Saturday, November 17, 2007

Arabs stop PA comdemnation of Hamas' takeover of Gaza at UN

"NEW YORK - The Arab lobby at the United Nations, backed by Russia, foiled a Palestinian Authority initiative to include a condemnation of Hamas' seizure of the Gaza Strip in a UN resolution against Israel.

PA observer Riad Mansour sought to include a clause "expressing concern about the takeover by illegal militias of Palestinian Authority institutions in June 2007" and calling for the reversal of this situation, but moderated the wording under Arab pressure. Russia had made it clear to the Arab delegates that it supported their opposition to a UN resolution including any condemnation of Hamas.

The clause was supposed to be included in a draft resolution against Israel, slated to be voted on this week at a Decolonization Committee meeting. But when Mansour submitted the proposed clause to the Arab representatives for approval, as usual, it met with severe criticism, and he was personally vilified.

Reliable diplomatic sources said Mansour was subjected to a barrage of insults, led by the representatives of Egypt, Syria and Libya. The Arab delegates claimed Mansour's initiative would be interpreted as an official UN condemnation of Hamas, and would gain Israel international legitimacy for cutting electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza.

Mansour agreed to softer language expressing "concern about an illegal takeover." "

What an Unusual Photo (by AFP)
Hugo Chavez Next to the Most Reactionary Absolute Monarch Serving US Interests
Oil Politics!

Lebanon is Hanging by a Thread

Diplomatic Pleasantries Have Been Discarded

(Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Dept of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)

".....The core of the dispute in Lebanon-of which the election of a President is only a part-revolves around the role of the Resistance and the status of Hizbullah's weapons. The opposition insist that the Resistance represents the only deterrence to Israeli aggression and larger US plans to re-divide the Arab world, and it will therefore only countenance debate about such weapons as part of an internal national dialogue. March 14 call for the immediate disarming of the Resistance (which it considers an existential threat to the State), and the dissociation of Lebanon from the larger regional problems that they claim has stifled Lebanon for decades.....

The next 48-72 hours will be decisive as the political and constitutional crisis reaches its apogee: at midnight on the November 23, President Emile Lahoud must step down from office and the Siniora government must resign in line with the constitutional process.....

Second, and more importantly, the most significant international sponsor--the US--has thus far blocked any agreement that denies the realization of its own principle goal in Lebanon, namely disarming the Resistance and accomplishing what Israel could not do by force during its July 2006 invasion. US success in Lebanon would also be used to reclaim the initiative in its otherwise catastrophic 'war on terror' in the region.......

While the UN has little decisive influence on the ground in Lebanon, the epic battle between the contradictory imperatives of Resolution 1559 and Resolution 1701 is represents the larger struggle the UN, and the international community in general, has faced since the end of Cold War and the rise of US unilateralism and global hegemony. If Larsen's influence on the SG prevails in tandem with the US's continued reliance on military confrontations and divisive diplomacy, then the region will be at war for years to come and the UN as a whole will continue its dangerous spiral towards illegitimacy in a region whose people increasingly identify the UN with US policies......."

15,000 or More US Deaths in Iraq War?

Pentagon Cover Up


"The Pentagon has been concealing the true number of American casualties in the Iraq War. The real number exceeds 15,000 and CBS News can prove it.

CBS's Investigative Unit wanted to do a report on the number of suicides in the military and "submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense". After 4 months they received a document which showed--that between 1995 and 2007-- there were 2,200 suicides among "active duty" soldiers.


The Pentagon was covering up the real magnitude of the "suicide epidemic". Following an exhaustive investigation of veterans' suicide data collected from 45 states; CBS discovered that in 2005 alone "there were at least 6,256 among those who served in the armed forces. That's 120 each and every week in just one year."

That is not a typo. Active and retired military personnel, mostly young veterans between the ages of 20 to 24, are returning from combat and killing themselves in record numbers. We can assume that "multiple-tours of duty" in a war-zone have precipitated a mental health crisis of which the public is entirely unaware and which the Pentagon is in total denial.

If we add the 6,256 suicide victims from 2005 to the "official" 3,865 reported combat casualties; we get a sum of 10,121. Even a low-ball estimate of similar 2004 and 2006 suicide figures, would mean that the total number of US casualties from the Iraq war now exceed 15,000.

That's right; 15,000 dead US servicemen and women in a war that--as yet--has no legal or moral justification........"

Fatah supporters attack a leftist rally in Ramallah, six injured

Contributed by Lucia

"At midday on Saturday, Fatah supporters attacked a student rally that was organized by leftist factions in Beir Zeit University in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

Witnesses told IMEMC that, as of 2 PM, six students had so far been injured in the attack. The rally was organized by the Democratic Popular Front and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian to mark the 19th anniversary of Palestine's declaration of independence.

Via phone, the witness told IMEMC that the students had been gathered in a theater on the university campus when Fatah supporters, using batons, attacked the rally with no provocation. Clashes then erupted and, as of 2 PM, they are still going on all over the university."

What is a Jewish state?

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied West Jerusalem

Contributed by Lucia

"Seeking to perpetuate institutionalized racism and systematic discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens, the apartheid Israeli state has been incessantly trying to blackmail the weak and vulnerable Palestinian Authority (PA) into recognizing the Zionist state as “an exclusively Jewish state.”

Some Israeli officials have used terms such as “a state of the Jews, for the Jews, and by the Jews.” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been quoted as saying that Israel wouldn’t recognize a prospective Palestinian state on the West Bank unless the PA recognized Israel as “a state of the Jews.”

Israeli leaders are reluctant to tell the world what they exactly mean by “a state of the Jews,” ostensibly to save themselves the embarrassment of the implied racism inherent in the concept. However, the implications in such a recognition are abundantly clear for those who have even rudimentary knowledge of the Israeli mentality.

To make a long story short, “Jewish state” means that Israel has an inherent right to discriminate against its non-Jewish citizens, especially the sizeable Palestinian minority, and, if need be, expel them from the country in order to preserve the “Jewishness” of Israel.

In other words, Israel simply wants to obtain from the Palestinian leadership a recognition that it has a legal and moral right to carry out ethnic cleansing of its Christian and Muslim citizens on the ground that Israel is and must always remain a Jewish state.

Of course, Israel is deliberately evasive and vague about its manifestly fascistic designs regarding its non-Jewish citizens. Israeli leaders and apologists claim ad nauseam that Israel is a Jewish and democratic state. But this is a defensive reflex at best and is as mendacious as claiming that apartheid is compatible with democracy.

The truth, however, is that Israel can’t be Talmudic and democratic at the same time. Hence “Jewish” and “democratic” are an eternal oxymoron that should never be used in the presence of an honest audience.

The reason for that is amply clear. Ask any Jew in Israel or abroad which comes first “Jewish” or “democratic” and he or she wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that “Jewish” always overrides “democratic.” Which really shows that “democratic” is no more than a cosmetic façade that is meant to blur or conceal the brutal ugliness of the fascist nature of the “Jewish state.”

Another important, even paramount, aspect of this issue is the Israeli insistence on obtaining recognition as Jewish state in order to permanently bar millions of Palestinian refugees deported from their homeland from time immemorial from repatriation.

In other words, Israel wants to legalize and legitimize ethnic cleansing by getting the victims, or at least their supposed representatives, to bless the greatest act of theft in the history of mankind.

Thus, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would be tantamount to a double national suicide of immense catastrophic proportions for the Palestinian people.

First, it implies that Israel has the right to expel all or most of its Arab citizens or at least check their demographic growth by all means necessary to maintain Israel as a Jewish state.

And, second, it implies that Israel has the right to prevent Palestinian refugees uprooted from their ancestral homeland from returning to their homes and villages in what is now Israel. In other words, Israel wants to make sure that ethnic cleansing will win at last.

In light, one is prompted to ask: Can there be a greater national suicide for the Palestinian people?

In addition, there are a number of other practical implications which a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state would entail. These include the following:

1- That only “Jews” can be considered complete citizens of Israel, and that if an incomplete citizen, e.g. a non-Jew, wanted to be “complete” he or she would have to convert to Judaism. This is very much like the situation many Jews in mediaeval Europe faced, forcing them to convert to Christianity in order to enjoy equality and find acceptance in their contemporary societies.

