Photo credit: Vivien Sansour
BY SAM BAHOUR
Underneath much of the Middle East lies the world’s oil supply, which is pumped year-round to keep the global economy humming along. In one special place in the Middle East—better known as the Holy Land—a different type of oil reigns supreme: olive oil. In this strategic region in the Levant, Palestine has a large amount of land devoted to the olive tree; about 45% of agricultural land in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) is planted with twelve million olive trees, the vast majority of which are in the West Bank, and its valuable, healthy fruits take center stage in the political conflict between Palestinians and Israelis every harvesting season.
Land is at the core of this conflict. Israel’s military has confiscated land for illegal Israeli settlements, erected an illegal “Separation Barrier” that separates Palestinian farmers from their plantations, and has not spared Palestinian olive groves: it has uprooted olive trees as a way of punishing the population. The vast majority of Palestinian olive trees are in the West Bank, which has 739,500 dunams (184,875 acres), or 98.6% of the total, whereas, the Gaza Strip had only 11,200 dunams (2,800 acres) of olive trees, which is 1.4%. However, in the Gaza Strip, over 7,300 dunums (1,825 acres) of land along the perimeter fence with Israel, previously cultivated with olive trees, were leveled during Israeli incursions in recent years. An olive seedling can take several decades to fully mature and many of Palestine’s olive trees are hundreds of years old. The horrifying reality is that Israel has added olive trees to their campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and the result is that Palestine’s golden oil is becoming scarcer and much more dangerous to harvest.
olives on branches, Palestine
Reports Say Israel Pressing Germany to Scrap Deal
by Jason Ditz
Egyptian officials are bashing reports that the Israeli government is trying to sabotage their submarine buys, saying that the deals are between Egypt and Germany and are none of the Israel’s business.
“The only two parties determining the fate of this deal are the German and Egyptian governments and not Israeli newspapers which try to destabilize security within Egypt,” one Egyptian official was quoted as saying.
Egypt had a deal to acquire two submarines from Germany, and Israeli officials were quoted in the Israeli press as saying that they were demanding Germany reverse the plan. German Defense Ministry officials were also claimed to have promised to oppose the deal.
Israel has regularly been proactive in trying to get arms deals cancelled when their neighbors acquire them, but it would be unusual for them to do so with Egypt, a long-time ally.
Posted By Jason Ditz
Some 1,00o British soldiers (http://bit.ly/PADO8q) are still facing possible war crimes charges related to their role in the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation of the nation, according to officials familiar with the situation.
Most of the charges are related to detainee abuse, and are based on testimony from the detainees themselves. Lawyers defending the soldiers say the evidence to support their allegations is “weak” in many of the cases.
Britain has by and large shrugged off war crimes allegations in Iraq, though a public inquiry into the practice after British soldiers tortured hotel receptionist Baha Mousa to death found that there were “systemic” problems related to the treatment of detainees.
Corporal Donald Payne was the only British soldier who pled guilty in Mousa’s killing, and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, the first time a British soldier was ever convicted of a war crime.
Source tells 'Yediot Aharonot' that Netanyahu initiates shouting match with US Ambassador Shapiro on Obama's Iran policy.
PM Netanyahu at defense budget cabinet meeting Photo: GPO / Amos Ben-Gershom
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu got into a diplomatic shouting match with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro over US President Barack Obama's handling of Iran's nuclear program, saying "time has run out" for diplomacy, Yediot Aharonot cited a source as saying on Friday.
According to the report, which The Jerusalem Post could not independently verify, the showdown took place as Netanyahu met with Shapiro and Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, who visited Israel earlier in the week.
The Eid Al-Fitr holiday has been bleak for Palestinians in Lebanon this year, but there are signs of hope, writes Franklin Lamb in Beirut
Pain-stricken and frustrated women hold posters depicting their jailed relatives during a protest calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails at the headquarters of the Red Cross in Gaza
Remarkably, during this last Ramadan holiday season in Lebanon designees from both the Shia Higher Islamic Shia Council and the Sunni Dar Al-Fatwa figuratively pointed their binoculars deep into the eastern sky and in almost-unheard-of unison proclaimed that the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr this year was to be on 19 August. It was a good omen for many in Lebanon that Shia and Sunni religious leaders had agreed on this important event, given the internal and external forces at work to divide further the two main denominations of Islam in the country, as well as all of Lebanon by sect, confession, geography, region, tribe, clan and neighbourhood.
It was also good news for Palestinians living in places like Finland, which these days has approximately 20 hours per day of sunlight, since many devout Muslims have very long fasts. Mercifully, a majority of Muslims far up north tend to adopt the mere 16 hours of daylight for fasting, using Mecca hours for dawn-to-dusk days without touching food or water, as well as avoiding bad thoughts or acts of incivility, as they test and renew their devotion to Islam while engaging in introspective self-criticism.
With the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process going nowhere, mainly due to Israeli intransigence and American complicity, Israel is increasingly bullying the Palestinian Authority (PA) into doing its bidding, says Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Palestinians pray on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the second-most powerful Israeli official after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has called PA President Mahmoud Abbas "a terrorist who will have to be eliminated". Lieberman also urged the international community, especially the Quartet for the Middle East peace process, which includes, the UN, US, EU, and Russia, to organise new elections that would see the PA replaced by another Palestinian entity that is more acceptable to Israel.
Lieberman's remarks, which he repeated several times in the past few days, came in part as a response to declared PA plans to restart endeavours at the UN for recognising Palestinian statehood and accepting "Palestine" as a member-state at the international organisation. "There is a division of labor between [Hamas premier Ismail] Haniyeh and Abbas. Haniyeh and Hamas are leading armed terrorism while Abbas is leading political terrorism."
Palestinian officials retorted by calling Lieberman "a thug disguised as a politician". PA negotiator Saeb Ereikat said Lieberman was continuing his rudeness and incitement without the Israeli government taking any measures to rein him in. "The whole world condemned those declaration and we were officially informed by the Israeli governments that it and its premier were not related and did not necessarily share his view."
Report by an Israeli non-governmental organisation says 2011 was a record year for Palestinian displacement.
The recent verdict in the Rachel Corrie case has once again thrown the spotlight on the Israeli policy of house demolitions.
Nearly 10 years ago, the 23-year-old American activist was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to obstruct the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.
Corrie and a group of activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) were acting as human shields to try to stop the Israeli army demolishing Palestinian homes and clearing land around the Palestinian town of Rafah.
Since 1967, Israel has practised a range of policies leading to the internal displacement of about 160,000 Palestinians within the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Of these actions, house demolitions are the most visible.
These are carried out by the Israeli army for a number of reasons, including "administrative" demolitions, where Palestinian homes have been built without Israeli-issued permits, as well as punitive demolitions – where a family member is accused of being involved in militant activity.
The most devastating demolitions, however, are caused by large-scale military operations, such as those during the war on Gaza in 2008-09.
In typical Zionist fashion, a judge for the Zionist entity cleared the Zionist military of any responsibility in Rachel Corrie's death and instead blamed her for being crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer. This makes Corrie a double victim of the "Jewish state" -- first, by being murdered by one of its "citizens" and now by have her character smeared and besmirched by virtually calling her a terrorist.
August 28. The revealing part of his decision is how Israeli Judge Oded Gershon described the totally non-violent International Solidarity Movement of which Rachel Corrie was a member. According to the Israeli site Ynet news he said it "abuses the human rights discourse to blur its actions which are de facto violence." and further that "This included an army of activists serving as 'human shields' for terrorists wanted by Israeli security forces, financial and logistical aid to Palestinians including terrorists and their families, and disruption of the sealing of suicide bombers' houses."
With that fantastic collection of lies as the basis of his thinking it's a given that Gershon would dismiss the civil suit of the parents of Rachel Corrie and that's exactly what he did. Ynet news says the judge concluded because in 2003 there was a "war time situation" and that the IDF had tried to keep people out of the area the Israeli government bore no blame for what happened.
Read more at The Struggle
U.S. bases surround Iran.
By Ismail Salami – Tehran
With over 2000 highly operational nuclear weapons already in the world, it seems ridiculously ironic to try to attribute global insecurity to Iranian nuclear energy program which the US, Israel and some western countries claim to include military purposes.
In a recent report, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has published satellite imagery which it claims indicates ‘pink colored material’ covering a building at a sensitive military site in Iran which UN inspectors wish to visit. They claim the tarp at the Parchin military complex may be an effort to hide clean-up work. This think tank institute is run by David Albright who garnered extreme notoriety over the lies he spread about Iraq’s alleged WMDs.
In fact, it is widely believed that Mr. Albright’s ubiquitous lies infernally contributed to the outbreak of the US-led invasion of Iraq, wreaking a humanitarian havoc upon the country and claiming the lives of over one million Iraqis. In other words, Albright paved the way for US military aggression and an ongoing violence in Iraq. Crowned with duplicity of first water, Albright is now at the helm of a shadowy institute which works under the cloak of a think tank.
Prior to the outbreak of US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Albright held a string of interviews with different western media and argued that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs. Several months before the war, he said in an interview with PBS, “I personally believe there's plenty of evidence for biological and chemical, and there's sufficient evidence to believe that there's a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. As an inspection attitude, I think you have to assume that they have more than what the evidence suggests, and that it's very important for inspectors to go in there with a very skeptical attitude and insist that the Iraqis prove them wrong.”
Filmmaker: Shuchen Tan
On July 12, 2007, the US military shot several Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, an event that shocked the world when footage of the attack was later released by Wikileaks.
"The attack took place on a Thursday, when residents of the area had gone to a local market," explains filmmaker Shuchen Tan. "When they saw helicopters hovering over, they ran to their houses, thinking they'd be safe in there but it was those very houses that were blown up."
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Permission to Engage traces the people involved in that fateful day and hears their versions of what happened.
Those killed included a young Iraqi photojournalist and his assistant, a father out with his children and some neighbours who were caught in the attack while trying to help the wounded.
"It was quite challenging to track down the victims and their families. We didn't have names, didn't have addresses, we didn't have anything," explains Tan.
"And when we found them, most of them didn't want to share their stories. They felt they had been left by the West and not treated well."
The families of the victims and a disillusioned former US soldier who was serving in Iraq around that time unpick the footage in forensic detail and relate their accounts of what happened.
Moishe Oofnik, the Zionist entity's muppet version of Oscar the Grouch
The Zionist entity's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet
meeting in Jerusalem Aug. 26. (Reuters/Uriel Sinai, Pool)
By Jeffrey Heller
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- The Israeli muppet on the cover of a new emergency pamphlet being distributed nationwide puts a happy face on some grim warnings in a country preparing for possible war with Iran.
Israelis, the military-issued booklet says, would have only between 30 seconds and three minutes to find cover and hunker down between the time air raid sirens sound and rockets slam into their area.
The 15-page pamphlet has started to appear in mailboxes across the country, and instructs Israelis how to prepare a safe room or shelter for emergency situations.
By Gale Courey Toensing August 22, 2012
When American poet Stephen Vincent Benet wrote Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in 1931, his poem made no mention of the massacre of Lakota Indians that had occurred 42 years earlier on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. But since 1970, when historian Dee Brown published his book of the same name about the site where the U.S. government’s 7th Cavalry slaughtered hundreds of unarmed men, women and children, Wounded Knee has become the iconic site representing the U.S. government’s genocide against all the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.
On Sunday, August 19, I was with around 35 other volunteers from Re-member, an independent, nonprofit organization that works with the Oglala Lakota Nation on Pine Ridge, visiting the Wounded Knee memorial site. It was the first day of a week of volunteer work that included building bunkbeds and outhouses for Lakota families whose homes still lack indoor plumbing and electricity.
Dakota High Hawk and members of his tiospaya—his extended family—spend days at the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre talking to visitors and selling their crafts. The Re-member delegation sat under a “shade”—an arbor covered with cooling pine boughs that offered some protection from the the 90-degree-plus Plains sun—and listened as the 23-year-old Dakota gave a presentation about the massacre that took place at this historic place on December 29, 1890.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
By Ramzy Baroud
Somewhere in my home I have a set of photo albums I rarely go near. I fear the flood of cruel memories that might be evoked from looking at the countless photos I took during a trip to Iraq. Many of the pictures are of children who developed rare forms of cancer as a result of exposure to Depleted Uranium (DU), which was used in the US-led war against Iraq over two decades ago.
I remember visiting a hospital that was attached to Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The odor that filled its corridors was not the stench of medicine, but rather the aroma of death. At a time of oppressive siege, the hospital lacked even basic anesthetic equipment and drugs. Children sat and stared at their visitors. Some wailed in inconceivable pain. Parents teetered between hope and the futility of hope, and at prayer times they duly prayed.
Why does Lieberman want to get rid of Abbas?
By Ludwig Watzal
When Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Ehud Barak are not demonising Iran and its leadership, their colleague Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman starts talking, or even better, writing bizarre things. In a letter to the Middle Eastern Quartet (US, Russia, EU and UN) he called for the ousting of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas whose term has already expired in 2010.
The letter is a hodgepodge of statements about Mahmoud Abbas’ alleged shortcomings and of Israel’s alleged concessions. Beyond that the letter is plainly embarrassing. That the former Moldovian bouncer and today’s settler (Lieberman) has such a political leeway shows that Netanyahu is not in charge of his cabinet. After the child has already fallen into the well, Netanyahu and Barak declared that Lieberman’s position is not that of the Israeli government. In an orderly functioning democratic political system such a minister would be dismissed.
Our apologies for The Corner Report's temporary malfunction. It was due to technical difficulties beyond our control -- but, then again, aren't they all?.
We're back and we'll be posting new stories later today.
Thanks for your patience!
Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy
photo courtesy Peter Fay
By Gale Courey Toensing August 13, 2012
If this were The Onion, the headline would be something funny like MIDDLE-AGED WHITE WOMAN FINDS GOD IN LAKOTA SWEAT LODGE.
But it’s Indian Country Today Media Network and I didn’t find God. What I found was a sizeable chunk of myself, a really effective purification practice for body, mind and emotions, and a major point of reference on my somewhat checkered spiritual journey.
But if you know Lakota people, you’ll find my headline funny. They’re always talking about doing everything “in a good way”—from participating in ceremony to taking out the garbage. It cracks me up. So after seven years of being around Indian people as a reporter for ICTMN, I’m finally going Native—in a good way—thanks to ceremony.
I give thanks to Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy, the sacred white buffalo calf born June 16 on Peter Fay’s ranch in Goshen, Connecticut, for bringing me to the sweat lodge, and thanks to Peter for taking such good care of him.
I give thanks to my friends X and Y—the husband and wife here in the northwest corner of Connecticut who are relatives of Marian and Chub White Mouse, Lakota people of Pine Ridge. X and Y, who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, have participated in the White Mouse family’s sun dance for years. I give thanks to Marian and Chub, Marian’s brother Wilbur Leon Old Man Morrison, and Shirley Khabass (whose husband Samir is Palestinian, hence, the Arab name). They are traditionalists who follow the Lakota ways and they traveled from Pine Ridge and elsewhere to participate in the ceremonies for the white buffalo baby.
And I give enormous thanks to Steven Stonearrow, the medicine man (pejuta wicasa), holy man (wicasa wakan) for being the intermediary between this world and the spirit world on my first experience of ceremony.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
'The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy.'- Former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark.
By Felicity Arbuthnot - London
On 4th May 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Chaired a Security Council meeting: “Highlighting Changing Nature, Character of Scourge of Terrorism.” This followed a ministerial-level meeting on: “threats to international peace and security posed by terrorism.”
Ban Ki-moon’s opening address underlined the importance of unity in tackling the problem: “By working together – from strengthening law enforcement to tackling the underlying drivers of extremism – we can greatly reduce this major threat to peace and security”, he stated.
Presumably he did not encourage Permanent Members of the Security Council and other UN Member nations in funding terrorism, or “extremism”, since he continued: “The Security Council reiterates its strong and equivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever and where ever and for whatever purposes (stressing) that any terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation.”
The thirteen page final document further, states that: “The Security Council recognizes the continued need to take measures to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist organizations (reiterating) Member States obligations in this regard …”
Ali and Abdulhai
by Kathy Kelly and Dr. Hakim
Two days ago, we spent three anxious hours in an outer waiting area of the “Non-Immigrant Visa” section of the U.S. consulate here in Kabul, Afghanistan, waiting for our young friends Ali and Abdulhai to return from a sojourn through the inner offices where they were being interviewed for visas to come speak to audiences in the United States.
They are members of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and have been invited to travel with the U.S.-Mexico “Caravan for Peace” that will be touring the United States later this summer. We didn’t want to see their hopes dashed, and we didn’t want to see this opportunity lost to connect the experiences of poor people around the world suffering from war. The organizers of the Caravan envision and demand alternatives to the failed systems of militarized policing in the terrifyingly violent, seemingly endless U.S.-Mexico drug war. They want to connect with victims of war in Afghanistan especially since, as the top producer of opium and marijuana in the world, Afghanistan has a failing war against drugs as well.
It’s an unprecedented invitation, at a desperately crucial human moment.
A friendly Afghan woman working there as a security guard suggested that the length of the wait might be a good sign – perhaps it meant that one of their interviewers had taken a special interest in our young friends’ case. This was what we’d been hoping for. Ali and Abdulhai each carried packets containing letters of support from four U.S. Senators and three U.S. Congressional Representatives, along with the summary of a petition signed by 4775 people. Maybe some interviewer was taking time to read the letter from Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire — and perhaps Ali and Abdulhai had been given a chance to mention that Mairead would be joining them in Kabul this coming Human Rights Day on December 10th for a campaign calling on 2 million friends worldwide to support a cease-fire mediated by the U.N., silencing the guns of all sides currently fighting in Afghanistan.
By Graham Peebles
Detention without trial, the presumption of guilt, denial of family visits, solitary confinement, torture, violent interrogation, and denial of access to appropriate health care, such is the Israeli judicial system and prison confinement experienced by Palestinian men, women and indeed children.
Currently there are, according to B’T selem “4,484 Palestinians – security detainees, confined in Israeli prisons.” Family contact is virtually impossible for prisoners, most of who are held inside Israel. This contravenes international law in the form of the universally trumpeted Fourth Geneva Convention (Article’s 49 & 76), consistently violated and disregarded by Israel.
International laws – legally binding upon Israel, who are not above the rule of law, must be respected and enforced. Richard Falk UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, in the UN news 2/5/12 called “on the international community to ensure that Israel complies with international human rights laws and norms in its treatment of Palestinian prisoners.” The UN makes its feelings clear in the ‘Question of Palestine Administrative Detention’ report (UNQAP) when it says, Israel “has historically ratified international agreements regarding human rights protection, whilst at the same time refusing to apply the agreements within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, attempting to create legal justifications for its illegal actions.” A comprehensive list of international legally binding agreements dutifully signed, ratified and consequently disregarded by various Israeli governments are cited by the UN, which sits hands tied, impotent it seems in the face of Israel’s illegal and violent occupation (a fact that cannot be stated often or loudly enough), submissive to the imperialist Godfather. America.
Increasingly, Palestinian groups in Syria are finding neutrality a difficult position to keep, especially when some are funded by Iran, Al-Assad's regional ally, writes Khaled Amayreh
Palestinians reacted angrily but helplessly to the killing last week of as many as 21 Palestinians, ostensibly at the hands of the Syrian army at the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Damascus.
According to the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other eyewitnesses, Bashar Al-Assad regime forces shelled the densely populated refugee camp with mortar fire around sunset Thursday, when refugees had just broken their day-long Ramadan fast.
At least two shells landed in Jauna Street in the middle of the camp, killing 21 and injuring more than 60 others.
Eyewitnesses said the second shell caused most of the casualties as refugees gathered to rescue occupants of a house hit by the first shell.
Hamas politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk tells Amira Howeidy he suspects Israel infiltrated the terrorist group which killed 16 Egyptian border guards in Rafah
Moussa Abu Marzouk
Following the slaying of 16 Egyptian border guards at Al-Masoura border point in Rafah on Sunday Hamas politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk -- the 61-year-old has been based in Cairo since Hamas's leadership in exile left its headquarters in Damascus -- finds himself in the eye of the storm.
While no evidence has emerged to identify the perpetrators -- several of whom were killed in Israeli air strikes -- Egypt's media has been quick to blame the massacre on Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and, by extension, Hamas.
A statement released by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Monday pointed the finger at Palestinian involvement in the attack, claiming the assault was accompanied by mortar fire from "Gaza elements" in the area around the Israeli-controlled Karam Abu Salem border crossing.
"How is that possible?" asks a clearly disgruntled Abu Marzouk. "They're not in the same place."
Murder State: California’s Native American Genocide, 1846-1873
By Steven T. Newcomb - Indian Country Today columnist
Once in a while a book comes along that is transformative. Murder State, by Brendan Lindsay, is such a book. Recently released by University of Nebraska Press, Murder State is heart- wrenching and deeply informative. I see it as one of the most important works ever published on the history of American Indians in California in the mid-nineteenth century. It ranks up there with David Stannard’s 1992 masterpiece American Holocaust, in the context of overall Indian history.
