Saturday, August 19, 2006


(Art: Nicolas Vial / Le Monde, Paris)

World Council of Churches calls for divestment from Israel

The World Council of Churches, the main global body uniting non-Catholic Christians, encouraged members Tuesday to sell off investments in companies profiting from Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Council's Central Committee, meeting in Geneva, praised the United States Presbyterian Church for examining the possibility of divestment in Israel similar to the financial boycott it used against the apartheid regime in South Africa two decades ago.

The Presbyterian threat, which echoes divestment debates at some U.S. universities, has set off a wave of dissent in the church and angered American Jewish leaders.

But the Central Committee, in a document approved at a week-long meeting at WCC headquarters that ended on Tuesday, highlighted the divestment push and encouraged other member churches to consider doing the same.

"This action is commendable in both method and manner, uses criteria rooted in faith and calls members to do the 'things that make for peace'," it declared, quoting St. Luke's Gospel. Continued.

Meanwhile, in Gaza

(I know this is long but you have to register to read it all on Haaretz.)

By Gideon Levy

The Gaza Strip has been completely closed to Israeli journalists for the last two months or so, since soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted. Not that hordes of these journalists have been gathering en masse at the Erez border crossing. Israel has been engrossed in another war, and even during normal times, it averts its gaze from what goes on in Gaza. However, the Israel Defense Forces has been operating quite energetically there recently, with no Israeli eyes keeping track of what it is doing. This week, as if with the wave of a magic wand, the media closure was lifted − which, it should be noted, is to the credit of the IDF.

A visit after this "forced vacation" reveals what one can see in Gaza, but also what one cannot see. The worst fears have proved false. We did not see scenes of horrifying mass destruction. Nor, contrary to our expectations, did we spot any signs of Nasrallah: no posters in the streets and no demolished neighborhoods, at least not in the northern or central Gaza Strip.

We did, however, see quite a lot of rubble, some inexplicable, such as the ruins of a once-flourishing sewing factory owned by Ahmed Abed al-Jawad, who makes garments for the Israeli fashion industry and has a "Jewish mentality," by his own definition. He employed 70 workers in the Muazi refugee camp, in the heart of the Gaza Strip. The bulldozers cruelly buried his life's work, and half a million shekels, he says, went down the drain.

Gaza looks even dirtier and more neglected than usual. Signs of the Israeli and international boycott can be seen in the piles of garbage that fill the streets: No salaries means no street cleaners. Cooking gas is difficult to come by, electricity is available only a few hours a day − after all, Israel, in its kindhearted wisdom, bombed the transformers. Generators for the rich and oil lanterns for the poor are highly sought-after commodities.

Fisherman like fish and the Israeli Air Force likes bridges: Not only did the IAF destroy the largest bridge in the Strip, in order to split the territory in half, but it also bombed a railway bridge, one over which no train has traveled for dozens of years.

Gaza does not appear to be interested in the war in Lebanon; it's not their war. Here, they are more concerned with when and where the army of tanks and bulldozers will invade tomorrow, how to find the money to buy school uniforms and bags for the school year that begins in two weeks' time, and how they'll make it through the upcoming month of Ramadan.

On the streets today, only one picture of Nasrallah can be seen, in a poster shop in the center of town. The firing of Qassam rockets has also diminished, although a Grad missile was fired at Ashkelon on Monday.

In the desolate Erez industrial zone, children toil at dismantling the remaining bricks for recycling; wall after wall, they demolish the dream that has gone up in smoke. Shimon Peres can still wax poetic about the "joint projects" and about a "free trade zone," but Erez is in ruins.

"Gaza is a garden compared to Lebanon," says M., our regular taxi driver.

A garden − a withered, blighted garden, enveloped in grief and suffering, bearing both in silence as this hot and lethal summer draws to a close.

The wall of a school has been destroyed, there are shattered tombstones in the cemetery and an endless number of homes with gaping holes in them. In the footsteps of the fighters: This is the route taken by IDF tanks and bulldozers through Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia, the towns in the northern Gaza Strip, in their search for Qassam rocket "launch sites."

Crushed cars, looking like crumpled soda cans, lie at the side of the road. The tank's revenge. Here is the home of the Al-Masri family in Beit Hanoun: 13 souls and one tank that plowed through the living room as it went on its way. It drove forward and backward − and the corner house was gone. Why? What happened? Now 13 people are homeless.

They sit among the ruins of what was once their home, with no ceiling, no hope. Youssef-Shafiq, the father, says in poetic Hebrew: "On Monday, July 17, this huge tank came. It passed once, passed twice; on Monday, it entered the house. We were sitting where we are sitting now. We yelled: Stop! Stop! He didn't hear. Iron crushed iron. He doesn't hear, doesn't know. He doesn't know old people, doesn't know children, doesn't know women − just moves forward and destroys, destroys and goes. I have never seen a human being like that. He has no pity. There is no person like that in the world. He drove backward and did it deliberately. The girl stood like a pillar in front of the tank. She saw the tank with her own eyes."

In the end, they ran for their lives. Youssef-Shafiq "works at being unemployed," after having had a job in Yavne and Ashdod for 15 years. The ceiling fan now hangs by a thread, also bent and crumpled.

"What do they say in Israel? What do they see? What do people there say? We see the Jews crying over a one-year-old child. Why don't you tell your government: We cry over our children. Maybe they cry over their children? What's the matter with you? Only weapons? We worked in Israel. We know you. Why do the people destroy inside the house? The Al-Masri family was inside the house. Six boys and five girls, a father and mother, and we were in the house."

The entire street bears the scars left by the tanks and bulldozers. Hardly a wall remains intact. The street is wide enough for a Merkava 3 tank to move through, but who gives a damn?

And what happened in the home of the Shurafa family in nearby Beit Lahia? Four apartments for four brothers − Khaled, Ibrahim, Nafez and Mohammed and their children, about 50 people in all. A fairly nice-looking apartment building. A missile or bomb fell on it from a plane in the middle of the night. The entire building and everything in it was destroyed, and those that lived there have been forced to move in with relatives.

Family members say that that they received a warning by cell phone on August 7 from the IDF − 10 minutes to evacuate, 10 minutes till the bombing − in the middle of the night. Now the entire structure is ruined, with its blue and brown tiles in the bathrooms. The neighbors' homes were also damaged in the explosion.

Response of the IDF Spokesperson: "On August 7, the home of Mohammed Shurafa, which according to IDF intelligence served as a warehouse for arms for the terrorist organizations, was attacked. The IDF repeatedly warned the Palestinian population, for the sake of their own personal safety, to refrain from remaining in buildings used by the terror organizations. The warning is carried out in a number of ways: pamphlets, communications via the coordinating and liaison parties with their Palestinian counterparts, and the media as well as specific telephone messages. The IDF is careful to make sure that a reasonable period of time elapses from the time of the warning until the time of the attack, to enable the residents to leave and distance themselves from the area of danger."

The traffic lights don't work. There is no electricity. Unpaid traffic policemen seem to be the alternative to progress in the modern age. On the way south, along Saladin Street, you go down to a wadi, to bypass the monstrous concrete bridge that now looks like a collapsed house of cards. In the summer, it is still possible to go around it, but what will happen in the winter? Why did they have to bomb it? And the railway bridge, too?

The Mabruk home in the Muazi refugee camp. Home? Not quite. More like a shack. Dark-skinned family members on the background of a scene that resembles an African disaster area. A refugee camp planted on the sand, and the destroyed Mabruk home. As misfortune would have it, it too is a corner house, which is what perhaps doomed it.

The mother, Fatma, describes the events of Wednesday, July 19: "We were inside the house and we heard the sounds of the tanks from the direction of the olive trees. We hid in the next room and the bulldozer approached. We began to shout, so that he would hear that there were people in the house. We took out a white flag, so that he would see that we were in the house. They took us outside and we saw everyone running in the direction of the camp. We hid with the neighbors. On Friday we returned and found the house destroyed. No cupboard, no television, no washing machine. The refrigerator was on the floor."

A wedding picture still hangs on the bedroom wall, a final relic. Where will they go? What was their sin? No one came from the tax authorities to compensate them and they didn't receive any packages from the Supersol either.

This is where Ahmed Abed al-Jawad's textile factory was, on the outskirts of the Muazi camp. Only the labels for Madness Collection, Sack's, Zoom, Kookai − the trendiest fashions − can still be seen lying in the sand. Nothing else remains of the factory. It was all demolished and the debris removed.

The 2006 collection. Dozens of sewing machines are no more; 70 people's livelihoods have been crushed by IDF bulldozers. Farmer Majed Sa'id is now trying to fix the water pipes in the orchards that the IDF uprooted. He will soon replant the lemons and grapefruits. "It is not because of the Qassams, but rather so that the Israeli people will be satisfied that they caused the destruction here," says the farmer wearing a white T-shirt that says: "Gaza today, the West Bank and Jerusalem tomorrow."

