Saturday, September 18, 2010
"Egyptian Bedouins in the Sinai Peninsula lead a traditional lifestyle not far from the bustling holiday resorts that are being developed in south of the country.
The Bedouins say that they have been increasingly marginalised from the development projects as the Egyptian government denied them their share of profits from the country's lucrative tourism industry.
They also claim that the authorities employ excessive force against them, saying that between 1,000 and 3,000 Bedouins are held in Egyptian jails.
Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin reports from the Sinai Peninsula."
"RAMALLAH, Sep 18, 2010 (IPS) - Controversy is building up over a 91-year-old man, his 17-year-old grandson and a 20-year-old neighbour, all farmers, who were killed by Israeli shelling and gunfire as they tried to tend their land 700 metres from northern Gaza's border with Israel.....
Many of the male settlers are armed with sub-machine guns and IDF-issued M16 weapons. Furthermore, many settlers of compulsory military conscription age serve for three years in the IDF. Other settlers are in the IDF's reserve units, which involves attending a month's camp annually until the age of 40 and sometimes thereafter.
Two IDF brigades comprise solely of settlers. The Nagmar unit is on full-time call to the IDF and is part of the Israeli army's regional defence. The Nahal brigades are also served primarily by settlers.
This is where the status of the settlers gets blurred. "Clearly the women and children who don't serve are civilians," Shawan Jabarin from the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq in Ramallah tells IPS.
"But armed settlers, and settlers serving in the IDF are armed combatants and fall under the category of armed militias. Armed settlers do not fall under the category of protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention," adds Jabarin.
According to international law expert Cordula Droege from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Tel Aviv, an armed settler can still be regarded as a civilian. "But those settlers actively serving in the IDF do not have civilian status," Droege told IPS....."
By Mark LeVine
(Cartoon by Steve Bell)
"....The warning signs that President Obama's trajectory would depart from his campaign rhetoric were clear from the beginning. Like when the newly minted President chose for his senior economic advisor's men like Lawrence Summer, Clinton's one time Treasury Secretary, who were responsible for the policies that besides destroying Haiti's rice crop, also enabled a million and one corporate get rich schemes such as the sub-prime mortgage bonanza whose collapse has left the country in its current disastrous condition.
Another clue was surely the fact that Obama's defence spending from the start outstripped his Republican predecessor's, even though his campaign reached national prominence precisely with his pledge to end the war in Iraq, which should logically have meant a major reduction in the military budget......
Perhaps some day President Obama will write a memoir or testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and echo, or even evoke, President Clinton's sad testimonial to the arrogance of power and wilful ignorance seems all too often to produce in the leaders entrusted with it.
If so, it will be good fodder for historians and commentators, but of little comfort to the untold masses of peoples - Afghans, Pakistanis, Americans, and who knows whom else - who will continue to be devastated by the President's inability to look the truth square in the face and do what he was elected to do: lead his country, away from greed, cynicism, and despair, and towards hope and renewal."
Friday, September 17, 2010
خالد مشعل يفضل تواجد رفاقه المشايخ في برلمان عمان ومبعوث لمكتب الارشاد المصري فشل في اقناعهم بتعديل موقفهم
"عمان ـ تضاءل التفاؤل بامكانية التوصل في الاردن لتفاهم مع الاسلاميين على العودة للمشاركة في الانتخابات وانهاء برنامج مقاطعتها المعلن حتى قبل ساعات من حوار مفترض بين رئيس الوزراء سمير الرفاعي ونخبة من قادة حزب الاخوان المسلمين المعارض.
وترددت ابناء في عمان عن تجاهل الجناح المعتدل في جبهة العمل الاسلامي "توصية" سياسية غير ملزمة من مكتب الارشاد الاخواني الدولي بالمشاركة في الانتخابات مع توصية مماثلة من رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس خالد مشعل وسط حالة تخندق واضحة ضد المشاركة في الانتخابات يقودها هذه المرة رموز التيار المعتدل مثل عبد اللطيف عربيات والدكتور ارحيل الغرايبة.
ويقول قادة الاعتدال انهم تفاهموا على المشاركة في انتخابات 2007 مع السلطات لكن حصلت رغم ذلك عمليات تزوير واسعة انتهت باسقاط قادة الاعتدال انفسهم عبر الصناديق ومنهم الغرايبة والعربيات.
وتجاهل الطرفان في الوقت نفسه - اي الحمائم والصقور - توصية من مكتب الارشاد في القاهرة تميل للمشاركة في الانتخابات حيث استقبلت الحركة الاردنية مبعوثا مصريا تحدث بالامر مؤخرا فيما تم ايضا تجاهل "رغبة" المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس التي تفضل التواجد في برلمان 2010.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
"....As The Sunday Times reported in a June 2010 article titled “Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites,” U.S. defense sources stated that Saudi Arabia had agreed to stand down its air defenses and allow Israel use of a narrow stretch of airspace should they decide to conduct bombing raids into Iran.
“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way … This has all been done with the agreement of the [ U.S. ] State Department,” said one source.
The etiology of Saudi Arabia ’s antagonist Iran posture is multifactorial. It not only involves the Wahabi establishment’s intolerance of Shia Muslims (the same Wahabis whose religious sanction is required for the al-Sauds to govern at all), but recognition of what Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution led to and may continue to inspire: the overthrow of repressive, corrupt, Western-backed royal dynasties.
