Saturday, May 19, 2007

U.S. pressing Israel to bolster pro-Abbas forces in Gaza

"The United States is pressing Israel to help bolster security forces in the Gaza Strip that are loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Major General Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator, recently discussed the function of the pro-Abbas Presidential Guard and National Security forces with senior Israeli officials.

The Americans believe that strengthening Abbas loyalists and deploying them in friction points along the north of the strip and Philadelphi route in Rafah will eventually improve the security situation......

A 470-strong Presidential Guard force, which had trained in Egypt, returned to Gaza last Tuesday via the Rafah crossing. Defense establishment sources said there was no need to coordinate the force's entry with Israel as the men were unarmed.

The defense establishment is undecided about helping to bolster the pro-Abbas forces and enabling Abbas to pay their wages. Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh is the main advocate for helping to strengthen the Abbas loyalists.

"The idea is to change the balance, which so far has leaned in Hamas' favor. Well-trained [pro-Abbas] forces could help tip the balance," Sneh told The Washington Post.

"We don't give them operative orders, that's Abbas' business," he added.

Defense officials rejected the IDF's evaluation that Abbas and his forces had lost the battle for control of the Gaza Strip and there was no point in helping them. The officials said the IDF was prejudiced against Fatah and its troops' capability, and that their evaluations were not based on a thorough examination of the battles.

However, there is also a controversy in the U.S. about the situation in the PA. Senior White House officials say Abbas' failure to handle the situation and his keeping away from Gaza reflect his inadequacy.

The IDF believes that Hamas has a considerable advantage over Fatah in the confrontation with Fatah in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas men are trained, equipped and more resolved than their Fatah counterparts, even if the latter outnumber them in weapons," an IDF source said.

The source said that senior defense officers identified with Fatah have taken their families out of the Gaza Strip for fear Hamas would harm them.

The head of the research division of Military Intelligence, Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, on Friday told the diplomatic corps that the Hamas modus operandi in Gaza was identical to that developed by Hezbollah in South Lebanon. "Hamas is taking over Fatah and Abbas' properties and equipment that the international community is bringing into Gaza," he said in an intelligence briefing at the Dan Hotel."

Shame on Harvard

Khalid Amayreh,

"Harvard is a one of the most respected universities in the world. It is especially renowned for its academic excellence and sound scholarly traditions. However, Harvard’s good name is being tarnished by the presence on its campus of a certified war criminal who is believed to have been responsible for the murder and maiming of thousands of innocent men, women and children in the Middle East.

The reported attendance of the former Israeli Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, on a Harvard Elite study program, does besmirch the reputation of this school which claims to be guided by ethical principles.......

However, Harvard should know better, and if ordinary Americans can be forgiven for their ignorance about Israel’s criminal behavior and racism, Harvard has no excuse.

But in case the Harvard administration is not aware of Halutz’s criminal credentials, here is a brief reminder.

As Commander of the Israeli Air Force and later Chief of Staff of the Israeli army, Dan Halutz instructed Israeli forces, including the air force, to indiscriminately bomb Lebanese and Palestinian population centers, causing the death of thousands of civilians.

Halutz instructed Israeli pilots to bomb homes, hospitals, colleges, ambulances, airports, refineries, gas stations, schools, roads and power stations. The atrocities committed under his command were condemned worldwide as "war crimes.".....

Moreover, during the Palestinian Aqsa uprising against the Israeli occupation, Halutz adopted a policy of extra-judicial executions of Palestinian political and resistance activists. The harvest of this manifestly criminal policy was the brutal death of thousands of people, many of whom, it was later proven, were totally innocent.

Halutz also instructed Israeli soldiers to shoot Palestinian children and civilians knowingly and deliberately whenever the soldiers thought that the civilians posed the slightest threat to their safety. It is believed that as many as a thousand Palestinian children and minors were killed as a result of this haphazard policy......

And in Lebanon, Halutz committed even more horrible war crimes. Indeed, toward the end of the war of last year, he ordered his army to drop 2000,000-3000,000 million cluster bombs or bomblets all over Lebanon, with the apparent intent to kill and maim as many Lebanese children as possible.

As a result of this war crime, Lebanese children continue to die nearly on a daily basis as a result of the explosion of these ubiquitous explosives.

These are only a few examples of the war crimes committed under Halutz’ command, which makes him a war criminal, not unlike any Nazis war criminal.......

Yes, Harvard receives grants and financial contributions from pro-Israeli donors. However, Harvard should never give the impression that its ethics and moral principles are on sale for the highest bidder?"

In Your Dreams Barghouthi!

Barghouthi urges world community to punish Israel to stop its aggression

"RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- The PA information minister, Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, on Saturday urged the world community to impose sanctions on Israel to force it into halting its crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Barghouthi described the IOF air raids and artillery shelling against densely-populated neighborhoods in Gaza as "war crimes" and "a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva Convention".

In a press release, the minister said that it was imperative on the international community to act so as to check the Israeli bloody attacks, which he said came as a practical response to the Arab peace initiative and in a bid to block any opportunity for peace based on justice.

Israel killed more than 50 Palestinians mostly women and children ever since the PA national unity government was formed more than two months ago while no Israeli was killed in that same period, Barghouthi pointed out.

He refuted Israel's allegation that the raids were aimed at stopping the firing of Palestinian resistance missiles, explaining that if the Israeli government really wished an end to the firing of those missiles it should have accepted the Palestinian offer of a comprehensive and reciprocal calm.

The minister said that the real aim of the current Israeli escalation is to cover up for the weakness of that government, which clearly displays the absence of any peace partner on the Israeli side.

He finally charged that the Israeli government was waging a brutal war against the Gaza Strip that did not spare civilians or infrastructure in a manner revealing the intent on destroying Palestinian life."

"كتائب الأقصى": فتح اختُطفت من غلمان دحلان وتصريحات نزال تبرر للاحتلال القتل

"ناشدت "كتائب شهداء الأقصى"، الجناح العسكري لحركة "فتح" أبناء الحركة بأن يرفضوا الانخراط في "مؤامرة تصفية المقاومة وشركاء الدم والسلاح"، قائلة: "لا للعملاء وأدعياء الانتماء لفتح في صفوفنا، ولنعلنها مجلجلة فلتعود فتح إلى أحضان أبناءها الحقيقيين والشرعيين".

وعبّرت الكتائب، في بيان صحفي لها، عن استغرابها التصعيد من قبل "فئة متمردة على ثوابت ومبادئ فتح في الوقت الذي بادر فيه شرفاء الحركة وعلى رأسهم (أحمد حلّس) إلى وضع النقاط على الحروف قبل فترة، بدعوته إلى إعادة الشرعية إلى أبناء فتح الحقيقيين بعد أن اختطفت من قبل غلمان (محمد دحلان) على مرأى ومسمع الرئيس محمود عباس الذي لم يحرك ساكناً".

