Saturday, 27 November 2010

Israeli troops violently attack Bil'in and Ni'lin anti-wall marches

[ 27/11/2010 - 02:44 PM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Dozens of Palestinian citizens and multinational activists suffered suffocation and some of them fainted when the Israeli occupation forces attacked the weekly anti-wall protests organized yesterday in the villages of Bil'in and Ni'lin in the West Bank.

In the village of Bil’in, in central West Bank, Israeli and international supporters joined villagers after the midday prayers at the local mosque and marched towards the Israeli segregation wall built on farmers' lands.

As soon as protesters reached the gate of the wall, soldiers stationed there fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at them, many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Soldiers then chased people back to the village.

In the nearby village of Ni’lin, the weekly protest started when villagers conducted the Friday prayers in an area not far from the Israeli wall. Multinational supporters also joined Ni’lin villagers.

When all participants approached the wall, soldiers started to fire tear gas at them. Many received medical treatment after they inhaled tear gas.

In the village of Ma'sarah, south of Bethlehem on the same day, Israeli troops detained five participants, four foreign activists and a child, during the weekly anti-wall march organized in the village.

Violent clashes between the protesters and troops, and dozens of tear gas suffocation cases were reported.

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Turkey Closes Ownership Door for Zionists

Local Editor

After the Turkish "Secret Constitution" or "Red Book" sorted the Zionist entity on top of its list of strategic threats, Turkish Milliyet newspaper revealed the veil off a law which the government is working on passing to the Parliament.

The law drafted banns all Zionists and Greeks from ownership in Turkey, where on the other hand, permits ownership for Iranians, Syrians, Saudi Arabians, and citizens from the Gulf.

The Turkish Ministry of Housing and Public Works drafted on the other hand a law that aims at organizing the selling of properties in the Turkish territories to foreigners, which resembles the newest punishment method for the Zionist entity.

According to surveillances, the expected repercussions of this law will be very huge, where without doubt; Zionists and Greeks will be like the enemies, at the time where there will be equality between Iranians, Syrians, and people of the Gulf with the Turkish citizens.

Writer Tbernoc Kerechi in Milliyet newspaper, referred that if the Turkish Parliament voted for the proposed law, the Turkey will be the lead between countries which allow foreign ownership.

According to the law draft, the newspaper added that all foreigners would become allowed to own lands in Turkey, a maximum limit of 99 Thousand Km2.

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The endgame for the peace process

Future historians will argue over the precise moment when the Arab-Israeli peace process died.

Robert Grenier Last Modified: 21 Nov 2010 11:02 GMT

Future historians will no doubt argue over the precise moment when the Arab-Israeli peace process died, when the last glimmer of hope for a two-state solution was irrevocably extinguished. When all is said and done, and the forensics have been completed, I am sure they will conclude that the last realistic prospect for an agreement expired quite some time before now, even if all the players do not quite realise it yet: anger and denial are always the first stages in the grieving process; acceptance of reality only comes later.

There are growing signs, however, that the realisation is beginning to dawn in Ramallah, Tel Aviv and, most strikingly, Washington, that the peace process, as currently conceived, may finally be dead.

Washington: hoping for a miracle?

We should begin in Washington, in the aftermath of the seven-hour marathon meeting between Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in New York last week.

To view the apparent results of that meeting in context, one would have to recount the gargantuan structure of US military, intelligence, economic and diplomatic support to Israel, painstakingly constructed over many decades, for which there would not be space to describe it all here - if indeed one had the knowledge to do so.

The edifice is so extensive, including direct military aid, weapons transfers, access to US emergency weapons stocks, pre-positioning of US military materiel in Israel, US investments in Israeli technology development, US support for Israel's foreign weapons sales, weapons co-production agreements, all sorts of loan guarantees, assistance for settlement of immigrants in Israel - the list goes on - that literally no single entity in Washington is aware of it all.

In September, the US Congressional Research Service made a noteworthy attempt to capture it, but was probably only partly successful, having no access, for example, to classified US assistance. The annual value of all this is literally incalculable, and well in excess of the $3bn per year usually cited, to say nothing of critical US diplomatic support in the UN and elsewhere.

Given all this, confronted with Israel's refusal to extend its partial moratorium on new settlement construction in the Occupied Territories, and with anything more than verbal pressure on Israel literally unthinkable, the US was hard-pressed to come up with additional inducements which might extend the peace process even a little further.

Into the breach, as he has done so many times before, stepped the redoubtable Dennis Ross. Ross, in discussions with an Israeli counterpart, compiled an extensive list of motivators whose length we do not yet know, but which was verbally agreed between Clinton and Netanyahu in New York, and which will be presented in writing for possible approval by the Israeli cabinet.

We are told it includes a US commitment to block any Palestinian-led effort to win unilateral UN recognition of a Palestinian state; US obstruction of efforts either to revive the Goldstone Report at the UN, or to seek formal UN condemnation of Israel for the deadly Mavi Marmara incident; an ongoing US commitment to defeat any UN resolutions aimed at raising Israel's unacknowledged nuclear weapons programme before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); vigorous US diplomatic efforts to counter all attempts to "delegitimise" Israel in various world fora; and, most importantly, increasing efforts to further ratchet international sanctions on both Iran and Syria concerning their respective nuclear and proliferation efforts.

To this the US is adding a commitment to supply Israel with some 20 ultra-modern F-35 aircraft worth $3bn - so new they have not yet entered the US inventory - as well as a mysterious "comprehensive security agreement," whose details have not been revealed, but which may include unilateral US endorsement of Israeli troop deployments in the Jordan Valley, in the event of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

And what is Israel being asked in return?

Consider this carefully: in return for the above written guarantees, Israel will consider agreement to a brief, one-time-only 90-day extension of the partial settlement moratorium, which excludes not only East Jerusalem, but also the cordon sanitaire of settlements which Israel has carefully constructed to ring the city and deny Palestinian access to it, after which the US agrees, in writing, never again to request an Israeli settlement moratorium.

After witnessing US policy toward Israel and the Palestinians for over 30 years, I had thought I was beyond shock. This development, however, is breathtaking. In effect, along with a whole string of additional commitments, including some potentially far-reaching security guarantees which it is apparently afraid to reveal publicly, the Obama administration is willing to permanently cast aside a policy of some 40 years' duration, under which the US has at least nominally labelled Israeli settlements on occupied territory as "obstacles to peace,". All this in return for a highly conditional settlement pause which will permit Netanyahu to pocket what the US has given him, simply wait three months without making any good-faith effort at compromise, and know in the end that Israel will never again have to suffer the US' annoying complaints about illegal settlements.

Leave aside the fact that as of this writing, the Israeli cabinet may yet reject this agreement - which seems even more breathtaking, until one stops to consider that virtually everything the Americans have offered the Israelis they could easily obtain in due course without the moratorium. No, what is telling here is that the American attempt to win this agreement, lopsided as it is, is an act of sheer desperation.

What gives rise to the desperation, whether it is fear of political embarrassment at a high-profile diplomatic failure or genuine concern for US security interests in the region, I cannot say. It seems crystal clear, however, that the administration sees the next three months as a last chance. Their stated hope is that if they can get the parties to the table for this brief additional period, during which they focus solely on reaching agreement on borders, success in this endeavour will obviate concerns about settlements and give both sides sufficient stake in an outcome that they will not abandon the effort.

No one familiar with the substance of the process believes agreement on borders can be reached in 90 days on the merits; consider additionally that negotiators will be attempting to reach such a pact without reference to Jerusalem, and seeking compromise on territory without recourse to off-setting concessions on other issues, and success becomes virtually impossible to contemplate.

The Obama administration is coming under heavy criticism for having no plan which extends beyond the 90 days, if they can get them. There is no plan for a 91st day because there is unlikely to be one. The Obama policy, absurd as it seems, is to somehow extend the peace process marginally, and hope for a miracle. The demise of that hope carries with it the clear and present danger that residual aspirations for a two-state solution will shortly be extinguished with it.

Tel Aviv: buyer's remorse?

Meanwhile, in Israel, we are seeing something akin to buyer's remorse. On the cusp of finally achieving the goal for which Likud has aimed since its founding in 1973 - that is, an end to the threat of territorial compromise which would truncate the Zionist project in Palestine - the Israeli military and intelligence communities, which will have to deal with the consequences of a permanently failed peace process and the dissolution of responsible Palestinian governance in the West Bank which could well follow, are actively voicing their concerns.

Even as ardent a Likudnik as Dan Meridor has recently said to Haaretz: "I've reached the painful conclusion that keeping all the territory means a binational state that will endanger the Zionist enterprise. If we have to give up the Jewish and democratic character (of the state) - I prefer to give up some of the territory."