The same anxieties are held by other like-minded Persian Gulf monarchies, Egypt and Jordan —all recipients of American military largesse. Indeed, the U.S. and Israel have done their utmost to stoke and capitalize on these fears.
The massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia is just one more step toward war, one more step toward death in the Persian Gulf ."
(Anna Baltzer is an award-winning lecturer, author and activist for Palestinian rights. Author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.)
""They only see our water, our land, our trees. They don't care about us. They want the land -- without the people on it."
These words are not of a Palestinian farmer but of Justo Conda, governor of Lopez Adentro Indigenous Reserve in southwestern Colombia, whose community was repeatedly threatened with displacement under former president Alvaro Uribe Velez. Uribe, recently appointed by the United Nations to investigate Israel's fatal attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, has a notoriously horrific track record on human rights. Less explored are the clear parallels between his government's mistreatment of indigenous peoples of Colombia and Israel's abuses of the indigenous people of Palestine....
It is difficult to imagine a leader as enthusiastic about Israel's repression tactics as Uribe being a fair judge as to the legality of Israel's attacks on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. His former administration's close relationship to the Jewish state alone precludes him as an impartial investigator. And although there are notable differences between the situations in Colombia and Palestine, the likeness of the Colombian and Israeli governments' responses to indigenous resistance is unmistakable. It would be not only out of character but downright hypocritical for Uribe to hold Israel accountable for the same type of behavior that characterized his own presidency.
Meanwhile, the sumoud and resilience of the indigenous Colombian people persists. Governor Conda continued, "Just as we have for five hundred years, we will continue to struggle and move forward. In fact, we are ready to work harder than ever.""
Guerrilla of Arabia: How one of Britain's most brilliant military tacticians created the Taliban's battle strategy
"....Compare the guerrilla. He is largely self-sufficient, highly mobile, with superb intelligence from his social network, and indistinguishable from the civilian population of which he is part. He is almost invisible, yet has the capacity to strike anywhere, anytime. The regular strives to dominate landscape by visible threat and heavy firepower. But wherever he is, the guerrilla is not.
The guerrilla dominates the landscape, for his embeddedness makes him an invisible, secure, and ineradicable presence. He is powerful because he is a phantom. Let the last word go to Lawrence. He could be describing Operation Moshtarak – 15,000 men chasing phantoms out of a non-existent city in Afghanistan. But, of course, it is the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918. "It [the rebellion] had a sophisticated alien enemy, disposed as an army of occupation in an area greater than could be dominated effectively from fortified posts... The active rebels had the virtues of secrecy and self-control, and the qualities of speed, endurance, and independence of arteries of supply... The presence of the enemy was secondary. Final victory seemed certain, if the war lasted long enough for us to work it out." "
City of dreams
“They told us we were a security threat so we had to go," said the head teacher. "All my children were crying." It is one of many demolitions; over 100,000 families have been evicted to make way for "security zones" around the Games and facilities that will mostly benefit India's small but powerful managerial and technocratic class which, besotted with all things corporate, prefers not to be reminded that 77 per cent of its compatriots are dirt poor.
Corporate sport has enriched Rupert Murdoch, corrupted cricket and much of football, subverted numerous other games, and appropriated the Olympics and similar spectacles.
Its language is that of business schools, PR companies, consultancies and banks. Its "philosophy" is that everything is for sale and monopoly rules. Just wear the logo, pump your fist and bellow, "C'mon!""
By Johann Hari
"Today, I want to tell you the story of how our governments have been torturing and tormenting an island in the Caribbean – but it is a much bigger story than that. It's a parable explaining one of the main reasons how and why, across the world, the poor are kept poor, so the rich can be kept rich. If you grasp this situation, you will see some of the ugliest forces in the world laid out before you – so we can figure out how to stop them......
The next President, Rene Preval, learned his lesson: he has done everything he was told to by corporations and governments, privatizing the last remaining scraps owned by the state, and using tear gas to break up strikes for higher wages. The Haitian people rejected the whole rigged electoral process, with turn-out falling to just 11 per cent. Today, Aristide is a broken man, living in exile in South Africa, studying for a PhD in linguistics, banned from going home.
This is part of a plain pattern. When poor countries get uppity and tried to ask for basic justice, our governments have toppled them, from Iran wanting to control its own oil in 1953 to Honduras wanting its workers to be treated decently in 2009. You don't have to overthrow many to terrify the rest.
It doesn't have to be this way. This is not the will of the people, in the US or Europe: on the contrary, ordinary citizens are horrified when the propaganda is stripped away and they see the truth. It only happens because a tiny wealthy elite dominates our foreign policy, and uses it to serve their purposes – low wages and control of other people's economies and resources. The people of Haiti, who have nothing, were bold and brave enough to campaign and organize to take power back from their undemocratic elites. Are we?"
"Al Ahram, Egypt's oldest Arabic-language daily newspaper, has come under fire for publishing an apparently doctored photograph showing leaders involved in the Middle East peace process.
In the original photo, Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, is trailing behind the rest of leaders down the red carpet. However, in the altered version he is seen leading the group.