2- That the Israeli citizenship per se is ultimately inconsequential and doesn’t guarantee holders all rights and privileges, since Israel is defined as “state of the Jews.” Hence, in order to enjoy full and complete and permanent citizenship, one has to be Jewish.

3- That whenever there is the slightest disharmony between the Jewish and democratic aspects of Israel, the Jewish aspect will override and take priority over the democratic aspect.

4- That Jews all over the world, including potential converts to Judaism, are citizens of Israel and may well be allowed the right to vote in national elections, especially if non-Jewish citizens, gain political influence in Israeli politics.

More to the point, recognizing Israel as a Jewish state also implies a recognition of the moral legitimacy of Israel’s criminal history, particularly the genocidal ethnic cleansing of the bulk of the indigenous Palestinian people from their ancestral homeland.

In other words, a recognition as such by the PA would also imply that the Palestinians would effectively though compulsively embrace and accept the Zionist narrative in its entirety.

This would mean that the victims of Zionist supremacy and racism would have to transform themselves into a sort of Arab Zionists, very much like Christian Zionists.

It is for these reasons that no dignified Palestinian under the sun will be able to recognize Israel as a Jewish state since such a recognition would be incompatible with basic morality and fundamental human decency.

Indeed, even if such a recognition were to be arrogated through blackmail and coercion, it would be utterly rejected by the vast bulk of Palestinians, and treated like a marriage under duress, which is no less than an act of rape. "

By Mike Luckovich

BAIT AND SWITCH - Fighting Israel's War

Peter Chamberlin

"Throughout his entire career, Bush has demonstrated a propensity for making things worse, from his failed business interests to his failures in government. His natural talent for taking things and really messing them up made it seem like just another mistake, when he altered the war on terrorism into a war to protect Israel. The spin-masters and the corporate media wove the deceptions and White House lies into the seamless tapestry of myths which fed the popular war hysteria......"

UN: W. Bank fence severs Palestinans from fields

"Only 18 percent of some 30,000 West Bank farmers who used to work the lands cut off by Israel's separation fence now have Israeli permits to reach their fields, the United Nations said in a report on the lives of some 230,000 Palestinians in 67 communities close to the fence.

The report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs looked at 15 communities with about 10,000 residents trapped between the fence and Israel, and at 52 communities with 220,000 residents on the Palestinian side of the divider.

Those in the hemmed-in villages require permanent residency permits, while those on the east side of the fence need Israeli-issued visitors permits to reach lands or visit family in the enclosed communities......."

Middle East Talks in Annapolis: Photo-Op or Talk-Fest

A Good Article

by Phyllis Bennis
Institute for Policy Studies

"......** Rice's sudden renewal of interest in and commitment to a new Middle East "peace process" has two main goals: buying support from Arab regimes for Washington's war in Iraq and escalating threats against Iran, and providing a photo-op to restore Rice's tarnished legacy.....

** Because of U.S.-Israeli control of the agenda, "success" in Annapolis will depend on whether the Palestinian leadership can be coerced to sign on to a U.S.-Israeli text that many Palestinians will view as further abandonment of Palestinian national goals, and many in international civil society will see as violations of international law and human rights. There are serious questions whether the meeting as currently envisioned will be convened at all.....

Besides her urgent need to update her legacy (which is currently that of the person who stood before the world at the United Nations and announced "we don't want a ceasefire yet" as Israeli jets bombarded Lebanon in summer 2006), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urgently needs to win flagging Arab government support for the Bush administration's failing war and occupation in Iraq and its escalating mobilization against Iran.....

The meeting's agenda will not be based on what international law, as well as Palestinian and global public opinion, requires for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the conflict: an end to Israeli occupation and settlement projects, realization of the Palestinians' rights of self-determination and return, and an end to Israeli discrimination and apartheid policies.......

A Palestinian "state" would be announced on a series of non-contiguous truncated Bantustan-like cantons comprising something less than 50% of the West Bank plus Gaza.......

All the major West Bank settlement blocs would remain intact on the Israeli side of the Wall, leaving between 180,000 and 200,000 of the current 250,000 West Bank settlers in place....... The entire Jordan Valley would remain in Israeli hands. ......

The Palestinian right of return, codified not only in general international law but specifically in UN resolution 194 (1949), has already been officially rejected by Israel but also by the United States, in the Bush-Sharon letter exchange of April 2004. Israel's Annapolis agenda plans to reassert that rejection though a demand that the Palestinians accept language recognizing the "Jewish character" of Israel......"

An Interviw in Spanish With Ilan Pappe: “En Palestina se produce una Nakba continua”

Ilan Pappé pertenece al denominado grupo de los ‘nuevos historiadores’ israelíes, que en los últimos años trabajan para deconstruir la falsa historia y los mitos creados por el Estado de Israel.


Contributed by Lucia who translated important paragraphs posted here

"Question: The negotiations to create a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, in Gaza and the West Bank, 22% of the territory of historic Palestine. Is it possible to achieve a just peace based on 22% of the territory?

IP: I do not think we can reach a genuine and lasting peace if it is based on the idea that the Palestinians must make do with 22% of the land. First, there is not a single Israeli who wants to give the 22%, so we are talking about a 10% anyway. Second, I do not see how a normal nationalist movement would stop fighting if only 22% of its people were liberated. Either we are going towards a solution that is not national, but post-national, and in this case there is no need to create two societies. Moreover, if you look at the root of the problem, it is not only about land, it is also about dispossession, and without the right of return of refugees it will be very difficult to say that the conflict has been settled.......

Question: You said that the "substitution of peace for a 'peace process' has become the main strategy of the Israeli peace camp" ...

IP: Since 1948, the political elite in Israel wants to be part of the West, and has to navigate between two waters: maintaining an ethnic and racist state on the one hand and, on the other hand show abroad the image of being a democratic state. Of course the two are incompatible. One way to do this is to remain constantly engaged in a peace process, because in this way can tell people in the West: "Yes, we have occupation, dispossession, discrimination, but because of the conflict. All this will end when the conflict ends," but they do not want to end the conflict because it is the way they can survive is the way to eject the Palestinians from Palestine. The process is carried out for the sake of the process, not to achieve a solution......."

Senior Vatican diplomat says ties with Israel worsening

Contributed by Fatima

"VATICAN CITY: A senior Vatican diplomat who served as papal envoy to Israel has described Vatican-Israeli relations as worsening, blaming the Jewish state for failing to keep promises related to church land, taxes and travel restrictions on Arab clergy.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi lashed out at Israel in an interview posted Friday on, an online publication about the Holy Land.

"If I must be frank, the relations between the Catholic Church and the state of Israel were better when there were no diplomatic ties," said Sambi, interviewed earlier in the week in Washington, where he now serves as Pope Benedict XVI's envoy to the United States......"



The dollar's decline: from symbol of hegemony to shunned currency

The Independent

"The decline of the dollar, symbol of US global hegemony for the best part of a century, may have become so entrenched that some experts now fear it is irreversible.

After months of huge and sustained turmoil on the money markets, lack of confidence in the world's totemic currency has become so widespread that an increasing number of international traders are transferring their wealth to stronger currencies such as the euro, which recently hit its highest level against the dollar......

Warren Buffet, who is reputedly the richest man in the world, was asked on the US network CNBC last month what he thought was the best currency in the world to own now. He answered: "Not the US dollar."......"


However, America's Arab puppets are still hanging on to the dollar. They are the loyal puppets and world class fools. See what Saud Al-Faisal said, when the microphone was not supposed to be turned on, a couple of posts below.

Friday, November 16, 2007

يهودية إسرائيل.. لاجئون بلا عودة وفلسطينيون بلا حقوق

"لم يبدأ اجتماع أنابوليس بعد، ولم تتمخض عنه مفاوضات فلسطينية إسرائيلية حول قضايا الحل النهائي، ولكن حكومة إيهود أولمرت استبقت ذلك بمواقف كان أبرزها وأخطرها مطالبة الفلسطينيين بالاعتراف بما يسمى يهودية الدولة الإسرائيلية كأساس للمفاوضات.

ومع أن الموقف الذي أعلنه أولمرت لم يعتمد في الحكومة بعد، إلا أنه كشف حقيقة الصعوبات التي تواجهها المفاوضات التي لم يتم التوصل حتى لإطارها العام ولا لأسس حل القضايا الجوهرية فيها، فضلا عن الاتفاق على فك الحصار عن الفلسطينيين والإفراج عن أسراهم بسجون الاحتلال.

