Our Mad Mad World: Not Peace but Apartheid    
 Not Peace but Apartheid94 comments
picture15 Jul 2008 @ 23:06, by Paul Quintanilla

The piece below mentions Jenin. I was in Europe at the time of Jenin and CNN carried nonstop coverage. I can still remember seeing the blasted out site on the set at night, the leveled rubble. And then there was that man in a wheelchair who was crushed by a tank.

The israelis have much to answer for. I frankly think the human mind is too complicated and mysterious to ever be neatly categorized by psychologists. Frankly, the old masters, Shakespeare and the like, probably knew as much as anyone else. And your intuition is as likely to be right or wrong as mine or anyone else’s. But there are so many similarities between the ways some Jews treat Arabs and the way the Nazis treated the Jews that it is eerie. And one has to wonder if there isn’t perhaps some deep obsessive root in the Jewish Holocaust experience regarding this similarity? For many rightwing Jews, since 1948, have treated Arabs as simply subhuman. Or could this in truth be an expression of the basic similarity all people share: even as to subjugating another people? Germans, Jews, and, yes, Arabs, we are all fundamentally alike.

And here in the United States we have much to answer for too. For our blind unwavering lockstep support of Israel no matter what it does. No matter how biased or cruel or destructive their behavior and activities are. For there is scant excuse for putting on the blinders AIPAC and like organizations constantly demand we wear.

Does a critic need to repeat he basically supports the Jewish state each time he criticizes Israel? Apparently he is expected to and doctrinaire Zionists will even set the guidelines. One can only criticize so far before becoming an “anti Semite.” Unfortunately, some of us tremble at being thus tarred. I have too, in the past. But under this blinding and suffocating cloak AIPAC has been so adept at over the years a great deal of inhumanity is allowed to pass. And crimes are committed without ever being called to account. Here in the United States they are simply ignored. While critics in Europe inspire opinion pieces here at home on the “rise of the new anti-Semitism.”

Recently another member of NCN sent me an essay by Daniel Pipes regarding all this which I admit I didn’t read. The Neocons live in a truly dark world: imagine one of Goya’s witches with bats flying in the air, the engraving’s black and murky ink. Goya had war and the Inquisition to live with. Today it’s war and the Neocons with their dark nighttime world. So I thought I would ignore this opinion piece by Pipes for surely debating it would go nowhere. Then my email contained the following piece by Gideon Levy, writing for Haaretz. You know Gideon Levy, don’t you? If not, here is a good introduction. This is a Palestine we don’t often see on CNN or here in the United States.


Gideon Levy: 'Worse than apartheid'
July 10, 2008

I thought they would feel right at home in the alleys of Balata refugee camp, the Casbah and the Hawara checkpoint. But they said there is no comparison: for them the Israeli occupation regime is worse than anything they knew under apartheid. This week, 21 human rights activists from South Africa visited Israel. Among them were members of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress; at least one of them took part in the armed struggle and at least two were jailed. There were two South African Supreme Court judges, a former deputy minister, members of Parliament, attorneys, writers and journalists. Blacks and whites, about half of them Jews who today are in conflict with attitudes of the conservative Jewish community in their country. Some of them have been here before; for others it was their first visit.

For five days they paid an unconventional visit to Israel - without Sderot, the IDF and the Foreign Ministry (but with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial and a meeting with Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch. They spent most of their time in the occupied areas, where hardly any official guests go - places that are also shunned by most Israelis.

On Monday they visited Nablus, the most imprisoned city in the West Bank. From Hawara to the Casbah, from the Casbah to Balata, from Joseph's Tomb to the monastery of Jacob's Well. They traveled from Jerusalem to Nablus via Highway 60, observing the imprisoned villages that have no access to the main road, and seeing the "roads for the natives," which pass under the main road. They saw and said nothing. There were no separate roads under apartheid. They went through the Hawara checkpoint mutely: they never had such barriers.

Jody Kollapen, who was head of Lawyers for Human Rights in the apartheid regime, watches silently. He sees the "carousel" into which masses of people are jammed on their way to work, visit family or go to the hospital. Israeli peace activist Neta Golan, who lived for several years in the besieged city, explains that only 1 percent of the inhabitants are allowed to leave the city by car, and they are suspected of being collaborators with Israel. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy minister of defense and of health and a current member of Parliament, a revered figure in her country, notices a sick person being taken through on a stretcher and is shocked. "To deprive people of humane medical care? You know, people die because of that," she says in a muted voice.

The tour guides - Palestinian activists - explain that Nablus is closed off by six checkpoints. Until 2005, one of them was open. "The checkpoints are supposedly for security purposes, but anyone who wants to perpetrate an attack can pay NIS 10 for a taxi and travel by bypass roads, or walk through the hills.

The real purpose is to make life hard for the inhabitants. The civilian population suffers," says Said Abu Hijla, a lecturer at Al-Najah University in the city.

In the bus I get acquainted with my two neighbors: Andrew Feinstein, a son of Holocaust survivors who is married to a Muslim woman from Bangladesh and served six years as an MP for the ANC; and Nathan Gefen, who has a male Muslim partner and was a member of the right-wing Betar movement in his youth. Gefen is active on the Committee against AIDS in his AIDS-ravaged country.

"Look left and right," the guide says through a loudspeaker, "on the top of every hill, on Gerizim and Ebal, is an Israeli army outpost that is watching us." Here are bullet holes in the wall of a school, there is Joseph's Tomb, guarded by a group of armed Palestinian policemen. Here there was a checkpoint, and this is where a woman passerby was shot to death two years ago. The government building that used to be here was bombed and destroyed by F-16 warplanes. A thousand residents of Nablus were killed in the second intifada, 90 of them in Operation Defensive Shield - more than in Jenin. Two weeks ago, on the day the Gaza Strip truce came into effect, Israel carried out its last two assassinations here for the time being. Last night the soldiers entered again and arrested people.

It has been a long time since tourists visited here. There is something new: the numberless memorial posters that were pasted to the walls to commemorate the fallen have been replaced by marble monuments and metal plaques in every corner of the Casbah.

"Don't throw paper into the toilet bowl, because we have a water shortage," the guests are told in the offices of the Casbah Popular Committee, located high in a spectacular old stone building. The former deputy minister takes a seat at the head of the table. Behind her are portraits of Yasser Arafat, Abu Jihad and Marwan Barghouti - the jailed Tanzim leader. Representatives of the Casbah residents describe the ordeals they face. Ninety percent of the children in the ancient neighborhood suffer from anemia and malnutrition, the economic situation is dire, the nightly incursions are continuing, and some of the inhabitants are not allowed to leave the city at all. We go out for a tour on the trail of devastation wrought by the IDF over the years.

Edwin Cameron, a judge on the Supreme Court of Appeal, tells his hosts: "We came here lacking in knowledge and are thirsty to know. We are shocked by what we have seen until now. It is very clear to us that the situation here is intolerable." A poster pasted on an outside wall has a photograph of a man who spent 34 years in an Israeli prison. Mandela was incarcerated seven years less than that. One of the Jewish members of the delegation is prepared to say, though not for attribution, that the comparison with apartheid is very relevant and that the Israelis are even more efficient in implementing the separation-of-races regime than the South Africans were. If he were to say this publicly, he would be attacked by the members of the Jewish community, he says.

Under a fig tree in the center of the Casbah one of the Palestinian activists explains: "The Israeli soldiers are cowards. That is why they created routes of movement with bulldozers. In doing so they killed three generations of one family, the Shubi family, with the bulldozers." Here is the stone monument to the family - grandfather, two aunts, mother and two children. The words "We will never forget, we will never forgive" are engraved on the stone.

No less beautiful than the famed Paris cemetery of Pere-Lachaise, the central cemetery of Nablus rests in the shadow of a large grove of pine trees. Among the hundreds of headstones, those of the intifada victims stand out. Here is the fresh grave of a boy who was killed a few weeks ago at the Hawara checkpoint. The South Africans walk quietly between the graves, pausing at the grave of the mother of our guide, Abu Hijla. She was shot 15 times. "We promise you we will not surrender," her children wrote on the headstone of the woman who was known as "mother of the poor."

Lunch is in a hotel in the city, and Madlala-Routledge speaks. "It is hard for me to describe what I am feeling. What I see here is worse than what we experienced. But I am encouraged to find that there are courageous people here. We want to support you in your struggle, by every possible means. There are quite a few Jews in our delegation, and we are very proud that they are the ones who brought us here. They are demonstrating their commitment to support you. In our country we were able to unite all the forces behind one struggle, and there were courageous whites, including Jews, who joined the struggle. I hope we will see more Israeli Jews joining your struggle."

She was deputy defense minister from 1999 to 2004; in 1987 she served time in prison. Later, I asked her in what ways the situation here is worse than apartheid. "The absolute control of people's lives, the lack of freedom of movement, the army presence everywhere, the total separation and the extensive destruction we saw."

Madlala-Routledge thinks that the struggle against the occupation is not succeeding here because of U.S. support for Israel - not the case with apartheid, which international sanctions helped destroy. Here, the racist ideology is also reinforced by religion, which was not the case in South Africa. "Talk about the 'promised land' and the 'chosen people' adds a religious dimension to racism which we did not have."

Equally harsh are the remarks of the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of South Africa, Mondli Makhanya, 38. "When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.

"The apartheid regime viewed the blacks as inferior; I do not think the Israelis see the Palestinians as human beings at all. How can a human brain engineer this total separation, the separate roads, the checkpoints? What we went through was terrible, terrible, terrible - and yet there is no comparison. Here it is more terrible. We also knew that it would end one day; here there is no end in sight. The end of the tunnel is blacker than black.

"Under apartheid, whites and blacks met in certain places. The Israelis and the Palestinians do not meet any longer at all. The separation is total. It seems to me that the Israelis would like the Palestinians to disappear. There was never anything like that in our case. The whites did not want the blacks to disappear. I saw the settlers in Silwan [in East Jerusalem] - people who want to expel other people from their place."

Afterward we walk silently through the alleys of Balata, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, a place that was designated 60 years ago to be a temporary haven for 5,000 refugees and is now inhabited by 26,000. In the dark alleys, which are about the width of a thin person, an oppressive silence prevailed. Everyone was immersed in his thoughts, and only the voice of the muezzin broke the stillness.

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24 Nov 2008 @ 19:03 by Quinty @ : Slow death of Gaza (November 2008)

The slow death of Gaza

The collective punishment of Gaza's civilian population is illegal. But international law was tossed aside long ago

Andrea Becker
The Guardian
guardian.co.uk, Monday November 24 2008 10.00 GMT

It has been two weeks since Israel imposed a complete closure of Gaza, after months when its crossings have been open only for the most minimal of humanitarian supplies. Now it is even worse: two weeks without United Nations food trucks for the 80% of the population entirely dependent on food aid, and no medical supplies or drugs for Gaza's ailing hospitals. No fuel (paid for by the EU) for Gaza's electricity plant, and no fuel for the generators during the long blackouts. Last Monday morning, 33 trucks of food for UN distribution were finally let in – a few days of few supplies for very few, but as the UN asks, then what?

Israel's official explanation for blocking even minimal humanitarian aid, according to IDF spokesperson Major Peter Lerner, was "continued rocket fire and security threats at the crossings". Israel's blockade, in force since Hamas seized control of Gaza in mid-2007, can be described as an intensification of policies designed to isolate the population of Gaza, cripple its economy, and incentivise the population against Hamas by harsh – and illegal – measures of collective punishment. However, these actions are not all new: the blockade is but the terminal end of Israel's closure policy, in place since 1991, which in turn builds on Israel's policies as occupier since 1967.

In practice, Israel's blockade means the denial of a broad range of items – food, industrial, educational, medical – deemed "non-essential" for a population largely unable to be self-sufficient at the end of decades of occupation. It means that industrial, cooking and diesel fuel, normally scarce, are virtually absent now. There are no queues at petrol stations; they are simply shut. The lack of fuel in turn means that sewage and treatment stations cannot function properly, resulting in decreased potable water and tens of millions of litres of untreated or partly treated sewage being dumped into the sea every day. Electricity cuts – previously around eight hours a day, now up to 16 hours a day in many areas – affect all homes and hospitals. Those lucky enough to have generators struggle to find the fuel to make them work, or spare parts to repair them when they break from overuse. Even candles are running out.

There can be no dispute that measures of collective punishment against the civilian population of Gaza are illegal under international humanitarian law. Fuel and food cannot be withheld or wielded as reward or punishment. But international law was tossed aside long ago. The blockade has been presented as punishment for the democratic election of Hamas, punishment for its subsequent takeover of Gaza, and punishment for militant attacks on Israeli civilians. The civilians of Gaza, from the maths teacher in a United Nations refugee camp to the premature baby in an incubator, properly punished for actions over which they have no control, will rise up and get rid of Hamas. Or so it goes.

And so what of these civilian agents of political change?

For all its complexities and tragedies, the over-arching effect of Israel's blockade has been to reduce the entire population to survival mode. Individuals are reduced to the daily detail of survival, and its exhaustions.

Consider Gaza's hospital staff. In hospitals, the blockade is as seemingly benign as doctors not having paper upon which to write diagnostic results or prescriptions, and as sinister as those seconds – between power cut and generator start – when a child on life support doesn't have the oxygen of a mechanical ventilator. A nurse on a neo-natal ward rushes between patients, battling the random schedule of power cuts. A hospital worker tries to keep a few kidney dialysis machines from breaking down, by farming spare parts from those that already have. The surgeon operates without a bulb in the surgery lamp, across from the anaesthetist who can no longer prevent patient pain. The hospital administrator updates lists of essential drugs and medical supplies that have run out, which vaccines from medical fridges are now unusable because they can't be kept cold, and which procedures must be cancelled altogether. The ambulance driver decides whether to respond to an emergency call, based on dwindling petrol in the tank.

By reducing the population to survival mode, the blockade robs people of the time and essence to do anything but negotiate the minutiae of what is and isn't possible in their personal and professional lives. Whether any flour will be available to make bread, where it might be found, how much it now costs. Rich or poor, taxi drivers, human rights defenders, and teachers alike spend hours speculating about where a canister of cooking gas might be found. Exhaustion is gripping hold of all in Gaza. Survival leaves little if no room for political engagement – and beyond exhaustion, anger and frustration are all that is left.  

25 Nov 2008 @ 18:20 by martha : Egypt
I notice in the above article no mention of Egypt.Did you know that Egypt has also closed it's borders to Gaza, their muslim brothers? To me tha above article is a wonderful example of The Gurardian only speaking half truths and dumping on Israel. They are twisting the truth and not even attempting to address all the rockets that have been going into to Israel from Gaza. The people of Gaza need to say enough to Hamas and their violence and unite to free them themselves of hate and old style thinking. The Guradian is also a wonderful example of Old style thinking.  

25 Nov 2008 @ 19:31 by Quinty @ : Then if not the Guardian
how 'bout McClatchy? Or the BBC? Or the Times? Or the AP? And other news organizations protesting the closure?


Israel's new bid to undercut Hamas pushes Gaza toward crisis


McClatchy Newspapers

Israel has pushed the Gaza Strip to the brink of a humanitarian crisis by cutting off the supply of most aid, choking off the flow of fuel for Gaza's only power plant and restricting the transfer of most supplies.

Beyond that, Israel is barring most diplomats, aid workers and international journalists from going into Gaza - an unprecedented and sweeping ban that's entering its third week.

"It's very precarious," John Ging, director of the United Nations refugee program in Gaza, said Friday. "It's really a matter of brinksmanship and we're in a perpetual state of collapse."

The new crackdown comes as Israeli leaders are increasingly acknowledging what critics have long argued: That they need to develop different strategies to try and change the political realities in Gaza.

"Everybody involved in this is advocating very strongly for a change in approach of punitive sanctions through closure of the crossings," Ging said. "It's devastating from a human perspective, but also for the prospects for security, prosperity and peace."

When Hamas seized military control of the Gaza Strip last year, some Israeli strategists began pushing the idea of sealing the borders and washing their hands of all responsibility for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in enveloping isolation.

Israeli leaders quickly shelved the idea amid general recognition that it was unrealistic and might backfire.

However, Israel is now effectively testing out the concept in an unprecedented new attempt to undermine Hamas hardliners who've solidified their hold and increased their influence since routing Palestinian Authority forces in a decisive military showdown 17 months ago.

If anything, critics say, efforts by the U.S. and Israel to isolate Hamas in the past two years have backfired. Both nations helped the Palestinian Authority hold democratic elections in 2006 that propelled Hamas into political control for the first time.

Israeli and American attempts to marginalize the Hamas-led government unless it explicitly renounced its stated goal of destroying Israel never led to a change by the group's policy. And U.S.-backed efforts to train and equip Palestinian Authority fighters loyal to moderate President Mahmoud Abbas backfired when Hamas routed the unprepared forces last year in Gaza.

The Hamas takeover led to angry calls from some Israeli leaders for their country to sever all links to Gaza, close the borders and stop supplying electricity.

At the time, the idea was dismissed as impractical.

Before long, Israel negotiated, via Egypt, a six-month cease-fire with Hamas that, until this month, had brought relative calm to Gaza and southern Israel.

As most of the world was focused on America's historic election on Nov. 4, Israeli ground forces broke the cease-fire by entering Gaza to destroy a tunnel the military said was set to be used in a kidnapping operation inside Israel.

The Israeli operation triggered new rounds of rocket fire from Gaza militants, Israeli airstrikes and ongoing closure of the border crossings.

Inside Gaza, power is being rationed and blackouts envelop some neighborhoods for 16 hours a day. Restaurants and bakeries have shut down because they have neither fuel nor food. Families are paying black market prices to get increasingly scarce cooking fuel. And the U.N. had to temporarily halt food deliveries to 750,000 Palestinians.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called the Israeli policy "unacceptable" and urged Israel to reopen the borders.

Israeli leaders say they will make sure enough food and fuel get into Gaza to avoid a full-scale humanitarian crisis. And they repeatedly state that the current crisis can come to an end - just as soon as Gaza militants stop firing rockets into southern Israel.

"We're in a new situation," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. "You cannot have normal functioning of the crossings as long as they continue to fire rockets at us."

Human rights groups tried unsuccessfully earlier this year to challenge previous government shutdowns of the Gaza borders. At the time, Israel's Supreme Court said the steps were a justified response to persistent rocket attacks by Gaza militants.

While the court rejected arguments that Israel's border closings amounted to collective punishment, U.N. officials contend that the tactic is empowering extremists who argue that talks with Israel have produced nothing good for Gaza.

"It creates more misery and frustration that feeds into the extremists who say there is no other way but violence," said the U.N.'s Ging.

The Foreign Press Association, of which McClatchy Newspapers is a member, is preparing a legal challenge of Israel's two-week-old ban on reporters entering Gaza. The association, which represents most major international media outlets working in Israel, said it would file suit in the Supreme Court on Sunday if Israel does not open the border so journalists can go to Gaza.

(McClatchy Newspapers special correspondent Ahmed Abu Hamdan contributed to this report from Gaza City.)  

25 Nov 2008 @ 19:37 by quinty : May as well
throw in Human Rights watch too.


25 Nov 2008 @ 20:39 by martha : And i ask again
Where is the protest against Egypt? You have only shown more selective reporting. Not the truth about Egypt in all this mess.  

25 Nov 2008 @ 20:41 by martha : And as far as Human rights
How about the good old US of A and Bush's support of torture! hahahaha Careful where you point!  

25 Nov 2008 @ 21:27 by Quinty @ : You want Egypt
here's Egypt


Not that Egypt's behavior gets Israel off the hook.

And as an added bonus, here's Human Rights Watch on Hamas and the rocket attacks.....


And are you telling me Human Rights Watch hasn't taken notice of the US use of torture? That's hard to believe but I'll take your word for it. (Or are you telling me that they have? At least I hope they have.) Whatever, none of that absolves Israel. Not even if we throw in the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.  

25 Nov 2008 @ 23:08 by martha : You are missing the point quinty
Yes israel and Egypt and Hammas need to deal with these abuses. My POINT is though that often the reporting is only part of a larger picture. When all these news organizations say the border to Gaza is closed by israel they are not telling the whole truth. THAT is my point.
If human rights watch hasn't talked about the US torture then they are not doing their watching very well. I assume they have talked about Bush.

BUT getting back to israel I am saying the international press is very quick to jump on Israel for violations but leaves out the larger picture of Egypt and hammas and all the muslim nations (like Syria) that support Hammas, give them money and probably supply them rockets. Israel is one very small nation in a sea of Muslim countries. And many of those nations don't recognize Israel as a country including Hammas who is in control of Gaza.
Again I go back to the article by the guardian and how slanted it is and might I say even leaning towards propaganda.
And i doubt quinty that you support propaganda.  

25 Nov 2008 @ 23:45 by Quinty @ : Poor little Israel:
oppressed by the Arab world. Surrounded by enemies. Fighting for its life.

If the US ever leaves the Middle East (and let's hope it's soon) then Israel will be the dominant power. What with its 200 nuclear bombs (according to Jimmy Carter it’s 150) and enormous military and the billions it receives annually in weapons and aid from the United States. Though of course we all know the Palestinians are a major power, economically, militarily, in every way. A true threat and danger to Israel. Sure, you bet.

Israel has one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

I agree with you on one thing. If the Palestinians had chosen the way of Ghandi and Martin Luther King they would probably have their state by now. The world simply would not have put up with the barbarities Israel has committed decade after decade against them. (Actually, the agreement is only in regard with revulsion with the random terrorist attacks.)

Does Human Rights Watch support propaganda?

Does the BBC or Jewish Voice for Peace or the Independent or McClatchy or other peace and news organizations? Are they liars? anti-Semites?

The simple truth is that Israel is committing an ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. That the Jewish settlement movement is dominated by religious fanatics who believe the land they are stealing from Palestinians was given to them by God. That the current government of Israel is dominated by the far right: Olmert, Netanyahu, etc. And that through these long standing policies (there have been exceptions) Israel is committing major human rights abuses.

