Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lift Travel Restrictions on Palestinian Journalist

Sign Petition

To: Israeli and Palestinian Authorities

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.

Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was “barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons.” No further explanation was given.

His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.

There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.

We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived “security” risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.

Abbas, The Stooge, Videos (29 videos)

Real News Video: Iraqi clerics against US bases

"The Bush administration will have a hard time extracting a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) from the government in Baghdad – indefinitely stationing US military troops in the country just as in Japan and South Korea. Muqtada al-Sadr wants any agreement to be submitted to a national referendum. Grand Ayatollah Sistani has recently been visited by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Najaf. And he practically ordered Maliki to call a national referendum. Now Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri – the 5th grand Ayatollah of Iraq - has issued a fatwa against the agreement."

When the Kettle Calls the Pot Black

By Uri Avnery

"......A QUESTION presents itself: Why do these fatal scandals always break when a leader takes a step towards peace, or at least pretends to take a step towards peace?........

But we have here, I believe, a more profound phenomenon. The main thrust of the current establishment is towards occupation, expansion and war. Therefore, when a corruption scandal concerns a leader moving in that direction, the scandal is smothered in its infancy. But when the scandal involves a leader who is making gestures in the direction of peace, the scandal reaches huge proportions.......

LORD ACTON is famous for his dictum: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." In the same vein, we say that occupation corrupts, and total occupation corrupts totally. Ehud Olmert is the typical product of the cynicism and lawlessness that have infected this country in the 41 years of occupation. That does not mean that there was no corruption before. There certainly was.

In my view, the corruption was born together with the state, and not by accident. A lot has been said about the Naqba on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary. But one phenomenon that accompanied the Naqba is consistently ignored: the massive theft of abandoned Arab property.....

Some of them did reach government storerooms and were distributed to new immigrants. I have never seen a report on this. The huge majority were just stolen.

Generally, not by the combat soldiers who captured these places. They fought and moved on. But after them came the rear echelon, the transport and quartermaster troops, the cronies of people in power, who came with lorries and trucks and loaded up everything they came across.

That was no secret. We knew and talked about this at the time....... But the phenomenon was never investigated, and later on was smothered and suppressed......

The theft in broad daylight of the property abandoned by individuals already violated the ethos that was accepted before the foundation of the state. The denial and suppression made it worse. But the large-scale corruption, whose bitter fruit we see now in all its ugliness, started indeed with the occupation in 1967.

The occupation is corrupt, and it corrupts by its very nature. It denies all human rights, including the right to property. It fills the occupied territories with an atmosphere of general lawlessness. It enriches the occupier and everybody connected with him. It creates a climate of wanton cynicism, an environment of "anything goes". Such an atmosphere does not stop at the Green Line. It permeates the state of the conqueror.

That's where the rot set in."

Australian national radio discusses Palestine coverage in the media

Interview, ABC Radio Australia, 30 May 2008

Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah is our first guest as we examine visibility in the media and the preconceptions and stereotyping that tag some people as less than desirable and see others ignored altogether.

Antony Funnell: Today's program deals with presence and visibility in the media, and the way in which people are portrayed. Not all people of course. Those with power and money can actively craft or influence their media persona. But those with neither, well It's a different story altogether.......

Our first guest today is a journalist and commentator who's written articles for such publications as The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The Christian Science Monitor. And he has a degree from Princeton University.

Before I introduce him, I'd like you to try and get a picture of him in your head.

Got that?


OK, what if I were to tell you that he's a Palestinian journalist and that he's the co-founder of a website called The Electronic Intifada?

Now, did that change the picture? Without knowing any more about him, or his work, is he suddenly a different person?

Well Ali Abunimah is his name. He's a proponent of a peaceful solution to the troubles in Israel and the occupied territories, and he's in Australia at the moment speaking about the media and the Palestinian cause. I caught up with him earlier this week........"

The Jordan Valley's forgotten Palestinians

By Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 30 May 2008

"......The Jordan Valley is an area that despite taking up over a quarter of the West Bank, is rarely subjected to the same kind of critical scrutiny afforded to, say, Jerusalem or settlement blocs like Gush Etzion or Ariel. This despite the Jordan Valley being not only essential for any future Palestinian state -- with regards to territorial continuity, agriculture, water, and border access -- but also having been the target of intense colonization by successive Israeli governments which have not only declared its strategic significance but also the intention of eventual annexation........

