Saturday, September 2, 2006
"THREATENED by a potentially nuclear-armed Tehran, Israel is preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to Israeli political and military sources.
The conflict with Hezbollah has led to a strategic rethink in Israel. A key conclusion is that too much attention has been paid to Palestinian militants in Gaza and the West Bank instead of the two biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the region, who pose a far greater danger to Israel’s existence, defence insiders say.
There has been grave concern in Israel over a military pact signed in Tehran on June 15 between Iran and Syria, which the Iranian defence minister described as a “mutual front against Israeli threats”. Israel has not had to fight against more than one army since 1973.
“If they had acted against Syria during this last kerfuffle, the war might have ended more quickly and better,” Perle added. “Syrian military installations are sitting ducks and the Syrian air force could have been destroyed on the ground in a couple of days.”
Advocates of political engagement believe a war with Syria could unleash Islamic fundamentalist terror in what has hitherto been a stable dictatorship. Some voices in the Pentagon are not impressed by that argument.
“If Syria spirals into chaos, at least they’ll be taking on each other rather than heading for Jerusalem,” said one insider."
By Ilan Pappe
(Ilan Pappe is senior lecturer in the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa. His books include among others The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and forthcoming, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006))
"A genocide is taking place in Gaza. This morning, 2 September, another three citizens of Gaza were killed and a whole family wounded in Beit Hanoun. This is the morning reap, before the end of day many more will be massacred. An average of eight Palestinian die daily in the Israeli attacks on the Strip. Most of them are children. Hundreds are maimed, wounded and paralyzed.
The conventional Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing employed successfully in 1948 against half of Palestine’s population, and against hundred of thousand of Palestinians in the West Bank are not useful here. You can slowly transfer Palestinians out of the West Bank, and particular out of the Greater Jerusalem area, but you can not do it in the Gaza Strip - once you sealed it as a maximum-security prison camp.
Even before the abduction of Giald Shalit, the Israeli army bombarded indiscriminately the Strip. Ever since the abduction, the massive killing increased and became systematic. A daily business of slaying Palestinians, mainly children is now reported in the internal pages of the local press, quite often in microscopic fonts.
The Lebanon war provided the fog for a while, covering the war crimes in the Gaza Strip. But the policies rage on even after the conclusion of the cease-fire up in the north. It seems that the frustrated and defeated Israeli army is even more determined to enlarge the killing fields in the Gaza Strip. There are no politicians who are able or willing to stop the generals. A daily killing of up to 10 civilians is going to leave few thousands dead each year.
Much depends on the international reaction. When Israel was absolved from any responsibility or accountably for the ethnic cleansing in 1948, it turned this policy into a legitimate tool for its national security agenda. If the present escalation and adaptation of genocidal policies would be tolerated by the world, it would expand and used even more drastically.
Nothing apart from pressure in the from of sanctions, boycott and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip. There is nothing we here in Israel can do against it. Brave pilots refused to partake in the operations, two journalists – out of 150 – do not cease to write about it, but this is it. In the name of the holocaust memory let us hope the world would not allow the genocide of Gaza to continue."
By STANLEY HELLER
"The Israeli paper Ha'aretz reports that the head of Germany's Jewish community accused a minister in Angela Merkel's German government of "anti-Semitism" because of the minister's statement on Israel's use of cluster bombs. Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul had asked for a United Nations probe into Israel's use of cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon.
It was known that in the last days of the war the Israeli army was engaged in a desperate attempt to have some "victory" and rushed troops here and there in an attempt to have a photo shoot near the Litani River. What was not known until now was the blind spite that sowed the ground of South Lebanon with a massive number of bomblets.
Responding to a report by Human Rights Watch charging Israel with war crimes in its conduct of the war in Lebanon that was written by its director Kenneth Roth, Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel has called Roth "loathsome." An editorial in the New York Sun accused Roth of "de-legitimization of Judaism" because his group condemned Israel's strategy as "an eye for an eye." The fact that Kenneth Roth is Jewish and his father fled Nazi Germany makes no difference to the Ultras. If you do not support Israel 110% you are a Jew-hater, a renegade, a self-hater, and a holocaust denier. Get it?
In a very encouraging development hundreds of U.S. Jews are calling for strong measures to be taken against the Israeli government including a cut off of U.S. aid and U.N. sanctions. Over 800 have signed the statement calling for "U.S. Jewish Solidarity with Muslim and Arab Peoples of the Middle East". It states "we are outraged by the violence being perpetrated in our name both as Jews and as U.S. citizens. We, the undersigned, represent Jews across the United States who are choosing to stand in solidarity with the peoples of Gaza and Lebanon". It includes the statement, "There is no Jewish safety in a country that rehearses the violence and persecution which Ashkenazi Jews experienced for centuries through the annihilation of the Palestinian people and their homeland." The signers are collecting money for a full page in the New York Times and are just $800 away from their goal. The petition can be found at http://www.jewishsolidarity.info/petition.php
It was after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon that U.S. Jews in significant numbers began open and trenchant criticisms of Israel. Chomsky's watershed "The Fateful Triangle" was published that year. Hopefully there will be even bigger shows of outrage this time around."
HOW CAN YOU FORM A "GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY" WITH AN USRAELI STOOGE? WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?
THE PALESTINIANS DESERVE SOMETHING BETTER
It looks like Hamas has been fully snared in the Oslo net and now "national unity" is the demand of the EU, the US, Kofi Annan, the puppet Arab regimes and probably Israel. With a consensus such as this, count me as one Palestinian against such unity.
"You'd have to wait a long time - perhaps to the end of the "Long War" - to get a straight answer from Rumsfeld on that one, but this precise scenario, transposed from Lower Saxony to Maysan province, unfolded in Iraq last week, when British forces abandoned their base at Abu Naji and disappeared into the desert wastes and marshes along the Iranian border. The move was largely ignored by the American media, but the implications are enormous. The UK contingent of the invading coalition has always been the proverbial canary in the mine shaft: if they can't make a go of things in what we've long been told is the "secure south," where friendly Shiites hold absolute sway, then the entire misbegotten Bush-Blair enterprise is well and truly FUBAR.
The Queen's Royal Hussars, 1,200-strong, abruptly decamped from the three-year-old base last Thursday after taking constant mortar and missile fire for months from those same friendly Shiites. The move was touted as part of a long-planned, eventual turnover of security in the region to the Coalition-backed Iraqi central government, but there was just one problem: the Brits forgot to tell the Iraqis they were checking out early - and in a hurry.