The time for such second thoughts has passed, however. Having succeeded in creating irrevocable facts on the ground, settlements which no conceivable Israeli government could remove even if it wanted to, the territory which Meridor and company would conceivably part with now will not be enough to avoid the fate which they fear in future: the progressive delegitimation of the current state, and the eventual rise of a binational state in its place.

Ramallah: terminally gloomy?

The terminal gloom among the tired leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is palpable. They will not allow themselves to be openly complicit in a negotiated capitulation to Israel, and yet they cannot bring themselves to irrevocably abandon the process either.

The recent, relative success of Salam Fayyad, the prime minister, in bringing some measure of security and good governance to the West Bank notwithstanding, they know their legitimacy is tied to the hope of their people for a just peace - a peace they also know, in their hearts, they cannot deliver. They look to the Americans in hope of salvation, while the Americans can only hope, impotently, for the same.

Both Israelis and Palestinians know that the relative calm prevailing in the West Bank and Gaza cannot last indefinitely absent some prospect for an end to Israeli occupation of the former. No one can see the way to a near-term solution, and yet neither does anyone yet have the courage to suggest an alternative future.

That will be the task of a new and probably distant generation of Israelis and Palestinians.

Robert Grenier was the CIA's chief of station in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1999 to 2002. He was also the director of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Maariv: Ball in Hezbollah’s Court, Feltman Deeply Involved in Lebanon Quagmire

27/11/2010 Israeli daily Maariv reported Friday that “there are US-Israeli understandings” on way to counter the repercussions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment against Hezbollah in the assassination case of former Premier Rafiq Hariri.

The newspaper’s correspondent in Washington Shmuel Rosner said that the US administration was working on this track more than it was on the Israeli Palestinian track.

He added it was surprising to see how busy the US official’s schedule on the Middle East, be it with Saudi or Israeli officials who have been to Washington lately.

Rosner also quoted a “well informed Israeli official on US-Israeli talks on Lebanon” as saying that “between Washington and Tel Aviv are understandings concerning what we will or will not do, in case of escalation in Lebanon.” He added that “Washington had hinted that Israel could attack Lebanon” and that “this was the most efficient threat available, based on the hypothesis that the Americans will not send aircraft carriers to tackle the problem of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Maariv correspondent said that “the United States finds it difficult to solve the anticipated crisis in Lebanon; because the ball now is in Hezbollah’s court as the party has pointed out that it will not accept accusations against it and while Washington does not really know where Hezbollah’s counter action would lead; will it settle for a show of power, or will it try to topple the government? Will it content itself with pointing the finger towards Israel, or will it point its missiles towards it?”

Rosner stressed the “ability of the Americans to figure out scenarios, beware of Hezbollah, conduct talks, but eventually they will have to postpone their reactions on the events until the time that Hezbollah sets.”

Maariv also said that US Undersecretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman “is deeply involved in the Lebanese quagmire and hopes to create a coalition that can stand in the face of Hezbollah in the aftermath of the STL indictment.

Obama himself made a commitment towards Lebanon, and this underscores his will to do something. However, Obama did not pledge to keep Lebanon free; instead he only vowed to do what he can, as this means: everything that falls under the restraints he has.”

The Israeli newspaper quoted Feltman as saying that everyone working in Lebanon knows that the situation in this country does not allow those working inside or outside it, to control everything that’s happening there. This means, according to Maariv, that “if Lebanon was simply destroyed, the US would not necessarily be able or even be willing to try to save this country; this is what Feltman and Obama have implied. This is also what the Iranians, the Turks, Hezbollah, and Lebanese Cabinet members already know.”

Maariv concluded that “for the Lebanese, a US intervention does not seem a decisive element in the existent conflict. In fact the steps of the closer neighbors, including Israel, are very much more important (to them).”

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PFLP accuses PA of holding many of its cadres in its jails

[ 27/11/2010 - 01:48 PM ]

WEST BANK, (PIC)-- The popular front for the liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said that the Palestinian authority's security apparatuses are detaining a number of its cadres and other members of factions in West Bank jails in the context of its security cooperation with the Israeli occupation state.

Senior PFLP official and lawmaker Khaled Jarrar told Safa news agency that the PA security apparatuses implement the Roadmap plan which provides for eliminating the Palestinian resistance and its supporters.

Jarrar accused the PA security apparatuses of exchanging the detention of Palestinian men and women with the Israeli occupation, where it kidnaps everyone released from Israeli jails and vice versa.

In a related incident, Palestinian local sources reported that the PA security militias stormed in late Friday night the house of Omar Al-Jabrini, a senior member of Hamas and a detainee in their jails in Nablus city.

The sources told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that the detainee, 50, used to be a prisoner for several years in Israeli jails and was released about one month ago before the PA militias kidnapped him.

Other different local sources on Saturday said the PA militias kidnapped 10 Palestinian citizens from the cities of Nablus, Al-Khalil and Tulkarem.

The PA and its militias in the West Bank still refuse to release the noted female preacher Timam Abu Assaud despite her poor health conditions and the appeals made by human rights centers.

The national campaign that was formed in solidarity with Abu Assaud said in a statement on Friday that the detainee is in very critical health condition as a result of her exposure to torture at the hands of PA interrogators and demanded her immediate release

The campaign added that Abu Assaud is the only breadwinner of her family after her husband died long time ago and her detention without considering her social status vindicates further that the PA persists in violating the national norms and the Palestinian law.

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George Galloway: Free Palestine, Free Afghanistan, Free Speech

George Galloway in Vancouver, Canada, November 22, 2010

"The man who gave the US Senate a solid drubbing in 2005, former British MP George Galloway came to Vancouver during his cross-country tour of Canada on November 22 -- and he had a lot to say. In this talk he tackles his nemesis Jason Kenney -- the man who illegally banned him from entering Canada in 2009.

He continues by lambasting the complicit Neo-Conservative government of Canada and he laments our diminishing reputation as 'Peacekeeping Canadians' on the international stage. Mr. Galloway then explores the persistent hypocrisy of Israel and the West vs. Islam and the Middle East. He concludes by discussing Iran and Islamophobia...

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Knesset right-winger calls for declaring O. J'lem capital for Jews

[ 27/11/2010 - 08:13 AM ]


A right-wing Knesset member called for changing the text in the Israeli basic law which describes occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital into the capital of the Jewish people.

Maariv newspaper said on Friday that the Israeli ministerial committee for legislation would discuss once again early next week the proposal submitted in this regard by Knesset member Zevulun Orlev.

Zevulun introduced his bill for the first time more than two years ago and the Knesset approved it in its first reading, but the ministerial committee for legislation declined to put it to the vote.

Meanwhile, preacher of the Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ismail Nawahda called on the Palestinian rivals to join forces and end the estrangement between them in order to strengthen the internal front in the face of the Israeli occupation and its schemes.

Sheikh Nawahda in his Khutba (sermon) on Friday warned that the Aqsa Mosque is exposed to real dangers threatening its existence and called on the Muslim nation to defend it by all means.

The preacher also denounced the Israeli occupation authority for demolishing Palestinian homes, property and holy sites, especially a Mosque in Tubas city on Thursday.
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Lebanese Politics: Boastful Ignorance, Quiet Rage

By Ruqayyah Chamseddine
November 27, 2010

Exclusive to Al-Manar

The bitter taste of ignorance is at times overpowering; distorting the senses to the point of intellectual nausea. The joyful march of simpletons in unison and the silent rage of dissenters which follows is commonplace while at the same time grotesquely bewildering.

This trend is not selective, it does not reveal its municipal silhouette in accordance to a particular society over another – no, it is circadian and fairly ordinary.

Lebanon, the overlooked and underestimated sliver bordered by both Syria and Israel, is a politically diverse hamlet. Politics is the drug of choice here, above all else; Yellow and Green are not just complimentary colors.

Recently the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (hereon referred to as the “STL“) has been at the forefront of all political machinations; the tribunal was created in order to allegedly probe into the murder of former Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri who was assassinated in 2005 along with 22 others.

Syria was more or less cleared of involvement in September of this year – Saad Hariri, the late Rafiq Hariri’s son, stated that ”…at a certain stage we made mistakes. We accused Syria of assassinating the martyred premier, and this was a political accusation.” He went on, “…we were wrong and this prosecution policy is outdated…”

Yes, ‘they were wrong in implicating Syria in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and for the longest time they were unashamedly wrong. In early 2005, when the wound of the Hariri assassination had barely been tended to, accusations against Syria were coming not from Lebanese sources but those in Israel. The Lebanese had only started to mourn and yet Israel was already boasting of “intel” which conveniently pointed the finger at Syria.

Now it seems like the blame is being shifted towards another group, since accusing Syria has lost its political appeal. Hezb’Allah is the new suspect in this tired and unending drama.

