Saturday, November 11, 2006
"Please note: this video contains images of women and children killed by the Israeli state with U.S. weapons in Beit Hanoun, the Gaza Strip, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act (specifically, Ttitle 22, Chapter 39, Subchapter III § 2778 c). “My wife recorded this for my blog a couple of days ago. Since then, she won’t even look at the news,” writes Sabbah.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
If the above video is not enough to convince you of the brutality of the Israeli government, watch the one below. On November 2, the IOF “transferred the males of Beit Hanoun aged between 16-45 in a convoy of large trucks to unknown destinations…. Security sources reported that the Israeli occupation forces called the men through loudspeakers, and gathered them in front of An-Nassr mosque in the north of Beit Hanoun,” according to Aljazeera (English translation here). In response, unarmed Palestinian women confronted the IOF and 12 were shot, two fatally. So, the next time Nancy Pelosi gets up before AIPAC and declares Israel is simply protecting itself, please email her a link to this video."
The US has vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip that killed 19 Palestinian civilians.
"John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, described the text as "unbalanced" and "biased against Israel and politically motivated".
He added that it did not provide an "even-handed characterisation" of the Israeli shelling of the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun that killed the 19 Palestinians, mostly women and children.
The text of the resolution, which was sponsored by Arab states, also condemned the firing of rockets by Palestinian fighters into Israel.
Ten of the council's 15 members voted in favour and four -Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia - abstained.
As one of the council's five permanent members along with Britain, China, France and Russia, the US has veto power which it has now used 82 times, often to shield Israel from censure.
Avi Pazner, an Israeli government spokesman, said: "The American veto is very satisfactory.
Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said: "We condemn this veto.
"We feel it will encourage Israel to continue its escalation against the Palestinian people."
Its previous use of the veto was in July to block a Qatari-sponsored draft resolution that would have condemned Israel's military onslaught in Gaza as "disproportionate force" and would have demanded a halt to Israeli operations in the territory.
Diplomats said Arab countries would now most likely take their case to the 192-member UN General Assembly, where their draft would get a more sympathetic hearing."
Now the pathetic Arab regimes will go begging the General Assembly. Of course they will maintain strong economic, trade, political, diplomatic and military ties with Washington. Victims of Beit Hanoun: RIP, no one gives a damn. By the way the Saudi stock market fell yesterday.
two resolutions introduced in the small town of Somerville, MA (Greater
Boston area). I think this is an excellent example of what each city and
town in America can and should do (an important benefit is that thousands in
town got educated on the subject of Israeli apartheid and Israeli ethnic
cleansing of Palestine).
We have election results from nine of the eleven voting stations in
4,102 people (44% of the total who voted on the question) voted to affirm
the right of return of all refugees, including Palestinians.
2,841 people (31% of the total who voted on the question) voted to divest
Considering that every single newspaper and radio station serving
Somerville, and both major candidates for governor, and the Mayor, and
Somerville's Congressman all very visibly opposed our questions, and the
Zionist forces made it their number one campaign strategy to make sure that
Somervillians knew that all the politicians opposed our questions, it is
fair to say that those who voted for our questions did so knowing full well
that it was against the will of the entire American establishment.
Furthermore, they voted against decades of pro-Israel propaganda appealing
to their sympathy for victims of the Holocaust. They said that Israel should
let the refugees return, even though that means (as the Zionists constantly
pointed out with their "right of return is code for destroying the Jewish
state" propaganda) implicitly opposing the legitimacy of the "Jewish state"
There has never been an election in the United States before that allowed
people to vote against the heretofore unchallenged pro-Israel policy of our
government. Until today, Zionists felt confident that there was no
significant opposition among the American public to our government's
pro-Israel policy. Until today, most people were so afraid of being labeled
an anti-Semite for expressing any view that organized Jewry disagreed with
that there was no evidence that anybody except an ignorable fringe had a
problem with our country's pro-Israel policy. Until today the Zionists could
have assumed that virtually NOBODY in the United States would vote against
Israel--until today's vote in Somerville, that is.
The Zionists may gloat that they defeated the two questions, but I am quite
sure that, privately, they are extremely worried, because today, for the
first time, they have seen the handwriting on the wall. The pro-Israel votes
is only going one way in the future, and that is down. The vote against
Israel's ethnic cleansing and apartheid is also going only one way in the
future, and that is up. It was a good day in Somerville today.
Israel's "Cloud of Autumn" Massacre in Gaza
"Global Research Editor's note
Israeli Forces shoot indiscriminately at Palestinian Women and Children.
The official story of the Israeli military is that this was a crack-down operation on "terrorists".
Read the semi-official report by the Voice of America (VOA) (below) and then view the video to see what really happened:
"Mr. Olmert says Israel intends to stop what he describes as the terror coming from Gaza, but has no intention of reoccupying the territory.
Israeli military authorities expressed regret for the death of a 12-year old girl. She was shot by an Israeli sniper who Israeli authorities say was aiming at a Palestinian militant.
Two Palestinian women were killed by Israeli troops in a chaotic demonstration by Palestinian women acting as human shields for Palestinian militants. The militants escaped from a mosque in Beit Hanoun that was under siege by Israeli forces." (VOA)
The "hidden agenda" behind Israel's so-called "unilateral disengagement plan" (leading to the 2005 evacuation of Jewish Settlers) is to transform Gaza into a concentration camp.
How long will the Western media, which claims to be balanced, continue to justify Israeli war crimes?
Michel Chossudovsky, 10 November 2006"
CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO
Part of the video is new; it is about 3 minutes long.
By Matthew Price
BBC News, Jerusalem
Earlier this week, tens of thousands of people mourned the 18 Palestinians killed by Israeli tank fire in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has expressed regret and some Israelis are now beginning to re-assess the ongoing conflict.
When I got back home I went straight to the balcony.
I turned on the hose, took off my boots and washed them down. Made sure I got the blood off them. They are out there now, drying.
Then I went to shower, washed my hair, brushed my teeth. Beit Hanoun was dirty. I wanted to feel clean again. The streets were soiled. The tanks had left their track marks by the shops.
The wall outside the secondary school had been knocked down. Railings to stop children running into the street were bent over.
On one pavement I saw a trickle of dried blood, where a woman had fallen, shot in the head. And on a quiet residential street, the faces told me everything I needed to know.
The sides of the road were lined with people. Some stood, others sat. They stared into space, at one another, at the ground. Some put an arm around a neighbour. One man grieved alone, tears on his face. All had the same look in their eyes.
I noticed it because it was not the look you see so often, one of hatred, of revenge. This was a look of sheer disbelief. I noticed someone I had met before. A taxi driver who once picked me up at the Erez crossing into Gaza. Raed had the same look. Not quite crying. But you knew something was deeply, deeply wrong.
How many of your family have you lost, I asked? "All of them. They all had the same grandfather."
"I feel hate," he added. He did not spit it out like people so often do. He just said it. "I hate George W Bush. I hate Israel of course. I hate the Arab world. I hate Europe." His eyes, though, did not say hate. They said pain.
Later, when I got home, I spoke to an Israeli friend. She sounded broken. She is a true left-winger, always has been.
They are rare here now. She described how another Israeli had called her earlier, saying she felt so ashamed that she dare not call her friends abroad.
I told my friend it is not her fault. I know, she said. You meet very few Israelis who express such feelings.
Most, of course, express regret, especially at the death of children. But many of them find it impossible to properly understand Palestinians. It is often easier to blame. And it works both ways.
Earlier this week I met a Palestinian man who told me most of his neighbours think that all Israelis are soldiers.
"They only ever see soldiers," he pointed out.
"I try to tell them they are mothers and fathers like us," he added.
And this is the tragedy here. Neither side comprehends the other.
The gulf between the two is so great that perhaps neither side wants to anymore.
The other day at an event marking the assassination of the Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, one of Israel's most acclaimed left wing authors delivered the keynote speech.
David Grossman pulled few punches. He talked of an Israel in crisis, and of the failure of the peace process.
"The Palestinians are also to blame for the impasse," he said.
"But take a look at them from a different perspective, not only at the radicals in their midst.
"Take a look at the overwhelming majority of this miserable people, whose fate is entangled with our own, whether we like it or not."
The sad fact is most Israelis do not take a look at the Palestinians.
