Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Palestinian Contras Escaping Gaza (Wearing Only Their Underwear) to........the Protection of Israel!

Soldiers escort Fatah men (the ones in their underwear) into Israel

IDF allows fleeing Fatah members into Israel

"(VIDEO) 180 Fatah members enter country through Nahal Oz terminal after Hamas asserts control in Gaza City stronghold of clan linked to Abbas' faction following fierce clashes; sources in Strip say former Tanzim leader Ahmad Hilles among those allowed entry. Wounded evacuated to Israeli hospitals.

VIDEO - More than 180 Fatah members who fled Gaza City following Hamas' raid on a stronghold of the Hilles clan were allowed to enter Israel through the Nahal Oz terminal after laying down their arms and undergoing an initial interrogation; 22 of those who have entered Israel were injured during the clashes......

IDF sources said the Palestinians were allowed into Israel for humanitarian reasons, adding that dozens more have gathered near the Israel-Gaza security fence and will be permitted to enter the country in the coming hours. They will later be transferred to the West Bank, which is under Palestinian Authority control.....

Sources in Gaza said among those who were allowed entry by the IDF was Ahmad Hilles, the head of the Hilles clan, who then reportedly made his way to the West Bank along with a number of his family members who were injured during the clashes with Hamas......

Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam said that the raid on the Hilles clan stronghold “was not aimed against the Hilles clan, which includes Hamas operatives and dozens of shahids.”

The operation was aimed against those who wished to harm the calm that reigned over the (Gaza) Strip in the past 14 months. Some of the clan's members led an uprising against the government, harmed security officials, gave shelters to criminals, planted explosives and established a military training facility against the Hamas government,” Siam said. "

The Ongoing Persecution of Sami al-Arian


"Efforts to free Sami al-Arian have now reached the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 30 an appeal was lodged with the Court by his attorneys, led by Professor Jonathan Turley.

There are few prospects in the justice system so grimly awful as when the feds decide never to let go. Rebuffed in their persecutions of some target by juries, or by contrary judges, they shift ground, betray solemn agreements, dream up new stratagems to exhaust their victims, drive them into bankruptcy, despair and even suicide. They have all the money and all the time in the world.

Several months ago I wrote here about the appalling vendetta conducted by the US Justice Department against Sami al-Arian, a professor from Florida who had the book thrown at him in 2003 by Attorney General Ashcroft. As I described it back then, Dr al-Arian was charged in a bloated terrorism and conspiracy case and spent two and a half years in prison, in solitary confinement awaiting trial.

In December 2005, a Tampa jury hung 10 to 2 in favor of acquittal on nine charges. In a plea deal, the government dropped eight of them and demanded Al-Arian plead guilty to a watered-down version of one charge. Normally a hung jury with so large a number of the jurors voting for innocence would mean the prosecutors would not demand a retrial. But given the Justice Department’s vindictiveness in this case and that it might insist on just such hugely expensive and protracted proceedings, Al-Arian’s lawyers urged him to accept the offer. Under the plea agreement—which the government betrayed --Dr. Al-Arian pled guilty to one charge of providing nonviolent services to people associated with a designated terrorist organization......

Why the continued efforts to destroy Dr al-Arian? He’s just one more object lesson to the world of what can happen to a Muslim, a Palestinian, who tried with some success to combat ignorance and prejudice in the Middle Eastern debate and who established his innocence to a jury on the grave charges the US government spent millions to sustain in that Florida court. His assailants in the Justice Department have probably anticipated with relish that al-Arian would succumb to malnutrition and illness in one of the holes into which he has been flung. They were mistaken. Sustained by his family, capable attorneys and vast sympathy across the world, Dr al-Arian has stayed in the ring with his fearsome and vindictive persecutors. Every word of support and encouragement (to is important. "

Because the Pharaoh Has No Balls: Five patients die due to the siege in 24 hours

"Ramo Abdo, media spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against the Siege, reported on Friday that five patients died in the Gaza Strip in 24 hours, one of the patients is a three-month old infant who suffered from a heart disease.

In a press release, Abdo stated that the patients died after being barred from leaving the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment abroad as Israel continues its siege over Gaza, and the hospitals became unable to provide medical treatment, especially to patients with critical conditions.

The infant was identified as Ahmad Abu Amra.

Also, Khadeeja Al Assar, from Deir Al Balah in the central Gaza Strip, died of kidney cancer after being barred from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment.

An elderly patient, identified as Jamal Mahmoud Abu Qishta, from Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, died of brain tumor on Thursday evening. He was also barred from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment.

On Friday morning, patient Amal Ahmad Al Raba’ey, 44, died on cancer although she had all transfer papers ready for medical treatment abroad.

Also on Friday, patient Fayiz Al Za’aneen, 37, from Beit Haoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, died of cancer; he had all transfer papers ready but was barred from leaving the Gaza Strip.

Abdo voiced an appeal to Egypt to intervene and enable the patients to leave Gaza in order to receive the needed medical treatment.

He also stated that hundreds of students who study abroad and came visit their families are now stranded in the Gaza Strip and unable to go back to their universities and colleges. "

Neocon flap highlights Jewish divide

Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe, The Electronic Intifada, 1 August 2008

"WASHINGTON (IPS) - A mushrooming media controversy pitting neoconservatives against a prominent Jewish-American political commentator could mark a new stage in the growing battle over who speaks for the US Jewish community on foreign policy issues, particularly regarding the Middle East.

TIME columnist Joe Klein's accusations that Jewish neoconservatives, who played a particularly visible role in the drive to war in Iraq and have since pushed for military confrontation in Iran, sacrificed "US lives and money ... to make the world safe for Israel" have spurred angry charges of anti-Semitism and personal attacks from critics at such neoconservative strongholds as The Weekly Standard, National Review, and Commentary......"

Who's Really Running Iraq?

Home Truths You'll Never Read in the Press


"......McCain and other American politicians who believe that ‘the Surge’ has brought them close to victory, seldom understand the role Iran has played in Iraq in the last two years. Paradoxically, Iran and the US together are the two main supporters of the present Iraqi government. For Iran, Nouri al-Maliki in power in Baghdad leading a coalition of Shia religious parties allied to the Kurds is as good as it is going to get. The Iranians may vie with the US for influence over this government, but both want it to stay in power. “People fail to realise that the success of ‘the Surge’ was the result of a tacit agreement between the US and Iran,” one Iraqi leader told me. “There really is an Iranian-American condominium ruling Iraq these days,” said another......."

The Murder of Ahmed, Age 10

By Kim Bullimore – The West Bank
(- Kim Bullimore is currently living the Occupied West Bank, where she is a human rights volunteer with the International Women's Peace Service (

Palestine Chronicle

"Another child has just been murdered.

On Tuesday, July 29, Ahmed Ussam Yusef Mousa, aged 10, was shot dead with a single shot to the head by Israeli occupation forces. Ahmed was murdered, just before 6pm, when he and a group of youth from Ni'lin village attempted to dismantle a section of barbwire fencing erected on the village's land by the Israeli occupation forces.

Ahmed is now the twelfth person and seventh child to be killed by the Israeli occupation forces in demonstrations against the apartheid fence [1]. He is one of more than 840 Palestinian children killed by the Israeli Zionist state since the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in September 2000 [2]......

As Ahmed's tiny body, wrapped in his funeral shroud, was carried above the crowd, the mourners chanted his martyrdom, against the occupation and the wall and for the greatness of God. Soon, smaller groups broke off from the procession to confront the soldiers, yelling at them angrily, as the emotions, anger and grief surrounding Ahmed's death spilled over. In response the Israeli occupation forces began to throw sound grenades and flash bombs. As myself and one of my IWPS teammates moved closer to the front line to try and offer some sort of international presence, teargas began to be fired by the Israeli military. For the next few minutes, we were caught between the military firing on us and the young Palestinian men throwing stones in response to the occupation forces attack on the funeral procession.......

