Saturday 25 April 2009

Why won't they say that they are Jewish?

Posted by Temujin on April 24, 2009 at 9:17pm in News
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    • Why won't anyone say they are Jewish?
      en français

      Friends help each other out. That’s why the US sends billions of dollars every year to Israel. In return, Israel advances US strategic interests in the Middle East. But despite this mutual back scratching, Israeli-American relations are enduring a rough patch. Last December, a senior State Department official blasted Israel for having “done too little for far too long” to resolve the conflict with its Palestinian neighbors. Indeed, President Bush himself had scolded Israel a month earlier with his demand that “Israel should freeze settlement construction, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliation of the Palestinian people and not prejudice final negotiations with the building of walls and fences.”

      Harsh words, but is it all just window-dressing? This was not the first time Bush criticized Israel and he has made numerous calls for a “viable” Palestinian state during his presidency. Nevertheless, he has never concretely punished Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for ignoring US directives and shrugging off his commitment to the peace process. It’s also worth noting that diplomatic admonitions are the responsibility of the State Department which has been on the losing end of the policy wars in Bush’s White House. One wonders what Israeli-American relations, and indeed what American relations with the rest of the world would look
      like if the neocon hawks who control Rumsfeld’s Defense Department were also in charge at State.

      A lot of ink has been spilled chronicling the pro-Israel leanings of American neocons and fact that a the disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish. Some commentators are worried that these individuals – labeled ‘Likudniks’ for their links to Israel’s right wing Likud party – do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests. For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?

      Drawing attention to the Jewishness of the neocons is a tricky game. Anyone who does so can count on automatically being smeared as an anti-Semite. But the point is not that Jews (who make up less than 2 percent of the American population) have a monolithic perspective. Indeed, American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat and many of them disagree strongly with Ariel Sharon’s policies and Bush’s aggression in Iraq. The point is simply that the neocons seem to have a special affinity for Israel that influences their political thinking and consequently American foreign policy in the Middle East.

      Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.

      Kalle Lasn

      From the March/April 2004 issue of Adbusters magazine.

      Seven Jewish Children

      In response to Gaza Holocaust

      Watch Caryl Churchill's play, Seven Jewish Children, which was written in response to the situation in Gaza in January this year

      Churchill's Children: Guardian reading for Caryl Churchill's Gaza play

      Seven Jewish Children

      Germany, 1945: A Jewish family sit down to a Seder meal  Video (9min 24sec), 25 Apr 2009:

      Watch Caryl Churchill's play, Seven Jewish Children, which was written in response to the situation in Gaza in January this year

      SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN a play for Gaza PART ONE - Official ROOMS PRODUCTIONS Documentation

      Comment: You can watch the Guardian's video (9m 24sec) version of the play here

      "This is ROOMS Productions' official video documentation of Caryl Churchill's SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN a play for Gaza presented at ROOMS Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (Recorded March 14, 2009).
      SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN's script contains only 7 blocks of text - leaving the staging up to the those groups producing the work. ROOMS Productions presented the Chicago premiere of Ms. Churchill's script as a three hour looped performance installation (shown on March 12, 14 and 15 of 2009.

      At the request of Ms. Chruchill, donations for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians were taken at the door. Go to for more info about ROOMS Productions."

      Part 1

      Part 2

      Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog

      soldier in picture had murdered civilian, do you know his name or any other information?

      by Bilin, April 17, Palestine Tuesday Apr 21st, 2009 12:47 PM

      The soldier in the picture had murdered Abdallah Abu Rahma by direct shooting of a gas canister in Bilin on April 17. The Israeli army allows him to avoid responsibility.
      Do you know his name or any other details? know anyone else that had committed a crime in Palestine?
      palcrimes (at)

      640_untitled-1.jpg original image ( 726x1022)

      Legal center: Israeli internal security minister sanctions stricter measures

      Legal center: Israeli internal security minister sanctions stricter measures

      [ 25/04/2009 - 08:26 AM ]

      RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation authority has escalated its oppressive measures against the Palestinian prisoners in its jails following the appointment of Yitzhak Aharonovich as the new internal security minister, the Palestinian center for prisoners' studies said.

      The center warned on Friday that Aharonovich was sanctioning escalation of harassing Palestinian prisoners on all levels; the latest was the Nahshon unit's assault on 20 prisoners in Askalan jail for refusing to wear the orange costume, before being transported to the Salem military court, as imposed by the prison administration.

      The center charged that those new penal measures, including those approved by a ministerial committee, are in violation of human rights and democracy.

      Ra'fat Hamdona, the director of the center, described statements by a number of senior Israeli prison administration officers on conditions of Palestinian prisoners as "lies" and "deceptive".

      Those officers claimed that the prisoners were enjoying their stay in prison and described them as "murderers" who never express regret.

      Hamdona said that those officers, the disciples of Aharonovich, believe that prison should be a place for "torture and death", and they do not care about the deprivation of the prisoners.

      He asked the world community to act and protect the international agreements daily violated by the IOA against those prisoners, and mentioned some of those measures as following: physical attacks, solitary confinement, detention without trial, high sentences and others.

      Aharonovich is a member of Yisrael Beiteinu the fanatic party led by Avigdor Lieberman, the current Israeli foreign minister, who once called for drowning all Arab and Palestinian prisoners in the Dead Sea.

      MP Khaleda Jarrar, a member of the PFLP politburo, told a seminar on conditions of prisoners on Thursday in Al-Khalil that the Palestinian prisoners were freedom fighters who struggled for the liberation of their country.

      She said that all old serving Palestinian prisoners should top the list of those to be released in any prisoners' exchange agreement.

      Prisoners' center appeals for enabling Palestinian mother to see her kids

      [ 25/04/2009 - 05:00 PM ]

      GAZA, (PIC)-- The prisoners' center for studies appealed to all institutions concerned with the issue of prisoners to enable a Palestinian mother called Fatima Azzak imprisoned with her one-year child in the Israeli Telmond Hashron prison to see her husband and eight children living in Gaza.

      The center also called for pressuring Israel to release her and her little child and to lift restrictions imposed on visits and on sending and receiving letters to and from female prisoners' families

      Mohamed Azzak, the husband of the prisoner, told the prisoners' center that his wife was detained two years ago at the pretext of planning to carry out a human bombing operation inside Israel, pointing out that his wife gave birth to their son Yousuf in jail and he was not able to see him till this moment.

