Saturday, April 24, 2010

The “Radical” Muslim Group That Threatened South Park Creators Was Founded and Run by Joseph Cohen, a Radical West Bank settler

"South Park ran an unedited image of Muhammad in 2001 in an episode called “Super Best Friends“… and nothing happened.

In fact, the episode had been on the South Park website for viewing at any time for the past few years (they just removed it)… and nothing happened.

For 4 seasons they had that image in their opening segment for every single show… and nothing happened.

So for years on end no Muslim group, “radical” or otherwise, has threatened Matt and Trey or Comedy Central about the image of Muhammad that has been available for all to see every single day.

All of a sudden last week a group called “Revolution Muslim” threatened violence against Comedy Central if they aired an image of Muhammad which forced Comedy Central to censor the show and now you have even liberals talking about those “radical Muslims” and their threats of violence. Karl Rove couldn’t have done it any better.

Problem is, Revolution Muslim was started and run by a “converted” Israeli settler who studied at an orthodox rabbinical school in Israel before becoming a settler in the occupied territories."

First Palestinian Expelled under new Policy

Netanyahu Commits to Colonizing East Jerusalem; First Palestinian Expelled under new Policy
Juan Cole
The new Israeli policy of deporting Palestinians from the West Bank on arbitrary grounds has kicked in with Ahmad Sabah, who has just been deported to Gaza and separated from his family in the West Bank. The measure contravenes the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations, and it also goes contrary to the undertakings Israel made toward the Palestine Authority in the course of the Oslo peace negotiations.

The episode underlines the ways in which their forced statelessness leaves Palestinians (almost uniquely among major world nationalities) completely vulnerable to loss of the most basic human rights. That he was forcibly moved to Gaza by the Israelis suggests that many of those singled out for potential deportation from the West Bank may be moved to the small slum along the Mediterranean, which the Israelis have cut off from its traditional markets and which they keep under a blockade of the civilian population (a war crime). The Israeli establishment has decided not to try to colonize Gaza, and its isolation and hopelessness make it an attractive place for them to begin exiling West Bank residents, thus making more room for Israeli colonists.

US Nuclear Option on Iran Linked to Israeli Attack Threat

By Gareth Porter

"The Barack Obama administration’s declaration in its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it is reserving the right to use nuclear weapons against Iran represents a new element in a strategy of persuading Tehran that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites is a serious possibility if Iran does not bow to the demand that it cease uranium enrichment.

Although administration officials have carefully refrained from drawing any direct connection between the new nuclear option and the Israeli threat, the NPR broadens the range of contingencies in which nuclear weapons might play a role so as to include an Iranian military response to an Israeli attack.

A war involving Iran that begins with an Israeli attack is the only plausible scenario that would fit the category of contingencies in the document.

The NPR describes the role of U.S. nuclear weapons in those contingencies as a "deterrent." A strategy of exploiting the Israeli threat to attack Iran would seek to deter an Iranian response to such an attack and thus make it more plausible....

Both the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations had said the United States "reserves the right" to respond with nuclear weapons to the use of chemical and biological weapons in an attack on U.S. forces or its "friends" or "allies."....."

Allies to turn blind eye to corruption as Afghan exit strategy agreed

Troops will remain in place 'for decades' after handover to support local forces

By Kim Sengupta, in Tallinn
The Independent

"Nato has agreed on its long-awaited road map for the future of Afghanistan amid warnings that the process risks tolerating corruption and the power of the warlords for the sake of security....

The start of the handover will not, however, mean that troops can start to withdraw, Nato officials stressed. British troops in particular will have to wait before pulling out as the areas in the south where they are based – the main battleground with the Taliban --– will be among the last to be transferred to Afghan control. Gordon Brown had stated that the handover process will start this year, allowing UK forces to begin returning home.

The Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, warned: "The future of this mission is clear and visible: more Afghan capability and more Afghan leadership... But it will not be a pullout. It will not be a run for the exit... Our soldiers will move into a more supportive role. So it will be a gradual process. This is conditions-based and not calendar-driven.''.....

Syed Ali Laghmani, a political analyst based in Kabul, said: "There is a big danger that areas will be given over to strongmen because they can deliver security for the right side and keep out the Taliban. If the West does not make sure that people do not suffer from corruption in these districts then there will be a lot of trouble in the future.'' "

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sanctioning Iran Is an Act of War

by Rep. Ron Paul, April 23, 2010

".....This legislation, whether the House or Senate version, will lead us to war on Iran. The sanctions in this bill, and the blockade of Iran necessary to fully enforce them, are in themselves acts of war according to international law. A vote for sanctions on Iran is a vote for war against Iran. I urge my colleagues in the strongest terms to turn back from this unnecessary and counterproductive march to war."

The White House PR offensive on Israel


Since then, administration officials have mounted what amounts to a public relations blitz trying to rectify what they have come to believe is largely a perception problem that Obama is being unreasonably tough or even hostile to Israel — not a substantive disagreement over its Middle East policies.

There is some evidence the reassurances are working: AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, issued a statement Friday saying that the president and “top members of his administration and senior military leaders have highlighted the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and reaffirmed that a strong and secure Israel advances U.S. national security interests.”

But the dimensions of Obama’s public relations problems were made plain Thursday by the criticism New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the administration’s closest allies, leveled at the president. Obama’s tough tone on Israel is “counterproductive,” Schumer said. “This has to stop.”......."

رساله للرئيس شيمون بيريز فى عيد استقلال اسرائيل

This is incredible! A Coptic Egyptian group in the U.S. is congratulating Shimon Peres on Israel's "independence day!"

It gets much, much worse!