While Israeli policies in the West Bank, such as the consolidation of colonies in the "Jerusalem Envelope" and the separation wall, not to mention desperate and besieged Gaza, rightly deserve attention, the Jordan Valley is in danger of being passed over. It's an omission that will primarily affect those Palestinians whose very presence in the Valley is under threat by unchecked Israeli colonization."

Lebanon: the Domino That Wouldn't Fall

A Middle East Standout


"......To a large extent, whether by domino effect or otherwise, the desired outcome has been achieved. The oil-rich Gulf countries, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and the countries of the Magreb have all, to a greater or lesser degree, been “toppled.” There are a few exceptions, such as Syria and maybe Yemen. The coveted prize however, was always Lebanon. The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia – through their proxies in the ruling March 14 Coalition – have long sought to bring it into the fold.

But as the events of May demonstrated, it was a prize not to be had......"

Amy Goodman Talks to Robert Scheer about ‘The Pornography of Power’

"“Democracy Now!” host Amy Goodman sat down with Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer on Friday to discuss his new book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.” Watch as Scheer explains the metaphor behind the title, how the U.S. government spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined, and how some key players in Washington took 9/11 as a “license to steal.”....."

Follow this link to watch the interview in full.

The Israeli Wehrmacht

From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"I realize that comparing Israel with Nazi Germany makes many people angry. However, it is perfectly true that when Israel thinks, behaves and acts as Nazi Germany did, Israel becomes deserving of and qualified for the ultimate comparison.

And Israel has been and is behaving and acting very much as Nazi Germany did prior to and during the Second World War. I bet this is not news for all those who have been following up Israeli behavior against the Palestinians (and other peoples of the Middle East) ever since Zionism seized Palestine from its native inhabitants sixty years ago.

Let us borrow some examples from the outrage that is happening right now before our eyes in the Gaza Strip where Israel is effectively carrying out slow-motion genocide against the enclave’s 1.5 million Palestinians......"

Atwan: The Arab nation and its leaders are also complicit in the Israeli siege

"LONDON, (PIC)-- Journalist Abdelbari Atwan stated Saturday that the international community is not the only accomplice in the starvation and humiliation of one and a half million people in Gaza, but also the Arab leaders, along with three hundred million Arab citizens, who are involved because of their silence towards the conspiracies woven against the Palestinian people.

In an opening article, Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, recalled that there are no food, fuel and medicines in the Gaza Strip, only a slow death encroaching upon its people who are steadfast in the face of the most brutal Nazi occupation in modern history.

"We wish Arab leaders especially Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak would read the statements made by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel laureate, at the conclusion of his fact-finding tour in the Gaza Strip in which he condemned the situation there as a 'crime against humanity' and a 'disgrace to the international community' for its complicity in this crime," the journalist underlined.

He warned that there could be a massive massacre ahead in the Gaza Strip if the wise men in the Egyptian government did not hasten to defuse the crisis before the occurrence of a big explosion.
Atwan highlighted that the one who violates the dignity and sovereignty of Egypt is not the victimized people in Gaza as some are trying to allege, but those who condone the Nazi starvation and humiliation of this people who confront the Nation's joint enemy and fight for the restoration of the Islamic holy places."