In this case it goes beyond simple political convenience, to accuse Hezb’Allah of having a hand in killing Rafiq Hariri.

I’ve been reading comments being made against Hezb’Allah by every group under the sun; venomous and often childish remarks by those who disregard the role Israel has played in the region since before even the creation of Hezb’Allah in 1982. Israel has always been an instigator; from the illegal occupation of Palestine to the occupation of Southern Lebanon. South Lebanon was only liberated from Israeli occupation in 2000 because of the Resistance, because of Hezb’Allah. This is an undeniable fact.

In 2006 Israel was unable to defeat Hezb’Allah; The Israeli War Commission called the 33 day July War a large and serious failure.

In 2006 Israel was unable to defeat Hezb’Allah; The Israeli War Commission called the 33 day July War a large and serious failure. Retired judge Eliyahu Winograd said his commission that probed the Israeli failure in the 2006 war on Lebanon, found the war was marked by failures, shortcomings and missed opportunities. "To offer a general summing up, Israel lost an important opportunity. We went to war on our own initiative, it was a long war and it ended without a clear victory in terms of the military objectives. An organization of just a few thousand troops [Hezbollah] managed to hold out against an army that benefited from absolute air supremacy, and major benefits on the technological level," he said.

So now here comes the part two of what can simply be called the Israeli Games in Lebanon; they could not subdue Hezb’Allah through military aggression, thus they must bring the Resistance to its knees politically.

So how does Israel bring forth the political collapse of one of the strongest Resistance groups in the region, one which unashamedly continues to challenge Israeli hegemony? The STL.

Though it is called the Special Tribunal for “Lebanon” it is anything but.

The STL is Israeli aided and US-backed according to none other than Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He has recently acknowledged Israel's "cooperation" with Hariri's tribunal and said that Tel Aviv has been transparent and open to the investigation, Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper reported Friday. He also accused Lebanon's resistance movement of Hezbollah of trying to undermine the tribunal.

In an August speech, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah presented evidence proving that Israel masterminded the assassination. In his televised address, Sayyed Nasrallah presented footage captured by Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), as well as recorded confessions by captured Mossad agents, substantiating that Tel Aviv had been behind the killing.

There is no need to be meek about the role they play in Lebanon. The continuous fly overs Israeli planes conduct over Lebanon, in direct breach of UN Resolution 1701, are not for the sake of wasting precious fuel.

But again, the ignorant parties will continue to boast and the dissenters will remain loyally persistent in their silent crawl forward.

It is often much easier to bite ones tongue in an act of apathetic dismay than to use it in lashing out against a parade of fools.

In this case the same individuals who overwhelmed Lebanon’s political stage with accusation against Syria are now changing their tune, attempting to present to the world another off-key lullaby; changing the suspects but keeping the accusation the same.

Israel adheres to no UN Resolution, nor a single code of law. Israel occupies land which belongs to another people, in both Lebanon and Palestine. Israel has slaughtered the Lebanese and Palestinians en masse, arrogantly and with fear of no legal or moral repercussions.

Yet it is seemingly far-fetched for one to even attempt to accuse Israel of assassinating a Lebanese Premier and 22 others, why?

Israel is not even being investigated by the Special Tribunal for “Lebanon” – why? Because this tribunal is not for the Lebanese, it is not for Lebanon.

The STL is attempting to place the noose around the neck of the Resistance but its attempt will be in vain – any hand which dares to be raised against the Resistance in Lebanon will be “cut off” as Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vehemently states time and time again.

Be it Israel, the STL or any other imperialist force – We bow to no one but God.

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Hariri Tribunal Reports Tell a Different Story than CBC Account

An interesting comment, exposing the contradictions in the CBC report. UNIIIC Reports between 2005 and 2007 confirm that the Red team was "identified at the initial stages of the investigation and that signal analysis was a key technique used by the commission."

Therefore, the CBC claim that the telecommunications work done before late 2007 was performed by the Lebanese police, by a DEAD MAN and not by the UN Commission is baseless. "The UN was working in close cooperation with the Lebanese and not, as Mr. Macdonald’s sources suggest, in isolation from them?"

No surprise, in 2005 the direct target was Syria (the state, not only the regime), which shall lead to disarming Hezbollah either by Carrot ( Political Power)) or by the Stick (July war). The outcome was getting Syria out of Lebanon. Consequently, they shifted to blaim Hezbollah by they have no evidence other than the same telecommunications work.

Back to QN comment:

"This contradiction with the documented historical record undercuts the report’s credibility. It is obviously trying to sell you something. And what I think what it is selling is the linkage between the Red team and HA."

"I speculate that the attack on Wissam Hassan is to undermine the ISF’s work on Israeli spies and Israel’s penetration of the Lebanese telecom network. At Nahass’s conference this week, Wissam Hassan was specifically named as helping out in the investigation of Israel compromising HA phone lines. By labelling him an HA accomplice, the whole Israel angle can be explained away."

"The attack on Bellemare and Brammertz are interesting. Whoever fed Macdonald his information must have felt the indictments are not going to come out, or will fail to name HA members. "

"Thus the report serves to indict HA in the media, regardless of the path the STL takes. The whole ‘Getting Away with Murder’ angle is that HA did it, we know they did it, but here’s why the STL won’t indict them. "

"Is someone nervous?"

In case you missed it:


Hariri Tribunal Reports Tell a Different Story than CBC Account

Posted by Qifa Nabki I spent an hour or so this morning going through previous reports by the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), in order to see how the historical record tallies with Neil Macdonald’s report about the Hariri investigation for CBC.

As you’ll recall, Macdonald makes the following basic points in his piece:
  • The UNIIIC did not begin analyzing telecommunications data until late 2007, because Serge Brammertz (the successor to Detlev Mehlis) refused to authorize this kind of work.
  • When they finally got around to looking at phone records, the investigators happened upon the “earth-shattering” discovery of the so-called “red network”: the group of phones carried by Hariri’s hit squad.
  • As they soon discovered, however, a young Lebanese police captain named Wissam Eid had already discovered this network and the networks behind it as early as the spring of 2006, and submitted a report to the UNIIIC that detailed his findings. Eid’s work pointed to Hizbullah’s complicity in the crime.
  • This report was put into a drawer and did not resurface until the end of 2007, at which point the UNIIIC established contact with Eid. A month later, Eid was dead.
So far so good?

Now, let’s go back to the reports that were issued by the UNIIIC between 2005 and 2007 (a period during which, according to Macdonald’s sources, no telecommunications analysis was carried out by the investigating commission). What we find is a drastically different account of the work that was taking place, and not just under Detlev Mehlis (generally portrayed as an effective investigator) but also under his successor Serge Brammertz (who comes off as timid and incompetent in Macdonald’s account).

The following excerpts are taken from the first eight UNIIIC reports, which cover the tenures of Mehlis and Brammertz. Have a look and let me know what you think:

Mehlis (Syria out)

UNIIIC Report #1 (Mehlis, 22 Oct 2005)

144. Investigations by both the ISF and Military Intelligence have led to six pre-paid calling cards, which telephone records demonstrate were instrumental in the planning of the assassination. Beginning at approximately 1100 hrs on 14 February 2005, cell site records show that cellular telephones utilizing these six calling cards were located in the area stretching from the Nejmeh Square to the St. George Hotel, within a few-block radius and made numerous calls with each other and only with each other. The phones were situated so that they covered every route linking the Parliament to Kuraytem Palace: that is, cellsite records demonstrate that these telephones were placed to cover any route that Hariri would have taken that day. One of the cellphones located near the Parliament made four calls with the other telephone lines at 1253 hrs — the time that Mr. Hariri’s convoy left the Nejmeh Square . The calls — and all usage on the cards — terminated at 1253 hrs on 14 February, a few minutes before the blast. The lines have all been inactive since.

145. Further investigation has revealed that these six lines — along with two others — were put into circulation on the 4 January 2005, after calling number 1456 activated them. They were all activated at the same location in northern Lebanon between Terbol and Menyeh. Since they were first purchased in early January 2005, until the time of the explosion, the lines only had calls with each other. In that time period, until the assassination, there appears to be a correlation between their location and Hariri’s movements, suggesting that they might have been used to follow Hariri’s movements in that time period.

UNIIIC Report #2 (Mehlis, 12 Dec 2005)

65. As previously noted (see S/2005/662, para. 192), telephone analysis has been a central aspect of the present investigation. Since October 2005, the Commission has concentrated on organizing the telephone data received into manageable databases so that it can be more easily accessible for future analysis. That process has involved compiling over 400,000 records from 195 different files (based on requests for telecommunications data) into one central database. Another database contains over 97 million telecommunications records of all the calls in Lebanon between 7 and 21 February 2005. Those two databases will permit a standardized search of any relevant telephone number and its contacts in an efficient manner which will facilitate future telephone analysis projects.

