses the last of her strength to lift her arm and clutch his cheek in her palm and then she is gone. He rests his head in his hands and cries. He is all alone.

The camera zooms in on the scene of a freshly detonated building, a civilian home. A little girls brown curly hair covered in dust and eyes wide open is all that can be found of her. Her mother wails and pulls her hair while her father frantically searches among the rubble for the rest of his daughter, where could she be? I whisper again, “you will be made whole again in Paradise. Run to the angels”.

What amazing faith. What strong devotion that a father loses his mother, father, wife and eight children, that this man before anything can assert, “God is Great, Thank God for Everything”. He holds his child, now still and ashen, he smothers him with kisses and then gently pulls back the sheet to expose two bullet holes in his chest. He then tenderly places the child beside his brother and again, pulls the sheet back of his youngest son to reveal a single snipers bullet to the chest. He can barely compose himself and he moans to the sympathizing camera man, “God is Great, Thank God for Everything”.

An old and wrinkled Imam so lovingly cradles a little girl’s lifeless body, as if mishandling her now could inflict more pain, he mumbles a benediction and gently lies her beside her sisters and her brothers in the mass grave. I try to comfort her, saying, “Finally, a place of safety. Rest beside your sister. Your brother. Put your fears to rest and meet your beloved Prophet and the many of your little friends who have fallen before you.”

Hospitals, schools, mosques, civilian homes, UN shelters, all worthy targets. Doctors, medicines, food and water, truckloads of relief from all corners of the world line up for miles at the Egyptian border but they are refused entry. Security is high, food is scarce, water is completely gone.

Faith seems to spring forth in the strangest of moments. For me, it seems to be coming full circle out of desperation and in agony, for the sake of the snow-white souls of the many bloodied and dismembered innocents of Gaza.

UN workers coordinate with Israelis to get civilians to safety inside a UN school. Hundreds are tucked inside the mutually agreed safe haven. Soon after, the school comes under Israeli fire. Bruised and battered refugees stare Satan in the face, clad in his fatigues. Hundreds wounded, scores dead, many lost and unaccounted for.

Governments negotiate a cease-fire. Rumors buzz of conspiracies. The US President-elect is forever silent. Parents search beneath the collapsed walls for what remains of their children. Shattered concrete, random arms and legs, broken glass, tossed together in a bloody hodge-podge. But, in my mind, I see them whole, their little bodies swiftly being swept up into Paradise and I call out to them, “Run!”

- Suzanne Baroud is the Managing Editor of

Yousef Abuddayeh - Take to the Streets! Show solidarity with the Palestinian People, and some analysis

By Yousef Abudayyeh • Jan 10th, 2009 at 10:03 • Category: Action Alert, Analysis, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance, War, Zionism

All Out this Saturday in Defense of the Palestinian People!

The Massacre Intensifies: As we prepare this thirteenth FPA statement, the Zionist army was continuing what it does best – the wholesale slaughter of children and unarmed civilians. As would be expected of the current state of affairs of the US-controlled international scene, the massacre of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip is continuing despite yesterday's feeble UN Security Council resolution that calls for Israel to immediately stop its attack. Actually, the US-Zionist leadership went the other way — more and more attacks. The Israeli Zionist army was given additional orders to escalate the conquest as it enters into a third phase of obliteration. Simultaneously as the Israeli cabinet was giving orders for a higher kill and destruction ratio, the US Senate was not going to be outdone by Zionists. It had to add to its long and shameful record. So it secretly issued a fast-tracked resolution fully supporting the ongoing massacre and giving Israel the needed cover. We ask, is this Senate resolution in the best interest of the people of the US?

But is it not the legacy and norm of the US-Israeli alliance to discard the will of the people of the US and the world. Is it not their norm to discard any and all UN resolutions that may remotely disagree with their strategic plans? The examples are far too many to list, including both UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions dating as far back as 1947.

Yesterday's UN resolution was approved by 14 of the 15 nations that currently sit on the Security Council, with the US abstaining. As would be expected, the resolution did not address the deadly siege that has been imposed on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, nor did it condemn outright the fascistic actions of the Zionist polity.

