Saturday, November 14, 2009

An Open letter from a Palestinian Resident of Gaza to the President of the United States of America, Mr. Barak Hussein Obama

By Professor Haidar Eid

".....Unlike your predecessor, you seem to be a smart man. You must have realized that a two-state solution has been rendered impossible by Israeli colonization of the West Bank, by the war on Gaza, by the construction of the apartheid wall, by the expansion of so-called Greater Jerusalem, and by the increase in the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank. You must have realized also that there are 6 million refugees, most of whom live in miserable conditions waiting for courageous, visionary leaders committed to true democracy, human rights and international law to implement UN resolution 194. And yet, you and your State of Secretary, like every U.S. president since 1967, have decided to support Israel in creating conditions that made the two-state solution impossible, impractical and unjust.

Were you a supporter of the Bantustan system in South Africa under the Apartheid system? Are you opposed to equal rights and the transformation of Israel/Palestine into a state for all its citizens? The two-state solution means the Bantustanization of Palestine, a solution you, to our knowledge, never supported for South Africa. Are you, Mr. President, opposed to civic democracy, which is the demand of most Palestinian civil society and grassroots organizations? This is what your role models, Martin Luther King and Steve Biko, died for. Was Nelson Mandela wrong to spend 27 years of his life in pursuit of justice by demanding equality for the indigenous people of South Africa? Do you realize that what you are supporting in the Middle East is a racist solution par excellence? A solution based on "ethnic nationalism". Your Secretary of State and envoy to the Middle East, unashamedly, stood with beaming smiles next to Avigdor Lieberman, who, not only defends openly the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but also calls for a new genocide in Gaza! Do you realize, Mr. President, that this Hitlerite fascist might become Israel's next prime minister, thanks to your administration's complacency and support?

Our only immediate demand is that your administration insures that Israel fulfills its obligations in terms of international law. Is that too much to ask?

Mr. President Barak Hussein Obama,

We, the Palestinian people, are fed up!


Prof. Haidar Eid
Gaza, Palestine"

Breaking News...Assad Says Netanyahu Not Ready for Peace....Who Would Have Thunk it?

My Apologies to Mr. Rabbit; do you think he is smarter than I thought?


"13/11/2009 Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said Friday that he had no "Israeli partner" ready to push forward the Middle East peace process, [gee whiz!]accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not being serious about peace.

Assad told reporters he was not willing to hold face-to-face negotiations with the Israeli leader and called instead for lower-level dialogue under Turkish mediation....."

....And since Israel is not serious about "peace," as the Rabbit has finally concluded, here he is seen with his top commanders devising his military plans for "resistance."

......Stay tuned for another 35 years, until the Rabbit decides on the "time and place" to start his "resistance."

If I were Netanyahu, I would be deeply worried.

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This brand new poll asks:

Do you believe that Palestinian "reconciliation" agreement is imminent?

With about 350 responding so far (it is early), 76% said no.

What's next?

Whatever lies ahead after Abbas's notification of not seeking the Palestinian presidency again, the status quo ante is over for good

By Khaled Amayreh in Ramallah
From Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Hence one Fatah leader in Ramallah questioned the "wisdom" of appointing a successor to Abbas under the current political conditions. "What would any potential successor to Abbas be able to do? Abbas has given the Americans and Israelis all they want. He went to the greatest extent possible in order to demonstrate Palestinian desire for peace. But look how they have treated him."

The source added, on condition of anonymity: "They [America and Israel] wanted Abbas to be a full-fledged collaborator working against the interests of his own people. They were not willing to accept a dignified Palestinian partner. They didn't want partners, they only wanted to see collaborators, such as the current rulers of Afghanistan and Iraq.".....

Some pundits suggest that the Obama administration might seek "another" Palestinian Karzai -- a strongman like Mohamed Dahlan. However, it is near certain that any meddling from Washington would cause Fatah to implode from within with such a new leader being viewed by the majority of Palestinians as an American agent. Another possibility is that the US would further boost the status of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, enabling him to function as de facto Palestinian leader in lieu of Abbas. But this prospect, too, is fraught with uncertainty because Fayyad is bereft of a popular base despite attempts to build one......"

And, now, who will accept responsibility for the failure?

By Khalid Amayreh

"Finally, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has admitted, belatedly, of course, that 18 years of talks and negotiations with Israel have availed to nothing.

In an interview with the pro-Fatah news agency, Maan, on Wednesday, 11 November, the prominent PA negotiator Sa’eb Ureikat was quoted as saying that all negotiations with Israel since the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991 produced a zero result......

Frankly, you deserve the humiliating treatment you have been receiving from the Zio-Nazis. You deserve it because you could have reached the same conclusion about Zionist mendacity from the first year or the second year of the hapless Oslo era.

However, instead of “smelling it from afar,” you allowed yourselves to be bamboozled and duped for 18 long years, and whenever an honest-minded Palestinian advised you against further beguilement , you used all the bad epithets in the dictionary to describe these sincere people who sensed the falsehood and deception from day-1.

We, the people of Palestine, need to know why it took you and your colleagues, people like Abbas, Yasser Abed Rabbo and ilk, 18 long years to discover that Israel is not sincere about peace.

Were you intoxicated? Were you stupid? Were you gullible? Were you blind?......

We cannot afford to see another 18 years of miscalculation, lies and failure....."

عزمي بشارة "أن تكون عربيا في أيامنا"../ فيصل دراج

نشر "مركز دراسات الوحدة العربية" قراءة للمفكر والناقد الأدبي، فيصل دراج في كتاب " أن تكون عربيا في أيامنا" للمفكر د.عزمي بشارة

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinians denied access to water - 14 Nov 09

"Israel dubs Palestinian farmers trying in vain to irrigate their lands "water pirates".

Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, or "water pirates" as Israeli occupation forces prefer to call them, are siphoning off drinking water pipes in an effort to secure water to irrigate their farmland.

Water is an increasingly disputed resource between Israel and the Palestinians.

A World Bank report has accused Israel of using four times more water than Palestinians from the so-called Mountain Aquifer that bridges Israel and the territory and runs along the West Bank.

Israel disputes that claim and says the Palestinians are jeopardising the resource through illegal use.

Palestinians argue they are being denied access in order to force them off their land.

This exclusive report from Al Jazeera shows Israeli occupation forces dismantling a farmer's water pipes in the agricultural village of al-Baqa.

Badran Jaber, a Palestinian farmer, told Al Jazeera: "We were surprised by a large group of soldiers and settlers who surrounded the entire area. We asked them: 'why are you doing this and what do you want?' They refused to speak to us.

"Men who came with the soldiers stormed the field and pulled out all the irrigation pipes, destroying the crops."

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports on how Israeli rules blight the lives of many Palestinians."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Huge rise in birth defects in Falluja

Iraqi former battle zone sees abnormal clusters of infant tumours and deformities

Martin Chulov in Falluja, Friday 13 November 2009

"Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.

Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.....

After several years of speculation and anecdotal evidence, a picture of a highly disturbing phenomenon in one of Iraq's most battered areas has now taken shape. Previously all miscarried babies, including those with birth defects or infants who were not given ongoing care, were not listed as abnormal cases....

Falluja was the scene of the only two setpiece battles that followed the US-led invasion. Twice in 2004, US marines and infantry units were engaged in heavy fighting with Sunni militia groups who had aligned with former Ba'athists and Iraqi army elements.