Al Ahram declined to comment on the matter."
وفي حوار مع قناة الجزيرة يبث لاحقا، عبر البرادعي عن رغبته في أن ترضخ المؤسسة العسكرية في مصر لإرادة الشعب وليس العكس.
وأضاف البرادعي -المدير العام السابق للوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية الذي يتزعم حركة تطالب بإصلاحات وتغييرات دستورية في مصر- أن هناك أربعة أساليب للتغيير السلمي، أهمها التوقيع من الشعب ومقاطعة الانتخابات والتظاهر السلمي، وفي نهاية المطاف العصيان المدني والإضراب العام.
يشار إلى أن البرادعي أعلن مقاطعته للانتخابات البرلمانية المقرر إجراؤها في نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني المقبل، بدعوى أن هذه الانتخابات سيجري تزويرها وأن "أي شخص يشترك في الانتخابات مرشحا أو ناخبا يخالف ضميره القومي".
وفي الوقت الذي أعلنت فيه جماعة الإخوان المسلمين -التي تعد أكبر كتلة معارضة ولها 88 مقعدا في البرلمان- وحزب الوفد الليبرالي أنهما سيشاركان في الانتخابات، أعلن حزب الغد المعارض الذي يترأسه أيمن نور أنه سينضم إلى البرادعي في مقاطعتها.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
via Max Blumenthal
The Israeli Knesset is debating a bill proposed by David Rotem of the extreme right Yisrael Beiteinu party that would require all Israeli citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state." This bill is targeted at increasing pressure on the 20 percent of Israelis who are Palestinian citizens, while forcing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority who reject the legitimacy of any state not based on Jewish biblical law to accept Zionism. If passed in its proposed form, citizens unwilling to take the loyalty oath would be at risk of losing citizenship.
Israeli leaders committed to a classic secular political Zionist platform have always fought at all costs to guard Israel's "Jewish character," even while they reveal their inability to properly define exactly what it is. The loyalty oath and the push for a two-state solution are the most profound examples of the insecurity that has roiled beneath the surface in Jewish Israeli society since the state's inception. Without a Jewish majority exhibiting clear legal and political dominance over the non-Jewish or non-Zionist minority, the Zionist movement becomes meaningless. So as the Palestinian-Israeli minority actively resists its dispossession and the ultra-Orthodox stubbornly reject the concept of a Jewish state, the Israeli establishment feels increasingly compelled to seek draconian measures to salvage its vision of Zionism.
Watch the video: Feeling the Loyalty to the Jewish State of Israel -- (article continues below)
"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued arbitrary political arrests carried out by Palestinian security services in the West Bank targeting members of Hamas, who are subjected to detention and maltreatment in violation of the law. The latest arrest wave, which is part of an arbitrary arrest campaign against members of Hamas movement following an armed attack against Israeli settlers near Hebron, was carried out against dozens of Palestinian civilians in Hebron. PCHR reiterates its calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and its security services to refrain from carrying out arbitrary arrest campaigns, immediately release all the political prisoners and put an end to political arrests.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on the eve of and during the days of Eid al-Fitr, Palestinian security services, especially the Preventive Security Service (PSS) and the General Intelligence Service (GIS), backed by the National Security Service, have resumed arrest campaigns targeting activists and members of Hamas in Hebron. During the past three days, PCHR managed to observe and document the detention of approximately 60 civilians by the PSS and GIS. The new arrest campaign targeted traders, students, university professors, employees, muezzins, professionals from different fields, teachers and activists in charitable organizations. PCHR notes that those who have been arrested since late July have been denied access to family visitation and legal counsel. There is initial information that some of the detainees are subjected to maltreatment...."
The Nation: Docs Reveals Blackwater-Linked Companies Provided Intel & Security to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Chevron
With Amy Goodman
""Blackwater’s Black Ops"–that’s the title of an explosive new article in The Nation magazine that reveals how entities closely linked with the private security firm Blackwater have provided security and intelligence services to a range of powerful corporations over the past several years. The companies include Monsanto, Chevron, Deutsche Bank and others. Blackwater has also provided intelligence and training services to foreign governments, including Jordan, the Canadian military and the Dutch police. We speak with investigative journalist, Jeremy Scahill...."
Online Journal Contributing Writer
"WMR has learned from a deep background source that Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater, has been conducting false flag terrorist attacks in Pakistan that are later blamed on the entity called “Pakistani Taliban.”....
WMR has been informed that any American, whether or not he or she holds a security clearance, is subject to U.S. national security prohibitions from discussing the U.S.- sponsored terrorist attacks in Pakistan. In one case, a threat was made against an individual who personally witnessed the Xe/CIA terrorist operations but is now threatened, along with family members.
"We have reached a turning point in our history. The US and its allies are preparing to launch a nuclear war with devastating consequences.
During the Cold War, the concept of "mutual assured destruction" (MAD) was put forth. An understanding of the consequences of nuclear war largely contributed to avoiding the outbreak of war between the US and the Soviet Union.
Today, in the post-Cold war era, no such understanding prevails.
The spectre of a nuclear holocaust, which haunted the world for half a century has been relegated to the status of "collateral damage".
This military adventure in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.