In other words, the British move makes no sense - if you accept the official spin at face value, i.e., that it's an act of careful deliberation aimed at furthering the Coalition's stated goals of a free, secure, democratic Iraq. But those in the reality-based community will see it for what it is: a panicky, patchwork reaction to events and forces far beyond the Coalition's intentions or control.
The goat is gone. The canary is dying. The surrender and sack of Abu Naji is a preview of what's to come, on a much larger scale of death and chaos, as the bloodsoaked folly of Bush and Blair's war howls toward its miserable end."
Friday, September 1, 2006
By Azmi Bishara
"You see sons being groomed for monarchical succession in republics that are still caricatures of Bonapartism and Mameluke despotism. Ironically, these heirs apparent always begin their careers by condemning corruption, yet they are one of the foremost manifestations of corruption.
There is the division into regional axes, with political leaders changing positions as though they were playing musical chairs. One day they'll deride Arab nationalism and Arab identity if it is used to promote modernism, to resist Israel or combat the American drive to partition Iraq. The next day they'll turn around and use these concepts against Iran. Just to hear a Saudi official defending Arab identity makes your head spin.
There is the Palestinian government under siege, Palestinian society being destroyed. International delegations meet the Palestinian president and snub the democratically elected Palestinian government, while in Lebanon they meet the government and snub the president. Washington could not order non-Arab countries such as Turkey or Russia not to receive elected Hamas officials but it has no problem laying down the law with Arab governments. The same governments which attacked Hizbullah because of its Shia affiliation are the same ones that attack Sunni-affiliated Hamas. Such are the inconsistencies of the pro-American axis.
Even more worrying is the unprecedented drive to inflame sectarian discord and drive a wedge between Sunni and Shia Muslims, as though they were mutually hostile tribal groups rather than adherents to differing Islamic doctrines. In the past, non-democratic governments based their legitimacy upon a doctrine of national unity that they were uniquely poised to embody. Now we see non- democratic regimes fuelling sectarian strife and national disunity in order to perpetuate themselves.
I believe that the Iranian-supported Lebanese party should not act towards Iran as communist parties acted towards Moscow in the days of the Soviet Union. Iran is not infallible, and it is certainly less than innocent in Iraq, where it is helping to promote sectarian strife in order to further its own regional ambitions. One can understand Hizbullah's predicament because of its material dependence on Iran. However, the party still has considerable room for manoeuvre because of the popular support it has received in the Arab world, which it can turn to its advantage without having to lose Iran's support.
Modesty, action instead of words, persistence, organisation and judgement are the qualities that have distinguished Hizbullah over the past two decades, giving the Lebanese resistance its unique character. The party's greatest success is in having developed a workable model for resistance, ending inferiority complexes and defeatist theories based on the notion that Arabs are culturally or genetically flawed.
Generally, political movements tend to condemn this phenomenon only in others. Arab nationalists condemned the hero worship of Stalin yet these same people turned Gamal Abdel-Nasser into an icon in a similar way. The revolutionary left, which scoffed at both Stalinists and Nasserists, pinned up its pictures of Marx and Che Guevara. The problem with this is that it obviates critical thought because it voids the symbols of the ideas they are meant to embody. To personify an idea by vesting symbolic meaning in an individual is to elevate that individual beyond criticism. This immunity must inevitably alter the quality of the idea itself.
But an alternative to the prevailing political and social culture is urgently needed throughout the Arab world. Imitating Hizbullah is not the answer, because the nature of the mission is not the same. "
"Iran fully understands what the U.S. under the rule of the perfidious neocons plans to do—all they need do is look west toward Iraq.
It should be obvious what the neocons have in mind for Iran—and all Muslim nations in the Middle East—complete social and cultural destruction, a process well underway in the hell hole of Iraq, at one time a first world country with a modern health care and educational system, now a smoldering wreck on par with ruined states in Africa.
Iran understands well this is the plan for them, as the Muslim hating neocons will not rest until Israel’s enemies are diseased, malnourished, without electricity or clean water, and wracked by tribal and ethnic violence.
In fact, the neocons are not interested in delivering “democracy” to Iran or any other Muslim country in the Middle East—the point is to destroy these countries, reduce them to their ethnic and tribal components, and make certain they do not challenge Israel. The “objective is the perpetuation of Arab disunity,” as Pepe Escobar notes, making reference to the situation in Iraq. It is a plan that will be unleashed against primarily non-Arab Iran, as well.
For the Zionist neocons, the fact a shock awe campaign against Iran will capsize the American economy and possibly usher in a new era of terrorism (more accurately defined as an asymmetrical response to state-sponsored terrorism) translates into a near perfect situation, as it will turn “natural, relaxed, hedonistic men into devout nationalists willing to fight and die” in the “clash of civilizations,” what Newt Gingrich, a goyim neocon, calls World War Three.
For the Straussian neocons, sanctions are but a necessary, albeit irksome, tap dance on the way to Armageddon."
FRUITS OF THE USRAELI INVASION
Lebanese Darwish Abd el-Aal looks at an unexploded cluster bomb hanging on a tree in an orchard as he shows it to the media, in the southern village of Mansouri, Lebanon, Friday, Sept. 1, 2006. Jan Egeland, the U.N. humanitarian chief on Wednesday accused Israel of 'shocking' and 'completely immoral' behaviour for dropping large numbers of cluster bombs on Lebanon when a cease-fire in its war with Hezbollah was in sight. (AP Photo)
"The viciousness of the Israeli assault on Lebanon is underscored by the IDF's use of cluster bombs against civilian targets. As Jan Egeland, who heads up humanitarian operations for the United Nations, put it:
"What's shocking – and I would say to me completely immoral – is that 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution. Every day people are maimed, wounded, and are killed by these ordnance."
As close to a million refugees return to their homes, 100,000 unexploded cluster bombs – most of them dropped by the Israelis in the closing hours of the war – lie in wait for them and their children. Kids often pick up such ordnance because of its resemblance to toys. Such is the sickening legacy of the Israeli aggression, which will continue to deal death long after "peace" is declared.
