Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Plight of Elderly Palestinian Pilgrims Denied Re-entry to Gaza, Because of Israeli Blackmail of the Spineless Mubarak; Egypt Has No Sovereignty!

Egypt Has Considered Placing The Pilgrims in a Refugee Camp in The Sinai Temporarily!
Why Not Let Them Go Home Through the Rafah Crossing, The Same Way They Left??
Oh, The Pharaoh Does Not Want to Lose $100 Million in U.S. Handout.

CHALLENGES 2007-2008: Iraq Progresses To Some Of Its Worst

Analysis by Dahr Jamail

"WASHINGTON, Dec 29 (IPS) - Despite all the claims of improvements, 2007 has been the worst year yet in Iraq.....

During the surge, the number of Iraqis displaced from their homes quadrupled, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent. By the end of 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are over 2.3 million internally displaced persons within Iraq, and over 2.3 million Iraqis who have fled the country. Iraq has a population around 25 million.....

One reason for a decrease in the level of violence is that most of Baghdad has essentially been divided along sectarian lines. Entire neighbourhoods are now surrounded by concrete blast walls several metres high, with strict security checkpoints. Normal life has all but vanished.

The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates that eight out of ten refugees are from Baghdad....

Nearly 10 million people depend on the fragile rationing system. In December, the Iraqi government announced it would cut the number of items in the food ration from ten to five due to "insufficient funds and spiralling inflation." The inflation rate is officially said to be around 70 percent.

The cuts are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, and have led to warnings of social unrest if measures are not taken to address rising poverty and unemployment.....

This year has also been one of the bloodiest of the entire occupation. The group Just Foreign Policy, "an independent and non-partisan mass membership organisation dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy," estimates the total number of Iraqis killed so far due to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation to be 1,139,602.

This year 894 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, making 2007 the deadliest year of the entire occupation for the U.S. military, according to

To date, at least 3,896 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of Defence......

Underscoring another failure of the so-called surge is the fact that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad remains more divided than ever, and hopes of reconciliation have vanished......"

Gaza pilgrims stranded off Egypt

"More than 2,000 Palestinians returning from the annual Hajj pilgrimage have been left stranded on boats off the Egyptian coast after Cairo denied them permission to return to Gaza.

Egypt has demanded the Palestinians return to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip via Israel, but many fear they will be detained by the authorities if they do. On Saturday, Hamas called on Egypt to open its border with the Gaza Strip to let the Palestinians return home from the in Mecca.

The Palestinians have been stranded for two days on the two ferryboats on the Egyptian coast after sailing on Friday from Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, said Israel and the US were pressuring Egypt not to allow the pilgrims to return to Gaza.

Abu Zuhri said: "We are aware of the Israeli and American pressures on Egypt, and we urge Egypt to reject these pressures and to allow the pilgrims a safe return through Rafah."

Hamas officials said that 2,200 Gaza pilgrims were stranded on the ships and said a 62-year-old woman had died aboard one of the ships after falling ill.

The group fears Israel will arrest some of the pilgrims.....

Earlier, a Jordanian foreign ministry official said in Amman that the pilgrims sailed from Aqaba to Nuweiba after a promise that they could re-enter Gaza from Rafah. "The foreign ministry contacted the Egyptian authorities and secured permission for the Palestinian pilgrims to go back to Gaza via Rafah," Jordan's state-run Petra news agency quoted the official as saying.

According to Petra, the pilgrims refused to go back to Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Karm Salem crossing "because many of them are relatives or families of martyrs and other people are wanted by Israeli authorities."

About 7,000 people waving Palestinian and Hamas flags gathered on the Gaza side of the border with Egypt on Saturday and demanded the pilgrims be allowed to enter.

"We won't accept any excuse for preventing the pilgrims from returning," read a banner carried by one of the protestors.

About 100 Egyptian riot police mounted a machine gun on a building overlooking the corridor separating Egypt from Gaza.

Hamas security positioned themselves between the protesters and the border gate, and the crowd eventually dispersed."


Ilan Pappe: the peace process means what piece of Palestine Israel is supposed to annex and what Bantustan is supposed to be given to the Arabs

Emanuela Irace, il manifesto - Translated by Diego Traversa, Peacepalestine

Italian Version:

"Ilan Pappe arrived in Italy without causing any sensational uproar. He is IEMASVO’s guest [1], at the ISIAO’s Roman venue [2], for a conference over Israel-Palestine. Title: "One land, two peoples".

After having denounced in recent months the impossibility of working peacefully in a hostile milieu, namely at Haifa University, Pappe moved to Britain where he now teaches at Exeter University. Historian of dissent, "revisionist", born in 1954 in Israel, son of Jews who fled from the Germany of the '30s, he has published a half dozen books. Amongst the most recent works there is "The ethnic cleansing of Palestine", not yet translated into Italian. The core of the exploration by the great historian is the Zionist policy comprised of deportations and compulsory expulsions carried out against the Palestinians during and after the 1948 war, when some 400 villages were evacuated, razed and destroyed in the space of five years.

Professor Pappe, you write of ethnic cleansing, in 1948, as the foundational moment of Israel. In this way you shatter the "topos" of the voluntary exile of the Palestinians......."

Traitor Fayyad: We mourn deaths of Israeli soldiers

Palestinian prime minister meets with Israeli President Peres, expresses sorrow over deadly shooting attack near Hebron on Friday, says PA security forces have apprehended men suspected of involved in the attack

""We mourn the deaths of the two soldiers. Every death is a senseless one," Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Saturday evening in a meeting with President Shimon Peres in Herzliya.....

Fayyad announced that Palestinian security forces have already apprehended several suspects in connection to the attack. "These are not just empty words, there are actions behind them. We are working in conjunction with the Israeli security forces and we will see this matter through till the end," said the prime minister.

Peres stressed the importance of Fayyad's statements and praised the work being done by PA forces to combat terror in the West Bank......"

Abbas's troops hand IOF three armed settlers

What a Bastard! The Worst Traitor in Palestinian History.

"BETHLEHEM, (PIC)-- PA chief Mahmoud Abbas's security apparatuses in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Saturday handed IOF troops three armed Israeli settlers who entered the city and were apparently planning an attack near the Church of Nativity.

The website of Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth said that the three settlers, including a woman, were caught with arms in their possession in the Nativity plaza where Christmas and New Year celebrations are underway.

It said that Abbas's policemen contacted the so-called civil administration department, affiliated with the IOF, to take delivery of the three.

The paper said that one of them was a soldier, who was armed with an M-16 rifle, and added that he was taken for interrogation by the Israeli military police.

Two days ago the same Palestinian police force delivered eight kilograms of explosives to the IOF troops, claiming they were found in Bethlehem and are believed to be used by Palestinian resistance factions.

IOF sappers blasted the explosives, the Hebrew radio reported, adding that delivering the explosives was meant to boost confidence building measures between the two parties."

Palestinian police arrest three Israelis in Bethlehem

"The Palestinian police arrested three Israelis who were in Manger square just outside the Nativity church located in the center of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on Saturday morning.

Security sources told IMEMC that the three Israelis were armed but wearing civilian clothes. The sources added that the three were arrested by the police forces that were guarding the church of Nativity then were handed over to the Israeli army at an Israeli military checkpoint at the western entrance to Bethlehem......"

The key question is what kind of false flag operation were these Israeli undercover agents planning against the Church of the Nativity? Most likely the plan was to blame whatever killing, destruction and mayhem that resulted on "Islamic extremists" of Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Al-Qa'eda.

The other question is why no investigation was conducted by the puppet PA police, before handing them back to the IOF? Knowing the mission of those stooges, the answer is obvious.

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Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan

An Important Article

by Larry Chin
Global Research, December 29, 2007

"It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control over Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto does not change this agenda. In fact, it simplifies Bush-Cheney’s options.

Seeding chaos with a pretext

“Delivering democracy to the Muslim world” has been the Orwellian rhetoric used to mask Bush-Cheney’s application of pressure and force, its dramatic attempt at reshaping of the Pakistani government (into a joint Bhutto/Sharif-Musharraf) coalition, and backdoor plans for a military intervention. Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military.

The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place.

As succinctly summarized in Jeremy Page’s article, "Who Killed Benazir Bhutto? The Main Suspects", the main suspects are

1) “Pakistani and foreign Islamist militants who saw her as a heretic and an American stooge”, and

2) the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, a virtual branch of the CIA. Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari directly accused the ISI of being involved in the October attack.

The assassination of Bhutto has predictably been blamed on “Al-Qaeda”, without mention of fact that Al-Qaeda itself is an Anglo-American military-intelligence operation......

