Saturday, November 24, 2007

Controlled chaos

Amid a dangerous political vacuum in Lebanon, American tactics against Hizbullah resemble those directed against Hamas in Gaza

A Good Comment
By Karim Makdisi
(Assistant Professor of Political Studies,
American University of Beirut)
The Guardian

"......While the personal and sectarian dynamics of Lebanese politics (including the declining role of Maronite Christians in Lebanon that has so incensed Michel Aoun and even the Maronite Patriarch) should not be underestimated in terms of prolonging the current crisis, it is the larger US project to reconfigure the Arab (as well as larger Muslim) region - and the resistance this has engendered - that has played the decisive role. In this sense, Lebanon's constitutional predicament and effective state of emergency reflects the US failure to impose its will, and mirrors similarly botched US interference in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

For Lebanon the US project means eliminating Hizbullah, one way or the other, so as to remove Israel's only genuine security threat and deprive Syria and Iran of leverage in their own negotiations with the US regarding the Golan Heights and nuclear arms respectively.

However, in light of the failure of the US-backed Israeli war to destroy Hizbullah last year, the US has for now shifted its strategy away from a military solution to co-opting the Lebanese state itself to pursue these tasks on its behalf - much as it has done in Palestine with Abu Mazen's recent declaration of war against Hamas.

By recognising March 14's disputed claims to executive authority (now apparently reinforced with the governments' assumption of presidential powers), encouraging it to reject the opposition's repeated calls for a national unity government, and supporting its call for the full implementation of resolution 1559, the US appears to believe it has accomplished the first stage of this strategy which has focused on removing the Resistance's official cloak of state legitimacy it enjoyed under President Lahoud.

The second phase of US strategy is to create what the Pentagon calls a "strategic alliance" with the Lebanese army.....

All eyes in Lebanon turn now to Annapolis to gauge the likelihood of a deal over Lebanon in case US-Syrian relations thaw. However, while Syria influences the opposition's demands in some aspects, it by no means dictates them.....

In any case, it is more likely that Annapolis will represent another signpost in the US drive to solidify the de facto unholy alliance that has bound Israel and the so-called "moderate" Arab states under US patronage. In this case, it is difficult to be optimistic about prospects for Lebanon or the region."

مشاركو أنابوليس يتوافدون

مشاركو أنابوليس يتوافدون
Participants Arriving in Annapolis, Maryland

The Political Implications of the Hamas Electoral Victory from the Islamist Perspective

A Conflicts Forum Monograph, by Azzam Tamimi, November, 2007

The Hamas election victory in January of 2006 sent shockwaves through the Arab world — and through Islamists with varying convictions. The debate among Islamists over whether Hamas should have participated in the elections has been intense. But Hamas’s willingness to maintain its principled non-acceptance of the Quartet conditions has dampened Islamist criticism of the movement and bolstered the movement’s argument that participation does not entail compromise.

Read the Complete Monograph (pdf format)

"The monograph’s author, Dr. Azzam Tamimi, is on the Conflicts Forum Advisory Board. He is Director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought (IIPT) in London and Former Director of the Islamic Movement Parliamentary Office, Amman, Jordan. His most recent book, Hamas: Unwritten Chapters, was published by Hurst in London in November 2006 and was published in the U.S. this year by Olive Branch Press under the title, Hamas: A History from Within."

DEBKAfile Reports: US Central Command’s stepped-up charter of extra tankers and fuel purchases portend high naval activity in Persian Gulf

"Shipping and oil industry sources suggest CENTCOM, whose area includes the American Fifth Fleet’s aircraft carriers cruising the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, may be stocking in extra fuel ahead of extended operations off or on Iran’s shores.

The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command has tendered for four tankers in November to move at least one million barrels of jet and ship fuel between Gulf ports from Asia to the Gulf and between the US Diego Garcia Indian Ocean base and big US Gulf bases in Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

The fuels to be moved between Gulf ports include the high flashpoint jet fuel JP5, used to power F18 fighters aboard aircraft carriers.

They have been very active, said a ship industry source, familiar with the MSC tender process, who asked not to be named.

The MSC normally tenders for one or two tankers a month for Gulf operations, including missions in Iraq.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the US heavy B-1 bombers are based on Diego Garcia along with heavy ordnance for bombing fortified underground targets, such as Iran’s secret military installations.

The Military Sealift Command is geared to provide ocean transportation for supplying US forces worldwide with equipment, fuel, supplies and ammunition. During war, 95 percent of all equipment and supplies needed to sustain the U.S. military will be carried by sea. Stepping up this traffic suggests heightened American military operation pending in the Gulf region.

In the last two days, two Western newspapers have referred to US war preparations against Iran: The big Scottish paper The Herald reported: “The US is secretly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the British island protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to military sources.”

According to the Canadian Globe and Mail : “No one is predicting a full-blown ground war with Iran. The likeliest scenario, a blistering air war that could last as little as one night or as long as two weeks…”"

The International Call to Stop The Gaza Siege Now

Don't Forget to Sign the Petetion

Please forward to people you know.


A Great Piece From DesertPeace

"There are things that every individual, everywhere can do to help the people in Gaza. The facts are known, despite the occupier's attempts to keep them hidden.

Presented below are just a few things YOU can do to help....

Be sure to sign the petition at the bottom and DO forward this to people and copy it to your Blogs...

Don't forsake the people of Gaza...."

Beirut's Black Friday

ConCENSUS Needed?


".....Despite the constitutional requirement that authority be handed over to the prime minister should the presidency be vacated, Lahoud refused, stating that Siniora's administration was "illegitimate and unconstitutional. They know that, even if Bush said otherwise."......

More surprising than the present deadlock is the fact it has not come sooner, for the confessional nature upon which the Lebanese political system is based lends itself to do just that.....

Remarkably, there has been no official census in Lebanon since 1932.

By current estimates however, the largest plurality of all the confessional groups are the Shia Muslims. Although the post of Speaker is not an insignificant one, it is felt they have never been accorded "a fair shake" by the government in proportion to their numbers, hence the huge popularity of groups like Hezbollah among them.

It was Hezbollah after all who paid for homes in southern Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut to be rebuilt after last year's war with Israel. Yes, this has done with the help of Iranian money. Nonetheless, is it not telling that a non-Arab country did more to assist the largest section of the population than did the government or other Arab countries? Are the Lebanese Shia actually supposed to trust a government which called upon Hezbollah to disarm while their towns, villages and cities were being decimated by the Israelis? Can any Lebanese have confidence in a Prime Minister who hugged and kissed Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in spite of her refusal to call for a ceasefire?

A consensus candidate in the current standoff in Lebanon is needed, no doubt. But it is also high time a new census is taken, and let numbers speak for themselves."

Abu Zuhri: Palestinians shocked at Arab participation in Annapolis

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement on Saturday denounced the participation of Arab countries in the Annapolis conference, describing it as a "big shock" for the Palestinian people.

Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said in a press release that no justifications for Arab participation were accepted especially when such participation opens the door wide open for normalization with occupation and comes at a time of continued IOF diggings under the Aqsa Mosque.

He further noted that Israel had put the condition of PA recognition of it as a "Jewish state" in order to continue negotiation, and added that the Arabs go to the conference while ignoring the fact that Gaza is facing slow death under the tight Israeli siege.

The Palestinian people were expecting an Arab unanimity on breaking the siege rather than unanimously agreeing to attend a meeting with occupation, Abu Zuhri said, affirming, "We believe that the meeting would only entail more failure and more harm to the Palestinian and Arab questions and rights".

For his part, MP Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, the secretary general of the Mubadara party, affirmed that the Annapolis conference had failed before it started.

He charged that Israel imposed failure on the conference when it refused to discuss any essential issue such as that of Palestinian refugees, borders, Jerusalem and settlements.

The MP deplored the fact that the Palestinian side had allowed the Israelis to pursue such a method.

MP Khaleda Jarrar, a PFLP politburo member, stressed that the Palestinian people would reject any bargaining over the right of resistance or any attempt to conclude agreements infringing on the Palestinian basic rights.

The popular struggle front secretary general Khaled Abdul Majid has warned of the seriousness of the Annapolis conference.

In a statement to PIC, he said that the meeting was solely meant to serve American and Israeli interests, adding that it would serve as a cover up for expected American steps in the region to wipe out resistance and forces of rejection in the region.

The popular resistance committees in Gaza warned the conferees in Annapolis against gambling with the Palestinian constants, adding that the meeting would only attempt to endorse occupation's measures.

The PFLP – General Command appealed to the invitees not to go to Annapolis, describing it as a "peace mirage"."