The first battle was fought to find those responsible for the deaths of four Blackwater private security contractors working for the US. The city was bombarded heavily by American artillery and fighter jets. Controversial weaponry was used, including white phosphorus, which the US government admitted deploying......."

Watch Video: Children of Falluja

Short Cuts in Afghanistan

How Could This End Well?


"....It’s now obvious to everyone that this is not a ‘good’ war designed to eliminate the opium trade, discrimination against women and everything bad – apart from poverty, of course. So what is Nato doing in Afghanistan? Has this become a war to save Nato as an institution? Or is it more strategic, as was suggested in the spring 2005 issue of Nato Review....

Whatever the reason, the operation has failed. Most of Obama’s friends in the US media recognise this, and support a planned withdrawal, while worrying that pulling troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan might result in Obama losing the next election, especially if McChrystal or General Petraeus, the supposed hero of the surge in Iraq, stand for the Republicans. Not that the US seems likely to withdraw from Iraq. The only withdrawal being contemplated is from the main cities, restricting the US presence to the huge air-conditioned military bases that have already been constructed in the interior of the country, mimicking the strongholds of the British Empire (minus the air-conditioners) during the early decades of the last century.

While Washington decides what do, Af-Pak is burning. Carrying out the imperial diktat has put the Pakistan army under enormous strain. Its recent well-publicised offensive in South Waziristan yielded little. Its intended target disappeared to fight another day. To show good faith the military raided the Shamshatoo refugee camp in Peshawar. On 4 November I received an email from Peshawar......"

The Disastrous Presidency of Mahmoud Abbas

Is It Really Over?


(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

"After five long years, and at great expense to a state hoped-to-be-called Palestine, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has finally realized that subservience to the United States and Israel pays little in dividends. Indeed, what he has done to the cause of Palestine, the unity of its people, and the advancement of their rights has been nothing short of unmitigated disaster......

Symbolic of his behavior over the past five years, Abbas’ stance on the Goldstone Report brought to the fore the embarrassment and shame many Palestinians have long felt over his actions. Capitulation to Presidents Bush and Obama, and Israeli Prime Ministers Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahu, has only led to the unabated expropriation of Palestinian land and progressively worse relations between the rival elected and appointed governments.

Though it appears doubtful the quisling Abbas will actually resign, its mere suggestion should still be cause for celebration among Palestinians. Even if it ultimately does not come to pass – at least for now – let them rejoice."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Five years on after Arafat - 12 Nov 09

Al-Jazeera Video: Road restrictions for West Bank Palestinians - 13 Nov 09

"Roads in the occupied Palestinian Territories are vital arteries connecting West Bank towns and villages.

But major routes have been closed off to tens of thousands of Palestinians, for the benefit of a handful of Israeli settlers.

Now, in the first ruling of its kind, Israel's supreme court has ordered the army to open up a West Bank highway to Palestinian traffic again.

Nicole Johnston reports from the occupied West Bank. "

A witches' cauldron brews in Yemen

By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"Saudi Arabia is on the offensive in Iraq and Afghanistan to counter Iranian influence. The Saudis, though, are on the defensive in Yemen, which has become a safe haven for al-Qaeda elements to make incursions into Saudi Arabia. In addition, the Shi'ite Houthi clan has made the Saudi-Yemeni border highly volatile. Tehran, while doing nothing adventurous, is highly pleased....."

In a Hole, by Mike Luckovich

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Abu Mazen Throws in the Towel

by Yacov Ben Efrat
Courtesy of Khalid Amayreh

".....Abu Mazen's step also puts Hamas in a delicate situation. What will happen to the Hamas regime in Gaza and its demand to be recognized as the legal government? Hamas has been playing a two-faced game. It exploited the Oslo Accords in order to participate in the elections of 2006, which brought it to power. Simultaneously, it has done its utmost to undermine these Accords. Hamas used the Palestinian parliament as an umbrella for its legitimacy as a political party, but its military wing acted separately to destroy the agreements that the parliament is based on. If the PA comes apart, what will happen to the Gaza Strip? Will Hamas establish an alternative Authority? Or will it return to its underground days and implement a scorched earth policy?

There remains the question as to why it was necessary to undergo all the deaths, the blockade, the wall, the settlements, the roadblocks, the unemployment, a civil war between Hamas and Fatah, and now the destruction in Gaza—in order to reach a point where the PA collapses. For there was never a justification for the PA's existence: that should have been obvious in the first place. Why has it taken so long to grasp the fact that the Oslo Accords could not lead to statehood, but merely perpetuated the Occupation? The answer seems simple enough: There are those within Fatah who gain from the perks of office. There is a thin, corrupt layer that has made itself rich on the backs of the people. For this reason we should not be surprised if a last-minute formula turns up once again to rescue the "peace" process. The existence of the PA, after all, isn't only a comfortable arrangement for Israel, but also a source of easy profit to all who make a living off this hollow apparatus, including the regime that is headed by Abu Mazen."

Gaza Graduates Search for Vitamin W

By Mohammed Omer

"THE HAGUE, Nov 12 (IPS) - "We fast a long time," says Gaza graduate Mona Ismail, 23. "Only to break our fast on a piece of onion."

She is speaking not of Ramadan but of the whole year, and year after year. She graduated in 'academic excellence in English language' from the Islamic University in Gaza. A prestigious course, and her dream. But now, there is no work she can find in line with her studies.

"I am now considering community volunteer work with organisations that offer English classes," she says, reached on phone from The Hague.

Gaza, considered by much of the world a troubled slum, has near universal literacy, and fine centres of learning. But then, no work afterwards for most.

Women are affected more than the men. Large numbers of women graduates are now searching for simple jobs in kindergartens......

Ruba Ibrahim, who graduated from Al-Azhar University three years back is now teaching in a kindergarten after failing to get a proper job in a public school. "For that I need Vitamin W," she says. By 'W' she means "wasta", Arabic for connections......."

Myths of Our Time

by Paul Craig Roberts, November 13, 2009

"It is conventional wisdom that it was the draft that ended the Vietnam war. According to this explanation, cowardly college students subject to the draft and their unpatriotic families, forced an end to the war. This is Karl Marx’s explanation. Material interests, not empty morality, are said to have brought the war to an end.

The fact that in those days the US still had an independent media of sorts that sometimes framed the war in moral terms is ignored. Are we sure, for example, that the film of the naked little girl running in terror down the road burning with napalm was ineffectual in arousing moral opposition to the war? Are we certain that it wasn’t an aroused moral conscience that brought about the end of the war but was college students’ fears for their lives and limbs?......"

The Winds of Change Die Down

It was all hot air to begin with

By Justin Raimondo

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

"I have to feel sorry for my progressive friends, of whom there are a few, who had so much hope for the new administration, and were convinced that the election of Barack Obama would lead to a significant shift in American foreign policy. One can hardly blame them for their election night elation: after all, eight years of relentless militarism and knee-jerk belligerence were finally over, and a new day was dawning – or so they thought.

Since it would be in dubious taste to say "I told you so," I’ll refrain and simply note the facts: the Obama administration has been a major disappointment to self-described liberals and Democratic party activists (outside the unions) on a wide range of issues, including not just foreign policy but also civil liberties and healthcare "reform."........