لسنى خون ولكننا لسنى وطنين

"لأن القدر لا يثق بالمتفائلين , لذلك فهو يمتحننا "المتفائلين" بأستمرار جرعات من اللون الاسود
حذف فلمي على اليوتيوب بينما أستعد لتنزيل فلم جديد
و لاسف فأنا على الأقل مؤقتا ممنوع من أستعمال اليوتيوب
أسف يا غزة ....
ما تبقى من ذاتي المتفائلة بقي صامدا أمام ذاتي السوداء
منشغلا كل منهما في جدلها السيريالي حول الأبيض و الأسود
ولكن و كما أسلفنا الذكر فأن جرعة اللون الأسود اليومي تماما مثل التدخين ضارة و لكنها ضرورية
و صلتني رصاصة الرحمة على بقايا تفاؤلي أو بالأحرى رصاصتان
و صلتني رسالتين مكررتين من أحد أصدقاء المدونة تدعواني للأسلام !!!!
كنت أتمنى أن تكون أحدهما على الأقل عن صحتي
فقد أثبتت الهوية على الاقل أني مسلم و لكنها لم تثبت أن صحتي بخير
عندنا كل شيئ متقلب فربما أقفل مدونتي و ابدأ بالتطبيل غدا للمانحين أو أقف ان سنحت لي الفرصة في طابور مؤسسة فورد بأنتظار منحة أو رحلة لأروبا
ولكن الاكيد أن ذاتي اليسارية لن تعود للحياة كما كانت
هنالك العديد من الرفاق تحولوا و تلونوا فأحمد قعبور مثلا أصبح مغني في أسطول سعد الحريري السعودي الأعلامي
نعم السعودية التي أعتبرت أن المرأة عورة و أن اليسارية بكافة ألوانها و أشكالها كفر, ربما أخطأت عندما عبرت عن أحلامي الجنسية للمراة و لكني من الناحية العملية أحترمها كأنسانة أعارض أن يكون لها يومها لاننا اذا أردنا أن ننسى شيئا جعلنا له ذكرى
الرفيق أحمد قعبور يغني للسعودية !! "يحب الحياة "
سميح شقير يغني في رام الله بدعم من مؤسسة فورد
ناصر اللحام يقيم امبراطوريته الأعلامية بأموال امريكية و برعاية فتحاوية وهو بالمناسبة يشبه بسام أبو شريف أحد مؤسسي الشعبية الذي أصبح في ما بعد نائب أبو عمار
و غيرهم الكثير منا و منهم
و الباقي منا أحترف النسيان و منا من تعلم الصلاة


من أسماء المرحلة التي أنتقلت ما بين شقي الجرح عباس زكي الذي يلعب في الفريقان
عباس زكي الفتحاوي الفلسطيني تاجر مخيم نهر البارد اللبناني , نذكره لنؤكد أن الجرح واحد و أن الحريري اللبناني لا يختلف كثيرا عن دحلان الفلسطيني ,و أن الرفيق ناصر اللحام لا يختلف عن الرفيق أحمد قعبور

Mohammed Omer Wins Martha Gellhorn Journalism Award

Rafah Today

"The 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism has been awarded to Washington Report correspondent Mohammed Omer, author of the Washington Report's monthly feature, Gaza on the Ground. He shares the prestigious award with independent American journalist Dahr Jamail, who for several years has been filing unembedded reports from Iraq (and whose articles have also appeared in the Washington Report). As the award announcement explained, "Working alone in extremely difficult and often dangerous circumstances, they have reported unpalatable truths validated by powerful facts that expose establishment propaganda, or official drivel", as Martha Gellhorn called it.

Gellhorn, regarded as one of the most distinguished journalists of the 20th century, traveled the globe and often reported from deep within zones of conflict. The Gellhorn Prize committee, Alexander Matthews, James Fox, Cynthia Kee, John Hatt, Jeremy Harding and John Pilger�chose Omer and Jamail from a record number of entries from the British press and abroad.

Mohammed Omer reports on life in the besieged Gaza Strip, where he maintains the web site Rafah Today. A resident of Gaza's Rafah refugee camp near the border with Egypt, he and his family have been affected by Israeli policies and current events every bit as much as the people about whom he reports. But as he explained in his recent article An Award for the Voiceless in Gaza, "My ambition was to get the truth out, not as pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, but as an independent voice and witness."

In 2006 the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs sponsored a nationwide tour by Omer. He hopes to be able to leave Gaza this week for speaking engagements in Scandinavia, Greece and the Netherlands�and to receive the Gellhorn Prize at the June 16 awards ceremony in London. He previously was named the first recipient of the New America Media's Best Youth Voice award."

Fairytales to Endear The Pharaoh to USrael....

Egyptian police: Two weapons cache meant for Gaza found in Sinai

"Egyptian police found two weapons caches buried in two different districts of Sinai Peninsula, a police officer said Saturday.

