Saturday, March 28, 2009
By Ali Gharib
"WASHINGTON, Mar 27 (IPS) - A new report from a New York-based think tank and delivered to U.S. President Barack Obama by a signatory who is also a current adviser recommends that Washington forcefully reinsert itself into the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, calling for "a more pragmatic approach to Hamas."
Even by its title, the report from the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP) alludes to the urgency of U.S. involvement: "A Last Chance for a Two-State Israel-Palestine Agreement."......"
I wish I had met Tom Hurndall, a remarkable man of remarkable principle
By Robert Fisk
"I don't know if I met Tom Hurndall. He was one of a bunch of "human shields" who turned up in Baghdad just before the Anglo-American invasion in 2003, the kind of folk we professional reporters make fun of. Tree huggers, that kind of thing. Now I wish I had met him because – looking back over the history of that terrible war – Hurndall's journals (soon to be published) show a remarkable man of remarkable principle. "I may not be a human shield," he wrote at 10.26 on 17 March from his Amman hotel. "And I may not adhere to the beliefs of those I have travelled with, but the way Britain and America plan to take Iraq is unnecessary and puts soldiers' lives above those of civilians. For that I hope that Bush and Blair stand trial for war crimes."
Hurndall got it about right, didn't he? It wasn't so simple as war/no war, black and white, he wrote. "Things I've heard and seen over the last few weeks proves what I already knew; neither the Iraqi regime, nor the American or British, are clean. Maybe Saddam needs to go but ... the air war that's proposed is largely unnecessary and doesn't discriminate between civilians and armed soldiers. Tens of thousands will die, maybe hundreds of thousands, just to save thousands of American soldiers having to fight honestly, hand to hand. It is wrong." Oh, how many of my professional colleagues wrote like this on the eve of war? Not many.......
Hurndall was trying to save Palestinian homes and infrastructure but frequently came under Israeli fire and seemed to have lost his fear of death. "While approaching the area, they (the Israelis) continually fired one- to two-second bursts from what I could see was a Bradley fighting vehicle... It was strange that as we approached and the guns were firing, it sent shivers down my spine, but nothing more than that. We walked down the middle of the street, wearing bright orange, and one of us shouted through a loudspeaker, 'We are International volunteers. Don't shoot!' That was followed by another volley of fire, though I can't be sure where from..."
Tom Hurndall had stayed in Rafah. He was only 21 where – in his mother's words – he lost his life through a single, selfless, human act. "Tom was shot in the head as he carried a single Palestinian child out of the range of an Israeli army sniper." Mrs Hurndall asked me to write a preface to Tom's book and this article is his preface, for a brave man who stood alone and showed more courage than most of us dreamed of. Forget tree huggers. Hurndall was one good man and true."
"28/03/2009 The United States is considering arranging a meeting between President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar Assad, a United Arab Emirates-based newspaper reported on Saturday.
The Al-Khaleej daily based its report on Arab diplomatic sources in Cairo. They told the paper the U.S. was weighing holding the meeting, the first of its kind in nine years, as a measure to advance the Middle East peace process.
According to the report, the Obama administration is considering the move in the wake of a number of recent meetings between senior American and Syrian officials.
The diplomatic sources were quoted as saying that should the U.S. decide to go ahead with the meeting, it would be part of a new approach to Middle East peacemaking that involves reaching out to Syria and Iran.......
On Wednesday, the Lebanese daily as-Safir published an interview with Assad in which the Syrian leader said a clear position by the United States on Israel-Syria peace negotiations was essential to progress in the talks. In light of the absence of such a position, Assad told the paper, significant progress was unlikely in the near future."
نحن على أبواب القمة العربية، وهي ذات الأبواب لم تتغير ولم يجر طلاؤها أو تجديدها أو تحديثها. أبواب صدئة تنخرها شقوق تفضح كل ما
تجارب العرب مع القمم عديدة بعدد انعقادها، وخيباتهم تكاد تكون بذلك العدد. تتوالى القمم، وهزائم العرب تتزايد، وإخفاقاتهم في مختلف مجالات الحياة تتواصل، والأرقام والإحصائيات حول التعليم والصحة والتخلف الاقتصادي ومجال الحريات لا تخفي أسرارا.
وقد أثبتت هذه التجارب أن قادة العرب مجتمعين أعجز من أن يصنعوا شيئا، وكأنهم يشكلون كوابح متبادلة تعطّل الحركة، وتعرقل الطموحات نحو التقدم. ربما تستطيع دولة عربية إنجاز شيء، وربما تستطيع دولتان مجتمعتان أن تصنعا شيئا، لكن العرب يكونون في أعجز حالاتهم عندما يجتمعون
"اهتمام أغلب الأنظمة العربية ينصب الآن على كيفية حشد الطاقات العربية للقفز عن ميزان القوى الجديد وإعادة المقاومة العربية إلى حال الجعجعة الفارغة والشعارات الخاوية، همهم الأكبر ينصب على كيفية القضاء على حزب الله، وكيفية جرّ حماس إلى مستنقع الاعتراف بإسرائيل"المتغير الوحيد الهام الذي طرأ على الساحة العربية منذ القمة السابقة هو صمود حماس في الحرب على غزة، وفشل إسرائيل في تحقيق هدفها في تغيير الوضع القائم في غزة.