This last is the core reason why the warlords of Washington will never relinquish their Afghan domain voluntarily, without being militarily defeated and driven out as they were in Vietnam. The Obama administration is specifically committed to the idea that the US government can and should determine what is best not only for its own citizens but for the inhabitants of the rest of the world. Washington’s only god is power, and their every act is an act of worship at its altar. Which is why, in spite of whatever good intentions they might have started out with, in the end the Obama-ites are no different from their Republican predecessors – and the sooner "progressives" and other well-meaning fans of this administration reconcile themselves to this fact, the more likely they are to understand current events."

The general is right. Liam Fox is wrong

The Taliban are able to present themselves as battling for Afghan independence

By Patrick Cockburn

"Just when President Barack Obama looked as if he might be railroaded into sending tens of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan, the American envoy to Kabul has warned him not to do so.

In a leaked cable to Washington sent last week, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W Eikenberry, argued that it would be a mistake to send reinforcements until the government of Hamid Karzai demonstrates that it will act against corruption and mismanagement. Mr Eikenberry knows what he is talking about because he has long experience of Afghanistan. A recently retired three-star general, he was responsible for training the Afghan security forces from 2002 to 2003 and was top US commander in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007.........

Mr Eikenberry is rightly sceptical about the dispatch of reinforcements to prop up a regime which is more of a racket than an administration. The troops may kill more Taliban, but they will also be their recruiting sergeants. As for the Afghan government, its ill-paid forces will not be eager to fight harder if they can get the Americans and the British to do their fighting for them."

One Rotten Egg, by Dave Brown

Guardian fined by Iraqi court in ruling seen as attack on press freedom

Fine over Ghaith Abdul-Ahad report quoting PM's critics 'makes a mockery' of Baghdad's claim to be democracy

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, Thursday 12 November 2009

(Left: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad)

"There was widespread condemnation from around the world today of an Iraqi court ruling fining the Guardian for reporting criticism of the country's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

A broad range of leading journalists, Iraq experts, civic society activists and former officials involved in Iraq's postwar reconstruction said the ruling and fine – for an article quoting intelligence officials as saying Maliki was becoming increasingly authoritarian – reflected a marked decline in press freedom in Iraq.

The article was written by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, an award-winning Iraqi staff correspondent for the Guardian.......

Some commentators went as far as to compare Maliki's behaviour to the rule of Iraq's former dictator. Patrick Cockburn, a journalist and the author of three books on Iraq, said: "This means we're halfway down the road to the end of the free press in Iraq, which was one of the few gains from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. And what makes this so menacing is that not even Saddam tried this ploy [of suing for defamation in the courts] to stifle reporting on Iraq, which after all said far ruder things about him than has been said about Maliki."......"

Lettre D'Amour De Netanyahu Delivered in the Ville De L'Amour.......

Assad: “Peace Talks with Israel Hindered by Obama Inaction”


"French President Nicolas Sarkozy will deliver a message from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Syrian leader Bashar Assad during the latter's visit to Paris on Friday, relaying Israel's desires to renew “peace negotiations” immediately without preconditions. The French newspaper La Figaro on Friday quoted Assad as saying that U.S. President Barack Obama represented a weak point in the efforts to renew negotiations....."

“Hezbollah Knows Everything about the Israeli Army's Activities”


NOTE: I posted the Arabic equivalent of this article yesterday.

"12/11/2009 One day after Hezbollah General Secretary Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel not to try to launch any aggression against Lebanon, promising it with humiliating defeat; Israeli media revealed Thursday that Hezbollah knows every single detail about the activities of the Israeli occupation army.

Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot said it has got a document confirming that Hezbollah knows every detail about the activities of the Israeli army and the command of the northern area and brigade 91 in the border area.

The Israeli paper says in its report issued Thursday morning, "The bulletin shows to what extent Hezbollah intelligence succeeded in penetrating into the Israeli army, and proves that Hezbollah has enough sources of information."

According to Yediot Aharonot, "the bulletin consists of 150 pages, and describes in detail the deployment of the Israeli army, and its land, naval and aerial activities."....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Algerian football players attacked in Cairo - 13 Nov 09

"Algeria's government says four players on the national football team have been injured after their bus was attacked by Egyptians in Cairo.

It comes a day before the two teams are due to meet in a qualifier that will decide who will go through to the World Cup in South Africa....."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Video: "Miles of Smiles" aid convoy breaks Gaza siege

The Rabbit is Always Good for a Laugh....Assad Says Resistance Forms Core of Syrian Policy


"11/11/2009 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that Syria was not setting conditions on making peace with Israel, but that it did have rights that must be restored, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

"Resistance (to Israeli occupation) forms the core of our policy, both in the past and in the future.[ That is a good one, Mr. Rabbit, tell us some more fiction!] We do not put forward conditions on making peace, but we do have rights that we will not renounce," he told a meeting of Arab political parties.

"If we are strong we will achieve the peace we seek. Resistance is at the heart of the new Middle East we have begun to build," Assad said......"

And his "resistance" starts in......Paris!

Syrian president pays work visit to France on Thursday

" DAMASCUS, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is scheduled to pay a two-day work visit to France on Thursday, during which he will meet with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy and other French officials, the official SANA news agency reported.....

Sarkozy added that the talks with Assad will deal with the Middle East peace process and the situation in Iraq and Lebanon.

In a statement to SANA, French Ambassador to Syria Eric Chevallier said Assad's visit to France is very important, "it paves the way for a new era of bilateral relations in light of the common will to give a new momentum to the Syrian-French relations, based on historic roots."....."

The Rabbit was apparently summoned by Sarkozy who wants to follow up his discussions with Netanyahu, just concluded in Paris.

Sarkozy Calls Abbas with Ideas to Break Peace Impasse


"12/11/2009 French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas on Thursday with "important suggestions" to restart the stalled peace process, an Abbas aide said.

The phone call came a day after the French leader met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris. "President Sarkozy had very important suggestions on how to move the peace process forward," Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.

He did not elaborate, but said Sarkozy had shared details of his meeting with Netanyahu and that the two agreed to talk again in a few days.

Another senior Palestinian official told AFP on condition of anonymity that among the topics discussed was the idea of organizing a Middle East peace conference in Moscow [So the "peace" circus' next stop is Moscow?], an idea Russia has been pushing for months.

Netanyahu returned to Israel early on Thursday after meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington and Sarkozy in Paris."

حافة الهاوية!

Good Analysis (Arabic)

"يتقاذف الساحة الفلسطينية خياران لا ثالث لهما إثر التطورات الأخيرة التي حجبت، ولو مؤقتا، فرص إنفاذ المصالحة الفلسطينية الداخلية، وإعلان الرئيس الفلسطيني منتهي الولاية محمود عباس مرسومه الرئاسي القاضي بإجراء الانتخابات شهر يناير المقبل.