While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to assess or fully comprehend the devastation which would result from a Third World War, using "new technologies" and advanced weapons systems, until it actually occurs and becomes a reality.
A sequence of US sponsored wars characterizes a period of our history euphemistically referred to as "the post-War era". The US led war in Afghanistan has been ongoing, in various stages, for thirty-one years. Iraq has been under US and allied military occupation for more than seven years.
We are living history but at the same time we are unable to comprehend the events which shape our future and which are currently unfolding in front of our very eyes.
The details of ongoing war preparations in relation to Iran have been withheld from the public eye. (See See Michel Chossudovsky, Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran, Global Research, August 1, 2010, Towards a World War III Scenario? The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran, August 13, 2010)
The media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Meanwhile, public opinion has its eyes rivetted on what might be described as "fake crises". ...."
".....That said, the image of the five men at the White House can easily be dissected as the following: a dictator, a monarch, a puppet and two heads of government responsible for the region's only military occupations -- not the best ingredients for making world peace.
Although not invited to the White House, the numerous grassroots movements across the Middle East present the best hope for bringing peace and justice to this region. And it's those increasingly popular movements that people around the world concerned with the fate of the Middle East should support. In the meantime, let the puppets and their masters walk on red carpets in Washington while the real change is made by those with their feet on the ground."
"Journalist Lauren Booth was on the first Free Gaza voyage and stayed to work in Gaza after the boats left. Her heartfelt letter to the people of Israel should be read by everyone who hopes for peace in the Middle East. This stunning video tribute to her words was designed and produced by the Free Gaza movement."
"....Yes, there is quite a lot to examine and if anyone is seriously interested in genuine threats against the United States AIPAC and the Israel Lobby are good places to start. But to do so would not be welcomed in many influential circles and there would be inevitable retaliation from the chattering class and the media. The well-funded Bipartisan Policy Center would attract the anger of some very powerful and wealthy people and would suddenly find itself less well-endowed as its supporters disappear. Instead of taking on the Lobby let’s follow the Center’s sage advice and amble down a more inviting and less controversial path. Let’s bomb the hell out of Iran shortly before locking up American Muslims in prison camps to keep them out of mischief. Such measures will undoubtedly stop nuclear proliferation and end the international terrorism problem while the friends of Israel will be able to sleep soundly in their beds knowing that they will not be troubled by the Bipartisan Policy Center."
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 16 September 2010
"....The US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell, has said that Hamas will have no role in the negotiations, leading many here to question how Gaza fits into the equation.
"Do they plan to get Gaza outside the Palestinian territories?" Anan, the computer engineer, asked.
In fact, a new Israeli policy document shows Israel intends to do just that. In a recent presentation from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) before the Turkel committee, the official goals of Israeli policy regarding Gaza were laid out in no uncertain terms: "Upholding civilian and economic limitations on Gaza, limiting people from entering or exiting the strip", and critically, "to separate the West Bank from Gaza"....."
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 15 September 2010
"....If the NDP gets its fixed parliament it should come at a price. And part of that price should be the mobilisation of the people: that the country, after the elections, should not be despondent. It should be angry – in time for the 2011 presidential elections."
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 16 September 2010
"There are those who lead and those who follow and the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram clearly feels that President Hosni Mubarak fits in to the former category.
When he was pictured with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, trailing behind Barack Obama on the red carpet at the White House recently, it was nothing Photoshop could not fix. So, on Tuesday, Al-Ahram published the same photo, taken at the 1 September launch of the latest Middle East peace process, but with Mubarak switched to the front of the procession. [That is Arab Leadership for You! Leadership by Photoshop! Next, Palestine will be liberated using Photoshop? Why not?]
The doctored photo has generated plenty of mirth since blogger WaELK revealed the deception, but Mubarak's political opponents are unamused. The 6 April Youth Movement said: "This is what the corrupt regime's media has been reduced to." It added that the newspaper had "crossed the line from being balanced and honest"....."
Human Rights Watch
"(Beirut) - Lebanon's judiciary is generally failing to hold employers accountable when they violate the basic rights of migrant domestic workers, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should adopt a plan to ensure that these workers can rely on Lebanese courts to protect their rights, Human Rights Watch said.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
"Illegal settlements on Palestinian land are one of the biggest stumbling blocks for these talks.
The Palestinians have warned that they will walk out of talks if a freeze on settlement construction, which is set to expire at the end of the month, is not extended.
Danni Dayan, Chairman of the Settlers Council in Jerusalem, and Jamal Jumaa, a Palestinian activist in Ramallah, debate the issues facing their leaders."
Online Journal Contributing Writer
"In his school-boyish Oval Office “Mission accomplished!” speech 31 August, United States President Barack Obama heaped faint praise on Bush’s invasion of Iraq, averring that no one could doubt Bush’s support for the troops, love of his country and commitment to its security when he wrote this most “remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq.” True, it was written at a “huge price” to the US (apparently it was provided free of charge for the fortunate Iraqis).....