But what’s new about any of that? It has been going on (excepting a few brief breathing spells: Rabin, Peres, some others) for decades.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 00:15 by ursula : Martha
You can't talk truth with somebody who wants to believe the lies, year after year. Quinty doesn't have his facts right at all. He doesn't know much about Israel and is quick to blame Israel for its existence and being constantly attacked. Every day, Quinty, every day bombs are thrown on Israel from the Muslim Arabs. But you don't see that as a human rights abuse? The PLO Charter which, for over 40 years, has decided that now it claims Israel as it's land and will toss all Jews and Israelis into the sea and take it over. This is what they (the Muslims, not Christians) live by - but that's not an abuse, or genocide? Who are you, Quinty?! Bus bombs, suicide murderers, all justifiable in your mind, and where does it come from, this bias you have? This insistence upon altered history, altered facts, dissinformation? In this way you might as well join Vax in saying the Holocaust never happened. How are you any different? I mean, really.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 00:25 by vaxen : Truth...
Quinty, not every Israeli believes in apartheid...

I first went to prison on September 23 of this year and served 35 days. By the time you read this, I will be back inside for another 21. This is going to be my life for the next two years: in for three weeks, out for one. I am 19 years old now and by the time the authorities give up hounding me, I will be 21. The reason? I refused to do my military service for the Israeli army.

I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service. As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of my life that I never even questioned it.

Earlier this year, I went to a peace demonstration in Palestine. I had always been told that the Israeli army was there to defend me, but during that demonstration Israeli soldiers opened fire on me and my friends with rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades. I was shocked and scared. I saw the truth. I saw the reality. I saw for the first time that the most dangerous thing in Palestine is the Israeli soldiers, the very people who are supposed to be on my side.

When I came back to Israel, I knew I had changed. I told my dad what had happened. He was angry that I had been over to the occupied territories and told me I had endangered my life. I have always discussed history and politics with my father but on this subject -- my rejection of the military and my conscientious objecting -- we can't speak.

My parents divorced when I was three and my father has a new family. My mother is an artist and she is very supportive of me. But my father has been horrified by my decision. I think he thought that I was going through a stage that I would grow out of. But it hasn't happened.

In prison, I wake up at five and clean all day, inside and out. It's a military prison so we are made to do ridiculous stuff. They painted a white stripe across the floor, and I have to keep the stripe glowing white and clean. I have to wear a US army uniform. The uniforms were given as a present to the Israeli army by the US Marines. I feel stupid. I am anti-military. I am against the whole idea of wearing the uniform.

The other prisoners are women from the army. They are in for silly things such as playing with their guns, smoking dope, running away from the army. None of them is really a criminal. And then there are five girls like me who are conscientious objectors.

We talk to the other girls, tell them things they have never heard about before. Like that everyone is a human, no matter what religion they are. Some of them are really ignorant. They have never heard of evolution theory, or Gandhi or Mandela, or the Armenian holocaust. I try to tell them that there have been a lot of genocides.

Of course I get scared when I am in prison. Three times a week, I have to help guard the prison at night. But also, it's frightening that my country is the way that it is, locking up young people who are against violence and war. And I worry that what I am doing may damage my future. The worst part is that I have a taste of freedom and then I am back inside, back to my mundane prison life. It's hard to go from being a free girl who can decide things for herself -- what to wear, who to see, what to eat -- and then go back to having every minute of the day timetabled.

Last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad. We tried not to talk politics. He cares about me as his daughter, that I am suffering, but he doesn't want to hear my views. He hasn't come to visit me in prison. I think it would be too hard for him to see me in there. He is an army man.

I suppose, actually, we have similar characters. We both fight for what we believe in. It's just that our views are diametrically opposed. --- Omer Goldman

This article was published in the Financial Times, November 22, 2008.


Also another interview here: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/45588,features,conscience-of-the-israeli-spymasters-daughter-

Picture of Omer Goldman

Thanks for the article quinty. I've been in Jenin many times prior, though, to the current holocaust. Even then I had to go in covertly as an Arab. Used to be a lovely place.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 00:25 by Quinty @ : Rusyn
read the above. I already answered your objections.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 00:26 by martha : oops
It has been going on for thousands of years quinty, not decades. And the only reason israel has such a large military is because if they didn't they would have been swallowed up by the Muslim countries...hahaha...long ago.

And you have shown your true feelings about Israel quinty."The simple truth is that Israel is committing an ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. That the Jewish settlement movement is dominated by religious fanatics who believe the land they are stealing from Palestinians was given to them by God."

Have you been to israel? Do you know people that live in israel or were born and raised in Israel? If you did then you would not making these statements.

Of course there are fanatics. There are fanatics everywhere in the world. Just because there are some fanatics in israel, it does not mean that all Israelies are fanatics. Do you know Palastinians that work in israel? You are making sweeping generalizations about israel which simply are not true.
And yes the BBC does tell half truths much of the time. So does the New York Times!

Why has Egypt closed it's border to Gaza?

And i agree we need to get the hell out of Iraq. But what about Afganistan? If we leave the taliban takes over again and women become slaves once again.
The problem is religion quinty, not being jewish or muslim. It is the thought that one religion is better tnen another. At least in israel there have been female leaders. Can you see a woman leader in ANY of the Muslim countries or the United States? So what if Israel is protecting their rights. The muslim countries certainly are not interested in women's rights. It all gets back to power over.
From your writing on this subject and supporting "news" reports that prompte propaganda you are only adding to the problem, not finding the solution.

OK enough on all this...hahaha. We are not going to solve all these issues. BUT at leasst one can be more careful as to what links, quoted articles and speeches posted to be able to see through the words at to the truth of the matter.
The biggest issue I have here at NCN is all the links people leave but they really aren't talking about the BIG picture. Most people don't want to think it through but would rather just quote others.
Cheers, and have a great evening. I'm done for now
PS- I practice no religion, attend no church and honor love above anything else in this world. I love humanity but am not afraid to speak out when i see fear, hate and power over being promoted.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 00:54 by Quinty @ : It appears
that the problem with the links is that they don't offer the news and slant you would like to see.

True, I have never been to israel. That does not however eliminate all the Jewish writers in Israel, the United States, Europe, and elsewhere who have closely reported on what is going on there. Simply because I am not a citizen of israel does not mean I can not come to any conclusions about Israel's leaders, the same as I do about Britain (Brown follows too closely in Blair’s footsteps), France (I don’t think Sarkozi is quite as bad as was predicted), Italy (Berlusconi is corrupt), Spain (Zapatero is a decent leader) and elsewhere.

So you are pro Israel? Fine. So am I, but if you do not like the reportage of a variety sources because they do not conform with your ultra pro Israel attitudes that does not mean CNN, the BBC, the AP, the Guardian and Independent, McClatchy, as well as many Jewish peace groups and activists are by definition propagandists for Arab terrorists. Israel has many crimes to answer for and if there are those who are sensitive about pointing this out perhaps they should complain to the source, which is the Likud and the israeli settlement movement.

Anyway, like you, I've had enough for one night. And it’s getting late.

Enjoy your evening.......  

26 Nov 2008 @ 00:55 by ursula : Quinty
the Arabs (Muslim, Christian, Baha'i, Druze) who live in Israel are citizens and are represented in the Israeli government. Can the same be said for Jews in each Arab country? Arab nations (aside from Egypt, and then they often try to murder them while visiting there) won't even allow a Jew into their country as a visitor! Yeah, Martha, I join you. Couldn't allow this to go without some comment from me and I'm done with it, too. Quinty, you aren't pro-Israel in any shape or form. You can't even be objective about Israel - so how can you be pro Israel? You support terrorism.

Martha, a woman (Bhutto) was the head of Pakistan, until she murdered, of course.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 01:23 by Quinty @ : Well,
I'm not going to dignify that with an answer. (As the old saying goes. Though it appears I have.)Good night all.....  

26 Nov 2008 @ 01:32 by ursula : Because you don't know or have one
You don't know the subject matter, so how can you - your answer can't be dignified, nor honest. You support terrorism against Israel and the Jews, yet you pretend to be a peacenik. Find out who you really are, Quinty. You might surprise yourself.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 01:56 by ursula : Israel
has given EVERYTHING for peace, the Arabs have given nothing. And yet Israel keeps pushing ahead for peace. Of course, some people (like Quinty) refuse to acknowledge anything positive about Israel while pretending they are unbiased.
Here's some news about peace today:
It will soon be possible to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday, the morning after a farewell visit with US President George W. Bush and other administration officials who conceded a deal was not likely to materialize in the short term.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert talks with US President George W. Bush in the White House, Monday.
Photo: AP

Slideshow: Pictures of the week "In principle there is nothing to prevent us from reaching an agreement on the core issues in the near future," Olmert said during a briefing with Israeli reporters. "I believe it is possible. I believe it is timely. A declaration is needed. I am ready to make it. I hope the other side is."

He also stressed the US had not tied Israel's hands when it came to military operations in the waning days of the Bush administration, despite media reports to the contrary.

"I don't remember that anyone in the administration, including the last couple of days, advised me or any of my official representatives not to take any action which we will deem necessary for the fundamental security of Israel, and that includes Iran," he said, in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post.

He pointed to conversations with Bush and his deputies who are "so open, so candid, so personal, that they can say to me anything they feel, and they do... This was not one of the things they said."

Speaking generally about his meetings with Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others, Olmert also said, "There is a deep, basic understanding between us about the Iranian threat and the need to act in order to remove that threat."

There has been speculation that if Israel were going to attack Iran's nuclear sites it would do so before President-elect Barack Obama takes office on January 20.

Time magazine also reported that the US had told Israel to refrain from a major invasion of Gaza, despite renewed rocket fire from the Strip, so as not to disrupt peace talks.

But when it came to the Palestinians, during the briefing and in remarks before his meeting with Bush, Olmert focused on the possibility of reaching an agreement rather than on the renewed violence.

The prime minister said there wouldn't be any written declaration of principles or other document spelling out the intermediate steps taken and agreements reached to date to prepare for a new American administration, because he was looking for a comprehensive peace deal.

"You don't need months to make a decision," he said, noting the two years of intensive meetings with the Palestinians that he's overseen.

Ahead of their meeting and private dinner Monday night, Bush also focused on the peace process.

"We strongly believe that Israel will benefit by having a Palestinian state, a democracy on her border that works for peace," the president said, sitting beside Olmert in the Oval Office. "That vision is alive because of you."

The two leaders exchanged expressions of friendship and appreciation, with Olmert praising Bush for removing the threat of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from Israel's eastern front.

But Rice acknowledged earlier this month that the goal of a peace deal by the end of 2008, set at the Annapolis conference officially launching negotiations last year, was unachievable.

Still, the subject was a major focus of Olmert's discussions with the secretary of state.

"There are a number of issues that Prime Minister Olmert and the secretary discussed, obviously the Annapolis process being the key element," said Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood after their meeting Tuesday.

It was a follow-up to talks Olmert held with Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley a day earlier.

Olmert also said the economic crisis was a key point of discussion, though he didn't expect it to affect the $30 billion in military aid Israel is slated to receive from the US over the next decade.

"We have an agreement with the United States for 10 years and no one has any doubts that it will be fulfilled," Olmert said. "America is wealthy, powerful and has integrity. No one has hinted this is up for discussion."

He said the meetings also didn't touch on talk that the US might open a low-level interests section in Teheran to reenergize diplomatic efforts to limit its nuclear program.

"This government has no interest in relations with Iran," Olmert said.

Though Obama has indicated he favors engagement with the Islamic republic, Olmert said Israel would wait to see what he proposed before reacting.

He said Obama shared the position that a nuclear-armed Iran was unacceptable.

Olmert didn't speak with Obama while in the US, noting that Obama has pointed out that there's only one president at a time and that meeting with foreign leaders wouldn't be appropriate at this point.

But the prime minister did speak to Obama by phone soon after his victory to congratulate him, reporting that "there's a comprehensive and orderly transition [being prepared], and this includes on issues related to Israel."

Obama has called for more intense efforts to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and pledged not to wait until late in his term, as Bush did, to step up engagement on the issue.

In his conversation with reporters, Olmert also made the case for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The dispute is not between continuing the status quo or a two-state solution," he warned. "The dispute is between a two-state solution and the emergence of a new narrative - of one state."  

26 Nov 2008 @ 15:11 by quinty : More on the Gaza crisis

Another day. Bright, shiny, and beautiful. Has the air cleared? I doubt it. Scanning yesterday’s entries it becomes clear that what started out as a news item describing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza quickly degenerated, with numerous distortions, into an either/or, you’re with us or against us, diatribe with some name calling.

What I didn’t see at all was even the slightest concern or expression of sympathy for the suffering Palestinians in Gaza undergoing this crisis.

I think we can all agree that insults and name calling are merely the recourse of limited mentalities. Slash, burn, kill: this opens the way for them to impose their opinions by blurring the focus.

To avoid this chaos and hopefully to end these insults anyone engaging in slights of a personal nature will be subject henceforth to the DREAD 86.

You have been warned.

Now, for more news on the crisis in Gaza, this is from the AP......

Published on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 by Associated Press

Foreign Press in Israel Fight Gaza Entry Ban
by Steve Weizman


JERUSALEM - International journalists based in Israel appealed to the country's Supreme Court on Monday to overturn a government decision barring foreign correspondents from entering the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Press Association filed the court petition against the military's Gaza commander, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit after the government failed to heed a letter signed by heads of the world's largest news organizations calling for the ban to be lifted.

The court petition charged the media ban constitutes "a grave and mortal blow against freedom of the press and other basic rights and gives the unpleasant feeling that the state of Israel has something to hide." It requested an urgent hearing.

The Tel Aviv-based Foreign Press Association represents foreign correspondents working in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Israel has long restricted movement across its border with Gaza, but it closed the area to all but essential supplies on Nov. 5 after an upsurge in Palestinian rocket fire. For the first time, that included a blanket ban on foreign reporters entering the territory.

The government routinely prevents Israeli journalists from entering Gaza because of fears for their safety, but up to now foreign reporters had been permitted in, even during times of heavy fighting.

Since the ban, coverage in Gaza has been largely left to local Palestinian staff and a handful of foreign journalists who entered before the ban took effect, including two Associated Press reporters.

Israel's Defense Ministry says foreign journalists will be allowed in only once Gaza militants stop shooting.

The letter protesting the ban, signed by The AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the BBC, CNN and other major news organizations, was sent last week to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

In responding to the letter, Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said Israel was displeased with international media coverage, which he said inflated Palestinian suffering and did not make clear that Israel's measures were in response to Palestinian violence.

© 2008 Associated Press  

26 Nov 2008 @ 21:08 by ursula : Here's your mad, mad world, Quinty
Islamic terrorists (those who learned how to be terrorists begun by Arafat) attacked hotels in Mumbai, India, today, killing at least 90 people and injuring over 300 - still going on right now as I type this. They targeted Westerners. Now tell me how humane they are, that they aren't carrying out genocide, that they are peaceful, someone pushed them to this, and we should pity them. Bullshit! Peace is a choice - it is ALWAYS a choice. These guys choose terrorism and murder, and you support them. How lovely for you, Quinty. (I'm not reading anymore of your crap about Gaza - didn't read the last one, either.)  

26 Nov 2008 @ 21:47 by Quinty @ : Now please
I do not support terrorism or these fanatics who went on a rampage today. That is totally absurd.

The world is not black and white. You apparently hate Muslims and perhaps Arabs too. That is your problem. So far as I'm concerned hate and blind fanaticism have no place here.

If you can not behave in a decent manner I wish you would simply go somewhere else.  

26 Nov 2008 @ 21:59 by ursula : You are the one who has a problem
I don't hate Arabs or Muslims - I hate terrorists. You support terrorism against Israel - there is no difference what the people did in India today to what the Arabs are doing to Israel EVERY DAY. It doesn't matter that Obama is going to be the president. It only matters that these radical Muslims want the entire world to run their way. You can't see it. You are blind. If you truly don't see the world as black and white, then why can't you say one positive thing about Israel and stop blaming its existence and defense? That's it for me, Quinty. When you stop being a hypocrite and a schizophrenic in your viewpoints, I will talk with you on this topic, but not until then. Toodles.  

27 Nov 2008 @ 00:07 by ursula : Obama
In answer only to your statement about Obama - there was a lot of thinking of people who voted for him that with him as president then our "enemies" wouldn't hate us anymore. How naive that is, and today proved it. That's all I meant.  

27 Nov 2008 @ 02:30 by Quinty @ : So? Does anyone care?

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"  

27 Nov 2008 @ 04:00 by vaxen : Gaza...
Slow Motion Genocide

The Red Cross said that "the (18 month) embargo has had a devastating effect for a large proportion of households who have had to make major changes on the composition of their food basket." They now rely 80% on cereals, sugar and oil. In addition, people are selling assets, cutting back on clothing and children's education, scavenging for discarded items, and doing virtually anything to survive.

The report refers to economic disintegration and that prolonging the current situation risks permanently damaging households and their capacity to recover. The study was conducted from May to July 2008.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, had little response except to say that the people of Gaza were being "held hostage" to Hamas' "extremist and nihilist" ideology. In fact, Hamas wants peace, has repeatedly been conciliatory, and its founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, said earlier that armed struggle would cease "if the Zionists ended (their) occupation of Palestinian territories and stopped killing Palestinian women, children and innocent civilians."

That offer is repeatedly rejected. More recently, Hamas offered to maintain peace and recognize Israel in return for a Palestinian state inside pre-1967 borders, its Occupied Territories. That, as well, is a non-starter for Israel. It conflicts with its West Bank plan to colonize the Territory and ethnically cleanse its rightful inhabitants in violation of international law.


27 Nov 2008 @ 15:28 by quinty : Since she was beyond
reach within the realm of simple reason, rusyn has been 86d from this site. And I deleted her last entry.

Perhaps I should have let it stand, as an example. But I think my patience has been stretched far enough. Personal attacks, insults and the like have a limit. And rusyn is apparently incapable of behaving decently on this forum.

Be well, rusyn, good luck, but for the love of god be gone!  

28 Nov 2008 @ 18:02 by quinty : Desmond Tutu on Gaza

Published on Thursday, November 27, 2008 by The Capital Times (Wisconsin)
Media Silence Doesn't Mean All's Well in Gaza

by Amy Goodman

As President-elect Barack Obama focuses on the meltdown of the U.S. economy, another fire is burning: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You may not have heard much lately about the disaster in the Gaza Strip. That silence is intentional: The Israeli government has barred international journalists from entering the occupied territory. Last week, executives from the Associated Press, New York Times, Reuters, CNN, BBC and other news organizations sent a letter of protest to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticizing his government's decision to bar journalists from entering Gaza.

Israel has virtually sealed off the Gaza Strip and cut off aid and fuel shipments. A spokesman for Israel's Defense Ministry said Israel was displeased with international media coverage, which he said inflated Palestinian suffering and did not make clear that Israel's measures were in response to Palestinian violence.

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the group that won Palestinian elections nearly three years ago and controls Gaza, broke down after an Israeli raid killed six Hamas militants two weeks ago. More Israeli raids have followed, killing approximately 17 Hamas members, and Palestinian militants have fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel, injuring several people.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has criticized Israel over its blockade of the overcrowded Gaza, home to close to 1.5 million Palestinians. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is warning that Gaza faces a humanitarian "catastrophe" if Israel continues to blockade aid from reaching the territory.

The sharply divided landscape of Israel and the occupied territories is familiar ground for South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa. Tutu was in New York last week to receive the Global Citizens Circle award. I sat down with him at the residence of the South African vice consul.

Tutu reflected on the Israeli occupation: "Coming from South Africa ... and looking at the checkpoints ... when you humiliate a people to the extent that they are being -- and, yes, one remembers the kind of experience we had when we were being humiliated -- when you do that, you're not contributing to your own security."

Tutu said the embargo must be lifted. "The suffering is unacceptable. It doesn't promote the security of Israel or any other part of that very volatile region," he said. "There are very, very many in Israel who are opposed to what is happening."

Tutu points to the outgoing Israeli prime minister. In September, Olmert made a stunning declaration to Yedioth Ahronoth, the largest Israeli newspaper. He said that Israel should withdraw from nearly all territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war in return for peace with the Palestinians and Syria: "I am saying what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: We should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights." Olmert said that traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past experiences and that they seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948 War of Independence. He said: "With them, it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless."

Olmert appears to have come closer to his daughter's point of view. In 2006, Dana Olmert was among 200 people who gathered outside the home of the Israeli army chief of staff and chanted "murderer" as they protested Israeli killings of Palestinians (Archbishop Tutu was blocked from entering Gaza in his U.N.- backed attempts to investigate those killings). Ehud Olmert recently resigned over corruption allegations, but remains prime minister until a new government is approved by parliament.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al- Maliki criticized Olmert for waiting until now to call for an end to the settlements: "We wish we heard this personal opinion when Olmert was prime minister, not after he resigned. I think it is a very important commitment, but it came too late. We hope this commitment will be fulfilled by the new Israeli government."

Israel is a top recipient of U.S. military aid. Archbishop Tutu says of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, "When that is resolved, what we will find (is) that the tensions between the West and ... a large part of the Muslim world ... evaporates." He said of Obama, "I pray that this new president will have the capacity to see we've got to do something here ... for the sake of our children."

© 2008 The Capital Times
Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 700 stations, including WYOU cable access TV and WORT-FM/89.9 radio here. You can hear her podcast at captimes.com. Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.  

28 Nov 2008 @ 18:21 by quinty : When one and a half million people
are facing starvation and a loss of all the basics for a minimally decent life someone should at least talk about it. One of you asked me off-line why I was dwelling on this? Why bother when there are so many other important issues going on out there?

Well, the US media certainly hasn't bothered. Then let there be one small voice among many small voices to remind us of what is going on.

There is a reason why "collective punishment" is against international law. The reason should be obvious. Just like terrorist rockets, which, of course, are also against international law, the innocent, the very young, small babies, children, old people, even friends of your cause, are killed and injured. Just like terrorist rockets and bombs many innocents are killed and injured.

Israel may have a potent and powerful link to your heart, but it is still a state, a nation governed by men and women. And as such it is not immune to criticism. Look at the crimes our own country, the United States, has committed over the years? There are peace loving Jews in Israel who are appalled by the acts of their government. And to allow this love of israel to surmount criticism is to look the other way when crimes are committed.

I may very well be wrong, and not see or understand something important here. And having realized long ago how difficult it is to be truly correct on any subject I’m willing to change my mind. No big deal there. But if you think that by name calling you will have any influence on me or anyone else but your own kind then you are both foolish and wrong. And, I suspect, you live in a dream world.  