When the prayers finished, Ahmed was brought from the mosque and taken once again by funeral procession to the village burial ground. We walked quietly, as again the chants from the villagers and others Palestinians spoke of Ahmed's martyrdom, God and the occupation.

As we approached the burial grounds, women stood atop the house near where little Ahmed would be buried. As the funeral procession passed by they ululated, performing the zachrohtah, the traditional sound made to wish someone well......

*17 year old, Yousef Ahmad Younis Amera was shot in the head, twice, with rubber coated steel bullets at close range by the Israeli military, in Ni'lin village several hours after Ahmed was buried. Yousef was declared brain dead several hours after he was shot by the Israeli occupation forces."

Real News Video: Abu Dis - A city divided

Phyllis Bennis: Israel has done what 2000 years of history could not, block the Silk Road from the sea

Phyllis Bennis: "There were negotiations going on between Israelis and Palestinians back in 2000, then-prime minister Barak, Ehud Barak, offered to the Palestinians, who of course were demanding, appropriately, that their capital of their Palestinian state should be in the Palestinian city of East Jerusalem. And instead, Barak said, of course, we can't allow that to happen, but we'll let you have your capital in Abu Dis. We'll even let you call it Al-Quds, which is Arabic for Jerusalem."

'Syria willing to cut Iran ties for peace with Israel'

"A peace agreement with Syria is within reach, according to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's envoys to talks with Syria, who returned from another round of indirect negotiations in Turkey and were quoted in a Ma'ariv report Friday.

According to the report, the sides have already formulated a sketch of a peace deal and have told the Turkish mediators that they are willing to pay the price, which, for the Syrians, would include cutting off Iran.......

The sketch includes several clauses, the report said. According to the first, general, chapter, the two countries will end the state of war between them, establish a viable peace, including an exchange of ambassadors and the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The second clause of the agreement delineates the terms of normalization between Jerusalem and Damascus.

The third chapter will reportedly deal with security arrangements and will include a full Israeli withdrawal form the plateau and the demilitarization of the area. According to the Ma'ariv report, the chapter will also specify a drastic reduction in the magnitude of Syrian armed forces stationed between the Golan and Damascus as well as the erection of an early warning station manned by international forces on Mount Hermon.

According to the report, there was no way to directly prevent Syria from having ties with Iran. The agreement could, however, forbid Damascus from providing weapons to - or harboring representatives of - nations or organizations that threaten Israel.

The report quoted officials familiar with the negotiations as saying that the Syrians had expressed their awareness of Israel's demand and did not reject it.

The officials also said that talks with Israel had already exacted a price from Syrian President Bashar Assad in terms of his relationship with Teheran."

Exiled Egyptian activist sentenced


"Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an outspoken critic of the Egyptian government, has been sentenced to two years in prison.

The sociologist and human rights activist, who is currently in the United States, was convicted for "tarnishing Egypt's reputation," the country's official MENA news agency said......

Since June 2007, Ibrahim has been moving between Qatar, the US and Spain and has expressed fear of arrest if he returned to Egypt......

Prosecuting lawyers, Abul Naga al-Mehrezi and Hossam Salim, took the case against Ibrahim to court and accused him of defaming the country after a series of articles and speeches on citizenship and democracy in which he criticised the Egyptian regime........

The 69-year-old went into exile several months ago, citing a climate prejudicial to political opposition and human rights.

A vocal critic of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, Ibrahim was quoted in the Washington Post last year as saying he preferred to remain outside Egypt for fear of being arrested "or worse".......

Ibrahim, who founded the Ibn Khaldoun Centre for Development Studies, was sentenced in 2001 to seven years for, again, "tarnishing Egypt's reputation," before being freed on appeal after spending 10 months behind bars."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you support the Palestinian side in continuing negotiations with Israel despite Olmert's resignation?

With about 500 responding so far (it is early), 80% said no.

This is What the US Pays the Pharaoh Ehud Mubarak For: Five Palestinians suffocate to death after Egypt blows up tunnel.

Egyptians Killing Starved Palestinians for Zion; Does it Get Any Worse Than This? And Hamas Still Works With And Praises "Our Egyptian Brothers."

Contributed by Emanuel

"Five Palestinians were killed and 18 wounded in a smuggling tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border after Egyptian troops blew up the entrance, an Egyptian security official and Gaza hospital doctors said Saturday.

"The destruction of the entrance deprived those inside the tunnel of oxygen," said the Egyptian official, who is stationed at the border and spoke on customary condition of anonymity. Gaza hospital officials said the five died from lack of oxygen.

The tunnel entrance was destroyed late Friday, near the Gaza border town of Rafah......."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Candidate who wants Olmert's job once 'sought deaths of 70 Palestinians a day'

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
The Independent

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"A leading candidate to be Israel's next premier called for a death toll of 70 Palestinians a day when he was head of the military during the second intifada, according to a best-selling book by two Israeli journalists.

The account of a briefing given in May 2001 to senior West Bank army commanders reinforces the image of hawkishness enjoyed by Shaul Mofaz. He has emerged as the main rival to the Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, for the leadership of the Kadima party being vacated by Ehud Olmert. Mr Mofaz is expected to stress his security credentials as a former chief of staff and defence minister in his campaign to defeat Ms Livni, the most popular among the Israeli public of the candidates to succeed Mr Olmert as party leader.......

The general then warned, says the book, without placing his remarks in direct quotes, that there would be "no more messages to the Palestinian Authority so that it will act". The authors say that Mr Mofaz instead laid down that they call "a price to be set exactly". The authors say that he said he wanted "10 slain Palestinians" in each territorial brigade area.
The book goes on to record that one senior officer then whispered to the Central Command commander, Yitzhak Eitan, that he would be well advised to ask for such an order in writing and added: "It comes to 70 killed a day"........."

محنة السوريين والفلسطينيين بعد اولمرت

محنة السوريين والفلسطينيين بعد اولمرت

عبد الباري عطوان

"الانتظار هو السمة التي تميز الوضع العربي، ليس في الوقت الراهن فقط، وانما ايضا طوال العقود الثلاثة الماضية علي الاقل. فكأننا كعرب اصبحنا مثل اشارة المرور، الجميع يعبر، بينما نحن واقفون في مكاننا ننتظر حدوث شيء ما دون ان يكون لنا أي دور في تحديد هويته
السؤال المحير، بالنسبة الينا علي الاقل، هو كيف استطاع اولمرت ان يخدع كل المسؤولين العرب الذين هرولوا الي مؤتمر انابوليس، او في كل من دمشق وسلطة الرئيس محمود عباس في رام الله طوال هذا الوقت، ويقنعهم بانه الرجل القادر علي صنع السلام دون ان يقدم لهم تنازلا واحدا، بما في ذلك تفكيك حاجز واحد في الضفة.
المشكلة ان الفلسطينيين والسوريين الذين راهنوا علي اولمرت كصانع سلام يتصرفون وكأن استقالته التي اعلنها قبل يومين لا تعنيهم مطلقا، وهو تصرف يمكن وصفه بانه اسوأ انواع المكابرة وخداع النفس، وهذا ليس جديدا علي العرب في كل الاحوال.

السوريون قالوا انهم سيستمرون في عملية التفاوض غير المباشر مع اولمرت وحكومته عبر الوساطة التركية، ونحن نقول لهم ان الرجل اصبح بطة عرجاء وسيقضي اسابيعه القليلة الباقية في رئاسة الحكومة متنقلا بين مخافر الشرطة لمواجهة اسئلة المحققين حول تهم الفساد والرشاوي التي تطارده، فيردون ان المفاوضات في انقرة هي في اطار عملية سلمية مع حكومة وليس مع شخص.
رد الفعل الفلسطيني علي استقالة اولمرت كان الاكثر غرابة، فقد وصف المتحدثون باسم الرئيس عباس هذه الاستقالة بانها شأن داخلي اسرائيلي لا علاقة لهم بها. وكأن السلطة دولة عظمي تملك كل مقومات السيادة، وليست مجرد دائرة صغيرة في دوائر الاحتلال الاسرائيلي، تصاب بالبرد مع كل عطسة يعطسها رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي، او وزير دفاعه.
استقالة اولمرت ليست شأنا داخليا اسرائيليا وانما شأنا عربيا وفلسطينيا بكل المقاييس، لأن نتيجة الانتخابات التي ستترتب علي هذه الاستقالة، وهوية المرشح الفائز، ونجاحه او نجاحها في تشكيل حكومة ائتلافية من عدمه، كلها عوامل ستحدد الكثير من عناصر الخريطة والتحركات السياسية في المنطقة
استقالة اولمرت لم تكشف هشاشة العملية السياسية الاسرائيلية وتشرذمها فقط، وانما عورات الحكومات العربية ايضا، هذا اذا بقيت هناك عورات اساسا.