من المفروض أن هذا متغير كبير من حيث إن فئة قليلة العدد قد صمدت في وجه الآلة العسكرية الصهيونية على الرغم من الحصار والقتل الجماعي والتدمير الهائل، وهو يشكل منعطفا على الأرض الفلسطينية من حيث إن المقاومة الفلسطينية قد أنجزت نقطة ارتكاز جغرافية هامة يمكن أن تبني عليها رأس حربة قويا في مواجهة إسرائيل. لكن هل سيأخذ الحكام هذا المتغير بإيجابية؟
سبق أن عقدت الأنظمة العربية قمة بعد فشل إسرائيل في لبنان وانتصار حزب الله، لكنها لم تستفد من الحدث التاريخي، ومضت متمسكة بمبادرتها البيروتية دون أي انتباه للخلل الحاصل في ميزان القوى.
انهمك قادة العرب عام 2006 في إثبات هزيمة حزب الله وانتصار إسرائيل، وانهمكوا أيضا بعد حرب الكوانين (أي كانون الأول والثاني) في إثبات هزيمة حماس وانتصار إسرائيل. ويبدو أن اهتمام أغلب الأنظمة العربية ينصب الآن على كيفية حشد الطاقات العربية للقفز عن ميزان القوى الجديد وإعادة المقاومة العربية إلى حال الجعجعة الفارغة والشعارات الخاوية. همهم الأكبر ينصب على كيفية القضاء على حزب الله، وكيفية جرّ حماس إلى مستنقع الاعتراف بإسرائيل.
هذا واضح تماما في استنفار أنظمة عربية في مواجهة إيران دون مواجهة إسرائيل والولايات المتحدة، ذلك لأن إيران وظفت أموالها وطاقاتها من أجل تطوير اعتمادها على ذاتها في مختلف المجالات، وطورت قاعدة علمية وتقنية لا يستهان بها.
إيران هي مصدر دعم المقاومتين اللبنانية والفلسطينية الرئيسي، وهي بالتالي مصدر عدم استقرار يخل بوجود إسرائيل وبمصالح الكثير من الأنظمة العربية. المشكلة أن أنظمة العرب تصر على العجز، وتكره أن ترى في الجوار أقوياء. فإذا كان للأنظمة أن تدمر المقاومة، فإن عليها تدمير مصادر مساندتها
Friday, March 27, 2009
"Just a day after promising to be a partner for peace with the Palestinians, Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister-designate, appears to be preparing to build Israeli settlements on more West Bank land.
Israeli media is reporting that Netanyahu has struck a secret deal with his coaltion partner - the far right Yisrael Beiteinu party - to build more settlements. Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reports from the occupied West Bank area of E1. "
"According to Human Rights Watch Israels use of white phosphorus in their offensive on the Gaza Strip constitutes a war crime", which Israel strenuously denies. Phosphorus ignites in oxygen in temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius and daily temperatures were much hotter than that when the war was carried out in Gaza in January. It is almost impossible to put out, and if it comes into contact with human flesh it can burn to the bone. Sabah Abu Halima who lost her husband and four of her children in the war, tells her story."
"Noam Chomsky speaks to Paul Jay on the Obama - Geithner plan. Chomsky says that "they're simply recycling, the Bush-Paulson measures and changing them a little, but essentially the same idea: keep the institutional structure the same, try to kind of pass things up, bribe the banks and investors to help out, but avoid the measures that might get to the heart of the problem.""
Global Research, March 27, 2009
"......While Netanyahu is indeed a rightwing ideologue, he hardly differs, regarding issues pertinent to the peace process, from his predecessors. More, one fails to appreciate the risks facing the peace process, considering that there is no such process. Israel continues with its military onslaughts and illegal settlement expansion unabated, and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas continues with what seems as its top political priorities: isolating Hamas in Gaza and maintaining its reign in the West Bank.
So to just what ‘peace process’ is the media referring? What prospects - for a viable two-state solution - are still passionately discussed? One earnestly fails to understand.....
Overlook the names and the titles, most Israeli major party leaders are one and the same; even their language is equally archaic and confrontational. Therefore, one fails to appreciate the panic over the ‘future of the peace process.’ As far as Gaza, for example, is concerned, it matters little whether the over 1400 people killed in 22 days were blown up by a Likud Revisionist, pulverized by a Labor dove, or bombed by a Kadima peacemaker, a fact that an envoy like Blair doesn’t seem to understand. "
"To sum up the acronym-infested mess in western Afghanistan, the whole picture looks like Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The area's most important military base is Italian, where 3,000 men are charged with controlling a Mafia-run territory with Taliban Godfathers aplenty. The Italians are encircled, and even a "pizza surge" from Rome might not save them...."
"The British ambulances clashed with the sandy setting of the inner city centre car park. Bearing UK license plates and British drivers, the vehicles stood amongst half built buildings, guarded by Hamas security detail. This was the culmination of a six-week odyssey by George Galloway’s aid movement, Viva Palestina. Having traveled more than 7,000 kilometers, under the leadership of the maverick Scottish; British Muslims of the convoy posed for photos with Palestinians this week, overjoyed at having ‘tricked’ the notoriously difficult (some would say corrupt) Egyptian authorities into letting them pass through Rafah into the Gaza Strip.
Since Hamas was elected to power in 2007, nothing larger than a man sized tissue, reaches the 25km Strip without being inspected and approved by either Israel or Egypt, or usually, both. There are five crossings into Gaza. Four controlled by Israel and one by Egypt. None are open in a regular or a consistent way.
So questionable, is checking process the border, this week, Israel’s closest ally the US, was forced to criticize, a system which sees parking lots of stalled, humanitarian aid, rotting in the bureaucratic wilderness of Rafah and Karem Shalom. In El-Arish stadium, there are even greater quantities of food, clothing and essential supplies waiting and baking in the Middle East sun......."