This braying, swaggering arrogance is the sort of style one usually associates with the historic enemies of the Jewish people – jackbooted fascists and neo-Nazis, who wear their nihilistic ruthlessness on their sleeves alongside their swastika armbands. Here is yet more evidence of my thesis that Israeli society, deformed by perpetual war and disfigured by state controls, is morphing into a form of fascism, including a mass movement with global reach that mimics the historical forms of national socialism – minus, of course, the requisite anti-Semitism. The national-socialist Sparta of the Middle East, egged on by its radicalized American amen corner, is embarked on a campaign of aggression that can only end in disaster for all – the United States included."
THE HAMAS DIFFERENCE
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya sweeps the floor as part of a cleaning campaign with Hamas volunteers in Gaza City Friday, Sept. 1, 2006. Municipal workers, mainly responsible for garbage collection, water treatment, and sewage processing, went on strike in Gaza City and two other southern towns three days ago. Their action is part of a broader strike threat by unions linked to the opposition Fatah Party that is widely viewed as a pressure tactic to force Hamas to give in to demands to form a national unity government. (AP Photo)
"Ultimately, you conclude, there will be a third, “far deadlier intifada”. Could you specify the reasons that led you to this prognosis?
Vladimir Jabotinsky, the early leader of revisionist Zionism, coined the phrase the “iron wall”, meaning the use of unremitting force against a Palestinian population that he believed would never submit to their national dispossession and enslavement. Well he was right about the Palestinians refusing to submit willingly, I think, but a little optimistic that simple force would be enough to subdue them for good. You can’t steal from a people, then lock them up in prisons if they demand their possessions back, and expect them to keep quiet for ever. Israel can seal the Palestinians into a series of ghettos but that will not contain them indefinitely. Sooner or later they will find a way to fight back, even from behind their walls. My guess is that the next intifada will be called the Qassam intifada after the homemade rockets Palestinians fire out the Gaza Strip to try to hit Israeli communities. We are going to see more of that kind of resistance.
Also, my view is that in the longer term the convergence plan will envision sealing Israel’s Palestinian citizens into their own ghettoes, some severed from the new borders of the Jewish state and others corralled into areas where they will become effectively guest workers. So Israel is creating common cause among the region’s Palestinians, whether those in the occupied territories or those currently inside Israel. That raises the stakes on both sides considerably."
"The aggressive new campaign by the administration of President George W Bush to depict US foes in the Middle East as "fascists" and its domestic critics as "appeasers" owes a great deal to steadily intensifying efforts by the right-wing press over the past several months to draw the same comparison.
Israel-centered neo-conservatives and other hawks have long tried to depict foreign challenges to US power as replays of the 1930s in order to rally public opinion behind foreign interventions and high defense budgets and against domestic critics.
Given the growing public disillusionment in the US not only with the Iraq war but with Bush's handling of the larger GWOT as well - not to mention the imminence of the mid-term congressional elections in November and the growing tensions with Ahmadinejad's Iran over its nuclear program - it is hardly surprising that both the administration and its hawkish supporters are trying harder than ever to identify their current struggles, including last month's conflict between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah, specifically with the war against "fascism" more than 60 years ago."
By Mahan Abedin
"The war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon has exposed deep rifts between Iran and Syria on the one hand and the conservative and US-friendly regimes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt on the other. This was dramatically underlined by Saudi Arabia's unusually tough stance against Hezbollah at the outset of the conflict.
The Saudi stance against Hezbollah has less to do with fears of Iran's growing geopolitical weight than a demoralized reaction to the failure of its foreign policy in Lebanon. However, by choosing to side with the United States and Israel, the House of Saud risks deepening the dynamics that generate divisions and dissent in the kingdom.
While the Iranians were sympathetic to general Shi'ite grievances, they mostly encouraged the reform movement to attack the Saudis on account of their alliance with the United States, which they identified as its Achilles' heel. The Iranians hoped this would resonate with wider sections of Saudi society who had begun to question the wisdom of Saudi foreign policy, which seemed to be centered on squandering the nation's oil wealth and facilitating US hegemony in the region and beyond.
Saudi Arabia has long sought to curtail the power of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Privately, Saudi officials share the US and Israeli view that Hezbollah - notwithstanding its impeccable Lebanese credentials - is ultimately an instrument of Iranian foreign policy. However, the Saudis supported Hezbollah's campaign in the 1990s to drive Israel out of southern Lebanon, albeit grudgingly.
The breakdown of the unofficial Saudi-Syrian pact in Lebanon might have benefited Iran, had it not provoked the so-called Cedar Revolution that was dominated by middle-class Sunnis and Christians. This posed a direct threat to Hezbollah and Iran insofar as it championed Lebanon's normalization on Sunni and Christian terms. In short, the Cedar Revolution risked opening Lebanon to US influence and permanent Israeli military and security hegemony. The Saudis stood to benefit as well, as long as their investments in the country were protected.
The strong reaction of the Saudis against Hezbollah must be understood in this context. From the Saudi perspective, Hezbollah has invited terrible Israeli retribution on Lebanon and endangered 15 years of substantial Saudi investment on the volatile country.
Equally worrying for the Salafi-jihadis is the broader resurgence of Iranian-style Islamism. This has been most evident in Iran itself, where the conflict has boosted hardcore ideological forces in the Islamic Republic and revived the "Hezbollahi" spirit that had been dormant since the late 1980s.
Already its controversial stance against Hezbollah has divided opinion in the kingdom. The most important dissenter is Sheikh Salman al-Auda, a former Salafi hardliner, who has come out in support of Hezbollah. More broadly, there is significant grassroots support for Hezbollah, which is seen (as it is seen in other Arab countries) as the only effective tool against Israeli hegemony.
In the final analysis, the Lebanon war has not only imperiled 15 years of Saudi investments, but once again exposed the limitations of the kingdom's foreign policy. More ominously for al-Saud, it has sharply divided opinion in the country and further discredited the official Wahhabi ulema. This is bound to undermine the regime's security and create new forms of challenges and dissent long after the fighting stops in Lebanon. "
Thursday, August 31, 2006
8/29/06-CFL ALERT: 25% of Palestinians Parliamentarians Imprisoned by the Israeli Occupation Government.
*In the last two months alone Israel has arrested almost one quarter of the members of the Palestinian parliament as part of its campaign to free an Israeli soldier captured near Gaza in June. Those arrested by the Israelis include 49 senior Hamas officials, including the 33 parliamentarians. All are being held as bargaining chip in the prisoner exchange negotiations. Many of those kidnapped have been seen as moderate leaders who have consistently urged Hamas leaders to recognize Israel and negotiate the terms of a future Palestinian state with Israeli leaders.