The owner of the factory, Al-Jawad, emerges from the large building across the way, with its three floors of shiny brown tiles. A crushed child's bicycle stands in front of the building, whose shattered windows are covered with black fabric.

He is 43 years old and wears a fashionable blue shirt and plastic clogs, an all-Israeli look, smoking a Lucky Strike, speaking fluent Hebrew. Twenty years ago, when he himself worked in a sewing factory, he met Tikva Tzalah of Holon. He successfully managed Tzalah's factory in the Erez industrial zone, and when the factory there was closed, like all the Israeli-Palestinian ventures, Tzalah offered him the machines so he could set up a business in Gaza. Al-Jawad established a small sewing factory in his camp, and exactly a year ago, after the "work was going well," he explained, he set up the new factory near the orchard, 500 square meters, 150 sewing machines, two shifts, the last word. "I sewed for all the Israeli companies. You name them. Whatever the Israeli girls like, we sewed. And then came the great catastrophe."

On July 19, at 1 A.M., tanks and bulldozers entered the camp with a roar. Al-Jawad, his wife and their eight children hid under the sink in the bathroom. The children have been traumatized ever since.

"We were under fire until 7 A.M.," he says. "Then I saw that it was dangerous to remain under the sink, so I told my wife and children, 'Let's go hide on the stairs.' I once heard from Tikva that the safest place is behind the stairs, that it is a protected space. It turns out that it wasn't protected, so we went upstairs, to the second floor.

"At 7 A.M. I called Tikva. I told her: They are destroying our business. She said: Ahmed, what can I do? At 10 A.M., I peeked out the window and saw the bulldozer start to take down the roof of the business. Then I fainted. At that moment, I passed out for a couple of minutes. My wife poured water on me and the children began to cry. Instead of me encouraging them and strengthening them, they began to encourage and strengthen me. Ten minutes later, I came back to my senses. This situation lasted until 4 P.M. I saw about 100 tanks, no exaggeration. The entire area was filled with tanks.

"There were a few small children who thought that this was only a game and they started to throw stones at the tanks. I told my wife: It's all over for us. That's what I really thought. The tanks approached the house and the bulldozers destroyed the fence. They destroyed a building I had with goats and doves in the yard, together with the goats and doves inside. I told my family: 'That's it. It's over. Our story is finished. Children, our story is finished. Be strong. God is above us.' They all started to cry. It is impossible to describe what it was like. It's you and the children.

"This situation went on for a quarter of an hour until everything fell silent. A neighbor went outside with a white flag and we saw it and also went outside. Now I could see the tank sitting on top of my business. They completely erased it. I ran to the neighbors, and that's the whole story.

"No Qassams have been fired from this area. It is the quietest place in the camp. It was a place people came to for leisure, because of all the green and the trees and the tranquillity. After that, the neighbors told me that the soldiers knocked on the door after we left and then blew in the door and went inside. What didn't they do in the house? A mess. Their shoes with all the dirt, they ripped up the sofas, took down the curtains, they broke all the children's bureaus, and to top it off, they crapped on the clothes. That is the army's job, but why destroy things? And they commandeered the house from Thursday till Saturday.

"I have an Israeli mentality. Because of the television, the telephone calls to Israel all the time, the people I work with. I was more Jewish in my mind than a Jew. Until now. This will not change my mind. But I expect the State of Israel to look at me logically. Not to throw me to the dogs. It's a shame. It's a shame to lose a fellow like me who worked all these years making pretty things for the State of Israel. For 20 years, I build up the business, never even raise my eyes, and at one fell swoop, they destroy everything. Without talking. Without letting me know.

"The neighbors say that the soldiers opened the business and saw all the sewing machines and merchandise packed and ready to be sent to Israel and they destroyed the entire area, and then came back. Didn't they think about what would happen to the people? To the owner? To the workers? To the people in Israel that count on me the entire season? After all, the army and Shin Bet know every single person here. They know what they eat for breakfast and what they have for supper. So what − they don't know me? What I do and what I don't do? This kind of irresponsibility should never happen. But it did."

Response of the IDF Spokesperson: "On July 19, the IDF took action against terror infrastructures active inside the Muazi refugee camp and which use its inhabitants as human shields. During the operation, the IDF used heavy machinery to protect the soldiers, and if necessary, to destroy buildings that serve the terror infrastructures. It is possible that while moving within the densely constructed area, unintentional damage was caused to buildings."

"Unintentional damage? While moving? A densely constructed area? It was a beautiful place," sighs Al-Jawad, picking up yet another Madness Collection label from the sand.

Meanwhile in Palestine

Israeli Apartheid: The striking parallels to South Africa

Jerusalem's Shu'fat Refugee Camp residents appealing for water

Israel Arrests Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister

Palestinian farmer killed in Gaza; Friday's death toll rises to seven

Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinians with Nasrallah screen savers on their mobile phones

Chavez launches fundraising drive for Lebanon, Palestinians

Army storms charitable society offices in Hebron

Gaza border crossing re-opens for humanitarian cases

Off the Battlefield, Hezbollah Provides Aid

Click here to watch.

Chavez: Lebanon destroyed by genocidal hand of Israel

Venezuelan president announces nationwide fundraising drive to raise money for rebuilding Lebanon and for Palestinians; calls Lebanese ‘heroic people’. Continued.

One in Ten Israeli Tanks Destroyed By Hezbollah

One-tenth of the Israeli tanks that took part in the Lebanon war were destroyed or disabled, a military study found.

According to Armored Corps data published Thursday, Hezbollah anti-armor missiles penetrated 20 Israeli tanks during the monthlong war, killing 17 crewmen. Another 13 crewmen were killed when land mines destroyed or disabled their tanks. The number of tank crewmen wounded was in the double digits.

The high toll of the war on Israel’s Armored Corps was a shock to top military brass, especially given the fact that Hezbollah has no tanks.

Some experts said the tanks dispatched to Lebanon were older, less protected versions of the locally made Merkava. Two Israeli arms firms now have speeded up work on a tank anti-missile system.

The De-Zionization of the American Mind

Americans are constantly told that they have to defend themselves against people who “hate them”, but without understanding why they are hated. Is the cause our secular democracy? Our appetite for oil? There are lots of democracies in the world that are far more secular than the United States (Sweden, France ...) and lots of places that want to buy oil at the best possible price (China) without arousing any noticeable hatred in the Middle East. Continued.

Iraqi Kids Imprisoned, U.S. Official Says

By UPI Wire
Aug 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2006 (UPI) -- The U.S.-led coalition is ignoring innocent children being held and sometimes abused in Iraqi juvenile prisons, a State Department official says.

"These are not hardened criminals or terrorists," wrote Marshall Adame, an official with the National Coordination Team based out of Camp Victory in Iraq, in a personal detailed report he published on an Internet Web log.

He added there were reports of "physical and other abuse" in the prison, but the U.S.-led coalition considered the issue "not our urgent business."

Adame, a retired U.S. Marine who has two sons who served in Iraq, told The Washington Times he published his report, titled "Six Blunders we made in Iraq we can still fix," because he wanted it to be part of the public record.

The State Department had no immediate comment.

U.S. Officer: Murder Of Iraqi Women And Children Routine

The Marine officer who commanded the battalion involved in the Haditha killings last November did not consider the deaths of 24 Iraqis, many of them women and children, unusual and did not initiate an inquiry, according to a sworn statement he gave to military investigators in March. Continued.

(Does he think that raping little girls and setting them on fire is also routine?)

No wonder the UN can't find volunteers, By Robert Fisk

Israel is keen to see the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, which demand the disarmament of Hizbollah - an organisation which Israel so dismally failed to disarm over the past six weeks after wrecking Lebanon and slaughtering more than a thousand Lebanese civilians.

And I have to say that there is a certain irony in watching Israel's diplomats paying such close attention to the wording of these resolutions and the need to abide by them after they have spent years trashing the very same UN force in Lebanon that is supposed to protect them in future.

Unifil, the so-called United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon, has been sitting in the south of the country for 28 years and has been the butt of Israel's jokes and slander and calumny for all of that time. I recall how the Israelis claimed that the Irish battalion - since withdrawn - were drunk or anti-semitic, how UN officers lied, how a Fijian commander was spreading syphilis among the women of Qana, the town whose inhabitants have just been massacred by Israel's forces for the second time in a decade. Continued.

Eyewitness in Lebanon

Lebanese journalist Omar Nachabe's eyewitness video of the destruction of villages in south Lebanon including Bint Jbeil.

As part of a number of journalists who entered Bint Jbeil to discover civilians still living amongst the rubble of their destroyed town.

Evidence of Israel's scorched earth policy.

I was given this video by Omar last night in the hope that it will help bring the necessary changes in our disgusting foreign policy. Please help, let all your friends know of this video. A DVD copy is available for screenings. If you are interested in getting a copy e-mail we will forward your details to the producers.

Lebanese village in ruins

"We were forgotten"

"The world must hear our story"

The BBC's Fergal Keane visited the Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil where scores of houses have been destroyed.