By Justin Raimondo
"America's coming confrontation with Israel has been foreshadowed for quite some time by several under-the-radar signals, but the media has been too invested in the "special relationship" narrative to notice, at least until the Obama administration took the reins. In spite of the Bush team's reputation for being the most pro-Israel White House ever, in the last year or so of the second term they had been moving steadily away from being Israel's yes-man – for example, by tightening visa restrictions on the entry of Israelis into the US – and this trend culminated in the White House vetoing an Israeli strike on Iran. With the victory of the Israeli far-right in the recent Israeli elections, and the likelihood that the ultra-nationalist whack-job Avigdor Lieberman will serve in the new government as foreign minister, US-Israeli relations are headed for a crisis that will test the power of the Israeli lobby as it has never been tested before, and also provide an interesting lesson in the how and why of our foreign policy.
The recently reported Israeli air strike on Sudan, ostensibly conducted to intercept arms bound for the Palestinian territories, was carried out in January – just as pressure on the Bush administration to attack Iran was reaching a well-orchestrated crescendo. Analysts interpret the raid as a signal to Iran that the Jewish state is ready, willing and able to lash out at its enemies, with or without US approval, and yet one cannot help thinking that it was just as much a signal to the Americans that Israel will no longer be constrained by the requirements of the "special relationship."......"
".....The surge may play a similar role in Afghanistan. One of the main reasons for keeping American and British forces there is because it would be humiliating to withdraw. But the role of foreign military forces has always been ambivalent. They prop up the Karzai government but they also de-legitimise it as a puppet administration. Their use of firepower, originally designed for use against the Soviet army, against mud-brick compounds in Afghan villages means an inevitable flow of civilian casualties and builds support for the Taliban. And despite all these efforts Mr Obama says military victory is not feasible. The Americans are finding, as the British did in the 19th century and the Russians in the 20th, that the effort of keeping an army in Afghanistan is not really worth it."
"27/03/2009 Egypt-Israel relations are "a cornerstone in Israel's national security," said Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's Security-Diplomatic Bureau, at a ceremony marking 30 years to Israel's peace agreement with Egypt on Thursday.
"We have very profound dialogue with them. It's important for Israel to know how to preserve these relations and deepen them," he said, while mentioning Egypt's "tolerant stance" during the Israeli occupation army's recent military offensive in Gaza that killed over 1400 Palestinians, including 420 children and injured more that 5300 others.
According to Gilad, "Hamastan is viewed by the Egyptians as a substantial threat to its national security."......
"If I understand the situation correctly, Egypt is in favor of a unity government, but not if it has a negative effect on (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas' status."
During the ceremony Gilad also said Egypt was Israel's "partner" in the struggle against Iran's nuclear program, adding that President Hosni Mubarak has made it clear that Cairo would not accept a nuclear Iran. "
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Many on what passes for a left in the United States have been led to believe that Barack Obama is a "Mr. Smith-goes- to-Washington" character eager and ready to struggle against entrenched corporate and financial interests. A considerable number of so-called "left liberals" make curious bedfellows with right-wing noisemakers (including dangerous reactionary nut-jobs like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Bernard Goldberg) in fantasizing that a leftist has taken up residence in the White House. But, as Harper's Magazine president John R. MacArthur notes, this "is an absurd reading of Obama," who MacArthur rightly describes as "a moderate with far too much respect for the global financial class" and as "surely the unleft, unradical, president." 
Look, for example, at the new administration's recently leased "financial stabilization" program. Consistent with the president's own recent description of himself as a "New [that is corporate] Democrat" , Obama will spend untold trillions of dollars on further taxpayer handouts to the giant Wall Street firms who spent millions on his campaign . The in-fact "deeply conservative"  Obama is too attached to those firms and their so-called "free market" ideology to undertake the elementary bank nationalizations and public financial restructuring that are obviously required to put the nation's credit system on an at once sound and socially responsible basis. His plan to guarantee the financial, insurance, and real estate industries' toxic, hyper-inflated assets while keeping existing Wall Street management is (what liberal economist James K. Gailbraith rightly considers) a massive (and deluded) effort to "keep perpetrators afloat" . The unradical liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is understandably "filled with a sense of despair" by Obama's bank rescue format, which "recycles Bush administration policy - specifically the ‘cash for trash' plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury secretary Henry Paulsen".
Global Research, March 25, 2009
"Throughout its history, Israel has willfully and repeatedly committed crimes of war and against humanity, always with impunity. Yet under customary legal standards and norms (including Geneva, Hague, the UN Charter, S.C. and G.A. resolutions), it's lawless, a serial abuser, a threat to the region and humanity, mostly as an oppressive occupier. Attacking Gaza is the latest episode in its six-decade reign of terror satisfying the definition of genocide against defenseless Palestinian civilians. This article covers more evidence from some disturbing but unsurprising newly published information......."
Saadat, in a statement leaked from his prison cell in the Israeli Askalan prison and made public on Thursday, said that signed agreement were the main reason for the current inter-Palestinian rift.
He pointed out that Israel never gave any importance to those agreements ever since their conclusion, and charged that the agreements did not win national consensus....."
With Amy Goodman
"Nearly four weeks ago, President Obama declared that US combat operations would end in Iraq by August 2010. Despite Obama’s pledge, new evidence has emerged that the US plans to keep combat brigades in Iraq, but they will operate under a different name. Investigative reporter Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service reveals some of the brigade combat teams currently in Iraq will stay beyond August 2010 and will be renamed so-called “advisory and assistance brigades.”....
Gareth Porter joins us now in Washington. His latest article is titled “Despite Obama’s Vow, Combat Brigades Will Stay in Iraq.”......"
"All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigm and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed.