More and more it seems to me, it is the hardliners on both sides whose voices are being heard the loudest.
A day after the killings in Beit Hanoun, the Israeli newspapers were full of comment.
Some - predictably - said the deaths were preventable. If only the Palestinians would stop firing rockets at Israeli towns, Israel would not have to shell Gaza.
But there were others from a different perspective.
One commentator wrote: "For us, [these deaths] pass as if [they] were nothing.
"We have to ask ourselves. Does this really serve our national interest?"
When I left Beit Hanoun, I went to the BBC bureau in Jerusalem to edit a television piece.
We have both Israelis and Palestinians working there.
I took a break to make a coffee and walked out into the newsroom to find a young girl, four or five years old, her hair in pigtails, standing with her father.
He is a producer in the office.
An Israeli, and it threw me.
She looked exactly like some of the girls I had seen in Gaza that day.
Back from the dead, standing there in front of me.
We closed the edit suite door so she would not see the pictures.
Outside on the balcony, my boots are now dry. It will be harder to wash away the memories of what happened at Beit Hanoun.
By Kurt Nimmo
"Lest we forget who runs Congress, consider the following “briefing” posted on the AIPAC website yesterday:
AIPAC Builds Ties With New Lawmakers
AIPAC reached nearly every lawmaker elected in Tuesday’s mid-term congressional elections as part of its effort to educate political candidates on the value of the U.S.-Israel relationship. During the campaign that ended Tuesday, nearly every viable candidate met with AIPAC professional staff members and submitted a position paper summarizing his or her views on U.S. Middle East policy. A non-partisan organization, AIPAC has for decades worked with Republican and Democratic members of Congress to strengthen the ties between the United States and Israel.
Translation: Nearly every lawmaker, except the few stragglers hiding out in bathroom stalls or the cloakroom, was told he or she best tow the AIPAC-Israel line, or suffer short tenure in Congress. Part of this process is obviously the forced submission of a “position paper summarizing his or her views on U.S. Middle East policy,” that is to say the targeted politico must state in writing that he or she will enthusiastically support Israel killing Palestinians, stealing their land, and running those able to run off, in short a nod and a wink in the direction of ethnic cleansing. Finally, AIPAC let us know they are “non-partisan,” that is to say they have both Democrats and Republicans in their pocket.
Meet the new Congress, same as the old Congress.
In addition, assumed House Majority leader Pelosi will “have to draw on … inner strength,” that is to say bend over backwards and jump somersaults like a trick dog, in order to demonstrate her worth to AIPAC and the state of Israel.
Sam Lauter, a pro-Israel activist in San Francisco, predicted Pelosi “will hear from those in the Jewish community who argue that Democrats no longer support Israel the way they used to,” that is to say Zionists perceive Democrats to be not as rabidly pro-Likud as Republicans, that is to say neocons.
“Some Republicans, in fact, questioned Pelosi’s support for Israel this summer. The congresswoman ended up removing her name as a co-sponsor from a House resolution supporting the Jewish state during its war with Hezbollah because it did not address the protection of civilians,” reports JTA, billed as a “news service that provides up-to-the-minute reports, analysis pieces and features on events and issues of concern to the Jewish people,” or rather Jewish people who support Israel.
It would appear Pelosi has at least a shred of humanity, as she was apparently sickened by Israel’s genocidal war against the people of southern Lebanon last summer. However, she has the next two years to get it right and adopt the appropriate position—all the people of southern Lebanon are Hezbollah terrorists, as the Israeli leadership stated on numerous occasions as the pariah state went about breaking every rule in the crimes against humanity book.
But then, as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, said at the time, it is surely a “mistake to ascribe a moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts, the very purpose of which are to kill civilians, and the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths as a result of military action taken in self-defense,” in other words, as Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz explained, Israeli civilians are more innocent than Lebanese civilians. "
حقق المصور الفلسطيني الصحافي زكريا أبو هربيد مدير التصوير في وكالة أنباء رامتان، من سكان بلدة بيت حانون المنكوبة فوزا عالميا كأفضل مصور إخباري للعام 2006، بعد خوضه لمنافسة شديدة مع مصورين آخرين لحيازة هذا اللقب العالمي الجديد.
وفاز أبوهربيد بالجائزة الدولية الأولى عن صورته الشهيرة للمجزرة التي ارتكبها جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي بحق عائلة الطفلة هدى غالية على شاطئ غزة في يونيو/ حزيران الماضي.
وكان المصور الفلسطيني أول من وصل إلى مكان القصف الذي طال عائلة فلسطينية تستجم على شاطئ بحر غزة، ووجد نفسه للوهلة الأولى أمام مجزرة دموية جديدة بحق عائلة كاملة ملقاة على الرمل.
ويتمنى الإعلاميون الفلسطينيون أن يسهم نبأ فوز زكريا بالجائزة في رسم معالم البسمة التي غابت عن شفاه أبناء بلدته التي طالها الدمار والخراب.
ويقول شهدي الكاشف رئيس تحرير وكالة رامتان، إن فوز زكريا بالجائزة ليس فقط تكريما لكل الصحافيين الفلسطينيين الذين يرفعون لواء الحقيقة في تغطيتهم للأحداث والجرائم الإسرائيلية التي ترتكب بحق أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني.
وأضاف في تصريحات للجزيرة نت أن فوز الزميل أبو هربيد يمثل اعترافا دامغا بالجريمة التي ارتكبت بحق عائلة غالية ودليلا جديدا على إدانة الاحتلال بارتكاب تلك المجزرة، موضحا أنه "منذ انتشار صور الطفلة هدى غالية وهي تصرخ في أعقاب المجزرة، ونحن نتعرض في وكالة رامتان والزميل أبو هربيد لهجمة إعلامية من أوساط غربية وإسرائيلية تتهمنا بفبركة تلك المشاهد".
وأشار إلى أن هذه الجائزة تشكل حافزا لكافة الإعلاميين في الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة، لنقل معاناة وحقيقة ما يجري للفلسطينيين، في جميع المحافل الدولية.
من جهته ذكر سامي المسحال مراسل وكالة أنباء رامتان الذي حضر الحفل أنه أثناء عرض صور زكريا خيمت مشاعر الحزن والأسى والتأثر على الحضور الذين كان من بينهم شخصيات إعلامية دولية.
وأوضح المسحال في تصريحات لوكالة رامتان أن أبو هربيد خاطب الحضور قائلا "اليوم بالرغم من سعادتي بالفوز بهذه الجائزة، أشعر بالحزن والأسى لأنني لا أستطيع أن أغطي ما يحدث في بلدتي بيت حانون المنكوبة".
وأضاف أبو هربيد "أهدي هذه الجائزة وهذا التقدير الدولي إلى كل أطفال فلسطين، وأخص بالذكر الطفلة هدى غالية"، معبرا عن أمله بأن يحل السلام في فلسطين.
يشار إلى الجائزة التي حصل عليها أبو هربيد بعد تمكنه من التقدم في النهائيات على مصورين من العراق وأفغانستان، تنظم برعاية مؤسسة رولي بك ترست العالمية في لندن، التي ترعاها شركة سوني العالمية للتصوير، ومؤسسات إعلامية دولية كشبكة الجزيرة و(BBC) البريطانية, و(CNN)الأميركية.
I could not find this item (from Al-Jazeera, Arabic) in English, so I will offer a brief translation:
The Palestinian photographer Zakaria Abu Harbid was awarded the international award of being the best news photographer in 2006. He is the photography manager of the Palestinian RAMATAN news agency and a native of Beit Hanoun.
He was awarded the title for his photos of the massacre of Palestinians on the Gaza Beach last June by Israel. In particular, the winning photo was that of Huda Ghalia crying uncontrollably beside the body of her dead father. Zakaria was the first to arrive at the scene after the Israeli shelling.
The chief editor of RAMATAN said that the award is a tribute to all Palestinian journalists who take huge risks to expose the truth about Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians. He added that the award is an indirect condemnation of these Israeli war crimes. Since the photos were published, he said that RAMATAN and Zakaria himself have been subjected to a hostile campaign from Israel and some western media, accusing them of fabricating the photos!