وقالت: "في الوقت الذي نرى فيه قوات البغي الصهيونية تفتك بإخواننا ورفاق سلاحنا وشركائنا في خندق المقاومة في غزة الصامدة، لا يتورع شرذمة ممن ربطوا أسمائهم، زوراً وبهتاناً، بحركة فتح العظيمة عن مد يد العون لعصابات الاحتلال في حربهم المعلنة على قوى المقاومة، بل ولا يخجل الدّعي (جمال نزّال) من نفسه، ويجاهر على رؤوس الأشهاد باتهام المقاومة بأنها هي من تستدرج عصابات الاحتلال إلى غزة، وكأن المجرم (رئيس الوزراء الصهيوني إيهود) أولمرت الذي يعاني من سكرات الموت جراء تقرير (فينوغراد) بحاجة إلى مبررات لقتل أبناء شعبنا"."

The Next War

A Swiss Cheese


"THE WINOGRAD committee of inquiry is not a part of the solution. It is a part of the problem.

Now, after the first excitement caused by the publication of the partial report has died down, it is possible to evaluate it. The conclusion is that it has done much more harm than good......

Strong medicine. What is the conclusion? That we must learn these lessons and improve our performance quickly, before we start the next war.

And indeed, a large part of the public drew precisely this conclusion: the three "ineptocrats" have to be removed, their place has to be filled by three leaders who are more responsible and "experienced", and we should then start Lebanon War III, so as to repair the damage caused by Lebanon War II.

The army has lost its deterrent power? We shall get it back in the next war. There was no successful ground attack? We shall do better next time. In the next war, we shall penetrate deeper.

The entire problem is technical. New leaders with military experience, orderly staff-work, meticulous preparations, an army chief from the ranks of the ground forces instead of a flying commander - and then everything will be OK.

THE MOST important part of the report is the one that is not there. The report is full of holes, like the proverbial Swiss cheese.

There is no mention of the fact that this was from the start a superfluous, senseless and hopeless war......

A CONSPICUOUS hole in the report concerns the international background of the war.

The part played by the United States was obvious from the first moment. Olmert would not have decided to start the war without obtaining explicit American permission. If the US had forbidden it, Olmert would not have dreamt of starting it.

George Bush had an interest in this war. He was (and is) stuck in the Iraqi morass. He is trying to put the blame on Syria. Therefore he wanted to strike a blow against Damascus. He also wanted to break the Lebanese opposition, in order to help America's proxy in Beirut. He was sure that it would be a cakewalk for the Israeli army.

When the expected victory was late in coming, American diplomacy did everything possible to prevent a cease-fire, so as to "give time" to the Israeli army to win. That was done almost openly.

How much did the Americans dictate to Olmert the decision to start the war, to bomb Lebanon (but not the infrastructure of the Siniora government), to prolong the war and to start a ground offensive at the last moment? We don't know. Perhaps the committee dealt with this in the secret part of the report. But without this information it is impossible to understand what happened, and therefore the report is to a large extent worthless for understanding the war......"

Audio: Interview with Israeli historian Ilan Pappe (Pt 1)

Interview, Crossing the Line, 19 May 2007

"This week on Crossing The Line, the ongoing debate of two states vs. one state in Israel/Palestine is nothing new. However, the debate looms larger when we talk about the issue solely in the peace movement. Host Chris Brown presents part one of a two-part conversation with noted Israeli historian Ilan Pappe."

Click Here to Listen to Part 1

Audio: Interview with Israeli historian Ilan Pappe (Pt 2)

Click Here to Listen to Part 2

Israel giving military aid to Abu Mazen’s Fatah in its battle with Hamas

An Important Piece

"DEBKAfile’s military sources report Israel is already giving Fatah arms, has been for the last six months and has sent ammo this week to keep Mahmoud Abbas’ met supplied for the escalating Palestinian factional violence. The hardware goes to the Fatah-Al Aqsa Brigades which are fighting the Hamas Executive Force, but Israel is also aware that the Brigades are firing missiles against Israeli villages, though not Sderot.

A member of the Israeli cabinet said: “Time is of the essence… when it comes to Hamas influence in the Gaza Strip – to sit and do nothing… is something we cannot afford.”

According to our military sources, Israeli military aid to Mahmoud Abbas does not end there. Even more important are Israeli Air Force raids against Hamas troops massed to attack Abu Mazen’s men. The objective of one such strike Thursday, May 17, was to thwart a Hamas assault on the Palestinian Presidential Guard base at the Karni goods crossing into Israel; another, Friday night, May 18, bombed a girls’ school in Gaza City occupied by Hamas troops. DEBKAfile’s sources report that, to escape Israeli attacks, Hamas has emptied its bases across the Gaza Strip and moved fighting contingents into mosques and schools shut down by the ubiquitous violence.

Gaza streets are deserted because, in the last day or two, Hamas and Fatah have moved their war to the rooftops. They are fighting for control of Gaza’s highest rooftops for command of the surrounding districts. The Israeli military has not been directed to strike these vulnerable Hamas units. Israel’s military aid to Abu Mazen is measured at this point.

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas called the UN Secretary, Condoleezza Rice and the German foreign minister Friday. Palestinian sources report he asked them to stop Israeli air raids over Gaza. DEBKAfile discloses that, on the contrary, he asked for the Israeli attacks on Hamas to be redoubled."

Blair's lies and linguistic manipulations

My Dad used to call people like Blair a 'twerp'. But I fear he is a vicious little man

By Robert Fisk

"By great good fortune, I studied linguistics at Lancaster University. Indeed, I read the books of Noam Chomsky, many years before he became a good friend of mine; to be honest, when I read his work, I thought Chomsky was dead. What a pleasure, therefore, to discover that he shared my world - and my views on Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara.

But I have to admit a moment of regret this weekend. Lord Blair is going from us. His self-serving memoirs will, of course, remind us of his God-like view of himself (and, heaven spare me, we share the same publishers) but I doubt if Chomsky's "foregrounded elements" will save him. A "foregrounded element" was something unusual, a phrase placed in such a way that it warned us of a lie to come.....

And now I have before me Blair's repulsive "goodbye" speech to the British people, uttered at Sedgefield. Putting the country first didn't mean "doing the right thing according to conventional wisdom" (Chomsky foregrounded element: conventional) or the "prevailing consensus: (Chomsky foregrounded element: prevailing). It meant "what you genuinely believe to be right" (Chomsky foregrounded element: genuinely). Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara wanted to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Britain's oldest ally, which he assumed to be the United States. (It is actually Portugal, but no matter.) "I did so out of belief," he told us. Foregrounded element: belief.

Am I alone in being repulsed by this? "Politics may be the art of the possible (foregrounded element: may) but, at least in life, give the impossible a go." What does this mean? Is Blair adopting sainthood as a means to an end? "Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right." Excuse me? Is that Blair's message to the families of all those dead soldiers - and to the families of all those thousands of dead Iraqis? It has been an "honour" to "serve" Britain, this man tells us. What gall......

My Dad used to call people like Blair a "twerp" which, I think, meant a pregnant earwig. But Blair is not a twerp. I very much fear he is a vicious little man. And I can only recall Cromwell's statement to the Rump Parliament in 1653, repeated - with such wisdom - by Leo Amery to Chamberlain in 1940: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go." "

A wanted man on campus

Israel's former military chief is taking a course at Harvard, where students are pursuing him for war crimes.

By Laila El-Haddad
The Guardian

".....After resigning his post in January, he took some time off to better himself and Halutz has been attending an elite two-month advanced management programme at the Harvard Business School (HBS) in the United States. Ironic though it may be, his training has been sponsored by the Israeli army, according to a press statement issued by HBS.