      The husband added that he and his eight children had not been allowed to see his wife and the new child Yousuf since she was sent to prison.

      The imprisoned wife and mother had expressed, during a visit made by the lawyer of the prisoner's club, a yearning to see her eight children and called for raising the issue of Gaza families' visits to their relatives imprisoned in Israeli jails.

      She also noted that Gaza female prisoners live in great suffering because of neglecting their issue in light of the prison administrations' refusal to provide the prisoners with their basic needs even if they were sent by their families.

      In another context, the Israeli military court on Saturday sentenced MP Mohamed Totah to three years and a half in addition to a two-year suspended sentence on a charge of participating in the Palestinian legislative elections as a Hamas candidate.

      The Red Cross office in Tulkarm reported that the Israeli prisons authority decided Saturday to ban family visits to the Palestinian prisoners in the Negev and Ofer prisons as of today until further notice.

      London Concert for Medical Aid for Palestinians

      By Mary Rizzo • Apr 25th, 2009 at 11:05 • Category: Action Alert, Gilad Atzmon, Ideas and Projects, Music, Poetry, Events, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance

      Benefit Concert NOT TO BE MISSED! Gilad Atzmon performs with his renowned quartet and with SPECIAL GUEST NIGEL KENNEDY. If that were not enough, someone we love and a true rising star, Sarah Gillespie will be showcasing her highly-acclaimed debut release. Add to the mix other original musicians and the exciting atmosphere of the 606 Club, and there are all the makings of a night to remember!

      Thursday 30th April 2009 @ 606 Club 7.30 pm £15.00.

      Call 0207 352 5953 to book a table for dinner.

      Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble FEAT Special Guest Nigel Kennedy "Gilad Atzmon the expat Israeli Saxophonist/clarinetist combines thrilling jazz musicianship with maverick political intelligence" **** The Guardian Featuring drums prodigy Eddie Hicks on drums, the quartet breaths a renewed spirit into their original repertoire of Arabic-infused bebop, performed with Atzmon's trademark mix of euphoric bluster and heartfelt fragility. With Yaron Stavi (bass), Frank Harrison (piano and electronics), Eddie Hicks (drums) and joined tonight by world famous violinist Nigel Kennedy.

      Christine Tobin "One of the country's finest musicians" Time Out. Irish born jazz/folk songstress performs an intimate set of groundbreaking original material that won her the 2008 BBC Jazz award for Best Vocalist.

      Sarah Gillespie "An incandescent new presence who matches her imposing delivery with superior lyrics.” John Fordham, **** The Guardian Singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie delivers a melting-pot mix of urban-folk and Middle-Eastern blues. Performing original songs from her new album Stalking Juliet, expect emotive ballads and raucous gypsy swing - all with her trademark lyricism that knits everyday banter with raw poetry.

      Chico Chagas Virtuoso accordionist from Brazil performs mesmerizing world jazz, joined here by dynamite Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale.

      Caroline Bird Multiple award-winning, critically acclaimed poet combines fairytale fantasy with domestic grit. The overwhelmingly talented prodigy was born in 1986 and is already compared to Dylan Thomas and TS Elliott.

      Tagged as: , , , , ,

      Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. Editor and co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, co-founder of Tlaxcala translations collective. Her personal blog is Peacepalestine.
      Email this author All posts by Mary Rizzo

      The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

      The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

      April-23-09, 1:36:51 PM AbzGo to full article

      By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt Working Paper Number:RWP06-011
      Submitted: 13/03/2006

      Download Instructions

      Abstract In this paper, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government contend that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the “Israel Lobby." This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.

      To view responses to this paper from Harvard University faculty members, click here

      Cairo Game is not over: Happy Family Playing Football

      "The ball is now in the court of the other party (Fatah faction) that should refuse such conditions and find out means of achieving Palestinian unity away from Israeli and American dictates,"

      Abu Zuhri: American conditions for dialog with Hamas blackmail

      [ 25/04/2009 - 07:29 AM ]

      DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman, has criticized American secretary of state Hillary Clinton for imposing conditions in order to open dialog with his Movement.

      He expressed regret in a statement to Quds Press on Friday that the new American administration was reiterating conditions of the old administration such as recognizing Israel, commitment to previous agreements between the PA and Israel and shunning "violence", the Zio-American term for resistance.

      Abu Zuhri noted that the American and Israeli positions are identical, a thing, which he described as a bad omen.

      "We, in Hamas, affirm our rejection of Clinton's conditions, which were previously reiterated by the international quartet committee," he elaborated.

      The spokesman said that the American position was different from the western stands in general, pointing to the meetings held between Hamas and European MPs and political leaderships.

      He underlined that Hamas has no problem with the West and is ready for talks but without linking such talks to recognizing Israel and surrendering rights.

      Abu Zuhri charged that the timing of Clinton's statement was meant to disrupt any attempt to salvage the inter-Palestinian dialog in Cairo, adding that Washington was interested in impeding this dialog.

      The ball is now in the court of the other party (Fatah faction) that should refuse such conditions and find out means of achieving Palestinian unity away from Israeli and American dictates, he underlined.

      Shifting to other issues, the Hamas spokesman said that there was nothing new in the issues of calm or the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, holding the Israeli occupation authority responsible for the delay in concluding deals in both cases.

      Radwan: External meddling only obstacle derailing national reconciliation


      Happy Family Playing Football

      And Tony Trying


      [TONI'S COMMENT: Keep dreaming, Mr. Mishaal. From one illusion to the next. This is so Yasser Arafat, it is not even funny!]........"

      Stay tuned Tony "will write a longer comment about all these "peace" and "reconciliation" moves breaking out all over, and what could be behind them.

      The more things change, the more they stay the same: Hamas wants recognition and a place at the Table and the

      Pharaoh will deliver a domesticated Hamas.

      # posted by Tony : 2:58 AM

      Finaly, he did it, delivered, but a little comment "Fart"
      Most likely this post helped the delivery.