The lack of fighter jet and battleship for his “Mission accomplished!” sound bite was just as symbolic as was Bush’s flight suit hubris. Obama is looking more and more like a White House caretaker, a prisoner of the Pentagon, if, in fact, he ever had any policy freedom in the first place. Hillary famously cracked, “Whatever Stanley [McChrystal] wants, give it to him.” Now, with the unceremonious dumping of McChrystal, Dave will most certainly get what he wants, and an early exit from Afghanistan is not on his checklist. On the contrary, he now wants to surge the surge with an extra 2,000 troops. So what are Obama/Petraeus’s real options?.....
The US has three choices at this point: the easy one is to just pull out and leave the Taliban to disarm the Western-created warlord militias and to work with the less odious members of the Karzai regime to create a viable regime in a peaceful, if very poor and devastated country.....
Its second option is to let the regional governments take over in stabilizing the current regime. This, however, would require a revolution in US thinking: mend fences between it and Iran. Iran is eager and willing to do just this and has been since it provided the US with valuable assistance in routing the Taliban after 9/11. Iran supports the Karzai regime, which is dominated by the Persian-speaking Tajiks, and strongly opposes making any deals with the Taliban. In a meeting in New Delhi in August, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Fathollahi said, “Empowering the military forces of Afghanistan and also the police of Afghanistan are points on which countries of the region should help, and Iran voices its readiness to help in this regard. . . . We don’t have any doubt in the capability of the government of Afghanistan.”
Sounds like Petraeus/Obama, right? The US plans to spend $11.6 billion next year and another $25b by 2015 precisely to create an Afghan army and policy force to support Karzai. Iran has offered to help do this. It holds the fate of this US endgame in its hands....."
"....What happens tomorrow?
Jumblatt, on the other hand, says the next move involves shuffling further along the road of Palestinian civil rights and tackling the issue of ownership and land.
"The next step will be the right to property; these people, even those who are refugees on our land, have a right to have a minimum level of belonging," he said. "We allow foreigners unlimited access of land to buy under the pretext of enhancing investment; why can't we give Palestinians the same right to inherit a house, for example?"
For AUB's Hanafi, the issues lay within the attitudes of the Lebanese society, as currently the Palestinians face an uphill struggle against discrimination. Rectifying the situation involves an increased amount of pressure on political parties across the board, coupled with campaigns backed by civil society movements.
"If things remain the way they are, it will make the Palestinian community hostile towards the host country and its legal framework," warned Hanafi. "This is not good. The Lebanese need to see how to integrate and not discriminate." Many young Palestinians, however, see little cause for hope.
"Living in these conditions shatters your dreams," said Khalife, the construction worker from Shatila. "There is nothing to look forward to, and no one has the opportunity to leave the camp. This country kills you.""
"QALANDIA CHECKPOINT, Occupied East Jerusalem, Sep 14, 2010 (IPS) - A thin Palestinian boy, no older than ten, darts between the piles of garbage and the congested lines of traffic which converge at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem.
He pleads with bus drivers to allow him on their buses so he can sell chewing gum at a pittance. When nobody buys any gum and the boy is ordered off the bus, he leaves on the verge of tears. Risking life and limb he then moves from car to car begging the frustrated drivers to purchase some of his goods.
Dozens of Palestinian youngsters can be seen on a daily basis at other East Jerusalem checkpoints and intersections – or scavenging through the ubiquitous garbage heaps for salvageable items – which they then try to sell to passing pedestrians and motorists.
Due to the endemic poverty in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, hundreds of Palestinian children are forced on to the streets by parents who are living below the poverty level in a desperate bid to eke out a few extra dollars to help their families survive.
These children should be in school securing a better future for themselves but Israel's discriminatory education policies between Jewish West Jerusalem and Palestinian East Jerusalem is driving these youngsters out of school – if they are lucky enough to be enrolled in the first place.....
Yet 40,000 Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are forced to attend private schools to obtain a decent education. Only 39,523 of 82,250 Palestinian pupils, accounting for 48.05 percent of the children, attend government schools.
Islamic organisations in East Jerusalem provide education for approximately eight percent of Palestinian children, while the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) also does its share.
"Many have to turn to private schools, and thousands who cannot afford to pay stay at home," the report adds......"
by Justin Raimondo, September 15, 2010
"The biggest obstacle to the success of the antiwar movement right now is the Obama cult – the fealty of his followers and well-wishers who want to give him the benefit of every doubt, and yet wonder why our foreign policy of perpetual war continues, virtually unchanged. After all, he seemed like he represented “change,” and he said he represented “change,” sincerity oozing from every pore, and yet …..
Change can and will come once the American people realize they’re being led over a cliff – because there are many “structural” obstacles to the continuation of that policy, first and foremost the looming bankruptcy of the American empire.
By Matthew Norman
"....Watching the Tea Party crush centrist Republicans in race after race regardless of the damage this will do the GOP in November, noting the fanaticism at the rallies headlined by Palin and Beck, and recalling from his own childhood the power of crazed but charismatic rhetoric over a middle class grown poor and confused in Wehrmacht Germany, Noam Chomsky sniffs fascism on the breeze.
If that sounds hysterical, please God that it is. But something dark and hateful is stirring in America, and it seems certain to grow as long as unemployment and poverty persist...."