الخيار الأول يتجه نحو نجاح المصالحة واستعادة الوفاق، فيما يتجه الآخر نحو التصعيد والانفصال التام، غير أن إبرام اتفاق المصالحة لا يعني رسوخ آلياتها على أرض الواقع، فيما لا يعني التصعيد بلوغ الانغلاق التام وفقدان الأمل من إمكانات الوفاق فيما بعد.
النظام الإقليمي والدولي اتخذ قراره الحاسم بشأن إنهاء حكم حماس، وإخراجها من دائرة المشهد السياسي الفلسطيني، وبات أكثر استعجالا لتذليل كل العراقيل التي تنتصب في وجه عباس وسلطة رام الله
الجهد المصري الذي مال نسبيا إلى توازن الأداء بين فتح وحماس اصطدم بصخرة التدخل الأميركي الذي لا زال يجترّ اشتراطات الرباعية كمحور ارتكاز لأي تعاطٍ سياسي مع إفرازات التجربة الديمقراطية الفلسطينية
يخطئ النظام الإقليمي والدولي حين يعتقد بإمكانية استسلام حماس أمام محاولات إخراجها القسري عبر البوابة الانتخابية، أو كسرها وخنق سلطتها وزجّها في دوامة الإرباك والاضطراب المتواصل
وسط الأمواج المتلاطمة للأزمة الفلسطينية تتشكل أرضية مواتية لتدخل إسرائيلي خطير يلتقط سوء اللحظة السياسية، وتكالب الجميع على غزة الجريحة المنهكة بفعل الحصار، ليضرب ضربته الوحشية التي يستجمع فيها أهدافا متعددة
المخطئ الأكبر الذي لم يتعلم من دروس التجربة الفلسطينية الحافلة هو عباس وحركة فتح، فقد أعمتهم أحقادهم الشخصية والفئوية عن رؤية المصالح الوطنية، وحالت بينهم وبين فقه عبر الماضي القريب التي أثبتت بما لا يدع مجالا للشك استحالة إنهاء حماس أو تفكيك سلطتها بوسائل القهر العسكرية والسياسية المجردة، وانعدام القدرة على تغيير حقائق نفوذها وسيطرتها دون انتهاج آليات ديمقراطية سليمة ومبادئ وطنية أصيلة.
من المحال أن تسير الأمور فلسطينيا على النسق الفتحاوي الراهن، فقد اكتوى الفلسطينيون بنار الفساد السياسي والإداري والمالي والأخلاقي الذي رعته فتح –العمود الفقري والراعي الرسمي للسلطة- ردحا من الزمن، ولم يعد هناك متسع لتجربة إضافية تراكم مزيدا من الأزمات التي تختنق بها الساحة الفلسطينية، وترشحها لملامسة واقع أكثر مرارة وشقاء من ذي قبل"

Assad: Syria has no preconditions for peace talks with Israel

اسمع كلامك يعجبني أشوف فصولك استعجب
(I hear you speak and I like it , I see your actions and I wonder ?) Egyptian proverb that best summarizes Assad.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday that he would not set any preconditions for peace negotiations with Israel.

"Resistance is the essence of our policy in the past and in future. We have no conditions to achieve peace but rather rights and we will not abandon them," he said.

In a speech opening the 5th Conference of the Arab Parties titled "The Independent Arab Decision", Assad stressed that Arab solidarity is a necessity for the independence of the Arab decision.

The Syrian president added that his country must remain strong in all aspects, in order to attain a favorable peace agreement.

"The new Middle East we've started building is a Middle East whose essence is resistance," said Assad.
[Comment: Syria has a special way of "resistance" and it has been contemplating the time and place of the battle for over 35 years...]

The Syrian leader said that rather than discussing a settlement freeze in the West Bank, he wanted to see a complete demolition of Israeli infrastructure there.

"What about dismantling settlements instead of stopping them and more importantly, what about ending the occupation?" he said.

Al-Jazeera Video: Uproar over rabbi book - 11 Nov 09

"Arab members of Israel's parliament have called for the banning of a controversial book written by a Jewish rabbi in which he appears to authorise the killing of non-Jews, including children, who pose a threat to Israel.

While many rabbis dismiss Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira's book, some prominent rabbis have recommended it to their students and followers.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Jerusalem."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Controversial book - 11 November 09

"We discuss the controversial book that was written by a Jewish settlement rabbi. The book gives Jewish people permission to murder non-Jews who may pose a threat. The book is banned in Israel we discuss the implications it may have in the Israeli society."

Al-Jazeera Video: Civilian fears on Gaza's Israeli border

"Almost a year after Israel launched its war on Gaza, Palestinians who live there are still trying to rebuild their lives from the devastation. For those living near the border, that task has become all the more difficult and dangerous.

Not only are these people living too far from population centres to receive aid, they also live in constant fear of being shot or coming under attack. Al Jazeera correspondent Zeina Awad reports on their plight in northern Gaza. "

Why Can’t Muslim Societies Be More Like a Globalised West?

Commentary by Alastair Crooke

New Global Studies Vol. 3 : Issue 2, Article 4.

Published by The Berkeley Electronic Press

"BEIRUT – Many commentators on Islam make the same mistake: They instinctively assume that Muslim resistance to western globalisation reflects the inability of Muslims to accept the social and structural change that ‘modernity’ requires. Muslims, in this view, fail to rise above the ‘closed’ world of cultural traditions, and to embrace change. They shy away from, or react against the ‘choice’ offered by modernity.

The Philosopher, Henri Bergson, writing in 1932, suggested that one reason that some intellectual societies – for which he coined the term ‘closed’ societies – were unable to evolve into ‘open’ societies was that religion arises as a kind of mental habit that binds human intelligence to the instinctive drive for solidarity and continuity. Some societies were simply incapable of lifting themselves above these ‘cultural constraints’ to embrace dynamic society. Karl Popper in his ‘The Open Society and its Enemies’ further refined Bergson to imply that ‘closed’ societies were profoundly inimical to the idea of human freedom......

Perversely, for the past fifty years, it is to the literalists, often called ‘Salafi’ that the West has looked to circumscribe perceived ‘threats to its interests’ arising from the upsurge of revolutionary spirit among Islamists - in a mirroring of Cold War containment thinking.

America and Europe turned to a more docile and apolitical variant of political Islam, which they believed would be more compliant. But in so using the literalist ‘puritan’ orientation, the West has misunderstood the mechanism by which some Salafist movements have migrated through schism and dissidence to become the dogmatic, hate-filled and often violent movements that really do threaten westerners, as well as their fellow Muslims too.

The Western backing of narrow literalism and dogma in an effort to contain the intellectual revolution within Islam, paradoxically has left the Middle East a less stable, more dangerous and violent place. Western policy has empowered a current of literal thinking in Islam that is indeed narrow, intolerant and anti-heterodoxical. These are the movements that are narrowly opposed to all western intrusions into their society.

But possibly of far greater significance than the inflation of the current ‘bubble’ of literalism to the global future, is the recovery within that other ‘grand narrative’, Islam, of an alternative consciousness – another process of thinking that carries the intimation of a possible escape from Cartesian hegemony. In the long run – as the prevalent western paradigm erodes in the wider world - this may assume huge importance."

A Morally Bankrupt Military: When Soldiers and Their Families Become Expendable

by Dahr Jamail
Global Research, November 12, 2009

"The military operates through indoctrination. Soldiers are programmed to develop a mindset that resists any acknowledgment of injury and sickness, be it physical or psychological. As a consequence, tens of thousands of soldiers continue to serve, even being deployed to combat zones like Iraq and/or Afghanistan, despite persistent injuries. According to military records, over 43,000 troops classified as "nondeployable for medical reasons" have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan nevertheless.

The recent atrocity at Fort Hood is an example of this. Maj. Nidal Hasan had worked as a counselor at Walter Reed, hearing countless stories of bloodshed, horror and death from dismembered veterans from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. While he had not yet served in Iraq or Afghanistan, the major was overloaded with secondary trauma, coupled with ongoing harassment about his being a Muslim. This, along with other factors, contributed towards Hasan falling into a desperation so deep he was willing to slaughter fellow soldiers, and is indicative of fissures running deep into the crumbling edifice upon which the US military stands......"