      "There Are Still Many Idiots Within Hamas......Who Are Still Counting on Obama, and a "Change" in American Policy!!Hard to Believe....After 61 Years of the Nakba, The Palestinians Still Can't Figure Out How the Game is Played.....Illusions of American "Balance" and "Fairness" Still Exist in the Minds of Those Leading the Hapless Palestinians.....What a Pity!I Am Afraid That it is Late in the Day for the Palestinians to Develop the Needed Revolutionary Leadership to Lead Them......There is No Evidence of That Taking Place."

      Very Good Hamas is learning, but 'There Are Still Many Idiots Within Hamas......"

      What a Pity: Donkeys after hard training the Donkey failed to understand the football

      George Galloway Speech, Al-Awda, 2009,04-06


      "George Galloway talks about how he became involved in the Palestinian cause and the twinning of Dundee with Nablus in 1980. He talks about how the British authored the Palestinian tragedy by promising the land of the Palestinians to the Jews. He calls for the liberation of Palestine because all Palestinians have the right to return to it.

      See the whole speech at
      The Forbidden Truth

      Order George Galloway's speech on DVD at

      Learn more about the Viva Palestina USA aid convoy at"

      Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog

      Another Israeli Mossad-Linked Cell Uncovered in Sidon

      Another Israeli Mossad-Linked Cell Uncovered in Sidon

      25/04/2009 Once again, Lebanese security forces were able to discover an Israeli Mossad-linked cell operating in Lebanon!

      Indeed, well-informed sources told Al-Manar on Saturday that the security forces arrested at down three members of a new cell linked to the Israeli Mossad in Sidon in southern Lebanon,

      According to the sources, the arrested agents were two Lebanese and a Palestinian. One of the Lebanese (A.K.) was from Zahle while the other (M.M.) is from the southern town of Zebdine. The Palestinian member of the cell (A.A) was reportedly the cousin of Abdul Rahman Awad, believed to be the successor of Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker Abssi.

      The sources noted that the investigations with the "al-Alam cell" contributed in uncovering the new cell, emphasizing that its members are focusing on the potential link between the two cells and whether the new one was working independently or not.

      Police lately uncovered an Israel spy network dubbed "al-Alam cell." Former security services officer Brigadier General Adib al-Alam, his wife Hayat Saloumi and nephew Joseph Semaan al-Alam - also a security official – were charged on Thursday with spying for Israel. They are accused of informing Israel about Lebanese and Syrian military and civilian sites with the aim of facilitating Israeli attacks.

      Assassination of the youngest terrorist in the world

      River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

      From Aggression to Victimhood: David Aaronovitch (or How the Mighty Fall)


      By Mary Rizzo • Apr 25th, 2009 at 9:35 • Category: Analysis, Counter-terrorism, No thanks!, Gilad Atzmon, Internet and Communication, Israel, Newswire, Religion, Resistance, War, Zionism

      WRITTEN BY MARY RIZZO Like anybody, we love to watch false idols crumble, and when rabid Zionist and war advocate Aaronovitch hit the floor with a crash, it was actually one of the most amusing moments in recent political public events. We got to hear, and in some cases, to see the man who considers himself to be an iconoclast living the role of the icon tossed to the floor. And he’s stomping-foot mad about it!

      Aaronovitch isn’t what one might consider well known outside of the UK, his argument is actually quite provincial if one can wade through his less than captivating prose, but in his own eyes, he’s quite something. That's him in the photo, giving one of those Come Hither looks he must think the ladies find irresitible. To the unacquainted, this is a man who used to spread a tribalistic ideology and colonial war mongering that would sit well in any imperial war room, and he would wage his battle cries in particular through a moderately progressive UK paper, The Guardian and a more conservative one, the Times. Can we consider it a promotion to now find his lame writing in the really exclusive and excitingly hip London Shtetl weekly, namely the Jewish Chronicle?
      It took Aaronovitch three weeks to assimilate his humiliating defeat in Oxford when he was one of the speakers on a panel that was about a topic that is considered to be “hot”, one about Antisemitism in the UK, and after that pause of reflection, it’s pretty disappointing to see the guy come up with such a weak piece. It is an attempt to soul search, but judging by the result, he maybe should have taken a few more weeks to get a few more ideas to rub together. Watching someone lick their wounds is never interesting, and self-pity at least should have a bit of self-irony to it. But the man takes himself far too seriously, but what would we come to expect from someone who shouts at people, “How DARE you applaud! YOU, Sir, are an antisemite!”

      He bares what we can for expediency’s sake call a soul that he has been searching and in the subtitle tells his thousand or so readers: “I imagined this anti-Jewish Jew’s own words would show him up, but they were applauded”. He realises that in a Jewish paper, he has to appeal to the important matters first, namely, “who’s a Jew”. After getting that crucial matter out of the way, one is left with the realisation that if someone operates from some kind of judgment that is so utterly wrong about the need to drive the UK into an invasion against Iraq, making a value error about his own success in front of a paying public at a literary event in Oxford should be no surprise. Humiliation and failure always hurts, but what’s a bit of humiliation compared to being responsible for endorsing the upheaval of a foreign country that has cost the lives of one and a half million civilians?

      He doesn’t seem to have that much of a sense of perspective either, if he is missing what matters to people. Let’s see what he wrote: “In essence,” says Aaronovitch, Atzmon’s argument is that Jews are responsible for their own historic misfortunes due to their tribalism and aggression.” Well, the man writing in the Jewish Chronicle about his own poorly managed public speaking event did bring that down on himself, and if he’s blamed for convincing others to get behind the Shock and Awe aggression stuff, this fatal responsibility should weigh on him too. It seems he has captured the essence of some points Gilad Atzmon was making about Jewish identity and its historical responsibilities. In other words, Atzmon suggests that Jews and those who write for Jewish papers, like our subject in question, might think twice and start to take responsibility for their own fate and glimpse into the mirror occasionally. Aaronovitch is very unhappy with such a suggestion. He prefers obviously to keep advocating wars forever, while being an Israeli Hasbara Committee author. With this kind of track record, how could he be stunned, upset or surprised that people are going to be intelligent or attentive enough to just connect the dots and hiss the man out of the premises?