08/01/06 BBC News Report

“Honor First”; the liberation of Lebanon

By Mike Whitney

To confront this accursed plan, to thwart the goals of this war, to fight the battle to liberate, what remains of our land and our prisoners, I state categorically under no circumstances will we accept any term that is insulting to our country, our people, or our resistance. We will not accept any formula at the expense of the national interest, national sovereignty and national independence, especially after all these sacrifices, no matter how long the confrontation lasts and no matter how numerous the sacrifices may be. Our main and true slogan is Honor First”. Sheik Hassan Nasrallah

The resistance is a weapon at the service of the entire nation. It has never acted against anyone but the Israeli occupation.Talal Salman “A Guarantee Of Victory

08/19/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- One picture tells the whole story. The photograph shows a long column of Israeli soldiers, grimy and bedraggled, limping southwards towards the Israeli border. The lead soldier looks vacuously at the camera with an expression of pure gloom and fatigue. In the background a soldier is seen comforting another who is crying inconsolably.

This is what defeat looks like.

Back in Israel, the headlines are splattered with every detail of the ongoing withdrawal from Lebanon. The op-ed pages and talk shows lash out at anyone even remotely involved with the month-long debacle. Prime Minister Olmert has become the favorite target of the media’s scathing criticism and the brunt of every joke. His public approval has dipped from a pre-war high of 80% to a meager 40%. Meanwhile, political rival Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity has soared to a hearty 57% making him the likely successor if Olmert is forced to step down.

Israel is drowning in collective angst and self-pity. The defeat has shattered the national sense of self confidence and well being. A joke that is circulating in Tel Aviv opines that Ariel Sharon’s condition suddenly worsened “when he found out what was happening in Lebanon.”

The punch-line epitomizes the general state of malaise in Israel.

The coverage of the Lebanon fiasco in the Israeli media is alternately narcissistic and hysterical. The details of the massive destruction to Lebanon’s civil infrastructure and environment are brushed aside as inconsequential; the 1,300 civilian deaths, irrelevant. The only thing that matters is Israeli suffering; everything else is trivial. While Lebanon is busy digging out another 300 or so corpses from the rubble of their destroyed homes, Israel is preoccupied with its loss of “deterrents” or its battered sense of “invincibility”.

It is an interesting study in the prevailing megalomania of Israeli society, a culture as pathologically self-absorbed as its American ally. It’s no wonder security is so hard to come by when people are so lacking in empathy.

In Lebanon, the extent of the damage is just beginning to be grasped. Whole cities in the south have been laid to waste and most of the vital infrastructure has been ruined. Barucha Peller summed it up this way in a Counterpunch article “This Pain has no Ceasefire”:

“The walls of homes that once protected families and cradled their lives are now in pieces, shreds, fine dust. Sift through the rubble. Kick the rubble. Stand still, silent, alone with the absoluteness of destruction and accompanied by the millions of shattered pieces of everything that was here before. Leave the rubble. Try to forget. Walk away from the terrible sight. But your mind is in pieces, lives in pieces, people who never again will stand in the doorway with greetings. You can walk away. There is a ceasefire. But missiles fall, they fall, not from the skies, but behind Lebanese eyes, they fall forever in memory, they are still crashing into what once was.”

“The absoluteness of destruction”; the faces that will never reappear “in the doorway”; this nagging, life-long suffering goes unrecorded in the Israeli media where the national obsession has turned to finger-pointing and empty recriminations. The lives and the civilization that’s been decimated are a mere footnote to Israel’s violated sense of security and the humiliation of losing to an Arab adversary. Looking at the papers, it’s easy to believe that the entire population is completely unaware of the misery they’ve caused. Instead, one gets the uneasy feeling that the anger is just beginning to mount and could wash across Lebanon in a second wave of hostilities.

Lebanon has been an embarrassing defeat for Israel, but this is probably just Round One. As public rage grows, it will be more and more tempting for Olmert to disregard the ceasefire and go on the offensive. He needs some way to acquit himself in the eyes of his people and revenge is an unfailing cure-all. He also needs to prove that he can be a reliable ally to the Bush team who gave him carte blanche to pulverize Hezbollah while they stalled the ceasefire at the UN. Israel needs to show that they can hold up their end of the bargain by cleaning up matters in their own back yard. Olmert’s failure will not go down well with the Washington neocons who’ve worked tirelessly to provide him with all the weaponry and support he needed.

According to Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Israel originally planned an attack on Lebanon for September or October. This would have added an element of surprise to the war which could have been disastrous for Lebanon. It also may have affected the results of the 2006 congressional elections in the US.

The Bush administration has made no effort to conceal their involvement in the conflict. They provided logistical and material support in the form of satellite-intelligence and precision-guided missiles, and they blocked all efforts at the UN for an immediate ceasefire. Bush has stubbornly portrayed the war as “part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror”, but his platitudes have had less impact on public perceptions than the photos of bombed-out airports, bridges and factories which appear daily in the media.

The biggest champion of the war has been Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who characterized the vast and premeditated devastation as “birth pangs”. There now hangs a banner in downtown Beirut with a ghoulish picture of Rice with fangs dripping with blood which says, “The massacre of children at Qana is a gift from Rice”. The Farragamo-draped princess has quickly become the most reviled diplomat in US history. Move over Henry Kissinger.

It’s no surprise that she was rebuffed by President Siniora and told she wasn’t welcome in Lebanon until the terms of a ceasefire were in place.

Rice’s most revealing statement appeared in a USA Today article when she admitted that the Bush administration saw the conflict as an “opportunity to create a fundamentally different situation” in the Middle East.

“Opportunity”? Is that how the Washington mandarins see the utter destruction of an American-friendly ally?

Condi’s bromides only confirm Nasrallah’s claims that the plan to invade Lebanon is actually part of a broader strategy for establishing US/Israeli hegemony throughout the region so that they can “exclusively manage its affairs and resources”. The main obstacles to this “New Middle East” are the resistance organizations Hamas and Hezbollah as well as Syria and Iran. Bush and Olmert conspired to disarm Hezbollah by pushing Syria out of Lebanon and creating a political climate where (they believed) Hezbollah would be forced to give up their weapons.

Their plan failed. Hezbollah joined the government but maintained its guerilla network at the same time; accumulating the Katyushas and sophisticated anti-tank rockets it needed to take on Israel’s advancing army. It should be noted that Hezbollah was the only entity in Lebanon that wasn’t swept up in the heady revival of Beirut and vigilantly awaited Israel’s next rampage.

Their success in battling Israel is due in large part to the Russian-made Kornet anti-tank rockets they obtained from Syria. As reported in the UK Telegraph the rockets are “some of the best in the world” and “require serious training to operate which could be beyond the capabilities of some supposedly regular armies in the Middle East….It is laser-guided, has a range of three miles and carries a double-warhead capable of penetrating reactive amour on Israeli Merkava Tanks.”

Hezbollah used their anti-tank missiles with lethal efficiency during the campaign taking out an estimated 20 tanks, armored vehicles and buildings where troops were located. It was a critical part of the conflict and had a profound effect on the outcome.

Still, there’s little chance that Hezbollah’s victory will stop Israel from restarting the war. America and Israel are ideologically committed to establishing their mutual hegemony throughout the Middle East and they won’t be deterred by a bloody nose in south Lebanon. Israel will retool and return with greater determination to crush the resistance and set up a proxy government in Beirut. So far, they’ve enlisted the support of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Denmark to patrol the southern border while Germany has offered “a rather substantive maritime component which could patrol and secure the whole of the Lebanese coast.” The German ambassador said, “We could also offer a substantial border patrol along the Syrian border.” (Al Jazeera) Germany certainly understands that their actions will establish a de-facto blockade which serves US/Israeli interests alone. This illustrates how Olmert and Bush have manipulated the UN to compromise Lebanon’s sovereignty and create a permanent state of siege. If Israel is able to cut Hezbollah’s supply-lines they can easily move in and crush them at a later date.

So, the US and Israel have found accomplices they need to help them achieve their goals of reshaping the Middle East and extending America’s dominance throughout the oil-rich region. If they succeed, they will have a stranglehold on the world’s most crucial natural resources and will be able to control the growth of China, India, Japan, and other potential rivals in the 21st century. Israel will also play a central role as regional leader in the oil trade; opening pipeline routes from Ceyhan to the Far East and from Kirkuk to Haifa. (check “Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the war on Lebanon” Michel Chossudovsky)

But we shouldn’t underestimate the growing strength of non state actors and guerilla forces. In Iraq, the resistance has brought the world’s only superpower to a grinding standstill; frustrating all attempts to establish security, rebuild infrastructure, or transport vital resources.

Similarly, Hezbollah has won a stunning victory against a high-tech and well-disciplined Israeli army. They have shown the world that they are resourceful and ferocious fighters capable of forcing a fully-armed modern army of 30,000 men to withdrawal. That’s no small feat.

They have shattered the illusion of Israeli invincibility and emboldened a new generation of Arab youths to see beyond their present subjugation and despair and aspire to reclaim their countries from the corrupt US-backed regimes.