االجمعيه الوطنيه القبطيه الامريكيه

"April ,21, 2010
رساله للرئيس شيمون بيريز فى عيد استقلال اسرائيل
فى الذكرىالثانيه والستون لتحرير ارض الميعاد اسرائيل من ايد المسلمون احفاد الغزاه العرب الفلسطيتيين واقامة الدوله العبريه كأحدى دول الشرق الاوسط الناطقه بالعبريه يسعدنى ان اشارك شعب اسرائيل فرحته وانتصاره على الغزاه العرب اننا نتأمل كفاحكم المجيد لاقامة دولة اسرائيل والمحافظه على وجودها واستمرارها رغم مرور الاف السنوات على قهركم كيهود وابناء شعب الله المختار فأنتم المثل والقدوه التى يجب ان تحتذى بها الشعوب ونضالكم يجب ان يكون درسا للشعوب المقهوره والمحتله كالشعب المصرى لقد حاربكم نبى الاسلام محمد وذبح بيديه 800 ثمانمائة يهودى من يهود بنى قريضه وطردكم من شبه الجزيره العربيه وعاش اليهود فى دول الشرق الاوسط الناطقه بالعربيه بعد ان غزت العصابات البدويه الصحراويه القادمه من شبه الجزيره العربيه بلاد الشرق الاوسط وهدموا حضارتها وحرقوا مكتبة الاسكندريه وقتلوا الرجال واغتصبوا النساء وفتكوا بالاطفال وفرضوا الاسلام بحد السيف وقطعوا السنة الناس التى لاتتحدث باللغه العربيه لغة الغزاه العرب وضاعت ارض الميعاد بمافيها اورشليم المقدسه وبنوا المسجد الاقصى على انقاض هيكل سليمان وضاعت مصر والشام وحضارة بابل بالعراق وكان ذلك فى وقت انهيار الامبراطوريه الرومانيه واعتقد احفاد الغزاه العرب انهم بزواجهم من اربعة سيدات وزيادة النسل انهم بكثرتهم سيغيرون التركيب الديموغرافى للسكان الاصليين من اصحاب البلاد كاليهود فى ارض الميعاد اسرائيل والاقباط فى مصر واتحدت ارادة احفاد الغزاه العرب ضد اليهود والاقباط فحرض الارهابى امين الحسينى المستشار ادولف هتلر لحرق اليهود فى ابشع جريمه ارتكبها احفاد الغزاه العرب مع هتلر فى الحرب العالميه الثانيه
وعقب انتهاء الحرب العالميه الثانيه عاد احفاد الغزاه العرب الى الشرق الاوسط وهم مدربون على حمل السلاح ووضعوا خطط لطرد المسيحيين واليهود من دول الشرق الاوسط وكان اليهود قد قرروا مواجهة المسلمون احفاد الغزاه العرب وتحرير بلدهم ولكن مسيحو الشرق الاوسط كانوا خاضعين لحكومات ورثت الحكم عن الغزاه العرب فلم يضعوا الخطط لحماية بلادهم وتحت الارهاب الاسلامى الفلسطينى هرب مسيحيو ارض الميعاد الى اوربا وامريكا بعد ان رفضوا ان يستخدمهم احفاد الغزاه العرب لمحاربة اليهود ويبلغ عدد السكان المسيحيون اليوم فى اسرائيل المحرره وسكان غزه المحتله بالفلسطينيين الاسلاميين والضفه الغربيه المحتله ايضا باحفاد الغزاه العرب الاسلاميين واحد فى المائه فقد افرغ الاسلاميون العرب السكان المسيحيون فى ارض اسرائيل منهم خاصة بعد ان قام الاخوان المسلمون حماس بقتل المسيحيين فى غزه ويقول التاريخ ان مسيحيو اسرائيل هم من اصل يهودى امنوا بالسيد يسوع المسيح له المجد وبنفس المسافه افرغ احفاد الغزاه العرب فى مصر ارض الفراعنه من اليهود المصريون اصحاب البلد بعد ان قام الاخوان المسلمون فى مصر بمذبحة حارة اليهود وتدمير الوكاله اليهوديه سنة 1945 ثم حرقوا متاجر اليهود فى وسط القاهره سنة 1952 وبقيام الاخوان المسلمون بزعامة جمال عبدالناصر بالانقلاب العسكرى سنة 1952 وسلبه ثروات الاقباط واجبارهم على محاربة اليهود فى سنوات حروب 48 و56 و67 و73 وفيها فقد الاقباط الافا من شبابهم فى حروب اسلاميه فاشله لاناقة لهم فيها ولاجمل وانتهت كلها بهزيمةجمال عبدالناصر والقوميه العربيه على يد احفاد الغزاه العرب من الاخوان المسلمون وانتصار اسرائيل وعقب تحرير الفريق فؤاد غالى القبطى لارض سيناءفى حرب 1973 انقض احفاد الغزاه العرب والحكومه الاسلاميه المصريه التى ورثت الحكم عن الغزاه العرب على الاقباط والى ارتكاب المذابح ضد الاقباط فى مخطط يماثل مخطط اجبار اليهود المصريين على الهجره من مصر فاضطر 7 مليون قبطى للهجره وبقى 22 مليون فبطى وخمسه مليون متنصر مصرى تركوا الاسلام واعتنقوا المسيحيه داخل مصر يتعرضون يوميا للتهميش السياسى والاقتصادى والعنف والقتل والذبح وخطف بنات الاقباط واغتصابهن واحراق ممتلكاتهم وكنائسهم وقضاء وهابى فاسد لاعداله فيه للاقباط من احفاد الغزاه العرب المسلمون ويتطلع الاقباط لليوم الذى تتحرر فيه مصر من الاحتلال العربى كما تحررت اسرائيل من الاحتلال العربى .
ان الجمعيه الوطنيه القبطيه تهنئكم بعيد استقلال اسرائيل فى ذكراه الثانيه و الستون وتبتهل للرب ان يساعدكم فى تحرير اورشليم المقدسه ونعترف بها عاصمه موحده لدولة اسرائيل العبريه وندعوكم لاعادة بناء هيكل سليمان واعادة بيت لحم اليهوديه كما ذكرت فى الكتاب المقدس ومازلنا نرددها فى صلواتنا المقدسه الى حضن دولة اسرائيل ان اراضى يهودا والسامرا وقانا الجليل وقبر راحيل يجب ان تعود الى اسرائيل المقدسه ان العداله تقتضى المعامله بالمثل فكما ان الملك عبدالله ملك شبه الجزيره العربيه يعتبر انها ارض عربيه واسلاميه عليه ان يحتضن بها احفاد الغزاه العرب فى دول الشرق الاوسط الناطقه بالعربيه وبدلا من قيامه هو والاسلاميون فى باقى هذه الدول والاسلاميون الذين يعيشون فى اوربا وامريكا واستراليا وكندا ويرسلوا ملايين الدولارات لمحاربة اليهود والمسيحيين او النصارى كما يقولون ابناء الخنازير والقرده كما تدعى الايدلوجيه الاسلاميه عليهم ان يدفعوا هذه الاموال لبناء مدن بصحراء شبه الجزيره العربيه والمسماه السعوديه يعيشون فيها كما عاش اجدادهم ويرحلوا عن غزه والضفه ومصر ولتعيش الدوله العبريه اسرائيل ولتعيش مصر الفرعونيه كاحدى دول الشرق الاوسط المحبه للسلام والحريه والديمقراطيه وليحل السلام امين .
موريس صادق المحامى لدى محكمة النقض المصريه
عضونقابة المحامون المصريه
المستشار القانونى بالولايات المتحده الامريكيه
عضو نقابة المحامون الامريكيه
رئيس الجمعيه الوطنيه القبطيه بالولايات المتحده
Morris Sadek, Esq
Egyptian Attorney.
Special Legal Consltant, D.C. Bar
National American Coptic Assembly - president

A brief note on Jerusalem

Palestinian and Arab religious, national and resistance discourse should not narrowly focus on Jerusalem but rather see through Jerusalem the problem of the whole of Palestine

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"....The decision to build the 88 kilometre-long annexation barrier was taken by the Ministerial Committee for Jerusalem Affairs on 11 May 2002. In addition to cutting between houses of the same village, literally separating one side of the street from the other, abolishing ancient roads such as the Jerusalem-Ramallah road, and turning entire neighbourhoods and villages into islands, the wall cast out of Jerusalem between 80,000-90,000 Arabs who held Jerusalem or Israeli identity cards. More recently, on 11 May 2008, the Israeli government moved to register Palestinian properties in the tabu (land registration office) in the name of Jews who took over these properties in the area of Harat Al-Sharaf. The area is adjacent to the Wailing Wall and Haram Al-Sharif. The original inhabitants were expelled from the area in order to make place for a square for prayer in front of the Wailing Wall and to revive the "Jewish Quarter" as this part of the Old City within the walls has come to be named. The area itself has been doubled and tripled several times. However, the registration of expropriated properties in the name of private Jewish individuals marked a precedent that is now being repeated routinely. The Absentees' Property Law and Land Acquisition Law have been privatised in the areas occupied in 1948. Israel is even eliminating the questions of the refugees and Jerusalem from a formalistic standpoint, by dispersing them into thousands of private ownership cases, whereas previously these lands were regarded as public property and let out to Jewish citizens, even if with 49 or 99 year leases. This privatisation, naturally, is sponsored, planned and protected by the state. It is part of the greater project to eliminate pending final status issues concerning the Palestinians and Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Arab regimes are engaged in a different kind of privatisation process as far as all this is concerned. That process goes by the name, "leave the Palestinian question to the Palestinians." For the Palestinian Authority, it is leave Jerusalem to the Jerusalemites. In practical terms, this form of privatisation means leaving the Palestinians/Jerusalemites stranded. Which is why, again, I urge the adoption of the formula: the whole of Jerusalem equals Haram Al-Sharif and the whole of Palestine equals Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem and Palestine will be reinstated as core concerns of the entire Arab nation and not just the Palestinians alone. Only then will the impending demolition of a Palestinian home in Jerusalem be taken up as a cause of all Jerusalemites, Palestinians and Arabs. We do not leave poverty to the poor, illness to the ill or education to the uneducated. Society assumes such burdens and this is how societies develop and nations are built. The reverse approach -- allowing the Palestinians and Jerusalemites to fend for themselves, which is equivalent to the logic of letting the poor, ill and uneducated fend for themselves -- opens the question of Jerusalem to a completely different type of symbolism."