Mehsud’s profile, and the reporting of it, echoes the propaganda treatment of all post-9/11 “terrorists”. This in turn raises familiar questions about Anglo-American intelligence agency propaganda involvement. Is Mehsud connected to the ISI or the CIA? What did the ISI and the CIA know about Mehsud? More importantly, does Mehsud, or the manipulation of the propaganda surrounding him provide Bush-Cheney with a pretext for future aggression in the region?......

In fact, the openly criminal Bush-Cheney administration has only supported and promoted the antithesis of democracy: chaos, fascism, and the installation of Anglo-American-friendly puppet regimes.

In fact, the central and consistent geostrategy of Bush-Cheney, and their elite counterparts around the world, is the continued imposition and expansion of the manufactured “war on terrorism”; the continuation of war across the Eurasian subcontinent, with events triggered by false flag operations and manufactured pretexts.

In fact, the main tools used in the “war on terrorism” remain Islamist militants, working on behalf of Anglo-American military intelligence agencies---among them, “Al-Qaeda”, and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI. Mehsud fits this the same profile.....

What exactly were John Negroponte and Condoleeza Rice really setting up the past few months?

Who benefits from Bhutto’s murder? The “war on terrorism” geostrategy and propaganda milieu, the blueprint that has been used by elite interests since 9/11 to impose a continuing world war, is the clear beneficiary of the Bhutto assassination. Bush/Cheney and their equally complicit pro-war/pro-occupation counterparts in the Democratic Party enthusiastically support the routine use of “terror” pretexts to impose continued war policies. True to form, fear, “terrorism”, “security” and military force, are once again, the focuses of Washington political rhetoric, and the around-the-clock media barrage......

The likely involvement of the ISI behind the Bhutto hit cannot be overstated. ISI’s role behind every major act of “terrorism” since 9/11 remains the central unspoken truth behind current geopolitical realities......

The “war on terrorism” resparked Every major Anglo-American geostrategic crime has been preceded by a convenient pretext, orchestrated and carried out by “terror” proxies directly or indirectly connected to US military-intelligence, or manipulated into performing as intelligence assets. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is simply one more brutal example.

This was Pakistan’s 9/11; Pakistan’s JFK assassination, and its impact will resonate for years.

Contrary to mainstream corporate news reporting, chaos benefits Bush-Cheney’s “war on terrorism”. Calls for “increased worldwide security” will pave the way for a muscular US reaction, US-led force and other forms of “crack down” from Bush-Cheney across the region. In other words, the assassination helps ensure that the US will not only never leave, but also increase its presence.....

While the success of Bush-Cheney’s 9/11 agenda has met with mixed results, and it has met with a wide array of resistance (“terroristic” as well as political), there is no doubt that the propaganda foundation of the “war on terrorism” has remained firm, unshaken and routinely reinforced......"

حجاج غزة: تراجع مصري مخجل

حجاج غزة: تراجع مصري مخجل

"يبدو ان الزيارة التي قام بها ايهود باراك وزير الدفاع الاسرائيلي الي مصر، والتقي خلالها الرئيس حسني مبارك ومدير مخابراته العامة عمر سليمان بدأت تعطي ثمارها بشكل اسرع مما توقعه الكثيرون الذين اعتقدوا، ونحن منهم، ان الحكومة المصرية ستصمد في مواجهة الضغوط الابتزازية الاسرائيلية، وتتمسك بمواقفها الرافضة لها، خاصة تلك المتعلقة بالوضع الراهن في قطاع غزة المحتل.
فبعد ان مارست الحكومة المصرية حقها السيادي في السماح لحجاج قطاع غزة بالعبور من خلال معبر رفح لاداء فريضة الحج، ودون الاذعان للاملاءات الاسرائيلية برفض هذه الخطوة، ها هي تتراجع وبشكل مخجل، وتطالب هؤلاء الحجاج البالغ عددهم حوالي ثلاثة آلاف ان يوقعوا تعهدا بالعودة الي قطاع غزة عبر معبر كرم سالم الذي تريد الحكومة الاسرائيلية فرضه كبديل عن معبر رفح، ويخضع لسيطرتها بالكامل.
محافظ سيناء السيد احمد عبد الحميد اعلن يوم الجمعة انه تم اعداد مخيمات لايواء هؤلاء فور وصولهم الي العريش في اطار الاستعدادات المتخذة من جانب الحكومة المصرية، وهذا يعني ان اقامة هؤلاء قد تطول طالما انهم يرفضون العودة عبر المعابر الاسرائيلية، سواء معبر كرم سالم او معبر العوجة.
هذا التراجع المؤسف من قبل الحكومة المصرية يؤكد النظرية الاسرائيلية التي تقول بان الضغط والتهديد والوعيد هي الاسلوب الانجع في التعامل مع القاهرة، لان مواقف الحكومة المصرية قابلة للتغيير والتبديل بسرعة فائقة، اذا ما لوحت لها نظيرتها الاسرائيلية بورقة اللوبي اليهودي في واشنطن، واستخدامه الكونغرس لاشهار سيف المساعدات الامريكية لمصر والتهديد بتخفيضها.
فاللوبي اليهودي نجح في استصدار قرار من الكونغرس الامريكي ينص علي تخفيض المساعدات المالية لمصر بمقدار مئة مليون دولار، طالما لا تبذل الجهود المطلوبة والكافية لمنع تهريب الاسلحة من خلال الانفاق الي حركة المقاومة الاسلامية حماس التي تسيطر حاليا علي قطاع غزة.
هذا القرار أرعب الحكومة المصرية، وجعلها تتجاوب كليا مع الاملاءات الاسرائيلية فيما يبدو، واولها التضييق علي الحجاج الفلسطينيين والزج بهم في العراء، ومنعهم من العودة الي قطاع غزة بالطريقة نفسها التي غادروه بها اي عبر معبر رفح.
الحكومة الاسرائيلية تمارس ابشع انواع الابتزاز علي نظيرتها المصرية، والثانية لا تتردد في ابتزاز الحجاج الفلسطينيين، واستخدام معاناتهم كورقة لاثبات حسن نواياها تجاه واشنطن واسرائيل.
كنا نعتقد ان مصر الدولة الاقليمية العظمي لا يمكن ان تخضع للابتزاز الاسرائيلي، وتتقبل الاملاءات الاسرائيلية المهينة بشأن معبر رفح والمشاركة في حصار مليون ونصف المليون فلسطيني ومفاقمة معاناتهم الانسانية، خاصة ان باراك رفض رفضا مطلقا التجاوب مع المطالب المصرية في تعديل اتفاقات كامب ديفيد، بما يسمح بزيادة القوات المصرية في سيناء، ولكن يبدو ان اعتقادنا لم يكن في محله مطلقا، وثبت مرة اخري ان الحكومة المصرية اضعف من ان تصمد في وجه محاولات الابتزاز هذه، وتتمسك بابسط قراراتها السيادية التي تخدم مصالحها الاستراتيجية وامنها القومي."

Confirmation!! The Pharaoh Has No Balls!

Close to two thousand pilgrims from Gaza trapped in Egypt

"Close to two thousand Palestinian pilgrims who arrived in Egypt on Saturday protested Egyptian demands that they return to the Gaza Strip through an Israel Defense Forces-controlled border crossing, security officials and pilgrims said.

Senior Hamas officials among the pilgrims have resisted Egyptian attempts to have them enter through the Israeli-controlled Aouja crossing, the Egyptian security official said.

Al-Jazeera television aired interviews with the pilgrims before they left Jordan in which they showed a paper Egypt allegedly asked them to sign saying they would to return to Gaza through Aouja.

Israeli officials have said the Egyptians agreed to have the pilgrims use the Aouja crossing after Defense Minister Ehud Barak's recent visit to Egypt......

Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu said Saturday that 1,900 pilgrims are caught in limbo at sea and urged Egypt to urgently end their plight.

"We in the government and the people refuse to use (the Israeli) crossing. The pilgrims have the right to return the same way they exited," he said......

The standoff angered Hamas, who said Egypt has a responsibility to bring the pilgrims back to Gaza as quickly as possible.

In Gaza late Friday, angry Hamas loyalists fired their guns in the air and lobbed sound bombs in protest of Egypt's actions. The rioting was quickly quelled by Hamas security.

Hamas lawmaker Yehia Moussa said Egypt has a moral obligation to bring the pilgrims back home. "We demand an immediate end to the situation before we get to popular reactions with undesired consequences," he said.

Moussa said that his words did not constitute a threat, but that the public has the right to protest and revolt against the policy."