73. The Commission has not had time, in the short period available since the end of October 2005, to investigate meaningfully the following issues that were raised in the previous report: … Identification, location and further contacts related to the ring of prepaid telephone cards, including eight significant telephone numbers and 10 mobile telephones, which are believed to have been used to organize surveillance of Mr. Hariri and carry out the assassination (see S/2005/662, paras. 121 and 148-152).

UNIIIC Report #4 (Brammertz, 10 June 2006)

51. Communications analysis is a major task, with the collection of up to 5 billion records by the Commission currently under way. All must be sifted, sorted, collated and analysed. This work is painstaking in its depth, with any linkage established almost exponentially generating further linkages. The Commission has devoted a project team of analysts and investigators to this task and is acquiring specialized software and hardware to accommodate the project requirements. Such traffic analysis work requires focus. Hence, the Commission is concentrating on the immediacy of the Hariri case and closely associated links with the operation and other relevant issues, and the results of this work are continuously integrated into the broader case components.

52. The traffic and intercept analysis has expanded beyond the immediate utilization of the six subscriber identity module (SIM) cards, referred to in the Commission’s previous reports, on the day of the attack. Complex linkages, associated calls and geographic locations of a broader time period are being scrutinized and added to the overall investigation findings. The communications currently under analysis also have an international dimension, although the Commission is not in a position to make final conclusions about the significance of such calls at this stage.

UNIIIC Report #5: (Brammertz, 25 Sept 2006)

39. The Commission has devoted considerable resources to the analysis and investigation of the communications traffic aspects of the case. This topic has yielded important results, and enables the Commission to establish links that otherwise would not be evident. Much of the work is reactive in nature. However, some of the analytical work is also proactive and speculative, and builds upon known facts and develops investigation themes. It has elicited a number of leads and continues to provide the Commission with better understanding of the communications linkages relevant to the crimes.

40. The links that are being established through the communications work demonstrate a complex network of telecommunications traffic between a large number of relevant individuals, sometimes through intermediary telephone numbers or locations and sometimes directly. A series of investigation leads has been developed as a result of these analyses, which the Commission regards as a priority. Much painstaking work is required to track down each individual connection or link and exempt it from the enquiries or continue with it as a working lead. Similarly, the Commission understands better the preparatory aspects of the attack through its communications analysis; this work remains ongoing in conjunction with timeline analyses, and is one of a number of areas where comparative analysis with the 14 other cases is being pursued. For example, knowledge of the activities of the six subscriber identity module (SIM) card holders who are alleged to have been part of the bombing team, both geographically and in communications terms, has become clearer and more detailed.

41. The Commission has also developed direct and indirect linkages between significant individuals in disparate groups that are relevant from an investigative perspective. Explanations for these linkages are in some cases not immediately apparent, and the Commission is working to understand their relevance to the crime itself, to those potentially linked to it and to other individuals.

42. The international dimension of the communications analysis continues to provide investigative leads, as the Commission develops its knowledge of the complexities of international call routing and receives responses to its requests from States where telephone call traffic has been traced. To date the Commission has engaged 17 States in this aspect of its work, and has received considerable assistance and responses from a number of them.

43. The relevant communications links emanating from within Lebanon or outside the country of those individuals whom the Commission wishes to interview and/or continues to investigate are being systematically reviewed, and the results are providing further investigative leads.

UNIIIC Report #6 (Brammertz, 12 Dec 2006)

43. The Commission has conducted seven interviews in connection with the alleged bombing team and their use of six telephones to communicate on the day of the attack and in the days leading up to it. These interviews have provided new leads that are currently being pursued and will lead to more interviews in the next reporting period. Analysis of the use of other associated subscriber identity module (SIM) cards is also ongoing.

44. The location of the telephones when used and the purposes for which some of the linking numbers were used have revealed the high degree of security-aware behaviour exhibited by the individuals under investigation. Some persons used multiple mobile cellular telephones during a short period of time or registered telephones using aliases. While such compartmentalization of telephone usage makes analysis more complex, it helps to provide an understanding of the modus operandi of the perpetrators.

45. During the reporting period, communications traffic analysis has continued in support of the other investigative projects. This work consists of preparation for interviews of key persons and preparing specific reports on communications between selected individuals. For the purpose of preparation of interviews, data relating to the different telephones used by the interviewee during a certain period of interest are gathered and organized into an exploitable electronic format. The analysis then focuses on the personal contacts and communications links of the interviewee, the use of intermediaries and the frequency, timing, type, duration and location of the calls, as well as international call activity.

UNIIIC Report #7 (Brammertz, 15 Mar 2007)

34. The Commission’s analysis of communications traffic continues in order to support and validate different points arising from the investigations. Much work has been done to support the interviews conducted, in order that respective communications contact with other persons of interest to the case can be discussed with witnesses. Patterns of communications traffic, including frequencies and timings of calls, and linkages and clear associations to others, are all developed and elicit investigation leads.

35. In relation to the six mobile cellular telephone SIM cards allegedly used by the team that executed the operation on the day of 14 February 2005, the Commission has developed further information of interest relating to associated earlier operations, including possible surveillance and reconnaissance activity, possible practice-runs or earlier attempts to kill Rafik Hariri, and other actions undertaken by the team. New areas of interest have emerged from this analysis and are currently being examined.

36. The Commission has also undertaken an investigative project examining the role of the persons using the six SIM cards and activities that can be inferred from their use. This exercise is supported by the Commission’s existing communications traffic analysis projects in relation to the cards. The objective is fourfold: first, to reaffirm the validity of the hypothesis that the cards could indeed have been used by the bomb team to execute its task; second, to establish whether other modes of communication must have been used between the members of the team, and also perhaps with other individuals, in order for the attack to take place; third, to allow the Commission to establish a better understanding of how the crime was committed on 14 February; and finally, to understand further what other activity the bomb team undertook, and what locations it travelled to and why, in the days leading up to the attack.
37. Such extensive analysis enables the Commission to reach a better understanding of the bomb team, its role in the crime and its other activities. This in turn creates further investigative leads geographically and temporally, and pointing to the activities of individuals outside the immediate bombing team the Commission believes were using the six SIM cards.

38. This detailed examination of the activities of the six SIM cards has resulted in a number of significant elements for ongoing investigation. These include, but are not limited to: potential identification of the role of each participant in the preparation, planning, surveillance and actual attack; the bombing team’s anticipation of Hariri’s activities and movements; and possible earlier attempts on Hariri’s life.

39. One working hypothesis is that the bomb team had to ensure that Hariri was indeed dead after the explosion in order for the video claim of responsibility to be delivered and to have resonance with its intended audience. It is possible that the team, and those commissioning the crime, could not afford to deliver a claim of responsibility to the global media if Hariri had survived the attack. Thus, the Commission is exploring the hypothesis that one member of the team, or an associate, was tasked with confirming the death of the principal target as soon as possible and may have contacted someone waiting for the news. Based on existing information, the time frame for this activity would have been within approximately 45 minutes of the explosion.

40. This in turn led to the series of events related to the taped claim of responsibility and the subsequent telephone calls made to media outlets. The Commission is examining the hypothesis that one or more members of the bomb team was responsible for delivering the tape and making the subsequent telephone calls to the media. Other variations on this hypothesis are being explored to establish the numbers of perpetrators who may have been involved on the day of the attack.

UNIIIC Report #8 (Brammertz, 12 Jul 2007)

41. The Commission has consolidated its sizeable holdings of call records, communications data and analyses related to specific time periods, institutions and individuals of relevance to the Hariri investigation. Since its inception, the Commission has acquired more than 5 billion records of telephone calls and text messages sent through cellular phones in Lebanon, as well as communications data from a number of other countries. The Commission has also acquired a very large number of detailed subscriber call records. Since 2005, the Commission has issued more than 300 requests for assistance to support its communications analysis related to the Hariri investigation.

42. The Commission’s communications analysis provides valuable input to the investigations in establishing links between individuals, analysing the behaviour and activity of a number of persons of interest to the investigations and analysing call patterns for specific numbers, times and locations. It is also a very valuable resource in preparing for witness interviews. Given the proven investigative value and potential of communications analysis, the Commission has recently sought outside expertise to help exploit its communications data holdings and analysis. The Commission has also recently acquired new hardware and software, which will allow it to conduct more comprehensive data searches.

43. On the basis of the consolidation exercise, the Commission has confirmed and advanced its earlier conclusions that individuals using six mobile cellular telephone SIM cards acted in a coordinated manner to conduct surveillance on Rafik Hariri in the weeks prior to his assassination. A detailed analysis of the use of these cards on the day of the assassination indicates that these individuals played a critical role in the planning and execution of the attack itself, as demonstrated by their movements and call patterns. The Commission has established the origins of the SIM cards and is finalizing its understanding of the circumstances around the sale of the cards and a number of handsets to the individuals who made use of them in the surveillance of Rafik Hariri. A number of interviews were held during the reporting period to advance this line of inquiry.