The official said the first cache contained boxes of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft missiles, all hidden in 27 plastic sacks near al-Raouda village, some 100 kilometers west of the border with the Gaza Strip.

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media, added that another cache was discovered Saturday in el-Massoura, a village about 2.5 miles west of the border with Gaza, containing about 100 kilograms of explosives.

He pointed out that explosives were uncovered following a tip from local Bedouins, adding that an investigation was under way to find out who had buried them. The weapons were to be smuggled into the neighboring Gaza Strip, the official added [How did he know that?]......."

McClellan and the Media 'Enablers'

By Jeff Cohen
May 31, 2008

"Editor’s Note: Scott McClellan’s new book may be welcome in that it corroborates many claims from George W. Bush’s critics. But it’s still galling that so many prominent journalists who bowed before Bush’s bullying in 2002-03 have only seen their careers flourish.
In this guest essay, media critic Jeff Cohen revisits the journalistic cowardice before the Iraq invasion even though many media stars would prefer Americans not remember:

No sooner had Bush’s ex-press secretary (now author) Scott McClellan accused President Bush and his other former collaborators of misleading our country into Iraq than the squeals of protest turned into a mighty roar.

I’m not talking about the vitriol directed at him by former White House colleagues like Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer. I’m talking about McClellan’s other erstwhile war collaborators: the movers and shakers in corporate media......

'We're Going to Own That Country'

Speaking of religious, it wasn’t until two days ago that retired NBC warhorse Tom Brokaw was able to admit on-air that Bush’s push toward invasion was “more theology than anything else.”

On day one of the war, it was anchor Brokaw who turned to an Admiral and declared, “One of the things that we don’t want to do is destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we’re going to own that country.”

Asked this week about the charge that media transmitted war propaganda, Brokaw blamed the White House and its “unbelievable ability to control the flow of information at any time, but especially during the time that they’re preparing to go to war.”

This is an old canard: The worst censors pre-war were not governments, but major outlets that chose to exclude and smear dissenting experts......"

A One-state Solution for Palestinians and Israelis

By Ghada Karmi
Palestine Chronicle

".....The two-state approach is flawed on two major counts. First, Israel's extensive colonization of the territories it seized in the 1967 war has made the creation of a Palestinian state there impossible. Israel was offering nothing more than "a mini-state of cantons," as Palestinian Authority negotiators recently complained......

This leads to the second flaw: The two-state solution reflects only Israeli interests. It proposes to partition historic Palestine – an area that includes present-day Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem – massively and inequitably in favor of Israel as a Jewish state.....

A different approach that puts the principles of equity and sharing above dominance and oppression is needed: a one-state solution. In such a state, no Jewish settler would have to move and no Palestinian would be under occupation. Resources could be shared, rather than hoarded by Israel. Jerusalem could be a city for both. Above all, the dispossessed Palestinians could finally return home.

Indulging Israel is a dangerous folly that postpones solution. It harms Palestinians, the region, and long-term Western interests. It even harms Israelis, who are less secure in Israel than anywhere else. Palestinian and Arab support for the two-state proposal only reflects resignation to Israel's superior power and fear of US reprisal, not conviction. The two-state proposal is unstable and cannot replace a durable solution based on equity, justice, and dignity.

A decade ago, the unitary state idea was ridiculed. Today, as the two-state solution recedes, a one-state solution is the stuff of mainstream discussion. Now it must become mainstream policy, too."

Horrors we have no choice but to forget

Only a poet could come up with the idea of a poem that would clear amnesia

By Robert Fisk

"I have a clear memory of a terrible crime that was committed in southern Lebanon in 1978. Israeli soldiers, landing at night on the beach near Sarafand – the city of Sarepta in antiquity – were looking for "terrorists" and opened fire on a car load of female Palestinian refugees.

It took the Israelis a day before they admitted shooting at the car with an anti-tank weapons, by which time I had watched civil defence workers pulling the dead women from the vehicle, their faces slopping off on to the road, an AP correspondent holding his hands to his face in shock, leaning against an ambulance, crying "Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ. I suppose all this is because of what Hitler did to the Jews." Save for his remark, however, all I remember is silence. As if the whole scene was muted, sound smothered by the dead.