Official says PA dismantling Al-Aqsa and other militant groups

"The top Palestinian security official said on Saturday his government was dismantling militant groups, including those connected to President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction.

Officials said Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades largely agreed to go along with the government's security plan in the West Bank without putting up a fight.

"There is no Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades any more," Interior Minister Abdel-Razak al-Yahya told Voice of Palestine radio, referring to Fatah's largest armed group......

He said Abbas's Western-backed government has started "working to dismantle" other militant groups, though he did not spell out how that would be accomplished. He stopped short of threatening to deploy his forces against those who resist the security clampdown, but he said: "We will impose law and order.".....

But the diplomats questioned the government's ability to disarm Fatah militants on a larger scale, noting al-Aqsa's decentralized command and control structure.

A unit of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the Gaza Strip issued a statement in the Gaza Strip accusing Yahya of being a "collaborator" who follows "American and Zionist masters."

"We will pursue Jihad and resistance until we liberate Palestine from the Zionists," the statement said. "

PA minister vows 'harsh measures' against killers of 2 Israelis

"Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki on Friday vowed a "harsh" response to a West Bank shooting attack that killed two Israeli hikers earlier in the day.

"As we condemn all Israeli assassination operations... in Gaza and West Bank, we cannot accept such operations carried out by armed groups," said al-Malki.

He said the aim of the group who carried out the attack was to disrupt peace talks and Palestinian security plans, and promised "to take harsh measures" against them......

Both Rubin and Amihai were in elite units of the IDF, with Rubin serving as a sergeant in the Israeli Naval commandos and Amihai as a corporal in the Israel Air Force's equivalent unit......."

Is this the beginning of the end in Iraq?

By Patrick Cockburn

"Some 19 US soldiers have been killed so far in December, the lowest number of American military fatalities in a single month since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. As recently as May this year, 135 US soldiers were shot dead or blown up by Iraqi guerrillas.

The fall in US casualties is one of the most surprising events of 2007. At the beginning of the year, the American army in Iraq seemed to be clinging on by its fingertips as more and more of the country came under the control of Sunni and Shia warlords. Twelve months later, US units are peaceably patrolling districts of Baghdad where once they faced ambushes at every street corner......

Significant changes have taken place in Iraq this year. The most important is that part of the Sunni Arab community, the core of the insurgency against the US occupation, has changed sides and is now fighting al-Qa'ida in alliance with the US military. This dramatic switch in allegiance occurred primarily because the Sunni Arabs, only 20 per cent of Iraq's population, were being overwhelmed by the Shia, the branch of Islam to which 60 per cent of Iraqis belong.......

.....The US has effectively raised a Sunni militia force which may soon total 100,000 men, many of them former insurgents. They are armed and paid for by the US, but regard the Shia-Kurdish government with deep suspicion. Many Sunni commanders speak of taking on the Shia militia, the Mehdi army, which has been stood down by its leader, Muqtada al-Sadr.

It is a bizarre situation. One experienced Iraqi politician told me that al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which never had much connection with Osama bin Laden's organisation, had effectively split last year. A sign of this was when somebody betrayed the location of its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to the US military, which bombed his hideout and killed him. Some of the so-called "Concerned Citizens" militiamen now on the US payroll are former al-Qa'ida fighters.....

Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are very different countries, but they are the terrain in which President Bush chose to test America's status as a superpower. They are also countries where it is difficult to win a decisive victory because power is so fragmented. Successes often turn out to be illusory or exaggerated....."

They don't blame al-Qa'ida. They blame Musharraf

By Robert Fisk

"Weird, isn't it, how swiftly the narrative is laid down for us. Benazir Bhutto, the courageous leader of the Pakistan People's Party, is assassinated in Rawalpindi – attached to the very capital of Islamabad wherein ex-General Pervez Musharraf lives – and we are told by George Bush that her murderers were "extremists" and "terrorists".......

Only a few days ago – in one of the most remarkable (but typically unrecognised) scoops of the year – Tariq Ali published a brilliant dissection of Pakistan (and Bhutto) corruption in the London Review of Books, focusing on Benazir and headlined: "Daughter of the West". In fact, the article was on my desk to photocopy as its subject was being murdered in Rawalpindi.

Towards the end of this report, Tariq Ali dwelt at length on the subsequent murder of Murtaza Bhutto by police close to his home at a time when Benazir was prime minister – and at a time when Benazir was enraged at Murtaza for demanding a return to PPP values and for condemning Benazir's appointment of her own husband as minister for industry, a highly lucrative post.

In a passage which may yet be applied to the aftermath of Benazir's murder, the report continues: "The fatal bullet had been fired at close range. The trap had been carefully laid, but, as is the way in Pakistan, the crudeness of the operation – false entries in police log-books, lost evidence, witnesses arrested and intimidated – a policeman killed who they feared might talk – made it obvious that the decision to execute the prime minister's brother had been taken at a very high level."

When Murtaza's 14-year-old daughter, Fatima, rang her aunt Benazir to ask why witnesses were being arrested – rather than her father's killers – she says Benazir told her: "Look, you're very young. You don't understand things." Or so Tariq Ali's exposé would have us believe. Over all this, however, looms the shocking power of Pakistan's ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence.

This vast institution – corrupt, venal and brutal – works for Musharraf. But it also worked – and still works – for the Taliban. It also works for the Americans. In fact, it works for everybody......

It doesn't, after all, take much to comprehend that the hated elections looming over Musharraf would probably be postponed indefinitely if his principal political opponent happened to be liquidated before polling day.

So let's run through this logic in the way that Inspector Ian Blair might have done in his policeman's notebook before he became the top cop in London.

Question: Who forced Benazir Bhutto to stay in London and tried to prevent her return to Pakistan? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who ordered the arrest of thousands of Benazir's supporters this month? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who placed Benazir under temporary house arrest this month? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who declared martial law this month? Answer General Musharraf.

Question: who killed Benazir Bhutto?

Er. Yes. Well quite.

You see the problem? Yesterday, our television warriors informed us the PPP members shouting that Musharraf was a "murderer" were complaining he had not provided sufficient security for Benazir. Wrong. They were shouting this because they believe he killed her."

Stranded Palestinian refugees at Iraqi borders to resettle in Sudan within days. Thank You Sudan; Finally, One Arab Country Still Exists!!

"KHARTOUM, (PIC)-- The Sudanese government has declared that all preparations were finalized on the resettlement of 2,000 Palestinians refugees in the outskirts of the capital, Khartoum, within the few coming days.

The Palestinian refugees, who have fled persecution in Iraq at the hands of American occupation forcers and sectarian militias, have been stranded at the Iraqi borders with Syria and Jordan for years.

Refugees' commissioner in the Sudan Mohammed Al-Aghbash said that the UNHCR was coordinating with the Arab League in order to provide financing for relocating those refugees in the Sudan.

He added in a news report carried by Al-Hayat newspaper based in London that the Sudanese government was committed to settling those refuges in the country out of appreciation to their circumstances.

The UNHCR said that around 13,000 Palestinian refugees were still living in Iraq, mostly in the capital Baghdad, where they face daily threats.

Meanwhile, Palestinian refugees in Sidon, southern Lebanon, staged a sit-in on Thursday at the UNRWA central offices in the city to protest the Agency's decision to reduce its health and social services.

They hoisted placards denouncing the "oppressive" policy of the UNRWA and said it must shoulder its responsibility.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon constitute 10% of the entire number of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA and around 11% of the total population of Lebanon. The 500,000 Palestinian refugees live in 12 camps."

Hebrew press: Israeli security cabinet approved plan to assassinate Haneyya

"OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli security cabinet has endorsed a plan to assassinate Ismail Haneyya, the premier of the PA caretaker government in Gaza and the prominent Hamas leader, during a meeting last week, Hebrew press reported.

The Israeli website Rotter quoted senior sources in the security cabinet as saying that Israeli war minister Ehud Barak was the one championing that plan.

The sources pointed out that Israel had asked the USA to approve the plan, which was sanctioned only a few days ago.

They affirmed that president George Bush had agreed to the plan on condition that the assassination would take place after his visit to Israel, which is expected in mid January.

Israel had assassinated a number of prominent Hamas leaders such as the Movement's founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Rantisi."

Because the Pharaoh Has No Balls or Teeth

Resheq castigates attempts to hinder Gaza pilgrims from returning to their homes

"DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Ezzat Al-Resheq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, has castigated the attempts to obstruct Gaza pilgrims from returning to their homeland after having completed the Hajj rituals in Saudi Arabia, considering that the stipulated return of pilgrims through the Israeli-controlled Awja crossing would enable the IOF troops to arrest some of the pilgrims.