29 Nov 2008 @ 16:26 by Quinty @ : This from Al-Ahram
offers an Arabic perspective.......

Holding Gaza hostage

Gaza's humanitarian crisis escalates as the world watches in silence. Dina Ezzat reports from Cairo, Saleh Al-Naami from Gaza

HOPE UNDER SIEGE: A Palestinian child flashes the victory sign during a demonstration calling on

Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing

As Al-Ahram Weekly went to press Wednesday Arab foreign ministers were convening for an extraordinary meeting against the backdrop of an explosive humanitarian crisis in Gaza where 1.5 million Palestinians are suffering the effects of Israel's 22-day long blockade.

Gaza's population has been systematically deprived of electricity, medicine, medical supplies, fuel and food. Over the past week Arab TV news channels have been transmitting live footage of the human tragedy, including scenes of critically ill Palestinians awaiting treatment in Gaza's hospitals pleading with the Arabs, and not Israel, for "mercy". One elderly woman suffering from heart disease and diabetes asked Al-Jazeera on Monday: "We are Muslims, why are the Arabs leaving us to die? Why isn't Egypt opening the [Rafah] borders?"

But in Cairo Arab foreign ministers are unlikely to offer anything of substance to the Palestinians. Diplomats who spoke to the Weekly on condition of anonymity say there are three reasons why the Cairo meeting will end with little meaningful help being offered to Gaza. First is the reluctance of the Palestinian Authority to solicit Arab support. "The issue has become strictly Fatah versus Hamas," commented one Cairo- based Arab diplomat.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah, will interpret Arab support for Gaza as indirect support for Hamas.

In the words of another Arab diplomatic source: "Abbas does not want Arabs to even talk to Hamas. He was furious when [Arab League Secretary-General Amr] Moussa met with [Hamas leader Khaled] Meshaal in Damascus on the fringe of Arab League meetings."

Abbas, the source suggested, complained to Cairo and Amman that Moussa was lending credence to Hamas at a time when Hamas should be forced to submit to Fatah.

Abbas has reportedly demanded that the PA, and not the Hamas government in Gaza, be credited for any assistance advanced to Palestinians living in the Strip. Otherwise, he argues, Hamas will emerge the victor.

The second problem is Egypt's reluctance to unilaterally open the Rafah Crossing, the only link Gaza has with the outside world that is not under Israeli control, for humanitarian assistance. The Rafah Crossing, says Cairo, is designed for the passage of individuals not commodities and it can only be operated after the PA, which left Gaza under Hamas control in the summer of 2007, returns to the Strip. This, Egypt argues, could have been achieved through the national reconciliation it was trying to mediate earlier this month but which Hamas abandoned after complaining Abbas was harassing its members in the West Bank and that the mediation process was biased towards Fatah.

Egyptian officials now say it is up to Hamas to end Gaza's misery, first by suspending Qassam rocket attacks against Israeli targets and denying the Israeli government any pretext to impose a blockade and then by pursuing national reconciliation that will allow for the Palestinian Authority to return to Gaza and the Rafah Crossing to be reopened.

The third reason the Arab foreign ministers meeting yesterday at the Cairo-based headquarters of the Arab League will fail to reach any agreement on a rescue package is that even those Arab countries sympathetic to Hamas and supportive of a more inclusive approach to Palestinian decision-making, remain unwilling to confront Cairo over the need to open Rafah.

"It is a matter of Egyptian sovereignty and there is not much we can do," said one Syrian diplomatic source.

The most that can be expected from the meeting is a resolution blaming Israel for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip but containing no retaliatory measures against Tel Aviv should it continue with the siege. As one senior Hamas source said, "when the Palestinian Authority is encouraging the siege and coordinating with Israel it is hard to expect other Arab countries to worry much about the Palestinians".

The Wednesday meeting is certain to call for continued reconciliation efforts and demand that the incoming US administration prioritise a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, in Gaza, the lives of thousands of Palestinians are threatened. Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim told the Weekly that recurrent power cuts have paralysed health services and death "on a large scale" is expected. Central oxygen supply stations catering to the needs of patients with respiratory problems are barely operational. Sterilisation equipment for surgeries no longer functions and pasteurisation machines for milk are no longer operational. The entire system of intensive care in Palestinian hospitals is on the verge of collapse.

Israel opened border crossings with the Gaza Strip on Monday, allowing in limited amounts of food and fuel for the second time in three weeks after the United Nations warned of a looming humanitarian crisis. Aid groups say the one-day shipment will have minimal impact because border crossings have been closed for so long, depleting reserves of everything from flour to animal feed.

"It is just not enough," says Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Gunness reports that UNRWA cannot function normally without a steady stream of supplies, not only food but books for schoolchildren, also blocked by Israel for weeks.

Israel first imposed its siege on Gaza after the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah resulted in Hamas's takeover over of the Strip in June 2007. The aim of the siege is ostensibly to weaken Hamas and remove it from power yet it is Gaza residents who daily pay the price of an increasingly deadly political equation.  

16 Dec 2008 @ 23:48 by quinty : News coverage
of what's happening in Gaza is hard to find. Our MSM focuses on one "big" story, as a rule, and stays there. The tragedies elsewhere in the world may not sell pharmaceuticals or luxury cruises so, in the spirit of competitive free enterprise, they leave those stories alone. What's more, they may be genuinely controversial. And a basic principle of "fair" and "balanced" journalism today is not to present a dangerous point of view. For the facts may compel a journalist to make the side "we back," ie the US, look bad. And nobody wants that kind of storm.

The following is by Chris Hedges. It appeared in Truthout.

Chris Hedges' Columns
Israel’s ‘Crime Against Humanity’
Posted on Dec 15, 2008

By Chris Hedges

Israel’s siege of Gaza, largely unseen by the outside world because of Jerusalem’s refusal to allow humanitarian aid workers, reporters and photographers access to Gaza, rivals the most egregious crimes carried out at the height of apartheid by the South African regime. It comes close to the horrors visited on Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs. It has disturbing echoes of the Nazi ghettos of Lodz and Warsaw.

“This is a stain on what is left of Israeli morality,” I was told by Richard N. Veits, the former U.S. ambassador to Jordan who led a delegation from the U.S. Council for the National Interest Foundation to Gaza to meet Hamas leaders this past summer. “I am almost breathless discussing this subject. It is so myopic. Washington, of course, is a handmaiden to all this. The Israeli manipulation of a population in this manner is comparable to some of the crimes that took place against civilian populations fifty years ago.”

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, former Princeton University law professor Richard Falk, calls what Israel is doing to the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza “a crime against humanity.” Falk, who is Jewish, has condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as “a flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” He has asked for “the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”

Falk, while condemning the rocket attacks by the militant group Hamas, which he points out are also criminal violations of international law, goes on to say that “such Palestinian behavior does not legalize Israel’s imposition of a collective punishment of a life- and health-threatening character on the people of Gaza, and should not distract the U.N. or international society from discharging their fundamental moral and legal duty to render protection to the Palestinian people.”

“It is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5 million Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive in terms of their health,” Falk said when I reached him by phone in California shortly before he left for Israel. “This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 percent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Gazan children need thousands of hearing aids. Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 percent of Gazans. There are widespread mental disorders, especially among young people without the will to live. Over 50 percent of Gazan children under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live.”

Gaza now spends 12 hours a day without power, which can be a death sentence to the severely ill in hospitals. There are few drugs and little medicine, including no cancer or cystic fibrosis medication. Hospitals have generators but often lack fuel. Medical equipment, including one of Gaza’s three CT scanners, has been destroyed by power surges and fluctuations. Medical staff cannot control the temperature of incubators for newborns. And Israel has revoked most exit visas, meaning some of those who need specialized care, including cancer patients and those in need of kidney dialysis, have died. Of the 230 Gazans estimated to have died last year because they were denied proper medical care, several spent their final hours at Israeli crossing points where they were refused entry into Israel. The statistics gathered on children—half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 17—are increasingly grim. About 45 percent of children in Gaza have iron deficiency from a lack of fruit and vegetables, and 18 percent have stunted growth.

“It is macabre,” Falk said. “I don’t know of anything that exactly fits this situation. People have been referring to the Warsaw ghetto as the nearest analog in modern times.”

“There is no structure of an occupation that endured for decades and involved this kind of oppressive circumstances,” the rapporteur added. “The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law, the impact on the health, lives and survival and the overall conditions warrant the characterization of a crime against humanity. This occupation is the direct intention by the Israeli military and civilian authorities. They are responsible and should be held accountable.”

The point of this Israeli siege, ostensibly, is to break Hamas, the radical Islamic group that was elected to power in 2007. But Hamas has repeatedly proposed long-term truces with Israel and offered to negotiate a permanent truce. During the last cease-fire, established through Egyptian intermediaries in July, Hamas upheld the truce although Israel refused to ease the blockade. It was Israel that, on Nov. 4, initiated an armed attack that violated the truce and killed six Palestinians. It was only then that Hamas resumed firing rockets at Israel. Palestinians have launched more than 200 rockets on Israel since the latest round of violence began. There have been no Israeli casualties.

“This is a crime of survival,” Falk said of the rocket attacks. “Israel has put the Gazans in a set of circumstances where they either have to accept whatever is imposed on them or resist in any way available to them. That is a horrible dilemma to impose upon a people. This does not alleviate the Palestinians, and Gazans in particular, for accountability for doing these acts involving rocket fire, but it also imposes some responsibility on Israel for creating these circumstances.”

Israel seeks to break the will of the Palestinians to resist. The Israeli government has demonstrated little interest in diplomacy or a peaceful solution. The rapid expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank is an effort to thwart the possibility of a two-state solution by gobbling up vast tracts of Palestinian real estate. Israel also appears to want to thrust the impoverished Gaza Strip onto Egypt. There are now dozens of tunnels, the principal means for food and goods, connecting Gaza to Egypt. Israel permits the tunnels to operate, most likely as part of an effort to further cut Gaza off from Israel.

“Israel, all along, has not been prepared to enter into diplomatic process that gives the Palestinians a viable state,” Falk said. “They [the Israelis] feel time is on their side. They feel they can create enough facts on the ground so people will come to the conclusion a viable state cannot emerge.”

The use of terror and hunger to break a hostile population is one of the oldest forms of warfare. I watched the Bosnian Serbs employ the same tactic in Sarajevo. Those who orchestrate such sieges do not grasp the terrible rage born of long humiliation, indiscriminate violence and abuse. A father or a mother whose child dies because of a lack of vaccines or proper medical care does not forget. A boy whose ill grandmother dies while detained at an Israel checkpoint does not forget. All who endure humiliation, abuse and the murder of family members do not forget. This rage becomes a virus within those who, eventually, stumble out into the daylight. Is it any wonder that 71 percent of children interviewed at a school in Gaza recently said they wanted to be a “martyr”?

The Israelis in Gaza, like the American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, are foolishly breeding the next generation of militants and Islamic radicals. Jihadists, enraged by the injustices done by Israel and the United States, seek to carry out reciprocal acts of savagery, even at the cost of their own lives. The violence unleashed on Palestinian children will, one day, be the violence unleashed on Israeli children. This is the tragedy of Gaza. This is the tragedy of Israel.  

26 Dec 2008 @ 03:49 by vaxen : Take...
a look, sometime, at what is referred to as 'Egypt.' We are talking 'Sinai Desert' here. The Sinai desert is huge. The "tunnels" go there. The Beduins inhabit the Sinai and while many of them consider themselves to be 'Egyptian,' many do not. Most Egyptians have no idea of what constitutes the Sinai and most people are afraid to go into the interior regins of that Vastness.

There are ancient Beduin cities there carved into the cliffs of ancient sandstone which is the predominate rock to be found there. According to myth this is where Moshe and his people came when escaping the Pharoh's (Paro, in Hebrew) rath I've been there. I lived there, with the Beduin, for three years. I ws given land there, too, by Sheich Abdullah Eed Il Wachad of Mezeina. It is an awesome and mystical land full of mystery, diamonds, gold, and 25 tombs of the anceint pharohs.

It is a horrible story and Israel should be more than just 'condemmed' for their Fascist actions. But, remember the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty? They get literally billions of dollars from the USA every year. But, there are Israeli citizens, young and old, who are totally against these actions. Their story seldom gets out and many are considered traitors by the current PTB. This is what comes of 'book religion.' Thanks for the article quinty.  

26 Dec 2008 @ 18:30 by quinty @ : Israelis reopen Gaza's crossings

Israelis reopen Gaza's crossings
BBC December 26, 2008

Israel has reopened crossings into the Gaza Strip to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Israeli officials said Defence Minister Ehud Barak took the decision after talks with security chiefs and requests from the international community.

Four out of five Gazans are reliant on food aid

About 80 trucks with supplies such as medicine, food and other goods are expected to cross on Friday.
The move comes despite Israeli warnings to Palestinian militants in Gaza to stop their rocket attacks on Israel.

On Friday, two Palestinian sisters - aged five and 12 - were killed when a mortar, apparently fired by Palestinian gunmen targeting Israel, hit their home in northern Gaza.

Medical officials said the incident happened in the village of Beit Lahya. The Israeli military said its forces had not fired in that area of the Gaza Strip, AFP reports.

More than 50 rockets have been launched from Gaza in recent days, after the killing of three Hamas members by Israel. Friday's total of rockets and mortars was 13, Israel's military said.

A six-month ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas ended last week.

Cairo talks

UN officials have warned that the Hamas-controlled territory is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Four out of five Gazans are dependent on food aid and the UN warehouses there are now empty. The UN says the deliveries fall far short of what is needed.

The Israeli defence ministry did not say for how long the Gaza crossings would remain open but a spokesperson said the security situation was re-evaluated on a daily basis.

The ministry said a smaller number of rockets was fired on Friday morning than on previous days and therefore it was judged that the humanitarian need in Gaza was greater than the security need in Israel.

In November, Israel re-sealed the border with Gaza after temporarily opening it to allow in a limited amount of food and fuel. That step was taken after a rocket was fired at Israel from Gaza.

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would not hesitate to strike Hamas and also Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza.

Separately, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said after Thursday's emergency talks in Cairo with top Egyptian officials that the latest escalation was "unbearable".

The BBC's Christian Fraser says some will see Ms Livni's visit as the first of several diplomatic steps Israel must take before launching military action.  

26 Dec 2008 @ 23:52 by quinty : As my partner
just said, "Every time archeologists dig up something contradicting accepted Jewish history they have a collective shit fit." Ie, the Israel Firsters here and there....

Schlomo Sand, she tells me, is a bestseller in Israel. And his book on the following is widely discussed there. Here, well, you know...... there is only one true narrative. Everything else is either "self hating" or "anti semitic."

The following is from Le Monde Diplomatique...


Zionist nationalist myth of enforced exile

Israel deliberately forgets its history

An Israeli historian suggests the diaspora was the consequence, not of the expulsion of the Hebrews from Palestine, but of proselytising across north Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East

By Schlomo Sand

Every Israeli knows that he or she is the direct and exclusive descendant of a Jewish people which has existed since it received the Torah (1) in Sinai. According to this myth, the Jews escaped from Egypt and settled in the Promised Land, where they built the glorious kingdom of David and Solomon, which subsequently split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. They experienced two exiles: after the destruction of the first temple, in the 6th century BC, and of the second temple, in 70 AD.

Two thousand years of wandering brought the Jews to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland and deep into Russia. But, the story goes, they always managed to preserve blood links between their scattered communities. Their uniqueness was never compromised.

At the end of the 19th century conditions began to favour their return to their ancient homeland. If it had not been for the Nazi genocide, millions of Jews would have fulfilled the dream of 20 centuries and repopulated Eretz Israel, the biblical land of Israel. Palestine, a virgin land, had been waiting for its original inhabitants to return and awaken it. It belonged to the Jews, rather than to an Arab minority that had no history and had arrived there by chance. The wars in which the wandering people reconquered their land were just; the violent opposition of the local population was criminal.

This interpretation of Jewish history was developed as talented, imaginative historians built on surviving fragments of Jewish and Christian religious memory to construct a continuous genealogy for the Jewish people. Judaism’s abundant historiography encompasses many different approaches.

But none have ever questioned the basic concepts developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Discoveries that might threaten this picture of a linear past were marginalised. The national imperative rejected any contradiction of or deviation from the dominant story. University departments exclusively devoted to “the history of the Jewish people”, as distinct from those teaching what is known in Israel as general history, made a significant contribution to this selective vision. The debate on what constitutes Jewishness has obvious legal implications, but historians ignored it: as far as they are concerned, any descendant of the people forced into exile 2,000 years ago is a Jew.

Nor did these official investigators of the past join the controversy provoked by the “new historians” from the late 1980s. Most of the limited number of participants in this public debate were from other disciplines or non-academic circles: sociologists, orientalists, linguists, geographers, political scientists, literary academics and archaeologists developed new perspectives on the Jewish and Zionist past. Departments of Jewish history remained defensive and conservative, basing themselves on received ideas. While there have been few significant developments in national history over the past 60 years (a situation unlikely to change in the short term), the facts that have emerged face any honest historian with fundamental questions.

Founding myths shaken
Is the Bible a historical text? Writing during the early half of the 19th century, the first modern Jewish historians, such as Isaak Markus Jost (1793-1860) and Leopold Zunz (1794-1886), did not think so. They regarded the Old Testament as a theological work reflecting the beliefs of Jewish religious communities after the destruction of the first temple. It was not until the second half of the century that Heinrich Graetz (1817-91) and others developed a “national” vision of the Bible and transformed Abraham’s journey to Canaan, the flight from Egypt and the united kingdom of David and Solomon into an authentic national past. By constant repetition, Zionist historians have subsequently turned these Biblical “truths” into the basis of national education.

But during the 1980s an earthquake shook these founding myths. The discoveries made by the “new archaeology” discredited a great exodus in the 13th century BC. Moses could not have led the Hebrews out of Egypt into the Promised Land, for the good reason that the latter was Egyptian territory at the time. And there is no trace of either a slave revolt against the pharaonic empire or of a sudden conquest of Canaan by outsiders.

Nor is there any trace or memory of the magnificent kingdom of David and Solomon. Recent discoveries point to the existence, at the time, of two small kingdoms: Israel, the more powerful, and Judah, the future Judea. The general population of Judah did not go into 6th century BC exile: only its political and intellectual elite were forced to settle in Babylon. This decisive encounter with Persian religion gave birth to Jewish monotheism.

Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Apart from enslaved prisoners, the population of Judea continued to live on their lands, even after the destruction of the second temple. Some converted to Christianity in the 4th century, while the majority embraced Islam during the 7th century Arab conquest.

Most Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1929, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea (2).

Proselytising zeal

But if there was no exile after 70 AD, where did all the Jews who have populated the Mediterranean since antiquity come from? The smokescreen of national historiography hides an astonishing reality. From the Maccabean revolt of the mid-2nd century BC to the Bar Kokhba revolt of the 2nd century AD, Judaism was the most actively proselytising religion. The Judeo-Hellenic Hasmoneans forcibly converted the Idumeans of southern Judea and the Itureans of Galilee and incorporated them into the people of Israel. Judaism spread across the Middle East and round the Mediterranean. The 1st century AD saw the emergence in modern Kurdistan of the Jewish kingdom of Adiabene, just one of many that converted.

The writings of Flavius Josephus are not the only evidence of the proselytising zeal of the Jews. Horace, Seneca, Juvenal and Tacitus were among the Roman writers who feared it. The Mishnah and the Talmud (3) authorised conversion, even if the wise men of the Talmudic tradition expressed reservations in the face of the mounting pressure from Christianity.

Although the early 4th century triumph of Christianity did not mark the end of Jewish expansion, it relegated Jewish proselytism to the margins of the Christian cultural world. During the 5th century, in modern Yemen, a vigorous Jewish kingdom emerged in Himyar, whose descendants preserved their faith through the Islamic conquest and down to the present day. Arab chronicles tell of the existence, during the 7th century, of Judaised Berber tribes; and at the end of the century the legendary Jewish queen Dihya contested the Arab advance into northwest Africa. Jewish Berbers participated in the conquest of the Iberian peninsula and helped establish the unique symbiosis between Jews and Muslims that characterised Hispano-Arabic culture.

The most significant mass conversion occurred in the 8th century, in the massive Khazar kingdom between the Black and Caspian seas. The expansion of Judaism from the Caucasus into modern Ukraine created a multiplicity of communities, many of which retreated from the 13th century Mongol invasions into eastern Europe. There, with Jews from the Slavic lands to the south and from what is now modern Germany, they formed the basis of Yiddish culture (4).

Prism of Zionism
Until about 1960 the complex origins of the Jewish people were more or less reluctantly acknowledged by Zionist historiography. But thereafter they were marginalised and finally erased from Israeli public memory. The Israeli forces who seized Jerusalem in 1967 believed themselves to be the direct descendents of the mythic kingdom of David rather than – God forbid – of Berber warriors or Khazar horsemen. The Jews claimed to constitute a specific ethnic group that had returned to Jerusalem, its capital, from 2,000 years of exile and wandering.

This monolithic, linear edifice is supposed to be supported by biology as well as history. Since the 1970s supposedly scientific research, carried out in Israel, has desperately striven to demonstrate that Jews throughout the world are closely genetically related.

Research into the origins of populations now constitutes a legitimate and popular field in molecular biology and the male Y chromosome has been accorded honoured status in the frenzied search for the unique origin of the “chosen people”. The problem is that this historical fantasy has come to underpin the politics of identity of the state 
of Israel. By validating an essentialist, 
ethnocentric definition of Judaism it encourages a segregation that separates Jews from non-Jews – whether Arabs, Russian immigrants or foreign workers.

Sixty years after its foundation, Israel refuses to accept that it should exist for the sake of its citizens. For almost a quarter of the population, who are not regarded as Jews, this is not their state legally. At the same time, Israel presents itself as the homeland of Jews throughout the world, even if these are no longer persecuted refugees, but the full and equal citizens of other countries.

A global ethnocracy invokes the myth of the eternal nation, reconstituted on the land of its ancestors, to justify internal discrimination against its own citizens. It will remain difficult to imagine a new Jewish history while the prism of Zionism continues to fragment everything into an ethnocentric spectrum. But Jews worldwide have always tended to form religious communities, usually by conversion; they cannot be said to share an ethnicity derived from a unique origin and displaced over 20 centuries of wandering.

The development of historiography and the evolution of modernity were consequences of the invention of the nation state, which preoccupied millions during the 19th and 20th centuries. The new millennium has seen these dreams begin to shatter.

