Saturday, 20 June 2009

Mousavi Threatens to ‘Butcher Republican Aspect of Iran’s System’

Mousavi Threatens to ‘Butcher Republican Aspect of Iran’s System’

20/06/2009 Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi aggressively retorted to Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei’s comments saying he will “butcher the republican aspect of the system”

In a statement posted on his website Kalemeh, Mousavi said his demand to cancel the result of the election was an undeniable right.

"If this huge volume of cheating and changing the votes... which has hurt people's trust is presented as the very evidence of the lack of cheating then it will butcher the republican aspect of the system and the idea that Islam is incompatible with a republic will be proven," Mousavi said.

Imam Khamenei on Friday ruled out any fraud in the June 12 vote.
"The people have chosen whom they wanted…The legal mechanisms in our country do not allow cheating. One may cheat with a thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand votes, but how can one cheat with a margin of 11 million votes?" Imam Khamenei said in a sermon at the Friday prayers."

The defeated candidate also threatened to take riots on the streets to the next level.
"If the people's trust is not matched by protecting their votes or if they are not able to defend their rights in a civil peaceful reaction, there will be dangerous ways ahead," Mousavi said in the statement.

Iranian security forces and the Basijis have been on high alert after an upheaval of riots caused damage to public and private properties. Seven rioters were killed on Wednesday when they tried to storm into a military station to seize weapons.

Mousavi also accused the Guardian Council of being an unreliable side to examine the votes. Votes “should be examined by a reliable committee. The possibility that it can yield a good result must not be dismissed prematurely," he said.

The Council has said it was prepared to conduct a recount of ballots at sites where candidates claim irregularities. It also invited Mousavi, Ahmadinejad and the other two defeated candidates to a meeting to discuss the situation. The meeting should have taken place Saturday; however, Mousavi and Sheikh Mehdi Karroubi did not show up.

Mousavi's supporters also set on fire a building in southern Tehran used by backers of Ahmadinejad, a witness said. Also on Saturday afternoon a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Tehran mausoleum of Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, killing himself and wounding three visitors, the official IRNA news agency reported. Some protesters set fire to security forces and Basij members' motorcycles. Ambulances raced through the streets and black smoke rose over the city.
Iranian security forces were using water cannons and tear gas to disperse the rioters and in some cases, fired gun shots in the air.

Tehran authorities have banned gatherings in the city, but defiant pro-Mousavi supporters did not abide by the ban. Tehran Province Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan said that police would crack down on any gathering or protest rally which are being planned by some people. The head of the State Security Council also reiterated a warning to Mousavi that he would be held responsible if he encouraged protests.

To demilitarise the victims.....and the "Mohr"

The green part , or what is left over of it,
must be demilitarised !! .

There is an Arab proverb which says :
" If you do not want your daughter to marry
ask for a much too high "Mohr".... "

The Mohr is being the inevitable but traditional present
any future groom must present to the bride's family
before any marriage.............As a precondition,
which is falsely or erroneously interpreted as :
"the price of the bride "

by some misinformed orientalists.

Mr. Nataniahu is not only keeping for himself,
80% of Palestine, he also wants the remaining 20%
to become demilitarised,
as if , it were ever militarised !!

Besides that, if and when Peace is a final goal ,
what is more logic ???
to disarm the aggressor ?
to demilitarise the victims ??

The Israeli-privat-citizens have more hunting-guns
and sport-guns and more personal-guns
than all the Palestinians police and securety
and even all freedom-fighters , all-together .

Let alone that , the State of Nathaniahu
is the world's fifth largest probucer of weapons,
and the third exporter worldwide.

So Nathaniahu asked for the impossible
to make nothing possible ......
his aim is ,to be rejected and ignored ,
in order not to talk about Peace ,
nor about any concessions , for the next decade.

Nathaniahu is not an idiot
but the Peace-negociators are.......

Sherlock Hommos
I paid a Mohr, twice....
and still have no Peace !!

Posted by Тлакскала at 3:22 PM

How Israel steals Palestinian Lands!


June 20, 2009 by attendingtheworld

Lawsuit brings murky West Bank land deals to light

OFRA SETTLEMENT, West Bank – It reads like a standard real estate contract between a Zionist institution and an Israeli couple. But it offers a rare glimpse into the bureaucratic smoke screen that helps ensure a strong Jewish presence on lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state.

The document, which surfaced in a case before Israel’s Supreme Court, shows that the World Zionist Organization, acting as an agent of the Israeli government, took private Palestinian land in the West Bank and gave it to Jewish settlers, even though the state itself had declared the property off-limits to settlement.

This photo taken June 1, 2009 shows Jewish settlers in the West ...

Photo taken June 1, 2009 shows Jewish Nazi "settlers" in the West Bank settlement of Ofra

The affair points to a chaotic mix of a government at odds with itself and involved in murky real estate deals fronted by one of the Zionist movement’s most respected organizations.

It’s not the first time such land deals have come under fire, but in the year since the case went to court, the political context has been overturned. President Barack Obama, in a departure from Bush administration policy, is pressing for a complete freeze in settlement development as a prelude to a new push for Mideast peace.

The contract authorized Netzach and Esther Brodt, a couple in their early 20s, to lease land in the settlement of Ofra where their home and eight others are in contention. When Israeli human rights groups and Palestinians who claim to own the land went to the Supreme Court to get the houses torn down, they went with the knowledge that demolition orders had been issued against construction at the site.

The court gave the state two weeks to explain itself, during which time the settlers hastily completed construction of the homes. Then, in another reversal, the Defense Ministry froze the demolition plan, and left the case no closer to resolution.

The affair also threw a spotlight on the World [Na]Zionist Organization, an international body founded more than 100 years ago that promotes Jewish education and immigration to Israel.

After Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in the 1967 war, the government began settling Jews in the captured territories. To avoid complications stemming from international law, it turned to the WZO, setting up a special settlement division not technically part of the government but entirely funded by it. [Jewish Deception & Treachery!]

The maneuver has served to cloud the issues and confuse the finger-pointing when uncomfortable questions arise. Such questions had already arisen in 2005, when a government-commissioned report accused the settlement division of complicity in diverting funds and confiscating West Bank land to put up some of the more than 100 “outposts” — small wildcat settlements — that settlers have built, some on privately held Palestinian land.

They had no government sanction, yet a slew of former Cabinet ministers, settler leaders and lawmakers have confirmed that they went up with the full knowledge of the state, and their removal is viewed by the U.S. and others as a first step toward a broader rollback of settlement expansion in the West Bank.

The case before the Supreme Court involves not a flimsy “outpost,” but Ofra, a full-blown settlement of 3,000 Jews, 15 miles north of Jerusalem.

The contract shows that the settlement division authorized the Brodts to lease land allocated to Ofra even though Israel’s Justice Ministry had declared it to be private Palestinian property.

“Here you have proof” of a settlement deal violating Israel’s own rulings, said Talia Sasson, the former chief state prosecutor who wrote the 2005 report.

Defying international objections, Israel has allowed nearly 300,000 Jews to settle in the West Bank plus some 180,000 in Jerusalem’s Arab sector, which the Palestinians hope to make their future capital. In a speech last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “We have no intention to build new settlements or set aside land for new settlements,” (More Jewish Deception and Treachery) but he gave no commitment to stop expanding existing settlements as the White House has demanded.