46. The Commission has also been focusing on establishing horizontal and vertical links between individuals linked to the crime scene and those who may have been involved in the preparation of the attack or may have had prior knowledge of the attack through the analysis of telephone communications. Several telephone numbers have been identified and scrutinized as a result of this line of inquiry.

So, what do you think?

Does this look like the work of an investigating commission that was not engaged in telecommunications analysis?

When I asked Mr. Macdonald about the discrepancies between the statements of his sources and the first Mehlis report, he insisted that all of the telecommunications work done before late 2007 was performed by the Lebanese police and not by the UN Commission. He added that the UNIIIC was “generally aware” of the work being done by the Lebanese, but that “actual telecomms analysis by the commission itself, as I reported, was not authorized until late 2007.”

As others have already noted, this simply does not add up, and the above survey of the UNIIIC reports confirms the contradictions in the CBC account. Even if we accept the testimony of Mr. Macdonald’s sources and assume for a moment that all of the discussions in the UNIIIC reports about communications analysis prior to late 2007 were just made up, how does this explain the suggestion that the discovery of the red network by the UNIIIC was “earth-shattering”?

After all, they had already discussed this network in eight different reports from 2005-2007! And the network was not just discussed under Mehlis. Brammertz devotes pages to the discussion of how the UNIIIC was trying to develop its lead vis-à-vis the red network.

But let’s also assume, just to give Mr. Macdonald’s sources the benefit of the doubt, that it was not the UNIIIC that was investigating the communications traffic, but rather the Lebanese police. How does one then explain how the UNIIIC became privy to the work that the Lebanese were doing (so as to be able to mention it in the eight reports between 2005-07), unless of course the UN was working in close cooperation with the Lebanese and not, as Mr. Macdonald’s sources suggest, in isolation from them?

I will endeavor to get a response from CBC about these questions. Stay tuned.
Update 1:

Buried in the comment section of the last post is this gem from RedLeb, who basically says exactly what I said in this post (and much more), but more succinctly. I reproduce his comment in full below:

“It is not enough for Macdonald to say that ‘Mehlis was aware of the ISF’s early telecomms work’. Macdonald’s report, especially the video, emphatically makes the claim that the commission only identified the Red team late in Brammertz’s tenure, and only after much prodding.

However, the commission’s reports are clear that the Red team was identified at the initial stages of the investigation and that signal analysis was a key technique used by the commission.
This contradiction with the documented historical record undercuts the report’s credibility. It is obviously trying to sell you something. And what I think what it is selling is the linkage between the Red team and HA.

The Red team stands out in any signal analysis. It is a closed network, located at the scene of the crime, and ceased to exist immediately after the assassination. By focusing on the slam dunk part of the Eid’s analysis, we are asked to adopt the further linkage of the Red Team to HA.

What is that linkage?

Did someone on the Yellow team call the Hospital and then someone at the Hospital call a government issued HA phone line?

How about if an Israeli agent calls someone at AUH, and then someone at AUH calls AUB? Can I then claim the Dean of AUB is an Israeli spy?

And this whole ‘mathematical genius’ spin. It just sounds like a way to cater to the Leb ego so as to distract our suspicions. Tell me Eid used some special software. Tell me he set up a database. Hell, tell me wrote a computer algorithm to do signal analysis. I will believe you. But a super-mathematical genius who could ‘intuit mathematical patterns’? No. Just… no.

I speculate that the attack on Wissam Hassan is to undermine the ISF’s work on Israeli spies and Israel’s penetration of the Lebanese telecom network. At Nahass’s conference this week, Wissam Hassan was specifically named as helping out in the investigation of Israel compromising HA phone lines. By labelling him an HA accomplice, the whole Israel angle can be explained away.
The attack on Bellemare and Brammertz are interesting. Whoever fed Macdonald his information must have felt the indictments are not going to come out, or will fail to name HA members.

Thus the report serves to indict HA in the media, regardless of the path the STL takes. The whole ‘Getting Away with Murder’ angle is that HA did it, we know they did it, but here’s why the STL won’t indict them.

Is someone nervous?

I think the only factual we get out of the whole report was from Bellemare’s press release in which he stated he is working on the draft of the indictment. So we know that’s coming sooner than later.”
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Egypt FM: Iran Should Keep out of Arab States’ Affairs - Hariri on Eve of Tehran Visit: Iran Involved in Lebanon’s Stability Efforts

26/11/2010 “Iran should keep out of the internal affairs of Arab countries in the Gulf and not meddle in Iraq and Lebanon. Iranian interventions in the internal affairs of the Gulf must not be allowed," Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit told Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq.

"We say to our brothers in Iran ... Iraq must be left alone and Lebanon must be left alone. And Iran should not intrude in Bahrain in any way," said Abul Gheit. "The security of Gulf countries comes first, and Egypt gives it much of its attention," said the minister, who accompanied President Hosni Mubarak on a Doha visit which ended on Thursday.

Abul Gheit also called for a diplomatic solution between Iran and the international community on its nuclear program. "Egypt is aware and knows that Iran has a problem with the Western world," he said. "The settlement of Western-Iranian problems must be achieved via diplomatic and political means, away from military action and war."

In September, Mubarak warned of "new dangers that are emerging in the Gulf region and threaten its stability," in an apparent allusion to Iran.

Hariri on Eve of Tehran Visit: Iran Involved in Lebanon’s Stability Efforts

26/11/2010 Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on the eve of his Tehran trip Friday that Iran is involved in efforts to ensure stability in Lebanon. "Attempts to destabilize any country of the region is a threat to both the interests of Arabs and Iran at the same time," Hariri told Iran's news agency, IRNA.

He said Iran was "involved in efforts to ensure stability in all countries of the region, including Lebanon, which looks positively toward Syrian and Saudi efforts to strengthen Lebanon stability."

Hariri described as "historic" the ties between Iran and Lebanon. On political ties, however, Hariri said Lebanon looks forward to a "relationship between two countries that respect each other's sovereignty and interests."

In response to a question about his father's assassination, Hariri said he never accused Hezbollah of involvement.

In the meantime, Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghadanfar Roken Abadi said that the Lebanese people will sense positive repercussions in their country following Saturday’s visit of Hariri to Tehran.

According to NOW Lebanon’s correspondent, Abadi told reporters while he was heading to Tehran that Hariri’s visit to Iran is significant. He also said that Iran is not sided with one Lebanese party against another

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Friday, 26 November 2010

Jewish/Zionist Terrorism: A Continuing Threat to Peace -pumped


Allan C. Brownfeld is a syndicated columnist, associate editor of The Lincoln Review and the editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism. He is a contributing editor to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and is a former staff member of the US Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. 

ll too often, when terrorism in the Middle East is discussed, it is that perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists and Palestinian groups unwilling to achieve some form of reconciliation with Israel. That such terrorism has been a dangerous and often deadly phenomenon is, of course, clear to all. It remains a serious threat, not only to Israel but also to the United States, other Western targets and Arab governments which some Islamic groups bitterly oppose and seek to overthrow.

Often under-reported, and also a serious threat to the prospects of peace in the Middle East, is Jewish/Zionist terrorism, which has a long but less well-known history.

The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel on 4 November 1995 by an ultra-Orthodox religious zealot, Yigal Amir, brought the world of Israel’s religious extremists under public scrutiny. The assassin was not a lone psychotic gunman, but a young man nurtured within Israel’s far-right religious institutions. After the murder, he was hailed as a hero by many, not only in Israel but also by kindred spirits in the United States.