*Please take a moment to write to your elected officials and tell them that you are outraged that the U.S. is preaching democracy to the Arab world while remaining silent as Israel imprisons members of the democratically elected Palestinian government.
*Remind your elected officials that, while Hamas is abiding by a ceasefire, Israelis have not stopped their attacks on Palestinian civilians and infrastructure and have increased extrajudicial assassinations in the Occupied Territories. Tell your elected officials that they are doing nothing to promote peace between the Palestinians and Israel and that their policies are only feeding extremism and the continuation of conflict between both parties.
*Tell your elected officials that as American citizens you are tired of the biased role that the U.S. is playing in this conflict and that you will no longer support any party that does not stand for justice, democracy and freedom.
EMAIL AND OR CALL THE WHITE HOUSE
WHITE HOUSE COMMENTS LINE: 202-456-1111
WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD: 202-456-1414
WHITE HOUSE FAX: 202-456-2461
Citizens for Fair Legislation
VIDEO: The politics of Donald Rumsfeld's 'New Fascism'
Joseph Samaha (in Arabic)
"نبادر الى القول إن اسهل ما يمكن أن يحصل هو أن تبدو هذه القوات طلائع «حملة صليبية» متأخرة جمعها وأوفدها إلينا «الملك جورج» من اجل محاربة «الإسلام الفاشي». ليس هذا أسهل ما يمكن أن يحصل بل إنه حاصل فعلاً لدى أوساط عربية وإسلامية. نكون، في هذه الحالة، أمام مرحلة تصعيدية خطيرة في «صدام الحضارات» الذي بدأ طرحاً خرافياً ثم شرع يكسب صدقية يوماً بعد يوم بفعل غطرسة الإدارة الأميركية ورعايتها لانفلات إسرائيل من عقالها.
ليس التحول الأوروبي ملموساً في الموضوع اللبناني فقط. إنه حاضر بقوة في ما يخص القضية الفلسطينية أيضاً. لقد انحازت دول الاتحاد فلسفياً الى الإدارة البوشية. لم يعد الاحتلال هو المشكلة وإنما «الإرهاب»، والفرق بين الأمرين شاسع ويقود، في ما يقود إليه، إلى تجويع الشعب الفلسطيني عقوبة له على اختياره الديموقراطي. ومن نافل القول أن أي التحاق أوروبي بالسياسة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط هو الباب الملكي للدخول في الهامشية.
من المؤسف جداً أنه في الوقت الذي تؤكد فيه الوقائع العراقية والفلسطينية واللبنانية قرب المواقف الأوروبية السابقة من الصواب نجد أن أصحابها تخلوا عنها، أو يكادون، من أجل دعم سياسة أميركية (وإسرائيلية) ثبت بالبرهان القاطع أنها وصفة لعدم الاستقرار وللتوتر.
ندرك تماماً أن العنصر الحاسم في دفع أوروبيين كثر إلى المشاركة الجدية في «اليونيفيل» وإلى تحديد نوع هذه المشاركة، هو الاهتمام بإسرائيل وأمنها أولاً وبلبنان خامساً. وهذا ما يقوله أحد «أفضل» الأوروبيين هذه الأيام، ماسيمو داليما.
الأوروبيون قادمون للإقامة في جنوب لبنان. أي، عملياً، عند الحدود مع فلسطين. إذا اعتبروا أنهم حماة إسرائيل التي تبطش بالفلسطينيين وحماة الاحتلال الأميركي التدميري للعراق، وحماة الاختراق اليومي للسيادة اللبنانية، فإن إقامتهم لن تطول. وهي لن تطول، بالتأكيد، مدة الغزوات الصليبية الغابرة."
By Noam Chomsky
"Let's describe the current crisis for what it is: a US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon, with only a cynical pretence to legitimacy. Amid all the charges and counter-charges, the most immediate factor behind the assault is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
US-Israeli rejectionism is not only in words but, more importantly, in actions. With decisive US backing, Israel has been formalising its programme of annexation, dismemberment of shrinking Palestinian territories and imprisonment of what remains by taking over the Jordan valley - the "convergence" programme that is, astonishingly, called "courageous withdrawal" in the US.
In consequence, the Palestinians are facing national destruction. The most meaningful support for Palestine is from Hizbullah, which was formed in reaction to the 1982 invasion. It won considerable prestige by leading the effort to force Israel to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000. Also, like other Islamic movements including Hamas, Hizbullah has gained popular support by providing social services to the poor.
To US and Israeli planners it therefore follows that Hizbullah must be severely weakened or destroyed, just as the PLO had to be evicted from Lebanon in 1982. But Hizbullah is so deeply embedded in society that it cannot be eradicated without destroying much of Lebanon as well. Hence the scale of the attack on the country's population and infrastructure.
The dynamics are familiar. Rami Khouri, an editor of Lebanon's Daily Star, writes that "the Lebanese and Palestinians have responded to Israel's persistent and increasingly savage attacks against entire civilian populations by creating parallel or alternative leaderships that can protect them and deliver essential services".
Such popular forces will only gain in power and become more extremist if the US and Israel persist in demolishing any hope of Palestinian national rights, and in destroying Lebanon."
Steadfast (like never before),
Iraq attacks kill at least 61 as U.S. occupation continues: At least 43 were killed when a series of seven rocket and bomb attacks were launched almost simultaneously against Shiite and Christian districts of Baghdad shortly before the nightly curfew, security officials said.
Iraq: At least 13 killed as U.S. Occupation grinds on: A car bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol killed four police commandos and wounded 11 people, including six policemen
U.S. sniper kills family of four in Ramadi – witnesses: A man, his wife and two children were walking home in al-Huz neighborhood when a U.S. sniper shot them dead at 11:00 a.m. in al-Ma’ared Street.
Marines admit to abducting, killing Iraqi: Two Marines have confessed to kidnapping and killing a 52-year-old Iraqi man in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad, a military prosecutor said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing.
No Death Penalty for Marine: The government will not seek the death penalty against a Marine Corps private who is among eight service members charged with murder and other crimes in the shooting of an Iraqi civilian, a military prosecutor said Wednesday.
Another lie on Iraq: WHEN President Bush declared last week that "nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered" the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a large segment of the American public must have been very surprised.
Australia: Iraq letter 'suppressed' lack of WMD evidence: -A DAMNING six-page letter on the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was suppressed by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, according to a former senior diplomat.