Sadly, Palestinian victims have now reached at least 800 murdered and more than 3,300 injured. And these numbers are certain to climb substantially. Yesterday alone, fifty Palestinians were found murdered under their destroyed homes, some with their bodies already beginning to decompose. The Red Cross reported finding 4 near-death children slumped near and over their decomposing dead mothers. These children, like many others, were reported by the Red Cross to have been left without rescue in starvation and thirst for four full days around their killed mothers due to attacks on rescue workers.

On the very same day the UN Security Council resolution was issued, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that serves approximately 800,000 Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip decided that it was forced to fully halt its services. This decision came following the killing of one of UNRWA's truck drivers, and due to the extreme conditions imposed by the Zionist army on relief workers. The UNRWA also strongly condemned the Israeli cover-up used to justify the bombardment of the Al-Fakhoura school that murdered and injured over 100 children and their parents.

Come Out in Force Today:

The people of the US have a moral obligation to turn out in massive numbers today, Saturday, from Washington, DC to San Francisco, Los Angeles and in between, to send a clear message that this campaign of murder must stop at once. In DC, we will be right there to send a message to the Bush administration, the incoming Barak administration, and to the entire US Congress. In San Francisco, where the United Nations took its first founding steps, we can highlight the charade of UN resolutions and international diplomacy, pointing to the double standards and outright racist behavior of the US and its allies. In Los Angeles and all other cities and towns, we can and must mobilize to join in protest in the largest possible numbers. This is the time to stand for what is moral and just. We cannot continue funding Israel while the people of the US are in dire need for funds right here to rescue homes and towns from collapse.

To join a protest today and get more information, go here.

Rather than pay for the destruction of the Gaza Strip, let us pay for the construction of roadways, parks, and schools.

Rather than destroy thousands of Palestinian homes, let us fix the collapsing housing market and keep people in their own homes.

Rather than send more people homeless, let us protect folks from evictions and foreclosures.

Rather than kill doctors, nurses, and relief workers, let us build hospitals and provide health care to the millions without it.

This is our time to let Obama know that he could very easily stimulate both the economy and the morality of the US by stopping all funds used to kill babies and their mothers. Instead, we can invest these same funds in the education and upbringing of millions of impoverished children, right here in the US.

This is indeed our time, folks, and we must come out to lead the US Congress and administrations to the moral high ground. The interest of the US and its people is best served by supporting the construction of US infrastructure, housing, schools, hospitals, and by creating jobs at a living wage. Rather than kill Arab unionists, let us support strengthening unions and their demand for a respectable life and wages.

This is our time to show that Palestine is but a symbol for ALL just struggles. Struggles we all wage every day in various forms. The massacre against the Palestinian people should focus a very bright spotlight on what is wrong with US policies: US tax dollars are being sent to the Israeli army under US diplomatic cover, and are being used to boost corporations that manufacture military hardware, to conquer and destroy countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than rescuing a failing nation from its impending economic depression.

Signs of Defeat:

We regard the UN Security Council Resolution as a fig leaf void of legitimacy. For one thing, it came 13 days following the massacre, and after more than 4,100 Palestinian casualties between killed and injured. It appears that key power-brokers at the UN had hoped that by waiting long enough (13 days) without action, the Zionists could in fact secure a political and military victory.

While the resolution attempts to provide a diplomatic cover for the Israelis and the US as a way out of their unattainable goals, it is nonetheless a clear indication that the ongoing conquest is unable to achieve any Zionist political gain. In fact, politically speaking, the US-Zionist-Arab regime tripartite axis is only achieving the very opposite of what they had intended through this massacre: (1) the Palestinians have achieved massive international, Arab, and Palestinian support; (2) the possibility for appointing a client regime in the Gaza Strip is non-existent; (3) the sustenance of the Abbas PA in its current formation has become very uncertain; and (4) the little legitimacy some Arab regimes have is that much more diminished.

To the extreme dismay of the US and Zionist leaders, the UN resolution demands an immediate stop to the attacks and the opening of all crossings; and it opens the gates for humanitarian aid. Hence, rejected by the Zionist leadership at once. Due to the weight of the pressure on US Arab allies, who could not under any circumstance return home empty-handed, the US had no choice but to abstain rather than give its usual veto — a way to give the US-supported despots a piece of paper to wave in the face of a sea of millions and millions in protest everywhere. Ironically, the gravity of the massacre made a full circle, compromising the stability of the alliance that is responsible for its implementation. The more violent the attack, the more stubborn the resistance, the more widespread the support, and the weaker the grip of despotic regimes.