Zakaria said that while he was happy to receive the award in person, he was sad that he could not be in his native Beit Hanoun covering current massacres. He dedicated the award and the international recognition to all Palestinian children and to Huda Ghalia in particular.
By Donald Macintyre In Beit Hanoun
Published: 11 November 2006
"The Western world, which was anyway more interested by the count in the state of Virginia than the catastrophe in Beit Hanoun, has no doubt already moved on. For the Athamneh family, now in their second day of mourning after the funerals, it is impossible to do so.
As friends and neighbours continued to arrive at the blue mourning tent 150 yards from the now-deserted family home, Mustafa, the arm of his widowed father Usama around his shoulder, was unable to stop crying. "I have no one to play with," he had said a few minutes earlier. "I have no one around me." The sense of loss and survivor guilt he will have to grow up with is scarcely imaginable. "I was with my mother when she fell down," he said. "I ran away. I haven't slept for two days and nights."
Yesterday, red-eyed but eager now to get the details right, Majdi, who had barely been able to speak on Wednesday, described how he had rushed out into the alley with his wife and children after the first shell hit the roof only to see Saad, semi conscious and gasping after being struck by the second shell, lying on the ground. He had rushed to the end of the alley, turning right into Hamad Street, to try and summon help or an ambulance, but was halted in his tracks by third shell. As he turned back, a fourth shell, he said, struck the building, killing Saad. He picked the child up in his arms and ran back and turned left into the street. Before he could reach the crossroad 50 metres away, a fifth landed. He believes this was the shell which killed four of his female relatives.
But they react with near-universal disbelief at Israel's depiction of the artillery barrage as a "technical malfunction", or at the idea that its targeting could not have been observed in real time by one of the units among the military presence in the vicinity. "One or two shells might be a mistake but not 15 or 20," said Ibrahim Al Athamneh. The number of shells was probably closer to 12. But there is no dispute that the number of civilian deaths from last Wednesday rose to 19 yesterday as one more man died of his wounds.
Reflecting for a moment on the meaning of the attack, Majdi allowed himself one political statement - a reference to the newest Israeli Cabinet member, the hard-right nationalist Avigdor Liberman. "It's a present for the deputy Prime Minister," he said. "The man who said he wanted to turn Gaza into Chechnya." "
What is shocking and indicative of how low the Arab world has sunk is to see reporters from Britain (such as Mr. Macintyre) and other European countries, the U.S. (such as Jennifer Lowenstein) and even Israel (such as Gideon Levy and Amira Hass) reporting first hand from Gaza and the West Bank, but you rarely see an Egyptian, a Jordanian, a Saudi or a Moroccan doing the same. For God's sake, all an Egyptian would have to do is to cross through the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza at Rafah. Is he/she afraid that Israel would not allow him/her? Where is Egyptian sovereignty over the border? Where is the responsibility Egypt bears for the poor people of Gaza, since it controlled Gaza until it was captured by Israel? Why does Jennifer Lowenstein (a Jew) show more courage and determination when she overcomes determined Israeli obstacles to prevent her from coming to Gaza than Arab reporters?
All I can say is thanks to the courage and the conscience of the "foreigners;" they are a critical link while our Arab "brothers" continue to indulge in their sleep and stupor.
A GOOD COMMENT
Martin Kettle in Washington
Saturday November 11, 2006
"What happened this week was not complex. It was the crash of the conservative political project begun by Newt Gingrich in 1994 and crystallised under George Bush since 2000. It was the crash heard round the world. It came in the form of a nationwide protest against the Iraq war and Bush's presidency. A new survey of actual voters, conducted since election day by Bill Clinton's former pollster, Stan Greenberg, confirms that Iraq was by far the most important issue that influenced Americans' votes. The divide among those for whom Iraq was the most important issue went 3:1 in favour of the Democrats. That, in a nutshell, explains what happened.
The use of the word crash is important if we are to understand the new situation in Washington. This was not an election in which the traditional Democratic vote finally roused itself to overturn Republican rule. It was an election in which the Republican coalition that has gradually come to dominate America since the civil-rights acts of the 1960s suffered a huge existential hit as a result of Bush and Iraq.
It will take time for this to sink in among conservative Republicans. This election has been a major blow to their self-image and world-view. Like the Thatcherites, they got used to assuming that they were always right and would always be victorious. On Tuesday the voters told them they were wrong. It has taken many false starts for the Conservative party to get back in the game in Britain. Something similar could happen to the suddenly weakened Republicans. But there's nothing they like more than a fight.
And Iraq? Those who expect a sudden sea change may be disappointed. It won't be a 180-degree shift, a senior British Washington-watcher suggests. But maybe a 60-degree shift is now on the cards. The name of the game now is minimising the damage of a lost war. With Democratic approval, American policy has been explicitly subcontracted to James Baker and his Iraq Study Group. But that doesn't in itself solve the problem. The damage of Bush's Iraq adventure has just got bigger, not smaller. It now stretches from the streets of Baghdad and Basra into the heart of the once triumphalist and now humbled Republican party."
"When he sits with me, Abbas will see how much we will give him. I pay high esteem to him", Olmert was quoted as saying in press statements.
He described Abbas as "rational man who opposes terrorism (the term Israel uses to label the Palestinian people's legitimate resistance against it)", adding, "Abbas is facing difficulty in controlling the armed Palestinian organizations, and I have told him so more than 20 times".
Website of the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Olmert as affirming that he was ready to release big numbers of Palestinian inmates as "an initiative of goodwill on Israel's part and for the sake of Abbas and not Hamas" in exchange for the release of [IOF serviceman] Gilad Shalit.
"I have told the Jordanian King Abdullah, Egyptian president Husni Mubarak, and British Prime Minister Toni Blair that I am ready to release Palestinian prisoners; and I say to the Palestinians: you don’t know the numbers of Palestinian inmates I am going to free for Shalit's freedom", the website quoted Olmert as saying.
Three armed wings of the Palestinian resistance factions led by the Qassam Brigades of Hamas succeeded in capturing Shalit and keep him for four months now, affirming that the IOF corporal will not be released unless Israel meets their demands of releasing Palestinian female, children, and sick inmates in addition to another 1,000 prisoners, especially those serving long terms.
In the opposite, Olmert stressed that his IOF troops' brutal aggressions on the Palestinians will continue despite the massacre in Beit Hanun, adding "I can't assure you that innocent Palestinian civilians will no longer be targeted".
In an attempt to justify the carnage, Olmert said that his troops committed a "technical error" that caused that number of victims. Palestinian people scorned Olmert's justifications, opining that such statements portray IOF troops' clear undermining of the Palestinian blood.
Israel to allow armed Abbas' loyalists into Gaza Strip:
In the same context, Hebrew media on Friday revealed that the Israeli occupation government will, most likely, allow entry of thousands of Badr force elements from Jordan into the Gaza Strip in a bid to strengthen Abbas' military power there, which is considered a Hamas stronghold.
The sources added that Israel's war minister Amir Peretz conferred with his top military lieutenants over the matter, unmasking that Israel could even supply Abbas' forces with the munitions necessary to bolster the PA chief's fist in the Strip.
Late October, website of another Hebrew daily, the Ha'aretz, unveiled that the PA presidency requested the Israeli occupation government to allow such force to come into Gaza Strip; but, the request was still under deliberation. Local observers opined that Israel's approval of the entry of such forces was, apparently, made with the aim to ignite a civil war in the PA-run lands.
PFLP criticizes Abbas over untoward remarks on resistance:
Meanwhile, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, armed wing of the PFLP, criticized statements uttered by Abbas where he described Palestinian home-made missiles as "useless, ineffective, and giving Israel the pretexts to attack the Palestinian people".
Spokesman of the Brigades Abu Alam stressed that Israel needs no reasons to justify its brutal policy against the Palestinian people, as he regretted Abbas' remarks over the Palestinian rockets, describing him (Abbas) as "the engineer of the infamous Olso agreement".
"Israel was striving hard to thwart firing of Palestinian missiles on its troops and on Israeli settlements inside the 1948-occupied Palestinian lands, but to no avail, which per se proves that those missiles were effective and useful in retaliating to the IOF aggressions against our Palestinian people", Abu Alam retorted to Abbas' remarks.