تونس ترسل أشجار زيتون للفلسطينيين لدعم تمسكهم بأرضهم

The Pathetic Arab Eunuchs Coming to the Aid of the Palestinians.....
With Olive Tree Saplings From Tunisia!
Netanyahu Must be Trembling with Fear!

تونس ترسل أشجار زيتون للفلسطينيين لدعم تمسكهم بأرضهم

"تونس- قال سفير فلسطين لدى تونس سلمان الهرفي الجمعة إن الرئيس التونسي زين العابدين بن علي أصدر تعليماته بإرسال طائرة محملة بأشجار الزيتون والرمان لغرسها في الأراضي الفلسطينية في إشارة إلى دعم تمسك الفلسطينيين باراضيهم في مواجهة قرارات التهجير الإسرائيلية.
ونقلت وكالة الانباء الفلسطينية (وفا) في تونس عن الهرفي قوله إن إرسال طائرة رئاسية تونسية خاصة محملة بأشجار الزيتون والرمان للرئيس محمود عباس والحكومة والشعب الفلسطيني جاءت للمساهمة العملية في تثبيت الأشجار بأرض فلسطين وخصوصاً أن الاحتلال الإسرائيلي يستهدف قلع الأشجار في الأراضي المحتلة.

وأضاف الهرفي في تصريح عقب اجتماعه مع الوزير المستشار الخاص والناطق باسم رئاسة الجمهورية التونسية عبد العزيز بن ضياء في قصر قرطاج الخميس إن ابن ضياء سلمه الهبة الرئاسية التونسية التي أذن بإرسالها الرئيس بن علي مساهمة منه في التخفيف عن أبناء شعبنا الذين يعانون هدم المباني واقتلاع الأشجار وإقامة الجدر العازلة والتهجير والتهويد والاعتقال ومساهمة منه في تثبيت المواطن الفلسطيني في أرضه بالرد العملي.

وأوضح أن الطائرة ستقلع حال استكمال الإجراءات من أجل تسهيل دخولها إلى الأراضي الفلسطينية، حيث ستعود محملة بالأشجار الفلسطينية اعترافا من الرئيس أبو مازن والحكومة والشعب الفلسطيني بهذه المبادرة الطيبة.


Enough of this wind breaking at the expense of the Palestinians!

A plane loaded with olive tree saplings will be sent to the puppet Abbas (as soon as arrangements can be made for the delivery), to enable the Palestinians to resist ethnic cleansing!

And get this: Abbas told the Tunisian president that the plane would return with a load of Palestinian trees in recognition of this boble Tunisian effort. WTF! Is it a zero sum game? What is the net contribution, besides breaking a lot of wind?

Wall Street's Back Pockets, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

I am NOT a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon

A Very Good Piece
By Angry Arab

"I am not a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. UNRWA can go to hell. A refugee becomes one by choice. The Zionist gangs could not intimidate us in Palestine, despite their terrorism. We did not - like you claim- seek refuge in Lebanon, but we were expelled from Palestine. We prefer the thyme of Palestine to the cedars of Lebanon....

I lived years of roaming. Parties and organizations from all over promised us victory, liberation and unity. We were scattered among a number of them. They started arguing among themselves: some decided that the unity supersedes liberation, others saw that liberation is more important, and there are those who decided that serving the oil princes is more important that liberation, unity and justice....Their promises and victorious rhetoric went all in vain. I did not hear one single speech from Nasser after the heinous 1967 defeat.....

But they finally discovered the “Civil Rights” of the Palestinian people. Even the Phalanges Party, the Lebanese Forces and Fouad Siniora (Wasfi al-Tal of Lebanon) talk about the civil rights of the Palestinian people. Are they aware that the term first appeared in the Balfour Declaration? ‘Civil rights’ because political and national rights have always been restricted to the Jews, as desired by the British colonialists. ‘Civil rights’ and we demand the liberation of Palestine? What do they mean by civil rights? The right to collect garbage? And the right to applause for visitors to the camps of the Governments of Lebanon who participated in the battle of destruction of Nahr al-Bared? The Lebanese army should look for their heroic actions outside the camps. And if they were really looking for sites to record their heroisms, I would’ve pointed them towards locations at the borders that were quenched with more Palestinian blood than the blood of Lebanese officials.

I am not a refugee, I am a rebel. I'll keep my weapons inside the camps, outside the camps, above the camps and under the camps. Everywhere. Behind the enemy, everywhere as we were taught by Wadih Haddad. Lebanese sects can go on with their hatred and resentment festivals, which they master, and they can recount their populations in preparation for endless rounds of brutal civil wars among themselves, but what’s in it for me? How am I associated with their small wars? They want me to recognize Mohammed Dahlan envoys in the camps? “Alleeno” or others do not belong in Ain al-Hilweh. I will keep my gun, no matter what they say. They will not decide for me in their ridiculous dialogue committees. Samir Gea’gea’ and everybody who’s experienced at serving Israel advice me to hand over the Palestinian weapons. I buried my father and mother in this land, but they asked me not to bury my gun. I’d rather bury my four children, but would never bury my arms. I will pass it on to my children so that they pass it on to their children. I'm staying here until I get there. I refused the apology of Abbas Dahlan Zaki on my behalf. The road to the Liberation of Palestine goes through Jounieh, Aley, Ba’albeck, Sidon and Tyre.""

Bolivia's fight for survival can help save democracy too

The people's summit to tackle climate change is a radical, transformative response to the failure of the Copenhagen club

Naomi Klein, Thursday 22 April 2010

".....Bolivia's climate summit has had moments of joy, levity and absurdity. Yet underneath it all you can feel the emotion that provoked this gathering: rage against helplessness. It's little wonder. Bolivia is in the midst of a dramatic political transformation, one that has nationalised key industries and elevated the voices of indigenous peoples as never before. But when it comes to Bolivia's most pressing, existential crisis – the fact that its glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, threatening the water supply in two major cities – Bolivians are powerless to do anything to change their fate on their own.

That's because the actions causing the melting are taking place not in Bolivia but on the highways and in the industrial zones of heavily industrialised countries....

With the Cochabamba summit, Bolivia is trying to take what it has accomplished at the national level and globalise it, inviting the world to participate in drafting a joint climate agenda ahead of the next UN climate gathering in Cancun. In the words of Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations, Pablo Solón: "The only thing that can save mankind from a tragedy is the exercise of global democracy."

If he is right, the Bolivian process might save not just our warming planet, but our failing democracies as well. Not a bad deal at all."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kyrgyz lesson to Arab peoples

April 2010

By Abdel-bari Atwan

"Kyrgyzstan is a small country in Central Asia, Moslems form the majority of the population. The country hosts two military bases, one American and the other Russian. Its security forces are known to be efficient and aggressive but they were unable to protect President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from the wrath of the people who took to the streets in a noisy demonstration on 6 April and then stormed the Republican Palace the following day.