Lindsay uses the UN Genocide Convention, Rafael Lemkin (who coined the term “genocide”), and genocide studies as key aspects of his framework of analysis. He has provided a meticulously detailed and comprehensive account of the murderous treatment of the original peoples of California by Euro-Americans who poured onto Indian lands during the gold rush days. White citizen groups utilized democratic processes as a means of committing genocide against the original nations and peoples of California.
It was methodical, it was well-planned and it was well-executed—with lethal and ghastly results.
Read Steve's full view at Indian Country Today Media Network
By Gale Courey Toensing August 8, 2012
Lakota Medicine Man Steve Stonearrow traveled to northwestern Connecticut along with a group of Lakota elders to perform a naming ceremony for a white buffalo born June 16. This interview took place the night of July 29, the day after Stonearrow named the white buffalo Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy in ceremony.
How and why did you become a medicine man?
How and why are really hard questions because you don’t become one, you’re born that way. In Lakota culture, men follow a lineage system; their ancestors are medicine people, they become medicine people. I didn’t come to this till late in life after a couple of stays in federal prison, including one long stay where I began to learn these ways. You’re given a choice to become a medicine person by the spirits and you’re only given the choice once. They never come back and ask you again.
Lakota Medicine Man Steve Stonearrow
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy
photo courtesy Peter Fay
By Gale Courey Toensing
GOSHEN, Connecticut—A week after a crowd of more than 1,000 people from all over the country flocked to a ranch in northwestern Connecticut to witness a naming ceremony for a sacred white buffalo, the baby calf named Yellow Medicine Dancing Boy and his mom were peacefully grazing in the back pasture.
Everything was back to normal at the Mohawk Bison Ranch, owner Peter Fay said on Friday, August 3, a week after the Saturday, July 28 naming ceremony. “I expected that many people to come,” Fay said.
Fay is not a Native but has opened his heart and mind to the Lakota beliefs regarding the birth of a white buffalo and to the Lakota people who traveled from across the country to conduct the naming ceremony. The Lakota say that the birth of a white buffalo—which happens once in every ten million births—is an intensely sacred event. They say it’s a manifestation of the White Buffalo Calf Maiden, or Ptesan Wi, who is revered as a prophet. In a time of famine, the Maiden taught the Lakota seven sacred rituals, including the sweat lodge, and gave them their most important symbol of worship, the sacred pipe. The birth in Goshen was so important that Lakota Medicine Man Steve Stonearrow traveled from California to conduct the ceremony. Lakota elders Chubb and Marian White Mouse, Marian’s brother Wilbur Leon Old Man Morrison, and Shirley Khabass, traditionalists who follow the Lakota ways, travelled from Pine Ridge and elsewhere to join him. A local couple who are relatives of the White Mouse family and have participated in the family’s sun dance for years also participated in the naming ceremony. The couple, who asked not to be named for privacy reasons, were responsible for getting the word out to Indian country about the white buffalo birth. Fay too was among those in the group that performed the ceremony. “It was cool,” he told Indian Country Today Media Network. “It’s so good to be around Steve. He’s amazing and he makes everything feel so easy. If you tumble a little bit, he knows it right away and fixes it. The same with Marian.”
Read full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Dimona nuclear reactor, Israel. (file)
By Rebecca Johnson
Sixty-seven years ago, on August 6, the first uranium bomb was exploded above Hiroshima with the force of 15 thousand tons of TNT. Tens of thousands were killed by the blast and fireball that engulfed the city, and a similar number died of radiation sickness and injuries in the days and months that followed; in total 140,000 dead by 1945’s end.
Three days later, Nagasaki was shattered by a plutonium bomb. This was the same design that the United States had tested in the New Mexico desert three weeks earlier, causing the Manhattan Project’s lead scientist Robert Oppenheimer to reflect that he had become a “destroyer of worlds”.
Over the next 40 years, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China) amassed some 70,000 nuclear weapons with a combined explosive force of 15 million tons.
Mamoun Ahmad Dalloul in front of his destroyed factory in Tel-el-hawa.
Mamoun Ahmad Dalloul (36) lives in Tel-el-hawa with his wife and 9 children. Until recently, he owned a dairy-products factory that produced milk, cheese and yoghurt. Since December 2008, Mamoun has re-built his factory 4 times after it was repeatedly targeted and destroyed by Israel’s forces. On 04 June 2012, at around 1:00, his factory was targeted and destroyed by Israel’s forces for the 5th time.
The direct targeting of a civilian object constitutes a war crime, as codified in Article 8(2)(b)(ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Similarly, under the Fourth Geneva Convention Article 53, the destruction of private property is prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. The destruction of such factories infringes upon human rights principles, including the right to work and right to attain an adequate standard of living contained in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
by Martin Iqbal
Monday, August 6th, 2012
In 1983 American police foiled a significant terror attack that most Americans to this day are utterly oblivious to. On October 18, 1983, a suicide bomber strapped with explosives was caught in the spectators’ gallery of the US House of Representatives, attempting to blow up the US Capitol.(1) The reason most Americans know nothing of this plot, is that the terrorist was a Jewish Israeli named ‘Israel Rabinowits’. The astounding ignorance of Americans is owing to the supreme control that Zionist Jews wield over the American press. Michael Collins Piper reports(1) that this event was mentioned just once in The Washington Post – the so-called newspaper of record in the American capital – and only once, in passing, in The New York Times.
By Sam Bahour
'We have to get rid of Arafat.' -- Israeli defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to Prime Minister Sharon caught on an open mic. (Source: Haaretz, Hebrew)
“We operated against Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi [two Palestinian leaders extrajudicially assassinated by Israel] when we thought the time was suitable. On the matter of Arafat we’ll operate in the same way, when we find the convenient and suitable time. One needs to find the time and to do what has to be done.” -- Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to Ma’ariv newspaper. (Source: The Guardian)
Yasser Arafat may be dead, but for all intents and purposes he lives on and continues to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Earlier this month a Swiss doctor announced that high levels of toxic polonium-210 were found on some of Arafat’s belongings. Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance, one that would require a nuclear reactor and expertise to produce and handle. Israel, being a nuclear power and having publicly expressed a motive for Arafat’s “elimination,” fits the description.
Swiss doctor Francois Bochud, director of the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, was quoted in the report on a nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera that “We have evidence there is too much polonium, but we also have hints from the medical records that this may not be the case. The only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body.”
Romney statement consistent with US presidential campaigns tradition ..
By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive presidential Republican nominee suggested in a speech delivered in Israel that the reason the Israelis has had greater economic success than the Palestinians was in part because of cultural differences. He said: "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality." He added that "Culture makes all the difference."
Mr. Romney does not seem to know the Palestinians are under occupation and Israel has control over all major resources in the occupied lands. Land confiscation, structural constraints, arbitrary restrictions imposed on the population and daily military attacks by the Israeli military has a detrimental impact on the Palestinian economic development. Let me brief Governor Mitt Romney on the situation in the occupied lands:
By Jacob Heilbrunn
President Obama could bomb Iran in late October to try and ensure that it does not develop nuclear weapons. A devastating strike would create an upsurge of patriotism in America and fully neutralize Mitt Romney's contention that Obama is a foreign-policy wimp. It could allow Obama to sweep to victory in November.
Will he do it?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.
Persia (Iranian) Poet
US President Obama signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 during a ceremony July 27 in the presence of the major US Jewish organizations in a shameless effort to "secure" Jewish votes in the upcoming election.
By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
Israel has barely put a foot right with the international community since its attack on Gaza more than three years ago provoked global revulsion.
The right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including US President Barack Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalized human rights groups, UN agencies and even the Israeli courts; and fuelled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country's Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.
No wonder, then, that in poll after poll Israel ranks as one of the countries with the most negative influence on international affairs.
And yet, the lower Israel sinks in public estimation, the more generous western leaders are in handing out aid and special favors to their wayward ally. The past few days have been particularly shameless.
It was revealed last week that the European Union had approved a massive upgrade in Israel's special trading status, strengthening economic ties in dozens of different fields. The decision was a reversal of a freeze imposed in the wake of the Gaza attack of winter 2008.
New order broadly permits CIA and other US agencies to support rebels seeking to depose Bashar al-Assad from power.
US and Western officials have noted improvements in the coherence of the Syrian armed opposition [AFP]
US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorising US support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, Reuters news agency said quoting sources familiar with the matter.
Obama's order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence "finding", broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to provide aid that could help the rebels dislodge Assad from power.
The shift towards supporting Assad's armed opponents intensified following last month's failure of the UN Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus government.
The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined comment on the matter.
The White House has apparently stopped short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some US allies have been doing just that.
US and European officials have said that there have been noticeable improvements in the coherence and effectiveness of Syrian rebel groups in the past few weeks. That represents a significant change in assessments of the rebels by Western officials, who previously characterised Assad's opponents as a disorganised.
Mitt Romney should apologize for his racist remarks. (Wikicommons)
By Stuart Littlewood
Mitt Romney is listed among People magazine's 50 'most beautiful' of 2002. He was up there with Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears and Julia Roberts. But how pretty does he look in 2012?
This US presidential hopeful from AIPAC’s Republican wing came here to England and put his foot in it by questioning Britain‘s readiness to host the Olympics. We were already on the case, thank-you Mr Romney. But please remember that it’s largely America’s misbehaviour around the world that puts such a colossal strain on Olympic security and makes other nations’ teams so nervous.
His remarks drew some sharp responses, and thus began a series of “mis-steps” that characterized the presidential candidate’s misadventure into the wider world and culminated in an unforgettable “kiss my ass” invitation by one of his campaign aides. Mis-steps is a curiously polite US word that seems to be gaining currency here. It conjures up the erratic progress of a stumblebum.
No surprise that while in London he met with the Quartet’s zio-stooge Tony Blair to have his mind further poisoned and confused.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights LTD(non-profit)
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Continue Systematic Attacks against Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
·IOF killed a Palestinian worker and wounded 3 others at a checkpoint near Jerusalem.
·IOF use force to disperse peaceful protest organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.
-3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and a Swedish human rights defender were wounded.
A Palestinian woman picks okra also knowm as lady's fingers in a field close to the village of Yabad in the Israeli occupied West Bank. (Saif Dahlah / AFP / GettyImages)
By Yousef Munayyer Aug 1, 2012 12:45 PM EDT
Yes, Mitt Romney’s ‘analysis’ of the economic disparities between Israelis and Palestinians was racist on multiple levels.
There is just something about those Jews; they are so good at making money. Most people in the modern world would dismiss such a statement as anti-Semitic. But when the presumptive Republican candidate for president insinuates the same in the pursuit of pandering for pro-Zionist support it seems excusable.
There is a history of excusing the perpetuation of, or even engaging in, anti-Semitic tropes as long as they advance the Zionist agenda. ‘Father of Zionism’ Theodor Herzl famously sought to get the Ottoman Sultan Abdel Hamid, whose empire was in severe economic crisis, to give Palestine to the Jews in return for Jewish help with his finances. The Sultan must know, Herzl notes in his diary in 1896, that “the Jews would be prepared to devote their command of money to the regulation of Turkish finances.” He wrote what the Sultan could achieve ’with Jewish help:’“Let the Sultan give us this parcel of land [Palestine], and in return we would set his house in order, regulate his finances, and influence world opinion in his favor.”
By Jamal Kanj
With the conclusion of the presidential primaries in the 50 US states, a new election campaign is shaping itself in the unofficial 51st state, otherwise known as Israel.
A parade of US officials and politicians are lining up to visit Israel this month, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just completing her homage.
Other administration visitors include National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
As President Barack Obama did in 2008, presumptive contender for the White House Mitt Romney is scheduled to make his christening visit before the end of this month.
Indigenous peoples' land loss in the U.S.A.
Indigeneous people's (Palestinians) land loss in Palestine.
By Gale Courey Toensing
Good financial news for all of Indian country
In a significant development for Indian country financing, the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians has announced it has refinanced $165 million in outstanding debt—and saved a fortune by doing so.
The tribe’s refinancing of an original loan of $165 million that was incurred to develop and build Gun Lake Casino was completed three years in advance of the scheduled July 20, 2015 maturity date. The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, had secured the $165 million in financing through the investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs in July 2010, in order to continue constructing the casino on the tribe’s 147-acre reservation in Wayland County, Michigan. Construction had started in months earlier, but slowed down when the economy made it hard to find permanent financing for the project.
Tribal leaders were happy to announce the refinancing deal. “We are very pleased to have secured favorable terms to refinance our existing debt,” Gun Lake Chairman D.K. Sprague said. “This shows a lot of confidence in our operations and optimism for a bright future, not only for our citizens, but the local economy.”
The casino opened in February 2010 and in the year-and-a-half since then the tribe has contributed more than $8 million in revenue-sharing to the state and local governments. The tribe employs more than 800 people at the casino. “As a result of the financial markets improving, and the Gun Lake Casino exceeding expectations, the Tribe was able to significantly reduce its cost of borrowing.”
The tribe saved tens of millions of dollars by refinancing three years in advance of the loan’s maturity date, spokesman James Nye told Indian Country Today Media Network.
By Gale Courey Toensing
In her extraordinary book In Search of First Contact: The Vikings of Vinland, the Peoples of the Dawnland, and the Anglo-American Anxiety of Discovery (Duke University Press Books, 2012), internationally renowned literary critic Annette Kolodny takes a fine-tooth comb to two medieval Icelandic sagas. Untangling the myths, politics and conventional history surrounding the “discovery” of Turtle Island, she reveals the narratives of Europeans’ first contact with the Indigenous Peoples of America—500 years before Christopher Columbus set foot there.
In Search of First Contact is a groundbreaking work in that it is the first book to look at the Vinland sagas—those of the Greenlanders and Eirik the Red—as works of American literature. In the process, the volume documents the various Viking groups, including those of Eirik and his sons, who discovered, explored and attempted to colonize North America—an endeavor that lasted for three years—and their first encounters with the Indigenous Peoples of this vast continent. Fascinating in and of themselves, these stories challenge the dominant narrative that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Alexander Cockburn. Photo: Tao Ruspo
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
Our friend and comrade Alexander Cockburn died last night in Germany, after a fierce two-year long battle against cancer. His daughter Daisy was at his bedside.
Alex kept his illness a tightly guarded secret. Only a handful of us knew how terribly sick he truly was. He didn’t want the disease to define him. He didn’t want his friends and readers to shower him with sympathy. He didn’t want to blog his own death as Christopher Hitchens had done. Alex wanted to keep living his life right to the end. He wanted to live on his terms. And he wanted to continue writing through it all, just as his brilliant father, the novelist and journalist Claud Cockburn had done. And so he did. His body was deteriorating, but his prose remained as sharp, lucid and deadly as ever.
Moshe Silman set himself on fire during a protest rally in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2012.
Moshe Silman set himself on fire during a protest rally in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2012.Moshe Silman (
"Israel robbed me of everything and left me with nothing." -- Moshe Silman
An Israeli protester, who set himself on fire during a demonstration against social injustice and cost of living in Israel, has died of his wounds.
According to Israeli media reports, Moshe Silman, who suffered second- and third-degree burns on 94 percent of his body, died on Friday, after fighting for his life for almost a week.
Silman, 57, set himself on fire on Saturday during a demonstration held to mark the first anniversary of the social justice protests that swept Israel last year.
Israelis have held several demonstrations in Silman's support in the past days. They also attacked and torched the office of the National Insurance Institute in Tel Aviv, which is blamed for Silman's financial troubles and his attempted suicide.
Silman, who had been recognized as 100 percent disabled by the National Insurance Institute, was receiving only NIS2,300 (about USD570) in disability benefits and was recently informed that he was not eligible for government housing. He was facing eviction in less than two weeks from the apartment where he had been living in for the past year.
''I can’t afford medication or rent. I paid millions in taxes, I served in the army and in the reserves until I was 46. I won’t be homeless and that is why I am protesting against all the wrongs Israel imposes on people like me," Silman wrote in a letter left at the site of the incident, adding that Israel "robbed me of everything and left me with nothing."
In his letter, he also blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for his economic hardships.
EU reports criticized Israel for the 'forced transfer'. (Activestills.org)
By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
The recently published report by an Israeli judge concluding that Israel is not in fact occupying the Palestinian territories - despite a well-established international consensus to the contrary - has provoked mostly incredulity or mirth in Israel and abroad.
Leftwing websites in Israel used comically captioned photographs to highlight Justice Edmond Levy's preposterous finding. One shows an Israeli soldier pressing the barrel of a rifle to the forehead of a Palestinian pinned to the ground, saying: "You see - I told you there's no occupation."
Even Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, seemed a little discomfited by the coverage last week. He was handed the report more than a fortnight earlier but was apparently reluctant to make it public.
Downplaying the Levy report's significance may prove unwise, however. If Netanyahu is embarrassed, it is only because of the timing of the report's publication rather than its substance.
'Just don't sit and stare, do something.' (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)
By Richard Falk
Being disinclined to look in mirrors, not only to avoid evidences of aging, but also because of an autobiographical deficit, I have recently started to question the vectors of my motivation. Not to raise doubts but to seek some understanding of ‘for what?’ I am especially wondering the reasons behind my solidarity with the struggles of distant strangers, why such solidarity is not more widely shared with likeminded friends, and why the inevitable priorities as to what is emphasized and what is ignored have the shape they do. Most pointedly, why am I giving the Palestinians so much more attention and psychic energy than the Kurds, Tibetans, or Kashmiris, and a host of other worthy causes? And how do I explain to myself a preoccupation with the unlawful, immoral, and imprudent foreign policy of the U.S. Government, the sovereign state of my residence upon whose governmental resources I depend upon for security and a range of rights?
There are rational answers that tell part of the story, but only a part, and probably the least illuminating part. I was drawn to the Palestinian struggle as a result of friendship with prominent Palestinian exiles while still a student. I formed a well-evidence belief that the U.S. Government and the organized Jewish community were responsible for the massive and enduring confiscation of Palestinian land and rights. And with this awareness came some added sense of responsibility. ‘Just don’t sit and stare, do something.’
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman calls the European Union to blacklist Hezbollah after blaming the Lebanese Shia movement for the recent bombing attacks in Bulgaria
AFP , Sunday 22 Jul 2012
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (Photo: AP)
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is to head to Brussels on Monday to press his European Union counterparts to blacklist Hezbollah as a 'terror' group after a deadly bombing in Bulgaria.
Israel blames the Lebanese militant group and its Iranian ally for the attack near the Black Sea resort of Burgas which killed five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian driver on Wednesday.
The foreign ministry announcement late on Sunday came after Israeli intelligence chiefs told government ministers that they had evidence that Iran and Hezbollah had plotted attacks in more than 20 countries over the past two years.
Totem poles almost did not survive colonisation in North America, but they seem to be making a comeback.
Totem pole carving - like many other aspects of culture among indigenous peoples in North America - is something that almost did not survive conquest and colonisation.
Totem poles as an art form flourished in the 19th century. But when Christian missionaries arrived from England, they decided that the poles were the devil's work.
Now, however, the art form seems to be making a comeback.
Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
A special committee appointed by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to look into the "legality" of Jewish colonies in the West Bank has concluded that Israel has a legal right to grab Palestinian land, irrespective of the rule of international law and any other considerations.
The committee, made up of highly fanatical Talmudic-minded figures, such as Edmond Levy, who opposed the dismantlement of Jewish colonies in Gaza in 2005, argued that the West Bank was not really an occupied territory and that the Israeli state could legally steal as much of that territory as it sees fit for meeting the needs of Jewish settlers. The occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, by Israel is not recognized by the international community, including the United States.
The drafters of the committee recommendations belong to a Jewish school of thought which teaches that the ancient or Biblical land of Israel covers much of the Middle East, including the entirety of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon as well as parts of Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
While the Palestinian Authority has dodged many bullets on its dubious relation with Israel, it may not be able to dodge the charge that Israel assassinated Yasser Arafat, writes Saleh Al-Naami
Palestinian Mahmoud Sarsak, a former player with the national football team, is carried by his supporters in Rafah after his release from Israeli prison where he was held for three years without charges or trial. Sarsak had staged a hunger strike for more than 90 days to press for his release
Palestinian Authority (PA) spokespersons were clearly at a loss for words in response to the results of an investigation into the death of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat carried out by Al-Jazeera and broadcast last week. The seemingly incontrovertible revelation that the commission formed by the PA leadership eight years ago to probe the circumstances surrounding Arafat's death was not serious in its intent to unearth the truth has been deeply embarrassing for PA officials. The Al-Jazeera report revealed quite a few details that the commission should have been able to learn and that were previously unknown to the Palestinian public.
Under the onslaught of public pressure, the Palestinian leadership announced that it was ready to cooperate with the research teams that took part in the Al-Jazeera investigation. PA spokesmen took the occasion to state that they had no shadow of a doubt that Israel was behind the poisoning of "Abu Ammar" (Arafat's nom de guerre) and that they were determined to get to the truth. At the same time, they tried to give the impression that the commission that was formed in the aftermath of Arafat's death continued to function and that Tawfiq Al-Tirawi, the Palestinian intelligence chief during Arafat's last days, was still its head.