Land deals between settlers and the settlement division are usually shrouded in confidentiality and the contract with the Brodts is a hard-to-find example. The settlers maintain that secrecy is essential to protect Palestinian sellers from retribution. The Ofra purchase is such a case, they told the court. Ofra’s lawyer, Yaron Kosteliz, said proof that the land was bought from Palestinians has been given to the state confidentially to protect the sellers. (Deception and Treachery)

Yesh Din, one of the Israeli rights groups that went to court, says the land was stolen.

“It’s like I was going to sell a house that didn’t belong to me,” said Dror Etkes, Yesh Din’s settlement expert. “It’s an international organization that is, simply put, stealing land.”

The government referred questions about the contract to the World Zionist Organization, which referred the questions back to the government. The Justice Ministry refused to discuss the case because it is under litigation.

The Defense Ministry, named as a respondent in the court petition, did not respond to an e-mail and calls seeking comment. Another respondent, the military’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, said only that “there are differences of opinion pertaining to the ownership of the property.” (Deception and Treachery)

“The issue is currently under discussion in the Supreme Court that will ultimately decide on this issue,” it added in a written response to questions from the AP.

The Justice Ministry confirmed to the court that the land was owned by Palestinians, that a construction freeze had been ordered there a year earlier, and that a final demolition order for all nine houses had been issued.

“The construction was done in violation of stop-work and demolition orders,” the state said in papers presented to the court.

As is often the case, however, the state was not speaking with one voice. Defense Minister Ehud Barak suspended the demolition order in December because of broader questions about the legal status of settlement activity in Ofra. Kosteliz, Ofra’s lawyer, said the settlement never received the demolition order. (Deception and Treachery)

The Brodts said they were unaware of it when they signed the contract with the settlement division. They said the settlement was in charge of the construction.

The houses were near completion when the legal appeal was filed, and settlers hurried to finish construction during the two weeks the state was given to respond to the petition. They even won a rare and controversial dispensation from Ofra’s rabbi, Avi Gisser, to allow construction to continue on the Sabbath, the Jewish day of rest, using non-Jews as workers. (The Ultimate Deception and Treahery)

Palestinians and Israeli right groups say the case is nothing unusual, and that settlements are often built on private Palestinian land.

Yesh Din says it has seen a classified database prepared for the Defense Ministry and that it shows that much of the construction at Ofra and in many other settlements is on land registered to Palestinian owners.

A Palestinian woman, holds a Palestinian flag and an empty tear ...

Palestine belongs to Palestinians!

The Guccis have abandoned their legal challenge


I have it from a very good source that Mousavi and Karroubi have not showed up at a meeting of the Guardian Council which was to investigate their claims. Only Rezae was present. Since they were not present to present their case, the Guardian Council will most likely declared that it cannot proceed with the case.

In sum - the Guccis have dropped the facade of legality.

As predicted, the Guccis are now playing their last cards:

1) Street rioting (already happenng)
2) Terrorist attack (bombing of the shrine of Imam Khomenei, MKO, Jundallah, CIA/DIA & Co.)
3) Strategic psychological warfare (YouTube, Twitter, BBC, etc.)

I do not believe that they will succeed, but Iran will come out very weakened from this crisis.

Once the Guccis are crushed - which they will - the Uncle Shmuel will be able to use the "Saddam the evil dictator" excuse to unleash a military aggression against Iran.

Exactly as Kissinger said they would.

Posted by VINEYARDSAKER: at 9:18 AM

Reham Alhelsi - The Tale of 3 Palestinian Villages


By Reham Alhelsi • Jun 20th, 2009 at 11:26 • Category: Analysis, Biography, Culture and Heritage, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Resistance, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, War, Zionism

Every year since June 1967, Israelis celebrate Jerusalem Day. To Palestinians, it is a day to commemorate, to unite, and continue the fight for a free Palestine and a free Jerusalem. To Palestinians, Al Quds is not only the holy sites, the ancient houses and the beautifully old streets and alleys, it's the land and the people. The Zionists are not ashamed of celebrating a “state” that is built on the bodies of Palestinians and on the ruins of their homes and villages. Speeches and articles on such occasions often talk of how proud they are of their army, those “courageous men” fighting for their state: a state that is watered with the blood of its innocent victims, not the blood of its “courageous” men, for there is no courage in fighting an unarmed civilian population, in killing little children and walking on the bodies of raped women and bullet-riddled elderly to reach a state. They are only courageous as long as they are heavily armed, take away from them their machine guns, tanks and apaches and not one soldier of this “courageous army” would dare stand against a small unarmed Palestinian child. In the internet there’s a countless number of videos and photos that show just how “courageous” they soldiers are: heavily armed they shoot at little school children, beat women and elderly, and take photos near the bodies of slain Palestinians as souvenirs of their “trophies”. But when their weapons are taken away from them, they start crying and are faster than the wind. Yes, the Zionists, with their ideology and history, have a number of things to “celebrate” and be “proud of”: a listing of all the “courageous” acts of the Zionists and their army and their “state”, towards Palestinians and other nations, would be too long, thus a few keywords: Ethnic cleansing, massacres, theft (land theft, theft of property, cultural theft, etc…). As with the Nakba of 1948, during the Nakba of 1967 the Israeli army, the “courageous and most moral army in the world”, carried out organized and wide-scale ethnic cleansing and destruction, particularly in East Jerusalem and the area surrounding it.

The Latroun area, well-known for its ample water resources and fertile land, is located northwest of Jerusalem and close to the Green Line. Before 1948, this area consisted of a number of picturesque villages: Latroun, Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nouba. Imwas alone had a population of 1450 inhabitants and owned some 55,000 dunums of agricultural land. During the Nakba of 1948, the Zionist terrorists tried occupying Imwas several times, but were defeated. As a result of the truce-agreements signed at the time, Imwas lost some 50,000 dunums of its land, some of which becoming a No-Man’s land. The village Latroun, ethnically cleansed of its residents who were forced to move to nearby Imwas, fell within this assigned No-Man’s land. During the 1967 war and with the withdrawal of the Jordanian army, the Israeli army was able to occupy the Latroun area. The three Latroun villages: Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nouba, were ethnically cleansed before being completely wiped off the map. Zionist propaganda claims that the 3 villages were already empty when the Israeli army arrived. But the testimonies of the residents of the 3 villages, in addition to testimonies of some of the Israeli soldiers who were present at the time, speak of a premeditated forced expulsion. Israeli photographer Yosef Hochman, who accompanied the soldiers at the time, reported that when he asked Major General Uzi Narkiss, who was Commanding General of the Central Command in 1967 and gave the orders for the destruction of the villages, why the 3 Latroun villages were destroyed, “Narkiss answered that it was revenge for what happened there in 1948.”[1] In his memories of the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan wrote about the destruction of the Latroun villages and half of Qalqilya: “[houses were destroyed] not in the battle, but as punishment … and in order to chase away the inhabitants.”[2]