On April 15 Bakiyev and his family left the country. This is the second time in five years that the Kyrgyz people have driven their President to run for his life.....

President Bakiyev's downfall was that his regime was characterized by corruption, cronyism, supression of the populace by the security forces and looting public funds, in a manner not that far removed from that of his counterparts in some Arab and Islamic countries.....

Popular revolt has seen the end of several oppressive and corrupt regimes around the world and yet we have seem nothing like this in Arab countries. Conditions in Kyrgyzstan, whose population is only 5 million, are generally better than those in Arab countries like Egypt, yet the Egyptians do not take to the street to demand change and reform. Not even when their fellow Arabs are under occupation in Palestine, humiliated and abused at Israeli checkpoints.

Some may argue that people in these repressive Arab state are too frightened of the security forces to rebel and this is why they are so passive and submissive. Yet the security forces in Kyrgyzstan are proving to be exceptionally brutal and violent - they opened fire on protesters, killing well over a hundred to date, and yet they continue to demonstrate, even storming the presidential palace and setting it on fire.

People who are oppressed must start to defend their interests and their basic human rights; they need to be prepared to make sacrifices for this lofty goal. Since they do not, it seems that the problem is no longer Arab rulers alone, but Arab people as well.

What is currently happening in Kyrgyzstan must be noted by Arab rulers and peoples alike. This small people has battled against corruption and cronyism, and has toppled their ruler, his family and his crown prince to whom he wanted to bequeath power. No amount of foreign bases in Kyrgyzstan can ultimately protect an unpopular leader from the anger of the people and their demands for political reform and true democracy. If the Arab people would only learn this simple lesson of history our current state of opression would be ended."

Veolia tries to spin its involvement in the occupation

Adri Nieuwhof, The Electronic Intifada, 22 April 2010

"By participating in the touring Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition, the French transnational company Veolia Environnement is attempting to spin its image that has been tarnished by the exposure of its involvement in the Israeli occupation.

The UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign used the occasion of the exhibition, featured at London's Natural History Museum and in BBC Wildlife Magazine, to remind the public of Veolia's participation in a segregated transportation project and the building of infrastructure to service Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank. The exhibition at the Natural History Museum was met with a "Dump Veolia" demonstration on 10 April and further protests are anticipated as the exhibition will travel to other UK cities and Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the US......"

Al-Jazeera Video: Former Iraqi prisoners allege abuse

"Al Jazeera has obtained interviews with two men who allegedly were tortured in the al-Muthanna air base prison in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

The former detainees said they were pressured, under the use of painful techniques, to admit to crimes they had not committed.

"Our hands [were] tied and eyes covered so we couldn't see the torturers. The informants were dictating to them that 'This guy did this, or did that'. And he was swearing to God that this guy has performed that action," one of the men said.

"But we were all innocent." "

Child Reveals Abuse, Torture By Israeli soldiers

"A Palestinian child, 15 years old, revealed to the Qatar-based, Al Jazeera, details on how Israeli soldiers kidnapped him, struck him and forced him to drink untreated sewage water at the entrance of Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank.

The child, Sabri Ibrahim Awad, told Al Jazeera that Israeli soldiers stopped him at the entrance of Beit Ummar and used him as a human shield during clashes with Palestinian youths. The child was cuffed and forced to stand in front of military jeeps before he was moved to one of the jeeps where he was beaten by several soldiers.

He stated that he was heading to a festival in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners detained by Israel.

He was beaten for approximately two hours before the soldiers forced his face into sewage water. He was beaten even more when he threw-up the sewage water forced into his throat.

Currently Sabri is suffering from bruises and sharp pain in his legs and face, with clear marks and bruises around his eyes.

Before he was released, soldiers threw him on the ground, hurled a gas bomb that fell near him, and drove away...."

Is the US-Israeli 'Special Relationship' in Danger?

By Kim Bullimore
Palestine Chronicle

".....Clinton candidly stated that the reason the Obama administration was displeased with Israel's continued settlement construction in occupied Jerusalem, was not because it wanted to stop Israel's settlement expansion or the stealing of Palestinian land or to ensure a just peace agreement and resolution. Clinton frankly pointed out that settlement construction exposed a tactical difference in the US-Israel imperialist alliance: It "exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit". Clinton went on that the United States has long supported Israel, not because of the efforts of the US pro-Israel lobby, but because "the United States has long recognized that a strong and secure Israel is vital to our own strategic interests". Clinton did not mention that these "strategic interests" revolve around US imperialism's attempts to dominate the Middle East economically and politically in order to control the massive oil reserves in the region. Ensuring control of the energy reserves of the Middle East has been the primary objective of US foreign policy in the region since the end of World War II, the US State Department in 1945 identifying these reserves as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history". Israel is US imperialism's chief ally in the region, playing a strategic role in helping to ensure US dominance. The alliance is based on shared political interests

-- opposition to any form of Arab radicalism that would threaten Western economic domination.
This is why Clinton went on to state in her speech:

"... for President Obama and for me, and for this entire administration, our commitment to Israel's security and Israel's future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever"."

Minnesota students lock-down a Caterpillar plant, citing ‘ethnic cleansing’ and occupation

From Mondoweiss
"Wow, another sign that Israel/Palestine is coming home, and that the American left has taken on the issue: a half-dozen Macalester College students, in St. Paul, Minnesota, participated in a lockdown of a Caterpillar distribution plant yesterday, and managed to block a driveway at the plant for some hours. The students know the issue.

" Specially armored Caterpillar bulldozers are Israel's tools for the relentless, slow-motion destruction of Palestinian lives, homes, and livelihoods. Israel uses Caterpillar to demolish Palestinian homes, rip up Palestinian olive groves, and to build new settler homes with manicured lawns and central air. Since 1967, Israel has demolished 24,145 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories; in the same time period, Israel has built 214 settlements and erected a separation wall which cuts deep into the West Bank. Time after time, settlements 'spring up' right where they are most disruptive to local economies, while Israel further shatters trade routes and freedom of movement with Apartheid walls, Israeli-only roads, and pervasive checkpoints. The goal is to push Palestinian's off the land, leaving it open for Israeli settlement. This is not a complicated issue--Israel is enacting a policy of ethnic cleansing and Apartheid onto the Palestinian peoples.

We've put our bodies here today to oppose Caterpillar's participation in occupation and injustice.

Israel First: More on Dr. Lani Kass

by Philip Giraldi, April 22, 2010

"My recent account of the career of Dr. Lani Kass was based on what has appeared about her in the public record and media, including her own comments regarding national defense and security policy. To recapitulate, Kass was born, raised, and educated in Israel. She has a PhD in Russian studies and is fluent in Russian and Hebrew in addition to English. Kass reportedly reached the rank of major in the Israeli air force before moving to the United States and working her way up through the US defense establishment. She is currently the most senior civilian adviser to Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz and is believed to have access to most American defense secrets. Kass is best known to the public for her role in promoting Air Force cyberwarfare, but she also appears to have been a major player in counter-terrorism policy and in war preparations directed against Iran even though she has no actual substantive background in those areas. She believes that the US is engaged in a long war against Islamo-radicalism and that "winning" against Iran is necessary but the American people must be willing to pay the price to succeed.....

One might argue that Dr. Lani Kass is just another Israel firster who has risen to high office in the US government, not really unlike Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, and Douglas Feith. And that might well be true. But at the same time one must challenge the judgment of those who enabled her rise to a position of great responsibility and power and there should be serious questions about whether her bellicose and racially tinged viewpoint comes from objective and honest analysis of the genuine challenges confronting the United States or from her loyalty to her country of birth."