Cartoon by Peter Schrank

America, Israel’s Lackey

by Paul Craig Roberts, November 12, 2009

(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

"It did not take the Israel Lobby long to make mincemeat out of the Obama administration’s "no new settlements" position. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is bragging about Israel’s latest victory over the US government as Israel continues to build illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.....

Allegedly, the US is a superpower and Israel is a client state whose very existence depends entirely on US military and economic aid and diplomatic protection. Yet, in the real world it works the other way. Israel is the superpower and the US is its client state....."

Same Song, Different Verse

by Philip Giraldi, November 12, 2009

"The American people, barely coping with nearly 20% in actual as opposed to statistical unemployment, a broken health care system, a skyrocketing federal deficit, and a collapse in home values really don’t need another war, but another war is what they are going to get. Blame the usual players in Congress and the mainstream media for a lot of it, but the case being made that Iran is a threat to the remainder of the world is largely being cranked up by Israel and its yapping poodles loosely described as the Israel lobby. That Iran spends only 1% as much on its military as does the United States appears to be irrelevant to the argument because everyone who reads the Washington Post and New York Times knows that those wily mullahs have nukes hidden up the sleeves of those loose gowns that they wear, secret warhead programs, and ballistic missiles that will be able to strike Europe someday for reasons that continue to be somewhat elusive......

And so the propaganda campaign, referred to during the cold war as agitprop, continues with Iran in the crosshairs. There are reports that Israel has funded a group of young bloggers who have good English to go onto websites to disseminate the party line, particularly regarding Iran, so it is safe to assume that an Orwellian conflict that has no rhyme or reason will be promoted all over the internet. There will be no rest in Congress, within the media, and in the corridors of power in Israel until Iran is defanged. And if it will take the deaths of a few thousand more young Americans and the total destruction of the US economy to accomplish that objective, so be it. Congress and the White House have not been answerable to the American people for quite some time so why should another war change anything? "

U.S. is doing no good in Afghanistan

By Malalai Joya
Special to the Mercury News

"As an Afghan woman who was elected to Parliament, I am in the United States to ask President Barack Obama to immediately end the occupation of my country.

Eight years ago, women's rights were used as one of the excuses to start this war. But today, Afghanistan is still facing a women's rights catastrophe. Life for most Afghan women resembles a type of hell that is never reflected in the Western mainstream media.....

Now President Obama is considering increasing troops to Afghanistan and simply extending former President Bush's wrong policies. In fact, the worst massacres since 9/11 were during Obama's tenure. My native province of Farah was bombed by the U.S. this past May. A hundred and fifty people were killed, most of them women and children. On Sept. 9, the U.S. bombed Kunduz Province, killing 200 civilians.

My people are fed up. That is why we want an immediate end to the U.S. occupation."

The Blackwater plot deepens

For all the scandal, the mercenary firm has escaped any severe legal sanction. That could now change

Jeremy Scahill, Wednesday 11 November 2009

"The mercenary firm Blackwater has become a symbol of the utter lawlessness and criminality that permeates the privatised wing of the US war machine. The company's operatives have shot dead scores of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, while former employees allege in sworn statements that Blackwater's owner Erik Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe", and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life". Five Blackwater employees will stand trial in federal court in the US on charges that they slaughtered 14 innocent Iraqis, while a sixth Blackwater operative has already pleaded guilty. The company faces allegations of illicit weapons-smuggling and tax evasion, and is being sued for war crimes. The private army is under fire. And yet, despite all the action, none of the legal bullets has – to date – landed a serious blow.

An explosive report in the New York Times today could change that. The paper alleges that in the aftermath of the infamous 2007 Nisour Square massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians, top Blackwater officials "authorised secret payments" of about $1m into Iraq intending to bribe officials to allow Blackwater to remain in Iraq despite Baghdad's position that the company would be banned and the killers prosecuted......."

The real lesson of 1989 is that nothing is ever settled

The fall of the wall brought freedoms, but also war and crisis. Now that is creating the basis for a new alternative

Seumas Milne, Wednesday 11 November 2009

"......It's often said that the collapse of European communism and the Soviet Union has destroyed the only systemic alternative to capitalism. But the pressure for a social alternative has always come from capitalism itself and its failures, which are once again obvious to people throughout the world. Only 11% of those questioned in a BBC poll across 27 countries this week said they think free-market capitalism is working well, nearly a quarter believe it is fatally flawed and most want more public ownership and intervention in the economy.

The system that collapsed two decades ago, with all its lessons for the future, both negative and positive, is history. But that new movements and models will emerge to challenge a global order beset by ecological and economic crisis seems certain. As communists learned in 1989, and capitalism's champions are discovering now, nothing is ever settled."

Reporting from Iraq: Freedom at risk

The Guardian, Thursday 12 November 2009

"We take our freedom for granted. But imagine not to be able to speak or discuss or debate or even question the society you live in," Tony Blair told the House of Commons in March 2003, urging MPs to support the invasion of Iraq. They were fine words. But they ring hollow more than six years after a war held in the name of democracy led to elections and a new constitution, which promised to guarantee "freedom of expression using all means".

This week a Iraqi court ordered the Guardian to pay 100m dinar (£52,000) for supposedly defaming the country's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. The ruling should outrage anyone who cares about free speech and fair reporting. Journalists in Iraq find their task difficult and dangerous enough without the government adding its own challenge by suing reporters through the country's court system. The article that caused offence would not have raised an eyebrow in an established democracy. But either Mr al-Maliki himself, or someone who believed he was acting in his interest, took exception to a piece of reporting by the Guardian's correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, which described fears inside Iraq that the prime minister was ruling in an increasingly autocratic manner....."

Fragmenting Palestinian land

A young student deported from the West Bank to Gaza is just the latest victim of Israeli efforts to sever ties between the territories

Ben White, Thursday 12 November 2009

"Twenty-one-year-old Palestinian student Berlanty Azzam was seized by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the West Bank last month. Bound and blindfolded, she was forcibly deported to the Gaza Strip. Berlanty was in her final semester at Bethlehem University in the West Bank, and was returning from a job interview in Ramallah.

The problem was that she had an ID card registered in Gaza, and the Israeli occupation, in the words of the human rights organisation, B'tselem, "almost completely forbids the movement of Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip"........

Israel's efforts to sever links between Gaza and the West Bank are also being replicated in the West Bank itself, with the fragmenting of Palestinian territory there. Restrictions on access based on residency location have been used, for example, in the Jordan Valley.......

There is, therefore, a strategic continuity between Sharon's aim with the disengagement to "kill the possibility of a negotiated peace" in exchange for imposing an "emasculated and semi-autonomous Palestinian homeland" on Israel's terms, and the Binyamin Netanyahu/Lieberman vision of an "economic peace".

Severing ties between Gaza and the West Bank is part of a deliberate fragmentation policy that not only defies international law and human rights, but is also designed to render genuine Palestinian independence and self-determination impossible."

"يديعوت أحرونوت": حزب الله يعرف عن الجيش الإسرائيلي كل شيء


"ذكرت صحيفة "يديعوت أحرونوت" الإسرائيلية أنها حصلت على نشرة داخلية سرية لحزب الله تصف بشكل مفصل نشاطات الجيش الإسرائيليوقيادة منطقة الشمال ولواء 91 في المنطقة الحدودية.