مسار غير جدي
ويقول رئيس التجمع الوطني الديمقراطي والعضو العربي السابق بالكنيست عزمي بشارة إن أولمرت يريد أخذ المفاوضات مع الفلسطينيين إلى مسار غير جدي، مستغلا بذلك ضعف السلطة الفلسطينية المفاوضة التي قال إنها وصلت إلى درك غير مسبوق بمحاولتها نزع الشرعية عن المعارضة بدلا من الاستقواء بها.

ويضيف بشارة للجزيرة نت أن موقف رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي تحول من الضعف الشديد بعد الحرب الأخيرة على لبنان إلى طرف قادر على طرح قضايا أيديولوجية مثل المطالبة بالاعتراف بالصهيونية في سياق التسوية السياسية مستغلا بذلك حالة الضعف الفلسطينية.

أما المفكر الإسلامي الفلسطيني منير شقيق فيقول إن الإسرائيليين يحاولون انتزاع تنازلات من الطرف الفلسطيني تحت حجة البدء في مفاوضات جدية لإنهاء الصراع، وهو يرى أن ذلك ضرب من الخداع، إذ إن مؤتمر أنابوليس له أهداف أخرى تتعلق بتهيئة الأجواء لضرب المشروع النووي الإيراني. كما يرى أن أولمرت يريد بموقفه هذا إقناع معارضيه بأنه لن يقدم تنازلات للفلسطينيين في المفاوضات.

ويأتي الطرح الإسرائيلي في وقت يتم فيه الحديث عن تبادل للأراضي بين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين وهذا يصب في خدمة المطلب الإسرائيلي الذي يعني فيما يعنيه تفريغ أراضي الـ48 من الفلسطينيين لصالح دولة يهودية بحتة أو على الأقل تكريس وضع الفلسطينيين كأقلية لا تتمتع بنفس الحقوق التي يتمتع بها اليهود.

وحسبما يقول بشارة، فإن الموقف الإسرائيلي يجعل فلسطينيي الخط الأخضر رعايا في دولة يهودية، أما الموافقة الفلسطينية على ذلك فستعطي لهذا الوضع شرعية لم تكن تتوفر لإسرائيل، وهو وضع يرى منير شفيق أنه لا يتحصل إلا باتفاق نهائي –لا يزال بعيد المنال- بين دولتين إسرائيلية وفلسطينية وليس بين إسرائيل وسلطة فلسطينية.

الإضرار بعودة اللاجئين
أما قضية عودة اللاجئين التي تشكل مربط الفرس في الصراع الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي فستتعرض لضرر بالغ إذا وافق الفلسطينيون على مبدأ يهودية الدولة، إذ يرى عزمي بشارة أن هذا الحق سيصبح "متقادما" بعد أن تثبت إسرائيل مبدأ يهوديتها الذي تعتبره طبيعيا حسب قوانينها الدستورية.

وترفض إسرائيل حق عودة اللاجئين إلى ديارهم وتقول إنهم يجب أن يعودوا إلى الدولة الفلسطينية المقبلة وبأعداد وجدول زمني محدد يمنع من تحول الكيان الفلسطيني إلى "قنبلة موقوتة" على حدود إسرائيل، ويؤكد المفكر الفلسطيني منير شفيق أن المقترح الإسرائيلي يؤكد رفض حق عودة اللاجئين معتبرا أن القبول به بمثابة جريمة.

وحول تأثير الموقف الإسرائيلي على مفاوضات أنابوليس يشير النائب العربي السابق في الكنيست إلى أن السلطة الفلسطينية مصرة على الاستمرار في المفاوضات بصرف النظر عن الموقف الإسرائيلي وذلك بعد أن وضعت الوحدة الوطنية خلف ظهرها وتخلت عن المقاومة. ولكنه يرى في الوقت ذاته أن الطرف الفلسطيني لا يمكنه أن يعترف بطبيعة الدولة وإنما بوجودها، وإن حصل ذلك فسيؤدي إلى ضرر شديد لموضوع اللاجئين.

أما منير شفيق فيؤكد أيضا أنه لا يوجد شيء اسمه اعتراف بدولة لها طبيعة عرقية معينة، وأنه بمجرد اعتراف الفلسطينيين بالمطلب الإسرائيلي فإنه لا يعود لهم الحق في سحب ذلك
. "

Saudi Arabia Won't Include U.S. Dollar in OPEC Talks

"Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, rejected a proposal by Iran and Venezuela to discuss the weak dollar at this weekend's OPEC summit in Riyadh, saying it didn't want the U.S. currency to ``collapse.''

Saudi Arabia won't discuss pricing oil in currencies other than the dollar, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said, speaking at a meeting of oil and finance ministers today that was accidentally broadcast to journalists......"

Tony Blair: ‘I wanted war – it was the right thing to do’

"Tony Blair has admitted for the first time that he ignored the pleas of his aides and ministers to deter President Bush from waging war on Iraq because he believed that America was doing the right thing. And he has acknowledged that he turned down a last-ditch offer from Mr Bush to pull Britain out of the conflict....."

Ramon: Recognition of a "Jewish state" important as it means no right of return

"NAZARETH, (PIC)-- Israeli vice Premier Haim Ramon stressed that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" is important as it means dropping the right of return of millions of refugees who were uprooted from their homes and land sixty years ago.

"The recognition is important because it is part of the Palestinian recognition that the solution to the Palestinian refugee problem is the return of the refugees to a Palestinian state," Ramon told ambassadors of the EU on Thursday afternoon, according to Israeli radio on Friday.

He was also reported as saying: "A Palestinian state is the solution for the Palestinian refugees, just like Israel was the solution for the Jewish refugee problem."

The PA presidency and the unconstitutional government of Fayyad are calling for negotiating the Palestinian refugee problem and resolving it in a "just and agreed upon manner," without a mention of the right of return in accordance with natural rights and UN resolutions.

This has stirred fears in the Palestinian street that the PA President and his unconstitutional government are on their way to giving up the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and land. If they do, the majority of Palestinians would condemn them."

Banning bARABie

I think that it has reached the point when the comments by bARABie have become very abusive and rude to many of the regular visitors to this blog. I waited as long as I could, but finally I have banned her from commenting. If she starts using another computer I promise to ban that IP address as well.

"The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Investigative journalist Craig Unger joins us now in Washington. He is the author of the new book “The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America’s Future.” The book examines how neoconservatives secretly forged an alliance with the Christian Right during the Bush presidency and helped make the case for war in Iraq...... "

Most Turks back N.Iraq incursion, dislike US -poll

"ANKARA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - A large majority of Turks support a military incursion into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels using the region as a base, according to an opinion poll published on Friday.

The survey, conducted in October by Pollmark, also showed a continued decline in Turkish support for joining the European Union and reconfirmed Turks' negative view of the United States, viewed here as the main threat to Middle East peace.....

Despite U.S. offers of help for NATO ally Turkey in fighting the PKK, the poll showed the number of Turks with a negative view of the United States had risen to 86 percent from 49 percent in November 2003 after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Many Turks fear U.S. policy is leading towards the creation of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, a move they believe could reignite separatism among Turkey's own large ethnic Kurdish population....."

Veterans' suicide toll dwarfs deaths

MORE US military veterans had killed themselves in one year than the number of American soldiers who have died in Iraq since 2003, it was claimed yesterday.

"At least 6256 US veterans took their own lives in 2005, at an average of 17 a day, according to figures broadcast last night. Former servicemen are more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide.

Such statistics compare to the total 3863 US military deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 -- an average of 2.4 a day, according to the website"

Thanksgiving Hypocrisy

by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, November 16, 2007

".....Journalism Professor Robert Jensen is right calling for a "No Thanks to Thanksgiving" in his earlier writing. He suggests we'd be hugely uplifted by replacing our overindulgent "white supremicist" Thanksgiving ritual with a "National Day of Atonement" and have it include self-reflective fasting for our forefathers' "original sin" no matter where our own came from. Establishing that tradition would be an important step forward - toward a day to give thanks every day in a land with leaders resolved never to repeat the crimes of the past and equally committed to public service instead of just for the elite part of it."