      But then the self-confessional begins as Aaronovitch admits why he took the fatal challenge in accepting to confront Atzmon in public. “I was too proud and arrogant not to believe I could show a roomful of British people that a line was in danger of being crossed.” Apparently as the audio link proves (click on the podcast), Aaronovitch was indeed silly not to realise that Atzmon possesses far more consistency and clarity, as well as having the not small benefit of being humanistic and a capable writer, all of this leading to popularity. Considering the extensive research he made of Atzmon’s writing - if we want to imagine for a moment he did it himself and not accept the suggestion made on Aaronovitch Watch that it was compiled for him from the other “look like a leftist and talk like a neocon” at Harry’s Place - Aaronovitch should have grasped that he just did not stand a chance. To win the applause of the public, one has to have something to offer.
      A little further on in this vapid article Aaronovitch provides us with an explanation of his total failure. “A co-speaker, arranged at the last minute, was the journalist Nick Cohen. This was worrying, not because Nick is anything other than excellent,” Aaronovitch states, and a round of drinks or dinner shall be due for this hyperbolic comment, “but because British audiences hate ganging-up. If it was two beauteous elves against one hideous orc, they would side with the orc.” Man, if this is how he understood the dynamics, he should have left the research aside and just insisted that Azog be accompanied by the Phantom of the Opera, that way, it would be a fair discussion!

      (at the left, how Aaronovitch fancies himself and Cohen). For those out of nursery school or who don’t accept the freaky math of our correspondent, the explanation was far simpler. Our hoity-toity Jewish Chronicler had nothing to say except to just read Atzmon extracts that were - shock - very convincing. Might just be something that explains Atzmon’s huge readership. Listening to the recordings for those who missed out on the other beauteous elf, Cohen had nothing to say in general except to pour poison on Islam. In an academic platform, the reality is that the two stood zero chance against Atzmon.
      Interestingly enough, when addressing the Jewish reader, Aaronovitch employs some racial and physical categories to get his point across. Equating Atzmon with an orc was just one example. But here is far more revealing one: “Towards the back was the unmistakable Aryan presence of Michele Renouf, of the Number One Ladies.” Aaronovitch, who campaigns against antisemitism should know that referring to people by employing inflammatory racial references is nothing less than crude racism. However, as Atzmon said during the event, racism is a Jewish territory in the UK. Jewish Chronicle authors such as Aaronovitch get away with it, don’t they?
      “From there it was downhill,” admits Aaronovitch as he watched the room drinking from Atzmon’s well. Aaronovitch and Cohen, the leading advocates of the Iraq war in the British press were confronted with Atzmon’s “diatribe about warmongers” when he was pointing at them again and again. “If you want to know what is the root cause of Antisemitism, here they are, sitting in front of you (Cohen/Aaronovitch)” was basically the recognition that the public was there making. If Jews want to save themselves, they better disassociate themselves from wars that are committed in their names or advocated by their Jewish Chronicle writers. It’s telling that Cohen and Aaronovitch can’t interpret this as one of those “I hope you’re happy now” moments. People actually DO resent their nation being dragged into wars while the journalists are sitting pretty when not actually shouting at them to stop showing their approval of someone else.

      (at the left, how Aaronovitch thinks the public is required to view Atzmon) Towards the end of his confession, Aaronovitch admits being staggered by a Jew who supports Atzmon. Aaronovitch decided to act on this shocking scene. “Later on that evening, I emailed this man and asked how it could be that he was so interested in Jewish history and the early experience of British Jews, and could end up co-applauding the Judeophobia of an idiotic musician, alongside Renouf.” Seemingly, in spite of Jewish emancipation and 200 years of Jewish assimilation, Aaronovitch expects Jews to act as one people. Pretty astonishing to hear such an idea from a man who advocated the invasion of Iraq in the name of the ‘Western notion of liberty’. When it comes to Jews, Aaronovitch expects total intellectual and spiritual submission.
      Writing for a Jewish paper, Aaronovitch must end with the tragic victim exposition talking about an iconic ‘Jewish student’ who came to him afterwards ‘in tears.’

      Aaronovitch fails to tell us why exactly the Jewish student was crying. Was it because the war in Iraq didn’t work as had been promised by Aaronovitch? Or maybe was it because of the Madoff swindling affair that inflicted so much loss on so many Jewish charities. Perhaps it was just because the tag team bullying tactics of Cohen /Aaronovitch proved to be a complete disaster and the Jewish student doesn’t have any other devices left at his disposal. It would be great if Aaronovitch would be kind enough to tell us and to remove any form of speculation. When a Jew cries, we all are entitled to know why.

      Mary Rizzo is an art restorer, translator and writer living in Italy. Editor and co-founder of Palestine Think Tank, co-founder of Tlaxcala translations collective. Her personal blog is Peacepalestine.
      Email this author All posts by Mary Rizzo

      Caught on tape


      An extraordinary scoop exposes Democrat Jane Harman and the murky inner workings of Washington politics

      Richard Silverstein

      Richard Silverstein, Friday 24 April 2009 14.00 BST

      Jeff Stein, a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, has broken an amazing scoop revealing that Democratic member of congress Jane Harman was caught red-handed on a National Security Agency wiretap colluding with an Israeli "agent" to get a reprieve for two alleged spies working for Aipac, the American-Israel public affairs committee. The quid pro quo for Harman - according to the CQ revelations - was that the agent would arrange for wealthy Democratic party donor Haim Saban to threaten the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, with withdrawing funding unless Pelosi made Harman the chair of the House's powerful intelligence committee.

      Harman vehemently denies the story - telling CQ that its claims "have no basis in fact" - and says she never contacted the Justice Department on the Aipac Two's behalf. (There are other agencies within the executive branch, I note.) But she does not deny the conversation took place with the Israeli "agent," who she has inferred was affiliated with Aipac. In 2006, I reported that Saban did threaten Pelosi, precisely as Harman had requested. No wonder Pelosi didn't take kindly to being swatted around. She was so ticked off by the assault that it backfired, and she put Harman in a deep freeze. The latter never got the gold ring she'd sought.

      In addition, the CIA director informed Pelosi of the wiretap and its contents, so the Speaker already knew about Harman's collusion (though the former denies it had anything to do with her decision not to promote Harman).

      When the NSA presented the evidence to Justice, there was a debate about whether to pursue an investigation against Harman. CIA director Porter Goss approved it. But ultimately, the then attorney general Alberto Gonzales decided to abort it. The reason he demurred is tantalizing. The New York Times NSA warrantless wiretapping story - which in 2006 won a Pulitzer prize - was about to break, and the Bushites needed every political hand on deck. Harman could be counted on since she was the most security-hawkish Democrat in Congress. On a related note, Helena Cobban obeserves that Harman was captured by the very same NSA which she defended so vociferously on behalf of the Bushites. Ah, delicious irony!