We are living the end of an entire epoch: Experts everywhere witness the collapse of the US and world financial system, the absence of credit for trade and the lack of financing for investment. A world depression, in which upward of a quarter of the world’s labor force will be unemployed, is looming. The biggest decline in trade in recent world history – down 40% year to year – defines the future. The immanent bankruptcies of the biggest manufacturing companies in the capitalist world haunt Western political leaders. The ‘market’ as a mechanism for allocating resources and the government of the US as the ‘leader’ of the global economy have been discredited. (Financial Times, March 9, 2009) All the assumptions about ‘self-stabilizing markets’ are demonstrably false and outmoded. The rejection of public intervention in the market and the advocacy of supply-side economics have been discredited even in the eyes of their practitioners. Even official circles recognize that ‘inequality of income’ contributed to the onset of the economic crash and should be corrected. Planning, public ownership, nationalization are on the agenda while socialist alternatives have become almost respectable....."
"If there is a single act that characterizes the plight of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation, it is waiting: waiting in lines to pass through the hundreds of checkpoints scattered across the West Bank, waiting for Israel to issue an identification card, waiting for permission to travel to the next village or out of the country, waiting for loved ones languishing in Israeli prisons to be released -- waiting for peace, waiting for justice.
And for nearly two months, I found myself sharing the experience of waiting -- for Israel to allow me into Gaza.....
From the rooftop of my Ramallah hotel I could just barely see Tel Aviv beyond the pastoral West Bank landscape. If I was lucky, I could even catch a glimpse of the sea, shimmering in a kaleidoscopic pink and orange as the sun ritually descends into it. This placid scene was frequently shattered by the screams of Israeli fighter jets, tearing mercilessly across the sky -- south towards Gaza -- and the feelings of powerlessness became almost too much for me to take.
My heart aches for Gaza: for the fresh sea air and the desert breeze, for the sweet smell of orange groves and the bitterness of unripe pomelo, for the hospitality offered by those who have lost everything but their lives, for my friends suffering indescribable horrors and for the indomitable spirit of a people who refuse to be extinguished in spite of it all. As I catch my flight out of the region, I am acutely conscious of the fact that Israel has scored a minor success by preventing me from entering Gaza. I could not wait there indefinitely. But I know that there are many other ways to fight Israeli oppression. And through it all, Gaza will endure."
"CAIRO, Mar 26 (IPS) - For years, Abdelhalim Kandil has been one of Egypt's most high-profile opposition journalists, known for writing hard-hitting articles critical of the ruling regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Kandil boasts an impressive track record, having worked as editor-in-chief of a number of the country's most widely-read independent and opposition newspapers, including Al-Arabi Al-Nassiri (2000-2006), Al-Karama (2006- 2007) and Sout Al-Umma (2008-2009). Kandil is also general coordinator of Egypt's pro-democracy Kefaya movement.
On Mar. 16, Kandil was abruptly removed from his position as editor-in- chief of Sout Al-Umma by the newspaper's publisher, Essam Ismail Fahmi, after he wrote a series of articles critical of some state officials and of the government's political and economic policies.
Excerpts from an interview with him......"
By Gareth Porter
"WASHINGTON, Mar 25 (IPS) - Despite President Barack Obama’s statement at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina Feb. 27 that he had "chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months," a number of Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs), which have been the basic U.S. Army combat unit in Iraq for six years, will remain in Iraq after that date under a new non-combat label........"
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 25 March 2009
" Imagine a country that appoints someone who has been found guilty of striking a 12-year-old boy to be its foreign minister. The person in question is also under investigation for money-laundering, fraud and breach of trust; in addition, he was a bona fide member of an outlawed racist party and currently leads a political party that espouses fascist ideas. On top of all this, he does not even reside in the country he has been chosen to represent.
Even though such a portrayal may appear completely outlandish, Israel's new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, actually fits the above depiction to the letter......
If western leaders want to be conceived as credible, they must change their policy and meet with Hamas as well. Otherwise, their decision to meet Lieberman will be rightly perceived as hypocritical and duplicitous, and the pervasive perception in the region – that the United States and Europe are biased in Israel's favour – will only be strengthened."
The Guardian, Thursday 26 March 2009
".....Muslims are already angered by the double standards that allow Britons to serve with Israeli forces in Gaza and the Zionist Federation to raise charitable funds for occupation troops accused of war crimes, while any parallel moves to support Hamas are treated as involvement in terrorism.
The government preaches globalisation but has failed to face up to the implications of the multiple identities and loyalties that flow from it. The presence of a large population with recent roots in a part of the world where British forces are fighting unpopular wars is one reason why domestic and foreign policy can never again be separated in the way that was possible in colonial times. The government's counter-terrorism plan talks about Muslims needing to accept Britain's shared values. Fortunately, they do already. Both Muslims and non-Muslims oppose wars of aggression and want British troops brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan; they both accept people's right to defend themselves against invasion and occupation; and both mostly sympathise with the Palestinian cause. Now responding to that consensus would be a real counter-terror strategy."
Indiscriminate Attacks Caused Needless Civilian Suffering
Human Rights Watch
"(Jerusalem) - Israel's repeated firing of white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza during its recent military campaign was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 71-page report, "Rain of Fire: Israel's Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza," provides witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza. Human Rights Watch researchers in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school. The report also presents ballistics evidence, photographs, and satellite imagery, as well as documents from the Israeli military and government......
Human Rights Watch said that for multiple reasons it concluded that the IDF had deliberately or recklessly used white phosphorus munitions in violation of the laws of war. First, the repeated use of air-burst white phosphorus in populated areas until the last days of the operation reveals a pattern or policy of conduct rather than incidental or accidental usage. Second, the IDF was well aware of the effects of white phosphorus and the dangers it poses to civilians. Third, the IDF failed to use safer available alternatives for smokescreens.