Washington may have overcome the "Vietnam Syndrome" in its war on Iraq, but US peace movements are left to deal with the American public's indifference to human suffering caused by wars, writes Kathy Kelly
Click to view caption
An archival photo of looters caught inside a bank by US soldiers and being searched as they lay on the ground in Baghdad
In April of 2003, I returned from Iraq after having lived there during the US "Shock and Awe" bombing and the initial weeks of the invasion. Before the bombing I had travelled to Iraq about two dozen times and had helped organise 70 trips to Iraq, aiming to cast light on a brutal sanctions regime, with the "Voices in the Wilderness" campaign. As the bombing had approached, we had given our all to helping organise a remarkable worldwide peace movement effort, one which may have come closer than any before it to stopping a war before it started. But, just as, before the war, we'd failed to lift the vicious and lethally punitive economic sanctions against Iraq, we also failed to stop the war, and the devastating civil war that it created.
So it was April and I'd returned home, devastated at our failure. My mother possessed ample reserves of Irish charm, motherly wisdom, and, for purposes of political analyses, a political analysis consistent with that of Fox News Channel. She knew I was distraught, and aiming to comfort me, she said the following in her soft, lilting voice. "Kathy, dear, what you don't understand is that the people of Iraq could have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein a long time ago, and they ought to have done so, and they didn't. So we went in there and did it for them." She clearly hoped I could share her relief that the US could lend a helping hand in that part of the world. "And they ought to be grateful, and they're not."
Israel wants to 'reassess' role in the West Bank of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz| Jul.15, 2012 | 2:26 AM | 33
A Palestinian boy rides a bicycle past tents in the West Bank village of Susiya June 24, 2012
The Foreign Ministry and Israel Defense Forces are considering imposing sanctions against a UN agency in the West Bank and Gaza following allegations that agency employees have engaged in illegal activity such as illegal construction.
As senior officials in Jerusalem put it, Israel wants to “reassess” the role in the West Bank of the agency, the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The two options under consideration are limiting the issuing of visas to OCHA employees and rescinding work and travel permits to local residents who work for OCHA.
Only a few come back to us in roses and tulips.
Many more lie buried, dust on their sleeping eyelids.
By day, the daughters of the Pleiades play out of sight.
At night, they lift their veils in ravishing display.
My eyes pour blood on this night of savage partings:
two lamps I have lighted to sanctify love's sorrow.
I will make them pay for the years of torment, if
by chance, these darlings play houris in paradise.
He shall have sleep, perfumed air, silken nights,
if you untie your jasmine-scented hair in his arms.
I have no use for your coy approaches to the divine.
Past your schools and creeds, we worship God alone.
If Ghalib were to keep this up (he cries inconsolably),
every man, woman, child will be forced to leave town.
Hope is the bleak dawn of
despair: troubles nest with me.
For death a day is fixed: why
will not sleep come to me?
I have laughed at my lows.
Now, they are not so funny.
He gives a prize for piety.
My heart turns away from it.
If you cannot see my scars,
can't you smell? I burn too.
I am in this place where
no news of I gets to me.
I will die pleading for it.
Death arrives but gingerly.
Ghalib, will you make it to
Kaaba? As if that bothers you.
I did make free with her, got away with it.
It could get tricky had she lost her cool.
Are you man's nemesis, fire, fury, the plague?
Be this, that and more: also be for me.
Lord, you scripted life's troubles for me.
I wish you'd give an extra heart or two?
Ghalib, she would have come around to it,
if only you had stayed around till mercy.
Mirza Ghalib, tranlated by M. Shahid Alam
From: Prairie Schooner
Volume 85, Number 1, Spring 2011
M. Shahid Alam's translations of Ghalib have appeared in Chicago Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kimera, and Salt River Review.
As a rule, the Kidon kill team is comprised of four highly seasoned men. (Press TV)
By Ismail Salami - Tehran
A new book reveals that a department known as Kidon within the Mossad has dispatched assassins into Iran in order to murder the nuclear scientists, thereby stunting the country’s nuclear energy program.
Authors Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman in their book Spies against Armageddon: Inside Israel's Secret Wars state that the notorious spy agency has killed at least four Iranian nuclear scientists, including targeting them with operatives on motorcycles, an assassination technique used by the elite killers at Kidon.
The Kidon killers "excel at accurate shooting at any speed and staying steady to shoot and to place exquisitely shaped sticky bombs" and consider it their hallmark.
Kidon, known to be one of the world's most efficient killing machines, is technically described as a little Mossad within Mossad.
Tasked with carrying out covert ops across the world, Kidon has embarked on a number of black ops and assassinations in different countries.
Recently I wrote a letter to Yediot publishers in Israel declining an offer they'd made to publish my novel The Color Purple. Though the letter is self-explanatory there have been many erroneous and curious interpretations of it. Many media outlets requested interviews, among them the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, and Fox news. However, I have chosen to give one interview only. I accepted the invitation to be interviewed by an Israeli paper because I feel it is important to speak directly to the Israeli people; both Jewish and Arab.
Below is that interview for the benefit of English speaking readers. My responses to the questions I chose to answer are in italics.
Ms. Walker, It is a great honor for us to have this chance to interview you for the literary section of Yedioth newspaper, and to spread your opinions to our readers. Thank you for your time and patience. I hope answering these questions will reflect to the Israelis what we look like and will help to arouse a discussion.
It has been years since you had a book published in Israel. A new edition of "The Color Purple" could have been an excellent opportunity to let your views and beliefs be known to the general public in Israel. Could you please elaborate on the reasons that made you refuse its re-publication?
There is an international cultural boycott of Israel because of its practice of apartheid and persecution against the Palestinian people. Please Google The Russell Tribunal on Palestine for details of how this charge was determined last fall in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Palestinian Authority is reverting to old oppressive tactics as its raison d'être is increasingly questioned, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
A Palestinian protester kicks a tear gas canister back at Israeli security forces during clashes at a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Kdumim, near Nablus; bottom: Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (c) in Amman attending the funeral of Hamas member Kamal Ghanaja who was killed in his home in Damascus
A visibly nervous Palestinian Authority (PA) has been clamping down on dissent following the cancellation earlier this week of a planned visit to Ramallah by Israel's deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz.
Mofaz is widely viewed here as a war criminal for his role in the killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians, including hundreds of children, especially in the Gaza Strip, while serving as chief of staff of the Israeli army.
from Electronic Intifada:
Al Jazeera investigative reporter Clayton Swisher is joined by Ali Abunimah on Al Jazeera’s The Stream to discuss Swisher’s bombshell revelations that the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have died of polonium poisoning.
Protests by Palestinians in Ramallah were met with swift, violent repression by Palestinian Authority forces. (Issam Rimawi / APA images)
By Eoin O'Ceallaigh
Ramallah, 8 July 2012
On Saturday, 30 June, approximately 1,000 people gathered in al-Manara square in Ramallah to protest the Palestinian Authority’s invitation to Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s deputy prime minister and an indicted war criminal, and demanding an end to negotiations with Israel.
The protest was swiftly and violently repressed by plain-clothed mukhabarat (secret police) thugs, with PA police coordination. The repression took the form of mukhabarat and police beating people with batons and metal chains, sexually assaulting and spitting in the face of female protestors, kidnapping and beating several people, including journalists, in police stations. Many were treated in the hospital for their injuries.
Read the full story at The Electronic Intifada
'The next day, I will go back to defending American ideals ..'
By Nihad Awad
As we mark one of history's most triumphant acts of liberty, I want to share with you some of the many things America's Muslims are doing to preserve this fundamental principle of the American identity.
The revolution we honor each year on July 4th was in part sparked by unreasonable government intrusions into individual liberty. In 1761, Boston lawyer James Otis spoke against overly-broad warrants issued by the British government. These Writs of Assistance allowed the crown's agents to search any house or ship they wished, without any specific reason. John Adams -- signer of the Declaration of Independence and our nation''s second president -- said of Otis' speech, "Then and there, the child Independence was born."
In times of threat, public opinion often shifts away from liberty. Ten years after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Pew Research Center found that a troubling number of Americans supported government monitoring of credit card transactions (42%) and phone calls (29%). Similarly, the Associated Press found disconcerting percentages of Americans embracing the ideas of warrantless monitoring of domestic phone calls (23%) and email (30%).
'My orientation is in support of those who struggle against the odds.' (UN)
By Richard Falk
Early in my blog life I wrote about Jewish identity. It was partly an exercise in self-discovery, and partly a response to those who alleged that I was a self-hating Jew, or worse, an anti-Semite. These attacks on my character were hurtful even as I felt their distance from my actual beliefs and worldview. In my mind and heart criticisms of Israel and support for the Palestinian struggle for their rights under international law and in accord with fundamental ideas of justice had to do with taking suffering seriously, which for me is the most solid foundation of human identity.
It is my conviction that in a globalized world human identity should serve as the moral trump card in relation to conflict situations. Of course, the optic of human identity can produce a variety of interpretations of a particular situation, and is not meant to eclipse other experienced identities. The Holocaust was a most horrifying instance of what the great Catholic monk, mystic, and writer, Thomas Merton, called the unspeakable. The memories of victimization can never function as a moral excuse for the victimization of another. Tragically, the unfolding of Israel’s quest for security and prosperity beneath the banner of Zionism has generated a narrative of severe Palestinian suffering taking multiple forms, ranging from the prolonged and acute vulnerability of statelessness and rightslessness to the humiliations of living decade after decade under harsh military rule in an increasingly apartheid setting.
By Sam Bahour
Those damn Palestinians. They refuse to sit still. They just don't get it. They are unable to fathom their reality. The more outrageous their situation becomes, the more human they become. When all the powers-to-be thought that they had sufficiently battered (or bought) Palestinians into full political submission, Palestinians embarked on yet another act of terrorism—the terror of dance, music, song, and cultural celebration.
This is not just any act of humanity; it is one of global dimensions. The world had better take note.
To begin with, Israel dispossessed Palestinians of 78% of their homeland and created the world’s largest refugee population. Any Palestinian who remained in Israel was involuntarily made an Israeli citizen and the state created a system of structural discrimination, much worse than that against black South Africans before the end of Apartheid.
By Jorge Martin Melchor June 27, 2012
The Supreme Court ruled June 25 that Arizona’s local law enforcement can be required to ask about someone’s legal status if they have reason to believe they are in the country illegally in its released opinion on SB 1070. But the court also argued that police can’t engage in racial profiling. But the court also argued that police can’t engage in racial profiling.
Read the full post at Indian Country Today Media Network
Hassan Al Najjar in his rented house in Abbassan village.
Three years ago, on 11 January 2009, Hassan Al Najjar’s (62) house in Khuza’a village was destroyed by Israeli forces. This happened during the Israeli offensive against Gaza, codenamed ‘Cast Lead,’ a 22 day military assault on the Gaza Strip that resulted in a massive amount of destruction and fear: “I cannot even begin to explain how this affected me. I am in total shock. I had put great effort into building that house. 14 years of hard work, and in 5 minutes it was all on the ground.”
Hassan’s destroyed house in Khuza’a.
Hassan’s house is located approximately 500 meters from the Israeli border. This is near the buffer zone, a military no-go area that was proclaimed by Israel to exist between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which extends along the entire northern and eastern perimeter of the Gaza Strip adjacent to Israel, but inside Palestinian territory. In 2009, Israel announced that the buffer zone would extend 300 meters into Gaza, although in reality it can extend as far as 1,500 meters. The buffer zone is often enforced using live fire, which results in the loss of Palestinian lives, land and property.
Muslim Brotherhood candidate declared the official winner with 13.2 million votes.
Tens of thousands of people flocked to Tahrir Square on Sunday to celebrate Morsi's victory [EPA]
The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi has officially won Egypt's presidential election and will be the country's next president, the electoral commission has announced.
Morsi picked up 13.2 million votes out of just over 26 million, giving him about 51 per cent of the vote. His competitor, Ahmed Shafiq, the final prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, received 12.3 million. More than 800,000 ballots were invalidated.
Farouq Sultan, the head of the election commission, delivered a long speech before announcing the results in which he defended the body's "independence and integrity" amidst what he called meddling by unnamed political factions.
The final results
Turnout: 26,420,763 (51 per cent)
Invalidated votes: 843,252
Morsi: 13,230,131 votes (51.7 per cent of valid votes)
Shafiq: 12,347,380 votes
Read more on Egypt Live Blog
The two candidates filed 456 complaints about the electoral process, Sultan said, most of them allegations of either forgery or Christian voters being blocked from polling stations in Upper Egypt. The vast majority of those complaints were dismissed.
Tahrir Square erupted into celebration after Morsi's victory was announced. Tens of thousands of his supporters waved Egyptian flags and chanted "God is great" and "down with military rule."
'Long Live the Revolution'. (via Aljazeera)
By Uri Avnery
Everybody knows by now why we are stuck in Palestine.
When God instructed Moses to plead with Pharaoh to let his people go, Moses told him that he was unfit for the job because “I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
Actually, in the Hebrew original, Moses told God that he was “heavy of the mouth and heavy of the tongue”. He should have told Him that he was also heavy of the ears. So when God told him to take his people to Canada, he took his people to Canaan, spending the prescribed 40 years – just long enough to reach Vancouver – wandering hither and thither in the Sinai desert.
So here we are, in Canaan, surrounded by Muslims.
A two-year-old is among the victims of a barrage of violence Israel this week thrust on the Palestinians, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank
Palestinian medics treat a man wounded by Israeli fire in a hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza Strip
The Israeli occupation army and paramilitary Jewish settlers killed more than 10 Palestinians this week, including a two-year-old toddler who died after her Gaza home was hit by a missile fired from an Israeli military drone.
Israeli sources claimed some of the victims were involved in attempts to attack Israeli targets or trying to lay landmines along the Israel-Gaza borders, which is disputed by Palestinians who argue that Israel is killing Palestinians for the sake of it.
Palestinians and Israelis react to the possible victory of Islamists in Egypt's presidential race, with Fatah and Tel Aviv left worried, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Palestinians carry trays of sweets and an Egyptian flag in front of a placard depicting Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi in Gaza City
Palestinian Islamists, who closely followed this week's Egyptian presidential elections run-off, reacted with deep satisfaction to the apparent victory of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi over his secular opponent Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under ex-president Hosni Mubarak.
Prior to the elections, Hamas leaders commented tersely and diplomatically on political developments in Egypt, saying they were standing at the same distance from all political players in the Egyptian arena. However, it was clear beneath such words what party and candidate Hamas and other Islamist groups were favouring.
By Gale Courey Toensing
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an individual has standing to sue the Interior Department for taking land into trust for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake Tribe, to build a casino in Wayland County, Michigan. The decision, issued on June 18, could have ramifications far beyond one tribe because it means that the status of Indian trust lands is no longer secure, and it opens the floodgates to legal challenges to Interior’s trust acquisitions for six years after the department acquires trust land for an Indian tribe.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Heavy machinery began Great Works Dam demolition.
By Gale Courey Toensing
BRADLEY, Maine – It was a great day to restore a river.
Under a cloudless blue sky on a warm spring day in Maine, scores of people stood on the banks of the Penobscot River and watched heavy rock-smashing tractors roll over a riprap road in the water toward a decrepit concrete fish passage, and begin jack hammering it to pieces. The demolition of the Great Works Dam and the restoration of a free-flowing river from Old Town to the Gulf of Maine had begun.
When the Great Works Dam is completely removed later this year and the downstream Veazie Dam, the dam closest to the ocean, comes down next year, migratory sea-run Atlantic salmon and other native anadromous fish that have been blocked – one might say ethnically cleansed – from reaching their spawning grounds for more than 100 years, will be free to return and reestablish self-propagating populations. The restoration of the endangered Atlantic salmon to their historic home waters will not only create economic and recreational opportunities for the communities along the river and beyond, it will also play a crucial role in restoring the cultural traditions and the physical and spiritual wellbeing of the Penobscot Indian Nation.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Colorful rock art of domesticated cattle decorates a wall at Wadi Imha in the Tadrart Acacus Mountains in the Libyan Sahara. Images like this reveal the importance of cattle to Neolithic African people. CREDIT: Roberto Ceccacci, © The Archaeological Mission in the Sahara, Sapienza University of Rome
By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
The sandy dunes of the Sahara may seem an unlikely place for a dairy farm, but about 7,000 years ago, herders tended and milked cattle in what is now desolate desert, new research shows.
About 10,000 years ago, the Sahara desert went through a phase called the Holocene African Humid Period. Fossilized bones show that by the sixth millennium B.C. (or about 7,000 years ago), cattle, sheep and goats roamed over green savanna, and rock art depicts cows with full udders. The occasional image even shows milking, said study researcher Julie Dunne, a doctoral student at the University of Bristol. But it's difficult to get a firm date for those images.
Pulitzer-prize winner, Alice Walker and former Anishanaabek Chief Robert Lovelace aboard the Freedom Flotilla in protest of Israel’s illegal sea blockade of Gaza.
By Gale Courey Toensing
Author, poet and human rights activist Alice Walker has declined an offer to publish her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Color Purple in Israel because the country is “an Apartheid state,” she said.
In a June 9 letter to Yediot Books, Walker thanked the publisher for wanting to issue her novel but said she would wait for “a just future.” Walker said that last fall the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in South Africa, on which she served as a jurist, “met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians … was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid, and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.”
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Julian Assange requested asylum in Ecuador and is sheltering in the South American country's London embassy [EPA]
Julian Assange's attempt to gain asylum in Ecuador is just the latest turn in one of the biggest media stories of our time. The WikiLeaks co-founder is currently in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, which issued this statement on June 19:
"This afternoon Mr Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy seeking political asylum from the Ecuadorean government. We have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito. While the department assesses Mr Assange's application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorean government."
By Donald MacIntyre
The front office of Kamal Ashour's small family clothing factory in Gaza City opens on to Izzedine al-Qassam Street, named, like Hamas's military wing, in honour of the Islamist mujahid who led the anti-Zionist, anti-Mandate, Black Hand gang and was shot dead by British police in 1935.
Which makes it serendipitous to see the mannequins on one of its shelves triumphantly displaying four samples of the 2,000 acrylic cardigans and polo sweaters Ashour has just shipped off to the UK firm of JD Williams in the first clothing exports to leave Gaza for five years. And a lot more so to be talking on Ashour's landline to a Jewish-Israeli clothier in Tel Aviv about how fast, if he had half a chance, he would revert to buying his goods from here, as he once did.
Having made the call, Ashour, a short, spry septuagenarian who used to export at least 80 per cent of his clothing to Israel, has thrust the phone into my hand to demonstrate just how highly his most favoured customer values his business. Sure enough, the Israeli trader explains that, since the blockade imposed in Gaza by his own government in 2007, he has been forced to find a Chinese supplier instead of Ashour; that, yes, the sweaters may be slightly –though "not much"– cheaper, but that he would still prefer Ashour every time. "Look, I've been working with Gaza for 30 years and with this guy for 11 or 12. The overall quality is high, better than China. He's very, very good to work with. I trust him completely. If he says he will do something, he does it. He never changes his mind."
Mubarak's Egypt backed Fatah against Hamas. Now, the shoe is on the other foot as Egypt goes to the polls to choose a president, writes Khaled Amayreh in Hebron
The trial and conviction of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his interior minister, Habib El-Adli, earlier this week have reverberated through the Palestinian political street, drawing conflicting reactions from Palestinian factions, each according to its ideological and political orientation.
Palestinians have been following up rather closely on developments in Egypt ever since the start of the 25 January Revolution that toppled the Mubarak regime, which was widely considered at Israel and America's beck and call.
A clear polarisation is noticed between the Islamist and secular nationalist camps, particularly Hamas and Fatah.
In an unprecedented move, Israeli officials own up to a cyber attack targeting Iran. But why, asks Saleh Al-Naami
A Palestinian woman sits with her wounded grandsons in a hospital in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, after an Israeli airstrike, Sunday; a Palestinian protester holds a flag in front of Israeli soldiers and border police during a protest outside Ofer prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah, marking the anniversary of the 1967 Middle East War, Tuesday
Recently a large number of retired Israeli generals volunteered to give interviews to local and foreign media to clearly state that Israel is behind the recent cyber offensive on sensitive Iranian computer systems. The Russian cyber security software maker Kaspersky Lab was the first to leak the attack, in which the "Flame" virus was used. In a detailed report, the company said that the goal of the attack was to gather intelligence about Iran's nuclear intentions, not as an attack like the "Stuxnet" virus in 2009 that disrupted centrifuge equipment for uranium enrichment at Iranian nuclear facilities.
What was surprising is that Moshe Yaalon, deputy prime minister and strategic affairs minister, openly declared that Israel was behind the cyber attack.
Members of Mahmoud al-Sarsak's family walk past a poster demanding his release (5 June 2012) Mahmoud al-Sarsak was once regarded as a star player in the Palestine national football team
Human rights groups have warned that a Palestinian footballer who has been on hunger strike for 80 days in an Israeli prison faces imminent danger of death.