But a group of Harvard University students is trying to make sure his crimes are not forgotten, while also castigating Harvard for admitting him - and others accused of human rights abuses and war crimes - in the first place.

The Alliance for Justice in the Middle East has plastered the campus of Harvard University and its business school with mock "Wanted" posters.

The group launched their week-long mock dragnet last Tuesday to expose what they say is Harvard University's "pattern of admitting and hiring individuals with a credible and public record of war crimes and human rights abuses". In addition to the "Wanted" posters, they are employing missing person milk cartons, helium balloons, and the Internet to make their case.

The posters say Halutz is "wanted for war crimes" for ordering the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon last summer, killing over 1,000 civilians. The jets he commanded bombed houses and hospitals, ambulances and airports, refineries and roads. The atrocities committed under his command were condemned worldwide as war crimes. Now he's hiding out and padding his resumé in an executive education programme at Harvard Business School," it reads.

It says he is still "at large" and then asks people to contact the International Criminal Court if they spot him.

Human rights organisations around the world, including in Israel, have also accused Halutz of war crimes for the one-tonne bomb he ordered dropped in a heavily populated civilian area in Gaza in 2002.

Despite my prompting, university officials declined to comment, but did issue a press statement saying that the purpose of the programme was "to bring diverse groups of senior executives together to achieve a broader perspective on global strategic issues". It further states that the school "relies on the information provided by and the judgment of" the sponsoring organisations. In this case, the Israeli military. Yes, that's right, the Israeli military......"

The bad news from Basra

Saturday May 19, 2007
The Guardian

"......But examine the plan and it begins to unravel, as all the other security plans have. Sunni insurgents are showing a remarkable ability to regroup. Forced out of Baghdad temporarily, 50 of them attacked a US base in Baquba yesterday. There is a major manhunt going on for three US soldiers seized in an ambush a week ago. Anyone who argues that the surge is quelling the insurgency, rather than merely displacing it, will have difficulty sustaining the thesis. Power has become so dispersed that it makes little sense talking about one insurgency, or indeed one civil war. As Gareth Stansfield argues in a Chatham House paper this week, there are Shias fighting against Sunnis for control of Baghdad; there are Kurds struggling against Arabs in Kirkuk and possibly also Mosul; there are Sunnis fighting US soldiers in the centre and the north; there are Sadrist Shias fighting the US and British in the south; Sunni tribal forces are fighting Sunni Islamists of al-Qaida; Shia militia groups are fighting each other in the south, as we report today; and there is also rampant criminality everywhere.

There is no shortage of deeply gloomy scenarios for a country that is in the process of disintegrating. If serious fighting breaks out this year between the Kurds and Arabs in Kirkuk, the world will see just how much further Iraq can fall. Few doubt that there will be a pull-out of coalition forces. The only debate is how quickly and under what conditions. Some insiders argue that it is better to get the pain over with now, and hand over to the Iraqi army and police force immediately, others that a central government with an army and police force is a myth on which it is dangerous to rely, and that local forces should be put in charge of local law enforcement. Whoever is right, it is surely time that our leaders started recognising the reality of life in Iraq and stopped indulging in daydreams."

'Welcome to Tehran' - how Iran took control of Basra

Britain has failed to stop southern Iraq falling into grip of militias

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Basra
Saturday May 19, 2007
The Guardian

"......"If the Prophet Muhammad would come to Basra today he would be killed because he doesn't have a militia," a law professor told me. "There is no state of law, the only law is the militia law."......

"When these religious parties say Basra is calm, that's because they control the city, and they are looting it," he said. "It's calm not because it's under the control of the police, but because all the militias have interests and they want to maintain the status quo. The moment their interests are under threat the whole city can burn."

Like many I spoke to, he said the appearance of a functioning state was largely an illusion: "The security forces are made of militiamen. In any confrontation between political parties, the police force will splinter according to party line and fight each other."......"

Blair: We Will Support Iraq to Death!

Hallelujah Trail: Terror War "Regime Change" Comes to the Holy Land

By Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque

"The Bush Administration has now embarked on its fourth "regime change" operation in its global "Terror War." Following the more direct overthrows in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the aggression by paid-for proxies in Somalia, we now have the civil war in Palestine, with U.S. arms and money backing the armed overthrow of the democratically elected Hamas government. As in Somalia, where the American-trained army of the Ethiopian dictatorship joined up with Somali warlords in the pay of the CIA, the latest regime change is being carried out by a combination of foreign and native proxies: the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

The civil war in Palestine is of course a long-held dream of the American and Israeli Right. Israel first secretly supported the sectarian Hamas in order to undermine the secular nationalists of Arafat's PLO; now they openly take sides with Arafat's successors in the Palestinian Authority against Hamas, which -- as always happens -- escaped the control of the puppet-masters who sought to exploit the group for their own ends. But the long-term aim has been achieved: a violently divided Palestinian society, broken down, killing each other off, leaving Israel free to continue its colonization of Palestinian land. As others have pointed out, it's no wonder that the United States so staunchly supports this policy: after all, it's what we did to the Native Americans.

The latter is actually an important point, if mostly overlooked. Critics of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians -- especially those well-disposed toward Israel, who write more in sorrow than in anger -- often hold out the idea that Israel will eventually come to its senses, that its leaders will finally have to acknowledge that they can't simply brutalize their way to victory and vanquish the Palestinian cause by force, take over all the land they want and build their own society on these ill-gotten gains. But of course history is filled with examples of this very process; in the grand sweep of time, it has actually succeeded more often than not......

There is at present no superior force, no institutional or legal check (from a rightwing judiciary and a spineless Congress) or sufficient popular opposition to bring the moral obscenity of the Terror War to a halt, and redirect America's energies toward more worthy -- and more security-conducive -- ends. And so the "regime change" operations will go on, spreading death, chaos and immense suffering in its wake, and seeding future conflicts, future blowback, endless horrors to come.

As for the Palestinian "regime change," the Bush faction is scarcely bothering to hide its role in bringing about the armed conflict. Jonathan Schwarz is on the case here, with this sharp post, marked as usual with his dark wit......"

Buck Fush

If You are the Head of the "Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq," Where Would You go for Treatment?...... to the Great Satan, of Course!

"BAGHDAD --The leader of Iraq's largest Shiite political party has left for the United States for medical checkups, an official at his office said Friday.

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim flew to the United States on Wednesday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. He released no other details.

Al-Hakim, re-elected last week as leader of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, is not known to be suffering any health problems, but he is a heavy smoker. He addressed a news conference May 12 at the end of a two-day conference of his party, founded in neighboring Iran in the early 1980s.

Al-Hakim, who has led his party since 2003, is believed to be in his late 50s or early 60s.

He had a White House meeting with President Bush in December."

Mercenary Deaths in Iraq Soar to Record

"Casualties among private contractors in Iraq have soared to record levels this year, setting a pace that seems certain to turn 2007 into the bloodiest year yet for the civilians who work alongside the American military in the war zone, according to new government numbers.

At least 146 contract workers were killed in Iraq in the first three months of the year, by far the highest number for any quarter since the war began in March 2003, according to the Labor Department, which processes death and injury claims for those working as United States government contractors in Iraq.