Let us join the millions who have taken to the streets thus far, including today, in thousands of towns and cities in the world. There are those who are volunteering as doctors, nurses, and rescue workers, with many already killed and injured; there are those who are giving blood to hospitals and to the Red Cross and Red Crescent; those who are protesting; many are writing, painting, dancing and singing for freedom and liberation; and there are those who are holding sit-ins, and those who are giving flowers of appreciation to the Venezuelan government for their principled stance. All are out, and all are outraged.

Come and join!

Take your stand and come out today. Make it known that this massacre cannot continue!

All Out in Solidarity with the Palestinian People! The Free Palestine Alliance

January 9, 2009 To join the FPA mailing list and get more information, write to: joinfpa@gmail. com


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Yousef Abudayyeh is a long time activist, founding member of the National Council of Arab Americans, a member of the coordinating committee of the Beirut meeting, member of Al-Awda, the right of Return Coalition and National Coordinator of the Free Palestine Alliance, USA. Married with two children and lives in San Diego ,California USA

Jibril: Israel failed to achieve its objective of eliminating resistance

[ 10/01/2009 - 10:06 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Ahmed Jibril, the secretary-general of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine-the general command (PFLP-GC), stated that Israel failed to achieve its stated objectives of stopping rocket attacks and eliminating the resistance.

In an exclusive press statement to the PIC, Jibril said the Palestinian resistance achieved a victory over the Israeli aggression, but not a complete one because there are still political decoys which were entrusted to Egypt to place in the way of the resistance in Gaza, warning the resistance of falling into these traps.

The Palestinian leader also underlined that the first part of the security council's resolution which demanded Israel to stop its military aggression, withdraw from Gaza and open all crossings before humanitarian aid is a victory for the Palestinian resistance.

He expressed his belief that the IOF troops would withdraw from Gaza because if they did not, the Palestinian resistance would wage a war of attrition forcing them to return to where they came from.

For his part, editor in chief of the Egyptian Karamah newspaper Abdelhalim Qandil ruled out in a press statement to the Quds Press that Israel could eliminate the Hamas Movement, describing the Israeli military operations as a primitive failed method in fighting resistance movements.

Qandil underscored that there are Arab and international parties which are colluding with the Israeli goal to eradicate Hamas either because of their differences with Hamas as the PA in Ramallah or because of their fears of the growing political Islam's influence in the region.

The editor in chief noted that the assassination of leaders of resistance movements could not lead to their elimination because the resistance movements in modern times are not affected by the death of their leaders.

He also pointed that the Israeli aggression on Gaza revived the Palestinian cause in the Arab conscience and pushed forward toward a change in the Arab political scene.

Taher warns of attempts to abort resistance's victory in Gaza

[ 10/01/2009 - 07:36 AM ]

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Maher Al-Taher, the politburo member of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine, has warned that attempts were being made to abort the Palestinian resistance's victory in the Gaza Strip.

Taher, who is the representative of the PFLP abroad, said that the attempts were made by the UN Security Council and through the Egyptian initiative, which, he said, included "ambiguous articles that should be clarified".

All regional and international efforts have failed so far to pressure the Israelis to end their aggression on Gaza, he elaborated.

Taher said that all efforts should focus on ending the aggression on Gaza as a first step prior to any other move.

The PFLP official lauded the UNSC resolution 1860 that called for a ceasefire, but pointed out that it should not be exploited to foil the resistance's victory. He explained that resistance should continue until all Gaza crossings are opened, Israeli occupation forces are evacuated and the siege lifted.

No initiative would succeed without those conditions being realized after the immediate cessation of the IOF aggression, he concluded.

Most Israelis Opposed to Gaza Slaughter!

War and Peace Index shows Jewish public supports Gaza operation, objects to ending it if kidnapped soldier is not released as part of agreement, even if rocket fire stops.