And more and more academics are analysing, dissecting and deconstructing the great national stories, especially the myths of common origin so dear to chroniclers of the past.

Shlomo Sand is professor of history at Tel Aviv university and the author of Comment le people juif fut inventé (Fayard, Paris, 2008)  

27 Dec 2008 @ 21:27 by quinty : December 27, 2008


A film clip on Youtube today from Gaza.......

This is known as "collective punishment." Could we forget thinking in terms of Israelis and Palestinians for a second, and think in terms of human beings? Perhaps that would remind us no one life is more valuable than another. Not that the score is tied in that regard.  

28 Dec 2008 @ 00:12 by Quinty @ : This is
a poem Nahida posted on Common Dreams

Look at me

I would love to write poetry about love,
Paint rainbows and butterflies,
Smell the scent of rose buds,
And dance;
Dance with the melody of birds singing

I would love to close my eyes and see children smiling
No guns pointing at their heads
Tell them stories of little fairies in far away lands
Not bullets shooting... missiles exploding

How can I?

There is a knife in my heart

I am hurting
I bleed,
I cringe
I cry


I am being slaughtered
Under your watchful eyes
I am cold… cold…. cold
I cringe
I cry

Humanity, where are you?
Why do you turn your face away?
Why do you keep looking the other way?

I am here
In Gaza alleyways

Humanity, where are you?
Look at me
Look at me
I am here
In Gaza alleyways
I cringe
I cry

Enough turning the other way

29 Dec 2008 @ 20:21 by quinty : December 29, 2008
Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History Are Ignored

Posted on Dec 29, 2008

By Robert Fisk

Editor’s note: This article was originally printed in The Independent. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081229_leaders_lie_civilians_die_and_lessons_of_history_are_ignored/

We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care any more—providing we don’t offend the Israelis. It’s not clear how many of the Gaza dead are civilians, but the response of the Bush administration, not to mention the pusillanimous reaction of Gordon Brown, reaffirm for Arabs what they have known for decades: however they struggle against their antagonists, the West will take Israel’s side. As usual, the bloodbath was the fault of the Arabs—who, as we all know, only understand force.

Ever since 1948, we’ve been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis—just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist “death wagon” will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be “liberated”. And always Mr Bush Snr or Mr Clinton or Mr Bush Jnr or Mr Blair or Mr Brown have called upon both sides to exercise “restraint”—as if the Palestinians and the Israelis both have F-18s and Merkava tanks and field artillery. Hamas’s home-made rockets have killed just 20 Israelis in eight years, but a day-long blitz by Israeli aircraft that kills almost 300 Palestinians is just par for the course.

The blood-splattering has its own routine. Yes, Hamas provoked Israel’s anger, just as Israel provoked Hamas’s anger, which was provoked by Israel, which was provoked by Hamas, which ... See what I mean? Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel bombs Hamas, Hamas fires more rockets and Israel bombs again and ... Got it? And we demand security for Israel—rightly—but overlook this massive and utterly disproportionate slaughter by Israel. It was Madeleine Albright who once said that Israel was “under siege”—as if Palestinian tanks were in the streets of Tel Aviv.

By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli. Back in 2006, it was 10 Lebanese dead for one Israeli dead. This weekend was the most inflationary exchange rate in a single day since—the 1973 Middle East War? The 1967 Six Day War? The 1956 Suez War? The 1948 Independence/Nakba War? It’s obscene, a gruesome game—which Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, unconsciously admitted when he spoke this weekend to Fox TV. “Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game,” Barak said.

Exactly. Only the “rules” of the game don’t change. This is a further slippage on the Arab-Israeli exchanges, a percentage slide more awesome than Wall Street’s crashing shares, though of not much interest in the US which—let us remember—made the F-18s and the Hellfire missiles which the Bush administration pleads with Israel to use sparingly.

Quite a lot of the dead this weekend appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve? Is Hamas going to say: “Wow, this blitz is awesome— we’d better recognise the state of Israel, fall in line with the Palestinian Authority, lay down our weapons and pray we are taken prisoner and locked up indefinitely and support a new American ‘peace process’ in the Middle East!” Is that what the Israelis and the Americans and Gordon Brown think Hamas is going to do?

Yes, let’s remember Hamas’s cynicism, the cynicism of all armed Islamist groups. Their need for Muslim martyrs is as crucial to them as Israel’s need to create them. The lesson Israel thinks it is teaching—come to heel or we will crush you—is not the lesson Hamas is learning. Hamas needs violence to emphasise the oppression of the Palestinians—and relies on Israel to provide it. A few rockets into Israel and Israel obliges.

Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who’s never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word.

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.

Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated “terrorism”. So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east—in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside?—a well-known man in a turban smiles.  

29 Dec 2008 @ 21:30 by martha : Questions
I agree quinty that what is happening in Israel and Gaza is horrific. No arguement there. My question: If over 3,000 rockets have been fired into Israel this year by Hamas, who refuses to recognize Israel, what suggestions might you have to Israel to deal with the rockets?
We have a member here at NCN that lives near Gaza and her town has been subjected to these rockets for the past year. What do you say to her children who live in constant fear? What do you say to all the children that live near Gaza when rockets land in their towns? It is a complex issue.  

29 Dec 2008 @ 22:02 by Quinty @ : Agreed,
the Israeli children should be able to play in peace. And lobbing rockets into Jewish towns is horrific. But how many Palestinian lives equal one Jewish life? Or how many Jewish lives equal a Palestinian life? The toll is disproportionate.

Does your friend back the settlement movement? The theft of Palestinian land and the continued degradation of Palestinians? What is your friend doing in Israel to work for peace? Does she belong to Peace Now or other Jewish groups working for peace?

I think Fisk, above, answers some of your questions..... "Yes, Hamas provoked Israel’s anger, just as Israel provoked Hamas’s anger, which was provoked by Israel, which was provoked by Hamas, which ... See what I mean? Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel bombs Hamas, Hamas fires more rockets and Israel bombs again and ... Got it? And we demand security for Israel—rightly—but overlook this massive and utterly disproportionate slaughter by Israel. It was Madeleine Albright who once said that Israel was “under siege”—as if Palestinian tanks were in the streets of Tel Aviv."  

29 Dec 2008 @ 22:53 by martha : New mindset
I look at war, trying to find a new way of thinking for this problem. Obviously the old mindset isn't working. And though history can teach, history reminds us that we need a different approach to solve war.

As Patricia Sun often says ""War is a failure of human intelligence."

Many Palestinians living in Israel want this to stop. I do not believe that they live in degradation in Israel.

As to the woman who lives near Gaza she hasn't been on NCN for a while so I can't speak for what she is doing. She is an artist, trying to raise her children on legal Israel land.

All the children are growing up in fear. This is the cycle to break. Accusing one side or the other does not solve the problem. It only continues the old mindset.  

29 Dec 2008 @ 23:53 by quinty : The problem is
the Palestinians live in degradation in Palestine. Though Arabs are not all that much better off in Israel, where, according to some sources, they are treated as second class citizens. For they are not wanted there. The basis being that Israel is a Jewish state.

And what's more the Israelis are attempting to steal the Palestinians' land. Not only with the settlements (about a quarter of a million strong now) but in Jerusalem. Wherever the Israelis want to take over.

The truth is that there are many Jews who don’t care about Palestinian rights. They detest them and see them as subhuman. And act accordingly, “reclaiming” what they call “their land.” Often with no more basis than some idiotic rellgious justification.

Does this excuse Islamic terrorism? Of course not.

When a Palestinian straps a belt of high explosives around his or her waist and walks into a large public market and kills twenty or thirty people this is a serious crime. A huge crime. And it should be condemned.

But which side is the major power? Which has military might? Which subjugates the other? Which, according at least to Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford, historically avoids (with some exceptions) coming to a true peace settlement? (See the Iron Wall http://books.google.com/books?id=WnAmAAAACAAJ&dq=Avi+Shlaim&source=an&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result ) And why? Because of a desire for and belief in "eretz Israel."

As of last count more than three hundred Palestinians have been killed by Israeli jets and helicopters.

One Israeli had died from a Palestinian rocket during the same time.

That disparity does not condone the death of that poor Israeli, who may have been a decent innocent person and perhaps even sympathetic to the Palestinians’ suffering.

But let’s be real.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 12:15 by martha : No Israel
So quinty do you feel that the state of Israel should not exist? What about the vatican? The atrocities of the catholic church for many centuries is well documented. What about the 20 or so muslim countries. Should they exist where women have almost no freedom and are treated as property?
In Israel women are treated as equals. Not so with the vatican or muslim countires. All these countires and the vatican have long long histories of war, hate, abuse etc. So why should Israel not exist?  

30 Dec 2008 @ 12:20 by jazzolog : May We No Longer Be Silent
Episcopalian Bishop John Bryson Chane's sermon, referred to in the following article, can be heard at http://www.columba.org/listen/sermon/sermon2008-10-05JBCau.mp3 . I don't know if it appears online elsewhere.

Paul Craig Roberts (born April 3, 1939, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an economist and a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics". He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.
In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.
His writings frequently appear on OpEdNews.com, Antiwar.com, VDARE.com. Lew Rockwell's web site, CounterPunch, and the American Free Press.

May We No Longer Be Silent
By Paul Craig Roberts

December 29, 2008 -- - The title of my article comes from the sermon of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington DC, John Bryson Chane, delivered on October 5, 2008, at St. Columba Church. The bishop’s eyes were opened to Israel’s persecution of Palestinians by his recent trip to Palestine. In his sermon he called on “politicians seeking the highest office in [our] land” to find the courage to “speak out and condemn violations of human rights and religious freedom denied to Palestinian Christians and Muslims” by the state of Israel.

Bishop Chane’s courage was to no avail. As Justin Raimondo reported (Antiwar.com, 27 December), when America’s new leader of “change” was informed of Israel’s massive air attack on the Gaza Ghetto, an area of 139 square miles where Israel confines 1.4 million Arabs and tightly controls the inflow of all resources--food, medicine, water, energy--America’s president-elect Obama had “no comment.”

According to the Jerusalem Post (26 December), “at 11:30 a.m., more than 50 fighter jets and attack helicopters swept into Gazan airspace and dropped more than 100 bombs on 50 targets. . . . Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at 60 targets . . . More than 170 targets were hit by IAF aircraft throughout the day. At least 230 Gazans were killed and over 780 were wounded . . .”

As I write, news reports are that Israel is sending tanks and infantry reinforcements in preparation for a ground invasion of Gaza.

Israel’s excuse for its violence is that from time to time the Palestinian resistance organization, Hamas, fires off rockets into Israel to protest the ghetto life that Israel imposes on Gazans. The rockets are ineffectual for the most part and seldom claim Israeli casualties. However, the real purpose for the Israeli attack is to destroy Hamas.

In 2006 the US insisted that the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank hold free elections. When free elections were held, Hamas won. This was unacceptable to the Americans and Israelis. In the West Bank, the Americans and Israelis imposed a puppet government, but Hamas held on in Gaza. After unheeded warnings to the Gazans to rid themselves of Hamas and accept a puppet government, Israel has decided to destroy the freely elected government with violence.

Ehud Barak, who is overseeing the latest act of Israeli aggression, said in interviews addressed to the British and American publics that asking Israel to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas would be like asking the US to agree to a ceasefire with al Qaeda. The terrorism that Israel inflicts on Palestinians goes unremarked.

According to the London Times (December 28), “Britain and the United States were on a collision course with their European allies last night after refusing to call for an end to Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. The wave of attacks marked a violent end to President George W. Bush’s sporadic Middle East peace efforts. The White House put the blame squarely on Hamas.” The British government also blamed Hamas.

For the US and UK governments, Israel can do no wrong. Israel doesn’t have to stop withholding food, medicine, water, and energy, but Hamas must stop protesting by firing off rockets. In violation of international law, Israel can drive West Bank Palestinians off their lands and out of their villages and give the stolen properties to “settlers.” Israel can delay Palestinians in need of emergency medical care at checkpoints until their lives ebb away. Israeli snipers can get their jollies murdering Palestinian children.

The Great Moral Anglo-Americans couldn’t care less.

In his 2005 Nobel Lecture, British playwright Harold Pinter held the United States and its British puppet state accountable for “the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought.” Everyone knows that such crimes occurred in the Soviet Union and in its East European empire, but “US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognized as crimes at all,” this despite the fact that “the United States’ actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.”

Soviet crimes, like Nazi ones, are documented in gruesome detail, but America’s crimes “never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

America’s is “a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words ‘the American people’ provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don’t need to think.”

Pinter presents a long list of American crimes and comes to Iraq: “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was . . . an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading--as a last resort--all other justifications having failed to justify themselves--as liberation.” Americans and their British puppets “have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.”

“How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal?” Pinter’s question can also be asked of Israel. Israel has been in violation of international law since 1967, protected by the United States’ veto of UN Resolutions condemning Israel for its violent, inhumane, barbaric, and illegal acts.

American evangelical Christians, who are degenerating into Zionists, are Israel’s greatest allies. Jesus is forsaken as Christians swallow whole the Israeli lies. A couple of years ago the US Presbyterian Church was so distressed by Israel’s immorality toward Palestinians that the church attempted to disinvest its investment portfolio from assets tainted with Israel. But the Israel Lobby was stronger. The Presbyterian Church was unable to stand up for Christian principles and knuckled under to the Israel Lobby’s pressure.

This is hardly surprising considering that the US government doesn’t stand for Christian principles either.

America’s doctrine of “full spectrum dominance” means that, like Lenin’s dictatorship, America is not bound by law or morality, but by power alone.

Pinter sums it up in a speech he had dreams of writing for President George W. Bush:

“God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden’s God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam’s God was bad, except he didn’t have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don’t chop people’s heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don’t you forget it.”

If only our ears could hear, this is the speech we have been hearing from Israel for 60 years.

30 Dec 2008 @ 14:42 by martha : Palestinian National Covenant
Below is the Palestinian National Covenant, the official charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The text is the English version published officially by the PLO, unabridged and unedited.

Note, however, that the PLO's translation sometimes deviates from the original Arabic so as to be more palatable to Western readers. For example, in Article 15, the Arabic is translated as "the elimination of Zionism," whereas the correct translation is "the liquidation of the Zionist presence." "The Zionist presence" is a common Arabic euphemism for the State of Israel, so this clause in fact calls for the destruction of Israel, not just the end of Zionism.

Where subtleties in the original Arabic are important, the Arabic word has been inserted in parentheses.
Resolutions of the Palestine National Council, July 1-17, 1968
Text of the Charter:

Article 1: Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.

Article 4: The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential, and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The Zionist occupation and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people, through the disasters which befell them, do not make them lose their Palestinian identity and their membership in the Palestinian community, nor do they negate them.

Article 5: The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a Palestinian.

Article 6: The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.

Article 7: That there is a Palestinian community and that it has material, spiritual, and historical connection with Palestine are indisputable facts. It is a national duty to bring up individual Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner. All means of information and education must be adopted in order to acquaint the Palestinian with his country in the most profound manner, both spiritual and material, that is possible. He must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready to sacrifice his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland and bring about its liberation.

Article 8: The phase in their history, through which the Palestinian people are now living, is that of national (watani) struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Thus the conflicts among the Palestinian national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other. On this basis the Palestinian masses, regardless of whether they are residing in the national homeland or in diaspora (mahajir) constitute - both their organizations and the individuals - one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through armed struggle.

Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it. They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.

Article 10: Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution. It also requires the achieving of unity for the national (watani) struggle among the different groupings of the Palestinian people, and between the Palestinian people and the Arab masses, so as to secure the continuation of the revolution, its escalation, and victory.

Article 11: The Palestinians will have three mottoes: national (wataniyya) unity, national (qawmiyya) mobilization, and liberation.

Article 12: The Palestinian people believe in Arab unity. In order to contribute their share toward the attainment of that objective, however, they must, at the present stage of their struggle, safeguard their Palestinian identity and develop their consciousness of that identity, and oppose any plan that may dissolve or impair it.

Article 13: Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary objectives, the attainment of either of which facilitates the attainment of the other. Thus, Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity; and work toward the realization of one objective proceeds side by side with work toward the realization of the other.

Article 14: The destiny of the Arab nation, and indeed Arab existence itself, depend upon the destiny of the Palestine cause. From this interdependence springs the Arab nation's pursuit of, and striving for, the liberation of Palestine. The people of Palestine play the role of the vanguard in the realization of this sacred (qawmi) goal.

Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.

Article 16: The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual point of view, will provide the Holy Land with an atmosphere of safety and tranquility, which in turn will safeguard the country's religious sanctuaries and guarantee freedom of worship and of visit to all, without discrimination of race, color, language, or religion. Accordingly, the people of Palestine look to all spiritual forces in the world for support.

Article 17: The liberation of Palestine, from a human point of view, will restore to the Palestinian individual his dignity, pride, and freedom. Accordingly the Palestinian Arab people look forward to the support of all those who believe in the dignity of man and his freedom in the world.

Article 18: The liberation of Palestine, from an international point of view, is a defensive action necessitated by the demands of self-defense. Accordingly the Palestinian people, desirous as they are of the friendship of all people, look to freedom-loving, and peace-loving states for support in order to restore their legitimate rights in Palestine, to re-establish peace and security in the country, and to enable its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.

Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination.

Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.

Article 21: The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its internationalization.

Article 22: Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement, and geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.

Article 23: The demand of security and peace, as well as the demand of right and justice, require all states to consider Zionism an illegitimate movement, to outlaw its existence, and to ban its operations, in order that friendly relations among peoples may be preserved, and the loyalty of citizens to their respective homelands safeguarded.

Article 24: The Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and in the right of all peoples to exercise them.

Article 25: For the realization of the goals of this Charter and its principles, the Palestine Liberation Organization will perform its role in the liberation of Palestine in accordance with the Constitution of this Organization.

Article 26: The Palestine Liberation Organization, representative of the Palestinian revolutionary forces, is responsible for the Palestinian Arab people's movement in its struggle - to retrieve its homeland, liberate and return to it and exercise the right to self-determination in it - in all military, political, and financial fields and also for whatever may be required by the Palestine case on the inter-Arab and international levels.

Article 27: The Palestine Liberation Organization shall cooperate with all Arab states, each according to its potentialities; and will adopt a neutral policy among them in the light of the requirements of the war of liberation; and on this basis it shall not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab state.

Article 28: The Palestinian Arab people assert the genuineness and independence of their national (wataniyya) revolution and reject all forms of intervention, trusteeship, and subordination.

Article 29: The Palestinian people possess the fundamental and genuine legal right to liberate and retrieve their homeland. The Palestinian people determine their attitude toward all states and forces on the basis of the stands they adopt vis-a-vis to the Palestinian revolution to fulfill the aims of the Palestinian people.

Article 30: Fighters and carriers of arms in the war of liberation are the nucleus of the popular army which will be the protective force for the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.

Article 31: The Organization shall have a flag, an oath of allegiance, and an anthem. All this shall be decided upon in accordance with a special regulation.

Article 32: Regulations, which shall be known as the Constitution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, shall be annexed to this Charter. It will lay down the manner in which the Organization, and its organs and institutions, shall be constituted; the respective competence of each; and the requirements of its obligation under the Charter.

Article 33: This Charter shall not be amended save by [vote of] a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the National Congress of the Palestine Liberation Organization [taken] at a special session convened for that purpose.

From Leila S. Kadi (ed.), Basic Political Documents of the Armed Palestinian Resistance Movement, Palestine Research Centre, Beirut, December 1969, pp. 137-141.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 14:43 by martha : Peace
There can never be peace in Israel with the above covenant.

Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 16:47 by quinty : Hi Martha

There is nothing in anything I have said that says Israel should not exist.

In fact, the Vatican - ie the Catholic Church - is a good example. Having once visited, and having been profoundly impressed by the artwork and Bernini's space, I would hate to see the Vatican go. There is much wrong with the Catholic Church and over the centuries the Church has committed many crimes.

We should not be unaware of this. That the Catholic Church has committed many sins. The same is true of Israel, and just as we should not deny the sins of the Church we shouldn't deny Israel's crimes. Which does not mean that either should go, or be destroyed.

What's more, I would hate to lose Bernini's plaza.

(By the way, Israel is in no real danger. The idea that "little Israel" faces extinction is propaganda justifying their aggressions. They have one of the most powerful militaries in the world, plus the backing of the United States. Not to mention an arsenal of more than a hundred nuclear bombs. Which makes them a super power. No one can expect to win a war with Israel. And, if Israel does cease to exist, as many have pointed out in recent years, it will probably be due to their own self-destructive acts.)  

30 Dec 2008 @ 17:04 by quinty : From Haaretz
Everyone familiar with Gideon Levy, of Haaretz? (Thanks to Ellen, that perpetually self-hating Jew, for offering this.)

Last update - 00:22 29/12/2008

The neighborhood bully strikes again

By Gideon Levy

Tags: Gaza Strike, Israel News

Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16,
2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: "Every
neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn't be provoked into
anger... Not that the bully's not right - someone did harm him. But the
reaction, what a reaction!"

Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with
chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, the
IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never
approached in all their years, and Operation "Cast Lead" is only in its infancy.

Once again, Israel's violent responses, even if there is justification for them,
exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality,
international law and wisdom.

What began yesterday in Gaza is a war crime and the foolishness of a country.
History's bitter irony: A government that went to a futile war two months after
its establishment - today nearly everyone acknowledges as much - embarks on
another doomed war two months before the end of its term.

In the interim, the loftiness of peace was on the tip of the tongue of Ehud
Olmert, a man who uttered some of the most courageous words ever said by a prime
minister. The loftiness of peace on the tip of his tongue, and two fruitless
wars in his sheath. Joining him is his defense minister, Ehud Barak, the leader
of the so-called left-wing party, who plays the role of senior accomplice to the

Israel did not exhaust the diplomatic processes before embarking yesterday on
another dreadful campaign of killing and ruin. The Qassams that rained down on
the communities near Gaza turned intolerable, even though they did not sow
death. But the response to them needs to be fundamentally different: diplomatic
efforts to restore the cease-fire - the same one that was initially breached,
one should remember, by Israel when it unnecessarily bombed a tunnel - and then,
if those efforts fail, a measured, gradual military response.

But no. It's all or nothing. The IDF launched a war yesterday whose end, as
usual, is hoping someone watches over us.