US military to pay $20 million for "more positive news" from Iraq: "They want it [news] to be received by audiences as it is transmitted [by them], but they don't like how it turns out," he said. As an example, he said, there are complaints that reports from Iraq sometimes quote Shiite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr more than military commanders.
OPT: Oxfam calls on world leaders to lift Palestinian aid freeze at Stockholm conference: Oxfam believes that the Palestinian Authority stands to lose more than $1 billion following the suspension of aid earlier this year and Israel withholding Palestinian tax revenue, according to UN and World Bank estimates. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without an income. Rubbish is piling in the streets, sewage is overflowing from household cesspits, schools are running without budgets and government employees are striking for lack of pay.
Israel to try Palestinian officials in Dec.: According to the report, two Palestinian Cabinet ministers, the Speaker of the Palestinian parliament and 12 lawmakers who were seized by Israel during the past two months will be put before judge on Dec. 12.
West Bank residents forced to sing in order to pass checkpoint and school bags are inspected: Israeli soldiers told the man that he had to unload everything onto the ground for inspection. Tulkarem residents say they were forced to sing the Hafez Halim song, “Salamat, Salamat” in order to pass. Residents report feeling angry and provoked.
OPT: Gaza children suffer as rich world meets to discuss aid: Since 28th June, 44 children have been killed, electricity and water infrastructure has been destroyed and humanitarian assistance has been routinely blocked from getting to those people who need it. Since 15th August, for example, no humanitarian aid at all has been allowed through some gates and even humanitarian workers have had their movements heavily restricted.
Settlers uproot scores of olive trees in Yatta near Hebron: Local sources reported that settlers uprooted trees located near an Israeli army post just outside the village. Settlers have repeatedly targeted the residents, their property and farmlands in addition to attacking the international volunteers who comes to the area to help the people.
Army takes nine civilians prisoners in Hebron area: Troops, backed by dozens of army jeeps, stormed the city and the two towns, and conducted wide scale search campaign to the residents houses. Soldiers searched and ransacked residents houses in a very rough way, eyewitnesses reported, and added that soldiers found no weapons or explosives in any of the attacked houses.
Israeli troops withdraw from eastern Gaza: Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza City's eastern outskirts early on Thursday, ending a four-day operation during which 20 Palestinians were killed, witnesses and an Israeli army spokesperson said.
Leaflets dropped on northern Gaza blame resistance: The Israeli military is holding the armed Palestinian resistance responsible for Israeli attacks and closures. Eyewitnesses report that Israeli aircraft dropped tens of thousands of leaflets on the northern Gaza Strip blaming the resistance for pedestrian and commercial crossings closures, including Rafah's southern border with Egypt.
Rabbis: Israel Too Worried Over Civilian Deaths : America’s main organization of Modern Orthodox rabbis is calling on the Israeli military to be less concerned with avoiding civilian casualties on the opposing side when carrying out future operations.
US May Cover Israel's War Costs: A senior Bush administration official said Wednesday that if asked, the US is likely to grant Israel additional military aid to cover the costs of its recent war against Hezbollah.
Ruin, despair in Gaza neighborhood after Israeli incursion : An elderly mother spoke amid the rubble of her partially destroyed home in the Shajaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, from where Israeli occupation troops pulled out early Thursday after a four-day-plus operation that killed 20 people.
MP George Gallowa, says Israel poisoning West: Galloway said Israel's 39-year occupation of swathes of Arab territory had spurred militants to attack the West.
|A mayor in California refused to apologize for bestowing an honor on a Palestinian who called Hezbollah an “amateur in terrorism compared with Israel.” |
Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews provoked the ire of local Jewish leaders earlier this month when she presented a key to the city to Afif Safieh, a longtime member of the PLO, at a talk in front of 250 people, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Mathews said the gesture was not a means of taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but was meant to endorse Safieh’s vision of a two-state solution. Jewish leaders note that the PLO includes groups like the Fatah Movement’s Al-Aksa Brigade, whose members would like to “wipe Israel off the map of the world,” said Rick Litvak, rabbi of a local Reform synagogue.
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 31, 2006; A20
U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq.
The contract calls for assembling a database of selected news stories and assessing their tone as part of a program to provide "public relations products" that would improve coverage of the military command's performance, according to a statement of work attached to the proposal.
The request for bids comes at a time when Bush administration officials are publicly criticizing media coverage of the war in Iraq.
The proposal, which calls in part for extensive monitoring and analysis of Iraqi, Middle Eastern and American media, is designed to help the coalition forces understand "the communications environment." Its goal is to "develop communication strategies and tactics, identify opportunities, and execute events . . . to effectively communicate Iraqi government and coalition's goals, and build support among our strategic audiences in achieving these goals," according to the statement of work that is publicly available through the Web site http://www.fbodaily.com .
A public relations practitioner who asked for anonymity because he may be involved in a bid on the contract said that military commanders "are overwhelmed by the media out there and are trying to understand how to get their information out.
"They want it [news] to be received by audiences as it is transmitted [by them], but they don't like how it turns out," he said. As an example, he said, there are complaints that reports from Iraq sometimes quote Shiite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr more than military commanders.
The proposal calls for monitoring "Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international and U.S. national and regional markets media in both Arabic and English." That includes broadcast and cable television outlets, the Pentagon channel, two wire services and three major U.S. newspapers: The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Monitors are to select stories that deal with specific issues, such as security, reconstruction activities, "high profile" coalition force activities and events in which Iraqi security forces are "in the lead." The monitors are to analyze stories to determine the "dissemination of key themes and messages" along with whether the "tone" is positive, neutral or negative.
The media outlets would be monitored for how they present coalition or anti-Iraqi force operations. That part of the proposal could reflect Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's often-stated concern that the media does not cover positive aspects of Iraq.
In a speech before the American Legion on Tuesday, Rumsfeld said that a search of leading newspapers revealed that a soldier punished for misconduct was written about "10 times" as often as the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in anti-terrorism efforts.
The proposal suggests a team of 12 to 18 people who would provide support for the coalition military command as well as the Iraqi government leadership.
Prospective contractors are also asked to propose four to eight public relations events per month, such as speeches or news conferences, including "preparation of likely questions and suggested answers, themes and messages as well as background, talking points."
An attempt yesterday to reach the contracting officer for this project was not successful. Bids are due Sept. 6, and the 24-month contract is scheduled to begin on Oct. 28.