"We strongly reject punishing the homeward-bound Gaza pilgrims, and we do not accept any justification or excuses threatening their safety and security," Resheq confirmed on Friday in an exclusive statement to the PIC.

The Jordanian authorities had informed the Gaza pilgrims, who are stranded at the Jordanian port of Aqaba, that Egypt had set the condition that they sign undertakings to return through the Awja crossing.

The pilgrims, however, confirm that they are determined to return to their homes through the Rafah border crossing and that they will be staying in the buses until their return via Rafah crossing is ensured.

The Hamas leader also underlined that the issue is now subject to the two governments of Jordan and Egypt, expressing the confidence that Egypt and Jordan will not respond to the Zio-American pressures[dream on], which are also approved by the PA leadership after it had expressed its rejection of the pilgrims' departure through the Rafah crossing.

The Hamas leader pointed out that more than 2,000 pilgrims, most of them elderly, sick or disabled, were now stranded, warning of the repercussions of their waiting after the death of an aged female pilgrim called Shafiqa Al-Buhaisi, 62.

He appealed to the UN, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and all worldwide human rights organizations to intervene to stop the suffering of those pilgrims, pointing out that the caretaker government is conducting calls with Egypt to ensure their safe return through the Rafah crossing.

For his part, Ahmed Bahar, the acting speaker of the PLC appealed on Friday, in a press release received by the PIC, to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to issue a verdict as soon as possible to allow thousands of stranded Gaza pilgrims to return to their homes through the Rafah crossing, hailing at the same time the good efforts exerted by Egyptian authorities to facilitate the travel of Gaza pilgrims to perform Hajj rituals in Makkah.

For his part, MP Khalil Al-Hayya, a Hamas prominent leader who is among the stranded pilgrims, affirmed on behalf of Hamas its rejection of the Egyptian decision which binds the Gaza pilgrims to sign undertakings to return through the Awja crossing, calling on the Egyptian leadership not to pressure the pilgrims because of external pressures."

Friday, December 28, 2007

If Stones Could Talk

The Canaanites pounded wheat and baked bread on me. The children of Abraham carried me to the Temple of Prayer and I became a Wailing Wall.

By James Petras

".....So I was glad with the conquest and re-conquests – Muslim Arabs, Ottomans and Crusaders – by turn a mosque, a church, as sacred as a holy relic and as profane as a urinal.

But to my regret I returned to the scrabble of the empty fields as the holy places were demolished.

Centuries later I was scrubbed and served, at last, a worthy purpose: for kneading dough and baking flat bread.

The sheep grazed in my shadow and the children chased each other round me, while a mischievous rooster roused the folks out of their slumber using me as a platform to announce the coming dawn.

Then came the time of bullets chipping and flaking my outer skin, the Ottomans fled but I remained solidly implanted though now no longer employed but rather a sitting place of laughing children and grandmothers retelling tales of wise men and wizards, the small brown feet beating time to music and song did me no harm.

Came the time of the Catastrophe the bullets rang and the blood ran

And the children’s grandmothers fled.

The houses were sacked, the olive trees were felled, but I was not harmed.

I remained a stone, smoothed by generations of storytellers and their listeners.

Around me only weeds and thistles grew,

Fertilized by the defecations of the conquering army of Jewish Liberation.

From afar I saw the fires burning villages on one side,

And the gardens and houses, tiles and pools of water on the other.

I was not alone nor for long as asphalt soon paved the roads to and

From the Jews Only townships – cobblestones were cleared and piled around me.

I wondered to what purpose?

Some rustic setting in an open-air restaurant in Tel Aviv serving olives and cheese,

But not from the burnt stumps of the olive trees nor from the skulls and bones of lambs slaughtered during their Liberation.

Solitary in the blazing sun

By the barren road sat I till one day the barefoot brown foot boys,

shod now in adolescent shoes, returned and throwing stones

at the cars whizzing by on the asphalt highway, hid behind my back

as the bullets bounced off my granite hide.

Saved I a life or two or maybe just for a minute or an hour?

The armored carriers came and buried the wounded and the dead

In a common grave.

I didn’t even serve as a tombstone (maybe later – much later)

A memorial, monument to the barefoot boys and girls who fell.

And now I have become part of a wall

A gigantic ghetto wall, crowned with barb-wire

Slashing meadows and scarring fields with the dead trunks of orange trees.

One day I lost my shady solitude. I was loaded into a truck

And became what I am…a prison wall.

I have lost my grace, denatured and disputed:

But most of all torn from a place of affection to a place of desolation.

I am told it depends on which side you look.

By my backside stand the hanging gardens and lawns and luxury flats

Of a Chosen People

According to their Holy Writ.

In front the face of the dispossessed living in memories of their distant nation

While their children no longer hear stories of wizards and wise men

But of resistance fighters and martyrs and visions of a nation without walls

And with them my hope that when the wall comes down

I will return to my shady solitude

مصطفى البرغوثي حفيد التنمية الامريكية

"الرفيق مصطفى البرغوثي من كوادر الحزب الشيوعي الفلسطيني سابقا, طبعا المعاد تسميته حزب الشعب بعد نكسة الفكر اليساري في في فلسطين . مصطفى البرغوثي مثال لليساري الفلسطيني الناجح , فهو كالكثير من الرفاق الذين قامو بما يشبه تحويل الولاء من الاتحاد السوفيتي الى الولايات المتحدة الامريكية , بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفيتي فمثلا , كانت و لازالت الولايات المتحدة الامريكية المتحدة رمز الامبرالية العالمية و هي من المفروض أن تمثل لكل شيوعي أو أشتراكي العدو الاول , و ليس مصدر التمويل الاول .

بعد هذه النبذة القصيرة عن التاريخ المشرف لليسار الفلسطيني , سنتحدث قليلا عن البرغوثي و ما أكثرهم في فلسطين ! مصطفى طبيب فلسطيني درس في روسيا و ثم بعد أنهيار الاتحاد السوفيتي , أسس البرغوثي و كمعظم القيادات الرفاقية مؤسسات أهلية أو دكاكين كما يحب أن يسميها البعض فاول مؤسسة أسسها كانت الاغاثة الطبية الفلسطينية , بالمناسبة فقد قام الرفاق بالجبهة بتأسيس دكانة لجان العمل الصحي و ذلك نكاية بحزب الشعب عام 1985 .قام البرغوثي في عام 1989 بفتح معهد الإعلام والسياسات الصحية والتنموي و كانت قد بدأت في تلك الفترة تظهر موضة مراكز البحث و الدرسات المدعومة من بريطانيا و أمريكية حيث ضخت أمريكا و بريطانيا الملايين في جيوب الرفاق من أصحاب هذه المؤسسات للقيام بدرسات حول المجتمع الفلسطيني لتستغل هذه الدرسات في معرفة نقاط الضعف و طبيعة الشعب الفلسطيني , و يذكر ان هذا المركز يصدر بيانات عن 93 مؤسسة اهلية من تجمع المنظمات الاهلية تعتمد على تقارير هذا المركز في الحصول على التمويل .

مع قدوم اسلو بدأ البرغوثي العمل في عدة أتجاهات فمن جهة أستبدل تطرفه الشيوعي ببعض الاشتراكية و قام ببناء علاقات مع الاحزاب اليسارية في أروبا و التي أستغل علاقته معها فيما بعد عندما وصلت للسلطة في تمويل دكاكينه

Smother until surrender

The year that was: Things were bad in Gaza in 2007. We have been deprived, isolated and ignored in a hostile territory where anything goes

By Laila El-Haddad
The Guardian

"How have things in Gaza changed over the past 12 months? Sadly, there are no rosy reflections to be found here. Things were bad in Gaza this year. Very bad. Whether looked at from a political or purely humanitarian perspective, it's difficult to see the upside where there is such an orchestrated global drive to maintain the status quo: smother until surrender......

It is as though depriving a nation of medicines and fuel and freedom of movement and sanity will somehow make them turn against their rulers. And as though providing them with a trickle of "essential" supplies every few weeks is going to exonerate those imposing and supporting the siege. Or sustain the besieged just enough so that they don't wither and die; because somehow, the onus is on them to undo all of this, and they need all the energy they can get......

So if anything has changed in 2007, perhaps it is the global complacency and indifference towards Gaza and what is being done to its people with such purpose. And perhaps this is the most troubling aspect of it all, not that it is happening, nor even that it is happening so methodically, but rather that we, the collective world governments, mass media, and yes, Abbas, no longer seem to find it so morally troubling. After all, Gaza is now a hostile territory. So anything goes."