      Did Gonzales, or anyone associated with the administration, contact Harman directly and ask for the NSA support in return for dropping the Aipac investigation?

      The CQ story provides another bombshell that reflects poorly on Bill Keller, the New York Times managing editor. The NYT originally planned to publish the NSA wiretap story not long before the 2004 election. Guess which senior House Democrat lobbied it not to publish the story? Why did the Times sit on this story for well over a year at least partially on the word of a compromised Aipac stooge like Harman? Bill Keller has said that she wasn't a factor in his decision to delay publication. Yet the fact that he did exactly as she urged might lead one to naturally suspect otherwise.

      The ironies of this story are beyond measure. Though the NSA claims the wiretap was authorised and not warrantless - assuming we can believe anything they tell us? - isn't it an irony that the Patriot Act may have made a victim of a powerful member of the House intelligence establishment? For a minute there, I thought the NSA's mission was to go after al-Qaida and Islamic terrorists. Though it was the Israeli agent and not Harman who was the target of the NSA investigation, isn't it also ironic that an intelligence maven would get caught like this? Shouldn't someone like Harman have known better than to consort with Israeli agents of influence?

      Let's not forget that Harman is one the greatest beneficiaries of the largess distributed by Aipac's donor community, receiving more funding than almost any other House member from pro-Israel public action committees. Indeed, in the midst of her denials she proudly proclaims the deep pride she maintains in her relationship with Aipac (and you can be damn sure the phone lines are burning up between Aipac and its Congressional allies begging them to remain mum and let this die). In effect, she implies that her offer to go to bat for the Aipac Two was due to her close relationship with the organisation, rather than because of any help it might provide in getting her the intelligence committee job.

      Spencer Ackerman reports that Harman is due to speak at the Aipac national policy conference next month. Ackerman speculates that either Harman or Aipac might be too embarrassed for her to show up at the conference. But this is unlikely to be the case. Harman has become the biggest hero the lobby has. She will speak to the conference and she will receive a thunderous standing ovation. Count on it.

      The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department is contemplating dropping charges against the Aipac Two. In fact, some journalists speculate that various government officials involved in the Aipac investigation, knowing the case will be dropped, are sick at heart at the prospect of it going no further. Hence their motivation to leak the story. In fact, one of the most powerful statements in Stein's original article is this quote from one of his sources denouncing Harman's behavior:

      "It's the deepest kind of corruption," said one of the sources, recently retired law enforcement official who was involved in the Aipac investigation. "It's a story about the corruption of government - not legal corruption necessarily, but ethical corruption."

      Dropping the case would be most unfortunate. Those of us who know Aipac and what it's capable of, understand that Rosen and Weissman were gaming the system.

      The follow-up media coverage notes the absolute silence in both Democratic and Republican quarters about this scandal. Since both sides have a great deal to lose, they face mutually-assured destruction if either side tries to make hay out of it. The only one complaining loudly is Harman herself, who called for the Obama administration to release the entire wiretap transcript. Conveniently for her, this is not likely to happen.

      Perhaps the final and ultimate irony will be that just as Harman was locked in a tight embrace with the Bush administration when the NSA story broke, now Harman and Gonzales are once again paired off. Each benefits from fear of the damage that this affair could do to their respective parties.

      The shame is that because no one wants to touch this, Harman, Gonzales, Aipac and the alleged spies are not likely to face further investigation. In fact, announcing the end of the Aipac Two trial will be the best gift the Justice Department could offer Aipac on the eve of its national policy conference. The lobby and all its flacks and operatives will take this as a vindication of their tactics and mission. And a major opportunity to examine the inner workings of the Israel lobby's political machine will have been lost.

      Istanbul peace platform calls for protecting the Aqsa Mosque

      [ 25/04/2009 - 10:23 AM ]

      ISTANBUL, (PIC)-- Hundreds of writers, historians, and intellectuals attended the inaugural session of the Istanbul Peace Platform, which is organized in cooperation with civil society institutions with the aim of “protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque, and drawing attention to Israeli plans to demolish it”.

      Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Israeli historian Adam Shamir, Dr. Kamel Al-Sharif, of Mizan Center for Human Rights, and several other researchers and historians are participating.

      The conference would be discussing the dangers of Israel’s violations in Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

      The conference would be concluded on Saturday evening with a session on the future of the Aqsa Mosque and the role of the international community in protecting it especially as Israel is disregarding demands to halt its excavations.

      The Istanbul Peace Forum was formed earlier this year by a number of civil society institutions in Istanbul. It is said to be aiming at achieving cooperation with all efforts that seek peace and justice, attempting to find solutions to conflicts and ending injustice.

      The Forum issued a statement on Friday asking the world community to urgently act to halt the Israeli excavations and to protect the Aqsa from Israeli oppressive practices.

      Blood Shall defeat the SWORD

      cartoon of the day

      The Resistance is STILL THERE! by Amjad Rasmi

      Its Time for a Resistant Government

      "of Israel's cruelty" my letter published 4-25-9 Baltimore Sun

      Baltimore Sun online Bonus letters,0,2301035.story

      of Israel's cruelty

      It was excellent to see George Bisharat's riveting column "A step toward ending Israel's impunity" (Viewpoint, April 16) pop up on The Baltimore Sun's Web site.

      His column is a veritable treasure trove of very accurate and quotable tidbits such as "Israel's attempted legal innovations are simply bad for humanity, and our response to them should be: 'No thanks.'"

      I very much hope more and more Palestinian Americans will feel free to step up to speak out so clearly with Mr. Bisharat's compelling combination of respect and compassion for America, and for Palestine and peace.

      Anne Selden Annab
      Mechanicsburg, Pa.

      April 16 2009 Baltimore Sun: George Bisharat's
      Viewpoint: A step toward ending Israel's impunity,0,1875626.story

      Why are they terrified from Mordecai Vanunu?