Two weeks before the assassination, Victor Cygielman, Tel Aviv correspondent of the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, wrote an article describing the visceral hostility towards Rabin among certain groups of Israeli Jews. He told of a ceremony in which religious fundamentalists had stood outside Rabin’s house on the eve of Yom Kippur and intoned the mystical Pulsa da-nura, a kabbalistic curse of death. He wrote of rabbis who invoked against Rabin the talmudic concept of din rodef, the death sentence pronounced on a Jewish traitor. Cygielman also cited the handbill passed out at a mass demonstration in Jerusalem on 5 October 1995 showing Rabin in an SS uniform. “The stage was set for the murder of the prime minister,” he said. Technical problems delayed the publication of Cygielman’s piece until Thursday, 2 November, just two days before Rabin’s assassination.1

The Divine Promise

In their study of the Rabin assassination, Michael Karpin and Ina Friedman note that Yigal Amir believes

there is only one guideline for fixing the borders of the Land of Israel: the Divine Promise made to the Patriarch Abraham: “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:17). Today these borders embrace most of the Middle East, from Egypt to Iraq … zealots read this passage as God’s Will, and God’s Will must be obeyed, whatever the cost. No mortal has the right to settle for borders any narrower than these. Thus negotiating a peace settlement with Israel’s neighbors is unthinkable.2

Among those activists Amir holds in high esteem is Baruch Goldstein, the physician from the settlement of Kiryat Arba adjoining Hebron, who gunned down twenty-nine Palestinians at morning prayer in the Cave of the Patriarchs on 25 February 1994. Among the ideologues Amir especially admires is Noam Livnat of the Od Yosef Chai (Joseph Still Lives) religious school or yeshiva in Nablus. The yeshiva’s patron, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, repeatedly expressed a doctrine of racism, declaring that “Jewish blood and Gentile blood are not the same”. He defended the act of one of the yeshiva’s students who opened fire indiscriminately on Arab labourers standing alongside a highway near Tel Aviv in 1993 and he subsequently lauded Baruch Goldstein for massacring Arabs in Hebron. Ginzburg explains that he differentiates between the murder of a Gentile and that of a Jew because the Torah places a “light prohibition” on the former and a “grave” one on the latter.

The case of Goldstein highlights the connection between Jewish extremism in the United States and in Israel. Goldstein, a militant Zionist from New York, had been a member of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), founded in May 1968 in New York City by the late Meir Kahane, who urged his followers to emigrate to Israel and called for the removal of all Arabs from the West Bank. After the mass murder at Hebron, Goldstein was viewed as a hero by many of the Israeli settlers. At his funeral, Rabbi Yaacov Perrin declared that “one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail”. Shmuel Hacohen, a teacher in a Jerusalem college, said: “Baruch Goldstein was the greatest Jew alive, not in one way but in every way … There are no innocent Arabs here … He was no crazy … Killing isn’t nice, but sometimes it is necessary.”

The JDL’s stated goal was to combat anti-Semitism and to support agencies of government charged with the responsibility for maintaining law and order. Its street patrols soon gave way to violence and vandalism. By January 1972, the JDL chose to attack eighty-three-year-old Jewish impresario Sol Hurok, who was completing preparations for the première of a Russian balalaika troupe. They bombed Hurok’s building in mid-town Manhattan and Iris Kones, a twenty-seven-year-old Jewish woman who worked in accounting, was killed.

The ostensible aim of the JDL campaign was to call attention to the 2.1 million Jews living in the Soviet Union. Author Donald Neff notes that

Unknown to the public was the fact that the anti-Soviet actions were being orchestrated by several militant Israelis, including the Mossad spy agency; Yitzhak Shamir, later Israel’s prime minister, and Guelah Cohen, a leader of the extremist Tehiya Party and member of the Knesset. The Israelis persuaded Kahane to wage the anti-Soviet campaign. The goal was to strain U.S.-Soviet relations, calculating Moscow would ease the strain by allowing increased numbers of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel.3

A 1985 Federal Bureau of Investigation study of terrorist acts in the United States since 1981 found eighteen incidents initiated by Jews, fifteen of which were by the JDL. In a 1986 study of domestic terrorism, the US Department of Energy concluded: “For more than a decade, the JDL has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States … Since 1968, JDL operations have killed 7 persons and wounded at least 22.”

In 1985, Alex Odeh, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee (ADC) in Santa Ana, California, was killed by a bomb planted at his office. Donald Neff writes that

Odeh had appeared the previous night on a television show and called Yasser Arafat “a man of peace.” The JDL praised the bombing but denied involvement, its usual practice in such incidents. One of the suspects was Robert Manning … a JDL member. He and his wife, Rochelle, moved to Israel, where he joined the Israel Defense Forces. F.B.I. agents said Manning and others were also suspected of being involved in a year-long series of violent incidents in 1985 … Israeli police finally arrested the Mannings on March 24, 1991. Although strongly suspected in the Odeh murder, they were charged in a separate suit involving the 1980 letter-bomb murder of California secretary Patricia Wilkerson … Robert Manning was eventually extradited to the U.S. on July 18, 1993, and was found guilty on October 14, 1993 … He was sentenced to life in prison.4

The Influence of Kahane

Meir Kahane moved to Israel in 1971 and by 1984 was popular enough to win a seat in the Knesset under the banner of his Kach Party. He developed legislation for “The Prevention of Assimilation between Jews and Non-Jews and for the Sanctity of the Jewish People”. Among the provisions it demanded were separate beaches for Jews and non-Jews and an end to mixed summer camps and community centres. Kahane’s legislation declared that “Jews are forbidden to marry non-Jews … mixed marriages will not be recognized even if recognized in the countries in which they were held … Jews are forbidden to have sexual relations of any sort with non-Jews … Transgressors will be punished with two years’ imprisonment.”

A member of the Knesset from the Likud Party, Michael Eitan, likened Kahane’s proposed legislation to the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws enacted in Nazi Germany on 15 September 1935, the “Reich Citizenship Law” and the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour”.

In his study of Israeli fratricidal violence, Ehud Sprinzak of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem describes how Kahane celebrated winning his Knesset seat in 1984:

A day after the elections, Kahane and his supporters held a victory parade to Old Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Marching defiantly through the Arab section of the Old City, Kahane’s followers smashed through the market, overturning vegetable stalls, attacking bystanders … and telling frightened residents that the end of their stay in the Holy Land was near.5

A new Jewish subculture of violence was rapidly growing in Israel. On 27 April 1984, another event shook the country. A plot was uncovered to blow up five buses full of Arab passengers during the rush hour. Within days, twenty-seven suspected members of an anti-Arab terrorist group were arrested. Soon it was learned that suspects had been responsible for an unsolved 1980 terror bombing in which two West Bank Arab mayors were crippled and three others saved only because of a last-minute failure to booby-trap their cars. Several members of the group also admitted responsibility for numerous acts of anti-Arab terrorism, including a 1983 attack on the Islamic College in Hebron that killed three students and wounded thirty-three.6

The emergence of the militant Jewish settler movement Gush Emunim on the occupied West Bank slowly revealed a new philosophy of messianism and fundamentalism which fuelled much of the terror. Traditionally, Jews believed that the messiah could come only through the single meta-historical appearance of an individual redeemer. Now, holy and redemptive status was given to the secular state of Israel. Israel’s victory in the 1967 June war led many to believe they were living in a messianic age. Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook became a leader of the fundamentalist movement. He defined the state of Israel as the Halakhic (Jewish law) Kingdom of Israel, and the Kingdom of Israel as the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Every Jew living in Israel was holy.

Eretz Israel

Ehud Sprinzak explains that “the single most important conclusion of the new theology had to do with Eretz Israel, the land of Israel”:

The land—every grain of its soil—was declared holy in a fundamental sense. The conquered territories of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] had become inalienable and nonnegotiable, not as a result of political or security concern but because God had promised them to Abraham four thousand years earlier, and because the identity of the nation was shaped by this promise. Redemption could take place only in the context of greater Eretz Israel, and territorial withdrawal meant forfeiting redemption.7

The most extreme reaction to the September 1978 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt can be seen in the establishment of the “Jewish underground”. Originally, it was considered an ad hoc terror team whose purpose was to avenge terrorism by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. But the chief item on its initial agenda was blowing up what it called “the abomination”—Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, one of Islam’s holiest shrines and believed to be located almost exactly on the site of the Jewish Temple that was destroyed nearly two thousand years ago.

The idea of blowing up the Dome of the Rock was raised by two fundamentalist religious Zionists, Yeshua Ben Shoshan and Yehuda Etzion. They sought the restoration of the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the building of the Third Temple, both these goals necessitating destruction of the Dome of the Rock. In 1980, Etzion convened a secret meeting at which the operation was spelled out in great detail. The group had the necessary technical expertise to carry out their plan. But they felt obliged to suspend it because they could not find a rabbi willing to bless their venture. It was only after the arrest in 1984 of Etzion and other Jewish underground members in connection with the attempt to blow up the five Arab buses that the Dome of the Rock plot was discovered. Had it been effected, the consequences would have been catastrophic—at the very least, a war between Israel and a Muslim world united in outrage, with the additional danger of a US–Soviet nuclear confrontation as the superpowers backed their respective clients in the Middle East conflict.