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 15 September 2010
"....Despite the fact that a growing percentage of Egyptians are actively and courageously seeking political change, the vast majority of Muslims and Christians still share a sense of political disenfranchisement and disempowerment. Faced with this marginalisation, one of the few areas left to the individual is that of "morality". Moreover, faith that a greater power can provide deliverance from worldly oppression is something of a survival mechanism.
For its part, the government has found religion to be a double-edged sword. In its desperate bid to cloak itself with a veneer of legitimacy, the regime has been desperately juggling the conflicting roles of secular state, "defender of the faith", as well as the emblem of national unity and harmony.
But at least the Egyptian government is an egalitarian oppressor. And, so, instead of falling into the trap of attacking each other, Muslims and Christians should find common cause in fighting the system."
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"Tension and acrimony marked the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the US. Relations between Muslims and people of other faiths appear to have slipped to a new low with the controversies over Quran-burning and the proposed Islamic centre near 'ground zero' in New York City. Is the US becoming increasingly intolerant towards Islam?"
"....In a bitter irony, a US sponsored nuclear war directed against Iran is upheld as a means to avoid and curtail the risk of nuclear war.
The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace. "Making the World safer" is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.
But nuclear holocausts are not front page news! In the words of Mordechai Vanunu,
The Israeli government is preparing to use nuclear weapons in its next war with the Islamic world. Here where I live, people often talk of the Holocaust. But each and every nuclear bomb is a Holocaust in itself. It can kill, devastate cities, destroy entire peoples. (See interview with Mordechai Vanunu, December 2005).
Realities are turned upside down. In a twisted logic, a "humanitarian war" using tactical nuclear weapons, which according to "expert scientific opinion" are "harmless to the surrounding civilian population" is upheld as a means to protecting Israel and the Western World from a nuclear attack.
America's mini-nukes with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb are upheld by authoritative scientific opinion as a humanitarian bomb, whereas Iran's nonexistent nuclear weapons are branded as an indisputable threat to global security....."
"Back in June, a diplomatic source very close to these matters told me the following, as I reported on this blog at the time:
ووفقا لصحيفة أيديعوت أحرونوت فإن دحلان أدخل لمستشفى أسوتا الخاص في تل أبيب صباح أمس في أعقاب مشاكل صحية في ظهره، وأنه يرقد في قسم جراحة القلب والصدر.
غير أن مسؤولا في المستشفى قال إن دحلان حضر للفحص الطبي ولم يخضع لأي إجراءات طبية، وأنه يتم تقديم العلاج له بسرية تامة
".....The actual killing seems distant, almost unnoticeable, and we grow so accustomed to our remote roles that we hardly notice the rising antagonism caused by U.S. aerial attacks using remotely piloted drones. The drones fire missiles and drop bombs that incinerate people in the targeted area, many of them civilians whose only “crime” is to be living with their family.
Villagers in Afghanistan and Pakistan have little voice in the court of U.S. public opinion and no voice whatsoever in U.S. courts of law. Aiming to raise concern over U.S. usage of drones for targeted killings, 14 of us have been preparing for a trial here in Las Vegas, where we are charged under Nevada state law with having trespassed at Creech Air Force Base, in nearby Indian Springs.
The charges stem from an April, 2009 action when several dozen people held vigils at the main gate to Creech AFB for 10 days. One of our banners said, “Ground the Drones, Lest Ye Reap the Whirlwind.”....."
By John Lichfield in Paris
"In a scandal having many parallels with the Watergate affair, President Nicolas Sarkozy was accused by France's most prestigious newspaper yesterday of illegally using the counter-intelligence service to muzzle the press.
guardian.co.uk, Monday 13 September 2010
"Saudi Arabia may be a miserable place to live, but it's not very often that a Saudi diplomat seeks refuge in the United States. The last time it happened was in 1994.
"تنتشر في الضفة الغربية إعلانات دعائية خاصة بمؤسسة ال US AID، والتي تهدف إلى صناعة صورة جميلة لهذه المؤسسة، وترسيخ انطباع بأنها تعمل لخير الشعب الفلسطيني باسم الشعب الأمريكي.
حيثما تجول المرء في الضفة الغربية يرى إعلانات دعائية ضخمة تحمل صورة فلسطيني أو فلسطينية يوجه الشكر لمؤسسة الـ US AID، ويؤكد أو تؤكد على العمل يدا بيد بين الشعبين الفلسطيني والأمريكي، وأن بهذا يتم التقدم والرخاء، أو على الأقل تحسين أوضاع الشعب الفلسطيني المعيشية.
وواضح من الصور أن ابتسامات ضخمة تظهر على وجوه الفلسطينيين مما يشير إلى أن قلوبهم مفعمة بالبهجة والسرور. والإيحاء واضح وجلي وهو أنه لولا خيرات الولايات المتحدة لما ارتسمت الابتسامات.
ما هي منظمة US AID
أنشئت هذه المنظمة في الخمسينيات كذراع من أذرع خطة مارشال لإعمار أوروبا، وهي تعني الوكالة الأمريكية للتنمية العالمية. وقد أعلنت الولايات المتحدة أن الهدف من إنشائها هو تقديم المساعدات الإنسانية للدول والشعوب المحتاجة أو المنكوبة، ودعم سياسة الولايات المتحدة الخارجية من خلال الترويج للديمقراطية والرأسمالية والتجارة الحرة.