New actor on the same old stage

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

By Robert Fisk

"I was in the studios of al-Jazeera – the Qatar satellite channel so democratic in the eyes of Colin Powell that Bush later wanted to bomb it – while Barack Obama was performing his theatricals in the Middle East. "Theatre" is what I called it on air while the anchor desperately tried to suck some Arab hope out of the whole ridiculous fandango. No such luck, I told him. It isn't going to make the slightest difference to the Arabs whether Obama or McCain wins.....

(...) But hasn't anyone realised that Obama has chosen for his advisers two of the most lamentable failures of US Middle East policy-making? There, yet again, is Dennis Ross, a former prominent staff member of Aipac, the most powerful Israeli lobby in America – yup, the very same Aipac to which Obama grovelled last month – and the man who failed to make the Oslo agreement work. And there is Madeleine Albright who, as US ambassador to the UN, said that the price of half a million dead children under sanctions in Iraq was "worth it", and who later announced that Israel was "under siege". This must be the only time – ever – that a US politician thought Palestinian tanks were on the streets of Tel Aviv.

(...) Even if we ignore all this drivel, what does Obama want to do with his soldiers once he withdraws them from Iraq? He's going to send the poor devils back to Afghanistan, that graveyard of foreign armies where the Taliban were so utterly defeated in 2001 that they are now stronger than ever. I would recommend that Obama glance through Appendix XXIV of the official British account of the 1878-80 Second Afghan War where he will find the British announcing victory over a massed Afghan force which included a fierce group of fighters known as "talibs". These men would choose a particular soldier in the British ranks and make a suicidal attack to seize him and cut his throat in front of his comrades......."

Separation anxiety?

Signs point to a reconfiguration of Syria's relation to Iran, though the signals are mixed

By Bassel Oudat from Damascus
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Recently, Damascus seems to be doing a lot of things differently: talking to Europe, staying out of Lebanon, talking to the Israelis, and generally stressing the pragmatic aspect of its foreign policy.

When President Al-Assad was in Paris recently, he offered to help resolve inter- Palestinian differences. Then he gave a warm welcome to President Mahmoud Abbas in Damascus a few weeks ago. Damascus is said to be advising Palestinian groups, including Hamas, to cool things down for now.

Damascus distanced itself also from turbulence in Iraq, told its media to stop badmouthing the Saudis, and asked the French president to see if the Americans would co-sponsor their talks with Israel......

Inside and outside the region, there is much speculation that Syria is about to ditch its alliance with Iran. Should this happen, Syria's relations with Hizbullah are bound to change and Lebanon's domestic politics will never be the same again......

A senior French diplomat told Al-Ahram Weekly that Europe has been trying to find an alternative political course that would wean Damascus away from its Iranian connection. Their alternative was Turkey, which is not only smoothing up political problems for the Syrians, but may also prove to be of help in economic matters.

Europe has promised Damascus a role in the Union for the Mediterranean and is talking to the Americans about sponsoring direct Syrian-Israeli talks.....

Syrian analyst Said Moqbi believes that Europe's tactics are paying off, noting the fact that President Bashar Al-Assad went to Paris, gave the Lebanese a political break, started talks with Israel, and is keeping Damascus-based Palestinian groups on a tight leash. If Damascus maintains its current course, Tehran's influence in the region, as well as Hizbullah's clout, will start to peter away......."

Palestinians Face Home Demolitions Spree by Israel

The Struggle Against Jerusalem's Quiet Ethnic Cleansing


"......He noted that Israel’s policy of refusing building permits to many of the 250,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem has resulted in the classification of 20,000 city homes as illegal since the occupation began in 1967. Last year alone, the Jerusalem municipality issued more than 1,000 demolition orders for “illegal dwellings”. It is believed that three out of every four Palestinian homes in the city are now built without a permit.

Illegal building is simply a pretext for destroying Palestinian families’ homes and lives,” says Jeff Halper, head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

The demolitions are part of a policy to stop the natural expansion of Palestinian communities in and around Jerusalem, freeing up the maximum amount of land for use by Israeli settlers,” Halper continues. “The demolitions increase the pressure on Palestinians to move into the West Bank, so that they will lose their residency rights in the city.”......

According to Halper, however, the use of demolitions against Palestinians accused of illegal building is a far more significant problem. “We estimate that there have been at least 18,000 homes destroyed during the four decades of occupation.”

In fact, Halper believes the true number of demolitions is likely to be double the official figure. Many razings are unrecorded, carried out by Palestinians themselves fearing a heavy fine if the Israeli army enforces the demolition order.

“Most demolitions are of multi-storey buildings that are home to several families, meaning that well in excess of 100,000 Palestinians may have been made homeless by Israeli administrative policies,” he said......."

Family of detained Hamas legislator, denies allegations their son converted to Christianity

This is yet another example of Israel using disinformation to discredit and defame Hamas and the Palestinians in general.

"The Hamas-run news website, Palestine-Info, reported on Thursday that the family of legislator Hasan Yousef, imprisoned by Israel, denied Israeli reports and allegations that their son, Mos’ab, who lives and works in the United States, converted to Christianity.

In a phone interview with the mother of Mos’ab who lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah, she said that these reports are lies and accused the Israeli domestic intelligence agency of fabricating the reports to unsettle her jailed husband, a prominent political leader of Hamas movement.

She added that she spoke to her son over phone and that he told her that all of the reports are unfounded.

In a report published by the Israeli online daily, Haaretz, Mos’ab was quoted as referring to the Palestinian struggle as “terrorism”.

In its report, Haaretz, stated that Mos’ab who assisted his father for several years in his political activities said that he “is now called Joseph”.

According to Haaretz, Mos’ab said that he knows that he is endangering his life and might lose his father, but according to the report he added that “he hopes that his family will be able to open their lives to Jesus”, and that he said that “I hope to be able to come back one day with Jesus, in the kingdom of God”.

Haaretz also claimed that Mos’ab said that he admires and respects Israel.

"More than that. An entire society sanctifies death and the suicide terrorists. In Palestinian culture a suicide terrorist becomes a hero, a martyr. Sheikhs tell their students about the 'heroism of the shaheeds.'"

And yet, in spite of the criticism of the place he left, California can't make the longings disappear.

"I miss Ramallah," he says. "People with an open mind. ... I mainly miss my mother, my brothers and sisters, but I know that it will be very difficult for me to return to Ramallah soon."

"You Jews should be aware: You will never, but never have peace with Hamas. Islam, as the ideology that guides them, will not allow them to achieve a peace agreement with the Jews. They believe that tradition says that the Prophet Mohammed fought against the Jews and that therefore they must continue to fight them to the death.""

My crime was to tell the truth

Mohammad Bakri, The Electronic Intifada, 31 July 2008

(Mohammad Bakri ( is an internationally-acclaimed actor, theater maker and director. He has won four best actor awards for leading roles in feature films at international festivals. He is a Palestinian citizen of Israel.)

"I did not do it because I was a hero, but only because I was compelled. This is how I made my three documentaries. I say compelled because I am an actor, not a director. Nevertheless I loved my three films as a father loves his children.