      The US role in helping Israel develop nuclear weapons
      Uri Avnery*
      24 April 2004

      Uri Avnery explains why severe restrictions have been imposed on Israeli nuclear whistlebower Mordechai Vanunu, even though "everybody understands that he has no more secrets". He says that what the Israeli secret services are really afraid of is the possibility that Vanunu might expose the fact that "the Americans are full partners in Israel's nuclear arms programme, while pretending to be the world's sheriff for the prevention of nuclear proliferation".

      In the darkness of a cinema, a woman's voice: "Hey! Take your hands off! Not you! YOU!"

      This old joke illustrates the American policy regarding nuclear armaments in the Middle East. "Hey, you there, Iraq and Iran and Libya, stop it! Not YOU, Israel!"

      The danger of nuclear arms was the main pretext for the invasion of Iraq. Iran is threatened in order to compel it to stop its nuclear efforts. Libya has surrendered and is dismantling its nuclear installations.

      So what about Israel?

      This week it became clear that the Americans are full partners in the creation of Israel's "nuclear option".

      How was this exposed? With the help of Mordechai Vanunu, of course.

      Throughout the week, a festival was being celebrated around the prisoner, who was released on Wednesday [21 April 2004].

      The security establishment has not stopped harassing him even after he has sat in prison for 18 years, 11 of them in complete solitary confinement - a treatment he himself described on leaving the prison as "cruel and barbaric". After he was "set free", far-reaching restrictions were imposed on him (e.g. he is forbidden to leave the country, is restricted to one town, cannot go near any embassy or consulate, may not talk with foreign citizens). All this under the British colonial emergency regulations that were condemned at the time by the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine, as "worse than the Nazi laws".

      Not, God forbid, because of any desire for revenge!

      The security people declared from every podium that this is not revenge for all the shame Vanunu caused the security services, and is by no means just more persecution, but an essential security requirement. He must not be allowed to leave the country or to speak with foreigners and journalists, because he is in possession of secrets vital to the security of the state.

      Everybody understands that he has no more secrets. What can a technician know after 18 years in jail, during which technology has advanced with giant steps?

      But gradually it becomes clear what the security establishment is really afraid of. Vanunu is in a position to expose the close partnership with the United States in the development of Israel's nuclear armaments.

      This worries Washington so much that the man responsible in the State Department for "arms control", Under Secretary John Bolton, has come to Israel in person for the occasion. Vanunu, it appears, can cause severe damage to the mighty superpower. The Americans are afraid of sounding like the lady in the dark cinema.

      (By the way, this John Bolton is an avid supporter of the group of Zionist neo-conservatives who play a central role in the Bush theatre. He opposes arms control for the United States and its satellites, and was installed in the State Department against the wishes of the secretary of state himself.)

      In the short address Vanunu was able to make to the media immediately on his release, he made a strange remark: that the young woman who served as bait for his kidnapping, some 18 years ago, was not a Mossad agent, as generally assumed, but an agent of the FBI or CIA. Why was it so urgent for him to convey this?

      From the first moment, there was something odd about the Vanunu affair.

      At the beginning, my first thought was that he was a Mossad agent. Everything pointed in that direction.

      How else can one explain a simple technician's success in smuggling a camera into the most secret and best guarded installation in Israel? And in taking photos apparently without hindrance? How else to explain the career of that person who, as a student at Beersheva University, was well known as belonging to the extreme left and spending his time in the company of Arab fellow students? How was he allowed to leave the country with hundreds of photos? How was he able to approach a British paper and to turn over to British scientists material that convinced them that Israel had 200 nuclear bombs?

      Absurd, isn't it? But it all fits , if one assumes that Vanunu acted from the beginning on a mission for the Mossad. His disclosures in the British newspaper not only caused no damage to the Israeli government but, on the contrary, strengthened the Israeli deterrent without committing the government, which was free to deny everything.

      What happened next only reinforced this assumption. While in London, in the middle of his campaign of exposures, knowing that half a dozen intelligence services are tracking his every movement, he starts an affair with a strange women, is seduced into following her to Rome, where he is kidnapped and shipped back to Israel. How naive can you get? Is it credible for a reasonable person to fall into such a primitive trap? It is not. Meaning that the whole affair was nothing but a classic cover story.

      But when the affair went on, and details of the year-long daily mistreatment of the man became public, I had to give up this initial theory. I had to face the fact that our security services are even more stupid than I had assumed (which I wouldn't have believed possible) and that all these things actually had happened, and that Mordechai Vanunu was an honest and idealistic, if extremely naive, person.

      I have no doubt that his personality was shaped by his background. He is the son of a family with many children, who were quite well-to-do in Morocco but lived in a primitive "transition camp" in Israel, before moving to Beersheva, where they lived in poverty. In spite of this, he succeeded in getting into university and got a master's degree, quite an achievement, but suffered, so it seems, from the overbearing attitude and prejudices of his Ashkenazi peers. Undoubtedly, that pushed him towards the company of the extreme left, where such prejudices were not prevalent.

      The bunch of "security correspondents" and other commentators who are attached to the udders of the security establishment have already spread stories about Vanunu "imagining things", his long stay in solitary confinement causing him to "convince himself of all kinds of fantasies" and to "invent all kinds of fabrications". Meaning: the American connection.

      Against this background, one can suddenly understand all these severe restrictions, which, at first sight, look absolutely idiotic. The Americans, it seems, are very worried. The Israeli security services have to dance to their tune. The world must be prevented by all available means from hearing, from the lips of a credible witness, that the Americans are full partners in Israel's nuclear arms programme, while pretending to be the world's sheriff for the prevention of nuclear proliferation.

      "And the lady cried: "Not you! YOU!"

      *Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist, writer and peace activist.

      "Scottish Trade Union Congress Votes for BDS against Israel"


      April-24-09, 10:35:56 PM Iqbal TamimiGo to full article

      On Wednesday, Scotland joined Ireland and South Africa when the Scottish Trade Union Congress, representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This is the third example of a national trade union federation committing to BDS and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle for world public opinion. It is now seen to be a state born out of ethnic cleansing and still expanding through the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people.

      Scottish Trade Union Congress Votes for BDS against Israel
      by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

      22 April 2009 -- On Wednesday, Scotland joined Ireland and South Africa when the Scottish Trade Union Congress, representing every Scottish trade union, voted overwhelmingly to commit to boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This is the third example of a national trade union federation committing to BDS and is a clear indication that, while Israel can kill Palestinians with impunity and Western support, it has lost the battle for world public opinion. It is now seen to be a state born out of ethnic cleansing and still expanding through the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people.