That brings the total number of contractors killed in Iraq to at least 917, along with more than 12,000 wounded in battle or injured on the job, according to government figures and dozens of interviews.

The numbers, which have not been previously reported, disclose the extent to which contractors — Americans, Iraqis and workers from more than three dozen other countries — are largely hidden casualties of the war, and now are facing increased risks alongside American soldiers and marines as President Bush’s plan to increase troop levels in Baghdad takes hold......."

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Repost of an Excellent 3-Part Article: HOW HEZBOLLAH DEFEATED ISRAEL

By Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry
Asia Times

October 12-14, 2006

Part 1: Winning the Intelligence War

Part 2: Winning the Ground War

Part 3: The Political War


Because winning is no accident!

AMB (Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades): the strife in Gaza is a foreign plan being executed by collaborators

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The fighting in Gaza between Hamas and rogue elements in Fatah was planned beforehand under US supervision and is being executed by mercenaries of the occupation, said the AMB, the armed wing of Fatah.

The Armed Struggle and Right of Return wing in the AMB said in a statement that the aim of the Israeli occupation government is "for us to forget our main aim and get busy with fighting one another through plans supervised by Condoleezza Rice and General Dayton through the Mossad and Shabak and their cohorts who follow blindly."

The group further said that resistance is the only way for unity and liberation stressing that it will fight for homeland, holy places and the right of return and reject those who serve the interests of the US and Israel as people who have no place amongst the Palestinian people.

The group also reminded the people that Israel does not distinguish between the various armed wings and that discord creates a rich environment for the fifth column to mobilize its forces.

The statement further said that the aim of all this chaos is to narrow the horizons of the Palestinian people and force them to submit to the Zionist plans as they clear the way for those [Palestinians] who are ready to compromise."

Hamas Assignment

Dear Hamas,

Here is your assignment for today: Write the following statement 100 times and repeat every morning.





Will the Palestinians Ever Learn?? We Never Saw Hizbullah Fighters Riding Cars and Being Repeatedly Killed Like This! Why Can't the Palestinians Think??
Israeli aircraft fire missiles at car traveling in northern Gaza City, killing 2 members of Hamas and injuring 7 others, eyewitnesses say

The Clown King of Jordan proposes a United Kingdom of Jordan and Palestine to solve the Palestinian question

A Very Serious and Ominous Development

"Bethlehem - Ma'an - King Abdullah II of Jordan has drawn up a new initiative to solve the Palestinian question based on the historic confederation of Jordan and Palestine.

The Israeli daily Maariv claimed on Friday that King Abdullah's initiative calls for the establishment of a united Hashemite-Palestinian kingdom with the king presiding over the two states.

According to the king's envoys, such as Abdul Salam Al-Majali and others, who were sent to Israel to speak on behalf of King Abdullah II last week, the Palestinian-Jordanian United Kingdom would comprise of two independent sovereign states. Under the king would be a prime minister, a chair of the Palestinian state and another of the Jordanian state.

Maariv did not exclude the possibility that the initiative could be a test aimed at reviving the paralyzed peace process and at diverting the concern in Jordan over a possible US withdrawal from Iraq soon. The newspaper said it expects the Jordanian king to find himself stuck between Islamic chaos in Iraq, Palestinian crowds in Jordan and internal chaos in the Palestinian territories.

Maariv also quoted the Jordanian envoys to Israel as saying to the Israeli officials: "You claim that there is nobody to talk to on the Palestinian side, and there is nothing tangible to discuss. Why don't you talk with us, the Jordanians, with participation of representatives of the Palestinian president? Let us talk about a confederation under the king of Jordan."

The Israeli newspaper pointed out that several obstacles face the Jordanian initiative, such as the stipulation that it should be implemented after securing complete Israeli approval of the Arab peace initiative, in addition to Israeli suspicions regarding Jordan's intentions. "


We reported on this story last week, and despite Jordanian denials, the story is correct. It is another part of the U.S. plan to keep the Palestinians under heel and under custody of its most reliable stooge in the area, the Clown King. This is in preparation to force a "settlement" on the Palestinians drafted in Tel Aviv. It is back to the good old days, before the PLO, when Arab puppets always spoke for the Palestinians who were kept in chains and out of sight. It is back to the future!

This will also facilitate the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Israel by "transferring" them across the Jordan River. It is obviously in conformity with longstanding Israeli policy that the Palestinian state is in Jordan.

This is extremely serious and all Palestinians have to rise up against it before it is too late.

اولمرت: العمليات ضد الفلسطينيين تحظى بغطاء أميركي


" 18/05/2007 نقل تلفزيون العدو ان رئيس وزراء الاسرائيلي ايهود اولمرت، ابلغ الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس ان ضبط حكومته للنفس وصل الى نهايته، وانها ستعمل الان بقسوة ضد حماس وان العمليات العسكرية الاسرائيلية ضد الفلسطينيين تحظى بغطاء اميركي. كما انها تقوم باتصالات خارجية للايضاح بان الهدف من ذلك توفير قدرتها على المناورة، وايصال رسالة للعالم ان اسرائيل لم تدخل حتى الآن بعملية عسكرية واسعة، الا انها مستعدة لذلك، وهو خيار موجود لايجاد ضغط دبلوماسي على حركة حماس يضاف للضغط العسكري.

أما رئيس لجنة الخارجية والامن تساحي هنغبي، فقد دعا الى المس بالقادة السياسيين لحماس في الحكومة الفلسطينية، فيما طالب زعيم الليكود بنيامين نتنياهو بفرض حصار مشدد على قطاع غزة وقطع بعض القطاعات الحيوية عن الفلسطينيين.

وقال بنيامين نتنياهو، زعيم حزب الليكود " لو كنت رئيسا للوزراء لبدأت بالرد في وقت ابكر فليس مقبولا القول ليس لدينا ما نفعله لمواجهة الارهاب فيمكننا ان نستخدم الضغط من خلال فرض حصار على غزة وايقاف تقديم الخدمات، والقيام بعمليات برية ضد المناطق التي تطلق منها الصواريخ".

وفيما نقلت صحيفة يديعوت احرونوت عن مصدر امني كبير قوله ان العمليات العسكرية ستتواصل الى ان يقول الفلسطينيون كفى، تحول هرب مستوطني سديروت بسبب استمرار تساقط الصواريخ الى مشكلة حقيقة امام الحكومة الاسرائيلية، وقدر عدد الهاربين بحوالي ثلاثة الاف مستوطن قصدوا مناطق اكثر امناً.
الحكومة الاسرائيلية التي لم تؤمن الملاجيء لهؤلاء، ولم تستطع وقف الصواريخ اصابها الحرج الشديد امام غضب واحباط المستوطنيين، وامام مبادرة الملياردر الاسرائيلي اركادي غايدمن الذي اخذ على عاتقه تأمين الباصات واماكن السكن للهاربين، كاشفاً بذلك عن ارتباك الحكومة.