Friday, November 10, 2006
UNICEF says 17 children killed in Gaza, and 2 in West Bank so far in November, 40 killed in July
Associated Press Published: 11.10.06, 16:43
"Nineteen Palestinian children have been killed in the past 10 days, making November already the second deadliest month of the year for young people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNICEF said Friday.
The UN children's Fund said 17 have been killed in Gaza and two in the West Bank so far in November. Only July - when 40 children were killed - was worse, the agency said.
"What children and adolescents have endured the past few days will likely have a long-lasting impact," UNICEF spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said in Geneva. "They have seen family members killed and their communities destroyed. They have been confined to their homes, in many cases without access to food, water or electricity."
Israeli artillery shells ripped through a residential neighborhood Wednesday in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, killing at least 18 people , including eight children.
Bociurkiw estimated that more than 300 children have been injured this month by Israeli attacks. For the year, he said 116 Palestinian children have been killed, compared with only 52 last year.
“What kind of freedom?” he asked. There are almost no schools, he said. There is almost no medicine. There is little food, and no electricity except from generators. The list went on. No water. No work. Violence. Abductions. Beheadings. Explosions.
His son-in-law had been kidnapped by insurgents seven months ago, he said, and a note the insurgents left said he was abducted for being friendly with American troops. He has not been seen since.
In Baghdad, he said, Iranian-backed death squads were killing Sunni citizens. The country was falling apart.
“You like freedom?” he asked the sergeant. “This kind? This way?”
We mustn't look the other way when blood of some becomes worth less than others
Laila M. El-Haddad
(Laila M. El-Haddad is a journalist who lived in the Gaza Strip and author of the blog Raising Yousuf)
"When such a massacre occurs, in addition to the anger and frustration, I cannot help but feel lonely and abandoned and afraid.
It is the feeling we all have as Palestinians, the feeling which boils inside of us, sometimes drowning us with its complexity and force and unrequitedness. To quote Mahmoud Darwish:
“We are alone. We are alone to the point
of drunkenness with our own aloneness,
with the occasional rainbow visiting.”
And don’t think for one moment that this somehow does not affect you, whoever you are, as you recoil in your comfort zone, choosing consciously to look the other way. It affects all of us - Israelis, Palestinians, humankind - when humans become less human, when their blood becomes worth less than ours. Niemöller’s poem rings truer than ever:
"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out."
Let us add to the famous poem:
"Then they came for the Palestinians, but I remained silent, for I was not Palestinian". "
Associated Press Writer
November 10, 2006, 12:17 PM EST
JERUSALEM -- The deputy defense minister suggested Friday that Israel might be forced to launch a military strike against Iran's disputed nuclear program -- the clearest statement yet of such a possibility from a high-ranking official.
"I am not advocating an Israeli pre-emptive military action against Iran and I am aware of its possible repercussions," Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, a former general, said in comments published Friday in The Jerusalem Post. "I consider it a last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort."
Sneh's comments did not necessarily reflect the view of Israel's government or of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said government spokeswoman Miri Eisin.
Olmert, who was arriving in Washington on Sunday, said he was confident in the U.S. handling of the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program. The Bush administration and other nations say is a cover for developing atomic weapons, but Tehran says the program is peaceful.
"I have enormous respect for President Bush. He is absolutely committed," Olmert said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show. "I know that America will not allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons because this is a danger to the whole Western world."
The United States and its European allies have proposed a raft of sanctions to try to curb the country's nuclear development.
Israel sees Iran as the greatest threat to its survival. Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel's destruction, and Israelis do not believe his claims that Iran's nuclear program is meant to develop energy, not arms.
Israel crippled Iraq's atomic program 25 years ago with an airstrike on its unfinished nuclear reactor. Experts say Iran has learned from Iraq's mistakes, scattering its nuclear facilities and building some underground.
Sneh's tough talk is the boldest to date by a high-ranking Israeli official. Olmert and other Israeli leaders frequently discuss the Iranian threat in grave terms, but stop short of threatening military action.
Years of diplomacy have failed to persuade Iran to modify its nuclear program so it can't develop weapons.
By Justin Raimondo
"Leave it to the Americans to consider their foreign policy in terms of a family drama: the current narrative is that Rummy's exit signals the arrival of Daddy's Wise Men to bail out Junior from the mess he's made in the Iraqi sandbox. Like a frat boy who has maxed out his credit card or totaled his flashy new sports car, poor little Georgie-Porgie has finally turned to Daddykins for advice he once spurned. Just like in an episode of Father Knows Best – or, better yet, Leave It To Beaver…
As those helicopters pulled away from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, with people clinging to them for dear life, the American public became intimately acquainted with defeat – and it wasn't pretty. In the decades since that traumatic event, Americans shied away from foreign adventurism, whether undertaken in the name of "democracy" or a coldly calculated American interest, haunted by the memory of what happened in Vietnam.
The problem is that, for all their alleged wisdom, these miracle-making realists have failed to recognize reality – even though they are staring it in the face. They can't undo what the invasion has done: broken the Iraqi nation into its constituent parts and handed the biggest piece over to neighboring Iran. That was accomplished the moment the Ba'athist regime cracked, and all of Bush's Wise Men can't put it back together again.
It isn't just the Iranians, the Syrians, the Saudis, the Israelis, the Kurds, and the Lebanese factions that the Wise Men have to deal with. There are also domestic roadblocks to a comprehensive – or incremental – settlement of the Middle Eastern question, notably what John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt call "the Lobby" in their seminal study of Israel's lobby in the U.S. It was the Lobby that, in large part, lured us into the Iraqi quagmire, and this same concatenation of forces stands in the way of an orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces.
The Lobby opposes a Middle East settlement: they stand for expanding Israeli interests, at the expense of the Arabs and the Persians, and their goal [.pdf] – the atomization of existing Middle Eastern states down to a more manageable stature – is being rapidly accomplished in Iraq. Their goal is to duplicate the process throughout the region, and this means more "regime change" – in Lebanon, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, as well as Iran.
In any contest pitting the Baker Commission against the Lobby, the outcome is going to be problematic – but I'd put my money on the latter. Especially as the neocons ditch their old Republican allies and attach themselves to a new host – the Democratic Party – it is hard to see how the War Party is going to be stopped. Unless, of course, the American people wake up in time – there's always that possibility. The recent election is proof that they haven't fallen permanently asleep: they can be roused, if only there's the right stimulus.
It remains to be seen what the Wise Men are up to, but I wouldn't put much store in it: whatever it is, it's likely to proceed at a snail's pace, and, for the reasons given above, the clock is ticking…"
الجانب الصهيوني سيقوم بإمداد قوات عباس بالسلاح والذخيرة
الناصرة – المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام
أفادت مصادر إعلامية عبرية اليوم الجمعة (10/11)، أنّ الحكومة الصهيونية أبلغت رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس رسمياً بأنها ليس لديها أي مانع من إدخال "قوات بدر" المتواجدة في الأردن إلى الأراضي الفلسطينية، كما وتعهدت بإدخال شحنات من الأسلحة والذخيرة للقوات التي تأتمر بإمرة عباس.
وأشارت المصادر إلى أنّ الحكومة الصهيونية اتخذت ذلك القرار عقب التصريحات التي أدلى بها رئيس الوزراء الصهيوني إيهود أولمرت مساء أمس الخميس، والتي قال فيها إنه سيدعم عباس ويدعوه إلى الاجتماع معه في أي وقت، كما قال بأنه سيقدم تسهيلات وسيخرج أسرى فلسطينيين مقابل إطلاق سراح الجندي الصهيوني الأسير في غزة جلعاد شاليط ولكنّ ذلك سيتم من أجل رئيس السلطة، حسب ما ذكر.
وأوضحت المصادر ذاتها أنّ وزير الحرب الصهيوني عامير بيرتس، اجتمع بكبار الضباط في جيش الاحتلال، وأطلعهم على ترتيبات إدخال "قوات بدر" المتواجدة في الأردن إلى قطاع غزة، وإمداد القوات الفلسطينية التابعة لعباس بمقومات إضافية، حيث تم الاتفاق على منح رئيس السلطة "تسهيلات كثيرة تمكِّنه من المضي قدما في تحقيق السلام في المنطقة"، كما ورد.