Im Tirtzu: delegitimising the 'delegitimisers'

A campaign to suppress all criticism now extends to smearing Israeli human rights activists as hostile to Jewish statehood

Antony Lerman, Thursday 22 April 2010

"The word "delegitimisation" has become the most significant weapon in the rhetorical arsenal of those defending Israel against external and internal enemies. In Israel, rightwing policymakers, thinkers and Zionist groups are deploying the word to describe the underlying motives of the country's critics. Outside Israel, pro-Israel groups and Jewish defence organisations use it to attack those who protest when Israeli officials speak in public, promote boycott campaigns and accuse Israel of apartheid policies.

The Israeli Reut Institute promotes the term assiduously. It produced a highly influential report, Building a Political Firewall Against Israel's Delegitimisation, that defines delegitimisation as criticism that "exhibits blatant double standards, singles out Israel, denies its right to exist as the embodiment of the self-determination right of the Jewish people, or demonises the state".......

Despite the call for "global and systemic pro-action" (which sounds like meaningless jargon), it's hard to believe that the delegitimisation argument will lead to anything but more violence and further repression of dissent. The failure of this apocalyptic thinking to even consider the idea that Israel is delegitimising itself is perverse. Not because it's the argument made by the human rights groups, but because some of Israel's own leaders have made it. Defence minister and Labour leader Ehud Barak said recently: "If millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state." In November 2007, former prime minister Ehud Olmert said Israel risked being compared to apartheid-era South Africa if it failed to agree to an independent state for the Palestinians.

The continued denial of the Palestinians' human and political rights is the most effective way of delegitimising Israel."

George Galloway: leaked papers reveal Canada's torment over banning MP

George Galloway's lawyers will argue that the Respect party MP is not a threat to Canada's national security

Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Wednesday 21 April 2010

"Documents leaked today reveal the contortions the Canadian government went through over its decision last year to ban the British MP George Galloway.

The leak, on a Canadian website, comes just days before the start of a court case in Toronto in which Galloway and his supporters will seek to overturn the ban which has turned the British MP into a cause célèbre.

Galloway was banned from entering Canada to speak round the country on the Middle East and Afghanistan. The government claimed it was acting on national security grounds because he had provided material support to the Palestinian organisation, Hamas, which is proscribed in the country as a terrorist organisation.

Galloway's defence team will argue in the federal court on Monday that he poses no threat to national security. Although he took a convoy of aid to Gaza, which is controlled by the elected Hamas government, his lawyers will say that he is neither a member, or supporter, of Hamas, and that, in fact, he has been a lifelong supporter of Hamas's rivals, Fatah, which is not branded a terrorist organisation...."

Good News: Lebanese TV psychic condemned to death in Saudi to be reprieved

Saudi justice minister tells Ali Sibat's lawyer that there will be no execution over charges of witchcraft

Associated Press in Beirut, Wednesday 21 April 2010

"A Lebanese TV psychic condemned to death for witchcraft by a Saudi court while visiting the country will not be beheaded, his lawyer said today.

May al-Khansa said that the Saudi ambassador in Beirut informed the Lebanese justice minister that the execution of Ali Sibat would not take place.

"He confirmed to me that there will be no execution," al-Khansa said after her conversation with Ibrahim Najjar, Lebanon's justice minister. She refused to go into details but said "matters are going in the right direction".....

The media have given sporadic attention to his case. The report of his imminent execution earlier this month brought a flurry of calls in the Lebanese press for his release. Some Lebanese have also rallied near the Saudi embassy in Beirut to protest against the sentence.

Human Rights Watch in New York said last year that Sibat's death sentence should be overturned. The monitoring organisation called on the Saudi government to halt its "increasing use of charges of 'witchcraft,' crimes that are vaguely defined and arbitrarily used"."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

الهيئة الفلسطينية تستعد لمؤتمرها العام

بشارة: الهيئة تتمسك بالثوابت لكنها خارج الصراع الفصائلي

"تستعد الهيئة الوطنية الفلسطينية للدفاع عن الحقوق الثابتة لعقد مؤتمرها العام الأول في بداية شهر يونيو/ حزيران، حيث تعكف اللجنة التحضيرية للمؤتمر على إعداد الترتيبات التنظيمية والسياسية.

وقال المفكر العربي عزمي بشارة -أحد مؤسسي الهيئة- إن الهيئة صاحبة موقف نضالي يتمسك بالثوابث والحقوق، لكنها "خارج الصراعات الفلسطينية" بالمعنى التنظيمي والفصائلي.

وتستقطب الهيئة إلى عضويتها كل فلسطيني وعربي يرى في قضية فلسطين قضيته الرئيسة في حياته الفردية، والعضوية مفتوحة لكل من يوافق على برنامج الهيئة، وهو مدعو إلى المؤتمر العام، وفي حال بلغ عدد الأعضاء نسبة كبيرة فسوف يتم انتخاب مندوبين يمثلون الأعضاء في حضور المؤتمر
زخم النضال
ويقول بشارة إن هذه الهيئة تنظيم سياسي يضم أناسا يصطفون إلى جانب المقاومة، موضحا أن أهمية إقامة الإطار الجديد تبرز من أنه إذا استمر الاستقطاب في الساحة الفلسطينية مع وجود أغلبية الشعب الفلسطيني غير منضو لطرفي الاستقطاب وهما فتح وحماس فإنه يخشى أن تتحول الحالة النضالية إلى حالة مزاجية أثناء الحروب والانتفاضات مما سيؤثر على زخم النضال الفلسطيني، ومن هنا ينطلق القائمون على المبادرة إلى تنظيم المزاج السياسي الشعبي غير المؤطر.

ويضيف بشارة في حديث للجزيرة نت "من الخطأ القول إن كل الشعب الفلسطيني هو مع حماس أو فتح، والأمر المهم الآخر أن هناك مهام يجب أن تخاطب ويتعامل معها ليس بوصفها جزءا من حوار هاتين الحركتين مثل قضية إعادة بناء منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية والتي وضعت على جدول أعمال حوار القاهرة دون أن تؤخذ بجدية.

ويرى بشارة أن إعادة بناء منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية موضوع مصيري خصوصا أن الأمر يتعلق بدور الشتات الذي يوجد فيه أغلبية الشعب الفلسطيني. ويوضح أن "منظمة التحرير لم يتم فقط المساس بها من قبل القائمين عليها، بل تم تفريغها من مضمونها وعن سبق الإصرار والترصد".

Palestinian Journalist persecuted for criticizing the PA

By Khalid Amayreh

"Muhannad Salahat, 32, is another Palestinian journalist victimized by the Palestinian Authority Mukhabarat or General Intelligence. Earlier this month, Salahat, who lives in Amman, Jordan, but has a home in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, had to spend 14 nightmarish days in the custody of the Palestinian Mukhabarat in Jericho where he was thoroughly abused for criticizing the PA, especially its so-called security coordination with Israel.

Following his release, Middle East Monitor had the chance to interview Salahat. The following is a verbatim translation of his testimony on the treatment he received during his detention in Jericho.....

On the same evening, and as I refused to terminate my hunger strike, They summoned me again and began a new spate of aggressive questioning on the nature of my work as a journalist and filmmaker and also on the nature of my work for the al-Jazeera network and the Emirate of Qatar. The interrogators concentrated on a newspaper report I had prepared in 2007 on the state of lawlessness and chaos in the West Bank and also Gaza following the Hamas' takeover. The report was still on the internet under the Arabic title "A little of what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." It was clear that they were disturbed by the report.....

Note: Salahat was rearrested on his way back to Amman on 18 April, apparently by the same people who had arrested him before."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Heaven: A fool's paradise

Why do the majority of Britons still believe in life after death? Heaven isn't a wonderful place filled with light – it is a pernicious construct with a short and bloody history

By Johann Hari

This One is For You!

