Saturday, March 8, 2008

Video: Washington Report correspondent Mohammed Omer speaks with Hesham Tillawi

Soldiers (not innocent students) killed at settler center

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

"The Israeli electronic and print media on Saturday revealed that the bulk of the eight Israeli Yeshiva (Talmudic religious school) “students” killed or injured in an attack on the headquarters of the Jewish settlement movement in Jerusalem on Thursday were actually paramilitary soldiers....

Meanwhile, Israeli officials said they would seek to use bloody scenes from the attack as part of a public relations campaign to tarnish Hamas’s image abroad, especially in the West.

Hamas officials, however, scoffed at the Israeli “hasbara gimmicks,” calling it “sickening.”

“This will be like Nazi propaganda operatives displaying images from resistance attacks in central Europe in order to give the impression that the Nazis were poor, innocent victims, and the resistance was all-diabolical,” said one Hamas official from the Hebron region."

"Kill A Hundred Turks And Rest…"

By Uri Avnery

" .....I WAS reminded this week of the old tale about a Jewish mother taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve in the Czar's army against the Turks.

"Don't exert yourself too much," she admonishes him, "Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…"

"But mother," he exclaims, "What if the Turk kills me?"

"Kill you?" she cries out, "Why? What have you done to him?"

This is not a joke (and this is not a week for jokes). It is a lesson in psychology. I was reminded of it when I read Ehud Olmert's statement that more than anything else he was furious about the outburst of joy in Gaza after the attack in Jerusalem, in which eight yeshiva students were killed.
Before that, last weekend, the Israeli army killed 120 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, half of them civilians, among them dozens of children. That was not "kill a Turk and rest". That was "kill a hundred Turks and rest". But Olmert does not understand.....

Conclusion: Hamas is there. It cannot be ignored. We have to reach a cease-fire with it. Not a sham offer of "if they stop shooting first, then we will stop shooting". A cease-fire, like a tango, needs two participants. It must come out of a detailed agreement that will include the cessation of all hostilities, armed and otherwise, in all the territories.

The cease-fire will not hold if it is not accompanied by speeded-up negotiations for a long-term armistice (hudna) and peace. Such negotiations cannot be held with Fatah and not Hamas, nor with Hamas and not Fatah. Therefore, what is needed is a Palestinian government that includes both movements. It must bring in personalities who enjoy the confidence of the entire Palestinian people, such as Marwan Barghouti.

That is the very opposite of the present Israeli-American policy, which forbids Abbas even to talk with Hamas. In all the Israeli leadership, as in all the American leadership, there is no one who dares to spell this out openly. Therefore, what has been is what will be.

We will kill a hundred Turks and rest. And from time to time, a Turk will come and kill some of us.

Why, for God's sake? What have we done to them?"

The Myth of The Surge

by Nir Rosen
Rolling Stone

"Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it’s already starting to backfire. A report from the front lines of the new Iraq.....

But loyalty that can be purchased is by its very nature fickle. Only months ago, members of the Awakening were planting IEDs and ambushing U.S. soldiers. They were snipers and assassins, singing songs in honor of Fallujah and fighting what they viewed as a war of national liberation against the foreign occupiers. These are men the Americans described as terrorists, Saddam loyalists, dead-enders, evildoers, Baathists, insurgents. There is little doubt what will happen when the massive influx of American money stops: Unless the new Iraqi state continues to operate as a vast bribing machine, the insurgent Sunnis who have joined the new militias will likely revert to fighting the ruling Shiites, who still refuse to share power......"

Carlos Latuff: Message to the Iraqi Army

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Gaza: A humanitarian implosion

A report from eight UK human rights organizations says situation in Gaza worst since 1967

"VOICE OF CARLO BASILONE: A coalition of eight UK-based human rights organizations released a scathing report on conditions in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.


London, UK
March 6, 2008

DAVID MEPHAN, POLICY DIRECTOR, SAVE THE CHILDREN: The judgment of the various humanitarian, human rights, and development organizations like Save the Children that have been involved in putting this report together is that the humanitarian situation on the ground in Gaza today is the worst that it's been for forty years.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip
March 6, 2008

JOHN JING, HEAD OF UN RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY: Eighty percent of the people here are depending on handouts of food from the United Nations. They've no other way to survive unless they get these handouts of food, because the economy has completely collapsed. And they've been stripped of their dignity, so they're left in a most miserable and desperate situation. And this report gives clear evidence of just how bad the situation is.


VOICE OF MICHAEL BAILEY, ADVOCACY AND MEDIA MANAGER, OXFAM: The primary public health concerns are that if you have any disease that can't be treated in Gaza, you're unlikely to be able to go out of Gaza to get your life-saving treatment. They have to fight to get a permit from the Israeli authorities. And we know that in the last three months of last year, 20 of them lost that fight and died, simply because they couldn't get out of Gaza. If you require x-raying, if you require CT scanning, if you require other complex imaging, it's unlikely that you will be able to get that in Gaza because it's very difficult to maintain old equipment when spare parts aren't let in, technicians aren't allowed in, and the service has generally fallen apart.

BASILONE: The report, sponsored by Amnesty International, OXFAM, CARE International UK, Save the Children UK, and four others adds that it considers Israel's blockade of Gaza unacceptable and illegal, and uses the term “collective punishment” to describe the situation.

BAILEY: It's a strong term for a serious crime against humanity when 1.5 million people are being punished for something over which they have no control. It's the correct term to use when collectively people are being punished for something they haven't done, and which in fact they have very little influence over. I think it's very difficult for the general public in Jerusalem or elsewhere in Israel to be entirely clear about what's happening in Gaza. The news that's available to them tends to concentrate on the deplorable rockets that are fired from militants in Gaza into Israel. They tend to hear about the Israeli military incursions into Gaza. They hear very little about the daily life of people in Gaza. And indeed many people in Israel know nothing about the daily life of people in the West Bank, or even in East Jerusalem, which is the Arab part of Jerusalem, because, for most people, they don't travel out of Israel into the Arab areas."

From Kosovo to Kurdistan

Pepe Escobar: It's about oil and US military bases (1 of 3)

"....There's a myth being spun all over the US and around the wealthy parts of the European Union—France, Britain, and Germany—that the independence of Kosovo is a great accomplishment, is a victory for democracy, and a successful accomplishment of US foreign policy, these in the words of Senator Hillary Clinton. Well, that's not exactly the case, but it may be the case depending if you come from a completely different perspective. Lots of people all over the world, in different parts of the world, are asking themselves, “Okay, if Kosovo can do it, why not us?” I'll give you a very, very short list that includes Flanders in Belgium, Northern Cyprus, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, the Basque country in Spain, Gibraltar, Indian Kashmir, Tibet, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are both in Georgia and they're both Russian-friendly, and Kurdistan. Why they can't do it? It's very simple: because the whole soap opera involving the unilateral and illegal independence of Kosovo, immediately applauded by the US and by the three European Union giants, is directly related to two key things: oil and the expansion or the worldwide empire of US military bases. This means in detail the AMBO oil pipeline and Camp Bondsteel. They are totally interrelated. The AMBO pipeline (Albania, Macedonia, Bulgarian Oil), which is an entity registered in the US, a pipeline that is worth $1.1 billion since 1995, actually, this whole thing started, like, 13 years ago with a feasibility study for a very important pipeline in the Balkans. This was four years before the 78-day, illegal, unilateral bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO but basically orchestrated by the Clinton administration. This feasibility study--And then there was another feasibility study conducted in '99-- itself was by a British subsidiary of Halliburton. This is when Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton. Camp Bondsteel is also directly related to AMBO pipeline, because Camp Bondsteel was built by KBR, which is an Halliburton company as well. It's the biggest US military base built since the Vietnam War. In fact, military types always are joking that there are only two man-made structures that can be visible from the moon: Great Wall of China and Camp Bondsteel. The AMBO oil pipeline essentially having to go through Kosovo and Macedonia, this implied that the US or at least NATO had to control that area. So this was one of the main objectives for the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia."