The imperial juggernaut will continue lurching recklessly through the Middle East until it is worn-down piecemeal by the bold actions of the resistance. Iraq and Lebanon foreshadow an even wider war extending from the Caspian to the Red Sea; destabilizing oil supplies and overturning the teetering Arab monarchies.

Bush and Olmert have thrown open Pandora’s Box thinking they can contain the chaos within, but have failed to achieve any of their objectives. They continue to misread the lessons of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. High-altitude bombing and trigger-happy soldiers only swell the ranks of the resistance and feed their determination. If Bush and Olmert choose to fight a generation-long 4-G (4th Generation) war, they should at least consider the modest goals set out by their adversary, Hassan Nasrallah, in a recent public statement:

“We are not a classic army. We are waging guerilla warfare Therefore what is important is the number of losses we inflict on the Israeli enemy. No matter how deep the incursion the Israeli enemy might accomplish, and the enemy has great capabilities in this area, it will not accomplish the goal of this incursion, preventing the shelling of the settlements in north of occupied Palestine, This shelling will continue no matter how deep the ground incursion and the reoccupation the Zionist enemy is trying to accomplish. The occupation of any inch of our Lebanese land will further motivate us to continue and escalate the resistance…In the ground war we will have the upper hand. In the ground war , the criterion is the attrition of the enemy rather than what territory does or does not remain in our hands because we are not fighting with the methods of a regular army we will definitely regain any land occupied by the enemy after inflicting great losses on it”.

Bush would be wise to pay attention to Nasrallah’s warnings. The conflict that the US and Israel are facing has no central battlefield and no timeline. It is war against men who know every street and every alleyway, and every cave in every mountain. It is “death by a thousand lashes”; engaging and killing the enemy and then disappearing into the shadows. The conflict only ends when every American and Israeli soldier has left Arab soil. This is a “no win” situation. Our leaders should recognize this and withdrawal.

As the resistance continues to mushroom in Iraq and Lebanon, we’re bound to see more devastation, more retreating armies, and more hand-wringing in Washington and Tel Aviv.

It could all be so easily avoided.

Recommended Reading on Palestine

Arabs & Israel for Beginners by Ron David (1993)[this is the best book for beginners now out of print but check on bookfinder, click the title of this post]
The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood by Rashid Khalidi (2006)
Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State by Jonathan Cook (2006)
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe (2006)
One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse
by Ali Abunimah (2006)
The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians
by Joseph Massad (2006)
The West Bank Wall: Unmaking Palestine by Ray Dolphin (2006)
Palestine And the Palestinians: A Social and Political History by Samih K. Farsoun, Naseer H. Aruri (2006)
The Politics of Apocalypse: The History and Influence of Christian Zionism by Dan Cohn-Sherbok (2006)
Palestinian Refugee Repatriation: Global Perspectives by Michael Dumper (2006)
Ethnocracy: Land and Politics in Israel/Palestine by Oren Yiftachel (2006)
The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine since 2003 by Tanya Reinhart (2006)
The Second Palestinian Intifada by Ramzy Baroud (2006)
The West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Geography of Occupation by Elisha Efrat (2006)
Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Sarah Roy (2006)
Israel and Palestine; Competing Histories by Mike Berry, Greg Philo (2006)
The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine since 2003 by Tanya Reinhart (2006)
The Second Palestinian Intifada by Ramzy Baroud (2006)
The West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Geography of Occupation by Elisha Efrat (2006)
Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Sarah Roy (2006)
Israel and Palestine; Competing Histories by Mike Berry, Greg Philo (2006)
The Struggle for Sovereignty: Palestine and Israel 1993-2005 bt Joel Beinin, Rebecca L. Stein, editors (2006)
Israel & Palestine: Competing Histories by Mike Berry and Greg Philo (2006)
Living Palestine: Family Survival, Resistance, and Mobility Under Occupation by Liza Taraki (editor) (2006)
The Power of Israel in the United States by James Petras (2006)
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006)
The Case Against Israel by Michael Neumann (2005)
The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective by John Quigley (2005)
Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (Hardcover) by Norman G. Finkelstein (2005)
On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals became Israel's best friend by Timothy P. Weber (2005)
The Other Side of Isarel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide by Susan Nathan (2005)
Against the Wall: Israel's Barrier to Peace by Michael Sorkin (Editor)(2005)
Palestine: A Guide by Mariam Shahin, George Baramki Azar (photographer) (2005)
An Issue of Justice: Origins of the Israel/Palestine Conflict (Audiobook)
by Norman Finkelstein (2005)
Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict by Jeff Halper (2005) (Excellent maps)
The Peace Business: Money And Power in the Palestine-Israel Conflict by Markus Buillon (2004)
Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within by Uri Davis (2004)
The Myths of Zionism by John Rose (2004)
Culture and Customs of the Palestinians by Samih K. Farsoun (2004)
Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History Of The Palestinians 1876-1948 by Walid Khalidi (2004)
Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh (2004)
Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel's Detention of Palestinian Children by Catherine Cook, Adam Hanieh, Adah Kay (2004)
Water, Power and Politics in the Middle East: The Other Israel-Palestine Conflict
by Jan Selby (2004)
Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing About Zionism and Israel by Adam Shatz (Editor)(2004)
Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel by Israel Shahak (2004)
Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law by Francis Anthony Boyle and Haider Abdul Shafi
Ben-Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and Mossad Elimated Jews by Naeim Giladi (2003)
Palestine, Palestinians & International Law by Francis Anthony Boyle (2003)
Middle East Illusions by Noam Chomsky (2003)
Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
by Michael R. Fischbach (2003)
A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples by Ilan Pappe (2003)
The Palestinian People: A History by Baruch Kimmerling, Joel S. Migdal (2003)
The Politics Of Denial: Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Problem by Nur Masalha (2003)
Palestinian Refugees: Pawns to Political Actors by Ghada Hashem Talhami (2003)
In Hope and Despair: Life in the Palestinian refugee Camps (2003)
Live from Palestine: International and Palestinian Direct Action Against the Occupation by Nancy Stohlman, Laurieann Aladin (2003)
The Gun and the olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East by David Hirsch (2003)
Dishonest Broker: The Role of the United States in Palestine and Israel by Nasser Aruri (2003)
51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by Lenni Brenner (2002)
Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question by Edward W. Said & Christopher Hitchens (Editors)
Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return by Naseer Aruri (2001)
The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948
by Eugene L. Rogan & Avi Shlaim (Editors)(2001)
I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti (2001)
Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influences on U.S. Middle East Policy by Kathleen and Bill Christison (2001)
Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land since 1948 by Meron Benvenisti (2000)
Palestinian Rights and Losses in 1948 by Sami Hadawi (2000)
The Israel/Palestine Question (Rewriting Histories) by Ilan Pappe (1999)
The Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky (1999)
Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict by Norman G. Finkelstein (1999, 2003)
Palestinian Identity by Rashid Khalidi (1998)
Homeland: Oral Histories of Palestine and Palestinians by Staughton Lynd, Sam Bahour , Alice Lynd (Editors) (1998)
Open Secrets: Israel Foreign and Nuclear Policies by Israel Shahak (1997)
The Invention of Ancient Israel and the silencing of Palestinian History by Keith Whitelam (1997)
I am a Palestinian Christian by Mitri Raheb (1995)
The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1947-1951 by Ilan Pappe (1994)
The Question of Palestine by Edward W. Said (1992)
All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948
by Walid Khalidi (Editor)(1992)
Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of Transfer in Zionist Thought by Nur Masalha (1992)
The Land Question in Palestine 1917-1939 by Kenneth W. Stein (1987)

The best place to search for used and discounted books is If anyone needs help locating any of these books or for finding a book on a particular aspect of the conflict, contact me. I work in a bookstore and would be happy to help. Also, please send me any recommendations. Molly (

Inside 1701: What the UN Security Council's Ceasefire Resolution Actually Says

"As Full of Pro-Israeli Holes as Swiss Cheese"

(Virginia Tilley is a professor of political science, a US citizen working in South Africa, and author of The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock)

"Most seriously, regarding the UN itself, the Resolution fails to condemn Israel for violating international law in its onslaught on Lebanon. It also fails to establish any basis for a serious peace process. It represents a twisted, tricky document, representing machinations of the United States in service to the neocon alliance with Israel to "remake" the Middle East. Its provisions to disarm Hizbullah are politically unworkable and beyond the SC's capacity. Its provisions for Israeli withdrawal are overwhelmingly to Israel's advantage.

Regarding its relevance to a real peace in Lebanon, within days or weeks of this writing Resolution 1701 may be a discredited artefact of history. But its design remains significant: inability of the SC to act in a principled fashion to impose international order. In that light, it tells us far more about the internal debility of the UN than it does about any future for the Israeli-Lebanese conflict."

Hezbollah 'foils Israeli raid'

Hezbollah fighters are said to have foiled an Israeli commando raid west of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon, after clashes that left one Israeli soldier dead and two others wounded.