وتقول الصحيفة في عددها الصادر صباح اليوم، الخميس، إن «النشرة تُظهر إلى أي مدى نجحت استخبارات حزب الله في التغلغل داخل الجيش الإسرائيلي، وتثبت أن حزب الله لديه مصادر معلومات لا بأس بها».

وحسب الصحيفة فإن النشرة مكونة من 150 صفحة، وتصف بشكل مفصل انتشار قوات الجيش الإسرائيلي، ونشاطاته البرية والبحرية والجوية.

وتنقل الصحيفة عن ضابط شغل في السابق منصبا رفيعا في قيادة المنطقة الشمالية قوله: " حينما قرءت المادة التي جاءت في النشرة صعقت". ويضيف أن درجة تفصيل حزب الله في وصف منظومة الرصد والإنذار للجيش الإسرائيلي أذهلته: مناظير الرصد، أجهزة التصوير للمراقبة، أجهزة الإنذار الجوي، أجهزة الإنذار الأرضية، ومادة وافرة حول الطائرات بدون طيار. تلك الطائرات التي اعتقدنا أنها تعمل بسرية تامة.

وتقول الصحيفة إن في النشرة ترد صور كثيرة، معظمها صورت في الجانب الإسرائيلي للحدود، تصف، من بين عدة أمور، نقاط الرصد للجيش الإسرائيلي؛ حماية ومرافقة الأعمال الهندسية وأعمال صيانة الجدار الحدودي على الطريق الحدودي؛ مرافقة وحماية المواكب، تبادل الورديات، القوات التي تتقاطع على حدود القطاعات التابعة للواء.. وأمور أخرى.

وتضيف الصحيفة أن النشرة تكرس فصولا كاملة للسياج الحدودي والتغيرات التي طرأت عليه مع مرور الوقت، والتكنولوجيا المستخدمة فيه، وتكتيكات الجيش في المطاردة، ونظام حماية المستوطنات الشمالية. ذلك إلى جانب تفاصيل مثيرة حول الكمائن التي يقوم بها الجيش مرفقة برسومات توضيحية.
وتشير إلى أن النشرة تخصص فصلا كاملا لوحدات قصاصي الأثر، تأهيلهم، قدراتهم، وطرق تمويههم. كما تخصص عشر صفحات لوحدة "عوكتس" التي تستخدم الكلاب في قص الأثر، وتورد سبل مواجهتها.

وتضيف الصحيفة أن المواد التي جاءت في النشرة تعتمد على مصادر بشرية – جواسيس يشغلهم حزب الله داخل الجيش وفي إسرائيل، إلى جانب ما لا نهاية من المصادر المعروفة كالتنصت على شبكات اتصال الجيش، وربما المشفرة منها. وتنهي الصحيفة تقريرها بالقول: " من الصعب أن لا نصدق أن رجال الاستخبارات التابعين لحزب الله ام يقوموا كما يبدو بنسخ وثائق إسرائيلية سرية تابعة لقيادة المنطقة الشمالية".

Nasrallah slams Obama Israel 'bias'


"The leader of the Lebanese group Hezbollah has accused Barack Obama, the US president, of "absolute bias" in favour of Israel and of disregard for the dignity of Arabs and Muslims.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Obama has gone further than his predecessor, George Bush, in supporting the Jewish state adding that the high expectations that followed Obama's election had been "shattered".

He said Obama's initial statements calling on Israel to freeze settlement building and then backtracking was a "tactic" agreed on by both Israel and the US, and that the initial settlement demand had been exposed as "an American ploy to pass the time and gain Arab sympathy".

Wednesday's remarks are the Hezbollah leader's strongest criticism yet of Obama since he took office almost a year ago....."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sayyed Nasrallah to Israelis: Send Your Whole Army, We'll Destroy Them!


"Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah declared on Wednesday that the battle with Israel next time would start from "beyond and beyong Haifa" instead of "Haifa and beyond Haifa," emphasizing that the Resistance doesn't seek war but is ready for any form of confrontation with the enemy. Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking through a large TV screen commemorating the annual Martyr's Day in the framework of a ceremony held by Hezbollah.....

Following this introduction, Sayyed Nasrallah started his political speech by focusing on the US administration's continuous and flagrant support for the Israeli enemy. "A few months ago, when Barack Obama was elected as US President and a new American administration saw light, many had high hopes and believed that major changes will happen in favor of the Arab and Islamic world and that there would be a reform policy and more human approach than that of former US President George W. Bush. However, the truth was quickly revealed and all these illusions quickly failed, especially during the few last weeks. The result was obviously a full US commitment to Israel's interest and security, disregarding the dignity and feelings of the Arab and Muslim people and governments."....

Sayyed Nasrallah then pointed to the "double standards" of the international community. "The US, which is supplying Israel with technology and weapons, is requesting the full implementation of UN Security Resolutions. The US, which defends and protects Israel as it violates the resolutions, is urging Lebanon to fully implement the international resolutions. It's the US that's also working to prevent voting on the Goldstone report within the Security Council, a report that unfortunately equalizes the victim and the hangman. But, unfortunately, we have reached a stage where we accept that the violator and the violated are treated equivalently."......

Hezbollah Secretary General stressed that Lebanese are able of turning any threat into an opportunity. "The Israelis are saying that their air force cannot win such a war. They only have the option of an extended land operation. We will turn this threat into an opportunity."

"Next time the battle will start from beyond and beyond Haifa instead of Haifa and beyond Haifa," the Resistance's leader pledged, adding that "the geographical nature of the south, and Lebanon in general, was created by God to humiliate and destroy the occupiers."

"We are more trained and prepared. We evaluated the war as well and addressed our weak points," his eminence said, before addressing Israelis: "Send as many (Israeli) brigades as you want, send even your whole army, we will destroy them in our valleys and mountains."......"

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah's Speech on 11-11-09

Listen Up Everyone: Habila is Talking Strategy!

Haneyya calls for devising Arab strategy to restore Palestinian rights

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Ismail Haneyya, the PA premier in Gaza Strip, has called for the formulation of a pan-Arab strategy that would restore Arab rights in general and Palestinian rights in particular. [COMMENT: Is this man for real? He sounds like a voice from 1909, not 2009.]

He said during a meeting with a Jordanian medical delegation on Wednesday that such a strategy should be adopted to confront the Israeli occupation's schemes and its procrastination and the American administration's bias in favor of occupation.

Haneyya said that his government and his Hamas Movement rejects the notion of the alternative homeland, stressing the importance of security and stability in all Arab countries especially Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen in view of its positive reflection on the Palestine cause.

The premier hailed the Jordanian role in serving the Aqsa Mosque and asked for more efforts to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and reconstructing the devastated buildings.

He underlined that national reconciliation was the best means of retaliating to the Israeli obstinacy."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Does Iran have the right to ask countries bordering Yemen not to interfere in the internal strife with Houthis?

With over 2,300 responding so far, 70% said no.

Can Talks with Iran Lead to Obama's 'World without Nuclear Weapons'?

by Phyllis Bennis

(Cartoon by Khalil Bendib)

"......But there's already a powerful nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, whose very existence is instigating a regional nuclear arms race, and undermining non-proliferation efforts. That arsenal belongs to one of the small group of outlaw countries that have refused even to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its arsenal is widely known, but not officially acknowledged, and the UN's nuclear watchdog agency has never been allowed to inspect the hundreds of high-density nuclear bombs.