Hatred of Gentiles

Contempt for non-Jews is inherent in the Zionist terrorist mindset, as evinced by Yehuda Etzion: “For the Gentiles, life is mainly a life of existence, while ours is a life of destiny, the life of a kingdom of priests and a holy people. We exist in the world in order to actualize destiny.”8

With contempt goes hostility. Rabbi Kahane openly sought revenge against Gentiles for centuries of anti-Semitic persecution:

A Jewish fist in the face of an astonished Gentile world that had not seen it for two millennia, this is Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of the name of God). Jewish dominion over the Christian holy places while the Church that sucked our blood vomits its rage and frustration. This is Kiddush Hashem. A Jewish Air Force that is better than any other and that forces a Lebanese airliner down so that we can imprison murderers of Jews rather than having to repeat the centuries-old pattern of begging the Gentile world to do it for us. This is Kiddush Hashem.9

Kahane concluded that “Jewish violence in defense of Jewish interests is never bad”. He urged the expulsion of Israel’s Arab citizens and of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Baruch Goldstein was a personal student of Kahane, in 1983 being placed by him as a third candidate on Kach’s Knesset list. After the Oslo Accords, which he perceived as a disaster for Israel, Goldstein came to believe that only an extreme act of Kiddush Hashem could return the Jewish state to the path of its messianic destiny.10 The result was the Hebron massacre.

Demonising Rabin

In what is perhaps the landmark example of Jewish terrorism in Israel, the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, all of the various ultra-nationalist elements and philosophies came into play. According to Sprinzak, Rabin’s assassination did not take place in a vacuum. Although Amir acted alone, his act should be viewed as the culmination of a process of delegitimation of the Israeli government by Israel’s ultra-nationalists. The 1993 Oslo Accords triggered the renewed radicalisation of the right, but “the final countdown to the assassination had begun in the aftermath of the 1994 Hebron massacre”.11

When Rabin held office, the ultra-Orthodox weekly Hashavna (“The Week”) was used by its publisher Asher Zuckerman to wage a vicious crusade against the prime minister. The magazine regularly called Rabin “a Kapo”, “an anti-Semite” and “a pathological liar”. The weekly, which is read by close to 20 per cent of the ultra-Orthodox community, published a symposium on the question of whether Rabin deserved to die and on the appropriate means of executing him. By the critical summer of 1995, Hashavna went so far as to charge that Rabin and his foreign minister, Shimon Peres, were “leading the state and its citizens to annihilation and must be placed before a firing squad”.12

A group of Orthodox rabbis gave religious sanction to the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. These rabbis, both in Israel and abroad, revived two obsolete concepts—din rodef (the duty to kill a Jew who imperils the life and property of another Jew) and din moser (the duty to eliminate a Jew who intends to turn in another Jew to non-Jewish authorities). By relinquishing rule over parts of the biblical Land of Israel to the Palestinian authorities, these rabbis argued, the head of the Israeli government had become a moser (informer, collaborator with Gentiles). They thus effectively declared Rabin a legitimate target for Jewish extremists.13

In a meeting with Samuel Hollander, Israel’s Orthodox cabinet secretary who visited New York over the High Holy Days in 1995, a group of rabbis told the stunned official that his boss was a moser and rodef. Rabbi Abraham Hecht, the head of New York City’s large Sharei Zion synagogue, did not hesitate to say in public what many of his colleagues had been saying privately. In a 9 October 1995 interview with New York magazine, he maintained, “Rabin is not a Jew any longer ... [A]ccording to Jewish law, any one person ... who wilfully, consciously, intentionally hands over human bodies or human property or the human wealth of the Jewish people to an alien people is guilty of the sin for which the penalty is death. And according to Maimonides ... it says very clearly, if a man kills him, he has done a good deed.

In 1995, the Purim holiday was an occasion for a special radical right ceremony, the anniversary of the Hebron massacre and the death of Goldstein. A Goldstein cult had emerged and his memory became the rallying point of the disbanded Kahane movement. A 550-page edited memorial was published in March 1995, the Hebrew title of which translates as Baruch, the Man: A Memorial Volume for Dr Baruch Goldstein, the Saint. May God Avenge His Blood. Edited by Michael Ben Horin, a Golan settler, the major theme of the book was conceived by Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, head of the radical Tomb of Yoseph yeshiva in Nablus. Ginzburg made headlines in 1988 by providing Halakhic support for several of his students who had unilaterally shot Palestinian civilians. It was fully legitimate, he declared, to kill non-combatant Palestinians. Goldstein, he believed, was not a criminal and mass murderer but a man of piety and deep religious conviction. Ginzburg wrote: “About the value of Israel’s life, it simply seems that the life of Israel is worth more than the life of the Gentile and even if the Gentile does not intend to hurt Israel it is permissible to hurt him in order to save Israel.” He called the Hebron massacre “a shining moment”.14

Amir, Rabin’s assassin, avidly read Baruch Hagever. He explained the assassination to his interrogators by saying that, “If not for a Halakhic ruling of din rodef, made against Rabin by a few rabbis I knew about, it would have been very difficult for me to murder. Such a murder must be backed up. If I did not get the backing and I had not been representing many more people, I would not have acted.”15

A Long Tradition

Zionist terrorism is hardly a new phenomenon. The history of pre-Israel Palestine gives ample evidence of the terrorist mindset of many Zionist activists, a mindset that produced acts of violence which took the lives of fellow Jews, Arabs and others who involved themselves in the political debates over the creation of Israel. Consider some of the major examples:

· In 1933, Chaim Arlosoroff, a young Labour politician seemingly destined to be the first prime minister of the future Jewish state, was shot dead while walking on Tel Aviv beach. His murder came at the height of a campaign of personal denunciation conducted by a small group of right-wing Zionists known as B’rith Habirionim (“Covenant of Terrorists”: the original “Habirionim” had been vigilantes who targeted collaborators during the Jewish revolt against ancient Rome). Arlosoroff attracted the wrath of the extreme right because of his attempts to negotiate with Nazi Germany freedom for wealthy German Jews to leave with their money provided they used it to buy German goods and bring them to Palestine. The murder was never proved in court, but it blackened the image of the Revisionist movement, causing it widely to be seen as fascist and terrorist.

· During the darkest days of the Second World War, when Great Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, Lehi (Israel’s Freedom Fighters), launched in 1940 by Abraham Stern, fought the British. When all other Jewish groups in Palestine declared a cease-fire with the British and prayed that the Allied forces would survive the 1940–2 Nazi offensive, Lehi fighters planted bombs in British installations and killed British soldiers. Their leaders even sent messages of support to the Nazis and offered their co-operation in the future Nazi world order.

· On 6 November 1944, Lehi members murdered in Cairo Lord Moyne, a member of the British war cabinet who served as state minister for the Middle East. The reason for his murder? He was thought to be responsible for blocking the entrance to Palestine of Jewish refugees.

· On 22 July 1946, members of the Zionist terror group Irgun blew up Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, which served as the headquarters of the British administration in Palestine. More than eighty civilians were killed, including many Jews.

· On 9 April 1948, the Irgun and Lehi launched an attack on the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Situated in the hills on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Deir Yassin was of no immediate threat to the Zionist forces. Its residents were considered passive, and its leaders had agreed with those of an adjacent Jewish neighbourhood, Givat Shaul, that each side would prevent its own people from attacking the other. It was the Muslim Sabbath when the attack by the Irgun and Lehi, with the reluctant acquiescence of the mainstream Jewish defence organisation, the Haganah, took place. All the inhabitants of the village were ordered out into a square, where they were lined up against the wall and shot. More than one hundred civilians were killed. News of the massacre spread rapidly and helped prompt a panic flight of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from their homes.

Most of the victims of the Deir Yassin massacre were women, children and older people. The men of the village were absent because they worked in Jerusalem. Irgun leader Menachem Begin issued this euphoric message to his troops after the attack: “Accept my congratulations on this splendid act of conquest … As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou hast chosen us for conquest.”

David Shipler, Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times from 1979 to 1984, reports that

The Jewish fighters who planned the attack on Deir Yassin also had a larger purpose, apparently. A Jerusalem woman and her son, who gave some of the men coffee in the pre-dawn hours before their mission, recall the guerrillas’ talking excitedly of the prospect of terrifying Arabs far beyond the village of Deir Yassin so that they would run away. Perhaps this explains why the Jewish guerrillas did not bury the Arabs they had killed, but left their bodies to be seen, and why they paraded surviving prisoners, blindfolded and with hands bound, in the backs of trucks though the streets of Jerusalem, a scene still remembered with a shudder by Jews who saw it.16

· There were other massacres of Arabs. One occurred on 29 October 1956, the eve of Israel’s Suez campaign, when the army ordered all Israeli-Arab villages near the Jordanian border to be placed under a wartime curfew that was to run from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next day. Any Arab on the streets would be shot. No arrests were to be made. But the order was given to Israeli border police units only at 3:30 p.m., without time to communicate it to the Arabs affected, many of whom were at work or in their fields. In Kfar Kassem, Israeli border troops took up positions at various points and slaughtered villagers as they came home, unaware that a curfew had been imposed. The troops fired into one truck carrying fourteen women and four men. Villagers were hauled out of trucks, lined up and shot. In all, forty-seven Arabs, all of them Israeli citizens, were killed during the early hours of the curfew at Kfar Kassem. Lance Corporal Shalom Ofer, deputy squad leader, ordered that all women and children be shot repeatedly until none remained alive.