Part 2

Part 3

On International Women's Day, Palestinian women continue their struggle

Press Release, PCHR, 8 March 2008

"The 8th of March comes this year as Palestinian women face very difficult and harsh circumstances due to human rights violations perpetrated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinian civilians, including women. In recent days, Palestinian women have had paid a high price due to reprisal actions by IOF against Palestinian civilians and property.....

On this occasion, PCHR reiterates its absolute support for Palestinian women in the face of the severe circumstances they face due to the practiced of IOF, and:

* Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop crimes and human rights violations perpetrated by IOF, which leave tragic impacts on the Palestinian people, especially women.

* Calls for lifting the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip as it is a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in violations of international law and humanitarian law.
* Calls upon the Palestinian National Authority to stop violence and the misuse of weapons.
Calls for combined efforts by the society and institutions to ensure serious work against all forms of violence against women."

Ten worst countries for women


"....Here are 10 of the worst countries in the world to be a woman today:

Afghanistan: The average Afghan girl will live to only 45 – one year less than an Afghan male. After three decades of war and religion-based repression, an overwhelming number of women are illiterate. More than half of all brides are under 16, and one woman dies in childbirth every half hour. Domestic violence is so common that 87 per cent of women admit to experiencing it. But more than one million widows are on the streets, often forced into prostitution. Afghanistan is the only country in which the female suicide rate is higher than that of males.

Iraq: The U.S.-led invasion to "liberate" Iraq from Saddam Hussein has imprisoned women in an inferno of sectarian violence that targets women and girls. The literacy rate, once the highest in the Arab world, is now among the lowest as families fear risking kidnapping and rape by sending girls to school. Women who once went out to work stay home. Meanwhile, more than 1 million women have been displaced from their homes, and millions more are unable to earn enough to eat......."

Going under cover: the Jewish women who are taking the veil

Times Online

"Several cars slow and one stops when Sarah walks down the street in her home town of Beit Shemesh, an ultra-orthodox Jewish enclave west of Jerusalem.

On this morning, the streets teem with women herding their children to school in the modest garb and head-coverings befitting their religious beliefs. For years, Sarah walked among them similarly dressed, but today a dark cloth is secured across her face, hiding everything save her eyes. It resembles the head-to-toe covering that is associated with religious Muslim women in the Gulf States.

People in cars driving by often stop and stare. Some people are rude — they shout things at me because they think I am Arab,” said Sarah (not her real name).

Sarah is part of a budding movement of about 100 Jewish women in this city who have begun covering their bodies. Some cover just their hair and neck; others wrap their entire face, save their eyes, with the loose cloth....."

Crisis Over Teheran's Alleged Nuclear Plans Nearing Climax


"....But none of this deals with the present -- or with the remaining months of Bush’s presidency. Since the present group of Republicans and copycat Democrats in Congress refuses to impeach Bush and Cheney, the danger of a war against Iran instigated by the U.S. and Israel remains real. The overextended state of U.S. ground forces, and Bush’s probable willingness to treat at least small nuclear weapons as ordinary weapons, mean that a war would possibly not be a ground war at all, but would begin with large air attacks and early use of nuclear weapons. While the longer term results of using nuclear weapons would be utterly disastrous, both for the world and for the U.S., the immediate results might be seen as a quick and cheap victory for the U.S. If the apparent military victory occurred before the November 2008 U.S. election, it would probably guarantee a Republican electoral victory. Given Bush’s interest in his own place in history, such a scenario could easily appeal to his gambling instincts.

Noise, and lots of it, seems to be the only weapon we have to make it less likely that such a scenario actually happens. Let’s make that noise, do it globally, and do it every day. Pound out the message through every medium we can access, including music and literature, that ordinary people around the world DO NOT WANT THE U.S. AND ISRAEL TO KILL A SINGLE PERSON IN IRAN, regardless of the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program."

The Meaning of Gaza's 'Shoah'

Israel Plots Another Palestinian Exodus

An Important Article


".....More significantly, however, his comment offers a disturbing indication of the Israeli army’s longer-term strategy towards the Palestinians in the occupied territories.......

However, no one in Israel was fooled. “Shoah” -- which literally means “burnt offering” -- was long ago reserved for the Holocaust, much as the Arabic word “nakba” (or “catastrophe”) is nowadays used only to refer to the Palestinians’ dispossession by Israel in 1948. Certainly, the Israeli media in English translated Vilnai’s use of “shoah” as “holocaust”.

But this is not the first time that Vilnai has expressed extreme views about Gaza’s future. Last summer he began quietly preparing a plan on behalf of his boss, the Defence Minister Ehud Barak, to declare Gaza a “hostile entity” and dramatically reduce the essential services supplied by Israel -- as long-time occupier -- to its inhabitants, including electricity and fuel. The cuts were finally implemented late last year after the Israeli courts gave their blessing. Vilnai and Barak, both former military men like so many other Israeli politicians, have been “selling” this policy -- of choking off basic services to Gaza -- to Western public opinion ever since.......

Vilnai’s various comments are a reflection of the new thinking inside the defense and political establishments about where next to move Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.......

Fatah’s control of the West Bank is being shored up by Israel because its leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, have made it clear that they are prepared to cooperate with an interminable peace process that will give Israel the time it needs to annex yet more of the territory. Hamas, on the other hand, is under no illusions about the peace process, having seen the Jewish settlers leave but Israel’s military control and its economic siege only tighten from arm’s length.

In charge of an open-air prison, Hamas has refused to surrender to Israeli diktats and has proven invulnerable to Israeli and US machinations to topple it. Instead it has begun advancing the only two feasible forms of resistance available: rocket attacks over the fence surrounding Gaza, and popular mass action.

And this is whence the concerns of Vilnai and others emanate. Both forms of resistance, if Hamas remains in charge of Gaza and improves its level of organization and the clarity of its vision, could over the long term unravel Israel’s plans to annex the occupied territories -- once their Palestinian inhabitants have been removed.

First, Hamas’ development of more sophisticated and longer-range rockets threatens to move Hamas’ resistance to a much larger canvas than the backwater of the small development town of Sderot. The rockets that landed last week in Ashkelon, one of the country’s largest cities, could be the harbingers of political change in Israel. Hizbullah proved in the 2006 Lebanon war that Israeli domestic opinion quickly crumbled in the face of sustained rocket attacks. Hamas hopes to achieve the same outcome.......

The fear among Israel’s leaders is that “creeping annexation” of the occupied territories cannot be achieved if the Israeli public starts demanding that Hamas be brought to the negotiating table.

Second, Hamas’ mobilization last month of Gazans to break through the wall at Rafah and pour into Egypt has demonstrated to Israel’s politician-generals like Barak and Vilnai that the Islamic movement has the potential, as yet unrealized, to launch a focused mass peaceful protest against the military siege of Gaza. .....

As a result, Israel’s immediate priorities are: to provoke Hamas regularly into violence to deflect it from the path of organizing mass peaceful protest; to weaken the Hamas leadership through regular executions; and to ensure that an effective defense against the rockets is developed, including technology like Barak’s pet project, Iron Dome, to shield the country from attacks......

But a longer-term strategy is also required, and is being devised by Vilnai and others. Aware both that the Gaza prison is tiny and its resources scarce and that the Palestinian population is growing at a rapid rate, Israel needs a more permanent solution. It must find a way to stop the growing threat posed by Hamas’ organized resistance, and the social explosion that will come sooner or later from the Strip’s overcrowding and inhuman conditions.