That country is Israel. And Obama, so far, has accepted Israel's policy of "strategic ambiguity," in which Tel Aviv refuses to acknowledge its nuclear arsenal. Israel rejects a nuclear weapons-free zone, because it would mean having to open its nukes to immediate international inspection and then quickly getting rid of them. Other countries that built and tested nuclear weapons, such as India and Pakistan in 1998, faced serious U.S. sanctions. But the U.S. refuses to hold Israel accountable for its dangerous nuclear weapons......"

Does Obama Have a Mideast Plan B?

By Tony Karon

(Cartoon by Steve Bell)

"It’s hardly surprising that President Barack Obama chose to schedule a White House visit by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the dead of night on Monday, because right now Obama has little to show for his 10-month effort to revive a Middle East peace process. The Israeli leader’s refusal to abide by Washington’s demand for a complete freeze of settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — and the Palestinians’ refusal to enter talks without one — has left the Obama Administration’s plans in tatters, with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas threatening to resign and pull the plug on the PA and the peace process of which it forms a part......"

Drones: A slam-dunk weapons system

By Tom Engelhardt
Asia Times

"In Afghanistan and Pakistan, drones seem to be the only things that "work". They are not, however, the first wonder weapons so hailed. The atomic bomb, Vietnam's electronic battlefield, Star Wars, "smart bombs" and "netcentric warfare". All failed, just as drones will. But it made no difference, all "succeeded" at home; yet another mini-sector of the military-industrial complex was born......"

In Honor of Veterans Day

Kill Enemy Children: Jewish Edict

Hundreds of children were killed in Israel's war on Gaza earlier this year.

By Khalid Amayreh

"OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – A Jewish rabbi has issued a book giving Jews permission to murder non-Jews, including babies and children, who may pose an actual or potential threat to Jews or Israel. "It is permissible to kill the Righteous among non-Jews even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation," Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiro, who heads the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the Yitzhar settlement in the occupied West Bank, wrote in his book "The King's Torah."

He argues that goyem (a derogatory epithet for non-Jews) may be killed if they threaten Israel.

"If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments - because we care about the commandments - there is nothing wrong with the murder."

Shapiro, who heads a small Talmudic school at the settlement of Yitzhar near Nablus, claims his edict "is fully justified by the Torah and the Talmud."....."

Department of meaningless gestures

By Stephen M. Walt
Foreign Policy

"....Remember: we are dealing with a Congress that just voted to condemn the Goldstone Report by a vote of 344-24. The aid package may be indirectly subsidizing the settlements and threatening Israel’s future as a Jewish majority state, but a supine House and Senate will still sign the annual check.

The second problem, I fear, is that it is too little, too late. Having dithered, delayed and dissembled ever since the Oslo Accords -- while the number of settlers more than doubled -- we are about to face an entirely different problem. The sun is now setting on the "two-state solution" -- if it is not already well below the horizon -- and pretty soon everyone will have to admit that they are sitting around in the dark and pretending they see daylight.

Be careful what you wish for. Israel is going to get what it has long sought: permanent control of the West Bank (along with de facto control over Gaza). The Palestinian Authority is increasingly irrelevant and may soon collapse, General Keith Dayton's mission to train reliable and professional Palestinian security forces will end, and Israel will once again have full responsibility for some 5.2 million Palestinian Arabs under its control. And the issue will gradually shift from the creation of a viable Palestinian state -- which was the central idea behind the Oslo process and the subsequent "Road Map" -- to a struggle for civil and political rights within an Israel that controls all of mandate Palestine. And on what basis could the United States oppose such a campaign, without explicitly betraying its own core values?

In this regard, it was telling that Martin Indyk -- a key figure in the lobby and far from a harsh critic of Israeli policy -- is quoted in the Times saying "more than likely, we are entering a new era." I think he's right, and he sounds worried. He should be, because the Obama administration isn't remotely ready for it. "

Stop, Look, Listen

Before we jump into the abyss

by Justin Raimondo, November 11, 2009

We hear daily reports that President Obama has made this or that decision about how many more troops to send to the Afghan front; the numbers vary. This Reuters report headlines "four options" the president is considering, but then names only three: sending 15,000, 30,000, or 40,000. Is the fourth option getting the heck out of that hellhole, before we destabilize the entire region?

No way, no how. The numbers may change, but what doesn’t vary is the fact that this is quite obviously a political and not a military decision: it’s all about what’s happening in Washington, and not about what’s occurring on the ground in Afghanistan and environs. And the Washington political culture, which sees government action as the cure-all for society’s ills, is not about to take inaction as the cure for anything. We must "do something" – even if it means playing right into al-Qaeda’s hands."........."

Women worked to death in Lebanon

Four Ethiopian domestic workers are thought to have killed themselves in three weeks. Lebanon must protect these women

Dalila Mahdawi, Tuesday 10 November 2009

"....There are thought to be about 200,000 women, mostly from the Philippines, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, in Lebanon alone. But although they are becoming an intrinsic part of the country's social fabric, their contribution is often overlooked. While many Lebanese people are careful to ensure their housekeepers are well treated, a significant number abuse them. In extreme cases, migrant domestic workers are killed or kill themselves.

The spate of suicides has become so bad in recent weeks it prompted Lebanese blogger Wissam to launch the grimly named Ethiopian Suicides blog. The website is dedicated to monitoring media reports on the deaths of foreign migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. "I have a dream," Wissam says. "That migrant domestic workers will be treated humanely in Lebanon and will stop trying to commit or commit[ting] suicide."......

Many migrant workers come to the Middle East seeking a better life for the families they left behind. The Lebanese themselves have a long history of migration and hardship, and should know first-hand the difficulties of living and working in a foreign country. Just as many Lebanese abroad work hard with the hopes of eventually returning home, and the Lebanese should ensure that these women get to go back to their countries – alive and well, not in body bags."

Twnty Years' Progress, by Steve Bell

Al-Jazeera Video: Hersh on US team to secure Pakistan nuclear arms

"Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says the US has a rapid response unit ready to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event of a mutiny or "any nuclear incident", a claim the US and Pakistani governments have denied.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Hersh discussed his report [Posted Here.] which appeared in The New Yorker magazine and said a team was scrambled recently to respond to what was thought to be a nuclear emergency in Pakistan, which turned out to be a false alarm. "

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

الدويك: حماس ستوقع ورقة المصالحة المصرية كما هي بنهاية نوفمبر وساتولى السلطة اذا استقال عباس وسالتزم بالانتخابات خلال 60 يوما


This is an important story; and here is a summary.

Basically this confirms the suspicion that Hamas is waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces if and when Abbas quits. It is deja vu all over again and Hamas wants to present itself as the real alternative.

In an interview with Al-Quds Al-'Arabi, Aziz Dwaik (president of the Legislative Council who was released recently from an Israeli prison) said that Hamas intends to sign the Egyptian "reconciliation" agreement, as is, at the end of this month. He said that Hamas has some reservations, but it will accept Egyptian assurances that those reservations will be taken into account, and sign anyway!

According to him outside pressures, notably from Syria and Turkey, have pushed in this direction and the recent trip to Tehran by the Turkish PM was to get Iran's support for the reconciliation.

He stated that if Abbas resigns, then he (Dwaik) will become interim president and will call for new elections within 60 days.