Palestinian factions: Annapolis a new station to liquidate the Palestinian cause

"GAZA, (PIC)-- Leaders of five major Palestinian factions considered on Friday during a forum organized by Hamas that the Annapolis conference is one of the stations intended for liquidating the Palestinian cause, warning of imposing defeatist solutions on the Palestinian people.

Mushir Al-Masri, the general-secretary of Hamas-affiliated change and reform parliamentary bloc, confirmed that the Annapolis conference comes in the framework of a systematic policy to liquidate the Palestinian cause, swerve it from its track and to impose a foreign agenda.

Masri pointed out that the American administration has a strong conviction that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is weak and ready to accept any condition imposed on him.

The lawmaker underlined that the conference targets the Palestinian resistance as a priority through imposing defeatist solutions such as the attempts to disarm the Palestinian resistance.

For his part, Dr. Adel Al-Hakim seconded on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-general command (PFLP-GC) what Khaled Al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader, opined that the American administration seeks through holding this conference to give itself a cover up for its defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For his part, Mohieddin Abu Daka said on behalf of the Saiqa organization that this conference is coming under the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and in light of the inter-Palestinian division, describing any step to waive the Palestinian constants as "unforgivable treason"."

Hamas, Hezbollah blast Mideast peace meet

Representatives of Hamas, Hezbollah predict US-sponsored gathering at Annapolis would fail.

"TEHRAN, Nov 24, 2007 (AFP) - Palestinian resistance group Hamas and Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah on Saturday blasted a forthcoming US-hosted summit, which aims to revive long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.

At a conference in Tehran, representatives of the two groups lashed out at the US move and predicted it would fail. "This conference wants to destroy the Palestinian issue. This conference will fail," said Mussa Abu Marzuq, top aide to Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal. "This conference is a fantasy and propaganda and it aims to attract the so-called moderate Arab nations to their side and part them from the Palestinian issue," he added.......

Hezbollah's foreign relations chief, Sheikh Ali Daghmush said: "Israel (in this conference) aims to normalise ties with the Arab nations, so prevention of this Zionist plot should be carried out."

Hamas insists that Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has no mandate to negotiate on behalf of all the Palestinians......

Hamas, which has slated a "counter-conference" in Gaza on Monday, said earlier in the day it will step up attacks against Israeli troops there and in the West Bank after the Annapolis meeting.

"The period that will follow the Annapolis conference will witness an increase of the resistance against the Zionist occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," Mussa Abu Marzuq, top aide to Hamas supremo Khaled Meshaal, said on the group's website.

"The Annapolis conference has two objectives: to help shore up (Israeli Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert after his defeat in the south of Lebanon and secondly to cover up for American plans of a war against Iran," he said.

Abu Marzuq, who is based in Syria along with Meshaal, urged Palestinians to voice their rejection of the conference by organising demonstrations."


I think that it is very interesting that this meeting and the statement were made in Tehran and not in Damascus.

While Mahmoud Abbas Was Readying a Palestinian Final Solution, These Are Images of Israel's "Peace"

Palestinian boys throw rocks at the Israeli army 20 November 2007. (AFP)

A section of Israel's separation barrier is seen between the West Bank village of Sawarah and Jerusalem, background, Friday, Nov. 23, 2007.(AP Photo)

A Palestinian woman reacts next to her wounded son, Rafat Al-Attar, as he lies in a hospital bed in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007. Al-Attar was shot by Israeli troops in northern Gaza, Palestinian medical officials said. (AP Photo)

A Palestinian youth sits in front of a section of Israel's separation barrier in the Aida refugee camp, between the West Bank town of Bethlehem and Jerusalem, in this picture dated Friday, Nov. 23, 2007.(AP Photo)

A Palestinian relative of two farmers brothers sits next to their bodies in the northern Gaza Strip November 24, 2007. Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian farmers near the fence on the Gaza Strip's northern border with Israel, Palestinian hospital officials said on Saturday. REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA)

Preventing the Impending War on Iran

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Global Research, November 23, 2007

"Rhetoric flowing out of the White House indicates the Bush administration is planning a military attack on Iran . Officials in Saudi Arabia , a close Bush ally, think the handwriting is on the wall. "George Bush's tone makes us think he has decided what he is going to do," according to Rihab Massoud, Prince Bandar ben Sultan's right-hand man. Saudi Social Affairs Minister Abdel Mohsen Hakas told Le Figaro, "We are getting closer and closer to a confrontation."

As Bush and Cheney try to whip us into a frenzy about the dangers Iran poses, their argument comes up short. They say Iran is developing nuclear weapons, but Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says there is "no evidence" of this......"

The PLO excluded from the Annapolis Conference

by Prof. Francis A. Boyle

Global Research, November 23, 2007

"As you will see from the list below, it seems the US has invited practically everyone in the world to this fandango -- from Poland to Sweden to Slovenia to Yemen to the World Bank and the IMF... except the PLO -- which is the only body that has the authority and international standing to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people! In addition, the elected government of Hamas is also not invited, of course.

Nov 23, 2007

My Dear Palestinian Friends:

As you can see from the US Government's list of Invitees [below] to the Annapolis Conference, it has only invited the Palestinian Authority, not the PLO. But only the PLO has the authority under international law to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian People and the State of Palestine. That is why the Chairman of the PLO Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Agreement in the name of the PLO. The Palestinian Authority has no authorization under international law to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian People, let alone the State of Palestine, whose Provisional Government is the PLO Executive Committee. Indeed, an entire series of UN General Assembly Resolutions have made it clear that only the PLO is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian People. Hence this delegation of the Palestinian Authority to the Annapolis Conference has no legal authority under international law to conclude anything on behalf of the Palestinian People, let alone the State of Palestine

I would appreciate it if you would be so kind as to bring this matter to the attention of the Palestinian People around the world.

Thank you.

Francis A. Boyle

Professor of International Law
Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations and His Excellency Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi (1991-1993

Those invited to attend the conference are:

United States
Palestinian Authority
Arab League Secretary General
EU Commission
EU High Rep
EU Pres
Saudi Arabia

South Africa
Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
UNSYG [??]


World Bank

The Not-So-Sick Man of Europe Does Matter

By Scott Ritter

".......During the time of the Ottoman Empire, what is now known as Turkey was often referred to as “the sick man of Europe.” Today, it seems, many in Europe and the United States act as if this status still stands. But the fact is, Turkey today is neither sick nor European. It is a pro-West Muslim nation which not only physically bridges east and west but also serves as the conduit for social, economic and political intercourse. The key for the United States and Europe is not to keep trying to choose between forcing Turkey into becoming European and rejecting it for being too Asian, but rather to respect the progress Turkey has made in forging a Muslim nation with a secular government and democratic stability. Turkey today, as a bridge nation, holds the key for the peaceful resolution of many current crises (Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran in particular), and most potential future crises involving East-West conflict. Properly nurtured and managed, the West’s relationship with Turkey can be beneficial to all parties in the long term.

However, a bridge runs two ways, and if the West, in particular Europe, continues to approach its relationship with Turkey with the arrogance and indifference it displays today, and if the United States continues to pursue imperial policies in the Middle East which act to the detriment of Turkish interests, rest assured that this critical Western ally will drift away from Europe and firmly into the grasp of the East and radical Islamic fundamentalism. This would be a disaster for both Turkey and the West. At a time when the search for stability represents such an important part of the West’s foreign policy objectives, the lack of attention given to Turkey is astounding. Far from being the modern incarnation of Europe’s “sick man,” modern Turkey is healthy and vibrant, and does matter. We need to formulate and implement policies that reflect this reality before it is too late."

Abu Marzouk: Annapolis conference will be followed by escalation in resistance

"DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas political bureau, has affirmed that the next stage that will follow the Annapolis conference will witness an escalation in resistance against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the conference will expose the destructive results on the national cause.

In an exclusive statement to the PIC, Dr Abu Marzouk called on Friday on the Palestinian people all over the world to go on mass marches and to organize rallies and activities in order to express their rejection of the Annapolis conference and to confirm their adherence to the inalienable national rights......"

Latuff's Comment:
"I created this cartoon with the assistance of a kind Palestinian girl called Yasmine. Thank you, Yasmine. I love you and your people."

The Gaza Strip: Disengagement Two Years On

Kris Petersen, The Electronic Intifada, 24 November 2007

"Two years ago, Israel completed its unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. We all remember the intense media campaign shamelessly portraying the settlers as dispossessed victims of a bold move for peace. Among others, Harvard economist Sara Roy argued that Israel's version of disengagement would bring disaster to an already desperate Gaza. Today, we are witnessing emergence of an unparalleled economic catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and with it, the evaporation of the last remaining hopes for a Palestinian state........"