On the morning of the 6th of June, Unit 4 of the Israeli army entered the 3 villages accompanied with tanks and bulldozers, yet another proof that the destruction was pre-planned. The majority of the inhabitants had stayed in their homes, because they feared a repetition of the 1948 expulsion and because they had nowhere else to go. Some had left the day before in fear of massacres similar to those committed during the Nakba. Others found refuge in nearby Imwas Monastery. In Imwas, under the orders of Yitzhak Rabin, armoured military jeeps wandered the streets and with loudspeakers ordered the villagers to leave, giving them only 3 hours to gather their possessions. Many refused to leave, so they were forced out under the threat of gun before the bulldozers started razing the houses. The Israeli soldiers told the residents to go to nearby villages such as Yalu and Beit Nouba, which were also being ethnically cleansed. As the villagers made their way out of the 3 villages in groups, the soldiers shot over their heads to hurry them and as warning not to come back. Zahda Abu Qtaish from Imwas remembers:”They told us to come with the children to the Mukhtar’s (community-leader) home. I replied that I couldn’t; I had bread baking in the oven, the closets were open, the house was not tidy, the chickens were hungry. The Jew said it was not important, that later I could come back and fix everything. I took the children. One was holding my hand, one was on my shoulder, one was holding my dress. When we got the Mukhtar’s house, the Israelis said to keep walking, to go to Yula. I pleaded that the house was open, that the bread was in the oven. We left everything, our clothes, our money, everything. When I reached Yula, my legs gave up. Everybody from Imwas was there. We were told to keep walking. We walked for three days to Ramallah (north of Jerusalem). A lot of people died on the road. My feet were bleeding. For the next two months we slept under trees. We had no tents, no blankets. We slept on dirt. My family was thirsty and hungry.”[3]

Even those who found refugee in the nearby Latroun monastery were also expelled by the Israeli army. In a testimony made by Al-Haq, Nihad Thaher from Imwas recalled: “At the dawn the following morning, 6 June 1967, some of the nuns went outside to inform the Israeli soldiers that several residents of Imwas village were present inside the monastery. The soldiers asked us all to get out. After we had done so, we were told by one of the Israeli captains to walk along the road to the city of Ramallah. He told us not to return to our houses and threatened to kill us if we did… thus, we were expelled on Thursday 6 June 1967. The Israeli soldiers were lined up on both sides of the road and would admonish anyone who asked for permission to go to their house to bring milk or food for their children. I was one of those who asked as I had my wife and three children to look after. My eldest child was five years old, the second was 3 years old and the youngest was 8 months old. My children were barefoot and half-naked. We walked on foot between the Israeli jeeps and tanks towards Beit Nouba, and then to Beit Liqya. There, the Israeli soldiers found a Jordanian soldier attempting to surrender. They started to beat him in front of everybody and then shot and beheaded him.”[4] Ahmad Abu Ghoush from Imwas recalled:”Some families went to the Latroun Ministry believing they would be safe there because it was a Christian place but they were not. My family first went to Yalu, then Beit Nouba, then onto Beit Ur before finally being forced to walk all the way to Ramallah. The soldiers emptied all the houses in the villages and forced everyone out onto the streets. The only way open was to Ramallah and they told us to go there. Other soldiers were saying `Go to Jedah, all the land before there is ours and if you stop before Jedah we will kill you!`… people took keys, small things, some were forced to go with no shoes or real clothes, they were forced out in just their nightclothes, I saw people walking barefoot. We walked all the way to Ramallah, 32 km with no food or water, it took us about nine or ten hours. Four people from the village died during this journey.”[5] ‘Aysha Hammad, who lived on the outskirts of Yalu testified to Al-Haq: “On the fourth day, I believe it was 9 June 1967, several people who had fled the village returned. In the evening, my husband came home and said: the Israelis are in the village and they are calling through loudspeakers.” The Israelis were saying “all residents of Yalu must leave to Ramallah. Those who don't will be in danger.” I got my 3 children ready, but couldn't carry anything, as I was six months pregnant. We walked to the nearby village of Beit Nouba, only one kilometer from Yalu. As I entered Beit Nouba, I saw several bulldozers guarded by Israeli soldiers razing houses in the village to the ground.”[6] In the documentary Film “Memory of the Cactus”, directed by Hanna Musleh, Hochman comments on a photo he took at the time of an elderly couple forced to leave their home: “I took pictures of a couple trying to put everything onto a donkey and it fell off. With a soldier waiting for them to try again, and it fell off again.”[7] The glee on the soldier’s face shows how much these criminals enjoyed what they were doing.

The first days of the occupation, bulldozers were used to flatten the houses, later with the arrival of the engineering unit of the Israeli army, explosives were used to blast the houses and wipe out the 3 villages completely. Houses, schools and mosques were destroyed. This wide-scale destruction of property, accompanied by looting, took place during and after the war. Few days later, the Israeli army announced in radios that the residents of the villages could come back. But when they did come back, not only did they find their villages destroyed, but were also shot at by Israeli soldiers, killing a number of them (it was reported that at least 5 Palestinians were killed this way). Amos Kenan, a journalist who served as a soldier during the 1967 war, recalled the story of Beit Nouba:

“We were told it was our job to search the village houses; that if we found any armed men there, they were to be taken prisoners. Any unarmed persons should be given time to pack their belongings and then told to get moving - get moving to Beit Sira, a village not far away. We were also told to take up positions around the approaches to the villages, in order to prevent those villagers who had heard the Israeli assurances over the radio that they could return to their homes in peace – from returning to their homes. The order was - shoot over their heads and tell them there is no access to the village. The homes in Beit Nouba are beautiful stone houses, some of them luxurious mansions. Each house stands in an orchid of olives, apricots and grapevines; there are also cypresses and other trees grown for their beauty and the shade they give. Each tree stands in its carefully watered bed. Between the trees, lie neatly hoed and weeded rows of vegetables. At noon the first bulldozer arrived, and ploughed under the house closest to the village edge. With one sweep of the bulldozer, the cypresses and the olive-trees were uprooted. Ten more minutes pass and the house, with its meagre furnishings and belongings, has become a mass of rubble. After three houses had been rowed down, the first convoy of refugees arrives, from the direction of Ramallah. We did not shoot into the air. We did take up positions for coverage, and those of us who spoke Arabic went up to them to give them the orders. There were old men hardly able to walk, old women mumbling to themselves, babies in their mother’s arms, small children weeping, begging for water. The convoy waved white flags. We told them to move on to Beit Sira. They said that wherever they went, they were driven away, that nowhere were they allowed to stay. They said they had been on the way for four days now - without food or water; some had perished on the way. They asked only to be allowed back into their own village; and said we would do better to kill them. Some had brought with them a goat, a sheep, a camel or a donkey. A father crunched grains of wheat in his hand to soften them so that his four children might have something to eat. On the horizon, we spotted the next line approaching. One man was carrying a 50 kg sack of flour on his back, and that was how he had walked mile after mile. More old men, more women, more babies. They flopped down exhausted at the spot where they were told to sit. Some had brought along a cow or two, or a calf - all their earthly possessions. We did not allow them to go into the village to pick up their belongings, for the order was that they must not be allowed to see their homes being destroyed. …. We asked the officers why the refugees were being sent back and forth and driven away from everywhere they went. The officers said it would do them good to walk and asked “why worry about them, they’re only Arabs”? …. More and more lines of refugees kept arriving. By this time there must have been hundreds of them. They couldn’t understand why they had been told to return, and now were not being allowed to return… The platoon commander decided to go to headquarters to find out whether there was any written order as to what should be done with them, where to send them and to try and arrange transportation for the women and children, and food supplies. He came back and said there was no written order; we were to drive them away. Like lost sheep they went on wandering along the roads. The exhausted were rescuing (In other testimonies, Kenan writes here: the weak die).[8] Towards evening we learned that we had been told a falsehood – at Beit Sira too bulldozers had begun their work of destruction, and the refugees had not been allowed to enter. We also learned that it was not in our sector alone that areas were being “straightened out”; the same was going on in all sectors.”[9] Part of them went to Ramallah, where they slept in the bus station for a week, but the majority walked all the way to the Bridge and crossed to Amman. During this second Nakba, some 400,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes. In 1988 Narkiss talked of the transfer operation in an interview:” I placed several buses in Jerusalem and in other cities (of the west bank), written on them: “to amman - free of charge” the bus used to carry them to the (partly) destroyed Allenby bridge and then they would cross it (to Jordan).” He also mentioned the daily telephone calls of Pinhas Sapir, Finance Minister at the time: “Pinhas Sapir used to phone me twice a day, to ask: how many [Arabs] got out today? Is the number of the inhabitants of the West bank diminishing? The number [of those being transported by the buses] began with 600 and 700 persons a day, and then it began to decline until it reached a few scores, and after two or three months the [bus] operation stopped.”[10]