The laws of war obligate states to investigate impartially allegations of war crimes. The evidence available demands that Israel investigate and prosecute as appropriate those who ordered or carried out unlawful attacks using white phosphorus munitions, Human Rights Watch said.
The United States government, which supplied Israel with its white phosphorus munitions, should also conduct an investigation to determine whether Israel used it in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said."
Photos of White Phosphorus Use (20 photos)
Video of White Phosphorus Use in Gaza
By Sherine Tadros
"Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reported from the Gaza Strip during Israel's 23-day offensive that ended via unilateral ceasefires in the middle of January. Here she describes what the territory is like on her return......
One thing that is new are the tents ... tents, tents everywhere - every size, every colour and they have one thing in common ... none are withstanding the terrible weather.
Over the past few days there have been severe gales and low temperatures and the tents are falling like paper. And in Gaza, when your tent is blown away, there is not much anyone can do for you.
Now 100,000 people are homeless and what strikes me as so unfair is that they are not even allowed to be refugees. Not allowed to flee the war zone and start afresh, in a different place as other people caught in other conflicts are permitted......"
عبد الباري عطوان
بعد ثلاثين عاماً من السلام مع اسرائيل اصبح دور مصر محصوراً في اربعة عشر كيلومتراً على الحدود مع رفح الفلسطينية، او ما يسمى بمحور صلاح الدين، ولكن حتى هذا الدور ناقص السيادة، فالطائرات الاسرائيلية تخترق الاجواء المصرية، وتقصف الحدود المصرية، وتدمر اربعين بيتاً في رفح المصرية، وتقتل وتصيب مواطنين مصريين، ناهيك عن اشقائهم الفلسطينيين. وما هو اخطر من ذلك ان الزوارق الحربية الاسرائيلية سيطرت على سفينة لبنانية كانت في طريقها لكسر الحصار عن غزة وهي في المياه الاقليمية المصرية، وجرّتها الى ميناء اسدود لتفتيشها وركابها.
نشعر بالحزن على مصر العظمى، وشعبها الكريم الشهم المغرق في كرامته الوطنية، ونحن نرى قوات امنه 'تعتقل' خمسمائة خروف انتهكت معاهدة السلام، وكانت في طريقها الى الجوعى في غزة عبر انفاق رفح.
هناك حسنة واحدة لمعاهدة السلام هذه، لا يمكن تجاهلها، وهي انها سحبت اكبر ذريعة كان حكام مصر يتذرعون بها لتبرير فسادهم وتجويعهم للشعب المصري، وهي القول بأن ذلك يتم من اجل فلسطين ودعم المجهود الحربي المصري لتحريرها.
ثلاثون عاماً لم تطلق خلالها الحكومة المصرية طلقة واحدة، وفي المقابل تحولت كوريا الشمالية في الفترة نفسها الى قوة نووية، والجنوبية الى القوة الاقتصادية العشرين في العالم، اما ايران فأطلقت اقماراً صناعية وطوّرت صواريخ بعيدة المدى قادرة على الوصول الى اوروبا، وعلى وشك دخول النادي النووي العالمي، وتجبر امريكا على الحوار معها، واسرائيل على الارتجاف خوفاً منها.
قلوبنا مع مصر وعلى مصر. فإذا كانت هذه المعاهدة اوصلتها الى هذا الهوان، فلماذا لا يخرج 'نحاس مصري' جديد ليبادر الى الغائها، من اجل مصر وشعب مصر.
ذكرى هذه المعاهــــدة تـــمر مثـــل مرور 'جــنازة الزانية'، تطاردها اللعنات، ولا يسير فيها احد، ومن يحضرها يخفي وجهه خجلاً، حتى لا يراه الفضوليون."
"26/03/2009 Israeli fighter jets struck in January a convoy of trucks in Sudan that was headed for Egypt and carrying weapons apparently meant for the Gaza Strip, the CBS television network reported Thursday. According to the report 17 trucks had been bombed and 39 people had been killed in the strike while civilians in the area suffered injuries.......
The CBS report was based on information provided to Pentagon reporter David Martin by his sources, and published on the blog of the network's Washington-based correspondent Dan Raviv.....
On the basis of the report from Sudan, American reporters sought confirmation from U.S. administration officials, which led them to the conclusion that the air strike did take place but that the U.S. Air Force was not involved and that the aircraft were Israeli.
In the original Sudanese report, an unidentified Egyptian official was quoted as saying that the planes that carried out the attack were based out of many countries in the region, and some observers guessed that he meant Djibouti."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
(Left) Feltman received by the Syrian regime's foreign minister Walid Muallem, earlier this month.
"Lebanon's Hezbollah has hit back at the US over Washington's remarks accusing the movement of terrorist activities.
"Hezbollah is honored to be accused of terrorism by the US administration, which is the top terrorist state," a statement from the Lebanese resistance group said on Wednesday.
The remarks followed a statement issued by the US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, saying Washington would not follow Britain's example by opening dialogue with the movement.
Feltman called the Lebanese resistance group a domestic and regional "threat," adding "our position on Hezbollah remains as it was when the group was first designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997."
Hezbollah, however, termed the comments as "desperate and empty," adding that "It is not strange for Feltman to interfere in Lebanese affairs, which he got used to since he was once an ambassador to Lebanon."......"
The agreement is not included in the official coalition deal between Netanyahu's right-wing Likud and the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of firebrand Avigdor Lieberman but the two men struck the understanding during their coalition talks, the radio said.
According to the plan, some 3,000 housing units are to be constructed in the so-called E1 Sector in the occupied West Bank which runs between annexed east Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim settlement.
By JONATHAN COOK
"A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighbourhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.
After the Israeli army’s assault on the Gaza Strip in January, lawyers for the families were given access to Ottoman land registry archives in Ankara for the first time, providing what they say is proof that title deeds produced by the settlers are forged....."