Report: US will not force Israel's hand in Annapolis

The Washington Post reports that President Bush will not force Prime Minister Olmert to make difficult decisions during peace talks. Bush still skeptical as to Palestinians' ability to make necessary moves for peace, says WP

"WASHINGTON – The United States has no intention of pressuring Israel into unexpected decisions during the Annapolis peace conference, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

According to senior White House staffers quoted in the report, US President George W. Bush feels "the war on terror makes for a special bond between the US and Israel.

"The president remains skeptical as to the Palestinians' ability to make the necessary concession for achieving peace," added the sources.

This feeling of closeness, said the report, probably means the US has no intention of pressuring Israel during Annapolis' negotiations. "The Israelis trust Bush… if they're going to take any chances, they'd rather do it with him, not his successor."......."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Darkness falls on the Middle East

By Robert Fisk

"So where do we go from here? I am talking into blackness because there is no electricity in Beirut. And everyone, of course, is frightened. A president was supposed to be elected today. He was not elected. The corniche outside my home is empty. No one wants to walk beside the sea.......

It's difficult to describe what it's like to be in a country that sits on plate glass. It is impossible to be certain if the glass will break. When a constitution breaks – as it is beginning to break in Lebanon – you never know when the glass will give way.

People are moving out of their homes, just as they have moved out of their homes in Baghdad. I may not be frightened, because I'm a foreigner. But the Lebanese are frightened......

So what can a Middle East correspondent write on a Saturday morning except that the world in the Middle East is growing darker and darker by the hour. Pakistan. Afghanistan. Iraq. "Palestine". Lebanon. From the borders of Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean, we – we Westerners that is – are creating (as I have said before) a hell disaster. Next week, we are supposed to believe in peace in Annapolis, between the colourless American apparatchik and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister who has no more interest in a Palestinian state than his predecessor Ariel Sharon.

And what hell disasters are we creating? Let me quote a letter from a reader in Bristol. She asks me to quote a professor at Baghdad University, a respected man in his community who tells a story of real hell; you should read it. Here are his own words......"

The Grinch Who Stole Anapolis

By Tony Karon

"......But, unfortunately, I feel compelled to play the Grinch. Here are some reasons why:

* This is not about a process, it’s about an horizon

When Ariel Sharon walked the Bush Administration back from the previous administration’s approach to completing the Oslo process, he succeeded in getting the U.S. to take the question of a political solution off the table altogether. According to President Bush’s Roadmap, there would be no discussion over the shape of a two-state solution until the Palestinians had complied with the Roadmap’s security demands, i.e. dismantled Hamas etc......

* Abbas has no control in Gaza, and it’s not clear how much he has in the West Bank .......

* The Palestinian Authority and the Arab regimes have no leverage or alternative ......

* Bush is a lame duck, in an election year, and besides…......

At best, Anapolis and the year that follows is going to be more process, but certainly no peace. U.S. power in the region has continued ebb, sharply, and the basis for believing that a bilateral process between Israel and the PA can achieve a two-state solution today appears hopelessly naive — the balance of power between them, and within each side’s electorate, essentially precludes it. The only basis for achieving a two-state solution now, if one is still possible (which I wouldn’t bet on), is for such a solution to be enforced by the international community. Essentially, it would require the United Nations to give the force of international law for a framework that defined the borders and other final status issues between the two, and pressed both sides to accept that framework — it may be easier for politicians on both sides to be presented with an offer they can’t refuse, rather than to have them face their electorates on the basis of negotiating compromises that their political bases would deem impermissible. After all, Israel came into being on the basis of the international community telling the inhabitants of British mandate Palestine that it would have to be partitioned. It’s not like there’s no precedent. But somehow, I think you’ll agree, that’s extremely unlikely to happen.

Which means that Bush will leave office with his Anapolis class photo, and the next U.S. president have to pick up the pieces. "

الزحف العربي الي انابوليس

الزحف العربي الي انابوليس

عبد الباري عطوان

"قرار وزراء خارجية الدول العربية بالذهاب الي مؤتمر انابوليس لم يكن مفاجئا، ولكن المفاجأة تمثلت في عمليات التضليل المكشوفة التي مورست من قبل السيد عمرو موسي امين عام الجامعة العربية، والأمير سعود الفيصل وزير الخارجية السعودي لتبرير، او بالأحري تمرير، هذا الذهاب اثناء المؤتمر الصحافي الذي عقداه في نهاية الاجتماع في مقر الجامعة العربية.
الامير سعود الفيصل ظل يردد طوال الاسابيع الماضية بان بلاده لن تذهب الي انابوليس الا اذا اقدمت الحكومة الاسرائيلية علي خطوات عملية مثل تجميد الاستيطان، وبحث قضايا الحل النهائي، وتحقيق تقدم في المفاوضات مع الفلسطينيين، ولكن أيا من هذه المطالب لم تتحقق، وقال الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس امام الوزراء المجتمعين ان الخلافات الفلسطينية ـ الاسرائيلية ما زالت علي حالها، وان لقاءاته مع اولمرت لم تحقق اي تقدم علي الاطلاق علي صعيد القضايا المطروحة.
السيد عمرو موسي اكد في المؤتمر الصحافي نفسه ان العرب ليسوا ذاهبين الي مؤتمر انابوليس من اجل التطبيع، وانما من اجل التفاوض مع الاسرائيليين، وكأنه كمن يفسر الماء بالماء. فاذا كان الجلوس مع الاسرائيليين والتفاوض معهم ليس تطبيعا فما هو التطبيع اذن؟
التحول الرئيسي في الموقف العربي جاء من خلال المكالمات الهاتفية التي اجراها الرئيس الامريكي بوش مع الزعماء العرب، وخاصة في المملكة العربية السعودية ومصر، وطالب فيها ليس بضرورة المشاركة دون شروط فقط، وانما علي مستوي وزراء الخارجية ايضا، وكان له ما اراد.....
الأمر المحير هو الموقف السوري، فقد كان الرهان ان ترفض سورية، وهي التي دعيت علي استحياء شديد، الذهاب الي هذا المؤتمر، فالقول ان الادارة الامريكية تجاوبت مع الطلب العربي الرسمي بادراج موضوع الجولان علي جدول الاعمال لا يقنع الا القلة المقتنعة اصلا، وحتي اذا ارادت اسرائيل فتح مسار المفاوضات السوري فلكي تتهرب من اي استحقاقات ولو صغيرة علي صعيد المسار الفلسطيني الاصعب والاكثر تعقيدا.
الحكومات العربية اوقعت سورية في المصيدة وهيأت لها طريق الغواية، لكي تذهب الي انابوليس ليس كطرف اصيل مرحب به، وانما كـ محلل للمشاركة العربية وما يمكن ان يترتب عليها من تبعات.