Homes in illegal Israeli settlements for sale at London expo

Haroon Siddique
Guardian Unlimited

"Israeli companies are using UK property shows to sell housing in illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, Guardian Unlimited can reveal.

At the Israel Property Exhibition at Brent town hall, North London last Sunday, one company, Anglo-Saxon Real Estate, was offering for sale properties in Maale Adumim and Maccabim. Both West Bank settlements lie on the Palestinian side of the so-called green line, the pre-1967 boundary and often cited as the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state....."

More From The Theater of The Absurd: A Non-Existent Organization Celebrates a Fictional Independence

DFLP commemorates Independence Day in Bethlehem

"The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) on Thursday held a rally in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Palestinian people's declaration of independence......"


Go figure!

Articulating the Unprintable: Ramzy Baroud Discusses Media Response to His Book

Ramzy Baroud interviewed by
June Rugh

"Ramzy Baroud, veteran Palestinian-American journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Palestine Chronicle, recently completed a speaking tour of the United States’ East Coast to promote his second book, The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, 2006). The Second Palestinian Intifada is a far-reaching account of key events of the past five years that transformed the political landscape not only of Palestine and Israel, but of the entire Middle East. With a critical eye, Baroud takes the most controversial issues head-on: the alarming escalation in suicide bombings, the construction of the Separation Wall, the devastating hunger and unemployment in the Occupied Territories, the brutality of the Israeli army, the political surprise of the Palestinian elections. On November 12, 2007, Baroud was interviewed by June Rugh, a freelance writer, in Seattle, Washington....."

Deserting a sinking ship

I do not agree with everything stated in this article, but it contains some bitter truths and is well worth reading.

By Danny Rubinstein

".....It would not be a great exaggeration to state that the Palestinian national movement has almost ceased to exist in recent years. The government of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza is barely functioning. The PA's establishment was supposed to mark the decisive stage in advancing Palestinian national aspirations, but its rule has failed abysmally. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) - Palestinians mockingly say among themselves - is no more than the president of the Muqata compound in Ramallah.

The institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which presumed to represent the entire Palestinian nation, have in recent years become obsolete and unimportant. They do not include any representation for a national religious movement like Hamas (which holds that religion takes precedence nationality), although its supporters make up about one-third of the Palestinian public. The PLO Executive Committee (the organization's executive arm) and its National Council (the PLO parliament, which never meets) represent several of the Palestinian leftist movements (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - PFLP, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine - DFLP, etc.), which have long ceased to exist. This means that for quite some time now, the PLO has ceased to be a relevant body in Palestinian politics......

One of the most obvious signs that the ship of the Palestinian national project is sinking is the fact that many of its members are deserting .....

Recent visits to the homes of several ministers and senior officials living in Ramallah have shown that they live here only part of the time, alone. Their Ramallah apartment has gradually emptied out and their wifes and children have taken most of their personal belongings with them as they left the West Bank and moved, or returned, east of the Jordan River......

When these attempts failed, the Arab countries slowly came back into the picture. Since the Camp David summit seven years ago, it has become clear that the Palestinians cannot achieve an agreement with Israel by themselves. This is why all the Arab states, and first and foremost the Saudis, are invited to Annapolis, and not just the Palestinians, who failed.

The return of the Arab countries to the crux of the matter is reflected in the ongoings in the West Bank and Gaza. The Jordanian government, with Israel's encouragement, has once again begun to demonstrate its presence in the West Bank, mainly in East Jerusalem. For many years Yasser Arafat and his followers tried to take over the senior positions in the Islamic institutions in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount. While they did meet with success in the past, recently PA and PLO supporters have been removed from all the key positions in Jerusalem. At present the mufti, the director of the Waqf (Muslim religious trust) and others in senior positions, are Jordanian loyalists only.....

The vacuum left by the defeated and withering Palestinian national movement is being filled by the various Islamic groups. And I am not referring to Hamas....."

Russia to Israel: Syria Will Take Part in Annapolis


"16/11/2007 Syria will participate in the Annapolis conference, even with a low-level delegation, senior Russian officials told their Israeli counterparts on Thursday. The two Russian officials, Deputy Foreign Minister for Middle Eastern Affairs Alexander Sultanov and special envoy Sergei Yakovlev, were on a visit to the occupied Palestinian territories Thursday. They also asked that Israel include in the summit declaration with the Palestinians a statement on Israel's desire for settlement with its neighbors......."


So if, "Israel include(s) in the summit declaration with the Palestinians a statement on Israel's desire for settlement with its neighbors..." that would satisfy the Syrian regime; welcome to Annapolis our Syrian hero! And watch out Palestinians, the Syrian regime is getting ready to tango.

George Bush finds a new waterboy for the team.

Talking in circles

Provocations and misunderstandings abound, but Israel as a state for Jews only remains the heart of the problem

By Khaled Amayreh
Al-Ahram Weekly

"While on his way to Jerusalem for another round of talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei (Abu Alaa) and members of his negotiating team were held at an Israeli army checkpoint and kept waiting for nearly half an hour. The affront, which may have been deliberate, infuriated the former Palestinian Authority prime minister....

In fact, the incident serves as an allegory caricaturing the protracted talks between the two sides, notwithstanding the numerous bilateral meetings and several "bridging" but effectively futile visits to the region by United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice is due to return next week to check on progress, that is if there is any......

More to the point, it is very clear from statements made by Israeli leaders, including opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu, that Israel would eventually contemplate preventing its non-Jewish population from exceeding a certain threshold in order to prevent Israel from losing its "Jewish identity".

Such manifestly racist policy might take the form of defranchising Israeli Arabs, expelling them, or imposing a limit on how many children an Arab couple can have.

"These are impossible and manifestly racist demands. We can't possibly agree that a million and a half Palestinians who are citizens of Israel won't have a permanent right to live on their ancestral land. This is like saying that the native Americans have no permanent right to live in America."

Arab leaders in Israel are also vehemently opposed to any suggestion that the PA recognise Israel as a Jewish state. Contrary to Olmert's assertions, Ahmed Teibi, an Israeli-Arab lawmaker, said he had received "clear assurances" from PA President Abu Mazen, Abu Alaa and other Palestinian negotiators that the PA "will never ever recognise Israel as a state for the Jews."

"There is complete harmony in our respective positions in this regard," Teibi told the Weekly, adding that Israel is using this issue for "political wrangling"."


And of course Teibi trusts the word of such "honorable" men such as Abu Mazen, Abu Alaa. If he does, I have a bridge I would like to sell to him.

Exercises in mendacity

The bombing of Hiroshima announced the arrival of the American empire. And on its fringes the moral confusions ripple away

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....The bloody conflict that is raging between the Bhutto-led opposition People's Party and the ruling regime is taking place within the American orbit. The US manages crises. It is also in a state of denial about the choices it has been presented with by Musharraf, which are either to get on with the fight against terrorism and go on the offensive against the tribal area, or plump for unregulated political plurality in Pakistan.

Here is another instance, like Turkey and the Iraqi province of Kurdistan, of an open conflict, not against the empire but at its fringes. To some extent each of the antagonists is fighting to win the imperial favour. America has such a hard time controlling its allies.....

No, the real issue is the decision of the American government to drop a bomb on a densely populated civilian target at the end of a war it had already won and at a time when the US was the only power in possession of nuclear arms. The government that has appointed itself the judge of which countries may or may not present a danger if they possessed nuclear weapons is the only government that has demonstrated how dangerous nuclear weapons are. The way it demonstrated this danger was simple: it made a nuclear bomb and it used it. This same government claims to be a rational, secular, liberal democracy. Surely there must be some relationship between its appalling use of the nuclear bomb and this image it has of itself. I would suggest that this relationship can be summed up as follows. Since America believes that it is the epitome of all that is good and rational, whatever it does is right. (The same applies to its ally Israel, of course)......

- The US used a nuclear bomb against civilians.

- It did not use it out of desperation or in self- defence, as it charges that certain other countries will do. It used it to shorten the duration of a war and minimise its own military casualties.

- It was also prompted by irrational motives -- revenge for Pearl Harbour. Compared to its own display of vindictiveness what it charges is notorious oriental vengefulness pales. It was further inspired by ruthless Machiavellian notions, such as sending a message to the Soviet Union, the other major victor in World War II, just to make clear what power America possessed.