وكان الموقع الإلكتروني لصحيفة "هآرتس" العبرية، قد أورد في 28 من شهر تشرين الأول (أكتوبر) الماضي، أنّ مكتب عباس طلب من الحكومة الصهيونية السماح بنقل آلاف المقاتلين الفلسطينيين من كتيبة "بدر" التابعة لجيش التحرير الفلسطيني من الأردن إلى قطاع غزة بأسلحتها الكاملة.
ونقل الموقع عن ناطق باسم وزارة الحرب الصهيونية قوله، إنّ وزير الحرب بيرتس يدرس الطلب الفلسطيني الذي قُدِّم من مكتب عباس بـ "جدية وإيجابية".
وأشار الموقع إلى أنّ الحكومات الصهيونية السابقة رفضت طلبات متكررة من السلطة الفلسطينية بنقل قوات بدر إلى الضفة الفلسطينية المحتلة، إلاّ أنها تدرس الآن نقل تلك القوات إلى قطاع غزة، وهو ما يراه المراقبون محاولة لإشعال فتيل مواجهات داخلية في الساحة الفلسطينية، وتبديد فرص الوفاق المتاحة.
By RAMZY BAROUD
"Attempts to coerce Palestinians into submission have not always manifested themselves in the crude form of a tank, a bullet, the withholding of aid or the denial of freedom of movement. These efforts were at times more imaginative and shrewd, through the sponsoring and espousing of factionalism, the purchasing of the integrity of a politician, pressing Palestinians themselves to promote foreign agendas, whether knowingly or unwittingly.
It was recently revealed that a few individuals, affiliated with the Hamas government and Hamas-dominated parliament were allowed entry into Britain. News of the visit was first unveiled by the disingenuous Israeli media, which concocted a skewed version of the event, claiming that the delegation met with Israeli 'academicians' in London.Disappointingly to many, Ahmed Yousef, top advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister, as well as a less know member of Parliament - vehemently refused to participate.
The last eight months were indeed long enough to force Hamas to reconsider its approach to politics: breaking the siege on Gaza, it deduced, starts in Washington, with Israeli consent of course. Washington, however, is a long way from Gaza, since the distance between the latter and Damascus and Tehran is too close for comfort from the US viewpoint and its own checks and balances; London, thus, was the most practicable destination.
The meetings in London were held under the guise of 'dialogue', where Hamas would articulate its position to an exaggeratedly sympathetic audience; and in turn, the latter, would take their notes and lobby politicians for a change in course. The content of the meetings, despite the overt secrecy, was leaked, though not in full, all allowing for the following deductions:
First, Neo-conservative elements have for long, (but increasingly since Hamas' political rise, envisaged an arch of Islamic extremism) that goes all the way from Tehran to Gaza, passing through Damascus and South Lebanon. Hamas would eventually become a major component in this arch, due to the symbolic importance of the Palestinian problem to Muslims worldwide, and the direct nature of its conflict with Israel.
Second, the attempt to overthrow Hamas with the help of disgruntled elements within its rival Fatah, through numerous means has failed; a popular uprising, an outcome of the collective punishment and pressure on the Palestinian people through the withholding of aid is too slow and uncertain a strategy. The waiting game is backfiring as 'extremist' elements within Hamas are predictably falling prey to Iran's strategic designs, while the 'moderates' are being marginalized to the political fringes of Gaza. Thus, time was of essence.
Third, since Washington has raised its conditions for engaging Hamas much higher than the latter's ability to compromise, it was not possible for the Bush administration to talk to the Islamic movement openly; the Blair government however, who has always left a wide margin to politically reposition itself more freely in the Middle East has a better chance to engage Hamas, even if unofficially. The engagement had to be conducted in a most careful manner, so as not to raise suspicions regarding London's pro US and Israel stances, or doubt the integrity of its so-called 'war on terror'.
Fourth, the 'discussions' in London were clearly geared toward wooing Hamas to reveal its moderate face, thus to offset and perhaps challenge the extremists in Damascus, therefore, creating yet another rift within the Palestinian camp, to be added to numerous rifts which already exist within their ranks.
This rift would be much more treacherous, because it carries all the symptoms of Oslo: good Palestinians singled out and groomed for a photo op to be scheduled later, secret 'dialogue', followed by 'memorandums of understandings', then treaties, then VIP cards to those involved in the positive engagement and lonely prison cells to those who dare defy it. But it was this exact same plot that led to the killing of thousands of Palestinians, and hundreds of Israelis, the destruction of thousands of homes, the confiscation of more land to make way for the illegal Jewish settlements and the Separation Wall."
"The Israel Defense Forces' internal inquiry into its artillery shelling of Beit Hanoun, which killed 19 Palestinian civilians and left dozens injured in northern Gaza, failed to address the key questions of whether the attack was a violation of international law and who should be held accountable for the lethal fire, Human Rights Watch said today. The Israeli government should immediately conduct a comprehensive independent investigation to establish these issues. "The IDF's internal probe suggests that the Beit Hanoun tragedy can be chalked up to an errant volley of shells," said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. "But a comprehensive investigation should start with questioning whether Israel had any business firing artillery shells into this civilian area to begin with."
Human Rights Watch said that the investigation should examine the policy that has led Israel to fire some 15,000 artillery shells into Gaza since September 2005, killing 49 Palestinian civilians and seriously injuring dozens more. A comprehensive investigation should identify issues of individual and command responsibility, including criminal responsibility, for any violation of international humanitarian law committed in the conduct of these artillery operations in northern Gaza.
"Israeli forces launched the artillery attack on Beit Hanoun at a time when their commanders knew, or should have known, that the risk of civilian deaths far outweighed any definite military advantage," said Whitson. "
SUEZ & BUDAPEST – 50 YEARS LATER
H. Scott Prosterman
Last week marked the 50th Anniversary of the aborted Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Coincidently, it also marks the 60th Anniversary of the failed tripartite invasion of the Suez Canal by a joint Israeli-British-French force. This timing of these two events represents one of the most chilling confluences of history. It also illuminates the great integrity of President Dwight David Eisenhower, who made bold diplomatic moves in the Middle East, in the weeks leading up to the 1956 U.S. Presidential Election, despite the risk of losing Jewish votes. (A related event was the USSR-Hungary aquatic bloodbath known as the Olympic Water Polo match of the 1956 Olympics. One of the participants in that ugly event was former U.S. Olympic and Michigan Swim Coach, Jon Urbancek.)
Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula on October 29, 1956, three days after the USSR had invaded Hungary. The preface to this invasion was a complex series of events prompted by the Cold War, Western commercial concerns, and the best and worst of nationalism. Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal three months earlier on July 26, 1956. Nassser’s power play was mitigated by his intention to compensate the Canal shareholders, who were to lose their interests to nationalization. But Nassar’s insistence of maintaining Egyptian control made the Western European powers uneasy, in view of his growing relationship with the USSR and Czechoslovakia the previous year. In particular, American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and British Prime Minister Anthony Eden, would not accept Nassar’s agenda of neutrality in the Cold War atmosphere.
During the height of the Red Scare in America, neutrality was not an option. You were either with us or against us, and Nasser and Dulles were diplomatic irritants to one another during this period. Nasser had approached the U.S. about assistance for improving the Aswan High Dam for commercial development and greater military assistance. Dulles’ refusal of Nasser’s request for aid for the Aswan Dam, was prompted by pressure from the American cotton industry, which was already nervous about the increased shares of Egyptian cotton on the global market. Dulles did the bidding for American cotton farmers’ interests, by pressuring Britain and the World Bank to also withdraw support for the Aswan Dam project. Nasser’s final request to the U.S. was met by a less than generous gift, so Nasser expressed his gratitude by taking that money ($2 million by some accounts) and building a useless tower on Gizera Island in Cairo. Egyptians called it “Dulles’ Folly.” Meanwhile, Nasser continued his agenda of trying to modernize Egypt’s economy by improving the Aswan Dam, and his military, so he sought and received the aid from Czechoslovakia and the USSR that the US had refused.