Bottom line: Instead of dissolving the PA, Hamas wants to preserve it and to present itself as the alternative to Abbas in the "peace process." Nothing learned after 15 years of chasing mirage in the Oslo wilderness; Hamas thinks that it can do it better.

Perhaps that is why Dwaik and several other Hamas MPs were released by Israel recently. When one horse is down, USrael will use the other.

الدويك: حماس ستوقع ورقة المصالحة المصرية كما هي بنهاية نوفمبر وساتولى السلطة اذا استقال عباس وسالتزم بالانتخابات خلال 60 يوما

"كشف الدكتور عزيز الدويك رئيس المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني، احد قادة حماس البارزين، لـ'القدس العربي' الثلاثاء بأن حركة حماس ستوقع على ورقة المصالحة المصرية كما هي بعد حصول الحركة على ضمانات مصرية بأخذ تحفظات الحركة بعين الاعتبار وادراجها على هامش ورقة المصالحة والاتفاق عليها بين جميع الاطراف الفلسطينية.
واوضح الدويك لـ'القدس العربي' بأن هناك تدخلا من اطراف عديدة داخلية وخارجية على خط المصالحة الفلسطينية، مشيرا الى ان حماس ستوقع على ورقة المصالحة المصرية بنهاية الشهر الجاري. واضاف قائلا 'مع نهاية الشهر ستسمعون ما يثلج صدوركم'.
ورجحت مصادر فلسطينية رفيعة المستوى لـ'القدس العربي' الثلاثاء بأن التدخل الخارجي هو تدخل سوري تركي على خط المصالحة، وبأن زيارة رئيس الوزراء التركي قبل ايام لطهران بحثت ملف المصالحة الفلسطينية وضرورة الدفع من جميع الاطراف نحو تحقيقها.
واشار الدويك في حديثه مع 'القدس العربي' الثلاثاء الى ان حماس ستوقع على ورقة المصالحة المصرية كما هي في حين تعطيها القاهرة 'ضمانات وتطمينات بإلحاق تحفظاتها على هامش الورقة والعمل على الاتفاق حولها' مع جميع الاطراف الفلسطينية. وحول تلك التحفظات قال الدويك 'هناك تحفظات عديدة لها علاقة بالوضع الميداني مثل قيام السلطة بفصل العديد من الموظفين المحسوبين على حركة حماس، اضافة لمواصلتها اعتقال العديد من ابناء الحركة'. وتابع قائلا 'لا بد من وجود ضمانات لإنهاء تلك الملفات'.
واشار الدويك الى ان تحفظات حماس على الورقة المصرية تشمل بعض التعريفات 'غير الدستورية' التي وردت بها والتي تتعلق ببعض المهام الامنية وغيرها، على حد قوله، رافضا الخوض في تفاصيل تلك التحفظات.
وتابع قائلا 'لا بد ان يتوافق عليها ـ التحفظات - الفلسطينيون وستكون ملحقة بالورقة المصرية'، معربا عن اعتقاده بضرورة توقيع حركة حماس التي ينتمي اليها على الورقة المصرية كما جاءت، مناشدا مصر ان تكمل 'الامتار القليلة الباقية' للوصول للمصالحة الفلسطينية التي باتت ملحة بعد تبخر الوعود الامريكية للرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس.
واضاف الدويك 'هناك حراك باتجاه المصالحة من اطراف كثيرة والعمل يجري ليل نهار للوصول للمصالحة، وهذا سيكون قبل نهاية الشهر ان شاء الله'.
وبشأن امكانية ان يتولى الدويك كرئيس للمجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني رئاسة السلطة في حال اقدم عباس على الاستقالة من منصبه وفق ما رشح عن المقربين منه، قال الدويك 'ارجو ان يتركز اهتمام ابو مازن وكافة ابناء الشعب الفلسطيني حول موضوع المصالحة'، مضيفا 'الحديث عن الانتخابات وغيرها كلها للأسف قضايا غير دستورية'.
وبشأن اعلان عباس عدم الترشح لرئاسة السلطة قال الدويك 'انا احس بان الامريكيين يريدون التخلص من ابو مازن فاستبقهم ابو مازن واعلن عدم ترشيح نفسه للانتخابات القادمة'، مشيرا الى صدور العديد من المؤشرات الامريكية التي اكدت لعباس بأن هناك قرارا بالتخلص منه مثل تصريح وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية هيلاري كلينتون بأنها ستتعامل معه بأي صفة يحملها.
وحول امكانية ان يتولى الدويك رئاسة السلطة في حال اقدم عباس على الاستقالة من منصبه سواء قبل موعد اجراء الانتخابات في 24 كانون الثاني (يناير) القادم او بعد ذلك التاريخ بسبب عدم اجراء تلك الانتخابات قال الدويك 'الحقيقة ان القانون الاساسي الفلسطيني -الدستور- واضح وان رئيس المجلس التشريعي سيقوم بمهام الرئيس اذا استقال لمدة 60 يوما تجري بعدها الانتخابات، وهذا نص الدستور، ولكنني اتمنى ان لا تتم تلك الخطوة'.
وعند سؤاله مرة اخرى لتوضيح موقفه اكثر بشأن امكانية ان يتولى منصب رئيس السلطة في حال استقال عباس، قال الدويك 'انا كنت دائما محترما للقانون الاساسي الفلسطيني ولا استطيع ان اخالف القانون وهناك نص بتولي رئيس المجلس التشريعي منصب الرئيس واجراء الانتخابات في غضون 60 يوما وانا لا استطيع ان اخالف القانون كما قلت لك'، مضيفا 'سألتزم بالقانون الذي ينص على اجراء الانتخابات في غضون 60 يوما اذا استقال الرئيس'.
وشدد الدويك على ان كل جهوده كرئيس للمجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني منصبة الآن مع اطراف داخلية وخارجية على تحقيق المصالحة الفلسطينية. وقال 'كل جهودي متركزة الان على المصالحة وقريبا ستسمع انت وجميع ابناء الشعب الفلسطيني ما يثلج صدوركم'.
وكان الدكتور صائب عريقات اعلن الثلاثاء بان الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس يمكن ان يستقيل اذا فشلت الجهود الامريكية لتحريك عملية السلام.
وقال عريقات في تصريح صحافي ان 'الرئيس لا يناور بل هو غير متمسك بمنصب الرئاسة (...) ولن يبقى رئيسا لمجرد ان يكون رئيسا'.
واضاف 'اذا اعتقدت اسرائيل انها ستدمر فكرة الدولة فهو - عباس- في غنى عن هذا المنصب. لكن ما اقوله هو رأيي الشخصي اذ ان عباس لم يبلغ حتى الآن اي مسؤول فلسطيني بالخطوات القادمة التي ينوي اتخاذها'.
واكد ان عباس 'لا يريد ان يبقى رئيسا لمجرد لقب رئيس' بل 'يريد ان يكون رئيسا لدولة فلسطين لان الشعب الفلسطيني انتخبه رئيسا لمشروع دولة فلسطينية وعاصمتها القدس الشرقية'، على حد تعبيره.
وبعد ان قال ان 'الرئيس يشعر ان مشروعه وفكرة الدولة في خطر'، اشار عريقات الى انه في حال استقال عباس 'لن تكون هناك مؤسسات للسلطة لا رئاسة ولا وزارة'.