- America used the nuclear bomb when it held a monopoly on this weapon......"

The Palestinian path to peace does not go via Annapolis

World opinion is still on the side of the people of the occupied territories. But as long as they are divided, talks are futile

Jonathan Steele
The Guardian

"As the United States-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, approaches, the key question is what follows when it fails. Fiasco is looming, so what do the Palestinians do next? In their decades-long bid for justice, they have already tried everything.....

.....Even if Mahmoud Abbas were to sign a meaningful piece of paper at Annapolis, the Palestinian president lacks the moral or political authority of Arafat. He is more likely to be denounced than praised by most Palestinians.....

.....Had Fatah been rewarded with substantial Israeli concessions on lifting roadblocks and releasing prisoners, undermining Hamas might have worked. The opposite has happened. If Abbas thinks he can win new elections on the basis of an Annapolis deal, he will be disappointed. Everything suggests Palestinian voters would give Hamas more support in the West Bank than they have already......

The first intifada was more impressive than the much-touted "colour revolutions" of recent years, or even of the east European uprisings of 1989, with the exception of Solidarity in Poland. It did not receive US or other foreign government funding. It was not an affair of a few days against a weak and divided regime. It required months of brave activity and the endurance of mass arrests and heavy repression from opponents like defence minister Yitzhak "break their bones" Rabin who, unlike the crumbling Communist elites of 1989 or the administrations of Milosevic, Shevardnadze, and Kuchma, had no compunction in repeatedly using force......

The central requirement for any new Palestinian initiative is Palestinian unity. Don't let opponents divide you. Resist international flattery. Ignore the instinct for revenge. The jury of international public opinion is still on the side of the Palestinians' demand for justice. It may not have achieved as much as it could have, but it matters, and needs to be preserved."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

That is All the Palestinians Need, A Palestinian Billionaire to Lead Them!

Palestinian billionaire launches movement to rival Fatah, Hamas

"Hundreds of Palestinian business people and professionals, led by an influential billionaire, launched a new political movement Thursday, reflecting growing disillusionment with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

Fatah dominated Palestinian politics for decades, but failed to reform or clean up its corrupt image, even after a painful loss to Hamas in parliament elections nearly two years ago.

Billionaire businessman Munib al-Masri, 73, inaugurated his Palestine Forum with meetings in Ramallah and Gaza, linked by video conference. Supporters said he would convert the new group into a political party and field candidates in the next Palestinian election. No date for an election has been set....."


Eat your heart out Hariri

From the Theater of the Absurd: Palestinians commemorate 19th anniversary of their independence

""By the name of God and the Palestinian nation, I announce the creation of the Palestinian independent state and Jerusalem as its capital."

Those were the words of the Palestinian late President and leader Yasser Arafat when he announced the Independence of the Palestinians in 1988....."

A Current Poll on Palestine Chronicle

This poll has been online for about a week. The question is:

Who should speak on behalf of the Palestinian people?

The results are interesting:


Israel, free speech, and the Oxford Union

The collapse of a public debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a case-study of the vulnerability of open dialogue to closed minds

By Avi Shlaim

Contributed by Falastini

"Israel is often portrayed by its supporters as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. But these very same supporters, in their excessive zeal for their cause, sometimes end up by violating one of the most fundamental principles of democracy - the right to free speech. While accepting free speech as a universal value, all too often they try to restrict it when it comes to Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. The result is not to encourage but to stifle debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict......

My colleagues and I did not withdraw from the debate when we realised that we were going to lose, as our detractors told the media. Our démarche was intended as a protest against the shabby treatment of our academic colleague and the violation of the principle of free speech at the Oxford Union. Even at the eleventh hour we were still ready to rejoin the debate but only on condition that Norman G Finkelstein was re-invited. He was not re-invited, so we stayed away. The debaters on the night were the ubiquitous Paul Usiskin and five students. The motion was defeated by 191 votes to 60. Groucho Marx once said to his host: "I had a great evening but this was not it!" I feel somewhat the same way about this particular Oxford Union debate. "

Charges dropped against last of 'Los Angeles Eight'

By Michel Shehadeh
San Francisco Chronicle

"For the last 20 years, the U.S. government has accused me of being a terrorist. Along with six other Palestinians and a Kenyan, we were dubbed the "Los Angeles Eight" by the media. Our case even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.....

From the beginning, we said that our case was a political one and that the government made us victims of a political witch-hunt. We persevered all these years and defeated the attempt to uproot us from our communities, break our families apart, and deport us, because we were innocent. Free at last, we are finally exonerated and it tastes sweet. We will savor the sweetness. And we will use it to fuel our determination to defend the same issues that our supporters defended through us: justice, civil liberties, freedom and immigrant rights. We believe that this is the America for which we continually aspire, the America that is just, here at home and in faraway places - with policies based on fairness, equality, and a shared humanity. "

Wire cage installed at Huwwara checkpoint

Contributed by Bea

"Israeli forces have installed wire caging material at the notorious Huwwara checkpoint, located near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, creating a ‘checkpoint within a checkpoint’ that has doubled the waiting time for Palestinians trying to pass through.

A report published by the nonviolent anti-occupation group, the International Solidarity Movement, claims that the fencing was installed over the weekend and that 300-350 Palestinians civilians were on Saturday made to wait for some three hours or more to pass through the checkpoint.

The timing of the added construction coincided with the return of many university students to their homes outside of Nablus, as well as the return home of those who had gone to Nablus for shopping and other needs.

The Huwwara checkpoint controlling exit from Nablus is notorious for long lines and hours-long delays, particularly on holidays. This roofed and turnstiled checkpoint, in place since the start of the current Intifada, governs traffic flowing to Ramallah, as well as to the many nearby villages outside Nablus.
University students, workers, and people seeking medical treatment or coming for shopping must cross Huwwara, many on a daily basis.

The passage through the checkpoint normally takes at least an hour, but with the installation of the new wire passing has been slowed to a snail's pace."

Abbas: "We must topple the junta who took control of the Gaza Strip by military force"

Contributed by Lucia

"This thug, not only is he a traitor, a putschist and a renegade, but an ENEMY OF THE PALESTINIANS AS WELL.

These declarations are, in my book, APOLOGIA OF MURDER AND AN INCITEMENT TO CIVIL WAR, and are punishable by Law.

And Hamas still wants to speak with "brother Abu Mazen"? Due note must be taken of what the traitor Abbas is saying here: he'll only speak with Hamas from behind the barrel of a gun pointed at their heads.

Such a despicable idiot, demented old man. Stooge!" -- Lucia

"Bethlehem – Ma'an – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated on Thursday the success of the Annapolis conference was imperative for reaching "a just and comprehensive peace" in the region.

He also stated the necessity of toppling Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip...."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Arabs' Strategic "Choice"

أبو زهري: عباس غير معني بأي وفاق وطني بعد دعوته لإسقاط "حماس"

أكد أن المطلوب إسقاط الاحتلال وليس المقاومة

"غزة - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

نددت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" بشدة بالتصريحات التي أدلى بها رئيس السلطة الفلسطينية محمود عباس، والتي دعا فيها إلى إسقاط حركة "حماس"، والتي نعت فيها الحركة أيضاً بـ "الزمرة الانقلابية"، وساوى بينها وبين الاحتلال.

اعتبر الدكتور سامي أبو زهري، الناطق الرسمي باسم الحركة أن ما أدلى به رئيس السلطة عباس من تصريحات هي "تصريحات خطيرة، تعكس أن عباس غير معني بأي وفاق وطني على الساحة الفلسطينية، وأنه هو المسؤول المباشر عن حالة التصعيد والتأزم على الساحة الفلسطينية الداخلية".

وشدد أبو زهري في تصريح صحفي خاص أدلى به لـ "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" اليوم الخميس (15/11)، على أن "المطلوب هو إسقاط الاحتلال لا إسقاط حركة حماس"، وقال: "من المخجل أن يجري هذا التصعيد ضد قوى المقاومة في اللحظة التي يستمر فيها التنسيق الأمني والهرولة السياسية باتجاه الاحتلال".