وعلق على ذلك المحلل السياسي تشيكو مناشية بالقول الحكومة مربكة فيما يتعلق باجلاء سكان سديروت، وقد تكلم اعضاؤها بمواقف مختلفة، ولدى مكتب رئيس الحكومة صعوبة جوهرية فيما يتعلق بالاعتراف بان الدولة تجلي السكان وقد اعطى بريتس امرا واضحا باجلاء من يريد المغادرة". بدوره قال ايلي موئيل، رئيس بلدية سديروت" اعتقد ان سديروت تعيش في حالة ذعر وخروج بعض السكان هو امر طبيعي وعلينا ان نتفهم موقفهم فهم يعانون وما حصل في الايام الاخيرة اثار رعبهم". صحيفة يديعوت احرونوت كشفت ان الصواريخ تساقطت الخميس على سديروت بعد دقائق قليلة من مغادرة اولمرت للمستوطنة حيث التقى بيريتس فيها ."

Poll: 71% of Israelis want U.S. to strike Iran if talks fail

"Fully 71 percent of Israelis believe that the United States should launch a military attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to halt Tehran's nuclear program, according to a new poll.

The survey, commissioned by Bar-Ilan University's BESA Center and the Anti-Defamation League, found that 59 percent of Israelis still believe the war in Iraq was justified, while 36 percent take the opposite view.

Some 65 percent believe that the United States is a loyal ally of Israel, with only 11 percent saying the opposite. A slightly higher proportion, 73 percent, described U.S. President George W. Bush as friendly. Forty-eight percent attributed U.S. support for Israel to strategic considerations, while 30 percent credited American Jewry and 17 percent cited shared values and a shared democratic tradition.

Regarding America's importance to Israel, there was near consensus: 91 percent said that close relations with the U.S. are vital to Israel's security......"

Words instead of actions

By Amira Hass

".......And why should Israel take into consideration the warnings of the World Bank when they have no teeth? It is not enough to mention the apartheid roads in connection with the expansion of the settlements, or the fact that around 50 percent of West Bank territory is not accessible to Palestinians. It is not enough to count the trucks at the Karni crossing that do not enter and exit, or to calculate the small number of days when the Rafah terminal is open. It is not enough to adorn the reports with scholarly charts presenting the Palestinian territories as a perpetual disaster area.

The United States and Europe knew very well how to punish the Palestinians when democratic, free elections gave rise to a Hamas government: with a political boycott and a freeze on financial aid earmarked for development and for encouraging independent production and rebuilding.......

The countries issuing the warnings continue to purchase Israeli manufactured arms and other security-related products. They host military officers who are directly responsible for the killing of hundreds of Palestinian citizens and fervently implement the siege policy. They invite Israeli ministers who are responsible for the economic and social de-development of a whole people. Their representatives also meet with ministers whose remarks and actions negate the rights of the Palestinian people with no less determination than those of Hamas ministers, who refuse to declare their recognition of Israel's right to exist. The Western countries chose to punish the occupied with very concrete means - but not the occupier, which it sees as part of their Enlightened Civilization. They thus signal to Israel that it may adhere to the same policies whose impact the reports are warning against. "

Fatah Troops Enter Gaza With Israeli Assent

Hundreds Were Trained in Egypt Under U.S.-Backed Program to Counter Hamas

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service

"JERUSALEM, May 17 -- Israel this week allowed the Palestinian party Fatah to bring into the Gaza Strip as many as 500 fresh troops trained under a U.S.-coordinated program to counter Hamas, the radical Islamic movement that won Palestinian parliamentary elections last year. Fighting between Hamas and Fatah has left about 45 Palestinians dead since Sunday. The forces belong to units loyal to the elected Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, a moderate Fatah leader whom the Bush administration and Israel have sought to strengthen militarily and politically. A spokeswoman for the European Union Border Assistance Mission at Rafah, where the fighters crossed into Gaza from Egypt, said their entry Tuesday was approved by Israel.

The troops' deployment illustrates the increasingly partisan role that Israel and the Bush administration are taking in the volatile Palestinian political situation. The effort to fortify the armed opposition to Hamas, which the United States and Israel categorize as a terrorist organization, follows attempts to isolate the radical Islamic movement internationally and cut off its sources of financial aid.......

The Bush administration recently approved $40 million to train the Palestinian Presidential Guard, a force of about 4,000 troops under Abbas's direct control, but both Israel and the United States, each deeply unpopular among Arabs in the region, have been trying to avoid the perception of taking sides in a conflict that this week in Gaza has resembled a nascent civil war. Many within Fatah are avowed opponents of Israel, and any alliance with the Jewish state against the militant movement could damage Fatah's standing among Palestinians......

Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the subject, said the decision to allow Fatah troops into Gaza this week was based on trying to help Abbas take control of northern Gaza. That area is the prime launching ground for the erratic if lethal rockets known as Qassams.

"If you look at exit scenarios for what's going on there now, you could have a force loyal to Abbas in northern Gaza that could be highly useful to Israel," one Israeli official said. "But within the larger crisis you have to be careful. We don't want to be a part of this conflict, so this is a balancing act."......

The troops were trained by Egyptian authorities under a program coordinated by Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, a special U.S. envoy to the region who has been working to improve security in Gaza and the West Bank in order to foster Israeli-Palestinian economic alliances in the short term and peace prospects over time......Although it is under Abbas's authority, the Presidential Guard is run by Mohammed Dahlan, a Fatah lawmaker who has worked closely with several U.S. administrations. Abbas named Dahlan his national security adviser after Hamas and Fatah agreed in February to establish a power-sharing government......

Israeli officials said the forces, whom one Israeli Defense Ministry official called "Dayton's guys," were trained in Egypt and numbered between 400 and 500 men....."

By Steve Bell, The Guardian

Pax Americana
By Imad Hajjaj

Hamas Traps Israel between Two Options: War or War of Attrition

".......A senior Israeli officer commented Thursday: “The fire burning in Sderot and Gaza could spread suddenly to Lebanon or Syria.”.....

In sum, the two heads of Hamas’ military wing are determined to topple by force of arms and hundreds of Qassam missiles the Palestinian strategies pursued by the US, Europe, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East Quartet and Israel.....

If Abbas’ forces, in which the US has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and high hopes for a Palestinian future, were to go into battle, the IDF could strike Hamas from the rear to halt the missile offensive on its own account, without becoming a party to the factional conflict. But as long as Abu Mazen keeps his men on the sidelines, Israeli leaders are stuck with their second decision in 11 months about whether or not to go to war against an aggressor.

In the hope of luring Abbas’ men into battle against Hamas, the Israeli Air Force was ordered early Friday, May 18, to help the Palestinian Presidential Guard’s 4th Battalion guarding the Karni goods crossing from Israel by striking a Hamas unit poised to seize the border facility. This was the first time Israel stepped into the Hamas-Fatah conflict. If it fails to draw Abbas’ men into the fray, Israel could risk being forced to challenge the Hamas missile masterminds alone - and be unwillingly drawn into the factional dispute on Abu Mazen’s behalf.

That is not the only dilemma facing Olmert.

If he holds the army back from a direct confrontation with Hamas, the missile offensive will develop into a war of attrition on Israel’s southwestern border. Hamas has threatened to expand its offensive to towns which are larger and more distant from Gaza’s borders than Sderot. If, on the other hand, Israel goes ahead and clobbers Hamas, it faces the multiple threats of renewed suicidal terror in its main cities and of Hizballah and Syria joining in to support Hamas.