"John Lennon urged us: "Imagine there's no heaven/It's easy if you try/No hell below us/Above us only sky." Yet the religious aren't turning to Lennonism any faster than Leninism. Today, according to a new book by Lisa Miller, Newsweek's religion correspondent, 81 per cent of Americans and 51 per cent of Brits say they believe in heaven – an increase of 10 per cent since a decade ago......

So yes, there is pain in seeing the truth about Heaven – but there is also a liberation in seeing beyond the childhood myths of our species. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Babylon 4,000 years ago, the eponymous hero travels into the gardens of the gods in an attempt to discover the secret of eternal life. His guide tells him the secret – there is no secret. This is it. This is all we're going to get. This life. This time. Once. "Enjoy your life," the goddess Siduri tells him. "Love the child who holds you by the hand, and give your wife pleasure in your embrace." It's Lennon's dream, four millennia ahead of schedule: above us, only sky. Gilgamesh returns to the world and lives more intensely and truly and deeply than before, knowing there is no celestial after-party and no forever. After all this time, can't we finally follow Gilgamesh to a world beyond heaven? "

There Will Be Another War

By Norman Finkelstein

Israel's Enabler in the U. S.

How Elie Wiesel Perpetuates the Fraud



Wiesel is simply “a terrible fraud.”

-- Noam Chomsky

"....Wiesel’s history of justifying Israel’s aggressive policies is long and extensive. From as far back as 1947-1949, Wiesel worked as a journalist for the Zionist terrorist group (as designated by the British), the Irgun. He knows the details of the infamous 1948 Deir Yasin massacre of innocent Palestinians (as well as others) perpetrated by his organization, which at the time was led by Menahem Begin and Yitzak Shamir.

Yet, he still argues that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left their homes in 1948 voluntarily, ignoring the overwhelming evidence that exists, not only in dozens of UN- sponsored reports and live testimonials of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, but also in evidence unearthed by Israeli “new historians” such as Ilan Pappe and Benny Morris. Wiesel persists in demanding public apologies for crimes committed against Jews but never expresses any sympathy or a whimper for atrocities committed against the Palestinians. Wiesel once publicly stated, “I support Israel—period. I identify with Israel—period. I never attack, I never criticize Israel.”

The hypocrisy abounds. Wiesel stood before the world during his Nobel peace prize address in 1986 and said, “The world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.”

He certainly took sides, choosing to praise the oppressor and condemn the victim, not even remaining silent, but enabling brutality, and justifying exclusion despite daily Palestinian suffering and humiliation."

Al-Jazeera Video: Helping traumatised Palestinian children

"In occupied East Jerusalem, there has been a long history of clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians protesting against evictions, house demolitions and illegal settlements.

Many Palestinian children are left traumatised by the violence they see going on around them on a near daily basis.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from East Jerusalem, where a counselling centre helps children deal with their experiences."

Al-Jazeera Video: Few Gaza alternatives to police job

"Being a policeman is a risky job, no matter where you are in the world, but in Gaza there is added danger.

Israel has bombed Gazan police stations in the past, in response it says, to Palestinian rocket attacks into southern Israel.

But that increased risk has not deterred thousands of Palestinian men from applying to join the force.

As Ayman Mohyeldin reports, many have few alternatives. "

The Arabs, Weak by Choice

By Hasan El-Hasan
Palestine Chronicle

".....The Arab states collectively have the potential of being politically, economically and militarily strong and respected. They have the manpower, the natural resources, the strategic location, a sizable middle class and they have the capital. But they chose to be weak and irrelevant. The ruling elites are entrenched and estranged from their people; they have no respect for the human rights, suppress dissent and weaken internal opposition. They have not allowed the opposition to act peacefully, to demonstrate, to change or to rise up. Only grass-roots Islamic movements have promised change and threatened these regimes. Some Islamic movements follow ambitious offensive strategies to seize power and others prefer cooperation and gradual change. The ruling elites created authoritarian regimes and chose not to invest in the intellectual, human and material resources in building socioeconomic infrastructure for their citizens. They chose to create consumer rather than productive societies by investing their countries' resources in the West rather than in their own people and creating jobs for their unemployed. Arab regimes chose to be disunited with no common purpose, thus becoming powerless to back any decision they make.

Regarding the Palestinian issue, Arab regimes chose to submit to the US, the main strategic ally and the defender of Israel's aggression and violations of the Palestinians human rights and the international laws. The US is not hiding its bias against the Palestinians. It labels the Palestinians who refuse to succumb to occupation and humiliation as terrorists, and it calls the mass murder of the Palestinians and collective punishment Israel imposes on the entire Palestinian civilian population as "self-defense".

The Arab League keeps re-introducing its 2002 "land for peace" initiative and threatens to take it off the table if Israel ignores it. But the League does not have to withdraw the plan; Israel has already rejected it in its provocative rhetoric and bloody deeds; and as long as the Arabs choose to be weak, they cannot do anything about it."

The Making of American Foreign Policy

It's all about domestic politics

by Justin Raimondo, April 21, 2010

".....One couldn’t agree more, and yet I can’t help but notice Walt failed to answer his own question: why are our "leaders" devoting so much time and effort to corral support for murderous sanctions (remember Iraq) and other acts of war?

The answer, of course, is contained in the pages of a book Walt co-authored, with John Mearsheimer, that tells a good part of the story. The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy is invariably described as "controversial," or even "extremely controversial," but this is merely an indication of how tame our political discourse has become in the Republic’s late senescence. In reality the book merely demonstrates, at length and in great detail, a simple truism that everyone already knows and long ago learned to live with: the decisive influence of Israel’s partisans in the formulation and conduct of US foreign policy......

In earnestly looking for some external reason for the drive to war – some geopolitical dynamic that would explain the inordinate attention paid to a weak adversary whose ability to hurt us is severely constrained – it’s no wonder Professor Walt came up empty-handed. No such dynamic exists: what does exist, however, is American politics, the course of which determines the policies we pursue overseas. There is no disinterested determination of where our interests, as a nation, lie, or what course would best protect the citizens of this country from attack: what is being protected, here, is not the physical and economic safety of the American people, but the particular interests of certain politicians and their supporters.

Will we go to war with Iran? No one knows. But if it serves the interests of a politically beleaguered, increasingly unpopular President or party to divert public attention away from domestic problems by launching a campaign of fear – The Iranians are coming! The Iranians are coming! – and creating a "crisis," well then, war is hardly inconceivable. Indeed, it seems more likely by the day. "

More hype about Iran?

By Stephen M. Walt
Foreign Policy

"Back when I started writing this blog, I warned that the idea of preventive war against Iran wasn't going to go away just because Barack Obama was president. The topic got another little burst of oxygen over the past few days, in response to what seems to have been an over-hyped memorandum from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and some remarks by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, following a speech at Columbia University. In particular, Mullen noted that military action against Iran could "go a long way" toward delaying Iran's acquisition of a weapons capability, though he also noted this could only be a "last resort" and made it clear it was not an option he favored.

One of the more remarkable features about the endless drumbeat of alarm about Iran is that it pays virtually no attention to Iran's actual capabilities, and rests on all sorts of worst case assumptions about Iranian behavior. Consider the following facts.....

What it does mean is that we ought to keep this relatively minor "threat" in perspective, and not allow the usual threat-inflators to stampede us into another unnecessary war. My impression is that Admiral Mullen and SecDef Gates understand this. I hope I'm right....."