Although often denied by Israel, some houses were destroyed on the heads of their inhabitants, those being mostly elderly and handicapped, who either refused to leave or didn’t have enough time to leave before the destruction began. Some died on the way to Ramallah and other places after being expelled by the Israeli army, and others were shot dead by the Israeli army as they tried to return to their villages. The Latroun monks went to Imwas days after the village had been occupied. “Father Tournay, Catholic priest who has lived in East Jerusalem since 1945 and was head of the Ecole Biblique there, said the Latroun monks “smelled bodies” rotting inside the demolished homes.”[11] In testimonies collected by Al-Haq, a number of eye witnesses, who snuck into the 3 villages immediately after the destruction, mention bodies under the ruins of houses or decomposed bodies in the area. In Beit Nouba, at least 18 residents were found dead under the rubbles of their houses. Ahmad Isa from Beit Nouba testified: “We tried to enter the village from several locations, but we were prohibited from doing so by the soldiers. Accordingly, we were forced to take refuge in Beit Sira, which is close to our village. My father and I snuck to our house in Beit Nouba in order to bring back food, oil and mattresses. We saw horrible things along the way, namely several men and women who had been killed: Lutfi Mahmoud Hassan Abu Rahhal, Mahmoud Ali Baker, who was blind and who appeared to have been killed as a result of his house being demolished while he was inside it … the bodies of another 3 men who were also dead had been thrown amongst the trees: Al Abed Ayyad, Isa Muhammad and Abdallah Zuhdi.”[12] Dr. Ismail Zayid from Beit Nouba recalled:” In the course of the Israel army’s occupation and destruction of my village of Beit Nouba in June 1967, 18 people died under the rubble of their demolished homes because they were too old or disabled to get out of their houses in time, before the Israeli explosives were effected to destroy the houses…. One of those killed was Mohammad Ali Bakr, an uncle of my mother. He was old and infirm, and was buried alive under the rubble of his home in Beit Nouba, not far from ours. My mother also told me that when the Israeli army came to blow up our house, they told my uncle Hussain Zayid, an elderly and arthritic man whose ability to move was severely limited, that they would first blow up the western part of our house, which was in a walled quadrangle. They said they would then move to destroy the eastern part of the house, and should he still be there, he would not be given the opportunity to leave.”[13] In Imwas, at least 10 residents who were not able to leave their homes because they were either elderly or handicapped, are till today unaccounted for, suspected to have been killed inside their houses when the Israeli army destroyed these houses. A further 5 at least died on the way to Ramallah or were killed by landmines. Ahmad Abu Ghoush remembered:” There were ten elders in the village including one disabled man. They didn’t leave. We know they didn’t leave because they couldn’t, but nobody ever saw any of them again after that night. One soldier has written a testimony which said he ´saw another telling one of these old men to leave his house, but the man refused saying `I can't walk and I won't leave! You can kill me but I will not leave!`”[14] Dr. Musa Abu Ghosh from Imwas remembered: “In spite of all the difficulties, some of the younger people managed to infiltrate back to their homes to pick up some belongings, and when they dug into the rubble, some found bodies. A relative of mine was found this way - Hasan Shukri, the son of my cousin. He was 19, an invalid, paralyzed from polio. They found his body underneath his house.”[15] Ali Salma from Yalu said: “After 20 days (towards the end of June), I, together with another resident of my village, went to Yalu through the valleys, mountains and fields. As we reached the Beit Nouba fields, I saw 4 corpses laid out beside each other. They were: Ibrahim Shuebi, Al Abed Tayeh, Zuheir Zuhdi and Isa Abu Isa. All of them were from Yalu. I didn't examine the corpses because they were swollen. We entered the village at around midnight. We first went to the demolished home of Abu Wasim where we saw the body of Isa Ziyada and more demolished houses. We were both very scared. We both took some stuff from the rubble of his house and left to go back towards Kharbatha.”[16]

When the Israeli soldiers were done with their “duty”, more than 10,000 people had been forcibly expelled, no less than 39 residents were reported killed or are till today unaccounted for. In his article “Outrage at Emwas”, John Goddard writes: “I collected 39 names of people said to have been killed in the villages, 17 from Imwas, 11 from Beit Nouba, and 11 from Yalo.”[17] Some 1464 houses were destroyed: 375 in Imwas houses, 539 in Yalu and 550 in Beit Nouba. A couple of months later, the villagers were allowed back to the Latroun, but only to collect their harvest. “my brother drove our truck. We saw everything destroyed, just the mosque was still standing. People were crying and weeping, some were just standing, looking, speechless … some had lost all their land in 1948 but had tried to rebuild their lives and now it had all happened again. People needed anything so took whatever they could find and put in into trucks. Some people found a sheep or a goat but the houses were totally destroyed. We found our `cawasheen` (a big box containing important documents such as deeds to property and land) but couldn’t get any clothes or anything else. We knew there was nothing left but we wanted to see what had happened to our village …”[18] The British reporter Michael Adams visited Imwas in 1968, wrote: “When my companion and I came to Beit Nouba 6 months after Kenan, much had changed. Most significantly, the rubble had disappeared. It had taken the Israelis 6 months to clear it, in great secrecy; while relays of volunteers were engaged in this macabre task, the authorities closed the approach road to Latroun…. Without a guide, I should probably have driven straight through without realising that there had been villages here at all. The demolition squads had been thorough. But when we stopped the car and got out to look, there were plenty of tell-tale signs; it isn’t easy, even in 6 months, to wipe out a thousand years of history without leaving a trace. There were a few pieces of masonry, a broken tile, a twisted rod of steel from some concrete extension and - a sure sign that people had once lived here – the cactus hedges, which the Palestinians use to protect their gardens and orchards against marauders, were starting to grow back. They are very hard to eradicate.”[19] 1970, the illegal settlement “Mevo Horon” was built on the lands of Beit Nouba. Three years later, the Jewish National Fund of Canada funded the establishment of a recreational park, the Canada Park, on the ruins of Imwas and Yalu. Zahda Abu Qtaish from Imwas remarked when she first visited the Canada Park: “I couldn't believe it …My home was down to the ground. They had turned the village into a park. They called it Canada Park. I cried and cried.”[20] Ahmad Abu Ghoush from Imwas talked of his visit to the park: “When returning to the park I had mixed feelings. It’s very hard, standing on the ruins of where you used to live while seeing people laughing, eating and enjoying themselves.”[21]