Vilnai’s remark hints at that solution, as do a series of comments from cabinet ministers over the past few weeks proposing war crimes to stop the rockets. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for example, has said that Gazans cannot be allowed “to live normal lives; Internal Security Minister, Avi Dichter, believes Israel should take action “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians”; and the Interior Minister, Meir Sheetrit, suggests the Israeli army should “decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it” after each attack.

This week Barak revealed that his officials were working on the last idea, finding a way to make it lawful for the army to direct artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighbourhoods of Gaza in response to rocket fire. They are already doing this covertly, of course, but now they want their hands freed by making it official policy, sanctioned by the international community.

At the same time Vilnai proposed a related idea, of declaring areas of Gaza “combat zones” in which the army would have free rein and from which residents would have little choice but to flee. In practice, this would allow Israel to expel civilians from wide areas of the Strip, herding them into ever smaller spaces, as has been happening in the West Bank for some time.

All these measures – from the intensification of the siege to prevent electricity, fuel and medicines from reaching Gaza to the concentration of the population into even more confined spaces, as well as new ways of stepping up the violence inflicted on the Strip – are thinly veiled excuses for targeting and punishing the civilian population. They necessarily preclude negotiation and dialogue with Gaza’s political leaders. .....

Their ultimate goal appears to be related to Vilnai’s “shoah” comment: Gaza’s depopulation, with the Strip squeezed on three sides until the pressure forces Palestinians to break out again into Egypt. This time, it may be assumed, there will be no chance of return."

The Silent Violence of Gaza's Suffering That Candidates and Congress Ignore


"....In contrast, the humanitarian crisis brought about by Israeli government blockades that prevent food, medicine, fuel and other necessities from coming into this tiny enclave through international relief organizations is received with predictable silence or callousness by members of Congress, including John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The contrast invites more public attention and discussion.

Israel has militarily occupied Gaza for forty years. It pulled out its colonials in 2005 but maintained an iron grip on the area controlling all access, including its airspace and territorial waters. Its F-16s and helicopter gunships regularly shred more and more of the areas—public works, its neighborhoods and inflict collective punishment on civilians in violation of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As the International Red Cross declares, citing treaties establishing international humanitarian law, “Neither the civilian population as a whole nor individual civilians may be attacked.”

According to The Nation magazine, the great Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, reports that the primitive rockets from Gaza, have taken thirteen Israeli lives in the past four years, while Israeli forces have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in the occupied territories in the past two years alone. Almost half of them were civilians, including some 200 children.

The Israeli government is barring most of the trucks from entering Gaza to feed the nearly one million Palestinians depending on international relief, from groups such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The loss of life from crumbling health care facilities, disastrous electricity cutoffs, gross malnutrition and contaminated drinking water from broken public water systems does not get totaled. These are the children and their civilian adult relatives who expire in a silent violence of suffering that 98 percent of Congress avoids mentioning while extending billions of taxpayer dollars to Israel annually. UNRWA says “we are seeing evidence of the stunting of children, their growth is slowing.” Cancer patients are deprived of their chemotherapy, kidney patients are cut off from dialysis treatments and premature babies cannot receive blood-clotting medications.

The misery, mortality and morbidity worsens day by day. Here is how the commissioner-general of UNRWA sums it up, “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and-some would say-encouragement of the international community.”......"

Dr. Al-Arian’s Third Strike

By Chris Hedges

"The Palestinian activist Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian, imprisoned for four years despite a jury’s failure to return a single guilty verdict against him, has gone on a hunger strike in Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Va. Al-Arian, who has abstained from food and water since March 3, began his hunger strike after being informed he would be called before a third grand jury. He has lost 15 pounds and has been moved to the jail’s medical unit.

“A great nation is ultimately defined and judged by its system of justice,” Al-Arian said in a statement released through his family. “When the system is manipulated by the powerful and tolerates abuses against the minorities or the weak members of society, the government not only loses its moral authority and betrays future generations, but will also be condemned by history.”.....

The recent documentary “USA vs Al-Arian” detailed the absurdity of the show trial held in Florida and the hollowness of the government’s case against Al-Arian. When the film was awarded Best Nordic Documentary at the Nordic Panorama in Finland the jury wrote: “The film shows precisely how a common man becomes a victim of the situation in the contemporary world, where the Big Brother is watching you even when you´re ordering pizza.” ......."

From Dr. Mona El-Farra in Gaza: Women International Day -Gaza style

"With all my love and respect to all the women of the world , i send my special message from Gaza ,
In few hours at 11am local time , many Palestinian women and children of Gaza will gather at the anonymous soldier square (Jundi Majhoul), to commemorate this special day ,
and to ask the international community and specially the women of the world on this special day , not to be silent while real crimes are daily committed towards the children and women of Palestine ,we want to tell the whole world : ,it is not the siege or the wall , it is not the continuous military brutalities against us , that will bring security to Israel , what will bring security to all is PEACE BASED ON JUSTICE ,and justice means Palestinian people right to live in dignity and equality , based on achieving our national inalienable goals .
From Gaza, i call upon you all to show your solidarity and support for us. Call upon your governments to stop the siege against Gaza NOW,
in Gaza we have so beautiful flowers to send you, but the borders are closed so we cannot export our flowers to you!!!!!!!!!!!!in the meantime people have become so sad and frustrated and most important very impoverished , to think of romantic flowers
but candles are so popular in Gaza , because we don’t have power supply and our children lack clean drinking water ,as well as many food important items to grow up healthier and stronger .

With all my love and happy women day."

Iraq's Sadr to drop out of politics......Yeah, Sure!

"BAGHDAD—Iraq's elusive Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr has decided to drop out of politics for the time being because his disillusionment with the political scene in Iraq has left him sick and anxious, he said in an unusually personal letter to his followers released Friday.

In a written response to a query from a group of followers asking why he hadn't been seen in public for so long, Sadr said he had decided to devote himself to a period of study, reflection and prayer after failing in his core mission to rid Iraq of the U.S. occupation or to turn it into Islamic society.

He also cited the betrayal of some of his followers, whom he accused of falling prey to "materialistic" politics.

"So far I did not succeed either to liberate Iraq or make it an Islamic society – whether because of my own inability or the inability of society, only God knows," he wrote.

"The continued presence of the occupiers, on the one hand, and the disobedience of many on the other, pushed me to isolate myself in protest.

"I gave society a big proportion of my life. Even my body became weaker, I got more sicknesses and more anxiety."

Speculation has been intensifying as to the whereabouts of the maverick cleric, whose Mahdi Army militia twice fought the U.S. army in 2004 and then was accused of many of the sectarian killings of Sunnis that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war.

His last public statement came two weeks ago, when he renewed the 6-month cease-fire that has been credited with helping bring down the levels of violence in Iraq.

But he has not been seen in public since last May. Sadrist officials said in January that he was studying to become an ayatollah in the holy city of Najaf, a position that would give the 30-something leader greater religious authority over the movement he inherited from his slain father. The U.S. military and some Iraqi officials say he is living in the Iranian city of Qom....."

Is He Going to be Declared a Saint Soon?

Peace broker, bank adviser and lecturer, now Blair plans to teach religion at Yale

By Carlos Latuff

A defeated policy, not a defeated people

Young relatives of newborn baby Amira Abu 'Aser mourn during her funeral in Gaza City, 5 March 2008.

A Very Good Piece

By Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 7 March 2008

".....But confirming their status in the eyes of the "international community" as less than complete human beings, neither Amira's killing, nor any of the dozens of Palestinian civilian victims of Israel's onslaught in Gaza have merited condemnation or condolences.......