Obama feels the heat on Iran's threat

The release of Robert Gates's memo has exposed disquiet over Obama's diplomatic approach to stopping Iran going nuclear

Simon Tisdall, Tuesday 20 April 2010

"Planning for foreign wars is the Pentagon's job. But a flurry of tough statements and alarming predictions by defence department officials about the potency and imminence of the Iranian "threat", including the possibility of a missile strike on the US, suggests a different kind of warfare could be breaking out at home, within the Obama administration itself.

The looming battle is shaping up as a contest between those who believe Barack Obama's carrot and stick policy can still induce Tehran to abandon its alleged nuclear weapons-related activities; and those who, despairing of diplomacy and sanctions, are beginning to speak in favour of a more directly confrontational approach.

Robert Gates, the defence secretary, lit the blue touch paper with a secret memo, penned in January and revealed this week, in which he reportedly warned the US lacked a coherent, long-term plan to deal with Iran, should it persist with uranium enrichment and long-range missile development.......

Obama will ignore such extreme advice. But he cannot ignore an important insider such as Gates, who worries aloud that Iran will stealthily compile all the components of a nuclear bomb but not assemble them – and then suddenly "break out" as did North Korea, testing a device and presenting the world with a nuclear fait accompli....."

Report: Assad Due in Egypt to Discuss Fear of Israel-Syria War


"21/04/2010 Syrian President Bashar Assad was due Tuesday night to land in Egypt "within hours," his first visit in four years, several Arab media outlets reported. The urgency of the surprise trip stems from a fear of war between Israel and Syria.

A Syrian commentator noted that Assad, who last week denied that Syria had delivered Scud missiles to Hezbollah, would seek to make clear that this information was false. He believes that the accusations are "an Israeli excuse for warmongering," according to the media reports.
In their meeting, Assad and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would also discuss the Palestinian reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas.

Assad's visit to Egypt would be his first since the Second Lebanon War, when he called Arab leaders who did not back Hezbollah resistance movement "half men."[of course he (the Rabbit) is not among the "half men."]....."


News media also report that the lousy Saudi king will be in the meeting. With a meeting of such intrepid leaders, the Arabs have nothing to fear!

A Major Breakthrough! It Took the Palestinians Only 62 Years to Realize This: Hamas: US unfit as peace mediator

Press TV

"A spokesman for the Hamas movement says the administration of US President Barack Obama lacks credibility as a mediator in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Speaking on Tuesday, senior Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri criticized President Obama's statement on the occasion of Nakba Day, saying the US leader's remarks only reaffirmed his administration's favoritism toward Israel.

Abu Zuhri also said that Washington was not fit to play the role of an "honest broker" in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

"Obama's statement was a clear message to all Arab parties concerned with the peace process not to bet on the American role in this regard," he said......"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

World poll: Only 19% see Israel in positive light

"Survey conducted in 28 countries on 29,000 respondents reveals that only Iran, Pakistan, North Korea have more negative perception than Israel....

The poll shows that just 19% of the 29,000 respondents questioned view Israel positively versus 50% who perceive the country in a negative light. Together with Israel at the bottom of the list are Iran (15% positive, 56% negative), Pakistan (16% positive, 51% negative), and North Korea (17% positive, 48% negative).....

Topping the list of "America haters" are Turkey, with 70% of its respondents viewing the US unfavorable, and Pakistan, with 52% viewing the US negatively. Support for the US dropped surprisingly in India, from 43% to 39%....."

'Too Fat' for Empire? Military Generals Target School Lunches

School Lunches Blamed As More Americans Too Overweight To Join The Military


"WASHINGTON - School lunches have been called many things, but a group of retired military officers is giving them a new label: national security threat.

That's not a reference to the mystery meat served up in the cafeteria line either. The retired officers are saying that school lunches have helped make the nation's young people so fat that fewer of them can meet the military's physical fitness standards, and recruitment is in jeopardy....."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

The Case for Palestinian Rights in Lebanon

What are the Odds?


Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp, Beirut

"As of mid-April 2010 there are no fewer than six draft laws, half of them ‘embargoed for now’ being circulated and debated in Lebanon, any one of which if adopted by Parliament, would grant Lebanon’s Palestinians, for the first time since their 1948 expulsion from Palestine, some elementary civil rights including the right to work, to have an ID, and to own a home....

Before the PLO administration left Lebanon in August of 1982, it created directly or indirectly more than 40,000 jobs or approximately 18 per cent of Lebanon’s GNP. The PLO budget may have been larger than that of the Lebanese state itself. Palestinians also contributed to “invigorating” the areas surrounding their camps by creating low-cost markets for low-income and other marginalized communities in Lebanon. The “Sabra, Ein el-Hilweh and Nahr al-Bared camp markets are recognized as major informal economic hubs for the poor,” said the report, adding that the destruction of Nahr al-Bared during the battles of 2007 had “resulted in a gap in the Akkar” region in northern Lebanon for such communities.
The debate continues.....the cause endures....."

Beit Sahour: a microcosm of Israeli colonization

Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 19 April 2010

"....A number of commentators have pointed out a sense of déjà-vu about Netanyahu's current premiership. But while today's gaze is fixed on colonies like Ramat Shlomo -- home to the 1,600 new housing units announced during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit -- or right-wing settler expansion in Sheikh Jarrah, little has been said about what has since happened to Har Homa, the colony which caused a stir during Netanyahu's previous time in office.

Har Homa's impact on the Palestinian community has been devastating, with the town of Beit Sahour now dominated by the ever-expanding settlement. While many are aware of Beit Sahour's famous nonviolent resistance during the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993), less well-known is how Israeli rule continues to choke the town. Har Homa has been instrumental in that respect, and it plays a role in the latest settler-driven attempts to take over more land at Ush al-Ghrab, the site of a vacated Israeli military base. Located on the edge of Beit Sahour, the Israeli military has returned to the site while right-wing settlers campaign for the area to become the new settlement of Shdema.

A strategic colony....."

Palestine's first independent think tank launched

Press release, Al-Shabaka, 19 April 2010

"Last week, Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network, was launched ( Al-Shabaka, which means "The Network," is the first independent strategy and policy-related think tank for Palestinians and by Palestinians. A think tank without borders or walls, Al-Shabaka draws on and benefits from the diverse experiences of Palestinians from around the world. Its vision and principles are guided by Palestinian Civil Society's 2005 Call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Al-Shabaka's goal is to create a vibrant forum for Palestinian policy and strategy development and analysis. It currently boasts 35 policy advisors from the Middle East, the United States, Canada and Europe. The network of policy advisors, who are established scholars and writers, will be expanded on an ad hoc basis over the next six months. In addition, Al-Shabaka will begin accepting as members Palestinians who are committed to its vision and principles and who wish to participate in the network....."

Medical solidarity with Gaza: in conversation with Mads Gilbert

Stefan Christoff, The Electronic Intifada, 19 April 2010

"Ahead of the English publication of his book Eyes in Gaza (co-authored with Dr. Erik Fosse), Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert spoke to The Electronic Intifada about what he witnessed during Operation Cast Lead, Israel's three-week long assault on the Gaza Strip starting in December 2008, during which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed and thousands more injured.

Gilbert was one of the few internationals admitted into Gaza during the bombardment. His work at Gaza City's main al-Shifa Hospital was followed closely around the world, as he provided updates on the medical situation to international media while working with Palestinian colleagues to treat horrific injuries, primarily among civilians.

Gilbert's medical mission built on decades of direct medical support work in Palestine but also longstanding solidarity work in Norway with the Palestinian struggle for liberation.

In conversation, Gilbert focused specifically on the legacy of those living with the wounds of war in Gaza more than a year since Operation Cast Lead, while offering a unique perspective of a medical doctor working in tandem with the growing global Palestinian solidarity movement....."