I was compelled because in these films I was merely a person defending his forbidden narrative (his unofficial narrative) because for 60 years Israel has been telling its narratives that deny and contradict my own. My first film, in 1998, was about 50 years since the Nakba. The second in 2002 titled Jenin, Jenin, was about the people of Jenin refugee camp in which they told what happened to them during the Israeli invasion in April 2002. The latest, titled Since you left, is about what happened to me and to us Palestinians since the passing of my friend and teacher, the late Palestinian author and intellectual Emile Habiby. In it I visit his grave in his beloved city of Haifa and speak to him friend to friend about all that happened since he died.

When Jenin, Jenin was released in 2002 it was banned by the Israeli film censorship board. Two years later I managed to get a license overturning the ban in the Israeli high court.....

Meanwhile, my film remains banned and under attack to this day despite my winning in court three times -- twice against Israeli censorship and the third time against five sacred cows."

Israeli forces mortally wound Nilin teenager after funeral

Yousef Amira (bottom right) at the funeral of 10-year-old Ahmed Mousa who was shot in the head and killed by an Israeli soldier on Tuesday. After the funeral, Israeli soldiers fired at a group of young men hitting Amira twice in the head. The 18-year-old immediately fell into a coma and died hours later, 30 July. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Transcript, Flashpoints, 1 August 2008

"The following is a transcript of Flashpoints, hosted by Nora Barrows-Friedman, broadcast on 30 July 2008:

We continue our drumbeat coverage of the ongoing ethnic cleansing by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank, specifically in the village of Nilin. As we reported yesterday, Israeli forces shot and killed a ten-year-old boy, Ahmed Mousa, in the head with live ammunition fired from an M16, on Tuesday evening. Around the time of the funeral procession for Ahmed Mousa last night, Israeli occupation forces returned to the village and opened fire on villagers, shooting another young Palestinian teenager in the head. Eighteen-year-old Yousef Ahmad Amira went into a coma after he was shot twice in the head, according to Palestinian news agencies and eyewitnesses. The Mayor of Nilin village said that six other young men were also shot and injured by rubber-coated steel bullets after clashes broke out between Israeli occupation soldiers and villagers defending their land. US-made Israeli bulldozers reportedly destroyed barricades built by villagers at the entrance to Nilin, as Israeli forces began firing tear gas and sound grenades, followed by indiscriminately opening fire.

Flashpoints spoke with Hindi Mesleh, a community organizer from Nilin. Mesleh just returned from the local hospital where 18-year-old Yousef Ahmad Amira went into a coma and died just hours ago......."

LEBANON: Displaced families struggle on both sides of sectarian divide

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"TRIPOLI (NORTHERN LEBANON), 31 July 2008 (IRIN) - Hundreds of Shia Allawi families who have fled the upsurge in violence since 25 July between the Jebel Mohsen (mainly Allawi) and Bab al-Tabbaneh (mainly Sunni) neighbourhoods of Tripoli are living without basic necessities and have yet to receive support.

"Nobody is looking after them. There are many children and they lack the basic everyday needs; food, clothing, medicine," said Marwan Husseiki, an officer with the UN's Children's Fund (UNICEF), who made a first visit to four Allawi villages in the impoverished north of Lebanon on 30 July.

"The families were surprised when I arrived," said Husseiki, who visited the villages of Hisa, Masoudieh, Belbily and Konbor, in the northern Akkar District, just a few kilometres from the border with Syria. "They haven't been visited by anyone from the government or any NGO [non-governmental organisation]."......

Officials say up to 6,000 families have been displaced, but as of 30 July only those 700 Sunni families from Bab al-Tabbaneh who have found shelter in schools have been formally registered. These families are receiving food and medical support from the Sunni Future Movement of parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri........"

Hammas: Arrest of Fatah leaders in Gaza, response to PA political arrests in WB

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Hamas said on Friday that the arrests this morning of a number of Fatah leaders in the Gaza strip is a response to the arrest of a number of Hamas leaders in the West Bank by Abbas's security.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement that in the face of the escalation of political arrests in the West Bank, in which hundreds of Hamas supporters and a number of top Hamas leaders were arrested, Hamas had no choice but to take this step to stop "this political massacre".

Abu Zuhri denied press reports that Abbas's security has released Hamas leaders in the West Bank in response to orders by Abbas, confirming that none of the arrested Hamas leaders was released.

Amongst those arrested by Abbas's security in the West Bank is Dr. Muhammad Ghazal, a Hamas leader and political bureau member, in addition to a number of intellectuals and social figures.

Abu Zuhri added that Hamas warned against those arrests and that it would respond to those political arrests, but those warnings were not heeded by the Ramallah leadership."

COMMENT: I strongly disagree with Hamas in taking this step. Hamas should not be dragged down to this level of retaliation and counter-retaliation; it cheapens the resistance and puts Hamas on the same, low level, as the Ramallah Junta.

This, yet again, illustrates the central fatal mistake the Palestinians have committed and refuse to correct. Namely, having political parties, elections, and the rest of the trappings of "government" while their land disappears under their feet and living as prisoners on shrinking reservations.

The only solution is to dissolve the PA, restructure the PLO as a true national liberation movement for all Palestinians serious about liberation, regardless of their politics, and get on with a serious liberation strategy.

Enough of this mockery of Fatah versus Hamas, we are already the object of ridicule and contempt by the world.

Be firm with Iran, Mofaz urges U.S. leaders

"Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz raised "strong concerns" on Thursday during his meeting with senior U.S. officials in Washington over the administration's recent diplomatic overtures to Iran, which many believe is seeking nuclear weapons.

According to his spokeswoman, Mofaz told U.S. leaders to be "firm" with Iran over its contentious nuclear program.

Israel voiced displeasure on Thursday at recent U.S. engagement with Iran and urged the Bush administration to stand firm on demanding Tehran abandon nuclear projects with bomb-making potential, an Israeli official said.

In a shift of policy, U.S. diplomat Wlliam Burns joined envoys from other world powers for a July 19 meeting with an Iranian delegate at which his country was given two weeks to answer calls to curb uranium enrichment or face more sanctions.

The turnaround raised eyebrows in Israel, which has long looked to its U.S. ally to lead efforts to isolate Iran......."

Joe Klein Speaks Truth to Power

– but how long will they let him get away with it?

By Justin Raimondo

"It's been just about a month since Joe Klein's column accusing "Jewish neoconservatives" of having "divided loyalties" appeared in Time magazine, and already the controversy surrounding it is taking on the grand scale of an opera – perhaps a stage adaptation of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." His original sin was writing this:

"The notion that we could just waltz in and inject democracy into an extremely complicated, devout and ancient culture smacked – still smacks – of neocolonialist legerdemain. The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives – people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary – plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel. And then there is the question – made manifest by the no-bid contracts offered U.S. oil companies by the Iraqis – of two oil executives, Bush and Cheney, securing a new source of business for their Texas buddies.

"The surge has reduced violence. We should all be thrilled about that – and honored by the brilliance of those who have served in Iraq. But what we're talking about here is whipped cream on a pile of fertilizer – a regional policy unprecedented in its stupidity and squalor."

I cite this passage in its full context, rather than lift out the controversial phrases, because the offending column was, after all, about the surge, and the utter irrelevance of its alleged success – a view I expressed here, just the other day. At any rate, Klein stuck the knife in the neocons' back at the tail end of a long peroration on the complete futility of this war, and he concludes by pointing the finger of blame – not only at "Jewish neoconservatives," but also at Bush's oilmen buddies back home on the range........"

Real News Video: First new West Bank settlement in ten years?

Phyllis Bennis: At this point a two-state solution is near impossible

Phyllis Bennis on a two-state solution: "From what I saw in this trip to the West Bank, I would say that if it's not already impossible, it is so close as to be virtually the same. The division of Palestinian land within the West Bank, has divided the West Bank, as have the series of roads that connect settlements but bypass Palestinian villages, towns, refugee camps. The checkpoints—imagine 567 checkpoints, according to the United Nations, in this tiny territory the size of the US state of Delaware. It's insane."