"The Israeli Prison Service refuses
to transfer him to a civilian hospital for proper treatment” -- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel who was once a star player in the Palestinian national team, was arrested as he left the Gaza Strip en route to a match in 2009.
Mr Sarsak has since been held without trial or charge.
He is one of a handful of Palestinian prisoners who have rejected a deal that ended a mass hunger strike on 14 May.
Under the deal, Israel agreed to end solitary confinement for 19 prisoners - held in isolation for up to 10 years - and lifted a ban on family visits for prisoners from Gaza.
Mr Sarsak has not eaten solid food since mid-March. Although he has taken fluids and some vitamin supplements, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said on Wednesday that he could die at any time.
"Despite the urgency of his condition, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has denied Mahmoud access to independent doctors from PHR-Israel until today," a statement said.
"The IPS also refuses to transfer him to a civilian hospital for proper treatment."
Would it not be better to admit the wrong that was done to the native people, do some restorative justice, and begin to discuss among ourselves how we Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and others can live TOGETHER in a country in full equality?
By Mazin Qumsiyeh
June 6, 2012
It seems like yesterday that we watched Israeli tanks rolling down the hills towards our sleepy town of Beit Sahour 45 years ago today. As a child it was the most frightening sight. The second stage of the Zionist expansion on the land of Palestine unleashed terror that our generation had not experienced but my parents’ generation had during the Nakba when between January 1948 and the end of 1949, some 530 villages and towns were ethnically cleansed.
The changes I witnessed the 45 years since the "6 day" invasion of 1967 have been nothing short of monumental. Those hills that the tanks rolled down on are all now filled with colonial settlements that scar the ancient landscape. The Israeli quarries have literally dug up other hills and trucked stone and soil away to build the "Jewish state" while destroying Palestinian lives.
In a conflict of this nature, there are no winners. (BBC)
By Ramzy Baroud
The conflict in Syria is giving way to a troubling phenomenon of hastily drawn sectarian lines throughout the Middle East. A perpetual and repugnant war is likely to replace the collective aspirations for equality, freedom and democracy that fuelled the non-violent uprising nearly 15 months ago.
Between May 25 and 26, 108 civilians were remorselessly butchered in the central town of Al Houla. The majority of them were women and children. The massacre was not the first, and is unlikely to be the last in what has become a Syrian bloodbath with no end in sight. The nature of the dreaded battle is already being defined in sectarian terms. Even carefully-worded statements by UN chief Ban Ki-moon have acknowledged the worrying situation. “The massacres of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war, a civil war from which the country would never recover,” he warned at a forum in Istanbul.
While intellectuals and political analysts may contend with definitions of ‘civil war’, ordinary Syrians have no other option but to recognise the horrifying reality. “The civil war has begun,” a Syrian activist told BBC correspondent, Paul Wood, who is reporting undercover in Syria. “We will look back at this time, and say this was when it started,” the activist reportedly said.
Instead of embracing a Mubarak throwback, the Zionist lobby is warming to Mohamed Mursi in Egypt's presidential race, sure he will fail miserably and carry the blame, writes Franklin Lamb from Beirut
Washington, according to Israel, must insist that Egypt not only maintain its peace treaty with Israel, but Obama must tell the Brotherhood that any referendum on the Camp David Accords will be interpreted by the US as an attempt to destroy that agreement. According to Israeli government water carrier Dennis Ross, "In recent conversations, Brotherhood leaders have expressed their belief that they would not be blamed if the treaty were revoked by a nationwide vote, as seems likely. They need to be told otherwise."
The results of the opening round of the historic Egyptian presidential elections, the first ever in Mother Egypt where the results were not known in advance, present an encouraging snapshot of a "new democratic Egypt". The two candidates that will face each other in the 16-17 June final round of voting will be the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi (who got 25 per cent of the first round vote) and Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafik (who took 24 per cent).
Mursi and Shafik represent very different strands of Egyptian society. Shafik will continue to draw his support from people fearful of an Islamist takeover, and those exhausted by the upheavals of the past 16 months.
President Obama in the Oval Office with Thomas E. Donilon, left, the national security adviser, and John O. Brennan, his top counterterrorism adviser.
By JO BECKER and SCOTT SHANE
New York Times
Published May 29, 2012
WASHINGTON — This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.
President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.
“How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”
It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
Sandra Tamari, right, at the 2012 United Methodist General Conference, alongside Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
By Philip Weiss
Sandra Tamari is a Palestinian-American Quaker who lives outside St. Louis. She is is a member of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and has worked on divestment, as you can see in the picture above.
Last week she was deported from Israel and the American embassy asked if she was Jewish and then said it couldn't help her.
The press release from her supporters:
by M. Shahid Alam
A night reading Rumi fills ancient wineglasses.
By day speed & freeway suck God out of me.
I have stayed up all night thinking of you.
Wall Street & City leech love out of me.
Who is my brother if the world is a village?
Jet and internet pluck my roots out of me.
If earth goes toxic, let’s move out to Mars.
This devil optimism takes the heart out of me.
When blue sky and sun wrap me in their arms,
Shähid, this friendship takes the dread out of me.
M. Shahid Alam teaches economics at Northeastern University in Boston. He is the author of Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave, 2010). His poems and Ghalib translations have appeared in Kenyon Review(forthcoming), Critical Muslim (forthcoming), Clapboard House, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Paintbrush, Black Bear Review, West Coast Review, Marlboro Review, Journal of South Asian Literature, Kimera, Sufi, Swan, Chowk, Blanket and Pulse.
By Steven Salaita
The Electronic Intifada
31 May 2012
Scholars of Palestine have long discussed the hazardous act of bringing up Israeli colonization in American classrooms (secondary and post-secondary). This act of informing students about a monumental conflict in which a colonial aggressor visits various forms of oppression on an indigenous population is perceived as hazardous for good reason. In the vast majority of secondary schools, mentioning Palestine in a favorable light is strictly taboo. The same, unfortunately, is true of university instruction, despite academia’s self-image as a place where free ideas can be exchanged.
In the past decade, dozens of university instructors have battled for their jobs amid pressure from fanatical Zionist groups seeking to have them fired, sometimes succeeding. Within university structures themselves, too much advocacy on behalf of Palestine (or too little subservience to Israel) has also led to controversy for academics — and in some cases their dismissal.
The reality is rarely stated in formal policies or in review committees, but it is clear, known to anybody even remotely interested in the “Israel-Palestine conflict”: anti-Zionism, of the vocal or furtive variety, is a career killer. Teaching Palestine, then, entails material consequences.
The New York Times revealed this week that President Obama personally oversees a "secret kill list" containing the names and photos of individuals targeted for assassination in the U.S. drone war. According to the Times, Obama signs off on every targeted killing in Yemen and Somalia and the more complex or risky strikes in Pakistan. Individuals on the list include U.S. citizens, as well teenage girls as young as 17 years old. "The President of the United States believes he has the power to order people killed — in total secrecy, without any due process, without transparency or oversight of any kind," says Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger for Salon.com. "I really do believe it’s literally the most radical power that a government and president can seize, and yet the Obama administration has seized [it] and exercised it aggressively with little controversy." [Includes rush transcript]
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Glenn, I want ask you about another subject. On Tuesday, the New York Times published a major exposé about how President Obama personally oversees a "secret kill list" containing the names and photos and of individuals targeted for assassination in the U.S. drone war. According to the Times, Obama signs off on every targeted killing in Yemen and Somalia and the more complex or risky strikes in Pakistan. Individuals on the list include U.S. citizens as well as teenage girls as young as 17 years old. Glenn, can you comment on that?
We follow a Sesame Street composer as he learns how his music has been used to torture detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
"It is music's capacity to take over your mind and invade your inner experience that makes it so terrifying as a potential weapon." - Thomas Keenan, the director of the Human Right's Project at Bard College
Award-winning musician Christopher Cerf has composed music for the famous children's television show Sesame Street for 40 years. During this time, he has written more than 200 songs intended to help children learn how to read and write.
But these innocent children's songs were abused for inhumane purposes.
WOMAN: “I have heard about him [Obama]. He’s an Arab.”
MCCAIN: “No ma’am, no ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen .. .
Submitted by Ali Abunimah | Electronic Intifada
US President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has just released a blatantly anti-Arab video ad on its official YouTube channel.
The Hill reported:
An Obama campaign Web ad released Tuesday looks to tie Mitt Romney to the controversial assertions held by real estate mogul and reality show host Donald Trump, who has become one of the Romney campaign’s most visible surrogates.
The ad, called “Two Republican Nominees,” aims to do so by contrasting presumptive 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney negatively when compared to the supposedly more moderate Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee Obama defeated in 2008.
Blatant anti-Arab racism
But The Hill fails to note the blatant anti-Arab racism in the ad. It features a clip of an 11 October 2008 exchange at a Minnesota town-hall style campaign event between McCain and a woman in the audience. The exchange can be seen starting 15 seconds into the ad:
WOMAN: “I have heard about him [Obama]. He’s an Arab.”
MCCAIN: “No ma’am, no ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen, whom I just happen to have disagreements with.”
If the bigotry contained in the exchange is not obvious, try replacing the word “Arab” with “Jew” and then imagine what the response would have been to how McCain handled it then, and to Obama using it now.
Few speak out
The exchange caused outrage among Arab Americans during the 2008 campaign, but very few other public figures, especially not Obama, spoke up against this kind of racism – which also routinely conflates Arabs and Muslims.
In 2008, actor Ben Affleck was one of the few celebrities who spoke out against McCain’s bigoted response, that Obama is now lauding.
One of the few who did was former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell who told NBC’s Meet The Press on 19 October 2008:
By Stephen Zunes | Antiwar
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a dangerous piece of legislation, H.R. 4133, which would undermine the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, weaken Israeli moderates and peace advocates, undercut international law, further militarize the Middle East, and make Israel ever more dependent on the United States.
The margin was an overwhelming 411-2, with eight abstentions.
House minority leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joined House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in co-sponsoring the bill, an indication of how closely the Democratic Party leadership aligns with the most right-wing Republicans when it comes to U.S. Middle East policy.
Indeed, the way the Democratic Party is now allied with the Republican right could not be more obvious than the fact that the resolution passed on a “suspension of the rules,” a legislative procedure reserved for legislation on noncontroversial topics requiring little debate and allowing for a quick vote.
A former Likud activist who has become a critic of Netanyahu explains, “Bibi is a messianist. He believes with all his soul and every last molecule of his being that he—I don't quite know how to express it—is King David.”
Warmongering Zionist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
By Paul Pillar | The National Interest
We have a comparative lull at the moment in what has been saturation attention to Iran and its nuclear program. The lull comes after the concentrated warmongering rhetoric associated with the recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the AIPAC conference in Washington, and before the opening in mid-April of the only channel offering a way out of the impasse associated with the Iranian nuclear issue: direct negotiations between Iran and the powers known as the P5+1. It is a good time to reflect on how much the handling of this issue underscores the gulf between Israeli policies and U.S. interests. The gulf exists for two reasons. One is that the Netanyahu government's policies reflect only a Rightist slice of the Israeli political spectrum, with which many Israelis disagree and which is contrary to broader and longer-term interests of Israel itself. The other reason is that even broadly defined Israeli interests will never be congruent with U.S. interests. This should hardly be surprising. There is no reason to expect the interests of the world superpower to align with those of any of the parties to a regional dispute involving old ethnically or religiously based claims to land.
Israel is pushing through additional sanctions on Iran, even as everyone admits Iran has no weapons program
By John Glaser | Antiwar
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned world powers engaged in nuclear talks with Iran for allegedly softening the demands on the Islamic Republic, as he pushed through additional economic sanctions.
“After a few rounds of talks – I am sorry to say that the demands from Iran are not enough,” Netanyahu said during a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies.”I hoped the P5+1 will demand that Iran halt all enrichment – but instead they are lowering their demands from Iran.”
The P5+1 – Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany – failed to come to an agreement with Iran in the last round of talks in Baghdad. They demanded Iran stop 20 percent enrichment of uranium, despite being offered wider access to non-nuclear sites in Iran and despite the authoritative consensus of the U.S. intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention to do so.
By Vacy Vlazna
Every time Israel bans Palestinians from leaving Israel's West Bank-Gaza Prison, and every time a well-meaning foreigner is refused entry to give humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, Israel is consolidating its reputation as a global pariah, now, according to the BBC poll, on par with North Korea for having the highest negative influence on the global stage.
Like Pavlov's dog, Israel rabidly salivates and attacks in response to any association with human rights and human decency. All compassionate attempts by the flotillas to bring aid to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza were confronted with Israeli violence, piracy, looting, and imprisonment peaking in the shocking Mavi Marmara massacre through which Israel recruited the whole of Turkey to the pro-Palestinian cause.
Ordinary Greeks were focused on their nation's economic woes until Israel alerted them to Palestine's and their own loss of sovereignty when Israel closed Greek ports to deter the 2011 Gaza flotilla.
PalFest: A celebration of the power of culture. (Activestills)
By Ayah Bashir - Gaza
Amid the focus on the economic hardships caused by Israel's ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip, it has been easy for many to overlook the fact that the territory's 1.6 million people have been kept under a cultural siege as well.
This is ironic because much international debate has emphasized the rights and wrongs of cultural boycott of Israel in the context of the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
For years, the Palestine Festival of Literature — PalFest — has been trying to break this siege.
PalFest began in 2008 in the West Bank, and tried its best to come to Gaza in 2009 with the clear objective of connecting international writers with Palestinian writers and audiences in Gaza. However, Israeli occupation forces denied organizers entry permits through the Erez crossing in the north of the Gaza Strip. In 2010, PalFest organizers tried again to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing — along the Strip’s border with Egypt — but were also denied entry by the regime of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in February 2011.
By Khalid Amayreh
Thanks to the fact that much of the western media deliberately avoids exposing Israeli criminality, probably for fear of being accused of anti-Semitism, much of the brutal ugliness of the Jewish state remains unknown to millions of Europeans and North Americans.
This is the reason that many people in the west are still buying the big, obscene lie that Israel is a western democracy which upholds basic human rights and civil liberties. But the facts on the ground are much uglier than many people think, irrespective of how vociferous and dogged Israeli hasbara operatives get when defending and justifying Israeli misdeeds and crimes.
The truth of the matter is that institutionalized oppression, racism and terror against the native Palestinians have always constituted and continue to constitute Israel's modus operandi.
Recent internal elections in Hamas have greatly strengthened the hand of Khaled Meshaal, who but a few months ago was set to leave his position as Hamas head, writes Saleh Al-Naami
For over one month, internal elections were held in Hamas to choose the group's senior leadership, especially members of the politburo and the group's General Shura Council, which represents the group in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, diaspora and prisons. Members were also choosing representatives to branch Shura councils and leadership positions in various regions. The pressing question on the eve of elections was: how will the results affect the group's political and strategic choices in the coming phase, especially regarding resistance against occupation, reconciliation and other key issues? Also, what is the future of Khaled Meshaal's leadership of the group?
Contrary to general perception, the results bolstered Meshaal's position as head of the group's politburo and leader of Hamas. Sources told Al-Ahram Weekly that the most important outcome was the re-election of Meshaal, which empowered his supporters in central and branch leadership positions. Surprisingly, the elections increased the number of Meshaal supporters in branch leadership institutions in the Gaza Strip, especially branch politburos.
The mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israel ends with a deal brokered by Egypt. Only some of their demands will be met, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Hundreds of Palestinian political and resistance prisoners in Israeli jails have ended a mass hunger strike protesting against cruel and inhuman prison conditions following the conclusion of a compromise deal with Israel brokered by Egyptian Intelligence.
Israel refuses to grant the prisoners the legal status of "prisoners of war" and insists on considering them "terrorists" or "security prisoners" even though many of them were never involved in violent acts against the Israeli occupation.
Legislation introduced that would no longer require Israelis to obtain visas to visit the United States for tourism or business purposes.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
US Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced legislation on Friday that would no longer require Israelis to obtain visas to visit the United States for tourism or business purposes.
The Visa Waiver Program allows nationals from certain countries to enter the US as temporary visitors for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa from a US consulate abroad.
For obvious reasons, Israel's image is deteriorating worldwide. (Activestills)
By Jamal Kanj
In response to questions rating which country '… is having a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world?' Israel was tie with N Korea for third place with highest negative influence on the global stage.
The 2012 BBC Country Ratings Poll was conducted jointly by GlobeScan, an international opinion research consultancy, and The Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, USA.
Respondents were asked to rate 16 countries for their “mostly positive” or “mostly negative” influence on the world. A total of 24,090 citizens in 22 countries were interviewed in late 2011 and early 2012. People’s perception was based on the world’s view of the country’s foreign and domestic policies.
Palestinian history is now evolving in two opposing directions. (Activestills)
By Ramzy Baroud
The commemoration of the Nakba needs to be more than a ritualistic event; the remembrance should be integrated into a clear and comprehensive national project aimed at offsetting the harm wrought to generations of Palestinians.
There is no question that Israel has repeatedly failed in distancing or erasing the memory of those ominous months in 1947-48 when hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were destroyed and their people expelled.
Israel made incessant attempts to redefine the legal, spatial and even psychological boundaries of the conflict to another date — its occupation of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in June 1967.
The signing of the Oslo Peace Accord made any mention of pre-1967 events somehow a form of political ‘extremism’ tantamount to calling for the ‘destruction’ of Israel as a Jewish state. Worse, demanding a return to the 1967 border eventually became too much for Palestinians to expect as Israel began haggling over small spaces within that already shrinking area — barely 22 per cent of 1948 Palestine.
Published on May 17, 2012 by FreedomSailors
By Ray McGovern, May 19, 2012
With the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War of June 1967 coming early next month, pro-Israel pundits like syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer are again promoting Israel’s faux narrative on the reasons behind Israel’s decision to attack its neighbors.
The Krauthammers of our domesticated, corporate media seem bent on waging pre-emptive war against an accurate historical rendering of the actual objectives behind that Israeli offensive that overwhelmed Arab armies and seized large swaths of Arab territory, land that hard-line Zionists refer to as "Greater Israel," i.e. rightly theirs.
With its surprise attacks on June 5, 1967, Israel rapidly defeated the armies of its Arab neighbors. It gained control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria.
The Sinai was returned to Egypt in 1979 as a result of the Camp David peace accord, a land-for-peace swap that U.S. President Jimmy Carter demanded and that then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin deeply resented.
Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:06 By Congressman Dennis Kucinich, The Office of Dennis Kucinich | Speech
Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH) prepared speech to Congress follows. See video here. Congressman Kucinich is also distributing this flyer to Congressional colleagues. Additionally he recently spoke about Iran on the House Floor. See that video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FycJHGtrvH4&feature=youtu.be and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU9C_v6c6ls&feature=youtu.be. Kucinich will be back on the House Floor today (May 17) at noon for a “one minute” speech. "We must not stumble into another war," he said.
"This week, Congress is considering two pieces of legislation relating to Iran. The first undermines a diplomatic solution with Iran and lowers the bar for war. The second authorizes a war of choice against Iran and begins military preparations for it.
H.Res.568: Eliminating the Most Viable Alternative to War
The House is expected to vote on H.Res. 568. Read the resolution. Section (6) rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Section (7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to Iranian enrichment.
The old may die but the young will never forget.
By Ramzy Baroud
Many Palestinians remember and reference al-Nakba, also known as the Catastrophe, on May 15 every year. The event marks the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians, while their villages were destroyed. The destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 ushered in the birth of Israel. Older generations relay the harsh and oppressive memory of their collective experience to younger Palestinians, many of whom live their own Nakbas today.
In covering al-Nakba, sympathetic Arab and other media play sad music and show black and white footage of displaced, frightened refugees. They rightly emphasize the concept of Sumud, steadfastness, as they show Palestinian of all ages holding unto the rusty keys of their homes and insisting on their right of return. Other, less sympathetic media discuss al-Nakba, if at all, as a side note – a nuisance in the Israeli narrative of a nation's supposedly miraculous birth and its progression to an idyllic oasis of democracy. What such reductionist representations often fail to show is that while al-Nakba started, it never truly finished.
I do not recall any reference to the refugees in Peace Now publications.
The [Nakba] law is actually an amendment to the Budget Foundation Law, and states that the minister of finance is entitled to reduce funds to any public institution, such as a school or university, if it commemorates "Independence Day or the day of the establishment of the state as a day of mourning..."
By Neve Gordon
I first heard about the Nakba in the late 1980s, while I was an undergraduate student of philosophy at Hebrew University. This, I believe, is a revealing fact, particularly since, as a teenager, I was a member of Peace Now and was raised in a liberal home. I grew up in the southern city of Be'er-Sheva, which is just a few kilometres from several unrecognised Bedouin villages that, today, are home to thousands of residents who were displaced in 1948. I now know that the vast majority of the Negev's Bedouin population was not as lucky, and that, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, most Bedouin either fled or were expelled from their ancestral lands to Jordan or Gaza.