We cannot expect much analysis in the media of why the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva might have been chosen as a target. Was it mere coincidence that the school, named for Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and led after his death by his son Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, is the ideological cradle of the militant, Jewish supremacist settler movement Gush Emunim?

Unlike other sects in Israel which sought exemption of their students from military service, Gush Emunim encouraged its followers to join the army and become the armed wing of religious nationalist Zionism. Gush Emunim settlers, many of them, like Moshe Levinger, graduates of Mercaz HaRav, founded the most extreme and racist settlements in the Occupied West Bank, including the notorious colonies in and near Hebron whose inhabitants have made life miserable for Palestinians in the city and forced many of them out of their homes. It is the militant settlers of Gush Emunim who still honor Baruch Goldstein who murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron in February 1994. It is in Hebron that the Gush Emunim settlers spray "Arabs to the gas chambers" on Palestinian houses.........

In 2002, Israeli army chief Moshe Yaalon declared that "the Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people." This would be achieved by the massive and constant application of force until they got the message. The same philosophy was elaborated in 2004 by Professor Arnon Soffer, one of the architects, with former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, of the 2005 Gaza "disengagement."

Soffer, an avid supporter of turning Gaza into a hermetically-sealed pen for unwanted Palestinians, explained that if Palestinians fire a single rocket over the fence into Israel, "we will fire 10 in response. And women and children will be killed, and houses will be destroyed. After the fifth such incident, Palestinian mothers won't allow their husbands to shoot Qassams [rockets], because they will know what's waiting for them."

Soffer predicted that in a few years' time, "when 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it's going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam." With Palestinians closed in, "The pressure at the border will be awful," Soffer predicted. "It's going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day." ........

For decades Israel has been exercizing with ever-escalating brutality this deliberate strategy to crush through force and starvation a civilian population in rebellion against colonial rule. To Israel's vexation, the Palestinians are not playing their part. After sixty years of expulsions, massacres, assassinations of their leaders, colonization, torture, and mass imprisonment, the Palestinians have utterly failed to understand that they are a "defeated people." ......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

Should Egypt construct a concrete wall along its border with the Gaza Strip?

With about 500 responding so far, 94% said no.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fatah and IOA unite against Al-Jazeera TV

"RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- Fatah faction and the Israeli occupation government have apparently united against the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite TV as both parties started a campaign to boycott the Arab satellite TV channel for unveiling the truth about the Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Jazeera is considered the most popular satellite TV channel in the Arab world as millions of viewers express satisfaction over the balanced stand of the channel in reporting the news, especially the news about the Palestinian issue and the events in Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Fatah lady MP Najat Abu Bakr asserted that she started a campaign to boycott Al-Jazeera, charging that the channel was fueling the inter-Palestinian disputes.

Abu Bakr was apparently irked by the news reports unveiled by an American newspaper on the role of Fatah faction and its strong man Mohammed Dahalan in an Israeli-US scheme to oust Hamas Movement from power after winning the PA legislative elections, which Al-Jazeera published as many other Arab and foreign satellite TV channels did.....

Political observers asserted that Al-Jazzera played a strong role in faithfully disclosing the truth on what is happening in Gaza and on the suffering of the 1.5 million Palestinian individuals living there....."

How Chavez Eats and Keeps His Cake

By Tony Karon

"The surest sign of the relative decline of U.S. power is the fact that regimes that are militantly at odds with Washington — think Chavez in Venezuela, or even the Islamic Republic of Iran — are able to routinely defy the U.S. because they have something to offer that Washington needs. (Oil, in the case of Venezuela, and in Tehran’s case, the prospect of stability in Iraq.) And that suggests that for a host of more powerful and less ideologically committed regimes in the developing world — from Turkey to Brazil, Indonesia to South Africa — there is an unprecedented opportunity to advance their own interest by refraining from aligning themselves with any single bloc, but instead cutting deals with various power centers....."

السلطات الأردنية تمنع إقامة بيت عزاء لمنفذ عملية القدس

The Clown King In Solidarity With Israel

"منعت السلطات الأمنية الأردنية أقارب منفذ عملية القدس الشهيد علاء هشام أبو دهيم من إقامة بيت عزاء له في العاصمة عمان، حسب ما أبلغ عم الشهيد الجزيرة نت.

وقال محمد قاسم أبو دهيم، وهو عم منفذ عملية القدس التي أوقعت ثمانية قتلى إسرائيليين مساء الخميس إن أعمام الشهيد فوجئوا أثناء محاولتهم نصب بيت "للتهنئة" باستشهاد ابنهم في منطقة صويلح غرب العاصمة عمان بالقوات الأمنية تبلغهم بقرار منع إقامة سرادق لهذه الغاية.

وأضاف أبو دهيم للجزيرة نت "حضرت قوات من الأمن وطلبت منا إزالة البيت الذي نصبناه لاستقبال المهنئين"، وتابع "ضباط الشرطة أبلغونا بأن قرارا صدر عن محافظ العاصمة يفيد بمنع إقامة بيت التهنئة للشهيد"، مشيرا إلى أن محاولات بذلها أقارب الشهيد لفتح بيت التهنئة باءت بالفشل.

وبين عم الشهيد أن قوات الأمن تقوم حاليا بمنع الناس من الوصول إلى العزاء وتقوم بمصادرة هوياتهم.

وفي العادة لا تمنع السلطات الأردنية إقامة بيوت التهنئة والعزاء بالشهداء الذين يسقطون في فلسطين أو العراق أو غيرها من الدول.

وأكد عضو لجنة الحريات في مجمع النقابات المهنية ميسرة ملص أن قرار منع إقامة بيت عزاء للشهيد أبو دهيم مخالف للقانون.

وقال للجزيرة نت "حسب قانون الاجتماعات العامة والتعليمات المنظمة له الصادرة عن وزير الداخلية فإن فتح بيوت للعزاء مستثناة من طلب الإذن من السلطات الإدارية".

واستغرب ملص بشدة منع بيت العزاء بالشهيد، مشيرا إلى أن هذا القرار يصب في باب التضييق على الحريات العامة للمواطنين.

وحاولت الجزيرة نت الحصول على توضيح من السلطات الأمنية الأردنية دون جدوى

Jordan's Abdullah warns failure of Israel-PA peace talks may boost Iran

".....In an interview with Washington-based National Public Radio, Abdullah warned of what he called Iran's growing influence, directly as well as through Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Those in the Iranian government that are pursuing this policy have hijacked the Palestinian corps, he said. The failure of the peace process will get them to increase their ambitions in the region.

He also warned that "There are new state actors (such as Iran) in the region and my fear is that the failure of the peace process will increase the aggression of the extremists in our region."

"It will bring us into a very dark future; all of us, Americans, Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs," he said. "And if it doesn't play out between the Israelis and Palestinians, there's Lebanon and there's also Iraq."......"


Because Palestinian men and women resisted, finding collaborators was a must.

By Neve Gordon
(Dr. Neve Gordon teaches at the Department of Politics and Government in Ben-Gurion University, Israel)
Palestine Chronicle

".....The recruitment and deployment of Palestinian collaborators is not a new phenomenon. It is a longstanding Zionist practice, almost as old as Zionism itself. Already in the early 1920s, the Zionist Executive's Arab department employed collaborators to establish the Muslim National Associations as a counterweight to the Muslim-Christian Associations, which at the time was the hub of the Palestinian national movement. During the same era the Zionist movement adopted a similar scheme, establishing a loose network of Palestinian political parties, known as the farmers' parties, to challenge and undermine Palestinian urban nationalists. In fact, Zionist institutions employed collaborators throughout the British Mandate period to advance their goals. In 1932 a collaborator relayed information about sermons given by sheikh Izz al-Din al-Qassam, a Palestinian militant who was killed by British troops in 1935 and is remembered by Palestinians to this day, not least because the military wing of Hamas has appropriated his name.....