      Speaker after speaker expressed intense anger at Israel's butchery of 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza over the New Year, as well as the much longer history of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. The vote followed a visit to Israel/Palestine by an STUC Delegation in March which heard from a wide range of trade union and other bodies and returned with a unanimous recommendation that the parent body adopt BDS.

      The STUC move to a position of BDS followed debate on the Delegation report with affiliated unions as well as consultations across Scotland. There were written and oral submissions from Zionist as well as human rights bodies.

      The commitment to BDS was made despite aggressive lobbying by Zionist groups, including an absurd warning that a commitment to active support for Palestinian human rights would lead to attacks on Scottish Jews, and the parachuting into Scotland of the Histadrut's Head of Communications from Israel.

      The STUC's new position is a dramatic breakthrough which has the potential to greatly accelerate the boycott campaign already underway in Scotland against, for example, Israeli companies and sporting or cultural visits. The Scottish Government earlier in the year yielded to public concerns and cancelled a trade delegation to Israel.

      It will also make easier the task of building a mass boycott campaign across the land surface of Scotland, in every town and small community, in every supermarket and every sporting and cultural event.

      Israel's New Year mountain of corpses in Gaza, together with its frequent murder of unarmed civilians across Palestine, was only the latest in a long series of Israeli massacres. We may be unable to stop the next one, but our job of building the sort of mass BDS campaign that can confront Israeli violence with a countervailing force has just become easier. An aroused world opinion is increasingly ready to ensure that all don't die in vain.

      We can only offer hope to the hard-pressed Palestinians that their freedom is coming, however long Israel and its allies work to delay it.

      Speaking prior to the debate, STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said: "The STUC General Council is recommending support for boycott and calls for sanctions against Israel because of its attacks on the human rights of Palestinian people and its breaches of international laws.

      Mr Smith continued: "On our recent visit to Israel and Palestine we witnessed the human rights violations experienced by ordinary Palestinians on a daily basis. We saw how restrictions on movement and checkpoints prevent people from going to work, to school and to visit their families -- even when they are sick and dying."

      "We heard powerful arguments from the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation, Al-Haq, outlining how Israel is in breach of the Geneva Conventions, and the need for other signatories to international laws to hold Israel to account."

      "Our delegation also met with the leadership of Israeli trade union centre, Histadrut, and the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions. The STUC has carefully considered the complex issues involved, and we believe that we have a moral obligation to show solidarity to Palestinian people."

      View the STUC General Council Recommendation on BDS passed at Congress today in Perth. The significant paragraphs are:

      6.1 The General Council is recommending that Congress should take a position of:

      * supporting boycotts and disinvestments against lsrael,
      * calling for sanctions against lsrael,
      * encouraging positive investments in the occupied territories.

      6.6 The STUC acknowledges its relationship with both PGFTU and Histadrut and supports the development of a constructive dialogue between them. The STUC will explain its position on BDS to Histadrut, and will, over the next 12 months, raise with them Histadrut positions in relation to Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The STUC will review its relationship with Histadrut in this context.

      Peace Process at work: Netanyahu : We will not freeze settlement construction

      Netanyahu: We will not freeze settlement construction

      Friday April 24, 2009 13:23

      by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

      Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated on Thursday that Israel does not intend to freeze the expansion and construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
      The statements of Netanyahu came during a meeting with the Czech Prime Minister, Mirek Topolanek. The Czech Republic is the rotating head of the European Union.
      The Israeli PM said that this issue should be parallel, stating the “if the Israeli’s were barred from building in the West Bank, the Palestinians should refrain from building too”.
      This position disregards the fact that settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under the international law and constitute a war crime.
      Topolanek told Netanyahu that the European Union is concerned that the ongoing construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank would hinder the establishment of an independent, contiguous Palestinian state.
      Netanyahu said that the “West Bank is a disputed territory” and that he does not intend to halt the construction and expansion of settlements.
      He stated that Israel does not currently plan to expand settlements, but added that “if a settler wants to build a home in a settlement, then there is no problem in that” although it will “enforce the law in dealing with illegal settlement outposts”, also referred to by Israel as “random outpost”.
      He slammed some European Legislators who are saying the EU should not upgrade its relations with Israel because of its violations against the Palestinians.
      Netanyahu stated that relations with Israel should not be dependent on Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, and added that Israel will not accept preconditions.
      The statements of Netanyahu come in direct contradiction to international law especially since Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are built on areas stolen from the Palestinian.

      Lieberman: "Believe me, America accepts all our decisions,"
      Lieberman must be thinking of Janie Harman and her ilke!



      Comment:This is the weekly report by Palestinian Center for Human rights. As you read this report its obvious that Gaza troubles are far from over, the siege continues, Innocent Men, women and children are dying because Israel is restricting the entry of food, Medicines and other bare necessities. The oppression continues in all Occupied Palestinian territories. Administrator

      PCHR Weekly Report: 3 Palestinians killed, including 2 children, 11 injured this week

      Friday April 24, 2009 11:20 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

      According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, during the week of 16 - 22 April 2009, 3 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including 2 children. Eleven people were injured, three of them children. One Japanese humanitarian aid worker was wounded in the Gaza Strip. 15 Palestinians, including 3 children, were abducted by Israeli forces during 27 invasions in the West Bank. In Gaza, Israeli forces abducted 2 fishermen.


      Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip:

      On Thursday April 16th, the Israeli airforce shelled a home east of Dir al Balah, completely destroying it.

      On Saturday, April 18th, Israeli soldiers stationed at the Beit Hanoun/Eretzcrossing opened fire at two aid workers who work withthe international organization World Vision. One, the driver, was a 32-year old Palestinian, andthe other a Japanese humanitarian aid worker. The organization had informed the Israeli forces that they would be approaching the crossing, as the Japanese worker was planning to leave Gaza. When he got out of the car, Israeli forces opened fire. The two workers hid behind cement blocks, but the Israeli troops kept firing for fifteen minutes, breaking the windows of the car.

      Also on Saturday April 18th, Israeli troops opened fire at a farmer who was working in his field 400 meters away from the border fence, east of Dir al Baleh. The farmer was not injured, but four homes were hit with bullets.