How is it possible that a left-leaning Israeli teenager who was living in the Negev during the early 1980s (I graduated from high-school in 1983) had never heard the word "Nakba"?
How, in other words, is collective amnesia engendered?
Pressure is building on Israel as an open-ended hunger strike by thousands of Palestinian prisoners continues, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
The mother of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Diab holds a poster of her son, who is on a hunger strike for 67 days. About 5,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel are on a hunger strike, demanding an end to imprisonment without trial as well as better conditions
With a massive open-ended hunger strike observed by thousands of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails entering a "crucial phase", as inmates are being force-fed, Palestinian militant leaders have warned that the death of even one prisoner as a result of Israeli intransigence in face of the strike would trigger an all-out Intifada -- or uprising -- in the occupied territories.
The warning came from militant leaders affiliated with Islamist groups, saying the Palestinian people wouldn't allow Israel to break the will of helpless prisoners demanding simple human decency and a semblance of acceptable treatment.
By Frank Barat
Before I start, I’d like to make it clear that not all views/takes on the subject will be mentioned in this piece. I will not talk about the 'views from Mars' (actually if there is 'people' on Mars they will probably be offended by the comparison. So if you do indeed exist, please forgive me) of certain 'Palestinian People deniers' US politicians that manage to be lunatic and mainstream at the same time. The fact that those views are hardly challenged and condemned in mainstream US politics and media says a lot about the 'land of the free'.
The easiest way to define Palestinian is to say that 'a Palestinian' is either someone coming from historical Palestine, born from a Palestinian mother or a Palestinian father or someone born from a Palestinian father and mother but living outside of Palestine. A land, in its historical sense, extending from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.
A land full of history, conflicts and occupations.
Without going too far back in history, the land of Palestine has been, throughout the 20th century, occupied by the Ottoman Empire, followed by the British (the Brits did not like the word occupation much so found a nicer name to describe it: A mandate.), the Kingdom of Jordan and Egypt. From 1948, something else happened with the creation, on top of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages, of the State of Israel.
By Vacy Vlazna
On May 15, 1948 the unilateral proclamation of the State of Israel which erupted into the brutal Palestinian Nakba or Catastrophe was also catastrophic for United Nations (UN) ringing the death knell for its stature and authority.
Like medieval kings, the US and Israel employed the UN to be its fool running around with a cap o' bells and sceptre (rendered useless by US veto) beginning with the 1947 Resolution 181, passed on 29 February by members (under coercion) recommending the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states which was understandably rejected by Palestine but accepted by Israel as a step toward its Zionist expansionist goal for the full realisation of a Jewish Eretz Israel.
In Beirut speech, Hezbollah leader also says his movement can accurately hit targets throughout Israel in case of war.
The speech marked the rebuilding of Beirut's southern suburbs, badly damaged in a 2006 war with Israel [Reuters]
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has accused the US, Israel and some Arab states of stoking "terrorism" in Syria during a speech broadcast to thousands of his supporters in southern Beirut.
"Who wants the destruction of Syria? America and Israel and some Arab countries," said Nasrallah, whose Shia movement is close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.
"They want to destroy Syria because it is the main ally of the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine."
By Ramzy Baroud
A critical shift in the Palestine-Israeli conflict is now underway. The shift promises an endgame for the Israeli plot in Palestine, and a possible collective response from the Palestinian people.
Every Palestinian uprising in the past — from as far back as the late 1920s to the second Intifada in 2000 — has been sparked by a single event, which was a critical accumulation of numerous prior events that forced Palestinians to act en masse. Such a moment is now approaching.
Current developments in Palestine include the complete bankruptcy of the Palestinian leadership, futile unity talks between major Palestinian factions, Israeli attempts to finalise its long-orchestrated colonial designs in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and a failure of the international community to impose any real pressure on Israel. The high hopes some Palestinians pinned on Arab revolutions — and their sense of political clarity — have also been dissipating.
By Jonathan Cook
Israelis barely had time to absorb the news that they were heading into a summer election when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday pulled the rug from underneath the charade. Rancorous early electioneering had provided cover for a secret agreement between Netanyahu and the main opposition party, Kadima, to form a new, expanded coalition government.
Rather than facing the electorate in September, Netanyahu and his hardline rightwing government are expected to comfortably see out the remaining 18 months of his term of office. Not only that, but he will now have the backing of more than three-quarters of the 120-seat Israeli parliament, leading one commentator to crown him the “King of Israel”.
Akile Ch'oh (Edward John)
AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito
Grand Chief Edward John was elected by acclamation to oversee the annual meeting of Permanent Forum.
By Gale Courey Toensing
A First Nations chief has been named chairman of the 11th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Grand Chief Edward John was elected by acclamation to oversee the annual meeting of Permanent Forum which takes place each May at the United Nations in New York. John’s chairmanship was announced on the morning of May 7 when the session opened. The forum runs through May 18 this year.
“For first time in history of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues we have a chair elected from North America – Grand Chief Ed John!” Jessica Danforth, founder and director of Native Youth Sexual Health Network, wrote on her Facebook page. “And as he visited with our Youth Caucus today and told us the story of how they tried to beat the Indian out of him in residential school, all I could think of is if those school officials only knew he would grow up to be an official member of the UN Permanent Forum and tell the truth on an international human rights level so no other child’s story of abuse goes unrecognized.”
John is a Hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation located on the banks of the Nak’al Bun (Stuart Lake) in northern British Columbia, according to a biographical sketch on the First Nations Summit website. A lawyer for 30 years, John has long pursued social and economic justice for Canada’s indigenous people. He participated in the development of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In January, 2011, he was appointed to a three-year term as North American Representative to the Permanent Forum.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
By Gale Courey Toensing May 8, 2012
Ask Donna Loring if the Maine legislature’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has helped the Wabanaki people and she says, “Ha! You have to ask? You know the answer to that.”
When Loring, the former Penobscot Nation representative to the Maine legislature, entered a legislative resolution to adopt the Declaration, she didn’t expect it to pass. But on April 15, 2008, members of the Maine House and Senate voted unanimously without discussion or debate to support the resolution.
“That was not my intention!” Loring told Indian Country Today Media Network. “I expected them to turn it down because of all the stuff that was going on (in the legislature). We didn’t get anything that we had worked on that year and they (the legislators) were pretty nasty about things.” Some legislators were very supportive of the tribes, but didn’t have the political will to make the changes that were needed, Loring said.
The year 2008 was indeed a contentious one for tribal-state relations. The legislature had disemboweled amendments to the implementing act of the 1980 Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, which would have reiterated the sovereignty of the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseets and Micmac tribes. It slashed the Maine Indian-Tribal State Commission’s budget by $40,000 and stopped a bill to convert 700 acres of Penobscot trust land into reservation land for tribal housing saying the Penobscots might use the land for gaming – an illogical fear since the Penobscots have never been allowed to offer anything more than bingo. A few weeks after the legislature endorsed the Declaration, Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis took the unprecedented step of severing relations with the state after then Gov. John Baldacci thwarted a bill approved by a legislative supermajority that would have allowed the tribe to operate slot machines at its bingo facility on Indian Island.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
UN Photo/Ryan Brown
This year’s UNPFII (seen here in 2007) will follow up on work on the doctrine presented two years ago.
By Gale Courey Toensing
Indigenous delegates will come away from the 11th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) with a deeper understanding of the centuries-old ideology that continues to deprive them of full human rights, freedom and self-determination.
The Doctrine of Discovery, a 500-year-old Christian dogma that justified the genocide of millions of non-Christian peoples around the world—and continues to justify the expropriation of their lands and the domination of their societies—is the special theme for UNPFII this year. The forum will take place at the U.N. headquarters in New York City from May 7 to 18. Around 2,000 indigenous delegates from around the world are expected to attend the annual meeting.
The forum includes 16 independent experts, who serve up to two three-year terms. Half are nominated by governments, and the others by indigenous organizations in several regional groupings—Africa; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; the Arctic; Central and Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; North America; and the Pacific—that encompass the world’s 370 million Indigenous Peoples.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
Keystone XL Pipeline Protest
Environmental activists gather outside the White House in Washington, Monday, August 22, 2011
By Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today Media Network
One might think from the name – the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act – that this legislation is meant to spruce up federal buildings and beautify their grounds with landscaping.
But the bill does none of that. Instead, H.R. 347, which President Barack Obama quietly signed into law on March 8, has the potential to criminalize protests and clamp down on the First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom to assemble. With recent and possible future indigenous protests against tar sands pipelines, with the Occupy movement springing back with the season, with demonstrations expected at the NATO Conference in Chicago this month and at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September, the new bill gives the government the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in peaceful political protest.
Read the full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
The BDS movement is not asking for anything heroic from people of conscience. It is merely asking them to desist from complicity in oppression.
By Omar Barghouti
The Palestinian right to equality is neither negotiable nor relative; it is the sine qua non of a just peace in Palestine and the region. As Edward Said once said, “Equality or nothing!”
Anyone who supports Palestinian self-determination while calling only for ending the forty-five-year-old Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is only upholding most of the rights of just 38 percent of Palestinians while expecting the rest to accept injustice as fate. According to 2011 statistics, of 11.2 million Palestinians, 50 percent live in exile, many denied their UN-stipulated right to return to their homes of origin, and 12 percent are Palestinian citizens of Israel who live under a system of “institutional, legal and societal discrimination,” according to the US State Department. More than two thirds of Palestinians are refugees or internally displaced persons.
Equal rights for Palestinians means, at minimum, ending Israel’s 1967 occupation and colonization, ending Israel’s system of racial discrimination and respecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands from which they were ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba. The 2005 Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Palestinians because it upholds all three. By appealing to people of conscience around the world to help end Israel’s three-tiered system of oppression, the BDS movement is not asking for anything heroic. It is merely asking people to desist from complicity in oppression.
A boycott of Israel's settlements makes sense, but a broader boycott will most hurt those forces inside Israel that are best poised to change Israeli state policy.
by Bernard Avishai
The American response to Peter Beinart’s New York Times op-ed calling for an economic boycott of Israel’s West Bank settlements—what he calls, usefully, “non-democratic Israel”—will strike Israeli liberals as just a little melodramatic. Not very much is produced in the settlements, which are largely bedroom communities. Most liberal Israelis have been boycotting products from the settlements for years: Dead Sea creams, organic eggs, boutique wines and spices.
Recently, various scholars, artists and scientists signed statements announcing our refusal to cooperate with, or even visit, the college established in the settlement of Ariel, between Ramallah and Nablus; a college originally established by Bar-Ilan University, but now applying—with the support of Netanyahu’s government, and in the face of considerable opposition from the Council of Higher Education—to be upgraded to an independent university. A couple of years ago, writing against the BDS movement against Israel as a whole in these pages, I called for just such a boycott myself.
College elections results spur doubts as to the possible fairness of general elections in the West Bank due this year, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
While a nearly euphoric Fatah celebrated the results of recent student elections in the West Bank, Hamas dismissed the results as being the outcome of falsification and manipulation by the Fatah-dominated security agencies.
Hamas also accused Israeli occupation authorities of launching a witch-hunt campaign against suspected Islamist students, thus discouraging them from taking part in the elections lest they get arrested by the Israeli army, which still controls every nook and cranny in the West Bank.
Israel doesn't deny the charge and says openly it won't allow Hamas to rebuild its power base in occupied territory. The Israeli army did arrest a number of students affiliated with the Islamic Student Bloc (ISB) for indulging in activities deemed illegal.
The expansionist Zionist project continues to enjoy immunity before Israeli law as settlers grab daily more Arab land, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank
Palestinian protesters with their hands chained during a protest outside Ofer prison near Ramallah in solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners
Resorting to a combination of legal tricks, repeated procrastination and brazen deceitfulness, the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu has been trying to legalise dozens of colonial outposts built on private Arab lands.
The manifestly malicious measures have raised the eyebrows of jurists and judges as well as media figures in Israel who have complained that the Netanyahu government is not only destroying the peace process with the Palestinians but also the rule of law in Israel.
Last week, the government petitioned the High Court of Justice to postpone the evacuation of Jewish squatters from a small colonial outpost named Ulpana near Ramallah. The evacuation ought to have taken place long time ago. However, heavy political pressure and intervention by government officials and influential Knesset members repeatedly delayed evacuation as the issue moved from the judicial to the political realm.
Horowitz seems to liken supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel to those who would support Nazi attacks on Jews.
People from all walks of life, and from all around the world, make up the supporters of the BDS campaign [EPA]
It's been too long. I was a little surprised that I was not part of your just published list of dangerous, Jew- (self-) hating, Nazi-loving supporters of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions against Israel. Maybe I'm not good - sorry, evil - enough to have made the A-list of Israel-bashers featured in your April 24 New York Times ad . But not even your full list, with 1,004 professors, journalists, artists, activists and organisations? Was there really no room for me, one of your original 101 most dangerous professors?
Indeed, the new list, like the old one, is much longer than the sample you've presented. You've only scratched the surface; you should hire more interns. Let me help you a bit; you can add me now.
While adding my name, perhaps you might consider the implications of so many people from all walks of life joining the BDS movement: they have decided that decades of illegal Israeli occupation, massive settlement construction, the destruction and theft of much of the natural resources of the West Bank and Gaza - from olive trees to precious water resources - and the systematic detention, torture and murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians, have done grave harm to Palestinian society. These crimes against the Palestinians involve such a wide spectrum of Israeli society and government that calling for the boycott of Israeli institutions, divestment from the Israeli economy and sanctions against the government is both a necessary and moral response to this situation.
See the following story for a response from Mark LeVine
NABLUS, (PIC)-- Jewish settlers uprooted 200 olive trees near Aqraba village, Nablus, on Wednesday morning, local sources said.
Hamza Deiriya, a member of the committee for the defense of Aqraba land, said that the settlers came from Etamar settlement and chopped off the trees planted in an area of six dunums.
He noted that the settlers were attacking this same area for the sixth time, recalling that olive trees and water wells in it were destroyed at their hands.
He charged that the Jewish settlers want to terrorize the Palestinian landowners and to annex their land.
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM/ NABLUS (PIC)-- The Arab member in the Israeli Knesset, Ahmed Teibi affirmed that four hunger striking prisoners’ lives in the occupation’s jails are in danger and that the occupation authorities are fully responsible for their lives.
This was mentioned in his letter addressed to Isaac Aheronovic the Israeli Minister of Internal Security in which he asked him to transfer the captive Thaer Halahla to the hospital due to his deteriorating health condition.
Tibi expressed in a statement on Wednesday his fear that the occupation authorities might actually want some hunger strikers to die as a way of foiling the hunger strike.
By Ralph Nader
(The imagined conversation between the Ghost of Osama bin Laden and President Barack Obama)
The Ghost of Osama bin Laden swirled into the Oval Office where Barack Obama was spending the evening going over a pile of requested sign-offs for drone missions.
Osama’s Ghost: “Mind if we have a conversation one year after you dispatched my body to the ocean sharks?”
With curiosity reigning supreme, President Obama replied, “Ok, so long as you remain hovering and do not alight to defile this solemn room.”
Osama’s Ghost: “Thank you. After your SEALs bravely shot, rather than captured, me while I was defenseless in my bedroom, you told your nation that ‘for the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.’”
“Correct, the form of your presence now attests to that fact,” the President curtly declared.
By Felicity Arbuthnot
'There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.' (Madeleine Albright, 1937 - )
As the anniversary of probably one of the most infamous responses in broadcasting history approaches, the woman who uttered it is shortly to be awarded “the highest honour” that America bestows upon civilians: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Madeleine Albright, Iraq’s “Grim Reaper”, of course confirmed on “Sixty Minutes” (12th May 1996) that the deaths of half a million children as a result of the absolute, all-embracing deprivations of the UN embargo were: “A hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.”
Human rights groups say 2,000 are on hunger strike against indefinite detention without charge and alleged ill-treatment
Palestinian women hold photos of people imprisoned in Israeli jails at a protest in Ramallah. Photograph: Mahmoud Illean/Demotix/Corbis
By Harriet Sherwood, Ramallah
The number of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails has grown to 2,000, with more preparing to join the protest next week, according to human rights groups in the West Bank.
The Israeli prison service is taking punitive measures against hunger strikers, including solitary confinement, the confiscation of personal belongings, transfers and denial of family visits, say Palestinian organisations.
Seven prisoners have been transferred to a prison medical centre, including Tha'er Halahleh, 34, and Bilal Diab, 27, who by Thursday had been on hunger strike for 58 days. Their appeals against imprisonment without charge – known as administrative detention – were dismissed by a military court earlier this week.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay lists Israel along with countries such as Belarus, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Ethiopia and Venezuela.
By Barak Ravid
A senior UN official in Geneva last week listed Israel among the countries that she says are restricting the activities of human rights groups.
The statement, issued on Wednesday by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, lists Israel along with countries such as Belarus, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Ethiopia and Venezuela.
Shredi Jabarin, Palestinian actor and citizen of Israel
In a recent interview with Israel's Haaretz, Palestinian actor Shredi Jabarin tells the paper of how, despite being an Israeli citizen, he was refused boarding for a flight to Tel Aviv by Israeli airline security and told not to call Israel home. The following is a translation of two paragraphs of the article:
Jabarin spoke with Haaretz last night about his conversation with the security officer at the airport. "He asked me why I'm traveling to Israel, and I said that I have to attend filming for a movie. He asked if I have a contract to show him, and I said I don't have it with me," said Jabarin. "Regardless of that, I told him that I'm an Israeli citizen and you can refer to me as an Israeli citizen who is going back home."
By Paul Klee
I haven’t been writing about Syria at my previous pace. The time is not right.
This is a time for Syrian internet activists, those still surviving, to send us their videos. It’s a time for gathering evidence – although no more evidence is needed.
It’s a time for reporters to write, for committed foreign journalists to smuggle themselves inside and tell the tale. (You could call the murdered journalists martyrs, because they chose to go to a place where they knew they might die, and they did so for the sake of the truth.)
People who have specific human stories to tell should tell them. I hear the occasional story, and I might relay some of them; but I am not there. I am observing from Scotland.
This time is the beginning of a long process of creative mulling for those who will eventually produce novels and films concerned with the tragedy.
Most of all it’s a time in which people scream and suffer and die, a time to wait for the next explosion, or the next kick at the door, or for the return of the rapists, or for the next shriek of pain and humiliation from the neighbouring cell. It’s a time for burying children at night, hastily, in silence. And the suffering continues with glacial inevitability. Fate doesn’t seem to plan an end to it, not yet.
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- A number of Jewish settlers, on Thursday, raised the Israeli flag on the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil, something which has not been done since the occupation of the city in 1967.
The director of Awkaf in al-Khalil, Zeid al-Ja’bari said that a group of settlers climbed on the mosque and raised the flag under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces.
Ja'bari said that what happened is "an aggression on the sanctity of the Ibrahimi Mosque and its historic and religious place in the hearts of Muslims. The occupation has not done this since occupying the city of al-Khalil. This aggression provokes the Muslim feelings, as this is a dangerous provocative act that we were surprised with today. The occupation must remove its flags from above our mosques as this is a provocation to all Muslims around the world."
Saeb Erakat condemns an Israeli hiking book that makes the West Bank as part of Israel ahead of the country's 'independence day' celebrations
An Israeli settlement in the West Bank seen through barbed wire, (Photo: AP).
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has condemned an Israeli hiking book that he said makes the West Bank a part of the Jewish state and incites violence against Palestinians.
The guidebook "considers the occupied West Bank part of Israel and incites... violence against Palestinians," Erakat said in a statement issued Thursday by the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
His remarks came after Haaretz newspaper reported Israel's defence ministry had given the book to thousands of families ahead of the country's memorial and independence day celebrations.
Palestine Telegraph) - Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren not only called the head of CBS news in an attempt to quash a report on the displacement of Palestinian Christians by the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but he briefed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the far right wing Likud Party on his attempt.
Here are the top ten reasons Israel’s Likud Party would have wanted to censor American television news on this occasion (and of course we don’t know all the occasions they have successfully done so):
By: Special Correspondent | April 25, 2012 | 0
UNITED NATIONS - A senior Pakistani diplomat said Monday the UN Security Council's failure to hold Israel accountable for denying the Palestinian people's right to self-determination carried the risk of a conflict in the Middle East.
"The Security Council continues to evade its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security at peril to its credibility," Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, the acting Pakistani permanent representative to the UN, told the 15-member body.
“Flying in the face of the international community’s will, Israel continues to implement policies in defiance of international law, and work towards undermining the basis of the two-state solution," he said in a debate on the situation in the Middle East.
"Its (Israel's) efforts to redraw the map of Palestine through continuation of illegal settlement activity, continued persecution of Palestinians, and reluctance to accept the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations, is taking the region to a state akin to a powder keg," he said in a debate on the Middle East situation.
Palestinian Authority communications minister Mashour Abu Daka attends the
opening of a technology company in Nablus. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan, File)
By George Hale
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials and data analyzed by network security experts.