Angered by the dismissal and condescension from the West, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal on July 26. British PM Eden wanted to invade the canal immediately, but was told that his military was not prepared for such a venture. Instead he initiated an arms embargo against Egypt on July 30, and informed Nasser that Egyptian control of the canal was not acceptable. Nasser further alarmed the Western powers by enlisting Soviet support to help run the canal, leading to an attempt on the part of the US, Britain and France to impose a “user agreement” on the Canal, and effectively take it over from Egypt on September 12. Three days later, Nasser had Soviet ship pilots running all the traffic through the Canal..
Israel’s invasion of the Sinai on October 29 had been pre-arranged with Britain and France, who followed up with air support on November 5. This happened to be Election Day in the U.S., and occurred, despite a UN brokered cease-fire that was issued on November 2. In 1950, the US, Britain and France formed their own tripartite agreement “to assist the victim of any aggression in the Mideast." Ike was furious that his closest allies had violated the spirit of that agreement AND kept him in the dark about their plans for invasion.
Though Britain and France did not lend air support until the actual Election Day, their involvement in the Suez campaign was visible throughout the Summer and Fall of 1956. Ike’s problem was that he was trying to pressure the Soviets to quit Hungary. Condoning the aggression by his allies in Egypt would have severely weakened his hand. So, Ike “ordered” Israel, Britain and France to pull back. In essence, “How can I tell the Soviets to quit Hungary and stay out of the Middle East, when you guys are invading Egypt? And by the way, I’m trying to get re-elected next week, so don’t give me another headache.” (Paraphrasing mine).
While Eisenhower was no more a fan of Nasser than his counterparts in Britain and France, he recognized that Nasser had established a good track record at running the Canal and keeping it open. He also recognized that Egypt was being victimized by aggression on the part of his allies, who had neither consulted nor informed him. Eden had not told Eisenhower of the planned invasion on his Election Day, creating a huge rift of hard feelings. Despite the great political risk of alienating Jewish votes in the weeks before the election, Eisenhower stood firm in his resolve to pressure the three countries to withdraw from Egypt, in the weeks before the election. Two days later, on November 7, the UN honored Eisenhower’s leadership, and voted 65-1 that the invading powers had to quit Egypt.
It may be argued that this was the greatest display of integrity by an American President in history, with all due respect to Lyndon Johnson placing his weight behind the Voting Rights Act 1964. Indeed, when he was reminded about the great political risk of alienating Jewish voters by being even-handed towards all parties in the Middle East, he said, "I don't care in the slightest whether I am re-elected or not. I feel we must make good on our word.” (1) Eisenhower’s political bravery reminds us of the integrity that once defined the American Presidency, and the deficiencies of our current and recent leaders.
(1) Donald Neff, Warriors at Suez.
His comments came after talks on a unity government with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Sanctions were imposed this year by Israel and Western countries, which see Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
"If we have to choose between the siege and myself, we must lift the siege and end the suffering," Mr Haniya said.
Mr Haniya said the discussions on forming a unity government were yielding results and that he hoped a new cabinet could be in place within three weeks.
Despite intense international pressure, Hamas has refused to recognise Israel, renounce violence and respect previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Hamas and Fatah are also locked in a power struggle and the political differences between them remain deep.
looks at the similarities between regime change in Chile and Palestine and condemns the collaboration between Fatah and Palestine's enemies
A STUNNING ARTICLE AND A MUST READ
A MASTERPIECE BY PROF. MASSAD
By Joseph Massad
"Before the United States government subcontracted the Chilean military to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973, it carried out a number of important missions in the country in preparation for the coup of 11 September. These included major strikes, especially by truck owners, which crippled the economy, massive demonstrations that included middle-class housewives and children carrying pots and pans demanding food, purging the Chilean military of officers who would oppose the suspension of democracy and the introduction of US-supported fascist rule, and a major media campaign against the regime with the CIA planting stories in newspapers like El Mercurio and others. This was in a context where also the Communist Party and the Leftist Revolutionary Movement (MIR) criticised and sometimes attacked the Allende regime from varying leftist positions.
The Chilean example is important to keep in mind when one looks at the Palestinian situation today, as it functions as a sort of training video for US-planned anti-democratic coups elsewhere in the world. Not only are the US and Israel financially backing the open preparation for a coup to be staged by the top leadership of Fateh (and in the case of Israel allowing weapons' transfers to Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas's Praetorian Guard), but so are the intelligence services of a number of Israel-and US-friendly Arab countries whose intelligence services have set up shop openly in Ramallah more recently, making their longstanding and major, though understated, involvement in running the Palestinian territories more open and shameless. Indeed the intelligence "delegation" of one such Arab country has rented out a multi-story building in Ramallah to conduct their operations there.
Israel has helped this effort all along by kidnapping and arresting Fateh members who resist the collaborationist policies of the top leadership. As for the leadership itself, it has periodically purged members of Fateh who oppose its policies, and marginalised those in the Diaspora who continue to resist them. The Fateh/PA coup leaders consist of Abbas and the ruling triumvirate of Mohamed Dahlan, Yasser Abd Rabbo, and Nabil Amr. The profiles of these three make them well suited for the tasks ahead. Dahlan is universally known as America's and Israel's main corrupt military man on the ground. Abd Rabbo (aka Yasser Abd Yasser, literally "Yasser worshipper of Yasser" on account of his subservience to Arafat) is the architect of the Geneva accords, which recognise Israel's right to be a racist Jewish state as legitimate and reject the right of Palestinian refugees to return as illegitimate. He recently upheld the Israeli position when fighting with the Qatari foreign minister and his staff during the latter's visit to the occupied territories. Amr is the former PA information minister, and a former visiting fellow at the Israel lobby think tank the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is also the speechwriter for Abbas and Dahlan.
Abbas and these three have undertaken not only to launch massive strikes by the Fateh security thugs that they have armed to police the territories on behalf of Israel, and strikes by the bureaucracy that staffs the PA ministries, but also have coerced large numbers of Palestinians, including teachers and professors, under the force of guns, to uphold a strike against Hamas, when most of them had voted for Hamas in the first place and refuse to strike. Palestinians who have fought for decades to keep their schools and universities open against Israeli draconian closures and suspension of Palestinian education, are now forced by Fateh and its armed thugs to stop the Palestinian educational process with strikes against Hamas, and threaten to shoot people if they refuse to follow Fateh's coup directives.
In addition, Abbas and the Fateh/PA triumvirate have organised demonstrations in Ramallah by middle-class Palestinians, including housewives, who brought out their pots and pans, in a scene borrowed from 1973 Santiago, in demonstrations against Hamas. The Fateh-controlled press, especially Al-Ayyam is fomenting major anti-Hamas propaganda campaign in preparation for the coup and is thus playing the same role as El Mercurio did in Chile. Al-Ayyam is aided in its efforts by the anti-Hamas secular Palestinian intelligentsia, most of whose members are on the payroll of the bankrollers of the Oslo process and its NGOs. These old leftist Palestinians, like their counterparts in Lebanon, are better known today as the right-wing left, as they take up right-wing positions while insisting that they are still leftists based on positions they had held in the 1980s or earlier.
The plan is that the Fateh/PA rulers would do their utmost to provoke Hamas to start the war at which point Fateh, with the aid of the intelligence services of friendly Arab countries, as well as assistance from Israel and the US, would crush Hamas and take over. Indeed, the first unsuccessful round took place when the Israeli government kidnapped a third of the Hamas government, both cabinet ministers and parliament members, and placed them in Israeli jails. This was not sufficient to bring Hamas down, and not for lack of help that Fateh rendered the Israeli occupiers. Aside from the initial burning of the Legislative Council building, Fateh thugs have also burned the prime minister's office, shot at his car, burned offices in different ministries several times, harassed and threatened Hamas ministers and parliamentarians whom Israel failed to kidnap and arrest, refused to allow the government ministries to operate, and so forth.