“Hezbollah Planning to Force IAF to Cease Overflights"


"01/08/2008 The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported in its Thursday's edition that Hezbollah is planning to take "practical measures" to counter Israeli occupation air force overflights of Lebanon.

The Lebanese daily quoted a source who said that Hezbollah is "close to adopting practical measures that will force Israel to cease the overflights."

The report is in line with Israeli intelligence assessments that predicted that following the completion of the “Operation Al-Redwan” (the exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah); Hezbollah would seek excuses to resume its struggle against the Zionist entity in order to justify its refusal to disarm.

There have been a number of reports in the Arab media recently on the planned deployment of anti-aircraft missile batteries in the Lebanese mountains, whose purpose would be to disrupt the flights of Israeli aircraft over the country.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said recently that the resistance group would adopt a new "defensive strategy" in Lebanon, with the cooperation of the country's other political groups.

On Wednesday, the resistance organization published a condemnation of Israeli overflights and said that those responsible for stopping them are the government in Beirut and the United Nations. It accused Israel of violating Lebanese sovereignty by flying into its airspace and sailing into its territorial waters, and accused United Nations Interim Forces in Southern Lebanon of failing to put an end to the violations.

The Israeli air force has carried out hundreds of intelligence and surveillance flights since the occupation army’s withdrawal in 2000. Israel maintains that the flights are necessary for its security, despite protests by the Lebanese government and the UN. "

Thursday, July 31, 2008

PA torments Palestinians on Israel’s behalf

A Very Good Comment
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"In recent days, the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) carried out a shameful crackdown against non-conformist Palestinian intellectuals, journalists as well as civic and religious leaders all over the West Bank......

In Beit Jala, PA men beat four camera men who were filming police cars. And in Hebron, a Reuter cameraman, Yosri al Jamal, was assaulted and his camera broken.

The latest acts of violence took place under the watchful eyes of the Israeli occupation army without whose consent the PA can hardly function.

In Nablus and neighboring towns and villages, US-trained security personnel raided private homes, municipal buildings and public institutions, elected mayors, public figures, college professors, student leaders and prominent religious figures.

One of the people arrested was Professor Abdul al Sattar Qassem, a well-known author and political activist.

A former presidential candidate, Qassem is not affiliated with Hamas or any other political organization, but his daring writings seem to have proven too unbearable for a self-proclaimed “national” authority that claims to represent Palestinian aspirations for freedom and liberation......

Interestingly, the stepped-up clampdown on freedom of expression by the PA coincides with the ghoulish escalation of Israeli criminality and ethnic cleansing throughout the West Bank.......

So, as if Zionist ethnic cleansing were not enough, the PA is finding it necessary to complement Israeli criminality by arresting, humiliating and tormenting patriotic Palestinians for criticizing the Ramallah regime for compromising Palestinian national interests and for throwing itself squarely into the lap of the Bush administration which itself is at Israel’s beck and call.

It is really difficult to make any sense of what is happening except that the PA is effectively becoming another layer of the Israeli occupation......

It is a stigma of shame that a time has come when Palestinian homes have to be raided in the quiet hours before dawn by Palestinian policemen in order to arrest young Palestinians activists.

Today, the PA has proven itself a moral, political, economic and security disaster for the Palestinians and their enduring just cause.......

They never dreamt of a ‘Judenrat’ of quislings and collaborators that would arrest, torment, torture and even murder Palestinians in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from the occupiers of our country and their guardian-allies in Washington.

Hence, it is paramount, for the sake of our future and the future of our children that this outrageous PA apparatus, where pseudo-nationalists, money-grabbing careerists, hangers-on, opportunists and probably foreign agents as well hold sway, be dismantled as soon as possible.

In fact, one can go as far as saying that the dissolution of the PA is now a sine qua non for a successful Palestinian struggle for freedom from diabolical Zionism."

Ni'ilin: the West Bank focus of unarmed demonstrations and civil disobedience

By Donald Macintyre in Ni'ilin
The Independent
Thursday, 31 July 2008

"Mariam Moussa appeared almost catatonic in her grief yesterday, seated immobilised on a sofa, her eyes fixed on the "martyr" poster she was clutching of her ten year old son, killed by an Israeli bullet the previous evening. "Since she heard the news she didn't say anything and she didn't eat or drink anything" said Isma Amireh, 36, a family friend.....

Mohammed Kanan, 28, a member of the committee organizing the protests said that the shooting of the ten year old was a "revenge" on Ni'ilin because a local woman, Mr Kanan's 17 year old sister, had three weeks ago taken video footage-widely shown on Israeli TV-of a soldier shooting a blindfolded and handcuffed 27 year old protestor Ashraf Abu-Rahma at close range in the foot. The battalion commander at Ni'ilin Lieutenant Colonel Omri Bruberg, whom the soldier accused of ordering him to carry out the shooting, has been suspended for ten days pending an investigation. Mr Kanan's father was arrested the day after the video aired and is still in detention.......

One witnesss Mohammed Hamdan, a 27 year old bakery worker said that the dead boy had been standing by an olive tree. While he said there had been stone throwing before the incident, another of the youths who escaped, Hamad Attallah, 18, said there was no chance for anybody to throw stones during the fatal incident. "We were just trying to get away." He added: "We have a right to be on our land. They don't have the right to shoot him on our own land."

Said Amireh added: "Why didn't they shoot rubber bullets? Why did they shoot live bullets? That is the question." "

17 year old Nil'in boy pronounced clinically dead according to medical sources

17 year old Yousif Amira at the Ramallah hospital – Photo by Anne Paq

"17 year old Yousif Amira, who was shot in the nearby Nil'in village on Wednesday evening, has been pronounced clinically dead, Palestinian medical sources in the central West Bank city of Ramallah told IMEMC on Thursday morning.

The village of Nil'in located near Ramallah is the scene of almost daily nonviolent actions against the Israeli wall being built on the villagers lands.

Amira was among the villagers who took part in the funeral of Ahmad Mousa, the 11 years old Palestinian boy that was killed by the Israeli army gunfire on Tuesday night.

Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers stormed the village and took positions there, and as soon as the funeral was finished on Wednesday afternoon local youth clashed with the Israeli soldiers. Three were injured, among them Amira.

Younis, the cousin of Amira, told IMEMC during a phone interview that Amira was going to visit him at his house; Israeli soldiers chasing local youth opened fire at him and injured him. Younis assured IMEMC that Amira was not taking part in the stone throwing.

Local sources said that the villagers plan to organize a demonstration on Thursday to protest the killings and the destruction of their lands. "

The 'down side' to an attack on Iran

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times

"A military strike against Iran would have negative consequences and do little to stop Iran's nuclear program, a major defense think-tank's study for the United States Air Force concludes. But even as the outcome of an attack is questioned, top US officials are assuring Israel that the military option is still "on the table"......"

Palestine, Palestinians and International Law

A Review of Francis Boyle's book
by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, July 31, 2008

"Francis Boyle is a distinguished University of Illinois law professor, activist, and internationally recognized expert on international law and human rights. He also lectures widely, writes extensively, and authored many books, including the subject of this review: "Palestine Palestinians and International Law." In addition, he's represented, advised and/or testified pro bono in numerous cases involving anti-war protesters and activists, the death penalty, human rights, war crimes and genocide, nuclear policy and bio-warfare, Canada's Blackfoot Nation, the Nation of Hawaii, and the US Lakota Nation......

Since the inception of the Israeli Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign, Boyle has advised students on tactics. He recommends they replicate efforts their predecessors used against apartheid South Africa. He also explains how pro-Israeli administrators will treat them - with "punitive, repressive, vindictive, and retaliatory tactics....including criminal prosecutions and student disciplinary" actions. The risks are considerable, legal rights notwithstanding. Against "Israel's genocidal apartheid regime," academic freedom, tenure, rights and due process won't apply. Justice won't come easily, but it's up to people of conscience to fight for it. How much longer can they wait?"

Why McCain is Wrong on Iraq

Honest Mistakes or Simply Lies?


".....The reduction in violence in Iraq, which is likely to prove temporary, has four causes, the least of which is the surge.