Messianic Zionism

There is too little understanding of the nature of the Jewish religious extremism which continues to be so much a part of Israel’s political life. In his recently published study of the similarities between terrorist groups motivated by religion, be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh, Mark Juergensmeyer of the University of California reports on a conversation he had with Yoel Lerner, an activist leader who served time in prison for his part in the attempt to blow up the Dome of the Rock:

Yoel Lerner … believes in a form of Messianic Zionism. In his view the prophesied Messiah will come to earth only after the temple is rebuilt and made ready for him … the issue of the temple was not only a matter of cultural nostalgia but also one of pressing religious importance … In Lerner’s view the redemption of the whole world depends upon the actions of Jews in creating the conditions necessary for messianic salvation … He … told me that there had been a great deal of discussion in the months before Rabin’s death about the religious justification for the political assassination—or “execution,” as Lerner called it—of Jewish leaders who were felt to be dangerously irresponsible and were de facto enemies of Judaism. Thus it was “no surprise” to Lerner that someone like Yigal Amir was successful in killing Rabin. The only thing that puzzled him, he said, was that “no one had done it earlier.”17

The growth in Israel of a form of “messianic Zionism” makes control over all of the biblical Land of Israel a religious mandate. According to Rabbi Yitzhak Kook, the chief rabbi of pre-Israel Palestine, the secular state of Israel is the precursor of the religious Israel to come. Juergensmeyer points out that

This messianic Zionism was greatly enhanced by Israel’s successes in the 1967 Six-Day War … Jewish nationalists impressed with K[ook]’s theology felt strongly that history was quickly leading to the moment of divine redemption and the re-creation of the biblical state of Israel.

Kahane deviated from K[ook]’s version of messianic Zionism in that he saw nothing of religious significance in the establishment of a secular Jewish state. According to Kahane, the true creation of a religious Israel was yet to come … [H]owever, he felt that … he and his partisans could help bring about this messianic act. This is where Kahane’s notion of kiddush ha-Shem was vital: insofar as Jews were exalted and their enemies humiliated, God was glorified and the Messiah’s coming was more likely.18

Jewish extremists, according to Juergensmeyer, are convinced that their violent acts have been authorised as weapons in a “divine warfare sanctioned by God”. Goldstein’s massacre in Hebron in 1994 was thus described as a military act.

New Terrorist Threats

The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported in June 2000 that “threatening letters arrive regularly at the premier’s office. One recently sent anonymously to Moledet Knesset Member Benny Elon read, ‘To the best of my judgement, one should prepare a shelf plan to assassinate Ehud Barak. Just like the Oslo Accord process was slowed down after the annihilation of Yitzhak Rabin, one can prevent withdrawal in the Golan by annihilating Ehud Barak.’ Settler preparations for the ‘final battle’ are strongest in the areas where radicalism is usually most pronounced—Hebron, Beit-El and Kedumum.”

Shimon Riklin, leader of a group of young militant settlers, warned: “If Barak evacuates settlements, he might be murdered.”19 Rabbi Daniel Shilo declared in his settlement’s newsletter that “the transfer of parts of Eretz Israel amounts to treason”. In June 2000, Benny Katzover, a leader in the West Bank settlement movement, called Education Minister Yossie Sarid, head of the dovish Meretz party, “an executioner among executioners” because he is “ready to transfer tens of thousands of Jews to the enlightened regime of his excellency Yasser Arafat”. Katzover suggested that those protesting against the peace process not stick to the “law book” in their demonstrations.

In his book, A Little Too Close to God, David Horovitz, editor of the Jerusalem Report, recalls the atmosphere at anti-Rabin rallies sponsored by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party: “I felt as if I were among wild animals, vicious, angry predators craving flesh and scenting blood. There was elation in the anger, elation bred of the certainty of eventual success.”20 Now, he fears, this extremism is on the march again.

Within the Jewish community itself, violence appears increasingly close to the surface. In June, a Conservative synagogue was set on fire in Jerusalem. Yonathan Liebowitz, a spokesman for the Conservative movement, said witnesses reported seeing apparently Orthodox men, wearing black velvet skullcaps, fleeing as the flames raged. The synagogue had previously been defaced with graffiti that labelled it a place unworthy for worship. The refusal to permit genuine religious freedom for non-Orthodox forms of Judaism fuels such actions.

Unchecked Violence

The response to such religious violence has been minimal in Israeli religious and governmental circles. Barbara Sofer points out that when three synagogues were burned in Sacramento, California, the city’s entire religious community—of Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims—as well as the civic leadership, came together to show solidarity in the face of such a brutal assault. Law-enforcement authorities quickly apprehended the guilty parties. In Israel, she laments, “Where is our religious establishment? Rabbis cannot remain silent … I’m just one observant Jewish Jerusalemite. I condemn violence against any synagogue, any church and any mosque.”21

Synagogue president Hilary Herzberger said that, “If the chief rabbi had come out against such behavior, maybe it could have been prevented.” Rabbi Ehud Brandel, president of the Masorti, the Conservative movement in Israel, said that the lack of a strong response by authorities the last time a synagogue was attacked “sent a message of encouragement to those radical groups”. Legislator Meir Porush of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism bloc accused the Conservative movement of being responsible for burning its own synagogue. This charge led Naomi Hazan of the secular Meretz Party to charge Porush with making “anti-Semitic statements” by blaming the victim for the crime.22

Rabbi Andrew Sacks, director of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in Israel, said the key to change lies as much with the ultra-Orthodox establishment as with the police, who did not make any arrests after past attacks on Reform and Conservative synagogues. “I have no reason to think that the arson will change anything,” he said. “As longs as there is no punishment meted out, then what incentive is there for an individual not to do this?”23

Israel’s reluctance to take action against Jewish terrorism has a long history. Sprinzak points out that following the 1948 assassination by Lehi terrorists of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, talks were held between Shaul Avigur, aide to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, and the leaders of Lehi (including future prime minister Yitzhak Shamir), who were then in hiding:

An agreement of the latter to stop all subversive operations if Lehi’s members would not be discriminated against in the army was achieved. Avigur asked Shamir the names of the assassins, promising that nothing would happen to them, but Shamir refused to give them. Not one member of the hit team would ever spend a night jail or face a court of justice. For years there was a conspiracy of silence about the Bernadotte assassination … In 1960, the most talkative of all former Lehi commanders, Israel Eldad, approached Gideon Housner, the state attorney general, and offered to tell the truth about the assassination. “God forbid!” was Housner’s response. “Do you know the problems you will create for your country?”24

Now, as the secular leaders of Israel and the Palestinians move, however tortuously, towards a final peace agreement, it is time to confront the truth of Zionist terrorism and its long history, as well as the terrorism of Palestinian and other radical Islamic groups. Such terror groups represent small but vocal minorities, yet they have been permitted to exercise influence out of all proportion to their numbers. If history is not properly confronted, it will be impossible for both Israel and the Palestinians to move beyond it. And if the present opportunity for peace is permitted to slip away, few on either side will profit from the resulting chaos and disorder.


1. See Michael Karpin and Ina Friedman, Murder in the Name of God: The Plot to Kill Yitzhak Rabin (London: Granta Books, 1998), pp. 4–5.

2. Ibid., pp. 8–9.

3. Donald Neff, “Jewish Defense League Unleashes Campaign of Violence in America”, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July–August 1999, p. 81.

4. Ibid.

5. Ehud Sprinzak, Brother against Brother: Violence and Extremism in Israeli Politics from Altalena to the Rabin Assassination (New York: The Free Press, 1999), p. 145.

6. Ibid., p. 146.

7. Ibid., p. 153.

8. Ibid., p. 165.

9. Yair Kotler, Heil Kahane (New York: Adama Books, 1986), p. 198.

10. Sprinzak, Brother against Brother, p. 242.

11. Ibid., p. 245.

12. See Karpin and Friedman, Murder in the Name of God, pp. 83–5.

13. Ibid., pp. 105–7.

14. Sprinzak, Brother against Brother, pp. 259–60.

15. Ibid., p. 277.

16. David Shipler, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land (New York: Times Books, 1986), pp. 37–8.

17. Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 46–7.

18. Ibid., pp. 54–5.

19. Jerusalem Report, 3 July 2000.

20. David Horovitz, cited in the New York Times, 30 June 2000.

21. “Jerusalem Conservative Synagogue Torched”, Jerusalem Post (international edition), 30 June 2000.

22. Ibid.

23. “Not on Its Own”, Jerusalem Post (international edition), 7 July 2000.

24. Sprinzak, Brother against Brother, pp. 46–7.