“Introducing the MV Rachel Corrie”

The Free Gaza Movement

"(Dundalk, Ireland, April 20, 2010) The 1200-ton cargo ship had been abandoned in July 2009, off the coast of Ireland. She was then impounded after an inspection by the International Transport Federation (ITF) discovered her owners had exploited their Lithuanian crewmembers - not paying their wages and subjecting them to humiliating treatment, and they had been left with just one day of food. The 42-year-old MV Linda languished for nine months, waiting in the port of Dundalk for just the right buyer to rescue her.

On March 31, 2010, the Free Gaza Movement bought her at auction for €70,000 and will send her to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza loaded with cement, paper, and medical equipment, all banned by Israel from this battered and bruised slice of the Mediterranean.

ITF Inspector and Union organizer Ken Fleming was ecstatic: “We are pleased to announce that this vessel which was used to subject workers to modern day slavery, will now be used to promote human rights for the people of Palestine”.....

With everyone’s help, the MV Rachel Corrie will be painted, outfitted, then filled with cargo and ready to leave shortly after May Day, a testimony to civil society doing what governments have refused to do…alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza. Your donations for supplies are still vitally needed. You can earmark your donation for cement or school books and send through our donate page at"

أكبر خازوق

عبد الستار قاسم

"أعتذر أولا للقراء عن صلافة العنوان، لكن صعُب علي إيجاد عنوان متناسب مع موجة الأكبر التي تتبناها السلطة الفلسطينية. السلطة ورئاسة الوزراء تحديدا منشغلة كثيرا بأكبر سدر كنافة، وأكبر طبق تبولة، وأكبررغيف مسخن، وربما في المستقبل أكبر دست مفتول، وأكبر طرحة منسف. ومن المحتمل أن أكبر خازوق للشعب الفلسطيني يتم تحضيره الآن ليصنع فرعا خاصا بالخوازيق في كتاب جينيس.

من المفهوم أن لبدنك عليك حقا، ولنفسك عليك حقا، ولوطنك عليك حقا. من أجل توازن نشاطات الحياة لا بد من مراعاة تماسك النفسية الإنسانية؛ ومن أجل أن يكون المرء قادرا على مواصلة أعماله وعطائه، لا بد أن يروح عن نفسه بين الحين والآخر. الترويح مهم من أجل راحة الأعصاب والمساعدة في التفكير السليم، ومن أجل المثابرة والصبر والاستمرار، وهو مهم للجميع من العامل في المزرعة إلى التاجر وأستاذ الجامعة، وإلى الجندي والمجاهد في سبيل الله، الخ، لكن كثرة الترويح تميت القلب وتدعو إلى التكاسل والتواكل وفقدان التوازن وضياع الهدف.

أرى أن الكثير من النشاطات الرسمية التي تتم الآن من افتتاح ما يسمى بالمشاريع إلى أكبر صحن وأكبر طنجرة وأشهى طبخة قد خرجت عن المعقول وعن فكرة الترويح، وأصبحت أدوات تلهي, كأن هناك من هو معني بإلهاء الشعب الفلسطيني وإبعاده عن قضاياه الحيوية المتعلقة بالحقوق الوطنية الثابتة. بسبب التركيبة القيادية وتدخلات الأمريكيين بكل صغيرة وكبيرة في الضفة الغربية، واستمرار التنسيق الأمني مع إسرائيل، واستمرار إسرائيل في سياساتها العدوانية التقليدية، وبسبب هذا التركيز على أعمال لا تبدو أنها ضمن استراتيحجية تحرير، أرى أن هناك من يعمل على تحويل أنظار الفلسطينيين إلى مسائل ساذجة وربما تافهة لكي تنساب المؤامرات من تحته دون أن يدري.

الكثير من النشاطات التي تتم حاليا تؤثر سلبا على الوعي الفلسطيني، وعلى مستوى التزامه بقضاياه، ويبدو لي أنها مقصودة ومبرمجة.
يحتاج الشعب الفلسطيني الآن للبحث في كيف يحرر نفسه من استعباد لقمة الخبز، وأن يتعلم الاعتماد على الذات ما أمكن، ويحتاج إلى تطوير مؤسساته التعليمية، وإلى البحث عن أسباب القوة لمواجهة العدو، وإلى استصلاح الأرض وبناء البيوت ومحاصرة الاستيطان والمحافظة على القدس، الخ. الشعب لا يحتاج إلى خطابات جوفاء في المناسبات وأعمال تغيّب وعيه الوطني، وإنما بحاجة لمن يعيد تقييم الأمور ويخرجه من هذا الوضع الذي آلت إليه الأمور، والذي قد يكون أكبر خازوق.

Custodial Death Marred Palestinian Prisoners Day

By Mel Frykberg

(Left: Israeli soldiers using a Palestinian boy as a human shield in Beit Ummar.)

"BEIT UMMAR, Occupied West Bank, Apr 19, 2010 (IPS) - A young Palestinian man died in Israeli custody as hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of villages and towns across the West Bank and Gaza to commemorate Palestinian Prisoners Day on Friday, Apr. 16.

Raed Abu Hammad, 31, was found dead in his prison cell late on Friday after spending the last 18 months in solitary confinement....

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) sealed off the village of Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank, north of Hebron, where a prisoner commemoration ceremony was taking place.

Several photographers working with IPS took photos of Israeli soldiers using a young boy as a human shield despite being shot at by the soldiers. IPS managed to enter the village prior to the exits and entrances being blocked by soldiers as clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers.

The confrontations broke out after military jeeps entered the agricultural village and attempted to break up the commemoration. The village committee had laid out hundreds of chairs and organised music for the celebration when it was stormed by the IDF......

But the youths remained defiant and sat down on the ground and refused to move. After the Israeli soldiers withdrew to the entrance of the village, the commemorations continued.

Military jeeps then returned and were met with a hail of stones. They responded with tear gas, rubber-coated metal bullets and some live ammunition.

Sabri Ibrahim Awad, 15, was left bruised and limping after he was used as a human shield by the Israeli soldiers as he rode his bike past them. He was not involved in the clashes. He was grabbed by the scruff of the neck and marched in front of the soldiers as rocks showered down. He was then cuffed and arrested and thrown into the back of a jeep. Several hours later a traumatised Awad was released.

Israel security forces have used Palestinians as human shields both in Gaza and the West Bank despite international law and Israeli courts ruling this illegal.

The Goldstone Report admonished the Israelis for endangering the lives of Palestinian youngsters during Israel’s war on Gaza at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009....."

New York Airport ‘Blind’ to El Al Racial Profiling

by Jonathan Cook, April 20, 2010

"Two Israeli Arab brothers have won $8,000 in damages from Israel’s national carrier, El Al, after a court found that their treatment by the company’s security staff at a New York airport had been "abusive and unnecessary."

Abdel Wahab and Abdel Aziz Shalabi were assigned a female security guard who watched over them at the airport’s departure gate for nearly two hours, in full view of hundreds of fellow passengers, after they had passed the security and baggage checks.

Later, El Al’s head of security threatened to bar Abdel Wahab, 43, from the flight if he did not apologize to the guard for going to the toilet without first getting her approval....

The incident with the Shalabi brothers follows on the heels of a diplomatic crisis between Israel and South Africa over revelations that spies posing as El Al staff have been operating at Johannesburg airport, gathering information on non-Jewish passengers visiting Israel.

El Al has threatened to close the route after South African officials stopped providing the airport guards with diplomatic immunity.

South African TV reported last month that two of the Mossad assassins suspected of killing a Hamas commander in Dubai in January may have used Johannesburg airport to fly back to Israel."