Blood will now flow like water. Besieged and impoverished Gaza, the city of
refugees, will pay the main price. But blood will also be unnecessarily spilled
on our side. In its foolishness, Hamas brought this on itself and on its people,
but this does not excuse Israel's overreaction.

The history of the Middle East is repeating itself with despairing precision.
Just the frequency is increasing. If we enjoyed nine years of quiet between the
Yom Kippur War and the First Lebanon War, now we launch wars every two years. As
such, Israel proves that there is no connection between its public relations
talking points that speak of peace, and its belligerent conduct.

Israel also proves that it has not internalized the lessons of the previous war.
Once again, this war was preceded by a frighteningly uniform public dialogue in
which only one voice was heard - that which called for striking, destroying,
starving and killing, that which incited and prodded for the commission of war

Once again the commentators sat in television studios yesterday and hailed the
combat jets that bombed police stations, where officers responsible for
maintaining order on the streets work. Once again, they urged against letting up
and in favor of continuing the assault. Once again, the journalists described
the pictures of the damaged house in Netivot as "a difficult scene." Once again,
we had the nerve to complain about how the world was transmitting images from
Gaza. And once again we need to wait a few more days until an alternative voice
finally rises from the darkness, the voice of wisdom and morality.

In another week or two, those same pundits who called for blows and more blows
will compete among themselves in leveling criticism at this war. And once again
this will be gravely late.

The pictures that flooded television screens around the world yesterday showed a
parade of corpses and wounded being loaded into and unloaded from the trunks of
private cars that transported them to the only hospital in Gaza worthy of being
called a hospital. Perhaps we once again need to remember that we are dealing
with a wretched, battered strip of land, most of whose population consists of
the children of refugees who have endured inhumane tribulations.

For two and a half years, they have been caged and ostracized by the whole
world. The line of thinking that states that through war we will gain new allies
in the Strip; that abusing the population and killing its sons will sear this
into their consciousness; and that a military operation would suffice in
toppling an entrenched regime and thus replace it with another one friendlier to
us is no more than lunacy.

Hezbollah was not weakened as a result of the Second Lebanon War; to the
contrary. Hamas will not be weakened due to the Gaza war; to the contrary. In a
short time, after the parade of corpses and wounded ends, we will arrive at a
fresh cease-fire, as occurred after Lebanon, exactly like the one that could
have been forged without this superfluous war.

In the meantime, let us now let the IDF win, as they say. A hero against the
weak, it bombed dozens of targets from the air yesterday, and the pictures of
blood and fire are designed to show Israelis, Arabs and the entire world that
the neighborhood bully's strength has yet to wane. When the bully is on a
rampage, nobody can stop him.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 17:07 by martha : Thank you quinty
for making it clear that you do want Israel to exist. i guess i was confused and appreciate your clarification. And I do hope that no bombs are ever used on either side.
i didn't mean to physically distroy the vatican. I simply question their postion in the world like the the blind eyes they turned when Hitler rose to power. Or the fact that in poor nations they do not promote birth control.

I agree beutiful art needs to be preserved. There is so little beauty in the world right now (and at NCN).
And lets be fully aware that the muslims promote lots of propoganda and suicide bombers.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 17:09 by martha : Let me ask you again
how is peace going to happen when the Palestinians have it clearly written that they want to destroy Israel?  

30 Dec 2008 @ 18:10 by quinty : Wishful thinking.....

There are those whose contempt for Arabs is high enough to believe the Palestinians will continue to ask for what is happening to them now in Gaza. Which is what would occur if, following the establishment of a Palestinian state, they lobbed missiles into Israel, an act of war.

Here in the United States we had apologists for the Iraq invasion who equated a desire for WMD with actually possessing them. As if wishing to nuke us were equivalent.. If the Palestinians have some hard feelings for the Isarelis after they obtain their state their bad wishes may be understandable, considering how they have been treated. But such thoughts would not be the self destructive act of suicide starting a war with israel would be.

What's more, any desire on the part of the Palestinians to destroy Israel would only be "wishful" thinking. They don't even have an army. Much less jet fighter planes, tanks, field artillery and all the other modern weapons of war Israel is currently employing on Gaza today.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 19:38 by a-d : People here
seem to be dangerously IGNORANT of TRUTHFUL FACTS and FACTUAL TRUTHS how the past REALLY occured... -not just what the Propaganda Machinations presented AFTER their CRIMES were --already-- committed/FACTS.

..and no. I by no means believe Israel to be the only "state" guilty of these Crimes against Humanity, though they are the ONLY bunch on Earth who made a sick "religion" with a sick "God" to justify for their evil...(that was smarter than any other religion concocter ever dreamed up! ) ALL LIFE, I KNOW that UNITED STATES of AMERICA as well as CANADA came into being with similar Might Is Right /The End Justifies The Means etc- concepts... The Biggest genocide in (known) Human History was committed to establish these two!...
Apologists always seem to have difficulties in believing that CONSEQUENCE/KARMA will ever catch up with them... Of course not... Might is Right,eh?
But...look around.... look deeply...get some true knwoledge , get out of your slumber/ignorance of truth ...cozzz It ain't over till It's Over!...including:

"First Published 2008-12-28 [ http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=29422 ]

Can There Be Any Doubt Who The Real Terrorists Are?

The long drawn-out siege and blockade of Gaza, and the numerous military assaults on its people and their legitimate government, are only the latest (Israeli) crimes in a catalogue of torment and terror, notes Stuart Littlewood.

US definition fits perfectly

The patience of all decent men must surely be exhausted.

Today’s slaughter of innocents in Gaza, with at least 230 reported killed in raids on “Hamas terror operatives” (as the Israeli military put it), amounted to “a mass execution”, said Hamas.

Can there now be any doubt who the real terrorists are?

The killing spree couldn’t have happened without the tacit approval of America, Britain and the EU. The political pea-brains that direct the pro-Israel western alliance were partying, gorging themselves on Christmas fare or binge-shopping while this massacre of hungry women and children and their despairing menfolk in Gaza was being planned and executed.

According to the US's own definition of terrorism Israel is squarely in the frame. Under Section 3 of Executive Order 13224 "Blocking Property and prohibiting Transactions with Persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support Terrorism", the term “terrorism” means an activity that…

(i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and

(ii) appears to be intended

• to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

• to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

• to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.

The order and its definition of terrorism, signed 23 September 2001 by George W Bush, is used to outlaw and crush any organization, individual or country the US doesn’t like. The Israeli regime’s "amoral thugs", as a British MP branded them, have plainly been terrorizing the Palestinians for the last 60 years.

The long drawn-out siege and blockade of Gaza, and the numerous military assaults on its people and their legitimate government, are only the latest crimes in a catalogue of torment and terror. They are clearly attempts to "intimidate and coerce", while the mass destruction of Gaza's infrastructure, the withholding of humanitarian aid, the assassinations, the abductions, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, and the many violent and dangerous acts including indiscriminate bombing and shelling (and the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon), ensure Israel’s ugly head is a perfect fit for America’s terrorist hat.

How does the world feel about Obama pledging to “forge an unshakeable bond” with the "miracle" of Terrorist Israel?

How do we feel about the EU rewarding Israel for its terrorist acts with enhanced benefits under the EU-Israel Association Agreement?

How do we Brits feel about our Intelligence and Security Committee being chaired by a Friend of Terrorist Israel and 5 out of its 9 members also being the Zionist regime’s devoted Friends? How do we feel about our Foreign Affairs Committee being chaired by a Friend of Terrorist Israel...and our Defence Committee too?

Britain’s prime minister Brown and his predecessor, now peace envoy Blair, both self-confessed Zionists, have given their undying support to a terrorist state and steered Britain’s foreign policy on a course that has earned the opprobrium of civilised people.

The best Brown could do today was urge “restraint”. He called on Gazan “militants” to “cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately”, but didn’t urge his bosom pals to end the siege and their illegal occupation which, as every sane person knows, are the cause of the strife. Our Foreign Office went so far as to say they were “deeply concerned” then spouted the mantra: “The only way to achieve a lasting peace is through peaceful means”.

The only peaceful means of achieving a lasting peace is for Western leaders to pull the plug on Israel until the regime conforms to international law and the will of the United Nations (without whose misguided generosity there would never have been a state of Israel), pulls back behind the 1967 border and strictly observes the principles of universal human rights.

If they don’t shoulder their responsibility, they risk a mighty moral backlash from ordinary people, who are beginning to learn the awful truth.

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 20:26 by quinty : Yesterday
I watched CSAN for awhile as a UN spokesman explained how they defined "civilan casualties." They were only counting the women and children since it was less clear if the men were belligerents or not. A couple of reporters became infuriated for they could clearly see how this formula would be misleading.

At the time of the interview the total (women and children) came out to 60 something. The reporters were right. On newscasts today the total has been described as being in the sixties, without any explanation that this didn't include men.

Even though 60 + is quite a lot it is a misrepresentative figure, and we can be sure there are many more. The UN should be ashamed of itself for coming up with this misleading formula.

UPDATE: the news this morning (New Year's Eve) estimates about 25% of the Palestinian casualties are "civilians," including more than 40 children. 25% seems arbitrary to me and perhaps the figure is larger, much larger.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 21:43 by vaxen : Operation Cast Lead
Haaretz reports on Israel's deceit in the latest outrage, in the aptly titled piece, "Disinformation, secrecy and lies: How the Gaza offensive came about":


30 Dec 2008 @ 23:24 by a-d : This is CLEARLY
an acto of INTENTIONAL PROVOCATION to get civilians to react to the point of "ACTIONS" and then that will be the JUSTIFICATION Israel "needed" to attack /launch call it whatever you wish, to get the THIRD WORLD WAR really cooking!..."for real"!... with the really BIIIG GUNS, NUKE BOMBS etc... Party, Party in full swing... just as it was done to get the First and Second World War going... not to mention all "smaller" revolutions!... behind everyone a group of .... yes... FANATICS.  

30 Dec 2008 @ 23:28 by martha : rockets

And let me note that no one has been willing to even have a discussion about how hamas is not willing to even recognize Isarel.  

31 Dec 2008 @ 00:16 by quinty : Sderot
It seems to me, Martha, that you are being redundant. The answer to your repeated question has already been given above, numerous times.

But once again, let’s ask: what is more precious, a Jewish life or an Arabic life? An Israeli or a Palestinian? That these children in Sderot are under threat is tragic. But where is your concern for the lives of the Palestinian children?

It’s hard not to believe this video clip is not merely some crude propaganda film. Not when it comes out with something like this (at the very end):

“Sderot is the only town, and the Western Negev is the only region in the entire world, where missiles are fired toward civilan population in the 21st century.” (sic)

And what are the Israelis doing to Palestinian children at this very moment, with some of the most sophisticated weapons of modern war? The settlers in Sderot, judging from the clip, appear to be Orthodox. In their eyes, often enough, Arab lives don’t count. Certainly not Arab property rights. Or much of anything else.

So which children deserve to live? Arab or Jewish? Don’t they both count? So far, in terms of the numbers of lives lost there is no comparison. None at all.

UPDATE: According to this morning's news more than 40 Palestinian children have been killed.  

31 Dec 2008 @ 00:26 by quinty : What does it take
to crack through the nut?

Jewish lives are important, valuable, and Jews deserve to live in peace.

But so do the Palestinians. And they have rights, too, including the right to live. Why is that so hard to understand? Why, when dealing with Israel firsters is the argument always so black and white? As if the Palestinians are merely in the way of the Jewish settlers? And have no rights at all.  

1 Jan 2009 @ 17:47 by quinty : January 1, 2009

A Hundred Eyes for an Eye

Jan 01, 2009 By Norman Solomon

Israelis and Arabs "feel that only force can assure justice," I. F. Stone noted soon after the Six Day War in 1967. And he wrote: "A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements. The Others are always either less than human, and thus their interests may be ignored, or more than human and therefore so dangerous that it is right to destroy them."

The closing days of 2008 have heightened the Israeli government's stature as a mighty practitioner of the moral imbecility that Stone described.

Israel's airstrikes "have killed at least 270 people so far, injured more than 1,000, many of them seriously, and many remain buried under the rubble so the death toll will likely rise," Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies pointed out on Sunday, Dec. 28, two days into Israel's attack. "This catastrophic impact was known and inevitable, and far outweighs any claim of self-defense or protection of Israeli civilians." She mentioned that "the one Israeli killed by a Palestinian rocket attack on Saturday after the Israeli assault began was the first such casualty in more than a year."

Even if you set aside the magnitude of Israel's violations of the Geneva conventions and the long terrible history of its methodical collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, consider the vastly disproportionate carnage in the conflict.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," Gandhi said.

What about a hundred eyes for an eye?

It makes some of the world ill with rage. And it turns much of the United States numb with silence. Routinely, the politicians and pundits of Washington can't summon minimal decency in themselves or each other on the subject of Israel and Palestinians.

While officialdom inside the Beltway seems frozen in fear of risking "anti-Semitism" charges by actually standing up for the human rights of Palestinian people, some progress at the grassroots has been noticeable. It includes the growth of groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Tikkun, and The Shalom Center, where activists have worked to refute the false claims that American Jews are united behind Israeli policies.

At the epicenters of the conflict -- where the belief that "only force can assure justice" seems to be even stronger than when I. F. Stone wrote about it 41 years ago -- the conclusion has been drawn and redrawn so many times that deadly repetition has become paralytic. While some Palestinian "militants" have terrorized and murdered, the Israeli government has terrorized and murdered on a much bigger scale, using a vast arsenal largely financed by U.S. taxpayers.

From afar, in the United States, it's too easy to shake our heads at the lethal loss of moral vision. Don't they know that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"? But the cycle of violence is extremely asymmetrical -- while the U.S. government provides Israel with billions of dollars and invaluable "diplomatic" support.

What happened in Gaza in late December is not just an eye for an eye. It's a hundred eyes for an eye. And the slaughter is not only an Israeli war crime. It has an accomplice named Uncle Sam.


Norman Solomon is the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." To watch video of his recent appearance on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," click here. http://www.mediaed.org/wp/mef-news

From: Z Net - The Spirit Of Resistance Lives
URL: http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/commentaries/3729  

1 Jan 2009 @ 18:01 by quinty : January 1, 2009 Cont'd

Note to the reader - go to the link below. It is clearer, easier to read, and more attractive. The links to the footnotes, if interested, can be found there too. Thanks, Quinty


Gaza and the US Corporate Media

Posted by Rob Lipton under Ha'aretz , Independent Jewish Voices

Although no news to readers here, on top of the war crimes committed against the people of Gaza, once again, we are treated to the journalistic crimes of the US media. Led by the paper of record, the NY Times, we get sanitized photos, headlines like, “Despite Strikes, Israelis Vow to Soldier on”. This is in stark contrast to Haaretz (arguably Israel’s paper of record) which has reported a range of opinions and news perspectives, where people like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy get page space along with the typical range of less critical voices. Per the usual, to get a sense of the real horror, readers need to go to multiple sources, such as Al Jazeera, the Guardian UK, etc. To be clear, attacks against civilians are generally to be condemned, whether occurring in Gaza or Sderot, but it is necessary to understand the causes of conflict and violence, and to properly assess the unambiguously disproportionate nature of this conflict. We get very little of this from the US corporate press which will almost always first discuss Israel’s need to defend itself, has the Israeli ambassador to the US on, etc, before mentioning the slight possibility that some people in some part of the world may think that the Israeli attacks might just be a tad too harsh. On the bright side there are some very good independent media reports on the terrible media coverage in places such as counterpunch and commondreams. The following well referenced article by Deena Guzder goes into detail in repudiating media myths as well as referencing Jewish Voice for Peace as an example of cracks in monolithic American Jewish support for anything Israel does.

Published on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 by CommonDreams.org

Lights Out in Gaza, News Blackout in US

by Deena Guzder

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have decried Israel’s continued aerial bombing campaign as unlawful and denounced the killing of more than 300 Palestinians since 27 December, including scores of unarmed civilians not taking part in the hostilities. Israel’s attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip also elicited condemnation from numerous world politicians and sparked protests in global cities.

Despite international outcry over escalating violence, the U.S. mainstream media continues to privilege a prepackaged narrative in which Israel’s actions are never disproportionate, never counterproductive and certainly never gratuitous. According to the mainstream media, the U.S. must continue uncompromisingly supporting Israel because the allegedly beleaguered democracy is held hostage by monomaniacal Islamofascists who are inherently evil. Promoting a paradigm in which Israel is always David up against Goliath, the U.S. media presents suffering Palestinians as expendable for the greater cause of Israel winning its epic struggle. To justify U.S.’s carte blanche to Israel, the mainstream media restricts American readers to an echo chamber in which the following claims are repeated ad nausem until they are mistaken for fact:

Israel has a legal and moral right to bomb Gaza out of defense - Security concerns are not and never have been a tolerable justification for pre-emptive attacks. Israel’s decision to bomb Gaza represents a major assault on the international rule of law. The law of occupation is one of the oldest and most developed branches of international humanitarian law. An occupying power is obliged to follow the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which protects the civilian population. The United Nations Security Council held in 1979 that the Fourth Convention did apply in the territories seized by Israel in 1967. Article 48 of the additional protocol is clear that Israel, as an occupying power, has obligations: “The Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objective.” The latest Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip which has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza’s beleaguered Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. “International law is not observed with respect to Israeli policies towards the Gaza Strip, Israel continues to reinforce an occupation whose every element violates international humanitarian law, and particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention,” notes Jeff Halper, an Israeli-American Anthropologist, author, lecturer, political activist, and co-founder and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

Israeli citizens live in constant fear of Hamas rockets - Since 2005 Hamas has fired some 6,300 rockets from Gaza at Israel, killing 10 people.[1] In just the last four days, Israel has reduced the Gaza Strip to rubble and killed over 300 Palestinians. During the ongoing four-decade-long brutal occupation of historic Palestine and the recent grotesquely inhumane blockade of Gaza, Palestinian deaths have far outnumbered Israeli deaths.

Since September 29, 2000, approximately 123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians whereas 1,050 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis. Since September 29, 2000, a total of 1,062 Israelis and no fewer than 4,876 Palestinians were killed in the conflict.[2]

Hamas refuses to recognize the right of Israel to exist and has never made any concessions - As Seth Ackerman of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) notes, there is no need to euphemize Hamas’ history of brutal tactics or its bellicose ideology, but Hamas has signaled its potential willingness to accept a two-state settlement and make other concessions to broker peace.[3] Hamas has also made tentative offers of a long-term “hudna,” or truce, albeit with less gusto than Israel demands.

Israel is only targeting Hamas headquarters - Gaza, one of the most densely populated tracts of land in the world, is home to about 1.3m Palestinians, about 33% of whom live in United Nations-funded refugee camps.[4] Avoiding civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip during aerial raids is comparable to trying to avoid such casualties in Washington DC, New York City or Los Angeles. “Because Gaza is so densely populated, there is no such thing as precision strike - you have glass, brick, shrapnel flying into people’s homes,” notes Ewa Jasiewicz, a volunteer with the Free Gaza Movement.[5]

Attacking Hamas will help Israel achieve security - There is no doubt that the recent attacks will only embolden and multiply Israel’s detractors. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians against Israel’s attacks on Gaza. For a second day in Jordan, several thousand protesters gathered in Amman and burned Israeli and American flags.[6] There were similar rallies in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq with many calling for a firm response from their leaders. Hamas’ military is barely dented by the Israeli attacks and, according to a poll by Israel’s Channel 10 television station, only 6% of Israelis believe its governments aerial bombings will end Hamas’ rocket attacks. [7]

The Bush administration has the implicit support of the international community in blaming Hamas “thugs” and applauding Israel’s show of defense With the exception of the U.S. and her staunchest allies, the international community has largely condemned Israel’s attacks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Israel to “urgently halt” its military campaign. Japan’s Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said, “Japan calls on Israel to exercise its utmost self-restraint.” China’s Vice-Premier Li Kequiang joined the voices urging a halt to violence and said, “The Chinese side is shocked and seriously concerned over the current military operations in Gaza that have caused a large number of death and injuries.”[8] Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi similarly stated, “Malaysia deplores the disproportionate use of military power by Israel against the people of Gaza.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the European Union presidency, told the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas of his serious concerns about the escalating violence. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon added his voice to the 15-member Security Council’s call for an immediate end to hostilities and urged Israel to allow humanitarian aid into the poverty-stricken territory.[9] Humanitarian organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reiterate their call for an end to reckless and unlawful Israeli attacks against densely populated residential areas.

The attacks on Gaza are supported by the entire Jewish community - Jewish Voice for Peace joins millions around the world, including the 1,000 Israelis who protested in the streets of Tel Aviv this weekend, in condemning ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. The organization calls for an immediate end to attacks on all civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli. In the face of mounting deaths, several Israeli and American Jewish peace groups are protesting the recent air raids by demonstrating in the streets, petitioning their elected officials and directly reaching out to Palestinian civilians. Groups that are encouraging peace between Palestinians and Israelis include Rabbis for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Bat Shalom, Ta’ayush, Yesh-Gvul, Peace Gush Shalom Tikkun, and many others. While there is no consensus in the Jewish community on the recent Gaza air raids, the underreported efforts of the Jewish “left” is far from negligible; Jewish Voices of Peace claims more than 10,000 members and has been instrumental in drawing attention to the lopsided media coverage through their “Lights out in Gaza, News Blackout in U.S.” campaign. Many of these Jewish peace activists are deeply religious and draw on the Torah to support their stand against Israel’s attack on Gaza. The media has extensively covered the Israeli settlers who cheer on Israel’s more hawkish actions, but little has been written on dissident Israeli Jews and their American Jewish sympathizers who are advocating a more peaceful, non-violent course.

The mainstream media is culpable for American’s ongoing ignorance and knee-jerk loyalty to Israel. Instead of elucidating motives and contextualizing actions, reporters’ biased diction obscures facts and editors’ cursory commentary muddles logic. By de-historicizing the conflict, the media reduces Palestinians to stock-characters who reject generous olive branches offered by Israel in favor of advocating for the dissolution of the Jewish state. A column by Israeli Gideon Levy in Haaretz, entitled “The neighborhood bully strikes again,” could never appear in a paper in the U.S nor could a single paragraph be uttered by any American politician, in either party, of any national prominence without damning consequences.[10]

While visiting Israel in July, President-elect Barack Obama said, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing.” The question remains, what would Obama do if his daughters were deprived of food, electricity, medical care, and human dignity? What would Obama do if his daughters were humiliated when they traveled, maimed when they walked away from bomb shelters and robbed of their childhoods? If Obama fails to answer these questions with humanity, we can expect 4 to 8 more years of President Bush’s failed Middle East strategy.  