Israel, US, Britain Ignored Bhutto Appeals for Protection

"......Bhutto Appealed for Protection
A report published Friday by the Hebrew-language Maariv newspaper revealed that Bhutto had "desperately" asked the CIA, Scotland Yard and the Mossad security agencies to assist in her personal protection in the weeks prior to her murder.

She said in her appeals to the U.S., British and Israel security agencies that her opponent, President Pervez Musharraf, would not let her protect herself adequately; she was not allowed to use dark-paned windows in her motorcade or use equipment to locate roadside explosives. She said she suspected Musharraf wanted to make her an easy target for assassins.

In Israel, discussions were held on the subject between the Foreign Ministry, which supported Bhutto's request for protection, and the Mossad as well as other bodies involved with protection of state leaders and VIPs. No decision was reached due to Israel's concern about upsetting the Pakistani or Indian regimes......."

Olmert: 'Bhutto could've been bridge to Muslims'

"Israeli leaders paid tribute to slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Thursday, even though Israel and Pakistan do not have diplomatic ties.

"I saw her as someone who could have served as a bridgehead to relations with that part of the Muslim world with whom our ties are naturally limited," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told The Jerusalem Post.

He said the assassination was a "great tragedy," and that he received the news "with deep sadness."

Upon her return to Pakistan two months ago, Bhutto had stopped in London and, through a mutual acquaintance, relayed a message that she would "in the future like to strengthen the ties between Israel and Pakistan," Olmert said......"

الرشق: لا نقبل بأي مبررات تبيح انتهاك سلامة حجاج غزة وتمنعهم من العودة إلى ديارهم

أكد أن عودتهم هو برسم الحكومتين الأردنية والمصرية

"دمشق - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

انتقد عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس"، عزت الرشق، محاولة إعاقة عودة حجيج قطاع غزة إلى وطنهم بعد أن أتمّوا مناسك الحجّ، والعالقين حالياً في ميناء العقبة الأردني، معتبراً أن اشتراط عودة حجيج القطاع عبّر معبر العوجا الذي تسيطر عليه قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني "يمنح الاحتلال إمكانية اعتقال من تريد اعتقاله من بين هؤلاء الحجّاج".

وقال الرشق في تصريح خاص أدلى به اليوم الجمعة (28/12) لـ "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام": "إننا نرفض بشدّة أن يُعاقب حجّاج قطاع غزة العائدين إلى ديارهم، ولا نقبل بأي مبررات أو أية ذرائع تبيح انتهاك سلامتهم وأمنهم".

وكانت السلطات الأردنية قد أبلغت حجاج قطاع غزة أن مصر تشترط التوقيع على تعهد بالعودة من خلال معبر العوجا، هذا في الوقت الذي يؤكد فيه الحجّاج أنهم مصرون على العودة إلى ديارهم عبر معبر رفح، وأنهم عازمون على البقاء في حافلاتهم إلى حين ضمان عودتهم عبر معبر رفح.

وقال القيادي الفلسطيني "إن أمر عودة حجيج قطاع غزة سالمين إلى ديارهم هو الآن برسم الحكومتين الأردنية والمصرية، ونحن على ثقة بأن مصر والأردن لن يرضخا للضغوط الأمريكية والصهيونية فيما يتعلق بسلامة الحجّاج وأمنهم"، مؤكداً أن تلك الضغوط "تتم بتشجيع وتأييد من رئاسة السلطة الفلسطينية التي عبّرت عن انزعاجها ورفضها لمغادرة حجاج قطاع غزة عبر معبر رفح أثناء توجههم لأرض الحجاز".

وأشار الرشق إلى أن حجيج قطاع غزة مصرّون على العودة إلى ديارهم عبر معبر رفح، وأنهم بصدد الانتظار لحين السماح لهم بذلك، محذراً من تداعيات الانتظار بالنسبة لألفين وأربعمائة حاج وحاجّة أغلبهم من الطاعنين في السن، بينهم مرضى ومقعدون.

وقال: "اليوم توفيت الحاجة شفيقة البحيصي (63 عاماً) أثناء انتظارها سماح السلطات المصرية لحجيج قطاع غزة بالمرور عبر إلى الأراضي المصرية إلى قطاع غزة، وهناك العشرات وربما المئات الذين يعانون أوضاعاً صحية صعبة نتيجة تقدمهم بالسن، ونحن نخشى أن يلاقي آخرون مصير المرحومة البحيصي إذا ما طال الانتظار".

ونوه الرشق بأن الحكومة الفلسطينية برئاسة إسماعيل هنية تجري اتصالات مع الجانب المصري من أجل ضمان عودة الحجّاج عبر معبر رفح، مؤكداً على أن حركة "حماس" ستطرق جميع الأبواب من أجل ضمان عودة الحجّاج إلى قطاع غزة سالمين غانمين.

وناشد عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة "حماس" الأمم المتحدة وجامعة الدول العربية ومنظمة المؤتمر الإسلامي وكافة المؤسسات الحقوقية والإنسانية في العالم التدخل من أجل وقف معاناة 2400 حاج وحاجّة من أبناء قطاع غزة يعيشون الآن مرارة الانتظار لحين السماح لهم بالعودة إلى أهلهم وديارهم. "

Foreign Ministry plans to drop Syria from 'radical axis' list

"The Foreign Ministry has placed the Syrian issue as one of its central objectives for 2008. A document published by the ministry states its intention to "formulate a strategic plan to remove Syria from the radical axis."

Senior officials in the Foreign Ministry indicated that there is still no clear program for reaching this goal, but that a list of ideas includes the distancing of Syria from Iran, Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist organizations.

This objective is in line with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's recent "checking" with different Israel-Syria mediators to examine Damascus' willingness to start political negotiations with Israel.

The Foreign Ministry's list of objectives for 2008, which was approved this week by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, also includes promoting the Annapolis process, continuing the isolation of Hamas in the international arena, and improving the standard of living within the Gaza Strip [what a joke!!]. ....."

Ethiopia leaves key Somali town

Ethiopian troops have withdrawn from a key town in central Somalia.


"Islamist insurgents say they now control Guriel, where Ethiopia had a big military base to secure the road linking the two countries.

A BBC correspondent in Somalia says it is not clear why the Ethiopian troops withdrew without any fighting.

Guriel was a stronghold of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), which lost power to Ethiopian-backed government troops a year ago this week.

The BBC's Ayanleh Hussein in Guriel says residents have been cheering the Ethiopians' departure.

During the occupation the local hospital was out of use as it was used as the Ethiopians' military base, he says....."

Pakistan in Turmoil after Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination

An Excellent segment; highly recommended if you want to know what is happening in Pakistan.

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

".....We go to British-Pakistani author and activist Tariq Ali in London and historian Manan Ahmed in Chicago for analysis of the current crisis and Benazir Bhutto’s checkered history.....

TARIQ ALI: Well, Amy, my first reaction was anger. I was livid that Bush and his acolytes in Britain had fixed this deal, pushing her to do a deal with Musharraf, forcing her to play a role, which, of course, she agreed to do—it has to be admitted—in Pakistan, which she was not capable of playing. She made some extremely injudicious remarks, saying that she would go back, she was the only person who could deal with terrorism, etc., etc. The fact was that this was not the case.

And, you know, to—I wrote at the time that it is a big, big problem when you try and arrange a political marriage between two parties who loathe each other. And so, Musharraf very rapidly, after her return, embarrassed her by instituting a state of emergency. And she then didn’t know whether to defend the state of emergency; finally, she attacked it. So the whole situation was a complete mess.

And now, everyone in Pakistan knows that an election organized in this fashion, under the leadership of a guy who’s become a master at rigging elections, is not going to achieve anything. So Benazir was advised by close advisers, including one of the central leaders of her party, Aitzaz Ahsan, who is still in prison, by the way, saying we must not participate in this election, it’s totally fake and rigged, it should be boycotted. She refused to accept that, because Washington insisted that she participate in this election, and she was torn in her loyalties. And finally, she, a woman of great physical courage, lacked the political courage to defy Washington. And I have to say this, it’s cost her her life. Had she decided to boycott the election, this would not have happened.

And for Washington to send her to Pakistan, reassuring her that she would be safe, is shocking. At the very least, if they were insistent on doing this, they could have provided her with a Marine guard like Karzai gets in Kabul. But, you know, they depended on the locals to guard her, and they obviously couldn’t do it. So she’s now dead. And it’s a tragedy. It’s a personal tragedy for her and her family. And it sort of has begun, embarked on a new crisis for Pakistan, which is going to get worse.