الوفاء للمقاومة ترفض مشاركة لبنان في مؤتمر انابوليس


" 23/11/2007 أصدرت كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة بيانا، تطرقت فيه إلى دعوة لبنان للمشاركة في مؤتمر انابولس، المقرر عقده في السابع والعشرين من الشهر الجاري في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. الكتلة رفضت أي مشاركة لبنانية في هذا المؤتمر، معتبرة أن أي وفد لبناني غير ذي صفة لتمثيل لبنان، كما إن ما يصدر من مواقف عن هذا الوفد أو ما يخرج به المؤتمر من مقررات والتزامات لن يلزم اللبنانيين ودولتهم بشيء على الإطلاق ولن يكون محل ترحيب. الكتلة وفي بيانها رأت أن موقف الحكومة غير الدستورية وغير الشرعية من هذا المؤتمر، سيضاف إلى سجلها الأسود لإرتكاباتها السياسية وغير الدستورية التي تضرّ بالمصلحة الوطنية العليا للبنان، وتستجيب لسياسة الوصاية الأمريكية عليها.
وفيما يلي البيان الصادر عن كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة :
"فيما تواصل الإدارة الأمريكية استعداداتها لتمرير خديعتها الجديدة في ما يسمى مؤتمر أنابوليس أواخر الشهر الجاري ، مستفيدة من التخبّط العربي والانقسام الفلسطيني ، تقرّر الحكومة غير الشرعية وغير الدستورية في لبنان المشاركة في أعمال هذا المؤتمر الذي يهدف إلى تعويم حكومة العدو الصهيوني وإملاء الشروط على الجانب الفلسطيني وإغراق النظام العربي الرسمي بمزيد من الأوهام والوعود الكاذبة والإطاحة بحق العودة للشعب الفلسطيني إلى أرضه ودياره.
إن كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة إذ ترى في المؤتمر المزمع انعقاده حلقة جديدة ــ قديمة من حلقات التآمر على الأمة وعلى الشعب الفلسطيني وحقوقه المشروعة، وخطوة من خطوات تصفية القضية الفلسطينية لحساب الكيان الصهيوني وتطبيع العلاقات العربية الرسمية معه، فإنها تدين وترفض أي مشاركة لبنانية في أعمال هذا المؤتمر وتعتبر أي وفد لبناني غير ذي صفة لتمثيل لبنان، كما أن ما يصدر من مواقف عن هذا الوفد أو ما يخرج به المؤتمر من مقررات والتزامات لن يلزم اللبنانيين ودولتهم بشيء على الإطلاق ولن يكون محل ترحيب أبداً.
وترى الكتلة أن موقف الحكومة غير الدستورية وغير الشرعية من هذا المؤتمره، سيضاف إلى سجلها الأسود لإرتكاباتها السياسية وغير الدستورية التي تضرّ بالمصلحة الوطنية العليا للبنان وتستجيب لسياسة الوصاية الأمريكية عليها .إن التزام لبنان الوطني والقومي والدستوري والسياسي هو دعم الحقوق المشروعة للشعب الفلسطيني وخصوصاً حقه في استعادة أرضه المغتصبة وحقه في العودة إلى دياره، وعدم منح العدو الصهيوني مكاسب وجوائز ترضية تعوّض عن هزيمته في لبنان وتسهم في تلميع صورته العدوانية في الوقت الذي ما زال يواصل قضم أراضي فلسطين وتصعيد اعتداءاته وإرهابه على الشعب الفلسطيني ، ويصرّ على خروقاته لسيادتنا اللبنانية واحتلاله لبعض الأراضي اللبنانية والعربية"."

A US Lebanese narrative

What exactly is it that Lebanon's ruling clique seem hell bent on implementing, if not servitude to the US

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......The Lebanese sometimes caution others against meddling in their domestic affairs. But this has not stopped them from theorising and meddling in the affairs of whomever they please through their media and in other ways. Nor has it stopped them from welcoming and even inviting foreign powers to come and tamper to their heart's content. One look at the amazing train of Western ambassadors parading into Lebanon and their statements is sufficient to make that clear.

All international dialogues on Lebanon (the most recent being between George W Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy) are taking place between supporters of the current government in Beirut. The subject of their talks is whether to risk setting off another explosion in the region by imposing the international balance of power onto Lebanon or to engineer reconciliation between international and domestic balances of power until the opportunity presents itself to lash out at the Lebanese resistance and/or its regional supporters. The discussions are always about how and when to take on the resistance, never about its right to exist (that it shouldn't is taken for granted). It would be hard for anyone to deny this.

About a year or so ago, of course, certain parties in Lebanon talked about a strategic alliance with the resistance. Today they're talking about getting rid of it through dialogue because sufficient force is not yet available, or by force when it becomes strong enough -- say after America's war on the resistance's regional supporters. There's nothing like honesty, as they say. How nice it is to hear someone say that he is proud to be part of America's project for this region, as surprised as we might be at how wildly his positions have swung over the past two years. Still, this should not prevent us from responding, with equal frankness, "What is the American project in the region? As far as Lebanon is concerned, for example? To expunge the resistance, of course? And what about Palestine, honestly? To support Israel and Israel's project of unconditional occupation? And the American project in Iraq? Duh ... " It's alright, people, to be part of all this, and proud of it too, as long as you know that you're part of a project that aims to destroy you. That project, so far, has a very brutal record of war and aggression, of the demolition of Iraq, of the use of internationally banned cluster bombs in Lebanon......."

Iraq invited to attend Annapolis conference

"Baghdad, Nov 23, (VOI)- Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Friday said that it received an invitation to attend the Annapolis Middle East peace conference, to be held in the United States on November 27.

"The ministry received an invitation sent to Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zibari from his U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice to take part in the conference," the ministry's deputy minister for political affairs Labied Abbawi told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"The government will discuss this invitation and our participation will be a political and moral one," he asserted......."


I wonder if the real Karzai was also invited to give MORAL support to the Palestinian Karzai?

Latuff's Latest Cartoon

The Myth of Middle East Peace

Decpetion as Truth

A Very Good Piece
By William A. Cook

"This week the forces of good will assemble in the city of Ann, the Queen who presided over her colonies, an apt gesture as the Israeli colonialist state meets to consider the fate of its Palestine colony, the one carefully preserved behind its apartheid wall of infamy, to attempt once again the fraud perpetrated on the American people and the United Nations that Israel is sincere in wanting peace. The moguls that control our press and TV channels sing the praises of Ehud Olmert and the Israeli Knesset as custodians of peace seeking to bring justice to the war weary peoples of Palestine. Thus are sown the seeds of discord that will reap the whirlwind of bitter disappointment, followed by the weeping and gnashing of teeth by these perpetrators of deceit.......

Indeed a voice was heard in the high places, a voice decrying the hypocrisy of our government and that of Israel for putting forth yet one more time a faux peace plan that will do nothing but provide the Israeli dominated think tanks with fodder to show how ungrateful the Palestinians are for not accepting the remnants of the land left to them as Israel locks them into Bantustans where millions have to survive on pittance, dependent on the world for basic necessities since Israel has stolen their water, their crops, their access to waterways on the east and west, and requires that they recognize the legitimacy of the state that devastated their culture while that state has yet to recognize the right of Palestine to exist; and worse, that they stop their legitimate defense of their occupied country in full compliance with international law while Israel cries wolf becoming in their turn the Mandate government they, as terrorists, fought against, asking the world body to condemn the just and protect the criminal; and, finally, as a feeling world reacts with weeping and supplications to the international community that justice might at last come to the Palestinians, we hear the Zionist's cry heralded from the temple mount by Menachem Begin "a Jew will not bow to anybody except God," a God whose will is determined by Zionists and Zionists alone, and is that not the greatest deception of all, that God speaks through the mouths of those who slaughter God's creatures. Thus are we among the perverted and have forgotten the Lord our God."

Syria cancels the Palestinian factions meeting in opposition to Annapolis

"A high-ranking Palestinian source reportedly revealed to Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Thursday that the Damascus regime barred the opposition Palestinian factions' meeting. The unnamed source added that the Syrian authorities succumbed to pressure imposed by the Americans, Arabs, Europeans and even Palestinians.

A member of the Hamas political office reported to Al-Quds Al-Arabi that the meeting was suspended until it is clear what the autumn meeting in Annapolis will entail......

Sources declared that Syria barred the Palestinian factions from meeting as it might worsen Syria's relationship with the American Administration. Syria is relying on the American Administration to put pressure on Tel-Aviv to restore negotiations with them.......

Sources added that the Palestinian factions leaders are overwhelmed by anger about Syria's decision but dare not reveal it publicly for fear that Syria will expel them from Syrian lands. Their fear springs from the fact that the Israeli government only agreed to have negotiations with them on the conditon that they banish so-called terrorist leaders and heads of the political department of Hamas from Syria; Khaled Mash'al will be the first to go if this condition is acted upon.......

For his part, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, confirmed his opposition to the meeting that Hamas called to convene in Syria at the same time as the international summit, convened by the United States......"

أبو مرزوق: المقاومة ستتصاعد بعد "أنابوليس" لافتضاح رعونة التسوية

دعا الجماهير الفلسطينية للتعبير عن رفض المؤتمر

"دمشق - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

دعا نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس"، الدكتور موسى أبو مرزوق، جماهير الشعب الفلسطيني في كافة أماكن تواجده إلى "الخروج بمسيرات حاشدة وتنظيم المهرجانات والفعاليات الجماهيرية للتعبير عن رفضها لمؤتمر أنابوليس وللتأكيد على التمسك بحقوقها الوطنية الثابتة".

وأكد الدكتور أبو مرزوق أنّ "المرحلة التي ستعقب مؤتمر أنابوليس، ستشهد تصعيداً لأعمال المقاومة بكافة أشكالها وأساليبها في الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة ضد الاحتلال الصهيوني، ذلك أنّ أنابوليس سيفضح رعونة نهج التسوية ومغامراته المدمّرة على صعيد القضية الوطنية"، حسب تأكيده.