Today a request to exit the Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment, visit a dying relative or study in the West Bank or abroad is often contingent upon one's willingness to collaborate. In early January a number of patients were referred from Gaza- where they could not receive medical treatment- to Maqassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, and received permits to leave the region. At the border, though, they were interrogated by Israeli security service officers, who demanded that they become collaborators. According to Hadas Ziv of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel, those patients who refused had their travel permits annulled and were sent back home. While these patients managed to resist the temptation to collaborate, despite their medical ills, others do not. The persistence of collaboration is a result of not only the historical processes Cohen eloquently describes but also the harsh conditions under which Palestinians currently live."

OXFAM: The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Implosion

"Executive Summary

The situation for 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is worse now than it has ever been since the start
of the Israeli military occupation in 1967. The current situation in Gaza is man-made, completely avoidable
and, with the necessary political will, can also be reversed.
Gaza has suffered from a long-term pattern of economic stagnation and plummeting development indicators.
The severity of the situation has increased exponentially since Israel imposed extreme restrictions on the
movement of goods and people in response to the Hamas take over of Gaza and to indiscriminate rocket
attacks against Israel. This report illustrates the gravity of the current situation across key sectors......"

Crushing the Ants

Admiral Fallon and His Empire

"There has been quite a buzz in "progressive" circles over the new Esquire article about Admiral William Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, the military satrapy that covers the entire "arc of crisis" at the heart of the "War on Terror," from east Africa, across the Middle East, and on to the borders of China. Much has been made of Fallon's alleged apostasy from the Bush regime's bellicosity toward Tehran; indeed, the article paints Fallon as the sole bulwark against an American attack on Iran – and hints ominously that the good admiral may be forced out by George W. Bush this summer, clearing the way for one last murderous hurrah by the lame duck president. The general reaction to the article seems to be: God preserve this honorable man, and keep him as our shield and defender against the wicked tyrant.

But this is most curious. For behind the melodramatic framing and gushing hero-worship of the article – written by Thomas Barnett (of whom more later) – we find nothing but a few mild disagreements between Fallon and the White House over certain questions of tactics, timing and presentation in regard to American domination of a vast range of nations and peoples......

No, what is most noteworthy about the article is that Barnett has given us, unwittingly, one of the clearest pictures yet of the true nature of the American system today. And that system is openly, unequivocally and unapologetically imperial, in every sense of the word, and in every sinew of its structure. For what is Fallon's actual position? We see him commanding vast armies, both his own and those of local proxies, waging battles to bend nations, regions and peoples to the will of a superpower. We see him meeting with the heads of client kingdoms in his purview, in Cairo, Kabul, Baghdad, Dushanbe: advising, cajoling, demanding, threatening, wading deeply into the internal affairs of the dominated lands, seeking to determine their politics, their economic development, their military structure and foreign policies......"

Why Iraq Could Blow Up in John McCain's Face


".....Seldom has the official Iraqi and American perception of what is happening in Iraq felt so different from the reality. Cocooned behind the walls of the Green Zone, defended by everybody from US soldiers to Peruvian and Ugandan mercenaries, the government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki pumps out alluring tales of life returning to normal that border on fantasy.....

Baghdad is entirely divided between Sunni and Shia and the sectarianism is as deep seated as it was before fall in violence. In many areas, say Iraqis bitterly, “the killing stopped because there was nobody left to kill.” There are very few mixed neighborhoods left......

Perplexity among non-Iraqis about what is going on in Iraq is stems primarily from a failure to understand that ever since fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 there have been two wars being fought in the country. One was between the US occupation forces and the Sunni, rulers of Iraq down the centuries. This war had gone surprisingly well for the Sunni. They had inflicted significant losses, now approaching 4,000 dead, on the US army which, while not militarily crippling, were politically unsustainable in America. But the Sunni were also fighting a second war, this one against the Shia majority, and this war they were losing badly.....

....The lower American casualties also reflect an important political change in Iraq. The Sunni and Shia now hate and fear each other more than they do the Americans. This puts the US in a stronger position because it can control the balance of power between the two communities.....

The greatest success of the Surge has been in terms of public relations. Suddenly there is a perception in the US that ‘things are getting better in Iraq’, though they are better only in terms of the mass killings of 2006. In the struggle over who will hold power in Iraq in the future nothing is decided and fighting, just as ferocious as anything we have seen in the past, could erupt at any moment."


In the end, there will be three Iraqis still alive: one Shiite, one Sunni Arab and a Kurd. They will still be fighting each other while the Americans pump the last drop of oil out of Iraq.

Will the fools learn in time? I doubt it.

Merkaz Harav Yeshiva: Stronghold of Zionist Extremism


"07/03/2008 The Palestinian resistance took once again the initiative with a heroic operation executed on Thursday killing eight settlers at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva extremist school.

The importance of the operation cannot be limited to breaking all Israeli measures and proving the strength of the resistance; it is the location of the operation.

Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, or the Jewish religious school in Jerusalem, is neither an ordinary religious school nor a faculty that just trains and graduates rabbis; it is actually the main stronghold for the Zionist radicalism in the Zionist entity. It's a landmark for the religious Zionist movement and a symbol for the foundation of the usurper entity, Israel. Moreover, Merkaz Harav Yeshiva is the first religious school that founded a relation between the Zionist and Jewish beliefs. The extremist school contains more than 500 students and another 200 higher education students in Jewish religious sciences, with all of them aged between 18 and 30.

The radical Merkaz Harav Yeshiva was founded in 1924 by senior rabbi Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, who sought, from the beginning, to teach the Torah and graduate spiritual leaders for the entity that wasn't even created yet.

The first commander of Irgun extremist groups David Raziel and the founder of the prominent Israeli Daily Ma'arif Azriel Carlebach were among the first graduates of the seminary under the direction of Kook.

On April 9, 1948, members of the underground Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, or IZL, led by Menachem Begin, who was to become the Israeli prime minister in 1977, entered the peaceful Arab village of Deir Yassin, massacred 250 men, women, children and the elderly, and stuffed many of the bodies down wells. There were also reports of rapes and mutilations. The Irgun was joined by the Jewish terrorist group, the Stern Gang, led by Yitzhak Shamir, who subsequently succeeded Begin as prime minister of Israel in the early '80s, and also by the Haganah, the militia under the control of David Ben Gurian. The Irgun, the Stern Gang and the Haganah later joined to form the so called Israeli Defense Force. Their tactics have not changed ever since.

When rabbi Yitzchak HaCohen passed away, his son rabbi Zvi Yehudah assumed responsibility and the centre that started to attract all theology students in the Zionist entity. However, the major contribution of this school was organizing the relation between theology students and serving in the army.

Year after year, the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva was 'prospering' until establishing the basics of the so-called religious settlement in the West Bank. Moreover, the political and religious group "Gush Emunim" was founded within the school, called for settling in Palestine and believed that the Land was a gift from God to the Jews.

Rabbi Zvi wasn't less enthusiastic than his pupils. He encouraged them to protect the settlements in the West Bank and personally took part in this process. He was also among the first to promote the settlement of the Jews in the wake of 1967 war.
Yehudah passed away in 1982 and rabbi Avraham Shapira succeeded him.
His era witnessed differences inside the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva leading a group of students under the leadership of rabbi Zvi Tau to quit. Tau founded an institution that remained less influential than Merkaz Harav Yeshiva."

PCAS calls for More global days of Actions to free Gaza Strip

"Popular Committee against Siege (PCAS) and part of its endless actions in Gaza and abroad is launching more actions to free the Gaza Strip.