وتابع الناطق باسم حركة "حماس" قائلاً: "إذا كان الرئيس عباس يعتقد أنه سيجني ثمناً صهيونياً وأمريكياً مقابل هذا التصعيد ضد حركة حماس فهو مخطئ، لأنه لن يجني إلا الفشل، والأولى له العودة إلى حضن الشعب الفلسطيني، وإلا فإن "حماس" والقوى الفلسطينية الحيّة ستدافع عن الحقوق والثوابت الفلسطينية وستحمي مشروع المقاومة في مواجهة كل عمليات الاستهداف". "

No Remembrance, No Remorse for the Fallen of Iraq

A Great Article
by John Pilger

"On Remembrance Day 2007 – Veterans Day in America – the great and the good bowed their heads at the Cenotaph. Generals, politicians, newsreaders, football managers and stock-market traders wore their poppies. Hypocrisy was a presence. No one mentioned Iraq. No one uttered the slightest remorse for the fallen of that country. No one read the forbidden list.

The forbidden list documents, without favor, the part the British state and its court have played in the destruction of Iraq. Here it is:

1. Holocaust denial......

2. Looting......

3. Destroying a nation's health .....

4. Destroying a society.....

5. Propaganda......

6. The next blood letting......

On 22 May, the front page of the London Guardian carried the banner headline: "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq." This was a tract of unalloyed propaganda based entirely on anonymous US official sources. Throughout the media, other drums have taken up the beat. "Iran's nuclear ambitions" slips effortlessly from newsreaders' lips, no matter that the International Atomic Energy Agency refuted Washington's lies, no matter the echo of "Saddam's weapons of mass destruction," no matter that another bloodbath beckons.

Lest we forget."

Spain: The Monarchy's clash with Socialism

by Pablo Ouziel

Global Research, November 15, 2007

"On August the 1st 1969, Time magazine quoted Generalissimo Francisco Franco saying; "Conscious of my responsibility before God and history and taking into account the qualities to be found in the person of Prince Juan Carlos of Borbón, who has been perfectly trained to take up the high mission to which he might be called, I have decided to propose him to the nation as my successor." With this statement began the formal relationship between Spain's present king and the country's fascist dictator.

In November 2007 at the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago de Chile, the King of Spain Juan Carlos pointed his finger at Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and asked him, "Why don't you shut up?", after Chávez had called José María Aznar Spain's former Prime Minister a fascist, and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero the current Spanish Prime Minister was trying to defend him.......

So, although under the leadership of King Juan Carlos, Spain did formally complete its transition from dictatorship to democracy with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, leaving in place a constitutional monarchy, it would be hard to believe that someone who swore loyalty to a brutal fascist would have no animosity to such ideals. For this reason as a Spaniard, it is disappointing for me to see how people around the world receive the media sound bites regarding the heated exchange between a King and a president, without being granted the opportunity to understand the historical events which lead to such a situation. Both Aznar and the King of Spain have embraced fascism at some point in their lives and have built their power upon its foundations, so although one today would struggle to openly proof the statement that they are currently fascists, it can at least be said of them, that at one point both of them certainly were......."

Report: Syria Prepared to Attend Annapolis Summit


"15/11/2007 Syria has expressed its readiness to attend a U.S.-sponsored regional summit later this month following confirmation from Russia and the Palestinian Authority that it would receive a direct invitation, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.

Until now, it was not clear whether Syria was to be invited directly to the summit or as part of the Arab League. Syria has said it would not attend the summit unless it received an official invitation. It has also said that it would attend the summit only if discussions included the return of the occupied Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed.

Meanwhile, Turkish leaders have begun recently to increase pressure on Israel to renew its negotiations with Syria, telling ‘Jerusalem’ that its conflict with Damascus will be easier to resolve than the ongoing process with the Palestinians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during their meeting in London a few weeks ago that from a "cost-value" perspective, the Syrian track promises more than the Palestinians. A similar message was raised during talks held in recent days between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Turkish leaders in Ankara. Erdogan attributed great significance to negotiations with the Palestinians as well as the upcoming regional summit in Annapolis, as part of the process of bolstering Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and continuing the dialogue between the two sides.

Still, the Turkish leader said, a deal between Israel and the Palestinians will be difficult to achieve because of the complicated nature of the matter, which based on considerations other than territory. However, Erdogan said, the Syrian track is based primarily on the issue of borders and is therefore easier to resolve.

Erdogan told Olmert during their talks that he did not understand why Israel continues its vested efforts in finding a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians while refusing to open negotiations with Syria. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has said that at this point, it is most important for Israel to focus its efforts on resolving the Palestinian issue."


I predicted that Syria would attend a couple of months ago.

Olmert: PA must recognize Israel as a "Jewish state" before resumption of talks

"OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli premier Ehud Olmert demanded during his meeting with EU foreign policy coordinator Javier Solana that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state as a condition for negotiations with the PA leadership after the autumn conference concludes, in a step aimed at preventing the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes.

Olmert told Solana that this new condition was nonnegotiable and not up for discussion; however, the latter did not take a specific stance towards the condition, but he only said that he could not tolerate the failure of the autumn conference and that he does not want to think of such eventuality.

Some extremist members of the Israeli government are working on making their government approve that condition during a cabinet meeting and attempting as well to make the Knesset pass it as a draft law.

These developments came up shortly after the right-wing Knesset MPs had visited the sites near the Aqsa Mosque in which excavations are being executed by the Israeli archeology authority, alleging that the aim of their tour to these sites was to confirm the historic right of Jews to Jerusalem."

And Our Flag Was Still There

By Mr. Fish

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Which is the better approach for Palestinians in the current situation to regain their rights, resistance or negotiations with Israel?

With about 700 responding so far, 90% said resistance.

A real peace process?

It is time stop regarding the international community's efforts in Palestine/Israel as a sincere attempt at conflict resolution

A Great Comment
By Ben White
The Guardian

"......Arafat's death in November 2004 was greeted by US, UK and Israeli leaders as an unprecedented turning point with the potential for ushering in a "new era". Coupled with the then imminent Israeli redeployment from Gaza, media analysts unquestioningly echoed Condoleezza Rice's optimism that it truly was a "time to seize" the historic "opportunity" for making peace.

Thus, despite Israel's military occupation and countless war crimes of the Intifada, despite the continued settlement expansion, land confiscation and hopeless power asymmetry - despite even the declared Israeli intention of the Gaza "disengagement" being to freeze the "peace process" and free up further colonisation in the West Bank - the international community felt it was an "opportunity" for peace.

In 2006, the response of the Quartet to the very Palestinian "internal reform" and elections that they themselves had called for provided an even clearer declaration of intent. Hamas's track record of honesty and resistance won them a parliamentary majority, but the Palestinians returned from the ballots to be rewarded with blackmail and boycott.

From then on, the international community not only hindered the cause of peace but even helped foster civil war among Palestinians. In the power logic of the Quartet, elections are met with sanctions and Abbas's overthrow of the Hamas government is lauded as coup prevention. Fatah elements were armed and trained in order to fight Hamas, while Palestinians were deliberately brought to their knees by sanctions.

Surveying the policies of the international community in the last few years, the role of Washington, London and Brussels can only make sense if they are seen as accomplices to Israel's colonisation. This engagement, far from being genuine peace-seeking, can be characterised in three main ways.

Firstly, the conflict is depoliticised and development-ised, reduced to a matter of "state-building" and "economic investment". Tony Blair, the Quartet"s envoy, has heartily embraced this approach.

Secondly, the Palestinians are forced to "earn" the right to self-determination, jumping through a series of hoops often designed by Israel. These vary, from the demand that the occupied embrace pacifism, to the Palestinians being told to "recognise" the state that has carried out their dispossession

Thirdly, the "peace process" has sought to marginalise and ultimately negate the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. The international community"s discourse urges both sides (except we know which one they"re talking to) to lay aside past grievances and "move on".

It is time that the international community's peace process in Palestine/Israel is seen for what it is, stripped of the propaganda. It is only when we ditch the idea that the US and the other main players are acting in good faith that their policies, from roadmaps to Annapolis via post-election boycotts, make sense. It is time to think outside this limiting delusion about what really constitutes a process towards peace."