I mean, I think Musharraf’s days are numbered. I don’t think he will be, even if he has this fake election in a week or ten days’ time, which Bush is forcing him to do—I mean, I cannot understand, for the life of me, how the President of the United States can be so isolated and remote from reality as to insist that an election goes ahead when one of the central political leaders in the country, backed by Washington, has just been assassinated. I mean, what the hell are they going to achieve from this election? Nothing. It will not give legitimacy to anyone. It will create possibly, very rapidly afterwards, a new crisis, and then they will have to have a new military leader stepping in....."

[It is a long interview which continues after the break. Check the posting later for the complete transcript.]

2 (IOF) soldiers killed, one hurt in W. Bank shooting attack

"Two soldiers were killed Friday in a drive-by shooting in the south Hebron Hills. The two were hiking in the area of the Talam and Adura settlements with a female resident of Kiryat Arba, when a group of four terrorists opened fire on them from a Jeep.

The soldiers, named as David Ruben and Ahikam Amihai, managed to return fire, reportedly killing one of the terrorists. Both victims were in elite units of the IDF, with Ruben serving as a sergeant in the Israeli Naval commandos and Amihai as a corporal in the Israel Air Force commandos unit.

They later died from their wounds, while the woman who accompanied them managed to hide, but was lightly wounded....."


It is paradoxical that the Palestinian resistance is having more success hunting down the IOF in the occupied West Bank than in liberated Gaza. This, in spite of the fact that the resistance in the W.B. has been decimated, not just by the IOF, but also by the Palestinian Lahad quisling.

Two main reasons:

1) Direct contact with the occupier.

2) More effective clandestine tactics used in the W.B. The resistance is forced to go underground in the W.B. and to adopt guerrilla tactics. In contrast, in Gaza, the resistance is trying to act as a regular army which is a disastrous mistake.


Dissolve the PA; let Israel occupy Gaza and shoulder the burden of the occupation; and let the resistance go underground and start to fight a true guerrilla fight. Don't forget to start by studying Sun Tzu's, "The Art of War," and apply it.

Hamas in the crosshairs

Throughout the year, the US and Israel tried to collapse the Hamas government, an objective sure to survive on the policy agenda of 2008

A Good Analysis
By Saleh Al-Naami
Al-Ahram Weekly

"One November night in 2006 in his fourth floor office in the western wing of the Israeli Ministry of Defence, General Amos Gilad, head of the ministry's department of political security, met with Elliot Abrams, American deputy national security adviser. On the agenda of this meeting that Abrams had come specially to Tel Aviv for was only one item: how to ensure the fall of Hamas after it had grown clear that the siege on the West Bank and Gaza Strip had not only failed to cause its collapse but had actually increased support for Hamas among Palestinians.

As a Hebrew-language documentary shown recently on Israeli television made clear, Gilad and Abrams agreed during the meeting that 2007 would see the fall of the Hamas government and prepare the ground of Palestinian domestic political conditions to prevent the movement's re- election. Thus the main goal of Israel and the US administration in 2007 was securing the fall of Hamas. During the abovementioned meeting, Abrams stressed that mechanisms not previously used must be employed to reach this goal, in coordination with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. In its 29 March 2007 issue, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper made note of this meeting and affirmed that Abrams held that the PA's leadership had a fundamental role to play in achieving this goal. It referenced Abrams as saying that this leadership must take political and military steps towards toppling Hamas, in particular through employing Palestinian security agencies against it.......

Yet despite US-Israeli successes in driving wedges between Palestinian movements, 2007 has near ended without Tel Aviv or Washington achieving their goal of bringing down the Hamas government. It is thus expected that in 2008, Israel will undertake a wide scale military campaign in the Gaza Strip to strike at Hamas's military and organisational infrastructure and push towards the collapse of its government.

Indeed, Israel has undertaken preparations for this, although Israeli leaders fear the possibility that their army will fail to achieve the goal. It is still expected, nonetheless, that Israel will undertake this campaign during the first third of 2008, attempting to destroy the organisational and military infrastructure of Hamas and occupying Gaza before handing it over to NATO or the EU, and later the PA of President Abbas.

The success of this scenario is difficult to guarantee, however, for while Israel can take control of Gaza, it would be difficult for it to halt all resistance operations. Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and its army was present in its streets and alleys for more than 38 years, yet resistance was not stopped. Hamas will certainly benefit from an Israeli campaign, for Israeli military control of Gaza would transfer responsibility for services and humanitarian needs from Hamas to Israel.

Further, if Abbas returned to the Strip following Israeli reoccupation of it, Palestinians would view him as a collaborator. Moreover, Israel doubts the ability of Abbas to run the Strip's affairs once Israeli forces leave. Making matters more complicated is the fact that 2008 will likely see new legislative elections in Israel that will result in gains for the extreme right. This in itself will narrow the margin of manoeuvre for Abbas and supporting Arab states.

Hamas's successful survival through these upcoming developments will strengthen its legitimacy, and bets will no longer be placed on negotiations with Israel. It is expected that Hamas will have learned from the lesson, and that following the military campaign against the Strip, it will work to put an end to the PA in its present form and make the world shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinians....."

A year of Palestinian disunity

Amid intense foreign interference, 2007 marked a year of critical meltdown for Palestinians and their enduring cause

By Khaled Amayreh in occupied East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"2007 has not been an ordinary year for Palestinians and their enduring cause. It witnessed a mini-civil war between Fatah and Hamas, a short-lived government of national unity, followed by a brief but bloody showdown in Gaza that ended with Hamas taking over the coastal strip. For its part, Fatah retaliated by establishing its own separate authority in Ramallah and instigating a vindictive and widespread inquisition against Hamas supporters and institutions in the West Bank.....

Israel also continues to build hundreds of "for Jews only" settler units all over the West Bank, especially in and around Arab East Jerusalem. Similarly, Israel insists that in the context of a final status agreement with Palestinians, the future Palestinian entity would have to recognise Israel as a "Jewish state" of the Jewish people everywhere -- a clear allusion that non-Jewish Israelis have no permanent right to residency, let alone equality.

As to the PA leadership, it is clear that it is negotiating from a position of critical weakness, not only because of the enduring rift with Hamas, which is likely to persist for sometime, but mainly due to American and Israeli pressure on Abbas. The Weekly has been struggling in vain to obtain from PA and Fatah leaders in Ramallah a coherent and credible answer for the following question: What strategic alternatives does the PA have in case negotiations with Israel hit a dead end?

Alternatives there must be. The failure of talks with Israel, which is more than expected, may very well lead to the collapse of the PA itself, in which case all parties concerned would return to square one. Such an ominous event would be the best news ever for radical forces on both sides..."

George Bush and Pakistan Dictator Pervez Musharraf spend a tender moment discussing preferred methods for eliminating political competition.

Latuff's Latest Cartoon

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

This is What Israel Thinks of its Quisling: Israeli forces gun down bodyguard of chief Palestinian negotiator

"Just hours after the Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Ahmed Qureia, and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem, their envoy was attacked by Israeli forces invading Ramallah.

Mu'atasam Sharif al-Mahdi, a member of the Palestinian Presidential Guard, and a top-ranking security official, was killed by Israeli gunfire near Ramallah. Israeli sources claim that al-Mahdi was carrying a (licensed) handgun, which made Israeli soldiers mistake him for a fighter. But Palestinian eyewitnesses report that the soldiers gunned down al-Mahdi in cold blood.

"Israel has proven once more that it does not want the security plan the Palestinian Authority is implementing in the West Bank to succeed. Israel does not want stability in the West Bank”, said another top Palestinian security official.

The Palestinian security forces of Mahmoud Abbas have been working hard over the last several weeks to fully implement a U.S. and Israel-mandated security plan, in which thousands of Palestinian security guards have been deployed throughout the West Bank. The security forces have found it extremely difficult to deploy, with Israeli military forces still in full occupation of Palestinian land.

The meeting Thursday brought no promises from the Israeli side, despite full cooperation from the Palestinian negotiators. Israeli officials have announced this week that they plan to greatly expand settlements throughout the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank this year – in direct violation of promises the officials made in a U.S.-led one-day peace talk in Annapolis in late November.

Meanwhile, Israeli invasions and attacks on Palestinian civilians continue on a daily basis."