7 Jan 2009 @ 21:22 by quinty : Robert Scheer on the coverage

Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?

Posted on Jan 6, 2009

By Robert Scheer


Why are we so indifferent to the death and destruction in Gaza?

The major news outlets meekly accepted Israel’s banning of journalists from entering Gaza as an excuse for downplaying collateral civilian casualties, our president-elect, Barack Obama, has had little to say about an invasion that will much complicate his future Mideast peace efforts, and most commentators easily rationalize Israel’s many-more-eyes-for-an-eye killings.

Why is it that there is such widespread acceptance, beginning with the apologetic arguments of President Bush, that whatever Israel does is always justified as necessary to the survival of the Jewish state?

It is not.

While the Hamas rocket attacks are reprehensible, they are also an ineffectual challenge to Israel’s enormous security apparatus, and the severity of Israel’s response to them is counterproductive. Clearly, the very existence of Israel is not now, nor has it ever been, seriously challenged by anything the Palestinians did. Not back in 1948, when Israel was established as a state with insignificant Palestinian military resistance, nor at the time of the 1967 Six-Day War when Egypt, Syria and Jordan fought Israel.

The Palestinians were in no position to confront the Israeli army, because those whose lands were not already occupied by Israel were living under oppressive Egyptian control in Gaza and tough Jordanian rule in the West Bank. After the speedy Israeli victory, which demolished the myth of the new state’s vulnerability, the Palestinians became imprisoned as a people by Israel for crimes they had not committed.

Even if we accept the harshest portrayal of the tactics and motives of the Palestinian movements against Israel after the Six-Day War, at what point did that terrorism represent a serious challenge to the survival of the Jewish people or the state that claims to speak in their name? Yet that survival is invoked to justify the vastly excessive use of force by the Israeli war machine, with frequent allusions to the Holocaust previously visited upon the Jewish people, a holocaust that had nothing to do with Palestinians or Muslims, and everything to do with Central Europeans claiming to be Christians.

The high moral claim of the Israeli occupation rests not on the objective reality of a Palestinian threat to Israel’s survival, but rather on the non sequitur cry that “never again” should harm come to Jews as it did in Central Europe seven decades ago.

The basic argument is that Palestinian terrorists represented by Hamas are given to an irrational hatred of Jews so profound that it invalidates their movement, even when they win elections. That was not the view of the Israeli security service when it earlier supported Hamas as the alternative to the then dreaded PLO. Also, history is replete with examples of terrorists becoming statesmen, even within the early ranks of Jews fighting to establish the state of Israel.

One of those was Menachem Begin, who went on to be an elected leader of the new state. But before Begin attained that respectability, back in 1948 when he visited the United States, a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook and Hannah Arendt wrote a letter to The New York Times warning that Begin was a former leader of the “Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.” The letter urged Jews to shun Begin, arguing, “It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.”

Begin’s new party was then participating in the Israeli election, and Einstein and his colleagues, many of whom like the physicist had been victims of German fascism, stated, “Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character.”

Those actions were then detailed in the letter. They included the systematic terrorizing of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in an effort to force them to flee the territory that Begin’s party claimed for the new state of Israel.

Clearly Begin and his political heirs, who include Benjamin Netanyahu, the most likely victor in the next Israeli election, evolved in their behavior. But I bring it up now to highlight the one-sided reporting of the current phase of this interminable conflict and to wonder: Where are the voices that reflect the uncompromising morality of Einstein’s generation of Jewish intellectuals willing to acknowledge fault and humanity on both sides of the political equation?  

7 Jan 2009 @ 23:49 by Quinty @ : Warning leaflets and more....

This is not the first time Israel has dropped leaflets warning the civilian population below that they were about to bomb them. This slight of hand covers the barbarity which will follow for their apologists, who will tell us this act demonstrates how humane the Israelis are. In opposition, of course, to the people they will bomb. Here's Amy Goodman......

Israeli Voices for Peace

By Amy Goodman

Israel’s assault on Gaza, by air, sea and now land, has killed (at the time of this writing) more than 600 Palestinians, with more than 2,700 injured. Ten Israelis have been killed, three of them Israeli soldiers killed by friendly fire. Beyond the deaths and injuries, the people of Gaza are suffering a dire humanitarian crisis that is dismissed by the Israeli government. There is, however, Israeli opposition to the military assault.

Israeli professor Neve Gordon is chair of the department of politics and government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel, the region most impacted by the Hamas rockets.

Speaking over the phone from Beersheba, Gordon said: “We just had a rocket about an hour ago not far from our house. My two children have been sleeping in a bomb shelter for the past week. And yet, I think what Israel is doing is outrageous. ... The problem is that most Israelis say Israel left the Gaza Strip three years ago and Hamas is still shooting rockets at us. They forget the details. The detail is that Israel maintains sovereignty. The detail is that the Palestinians live in a cage. The detail is that they don’t get basic foodstuff, that they don’t get electricity, that they don’t get water. And when you forget those kinds of details, all you say is, ‘Why are they still shooting at us?’ That’s what the media here has been pumping them with, then you think this war is rational. If you look at what’s been going on in the Gaza Strip in the past three years and you see what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians, you would think that the Palestinian resistance is rational. And that’s what’s missing in the mainstream media here.”

Gordon attended a large peace march last weekend in Tel Aviv with more than 10,000 other Israelis. Longtime Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery was there. He called the invasion “a criminal war, because, on top of everything else it is openly and shamelessly part of Ehud Barak’s and Tzipi Livni’s election campaign. I accuse Ehud Barak of exploiting the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers in order to get more Knesset seats. I accuse Tzipi Livni of advocating mutual slaughter in order to become prime minister.” Israel’s elections will be in February.

The assault strengthens right-wing Likud Party leader and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a foremost hawk and leading candidate for prime minister. While Netanyahu fully supports the attack on Gaza, his nephew, Jonathan Ben-Artzi, is an Israeli conscientious objector who was court-martialed and imprisoned for a year and a half. He spoke to me from Providence, R.I., where he is a student at Brown University.

“I’m speaking ... not as anyone’s nephew but ... as an Israeli, trying to speak out to Americans to tell them you don’t have to support Israel blindly. Not everything that Israel does is holy ... sometimes you have to speak firmly to Israel and tell us, tell our government, stop doing this.”

Gideon Levy is a Jewish journalist with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. He told me: “I think that Israel had this legitimacy to protect its citizens in the southern part of Israel ... but this doing something does not mean this brutal and violent operation. ... I believe we could have got to a new truce without this bloodshed. Immediately to send dozens of jets to bomb a total helpless civilian society with hundreds of bombs—just today, they were burying five sisters. I mean, this is unheard of. This cannot go on like this.”

But it is. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, in Gaza opened up schools to provide shelter, since Gazans, trapped in this narrow strip of land, have no place to flee. Christopher Gunness of UNRWA told me that the agency provided the coordinates of the schools to the Israeli military. Nevertheless, at least two schools have been hit by Israeli strikes in the past 24 hours. Three people were killed at the Asma elementary school. More than 30 are reported dead and more than 55 injured at the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza.

While Israeli planes drop pamphlets urging Palestinians to leave, the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip, perhaps the most densely populated place on Earth, have no place to run, no place to hide. Calls for an immediate cease-fire are ignored by Israel and blocked by the U.S. government. It is not clear what the Obama administration will do—but the people of Gaza can’t wait until the inauguration. There must be a cease-fire now. And that’s just the beginning.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in North America. She was awarded the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the “Alternative Nobel” prize, and received the award in the Swedish Parliament in December.  

8 Jan 2009 @ 17:19 by quinty : As
Ellen says, "Wouldn't you know it.... "

Israeli Militants Poised to Resettle Gaza After Assault
By Linda Mamoun, AlterNet. Posted January 7, 2009.


As Israeli troops fight their way into Gaza, scores of determined settlers are prepared to enter in their wake.

Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" is reported to have overwhelming support among the Israeli public, but few are as enthusiastic as the former residents of the Israeli settlements in Gaza. As tens of thousands of Israeli troops descend on Gaza in an apocalyptic frenzy, scores of determined settlers are prepared to enter in their wake.

The Gaza settlements were dismantled in August 2005 as part of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan. In a single stroke, the Israeli army removed 8,000 people from the Gush Katif settlement bloc in the southwest corner of the Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border and from four smaller settlements in northern and central Gaza.

In spirit, many of the Gaza settlers never left the coveted Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean coast. Despite ample compensation from the Israeli government, many have chosen to live in nearby caravan camps in desert towns between Ashdod and Ashkelon, clustered with families from the same settlement of origin. Most of the settlers didn't pack before they were escorted out of their compounds, not believing that the Israeli government would permanently expel them. Some have posted the road signs identifying their old settlements in their camps.

The evacuees have reportedly suffered from high rates of divorce, drug abuse and other problem behavior. Imbued with messianic zeal, for the last three-and-a-half years, they have been mobilizing to resettle the land they believe is theirs by divine right.

Settler activists are counting on their historically strong ties to the Israeli military, with some units composed entirely of settlers, to help in their fight. Indeed, some soldiers and reservists currently in Gaza were there three years ago living in cherished settlement communities. On Monday, an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the bittersweet reactions of soldiers who had lived in Gaza settlements and are now back in uniform, noting, "Some see it as a first step toward returning to their former homes."

Earlier this year, Haaretz reported on settlers' plans to follow the Israeli army into Gaza. Boaz Haetzni, a leader of the settler movement, explained, "In our estimation the 'big operation' is only a matter of time; we will follow them in. We will not ask for permission from anyone. The [settlement] groups will be ready ... These core groups will do exactly what the group that re-established Kfar Etzion did after 1967. They will return to the lands where they existed in the past and will rebuild them."

Kfar Etzion was the first Israeli settlement established in the West Bank after the end of the Six Day War and is now part of a large bloc of settlements connecting Jerusalem to Hebron.

In August, settlers and their supporters commemorated the third anniversary of the Gaza evacuation at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem. The event featured music, prayers, testimonials and updates from volunteers assisting the Gush Katif "refugees." A flyer promoting the event highlighted a biblical passage: "And the threefold cord is not easily broken" (Kohelet 4:12), a reference to the strength of the bond tying the Gush Katif settlers to one another and to the support they receive from the broader community of supporters in Israel and abroad.

The program was similar to "A Tribute To Hebron," an event held at the Great Synagogue in late December. This event, organized by www.thelandofisrael.com, was a fundraiser for the Beit Hashalom settlers, who were evicted earlier in the month from their illegally occupied house in the heart of Hebron. The night included live music, comedy sketches and a speech by former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon, a prominent leader of the settler movement.

Both events reflect the pattern that has emerged over the last several decades. After Palestinian land is seized by the Israeli army, settlements are established, connected to Israel’s electricity, water and security system, and aggressively marketed to potential residents. Today, Israeli settlements and the state security apparatus cover over 40 percent of the West Bank. Nearly half a million Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, all of which are considered illegal under international law.

As with the unilateral disengagement from Gaza, the Israeli government occasionally dismantles overly controversial settlements, amid great fanfare, but new settlements continue to be built and existing ones expanded. In the three years since the state of Israel removed its settlers from Gaza soil, it has authorized the construction of thousands of new housing units for West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements. To make room for these settlements, thousands of Palestinian homes have been demolished, and in East Jerusalem, entire Palestinian neighborhoods are still being cleared. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, 19,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967. All the while, mainstream political elements decry "radical" settlers as violent extremists even as they celebrate their achievements and help establish new colonies.

Israelis differentiate between "economic settlers," those who move to the occupied territories for subsidized housing and a better "quality of life," and "ideological settlers," nationalists who seek to establish a "Greater Israel" from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. But the distinction is overstated. Residents of the large suburban settlements that encircle Jerusalem (Ma’ale Adumim, Pisgat Ze’ev, etc.) are embedded in social networks that include radical leaders from the so-called ideological settlements (Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba, Hebron and the smaller outposts). And many suburban settlers have an intensely militant outlook, feeling themselves to be under siege just as they view the Gush Katif and Hebron "refugees" as demonized and besieged.

For the Beit Hashalom supporters the mood at the Great Synagogue in late December was jubilant, coming just days after the settlers' zealous stand against the Israeli army and with plenty of time to implement what they refer to as their new "price tag" policy of payback for evacuations carried out by the Israeli army and police.

In Hebron, as elsewhere, the price tag has come in the form of fiery pogroms against Palestinians. According to a recent United Nations report, there has been a surge in Israeli settler violence across the West Bank, with at least 290 incidents of violence against Palestinians documented between January and October 2008.

The increase in violence may be related to the "price tag" policy, but the settlers' strategy reflects nothing new: the price Palestinians have paid throughout Israel’s 60-year history is incalculable in economic, social and demographic terms.

Nonetheless, because of their humiliating departure from Gaza and years of displacement, the Gush Katif settlers believe they have paid the greatest price. Not a day seems to go by without media coverage of their plight. On Dec. 31 the Jerusalem Post published an editorial on Hamas rocket attacks by Rachel Saperstein, a settler from Gush Katif who lamented, "From our homes in Gush Katif to cardboard caravillas in a refugee camp to a sewer pipe. We have certainly hit rock bottom." On the same day, Arutz Sheva, a right-wing Internet news site, published an editorial by Nadia Matar that calls for Israel to "free Gaza from its Arab occupation ... and rebuild the 25 beautiful Jewish communities of Gush Katif."

Although government agencies have attempted to move the former residents of Gush Katif to new settlements in the West Bank and the Negev, most have stayed in southern Israel, waiting for their day of return to resurrected Jewish enclaves in the ravaged Gaza Strip.

That day, and the promise of redemption revived by Israel’s bloody price tag policy in Gaza, draws closer with each hour of "Operation Cast Lead."  

8 Jan 2009 @ 18:42 by a-d : this map says it all!


...and here's how the Map came to look the way it does!.... and now "we are working on "the next part" of the Project"...and then we'll do the rest!....


read these actual statements very carefully, aping attention to dates and "who" said What!...quite enlightening.

Not Self hate of the one's who find their way to reveal the truth about the so called Specialness. Nor is it self love of those who continue to live --only-- through the group soul.

Their's is the Self Deception. http://www.counterpunch.org/atzmon08282003.html

so much more of the Dark Truth is available to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, as the saying goes.

"It's all in a days work" , isn't though!? ....


Some about the American Debt of Conscience as well: http://www.lorenzobooks.com/reviews.htm  

8 Jan 2009 @ 20:19 by quinty : Yes,
the map of the West Bank looks like a Swiss cheese, what with all the settlements.

Some Israeli government leaders like to call if the new or evolving "facts on the ground." After all, if Jewish settlers are living there how can they be expelled? Even for a Palestinian state?

(Never mind they expelled the Palestinians. And when Israelis complain of Palestinian rockets - which are truly random and awful - they can be confident the American news media is not going to make any big deal out of settlers shooting at or throwing rocks at Arab shepherds and the like.)

This has been going on for a long, long time. Bush winked. Will Obama at least return to the relative decency of a James Baker (of all people)? Is that fear what caused this latest violence? Along with the election?  

8 Jan 2009 @ 23:21 by vaxen : What Rough Beast...
Richard Falk - Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

The article that caused the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories to be DENIED ENTRY to Israel 2 weeks ago… http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2008/12/19/richard-falk-my-expulsion-from-israel/ he was predicting exactly what we are seeing today…more death and destruction and occupation.

There is little doubt that the Nazi Holocaust was as close to unconditional evil as has been revealed throughout the entire bloody history of the human species. Its massiveness, unconcealed genocidal intent, and reliance on the mentality and instruments of modernity give its enactment in the death camps of Europe a special status in our moral imagination. This special status is exhibited in the continuing presentation of its gruesome realities through film, books, and a variety of cultural artifacts more than six decades after the events in question ceased. The permanent memory of the Holocaust is also kept alive by the existence of several notable museums devoted exclusively to the depiction of the horrors that took place during the period of Nazi rule in Germany.

Against this background, it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to feel compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as 'holocaust.' The word is derived from the Greek holos (meaning 'completely') and kaustos (meaning 'burnt'), and was used in ancient Greece to refer to the complete burning of a sacrificial offering to a divinity. Because such a background implies a religious undertaking, there is some inclination in Jewish literature to prefer the Hebrew word 'Shoah' that can be translated roughly as 'calamity,' and was the name given to the 1985 epic nine-hour narration of the Nazi experience by the French filmmaker, Claude Lanzmann. The Germans themselves were more antiseptic in their designation, officially naming their undertaking as the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question.' The label is, of course, inaccurate as a variety of non-Jewish identities were also targets of this genocidal assault, including the Roma and Sinti('gypsies), Jehovah Witnesses, gays, disabled persons, political opponents.


9 Jan 2009 @ 00:25 by quinty : Richard Falk

A good piece by Falk......

“The recent developments in Gaza are especially disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty.”

They should be ashamed of themselves for invoking the Holocaust to justify their own brand of ethnic cleansing. And of accusing their critics of being anti-Semites and “self-hating Jews.”

“With great fanfare, under Sharon's leadership, Israel supposedly ended its military occupation and dismantled its settlements in 2005. [in Gaza]The process was largely a sham as Israel maintained full control over borders, air space, offshore seas, as well as asserted its military control of Gaza, engaging in violent incursions, sending missiles to Gaza at will on assassination missions that themselves violate international humanitarian law, and managing to kill more than 300 Gazan civilians since its supposed physical departure.”

I’m not sure of this, but perhaps someone there can help out. When Israeli apologists claim the Palestinians were offered %95 of what they asked for at Camp David in 2000, don’t they leave out that Israel would still have controlled the water, borders, and air space over “Palestine?” Not much of a “good deal,” if you ask me. Especially when you consider how important water is in that part of the world.

“While each civilian death is an unacceptable tragedy, the ratio of death and injury for the two sides in so unequal as to call into question the security logic of continuously inflicting excessive force and collective punishment on the entire beleaguered Gazan population, which is accurately regarded as the world's largest 'prison.'”

If only the Arabs had chosen the way of Gandhi.... Then there could be no rhetorical cover for Israel’s barbarities. But when the Palestinians want to fight back they choose the methods of all guerrilas without a standing army. And that’s why they use rockets. And IEDs. And small arms. And why the more fanatical among them invoke God. And those who are not Arabs, or Muslims, see them as barbarous. Not that religion plays any other part in this tragedy.... Noooo. But this is admittedly a complicated issue....  

9 Jan 2009 @ 01:33 by a-d : Devastation
--as it is called when the more equal pigs get "hit" -- in Israel by a Palestinian "rocket"

Then again... doesn't (the Babylonian) Talmud tell us that, one Jewish life is more worth than a thousand Arab? Anti-Semitic ANYBODY?????..... *!*
NEVER again let yourself be intimidated by that Emotional BLACKMAIL-trick, one of the very last Trump "cards" in/ of the Ol'--dying-- Wizard's Mental/verbal /Mind control Weapon Arsenal  

9 Jan 2009 @ 07:49 by vaxen : And...
especially when you consider the offshore natural gas fields http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/war-and-natural-gas-the-israeli-invasion-and-gazas-offshore-gas-fields/ which would put the Palestinians in the black. No one seems to get around to mentioning that little number! Also see: http://www.daily.pk/world/middle-east/9080-guess-what-lots-of-oil-natural-gas-in-gaza-.html

And YiSRa-EL will not allow the Palestinians to follow the way of Ghandi, who was assassinated! You also forget that it was Chandra Bose http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jagdish_Chandra_Bose , not just Ghandiji's Satya Graha, who won the day! Be that as it may here is a little more that I think just may interest you:

"A Wonderful Chanukah Gift"

The blog post which was the source of the above title has left me utterly speechless, therefore I must simply quote it and use pictures to respond. The words are from the blog Maggie's Notebook (except for the photo captions in italics), the pictures are from various sources.

I woke up this morning to a wonderful Chanukah gift. The IAF attacking Gaza.

I know I shouldn't be ecstatic, that I shouldn't be joyful at the death of my fellow human,…

The Chanukah Massacre was dubbed "Operation Cast (or Solid) Lead"
so named after a Chanukah poem by H.N. Bialik, national poet of Israel

"Teacher bought a big top for me,
Solid lead, the finest known.
In whose honor, for whose glory?
For Hanukkah alone."

From now on, Hanukkah/Chanukah will always be associated in my mind with a tragic 2008 Massacre in which Israel again took a gamble that no power in the world would raise a finger to stop their 60-year long campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians but will let them have as many spins of the "solid lead" dreidel as they need to win all of Eretz Israel.

~Salmah Umm Zainab

The full blog plus pictures can be found here:


And again the url is listed at the end of the below comments from that blog.

Comment from Maggie Thornton
December 29, 2008 at 8:27 PM

The Palestinian people should be encouraged to enjoy their land and live side by side with Israel. We know that won't happen. Palestine has brought this on themselves. While the men shoot off their rockets and their mouths, their women and children die and the "warriors" do not care.

Get your history straight.

Comment from SuZ
December 29, 2008 at 8:56 PM

Maggie Thornton, I invite you, please, to get your history straight -


I hope your chillingly absent compassion is due only to ignorance. Your blog post horrified and sickened me, as does your comment here.

The Palestinian people did not bring this on themselves; they did not ask to be dispossessed and murdered and oppressed 60 years ago nor now, they merely resisted and continue to resist.

If those who have been displaced and oppressed by the state of Israel are willing to allow the thieves of their lands and destroyers of their lives to retain part of what was stolen in exchange for promises not to steal any more and murder any more, why not humbly and gratefully accept their largesse on their terms and try to reform your national character?

Comment from Kaleem
December 29, 2008 at 9:03 PM

What a response Suz1
I really appreciate your great comment with reason and logic to the morally bankrupt, insensitive comment, which speaks volumes of a fascist mindset.
Keep it up to let these nihilists have a little doze of sanity as well.