The ethnic cleansing of the 3 Latroun villages is only one example of the on-going ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the Judization of Jerusalem. In 1948, Israel occupied 85% of Jerusalem (the west part), 4 % were declared No-Man’s land, and the remaining 11% (including with the Old City) fell under Jordanian rule. Up to 80,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes in West Jerusalem and 40 surrounding villages. The villages were wiped off the face of the earth and the homes, lands and property confiscated. In June 1967, during and after the war, Palestinians were expelled from East Jerusalem and the surrounding villages, like the Latroun villages. The war was officially over on the 10th of June, 1967 and on the night of 10/11th of June, Israel began with its first measures to Judize East Jerusalem: the ethnic cleansing and destruction of the Magharbeh Quarter and the Al-Sharaf neighbourhood of the Old City. Given only 3 hours notice, the residents of the Magharbeh Quarter were ordered to pack their belongings and leave. The Quarter was then destroyed to make place for a plaza in front of the Western Wall. Palestinians living in Al-Sharaf neighbourhood were also expelled to enlarge the Jewish Quarter. Among others, Ben-Gurion, Dayan, Kollek and Lahat were responsible for the destruction of these Palestinian neighbourhoods. The eviction and destruction was carried out rapidly to avoid international attention and criticism. The residents were removed by force from their houses by Israeli soldiers. The bulldozers were ready, and the orders were to finish the eviction and destruction that very same night. Al Sharaf neighbourhood and the Magharbeh Quarter were emptied of their residents: over 6000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and an estimated 135 houses were destroyed in the Old City. The boundaries of Jerusalem were redrawn by central command chief at the time, Rahavan Ze’evi. “The line he drew “took in not only the 5 km² of Arab east Jerusalem - but also 65 km² of surrounding open country and villages, most of which never had any municipal link to Jerusalem. Overnight they became part of Israel’s eternal and indivisible capital.”[21] In 1980, East Jerusalem was annexed to Israel.

Major General Narkiss, who was Commanding General of the Central Command in 1967 and had approved the destruction of the Magharbeh Quarter, recalled before his death in 1997 that a few hours after the capture of East Jerusalem, he was urged by Rabbi Goren to blow up the Aqsa mosque. Although Rabbi Goren’s wish was not fulfilled, it was the first of many future attempts by fanatic Jews and the Israeli government to destroy the Aqsa, whether directly by attempts to burn it or indirectly by building tunnels underneath it. Excavations beneath the Aqsa mosque and the area surrounding it continue, and the several tunnels dug beneath it weaken its foundations. At the same time, much needed renovations to the Aqsa and its surroundings are not permitted. Today, there is almost no Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem that is not threatened with destruction, demolition and ethnic cleansing. Despite international criticism, Israel goes on in its Judization of Jerusalem. While illegal Jewish settlers from all around the world are allowed to buy property in Jerusalem and settle in it, and illegal settlements are rapidly expanding with ring after ring of settlements suffocating the city and the surrounding Palestinian villages and towns, Palestinian Jerusalemites are losing their homes and their lands and their birth right in their city Jerusalem. While Israel continues its brutal military occupation and the destruction of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have two “prime ministers” and two sets of “cabinets” and a “legislative council” whose building is off-limits to Palestinians and where the “representatives of this so-called authority” are either locked up in Israeli jails, in the Gaza open-air prison or the West Bank ghettos or need Israeli permits to move between the Zones A, B or C, D, E and F and all the rest. Maybe while they fight over who gets to be the next president, they might want to stop for a minute and remember that the state they are fighting to rule is STILL under military occupation and that “their” people are either being massacred or expelled by this brutal occupation.

Today, the original inhabitants of the Latrun villages and their descendants are scattered around the world, some live in the Ramallah area, others in Jordan. Adams found it difficult to convince editors to publish articles about the Latroun villages. “The Israeli government and whoever in the army command gave the order to destroy the villages, must have thought that it was possible to rearrange both history and geography in this way: that if they carted away the rubble and raked over the ground and planted seedlings where the homes of 9000 people had been, all of which they did, they would be able to get away with it. Why? Because of the Holocaust, and because Western newspaper editors don’t like to be called anti-Semitic.”[23] When Israel offered money to the inhabitants of the Latroun as compensation for their stolen lands and destroyed houses, they refused. Ahmad Abu Ghoush from Imwas remembers: “My father was on the committee that negotiated with Israel. They were offering money as compensation for our land and homes. My father told them `we will not accept all the money in the world for one dunum of Imwas, and we will not accept one dunum in heaven for one dunum in Imwas!`. The Israeli’s told him that he had three choices `…one, you can go the same way as Abdul Hameed (an exiled Palestinian activist for the Right of Return); two – prison; three – put something sweet in your mouth and keep quiet!”[24] For Zahda Abu Qtaish and all those expelled from the Latroun, things are clear: “I see everything; I remember everything; I will never forget.”[25]

Names of Latroun inhabitants killed under the rubble of their houses destroyed by the Israeli army, or on the road when they were expelled by the Israeli army:[26]

Hajar Khalil

Zaynab Hasan Khalil

Yamna Abu Rayalah

Fatmah Al Qbeibah

Hadia Al Qbeibah

Riyadh ElSkeikh

Hasan Nimer Abu Khalil

Hasan Shukri Abu Ghosh

Amnah Al Sheikh Hussain

Ayshah Salamah

Ahmad Hassan Al Saed

Ali Ismael Abdullah

Khaleel Jazar

Muhammad Abu Illas

Zaynab Ahmad Musa

Isa Ziyada

Hussein Hurani

Ali Alarab

Naimeh Hammad

Halimeh Hamadallah

Sabha Alarab

Fadda Ziyad

Sabha Mallah

Mahmoud Khalil

Ibrahim Shueibi

Suheil Musa

Abdel Rahim Tayeh

Isa Ibrahim

Abdel Karim Nimer

Lutfi Mahmoud

Hassan Abu Rahhal

Mahmoud Ali Baker

Al Abed Ayyad

Isa Muhammad

Abdallah Zuhdi

Bakr Hasan Shukri

Zuheir Zuhdi

Isa Abu Isa

The one year old daughter of Ahmad Atiyah



[4]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.


[6]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.

[12]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.


[16]John Reynolds: Where Villages Stood, (Al-Haq) 2007.

[26] Names collected from several sources: S. Sources.

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Reham Alhelsi is a Jerusalem-born Palestinian. She has worked extensively in the Palestinian Broadcasting Company and since 2000, when she moved to Germany, has trained at various radio and TV networks including Deutsche Welle, SWR and WDR. She is currently writing her PhD in Regional Planning with a focus on Palestinian Land Management and local government.
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Berri: Resistance 'Last Barrier' to Plans for Naturalization

Berri: Resistance 'Last Barrier' to Plans for Naturalization

20/06/2009 Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said Saturday that Lebanon's resistance was the "last barrier" to Israel's plans to naturalize Palestinian refugees.
Speaking to Kuwaiti daily al-Dar, Berri also called for bolstering "Arab unity and solidarity in the face of Israel's schemes to shatter and break up" the region.

The Lebanese speaker said the policy speech made by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu "showed that resistance was the Arab's only choice."

"Arab objection is the first and foremost course of action" against Israel's attempts to force the Palestinians to give up their right to return to their homeland while "the resistance in Lebanon is the last barrier to those plans," he said.