Media reports quoted Lebanese security sources as saying on Saturday that Israeli aircraft and commandos raided the village of Bodai, west of the ancient city of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley, at dawn.

The sources said that Israeli warplanes and helicopters attacked unidentified targets during the air drop of the commandos.

Al-Manar TV reported that fighters from Hezbollah clashed with Israeli commandos near Bodai and forced them to fly out under the cover of air strikes.

The Hezbollah-run station said the Israeli unit landed before dawn and was driving into the village when it was intercepted by the fighters, who forced it to retreat under the cover of warplanes.

It said the fighters had inflicted "certain casualties" among the Israeli forces.

A man holding up a Palestinian flag comes under Israeli police water cannon fire in the West Bank village of Bilin. Israeli troops have seized deputy Palestinian prime minister and senior Hamas member Nassereddin al-Shaer, in the latest move against the governing movement(AFP)

Why America Needs Hezbollah

Hours after a ceasefire halted a five-week war between Israel and Iranian-backed Islamic militias in Lebanon, reported the New York Times, "hundreds of Hezbollah members spread over dozens of villages across southern Lebanon began cleaning, organizing and surveying damage. Men on bulldozers were busy cutting lanes through giant piles of rubble. Roads blocked with the remnants of buildings are now, just a day after a ceasefire began, fully passable." Who cares if Hezbollah is a State Department-designated terrorist organization? Unlike our worthless government, it gets things done!

The citizens of New Orleans desperately need Hezbollah's can-do terrorist spirit. Outside the French Quarter tourist zone, writes Jed Horne in The New Republic, what was until 2005 our nation's most charming city and cultural center remains "a disaster zone, an area five times the size of Manhattan."

Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Naser al-Shaer walks to a joint news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah in this August 7, 2006 file photo. Israel seized al-Shaer at his home in the occupied West Bank on August 19, 2006 (REUTERS)

More than resistance

By Amr Elchoubaki

Al-Ahram Weekly

"The Americans don't seem to understand the Arab mood or just how tired the public is of seeing their rulers take their cue from Washington. Arabs are not nostalgic for Saddam, nor are they thrilled to see countries such as Syria resist with words rather than deeds. They are tired of the endless oppression of Baathist-style regimes. What the Arabs want to see is democratic leaders, defiant but aware of the international situation. What the region needs is an injection of Latin American politics, leaders who are neither isolationist nor dictatorial in their outlook but who have backbone.

People may well be tired of what the Americans and Israelis are doing to the region but is there any chance of the Arab world having a democratic -- Islamist or leftist -- government right now? For the moment the chances are slim. We have resistance movements, such as Hizbullah, but we also have repressive governments that hang on to the status quo. Neither seems to offer a way out of the region's dilemma though the resistance movements do at least have moral power. Hizbullah has offered the Arab world a voice that contrasts totally with that of incumbent governments. This moral power has immense potential which the Bush administration cannot, and never will, understand. Both Israel and the US want to manufacture a new elite in this region that will submit to their every demand, just as the current regimes do and this is unacceptable to the Arab public.

The destruction of Hizbullah is no solution. It would have opened the door to terror across the region. Had the war in Lebanon dismantled the state, which it almost did, the situation would have been disastrous not only for Lebanon but the entire region. A cycle of terror would have been unleashed, and the cost for the civilian population would have been enormous. We need to think only of Iraq."

Bush's latest fiasco

By Amr Hamzawi

Al-Ahram Weekly

"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's address about the "new Middle East" being in the throes of a difficult birth in Lebanon provides further evidence of the vastly problematic approach involved in the Bush administration's relation to the Arab world. Washington has acquired the habit of declaring its regional vision at inopportune moments that tend to prove shocking to Arab peoples and governments alike, be they liberal or Islamic. No doubt the invasion of Iraq and occupation of Baghdad were contemporaneous with the drafting of the Middle East partnership initiative and the "Greater Middle East Initiative" endorsing democratic reform and freedom in Arab societies. Regardless of differences concerning any given reading of the true goals and intentions behind these two initiatives, at the time, no Arab politician, activist or intellectual, could help but reject the initiatives, irrespective of ideology, for they were but new episodes in the saga of imposing American hegemony on the Middle East and breaking Arab will. "


I really like this cartoon.

It shows a Palestinian resistance fighter declaring, "My name is so and so; I belong to such and such organization; I live in such and such town, on such and such street, down such and such lane; I am warning the Israeli colonizers that I will be firing on such and such colony and therefore they have been forewarned!"

The woman turns to him and says, "You (Palestinians) have learned nothing from Hizbullah!"

Friday, August 18, 2006

Life for Palestinians with AIDS

A decade ago, after 13 years of working and living in the glitzy Persian Gulf city of Dubai, Hussam returned to his hometown with a secret that he's kept since then. He tested positive for HIV at a time when AIDS was still virtually unknown in the Middle East. He remained largely symptom-free until the first day of 2005, when he awoke from a New Year's Eve party to find himself blind in his right eye from viral retinitis, an opportunistic infection that signaled the progression of his disease. Now, in this West Bank city of just under 40,000 residents, he co­­pes with medication shortages and security clearances for hospital visits—a set of circumstances perhaps unique to this time and place. Such is the life of a Palestinian with AIDS.
With the election of Hamas—classified by much of the West as a terrorist organization—
to the Palestinian Legislative Council, the government lost most of its foreign aid this spring, leaving its budget decimated, doctors and nurses unpaid for months and hospitals' medicinal stocks drastically depleted. For Palestinians living with HIV/AIDS, that means their government-supplied medication—hard to come by even in good times—is falling far down the list of their nation's priorities.
But the nearest specialized clinics that offer testing and treatment are in Israeli hospitals. To access those clinics, Arabs need permission to cross checkpoints into Israel—and both the permit process and the checkpoints themselves have become infinitely more strict since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000. While Israeli authorities have issued more than 20,000 permits for general hospital visits to West Bank and Gaza residents this year, a small number of patients are not allowed to travel unless they are accompanied to the hospital by armed security; another 600-odd patients from Gaza, a more volatile region and more of a Hamas stronghold, have been refused entry outright.

Lebanese residents walk past the rubble from Israeli bombardment in a residential area in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006.

Lebanese resident Najlah Takesh looks out from the stairwell of her apartment destroyed in Israeli bombardment while salvaging for belongings in a residential area in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006. (AP Photo)

A view of a neighborhood in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, is seen Friday, Aug. 18, 2006.

Lebanese residents of the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006, salvage belongings from their bomb damaged apartment.

Hizbollah supporters with the national (C) and Hizbollah (L) flags draped about their shoulders walk in Beirut's southern suburbs August 18, 2006. REUTERS

A Lebanese woman begs for money as she walks past an apartment building in a residential area destroyed in Israeli bombardment in the Haret Hreik area of the southern suburbs of Beirut, Friday, Aug. 18, 2006. (AP Photo)

A mass funeral procession passes a destroyed building on its way to the burial site in Qana, southern Lebanon Friday, Aug. 18, 2006.

Coffins are laid down for prayers before a mass funeral procession in Qana, southern Lebanon Friday, Aug. 18, 2006. The funeral of 29 people killed in an Israeli airstrike on July 30th - half of them children - took place about half a kilometer from the two-story home which was destroyed in the attack, and a 30th coffin was buried in a separate funeral. (AP Photo)


(A relative walks amongst the graves in advance of a mass funeral in Qana, southern Lebanon Friday, Aug. 18, 2006)



Count the UN Security Council among the losers

Security Council Resolution 1701 did not come a minute too soon if only because it blew the whistle on an Israeli assault that was killing dozens of Lebanese civilians daily, destroying the country and forcing nearly a million people to seek refuge from its escalating war crimes. The so-called "international community" provided cover for extending the war under the guise of prolonged negotiations at the UN, hoping that Israel would win a decisive victory. But what Israel failed to win on the battlefield, its friends helped to deliver in the UN resolution.

Resolution 1701, adopted unanimously, "calls for a full cessation of hostilities." Those seven words are the most important ones in the entire resolution. The rest is neither fair, nor compatible with the Security Council’s duties and responsibilities as defined by the United Nations Charter. Even after the resolution was passed, Israel escalated its aggression, sending thousands of troops towards the Litani River. The move, perhaps meant to seize more ground before the ceasefire took effect, was a disaster, as Israel lost dozens of soldiers and much equipment. Hours after the resolution was passed, Israel ceased its aerial bombardment of Lebanon, but shot dead at least one Hizbollah fighter. This last minute invasion, like Israel’s initial assault on Lebanon, seems to have had a green light from council members.

Why the IDF Lost in Lebanon



"The magnitude of the defeat is considerable. Israel appears to have lost at every level-strategic, operational and tactical. Nothing she tried worked. Air power failed, as it always does against an enemy who doesn't have to maneuver operationally, or even move tactically for the most part. The attempts to blockade Lebanon and thus cut off Hezbollah's resupply failed; her caches proved ample. Most seriously, the ground assault into Lebanon failed. Israel took little ground and paid heavily in casualties for that. More, she cannot hold what she has taken; if she is not forced to withdraw by diplomacy, Hezbollah will push her out, as it did once before. The alternative is a bleeding ulcer that never heals.