By Nomi Prins
"Though the stock market may have lifted off on news of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's purchase plan for toxic assets, don't be fooled by Wall Street's optimism. The plan is even worse than the one floated by Geithner's predecessor, Henry Paulson, last fall. At least Paulson wanted the government simply to buy the banking industry's junk outright—and spend less doing so......
Let the speculative parts die, and tend to the rest. As it stands, the present solution—propping up the entire system in a complex, highly leveraged manner that depends on the kindness of the culprits that caused this mess—is a colossally expensive exercise in bipartisan stupidity. "
AIG and the Big Takeover: Matt Taibbi on “How Wall Street Insiders Are Using the Bailout to Stage a Revolution”
With Amy Goodman
"In a new article in Rolling Stone Magazine, journalist Matt Tabbi takes an in-depth look at the story behind AIG. “The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état,” writes Taibbi. “They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.”...."
|Soldiers: Drunk IDF reservists vandalized Palestinian cars|
|By Ofra Edelman|
|Reservists marked their last night stationed in the southern Hebron Hills by damaging confiscated Palestinian vehicles, their replacements told Haaretz on Monday. |
The reserve battalion in question was stationed at a small base near the Shekef settlement, and spent three weeks in the south Hebron Hills. They were responsible primarily for patrolling the green line.
On their last night at the base, the reservists got drunk and vandalized some of the vehicles they had confiscated from Palestinian drivers, for transporting passengers who lacked permits to enter Israel, soldiers told Haaretz.
"More troops, more resources and more attention. These are the principles of the new US policy in Afghanistan. But are Obama's goals realistic? Is it possible to increase the amount of troops in the region and give hope of an eventual end to US military commitment? And what will Iran's role in helping the US to achieve its objectives ultimately be?"
"The new Silk Road of energy sees Washington, Beijing, Moscow and Tehran fight for control of Caspian oil lines on a global energy battlefield on which the fate of humankind could well be settled. Pepe Escobar enters the Space Odyssey-style map room of Russian energy giant Gazprom, spends a rainy "night" in Georgia, and discovers the thrill of following energy around the "arc of instability".....
Welcome, then, to Pipelineistan! Whether we like it or not, in good times and bad, it's a reasonable bet that we're all going to be Pipeline tourists.
"......Likewise, it would be mistaken to think of the rise of Avigdor Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, as a major development or as the main source of concern for the Palestinians. Focusing on Lieberman (charitably called by the Guardian a "hardliner") distracts the discussion from the real issues to the person of one unpleasant politician who says ignominious things others are generally unwilling to say. This logic seems to suggest that the political disappearance of Lieberman will bring about a serendipitous resolution of major problems in the Middle East. Lieberman, however, only exacerbates an already existing problem, and he cannot be easily dismissed as a marginal case of excess or abnormality of the Israeli political system......
In Theodor Herzl's novel Altneuland, published in 1902, Rabbi Dr. Geyer ran in the elections on the platform of disenfranchising the Arab citizens. The mainstream Zionists, on the one hand, and the good Arab who welcomed the Zionists, on the other hand, rejected Geyer as a troublemaker and Geyer was defeated in the elections in the novel. Lieberman currently plays the role of Rabbi Geyer with the difference that he actually won in the elections and he is a kingmaker. This state of affairs seems to have misled many of the commentators who are focused on the danger that the emergence of Lieberman poses. That would be tantamount to focusing on Rabbi Geyer and forgetting Herzl and the Zionist project itself which entailed not only the displacement of the Palestinian people but also the unequal status for those who remained as citizens inside Israel.
The movement to the right wing within Zionism cannot be reduced to Lieberman, and what is troubling about Zionism cannot be reduced to its right-wing side only."
"UN human rights investigator Richard Falk explains why Israeli conduct in the Gaza Strip necessitates the world to introduce a new law.
While presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council, Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, declared that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza and called for an independent inquiry into the issue.
Falk explained that Tel Aviv enforced a crippling blockade on Gaza while bringing three weeks of devastation to the territory and thus prevented civilians from fleeing "from the orbit of harm".
He said such conduct constitutes a new form of crime against humanity....."
By Justin Raimondo
"Tuesday marked the tenth anniversary of the bombing of the nation formerly known as Yugoslavia – an act of aggression that prefigured America's post-9/11 rampage and set the stage for our endless "war on terrorism" in many more ways than are at first apparent.
To begin with, the Yugoslav war, like the Iraq invasion, was predicated on a lie: that as many as 100,000 Kosovars and others were either killed or "ethnically cleansed" from Kosovo, and that this was the conscious plan of the Yugoslav military and political leadership. The 100,000 figure was casually thrown around in the run-up to the bombing, and "Stop genocide!" was the battle-cry of the War Party – a curious agglomeration of the usual neocons and the liberal-Left. This Bill Kristol-Susan Sontag popular front was greatly aided by the personal intervention of Hillary Clinton, who hectored her husband, then the president of the United States, into launching the U.S. attack........."
Tessa Gregory and Phil Shiner
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 March 2009
"It is difficult to imagine how anyone watching Clancy Chassay's three short films on Israel's devastating attack on Gaza ("Operation Cast Lead") could deny that Israel has a clear case to answer on commission of war crimes.
The films tell the individual stories of those who are otherwise lost in the horrifying statistics. We learn of three teenage brothers used as human shields by the Israeli army, a Palestinian family killed by "precision weaponry" when drinking tea in a courtyard and a medic blown into pieces by the thousands of tiny metal darts, called flechettes, packed into each Israeli tank shell.