The Rendon Group, which has represented organizations such as the Iraqi National Congress, currently holds a much smaller year-to-year contract with the military command in Iraq. That contract includes creating an Arabic version of the command's Web site, http://www.mnf-iraq.com .
(John Prados is a senior analyst with the National Security Archive in Washington, DC. His forthcoming book is Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (Ivan Dee Publisher))
"In the past week Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has twice invoked the historical analogy to appeasement—referring to the years just before World War II, culminating in the Munich conference of September 1938—to frame the globe’s current struggle with terrorism in apocalyptic terms. Vice President Dick Cheney has used the same analogy, without even gracing it with a name, to defend what he calls the “battle for the future of civilization.”
The correct lesson to be drawn from Munich today is that when presidents and their administrations raise its specter, it is a sure sign they want to pursue extravagant policies, usually of violence, based on narrow grounds with shaky public support. Today the Munich analogy functions as a provocation, a red flag before a bull. It is dangerous because it claims that the only solution to any situation is to fight—Cheney’s point exactly. Having done nothing beyond silly propaganda—despite its own claims—to undermine the jihadists by eliminating the economic and political oppression that form the basis of jihadist appeal, the Bush people counsel that the fight is everything and that talking is “appeasement.” We have seen in Lebanon lately just how misguided is that approach.
Bush administration history is like their reality—faith-based. President Bush himself, along with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, characterized those who saw and spoke the truth about the run-up to the Iraq war as “revisionists”—historians who try to change the conventional wisdom about the past. Cheney not long ago declared it was “inexcusable” to repeat that truth. The same speeches that contain the Munich claims portray the Iraqi and Afghan people as “awakening to a future of hope and freedom” (Cheney) and say the U.S. strategy in Iraq “has not changed” (Rumsfeld).
The faith is that if you repeat falsehoods enough times the public will believe them. There is another historical analogy there—a real one—to Adolf Hitler’s henchman, Josef Goebbels. He called it the “Big Lie.” No wonder the administration’s flacks need friendly audiences."
IOF continue to raze agricultural land in Halhoul & Beit Omar to build sections of Annexation Wall.
- 30 Palestinians, including 3 children, a mentally disabled young man and a woman, were killed by IOF.
- 20 of the victims were killed by IOF in al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City.
- 3 of the victims were extra-judicially executed by IOF in the West Bank.
- 52 Palestinian civilians, including 18 children and a woman, were wounded by the IOF gunfire.
- IOF launched a series of air strikes on a number of houses in the Gaza Strip.
- 3 houses were destroyed in Gaza City and Jabalya.
- IOF conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and invaded al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City.
- IOF arrested 50 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including 6 children.
- IOF arrested a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah.
- IOF arrested 7 Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.
- IOF demolished 4 houses in Nablus.
- IOF destroyed civilian property in al-Shojaeya neighborhood in Gaza City.
- IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the Gaza Strip and there have been shortages of foodstuffs and fuels; and IOF positioned at a various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 5 Palestinian civilians.
- IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall in the West Bank; they razed more areas of land in Hebron for this purpose.
- Israeli settlers have continued attacks against Palestinian civilians and property in the OPT; settlers attacked Palestinian civilians and property in Hebron; and a Palestinian child was wounded in Beit Fourik village near Nablus.
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – While UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged on Wednesday, August 30, a halt to the Gaza onslaught and lift of crippling closure, Haaretz said Israel closes the Rafah crossing to lay pressures on Palestinians to free a captured Israeli soldier.
"We oppose the opening of the crossing, even for a few hours, so long as the matter of the abducted soldier remains unchanged," Shin Bet told representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the customs and the ports authorities and advisers to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, according to a transcript obtained by Haaretz.
"Pressure on this matter must remain in place at this stage," insisted Israel's internal spy agency.
The Israeli army also agreed that Rafah crossing, Gaza's only window to the outside world, "should be opened on occasion only after the kidnapped soldier is released and the shooting from the Gaza Strip stops."
It wants to use the crossing "as a means of applying pressure."
Under an agreement signed in 2005, the crossing is run under Palestinian and Egyptian management and supervised by 70 European Union observers.
In practice Israel closes the crossing at will, on the pretext of "intelligence of an imminent attack."
This automatically prevents the European observers from reaching the crossing - which ensures that it remains closed.
According to Haaretz, this is the first time that the army and Shin Bet are calling for a closure on grounds other than intelligence on pending attacks.
During her visits to Israel, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stressed that the crossing must be kept open as stipulated by the signed agreements.
During a lightning visit to the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the seat of the PA, Annan asked Israel to lift its crippling siege.
"The closure of Gaza must be lifted, the crossing points must be opened," he told a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The UN chief also professed for an end of the open-ended Israeli onslaught.
"Two hundred Palestinians have been killed since the end of June," he regretted. "This must stop immediately."
Annan also called for an end to the firing or Palestinian rockets into Israel, asking Tel Aviv to free Palestinian parliamentarians and officials held during the offensive, which was unleashed on June 28.
Israel launched the massive operation on the pretext of securing the release of a taken prisoner by Palestinian factions in a cross-border raid on June 25 that left two other soldiers dead.
The UN chief's remarks came as Israeli occupation forces killed nine Palestinians, mostly civilians.
Eight died in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, where Israeli soldiers have been operating since late Saturday.
They included a 14-year-old boy shot in the chest, two men in their 30s also gunned down and five others who died from tank fire, medical officials said.
In the occupied West Bank, Hossam Jaradat, the head of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, died from wounds sustained during an Israeli commando operation on August 23.
Wednesday's deaths bring to 19 the number of Palestinians killed in the Shejaiya neighborhood since Saturday.
The two-month Israeli offensive has claimed the lives of 204n Palestinians, mostly civilians, and left Gaza riddled with power shortages after its power plant was bombed out.
© IslamOnline.net + Agencies
The paper quotes "informed sources close to the mediations" as saying that the U.S. secretly negotiated with the group through leaders of "the Palestinian popular resistance committees."
Last week, the previously unknown group calling itself "The Holy Jihad Brigades" issued a statement demanding the release of all Muslims held in U.S. prisons in return for the release of the two journalists. In fact, the paper reports that the public demand was not serious and that the group's "real demands" were that the U.S. press Israel to reopen the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Palestine and cease the shelling of "Palestinian activists'" residences.