It looks therefore as though the widely predicted Summer 2007War is already upon Israel - and it won’t be an easy one."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is it really just an Inter-Palestinian Fight?

By Tony Sayegh

It has become fashionable for friends and foes of the Palestinians to decry what they refer to as the inter-Palestinian fighting. Some have gone as far as calling it a civil war. Hamas and Fatah are equally blamed in what passes as astute observation and wisdom in various commentaries.

In this blessed age of the “new Middle East” brought to us courtesy of the American benevolence and zeal for democracy, we have been manipulated by the spin machines to believe that civil wars are breaking out spontaneously in Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia and now Palestine. What more proof do we need that we are primitive, uncivilized savages who need the big stick of the kind, civilized Western occupiers to keep us from each other’s throat? Therefore the American occupation of Iraq can’t end, for fear of a “full blown civil war.” Now some Israelis are saying only re-occupying Gaza would restore “peace.”

Focusing on the Palestinian arena, and notwithstanding my strong criticisms of Hamas, I have to state unequivocally that I can’t consider both Hamas and Fatah as equally culpable. Further, it should be stated that what is taking place is not only not a civil war, but also not a Palestinian fight between Fatah and Hamas. Rather, it is obvious by now that a faction within Fatah as represented by the notorious Dahlan and with the acquiescence of the stooge Abbas is leading a Contra-style effort to impose a reign of terror and a police “state” on the Palestinians in order to force a “settlement” favorable to Israel on them and to physically snuff out any opposition.

It is no coincidence that the brain behind this plan is none other than Elliott Abrams with the Central American experience of toppling governments, arming and financing of death squads and Contra forces, and campaigns of assassinations and terror. Abrams has put together a similar plan for the Palestinians and the U.S. Congress has appropriated the funds for this plan. Unlike the Iran-Contra deal, this is not secret and we have read its details in the papers. We know that at least $84 millions have been allocated by the Congress. We also know that the U.S. is openly training, with the assistance of its two client regimes in Jordan and Egypt, the Palestinian Contras. We even know where they are being trained!

The real surprise is that the various Palestinian groups were not up in arms after finding out these details. The Palestinian street was also complacent about all of this as if this plan does not concern it. Of course the blockade and the empty stomachs were intended to minimize opposition to the plan. Still not many Palestinian voices, even in the Diaspora, were raised. A certain fog seemed to surround what is being planned, even though none of it was secret. It was as if the Palestinians did not want to face up to the fact that among them, as with any other people, there are those who would work against the interests of their people and actually work for U.S. and Israeli interests.

What is happening now is that the order has been given by Usrael for this Palestinian Contra faction to forcefully implement the plan. We read in Haaretz, for example, about Condoleezza’s plan with precise dates for implementation, which Abbas accepted within 24 hours. We also know that a part of the plan calls for Dahlan to submit and implement a plan on how to disarm the resistance and stop the launching of rockets from Gaza. The deadline for the implementation of this “security” plan is June 21; only a month away. Is it not clear now why the so-called “Presidential Guard” has been deployed in the north and the east of Gaza? Is it not clear now why about 500 of the Palestinian Badr Brigade, based and trained in Jordan were allowed through the Rafah crossing (which is closed for Palestinian civilians most of the time) from Egypt? Is it not clear why large arms shipments were sent through Jordan and Egypt to the Palestinian Contras?

With all of my criticisms of Hamas, it is the only major force standing up to the Contras and their dark plans. That much we have to recognize. If the Contras succeed in crushing Hamas there will be no resistance left and Palestinian rights will be liquidated. This is what all the client Arab regimes are waiting for to normalize relations with Israel over the wreckage of the Palestinians using the “peace plan” fig leaf.

Realizing all of these very ominous dimensions of what has been planned and is being executed, makes it unconscionable for any Palestinian to just blame both parties equally and to portray what is happening as a power struggle. The picture is clear and all Palestinians need to expose and to stand up to the Contras in their middle.

By Mike Luckovich

Gaza Is Burning: Laila El-Hadded Reports on How Recent Fighting in Gaza has Paralyzed Civilian Life

Contributed by Datta

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"We turn now to Gaza where at least twenty Palestinians were killed Wednesday in fierce internal fighting between the two main factions Hamas and Fatah. As many as 45 people have died with more than 100 wounded in four days of violence......

AMY GOODMAN: Laila El-Haddad is a Palestinian journalist and mother living in Gaza. She writes for a number of publications, including and The Guardian of London. She maintains a blog called "Raising Youssef: A Diary of a Mother Under Occupation." She joins us now from Gaza.....

LAILA EL-HADDAD: Right. Of course, I mean, you know, people here are very perturbed and upset at what’s happening locally and place a lot of blame on the organizations themselves or the members or whoever is doing the shooting, but at the same time look at it within the larger context of the continuing Israeli occupation, the continuing Israeli siege of Gaza and, of course, the continuing global boycott of the Palestinian government and, even now, the Palestinian unity government, and taking a step further and seeing that there’s something far more sinister behind it all, particularly the US agenda to see the downfall of the unity government through arming, of course, and training Mohammad Dahlan, the Fatah strongman in Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces......

LAILA EL-HADDAD: Yeah, I mean, it’s -- again, it is no hidden agenda. It’s not any kind of conspiracy. It’s something that’s been very open and reported openly in the press, but again, the media has chosen not to necessarily concentrate on this particular aspect.

Over the past, I think it might have been, two years or so, especially, particularly in the period right before the elections, the US began funding Mohammad Dahlan, specifically, personally, in hopes to stave off a Hamas election victory, and then, following the election victory, Hamas’s election, continued to fund both Mohammad Dahlan and Mahmoud Abbas, the security forces, and training and arming them, as well. And the sum has reached something to the effect of $84 million.

And just a day ago, when the latest clashes began, in fact, Israel authorized the opening of Rafah crossing, which is closed -- the only civilian passage in and out of Gaza, and it’s closed at least 50% of the time, according to the UN. But they authorized that to be open specifically to allow the entry of at least 450 members of the Badr Brigades, which is the elite Fatah brigades that were trained in Jordan with US funding. So again, it’s very clear and out in the open. And just about a week or two ago, the plan was elaborated on in a Jordanian newspaper, before being whisked off the presses -- again, the latest plan to arm and fund and try to overthrow or see the downfall, at least, of the unity government......"

"كتائب القسام": سنتعامل مع أفراد الأمن المنتشرين لمنع إطلاق الصواريخ كعملاء

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

كشفت مصادر فلسطينية مطلعة أن قوات الأمن الوطني، التابعة لرئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس، نشرت عدداً من أفرادها في شمال قطاع غزة، بالقرب من الحدود الفاصلة بين القطاع والأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة سنة 1948، وذلك لمنع مجاهدي كتائب الشهيد عز الدين القسام ومجاهدي المقاومة من إطلاق الصواريخ باتجاه المستعمرات الصهيونية.

بدوره؛ أكد "أبو عبيدة"، الناطق الإعلامي باسم "كتائب القسام" بأن معلومات مؤكدة وردت لدى الكتائب عن وجود عدد من الملثمين يتواجدون في منطقة الجمارك داخل ثكنة عسكرية، مشيراً إلى أنهم يتواجدون في منطقة محظورة أمنياً وهي تعد منطقة خطيرة أمنياً ولا تسمح قوات الاحتلال لأحد بدخولها.