In order of importance, they are:

1) Al Qaeda’s alienation of much of its Sunni base, a consequence of its attempt to impose its Puritanical version of Islam before it won the war and consolidated power. This is a common error of revolutionary movements. The smart ones back off and take a “broad front” strategy until the war is won, at which point they cut their “moderate” allies’ throats. Al Qaeda’s non-hierarchical structure, coupled with the message it employs to recruit, may prevent it from adopting a broad front strategy. If so, that may prove a fatal weakness.

2) A change in policy by the U.S. Marines in Anbar Province whereby they stopped attacking the Sunni population and started paying it instead. As the FMFM 1-A argues, in 4GW, cash is your most important supporting arm. The Marines’ new policy, which has now spread to the U.S. Army and beyond Anbar, enabled the locals to turn on al Qaeda and its brutally enforced Puritanism.

3) General Petraeus’s decision to move U.S. troops off their FOB’s and into populated areas where they could protect the population instead of merely protecting themselves.

4) Last and least, the surge, which made more troops available for #3. Absent the other three developments, the surge would have achieved nothing.......

A state will be re-established in Iraq only if and when authority comes from a person’s position in the state hierarchy, e.g., governor, minister, mayor, army or police commander, functionary, etc. Services must also come from the state. At present, as best as I can determine, this is happening seldom. If at all......

In fact, the relative peace now prevailing in Iraq is largely the product of deals the U.S. military has made with real non-state Iraqi authority figures. These deals were both necessary and prudent, but they represent de facto acceptance of the reality that there is no state....... "

Hamas warns of the consequences of escalation against its cadres in WB

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Thursday warned of the repercussions of escalating the campaign of arrests in lines of its cadres and supporters in the West Bank at the hands of PA security apparatuses loyal to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement that the PA security elements last night rounded up 44 Palestinians from the Nablus city alone. He charged that the arrests focused on academicians and students and included one of the Hamas political leaders Dr. Mohammed Ghazal.

The new wave of arrests is a "serious escalation" against Hamas, Abu Zuhri said, warning of the consequences of such practice that fell in line with security coordination with the Israeli occupation under the supervision of the American General Keith Dayton, which is carried out in a bid to liquidate Hamas in the West Bank.

He urged all PLO factions to ponder those arrests, which included political leaders, while they had boisterously objected when Hamas detained one of Fatah leaders for only two hours and now they are tight-lipped towards the liquidation of an entire movement.

The spokesman said that Hamas was following up events on the ground and would adopt whatever decisions necessary to protect its cadres and institutions in the West Bank."

Arabs Despair of U.S. Even More

A Good Analysis
By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jul 31 (IPS) - For decades, the U.S. has jealously guarded its role of sole arbiter of the Arab-Israeli dispute. In light of recent shows of support for Israel by U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama, however, many Arabs fear that Zionist influence on the U.S. body politic -- across the political spectrum -- has made the notion of 'U.S. even-handedness' a contradiction in terms.

"When it comes to the Middle East conflict, the Arabs no longer see any difference between Republicans and Democrats," Ahmed Thabet, political science professor at Cairo University told IPS. "Both parties vie with one another in expressing total support for Israel.".....

According to Abdel-Halim Kandil, political analyst and editor-in-chief of independent weekly Sout al-Umma, neo-conservative ideology "is not exclusive to the Republicans, but permeates both political parties" in the U.S.

"When it comes to Israel, there's virtually no difference in Republican and Democratic party policies," Kandil told IPS. "The Democratic administration of (former U.S. president Bill) Clinton, for example, consisted of even more Jewish Zionists -- including the defence secretary (William Cohen), the secretary of state (Madeleine Albright) and the national security advisor (Samuel Berger) -- than the current Republican Bush administration.

"These people occupy most of the top political and military positions throughout the American political system," added Kandil. "Anyone who thinks Washington can serve as a fair mediator in the Israel-Palestine conflict -- under Republicans or Democrats -- is delusional."......

According to Thabet, the neo-conservatives in Washington have exploited U.S. military might to neutralise regional opposition -- mainly of the Islamic variety -- to Israel.

"They have used U.S. military force to spread their version of 'democracy', which excludes all forms of political Islam -- be it Lebanon's Hezbollah, Hamas in Palestine or the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood," said Thabet.

Some local observers suggest that the neo-conservatives in the current Bush administration, many of whom hold dual U.S.-Israel citizenship, are more beholden to Israel than to the U.S......

Kandil says most Arab governments -- in contrast to the people they represent -- are in any case not particularly interested in even-handed U.S. arbitration of the conflict.

"The Arab regimes don't look to Washington as a fair mediator -- they look to Washington to keep them in power, despite their lack of legitimacy and popularity," said Kandil. "The Israel-Palestine dispute can only reach a just resolution when the Arabs choose leaders able and willing to carry out the popular will." "

The New York Times: Making Nuclear Extermination Respectable

On July 18, 2008 The New York Times published an article by Israeli-Jewish historian, Professor Benny Morris, advocating an Israeli nuclear-genocidal attack on Iran with the likelihood of killing 70 million Iranians – 12 times the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi holocaust

By James Petras

"“Iran’s leaders would do well to rethink their gamble and suspend their nuclear program. Barring this, the best they could hope for is that Israel’s conventional air assault will destroy their nuclear facilities. To be sure, this would mean thousands of Iranian casualties and international humiliation. But the alternative is an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland.”

Morris is a frequent lecturer and consultant to the Israeli political and military establishment and has unique access to Israeli strategic military planners. Morris’ advocacy and public support of the massive, brutal expulsion of all Palestinians is on public record. Yet his genocidal views have not precluded his receiving numerous academic awards. His writings and views are published in Israel’s leading newspapers and journals. Morris’ views are not the idle ranting of a marginal psychopath, as witnessed by the recent publication of his latest op-ed article in the New York Times.......

The question of Zionist power in America is not merely a question of a ‘lobby’ influencing Congressional and White House decisions concerning foreign aid to Israel. What is at stake today are the related questions of the advocacy of a nuclear war in which 70 million Iranians face extermination and the complicity of the US mass media in providing a platform, nay a certain political respectability for mass murder and global contamination. Unlike the Nazi past, we cannot claim, as the good Germans did, that ‘we did not know’ or ‘we weren’t notified’, because it was written by an eminent Israeli academic and was published in the New York Times."

Neo-Cons Make Their War Aims in Iraq Clearer

By Jim Lobe

"Since the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began making increasingly clear that it wanted a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops, neo-conservatives have been making increasingly clear that they want none of it, and that their hope all along was to establish a permanent military presence to assert U.S. power in the heart of the Middle East......."

IOF troops wound 9 at boy's funeral in West Bank

"Israel Defense Forces troops wounded nine Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday in a clash with protesters at the funeral of a 11-year-old boy killed a day earlier, Palestinian medics said.

They said the troops had shot the casualties with rubber bullets while fighting stone-throwing protesters. A 18-year-old Palestinian was hit in the head by a rubber bullet and doctors described him as brain dead.

An initial Border Police investigation has found that Ahmed Moussa , 11, who was killed at a West Bank protest on Tuesday, died from a live round fired by one of the security force's troops....."

Memories of Good Times

Ah.......The Good Times We Had Together!