In Gaza Strip, the siege is still ongoing but with more harshness. Siege infiltrated in all aspects of ordinary life people. Most of medicines, milk sorts, basic food stuff and human needs are not available...and if not available it will be few with high prices.

More patients are dying... and the number is over 100 now. About 150.000 workers are jobless now...What's lift for their families! How can they feed their starving children? About 83% of innocent civilians are living under poverty line. Power blackout is still continuing and Gazans are deprived the light!

More number, statistics and shocking facts exist in Gaza Strip. Thus, PCAS is calling for another series of Actions across Asia, Afirca , Europe and the Two Americas:

Let Us Free Gaza

More three days of actions for Gaza

Friends, brothers, sisters and lovers of freedom in this world; Share us the liberation of Gaza as our big martyr Rachel Corrie did before.

Be on the time and participate in 3 days of actions for Gaza, 14th Friday, 15th Saturday, and 16th Sunday of the next March. Sunday will be also the occasion to commemorate the 5 th anniversary of Rachel's death who has been was killed by Israeli Occupation in Rafah City.....

We're not asking for you to sacrifice your life as Rachel did, but perhaps a little of your time. Let's hit the streets for Gaza and Rachel......"

The Gulf Arabs Intently Following The Gaza Holocaust


المقاومة تثأر في القدس لدماء غزّة

"حيفا ـ فراس خطيب
رام الله ـ أحمد شاكر
غزة ـ رائد لافي
انفجرت آلام الفلسطينيين ومعاناتهم في القدس المحتلة أمس. مقاوم ثأر لدماء أطفال غزة ونسائها وشيوخها. تجاوز ما تسمّيه سلطات الاحتلال «إجراءات أمنية مشددة». اقتحم «مدرسة دينية». فتح النيران على من كان داخل قاعة الطعام فيها. قتل ثمانية وجرح أكثر من 9 آخرين... قبل أن يستشهد.
عملية نوعية تتجاوز من حيث أهميتها بعدها الانتقامي، الذي لا توازي نتائجه قطرة مما تجرّعه الفلسطينيون، ولا يزالون، على أيدي الاحتلال. أثبتت، بالبرهان القاطع، أن المقاومة الفلسطينية لا تزال تمتلك زمام المبادرة وأنها قادرة على تسديد ضربات مؤلمة، في العمق الإسرائيلي، حين تأخذ القرار. بل أكثر من ذلك، لقد أسقطت مقولة الاحتلال بأنه تمكّن من إنهاء المقاومة في الضفة الغربية.
جهود التهدئة، التي تقودها مصر نيابة عن إسرائيل، وبرضى الولايات المتحدة، لم تقف حائلاً دون تنفيذها. جهود بدأت أمس في العريش، حيث عُقد لقاء بين مسؤولين مصريين وآخرين من «حماس»، لمناقشة عرض القاهرة وقف الصواريخ في مقابل وقف إسرائيل لـ«الهجمات العسكرية» وتخفيف الحصار وإعادة فتح المعابر الرئيسية بين الضفة والقطاع، ومعها المعبر الحدودي عند رفح.
رواية العملية
تمكّن مقاوم فلسطيني من اختراق التحصينات الأمنية الإسرائيلية لينفذ عملية نوعية معقّدة في قلب القدس الغربية المحتلة ويقتل 8 إسرائيليين ويجرح 9 آخرين، خمسة منهم جراحهم خطرة، قبل أن يستشهد.
وتروي مصادر أمنية إسرائيلية أن المقاوم وصل عند الساعة الثامنة وثلاثين دقيقة إلى مدرسة تعاليم «مركاز هراف»، في حي «كريات موشيه» في القدس الغربية. كان يرتدي بنطلون جينز وسترة عادية، حاملاً صندق كرتون يحتوي على سلاح رشاش أوتوماتيكي وذخيرة، حيث تعاطى بهدوء مع المجريات. وعندما اقترب من مدخل المدرسة، أخرج السلاح من الصندوق وبدأ إطلاق النار في كل الاتجاهات ودخل إلى قلب المدرسة «تماماً مثل أفلام الأكشن الأميركية»، كما قال شاهد عيان.
وأشارت التقديرات إلى وجود ما يقارب ثمانين تلميذاً داخل المدرسة، مفرّقين على عدة أقسام، واستمر إطلاق النار عدة دقائق، غالبيته في غرفتي الطعام والمكتبة. وساد التوتر وحالة من الهستيريا المبنى، ما دفع الكثير من التلاميذ إلى الهروب من المداخل الخلفية للمكان ومنهم من قفز عن علو خشية تعرّضه لإطلاق النار.

The losers' game

Diplomatic manoeuvres to force Iran to prove a negative about its halted nuclear weapons programme ... now where have I seen that before?

By Scott Ritter
The Guardian

"With all the courage of conviction that comes from being anonymously sourced, a "senior British diplomat" has cast doubt on the veracity of a recent US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003. This unnamed official was backed up by Simon Smith, the British representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who noted that a recent briefing given by the IAEA had raised doubts about Iran's claims that it never had a nuclear weapons programme.

Smith is no unbiased observer. As the spokesperson for the so-called "EU-3" (Great Britain, France and Germany), he serves as the face of a group which has a considerable political investment in maintaining the notion of Iran as a non-compliant player in the diplomatic game that is Iran's nuclear programme......

I have seen this game played before: as a chief inspector with the United Nations in Iraq, I participated in similar efforts to construct briefings composed of fragmentary sourcing of questionable quality. The end product, comprising visually-pleasing organisations charts, communications diagrams and procurement records, was used to brief the security council members in an effort to strengthen their resolve to confront a recalcitrant Iraq. These briefings generated the myth of a retained Iraqi WMD capability, which lived on until proven false in the aftermath of the US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003......"

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

Arab Silence About Israeli Slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza

Australian government continues its love affair with Israel

Sonja Karkar, The Electronic Intifada, 7 March 2008

"So much for the new Australian government taking an even-handed position on Israel-Palestine. Before our politicians even warmed their seats in the new parliamentary sittings, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that he will lead a parliamentary motion to honor Israel on 12 March acknowledging Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day. The opposition leader will second the motion. Then, celebrations will take place at a reception in the Mural Hall of Parliament House.

If Palestinians and their supporters had any hopes of a sympathetic hearing from the new Rudd government on the multiple human rights abuses being perpetrated by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, those hopes are now dashed.

This year marks 60 years of Palestinian dispossession and displacement and a savage, relentless occupation that is smothering the lifeblood of the Palestinians while Israel celebrates its ill-gotten gains. Palestinians are starving in Gaza, Palestinians are being sold out in the West Bank, Palestinians are dying. Their very existence is under threat. It is as simple and as awful as that......"

Int’l Community Adopts Double-Standard Policy Again


"07/03/2008 Once again it is the double-standard policy adopted by the International community and the UN Security Council in dealing with the Palestinians on the one hand and the Israelis on the other.

Directly after the Palestinian heroic operation, the UNSC called for an emergency session to debate the attack that killed eight Israeli settlers, it is the same Security Council that did not find it worthy of calling for an emergency session after the Israeli aggression on Gaza last week killed more than 120 people, mostly children and when it was convened it couldn’t even adopt a presidential statement that condemns these crimes.

On Thursday, the United States accused Libya of preventing the Security Council from condemning an attack on a Jewish school in Jerusalem, but Tripoli called for "balanced action."

The United States had drafted a statement that was discussed at an emergency UN Security Council session called to debate the attack by a Palestinian fighter who killed at least eight settlers and wounded dozens more at the Ultra-Orthodox religious school. "The members of the Security Council condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that took place in Jerusalem March 6, 2008 which resulted in the death and injury of dozens of Israeli civilians," said the draft statement.