Fateh's planned coup is not only based on the popularity of Hamas and its electoral victory but also on Hamas's increased ability to defend itself against Fateh forces. If the US and Israel armed Fateh thugs under Arafat's leadership to crush the first Palestinian Intifada and any remaining resistance to the occupation since 1994, today, Hamas is almost as well- armed as Fateh forces and can defend the rights of the Palestinians to resist the Israeli occupation and the well-armed Palestinian collaborators that help to enforce it. This is where the situation today differs measurably from that of the mid-1990s. To offset this new balance of forces, the United States government, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, has been training Abbas's Praetorian Guard in Jericho for over a month with American, British, Egyptian, and Jordanian military instructors, and is providing arms to them in preparation for the confrontation with Hamas. The Israeli cabinet in turn has recently approved the transfer of thousands of rifles from Egypt and Jordan to Abbas's forces. The Israelis also approved a US request that Israel allow the Badr Brigade -- part of the Palestine Liberation Army currently stationed in Jordan -- to deploy in Gaza. These steps have been conceived by General Keith Dayton, the American security coordinator in the occupied territories, who wants the Badr Brigade to function as Abbas's "rapid reaction force in Gaza". As a possible step to increase its security and military roles in the occupied territories, the Jordanian government recently established a legal committee to review the provisions of Jordan's decision to "disengage" from the West Bank announced on 31 July 1988, effectively suggesting the possibility of a reversal of part or all of these provisions. More recently, the Israelis intensified their bombings and killings in Gaza, most recently in Beit Hanoun murdering over 50 Palestinians in a few days.
Mahmoud Abbas and his ruling triumvirate are reticent at the moment to start an open war for fear of a public backlash. They prefer to remove Hamas through imposing a "national unity" government that would undercut Hamas gradually and peacefully. However, Abbas and his triumvirate are quickly losing patience. Indeed, in a hastily-arranged meeting of the Diaspora-based Fateh Central Committee set to convene in Amman three weeks ago to ratify the coup plans, members of the committee opposed Abbas's US and Israel-supported coup, which forced Abbas to cancel the meeting altogether claiming falsely lack of quorum as the reason. This speaks to Abbas's desperation in engineering the coup without adequate preparation. Indeed, rumour has it across the occupied territories that the desperate attacks committed recently against Palestinian Christian churches were the work of undercover thugs. Those who sent them want Palestinian Christians and the world at large to think that these were Hamas acts in response to the pope's racist pronouncements against Islam. Hamas duly condemned the attacks. Few in the occupied territories believe that Hamas was behind them and most know that they were the work of undercover agents.
The Fateh plan is simple: where Israel and its Lebanese allies failed to crush Hizbullah in the Sixth war, Fateh and its Israeli allies will succeed in crushing Hamas, even if the ongoing Israeli war against Hamas and the Palestinian people becomes an all-out Seventh war. The flurry of visits by Condoleezza Rice to the area in the last few weeks hoped to put the final touches on this plan. If Hamas, like Hizbullah, could be provoked into a military response, the coup planners believe, then Fateh's and Israel's wrath (backed by the US, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia) would be unleashed to finish Hamas off. The Fateh leadership and its thugs are sharpening their knives for the showdown. Hamas has remained calm despite the pressure.
In the meantime, Ramallah proper (excluding the surrounding villages), continues to be what many now refer to as the Palestinian Green Zone, sheltering, in addition to the intelligence staff of Israel and Israel-friendly Arab countries, those Palestinians who are paid and protected by the Oslo process, whether the Oslo bureaucracy, its technicians, and hired intellectuals, or the business and middle classes recently habituated to the new name-brand consumerism that the Green Zone can offer. This opulent life contrasts with the life of the rest of the Palestinians outside Ramallah who live in misery, hunger, and under the bombardment of the Israelis and the attacks of savage Jewish colonial settlers, not to mention the harassment by Fateh thugs. In Ramallah itself, the trigger-happy thugs shoot at random during their demonstrations, injuring and sometimes killing passers by "in error". Even the few secular intellectuals who deign to oppose Fateh inside Ramallah are harassed in different ways. Some of them experience mysterious robberies that are repeated every time they make anti-Fateh statements. The preservation of Ramallah as the Green Zone is paramount to Abbas and the Fateh/PA triumvirate, whose fear of any reform introduced by Hamas would strip the elite of the benefits of corruption and the dolce vita that Fateh-rule has ensured for them.
Meanwhile, Abbas and his triumvirate will continue to treat Hamas the way Israel has treated the PLO and other Arab countries all along. In the interminable negotiations that Hamas held with Fateh to avert a showdown, whenever Hamas would agree to a Fateh demand, Fateh would up the ante and insist on another concession or claim that its initial demands always included the now expanded terms, even though they did not. Moreover, Fateh would also publicly interpret Hamas's concessions as having included things that Hamas had not agreed to at all. If this is reminiscent of the post-Oslo negotiating strategy that the Israelis used successfully with Arafat, this is because it is the same strategy. Abbas has gone so far as to walk away from negotiations, and refuse to speak to Hamas leaders, just as the Israelis have done often with the PA. Moreover, if the Israelis would often carry undercover attacks against Western interests to implicate Arab governments, the clearest example being the infamous Lavon Affair of the mid-1950s targeting Egypt, similar operations are being committed to implicate Hamas by undercover agents, like the recent example of the attacks on the churches illustrates. There may be many more such operations being planned.
Whatever fig leaf still covered the Fateh leadership's complete collaboration and subservience to Israeli interests has now fallen off. As a result, there is very little left that can restrain Fateh's actions. The next few weeks will be decided by how much Fateh leaders are itching for a fight to save their skins and fortunes, and how much patience Hamas can muster in the face of so much thuggery. In the meantime, what has been unfolding in the Palestinian territories is nothing short of the Chilean script.
Pinochet is in Palestine. His success however remains far from certain.
* The writer is associate professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University. He is the author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians (Routledge, 2006).
Friday November 10, 2006
"The Israeli artillery fire that claimed 18 civilian lives in Beit Hanoun this week is the worst single attack in Gaza for six years. Whether it will prompt an end to Hamas's moratorium on suicide bombings hangs in the balance, but the attack - said by Israeli officials to be an error - has clearly put Israel on the moral defensive.
Meanwhile, the US is arming Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah organisation for a confrontation with Hamas that risks plunging Gaza into all-out civil war. It wants thousands of rifles to be sent to Fatah from Egypt and Jordan, and is seeking to persuade Israel to permit the Badr brigade, a pro-Fatah militia stationed in Jordan, to cross into Gaza.
Five years ago most Israelis seemed to want a deal with the Palestinians. The war with Lebanon and the rockets from Gaza have reinforced the mood swing that Sharon launched with his mantra: "Israel has no partner for peace." Segev is deeply pessimistic: "It's no longer politically correct to say one believes in peace. Young people don't. It's legitimate to hate Arabs and want them to disappear somehow." Looking back on the decades since Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem, Segev adds: "In 1967 there was a choice: give the territories back and make peace, or settle them and make Israel strong. It hasn't worked. What a terrible waste of time the last 40 years have been."
Gideon Levy is one of the few Israeli journalists who still goes to Gaza - a venture that increasingly requires physical as well as moral courage. "A generation on both sides is growing up which never meets each other. In the past there was a relationship. Palestinians were working here. The relationship was unequal, but it wasn't just a matter of hate. Everyone believes we are facing monsters, not human beings." Desperate words, but they have the ring of truth."
A GOOD ANALYSIS
By Jonathan Freedland
Friday November 10, 2006
"From now on, the neoconservatives will have to give way to the foreign policy "realists" - those who believe America projects itself best in the world partly through force but also through the patient, pragmatic work of alliances and diplomacy. So out goes Rummy and in comes Robert Gates, a former CIA chief and protege of the first George Bush who, along with his former secretary of state, James Baker, is the living embodiment of the realist school.
This makes the latest move psychologically compelling. It's as if the prodigal boy prince, having learned the error of his ways, has been forced to return to the wisdom of his aged, kingly father. When he was in his pomp, when he still believed the war in Iraq was a mission accomplished, Bush was asked by Bob Woodward if he had consulted Bush Sr on the conflict. "You know, he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength," the president said. "There is a higher father that I appeal to."
The politics is even more fascinating than the psychology. For Gates has been serving on the Iraq Study Group, the commission co-chaired by Baker. It was Baker who commended Gates to Bush Jr, who pointedly did not interview any other candidates for the Pentagon job. This makes it impossible to imagine the administration doing anything but endorsing the Baker recommendations when they surface next January. How could the new defence secretary reject proposals he helped draft?
Gates's appointment signals a marked change in direction, confirmation that the Baker report will not just be a worthy tome destined to collect dust on a shelf, but a near-official statement of America's exit strategy.