واعتبر الناطق، في تصريح صحفي له، وجود أفراد الأمن في تلك المنطقة بأنه "ينذر بأمر خطير وهو ملاحقة المقاومة الفلسطينية أو رصد تحركات المقاومة للاحتلال"، وقال: "نحن لا نسمي هؤلاء أمن وطني، هؤلاء قوات لحد الفلسطينية (نسبة إلى قوات لحد اللبنانية العميلة للاحتلال الصهيوني) تتعامل مع الاحتلال، ونحن سنتعامل معها كما نتعامل مع الاحتلال".

وحذر "أبو عبيدة" هؤلاء من التعاون مع الاحتلال، خاصة وأن لدى الكتائب معلومات مؤكدة بأن بعض هؤلاء العاملين على الساحة الفلسطينية يقومون برصد تحركات المجاهدين وقيادات في كتائب القسام، "ومن يقوم برصد تحركات قيادات القسام يعني أنه يقوم برصدها للاحتلال الصهيوني". "

Why is the Coward Hiding in the Green Zone in Ramallah, Instead of Being in Gaza?

Bernard Lewis' Latest Call to Arms

Rebirthing the Neocons


"Bernard Lewis' op-ed piece in the May 16, 2007 issue of the Wall Street Journal deserves swift rebuttal. This is the same man who advised President Bush prior to the Iraq war that the only language Arabs understood was the language of force. While Presidents may self-select advisors who tell them what they want to hear, these advisors bear as much responsibility, specially when they pose as "experts".

Lewis is an octogenarian Zionist, an "expert" author of numerous books purporting to explain Islam and Arabs. His political agenda is thinly veiled, and along with his neoconservative cohorts he has been one of the lead propagandists advocating military action in the middle-east. A card-carrying member of the Israel Lobby, his situational analysis consistently deflects attention from Israel's primacy in US policymaking where the Mideast is concerned. The Lobby, of course, cannot afford to have an open discussion around the difference in what is good for the US, versus what is good for Israel.

Lewis' op-ed article is a call to arms against Islam. Like the skilful propagandist that he is, he weaves his story using metaphors carefully planted in the American psyche since 9/11, to painstakingly rekindle the fire of fear......

Rather than educate an American audience about distinctions within the Muslim world, Lewis is a Svengali who seems intent on misleading American policy. He has succeeded in mesmerizing the born-again Christian policymakers in today's Washington with simple tales of friend and foe. In this particular article, he talks about how the collapse of the Soviet system was seen by Bin Laden as a "Muslim victory". Really? Given that Bin Laden represents such a tiny sliver of all Muslims, how can his perception be any more real than that of Don Quixote de la Mancha? By elevating Bin Laden, Lewis seeks to strike fear in Americans, and continue the push to turn the so-called "war on terror" into a "war on Islam"because, as he would spin it, they declared war first!

The translucent elephant in the room that appears to energize Lewis and the rest of the neoconservatives is, of course, Israel and its survival as a Jewish-only statedemocracy for Jews, apartheid for the rest. The real question he should address is, how much damage are he and his cohorts willing to inflict on the US, to support Israel's unsupportable policies?"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Do you have confidence in the ceasefires between Fatah and Hamas?

With about 2,000 responding so far, 87% said no.

Father of Christian Zionism Leaves the Building

Bill Berkowitz, The Electronic Intifada, 17 May 2007

"The right-wing U.S. Christian evangelist Jerry Falwell, who died Tuesday at the age of 73, is perhaps best known for his fundamentalist social positions and tirades against lesbians, gays and feminists, not to mention "pagans", "abortionists" and assorted other miscreants. But Falwell also had a significant impact on U.S. foreign policy over the last 30 years, and was one of the founding fathers here of so-called Christian Zionism -- the belief that the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical "End Times" prophecy and thus deserving of political, financial and religious support....."

The Old Testament god of Revenge and Annihilation Netanyahu calls for cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza

"Bethlehem – Ma'an – Chairman of the Israeli Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday called for cutting the water and electricity supplies of the Gaza Strip, and depriving it of services. He said that fundamental services, basics of human life, should be controlled by the Israeli authorities, in response to the continuation of the launching of homemade projectiles towards Israeli targets.

Netanyahu also expressed his support to a limited Israeli ground invasion into the Gaza Strip; to a limit of around four kilometers from the northern border, aimed at stopping the launch of projectiles toward Sderot and Ashkelon cities.

During a speech at the Menachem Begin heritage center in Jerusalem, before members of the Likud bloc in the Israeli Knesset, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the party's rise to power, Netanyahu declared "the Israeli government has done nothing to stop the launching of projectiles, while former Israeli Prime minister Menachem Begin realized back then that the government's first priority must be the safety of its citizens."

Last summer, during the Israeli offensive dubbed "Operation: Summer Rain", Gaza's only remaining power station was heavily bombed. Since then, residents of the Gaza Strip have only had limited power, at very limited times. Most residents spend the evenings in total darkness, while a lucky few have a few hours of electricity per night. International organisations at the time called the bombing an unaccpetable "use of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians", completely illegal under international law and the Geneva conventions. "

Usrael and Fatah Working Hand-in-Hand to Impose the Palestinian Pinochet Dahlan

Pinochet Dahlan's Force 17, attend a training session in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 17, 2007. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (WEST BANK)

An injured Palestinian woman is covered in blood as she is rushed from a building after an Israeli airstrike on a nearby facility used by the Islamic group Hamas in Gaza City, Thursday, May 17, 2007. An Israeli airstrike struck a Hamas compound in central Gaza City on Thursday, killing one and wounding at least 45 people, Palestinian witnesses and medical officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammed Al-Zanon-MaanImages)

Palestinians search the rubble of a building after an Israeli airstrike on the facility used by the Islamic group Hamas in Gaza City, Thursday, May 17, 2007. An Israeli airstrike struck a Hamas compound in central Gaza City on Thursday, killing one and wounding at least 45 people, Palestinian witnesses and medical officials said. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Palestinians rush wounded people to a hospital following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. Israel bombed Hamas targets in Gaza.(AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Palestinians evacuate a wounded woman from her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Gaza May 17, 2007. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

A Palestinian man shouts from the rubble of a destroyed Hamas Executive Force building after an Israeli air strike in Gaza May 17, 2007. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

Palestinians evacuate a wounded member of the Hamas Executive Force after an Israeli air strike on their building in Gaza May 17, 2007. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

By Ali Farzat

The second coming of Saladin

Political repression, social inequality and economic disaster across the Middle East are the consequences of decades of "divide and rule" imperialist meddling followed by rapacious rule by local elites. Yet the potential for unity in the Muslim world is not a chimera. Who will be the 21st century equivalent of Saladin, the greatest warrior of Islam? Such a one is needed to reunite the ummah.

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"......The new Saladin might be the son of a Palestinian refugee victim of the Nakhba ("catastrophe") 59 years ago. He might be a computer wizard too sophisticated to be tempted by al-Qaeda's Salafi-jihadism. He might be an angry young man straight out of the "sanctions generation" in Iraq - deprived of everything while he was growing up, courtesy of the "international community".