استقالة اولمرت وتداعياتها العربية

استقالة اولمرت وتداعياتها العربية

من الصعب التكهن بنتائج هذه الاستقالة علي التحضيرات للحرب ضد ايران، لان هذا الملف هو في يد القادة العسكريين، مثل ايهود باراك وزير الدفاع والجنرال غابي اشكانازي رئيس هيئة اركان الجيش الاسرائيلي، ولكن الامر المؤكد ان هذه الاستقالة ستشكل صدمة للطرف الفلسطيني، والرئيس محمود عباس علي وجه التحديد الذي راهن علي العملية التفاوضية للوصول الي تسوية سلمية للصراع العربي ـ الاسرائيلي.
العملية السلمية ستتضرر بكل تأكيد باستقالة اولمرت، هذا اذا لم تتوقف كليا، او يجري تجميدها لثلاثة اشهر في احسن الاحوال، ريثما يتم انتخاب زعيم جديد يخلف اولمرت في رئاسة الوزراء، وهذا يعني ان احتمالات التوصل الي تسوية لهذا الملف الشائك، وقبل نهاية هذا العام، مثلما وعد الرئيس الامريكي جورج بوش، باتت ضئيلة للغاية ان لم تكن معدومة.
فاذا افترضنا ان انتخابات حزب كاديما المقررة في شهر ايلول (سبتمبر) المقبل ستتم في موعدها، وستنتهي جولتها الثانية في نهاية الشهر المذكور، فان الرئيس الجديد للحزب لن ينتهي من تشكيل حكومته قبل منتصف تشرين الاول (اكتوبر) المقبل، اي قبل اسبوعين تقريبا من بدء الانتخابات الرئاسية الامريكية.
ولعل الطرف السوري الذي يخوض مفاوضات غير مباشرة مع حكومة اولمرت بوساطة تركية للوصول الي معاهدة سلام تعيد هضبة الجولان الي السيادة السورية، سيصاب بخيبة امل كبري من جراء اختفاء اولمرت من سدة القيادة في الدولة العبرية. فاولمرت أقدم علي هذه المفاوضات بمبادرة منه، ودون الحصول علي مباركة كاملة من حلفائه الامريكان، وبهدف تحقيق انجاز يمكن ان يعزز مكانته في قيادة الحزب والدولة معا. ولذلك فإن خسارة الجناح المعتدل في الدولة السورية ستكون كبيرة بانسحابه هذا.
العملية السياسية في اسرائيل تعيش اضعف لحظاتها، وتعيش حالة من التشظي الحزبي، حيث خفت سطوة الاحزاب الكبري التاريخية، مثل حزبي العمل و الليكود لصالح احزاب موسمية صغيرة تعتمد علي كاريزما اشخاص اكثر من اعتمادها علي برامج ايديولوجية واضحة.
استقالة اولمرت هي بمثابة زلزال كبير لن تتوقف آثاره عند حدود الدولة العبرية، بل ستشمل الكثير من دول الجوار العربي علاوة علي الدول الكبري، والادارة الامريكية علي وجه التحديد التي استثمرت الكثير من الجهد والمال في رهانها عليه وعلي حكومته والائتلاف الحزبي والحكومي الذي يتزعمه.
نستطيع ان نقول دون تردد بان عملية انابوليس للسلام التي جاءت بديلا لخريطة الطريق، واكدت تفرد ادارة بوش بملف السلام العربي ـ الاسرائيلي تعيش الآن ايامها الاخيرة، هذا اذا لم تكن قد نفقت فعلا."

Goodbye to a lame duck

By Seth Freedman, Thursday July 31 2008

".........Olmert's post-Annapolis volte-face, in which he signed promises to freeze settlement activity with one hand, then approved expanding Har Homa with the other, demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness on his part, as well as that of his advisors. The reputation for duplicity and double handedness which has dogged him throughout his political career was bolstered in no small part by the affair, and did nothing to bridge the ever-widening political gulf between the Israeli authorities and the PA......

Despite all the high level posturing and decades-old declarations that Israel is desperate to grant independence to the Palestinian people, while the politicians fiddle, the road map burns. Settlements expand, the separation wall robs entire villages of their farmland and livelihood, Palestinian civilians are shot with impunity, or languish for years in administrative detention on trumped-up charges – and all in the so-called pursuit of peace. No matter that the net effect of such cruel and oppressive collective punishment merely drives the Palestinian populace into the arms of the extremists; if the Israeli government says it wants peace, then it must be true.

Olmert is no more or less guilty of such chicanery than other Israeli politicians, hence his heading for the exit is unlikely to do much more than usher in yet another period of two-faced doubletalk, and yet further stagnation in the Israel-Palestine arena. While it's true that a more popular figure, such as Tzipi Livni, might have more of a solid platform on which to engage in truly fair and honest peace negotiations, the chances of tangible progress are pretty slim, given past governments' performance. As one door closes, another one may well open – but while the Palestinians are still very much out in the cold, it's of scant difference to them who's running the show."

Bil'in and Berlin Walls by the Great Cartoonist Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Palestinian teen in clinical death after IOF troops shoot him in the head

"RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- A Palestinian youth was declared in a state of clinical death in Ramallah government hospital after he was shot in the head by an Israeli border guard in Na'lin village west of Ramallah on Wednesday afternoon.

Local sources said that Yousef Omaira was taking part in the funeral procession of 9-year-old Ahmed Omaira, who was killed by Israeli sniper fire during anti wall protests in the village a couple of days ago.

Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers fired at the demonstration that followed the funeral procession at a short distance hitting Yousef with two bullets in the head.

Na'lin villagers have been holding regular protest marches against the Israeli occupation authority's confiscation of 3,000 dunums of village lands to build the separation wall. Foreign sympathizes and Israeli peace activists participated in those marches."

Transcript: Israeli military kills 10-year-old in Nilin

Ahmed Mousa (facing camera) photographed four hours before he was shot and killed by Israeli forces. (

Transcript, Flashpoints, 30 July 2008

The following is a transcript of Flashpoints, hosted by Nora Barrows-Friedman, broadcast on 30 July 2008:

"A member of the Israeli occupation military's border police shot and killed a 10-year-old Palestinian boy yesterday evening in the West Bank village of Nilin. Ahmed Mousa was shot in the head by live ammunition, according to eyewitnesses, as he turned and left an area that was being targeted with rubber-coated steel bullets by the Israeli military during a demonstration against the annexation wall built on the village land. Several soldiers were ordered to remove themselves from the demonstration by commanding officers, according to a report by the Palestine Solidarity Project, for their violent and "undisciplined" behavior.

Flashpoints spoke with two activists about what happened in Nilin yesterday as the ethnic cleansing project continues unabated in occupied Palestine. Bekah Wolf is with the Palestine Solidarity Project,; and Yonatan Pollack is with Anarchists Against the Wall, Yonatan spoke to Flashpoints from a demonstration outside Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's home in Tel Aviv. Last night he was at the hospital with Ahmed Mousa after the demonstration.

Nora Barrows-Friedman: Yonatan, let's start with you. Right after 10-year-old Ahmed Mousa was shot in the head by Israeli occupation forces, you were at the hospital and spent some time there -- what did you see, what happens to a child who has just been shot in the head by the fourth largest military in the world?

Yonatan Pollack: His head was pretty much blown off. There was an entry wound in his forehead that completely destroyed his face, and the back of his head was just missing. His brain was not there. The exit wound just blew off the majority of the back of his head........"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

What is your position concerning demands to disarm Hizbullah; do you support or oppose disarming?

With over 5,000 responding, 81% were opposed to disarming Hizbullah.

Mourners to protest murder of 10 year old boy

International Solidarity Movement

"A mass demonstration is planned on Wednesday for the funeral of Ahmed Husan Yousef Mousa, who was shot dead by Israeli forces at approximately 6:00pm today.

The funeral procession and protest will start at Ramallah Hospital at 10am and make it’s way to Ni’lin, the village where Ahmed lived. People will meet at the hospital at 9:30am

Ni’lin is currently under siege with the main entrance to the village sealed off by the Israeli military. The mourners intend to defy the military blockade and bring Ahmed home.

Please Contact - ISM Media Office (English):(970)-2-2971824.
Salah (Arabic): 0599288124......"

Scottish couple barred from delivering medical supplies to Gaza

The van carrying supplies stopped at the Rafah crossing. (Eva Barlett)

Eva Bartlett writing from Cairo, Egypt, Live from Palestine, 29 July 2008

"Ten days after setting out from Edinburgh, and five days past their projected 15 July arrival, Scottish humanitarian Khalil al-Niss and his wife Linda Willis finally arrived in the afternoon of 20 July to the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border only to be denied entry to Gaza.