Recent estimates put the number of Palestinians killed in the bloody onslaught at more than 1,400 – including 430 children – and the number injured at more than 5,000. Israel's actions have been roundly condemned and demands from senior UN officials and human rights groups for Israel to be investigated for international war crimes over the "massive violation of human rights" are growing by the day.
In the face of such overwhelming evidence we might have expected a little more from our government than David Miliband's meek calls to "both sides" for an end to the hostilities. We might have expected our government to unequivocally condemn Israel's actions, cease all arms-related exports to Israel, cease giving financial assistance to Israel, cease trading with Israel on preferential terms, and we might have expected it to do everything within its power to halt the massacre and bring those responsible to account....."
The Guardian, Wednesday 25 March 2009
"......As with the Russians so with the west: this poor, intensely private country will one day see off another invader who sought to reorganise its history with guns, bombs and money. It has not worked. It was never going to work. Oh so painfully, we are now beginning to understand."
"I am re-posting this article, which I wrote seven months ago, on the occasion of the provocative Judeo-Nazi march by Jewish extremists at the Arab town of Um el Fahm across the green line in what is known as Israel.
The march, which took place today (24 March, 2009) was protected by as many as 2500 Israeli soldiers and paramilitary policemen. As expected, the people of Um el Fahm rose up to defend their city against the Jewish disciples of Hitler who wanted to communicate the same message the “Hitler Youth” and other Nazi groups communicated to Jews at Kristallnacht, long before Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Bergen Belsen.
The marchers, mostly Jewish settlers from the West Bank, said they only wanted to exercise their freedom of speech. This is the same argument that members of the American Nazi party made in justifying their march through the small Jewish town of Skoke near Chicago in 1977.
I was studying in the United States in 1977 and I remember I took part in a protest against the Nazi provocation.
Now, it seems, the Israeli state, and security forces, as well as the vast bulk of Israeli Jews, are saying nothing and doing nothing as they watch these despicable thugs shout “death to the Arabs” and “Arabs to the Gas chambers.”
Interestingly, the march at Um el Fahm, comes only three months after the genocidal Israeli blitzkrieg against the people of the Gaza Strip which destroyed the bulk of the coastal enclave’s civilian infrastructure and killed and maimed more than 6000 people, the vast majority of them children and innocent civilians. It also coincides with the pornographic confessions being made by Israeli soldiers that they were ordered by their superiors to murder civilians in cold blood.
This is Israel of 2008-2009. It is very much like Germany in 1938-39....."
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
By FRANKLIN LAMB
Mieh Mieh Palestinian Camp, Sidon.
"Yesterday afternoon, Kamal Medhat, 58, known in Lebanon’s Palestinian Camps affectionately as ‘Kamal Naji’, a senior member of the Palestinian Fatah movement was killed exiting Mieh Meih Camp by a 25-30 kilogram bomb.....
Osama Hamdan, the popular representative of Hamas in Lebanon, condemned the killing, saying it was aimed at creating discord in Palestinian camps. Hezbollah said the attack bore "the fingerprints of the Zionists and was aimed at sowing discord."
No one has claimed responsibility and no one likely will. The most frequently mentioned suspects this morning include Israel, Syria, Egypt and the US.
One suspect mentioned is a “third party Palestinian faction” led by Mohammad Dahlan in Ramallah working on behalf of Israel and the US and wanting to prevent Palestinian unity to confront Israel......."
"CAIRO, (PIC)-- The Egyptian leadership has informed Palestinian factions that the third round of national dialog sessions would be postponed to 1st of April [April Fools' day; how fitting for a bunch of fools!] after conclusion of the Arab summit slated for march 30-31 in Doha, media sources reported.
They told the PIC reporter that the postponement was meant to give the Palestinian factions more time to overcome the three points of disagreement represented in the unity government's political program, commitment to the previous PLO agreements and the electoral system......."
"Investigative historian and journalist, Gareth Porter, speaks to Sharmini Peries about President Obama's Nowruz greeting to Iran. Noting the significance of this unprecedented move by the U.S. government, and the saying that this is the first time the Iranian leader himself has responded directly to the U.S. Porter said, "Obama was displaying atmospherics here far more than substance," adding that, "there really is nothing in the address that gives you a clue as to what change is going to be made in the U.S. posture when they actually sit down with Iran.""
"The carnage of Israel's recent invasion of Gaza spurred great numbers of dismayed Europeans to participate in demonstrations against the war. In major cities such as Madrid, Brussels, Rome, Berlin and London, tens of thousands took part in demonstrations to make clear to their governments that what was happening was unacceptable. Yet, their objections to Israel's massive use of deadly force were not reflected in the declarations and actions of their countries, as represented by Europe's most significant political body, the European Union, which did not alter its policy of status quo relations with Israel......"
"The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Or are they? That depends on whom you ask......
The US accounts for almost half the world’s total military spending. Russia must also take into account the $330 billion military spending of America’s wealthy NATO allies and Japan.
I think we can safely allow the Ruskis a few more modern weapons systems. The Red hordes are not at our gates quite yet. "
"......The condition of the Palestinian politics today is hopeless, not only because the defenseless Palestinians living under occupation are besieged, starved, massacred, strangulated, detained and humiliated on a daily basis; or the disenfranchised refugees who are languishing in camps are denied the right of return to their homes and will not have room to settle in the Palestinian Authority (PA) territory that has been divided, crisscrossed by Jewish only roads, settlements and military posts; or that the tacit support of the US offered Israel the leeway to ignore the UN resolutions and the international laws, terrorize the Palestinians under occupation and colonize their lands. But the main cause of the Palestinians’ hopelessness is that the PA leaders who are still in charge are the same incompetent monopolistic people who signed and defended the agreements that limited the Palestinians’ power to deal with their occupier, co-opted their national movement and prejudiced the future generations of their people........"