.......He won't be the pampered son of the Sunni business aristocracy in Damascus showing off his Porsche Cayenne. He won't be a billionaire international playboy posing as politician a la Saad Hariri in Beirut. He won't be a gas-dealing executive in gas nirvana Qatar.

Conditions are more than ripe for the advent of a new Saladin - after the Nakhba, the 1967 lightning Israeli victory against the Arabs, the failures of pan-Arabism, the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Israeli attack on Lebanon, the limited appeal of Salafi-jihadism, the non-stop stifling of nationalist movements by Western-backed brutal dictatorships/client monarchies......

The new Saladin knows how the US and Britain initially supported the Muslim Brotherhood - and then the Brotherhood supported the birth of Hamas. He knows how the US and Britain initially supported Iranian clerics - especially the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini - against the shah. He knows how the US and Britain initially supported the Taliban. The aim was always to stifle any form of progressive, secular movement by socialists, communists or Arab nationalists.

A possible Saudi-Iran entente is still a dream. There is the parallel emergence of a coalition of top members of the "axis of fear" - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan - with Turkey and, of all players, Israel. Common objective: the containment of Iran. And not only Iran, but also Hezbollah and Hamas. King Abdullah was persuaded of this strategy by notorious Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka "Bandar Bush", former Saudi ambassador in the US for 22 years, a close friend of both Bush and Cheney, and now the head of the Saudi National Security Council.

The strategy was in fact masterminded by a pedestrian version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Cheney; Bandar; US deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams; and former US ambassador in Iraq and Afghan jack-of-all-trades Zalmay Khalilzad. What the popular masses in the Middle East think about this is of course irrelevant. In majority-Sunni Egypt, for instance, the most popular politicians are by far Hezbollah's Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Khalid Meshal from Hamas, and Ahmadinejad. Two Shi'ites and a Sunni amply supported by Shi'ites......

The soul of Saladin may be impatient for an heir. So are hundreds of millions in the ummah. What rough warrior, its hour come out at last, slouches toward Jerusalem, Damascus or Baghdad to be born?"

Leaders who follow ordinary people's courage earn respect

The political class and media have failed to hold the prime minister to account and made the intolerable seem invisible

Karma Nabulsi
(teaches politics and international relations at Oxford University)

Thursday May 17, 2007
The Guardian

"......In the tens of thousands of words devoted to Tony Blair's political legacy and Gordon Brown's platform for future political action, Iraq is rightly seen as the catastrophe it is. But the way it is intertwined with the key issue of peace in the Middle East - and self-determination, justice and freedom for the Palestinians - has been absent. How could such a pervasive amnesia have established itself across the liberal media? From the seamless end of an era to the claim of the fresh start of a new one, spin has reached its apogee. The policies and practices of aggression, repression and occupation have been set alongside the policies and practices of resistance to tyranny, freedom and self-determination, and given moral equivalence.

The intolerable is now invisible. An entirely new set of problems have been created that are the purlieu of the security experts and ministerial committees: the "clash of civilisations", where "terror" and "security" are cited as the most urgent priority, where political rhetoric is couched in terms of religion as opposed to the real issues driven by injustice, occupation, dispossession and inequality.

The inability of political leaders in Britain to take a sustained principled position on Palestine has been served by the mainstream media, which in the past few years have so obscured the nature of the struggle in Palestine that hardly anyone understands what the conflict is about, or what must be done to end it. Instead we have an existential war about religion and extremism, where Israel, the occupier and regional hyperpower, is cast as eternal friend, liberal, victim and hero. A recent study at Glasgow University revealed the astonishing fact that over 70% of young people surveyed did not know that East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza are under military occupation by the Israeli army; 11% believe it is the Palestinians who are occupying that land.

The most elementary facts have been separated from the truth. To now propose foreign investment in Gaza as the solution to the expanding illegal settlements and land seizures by Israel, the increasing violence of a 39-year military occupation, the continued dispossession of millions of Palestinian refugees living in dangerous circumstances for nearly 60 years, and even today's violence in Gaza (entirely a byproduct of these larger issues) is, quite simply, to propose the death of Palestine and its people......."

By Imad Hajjaj

The Sitting Ducks of Hamas' "Executive Force".....
For the Israelis it is Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel....
How Stupid Can You be!!!

At Times as these, I Almost Miss Habila Smiling and Waving....
R.I.P. "Unity Government"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Olmert: "The last 40 years were only the beginning,"

"JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel on Monday began marking 40 years since it conquered and annexed Arab east Jerusalem but the ceremonies were boycotted by European and US diplomats.

"The last 40 years were only the beginning," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a special parliamentary session marking the anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar.

"I believe, I hope and I pray that we will continue to work together to reinforce Jerusalem in order to extend its boundaries."....."

Usraeli Puppets Unite!

Mubarak expresses concern over growing strength of Hamas

"Haaretz has learned that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak expressed great concern over the increasing strength of Hamas in talks with senior diplomatic officials on Wednesday.

He said that the Egyptian government is at a loss regarding the future of the Gaza Strip. However, he also proclaimed that Egypt is making great efforts to end the Hamas government and support Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"With Hamas no way," he reportedly said.

Mubarak painted a dark picture of the situation with Hamas and said there was no chance for peace with the organization. "Hamas will never sign a peace agreement with Israel if it stays in power," the Egyptian president said.

Mubarak also said that Egypt did not accept Hamas in power, especially in light of its growing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which leads the opposition in Egypt. Mubarak sees the Brotherhood, which gained considerable power in Egypt's last parliamentary elections, as a threat to secular power.

Egypt has begun barring senior Hamas leaders from entering Egypt due to concerns over their contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since Hamas rose to power and in view of the continuing strife between Hamas and Fatah, Egypt has been working through its security delegation in Gaza to reach a cease-fire among the factions. At the same time, Egypt has continuously held talks with Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Islamic Army over the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."


The Usraeli Pharaoh has spoken!

Breaking News......

Al-jazeera is quoting the Pentagon as saying that 10 U.S. helicopters were destroyed or damaged in a mortar attack by the resistance on a U.S. occupation base north of Baghdad.....

More details when available.

Helicopters hit by mortar rounds at U.S. base in Iraq, police say

"HAMID AHMED, Associated Press Writer

May 17, 2007 7:08 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) - Mortar rounds hit a U.S. Air Force base north of Baghdad on Thursday, destroying one helicopter and damaging nine others, police said.

The attack at Taji, a major Air Force on the northern outskirts of Baghdad, occurred about 2 a.m., the police said.

''There was an indirect fire attack on the base at Taji which resulted in damage to some aircraft,'' the military said. Indirect fire is a term the military generally uses to describe rocket or mortar attacks.

The attack destroyed one helicopter and damaged nine others, the police said.

An Iraqi civilian who works at the base said he saw about 16 damaged helicopters, some of them set on fire by the attack. The worker spoke on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Many U.S. Black Hawk helicopters are based at Taji, including some equipped with medical equipment and manned by medics to rescue wounded U.S. and Iraqi soldiers in the Baghdad area.

Sunni insurgents have long been active in the area around Taji."