The US delegation had hoped the 15-nation council would unanimously support the text but Libya, backed by several other council members, prevented its adoption. "We were not able to come to an agreement because the Libyan delegation with the support of one or two others did not want to condemn this act by itself but wanted to link it to other issues," US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad told reporters after the council meeting.

The Libyans wanted to include condemnation to the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza, which have killed over 120 Palestinians. Khalilzad rejected that. He claimed that killing students in a school was different from the unintentional killing of civilians.

Libya is one of the 15 Security Council members. It was elected to the council last year, after Washington dropped its objections, and joined it in January. Libya's deputy ambassador, Ibrahim al-Dabbashi said the council should not speak about the Jerusalem attack while ignoring the Gaza situation. "If the council should take any action, it should be a balanced action and should condemn the killings in Gaza as well as the killing in Jerusalem," al-Dabbashi said.

Libya objected over the weekend to the use of the word "terrorism" to describe Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel in a draft council statement about the Gaza situation.

Shortly after the operation, Israel's main ally President George W. Bush assured Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the United States stands with Israel after the "barbaric and vicious attack".

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband denounced the "shocking" shooting and said the only way to honor the memory of the dead was to promote peace.

France also condemned the shooting as an "attack against peace", while European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana telephoned Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni to express his condolences."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Egyptian police beat pro-Palestinian protesters

"EL-MAHALLA EL-KUBRA, Egypt, March 6 (Reuters) - Egyptian police used force to disperse thousands of protesters who were demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, witnesses said.

Police beat and chased protesters through the streets of El-Mahalla el-Kubra, a city around 100 km (60 miles) north of Cairo, and arrested at least 20.

The protesters were mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most powerful opposition group, and labour union or political activists.

The protest came three days after Israel ended a northern Gaza offensive that killed more than 120 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, and aid groups said that Israel's blockade had created the worst humanitarian crisis in Gaza in more than 40 years. Israel defended the offensive as a response to rocket attacks on its civilians.

Witnesses said plain clothes police surrounded individual protesters and arrested them, taking them off to police trucks. They added that the crackdown began with the arrest of two members of the Brotherhood, who had been riding a motorcycle and chanting pro-Palestinian slogans through a loudspeaker. The protesters demanded their release and said they would not disperse until police let them go, and subsequently began chanting slogans attacking President Hosni Mubarak, his son Gamal, who it is widely believed is being groomed to succeed him, and Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

The non-violent Muslim Brotherhood usually seeks to avoid the use of anti-government slogans in its protests.

The Egyptian government has cracked down on the Brotherhood in the lead-up to local elections in April, in a bid to block it from contesting the polls, the Brotherhood says.

Police detained 26 of the Brotherhood earlier on Thursday including three leading members. A Brotherhood spokesman said more than 350 others had already been picked up in the campaign....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - The backfired plan - 05 March 08

Video: Talk to Jazeera - Khaled Meshaal - 05 March 08

Part 1

Part 2

Al-Jazeera Video: Destruction in Jabaliya after attacks -3 March, 08

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

The Arab "Summit"

More than Gaza

As Israel pursues its "holocaust" in Gaza, America deploys a destroyer off Lebanon, Iranian President Ahmadinejad makes a historic trip to Iraq and the Arab cold war grows colder, should the region be bracing itself for the worst?

By Amira Howeidy
Al-Ahram Weekly

""Silence, massacre" ran the caption to a scathing cartoon published in the London- based Al-Hayat newspaper on Tuesday showing a line of faceless, suit-clad men watching as black smoke rises from Gaza. The illustration, a depiction of international and Arab silence over Israel's "holocaust" in the Gaza Strip, encapsulates the general mood in the Arab world where feelings of frustration and helplessness are mixed with growing apprehension over the direction of events in the conflict-ridden Middle East.....

If there are any winners or losers in the current flare up in Gaza, former diplomat and director of the Arab Centre for Futuristic Studies Gamil Matar told the Weekly, "then Hamas has emerged victorious and Abbas and Israel the losers".....

Conflicting messages emanating from the region are, says Matar, worrying to Egypt, whose own officials have, in response, contributed some confusion of their own. "Egyptian officials are so worried that at times they have issued confused and contradictory statements. Two weeks ago Egypt's foreign minister said Egypt would break the leg of any Palestinian that crosses the border and now they are inviting injured Palestinians to cross the border for hospital treatment."

Egypt's primary concern, says Matar, "is Hamas's powerful position and rising popularity on its north east borders".

And the real dilemma?

"That anything can happen," says Matar."

Seven Israeli student-soldiers killed in revenge attack for Gaza massacres

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied E. Jerusalem

"In an apparent retaliation for the recent Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip, (or the assassination in Damascus by Israeli agents last month of Imad Mughniya, a leading Hizbullah figure) unidentified guerillas on Thursday attacked the headquarters of the religious messianic Zionist movement in West Jerusalem, killing and injuring a number of settlers and soldiers.

According to Israeli media reports, at least six settler-soldiers were killed and several others wounded. At least one Palestinian guerilla was killed.

There was a lot of gunfire and hysteria," a woman who lives across the street from the school told the radio. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The shooting, which was highly expected, is believed to be a revenge attack for the killing by the Israeli army this week of more than 120 Palestinians, the vast bulk of them innocent civilians, including more than 13 children and toddlers.

Last month, suspected Mossad agents murdered Imad Mughniya, a leading military figure in the Lebanese movement of Hizbullah.

Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian organizations vowed to avenge the Gaza killings. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrullah also vowed to avenge the murder of Mughniya.

Mirkaz Ha’rav, which literally means “the Center of the Rabbi” is a Talmudic college which combines religious education with active military service.

The center is considered the “central nervous system” of the Jewish settler movement, known as Gush Emunim, or “block of the faithful.” It also issues usually extreme religious edicts which permit Israeli soldiers to kill innocent Palestinian civilians, including children.

One of the prominent rabbis affiliated with Mirkaz Ha'rav is Dove Lior, the settler Rabbi of Kiryat Arba. On Wednesday, Lior was quoted as saying that it is permissible for the Israeli army to kill Palestinian civilians, including children.

The Gush Emunim movement adopts the messianic teachings postulated by Rabbi Avraham Kook who viewed the creation of Israel in Palestine as heralding the beginning of the messianic age and the appearance of the Messiah or Redeemer.

Messianic Zionists also believe that Jews ought to try to induce and expedite the process of redemption by carrying out acts of violence and bloodshed against the Palestinians in order to generate turbulence and war, an environment they believe would expedite the appearance of the Messiah.

The heads of the Mirkaz Ha’rav vehemently oppose peace between Israel and the Palestinians and are strongly against the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Gush Emunim and religious Zionism in general are represented in the Israeli Knesset by a party called “Ha’a Mifdal” a Hebrew acronym meaning “the National Religious Party.”

The party advocates ethnic cleansing and or enslavement of the Palestinians as water carriers and wood hewers based on Biblical principles.

It is widely believed that a large percentage of the Israeli army’s high-ranking officers are affiliated with the religious Zionist movement."

Two For The Price of One

"Rice speaks with Livni, condemns Jerusalem terror attack (AP) .........

Abbas slams Jerusalem attack...."

Is There an Echo in Here?

12 قتيلاً صهيونياً و40 جريحاً في هجوم غربي القدس


بالرغم من كل الاجراءات الامنية المشددة التي تجعل من مدينة القدس المحتلة مدينة عسكرية بامتياز، تمكن مجاهدان فلسطينيان من الدخول الى احدى المدارس الدينية للمتشددين الصهاينة في حي كريات غربي القدس المحتلة مساء اليوم الخميس، ومن قتل اكثر 12 صهيونيا واصابة اكثر من 40. وتحدثت المعلومات الاولية عن ان اعداداً كبيرة من الجرحى هم بحال الخطر الشديد، ونقل مراسل قناة المنار في الضفة الغربية ان مصادر العدو تحدثت عن ارقام صعبة في الاصابات.
وكعادته لم يعترف الاحتلال بداية سوى بسقوط نحو 8 صهاينة في صفوف المتشددين الاسرائيليين.