Berri also denied "discussing with US Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison anything to do with his candidacy for speaker, after majority leaderships called for conditions and guarantees in return for his reelection." He said he has taken "a definitive position against such interferences and only agreed to meet Sison after receiving clarifications" on the visit's intent.

Berri reaffirmed his adherence to national "consensus regardless of the number of seats and shares." He stressed the need for "a climate that allows genuine cooperation."

In a separate interview with the pan-Arab daily as-Sharq al-Awsat, he voiced hope for a solution tailored inside Lebanon. "In case of hurdles, then a return to a Syrian-Saudi (base) is inevitable. The Syrians must then work with the Saudis on interfering in order to put things back on track once again. The Syrian-Saudi agreement was and still is key to positive (developments) in Lebanon when harmony and understanding are reached," he said.

Berri downplayed "conditions" demanded by some March 14 leaders for his reelection. He also called for "the language of dialogue" to prevail in the country.

Franjieh: Patriarch Sfeir's Positions Are His Own Not Church's

Franjieh: Patriarch Sfeir's Positions Are His Own Not Church's
Readers Number : 28

20/06/2009 The head of the Marada movement MP-elect Sleiman Franjieh criticized on Friday Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir saying the latter's positions reflect his personal views not those of the Church.

Franjieh said the patriarch had "gone too far by casting doubt on the intentions of the Christian opposition."

"I believe he sees us as traitors and that we are selling our homeland to Iran. It took him a long time before he (spoke) of Arabism, we are way ahead," he said.

Franjieh went as far as calling for a separation between Bkirki, the Church and Sfeir, who the MP said was voicing "his personal will."

The Marada leader said Sfeir had invited denunciation when he "touched on sects and religious ranks and he received the reply."

"Each one of us has the right to self defense," Franjieh said, adding that Bkirki was "harming its stature by placing itself in an unnecessary position."

He also accused former MP Fares Soaid of drafting the patriarch's statement on the eve of the elections.

Meanwhile, Franjieh voiced his support for the head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun and repeated opposition demands for "veto power and more" in the new government. He also insisted that the opposition will only participate in a government of national unity. "Either we are in or we are not," he said.

Franjieh wondered whether March 14 wanted the Resistance's weapons arsenal as "a guarantee in a (future) ministerial declaration."

"If so, let them give us veto power and they can have which ever declaration they want. Last time they legalized the arsenal in the statement and later conspired against it," he added.

On the future prime minister, the MP said the opposition was waiting for the return from Riyadh of MP Saad Hariri, who is so far the only candidate for the post. "If he is still a candidate, then he will need national consensus. But if the contender is PM Fouad Saniora, there will be a different stand," he said. The second scenario, Franjieh said, "does not invite optimism because it means that Saudi Arabia decided to strengthen its grip on Lebanon."

The former interior minister expressed gratitude for the Maronite League for initiating reconciliation among Christians. "We accept reconciliation for the best interest of the Christians although we will not benefit from it," he added.

Stepping on Superman's cape causes Iranian inability to count


Last election, Ahmadinejad won with about 62% of the votes cast and nobody said anything; this election Ahmadinejad won with about 62% of the votes cast and apparently it is the most corrupt election in world history (at least according to American commentators, who should know a corrupt election when they see one).

What happened?
Did he start unprovoked wars? Did he steal the land of others? Did he lock people up in a cage and then slaughter them? Did he preside over great human suffering? Just what the hell did he do between the previous election and this one to make him, apparently, the most hated man on earth?

Ahmadinejad stepped on Superman's cape. He didn't deny the Holocaust, but he talked about it in an insufficiently deferential way, ignoring the iron-clad rule that Goyim aren't allowed to say anything about the Jewish holocaust except to exclaim how terrible it was, and how unique (I hope I stressed unique enough). He didn't call for the destruction of Israel, but stated the fact that justice would eventually require democracy in that part of the world. In other words, he questioned Jewish supremacism. That's it. That's what caused the Jews to used their media assets and their stranglehold over parts of certain American intelligence agencies and assets to make a big deal out of this one election.

The essential Jewishness of this attempted coup - and real destabilization - of Iran became clear to me on reading the 'I want to believe' posting by Weiss. Jews hate Ahmadinejad because he insults them by impliedly refusing to acknowledge their superiority. Even Blankfort outs himself with this phony left-right analysis, where he even questions the orchestrated 'Western' campaign, questioning which is increasingly bizarre.

The so-called American 'left' is in fact quite divided, with Blankfort's half being not leftists but conspiracists, and most of the true left siding with the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. We're somehow supposed to believe that this odd combination has to do with the right of Iranian women to flaunt the latest Paris fashions on the streets of Tehran.

When Netanyahu Invalidated Camp David and Wadi Araba


By Guest Post • Jun 19th, 2009 at 20:00 • Category: Analysis, Human Rights, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Religion, Zionism

WRITTEN BY Ahmad Barqawi

“The simple truth is that the root of the conflict has been and remains - the refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish People to its own state on its historical homeland”. Never have I heard the entire Arab-Israeli conflict summed up so concisely yet so deceptively.

Of course those were the words of Benjamin Netanyahu during his latest speech which was delivered –ever so eloquently- last Sunday; the 30-minute Israeli foreign policy speech that laid more damage to an already frail and worn out peace process, was a clear demonstration of Tel Aviv's right winged government's profound sense of political tyranny and down right immaturity; and what astounds me the most is this seemingly inexhaustible ability of Israel's successive governments to sensationalize the opinions of a bunch of right winged religious fanatics and Zionist nationalists and easily get away with it appearing rather praiseworthy in the eyes of western leaders.

In its essence, the speech was no different than the sheer bigoted and “uncompromising” rhetoric that seems to characterize the common Jewish settler, it showed a complete distrust of Arabs and disdain for their efforts to reach a just peace settlement (or any peace settlement for that matter); it was no different than countless of speeches that Netanyahu and his cohorts of neo-fascists and extremists made while campaigning for the latest parliamentary elections, which garnered them the support of the majority of Israelis and ultimately led to the rise of his own party; the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and the rest of their allies to power.

True that he tried to sugarcoat it with a couple of carefully chosen phrases scattered here and there, but that actually resulted in the whole thing being mired in contradictions and falsehoods, in one instance he appealed to the Palestinian people to start peace negotiations “immediately without prior conditions” and in the other; he expressed that The “fundamental condition” for ending the conflict is the public, binding and sincere Palestinian recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People.

If the recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people was and still is such an unavoidable and essential prerequisite for reaching a peace settlement and that the Arabs’ refusal to meet that condition “has been and remains the root” of this 60-year long and historic conflict; shouldn’t the peace treaties that Israel signed with both Egypt and Jordan be immediately and completely negated given that neither the Camp David accords nor the Wadi Araba Treaty recognized that very same “fundamental condition”?

But Netanyahu's audacious and confrontational "twisted" logic was indeed something to be seen when he said: "I call upon the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world, to come and invest here, to assist the Palestinians and us, to give the economy a jump-start. Together we can develop industrial zones, we can create thousands of jobs, and foster tourism that will draw millions…" ….so in short; Arab leaders could go on all day about the niceties of the Arab peace initiative until they go blue in the face; but for Netanyahu it is total and complete normalization of relations first, then –in the far distant and uncertain future- the possibility of demilitarized Palestinian cantons on whatever land that Jewish settlers will approve of granting to the Palestinians could be negotiated.