A majority of the Jewish public in Israel opposes a ceasefire in Gaza without kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's release, according to the monthly War and Peace Index poll conducted about a week and a half after the start of Operation Cast Lead.

Beyond the decisive support for the Israel Defense Forces' operation, the public also backs the raid's continuation even if Hamas holds fire under certain conditions.

The respondents were asked, "If a ceasefire agreement with Hamas could be reached, but without including Gilad Shalit's release, do you believe Israel should or should not sign such an agreement?" About 76.5% gave a negative answer, while only 17.5% responded positively.

Asked whether Israel should or should not halt its military activity in the Strip if Hamas is ready to stop firing on southern communities in exchange for the opening of the crossings, 80% responded negatively. In other words, the majority of the public believes Israel should not halt its operation even if Hamas accepts such an offer.

Before the recent days – which saw additional IDF casualties, and many casualties among the Palestinian and UN workers – the operation was supported by a sweeping majority of the Jewish public: 94% of the Jewish public said they support or very much support the operation, 92% said they believe it benefits Israel in terms of security, and a clear but smaller majority believes the operation helps Israel diplomatically as well.

source article

P.S. Not all Jews that are zionists!!!!... just 99.99%. Most don't consider themselves zionists. Those that don't consider themselves zionists [cuz it's embarrassing] believe Jews must have and have the right to have a Jewish state [that's jewish apartheid; that's zionism]. Most of these "non-zionist" zionist Jews believe zionism [jewish apartheid] can be had nicely… like within the ’67 borders. What a canard that one is!

Livni to the WaPo: We ask the international community to give us time

'Israel Is Not Going to Show Restraint'

Lally Weymouth
Saturday, January 10, 2009; A13

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Newsweek-The Post's Lally Weymouth that the conflict in Gaza is not a fight of Israelis against Palestinians but a case in which Israel represents moderates in the region, including the Palestinian Authority. Excerpts:

Q. How do you respond to the pressure for a cease-fire from the international community?

A. I don't like the term cease-fire since it looks like an agreement between two legitimate sides. At the end of the day, this is not a conflict between two states but a fight against terror. . . . We need to fight in Gaza because they [Hamas] have targeted Israel for eight years. We are fighting in order to weaken them and to affect their ability to target Israel in the future.

To do that, don't you need the Egyptians to exert tighter control over the border crossing?

Yes, there are three parameters. One is missiles coming from Iran. The other is Egypt itself, and the third is the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Is the idea that Egypt will now take a more active role in stopping the smuggling?

This must be stopped by Israel or someone else. In six months, Hamas has changed the range of the missiles from 20 kilometers to 50 kilometers. This now threatens 1 million Israelis. We used to say it was just the southern part of Israel but . . . now parts in the center of Israel are under threat. We needed to give an answer to their rearmament. . . .

We need to know that at the end of this military operation, we will not face the rearmament of Hamas.

Is Iran behind it all?

Oh, yes, clearly. We know that. When they started, the missiles were homemade -- made in the Gaza Strip. But not anymore. Now they are professional, coming from Iran.

How long do you think this operation is going to take?

It depends. First we need to find out whether they understand that Israel is no longer a state which they can target while hoping for restraint. Israel is going to defend itself.

Have you achieved your objectives?

I think that some of these goals were achieved. . . . At first they were shocked by the air raids. Then they thought Israel would never enter the Gaza Strip in a ground operation. So I think this is the point in which they understand the equation has changed and we have gained deterrence.

Will Israel reoccupy Gaza?

The idea is not to reoccupy the Gaza Strip. When we left the Gaza Strip, Hamas used to write on billboards that terror won and Israel left Gaza because of terror. So today the message for the Palestinians is that we left the Gaza Strip in order to create hopes for peace. But now we are coming back because of terror.

It must have been a difficult decision to send Israeli troops into Gaza by land?

Yes, it was a very difficult decision, but right now it looks good.

Are you worried that Hamas will claim victory as [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah did in Lebanon?

Even Nasrallah said after the war in Lebanon that if he had known that this was what we were going to do. . . . I think that most of them have the same feeling after a few days of war.

Are you thinking about stopping?

On a daily basis. We are not looking to reoccupy the Gaza Strip. But we need to see that we achieved our goals.