According to the report, the mediators contacted a representative of a European country who in turn contacted U.S. and British diplomats. The paper's sources said in the report that members of a senior FBI delegation, who had arrived in the area a few days earlier, were also involved in the negotiations.
The announcement that the two journalists had converted to Islam as a reason for their release was only a camouflage to conceal the fact that the U.S. had agreed to the hostage-takers' demands, according to the sources cited in the article. A few days ago the Rafah crossing was reopened for a few hours daily, and the Israeli forces stopped shelling residences of activists in the past few days, noted the paper's sources.
When asked for a response by ABCNews.com, a State Department spokesperson refused to comment on the report in al Hayat. The department's stated policy has been that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.
By JONATHAN COOK
"In a state established on a founding myth -- that the native Palestinian population left of their own accord rather than that they were ethnically cleansed -- and in one that seeks its legitimacy through a host of other lies, such as that the occupation of the West Bank is benign and that Gaza's has ended, deception becomes a political way of life.
And so it is in the "relative calm" that has followed Israel's month-long pounding of Lebanon, a calm in which Israelis may no longer be dying but the Lebanese most assuredly are as explosions of US-made cluster bombs greet the south's returning refugees and the anonymous residents of Gaza perish by the dozens each and every week under the relentless and indiscriminate strikes of the Israeli air force while the rest slowly starve in their open-air prison.
Israeli leaders deceive as much in "peace" as they do in war, which is why it is worth examining the slow trickle of disinformation coming from Tel Aviv and reflecting on where it is leading."
A Lebanese Armenian student carries a placard as others wave Lebanese flags during a demonstration against the participation of the Turkish troops in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon, in front of the United Nations House in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2006. US, EU and Israel pressed for peacekeepers from Turkey, the only Muslim member of NATO, and a country with close ties to Israel and Arab countries. The large Armenian population in Lebanon has loudly protested Turkish involvement. Armenians say up to 1.5 million Armenians died or were killed over several years during World War I as part of a genocidal campaign to force them out of eastern Turkey. Arabic writing on banners, top right, reads 'Zionist racism=Turanic racism=Crimes against Humanity.' Turanism is a political movement that forms an important aspect of the ideology of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party. (AP )
DEMOCRACY, USRAELI STYLE
Anwar Zaboun, center, and other Hamas members of the Palestinian Parliament show gestures inside the Israeli military court at the Ofer military base between Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Ramallah, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2006. An Israeli military court on Thursday set Dec. 12 as the date for the trial of two Palestinian Cabinet ministers, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament and 12 lawmakers seized in an Israeli roundup of prominent Hamas officials two months ago. (AP Photo)
A Lebanese woman tends her grandson who was wounded by an Israeli cluster bomb. The UN's top humanitarian official denounced Israel's use of cluster bombs in the last days of the Lebanon conflict as "immoral" and said that thousands of civilians were at risk from unexploded munitions(AFP)
ONE OF 100,000 LITTLE PRESENTS THE IOF LEFT FOR THE LEBANESE JUST BEFORE THE CEASEFIRE
A cluster bomb is seen in the yard of a house in the southern Lebanese village of Sultaniyeh. The UN's top humanitarian official denounced Israel's use of cluster bombs in the last days of the Lebanon conflict as "immoral" and said that thousands of civilians were at risk from unexploded munitions(AFP)
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Business owners in north can't get special loans because they aren't Jews
A business development center that works under the auspices of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry has offered special loans for small businesses in the north, but it is making the special offer only to those businesses that are owned by Jews and former soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.
The ministry said that the criteria for eligibility was determined by the owners of a private foundation that is funding the project.
At the end of the Lebanon war, the MATI organization announced it was offering special loans to residents of northern towns, which had suffered great damage when Hezbollah rockets hit homes and businesses.
A few Israeli Arab business owners who checked the loans for businesses in the Galilee happened upon a great deal: MATI was offering a NIS 45,000 loan, which will be paid back with no interest over a reasonable amount of time.
But the businessmen checked the criteria for eligibility for the loan and saw that it was intended only for Jews and ex-IDF troops.
The Musawa legal center has filed a complaint with the ministry several business owners complained over the criteria for the loan. The center's legal councilor has demanded to give business owners equal opportunities to take out the loans.
The head of the center has said the criteria are discriminatory and are in violation of laws against discrimination in public services and High Court rulings that state a body being funded by the government must not discriminate on the basis of nationality, religion, race or sex
He says, if MATI does not change the criteria for the loan, the center will file civil law suits in the name of several businesses in the north.
4 Israelis beat IDF soldier, break through West Bank checkpoint
Four Israelis were arrested Wednesday after attacking an Israel Defense Forces soldier and breaking through a West Bank checkpoint in an effort to reach the area of the evacuated Sa-Nur settlement. The men were arrested after soldiers fired warning shots in the air.
The four, ranging in age from 19-27, include two former Sa-Nur residents, reached the checkpoint and told told the soldiers that they want to visit the former settlement of Sa-Nur. Since the evacuation of the settlement as part of the disengagement plan last summer, the former settlement was designated by GOC Central Command as a closed military zone.
After the troops informed the men that they could not pass the checkpoint, they got out of their cars, beat one of the soldiers, and continued driving. Only after soldiers fired in the air did the men stop. The four were arrested and their remand will be extended on Thursday.
In recent weeks, police officers have faced a number of incidents in which individuals who resided in the evacuated settlements of Homesh and Sa-Nur have tried to reach the areas to mark one year since the evacuation of the settlements. In recent weeks, a number of small groups have evaded soldiers and police officers and found alternate routes to the former settlements.
Police sources regarded the attempts at reaching Homesh and Sa-Nur with severity.
"Whoever enters those areas is endangering himself," a police officer said, noting that Wednesday's incident was the most severe thus far.
McKenzie Funk IN THE ENEMY COMBATANT’S HOUSE, in the room where he eats and prays and sleeps, a single window casts its light on a single adornment: an enormous Soviet-era map of the world. It is the first thing I notice after I arrive unannounced one cold fall morning and am ushered into the warmth of the room. We sit on the floor below an elongated Africa, a tiny America, and a colossal, pink-shaded U.S.S.R. A brother with a prosthetic leg appears and lays out a brightly patterned sheet still covered with past meals’ bread crumbs. Non ham non, nonreza ham non, the Tajik proverb goes: “Bread is bread, crumbs are also bread.” The enemy combatant serves the tea. He pours it before it’s properly steeped, dumps the watery cups back into the pot, and repeats. If he’s unhappy to see an American after Guantanamo, he doesn’t show it. He smiles, and two wrinkles appear on his left cheek. I ask him his full name. Muhibullo Abdulkarim Umarov, he tells me. He says he is 24 years old. He asks, “You want to know the story of my capture, yes?” To continue reading click HERE.