وقال أبو مرزوق في تصريح خاص أدلى به الجمعة (23/11) لـ "المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام" موضحاً أنّ "فكرة مؤتمر أنابوليس طُرحت لهدفين أساسيين؛ الأول هو مساندة ودعم (رئيس حكومة الاحتلال الصهيوني) أيهود أولمرت بعد هزيمته في جنوب لبنان (صيف 2006)، والهدف الثاني هو التغطية على المخطط الأمريكي المتعلق بالإعداد لحرب محتملة ضد إيران، الأمر الذي اقتضى تحرّكاً أمريكياً تجاه قضية الصراع الفلسطيني ـ الصهيوني من أجل ابتزاز الدول العربية وجعلها تتعاون أو تلتزم جادة الصمت إزاء المخطط العدواني الأمريكي الجديد في المنطقة".

وأعرب الدكتور موسى أبو مرزوق عن استهجانه من اندفاعة فريق رئاسة السلطة نحو مؤتمر أنابوليس، في الوقت الذي تخفِّض فيه الإدارة الأمريكية والحكومة الصهيونية والأطراف الدولية من سقف التوقعات، وقال "حينما طُرح مؤتمر الخريف على الطرفين الصهيوني والفلسطيني؛ كان الحديث يجري عن مؤتمر ستُطرح فيه قضايا الحل النهائي والقضايا الرئيسة التي تم الاختلاف عليها في مؤتمر كامب ديفيد (عام 2000)، وكان هناك شرط أمريكي ـ صهيوني يقضي بقيام رئاسة السلطة بتنفيذ البند الأول من خطة خارطة الطريق، والمتعلق بتفكيك بنى المقاومة وملاحقة رجالاتها، وقد اندفع بالفعل عباس لتنفيذ هذا الشرط بكل ما أوتي أمريكياً وصهيونياً من قوة".

ومضى القيادي الفلسطيني البارز إلى القول "الآن وبعد أن تورّط عباس وفريقه في مخطط استهداف المقاومة في الضفة الغربية؛ أصبح الحديث يجري عن اجتماع في أنابوليس لإطلاق مفاوضات فلسطينية ـ صهيونية؛ مفاوضات تفتقد للمرجعية الواضحة وللآليات العملية وللجداول الزمنية وللضمانات الحقيقية"، مندداً في هذا السياق بالدعم العسكري والأمني واللوجستي الذي تقدمه قوات الاحتلال للأجهزة الأمنية التابعة لرئاسة السلطة في سياق استهداف الأخيرة لحركة "حماس" وفصائل المقاومة في الضفة الغربية.

وتابع أبو مرزوق قائلاً "لقد انتهى الأمر بعباس وفريقه، وبعد لقاءات ماراثونية عقدها مع (رئيس حكومة الاحتلال أيهود) أولمرت برعاية (وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية كوندليزا) رايس؛ ليجد نفسه أمام اشتراطات إسرائيلية في المفاوضات، لم يكن يحلم حتى (رئيس الوزراء الصهيوني الأسبق اسحق) شامير أو (رئيس الحكومة الصهيونية السابق أريئيل) شارون بمجرد طرحها سابقاً، ومنها يهودية الدولة وترحيل فلسطينيي الـ48 من داخل الكيان الصهيوني إلى الدولة الفلسطينية (قطاع غزة وأجزاء من الضفة الغربية) والإقرار بمبدأ التبادلية الذي قبله "أبو مازن"، وأيضاً إلغاء حق العودة في مقابل الاعتراف بالدولة الفلسطينية، وكذلك تطبيع العلاقات العربية مع الكيان الصهيوني قبل إقامة الدولة الفلسطينية المستقلة، إضافة إلى تحرير الجندي الصهيوني الأسير لدى المقاومة جلعاد شاليط كشرط مسبق".

وأكد الدكتور أبو مرزوق أنّ أولمرت "لن يقدِّم شيئاً جوهرياً لعباس خلال المفاوضات"، وقال "لا يستطيع أولمرت أن يخطو أي خطوة لها علاقة بترتيبات الوضع النهائي، كالدولة الفلسطينية والقدس والمستوطنات واللاجئين، وهو غير قادر أصلاً على تقديم شيء لأبي مازن حتى في الحدود الدنيا، ذلك أنّ أولمرت شخص ضعيف والائتلاف الحزبي الذي يقوده هشّ ويسعى كل طرف فيه للانقضاض على أولمرت طمعاً برئاسة الوزراء، كما أنّ أولمرت لا يستطيع الذهاب إلى صندوق الاقتراع لتدعيم موقفه، ذلك أنّ ملفات الفساد وهزيمته في لبنان، تلاحقانه، إضافة إلى افتقاده للكاريزما القيادية".

وأضاف نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة "حماس" مستطرداً "إننا نقول هذا عن أولمرت في سياق الردّ على الأوهام التي يصدِّرها لنا فريق رئاسة السلطة، غير أننا على يقين بأنّ أولمرت واحد من قادة الكيان الصهيوني الذين لا يرون حلاً للصراع سوى بإبادة الشعب الفلسطيني في الضفة والقطاع أو إبعاده عن أرضه على غرار ما حصل في عام 1948".

وتابع موسى أبو مرزوق "لذلك كان من المعروف مسبقاً أنه لا يمكن على الإطلاق أن تؤدي اللقاءات الماراثونية (بين عباس وأولمرت) إلى نتيجة تُذكَر سوى إتاحة المجال لعدسات المصورين وإطلاق سراح بعض مئات من أسرى حركة فتح ممن انتهت مدة محكوماتهم أو تكاد".

وأضاف القيادي البارز "بينما كان عباس يلتقي مع أولمرت ويبتسم أمام كاميرات الصحفيين؛ كانت قوات الاحتلال تواصل عدوانها على الضفة والقطاع، وتستمر في تسمين المستوطنات ونزع أراضٍ جديدة في محيط القدس وتواصل الحفريات تحت المسجد الأقصى المبارك، وتمضي في بناء الجدار الفاصل".

ولفت الدكتور أبو مرزوق الانتباه إلى أنّ فريق رئاسة السلطة كان مندفعاً باتجاه مؤتمر أنابوليس وكان يتحدث عن هذا المؤتمر على اعتبار أنه إطار لحل القضية الفلسطينية، متجاهلاً (أي فريق رئاسة السلطة) الدول العربية "وحينما رأى هذا الفريق أنّ المؤتمر سيفشل أخذ يدّعي بأن قرار المشاركة هو قرار عربي وليس قراراً فلسطينياً، حتى يوصف كل من يعارض مؤتمر أنابوليس باعتباره معارضاً لتوجهات العرب أو مواجهاً للإجماع العربي".

وشدّد أبو مرزوق على ضرورة أن "يتصدى الشعب الفلسطيني لمؤامرة أنابوليس"، معرباً عن اعتقاده بأنّ المؤتمر الشعبي المقرر عقده في غزة "سيوجِّه رسالة تؤكد تمسّك شعبنا بحقوقه وثوابته الوطنية، كما يؤكد بأنّ قضايا الشعوب وحقوق الأمم لا يمكن أن يطويها النسيان، أو أن تسقط بالتقادم أو نتيجة لعقد مؤتمر هنا وهناك".

وختم القيادي الفلسطيني تصريحه بالقول "لا بد أن يعبِّر أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني في كل مكان بالوسائل المختلفة وأن يوجِّهوا رسائل إلى جميع الأطراف وخاصة منها الدول العربية، بأنّ الحقوق الوطنية لا يمكن على الإطلاق أن تنتهي كنتيجة لتسويات سياسية ظالمة في ظل اختلال موازين القوى، كما يجب على أبناء شعبنا أن يطالبوا العرب بمراجعة مواقفهم، وأن يحثّوا الأمة على الوقوف إلى جانب الشعب الفلسطيني وتقديم الدعم للمقاومة بكافة أشكالها"، كما ذكر. "

Arab Ministers to attend US Conference


"23/11/2007 Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Friday agreed to attend a US-sponsored settlement conference next week.

Arab ministers meeting including Saudi Arabia "have accepted the invitation to attend the Annapolis conference on a ministerial level," according to a final statement from the ministers.

The ministers had sent an urgent letter to the United States asking it to "explicitly" include the issue of the occupied Golan Heights on the agenda for the talks in Annapolis, near Washington, on Tuesday.

"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has promised a positive response to the request and if we receive a formal positive response, Syria will attend," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem told a news conference in Cairo. President Bashar al-Assad has said Damascus will stay away unless the broader Arab-Israeli conflict is up for discussion, including the Golan, which Israel has occupied since 1967.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who has held a series of meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an attempt to draw up a joint document for the US meeting, urged the ministers to seize the "historic opportunity."