An uprising may be the only way to dislodge the general

Benazir Bhutto is back at the head of a struggle against dictatorship, but Pakistan needs a more radical transformation

Seumas Milne

The Guardian

".....A decade on, she is the darling of the western media once more, leading the opposition to another US-backed military ruler and somehow, at the same time, the last hope of the US and British governments of keeping a grip on the upheaval now engulfing Pakistan. As she was told by a senior US official at her lowest point in the late 1990s: "We can whitewash you in 24 hours if we need to."......

But this is certainly not what the US had in mind for so pivotal a state in its "war on terror". The Bush administration's calls on Musharraf to abandon his dictatorial ways and press ahead with free elections clearly lack all credibility. Not only has the US been Musharraf's principal backer throughout, channelling nearly $11bn-worth of aid to his regime since 2001, but it is also widely accepted that any genuine withdrawal of US support would finish the general off in short order. No wonder Bush has sent his former ambassador in Iraq, John Negroponte, to try to knock his clients' heads together......

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's former high commissioner in London and longtime Bhutto confidant, said yesterday he believed Musharraf would be gone within a week. If so, Bhutto and the other traditional political leaders will struggle to meet the pent-up demand for change they will inherit, and the extent of her commitments to the US will be put to the test. For all her rhetoric about fighting extremism, for example, there is no reason to imagine that a Bhutto-led civilian government will make any more headway than Musharraf in the unpopular military campaign he is waging for the US in the Talibanised tribal areas. However, if Hasan proves over-optimistic and Musharraf digs in with American support, the possibility of a wider popular uprising is likely to grow - and with it, the chance of real and necessary political change."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Annapolis Meeting....
The Final Liquidation of Palestine?

120 US war veteran suicides a week

THE US military is experiencing a "suicide epidemic" with veterans killing themselves at the rate of 120 a week, according to an investigation by US television network CBS.

"At least 6256 US veterans committed suicide in 2005 - an average of 17 a day - the network reported, with veterans overall more than twice as likely to take their own lives as the rest of the general population.

While the suicide rate among the general population was 8.9 per 100,000, the level among veterans was between 18.7 and 20.8 per 100,000......"

Glitterati at Leviev’s New York Gala Stunned by Palestinian Rights Protest

Leviev’s diamonds fund repression in Angola, and violations of international law in Palestine.

"Over 100 well-dressed, well-heeled New Yorkers attending the invitation-only opening of diamond mogul Lev Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store this evening appeared stunned and aghast to find their evening derailed by a noisy protest against Leviev’s construction of illegal West Bank settlements. Gala attendees set down their champagne glasses and gathered by windows to view the signs and Palestinian flags, and hear protesters’ chants......"

The Dismantling of Pakistani Democracy

Aunt Benazir's False Promises


"......Perhaps the most bizarre part of this circus has been the hijacking of the democratic cause by my aunt, the twice-disgraced former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto....

Ms. Bhutto's political posturing is sheer pantomime. Her negotiations with the military and her unseemly willingness until just a few days ago to take part in Musharraf's regime have signaled once and for all to the growing legions of fundamentalists across South Asia that democracy is just a guise for dictatorship.

It is widely believed that Ms. Bhutto lost both her governments on grounds of massive corruption. She and her husband, a man who came to be known in Pakistan as "Mr. 10%," have been accused of stealing more than $1 billion from Pakistan's treasury. She is appealing a money-laundering conviction by the Swiss courts involving about $11 million. Corruption cases in Britain and Spain are ongoing......

By supporting Ms. Bhutto, who talks of democracy while asking to be brought to power by a military dictator, the only thing that will be accomplished is the death of the nascent secular democratic movement in my country. Democratization will forever be de-legitimized, and our progress in enacting true reforms will be quashed. We Pakistanis are certain of this."

Bhutto: the new Chalabi

There's much in common between smooth-talking Benazir and the man once favoured by the White House to succeed Saddam Hussein

Dilip Hiro
The Guardian

"......There are uncanny parallels between Bhutto and Chalabi. The elements that helped Chalabi to portray himself - and be accepted - as the poster boy of the Bush administration are the same that have turned Bhutto into an indispensable ingredient to transform Pakistan's embarrassing dictatorship into a likable democracy ... with her as the chief executive......

In an impromptu speech on Friday, Bhutto warned that Pakistan could turn into another Iraq. "We have seen what happens in Iraq," she said. "There was a dictatorship, the people revolted, and there was a bloody end." The people revolted in Iraq! Such make-believe analysis and interpretation is popular with the Bush White House......

There is still another element in their biographies that Bhutto and Chalabi share. Both face allegations of corruption......"

US, Israel refuse to cooperate with inquest into Syria strike

Larisa Alexandrovna

"The International Atomic Energy Agency - the United Nations nuclear watchdog - has not been able to conduct an investigation into the events surrounding the Sept. 6 Israeli bombing of a Syrian military installation because neither the Bush administration nor Israel are cooperating.

A diplomatic source close to the Vienna based IAEA told Raw Story that both the United States and Israel have been approached by the organization requesting supporting evidence of a nuclear reactor which media sources have cited, based on anonymous sources in both governments, as the reason for the Israeli strike.

The source also explained that the satellite footage, which the IAEA obtained through commercial channels for lack of any “credible evidence,” does not show a nuclear reactor in the early construction phase......."

Former UN Spokesperson Salim Lone: International Community Turning Blind Eye to Worsening Somalia Crisis

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

".....AMY GOODMAN: While the situation in Pakistan is front-page news in the US, across the world, as well, the media has focused little attention on a much more dire humanitarian crisis. In Somalia, at least eighty people have died in the capital of Mogadishu in heavy fighting between US-backed Ethiopian troops and Somali fighters. Most of the dead are believed to be civilians. Ethiopian tanks and artillery battered parts of Mogadishu after an Ethiopian soldier was dragged through the streets. Residents of Mogadishu accused Ethiopian troops of attacking civilians.

ASHA GULED: [translated] We are witnesses to the problems the Ethiopian troops brought for us. They killed every person they saw in the area, and we have now decided to flee the capital, Mogadishu.

AMY GOODMAN: The UN estimates 100,000 people have left Mogadishu in the last two weeks to escape the fighting. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said one-and-a-half million Somalis are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Human Rights Watch says the failure of the international community to end the violence in Somalia reflects a contempt for the value of African life. Meanwhile, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Eric Larouche issued a grave warning about the humanitarian situation......

AMY GOODMAN: The US-backed Somali government has also launched an attack on the media. On Monday, authorities closed Shabelle Radio and briefly detained two of its senior staff. On Tuesday, heavily armed troops raided Radio Banadir. Eight local reporters have been killed in the line of duty in Somalia this year.

Salim Lone is a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya, a former spokesperson for the UN mission in Iraq. He has been closely following the situation in Somalia, joining us on the line from Nairobi......

SALIM LONE: Well, let's begin, Amy, first, talk about the [inaudible] of Somalia, because the world just does not seem to be interested. You just read out a horrendous list of terrible events and massacres and, you know, violations of human rights, war against -- I mean, crimes against humanity. And yet, this is not news either for the newspapers or the TV or even for Western leaders, who are completely silent. They’re unable to see that the situation has spiraled completely out of control.

And this government, that had been put in there with Western support, it’s comprehensively been defeated. It is only surviving by intimidating and killing scores and scores of people. 400,000 refugees, displaced people, in the last fifteen years, the worst years everybody thought, and then 450,000 more refugees in the last few months, and this as a result of a war waged by the United States and Ethiopia.

And increasingly -- on a smaller scale, obviously, but increasingly -- the situation is beginning to resemble Iraq. You mentioned the soldier dragged through the streets, desecrated, and the resulting massacre of so many innocent people, including an entire family of ten people, although one child is gravely injured but not dead. The same thing happened in Fallujah, that one terrible desecration by a few militants led to the killing of hundreds. We have, as in Iraq, in Somalia now IEDs. We have mortar rounds being launched on government and other forces. And we have mass civilian casualties. It’s only these mass suicide bombings that are to come.

And the world is completely silent. The government has tried everything, from the bombing of civilians in hospitals, killing journalists -- I think it should be clear: this government has killed journalists, not that ten journalists have died. Some of them, or even many of them, have actually been killed by the government. And yesterday, it closed the largest independent media house in Somalia, Shabelle Networks. So this situation has to be arrested somehow, and it can only be arrested by the international community......"