Most importantly, an Islamic Fourth Generation entity, Hezbollah, will now point the way throughout the Arab and larger Islamic world to a future in which Israel can be defeated. That will have vast ramifications, and not for Israel alone. Hundreds of millions of Moslems will believe that the same Fourth Generation war that defeated hated Israel can beat equally-hated America, its "coalitions" and its allied Arab and Moslem regimes. Future events seem more likely to confirm that belief than to undermine it.

Most probably, Israel will escalate by taking the war to Syria or Iran, and what will be a strategy of desperation. That too will fail, after it plunges the whole region into a war the outcome of which will be catastrophic for the United States as well as for Israel."

Don't forget Gaza

On the back of Israel's military defeat in Lebanon, Palestinians fear that their blood will be used to bolster public confidence in Olmert's government, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank

With the UN-sponsored ceasefire between Israel and Hizbullah going into effect, Palestinians are apprehensive that Israel might embark on a fresh rampage in Gaza in order to boost the morale of a conspicuously dispirited Israeli public.

In fact, the Israeli army never stopped murdering Palestinians and destroying their homes for even a single day during the war on Lebanon. Palestinian medical sources revealed this week that more than 187 Palestinians were killed, mostly in the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of July.

According to Riyad Awad, director of the Gaza-based Health Information Centre, the killings of Palestinians is becoming a "macabre daily routine". "Not a day passes without the Israeli army killing an average of five or six Palestinians, mostly children and women and other innocent civilians. Israel feels the world is giving it a mandate to kill and maim at will," he said.

After Lebanon war, unexploded bombs continue to sow death

By Anne Chaon

Agence France Presse
18 August 2006

TEBNIN, Lebanon, Aug 18 2006--Kneeling in the rubble, the
deminer gently handled a tiny metallic tube, trying to
defuse one of the thousands of bomblets littering southern

These deadly leftovers of weeks of fighting between Israel
and Hezbollah guerrillas continue to kill and maim nearly
a week after both sides silenced their guns, creating what
one munitions expert called a "humanitarian catastrophe"
as thousands displaced by the war return home.

"This has the potential to be a huge humanitarian issue,"
said Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at Human
Rights Watch.

"People are coming back to their homes, they're hugging
and kissing and glad just to have survived and then there
are bombs going off," he said.

Just hours after the announcement of a cessation of
fighting on Monday, one civilian was killed and six others
wounded when Israeli cluster bombs exploded in the
southern village of Ansar.

In the southern Lebanon hillside town of Tebnin, Israeli
warplanes dropped hundreds of bombs right up to the last
day of the month-long conflict, which ended Monday.

In front of a hospital, a half-meter-deep crater has been
gouged into the pavement where one cluster bomb slammed
into the road, spraying the area with hundreds of tiny,
shrapnel-filled devices designed to shred anything they

"On Wednesday we removed 54 cluster bombs from the main
road in front of the hospital, and yesterday another 44,"
said Marck Masche, an expert with the British demining
organisation Mine Action Group (MAG).

"The main problem is cluster bombs -- there are hundreds
and hundreds of them," he told AFP.

As much as a quarter of the ordnance fired during the
fighting failed to explode, creating vast minefields in
villages and fields where hundreds of thousands of people
who fled the war are trying to return.

Masche's team has found countless bomblets in a home in
Tebnin that would have been undetectable to untrained
eyes, he said.

"We don't want people to try this for themselves," he
said, bending over one of the bomblets, protected only by
an armoured vest.

"If this exploded, I would die," he said, explaining why
he wore neither helmet nor protective bomb apron.

With no bomb disposal units arriving that morning, the
team -- four Lebanese munitions experts and a medic --
have to detonate the explosive on the site.

Surrounded by sandbags, the bomblet erupts in a sharp
blast that echoes off the hills. But countless others

"Some of the villages are completely contaminated from one
end to the other ... people are moving in and living among
UXOs (unexploded ordnance)," said Steven Priestley,
director for international projects with MAG.

MAG is currently trying to raise money for a three-month
emergency phase that gives priority to clearing homes of
the explosives, he said.

Many of the bombs are hard to see because they are very
small and likely covered in dust and debris, he said.
Disposing of them is no problem, "but finding them all is
a real nightmare".

Back in Tebnin, 27 year-old Lebanese ordnance expert Fatel
Fahes recounted how his team had cleared one home of
explosives, saying the family had "just returned with the
children but could not even go in the door".

He warned that the area's tobacco fields are also infested
with unexploded bombs -- again affecting the lives of
those caught in the area.

"If they cannot reach their fields, they lose everything
they have," he said.

Masche refused to guess how long it might take to clear
the area of unexploded bombs. On top of those left by the
most recent fighting, an estimated half-million landmines
still lie along the Lebanon-Israel border, put down during
previous conflicts, according to MAG's Priestley.

"The entire area deserves a year of solid cleaning, but
for the moment we only remove (the bombs) that we can
see," he said.

Israeli offensive destroyed up to 30,000 homes

Agence France Presse
18 August 2006

HELSINKI, Aug 18 2006-- Between 15,000 and 30,000 homes
were destroyed during Israel's month-long offensive in
Lebanon, the aid minister of Finland, which holds the
current EU presidency, said Friday.

"The numbers on how many houses or house units were
destroyed are very rough estimates. Numbers we heard are
something between 15,000 and 30,000 house units," Paula
Lehtomaeki said following a four-day visit to Lebanon
accompanied by the EU's commissioner for development and
humanitarian aid Louis Michel.

"That makes at least 100,000 people without a home and
decent shelter. Winter is not so far away, we only have a
couple of months to provide the basic shelter for these
people," she told a news conference.

Aid is urgently needed, she said.

"The ceasefire that began on Monday morning, hours before
we arrived in Beirut, has improved the possibility to meet
the humanitarian needs, and it has improved the
possibilities to have humanitarian access to victimes in

"But it has also changed the internal situation in Lebanon
in the way that people who had escaped from their home
areas because of the bombings in the beginning of the
conflict started immediately on Monday to return back to
their homes, and this movement has been much broader and
much faster than anybody could have expected."

A ceasefire took effect in Lebanon on Monday, following a
UN resolution which paves the way for the deployment of
the international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.


By Tony Sayegh

It has been interesting, even amusing, in the aftermath of Hizbullah's impressive performance in the face of the massive Israeli assault on Lebanon to watch the various states in the region and to observe their attempts to get some mileage from what took place or to deflect criticism of their performance.

It is very clear that the success of Hizbullah's strategy in confronting the forces of the Israeli state was due to adopting the structure, organization, weapons and tactics of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW). The success of Hizbullah in confronting one of the most modern and technologically advanced state armies in the world, has firmly vindicated 4GW as the only way a non-state resistance movement can defeat a state power, no matter how advanced and powerful.

The Syrian state and the Iranian state wasted no time in claiming victory and implicitly taking credit for Hizbullah's success. On the other side, are the US client states of Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the stooge Abbas (claiming to represent a pseudo state) leading the chorus which has maintained the decades-old myth that the Israeli state could not be defeated militarily. This defeatist chorus was openly cheering for the power of the Israeli state to defeat Hizbullah in order to eliminate all non-state resistance movements that they rightly perceive as a threat to their existence as illegitimate states. The Syrian president attacked the leaders of the defeatist states and he called them "half-men" whom he claimed came up with only "half-solutions." Not to be outdone, the defeatist state leaders shot back that the Syrian state itself has done nothing and while the Syrian Golan Heights remain occupied by Israel, Syria has not fired a shot in an attempt to liberate its territory since 1973. How true! Some, in a moment of wishful thinking, have urged the Syrian regime to follow a strategy similar to Hizbullah's in attempting to dislodge the Israelis from the Golan Heights. Not so fast! Those indulging in such shallow wishful thinking ignore the fact that Hizbullah has succeeded because it is a non-state movement with deep and widespread grass roots and popular support. The same can't be said about the Syrian regime or any other Arab regime for that matter.

We had already observed another example of the success of a popular resistance and the failure of another state power, prior to this latest success by Hizbullah, and that of course was and continues to be in Iraq. News reports now indicate that the Bush Administration is so frustrated by its quagmire in Iraq that it has given up on the latest puppet "government" of Maliki and it is considering doing away with pretensions of "democracy" and instead installing a dictator (or a "strongman" as he would be called) who would rule by brutal force. But it is too late for that! The state does not have the institutions and the power to impose its will by force any longer.