Do you think the fighting will be over by the time that President-elect Obama is inaugurated?

The shortest period of fighting is better for us. But at the end of the day, it is an ongoing war against terror. We don't ask the international community to fight with us. We ask the international community to give us some understanding and time.

Does the pressure put on Israel by the international community to reach a cease-fire strengthen the hand of Hamas?

Hamas's strategy is resistance and survival. As long as they survive, this is a victory. When they know the international community is putting pressure on Israel, they can hold out and take some oxygen, waiting for Israel to be stopped by the international community. It is a pity.

Are you still in favor of an international monitoring group to help control the borders of Gaza -- especially its border with Egypt?

I am not against the participation of the international community, but it doesn't replace our need to fight terrorism. And sometimes, when you have monitoring forces within a place, it makes it more difficult for us to defend ourselves, because the last thing we want is to kill people by mistake. . . .

Israel is not going to show restraint anymore. . . . it is not a missile against a missile. We are going to attack strongly if they continue.

Do you believe the Obama administration will support Israel the way Bush did?

I do believe that the United States and Israel share not only the same values and interests and the same understanding.

People in Washington are interested in how long the operation will last and what Israel's aim is.

The Annapolis process is based on the understanding that we are working with a pragmatic leadership in the Palestinian Authority while fighting terror. It is a zero-sum game when Hamas is getting stronger while Abu Mazen is getting weaker. The Palestinians need to understand that Israel can share and implement and translate the vision of two states for two peoples with those that accept this vision, who accept Israel's existence and renounce violence and terrorism. Hamas does not. Hamas does not represent the national aspirations of the Palestinians. It represents extreme Islamic ideas, which they share with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria.

Your goal is to continue the dialogue with the Palestinian Authority but also weaken the extremists?

Yes. . . . We are willing to . . . try and find a peace treaty with the moderates as long [as] at the end of the day, we don't fight a terror state on the other side of the border.

Would you say [Hamas] needs to be removed?

I would say that the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas is a burden not only to Israel but to the Palestinians themselves.

Do you feel [you] have the backing of the Arab moderates?

I don't want to embarrass anybody, but I know I represent their interests as well. It is no longer the Israeli-Palestinian or the Jewish-Arab conflict, but it is a conflict between moderates and extremists. This is the way this region is now divided.

Gaza: War of the Tunnels

January 10, 2009

by Shir Hever, Alternative Information Center, Jerusalem.

Irrational War?

As the massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues into its second week, onlookers may wonder about Israel’s short memory and how little Israeli leaders have learned from the 2006 war against the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Bewildered witnesses speculate as to what reason there could be for the massive destruction that Israel causes in Gaza and the widespread death and suffering. Surely it is not pure sadism on the part of the Israeli authorities. But what purpose could these attacks possibly achieve?

From a military perspective, the attack makes little sense, as even Israeli military commanders acknowledge it is unlikely to end the firing of rockets against Israel. Nevertheless, the Israeli military leaders support the attack, because otherwise they will be thought of as unprofessional and cowardly. Further, the military leadership stands to gain from massive military actions even if they are unsuccessful in achieving long-term goals, because the immediate victory helps increase the prestige of commanders and paves the way for them to commence political careers following their military ones.

From a political point of view, the chances that the attack will overthrow Hamas are slim; even if the Hamas leadership itself is eliminated through violence, the Palestinian population in Gaza, as well as in the West Bank, is unlikely to re-adopt the Fatah party, but to seek out a more radical leadership committed to fighting the Israeli occupation. Nevertheless, the attacks are supported by a majority of the Jewish Israeli public, which pledges loyalty to its leadership, believing that if the “experts” support the operation, than it must be somehow justified.

Yet from an economic perspective, the situation is more complicated and interesting.

The Israeli media has been quietly spreading the lie, today widely believed by most of the Jewish Israeli public, that Israel has been sending humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. Through multiple uses of headlines such as “Israel to allow more trucks to enter Gaza,” the media has helped conceal the fact that the trucks are paid for by the UN and international donors, that no aid actually comes from Israel to Gaza, and that Israel actually profits from this aid.