As many as eight news outlets have been rendered unavailable to many Internet users in the West Bank, after technicians at the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, or PalTel, tweaked an open source software called Squid to return error pages, a detailed technical analysis indicates. Several small companies are using a similar setup.
The decision this year to begin blocking websites marks a major expansion of the government's online powers. Experts say it is the biggest shift toward routine Internet censorship in the Palestinian Authority’s history. Aside from one incident in 2008, Palestinians have generally been free to read whatever they wanted.
By Susan Abulhawa
Roses are red
and Israel is Semitizing:
So Equality is anti-Semitic
So International Law is Anti-Semitic
So Justice is anti-Semitic
So Freedom is anti-Semitic
So Peace is anti-Semitic
Violets are blue
- Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury 2010) and the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine (www.playgroundsforpalestine.org). She contributed this poem to PalestineChronicle.com.
Khader Adnan recounts his 66-day fast in Israeli jail that has made him a symbol of Palestinian resistance.
By Linah Alsaafin
Adnan's 66-day hunger strike inspired others in Israeli prison to do the same [EPA]
When Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan called his mother at 11:30pm on Tuesday night, she burst into tears. "He told me, 'Mother I am on my way home,'" she said. “For the first time in months my heart was at ease again." For Palestinians, Khader Adnan has become a symbol of resistance and steadfastness, or sumoud, after he waged a 66-day hunger strike against the Israeli prison service. He began his hunger strike immediately after his violent arrest by Israeli soldiers on December 17, 2011. He was detained under what Israel calls "administrative detention", a policy adopted from the era of the British mandate. Under administrative detention, Israel can detain a prisoner for up to six months, renewable indefinitely, without ever charging the prisoner or presenting any evidence against them.
Israel's projected "limited war" against Iran threatens to become an all-out regional conflict, with fatal consequences for the Middle East and beyond, writes James Petras*
Cartoon by Latouff
The mounting threat of a US-Israeli military attack against Iran is based on many factors including: the recent military history of both countries in the region; public pronouncements by US and Israeli political leaders; recent and on- going attacks on Lebanon and Syria, prominent allies of Iran; armed attacks and assassinations of Iranian scientists and security officials by proxy and/or terrorist groups under US or Mossad control; the failure of economic sanctions and diplomatic coercion; escalating hysteria and extreme demands for Iran to end legal, civilian use-related uranium enrichment; provocative military "exercises" on Iran's borders and war games designed to intimidate and be a dress rehearsal for a preemptive attack; powerful pro- war pressure groups in both Washington and Tel Aviv, including the major Israeli political parties and the powerful AIPAC in the US; and lastly, the 2012 National Defense Authorisation Act, US President Barack Obama's Orwellian Emergency Decree of 16 March 2012.
The recent scandal arising from Gunter Grass's poem calling Israel a danger to the world is a welcomed gesture. But the real scandal is who pays for German guilt, argues Susan Abulhawa*
No matter who you are, no matter what greatness you've achieved in your life or what gifts you've given to the rest of humanity, if you criticise Israel, you must expect to become a persona non grata. You should expect an utter onslaught of attacks. Otherwise all "decent" people will, one by one, genuflect and sign onto the stupid clichés and tiresome accusations that question your character, integrity and even sanity. You will be called an anti-Semite (or a self-hating Jew if you happen to be Jewish). The Holocaust will be invoked. You'll be reminded of Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels, and perhaps likened to Nazis (or Capos if you're Jewish). You'll be accused explicitly or implicitly of secretly supporting the genocide of Jews and having a deep-seated desire for it.
It happened to moral authorities like Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, both of whom were called anti-Semites, crazy old fools, and worse, for daring to criticise Israel's criminal policies towards Palestinians -- the natives of the Holy Land. It happened to renowned scholars like John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt for publishing a well-documented and supported audit of Israel's manipulation of US foreign policy through their domestic proxy lobby. Richard Goldstone was so chastised, shunned, and punished by his own community for reporting his findings that Israel had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza that he utterly discredited himself as a jurist by retracting his well-reasoned legal conclusions, which were nonetheless upheld by all his colleagues and by the international legal community. Among many abuses, they called him a capo and a self-hating Jew and he was prevented from attending his grandson's bar mitzvah. Those labels too have been hurled at intellectuals like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky -- the latter actually banned by Israel from entering the West Bank to speak at Bir Zeit University. The list is too long for one article, but it stretches the full breadth of international thinkers, artists, intellectuals, clergy, moral authorities, and political figures. No one is immune from this insanity.
Against systematic persecution, Palestinian prisoners in Israel resort en masse to the only power they have left: putting their lives in the balance by refusing food, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
A masked Palestinian demonstrator throws back tear gas at Israeli troops during a protest in Bilin, near Ramalla
Thousands of Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails and detention camps have begun an open-ended hunger strike to protest a raft of grievances, including notorious administrative detention, solitary confinement, humiliating late- night searches and keeping inmates in jail after their prison terms have ended.
On Tuesday, as many as 2300 inmates reportedly returned their meals as part of the hunger strike which coincides with "Prisoners' Day".
There are as many as 4700 Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails, many of them purely political prisoners Israel is punishing for peacefully opposing Israel's brutal and decades-old occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel is to establish an unprecedented spy centre to eavesdrop on, and meddle with, post-revolutionary Egypt, writes Saleh Al-Naami
Demonstrators sit as pro-Palestinian activists stage a protest in Brussels. Palestinian supporters throughout Europe had bought plane tickets to visit Palestine as part of a campaign called "Welcome to Palestine"
Although more than one month has passed since the recommendations of the Arab Affairs Committee in Egypt's People's Assembly were issued, 12 March, regarding Egypt's foreign policy in the coming phase, the impact of these recommendations continues to echo in statements by Israeli commentators and experts. They view the statement read by the committee's chairman, Mohamed Idris, as a clear indicator of the changes that have occurred in Egypt -- most significantly, that the committee statement avoided using the name "Israel" and instead used the term "Zionist entity", and that the parliamentary committee asserted that Israel is "the primary enemy that threatens Egypt's national security". It also called on the Egyptian government to support and assist the Palestinian people in their armed struggle against Israeli occupation forces.
Yehuda Halevi, an expert at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, said that if the new regime in Egypt adopts the committee's recommendation that Israel is "the primary enemy that threatens Egypt's national security" this would mean that Egypt would be required to rebuild its military power to confront this threat. This includes in the nuclear domain, which would make Egypt's actions an existential threat for Israel. Halevi suggested that Tel Aviv should consider the transformations taking place in Egypt and prepare and take necessary precautions to confront any action by Egypt in the future that threatens Israel.
Al-Ahram Weekly Online 19 - 25 April 2012
After much build-up, the Abbas letter to Netanyahu has been delivered, its impact likely negligible, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
The much-heralded and long anticipated letter Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to send to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has finally reached its destination.
A high-level PA delegation, led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and including a number of high- ranking Palestinian officials met with Netanyahu in his office in West Jerusalem, delivering the missive, which many Palestinians refer to -- somewhat sarcastically -- as the "mother of all letters".
While PA-affiliated media paid disproportionate attention to the letter, as if it would usher in a turning point in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, PA leaders sought to downplay its importance.
PA negotiator Saeb Ereikat was quoted as saying, "The letter is just a letter; nothing less and nothing more." "The only purpose of our meeting with Netanyahu is to deliver a letter. Neither the letter nor the meeting with Netanyahu is a goal in itself, especially given the fact that both sides have commitments to uphold."
But does "delivering a letter" really warrant dispatching Prime Minister Fayyad and two other key officials to occupied Jerusalem to meet with a notoriously recalcitrant Netanyahu? Couldn't the letter have been delivered by any other means?
By Ramzy Baroud
'My Lords, I was in Gaza six weeks ago,' began Baroness Tonge, when she spoke at the House of Lords in January 2009. 'Now, as a result of the impotence of the international community, not just in Gaza, but…over 40 years of occupation of Palestine by Israel, those institutions that I visited are rubble and many of the children with whom I played are dead.'
Jenny Tonge, then a member of the UK’s Liberal Democrat party, was a dangerous British politician as far as Israel was concerned. She not only dared to use strong language while referencing Israeli actions in the occupied territories, she also demanded action from her government
For this she was subjected to the same, predictable verbal abuse by Israeli officials and media, by the pro-Israeli British lobby, and even by some of her peers. However, calling Tonge ‘anti-Semitic’ was never going to be convincing. The formidable woman has spent years of her life serving her community – as a doctor, MP and spokesperson for Health for Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords – and has amassed far too much credibility to be shaken by defamatory accusations.
Moreover, very few will agree that calling for “the immediate—and I mean immediate—establishment by the United Nations Security Council of an independent fact-finding commission to Palestine to investigate all breaches of international law” constitutes anti-Semitism in any way.
By Ilan Pappe
The Electronic Intifada
The US continues to indulge Netanyahu’s manufactured hysteria.
(Pete Souza / White House Photo)
Spending a week in Israel these days is like being trapped within a scene from the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Like Jack Nicholson in the lead role of that classic film, you might not be insane but the doctors and nurses who run the psychiatric ward manufacture every few minutes a collective hysteria to keep everyone in the grip of fear and hatred. Everyone is an enemy, every a visitor an existential threat.
A retired French activist in her sixties — part of the most recent Welcome to Palestine fly-in — is met in the airport by a military brigade and massive police force that left much of Israel at the mercy of its petty criminals who had a field day while the officers of the law went to arrest the invading aliens who came from Europe.
A week earlier, a poem by an 85-year-old honest and noble Nobel laureate, Günter Grass, which warned against an Israeli attack on Iran and pleaded with the Israelis to show compassion towards the occupied Palestinians, was depicted as a text that is not only worse than Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf but one that could have a similar impact on history. Hence, the national response was entrusted to the hands of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai who banned the entry of the ageing bard.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Organizers of the Welcome to Palestine campaign said Sunday that the first day of the initiative has been a success, despite the fact that only two activists have been able to enter the West Bank.
"It was a success at a media level, but it was not a success at a human level in the sense that we were not able to have our friends with us," coordinator Abdul-Fatah Abu Srour told reporters in Bethlehem.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that 45 people had been refused entry at Ben Gurion airport by the evening and would be deported.
Nine Israeli supporters, some holding "Welcome to Palestine" signs, were also detained as they waited to greet the arrivals.
Organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh said that two participants had arrived on Sunday via Ben Gurion airport, but were not asked where they were going by Israeli authorities.
Shalom Eisner has been suspended from duty.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israel's military suspended a senior officer who struck an activist in the face with a gun, an army spokesman said on Monday, after video of the incident was put on the Internet.
The video showed Lieutenant-Colonel Shalom Eisner holding his M-16 rifle in both hands and shouting at a group of demonstrators taking part in a bicycle rally in the occupied West Bank, before suddenly striking a man in the face.
The demonstrator, a Danish national, fell to the ground and was carried away by activists. Israeli military spokesman Yoav Mordechai told Army Radio the incident happened on Saturday.
The protester, named as Andreas Ias, was treated in a Palestinian hospital for light injuries and told Israeli media on Monday that he was well.
"We were just walking slowly towards the soldiers, we were chanting Palestinian songs calling for the liberation of Palestine. I don't believe that is a provocation," he told Israel's Channel 10 television.
Argentina's Kirchner walks out as summit unravels amid differences between US and Latin America over Cuba and Falklands.
A summit of nearly 30 leaders of Americas nations has ended without a joint declaration due to divisions over Cuba and the Falkland Islands which prompted the Argentinian and Bolivian presidents to walk out.
The two-day Summit of the Americas in the Colombian city of Cartagena, which ended on Sunday, saw the US and Canada at odds with Latin American nations calling for Cuba to attend future meetings and over Argentina's claim to the British-controlled South Atlantic islands it calls Las Malvinas.
The Palestinian Authority was supposed to be the stepping-stone to a Palestinian state, but nearly 20 years later nothing like it is in sight, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, right, with U.S. President Barack Obama and Zionist state Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo
As the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu is striving hard to make sure that any prospective Palestinian entity would be unviable, highly truncated and territorially discontinuous, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is trying to explore ways to overcome Israeli intransigence.
However, in doing so, the PA seems to be trying only old and familiar measures, all of which have proven utterly useless.
For weeks now, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been vowing (some PA operatives use the term threatening), to send a "a final letter" warning the Israeli prime minister that the Palestinians are thoroughly fed up with Israeli stalling tactics and that they might abandon the two-state solution once and for all.
It is not clear why Abbas has not delivered the letter so far, but the Palestinian media has been relating to it as if it was a secret weapon the PA would unleash to bring the Hebrew state to its knees.
Security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel has scuppered a national unity government and in turn Palestinian general elections, writes Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
Hard political realities in the occupied territories seem to have dashed all hopes for organising Palestinian general elections next month, the erstwhile designated date for holding the polls according to an agreement reached in Doha between Fatah and Hamas a few months ago.
Palestinian leaders representing various political factions have described the previously designated date as "impossible" and "clearly unrealistic".
"It is obvious that we can not hold elections in May or even June. The preparations necessary for organising the elections are yet to be made," said Mustafa Barghouti, who heads the Freedom Committee set up to facilitate the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas.
Isolated by the Arab Spring, Tel Aviv is reaching out to Putin for support, writes Saleh Al-Naami
Palestinian Christians light candles during an Easter mass at the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was generous in his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressing admiration for his "extraordinary leadership skills" and his "great" joy for Putin's return as Russia's president. "With Putin as president of Russia, the world is safer and more stable," Lieberman told Israeli television. "In Israel, we will exert all efforts to strengthen our relations with Russia. Putin is a model leader."
At first glance, it seems that Israel's exaggerated happiness over Putin's re-election is in bad taste, since most world countries denounced and criticised flagrant vote rigging in Russia's parliamentary and presidential elections. It seems that Tel Aviv's intent on appeasing Moscow and improving ties with Putin's administration is a strategic cornerstone for Binyamin Netanyahu's government, and that is why the government unabashedly declared "great joy" when Putin's office announced that the returning president will visit Israel soon.
The 3,300-year-old cartonnage mask of the noblewoman Ka-Nefer-Nefer is not likely to return to Egypt unless new evidence emerges, Nevine El-Aref reports
Ka-Nefer-Nefer's mask on display at SLAM
After a six-year controversy over the ownership of the 19th-Dynasty mummy mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, a noblewoman from the court of Pharaoh Ramses II, a United States federal judge has ruled that it should stay at the St Louis Art Museum where it has been exhibited since 1998.
The US government had claimed the mask was being held illicitly and should be returned to Egypt.
According to the stltoday website, US District Judge Henry Autry vindicated his ruling that the US government failed to prove that the ancient Egyptian mask had been stolen and smuggled abroad after it went missing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo about 40 years ago.
The US government "does not provide a factual statement of theft, smuggling or clandestine importation", Autry recorded in the 31 March ruling. "The government cannot simply rest on its laurels and believe that it can initiate a civil forfeiture proceeding on the basis of one bold assertion that because something went missing from one party in 1973 and turned up with another party in 1998, it was therefore stolen and/or imported or exported illegally," the judge wrote.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama leads a prayer session in remembrance of Khalka Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, the Buddhist spiritual head of Mongolia, in Dharmsala, India, Saturday, March 3, 2012. Rinpoche, who was 80, died in Ulan Bator on March 1.
By Gale Courey Toensing April 13, 2012
The Kumeyaay Nation has issued a proclamation to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama to its homeland when he makes a historic visit to San Diego during a spiritual journey across the United States, Canada and Europe to bring messages of compassion and world peace.
In addition to his public talks during his two-day visit in San Diego, the Dalai Lama will hold a private audience with a small number of members of the 12 bands of the Kumeyaay Nation. His Holiness initiated the meeting with the Kumeyaay through the sponsoring university, said Paul Cuero, a member of the Kumeyaay Nation’s executive committee.
“He wanted to meet with the indigenous people of the area,” Cuero said. “We’re really excited about it. We feel there are some things we can exchange with His Holiness in the sense of what his people are going through right now in Tibet.”
Full story at Indian Country Today Media Network
This account accompanying the video provided by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee:
Israeli Border Police Violently Attack Palestinians and Internationals in Hebron
Twelve were detained and Three were injured after Israeli forces attacked participants of the Bilin Conference on the Popular Struggle who toured Hebron.
Israeli Border Police officers attacked a group of Palestinians and Internationals who participated in the 7th International Bilin Conference on the Palestinian Popular Struggle this afternoon. The incident took place during a tour of the Old City of Hebron.
Eight Palestinians and four internationals were arrested and at least three people were injured by the blows they suffered at the hands of police. One Italian woman suffered an injury to her shoulder that required hospitalization.
About 200 Palestinians and Internationals attended the second day of the Bilin Conference, which today took place at the old city of Hebron. After lunch, which was held at a school off of Shuhada Street, participants began to gather at the entrance of the Old City to begin a tour of the area. Settlers who passed by in their cars noticed the gathering and aggressively honked their horns at the group, but continued without incident.
Two minutes later, Israeli Border Police officers arrived in the area and arbitrarily detained a three of the Palestinians. A second group of settlers then arrived at the scene in large numbers and began inciting the police against the conference participants, calling on the police officers to “eliminate” the them. the Border Police officers, now joined by regular police, then began pushing and beating the conference participants - men and women alike.
During the attack, the officers arrested eight Palestinians and four internationals. While most were released without charge shortly after, two Palestinians and two internationals are still held at the Hebron police station. Among those still held are two Italians and Issa Amro, a well known grassroots activist from Hebron, who was clearly arrested for who he is rather than anything he’s done.
Amro has only recently spent nearly a week in detention after the army evicted Palestinians from a house in the city. The eviction took place despite the fact that the activists had legal claim to the house, which eventually forced the authorities to release Amro unconditionally.
by BILL QUIGLEY
Privacy is eroding fast as technology offers government increasing ways to track and spy on citizens. The Washington Post reported there are 3,984 federal, state and local organizations working on domestic counterterrorism. Most collect information on people in the US. Here are thirteen examples of how some of the biggest government agencies and programs track people.
One. The National Security Agency (NSA) collects hundreds of millions of emails, texts and phone calls every day and has the ability to collect and sift through billions more. WIRED just reported NSA is building an immense new data center which will intercept, analyze and store even more electronic communications from satellites and cables across the nation and the world. Though NSA is not supposed to focus on US citizens, it does.
Two. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) has more than 1.5 billion government and private sector records about US citizens collected from commercial databases, government information, and criminal probes.
Say it, Mr. Grass
by Stanley Heller
Grass writes "It Must Be Said"
Israeli twits go for his head
Tom Segev say it's pathetic
Netanyahu says anti-Semitic
Grass insists all nukes be inspected
So Israel wants Günter rejected
Israel, as all know, has no nukes
Those who say so: brown-shirt kooks
Grass wonders why much stained Germany
Sells subs to Israel's naval fraternity
He cries it's material for a big crime
So Zionists say he's Hitler slime
"Blood libel" say Israel diplomats
Israel bombs won't make much splat
Grass has Nobel Prize for lit
But NY Times thinks poem not fit
Don't let the screamers
Make you silent again
The tales of compulsive liars
are not reasons for massacre in Iran
Poets ** Mobilize Your Vowels and Consonants *** Defend Günter Grass
Support Grass with a poem of your own.
For full story and where to send your poem go to The Struggle
By Khalid Amayreh
German poet and Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass deserves to be applauded for his moral courage, intellectual honesty, and audacity to challenge some of the established taboos pertaining to Israel and Jews.
In a piece of poetry published by a German newspaper last week, Grass, 84, condemned his country's arm sales to Israel, saying the Jewish state must not be allowed to threaten its neighbors with overwhelming conventional and nuclear weapons.
Thanks to a decades-old western policy of ignoring the development and possession by Israel of weapons of mass destruction, Israel has effectively become the Nazi Germany of the Middle East.
Israel cuts fuel deliveries to Gaza
GAZA, (PIC)-- Gaza municipality has warned that a humanitarian disaster might soon befall the Gaza Strip due to stoppage of its services especially sewage treatment due to lack of fuel.
Municipality head Rafiq Mikki said in a TV interview on Wednesday that if no fuel was provided to his municipality in the course of one week it would be forced to stop pumping water from wells to people’s houses.
He said that the municipality had partially shut down sewage pumps and would be forced to stop carrying away garbage for the same reason of lack of fuel
Mikki said that the municipality, which basically provides services to inhabitants, operates its services depending on special tools and vehicles that need fuel to function.
By Ramzy Baroud
Last week Marwan Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian political prisoner and Fatah leader, called on Palestinians to launch a 'large-scale popular resistance' which would 'serve the cause of our people.'
The message was widely disseminated as it coincided with Land Day, an event that has unified Palestinians since March 1976. Its meaning has morphed through the years to represent the collective grievances shared by most Palestinians, including dispossession from their land as a result of Israeli occupation.