July 12 , 2006
IN THE ENEMY COMBATANT’S HOUSE, in the room where he eats and prays and sleeps, a single window casts its light on a single adornment: an enormous Soviet-era map of the world. It is the first thing I notice after I arrive unannounced one cold fall morning and am ushered into the warmth of the room. We sit on the floor below an elongated Africa, a tiny America, and a colossal, pink-shaded U.S.S.R. A brother with a prosthetic leg appears and lays out a brightly patterned sheet still covered with past meals’ bread crumbs. Non ham non, nonreza ham non, the Tajik proverb goes: “Bread is bread, crumbs are also bread.”
The enemy combatant serves the tea. He pours it before it’s properly steeped, dumps the watery cups back into the pot, and repeats. If he’s unhappy to see an American after Guantanamo, he doesn’t show it. He smiles, and two wrinkles appear on his left cheek. I ask him his full name. Muhibullo Abdulkarim Umarov, he tells me. He says he is 24 years old. He asks, “You want to know the story of my capture, yes?” To continue reading click HERE.
Israeli occupation forces kill 8 Palestinians in Gaza attack: Among those killed was a 14-year-old boy who was shot dead. A 30-year-old man was killed by a heavy caliber bullet to the head as he was on the rooftop of his house.
Annan: Israel must stop killing Palestinians: In meeting with Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah, UN secretary-general slams Israel, says more than 200 Palestinians killed since the end of June. He also calls on Israel to lift blockade on Gaza, allow free transfer of goods
The Palestinian Vice-Prime Minister kidnapped by Israel: Former rector of the Faculty of Law at the National University of Al Najah in Nablus, Mr Shaer is a moderate person. He does not belong to any political party, and is not a member of Hamas as widespread in the media.
Holy Land: children go back to school as humanitarian crisis deepens: Are the government schools going to open as striking teachers protest the non-payment of salaries? How can families register their children for school with all of the accompanying fees for school books, stationary, uniforms, transportation and when they have balances owing from the last year which they cannot pay?
Cancel Law Preventing Palestinians from Filing Claims for Damages against the State: 30 August 2006 at 9:00am, an expanded of nine justices of the Israeli High Court of Justice, presided by Chief Justice Aharon Barak, will hear a petition filed by nine human rights organizations from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), demanding that the Court declare void the amendments to the Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law. The Law prevents Palestinians from seeking compensation from the State of Israel for damages inflicted by the Israeli security forces, even those inflicted outside of the context of a military operation.
Settlers uproot scores of olive trees in Yatta near Hebron: A group of right wing Jewish settlers from the illegal settlement of Sousa uprooted on Wednesday scores of olive trees that belong to Palestinian farmers from the nearby village of Yatta south of the West Bank city of Hebron.
Four residents killed and eight injured in Al Shujaeyya east of Gaza: Palestinian medical sources reported on Wednesday morning that four civilians were killed and eight injured by heavy machine gun fire from Israeli tanks in AL Shujaeyya area, east of the Gaza strip.
Nine Palestinians killed in Gaza: They included a 14-year-old boy shot in the chest, two men in their 30s also shot and five others who died from tank fire, medical officials said. Abbas "vigorously denounced Israeli aggression in the occupied territories, in particular in the Shejaiya quarter" of Gaza City, the statement said.
US: Settlers assaulting American citizens: Americans are unsafe in the Gaza Strip, and those in the Palestinian area should leave immediately, the US State Department said Tuesday. "In recent months, citizens of Western nations, including Americans, involved in pro-Palestinian volunteer efforts were assaulted and injured in the Occupied Territories by Israeli settlers and harassed by the (Israeli army). Those taking part in demonstrations, nonviolent resistance, and direct action are advised to cease such activity for their own safety," it said.
The Palestinian politicians being held prisoner in Israeli detention centres have their hearing postponed: The court said that the reason for the postponement was that they needed more time to examine the detainees' files and to decide if there is a valid case against the detained politicians.
Source: Israel delaying deal on Shalit: "The problem is that the Egyptian mediation team has no response from Israel, like as to when the prisoners would be released, how many and what type. Only with these responses will the mediators be able to offer something to the kidnappers. But Israel is not clarifying its positions. It is not taking any initiative that indicates its desire to complete the deal. There is no sign of readiness, there are no messages via Israel's overt channels, and the problem is - there are no messages even via the covert channels."
'Israelis want Palestinian ethnic cleansing': They also want to humiliate Dweik, who they have put in a small dirty cell, as well as the Arabs and Muslims and all those who sympathise with them. Despite strong condemnations and continuous contact with a lot of parliaments and parliamentarians, they are pursuing their policy as they clearly don't want a PG or a PLC. The coincidence of the imprisonment of Dweik with the assassination attempt on Prime Minister Ismail Haniya shows that there is a previously manipulated plan to undermine the Palestinian regime.
Annan: Israel must stop killing Palestinians: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited Ramallah on Wednesday afternoon. In a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he slammed Israel for hurting civilians and for the ongoing blockade on Gaza.
Nasrallah supporters still attacked at West Bank checkpoints: The popularity of Hezbollah's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah remains fixed in the minds of Israeli soldiers, as their actions at checkpoints indicate. The days of detaining Palestinians with photos of Nasrallah as their mobile phone screen savers, or celebratory cassettes in their cars, are not over.
Last two embassies leaving Jerusalem: President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica announced first that he had decided to move the embassy in order to conform with international law, AsiaNews reported. El Salvador then followed suit. Israel had reportedly given the two countries financial inducements to locate their embassies in Jerusalem after the 1967 war.
Analysts see 'disaster' in U.S. position: The authors of a hotly debated study on the influence of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington said yesterday that the Bush administration's unquestioning support for Israel's military action in Lebanon confirms their thesis that the power of the lobby hurts both U.S. and Israeli national interests. Mr. Mearsheimer and co-author Stephen M. Walt, an international affairs scholar and academic dean at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, showed no signs of backing away from their analysis of the U.S.-Israel lobby at a National Press Club briefing.