Beware of Barak

By Ran HaCohen, The Electronic Intifada, 28 December 2007

"Israeli "Defense" Minister Ehud Barak is definitely the most dangerous politician in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad can only dream of having the powers -- political and military, conventional and non-conventional -- that Barak already possesses. Netanyahu and other far-right Israeli politicians say what they think and are earmarked as extremists, so they are under permanent scrutiny. Barak is more extreme than Netanyahu, but he's an extremist in disguise.

The person who destroyed the Oslo process and initiated the second intifada, the person who demolished the Israeli peace camp from within, by spreading legends about a "generous offer" rejected by the Palestinians, by persuading the Israelis that he "unmasked" Arafat and that there was no Palestinian partner -- this person still calls himself "the leader of the Israeli peace camp." That's one of Barak's most dangerous traits: his inherent untruthfulness, his presenting himself as the very opposite of what he actually is......"

Two Israeli Settlers Killed in Occupied West Bank


"28/12/2007 Two Israeli settlers were killed by Palestinian resistance fighters on Friday while on a ramble in the south of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, emergency services said. The two men were fired on as they were walking with another settler to a spring near the flashpoint city of Al-Khalil. Israeli occupation troops launched a manhunt for the killers."

A tragedy born of military despotism and anarchy

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto heaps despair upon Pakistan. Now her party must be democratically rebuilt

Tariq Ali
Friday December 28, 2007
The Guardian

".....How can Pakistan today be anything but a conflagration of despair? It is assumed that the killers were jihadi fanatics. This may well be true, but were they acting on their own?.....

Pakistan's turbulent history, a result of continuous military rule and unpopular global alliances, confronts the ruling elite now with serious choices. They appear to have no positive aims. The overwhelming majority of the country disapproves of the government's foreign policy. They are angered by its lack of a serious domestic policy except for further enriching a callous and greedy elite that includes a swollen, parasitic military. Now they watch helplessly as politicians are shot dead in front of them.....

....It is impossible for even a rigged election to take place now. It will have to be postponed, and the military high command is no doubt contemplating another dose of army rule if the situation gets worse, which could easily happen....

....all she would say was that the world had changed. She couldn't be on the "wrong side" of history. And so, like many others, she made her peace with Washington. It was this that finally led to the deal with Musharraf and her return home after more than a decade in exile. On a number of occasions she told me that she did not fear death. It was one of the dangers of playing politics in Pakistan......

....The People's party founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was built by the activists of the only popular mass movement the country has known: students, peasants and workers who fought for three months in 1968-69 to topple the country's first military dictator. They saw it as their party, and that feeling persists in some parts of the country to this day, despite everything......

....The People's party needs to be refounded as a modern and democratic organisation, open to honest debate and discussion, defending social and human rights, uniting the many disparate groups and individuals in Pakistan desperate for any halfway decent alternative, and coming forward with concrete proposals to stabilise occupied and war-torn Afghanistan. This can and should be done. The Bhutto family should not be asked for any more sacrifices."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Analysis: For Washington, Bhutto's loss is incalcuable

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Thursday December 27, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

"The Bush administration today confronted one of its worst nightmares of the post-9/11 age: violent riots in the streets of a nuclear-armed and Muslim nation, and no clear strategy to chart its way out of the chaos.

For Washington, the enormity of Benazir Bhutto's loss is almost incalculable. Her assassination robs the Bush administration of an important ally in Pakistan just days before scheduled elections that were supposed to return the country to civilian rule and, Washington had hoped, greater stability and a more vigorous front against Islamist extremism......"

Palestinians 'helped settlements'

A Palestinian parliamentary inquiry has found that four Palestinian companies sold cement to Israeli firms building Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

BBC, Thursday, 10 June, 2004

"The cement, imported from Egypt, was to have been used to build houses for homeless Palestinians.

The matter will now be referred to the Palestinian attorney-general, MP Hassan Khreisha told Reuters news agency.

He said there was no evidence any of the cement was used in the construction of Israel's West Bank security barrier.

The Palestinian firms reportedly sent 420,000 tons of cement to Israel.

The cement had "gone to build Israeli houses - settlement units," Mr Khreisha said.

An Israeli television report earlier this year had suggested that a company owned by the family of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ahmed Qurei, had provided cement for the concrete slabs in the barrier......"

Officials: Olmert didn't commit to settlement halt

The stupid man in the middle, "chief negotiator" Ahmad Qure'i, all he cares about is making more money, perhaps by selling more cement to the Israelis to build more colonies. Don't laugh; he sold them cement to build the apartheid wall!

"Israeli PM, Palestinian leader Abbas meet in Jerusalem, agree to refrain from steps that would hinder efforts to reach permanent agreement; sources say Olmert did not guarantee Israel would withdraw plans to expand Har Homa....."

Video: Quagmire... for what it's worth

Fallujah, the Information War and U.S. Propaganda

The U.S. Army's Intelligence Analysis of the 2004 Fallujah Attack

An Interesting Piece

"Now receded into distant memory for many, the battle for the Iraqi city of Fallujah, accompanied by the al Sadr uprising in the south, was a decisive turning point in the Iraq occupation. These battles demonstrated to much of the world that the occupation was deeply unpopular among many Iraqis, who were willing and able to fight the occupation to a stalemate. These battles both ended in standoffs, as the U.S. forces felt constrained from unleashing their full military capabilities to crush the resistance. New insights into the thinking of the U.S.military are available from a U.S. army intelligence analysis ­ by the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center ­ of the first Fallujah battle entitled Complex Environments: Battle of Fallujah I, April 2004 that was leaked this week on the Wikileaks web site.....

....This new document confirms that the attack on Fallujah was designed to crush a symbol of resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.....

As befits a symbolic battle, the analysis makes clear that the information war was primary. The failure of the Marine's attack to retake Fallujah was caused, the authors claim, by resistance ("insurgents" in their lingo) forces' success in getting their message out to the world.....

The report echo's the concern of American leaders about the influence of Al Jazeera and other Arab media at conveying the rebel's side of the story....

While providing useful analyses of the nature of the Fallujah fighting, and of the information war, this intelligence report demonstrates yet again the difficulties that U.S. occupation forces, including intelligence analysts, have in coming to terms with the nature of nationalist opposition to occupation. While it contains interesting discussions of the organization of the Fallujah resistance, including their decentralized command and control structures which were hard to destroy, the authors cannot resist repeating the Marine attackers description of the resistance fighters as " an "evil Rotary club" rather than a military organization."

The report also illustrates American blinders in analyzing the political context of the Fallujah battle.....

In failing to come to terms with the unpopularity of the occupation, the report continues the American blindness to the difficulties of sustaining an occupation as opposition mounts. The report thus pays insufficient attention to the extent to which the Fallujah population supported the resistance fighters. Perhaps, however, the absence of any discussion of "winning hearts and minds" is an implicit recognition that this was an impossible goal, and one irrelevant to the U.S. desire to crush Fallujah as a symbol of organized opposition to occupation.....

Having failed to destroy Fallujah as a symbol of resistance to occupation in April, the U.S. designed the November attack to accomplish this goal once and for all.....

Paul: 'We're getting ready to bomb Iran'

"Despite a recent National Intelligence Estimate finding that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program, libertarian-leaning GOP presidential contender Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says there is still "a great possibility" of US military action against the country.

Appearing on MSBNC's Morning Joe, Paul described what he characterized as a deteriorating situation on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said the US was preparing to kickstart yet another conflict -- this time in Iran.

"It is getting worse over there," he said. "Afghanistan is getting worse. Turkey is bombing Iraq. And Pakistan is blowing up and we're getting ready to bomb Iran. A bunch of those neocons want to bomb Iran."......"

Pakistan: Al-Qaeda (created and kept alive by the U.S.) claims Bhutto's death

"Karachi, 27 Dec. (AKI) - (by Syed Saleem Shahzad) - A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.

It is believed that the decision to kill Bhutto, who is the leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was made by al-Qaeda No. 2, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.

Death squads were allegedly constituted for the mission and ultimately one cell comprising a defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Punjabi volunteer succeeded in killing Bhutto......"

Another satisfied Iraqi customer learns that freedom isn’t free…or being free for that matter.

IRAQ: Saddam Provided More Food Than the U.S.

BAQUBA, Dec 27 (IPS) - The Iraqi government announcement that monthly food rations will be cut by half has left many Iraqis asking how they can survive.

By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail

"The government also wants to reduce the number of people depending on the rationing system by five million by June 2008.

Iraq's food rations system was introduced by the Saddam Hussein government in 1991 in response to the UN economic sanctions. Families were allotted basic foodstuffs monthly because the Iraqi Dinar and the economy collapsed.