The Gazan side, just over 100 meters from the Egyptian gate and Israeli-built wall, is visible from where the couple's van sits idle; doctors inside Gaza wait for the expected delivery of essential medical aid.......

Impact of siege

The Gaza-based Popular Committee Against the Siege (PCAS) last reported the number of victims who had died preventable deaths as a result of unattainable medical care under the siege as 212, the latest two victims including an 11-month-old infant and a 44-year-old father of eight. Both died after being denied permits to exit Gaza for treatment.

PCAS lists 107 classes of basic medicines that are depleted in Gaza, 97 more nearing depletion, 136 halted or not functioning medical instruments and over 1,500 patients who need to leave the Strip for medical treatment.

Despite the 19 June agreement to halt Israeli military operations, invasions, and indiscriminate shelling on Gaza, in return for an end to the launching of homemade rockets from Gaza towards Israel, Israel has not met its obligations in opening the borders with Gaza and allowing in adequate amounts of food, medical supplies, construction materials, fuel, and other vital elements denied to the civilian population for over one year.

Instead, the opening of Rafah, and the passage of goods into Gaza via other crossings, has been put on hold, used as a bargaining tool for the release of the Israeli solider being held in Gaza, even though his release was not part of the ceasefire agreement.

Willis and al-Niss remain hopeful that they will enter and bear witness, deliver aid and a message that the siege is inhumane, and if the international political community won't do anything to end it, civilians will.

Their success may be echoed by the efforts of a team of over 50 internationals, including Israelis, who aim to reach Gaza's coast by sea next month.

Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, an organizer of the Free Gaza Movement to break the siege by boat, hopes like Willis and al-Niss, to "remind the world that we will not stand by and watch 1.5 million people suffer [to] death by starvation and disease.""

Abbas threatens to dissolve PA if Israel frees prisoners

From Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah

".....Ha’aretz termed Abbas’s warning as “a personal message,” adding that the PA leader stressed to Shamni that he “did not speak merely of resigning but of dismantling the PA.”

PA officials in Ramallah have refused to comment on the report.

According to reliable sources in Ramallah, Abbas believes freeing Palestinian lawmakers incarcerated in Israeli jails would reactivate the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council which could then initiate a vote of no-confidence against the American-backed government of Salam Fayyadh......

The PA has been carrying out a crackdown, ostensibly in coordination with Israel, against Islamic and semi-Islamic civilian institutions throughout the West Bank.

The targets included schools, orphanages, charities, businesses, health and financial institutions as well as numerous NGOs.

Moreover, PA security agencies, financed and armed by the United States, have arrested hundreds of religiously-oriented figures suspected of sympathizing with Hamas. The detainees include college professors, students, religious leaders, and intellectuals.

PA-controlled media has generally ignored the Ha’aretz report which is liable to embarrass and discredit Abbas and his regime in the eyes of the Palestinian masses......

However, Israel is worried that meeting Hamas’s demands would bolster the status of the Islamic movement throughout the occupied territories, especially in the West Bank where the PA “government” is functioning under the Israeli military occupation......"

Reflection on the Role of the Israeli Peace Camp

A Good Article

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Palestine Chronicle

"........Members of the Israeli peace movement, including “Peace Now” and many scholars, have criticized Israel’s conduct in the occupied territory seized in 1967, but they do not accept the position that Israel was responsible for the refugees’ suffering, and they do not criticize the essence of Zionism. They support the government policy of denying the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.......

Real peace may be achieved only if the Israelis change major tenets of the Zionist’s ideology. Zionism goal since the nineteenth century has been to establish a state exclusively for Jews and no provisions on the role of non-Jews citizens. Coexistence with the Arabs is anathema to Zionist Jews. The Zionists’ program is based on redeeming the land, coexistence with the indigenous Palestinians on the same land was not considered an option; for Zionism, the Palestinians presence on the land is a problem.

Yosef Weitz, the director of the Settlement Department of Jewish National Fund, wrote in his diary on December 20, 1940: “Amongst ourselves it must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country…The only way is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries, all of them, except perhaps Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Old Jerusalem. Not a single village or a single tribe must be left”.

Actions of the Zionist governments, left or right since the establishment of Israel, suggest no intention of recognizing the rights of Palestinians.

The Israelis have to change their consciousness to deal courageously with their collective responsibility for the Palestinian tragedy. Only the Jewish Israeli members of the peace camp can drive this message home to the Israeli people. "

Is the Surge Working?

No, but the propaganda touting it sure is.

by Justin Raimondo

".....On the one hand, Obama wants to negotiate directly with the Iranians – a bold proposal in Washington, which Pat Buchanan accurately describes as "Israeli-occupied territory." On the other hand he keeps talking about "big sticks" and how we can't rule anything out. Iran, he intones, is "the greatest strategic challenge to the United States in the region in a generation."
Gee, what happened to the threat from al Qaeda, which supposedly has taken over half of Pakistan, at least if we take what Obama and his surrogates say at face value? Remember that, according to Obama, the invasion of Iraq diverted us away from the real threat, embodied by bin Laden and his followers: how come they aren't "the greatest challenge to the United States in the region in a generation"?

As always, the question of war and peace – of whether we are going to launch an attack on the biggest, most powerful country in the Middle East on Israel's behalf – is going to be decided, not by conditions on the ground, but by political considerations on the home front.

If neither major presidential candidate is opposed to the War Party's ultimate aims and purposes, and if the American people have no say and no voice in determining the foreign policy of this country – that is, if things continue as they have been going – then peace is not anywhere on the horizon, and the surge surges forward … all the way to Tehran."

The Father of Lies

A Good Comment

"The first historian, the Ionian Greek Herodotus, known as the "father of history," has also been called the "father of lies" because of his reluctance to spoil a good story with the truth. Today the neoconservatives twist history to fit their political agenda.....

But compared to the Israelis, the American neocons are neophytes when it comes to reshaping the past. Israel has long funded major archaeological projects intended to emphasize the Jewish presence in Palestine while minimizing or even denying the presence of others in the region, an attempt to demonstrate that Jews have a historical legitimacy that Arab inhabitants lack. For years, Israel has had an official historical creation myth that it has promoted that alternately saw Palestine as largely depopulated in 1948 or voluntarily vacated by its Arab inhabitants. Golda Meir famously stated that there was no such thing as the Palestinians. It is only recently that Israeli historians have begun to describe how the Arabs were, in fact, subjected to a deliberate policy of terrorism by Israel's founders that drove them from their homes.

One of the first Israeli historians to admit that Israel forced the Arabs off their land was Benny Morris, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben-Gurion University. Morris does not, however, think that it was a bad thing to kill other people and take their property. He only regrets that all of the Arabs were not driven out in 1948 and in 2004 recommended that those who remain be dealt with like animals, saying "Something like a cage has to be built for them…There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another."......

Morris's July 18th op-ed, with the catchy and oxymoronic title "Using Bombs to Stave Off War," should tip its hat to Herodotus because it is a good story that is virtually devoid of facts, an attribute also ignored by the Times editors. Morris, who is exceptionally truculent for a bookworm, may or may not be a good example of what passes for scholarship in Israel, but he is certainly not interested in cutting the Iranians any slack. He argues that Iran must be attacked, that Israel will almost certainly do so in the next four to seven months, and that it will not be Israel's fault because the rest of the world has refused to do what is right. Per Morris, attacking Iran's nuclear program might bring peace and not doing so will inevitably lead to Israel's eventually staging a preemptive nuclear strike to solve the Iranian problem once and for all, which would be a worse outcome. As Morris is well connected to the Israeli government, his doomsday scenario must be taken seriously, even if it is bluff or deliberate disinformation. Having given warning of what might happen, the purpose in writing the piece is clearly to frighten the rest of the world into doing the dirty work so that Israel will not have to act. Obviously, the only country that can carry out the mission in a thorough fashion using non-nuclear weapons is the United States. That makes Morris's op-ed a strident call to arms from a leading Israeli for the United States to start yet another war on Israel's behalf because Israel feels threatened. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?...."