Israel Profits from the Siege on Gaza

Israel’s continued occupation of the Gaza Strip no longer follows the classic colonial framework. Palestinian labor and natural resources are no longer exploited by Israeli companies, but this doesn’t mean that Israeli exploitation of the Palestinian population has ended.

Israel found a way to exploit the Palestinians by taking a toll from the humanitarian aid efforts to Gaza (also to the West Bank, but let’s focus on the Gaza Strip right now). The Gaza population is the most aid-dependent area in the world. Without the ability to export, to import raw materials, without the needed infrastructure for local industry—the Gaza Strip is unable to generate sufficient local income to sustain its population, and must depend on aid. The Israeli siege thus creates the conditions for large amounts of aid to be sent to Gaza.

This aid must pass through Israeli ports and airports, with customs,* storage fees and transport fees ending up in the coffers of Israeli companies. The limitations set by Israel on the number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza and the prolonged checks the goods must go through increase the transportation and storage costs dramatically.

Much of the aid comes in the form of products—food, animal feed, petrol, cooking gas, medicine, etc.—procured from Israeli companies. These companies have thus been able to find a captive market in Gaza, get paid up-front (because checks from banks in the Gaza Strip aren’t accepted in Israel) and increase their sales.

Most importantly, this aid is funded with foreign currency (primarily Euros), but the goods come from Israeli companies which must be paid in Israeli currency. The result is that massive amounts of foreign currency are converted at the Central Bank of Israel into Israeli shekels in order to fund aid, and the Central Bank of Israel gets to keep the foreign currency.

In effect, the Israeli siege of Gaza has transformed the aid industry into one of Israel’s biggest exports—companies that would normally provide domestic services have become sources for foreign currency, which contributes to Israel’s overall economic strength and has already eliminated Israel’s trade deficit almost entirely.

The Tunnels and the War

The Hamas party in Gaza was able to put some dents into the Israeli mechanism of exploitation. By breaking through the fence to Rafah in early 2008, and later by importing goods from Egypt via underground tunnels to supplement the diet of beleaguered Gazans under siege, the Hamas has been able to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip without paying customs to Israel. The goods, coming from Egyptian merchants, have become an unofficial import channel into the Israeli-controlled customs envelope, a channel through which Israeli foreign currency escapes (because Egyptian merchants are paid by Gazans, with Israeli currency, which is then exchanged for foreign currency from the Central Bank of Israel).

In fact, the source of these shekels used by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to import was mostly the international community. This is because civil servants of the Palestinian Authority kept receiving their salaries from the bank account of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, a budget heavily funded by the international community. Gaza has been undermining Israel’s aid-profiteering system by turning aid money into customs-free imports.

Because Hamas didn’t pay customs to Israel, the flight of shekels affected the Israeli economy stronger than the (small) volume of imports would have indicated. The threat of this trend becoming permanent, and perhaps expanding into areas of the West Bank, has caused significant worry to senior officials at the Central Bank of Israel.

This could partially explain why economic elites in Israel have refrained from criticizing the Israeli attack on Gaza, despite the economic damage that it causes to the Israeli economy.

Eventually, however, the bombing of Gaza and even invading it may restrict trade through the tunnels and reassert Israeli controls over economic borders, but it cannot negate the economic burden of the occupation on Israel, and the long-term untenable nature of Israel’s policies.

* Israeli is officially obligated to transfer customs levied from goods intended for the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the Palestinian Authority, but rarely transfers the full amounts.


Cross-posted @ The Cylinder

Full text: UN Resolution 1860

Readers Number : 183

09/01/2009 The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Here are the nine clauses of Resolution 1860 on Gaza:

1. The Security Council stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

2. The Security Council calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment.

3. The Security Council welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid.

4. The Security Council calls on member states to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNWRA and through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.

5. The Security Council condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorist.

6. The Security Council calls upon member states to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the sustained reopening of crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority; and in this regard, welcomes the Egyptian initative, and other regional and international efforts that are underway.

7. The Security Council encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation including in support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States as expressed in the 26 November 2008 resolution, and consistent with Security Council Resolution 1850 (2008) and other relevant resolutions.

8. The Security Council calls for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders, as envisaged in Security Council Resolution 1850 (2008), and recalls also the important of the Arab Peace Initiative.

9. The Security Council welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009.