In Lebanon itself, the politicians of the feeble Lebanese state have started their squabbles and they are re-adjusting their positions in light of the new realities. Some have not learned a thing and are still calling for disarming Hizbullah, while praising the Lebanese state for repelling the Israeli invasion! Who are they fooling? The forces of the Lebanese state were fraternizing with the invading Israelis and serving them tea in the town of Marji'youn while Lebanon was being bombed into rubble by the Israelis! Later, Israel disarmed those same representatives of the Lebanese state and released them only after heavy intervention by France and the US. Israel later bombed those representatives of the Lebanese state who served the Israelis tea and killed six of them.

The important point in all of this is that the states, by their illegitimacy, corruption and incompetence have perpetrated a culture of defeat and that defeat was hammered in the heads of the populace as an objective reality that could not be challenged. As a corollary, the states have perpetuated a culture of subservience to the US and a pursuit of an illusory "peace process" that has led to further strengthening of Usrael and the loss of more and more Palestinian and other Arab territories. Now, in Iraq and in Lebanon the non-state resistance movements have taken on the two mightiest military powers of the US and Israel and fought them off to a standstill. All of a sudden the state players and their weakness are exposed as never before and their legitimacy will be challenged as never before.

With all of these fundamental lessons becoming clear, the Palestinians who do not have a state, seem to want to move in the wrong direction. Instead of absorbing the lessons from Iraq and Lebanon and putting into practice what has been learnt in order to build an effective Palestinian resistance movement, the Palestinians (including all factions) are fooling themselves by hanging on to a make-believe "government" and an Authority with absolutely no authority. Even the resistance movement of Hamas is indulging in the silly trappings of a "state" by having "ministers," a "parliament" and other state structures such as foreign service and security! This is not only a wasted effort but also, more seriously, indicative of inability to learn and to apply from what is happening in the area. If the Palestinians are to be taken seriously, they have to dissolve the wretched Palestinian Authority and to get serious building an effective resistance movement. Not surprisingly, that is why the most admired leader in occupied Palestine today is not a Palestinian: he is Hasan Nasrallah.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The hidden story of Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails

Israel claims its war on Lebanon was triggered by Hizbollah’s capture of two Israeli soldiers, and says it holds only two Lebanese prisoners.

Yet a secret list compiled by the Lebanese authorities, and leaked to the Lebanese newspaper al-Safir, has revealed the names of 67 men known to have been kidnapped by Israel and its allies during 18 years of occupation. Thousands of others are missing.

The most high profile prisoner in Israel is Samir Kuntar, who is serving a life sentence. Kuntar was captured by Israel in 1979 during an operation by a left wing Palestinian group. He was 16 at the time.

Kuntar has been kept out of prisoner exchanges until the Lebanese find the remains of an Israeli air force pilot downed in 1986. The Lebanese have repeatedly stated that the pilot is just one of 17,000 people who went missing over decades of war.

Hizbollah has demanded Kuntar be released in exchange for Israeli soldiers. The resistance is also demanding the return of hundreds of others held secretly by Israel.

The leaked list names those who were witnessed being seized and then identified as having been transferred to Israeli prisons. The majority were seized by Israeli troops or their allies, the right wing Lebanese Forces and Israel’s proxy South Lebanese Army (SLA).

The list gives the dates and locations where the men were seized, followed by verification either by witnesses or newspaper photographs of prisoners.

There is no reason given as to why the men were seized, or whether they are alive or dead. The Israelis have refused to discuss the list, and have given no details on the missing people’s whereabouts, or the locations of their graves.

Those campaigning for the families of the missing fear they were tortured, then killed inside Israel.

There are hopes that some of them might still be alive. Many would now be in their 40s. Of the 67 who have been verified as having been transferred to Israel, 43 were in their early 20s or younger.

Robert Fisk: The army is back, but don't expect it to disarm Hizbollah

Lebanese Interior Ministry Brigadier General Adnan Daoud, has just been arrested for treason after Israeli television showed him taking tea with an Israeli officer in the Marjayoun barracks. Prior to his arrest, General Daoud was even rash enough to unburden his thoughts to Lauren Frayer, an enterprising reporter for the Associated Press who arrived in Marjayoun in time to record the general's last words before his arrest. The Israelis, he said, "came peacefully up to our gate, asking to speak with me by name". An Israeli officer who introduced himself as Col Ashaya chatted to Daoud about future Israeli-Lebanese military relations.

"For four hours, I took him on a tour of our base." the general said of "Ashaya". "He was probably on an intelligence mission and wanted to see if we had any Hizballah in here." But an hour after the supposedly friendly Israeli left, Israeli tanks blasted their way with shells through the gates of the Lebanese garrison. The Lebanese soldiers did not fire back. Instead, they fled Marjayoun - only to find that their long convoy, which included dozens of civilian cars, was attacked by Israeli pilots who killed seven civilians, including the wife of the mayor, who was decapitated by a missile.

محاولات احياء سلطة ميتة

عبد الباري عطوان
ما زالت تداعيات انتصار المقاومة الاسلامية في لبنان بزعامة حزب الله تتواصل بشكل مكثف، بسبب التغييرات الجذرية التي احدثتها في المعادلات السياسية والعسكرية في المنطقة، حيث تعكف معظم الجهات الاقليمية والدولية علي دراستها بشكل معمق، واستخلاص الدروس، ورسم استراتيجيات المستقبل علي اساس انعكاساتها، باستثناء الطرف الفلسطيني الرسمي، الذي ما زال يتصرف وكأن الحرب في لبنان لم تحدث، وكأن اسرائيل لم تهزم، وكأن عملية السلام تتقدم وفق المخطط المرسوم لها.
فمن المفارقة، انه في الوقت الذي يتحدث فيه الجميع عن رد الاعتبار لثقافة المقاومة، وانكسار ثقافة الحلول السلمية المفروضة وفق المعايير الاسرائيلية، يخرج علينا المسؤولون الفلسطينيون بانباء عن بدء مشاورات رسمية لتشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية، بين رئيس السلطة محمود عباس ورئيس وزرائها اسماعيل هنية، علي اساس وثيقة الاسري .
كنا نعتقد ان المجازر التي ترتكبها القوات الاسرائيلية بشكل يومي في قطاع غزة، وعمليات القرصنة التي تمارسها وتتمثل في اختطاف رئيس المجلس التشريعي واكثر من ربع النواب وتسعة وزراء، قد طوت هذه الوثيقة، مثلما طوت كل ما قبلها من اشكال وهمية مثل رئاسة الوزراء، ورئاسة السلطة، ولكن يبدو ان اعتقادنا في غير محله تماماً، وان هناك من المسؤولين الفلسطينيين من لا يزال يتمسك باشكال ومناصب وهمية، ليس لها اي مكان الا في مخيلتهم هم ولا احد غيرهم.
فكيف يمكن الحديث عن حكومة وحدة وطنية علي اساس عملية سلمية ماتت وشبعت موتاً، واعلن وفاتها رسمياً وزراء الخارجية العرب في اجتماعهم الطاريء الذي انعقد في القاهرة في بداية ازمة العدوان الاسرائيلي علي لبنان.
من يتذكر وثيقة الأسري هذه التي كانت مشروع فتنة داخلية فلسطينية كادت ان تؤدي الي حرب اهلية، ولم ينقذ الفلسطينيين منها الا العملية الفدائية الجريئة التي اسفرت عن اسر جندي اسرائيلي قرب معبر كرم سالم علي الحدود مع مصر.
اننا لا نلوم السيد عباس اذا ما حاول احياء هذه الوثيقة الميتة التي تجاوزتها الاحداث، ولكننا نلوم السيد اسماعيل هنية رئيس الوزراء الذي انطلت عليه هذه الحيلة، من قبل جماعة اوسلو الذين يريدون العودة الي الاضواء باي طريقة، ومن البوابة الخطأ، وفي الزمن الخطأ.
فالسيد هنية طالب قبل بضعة ايام قليلة بحل السلطة الفلسطينية باعتبارها فقدت مصداقيتها واسباب وجودها، بعد اختطاف رئيس المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني الدكتور عزيز الدويك، وها هو اليوم يتراجع عن هذا الموقف المشرف، بالسقوط في مصيدة من يريدون ان يتعلقوا بعربة تسوية ميتة حتي يظلوا تحت الاضواء، ويشككوا في انتصار المقاومة في لبنان، ويربطوا الشعب الفلسطيني وقضيته بالنظام العالمي القديم، نظام بوش ـ اولمرت ـ بلير الذي مني بهزيمة ساحقة ومذلة علي ايدي رجال المقاومة في لبنان.
نعم لحكومة وحدة وطنية، ولكن علي ارضية المقاومة، لا علي ارضية اشكال بالية من التسويات، تعكس الإذعان الكامل للشروط الاسرائيلية، وتحويل الشعب الفلسطيني الي شعب متسول للحلول وللمساعدات المالية.
ثم اين هي هذه الحكومة، وهي لا تستطيع فتح معبر، وحماية وزرائها من الخطف، وابناء الشعب الفلسطيني من القتل بالعشرات في قصف اسرائيلي مستكبر، وبمباركة امريكية وصمت عربي مريب؟
المشاورات الفلسطينية يجب ان تبدأ فعلاً، ليس من اجل تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية، وانما من اجل اعلان حل السلطة الفلسطينية، كأول خطوة تضامنية مع المقاومة اللبنانية، واول استيعاب للمتغيرات الجديدة التي فرضتها بصمودها في معارك الشرف والكرامة في جنوب لبنان.
الحديث عن حكومة وحدة وطنية فلسطينية يشكل اهانة لانتصارات المقاومة اللبنانية، ورد اعتبار للعملية السياسية التي يريد الرئيس بوش الايحاء بانها ما زالت موجودة وقائمة وناجحة، وان المتطرفين من امثال حزب الله وقيادته، هم الذين يريدون تدميرها.
اننا نستغرب ان يتحدث البعض عن هذه الحكومة وتسعة وزراء خلف القضبان، ورئيس المجلس التشريعي الذي من المفترض ان يكون الرجل الثاني في سلّم السلطة، ويتولي رئاستها في حال وفاة رئيسها فجأة، يعالج في المستشفي من شدة التعذيب في سجون الاحتلال بعد خطفه بطريقة مهينة ومذلّة.
الشعب الفلسطيني يريد قيادات علي مستوي السيد حسن نصر الله، يقود حركة مقاومة بطريقة تنظيمية فاعلة ومؤثرة، لا يخاف من امريكا واسرائيل، ويملك ارادة حديدية لا تلين، لا يخشي الموت، بل يسعي اليه باعتباره ذروة التضحية، وقمة المني، واسرع طريق لدار البقاء.
السيد محمود عباس رئيس السلطة ما زال يعيش في زمن اهل الكهف، ويفكر بطريقة تعود الي الوراء ثلاثين عاماً، ويرفض ان يستوعب، او يصدق ان هناك في لبنان من الحقوا هزيمة تاريخية بالدولة العبرية وجيشها الذي كان حتي الأمس القريب لا يقهر. حيث باتت ايام صديقه ايهود اولمرت وحزبه كاديما معدودة للغاية، وتتصاعد المطالبات باطاحته وحكومته بتهمة التقصير.
القائد الناجح هو من يلتصق بشعبه، ويقرأ ابجديات تفاعلاته وحقيقة مشاعره. فالفلسطينيون مثلهم مثل الغالبية الساحقة من العرب والمسلمين، يعيشون هذه الايام اسعد لحظات حياتهم، وهم يشاهدون المقابر الجماعية لدبابات الميركافا فخر الصناعة العسكرية الاسرائيلية، وجنازات الجنود الاسرائيليين تتواصل بالعشرات، بينما تزداد طوابير من يريدون الهروب من السفينة الاسرائيلية الغارقة امام السفارات الاوروبية والامريكية طمعاً بالنجاة وتربية اطفالهم في مجتمعات آمنة مستقرة.
انتصار المقاومة الاسلامية في جنوب لبنان جبّ كل ما قبله، وخلق واقعاً جديداً، وأنهي مرحلة من العربدة الاسرائيلية الامريكية، واحدث حالة من الفرز، بين ما هو محمود، اي قيم المقاومة، وما هو خبيث، اي قيم الاستجداء للسلام الامريكي ـ الاسرائيلي المغشوش.
مرة اخري نطالب بحل هذه السلطة، واعادة القضية الفلسطينية الي بيتها الحقيقي، اي بيت المقاومة، فقد اتضح زيــف هذه الاكذوبة ومدي خطورتها في خدمة الاحتلال وتنصله من مسؤولياته، وأي محاولة لإعادة احيائها، وهي عظام رميم، هي اهانة للشعب الفلسطيني، واهانة لانتصار المقاومة في لبنان.
فالمقاومة اللبـــنانية هي التي فرضت تعـــديلات قرار مجـــلس الامن الدولي، واجبرت امريكا واسرائيل علي سحب مشروع قرارهما المخجل لاول مرة في تاريخ المنظـــمة الدولية، والمقـــاومة الفلسطينية هي التي تفرض مسيرة سلمية جديدة قائمة علي العدل والمساواة، واستعادة الحقوق المغتصبة.