(left) Hezbollah Spends Millions to Rebuild Stronghold.
".....Analaysts say the reconstruction drive has triggered new rivalries between Hezbollah and the authorities and is bolstering the popularity of the Shiite militant group.
"Hezbollah will certainly benefit from this reconstruction project because it is cementing the loyalty of the people," said Ahmad Baalbaki, a professor of sociology.
In contrast, for decades the government neglected the development of the southern suburbs, and Hezbollah stepped in to fill the void.
"Before Hezbollah, in the 1980s, even in the 1970s, the southern suburbs was like a jungle. Where was, then, the authority of the state," he asked."
Parents demand inquiry into how son was critically injured by tear gas canister
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
"The parents of an American peace activist publicly appealed yesterday for a full investigation into how their son was shot in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister by Israeli security forces.
Tristan Anderson, 38, remains in critical condition after three brain operations at Tel Hashomer hospital in Israel, as a result of the shooting which came at the end of a regular joint Arab-Jewish demonstration against the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank village of Ni'lin.
Activists say the canister round – with a range of more than 400 metres – was fired directly at Mr Anderson from about 60 metres as he was standing with three or four other activists in the centre of the village. They say he was well away from the barrier where the main protest had taken place earlier on 13 March....."
guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 March 2009
"Confused, apparently contradictory, statements by Barack Obama suggest America's new president is having as much trouble as his hapless predecessor in defining US strategy in Afghanistan. Part of the difficulty confronting his policy reviewers is that each time they look, the problem just gets bigger.
Talking at the weekend, Obama sounded more like a college lecturer trying to cover all the bases than a commander-in-chief with a clear plan of action......."
guardian.co.uk, Monday 23 March 2009
"Evidence of the scale of Israel's war crimes in its January onslaught on Gaza is becoming unanswerable. Clancy Chassay's three films investigating allegations against Israeli forces in the Gaza strip, released by the Guardian today, include important new accounts of the flagrant breaches of the laws of war that marked the three-week campaign – now estimated to have left at least 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 13 Israelis dead.
The films provide compelling testimony of Israel's use of Palestinian teenagers as human shields; the targeting of hospitals, clinics and medical workers, including with phosphorus bombs; and attacks on civilians, including women and children – sometimes waving white flags – from hunter-killer drones whose targeting systems are so powerful they can identify the colour of a person's clothes.....
With such powerful evidence of violations of the rules of war now emerging from the rubble of Gaza, the test must be this: is the developing system of international accountability for war crimes only going to apply to the west's enemies – or can the western powers and their closest allies also be brought to book?"
Clancy Chassay and Julian Borger
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 March 2009 09.30
"The Guardian has compiled detailed evidence of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 23-day offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, involving the use of Palestinian children as human shields and the targeting of medics and hospitals.
A month-long investigation also obtained evidence of civilians being hit by fire from unmanned drone aircraft said to be so accurate that their operators can tell the colour of the clothes worn by a target.
The testimonies form the basis of three Guardian films which add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas but left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including more than 300 children.......
Medics and ambulance drivers said they were targeted when they tried to tend to the wounded; sixteen were killed. According to the World Health Organisation, more than half of Gaza's 27 hospitals and 44 clinics were damaged by Israeli bombs......."
The Guardian, Tuesday 24 March 2009
"Evidence that Israel committed war crimes in its 23-day operation in Gaza mounts by the week. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have both appealed for a United Nations inquiry, after conducting their own investigations. Last week Ha'aretz published the testimonies of Israeli soldiers who alleged that a sniper shot a Palestinian mother and her two children, and that a company commander ordered an elderly woman to be killed. Yesterday Physicians for Human Rights accused soldiers of ignoring the special protection that Palestinian medical teams are entitled to receive. Today the Guardian releases three films in which our reporter Clancy Chassay reveals evidence that Israel used drones to fire at civilian targets, killing at least 48; he interviews three Palestinian youths used by Israeli soldiers as human shields and alleges that soldiers targeted paramedics and hospitals.......The army has the means to refute these allegations, but feels no obligation to do so. An international inquiry should be launched for no other reason than to hold it accountable.....
.....The international criminal court has received more than 220 complaints from the Palestinian National Authority, the Arab League and the Palestinian justice minister. But whether the court has jurisdiction is another matter. If the ICC route fails, there is always the UN, whose schools and stores found themselves in the line of fire......
There are five reasons why we should have an international inquiry into the Israeli assault on Gaza. First, the conflict has not gone away. It could reignite at any moment under a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who is determined to finish the job......."
"طالبت حكومة تصريف الأعمال الفلسطينية الجانب الأوروبي عدم تخفيف الضغط المفروض على حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" مبررة طلبها بتداعيات محتملة قد تؤثر سلبا على الحوار الوطني الفلسطيني المتوقع -وفقا لمصادر فلسطينية- أن تستأنف جلساته بعد أيام.
فقد أكد وزير الخارجية الفلسطيني رياض المالكي أنه نقل رسالة إلى قادة أوروبيين -أثناء زيارته الأسبوع الماضي إلى العاصمة البلجيكية- أبلغهم فيها بضرورة تجنب الاتصالات السياسية مع (حماس) لما في ذلك من آثار سلبية على الحوار الوطني الفلسطيني.
وقال المالكي إن خطوات التقارب الأوروبية مع حماس من شأنها أن تقوض محادثات الوحدة بإعطاء الحركة انطباعا يدل على استعداد المجتمع الدولي وتحديدا الأوروبي لتغيير موقفه منها سواء وافقت على الالتزام بالاتفاقيات التي أبرمتها السلطة أم لا ...