But some Arab states are skeptical about the chances of any concrete developments at Annapolis, and opinion polls published this week showed that most Israelis and Palestinians do not think it will succeed.

Olmert warned in comments published on Friday that a failure of efforts to find a settlement deal with the Palestinians would have "deadly" results for the Zionist state.

US President George W. Bush has invited Israel, the Palestinians and officials from more than 40 countries to Annapolis, with Washington hoping to widen the scope of the conference by enticing Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Syria to join."

Deja-vu in the Middle East

Like Clinton before him, Bush is racing to resolve one of the world's most dangerous conflicts before his presidency ends

By Joschka Fischer
The Guardian

"Does history repeat itself, after all? Recent developments in the Middle East suggest that the answer is "yes," because the situation at the end of President George Bush's tenure increasingly resembles that of Bill Clinton's final year in the presidency. Both presidents, at the end of their respective terms, sought to resolve one of the world's most dangerous conflicts, while facing the threat that time was running out on them......

So, from a realistic point of view, a positive outcome for the Annapolis talks seems almost impossible. Why should this conflict, which has proven to be unsolvable in the past, be suddenly solved (or brought closer to a solution) by three actors - Bush, Olmert, and Abbas - who are all in a state of profound domestic weakness?

Karl Marx wrote that history always repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. One might fear that Camp David proves to be the tragedy and Annapolis the farce......"

When it Comes to Surrender, the Arabs Are Always United. Saudi foreign minister says he will attend Annapolis

Following Arab League meeting in Cairo Friday, Minister al-Faisal declares his country will attend US-sponsored Mideast peace conference, but that he will not allow 'theatrics' like handshakes with Israeli officials

"....Al-Faisal told a press conference that an Arab League meeting Friday had decided that Arab countries will attend Annapolis at the level of foreign minister. "I'm not hiding any secret about the Saudi position.

We were reluctant until today. And if not for the Arab consensus we felt today, we would not have decided to go," al-Faisal said. "But the kingdom would never stand against an Arab consensus, as long as the Arab position has agreed on attending, the kingdom will walk along with its brothers in one line."......"


This Arab unity is very touching indeed. Mark my words, and as I said before, Syria will also attend, probably at the level of foreign minister. That is why Syria decided to cancel the anti-Annapolis meeting in Damascus.

Long live Arab unity (but only in surrender)!

A Wise Man Once Said, "Don't Believe Anything Until it is Oficially Denied." With That in Mind: Moussa: Israel won't get 'normalization for free'

Arab "Leaders" Breaking Wind, Non-Stop, at the Arab League

"Arab League Secretary General said early on Friday that Arab countries will not offer Israel normalization for free during the upcoming US-sponsored Mideast peace conference.....

"There is nothing called a normalization for free," Moussa told reporters at the end of the meeting. "Arabs are going to participate in the (Annapolis) meeting, to show support for the Palestinians, based on the Arab peace initiative," he added......

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also said that Annapolis meeting will revive the stalled peace process.

"We, as a Palestinian party, have witnessed a seven year frozen political
process," Erekat said at the end of the meeting. "Now the question is not
whether should we go or not, but the strategic question is how will we go as Arabs?"

"We want peace, but it won't be for whatever price," he added......"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Abu Mahjoob's View of the Annapolis Meeting

Fowl Play
By Steve Bell, The Guardian

ANALYSIS: PA should have set the bar higher at the outset

"Thus the Palestinian draft reflects a very weak, even defeatist opening stance, in view of the Palestinians' expectations of their leadership"

When reading this analysis, keep in mind that the writer is ISRAELI!

By Amira Hass

".....This same draft was given to both sides on July 17, and there was a similar provision in the 1995 interim agreement, in the 1998 Wye Agreement, and at Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999. In other words, Israel has signed it before (without mentioning "East Jerusalem").

When representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a few donor states argued that the construction in the settlements was an infraction of the Oslo Accords, they based their argument on this sentence.

The question is why the Palestinian side made do with such a banal statement and did not prevent Israel from changing the West Bank's geography again and again. If it's only a draft, one would expect the Palestinians to set the bar higher at the outset, with explicit demands: to freeze the construction in the settlements, to stop land confiscation, to stop building the double road system for settlers and Palestinians, to remove the roadblocks.

As far as the Palestinian public is concerned, these are the counter-demands to the Israeli insistence on fighting terror, radicalization, incitement, etc. which are all included in the draft and partly signed by the Palestinians as well.

No lip service to Strip

Another glaring omission from the Palestinian draft is the Gaza Strip situation. There is not even vague lip-service to "doing everything possible to open the strip passages" to ease humanitarian suffering. This absence exposes a de facto Palestinian position (denied publicly) of giving up on any Gaza role in a political solution.......

This is why the Palestinians are so opposed to the wording, "Israel is the state of the Jewish people," yet don't insist on including a statement such as "construction in the settlements will be suspended until the agreement is signed."

The problem, of course, is that during the ongoing interim period Israel is making huge changes in the West Bank, intended to fundamentally affect the final status map.

Thus the Palestinian draft reflects a very weak, even defeatist opening stance, in view of the Palestinians' expectations of their leadership. "

UN official says Israel's siege of Gaza breeds extremism and human suffering

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
The Independent

"A senior United Nations official has issued an unprecedented appeal to British MPs to use their influence to try to alleviate the impact of "indiscriminate" and "illegal" Israeli sanctions in Gaza which display "profound inhumanity" and are "serving the agenda of extremists".

In one of the strongest attacks on recent Israeli strategy issued by a senior international official, John Ging, Gaza's director of operations for the refugee agency UNRWA, said that "crushing sanctions" imposed since the Israeli cabinet declared the Strip a "hostile entity" in September had contributed to "truly appalling living conditions."......"

Annapolis, as seen from Gaza

If history has taught the people of Gaza anything, it's that they never have much of a say in their destiny

By Laila El-Haddad
The Guardian

"Even in the worst of times, there's one thing we're never short of in our troubled part of the world: another conference, meeting, declaration, summit, agreement. Something to save the day, to "steer" us back to whatever predetermined path it is we are or were meant to be on. And to help us navigate that path.....

The conference simply generates new and ever-more superfluous and intricate promises which Israeli leaders can commit to and yet somehow evade. An exercise in legal obfuscation at its best: we won't build new settlements, we'll just expropriate more land and expand to account for their "natural growth", until they resemble towns, not colonies, and have them legitimised by a US administration looking for some way to save face. And then we'll promise to raze outposts.....

So then what are people's expectations in Gaza from all of this?

In short, not much. But then, if history has taught them anything, it's that they never have much of a say in anything that involves their destiny, be it Madrid or Oslo or the Road Map. And the moment they do attempt to take control, the repercussions are to "teach" them never to attempt to do so again......

We are prisoners, others have told me, constantly waiting and helplessly hoping for decisions to be made that determine whether they live or die - both figuratively and literally.

Except prisoners are guaranteed certain things, like food and water and access to medical care. Gazans are guaranteed none of these things. Instead, they are setting the bar as the first occupied people in history to be embargoed and declared hostile.....

We have become a people, to quote Darwish, constantly preparing for dawn, in the darkness of cellars lit by our enemies."

Arab Foreign Ministers, Those in the Bottom Photo in Case You Are Confused, Held Their Meeting to "Take a Position" on Annapolis! As if Condoleezza Left Them Such a Choice! What a Disgrace and a Pathetic Excuse for Human Beings!


By Malcom Lagauche

Contributed by Steven Rix

".....There is some enlightenment, but still not enough. On October 12 each year, dozens of anti-Columbus Day protests are now being held in U.S. cities. Ironically, in conservative San Diego, the anti-Columbus Day protest draws more people than the official Columbus Day parade in the downtown area. I attribute this to the numbers of Kumeyaay Indians living in San Diego County.

I think the U.S. should follow the lead of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. A few years ago, he decommissioned Columbus Day in his country and today, on the same date, the official holiday of Indian Liberation Day is celebrated.

Here is another note of irony. Each year, at Plymouth, a mock Thanksgiving feast is held for the public to view. The clothing and the food are meant to be identical to those of the original Thanksgiving. The script for this year’s event had to be re-written. Members of the Wampanoag tribe, who normally participate, decided to boycott this year’s show. They have had enough."

"...Promise me to agree to all of our conditions in Annapolis, and I promise to agree to all of.....our conditions!"
By Hamed Najeeb

A Molehill "Summit" of the Three Stooges of the Empire

Hands Off Iran

By Chris Hedges

"I will not pay my income tax if we go to war with Iran. I realize this is a desperate and perhaps futile gesture. But an attack on Iran--which appears increasingly likely before the coming presidential election--will unleash a regional conflict of catastrophic proportions. This war, and especially Iranian retaliatory strikes on American targets, will be used to silence domestic dissent and abolish what is left of our civil liberties. It will solidify the slow-motion coup d'état that has been under way since the 9/11 attacks. It could mean the death of the Republic......