Comment from Gary
December 29, 2008 at 9:08 PM

These quality comments and exposing the evil nature of israeli fascists will never let them have a doze of sanity. The reason is simple: They didn't get a lesson from the holocaust of their fellow Jews. They are repeating the same crimes which were done to them. How can we expect them to learn from these simple posts when they couldn;t learn from the hOlocaust. They should have been sensitized by the brutality of Nazis to the extent that they should have become defenders of all oppressed and vicimized. Instead, they become the oppressers, the occupiers, the racists and ethnic cleansers. What a shame.

Comment from SuZ
December 29, 2008 at 9:08 PM

Thank you Kaleem!

Comment from Project http://Humanbeingsfirst.org/
December 29, 2008 at 10:43 PM

While the powerless' scream may not reach the monster that hides behind the nom de guerre "Maggie Thornton":

"I still curse the killers, their accomplices, the indifferent spectators who knew and kept silent, and Creation itself, Creation and those who perverted and distorted it. I feel like screaming, howling like a madman so that that world, the world of the murderers, might know it will never be forgiven."

a victor's justice at some point in the future - and there is always a future for all victims as the 2000 year history of the Jews themselves is ample testimony - may indeed reach it one day.

I fear that day - for it will not know the difference between innocent and guilty!

How can that ever be determined once the vilest criminal generation known to mankind - having suffered their own holocaust at the hands of another vilest generation - has left its innocent children behind to reap the harvest of revenge planted by their criminal elders and their criminal exponents who gleefully claim: "I feel like dancing and singing this day."?

Getting history straight is irrelevant, for that can never happen as long as power overwhelms its victims. Just look at the images of the victims and the rejoicing of their murderers and that is enough to get it straight!

There is no ignorance here - there is no banality of evil here either.

Only an 'ubermensch' exercising their god's chosen-people's imperatives upon the lesser goy.

And the reason for it isn't that abstruse either: http://www.dictatorshipwatch.com/2008/12/29/the-final-pretexts-for-population-transfer-in-the-making.html

So dance all you want Maggie Thornton. Some others will be paying for every one of yours and your brethren's dance-step in spades.

Zahir Ebrahim
Project http://Humanbeingsfirst.org/

A Wonderful Chanukah/Hannukah Gift:

10 Jan 2009 @ 13:12 by jazzolog : For The Record, Naomi Klein
Hopefully, most readers have read this dispatch from Ms. Klein by now. Her personal involvement down at the end are particularly revealing. You may know that I am a major fan of Naomi Klein, not only because she's so darned brilliant...and Canadian, but because she writes superbly~~~

January 7, 2009

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era." The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions--BDS for short--was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves.... This international backing must stop."

Yet many still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.

1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement." It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures--quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don't work, sticks are needed.

2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn't. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza in 2007 was "infinitely worse than apartheid."

3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I'll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Coming up with this plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn't it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don't I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel's Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom company, sent an e-mail to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. "As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company."

When contacted by The Nation, Ramsey said his decision wasn't political. "We can't afford to lose any of our clients, so it was purely commercially defensive."

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (September 2007); an earlier international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002).

10 Jan 2009 @ 16:17 by quinty : BDS

Imagine that, the United States boycotting Israel? A worthy project forcing Israel to behave decently, but hardly likely. Unless there is a full blown sea change here. I’m hoping Obama at the very least returns to the somewhat objective viewpoint former presidents have had, reversing Bush’s green light for absolutely anything. Jimmie Carter had a closed doors meeting yesterday with Obama on the Middle East. While not revealing what precisely was said Carter expressed some confidence after the meeting.

The Palestinian militants have to give up terrorism. I’m not merely speaking of the humanitarian aspects here, but of the fact that so long as they fire rockets into Israel that will give the Israelis the propaganda cover to do whatever they like to them.

As of this morning the death toll among Palestinians is more than 800 and among Israelis 20. Yet our media continues to treat this conflict as if it were a war among equals, putting an emphasis on the horror of lost Israeli lives. And our Senate offers its full support of Israel. Those hundreds (or is it thousands?) of rockets Hamas has fired into Israel only allows this lack of balance and truthfulness to continue.

Why does the lobby have such a stranglehold on our Congress? True, they have crushed those who have strayed off the reservation and no pol wants to be accused of being Himmler’s fellow traveler. More voices are speaking up, and even our blindly pro Israel Congress will be forced to see the barbarity. A recent poll showed more than forty percent of the American people no longer unconditionally back Israel. Let's hope for that sea change.  

10 Jan 2009 @ 16:43 by quinty : On the other hand
if the Palestinians stopped rocketing Israel with only the exception of a few Jewish peace groups nobody would pay any attention to the brutalities (ethnic cleansing) Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians. At least not in the west.

Try to put yourself in their place. The Palestinians are using the traditional weapons of a subjugated civilian population.  

13 Jan 2009 @ 18:22 by quinty : Is change coming?

I watched Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearing this morning, on good old C-SPAN.... Not only did Hillary break the Israel First taboo but informed the Senators that Obama and she herself are aware Afghanistan may become a US quagmire. And that US policy will adopt to changing conditions. Now (as an aside) why should we think that we bright people, critics of US foreign policy, should be the only ones who recognize an unending war (quagmire) in Afghanistan is a real possibility? Just because we had George for president all these years?

But judging from what we have heard so far from the Obama team a change regarding Israel/Palestine may be coming too. And (a) the Obama administration will start working for peace at the outset, and (b) the US will be even handed.

We'll see, of course, We'll see. But Hillary was most impressive this morning. And even the Republicans Senators came out and spoke intelligently as if breathing some fresh air. Who would of thought? Here's the piece from Huffington Post ----

Clinton Sympathizes With Palestinians In Confirmation Hearing


Ryan Grim

January 13, 2009 10:36 AM

Hillary Clinton sent a message to Israel Tuesday during her Secretary of State confirmation hearing testimony, telling the Foreign Relations Committee that because of the conflict in Gaza "we have ...been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians."

Mainstream American politicians are famously reluctant to utter the words "suffering" and "Palestinian" in the same sentence. By breaking from that tradition, Clinton appeared to send a signal to Israel that that it would not have a free hand to operate in the Middle East.

President-elect Barack Obama found out the hard way early in the campaign what heat can come to a candidate who expresses sympathy for Palestinian suffering. He was quoted in the Des Moines Register as saying that "[n]obody is suffering more than the Palestinian people." The report said that Obama considered the suffering "a result of stalled peace efforts with Israel."

Asked later in a debate about the remark, he backpedaled. "Well, keep in mind what the remark actually, if you had the whole thing, said. And what I said is nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel, to renounce violence, and to get serious about negotiating peace and security for the region," Obama explained.

Clinton went on to say that the current crisis "must only increase our determination" to seek a two-state solution.

"The President-elect and I understand and are deeply sympathetic to Israel's desire to defend itself under the current conditions, and to be free of shelling by Hamas by rockets. However, we have also been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians," Clinton said. "This must only increase our determination to seek a just and lasing peace agreement that brings real security to Israel; normal and positive relationships with its neighbors; and independence, economic progress, and security to the Palestinians in their own state."  

13 Jan 2009 @ 19:31 by quinty : Oy vey! Oy vey!

Get a load of this rally in New York. Max Blumenthal is the guy going around asking questions.....


Dig the lady who talks about cutting out a "cancer" Now, who does that remind you of? Not the guys in polished black leather jackboots and deathsheads?

And for the whole Blumenthal piece from Alternet, go to:


Or read it here....

Pro-Israel Rally Attended by Big-Time NY Dems Descends into Calls for 'Wiping Out' Palestinians
By Max Blumenthal, AlterNet. Posted January 13, 2009.

Attendants of a rally attended by Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. David Paterson in support of Israel's attacks on Gaza went far beyond the pale.

On January 11, an estimated 10,000 people rallied in front of the Israeli consulate in midtown New York in support of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip. The rally, which was organized by UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York in cooperation with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, featured speeches by New York’s most senior lawmakers. While the crowd was riled to righteous anger by speeches about Hamas evildoers, the event was a festive affair that began and ended with singing and joyous dancing.

Sen. Chuck Schumer highlighted Israel’s supposed humanitarian methods of warfare by pointing to its text messaging of certain Gaza Strip residents urging them to vacate their homes before Israeli forces bombed them. “What other country would do that?” Schumer shouted from the podium. Gov. David Paterson appeared on stage wearing one of the red hats distributed to demonstrators as symbols of the red alerts some residents of Israel endure when Palestinian groups fire rockets their way. Paterson cited the many Qasam rockets that have fallen on Israel as a justification for the country’s operations in Gaza, a military assault that has resulted in over 800 casualties and thousands of injuries.

Then Paterson highlighted the anti-Semitism that has followed in the wake of Israel’s attack on Gaza, highlighting the beating of a teen-age girl in France. “This kind of anger and hatred spreads like a disease,” Paterson said, “and one thing I've always pointed out is there's no place for hate in the Empire State.”

But hatred was plentiful at the rally Paterson addressed. Right in front of the stage, a man held a banner reading, “Islam Is A Death Cult.” Rally attendees described the people of Gaza to me as a “cancer,” called for Israel to “wipe them all out,” insisting, “They are forcing us to kill their children in order to defend our own children.” A young woman told me, “Those who die are suffering God’s wrath.” “They are not distinguishing between civilians and military, so why should we?” said a member of the group of messianic Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch group that flocked to the rally.

No one I spoke to could seem to find any circumstance in which they would begin to question Israel’s war. No number of civilian deaths, no displays of extreme suffering -- nothing could deter their enthusiasm for attacking one of the most vulnerable populations in the world with the world’s most advanced weaponry. There are no limits, no matter what Israel does, no matter how it does it.

The rally made me think of a passage in “The Holocaust Is Over, We Must Rise From Its Ashes,” a powerful new book by former Israeli Knesset speaker and Jewish National Fund chairman Avraham Burg:

“If you are a bad person, a whining enemy or a strong-arm occupier, you are not my brother, even if you are circumcised, observe the Sabbath, and do mitzvahs. If your scarf covers every hair on your head for modest, you give alms and do charity, but what is under your scarf is dedicated to the sanctity of Jewish land, taking precedence over the sanctity of human life, whosever life that is, then your are not my sister. You might be my enemy. A good Arab or a righteous gentile will be a brother or sister to me. A wicked man, even of Jewish descent, is my adversary, and I would stand on the other side of the barricade and fight him to the end.”

Max Blumenthal is a senior writer for The Daily Beast and contributor to outlets including The Nation, Al Jazeera English, Salon.com, Alternet, the Huffington Post, and the Washington Monthly. A winner of the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Award for his investigative print journalism, he has produced numerous widely-recognized video reports that have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube. His book, "Republican Gomorrah: Inside The Movement That Shattered The Party," will be published by Basic Books in 2009.  

13 Jan 2009 @ 20:47 by a-d : I just want you all to notice
that once again Someone has been cleaning up InterNet and the most incriminating links/site removed/blocked, whatever...but not accessed any longer. The first two I put there on my first comment; the Map and the next; we are not allowed to access any longer!......

Quinty, I made few comments on Rish's, Spell's and Ahsanti's blogs to shed some more LIGHT into the World at large.  

13 Jan 2009 @ 23:54 by quinty : Hmmm,

And why would those blogs be blocked?

Let's not get carried away though. We don't have the full picture before us. Or do we?

Referring back to Hillary's confirmation hearing this morning I heard Senator Lugar's (R Indiana) opening comments, calling for transparency regarding Big Bill's humanitarian enterprises. His suggestions sounded most reasonable to me. Later on, Hillary appeared (I didn't see this) to negate them and fudge over the matter.

This could cause trouble. After all, if Hillary is off in Swaziland and something comes up regarding Saudi Arabian contributions to the Clinton foundation which affect her efforts in Dubai then US foreign policy could become bolixed up with the taint of scandal.

Her apologists (the ones I've heard) say she's honest and would never be thus influenced or corrupted. Maybe so, but the "honor system" has never worked. Look at our corporate captains of finance if you think personal "integrity" is all that's required. And since when has Hillary become a Libertarian?  

14 Jan 2009 @ 01:10 by a-d : This happens on InterNet
all the time.... has done so for years! This time it happended to be the MAP of Israeli land grabbing from the original deal to today's situation...
I just found on the Net one site, where the Map --still-- hasn't been removed. So check it out! http://1158munich.blogspot.com/2008/12/how-israel-wiped-palestine-off-map.html

It is soooo self explanatory of what has been going on the last 6o years!.....

If I made it sound as if this only was an NCN occurence,I apologize for having been unclear. No. This Censorship in the Cyber Space and has been going on "forever"

Yeahhh...don't you just luuuv that "chocolate fudge" they always offer!; )  

14 Jan 2009 @ 16:37 by Quinty @ : There other maps
which are somewhat larger and clearer. So maps including the settlements in the West Bank are out there. Yes, I agree, those settlements, the land grabbing go far in explaining Israeli/Arab tensions. Why there has been an ethnic cleansing.  

16 Jan 2009 @ 23:43 by quinty : Avi Shlaim talks
to Amy Goodman.....


It's a video interview and slightly more than forty minutes long. Shlaim's book, The Iron Wall, which I've read, is excellent. He's a prof at Oxford and teaches international relations.

And this from Jewish Voice for Peace....

Almost three weeks into "Operation Cast Lead," we call once more on Jews and others to speak out for a cease fire and against the siege of Gaza.

At Jewish Voice for Peace, we echo the report issued on January 14 by 9 Israeli human rights organizations: Israel's military operations in Gaza pose a "clear and present danger to the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of civilians." In Gaza, "the level of harm to the civilian population is unprecedented" while "military forces are making wanton use of lethal force."

We condemn Israel's assault on Gaza. As of today , more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli assault, including at least 335 children and many more civilians. Nearly 5,000 have been wounded, many paralyzed for life. Tens of thousands have fled their homes - but Gaza is entirely sealed off, so there is nowhere to hide, no safe haven for civilians, no escape corridor for civilians to flee the air, sea and land attacks. Electricity and running water are scarce, the health system has collapsed and sewage is running through the streets in some areas. Inside of Israel, rockets continue to rain down, hitting population centers like Beer Sheba and Ashkelon and causing widespread fear. We condemn these ongoing rocket attacks, which indiscriminately target civilians. 13 Israelis have been killed, 3 of them civilians, with over 82 civilians injured.

Jewish Voice for Peace:

* Calls on all Americans to support Rep. Dennis Kucinich's resolution calling for an "immediate and unconditional ceasefire" and "unrestricted humanitarian access" to Gaza. Call your congressperson or write them today.

* Joins the call from Human Rights Watch (and others) for Israel to stop using white phosphorous, an incendiary tool permissable in the laws of war as an "obscurant" - but when used in densely populated Gaza, causes widespread, horrific burning of the skin.

* Demands an end to the vicious siege on Gaza, which brought the population to the brink of humanitarian disaster with extreme shortages of food, water, fuel and medical supplies.

* Calls for an end to the 41 years of occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, including an immediate end to the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Only when Palestinians and Israelis are both equally free to decide their own sovereignty will there be peace.

One bright spot in the midst of this terrible darkness is the explosion of dissent in all corners of the globe. We are especially moved by the Israelis who refuse to fall in line with the drumbeat of war: those like Nomika Zion in southern Gaza who, despite living terrified under rocket fire, stand up to say "Not in my name...The bloodbath in Gaza is not in my name nor for my security." or the group "Other Voice", made up of Israelis living under the threat of qassams, who call for Israel to end the attack and strike a truce with Hamas.

We are inspired by those Israeli soldiers who refuse to fight this civilian population, some of whom are already in jail for their refusal; those Israelis who gather every week to demand their country halt its assault and end the siege, or protest everyday at countless intersections throughout the country; and especially those Israelis who stand outside Sde Dov airforce base in Tel Aviv every morning to remind the pilots that every day they drop their bombs, they drop them on civilians.

In North America, we are inspired by the thousands of people who have gone into the streets for protests, in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and elsewhere, and especially the Jewish women who held a sit-in the Israeli consulate in Toronto, telling the Israeli authorities that "we'll end our occupation when you end yours."

And we are motivated by the tens of thousands who have signed petitions and sent letters calling for Congress to work for an immediate ceasefire and end the siege, and by the tens of thousands who have signed up on JVP's email list and sent thank-you letters to Jon Stewart (www.thankyoujonstewart.com). We are hopeful that more journalists and op-ed page editors will tell the truth about Gaza and Israel (here are examples from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.)

And we are grateful to our friends at Jewish Peace News for bringing us insightful analysis and timely reports on dissent against the war.  

17 Jan 2009 @ 03:10 by a-d : and then, check
who's supporting "Who" & "What" here on NCN!... "interesting" reading/observations -to say the least!...some reveal--or is it really that they are in a good position to truly solidify their true colors, ( that we mostly, just didn't really want to see before!...) ...ALL in the NAME OF LOVE!...yeahhh, right!....

On the Blog called Ame, the owner posted a great article about Jewish Youth in Israel who rather go to jail than into the Zionist Army to be trained to murder people and see the comments she got!...and from whom!.... All comments saved by us... just in case the TROLL that (to Ms.Somebody's chagrain) shows up again removing ----... ("WE never remove or alter... everybody else does it on NCN... but we no no... never..." or words to that effect... written here on these pages a "hundred" times -at least! ;) ))  

17 Jan 2009 @ 15:46 by quinty : Thanks
for tipping me off to Ame.

Yes, I'm familiar with the Refuseniks. Jewish Voice for Peace http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/ and others has done several things on them.

We can dismiss the Refuseniks as thoughtless, immature rebels but this is only another rationalization among those who refuse to admit Israel has committed any crimes. It robs these young people who refuse to serve of the ability to think so it becomes easy to dismiss them without their critics doing any real thinking themselves. When the imagination and a blind eye to cruelty and criminal behavior become your allies you can always find justifications for anything. While, of course, blaming others of behaving the way you yourself do and have.  

19 Jan 2009 @ 19:06 by quinty : January 19 - About 1300 to 13 dead

We Must Demand a Just Peace for Palestinians


by Judith Laitman and Tsela Barr

As American Jews, we grew up learning to revere Israel, the "Jewish state" -- the refuge of the persecuted. We had come to expect that Israel would have a highly developed moral consciousness and a collective awareness of what it means to have another group want to annihilate you. So it is shocking for those of us who grew up with these romantic myths to witness the state of Israel assuming the role of oppressor, of murderer of innocents, of desensitized military annihilator.

And it is even more grotesque for Israel and its defenders to continue to pretend that it is the Israelis who are the victims and that its recent savage assault on Gaza was just a defensive act. Worse yet, if people of conscience even express sympathy for the Palestinian victims, they are accused of anti-Semitism. These tactics purposely obscure the real obstacle to peace in the Middle East -- Israel's rapacious 40-year military occupation of Palestinian lands, and its brutal blockade of Gaza and its 1.5 million inhabitants.

So let us look at the record:

It was Israel that broke the six-month cease-fire with an incursion into Gaza on Nov. 4 in which they killed six Palestinians.

Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza in 2005. But it retained complete control of Gaza's land borders, airspace, and maritime access, maintaining a blockade that by itself is an act of war. This blockade resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis, even before the recent assault.

The Israeli attacks on Gaza were a violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions, which require an occupying power to protect an occupied population.

In the West Bank, which has committed no aggression toward Israel, Israel continues to expand its settlements, continues to build an illegal wall that divides Palestinian land, continues to destroy the homes of innocent Palestinians on their own land, builds roads that are Jews-only, and subjects Palestinians to daily humiliations and disruptions at hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints.

The Palestinians and the Arab League have made offers of peace that would ensure Israel's security if it returned to the 1967 borders. This represents major concessions on the part of Palestinians, who in 1948 were mandated 45 percent of Palestine. The 1967 borders give the Palestinians less than half of that. Israel has rejected these offers.

Israel receives $3 billion a year from U.S. taxpayers. Gazans were assaulted by U.S. F-16s and Apache attack helicopters.

One-third of the more than 1,100 people killed in the recent assault on Gaza were children.

Now Israel has called a cease-fire and claimed its "objectives" have been met. Some scholars say these "objectives" relate to an Israeli policy known as "the Iron Wall." This is a strategy of inflicting such massive pain on the Palestinians that they will either leave or accept their subjugation so that Israel can achieve its goals of a "Greater Israel." According to Israeli historian Avi Shlaim: "Israel is practicing state terror using violence on a massive scale against Palestinian civilians for political purposes."

The bombs may be quiet for now, but this is no time for us to be silent. Let us speak out at every opportunity against the oppression -- and the terrorism -- that continues to go on against the Palestinian people. Life will not return to normal for the victims in Gaza, and it shouldn't for us either. We must demand a just peace for the Palestinians and an end to the colonial project that is destroying Israel's soul.

© 2009 The Capital Times Judith Laitman and Tsela Barr are members of the Madison chapter of American Jews for a Just Peace, ajjpmadison.org.  

19 Jan 2009 @ 21:58 by a-d : ...and besides,
WHY IN THE WORLD are they reffered to as Palestinians IF such Land "never existed" /doesn't exist --at least in concept.The Land of Philistens, that Abram walked to and where he was welcomed --all according to Genesis in OT.!... little did they know!....  

20 Jan 2009 @ 21:47 by quinty : These Arabs
called Palestinians, just sprung up, don't ya’ know, to make life miserable for Jews. Why else would they be living there?

The Jews being long persecuted by Europeans, and, yes, Americans too. In nineteen twenty, say, see how easy it was for a bright Jewish fellow to get into Yale, or a good club where Park Avenue establishment types hung out.... on and on. Or to be elected to high office. Anti-Semitism has quite a long history. And the Holocaust was an event of such transcendent horror and inhumanity that the western world (Europe and the USA) were willing to grant the Jews just about anything. And, for a long time, have.

So the Holocaust made anti-Semitism quite unfashionable, so to speak. And Zionists appear to have exploited that awful leverage founded on guilt and contrition for all it's worth, Including a mini-holocaust of their own. The Nakba. And all the horrors following which, leaning on Jewish power here in the United States, has served as cover for acts which, if other nations had committed them, would have been labeled war crimes. Crimes against humanity.

This latest episode, in which so many Arabs have been killed, has passed beneath the radar of the world without any great outcry (excluding the "usual suspects") because we have become so accustomed to Israel behaving in this barbarous manner that nothing they do even appears out of the ordinary. It's just more of the same.

But eventually the blinders will fall away. One day Israel will have to answer for its acts, even here in the United States. But can the Palestinians last that far? And how many will be left? How much more pain will they have to suffer?