Barghouti is also a unifying figure among Palestinians. Even at the height of the Hamas-Fatah clashes in 2007, he insisted on unity and shunned factionalism. It is no secret that Barghouti is still a very popular figure in Fatah, to the displeasure of various Fatah leaders, not least Mahmoud Abbas, who heads both the Palestinian Authority and Fatah.. Throughout its indirect prisoners exchange talks with Israel, Hamas insisted on Barghouti’s release. Israel, which had officially charged and imprisoned Barghouti in 2004 for five alleged counts of murder – but more likely because of his leading role in the Second Palestinian Intifada - insisted otherwise.
German Nobel laureate Günter Grass has stirred up a debate on Israel with a new poem.
A View on Günter Grass
Why We Need an Open Debate on Israel
A Commentary by Jakob Augstein
Is Israel a threat to world peace? German writer Günter Grass has been blasted as an anti-Semite this week for making just such a claim in a new poem (see below). But while the verse may not win any awards, Grass has kicked off an important -- and long overdue -- debate. And, he's right.
A great poem it is not. Nor is it a brilliant political analysis. But the brief lines that Günter Grass has published under the title "What Must Be Said" will one day be seen as some of his most influential words. They mark a rupture. It is this one sentence that we will not be able to ignore in the future: "The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile."
It is a sentence that has triggered an outcry. Because it is true. Because it is a German, an author, a Nobel laureate who said it. Because it is Günter Grass who said it. And therein lies the breach. And, for that, one should thank Grass. He has taken it upon himself to utter this sentence for all of us. A much-delayed dialogue has begun.
It is a discussion about Israel and whether Israel is preparing a war against Iran, a country whose leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened Israel, referring to it as a "cancer" that must be "wiped off the map." Israel, a country that has been surrounded by enemies for decades, many of whom believe that Israel has no right to exist -- even independent of its policies.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign is a global message against Israeli oppression, not a political platform
By Ramzy Baroud, Special to Gulf News
Image Credit: Illustration: Luis Vazquez/©Gulf News
A few years ago, after I spoke at a conference in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils, then the country's Minister for Intelligence Services, leaned towards me and said, "I agree with everything you said, but in order for the boycott of Israel to become adopted by world governments, the call has to be initiated by those who represent the Palestinian people in Palestine, not outside groups."
I was not actually purporting to represent any group, inside or outside Palestine. A few days later I received more counsel from a leading South African official. "A representative from Mahmoud Abbas's office was here few days ago," he said. "He seemed to have different priorities from yours. He asked me to ensure that the South African government continues to isolate Hamas, not Israel."
Kasrils, a legendary member of the African National Congress (ANC), was, of course, right. It was the decisive call of academic boycott made by the ANC in the 1960s which started a process that eventually succeeded in isolating the apartheid regime and speeding up its demise.
Alas, those who are recognised as the representatives of the Palestinians stand on the wrong side of history. Their political fate is now intrinsically linked to that of the very Israeli occupation that continues to torment Palestinians. Ensuring dominion over an occupied nation has proved to be more urgent to them than isolating Israel for its crimes.
By Gulamhusein Abba
“It is all very well for us, sitting in the comfort and security of our homes, to be purists. We do not live with drones flying over our heads 24/7,we do not experience any difficulty travelling from one place to another, we do not live in fear of bombs falling on our homes.”
“Neither I nor the talking heads nor the pundits and pen pushers and keyboard warriors operating from the comfort and security of their homes, nor the Finkelsteins of this world, nor anyone else can tell the Palestinians what they should do or not do. It is for them to decide how to shape their destiny.”
Dr. Norman Finkelstein
UPDATE: This article was sent to Dr. Norman Finkelstein with a request that if there be any statement, argument, belief attributed to him in the article to be untrue or incorrect, he should let me know. He has responded and made only the following clarifications:
He has stated: “I am not aware of any authoritative statements by jurists or legal bodies that equate Israeli policies vis-a-vis its own Palestinian-Israeli citizens as constituting Apartheid. No sane person denies the discriminatory nature and policies of the Israeli state, but Apartheid under the Rome Statutes constitutes a ‘crime against humanity’, and so it requires crossing a very high threshold before one equates a State's discriminatory policies with Apartheid.”
With regard to my suggesting that he urges the Palestinians to accept a two state solution and agree to swap about 1.9 per cent of existing West Bank for a land equal in size and value, he has stated categorically: “I do not believe that Palestinians should accept anything less than the full 100% of their territory.”
The article refers to a map he showed at the lectures with the 1.9 percent of West Bank that was being asked for a land swap. The implication was that this was a map drawn up by Finkelstein. With regard to this he has clarified that the map was actually a map that had been presented by the Palestinians in 2008.
About Palestinians recognizing Israel, while not denying what he said at the lectures that Israel was not entitled to insist on the Palestinians recognizing its right to exist as a state, much less entitled to insist that they recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, he has stated, “If one wants to anchor a resolution of the conflict in international law, I do not agree that the decision is the Palestinians to make whether or not they recognize Israel. The law is the law; and according to the law Israel is a member state of the United Nations and has the same rights and duties as any other state.”
It must be emphasized that the purpose of this article is neither to endorse or reject any of the statements, claims, arguments, beliefs, suggestions presented by Dr. Finkelstein in his recent UK lectures but merely to present a true and correct picture of what was said.
The Palestinians are farther from having a state then they have ever been, writes Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Nineteen years after the signing of Oslo agreements that laid the ground for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and for negotiations to resolve the conflict, the time has come to sum up what has been accomplished based on the facts as they are on the ground rather than as they ought to be.
During the period since Oslo, Israel has been ruled by governments that while declaring their willingness to reach a negotiated peace agreement, have pursued policies that made the likelihood for such an accommodation even more remote. Negotiations and the signing of more interim agreements including Oslo II 1995, Wye Plantation Memorandum 1998, Sharm El-Sheikh Memorandum 1999, and the Annapolis Conference declaration 2007 have led nowhere. The PA leadership has been sidetracked into unending and futile negotiations.
The Oslo agreements gave Israel's Ministries of Interior and Defence control over the Palestinian population registry and validate it for the PA. The collected biometric data includes hand- prints, finger-prints coded into magnetic card that any Palestinian must present when applying for a permit to travel through parts of the West Bank. The registry gives the Israelis the power to deny residency rights to Palestinians in the West Bank or Jerusalem and the occupation administrators use the biometric data to monitor the West Bank Palestinians' daily activities.
A vignette of modern Palestine shows the invidious strategy Israel uses to ethnically cleanse while playing by the rules, describes Tamar Fleishman* from the West Bank
This March marked the fiftieth anniversary of Algeria's liberation from the French occupation that lasted 162 years. Throughout the years of French rule, tens of thousands of immigrants from France and its neighbouring countries settled on Algerian land and were granted French citizenship, while the original residents of the land were granted no rights under the apartheid rule.
On 18 March 1962, after nearly eight straight years of guerrilla warfare led by the National Liberation Front (FLN), the French army withdrew and as a result approximately a million European settlers fled.
And on the very week which marks this historic event, in which the rule of one people over another ended, thousands of victims and thousands of bristling arms gave witness to the fact that in Palestine the occupation forces were still invading and destroying the land and people of Palestine, Britain's one-time colony.
Men and women in uniforms under the lead of people from the Civil Administration came busting out of the side gate of Qalandiya checkpoint. They flanked the peddlers in the neighbouring squares and along the main road, confiscating their merchandise, throwing the content of carts into the garbage, spreading fear in the hearts of the people and causing financial damage to each one of the victims without any remorse.
Unity Coalition for Israel is spearheading Armageddon in the Middle East with Jews apparently as the first victims. But it's in their interests. Really. Stuart Littlewood* marvels from faraway London
Cartoon by Latuff
If you are as puzzled as I am how a true Christian could possibly be taken in by Zionism, a short paper on the phenomenon is available from Sadaka:
"The destiny of the Jewish people is to return to the land of Israel and reclaim their inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. This inheritance extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. Within their land, Jerusalem is recognised to be their exclusive, undivided and eternal capital, and therefore it cannot be shared or divided.
"At the heart of Jerusalem will be the rebuilt Jewish temple, to which all the nations will come to worship God. Just prior to the return of Jesus, there will be seven years of calamities and war known as the tribulation, which will culminate in a great battle called Armageddon, during which the godless forces opposed to both God and Israel will be defeated.
"Jesus will then return as the Jewish Messiah and king to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and the Jewish people will enjoy a privileged status and role in the world."
The US-based Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) brings together more than 200 partners claiming to represent more than 40 million Americans in the largest network of pro-Israel groups in the world. Their mission is "to focus the efforts of secular and religious organisations and individuals for whom the existence of the State of Israel is central and essential to the future of the free world. We educate these organizations and individuals on security issues and radical ideologies, including global Islamic terrorism... UCI reaches millions of people through more than 200 Christian and Jewish organisations, including churches, synagogues, prayer networks, think tanks and thousands of individuals."
Sunday, 08 April 2012
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has urged nations negotiating with Iran to set strict conditions on Tehran or risk watching the Islamic republic continue with its nuclear program.
By Al Arabiya with Agencies
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday warned the six-power group negotiating with Iran to set stringent limits on its nuclear enrichment at forthcoming talks.
“If the P5+1 will set a much lower threshold, like just stop reaching 20 percent it means that basically the Iranians at a very cheap cost bought their way into continuing their military programs, slightly slower but without sanctions,” Barak said in an interview aired on Sunday by CNN.
“That would be a total change of direction for the worse,” he added.
The so-called P5+1, comprising the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, is scheduled to begin talks with Iran in coming weeks, though no date has been set and Tehran has rejected at least one proposed venue.
PM slammed for declaring country in great shape minus Arabs, Haredim.
By Zvi Zrahiya, Moti Bassok and Hila Weisberg
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's declaration that Israel is in fine shape if you ignore the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities drew fire from critics, who noted that this is precisely where the country's problems lie.
The State of Israel is doing "not badly" compared to other countries, and "if you deduct the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox from inequality indexes, we're in great shape," Netanyahu told TheMarker in a pre-holiday interview published Thursday.
Netanyahu: Without Arabs, Haredim, we’re in great shape.
In an exclusive holiday interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames 'monopolies and cartels' - and government - for the increases in food prices.
By Moti Bassok and Sami Peretz
The State of Israel is doing "not badly" compared with other countries, and, "if you deduct the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox from inequality indexes, we're in great shape," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told TheMarker on Wednesday in a special interview for the Passover holiday.
Equal opportunity is key, in the prime minister's view. "Populism is dangerous. It contravenes the complex truth of managing a free economy," Netanyahu said. "The right combination is between a free economy and social policy that addresses the needs of society and creates equal opportunity. The State of Israel can be proud of what we're doing," he said, then qualified that if the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities are set aside from the calculation of inequality, "we're in great shape."
Emma Thompson is one of three dozen British artistes calling for the Shakespeare global festival to withdraw its invitation to an Israeli theater group over its involvement with illegal settlements in Palestine. (AP)
Emma Thompson is one of three dozen British artistes calling for the Shakespeare global festival to withdraw its invitation to an Israeli theater group over its involvement with illegal settlements in Palestine. (AP)
By Al Arabiya
Actress Emma Thompson’s decision to join a group of 35 artistes protesting the inclusion of an Israeli theater in a Shakespeare festival this summer in London has sparked controversy.
The two time Oscar winner Thompson joined a list of 35 people from arts – playwrights, actors, film makers – who wrote a letter published in The Guardian on March 29 to regret that Israeli theater Habima would perform “The Merchant of Venice” at the Globe to Globe festival in London in May.
Habima, they argue, has “a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Last year, two large Israeli settlements established ‘halls of culture’ and asked Israeli theatre groups to perform there. A number of Israeli theatre professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights – declared they would not take part.”
As the world celebrates the centennial of its discovery, Nevine El-Aref asks who actually owns the iconic bust of Queen Nefertiti?
Asking or a loan of the bust had weakened Egypt's argument for recovering its priceless objects because it indirectly declared that Egypt admitted Germany's ownership of the bust and that Egypt wanted to borrow it. No one borrows something he owns
It seems that there is no foreseeable resolution to the long conflict between Germany and Egypt over ownership of the 3,400-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti, wife of the monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten. Now, a century after its discovery, the dispute over ownership is stepping from one level to another, and with no concrete solution in sight it has become one of the best-known international cases of stolen antiquities that Egypt wants back.
The magnificent painted stucco and limestone bust of Nefertiti was discovered in 1912 by an archaeological team led by German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt and sponsored by the German Oriental Society (DOG), the treasurer of which was the German Jewish wholesale merchant James Simon. The bust was unearthed while the German team was excavating the workshop of the ancient Egyptian court sculptor Tuthmosis in Akhenaten's capital city of Al-Amarna. Along with it were other unfinished artefacts, including a polychrome bust of the queen and plaster casts representing other members of Akhenaten's family and entourage. It meant that bust, as well as the other objects, never went on display and was damaged during its creation or was used as a model and was never indented for view.
GAZA, (PIC)-- A young Palestinian man was killed on Friday afternoon after participating in the Global March to Jerusalem at the Gaza borders near the Beith Hanoun crossing into 1948 occupied Palestine.
Dozens of Palestinian young men managed to draw close to the border fence at the Beit Hanoun border crossing in the north and Kissufim military post in the south and threw stones at IOF soldiers stationed at the two positions. The IOF troops responded by firing live bullets.
Adham Abu Selmeyyah, spokesman for Emergency Services, said that Mahmoud Zakout, 20 years, was killed by IOF fire at the Beit Hanoun crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.
He added that the number of wounded people rose to 37, mostly from the northern Gaza Strip.
Eyewitnesses also said that amongst the wounded is journalist Yousef Hammad, who works as a correspondent for al-Watan local radio station, And who was wounded in his foot as he covered the events at Beit Hanoun crossing.
A Palestinian protester hurling stones at Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Border Police on Land Day at the Qalandiah checkpoint, March 30, 2012. Photo by: Gili Cohen Magen
Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.
By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis
Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians, as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.
The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territories, but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.
On that dreadful day 36 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.
Our land, our soil. Despoiled, scarred, wounded .. (Activestills)
By Stephen Williams
We climbed the hill at Al Khader, overlooking Bethlehem, and marvelled at the view of the city and, to our right, the extensive Israeli settlement of Gilo.
Reaching the summit, Mohammed and I paused. Ahead was the building-site that marked the progress of the Annexation Wall; the scarred landscape, the bulldozers, the watchtower, the fences. A hundred metres away was a Palestinian house hemmed in on three sides by the worksite; for its inhabitants, life would never be the same. Mohammed was staring at the ugliness with infinite sadness.
“This is our land,” he said. “Part of me is lost.”
Each stolen duram, each burnt olive grove , every racially-segregated road, each fence, barrier, wall cutting through the landscape denying access to crops, dividing families, each scar on the landscape is mirrored by the scar on the soul of a Palestinian.
U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?
BY MARK PERRY | MARCH 28, 2012 Foreign Policy
In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled "Azerbaijan's discreet symbiosis with Israel." The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country's relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: "nine-tenths of it is below the surface."
Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran's northern border and, according to several high-level sources I've spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the "submerged" aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance -- the security cooperation between the two countries -- is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran.
In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran's northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior administration official told me in early February, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."
Haneen Zoabi, an MK from the Balad party, speaks to Elsa Rassbach about Land Day and her relationship as a Palestinian to Zionism and citizenship.
By Elsa Rassbach
Since the 1980s, Palestinians have marked every March 30 with protests to celebrate Land Day. The day commemorates the first widespread struggle of Arab Israelis against processes of land confiscation intended to create Jewish majorities in certain communities. The marches and general strikes began in the Galilee in 1976, and resulted in the killings of six unarmed Arab citizens of Israel. Solidarity protests spread to the occupied West Bank, Gaza and the refugee camps in Lebanon. Since then, the day has marked the first common struggle for a Palestinian national cause following the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, an event Palestinians call the Nakba. This year on Land Day, worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities will take place against Israeli policies, as well as the Global March to Jerusalem, which will call attention to the continuing Judaization and ethnic cleansing in the city that was supposed to be the multi-ethnic, multi-religious capital of a future Palestinian state.
Haneen Zoabi, 43, became a Knesset member in 2009, as the first Palestinian woman elected on an Arab party’s list. She is a member of the Balad party, which seeks to transform Israel into a democracy for all of its citizens, irrespective of national, ethnic or religious identity. Zoabi was born in Nazareth to a Muslim family. In 2010, she participated in the Gaza flotilla on board the Mavi Marmara. I spoke with her recently by Skype.
What does Land Day mean to you?
To me, Land Day is a day of ongoing and a continuous struggle around the issue of “land property.” This is still the crucial issue between us and the state. The core of the Zionist project is a continuous stealing of land from the Palestinians and transferring it to the Israeli Jews. Renaming the places, the junctions, the villages, the streets, and giving Jewish names to the landscape is part of this “confiscation.” It’s a way to steal from us and confiscate our historical relation with our homeland. This is the meaning of Ariel Sharon’s famous statement in the Knesset in 2002 when he said that the Palestinians inside Israel, whom he called “Israeli Arabs,” in effect have only temporary “rights in the land,” the land not yet confiscated, but “all the rights over the Land of Israel are Jewish rights.”
During the 63 years since 1948, Israel has confiscated 85 percent of our land and turned it over to the exclusive use of the Jews. It has developed and built 1,000 towns, cities and villages, all of them only for the Jews. And zero for the Palestinians. We live now on 2 percent of our land. We don’t even have permission to build our own houses on our own land and thus have no rights to use our land that hasn’t been confiscated.
When will the Palestinians revolt? (Photo: Johnny Barber)
By Ramzy Baroud
When will the Palestinians revolt?
The answer, according to an Israeli official: not this year (as quoted by Agency France Press).
An internal Israeli Foreign Ministry report last month also concluded that a third Palestinian intifada or uprising was ‘unlikely’ this year. According to the unnamed official, “This report, which is more than 100 pages long, judges that an explosion of generalized violence in the form of a third intifada is unlikely.”
Instead, it was resolved that Palestinians would “continue to seize all opportunities to isolate Israel on the international stage” (AFP, Feb 28).
Battling against administrative detention, Hana Al-Shalabi has refused food for over a month, her health rapidly deteriorating, reports Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
Palestinians chant slogans during a protest in Nablus in solidarity with Hana Al-Shalabi, depicted in poster, right, who has been on hunger strike for 32 days. The Arabic writing on the placard reads, "administrative detention is a violation of human rights" and "freedom for Hana Al-Shalabi"
Hana Al-Shalabi, 24, was released from Israeli jails several months ago as part of the so-called Shalit deal. However, the young Palestinian woman was rearrested two months ago "on secret charges" and sent for administrative detention without charge or trial, ostensibly in order to make her suffer.
This, says Eissa Qaraki, the Palestinian Authority (PA) official in charge of the prisoner portfolio, is a deliberate Israeli policy aimed at hounding and harassing the released prisoners and destabilising their lives.
But Hana Al-Shalabi wouldn't succumb to the unjust detention order. She resorted to the only means available to her and other inmates to voice their grievances: hunger strike.
NSA chief General Keith Alexander, Courtesy NSA
By James Bamford
In a rare break from the NSA’s tradition of listening but not speaking, NSA chief General Keith Alexander was grilled Tuesday on the topic of eavesdropping on Americans in front of a House subcommittee.
The questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) was prompted by Wired’s cover story this month on the NSA’s growing reach and capabilities, but leaves Americans with as many questions about the reach of spy agency’s powers as they had before Alexander spoke.
Alexander denied, in carefully parsed words, that the NSA has the power to monitor Americans’ communications without getting a court warrant.
But Alexander’s comments fly in the face of people who actually helped create the agency’s eavesdropping and data mining infrastructure. Few people know that system as well as William Binney, who served as the technical director for the agency’s M Group, which stood for World Geopolitical Military Analysis and Reporting, the giant 6,000-person organization responsible for eavesdropping on most of the world.
He was also the founder and co-director of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, which helped automate that eavesdropping network. Binney decided to leave after a long career rather than be involved in the agency warrantless eavesdropping program, a program he said involves secret monitoring facilities in ten to twenty large telecom switches around the country, such as the one discovered in San Francisco’s AT&T installation a few years ago.
Iron Dome: 'authentic Israeli brilliance'. (Wikicommons)
By Neve Gordon
Recent raids on Gaza were not just about allocating more money to defense - they were also about war with Iran.
In response to the recent assassination of Zuhair al-Qaisi, the Secretary General of the Popular Resistance Committees in the Gaza Strip, along with another fighter, Palestinians fired rockets at southern Israel and the Israeli military launched air strikes at targets throughout the Strip.
Within hours, the media fanfare began. Israeli news outlets began glorifying the interception missiles by repeatedly showing images of an Iron Dome battery, often with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak standing in front of the defense system. Reporters continuously emphasized the Iron Dome's high rate of success in intercepting the short-range rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel. One columnist characterized it as a "system that provides the goods, authentic Israeli brilliance, true pride", while another columnist stated that this "weekend Israel took its hat off [to salute] Iron Dome".