Baker via Gates could solve that problem, providing an answer that all of Washington can rally around. And Dick Cheney will just have to lump it."
Olmert calls on Palestinian president to return to negotiating table; ‘I’m willing to sit down with him with no predetermined conditions,’ he says.
Ronny Sofer Published: 11.09.06, 17:21
“Abbas is exposed to Hamas’ pressures, and I am willing to sit down with him with no predetermined conditions,” the prime minister said. “He would be surprised to see how far I’m willing to go in the talks.”
I have great respect for Abu Mazen (Abbas). When we will sit around the negotiation table he will be very intransigent," Olmert said in a televised interview aired to people attending the conference.
"He is a Palestinian patriot, not Israeli. He will fight for Palestinian interests like a lion. But he is a decent man, he opposes terror. He is under pressure from terror groups and has no power to oppose them and overpower them. I sent him the message 20 times."
The prime minister warned that he is ready to release many prisoners as a gesture to Abbas, but not to Hamas, in return for the release of Gilad Shalit.
Ariel Sharon described him as a "baby chick." Now Olmert describes him as a "lion!" Wow, what a transformation! In reality, he is still the same spineless Usraeli puppet.
So, this is the "lion" Hamas wants to form a "unity" government with? Are we to believe that this is a marriage made in heaven? To me it is more like a marriage between Fidel Castro and Madonna. Enjoy!
Thursday, November 9, 2006
by ISM Hebron, 8th November
Palestinian youths demonstrated against the Israeli massacre in Gaza at the Israeli checkpoint on Shuhada street today. All shops in Hebron closed in mourning.
International Human Rights Workers (HRWs) arrived at 1pm to see Israeli soldiers firing live rounds at demonstrators who hid behind burning tires and threw stones. Two soldiers ran out from the checkpoint firing their guns. Ten minutes later five more soldiers ran out, followed by a further five riding in an armoured vehicle. They positioned themselves behind concrete road blocks, firing rapidly at the demonstrators.
The soldiers then closed the checkpoint for the next few hours.
At 1.12pm a milkman arrived on his donkey and approached the checkpoint but was sent back. Around the same time a Palestinian HRW managed to exit the checkpoint with a video camera but the international HRWs were refused exit by the soldier on duty. Two Israeli settlers tried to exit but were also sent back.
At 1.24pm soldiers fired rubber and live bullets at demonstrating youth. Soldiers then moved away from the checkpoint and toward the Old City. They moved up a side street near Beit Romano settlement to attack a group of youths at the end of the street. They were hiding around a corner behind a flaming tyre. Once again the soldiers shot at the youth, who threw stones at them.
At 1.36pm Israeli soldiers advanced along the side street. Suddenly several Palestinian children around 11 or 12 years old ran around the corner and threw rocks at the soldiers. One soldier was hit on the leg and fell to the ground.
More soldiers poured out through the checkpoint and five returned. At 1.30 the Palestinian with the donkey was allowed to unload his milk. International HRWs were again refused exit by the soldiers but Palestinians were allowed out.
By 1.37pm five Palestinians had been detained at the Shuhada street checkpoint along with the donkey. When asked by a HRW, the soldier on duty said there was still “ongoing trouble” and that he would let people through as soon as things calmed down. They were finally let through at 2.10pm. Only the exit side of the checkpoint was working at this point, though Palestinians were being allowed through it in both directions.
Inside the Old City market, four Armoured Personal Carriers (APCs) were driving around. At 1.48pm one of them pushed a fruit stall backwards along the street and spilled the oranges. By 2.30pm soldiers were patrolling the street randomly stopping Palestinian men and forcing them to lift their shirts.
At 2.40pm six Palestinian youths stoned an APC that was driving through the area carrying shooting soldiers. A soldier jumped out, shot at the youths, jumped back in and drove away. Five minuteS later more stones hit a stationary APC which eventually backed away.
At 3.05pm six Palestinian youths threw stones at an army jeep from behind two burning tyres. The jeep drove around the area shooting at the protesters.
Israeli soldiers were moving along the street kicking parked cars. They were very abusive to journalists, both Palestinian and international. They screamed at them and tried to damage a car that belonged to one of them.
A soldier pointed his gun at a seven year old girl from about 300 feet away. She ran into her home scared. When she came back he shouted “sharmuta” (Arabic for whore) at her. He gestured dismissively at a HRW who said to him, “You just called a child a whore?”
“Get a life,” he said.
“And your life is calling children whores?”.
Soldiers then shot tear gas at a group of women and children, including six HRWs. The soldiers laughed at the painful effects it had on them. They spent the next three hours driving up and down the street, laughing and joking. They shot tear gas directly at children, hitting one ten year old boy in the leg. He had been riding past on his bike at the time, clearly not carrying any rocks.
Overall, they shot off more than 50 canisters of tear gas, at least 50 rubber bullets as well as a number of live rounds.
CLICK HERE TO SEND CFL'S PREWRITTEN LETTER TO YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS: 11/08/06-CFL ALERT: PUT A HALT TO THE ISRAELI MASSACRES IN THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES.
*On November 8, Israeli tank shells killed at least 18 people in their sleep. Eight children are said to be among the dead. Of the 18 killed, 13 were from the same family and over 40 more were wounded in a residential attack on Beit Hanoun. According to witnesses at the scene all of the dead are women and children. The human cost of the attacks on Beit Hanoun have resulted in over 75 Palestinians killed in less than a week.
*On November 6, the international Red Cross condemned what they called a deliberate Israeli attack on clearly marked ambulance workers; the ICRC issued a statement saying that, "The International Committee of the Red Cross is appalled by this failure to protect personnel engaged in emergency medical duties. The individuals concerned and their means of transport were clearly marked with a distinctive emblem conferring the protection of the Geneva Conventions [on the conduct of warfare]," continued the same statement." Two paramedics were killed.
*On November 3, two Palestinian women who were taking part in non-violent protest were killed when Israeli Occupation Forces began shooting at a group of hundreds of women from Beit Hanoun. To watch video of the attack on unarmed women, click here.
*Call, Fax and Email your representatives today and ask them to stop supporting the indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinian women and children. Tell them that you expect this country to do what it must to stop the killings in Gaza. Israel would not be able to commit these crimes if not for the support of the U.S. In fact, in Palestinian media has been showing pictures all day of the shrapnel being pulled out of the bodies of Palestinian victims all of it stamped: Made in the U.S. It is unacceptable for us to be supporting war crimes in the territories. Tell your elected officials to take heed of the elections we just had in this country. The Republicans ought to realize that we have had enough war, lies and corruption. The Democrats should know that we can, as a people, come together for change and that they must support justice in this world by condemning Israeli atrocities or we will not vote for them either. Supporting Israeli war crimes is not only immoral but it is never going to make this country safer.
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
(Their website has a bunch of prewritten letters on it, so when I get their latest alert I usually resend all the old letters too--it doesn't hurt and it's soooooo easy to do. --christian sunni)
عمان ـ يو بي آي: قالت لجنة التنسيق العليا لأحزاب المعارضة الأردنية ان الحاكم الإداري لعمان سعد الوادي المناصير رفض الموافقة علي تنظيم المسيرة التي كانت دعت إليها احتجاجا علي المجازر الصهيونية المتواصلة في بيت حانون . واشارت اللجنة، التي تضم 14 حزباً، في بيان نشرته علي موقعها الإلكتروني امس الخميس الي أن الناطق باسم اللجنة والأمين العام لحزب جبهة العمل الإسلامي زكي بني أرشيد تلقي كتابا بذلك جاء فيه أعلمكم بعدم الموافقة علي إجابة الطلب..استنادا للصلاحيات المخولة لي بموجب قانون الاجتماعات العامة رقم 7 لسنة 2004 .
"A relative carries the body of Maram Al-Athamna, 1, during her funeral in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun Thursday Nov. 9, 2006. Tens of thousands of grieving Gazans, weeping in anguish and screaming for revenge, crammed into a cemetery on Thursday to bury 18 civilians killed by an errant Israeli artillery barrage that tore through a crowded residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/ Adel Hana)"
So AP has already concluded its own investigation and determined that the victims were "killed by an errant Israeli artillery barrage."
So, this is "free" and "objective" western media for you; they brainwash their audience, one brain at a time.