A country that exists in a state of permanent war cannot exist as a democracy. Our long row of candles is being snuffed out. We may soon be in darkness. Any resistance, however symbolic, is essential. There are ways to resist without being jailed......."

By Mike Luckovich

Why We Shouldn't Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day should be turned into a National Day of Atonement to acknowledge the genocide of America's indigenous peoples.

By Robert Jensen, AlterNet. Posted November 22, 2007.

"After years of being constantly annoyed and often angry about the historical denial built into Thanksgiving Day, I published an essay in November 2005 suggesting we replace the feasting with fasting and create a National Day of Atonement to acknowledge the genocide of indigenous people that is central to the creation of the United States.......

...So this November, rather than mount another attack on the national mythology around Thanksgiving -- a mythology that amounts to a kind of holocaust denial, and which has been critiqued for many years by many people -- I want to explore why so many who understand and accept this critique still celebrate Thanksgiving, and why rejecting such celebrations sparks such controversy......"

The youngest Palestinian political detainee leaves the detention camp

"......Aisha was born three years ago in Telmond Detention Camp. For three years she was unable to see the blue sky or play freely, her crime was that she was the daughter of a Palestinian women, Itaf Eliyan, who is detained for being a member of a political group that Israeli considers hostile.

Um Waleed, the grandmother of Aisha sat waiting on a stone installed by the army in front of the main gate of the detention camp, Um Waleed is Aisha's only remaining family member, since the army kidnapped her father several days before.

Aisha's father has never held her; he used to see her during a visit just once a week and he was unable to hold her.

Aisha's grandmother asked me to ask the soldiers guarding the gate when the release was going to take place, and before I even had the chance to reply to her request, the loud noise of the gate filled the area, and there she was; Aisha, holding the hand of the family lawyer. Um Waleed rushed to her granddaughter to hold her and kiss her.

To begin with, Aisha did not accept Um Waleed and started to pull the lawyer back toward the detention center gate while shouting and screaming for her mother, who in addition was crying because of being separated from her child......."

مازن كرباج ـ لبنان
The sign reads:
Civil war (in Lebanon) will not take place.....
Will buy a Russian-make Kalashnikov and 50 sand bags!

Inside the maze: movement restrictions in the West Bank

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

"JERUSALEM, 21 November 2007 (IRIN) - Traffic news on the radio in the West Bank is more likely to be about checkpoints and barriers than jams and accidents, as a complex system of controls and permits can make a short journey for work, family or medical reasons into a time-consuming marathon, according to a new UN report.

A joint Special Focus by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, released in November, said that only about 18 percent of the people who worked the land are now able to obtain Israeli-issued permits, required to access the zone between the Barrier and the Green Line, Israel's pre-1967 border......

Travel unpredictable

"It took me over five hours to get to Ramallah," in the centre region, a Palestinian from Nablus recently told IRIN. "On any given day, a Palestinian is never sure he can pass or how long it will take. Uncertainty is a major problem," said Anat Barsella from the Israeli human rights group B'tselem. UN OCHA said unmanned roadblocks, such as gates, earth mounds and trenches also affect movement.....

Economic impact ......


"A matter of revenge": Israel denying medical treatment to Gaza

Rami Almeghari writing from the Gaza Strip, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 22 November 2007

""We had been waiting for an urgent referral to an outside hospital for the past six days, until he died today," said Dr. Ismail Yassin Monday, in response to the death of one more patient at the Gaza Children's Hospital.

Tamer al-Yazji, a 12-year-old chicken pox patient, died on Monday on his hospital bed after his referral to an Israeli hospital had been delayed.

Dr. Yassin explained that Tamer's condition had gotten worse over the past few weeks, showing symptoms of blood problems in his brain, so the ill-equipped hospital requested his urgent referral for an MRI scan and follow-up, which meant accessing medical care facilities in Israel or Egypt......

"Upon arrival at the Erez crossing in northern Gaza, the Shabak officers start interrogating patients, demanding them to give the Shabak information about friends and neighbors. When a patient refuses to give such information, the Shabak sends him back to Gaza," explained Miri Weingarten of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR), based in Tel Aviv.

Weingarten said that PHR had filed a petition to the Israeli high court requesting three demands: allowing treatment for 11 patients enlisted in the petition, allowing all those in need for referral outside Gaza to travel and stopping the Israeli Shabak's interrogation of Gaza patients who cross the Erez checkpoint.......

In September, Israel declared Gaza a "hostile entity," stepping up attacks on the coastal strip and cutting large quantities of fuel supplies to the 1.4-million-strong population which is dependant on Israel for many basic needs, from water to medication.

Israel cites security reasons for all its actions against the Gaza Strip, namely preventing Palestinian resistance factions from firing homemade rockets onto nearby Israeli towns.

However, in the words of Weingarten, "It is not a matter of security, it's rather a matter of revenge.""

Likudnik hawks work to undermine Annapolis

Jim Lobe, The Electronic Intifada, 22 November 2007

"WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (IPS) - Despite near-universal skepticism about the prospects for launching a serious, new Middle East peace process at next week's Israeli-Palestinian summit in Annapolis, a familiar clutch of neo-conservative hawks close to the Likud Party leader, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, isn't taking any chances.

Hard-liners associated with the American Enterprise Institute and Freedom's Watch, a bountifully funded campaign led by prominent backers of the Republican Jewish Coalition, among other like-minded groups, are mounting a concerted attack against next week's meeting which they fear could result in pressure on Israel to make territorial concessions.......

But such an effort is anathema to hard-line neo-conservatives whose presence in the Bush administration has dwindled steadily over the past two years, but who retain influence primarily through Vice President Dick Cheney and key members of the White House national security staff, notably Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams.

Indeed, among the most prominent hawks who have attacked the Annapolis meeting, to which senior officials and diplomats from 46 nations and multilateral groups have been invited, has been David Wurmser. Until August, Wurmser served as Cheney's main Middle East adviser. His opposition to the aborted Oslo peace process dates back to its very beginning in the early 1990s.

In a press luncheon sponsored by the hard-line Israel Project Monday, Wurmser, a former director of AEI's Middle East program, argued that the current moment was the worst time for the administration to initiate a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process.....

While Wurmser is perhaps the most recent administration alumnus to speak out against Annapolis, other hard-line neo-conservatives close to Netanyahu are also rallying against any serious peace effort.

Danielle Pletka, AEI's vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, published a column in the New York Times this week which accused the administration of aping the policies of former President Bill Clinton, particularly on North Korea and the Israeli-Palestinian process......Pletka, a protegee of neo-conservative impresario Richard Perle, was particularly scornful of Abbas.......

Meanwhile, the ultra-hawkish president of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), Frank Gaffney, also took out after Rice in a Washington Times column that derided the Annapolis meeting as "Condi's Folly,"......

The Draft of the Document Israel "Negotiated" With its Palestinian Quisling (pdf file)

Palestinian source: PLO stance weak in joint draft

"A Palestinian source has told Haaretz that senior Palestinian leaders are concerned by the weak PLO stance in a joint document currently being drafted with Israel, ahead of a peace conference next Tuesday in the U.S.

The sources say that the document, a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz, omits issues that were once presented as a Palestinian counterweight to Israeli demands, such as combating terror.

The Palestinian portion of the draft does not include a demand to dismantle roadblocks or the West Bank separation fence, and does not mention the decision by the International Court of Justice in The Hague with regard to the barrier.

The PLO also makes no reference to the situation in the Gaza Strip and does not demand the opening of Gaza border crossings in order to ease the lives of the strip's residents.

These omissions of what had been previously accepted opening principles and key Palestinians stances are causing discontent among senior Palestinian leaders, the source said.......

The source said the main flaw in the Palestinian formulations was that there is no paragraph clearly stating that the construction of settlements will be frozen during negotiations......

The document, dated November 17 at the King David Hotel, was drafted by Shalom Turjeman and Tal Becker for Israel and Saeb Erekat and Zeinah Salahi for the Palestinians........

One major point of contention as revealed by the draft is the question of a timetable for ending negotiations. The Palestinians write that the two sides agree to "launch good faith negotiations in order to conclude a treaty within 8 months of the convening of the meeting in Annapolis, but not later than President Bush's term, providing a just solution to all aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The Israeli position as it appears in the November 17 draft states specifically "no agreement to timeline."......