هذه المنظمة منظمة حكومية، تدعي الولايات المتحدة أنها مستقلة، لكنها في الحقيقة تتبع وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية، وتنسق أعمالها مع وزير الخارجية الأمريكية بهدف دعم المصالح الأمريكية في مختلف بقاع الأرض. تخصص حكومة الولايات المتحدة تقريبا 0.5% من ميزانيتها لهذه المنظمة.
أعمال الـ US AID
تقدم مؤسسة الـ US AID مساعدات متنوعة الأوجه للعديد من دول وشعوب العالم. فمثلا هي موجودة في باكستان للمساعدة في التخفيف من آلام الفياضانات، وتواجدت بسرعة في هاييتي للتغلب على آثار الزلزال المدمر، وتتواجد في مناطق كثيرة منكوبة بالجوع أو الجهل أو بالكوارث الطبيعية، وتقدم الدعم المادي والمالي.
تساعد ال US AID في بناء الطرق والمدارس والعيادات الصحية والمراكز الاجتماعية. وتقدم مساعدات للمعوزين والمنكوبين، وتساهم في بناء شبكات الكهرباء والماء، الخ.
يخطئ من يظن أن هذه المؤسسة لا ترفع المعاناة عن بعض الناس، أو يحاول تجاوز دورها الإنساني في بقاع كثيرة من العالم. لكن يجب ألا يغفل عن دورها السياسي في دعم السياسة الخارجية الأمريكية، وتوجيه صرف الأموال بالطريقة التي تخدم هذه السياسة.
عمل الـ US AID في فلسطين
تنشط هذه المؤسسة في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة منذ سنوات طويلة، وهي الآن نشطة فقط بالضفة الغربية لأن غزة أصبحت خارج الاستحقاق وفق رؤية السياسة الخارجية الأمريكية.
في الضفة الغربية، تمول هذه المؤسسة بناء طرق، وقد شقت بعض الطرق، وعبدت أخرى، وأعادت تأهيل عدد آخر. وهي تساهم في بناء مدارس وعيادات صحية ومراكز اجتماعية في مختلف مناطق الضفة الغربية من جنين حتى الخليل، ومن قلقيلية حتى أريحا.
في المقابل، هناك شروط تشترطها الـ US AID من أجل صرف الأموال، وهي تتلخص بالتالي:
1- على المؤسسة الفلسطينية التي ترغب بالحصول على عون مادي أن توقع وثيقة تسمى بوثيقة مناهضة الإرهاب. أي على الفلسطينيين أن يقروا بأنهم ضد الإرهاب (أي المقاومة الفلسطينية)، وأن يوقعوا على ذلك لكي يحصلوا على عون. وقد وقعت العديد من المؤسسات الفلسطينية على ذلك وحصلت على أموال، بينما لم توقع مؤسسات أخرى ولم تحصل على مساعدات.
2- لا يتم توظيف أي فلسطيني في مؤسسة الـ US AID إلا إذا كان موقفه واضحا ضد المقاومة الفلسطينية وحمل السلاح في وجه المحتلين.
3- تقوم المؤسسة بفحص سجل الشخص المعني أو الجمعية الأمني، وهي تلجأ إلى مؤسسات الأمن الإسرائيلية والفلسطينية لتقدم لها المعلومات الوافية. وإذا ثبت أن للشخص أو الجهة تراثا وطنيا ما زال يتمسك به فإن الأموال تبقى بعيدة المنال، وإذا تأكد أن الشخص أو الجهة من السقط أو ممن تخلوا عن تراثهم الوطني وجنحوا نحو اتفاق أوسلو فإن الأموال تجد طريقها إليهم.
4- يتم ربط صرف الأموال أحيانا بالتطبيع، وأن على طالب المساعدة أن يقوم بأعمال مشتركة مع الصهاينة وذلك لتعزيز التطبيع مع عدونا الصهيوني. وهناك بالطبع من يقبلون، ويقومون بنشاطات التطبيع.
مؤسسة الـ US AID في فلسطين لا تقوم بأعمال بعيدة عن أهداف الولايات المتحدة السياسية، ولا تقدم أموالا لله كصدقة آنية أو جارية، وإنما تقدم الأموال لتحقيق أهداف واضحة منسجمة تماما مع رؤية الولايات المتحدة، وتتلخص بالتالي:
أ- تعزيز المشروع الإسرائيلي الأمريكي بشأن القضية الفلسطينية والذي يهدف إلى تذويب القضية وليس حلها من خلال تحويل الفلسطينيين إلى عاهات تقتات من جيوب الآخرين.
ب- ملاحقة المقاومة الفلسطينية وضرب بناها التحتية، وتحويل الفلسطينيين إلى مجرد مستسلمين يتوسلون من المحتل بعض الشفقة.
ت- تعزيز مواقع المؤمنين بالسلام مع إسرائيل على اعتبار أن لا طريق أمام ذلك السلام إلا طريق التفاوض العبثي.
ث- تعزيز أدوار المطبعين مع إسرائيل وتمكينهم من رقاب الشعب الفلسطيني.
ج- دعم التابعين لها في السلطة الفلسطينية، والعمل على تحسين صورهم من أجل أن يكونوا مقبولين شعبيا.