No, this tragedy in the Middle East is not a black and white struggle, as Israel’s rightwing or the Palestinian fanatics would have us believe. And Hamas includes many religious extremists who see no problem with the indiscriminate killing of innocents. But in the propaganda war israel is way far ahead, and at this time nearly all its acts still pass off as unblemished. That is the lie the “lobby” rigorously protects and perpetuates. The lie cowardly American politicians immediately accept.

Let’s hope President Obama can be even handed and truly balanced with Israel and the Arabs. George Bush only encouraged the Israeli right to flourish. There can be no peace unless basic Palestinian rights are finally recognized.  

21 Jan 2009 @ 19:03 by a-d : that's funny , quinty!
"...to make life miserable for...."  

21 Jan 2009 @ 21:05 by Quinty @ : I see that
George Mitchell will be special US envoy to the Middle East.

I have always liked Mitchell, and he is an extremely serious fellow, who helped bring about a peace settlement in Ireland.

Is this choice a cause for optimism? It shows at least that the Obama administration is serious about finding a settlement. For it's not likely Mitchell will simply bow to whatever the Israelis want, unless he has lost all his character.  

22 Jan 2009 @ 00:28 by b : Israel is Israel
Israel exists. Israel is one of the nations of Earth. Israel has borders. There are stateless Arabs and new immigrint Shia is disputed territors. As of Jan 2009 there are no deals.  

22 Jan 2009 @ 03:59 by a-d : yeahhh right, b!
Borders have come & gone on this planet many times around!... and will again! and no, Israel is NOT a NATION!...maybe a State (= a PRIVATE corporation, pretending to be there for the People!.... just like the rest of (Nation-)States are! "Le etat, cest moi"? "Mais oui!"  

22 Jan 2009 @ 16:28 by quinty : Well,
I wouldn't go that far a-d. Though if I understood what you said correctly you seem to question the legitimacy of any national borders (America should talk! Ask the original natives!) Israel is a state, a nation. We can argue about the Zionist project, if you wish, but Israel has become established, and the Arab world will eventually have to acknowledge that fact. (Though the Israelis offer the consoling fiction that they are a “poor defenseless state surrounded by enormous enemies.” A gross rationalization in consideration of Israel possessing the fourth or fifth most powerful military in the world. As well as nuclear weapons.)

And the use of the term "disputed territories" is a rationalization Likudists and israel Firsters employ over the theft of Arab land too. Since it’s no longer in the possession of the Arabs it becomes “disputed.” Easy logic, isn’t it? If I ever pick a wallet out of someone’s pocket I hope I can use that defense in court.

The new settlers from the Bronx or Eastern Europe see these olive trees and take this land, but if the Palestinians want it back its ownership becomes disputed. Only those with a predisposition to believe in this logic (ie, Israel’s apologists) actually believe it.

The international community does not recognize the West Bank settlements. And Israel takes this land from Palestinians in violation of international law.

Yes, israel exists. But the settlers, most of them, hope for an “eretz Israel.” and God aside or included (Only religious fanatics believe they know what such an august a presence thinks) theft is theft.

How can they do this? Simple. They have a powerful army and an air force and the backing of the United States. 3 billion a year in US military aid. The Palestinians: well, they have rocks, IEDs, homemade rockets (mostly), and hand guns. I recall once hearing an apologist for an IDF incursion claim: “rocks hurt.” Indeed, they do. But what about tank shells and missiles and phosphorus and heavy artillery? Not to mention the American made modern attack aircraft Israel can use on defenseless civilians?  

22 Jan 2009 @ 17:45 by a-d : Israel is no more a Nation
... ONLY "on Paper" to deceive the People.... -just like United States of America, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Egypt etc etc.ALL are PRIVATE CORPORATIONS, OWNED BY PRIVATE "INTERESTS". PERIOD!!!
ALL of these "Nations" as you guys errouneously refer them to have an OBELISK in the "Capitol" the Illuminati "Secret" Sign, that they are part of the Agenda!.... PRIVATE; ONLY MEANT for the INSIDERS (The Crown) and their SLAVES are allowed to be there AS THEIR SLAVES...used in many fashions for handling many different projects, all to benefit SOMEHOW MOSTLY the INSIDERS... but as we all know: "you have to give a Little to get a Little (more)!....

The day enough many of ghe "regular People of the earth understand this SCAM, our process/road to freedom will open up!.... not before!

Like Vaxen has been saying for the last ten years here: FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL!...and learn the UGLY TRUTH!  

23 Jan 2009 @ 23:50 by quinty : A current tally from Tomgram

Tomgram: Tony Karon, Obama's Gaza Opportunity

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175024/tony_karon_obama_s_gaza_opportunity for the entire piece. Here is Tom Englehardt's introduction, which perhaps can serve as a summary of what happened....

Yes, we now know the ever grimmer statistics: more than 1,400 dead Gazans (and rising as bodies are dug out of the rubble); 5,500 wounded; hundreds of children killed; 4,000 to 5,000 homes destroyed and 20,000 damaged -- 14% of all buildings in Gaza; 50,000 or more homeless; 400,000 without water; 50 U.N. facilities, 21 medical facilities, 1,500 factories and workshops, and 20 mosques reportedly damaged or destroyed; the smashed schools and university structures; the obliterated government buildings; the estimated almost two billion dollars in damage; all taking place on a blockaded strip of land 25 miles long and 4 to 7.5 miles wide that is home to a staggering 1.4 million people.

On the other side in Israel, there are a number of damaged buildings and 13 dead, including three civilians and three soldiers killed in a friendly-fire incident. But amid this welter of horrific numbers, here was the one that caught my eye -- and a quote went with it: Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, chief of staff of the Israeli Army, told Parliament on January 12th, "We have achieved a lot in hitting Hamas and its infrastructure, its rule and its armed wing, but there is still work ahead."

Work? The "work" already done evidently included a figure he cited: more than 2,300 air strikes launched by the Israelis with the offensive against Hamas still having days to go. Think about that: in a heavily populated, heavily urbanized, 25-mile-long strip of land, 2,300 air strikes, including an initial surprise attack "in which 88 aircraft simultaneously struck 100 preplanned targets within a record span of 220 seconds." Many of these strikes were delivered by Israel's 226 U.S.-supplied F-16s or its U.S.-made Apache helicopters.

In addition, the Israelis evidently repeatedly used a new U.S. smart bomb, capable of penetrating three feet of steel-reinforced concrete, the bunker-busting 250-pound class GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb. (The first group of up to 1,000 of these that the U.S. Congress authorized Israel to buy only arrived in early December.) In use as well, the one-ton Mk84 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and a 500-pound version of the same. These are major weapons systems. Evidently dropped as well were "Dime (dense inert metal explosive) bombs designed to produce an intense explosion in a small space. The bombs," reported Raymond Whitaker of the British Independent, "are packed with tungsten powder, which has the effect of shrapnel but often dissolves in human tissue, making it difficult to discover the cause of injuries."

Keep in mind that Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups are essentially incapable of threatening Israeli planes and that the Israelis were using their airborne arsenal in heavily populated areas. Though the air war was only one part of a massively destructive assault on Gaza, as a form of warfare, barbaric as it is, it invariably gets a free pass. Yet, if you conduct an air war in cities, it matters little how "smart" your weaponry may be; it will, in effect, be a war against civilians.

Whatever the damage done to Hamas, what happened in Gaza was, simply put, a civilian slaughter. And yet, as Tony Karon, TomDispatch regular and TIME.com senior editor, who runs the Rootless Cosmopolitan blog, indicates below, the very scale of the Israeli assault on what was essentially a captive population wiped away many illusions, tore up the Middle East playbook, and potentially created the basis for a new Obama era approach to both Israelis and Palestinians. Whether that opportunity will be taken up is another matter entirely. Tom  

24 Jan 2009 @ 16:00 by quinty : Among
the self justifications and lies which support this offensive, the one of Hamas fighters “hiding” among civilians may be among the most repugnant. For as Englehardt says, the military strikes were on a city, a densely populated area, where civilian casualties would be inevitable.

But the Israelis can blame Hamas for "hiding" among civilians, instead of = what? Coming out to fight the IDF on an open field, in a straightforward, "honest" and “brave” manner? Their small arms against israel's tanks, jet planes, field artillery, and attack helicopters?

The lie becomes even more repugnant when it is seen as an easy, convenient rationalization for willfully, knowingly, attacking a large civilian population: shirking all blame for the consequences.  

28 Jan 2009 @ 18:24 by martha : Egypt again
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt aired its grievances against Iran, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, saying they worked together in the fighting over Gaza to provoke conflict in the Middle East.

"(They tried) to turn the region to confrontation in the interest of Iran, which is trying to use its cards to escape Western pressure ... on the nuclear file," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in an interview with Orbit satellite channel broadcast Wednesday.

Aboul Gheit also said that Egypt undermined Qatar's attempts to arrange a formal Arab summit on Gaza earlier this month, arguing that it would have damaged "joint Arab action."

"Egypt made the summit fail... This summit, if it had taken place as an Arab summit with a proper quorum, would have damaged joint Arab action. We can see what others do not see," he said.

The interview was broadcast Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning and the state news agency MENA carried excerpts.

The comments are the first acknowledgement by Egypt that it actively sought to prevent the Doha summit on January 16, which was the subject of a bitter tug-of-war between rival Arab states.

It also indicated that a reconciliation meeting in Kuwait last week between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on one hand, and Qatar and Syria on the other, had only a short-term effect.

Qatar failed to win enough support to hold a formal Arab League summit on Gaza but it went ahead anyway with an informal consultative meeting of Arab leaders.

The wrangling reflected deep divisions between Arab governments. On one side Saudi Arabia and Egypt, wary of the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, favored discussing Gaza at a separate economic summit in Kuwait a few days later
Diplomats say Egypt resents the Qatari challenge to its traditional role as leading Arab mediator and dislikes the influence of the satellite television channel Al Jazeera, which is based in Doha and owned by the Qatari government.

"Some people imagined that a satellite channel could bring down the Egyptian state, without realizing that Egypt is much stronger than that," Aboul Gheit said.

"Egypt is very big and has extensive influence despite attempts to influence this stance and role, whether in the Al Jazeera channel or other channels," he added.

The Egyptian minister also criticized Hamas for what he called its coup against the forces of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip in 2007.


29 Jan 2009 @ 18:19 by martha : Hamas torture
GAZA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - A Palestinian man on Thursday accused Islamist Hamas militants in control of the Gaza Strip of torturing and killing his brother for publicly criticising them.

Osama Atallah, a teacher, was a supporter of the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the sworn enemy of Hamas, whose gunmen drove Fatah militia out of Gaza in 2007 and fought Israel's army in a three-week war this month.

His brother Bassam said masked gunmen in two jeeps arrived at the family home in the city of Gaza on Tuesday. They identified themselves as members of Hamas internal security and they arrested his brother Osama.

Bassam said the Hamas security service told the Atallah family Osama would be released in a matter of hours. But a Hamas government official, who is also a member of the Atallah family, later denied the teacher was in custody.

The family subsequently received a telephone call from hospital that Osama Atallah was in critical condition.

He later died of his wounds.

Ten Israeli soldiers died in the 22-day offensive, including four in a "friendly fire" accident. About 1,300 Palestinians were killed, according to a Gaza human rights group, of whom over 700 were civilians.

Many older Gaza Palestinians scoffed at a claim of "victory" by Hamas once the fighting was halted on Jan 18.

Fatah sources said Osama Atallah, a Fatah activist, had been threatened by Hamas "because of his public and continued criticism of the performance of the Hamas militias in Gaza."

They accused Hamas of "severely torturing and then strangling" Osama Atallah. They said bullets in his body could have been fired after he died.

Hamas interior ministry spokesman Ehab al-Ghsain did not respond to telephone calls from from Reuters about the accusation.

Hamas security officials said "dozens of collaborators" had been detained, including people they accused of spying for Israel during this month's battles.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Thursday that Hamas "executed several dozen civilians" during and after Israel's assault on Gaza. Some were members of Fatah, but others were not politically affiliated, the paper said.

Haaretz quoted an Israeli intelligence source as saying a number of Palestinian agents working for Israel were intercepted by Hamas "because the intelligence they provided was used carelessly" by commanders intent on minimising troop casualties.

"It appears that in most cases Hamas suspected that their victims had collaborated with Israeli intelligence," it said.

Hamas in Gaza has not confirmed killing collaborators. But an Arab newspaper has carried a statement by an exiled Hamas official confirming that the group killed several.

The accuracy of some Israeli airstrikes targeting individual militants in buildings, or trying to snipe at or pinpoint Israeli forces, certainly came from spies on the ground, according to some Palestinian security sources.

Haaretz said Israeli commanders with troops in Gaza were "very impressed that (intelligence services) could warn them with great precision of developments in their proximity".


Just wanted you to see the pattern of hamas torturing their own people and THAT some of the muslim world does not support their determined destruction of Israel.
As our newly elected president said, if someone was shooting rockets at my daughters i would not sit still.
Also if any nation on earth shot rockets at the good old US of A, do you think American's would just sit passively and let it happen over and over, like 3,000 times. Not a chance in hell!  

20 Feb 2009 @ 23:54 by Quinty @ : Self destruction?

Published on Monday, February 16, 2009 by The Independent/UK http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/02/16-9

Israel is Trapped, and the Chance of Peace is Ever More Remote
by Bruce Anderson

While the West is preoccupied with a crisis, a tragedy is unfolding. The world's financial system will recover. On the Israel/Palestine peace process, there can be no comparable optimism, for it is not clear whether such a process still exists. No process, no peace; a settlement is further away now than at any time since 1967. Israel seems bent on a course which will lead to its eventual destruction.

There is a hideous irony. The way that events are unfolding is a posthumous triumph for Adolf Hitler. With the winding-up of the Soviet Union, the last of the poisons created by the Second World War could be eliminated from the European bloodstream. Not the Middle Eastern one. It is easy to understand why the Israelis reacted as they did. Once you have suffered a Holocaust at the hands of the race which produced Beethoven, Goethe and Mozart, you lose trust in mankind's benevolence: lose faith in everything except your own soldiers and weaponry.

It is equally easy to understand why the Palestinians reacted as they did. Those who are driven into exile and refugeedom do not feel well-disposed towards their oppressors. The Palestinians felt no linguistic inhibitions, and why should they? They bore no guilt for the Holocaust. In the grip of - understandable - rage, some Palestinian rhetoric developed Nazi resonances. That was a mistake. It aroused every Israeli trauma. We have been here before, many Israelis concluded. This time, no one is going to herd us to our death like cattle. This time, we will get our retaliation in first.

Because of the circumstances in which their Jewish state was created, most Israelis believe that they have two existential necessities, and entitlements. They want to enjoy security and they insist that their neighbours recognise their rights to do so. That does not seem unreasonable. But it is. It fails the highest test of political rationality. It is not realistic.

This does not mean that Israelis should have to live in bomb shelters under constant risk of attack. But they have chosen to live in a dangerous neighbourhood, so there must be compromises. Instead of the delusion of absolute security by imposing a humiliating peace on crushed opponents, Israel should understand the need for a modus vivendi.

Israelis are proud of their achievements over the past 60 years, and rightly so. But most of them are guilty of a crass failure of moral sensitivity leading to an equally crass strategic misjudgment. They fail to understand that their security will always be under threat from their neighbours' misery. Above all, their leaders lack the political wisdom and the moral courage to tell Israelis something which most probably know in their hearts: that to make peace, they will have to take risks.

The first act of the current tragedy began in 1967, after the Six-Day War. Plucky little Israel was master of the battlefield. She had overrun a vast acreage of Arab territory. Almost immediately, even by those who had never been enthusiastic about the State of Israel, distinctions began to be drawn between the pre-'67 boundaries and the 1967 conquests. Israel had a tremendous hand of cards, strategic and moral. There was never a better moment for "in victory, magnanimity".

Israel should have announced that unlike almost every previous military victor, she did not seek territorial gains; her sole war aims were peace and justice. To secure them, she was prepared to trade her conquests, with the obvious exception of the Holy Places in old Jerusalem. On such a basis, and with huge international support, a deal would have been possible. But there were problems. At its narrowest point, pre-'67 Israel was only 12 miles wide. A tank thrust from the West Bank could have cut the country in two. Although the generals cannot be blamed for failing to predict the era of asymmetric warfare in which tank thrusts would only occur in war movies, their insistence on a demilitarised West Bank complicated matters. Then a temptation emerged, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

Israel was short of land. Much of the West Bank seemed to be inhabited by raggedy goatherds, primevally picturesque, poor and unproductive. Israeli agriculture would soon have the place flowing with milk and honey, while Israeli architects built new homes for a growing population. So the settlements began. The temptation to colonise the occupied territories was abetted by theology. Under the Jehovah declaration, somewhat preceding the Balfour one and also somewhat more extensive, historic Israel was said to include the West Bank. Israel ate the apple.

In order for Israel's pre-'67 Promised Land to be secure, most of the settlements would have to be evacuated, so that a viable Palestinian state could come into existence. It would always have been virtually impossible to generate the political will for this in Israel. Last week's election results eliminated the "virtually".

Even if it wished to do so, which seems unlikely, the new Israeli government could make no progress towards a Palestinian state. Because of its rigidly proportional electoral system, Israel will be condemned to weak governments blackmailed by extremist parties. The imperative to reach a just peace with Palestine will have no leverage on Israeli domestic politics.A prosperous Palestinian state would not guarantee Israel's safety. Some young men would still be enticed by fanaticism and violence. But the problem would be much more manageable. If most Palestinians had a stake in a decent future, there would be many fewer suicide bombers - and the '67 vintage Israeli generals were right on one point. Theirs is a tiny country. The first WMD suicide bomber would do terrible damage.

Over the years, Israel has proved that it can deal with conventional threats. Like the rest of us, it is now working out how to cope with terrorism and asymmetric warfare. Israeli opinion would angrily reject any answers that smacked of appeasement. But a Palestinian state is justice, not appeasement. There are alternatives. Israel could abandon the pretence of a two-state solution and offer the Palestinians Israeli citizenship: the end of the Jewish state. Or she could try ethnic cleansing: drive the Palestinians into Jordan. That would be the end of the Jewish state as a moral entity.

Assuming the alternatives to be unacceptable, there is only justice, or continued muddle, with a sullen, resentful Palestinian population awaiting inflammation. That, alas, is almost a certainty, and who knows how far the flames will spread? Israel is a wonderful place, with landscape, culture, increasingly good wine and as much political argument as you can hold. The country emerged out of tragedy. It would be heart-rending if its heroic journey ended in tragedy. Yet that is the likeliest outcome, and it would be Israel's fault.

© 2009 The Independent  

4 Apr 2009 @ 22:57 by Quinty @ : Israel on Trial
Published on Saturday, April 4, 2009 by The New York Times

Israel on Trial


by George Bisharat

SAN FRANCISCO - Chilling testimony by Israeli soldiers substantiates charges that Israel's Gaza Strip assault entailed grave violations of international law. The emergence of a predominantly right-wing, nationalist government in Israel suggests that there may be more violations to come. Hamas's indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians also constituted war crimes, but do not excuse Israel's transgressions. While Israel disputes some of the soldiers' accounts, the evidence suggests that Israel committed the following six offenses:

Violating its duty to protect the civilian population of the Gaza Strip. Despite Israel's 2005 "disengagement" from Gaza, the territory remains occupied. Israel unleashed military firepower against a people it is legally bound to protect.

Imposing collective punishment in the form of a blockade, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In June 2007, after Hamas took power in the Gaza Strip, Israel imposed suffocating restrictions on trade and movement. The blockade -- an act of war in customary international law -- has helped plunge families into poverty, children into malnutrition, and patients denied access to medical treatment into their graves. People in Gaza thus faced Israel's winter onslaught in particularly weakened conditions.

Deliberately attacking civilian targets. The laws of war permit attacking a civilian object only when it is making an effective contribution to military action and a definite military advantage is gained by its destruction. Yet an Israeli general, Dan Harel, said, "We are hitting not only terrorists and launchers, but also the whole Hamas government and all its wings." An Israeli military spokeswoman, Maj. Avital Leibovich, avowed that "anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target."
Israeli fire destroyed or damaged mosques, hospitals, factories, schools, a key sewage plant, institutions like the parliament, the main ministries, the central prison and police stations, and thousands of houses.

Willfully killing civilians without military justification. When civilian institutions are struck, civilians -- persons who are not members of the armed forces of a warring party, and are not taking direct part in hostilities -- are killed.

International law authorizes killings of civilians if the objective of the attack is military, and the means are proportional to the advantage gained. Yet proportionality is irrelevant if the targets of attack were not military to begin with. Gaza government employees -- traffic policemen, court clerks, secretaries and others -- are not combatants merely because Israel considers Hamas, the governing party, a terrorist organization. Many countries do not regard violence against foreign military occupation as terrorism.

Of 1,434 Palestinians killed in the Gaza invasion, 960 were civilians, including 121 women and 288 children, according to a United Nations special rapporteur, Richard Falk. Israeli military lawyers instructed army commanders that Palestinians who remained in a targeted building after having been warned to leave were "voluntary human shields," and thus combatants. Israeli gunners "knocked on roofs" -- that is, fired first at corners of buildings, before hitting more vulnerable points -- to "warn" Palestinian residents to flee.

With nearly all exits from the densely populated Gaza Strip blocked by Israel, and chaos reigning within it, this was a particularly cruel flaunting of international law. Willful killings of civilians that are not required by military necessity are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and are considered war crimes under the Nuremberg principles.

Deliberately employing disproportionate force. Last year, Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, head of Israel's northern command, speaking on possible future conflicts with neighbors, stated, "We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction." Such a frank admission of illegal intent can constitute evidence in a criminal prosecution.

Illegal use of weapons, including white phosphorus. Israel was finally forced to admit, after initial denials, that it employed white phosphorous in the Gaza Strip, though Israel defended its use as legal. White phosphorous may be legally used as an obscurant, not as a weapon, as it burns deeply and is extremely difficult to extinguish.

Israeli political and military personnel who planned, ordered or executed these possible offenses should face criminal prosecution. The appointment of Richard Goldstone, the former war crimes prosecutor from South Africa, to head a fact-finding team into possible war crimes by both parties to the Gaza conflict is an important step in the right direction. The stature of international law is diminished when a nation violates it with impunity.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
George Bisharat is a professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law.  

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