The sanctions, imposed after Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, were described as "genocidal" by Denis Halliday, then UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. Halliday quit his post in protest against the U.S.-backed sanctions.

The sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, and as many adults, according to the UN. They brought malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines. Iraqis became nearly completely reliant on food rations for survival. The programme has continued into the U.S.-led occupation.

But now the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has announced it will halve the essential items in the ration because of "insufficient funds and spiralling inflation."....."

The butcher's apron

By Mike Whitney
Online Journal Contributing Writer

"Every four years the country is swept up in the pomp and pageantry of presidential elections. And every four years loyal Americans flock to the voting booths to select the candidate of their choice. Elections, we are told, are the true expression of democratic government. But they aren't. They're a sham and most people know it. The balloting creates the illusion of choice where there is none. It's a meaningless ritual that has nothing to do with representative government......."

As Predictable and as Visible as Sunrise.....
They Pose for the Israeli Air Force.....
Wearing Their Beards and Uniforms.....
And Of Course, the IAF Obliges by Killing a Few Everyday.
Six Were Killed Today in Gaza. It is as Challenging to the IAF as Shooting Fish in a Barrel!

This is what stupidity looks like!

The nationalist version of tribal mobilization

From Missing Links

"There was a brief reference to the Central Council of the Arab Tribes of Iraq in Al-Hayat last week (referred to in this post), where the point was that one of the sources of GreenZone anxiety about the "awakenings" is the fact that they might serve as a vehicle, or an occasion, for the mobilization of pan-Iraqi nationalism, with anti-occupation implications. This has been overlooked in the Western accounts of the whole awakening phenomenon, which talk about GreenZone (and US military) anxiety about the awakenings only in its other form, which is--you guessed it!--the sectarian "Sunni versus Shiia" perspective. The more things change (in Iraq), the more they stay the same (in the Western accounts).

Today Al-Hayat reports on another meeting of this tribal council, this one held in Damascus.....

Finally, the journalist explains what this declaration has to say specifically about the awakenings:

[The declaration said] the tribal leaders can appreciate some of the motives that caused the creation of some of these Awakening Councils in Iraq, [but] they affirm that these councils are not acceptable when the intent is to strike against the national project in Iraq and cooperation with the occupier against the national people, while at the same time affirming [that the tribal leaders should] encourage their people to preserve security in their areas and deter oppression and attacks on the people [no doubt referring to takfiiri excesses].
In other words, let's channel tribal mobilization in the right direction!"

Breaking News: Benazir Bhutto killed by bomb at rally

"The Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has died after a suicide bomb attack that killed at least 15 people at a campaign rally......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do the "Awakening Councils" contribute to improving the security conditions in Iraq?

With about 700 responding so far, 78% said no.

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The right to explode in anger

By Amira Hass

".......Despite domestic opposition, the eternal representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization and PA - Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qureia and Saeb Erekat - continue to take part in these virtual negotiations. On Tuesday, following a meeting with Abbas, the Fatah Central Committee warned that continued settlement construction is likely to wreck the negotiations. The warning may have been for internal consumption only, but similar alarms were sounded in 1996 and 2000. Israelis dismissed them in the belief that the participation by senior Palestinian officials in the virtual negotiations is what counted. To the Palestinian public, the warnings did not sound hollow.

It is impossible to predict how the Palestinian people will interpret the warnings this time around, and whether they will see them as a signal that they have the right to explode in anger once again over their continuing dispossession from their lands and future. "

Blair's misguided economic optimism

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 27 December 2007

"The Quartet's Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, wanted to raise $5.6 billion US at the donor conference in Paris in December 2007. Since 1999 the per capita gross domestic product in occupied Palestine has declined by 40 percent. As a result Palestinians are getting poorer and 65 percent live below the poverty line. To give the hard hit economy a boost, Blair came up with a cure of ten "quick impact projects." The World Bank has another opinion: pouring money into the occupied Palestinian territory will do little to revive the economy unless the occupation is ended. Instead, some of Blair's proposed projects are firmly rooted in the structure of the occupation......

Europe is reluctant to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law like the ongoing construction of the wall and Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land, the transfer of its population to the occupied Palestinian territory and the severe movements restrictions imposed on Palestinians. These violations have a negative impact on the lives of Palestinians and the Palestinian economy. The 2003 advisory opinion of the International Court Justice on the legality of the wall confirmed that Israel as the occupying force should comply with international law and that the international community has the duty to hold Israel to account. However, Europe has chosen to bury its head in the sand by endorsing Blair's quick impact projects that are firmly rooted in the structure of this occupation. This is not the way to gain the trust of the Palestinian people. Putting pressure on Israel to end the occupation is the way forward."


Notice that stupid, fawning expression on the face of the Palestinian "tourism minister" standing with Blair. With tourism she will recover Palestinian rights. By the way she has a few locally made trinkets available at low prices.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Keystone Kondi's Kurdish Kaper

By Jeff Huber

"Condoleezza Rice, Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science and 66th United States Secretary of State, arrived unannounced in the oil rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk on December 18th, just after Turkey's attacks on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq, to do what she does best: step into a bad situation and make it worse......."

The Waning of the Iraqi Resistance

There is no denying that the Iraqi resistance to the occupation has fallen sharply. The numbers of occupation troops killed in each of the past 8 months tell the story. It is not to the credit of the Iraqi resistance, and the Iraqis in general, that their resistance to the occupier is waning while their division is increasing. It used to be Sunni-Shiite fight simultaneous with the resistance to the occupier. Now the occupier is forgotten and in addition to the Sunni-Shiite fight, there are Sunni-Sunni and Shiite-Shiite fights that are escalating.

This does not speak well of the tribal Iraqi society nor does it speak well of a regime that in 40 years did not build an enlightened and strong Iraqi nationalism, but instead nurtured and used tribalism to its advantage.

Month Occupation Fatalities
------ ---------------------

5-07...... 131
6-07...... 108
7-07...... 87
8-07...... 88
9-07...... 69
10-07..... 40
11-07..... 40
12-07..... 19

قوات دولية في غزة لضرب المقاومة وليس لحماية الفلسطينيين

بقلم: عمر نجيب

"عندما استطاعت حركة حماس حسم الصراع في غزة لصالحها في شهر يونيو 2007، عاد الحديث مجددا عن نشر قوات دولية حول القطاع، لكن اللافت في ذلك الوقت كان أن المطالبة بذلك لم تقتصر على رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس، بل إنها جاءت أيضا من رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيلية ايهود اولمرت الذي كانت حكومته تعترض على المشروع من أساسه عندما طرح في السابق.
في افتتاح مؤتمر الجهات المانحة للفلسطينيين يوم الاثنين في باريس اقترح الرئيس الفرنسي نيكولا ساركوزي تشكيل قوة دولية تكلف "في الوقت المناسب" بمساندة الأجهزة الأمنية الفلسطينية، وأضاف ان "على مؤتمر باريس ان يواكب بناء دولة حديثة تدريجيا، وأن السلطة الفلسطينية تعهدت بضمان احترام القانون والنظام ويجب إصلاح الأجهزة الفلسطينية وإعطاؤها طابعا احترافيا، وفي موازاة ذلك، على الأسرة الدولية ان تساعد على تحقيق هذا الهدف الصعب".

الواضح أن هذا الاقتراح جاء كمخرج للإشكالية الإسرائيلية تجاه القوة الدولية حيث أن هذه القوة المقترحة ستكون سندا لقوات السلطة وإسرائيل في التصدي للمقاومة التي تحارب الاحتلال ولن تكون بأي شكل أداة لحماية الفلسطينيين أو تطبيق واحترام ما يسمى بالشرعية الدولية. ويفترض منها ان تعد قوات الأمن التابعة لسلطة رام الله لفرض سيطرتها علي قطاع غزة وبعض المناطق الأخرى في الضفة الغربية، التي توجد فيها تجمعات للمقاومة، وخاصة كتائب شهداء الاقصى التابعة لحركة فتح والرافضة لتعليمات رئيس السلطة بوقف المقاومة واعتماد الخيار التفاوضي كأسلوب وحيد للوصول الي تسوية سلمية لن تكون إلا على حساب حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني.

ولا يظهر ان الاقتراح الذي طرحه الرئيس الفرنسي هو منتوج فرنسي صرف بل شاركت في إعداده وصقله إسرائيل وواشنطن ليكون مكملا لما تم رسمه في مؤتمر أنابوليس وفي إطار الحرب المعلنة على الشعب الفلسطيني وعلى حركة حماس. وهو مخطط جديد لدعم أمن المحتل الإسرائيلي
. "