المقصد الأمريكي واضح وهو تذليل الشعب الفلسطيني، والـ US AID تستعمل الأموال للمساهمة في هذا التذليل. والهدف النهائي هو أن يصبح الشعب الفلسطيني معلقا بأموال الغير بدل أن يكون متمسكا بحقوقه الوطنية الثابتة، والمساهمة في تحويل شعار "نجوع ولا نركع" إلى شعار "نركع ولا نجوع".
سيجادل فلسطيني متمرغ بأموال الـ US AID بأن فلسطين مباعة، وأن نضالات الشعب قد ضاعت سدى، فهل نبقى نتغنى بالحقوق الفلسطينية أم نأخذ الأموال الأمريكية التي تساهم في تحسين حياتنا اليومية وتسهيلها؟ فلسطين قد ذهبت، فهل نخسرها ونخسر المساعدات، أم نأخذ ما يمكن الحصول عليه؟ هذا منطق دمر الشعب الفلسطيني، وشعار إنقاذ ما يمكن إنقاذه ورطنا بالمزيد، وزاد همومنا وآلامنا.
الشعوب الحية هي التي تأبى الاعتماد على الآخرين، وتأبى التخلي عن حريتها من أجل المال أو الطعام، وهي شعوب لا تعدم وسيلة فيما إذا قررت الحياة. وإذا لم يكن الأمر كذلك لانهارت أمم وانتهت، وتحولت إلى مجرد مطايا وعبيد تسوقها أمم أخرى تكد وتتعب وتنتج.
الشعب لا يعدم وسيلة للوقوف على أقدامه، ولا شيء يقف في طريقه إذا تسلّح بالإيمان والإرادة على العمل، أما إذا بقي يتمطى ويتمغط ويسأل من أين نأتي بالمال فإنه لن يورط نفسه إلا بالمزيد من الأوحال والإذلال.
نحن لدينا قيادات امتهنت التنظير للهزيمة والتقاعس والتخاذل، وهي القيادات التي تسأل دائما: ما هو البديل؟ من أين نأكل؟ كيف نحصل على سلاح؟ الخ. هذه قيادات وُجدت من أجل بث فكر الهزيمة والتخاذل، لا شك أنها حققت نجاحا إلى حد ما.
أقول لكم: ليخزي الله الشعب الذي لا بدائل لديه من أجل أن يبقى عزيزا كريما، والخبز لا يصنعه في النهاية إلا الأحرار. الأنذال يأكلون الخبز، لكنه مغمس بالعار، وسيأتي يوم يلقيهم رب خبزهم في المزبلة.
ثمن مساعدات ال US AID
شقت ال US AID شوارع جميلة، وأقامت عيادات، وبنت دور قضاء، لكن هذا ثمن الوطن أيها الناس. إنهم يستدرجون الناس إلى الهاوية، فهل نغير ما نحن فيه، أم نبقى على غي نحن به عالمون؟
"There is no such thing as "Israeli Nationality". Israeli citizens are categorized according to "nationalities" that in fact represent their religion affiliations or ethnic origins. Rare challenges to this anomaly from within Israel are crushed (if raised by Arabs) or ignored (if the challengers are Jews). The state accords a privileged status to the "Jewish Nationality" which may be certified only by the authorities of the Orthodox rabbinate.
As Netanyahu, a seemingly secular, smart and sophisticated modern man, and the overwhelming majority of Israeli-Jewish citizens know only too well, the concept of the "nation state for the Jewish People" entails green light for human rights violations sanctioned by the strict, undemocratic and openly xenophobic decries of a very ancient, unreformed and outdated religion."
Monday, September 13, 2010
In Depth Al-Jazeera Feature
By Andrew Wander
"On a dull December day in 2009, Rabiha al Qassab, a 63-year-old Iraqi refugee living in a quiet residential area of north London, received a telephone call that marked the beginning of a new nightmare for a family already torn apart by Iraq's political upheavals.
Her 68-year-old husband, Ramze Shihab Ahmed, had been arrested while on a visit to Iraq, and no-one knew where he was being held or what, if anything, he had been charged with.
Nine months later, Ramze is still languishing in legal limbo in a Baghdad prison. His story lays bare the horrific abuses and lack of legal process that characterise post-Saddam Iraq's detention system....
Torture and abuse
Rabiha called the embassy, and by April, a consular official had been allowed to meet with Ramze. Rabiha's initial relief at having found her husband quickly turned to horror as she learned he had been subjected to brutal torture to make him confess to involvement in terrorism.
"They beat him. They put a plastic bag on his head until he lost consciousness, and then they woke him with electric shocks. They told him that if he didn't confess, they would make his son rape him. They put a wooden stick into his anus," she says. "They have abused him in every way."
After days of torture, Ramze signed a confession admitting to being a member of al- Qaeda in Iraq, a claim Rabiha says is absurd. "He would see the bombings on television and say 'what sort of Islam is this?'" she says. "He was very sorry for all the people who died."
Human rights experts say that Ramze's story is far from unique. In a new report on mistreatment in the Iraqi prison system, entitled New Order, Same Abuses, Amnesty International estimates that around 30,000 people are currently being held without charge or trial in Iraq. Many are being tortured with impunity, the group says....."