By Stuart Reigeluth
Sporadic violence in Gaza is a way for Israel to test its latest military gadgets. As depicted last week in a very real way, Gaza is a large petri dish for Israeli security experiments. The most recent is called ‘Iron Dome' — like something out of Star Wars.
Iron Dome is a mobile air defence system designed to intercept rockets. Or according to Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, ‘comets' — which by definition reveals an indifference to what they actually are: small home-made rockets (like firework comets) or large astronomical comets orbiting our solar system. In either case, the supposed threat is coming from ‘out there', beyond the gates.
Gaza is now so entirely disconnected and disregarded by Israel that rockets or comets might as well as be coming from outer space. To create an impermeable shell against these alien southern or northern threats, Iron Dome was conceived in the aftermath of the 2006 July War.
Israel's unprovoked attack on Gaza had several aims, writes Khaled Amayreh from occupied Jerusalem
The latest round of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, which started on 9 April and lasted for five days, began with the assassination of Sheikh Zuheir El-Qaisi, chief of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC).
El-Qaisi was riding a civilian car with a bodyguard when an Israeli Apache helicopter gunship hit the vehicle with a hellfire missile, incinerating it and instantly killing them both. The assassination brought to an abrupt end the uneasy truce that had lasted several weeks. Hamas, the largest military force in Gaza, had successfully convinced other resistance groups, including the PRC and Islamic Jihad, to observe the tacit ceasefire reached in coordination with Egypt.
Israel subsequently concocted a statement claiming that the PRC Chief was "involved in the final stages of planning a major resistance attack on Israel's border with Egypt", which even the Israeli media did not take seriously. The Palestinians viewed the murder of El-Qaisi and his aide, recently released in the Shalit prisoner swap, as deliberate provocation. The reassertion of Israeli deterrence vis-Ã-vis the Palestinian resistance also achieved several of Tel Aviv's political, operational and tactical goals, including testing the Iron Dome anti-missile missile system which the Israeli army has recently deployed outside the Gaza Strip.
They will never colonize our minds! (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)
By Samah Sabawi
(Full Transcript. Excerpts from this speech were presented at the University of Sydney Australia during Israeli Apartheid Week 2012.)
I would like to talk about normalization. I found the best definition of the word normalization on the Palestinian Campaign for Cultural and Academic Boycott’s website:
“Normalization is the colonization of the mind, whereby the oppressed subject comes to believe that the oppressor’s reality is the only “normal” reality that must be subscribed to, and that the oppression is a fact of life that must be coped with.”
So projects that constitute normalization are not about freedom, justice or liberation, but about numbing our minds to the horror of the occupation, so we accept it as normal, as permanent, as an unchangeable fixed reality!
A typical normalization project brings Palestinians and Israelis together to talk about acceptance of one another to reduce the ‘hate’ that drives the conflict! But without taking action of any sort to change the environment that creates the animosity. As if Palestinian resistance is driven by emotions of hate not acts of oppression, by irrational anger and not dispossession, by senseless loathing and not acts of ethnic cleansing!
Cemalettin Damlaci, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Turkey, said the administration of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is eager to develop trading partnerships with sovereign indigenous nations.
By Gale Courey Toensing
Think of Turkey, the country, and what images come to mind? Turkish delight – that exquisite powdery sugar-covered, pistachio-stuffed confection. Golden Zildjian cymbals with the crisp, clear sound favored by jazz drummers and percussionists in orchestras. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul with its six delicate minarets. Sweet succulent dried apricots.
Now there’s a cluster of other images for Turkey: World’s 16th largest economy and 16th largest manufacturer of cars and spare parts. A major world producer and exporter of steel, pasta, dried fruits and candy. A nation with a burgeoning tourism industry. A major donor of development aid to emerging economies. A potential investor and trading partner in Indian country.
Namik Tan, Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, and a delegation of officials from Turkey’s Ministry of Economy attended the Reservation Economic Summit and American Indian Business Trade Fair (RES 2012), seeking business partners among the tribal nations’ government officials. For enterprise-minded individuals, companies and countries, the annual business conference was the place to be. This year’s RES took place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from February 27 – March 1 and drew more than 4,000 participants, according to Margo Gray-Proctor, a member of the Osage Nation and chairwoman of the National Center for American Indian Economic Development (NCAIED), which organizes and hosts the annual RES conference.
Read more at at Indian Country Today Media Network
Wikileaks says founder, currently fighting extradition from UK to Sweden, plans to stand for Australian upper house.
Julian Assange is on bail awaiting a UK court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden [Reuters]
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, plans to run for the Australian senate in elections next year, despite being under virtual house arrest in the UK and facing extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, according to the whistleblowing website.
"We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run," Wikileaks said in a posting on the social networking site Twitter.
The senate is the upper house of the Australian parliament and is made up of 76 senators representing Australia's six states and two mainland territories.
To Rachel with love - A Poem
[From the point of view of Rachel Corrie (April 10, 1979 - March 16, 2003) killed day by an Israeli army bulldozer.]
By Zahra Pilavdzic
First they came for the land
ripping roots like teeth
from the smiling faces of children.
They come for the mothers
who cry for yesterday's trees
and the memories of destroyed villages.
Bleeding women who clutch the air
for stolen children and mourn
the martyrs of tomorrow.
They come for the fathers
who cling to hope like an anthem
on a broken record of sumoud,
repeating the most urgent of prayers.
Then they come for the tears..
which multiply at night like distant screams,
left unchecked and deafening.
I tried to stop them!
My small lone frame,
my large, loud voice;
flattened by the invaders fears,
so foreign and menacing.
Enough to turn
my yellow hair...
They came for me,
until I was as dead,
as the flag I was wrapped in...
The flag I burned only yesterday!
They came for Palestine;
and took my life, my warrior blood!
I, not of bombs and bullets
but JUSTICE and MERCY-
So foreign and menacing...
My blood: American!
My heart: Palestinian!
- Zahra Pilavdzic contributed this poem to PalestineChronicle.com.
Gaza. Everything as usual. (Al Jazeera)
By Uri Avnery
'What have you learned in school today, my son?'
'There was no school today. There is an emergency!'
'And what have you learned from that, my son?'
Actually, quite a lot.
This week’s “round”, as the army likes to call it, followed a well-established pattern, as formal as a religious ritual.
It started with the assassination (or “targeted elimination”) of a hitherto unknown Palestinian resistance (“terrorist”) leader in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinians responded with a rain of missiles, which lasted for four whole days. More than a million Israelis around Gaza stopped working and stayed with their children near their shelters or “protected areas” (meaning nothing more than relatively safe rooms in their homes.) One million Israelis roughly equate to 10 million Germans or 40 million Americans, in relation to the population.
A proportion of these rockets were intercepted in their flight by the three batteries of the “Iron Dome” anti-missile defense. There were some Israeli injured and some minor material damage, but no Israeli dead.
Israeli manned and unmanned aircraft struck and there were 26 Palestinian dead in the Gaza Strip.
No justification for war or sanctions on Iran
By: Gulamhusein A. Abba
The hysteria over Iran’s nuclear capabilities having reached such a stage as to call for immediate bombing of its nuclear facilities – this hysteria is a red herring, a smokescreen deliberately and insidiously being whipped up by Israel to turn away the world’s gaze from its vicious ethnic cleansing and land grabbing activates in Palestine, especially in the Jerusalem region, and to find an excuse for attacking Iran, for which it has been itching ever since Iraq was neutered, leaving Iran the only country in the region that can be expected to stand up to Israel.
The extent of its success can be gauged from the fact that, according to a recent Pew poll, 58% of Americans favor preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if it means taking military action.
More important is the success Benjamin Netanyahu scored when he met Obama at the Whitehouse. One would have thought that the most burning question requiring urgent attention in the region, namely restoring peace between Israelis and Palestinians and the creation of a Palestinian state, would have been the central topic. But it was not. There was hardly any mention of the issue!
A map of U.S> military bases surrounding Iran.
by David Morrison
(1) According to the US intelligence community
*Iran hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons programme
*Israeli intelligence agrees with this view
(2) The US intelligence community set out this view in a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in November 2007. It remains the view of the US intelligence community today.
(3) The November 2011 IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activities did not state that Iran has an active nuclear weapons programme, contrary to the impression given in much of the media commentary on it.
(4) Iran has declared to the IAEA 15 nuclear facilities (including its uranium enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow) and 9 other locations where nuclear material is customarily used. These sites are all being monitored by the IAEA. In its February 2012 report, the IAEA confirmed for the umpteenth time that there was no diversion of nuclear material from these facilities.
(5) After the publication of the November 2007 NIE, US military action against Iran was off the agenda. President George Bush wrote in his memoir Decision Points: “How could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”
6) Today, President Barack Obama should be asking himself the same question, since the US intelligence community is still saying that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program.
Iran hasn’t got an active nuclear weapons programme, says US intelligence
If US intelligence believes Iran hasn't got an active nuclear weapons programme, why are Western politicians so keen to promote war against the country, asks Stuart Littlewood*
Obama tells AIPAC the only way to solve this problem and end the sanctions pain is for the Iranian government to forsake nuclear weapons, although, as he must have been told time and time again, they don't have any while Israel is bristling with them.
Is this what we voted for? Is this what Western diplomacy has come to in the 21st century? Thank heaven for David Morrison's very timely briefing document entitled "Iran hasn't got an active nuclear weapons programme, says US intelligence" (see the next story). Morrison is a noted political researcher from Northern Ireland. He sets out the position in easy-reading form so that even our dimmest politicians can understand.
As he points out in a covering note, US intelligence believes Iran hasn't got an active nuclear weapons programme and Israeli intelligence agrees. "When this became the view of US intelligence in 2007, President Bush had to abandon any thought of taking military action against Iran's nuclear facilities. As he wrote in his memoir Decision Points, 'how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons programme?' Today, President Obama should be asking himself the same question, since US intelligence is still saying that Iran has no active nuclear weapons programme."
In his trip to Washington, Israel's premier acted more like the US president than his host, Barack Obama, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
Obama meets with Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington
The hypocrisy was highlighted when Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour, on Israeli President Shimon Peres.
But Peres is a war criminal. In 1996, as prime minister following the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, he ordered the Israeli army to bombard a UN peacekeeping force headquarters in Southern Lebanon where hundreds of Lebanese civilians had sought refuge from Israel's bombing of their villages. The bombardment, which according to the UN was carried out deliberately and with forethought, killed over 100 civilians, mostly children and women.
Despite Barack Obama's desperate efforts to retain a semblance of American national dignity in the face of encroaching Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, it seems that the latter succeeded in getting most if not all of what he wanted from a visibly insecure president who appears convinced that it will be hard for him to stay in the White House without grovelling at Israel's feet.
Netanyahu went to Washington in a pugnacious, even insolent mood, to achieve two main goals: first, to cajole and if necessary bully the Obama administration to take more proactive measures against Iran; second, to see to it that the Palestinian issue is put on the back burner for many months, if not years, to come.
As expected, Netanyahu praised the wide-ranging sanctions imposed so far on Iran. However, he told his host that Israel was her own master. His unspoken meaning was, "If you don't bomb Iran, we will."
A new, comprehensive poll illuminates Arabs' opinions on democracy, corruption, Palestine/Israel, and the US.
A poll of Arabs in 12 countries found that by a 15-1 ratio, Israel and the US are seen as more threatening than Iran [EPA]
The first of its kind - a poll conducted in 12 Arab countries, representing 84 per cent of the population of the Arab world, in an attempt to gauge the region's political mood - has arrived at some interesting results.
Organised by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), face-to-face interviews by Arab surveyors with 16,731 individuals in the first half of 2011 revealed majority support for the goals of the Arab revolutions and notably, for a democratic system of government.
The countries surveyed included Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania, with the help of local institutions and research centres.
While people seem generally split on the question of separation of state and religion, a majority supports the non-interference of religious authorities in politics.
And by a 15-1 ratio, Israel and the US are seen as more threatening than Iran. However, this ratio is lower among those living in proximity to Iran.
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of women marched in Gaza and the West Bank on Thursday marking International Women's Day with a call for national unity and the release of Hana Shalabi.
Women marched from the Square of the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City to the UN headquarters before heading to tents set up in solidarity with Shalabi, who has been on hunger strike in an Israeli prison for 22 days.
JENIN (Ma'an) -- As the world marks International Women's Day, the mother of hunger-striking detainee Hana Shalabi appealed to the international community to save her daughter.
"I demand that the world stands by her now. My daughter is dying in prison. We are also dying here. This is my appeal to the world," Badiya Shalabi told Al-Haq human rights organization.
Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike since Israeli forces detained her from her home in the northern West Bank on Feb. 16. She was beaten, blindfolded and forcibly strip-searched and assaulted by a male Israeli soldier, the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations said.
Shalabi's lawyer Mahmoud Hassan told Ma'an she is determined to maintain the strike until she is released. On Wednesday an Israeli military judge postponed a decision on her appeal.
Dozens of homes damaged in Gaza after Israel opened dam.
Power cuts and lack of fuel hampered rescue operations.
By Ashraf Shannon, Press TV, Gaza
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Gaza's poor infrastructure and lack of building material and equipments due to the blockade has led the war battered infrastructure to deteriorate.
Dozens of homes were flooded in central Gaza by untreated sewage water after Israel opened a dam located in the eastern side of the impoverished territory which leads to the Gaza Valley off the Mediterranean .
With Egypt's refusal to allow fuel into the blockaded coastal enclave, it was extremely difficult for rescue crews to tackle the problem.
Families in the flooded area have been struggling since the early hours of the morning trying to retrieve their belongings .Some area residents described the flooding of as another Israeli aggression demanding international protection.
Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and attempts to Judaise Jerusalem are risking the outbreak of violence across the region, writes Khaled Amayreh in the occupied Palestinian territories
Palestinians push a garbage bin containing a fire to block a road during clashes with Israeli security forces at a protest against the closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians, in Hebron (above); Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is carried by supporters following his speech after Friday prayers at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo
Undeterred by the Arab world's reactions to repeated Israeli provocations in Jerusalem, particularly the recurrent encroachments by Jewish millenarians, the Israeli government has accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of "inciting Muslims against Israel".
Israeli criticisms of the PA were stepped up this week following a one-day conference in Qatar that discussed Israeli measures to Judaise occupied East Jerusalem and obliterate its traditional Arab-Islamic identity.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lashed out at PA President Mahmoud Abbas, describing him as a "threat to Israelis and Israel" and claiming that the Palestinian leader was adopting "extremist attitudes that are harmful to peace".
In Doha, Abbas had reiterated the longstanding Palestinian position that the PA would never sign a peace treaty with Israel that did not include full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied city.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, on right, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
By MARK LANDLER
New York Times
WASHINGTON — On the eve of a crucial visit to the White House by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, that country’s most powerful American advocates are mounting an extraordinary public campaign to pressure President Obama into hardening American policy toward Iran over its nuclear program.
Obama Says Iran Strike Is an Option, but Warns Israel (March 3, 2012)
For Obama and Netanyahu, Wariness on Iran Will Dominate Talks (March 2, 2012)
Peres Says U.S. Must Put All Iran Options on Table (March 2, 2012)
Will Israel Attack Iran? (January 29, 2012
From the corridors of Congress to a gathering of nearly 14,000 American Jews and other supporters of Israel here this weekend, Mr. Obama is being buffeted by demands that the United States be more aggressive toward Iran and more forthright in supporting Israel in its own confrontation with Tehran.
While defenders of Israel rally every year at the meeting of the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, this year’s gathering has been supercharged by a convergence of election-year politics, a deepening nuclear showdown and the often-fraught relationship between the president and the Israeli prime minister.
By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
On the 25th of February, 1994, as hundreds of Muslim worshipers were performing the dawn prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque in downtown Hebron, a Jewish-American terrorist by the name of Baruch Goldstein descended onto the mosque from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arbaa, spraying the worshipers with machinegun bullets, killing at least 29 people and injuring many others.
The terrorist, who used his army-issued Galilion rifle, wanted to kill as many innocent people as possible in order to create mass terror throughout the city, the largest in the West Bank. His motive was to thoroughly terrorize the Arabs, who constitute 99.5% of the city's population.
The Israeli occupation authorities, who had to tackle a public relations disaster, denied any complicity or collusion with the perpetrator.
Full and complete domination of Palestinians is the aim. (Activestills)
By Graham Peebles
Within the catalogue of criminality that is Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the destruction of Palestinian homes must rank as one of the most cynical and heinous.
"Some 90,000 people are currently reported to be at risk of displacement as a result of Israeli policies such as restrictive and discriminatory planning, the revocation of residency rights, the expansion of settlements and the construction of the West Bank Separation Wall." (Internal-displacement.org)
Let us note and explore further, with the tacit engagement of America, who bank-roles the entire operation.
Home, a refuge from the world, safe and secure, somewhere to relax with family and friends, and breath easy, free from fear. This simple image of normality is unknown to many Palestinians living under the brutal illegal occupation by Israel.
“The Israeli practice of demolishing homes, basic infrastructure and sources of livelihoods continues to devastate Palestinian families and communities in East Jerusalem and the 60 per cent of the West Bank controlled by Israel, known as Area C. Many of the people affected already live in poverty, and demolitions are a leading cause of their on-going displacement and dispossession in the West Bank.” (Unrwa.org)
By Kathy Kelly - with research by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers
Fazillah, age 25, lives in Maidan Shar, the central city of Afghanistan’s Wardak province. She married about six years ago, and gave birth to a son, Aymal, who just turned five without a father. Fazillah tells her son, Aymal, that his father was killed by an American bomber plane, remote-controlled by computer.
That July, in 2007, Aymal’s father was sitting in a garden with four other men. A weaponized drone, what we used to call an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV, was flying, unseen, overhead, and fired missiles into the garden, killing all five men.
Now Fazillah and Aymal share a small dwelling with the deceased man’s mother. According to the tradition, a husband’s relatives are responsible to look after a widow with no breadwinner remaining in her immediate family. She and her son have no regular source of bread or income, but Fazillah says that her small family is better off than it might have been: one of the men killed alongside her husband left behind a wife and child but no other living relatives that could provide them with any source of support, at all.
Aymal’s grandmother becomes agitated and distraught speaking about her son’s death, and that of his four friends. “All of us ask, ‘Why?’” she says, raising her voice. “They kill people with computers and they can’t tell us why. When we ask why this happened, they say they had doubts, they had suspicions. But they didn’t take time to ask ‘Who is this person?’ or ‘Who was that person?’ There is no proof, no accountability. Now, there is no reliable person in the home to bring us bread. I am old, and I do not have a peaceful life.”
Hamas might be reinventing itself. (Via Aljazeera)
By Ramzy Baroud
Despite all of Hamas' assurances to the contrary, a defining struggle is taking place within the Palestinian Islamic movement. The outcome of this struggle – which is still confined to polite political disagreements and occasional intellectual tussle – is likely to change Hamas’ outlook, if not fundamentally alter its position within a quickly changing Arab political landscape.
The current Hamas is already different from the one initially set up by a local Gaza leadership in December 1987 in response to the first Palestinian uprising. One of the very first statements circulated by their newly established ‘military wing’ (masked men armed with wooden clubs and cans of spray paint) expressed the nature of that political era:
“What has happened to you, O rulers of Egypt? Were you asleep in the period of the treaty of shame and surrender, the Camp David treaty? Has your national zealousness died and your pride ran out while the Zionists daily perpetrate grave and base crimes against the people and the children?”
Although the power discrepancy between Israel and the Palestinians has remained largely unchanged, Hamas has morphed from a local Palestinian branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood into a tour de force within Palestinian society. It has also become an important regional player, long designated by the US and Israel as a member of the radical camp in the Middle East (the other members being Iran, Syria and Hezbollah). While Iran and Syria were demonized for aiding and enabling Palestinian and Lebanese resistance to Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah successfully resisted Israel’s military adventures in Gaza and Lebanon.
AP / Vahid Salemi
A pro-government Iranian demonstrator holds a poster showing pictures of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, right, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, at the conclusion of an annual demonstration in front of the former US Embassy in Tehran.
By Robert Scheer
Given my own deep prejudice toward religious zealotry, it has not been difficult for me to accept the conventional American view that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme theocratic ruler of Iran, is a dangerous madman never to be trusted with a nuclear weapon. How then to explain his recent seemingly logical and humane religious proclamations on the immorality of nuclear weapons? His statement challenges the acceptance of nuclear war-fighting as an option by every U.S. president since Harry Truman, who, in 1945, ordered the deaths of 185,000 mostly innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“We do not see any glory, pride or power in the nuclear weapons—quite the opposite,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday in summarizing the ayatollah’s views. Salehi added, “The production, possession, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons are illegitimate, futile, harmful, dangerous and prohibited as a great sin.”
Of course, the ayatollah’s position will be largely interpreted by the media and politicians in the United States as a devious trick to lull critics, but words of such clarity will not be so easily dismissed by his devout followers. They are words that one wishes our own government would embrace to add moral consistency to our condemnation of other countries we claim might be joining us in holding nuclear arms.