In his first official reaction to Netanyahu's speech, U.S. president Barack Obama said the there was a positive movement in the Prime Minister's speech and that he (Netanyahu) acknowledged the need for two states.

That was the final nail in the coffin of what little hope the Arab world might have had for a "real change" in the United States’ approach with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be brought about by the new "brave" American administration and it shouldn't come as a surprise either, Obama's vision of a Palestinian state is akin to that of Netanyahu's and he can definitely relate to it; after all, it was the United States that first practiced that very same logic and contained native Americans into segregated reservations (read demilitarized and heavily populated cantons) with no territorial integrity or control over their own natural resources.

And even if that was not the case; the truth of the matter is that the current status quo is what preserves this comfortable equilibrium that world leaders and regional regimes have grown so habituated to; because evidently it is far "safer" for them than the alternative in many cases, and from the looks of it; this status quo is –and will be- dearly nurtured in safe hands, at least for the next four years, and no "pacifying" speech (whether from Cairo or elsewhere) will distract the common Palestinian in besieged Gaza from realizing that.

Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated "Color Revolution?"

Is This the Culmination of Two Years of Destabilization

Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated "Color Revolution?"


A number of commentators have expressed their idealistic belief in the purity of Mousavi, Montazeri, and the westernized youth of Terhan. The CIA destabilization plan, announced two years ago (see below) has somehow not contaminated unfolding events.

The claim is made that Ahmadinejad stole the election, because the outcome was declared too soon after the polls closed for all the votes to have been counted. However, Mousavi declared his victory several hours before the polls closed. This is classic CIA destabilization designed to discredit a contrary outcome. It forces an early declaration of the vote. The longer the time interval between the preemptive declaration of victory and the release of the vote tally, the longer Mousavi has to create the impression that the authorities are using the time to fix the vote. It is amazing that people don’t see through this trick.

As for the grand ayatollah Montazeri’s charge that the election was stolen, he was the initial choice to succeed Khomeini, but lost out to the current Supreme Leader. He sees in the protests an opportunity to settle the score with Khamenei. Montazeri has the incentive to challenge the election whether or not he is being manipulated by the CIA, which has a successful history of manipulating disgruntled politicians.

There is a power struggle among the ayatollahs. Many are aligned against Ahmadinejad because he accuses them of corruption, thus playing to the Iranian countryside where Iranians believe the ayatollahs' lifestyles indicate an excess of power and money. In my opinion, Ahmadinejad's attack on the ayatollahs is opportunistic. However, it does make it odd for his American detractors to say he is a conservative reactionary lined up with the ayatollahs.

Commentators are "explaining" the Iran elections based on their own illusions, delusions, emotions, and vested interests. Whether or not the poll results predicting Ahmadinejad's win are sound, there is, so far, no evidence beyond surmise that the election was stolen. However, there are credible reports that the CIA has been working for two years to destabilize the Iranian government.

On May 23, 2007, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito reported on ABC News: “The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell ABC News.”

On May 27, 2007, the London Telegraph independently reported: “Mr. Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.”

A few days previously, the Telegraph reported on May 16, 2007, that Bush administration neocon warmonger John Bolton told the Telegraph that a US military attack on Iran would “be a ‘last option’ after economic sanctions and attempts to foment a popular revolution had failed.”

On June 29, 2008, Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker: “Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership.”

The protests in Tehran no doubt have many sincere participants. The protests also have the hallmarks of the CIA orchestrated protests in Georgia and Ukraine. It requires total blindness not to see this.

Daniel McAdams has made some telling points. For example, neoconservative Kenneth Timmerman wrote the day before the election that “there’s talk of a ‘green revolution’ in Tehran.” How would Timmerman know that unless it was an orchestrated plan? Why would there be a ‘green revolution’ prepared prior to the vote, especially if Mousavi and his supporters were as confident of victory as they claim? This looks like definite evidence that the US is involved in the election protests.

Timmerman goes on to write that “the National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars promoting ‘color’ revolutions . . . Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.” Timmerman’s own neocon Foundation for Democracy is “a private, non-profit organization established in 1995 with grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran.”

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Loyalty to racism

Israel's attempt to legislate loyalty to the Jewish state is proof of the failure of the Zionist/colonial project of Israelification, writes Azmi Bishara

What is behind the latest wave of legislative proposals flooding the Knesset agenda? I refer specifically to those intended to curb manifestations of Palestinian patriotism and to restrict the political activity of Arab Israelis.
The aim of these laws is to impose the Israeli nationalist creed by coercion. It's really that simple. Over the last decade, the Knesset has experienced several bursts of legislative activity seeking to restrict freedom of opinion and expression on the questions of the Jewishness of the state and the right to resist occupation. The advocates of these laws are indefatigable. If the proposals fail to pass through any of the necessary stages, they are resubmitted over and over again in the hope of wearing out their opponents.