The Nasrallah Interview

"Goodbye to the Unipolar World"

By CounterPunch News Service

From an interview conducted shortly before the ceasefire by reporters from the Turkish Labor Party daily, Evrensel.

"Q. What is the current state of your relations with the Socialist movement?

Hasan Nasrallah: The socialist movement, which has been away from international struggle for a considerable time, at last has begun to offer moral support for us once again. The most concrete example of this has been Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela. What most of the Muslim states could not do has been done by Chavez, by the withdrawal of Venezuela's ambassador to Israel. He furthermore communicated to us his support for our resistance. This has been an immense source of moral strength for us.

We can observe a similar reaction within the Turkish Revolutionary Movement. We had socialist brothers from Turkey who went to Palestine in 1960s to fight against Israel. And one of them still remains in my memory and my heart; Deniz Gezmis..!

Q. What is the importance of Denizs for you?

Hasan Nasrallah: We now want new Denizs. Our ranks are always open to new Denizs against the oppressors. Deniz will always live in the hearts of the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon. No-one should doubt this. Unfortunately, there is no longer a common fight and fraternity against the common enemy left over by the Denizs. What we would have liked is for our socialist brothers in Lebanon to fight against imperialism and Zionism shoulder to shoulder. This fight is not only our fight. It is the common fight of all those oppressed across the world. Don't forget that if the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon lose this war, this will mean the defeat of all the oppressed people of the world. In our fight against imperialism, the revolutionaries should also undertake a responsibility and should become, in the hearts of our people of Palestine and Lebanon, Denizs once again.

Q. It is possible to see the posters of Che, Chavez and Ahmadinejad side by side in the streets of Beirut. Are these the signs of a new polarization?

Hasan Nasrallah: We salute the leaders and the peoples of Latin America. They have resisted the American bandits heroically and have been a source of moral strength for us. They are guiding the way for the oppressed peoples. Go and wonder around our streets..! You will witness how our people have embraced Chavez and Ernesto Che Guevara. Nearly in every house, you will come across posters of Che or Chavez.

What we are saying to our socialist friends who want fight together with us for fraternity and freedom is: Do not come at all if you are going to say "Religion is an opiate". We do not agree with this analysis. Here is the biggest proof of this in our streets with the pictures of Chavez, Che, Sadr and Khamenei together. These leaders are saluting our people in unison. So long as we respect your beliefs, and you respect ours, there is no imperialist power we cannot defeat!"








(A member of the Palestinian Special Force trained to protect President Mahmoud Abbas takes part in an exercise during a graduation ceremony in Gaza August 17, 2006. REUTERS)

These "Special Forces" do not protect Palestinians when the Israelis invade refugee camps and kill innocent civilians. After taking away their weapons, the Israelis make them undress and parade in their underwear.


A Lebanese man inspects the wreckage of the Israeli CH-53 Sikorsky helicopter that was shot down by Hezbollah in the southern Lebanese village of Yater.

The Thirty Three Day War

From Mania to Depression

Tel Aviv.

"THE RESULTS of the war are obvious:

* The prisoners, who served as casus belli (or pretext) for the war, have not been released. They will come back only as a result of an exchange of prisoners, exactly as Hassan Nasrallah proposed before the war.

* Hizbullah has remained as it was. It has not been destroyed, nor disarmed, nor even removed from where it was. Its fighters have proved themselves in battle and have even garnered compliments from Israeli soldiers. Its command and communication stucture has continued to function to the end. Its TV station is still broadcasting.

* Hassan Nasrallah is alive and kicking. Persistent attempts to kill him failed. His prestige is sky-high. Everywhere in the Arab world, from Morocco to Iraq, songs are being composed in his honor and his picture adorns the walls.

* The Lebanese army will be deployed along the border, side by side with a large international force. That is the only material change that has been achieved.

This will not replace Hizbullah. Hizbullah will remain in the area, in every village and town. The Israeli army has not succeeded in removing it from one single village. That was simply impossible without permanently removing the population to which it belongs.

The aim was to photograph the victorious soldiers on the bank of the Litani. The operation could only last 48 hours, when the cease-fire would come into force. In spite of the fact that the army used helicopters to land the troops, the aim was not attained. At no point did the army reach the Litani.

This time, when the cease-fire took effect, all the units taking part had reached villages on the way to the river. There they became sitting ducks, surrounded by Hizbullah fighters, without secure supply lines. From that moment on, the army had only one aim: to get them out of there as quickly as possible, regardless of who might take their place.

Now, even before the last fallen soldier has been buried, the incompetent generals are starting to talk shamelessly about "another round", the next war that will surely come "in a month or in a year", God willing. After all, we cannot end the matter like this, in failure. Where is our pride?

Perhaps, in the end, it is logic that will win. Logic says: what has thoroughly been demonstrated is that there is no military solution. That is true in the North. That is also true in the South, where we are confronting a whole people that has nothing to lose anymore. The success of the Lebanese guerilla will encourage the Palestinian guerilla."