The Palestinians believe that the Israeli stance will allow Israel to deviate from and alter previous agreements as it sees fit.

Among the terms of reference for negotiations, the Palestinians also include United Nations resolution 194 on the Palestinian right of return.

Israel does not accept these terms of reference......

The section on the road map contains the original draft of the American proposal for the joint document, and consists of five points.

But the Palestinian source said the Americans have withdrawn the five points because of Israel's opposition to some of them. Israel is said to be opposed to the "immediate and parallel" implementation of the road map and the establishment of an American-Palestinian-Israeli committee to monitor implementation. It also opposes the U.S. as "monitor and judge" of each party as it tries to fulfill its obligations.......

The Palestinian source said the framers of the Palestinian draft were adopting "a vague Israeli formulation" in writing: "Israel will make every effort to improve the daily lives and advance the welfare of the Palestinian population pending the full implementation of the treaty," instead of clear-cut demands to remove roadblocks, end travel restrictions and dismantle the separation fence.

In the concluding paragraph an Israeli comment appears "Note: Outstanding question for consideration -- How to address the situation in Gaza in the document?" "

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Israel is an Unfinished Business: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Dr. Ilan Pappe





The Problem in Pakistan

By Tony Karon

"Pakistani politics has been horribly disfigured, not only by the venal ineptitude of the Benazir-Nawaz brand of politician and the military’s insistence on a political veto, but also by the role Pakistan has been expected to play, for a half century, in U.S. geopolitical plans. The primary reason for Musharraf’s unpopularity is not his state of emergency; it’s his willingness to fight America’s “war on terror.” As long as the U.S. needs Pakistan to be a client state, whose leadership remains ready to do Washington’s bidding, its politics will remain in a perennial state of crisis. In short, General Musharraf doesn’t have much to worry about......."

The Annapolis illusion

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied E. Jerusalem

"“The mountain went into labor, then it gave birth to a rat ,” so says the famous Arab proverb. This adage is likely to caricature the outcome of the upcoming American-sponsored “peace conference,” slated to take place on 27 November, in Annapolis , Maryland .

Forecasting the failure of the Annapolis meeting is more than speculation. It is a realistic assessment of an event that is not intended to be successful, even if the declared desire suggests otherwise.

Indeed, apart from the pleasantries which are meant to create positive atmospherics, Israel and the PA have failed to reach any modicum of agreement on the core issues that define the Palestinian problem.

A few weeks ago, PA officials were almost euphoric about the conference. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas vowed to boycott the Annapolis meeting unless Israel agreed in principle at least to end its occupation of the West Bank , Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem , as well as accept a just settlement of the refugee problem pursuant UN resolution 194. But Israel, of course, agreed to non of that.

Now, the PA will go to Annapolis without any assurance policy, relying mainly on George Bush’s “good will,” (whatever that means in real terms).

I asked one high-ranking PA official in Ramallah this week how come the PA leadership was going to Annapolis, despite the clarion fiasco of the protracted meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials.. Embarrassed by the question, the official said “we are going to Annapolis to demonstrate to the world the justice of our cause and the need for a just and durable peace in this volatile region.” I reminded him that “we have been doing this for ages but to no avail.” Disquieted by the rejoinder, the official looked rather attentively at me, saying “what else can we do, if you have some ideas, convey them to Abu Mazen?”

There will be several categories of participants and attendees at the Annapolis conference: First, the master of disaster, George W. Bush, the Fuhrer of the White House who has invaded, occupied and destroyed two Muslim countries and killed or caused the death of over a million innocent human beings under the pretext of ridding the world of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be nonexistent. The man, who claimed that God had told him to do what he did, has never had the moral courage to say “I made a mistake, Mea Culpa.” Instead, he concocted all sorts of pretexts, canards and lies to justify his criminality and evil designs. After all, criminals show no concern about their crimes.

Which really begs the following question: can the peoples of the Middle East in particular and humanity in general count on one of the world’s most premier murderers and liars to force Israel to make peace? Let us not forget that this is the man who had described Ariel Sharon, the certified Israeli war criminal, as a man of peace.

Then there is the perpetual murderer, liar land thief, namely Israel, a state that murders school children and calls the murder self-defense and then lies about its crimes and calls the lying hasbara and public relations, a state that claims to have ended its occupation of Gaza while continuing to tightly control Gaza’s borders, border crossings, territorial water, skies and the region’s very lifeline. The leader of this nefarious state, Ehud Olmert, is going to the Annapolis conference, not to make peace and show good will towards Israel’s victims, but rather in order to make sure that no substantive progress will come out of it. Olmert, a man notorious for his criminality, mendacity and deceitfulness, will heavily indulge in prevarication, verbal juggling and red herrings, but will shun the real issues, namely ending the hateful occupation of the Palestinian homeland and brutality against the Palestinian people. Olmert will not even allude to millions of miserable Palestinian refugees languishing in squalid refugee camps all over the Middle East because a state calling itself a light upon the nations wouldn’t allow them to return to their homes and villages from which they were uprooted when that state was born sixty years ago. He will not mention East Jerusalem whose Arab Christian-Muslim identity successive Israeli governments have sought to decapitate, humanly spiritually, demographically and economically.

And, of course, he will completely ignore the sinister Israeli blockade of 1.4 million Gazans who are being tormented and starved to death because Zionism can’t forgive Palestinians for electing a political party that Israel doesn’t like.

Instead of dealing honestly and seriously with the real issues, Olmert, will launch a charade about strengthening PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and encouraging “the forces of moderation and peace” as if the real problem in Palestine was the absence of moderation and peace among Palestinians, not the Nazi-like Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

And then there is Abbas, the American-backed PA leader who apparently thinks that now is the best time for making peace because America’s conscience has suddenly waked up from its slumber and George W. Bush has undergone a graceful metamorphosis, from an evil man to a saint. Abbas looks really very pathetic. He had already placed all his eggs into the American basket which means that he won’t be able to say “No” to the Americans even when he must.

This is why all he can do to save his Palestinian Authority, which is actually devoid of any real authority, is to day-dream and implore the werewolf of the White House to press Israel to demonstrate true desire for peace. Day-dreaming, psychologists say, represents the highest degree of frustration.

But, as the famous Arab poet Zuheir said more than 1400 years ago, he that doesn’t respect himself shall not be respected by others. Abbass should have himself to blame. He trusted Bush and Olmert too much to the extent that he has become a vanquished supplicant at their doorsteps. He maltreated his people and did many things that should not have been done, all to please and appease Olmert and Bush, but to no avail. In a nutshell, beggars can’t be choosers.

And then there will be the usual horde of Arab despots who are at America’s beck and call and who always value the legitimacy that comes form America’s acceptance more than which comes from their own masses’ acceptance. Most of these kings and presidents-for-life are quite tired of the enduring Palestinian cause and are very much eager to sell out whatever has remained of Arab honor and Arab rights, probably including the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine. This inertia, this exhaustion, can be detected in the tone of their voices. However, these tyrants would like to see the Palestinians themselves do it first so that they would be able to tell their respective peoples “look! we can’t be more Palestinian than the Palestinians.” These are the same so-called leaders who are now quietly colluding with Israel to decimate and starve to death the people of Gaza in order to appease America and obtain from it a certificate of good conduct.

Then there is the European Union (EU), whose leaders continue to curry favor with Israel , despite its wicked treatment of Palestinians. This is the same EU that has proven ad nauseam that it won’t miss an opportunity to succumb to Israeli and Zionist pressure, even at the price of seeing innocent civilians starved and killed. A few days ago, France ’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner assured Israel that France would always seek to ensure Israel’s security. You see the moral whoredom! The security of Israel, a country that possesses 300 nuclear weapons, 700 state-of-the-art fighter bombers, and 4000 battle tanks and several nuclear-fit submarines, must be protected and preserved, while the Palestinians who can hardly put food on the table for their starving children, must be blockaded and punished.

We shouldn’t forget Tony Blair, the deceitful and duplicitous former British Prime Minister, who has tons of Iraqi blood on his dirty hands. This war criminal is now trying to bribe the Palestinians with “economic projects,” in the hope that this would make them forget some of their inalienable rights, including the right of return for the refugees and Jerusalem .

Finally, Annapolis will be honored to have the comical Ban Ki-moon attending the conference. For those who don’t know, this Ki-moon must always watch his tongue very carefully lest he inadvertently says something Bush and Condoleezza Rice don’t like.

Well, with such a great company, the Palestinians need not worry!! Their cause is in honest hands.!"