الناطق باسم حركة حماس مشير المصري بارك للشعب الفلسطيني ولامتنا العربية الاسلامية هذه العملية النوعية وترحم على شهدائنا وشد على يد المجاهدين واكد ان مسيرة المقاومة هي الكفيلة بردع هذا العدوان وان العدو مهما ارتكب من هولوكوست بحق شعبنا لن ينال من مقاومتننا ومن عزيمتنا .

ممثل حركة الجهاد الاسلامي في لبنان ابو عماد الرفاعي اكد ان خبر العملية اثلج قلوب الفلسطينيين والثكالى وان هذا الخير من اهم الاخبار والذي يدل على قدرة الفلسطينيين على المواجهة رغم ان البطش والقتل مستمر وكذلك قدرة الوصول الى قلب الكيان الصهيوني ردا على المجازر واكد ان ذلك يشير الى ان يد المقاومة طويلة رغم كل محاولات الاحتلال في غزة والضفة الغربية.

ممثل حركة حماس في لبنان اسامة حمدان اوضح في اتصال مع قناة المنار ان هذه المدرسة تخرج مرشدين للجيش الصهيوني وهم اشخاص مؤثرون في صفوف العدو وان هذه العملية تقدم درساً مهماً للاحتلال.

الى ذلك استشهد 4 من سرايا القدس الجناح العسكري لحركة الجهاد الاسلامي في غارة على خان يونس في قطاع غزة ليل اليوم في اعقاب العملية الفلسطينية في القدس."

تفاصيل خطة واشنطن للإطاحة بحماس

The Arabic Translation of David Rose's Article, "The Gaza Bombshell"


"بعد عجزه عن توقع فوز حماس على فتح في انتخابات 2006 الفلسطينية, تسبب البيت الأبيض في نكبة أخرى سرية ذات طابع مخز وانهزامي في الشرق الأوسط تماثل في جزء منها فضيحة إيران كونترا وفي جزء آخر أزمة خليج الخنازير.
ويكشف ديفد روز في مجلة فانيتي فير التي ستصدر في أبريل/نيسان القادم، بالوثائق السرية التي أثبتها مسؤولون أميركيون سابقون وحاليون كيف أن الرئيس بوش وكوندوليزا رايس ونائب مستشار الأمن القومي إليوت أبرامز أبدوا مساندتهم لقوة مسلحة تحت قيادة رجل فتح القوي محمد دحلان، مشعلين بذلك حربا أهلية دامية في غزة وتاركين حماس أقوى من أي وقت مضى.



View from Gaza: 'The Holocaust, The Holocaust'

By Dr. Haidar Eid in Gaza
(Dr. Haidar Eid teaches at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza)

".....Gaza has become a war-zone: the biggest concentration camp on earth has become a burial site - a noisy graveyard. The Palestinian body has become the ultimate target of the Israeli bullet-the younger the better! The Palestinian body has, in other words, become the site of (in) justice: 'eliminate the body, and it will leave a vacuum that can be occupied - a land without people for people without land.'

The Palestinian people have long realized that the so-called "peace process" does not challenge or change the long-held status quo, nor will it allow them to exercise their national and political rights. Whether Sharon, Barak or Olmert, the Israeli position is crystal clear: NO return to the borders of June 4, 1967, NO dismantling of Jewish settlements, NO return of Palestinian refugees, NO backing down on Jerusalem as 'the undivided, eternal capital city of Israel, and NO sovereign, independent Palestinian state with its own military on the western bank of the Jordan river. The best that is on offer is a Bantustan, a reservoir for the Natives.

"Peace" within this context has led to more misery for the mere reason that it lacks justice. Palestinians get punished for being shot; for trying to protect themselves, and mostly, for just being where they are, as though they should not be there in the first place. Hence, the unprecedented brutality, the shelling with heavy artillery - what Joseph Conrad's Kurtz calls 'The horror! The horror!'- the horror that embodies itself in the faces of Mohammed, Safaa, Jacqueline, and the rest of those children who lost their lives in Matan Vilani's death chambers. "The Holocaust! The Holocaust!""

Freedom of Speech: the right to equate Gaza with Auschwitz

By Gilad Atzmon
Peacepalestine via Uruknet

".....Auschwitz Versus Gaza in the light of Political Correctness

We tend to agree that marginal discourses should be protected by the offence principle, so the marginal subject maintains his unique voice. We obviously agree also that such an approach must be applicable to the manifold of Jewish marginal discourses (religious, nationalist, Trotskyite, etc.). Seemingly, Jewish political lobbies want far more than just that, they insist upon delegitmising any intellectual reference to current Jewish political lobbying and global Zionism. As if this is not enough, any reference to modern Jewish history is prohibited unless kosherly approved by a 'Zionist’ authority. As bizarre as it may be, the Jewish Holocaust has now been intellectually set as a meta-historical event. It is an event in the past that won’t allow any historical, ideological, theological or sociological scrutiny.

Bearing in mind the offence principle, Jews are entitled to argue that any form of speculation regarding their past suffering is "offensive and hurtful". Yet, one may demand some explanations. How is it that historical research that may lead to some different visions of past events that occurred six and a half decades ago offends those who live amongst us today? Clearly, it is not an easy task to suggest a rational answer to such a query.

Plainly, historical research shouldn’t cause harm or an offence to the contemporary Jew or any other human subject around. Unless of course, the Holocaust itself is utilized against the Palestinians or those who are accused as being the 'enemies of Israel’. As we learn from Matan Vilnai recently, the Jewish State wouldn’t refrain from bringing a Shoah on the Palestinian people. The Israelis and their supporters do not stop themselves from putting the holocaust into rhetorical usage. Yet, the Jewish lobbies around the world would do their very best to stop the rest of us from grasping what Shoah may mean. They would use their ultimate powers to stop us from utilizing the holocaust as a critical tool of Israeli barbarism.

As one may predict by now, in order to censor historical research into Jewish history and a further understanding of current Israeli evil, political correctness is called into play. Political correctness is there to stop us from seeing and expressing the obvious. Political correctness is there to stop us realising that truth and historical truth in particular is an elastic notion. Yet, you may wonder what exactly political correctness is.

Political correctness, for those who failed to understand it, is basically a political stand that doesn’t allow political criticism. Political correctness is a stand that cannot be fully justified in rational, philosophical or political terms. It is implanted as a set of axioms at the heart of the liberal discourse. It operates as a self -imposed silencing regulator powered by self-inflicted guilt. Political correctness is in fact the crudest assault on freedom of speech, freedom of thought and human liberty, yet, manipulatively, it conveys itself as the ultimate embodiment of freedom.

Hence, I would argue as forcefully as I can that political correctness is the bitterest enemy of human liberty and those who regulate those social axioms and plant them in our discourse are the gravest enemies of humanity.

I would argue as forcefully as I can that since the Palestinians are facing Nazi-like State terrorism, the holocaust narrative and its meaning belongs to them at least as much as it belongs to the Jews or anyone else.

I would argue as forcefully as I can that if the Palestinians are indeed the last victims of Hitler, then the holocaust and its meaning do belong to them more than anyone else.

Bearing all that in mind, equating Gaza with Auschwitz is the right and only way forwards. Questioning the holocaust and its meaning is what liberation of humanity means today and in the near future."