Is Israel really heading towards fascism? Is its vaunted democracy on the wane? Or, I suppose, we could rephrase these questions as follows: Was Israel more democratic at some point of time than it is today and are liberal civic rights in that country being beaten back after having thrived at that particular point of time? What exactly is going on?
I would say that two developments are unfolding in tandem. On the one hand, Israel is experiencing a deepening of and expansion in the concept and exercise of liberal political and economic civil rights (for Jewish citizens). At the same time, there is an upsurge in ultranationalist and right-wing religious extremism accompanied by flagrant manifestations of anti-Arab racism. As a consequence, the Jewish citizen endowed with fuller civil rights (than those that had existed in earlier phases when Zionist society was organised along the lines of a militarised quasi- socialist settler drive) is simultaneously an individual who is more exposed to and influenced by right-wing anti-Arab invective.
The contention that Israel had at one point been more democratic and is now sliding into fascism is fallacious. It brings to mind our protest demonstrations in the 1970s and the earnest zeal with which we chanted, "Fascism will not survive!" Our slogans were inspired by the Spanish left before the civil war in Spain and by the Italian left in the 1930s. But, in fact, the context was entirely different. Israel was the product of a colonialist settler drive that came, settled and survived. Fascism is a very specific form of rule, one that does not necessarily have to exist in a militarised settler society that founded itself on top of the ruins of an indigenous people. Indeed, that society organised itself along pluralistic democratic lines and it was unified on a set of fundamental principles and values as a basis for societal consensus. As militarist values figured prime among them, there was no need for a fascist coup to impose them. Even Sharon, who, from the perspective of the Israeli left, seemed poised to lead a fascist coup was one of the most ardent advocates of women's rights during his rule. He also proved one of the more determined proponents of implementing the rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court, which is a relatively liberal body in the context of the Zionist political spectrum and within the constraints of Zionist conceptual premises. Israel has grown neither more nor less democratic. The scope of civil rights has expanded, as has the tide of right-wing racism against the Arabs.
Among the Arabs in Israel there have also been two tandem developments. The first is an increasing awareness of the rights of citizenship and civil liberties after a long period of living in fear of military rule and the Israeli security agencies, and in isolation from the Arab world. That period was also characterised by attempts to prove their loyalty to the state by dedicating themselves to the service of the daily struggle for material survival and progress in routine civic affairs. At the same time, however, the forces of increasing levels of education, the growth of a middle class, the progress of the Palestinian national movement abroad, the advances in communications technologies, the broadening organisational bonds among the Palestinians in Israel, and the cultural and commercial exchanges between them and the West Bank and Gaza combined to give impetus to a growing national awareness.
The Arab Israelis' growing awareness of rights has paved the way for an assimilation drive to demand equality in Israel as a Jewish state. Such a demand is inherently unrealisable, as it would inevitably entail forsaking Palestinian national identity without obtaining true equality. Instead of assimilation there would only be further marginalisation. However, this danger still looms; there are Arab political circles in Israel that are convinced that this is the way forward. At the same time, there is the danger that truly nationalist forces could lose their connection with the realities of Palestinians' civil life, by stressing their national identity exclusively with no reference to their citizenship or civil rights, or the conditions of their lives. This tendency threatens to isolate the nationalist movement from its grassroots, and this danger, too, persists although to a lesser extent.
The flurry of loyalty bills and the like reflects another phenomenon that has taken root among Arabs in Israel and that the Israeli establishment regards as a looming peril. This peril, from the Israeli perspective, is twofold. Not only can Palestinians exercise their civil rights in order to fight for equality, they can also take advantage of their civil rights in order to express and raise awareness of their national identity by, for example, commemorating the Nakba and establishing closer contact with the Arab world. Commemorating the Nakba -- the anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel and the consequent displacement and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians -- is a relatively new practice for Arabs inside Israel, dating only to the mid-1990s. Before this -- until at least the end of the 1970s, before the spread of national awareness gained impetus among Arabs inside Israel -- many of them participated in the celebrations of Israel's independence day and offered their congratulations to Israelis on the occasion. There were no laws against commemorating Nakba Day, not because Israel was more democratic but merely because there was no need for such laws in the eyes of the Israeli establishment, since the Arabs were not commemorating it anyway. In fact, open demonstrations of disloyalty to the state as a Zionist entity were very rare.
But since that time, change did not affect Israel alone. The political culture of broad swathes of Arabs inside that country shifted towards more open expressions of their national identity. To them, there is no contradiction between this and the exercise of their civil rights. Indeed, they felt it their natural right to use the civil liberties with which they are endowed by virtue of their citizenship to engage in forms of political expression that the Israeli establishment regards as contradictory to its concept of citizenship. Naturally, the clash became more pronounced with the growing stridency of right-wing Zionist racism.
The citizenship of Arabs inside Israel has a distinct quality that I have been attempting to underscore for years. Theirs does not stem from ideological conviction or the exercise of the Zionist law of return. Nor is their situation similar to migrant labour or minorities who have chosen to immigrate to the country and who accommodate to the status quo, as is the case with immigrant communities in the US or France, for example. Their citizenship stems from the reality of their having remained in the country after it was occupied. They are the indigenous people. It is not their duty to assimilate to the Zionist character of the state and the attempt to transform them into patriotic Israelis is an attempt to falsify history, to distort their cultural persona and fragment their moral cohesion. A Palestinian Arab who regards himself as an Israeli patriot is nought. He is someone who has accepted to be something less than a citizen and less than a Palestinian and who simultaneously identifies with those who have occupied Palestinian lands and repressed and expelled his people.
It is impossible, here, to examine all facets of the phenomenon, but we should also touch upon a third trend, which is the growing degree of showmanship, sensationalism and catering to the forces of popular demand on the part of Knesset members. This trend is to be found in all parliamentary systems since television cameras made their way into parliamentary chambers. Parliament has become a theatre and a large proportion of MPs have become comedians or soap opera stars, depending on their particular gifts and/or circumstances. However, when the favourite drama or comedy theme is incitement against the Arabs, this can only signify that anti-Arab prejudices, fear mongering, abuse and intimidation are spreading like wildfire. This is the very dangerous and not at all funny part about the parliamentary circus. And it's going to get grimmer yet for Arabs in Israel.
In the Obama era, following the failure of Bush's policies, the Israeli government will be directing the venom of its right-wing racist coalition against East Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs. After all, it will be easier to focus on domestic matters, such as emphasis on the Jewishness of the state, than on settlements in the occupied territories. Some of the proposed loyalty laws, such as that which would sentence to prison anyone who does not agree to the Jewishness of the state, will have a tough time making it through the legislative process. However, merely by submitting the proposal, the racist MK will have killed two birds with one stone: he will have made a dramatic appearance before the cameras so that his constituents will remember his name come next elections, and he will have stoked the fires of anti-Arab hatred. Other laws may stand a better chance. The proposal to ban the commemoration of Nakba Day could pass like the law prohibiting the raising of the Palestinian flag, or it could fail because even on the right there are those who object to such a ban. It is also doubtful that this country could promulgate a law compelling people to swear an oath of allegiance, because the intended targets are not immigrants but citizens by birth. It would require quite a feat of constitutional re-engineering in order to render citizenship acquired by birth subject to a loyalty oath at some later phase in a person's life.
Naturally, no state, however totalitarian it may be, can impose love and loyalty for it by force, let alone a colonialist state that would like to force this on the indigenous inhabitants it had reduced to a minority on their own land. Certainly it would be much easier for Israel to prohibit manifestations of disloyalty than to legislate for forced manifestations of loyalty.
For many years I've been advocating a Palestinian interpretation of citizenship in Israel that Israel continues to reject, with consequences to myself that readers may well be aware of. According to this interpretation, the Palestinian Israeli effectively tells the ruling authorities, "My loyalty does not go beyond the bounds of being a law abiding citizen who pays his taxes and the like. As for my keeping in touch with Palestinian history and with the Arab world in matters that should be inter-Arab, such things should not have to pass via you or require your approval." Such talk was previously unheard of in Israel and it came as quite a shock to the ears of interlocutors used to liberal-sounding references to "our Arab citizens" who serve as "a bridge of peace" and proof of "the power of Israeli democracy". Rejecting such condescension, the new type of Palestinian says, "My Palestinianness existed before your state was created on top of the ruins of my people. Citizenship is a compromise I have accepted in order to be able to go on living here in my land. It is not a favour that you bestow on me with strings attached."
Apparently, more and more Arab citizens have come around to this attitude, to the extent that Israel has begun to realise that the material exigencies of life or gradual acclimatisation to Israeli ways and political realities will not be able to stop the trend. It has come to believe that only new laws will bring a halt to what it regards as dangerous manifestations of disloyalty. Such laws will be inherently oppressive but they will simultaneously pronounce the failure of Israelification.
Author's note: In his defence of the need for a law to punish with imprisonment those who refuse to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, MK Zevelun Orlev cited the "case of Azmi Bishara". According to this right-wing lawmaker, "this case" began when Bishara refused to recognise the state verbally, after which he proceeded to visit "the countries of the enemy" without permission and to "abet the enemy" in time of war. Naturally, the accusations are groundless. Azmi Bishara did indeed visit Arab countries, openly and without permission, because he refuses to subordinate the relationship between himself, as an Arab, and the Arab world to Israeli authority. However, as an opposition Arab Knesset member, Bishara had no information to hand to an "enemy" or anyone else for that matter. Meanwhile, his ideas on politics and other matters are in the public domain, having been published and discussed in Israel and elsewhere. The allegation of abetting the enemy in time of war was merely a cover-up for a political witch-hunt. Its leaders are now trying to create legislation so they do not have to concoct security excuses in the future in order to suppress the advocates of opinions such as those Bishara expresses.