      Throughout the week, the Israeli navy fired at fishing boats off the Gaza coast. No injuries were reported. Two fishermen were abducted by Israeli forces in Rafah on Tuesday April 21st.

      In spite of Israeli claims that border crossing restrictions had been eased in Gaza, Israeli forces obstructed the entry of most food, medical supplies, and other necessities. The situation in the Strip continues to deteriorate, with the siege barring the entry of construction materials thereby preventing the reconstruction of thousands of buildings demolished or damaged during the January invasion. Fuel and cooking gas are also barred, except for extremely small amounts, The price of food has risen considerably in the last two months with the proportion of those living in poverty rising from 60% to 80 %.

      The Rafah International Crossing Point has been opened for a few days for a number of patients who received medical treatment abroad and needed to return home to the Gaza Strip.

      At least 900 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have been denied family visitation for more than 17 months.

      The power station in Gaza received only 7.5% of the power it needs to run. At least 10% of the population of the Gaza Strip is deprived of electricity supplies.

      Israeli attacks in the West Bank:

      Israeli forces conducted 27 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank this week. During those incursions, Israeli forces killed 3 Palestinians and wounded 11.

      On Friday, April 17th, a child from Al Zaitoun neighborhood in Hebronwas killed by an Israeli settlement guard. Israeli authorities claimed that the child attacked the guard with a knife. Investigations by the PCHRrevealed that he was trying to cross a settlement fence in an agricultural area, and there was no reason for the guard to kill rather than arrest the boy.

      Also on Friday April 17th, Israeli forces killed one child and wounded another in Al Jalazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah. The army claimed that the two were trying to throw ‘molotov cocktails’ at settler homes in Beit El settlement.

      Also on Friday, Israeli forces violently attacked two anti-Wall protest in Bil’in and Nil’invillages, both west of Ramallah, killing one Palestinian and wounding 10, including 2 children.

      On Thursday April 16th, Israeli soldiers closed a number of roads in the Old City of Jerusalem, including the roads leading to Al Aqsa mosque, andbarred all residents under the age of 50 from entering. When Palestinians tried to reach the mosque to pray, Israeli forces attacked them violently with billy clubs, injuring several.

      On Saturday April 18th, Israeli soldiers barred hundreds of Palestinian Christians from entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the celebration for the Orthodox Easter. Tourists were allowed to enter but Palestinian Christians were prevented from entering the holy site.

      On Saturday April 18th, Israeli troops arrested children, ages 14 – 17, at a roadblock southeast of Hebron. They were taken to Kiryat Arba police station, and released on the same day.

      On April 19th, Israeli troops arrested one child age 15 from Safah village, north of Nablus as he was trying to cross a barbed wire fence near the village.

      On Monday April 20th, Israeli forces abducted one resident from Dura village, southeast of Hebron, when he got too near a section of the Wall.

      Israeli Annexation Wall:

      Israeli forces began the construction of a new section of the Wall on the land of Ramad’in village, southwest of Hebron. Troops bulldozed Palestinian land east of Ashkelot settlement, placing large concrete blocks in preparation for the construction of the Wall.

      On April 22nd, the Israeli Army decided to seal 1,000 acres south of Hebron, and prevented villagers from entering their lands, declaring the area a ‘closed military zone’.

      On Friday, April 17th, in the village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah, villagers gathered, as they do each week, after Friday prayers. They were joined by Israeli peace activists, including the Anarchists Against the Wall. Some of the protesters wore mock shackles on their hands to honor the Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, as the protest was held on Palestinian Prisoners Day. The villagers held flags and chanted, and marched toward the site of the Wall construction. Israeli troops fired rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity tear gas canisters. One Palestinian non-violent demonstrator, Bassem Abu Rahma, 31, was killed by a canister fired directly at his chest from a distance of less than 20 meters. In Nil’in, 10 Palestinians were injured, including 2 children, by rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity tear gas canisters in a similar anti-Wall protest.

      South of Bethlehem, in al-Masara village, soldiers attacked a protest held on Friday April 17th. The soldiers barred the march from moving forward by placing a barbed wire barrier in front of the marchers. Israeli forces attacked from Efrat settlement, moving in toward the protesters firing rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity tear gas canisters.

      When complete, the illegalAnnexation Wall will stretch for 724 kilometers around the West Bank, further isolating the entire population. 350 kilometers of the Wall has already been constructed. Approximately 99% of the Wall has been constructed inside the West Bank itself, further confiscating Palestinian land.

      Although the Israeli military claims to have lifted some restrictions on movement in the West Bank, 630 Israeli military roadblocks remain in place, preventing Palestinians from travelling within the West Bank.

      Israeli settlement activity:

      On Sunday April 19th, the Israeli army resumed the bulldozing of Palestinian lands in Beit Ummar village north of Hebron in order to construct a new high-voltage electricity line of 1600 volts for Kiryat Arba and Hadar Beita settlements. The troops uprooted two acres of land, destroyed vineyards and demolishing ancient stone walls separating Palestinian lands.

      On April 22nd, Israeli soldiers, accompanied by 3 bulldozers, invaded an area east of Akraba town near Nablus and forced eight families living in ten houses to leave their homes to clear the area for settlement expansion.

      In Jabal al Mukaber, Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home, again to make way for settlement expansion.

      Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians on a number of occasions this week. On Thursday April 16th, a large group of Israeli settlers tried to break into the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam. The settlers began shouting and claiming that they would destroy the mosque to build a Jewish temple. When the settlers tried to attack the mosque, Palestinian citizens who were praying there prevented the settlers from entering. Access to the mosque is controlled by Israeli soldiers, who made no effort to stop the group of extremist from entering.

      On Saturday April 18th, armed Israeli settlers came to the site of the former Homesh settlement, and threw stones at the Palestinian cars driving on the Jenin-Nablus. They also attacked Palestinian farmers in their orchards.

      Recommendations to the International Community

      Due to the number and severity of Israeli human rights violations this week, the PCHRmade a number of recommendations to the international community. Among these were a recommendation that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

      The PCHRstated that they believe the conspiracy of silence from the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law andencourages it to continue its violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The PCHR called upon the High Contracting Parties to the FourthGeneva Convention to comply with its legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.

      April 24, 2009 Posted by Elias