Hamas: Negotiating on "Jewish state" conspiracy to liquidate Palestine cause

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The PA leadership's negotiation with Israel in Annapolis on the basis of accepting a "Jewish state" in return for a Palestinian state would constitute a serious plot to liquidate the Palestine cause, a senior Hamas leader said on Wednesday.

Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, spokesman of Hamas's parliamentary bloc, asserted that the Israeli president's talk about a "Jewish state" was "very serious" because it would practically mean that such a state was entitled to expel one and half million Palestinians living in the 1948 occupied lands.

It also means that none of the six million Palestinian refugees living in the diaspora are entitled to return to their homeland and that Jerusalem would be prohibited before all Palestinians.

Israeli president Shimon Peres had said during an address at the Turkish parliament on Tuesday that negotiations at the Annapolis conference would be based on Palestinian recognition of a "Jewish state" in return for recognizing a Palestinian state.

Bardawil affirmed that Hamas would never allow such a step to materialize, warning the PA leadership that accepting such a condition would be "political suicide"."

The Lobby

Why No American President Will Stand Up to Israel


"Experts in the West and ordinary people in Arab lands have understood for many years that the United States does not have an independent policy toward the Middle East. President Jimmy Carter, a man of good will, tried to use American influence to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the source of dangerous instability in the Middle East. However, Israel was able to block Carter's attempt, while blaming Yasser Arafat. Carter's plan would have given rise to a Palestinian state. Israel did not want any such state, because obvious military aggression is necessary in order to steal the territory of an official state with defined borders. It is much easier to steal land from a non-state......

In America today academics and intellectuals who fail to toe the Lobby's line are unlikely to receive support from conservative or liberal foundations. Even Mearsheimer and Walt's article, "The Israel Lobby," commissioned by the Atlantic Monthly and from which their book evolved, had to be published overseas in The London Review of Books when the Atlantic Monthly's editors' courage failed them.
American patriots who glorify in their country's status as the "sole superpower" have much to learn about the subservience of their country's foreign policy to a tiny state of five million people. There is no better place to begin than with Mearsheimer and Walt's The Israel Lobby."

Venezuela Between Ballots and Bullets

Venezuelan Democracy, the Presidency of Hugo Chavez and the Great Majority of Popular Classes Face a Mortal Threat


"Venezuela's democratically elected Present Chavez faces the most serious threat since the April 11, 2002 military coup.

Violent street demonstrations by privileged middle and upper middle class university students have led to major street battles in and around the center of Caracas. More seriously, the former Minister of Defense, General Raul Isaias Baduel, who resigned in July, has made explicit calls for a military coup in a November 5 press conference which he convoked exclusively for the right and far-right mass media and political parties, while striking a posture as an 'individual' dissident.......

President Chavez is correctly 'evaluating the high command' and states that he 'has full confidence in the national armed forces and their components.' Yet the best guarantee is to strike hard and fast, precisely against Baduel's followers and cohorts. Rounding up a few dozen or hundred military plotters is a cheap price to pay for saving the lives of thousands of workers and activists who would be massacred in any bloody seizure of power.

History has repeatedly taught that when you put social democracy, egalitarianism and popular power at the top of the political agenda, as Chavez has done, and as the vast majority of the populace enthusiastically responds, the Right, the reactionary military, the 'Centrist' political defectors and ideologues, the White House, the hysterical middle classes and the Church cardinals will sacrifice any and all democratic freedoms to defend their property, privileges and power by whatever means and at whatever cost necessary. In the current all-pervasive confrontation between the popular classes of Venezuela and their oligarchic and military enemies, only by morally, politically and organizationally arming the people can the continuity of the democratic process of social transformation be guaranteed.

Change will come, the question is whether it will be through the ballot or the bullet."

حرب الاحتلال والسلطة على حماس في الضفة

ياسر الزعاترة

".....معالم حرب الاستئصال في الضفة
في هذا السياق المتعلق بمعالم حرب الاستئصال يبدو من الصعب التوقف كثيرا عند الحوادث الخاصة، اللهم إلا في سياق ضرب الأمثلة، إذ إننا إزاء حرب تجاوزت كل الحدود والأعراف والأخلاق، ولا قيمة هنا للمقارنة مع قطاع غزة الذي لا يعرف إلى الآن الاعتقال السياسي، حيث يتجول قادة فتح فيه بحرية، ويتحدثون إلى وسائل الإعلام من دون رقيب ولا حسيب.

أما التذكير بما جرى أيام الاقتتال فلا قيمة له، لأن حزب دحلان هو السبب وليس حماس التي احتفلت بحكومة الوحدة الوطنية ولم ترد أكثر منها رغم ما انطوت عليه صيغتها من تنازلات.

بحسب إحصاءات حماس، وفي شهر رمضان وحده اختطف 140 عنصرا من عناصرها، ودوهم 21 مسجدا، في حين اقتحمت 26 مؤسسة لأصحابها صلة ما بالحركة، ومعظمها صلات شخصية، مع العلم أن عدد الاعتداءات التي أحصيت على الأفراد والمؤسسات منذ الحسم العسكري في قطاع غزة وحتى بداية رمضان قد بلغ 1324 اعتداء، أما الأهم فهو أن وتيرة الاعتداءات بعد عيد الفطر المبارك قد تصاعدت على نحو ملفت، وإن لم تتوفر لنا إحصاءات حتى كتابة هذه السطور.

المعلم الأول من معالم العدوان على حركة حماس في الضفة الغربية يتعلق باعتقال عناصرها، الأمر الذي تجاوز سائر الخطوط الحمراء، إذ لم يجر الإبقاء على أي قيادي أو رمز شعبي، بما في ذلك الأسرى المحررون وعلماء الدين والخطباء، فضلا عن الطلبة والطالبات.

عندما يداهم بيت الشيخ سعيد بلال، أحد أهم أعيان نابلس ويعتقل ابنه البكر (بكر) الخارج لتوه من المعتقل الصهيوني بعد قضاء خمس سنوات، والذي يقضي إخوته القساميون الثلاثة أحكاما رهيبة بالسجن (معاذ 27 مؤبدا، وعثمان الضرير، نعم الضرير 11 عاما، والثالث مؤبدان) نجد أنفسنا أمام اعتداء يستفز مشاعر الناس، مع العلم أن بكر قضى أسبوعين رهن الاعتقال ولم يفرج عنه إلا بعد وساطات كثيرة.
وسائل الإعلام والتعتيم
هذه الحرب التي تشنها السلطة على أكبر حركة في الشعب الفلسطيني لا تجد صداها في وسائل الإعلام، والسبب هو خوف أصحابها من بطش السلطة، فضلا عن انحياز بعضها الطبيعي ضد حماس.

مع العلم أن الإعلام يعمل بحرية في قطاع غزة، بما في ذلك صحف السلطة التي توزع في القطاع رغم تفننها في هجاء الحركة، بينما تمنع صحيفتي الرسالة وفلسطين التابعتين لحماس من الطباعة والتوزيع في الضفة، بل يطارد أي متعاون أو حتى متحدث في بعض الأحيان إلى فضائية الأقصى التابعة للحركة.

Hamas Sniper Wounds Israeli Soldier at Gaza Border


"14/11/2007 A Hamas resistance sniper shot and wounded an Israeli occupation soldier on Wednesday near the border with the Gaza Strip, sources on both sides said. The shooting took place near the main Erez crossing point between the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip, an Israeli spokesman said, without specifying on which side of the border the soldier was hit.
The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic resistance Hamas movement claimed responsibility for the attack.
Israel has been launching frequent raids and air strikes across the Gaza Strip in a bid to halt rocket fire launched by Palestinian resistance fighters on the occupied territories."

Torturing Palestinian Detainees

by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, November 14, 2007

"B'Tselem is the conservative Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories with a well-deserved reputation for accuracy. A group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists and Knesset members founded the organization in 1989 to "document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel" to convince government officials to respect human rights and comply with international law.

Its work covers a wide range of human rights issues that include detentions and torture. In May, 2007, it prepared a detailed 100 page report titled "Absolute Prohibition: The Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees" that's now available in print for those who request it. This article summarizes its findings that represent a joint effort by B'Tselem and HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual that was founded in 1988 to support Palestinian rights during the first intifada in the late 1980s........"