Yet I was running a tape recorder for part of the time, and when I listened to the old tape again a few days ago, I could hear many women, weeping, cars passing, honking horns above the shrieks of grief. My own original notes state, in my handwriting, that "a throng of women stood crying and wailing". Yet all I remember now is silence. A child was on a stretcher, cut in half, a girl in the back seat of the car, curled in death into the arms of an older woman. But silence.

I was reminded of all this by an especially powerful interview conducted at Cannes with the Israeli director Ari Folman, who has made a remarkable film – Waltz with Bashir – about Israel's later, 1982 invasion of Lebanon and about the "collective amnesia" of the soldiers who participated in this hopeless adventure.

Bashir Gemayel was the name of Israel's favourite Christian Maronite militia leader who was elected president but almost immediately assassinated. It's an animated film – a film of cartoons, if you like – because Folman is trying to fill in the empty space which the war occupies in his mind. Because he can't remember it.

"I never talked about my army service," Folman said. "I got on with my life without talking about it, without thinking about it. It was like something I didn't want to be connected with whatsoever." In one astonishing scene, Israeli soldiers come ashore in Lebanon – only to find that there is no one there. They are entering an empty country, washed clean of memory.

Alas, Lebanon was not empty; more than 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, almost all civilians, died in that terrible war, and at the end of Folman's movie, the animation turns to reality with photographs of some of the 1,700 Palestinian dead of the Sabra and Chatila massacre, murdered by Israel's Phalangist allies while the Israelis watched from high-rise buildings. It is Folman's dream that this film should be shown in an Arab country – given the dotage and stupidity of most Arab ministers, that is surely a hope that will not be realised – but it did almost win the Palme d'Or at Cannes......"

Richard Ingrams' Week: The Archbishop puts our 'envoy' to shame in Gaza

The Independent

"After spending three days in Gaza, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 76, launched a fierce attack on the international community for its "silence and complicity" over the long Israeli blockade of that area. "The entire situation is abominable," he thundered.

Tutu's comments came in the wake of a similar speech by 83-year-old former US president Jimmy Carter, appearing this week at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. Carter has also been to Gaza and spoken to the Hamas leadership. He famously compared the situation there to that of apartheid in South Africa, remarks that earned him predictable accusations of anti-Semitism from the Israel lobby in America.

These two distinguished oldies deserve credit not just for their outspokenness but for actually visiting Gaza to see the situation there for themselves. But they might also help to raise the question of Tony Blair's failure to make the same journey.......

Whatever the explanation, Blair's reluctance to make any meaningful intervention renders his presence in Jerusalem completely pointless. The idea that with his record as Bush's poodle he might be able to bring peace to the Middle East was, in any case, always farfetched. But it must be even more so if he can't even be bothered to go into Gaza. Better for him now to devote his efforts to bringing reconciliation to the world's great religions. Another crusade for which he is quite ill-fitted but one less likely to prolong hardship."

Ending living reactively

The tasks of Arab society predate the Nakba and at issue is Arab will

A Good Piece

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

"....."Independence day" is one of those civil holidays intended to forge the new Israeli secular/ religious national faith, which is founded on a creed that fuses elements of biblical mythology, modern nationalist values, colonialist ethics and the legends of the founding fathers with militarism. It is immeasurably more extravagant than any equivalent Arab independence day celebration, which, in itself, has various ramifications on the question of the legitimacy of political entities in public eyes. The Israeli celebrations are popular events, not just official state occasions......

Naturally, the magnitude of human suffering inflicted upon the Palestinian people through the occupation and theft of their land, flight from terror, and then further occupation of their land, constitutes a very important dimension of the Nakba, especially in view of the fact that it is still ongoing without a solution in sight. However, the historico-political projections of the Nakba on the Arab world and peoples as a whole are of a larger and different order. The occupation of Palestine and the creation of Israel is the core complex of modern Arab history. The wound is open and inflamed, and it remains an endless font of pretexts for various nihilistic and rejectionist ideologies, on the one hand, and for capitulation on the other. It is impossible to understand enraged Arab consciousness without understanding the place of the Palestinian Nakba in it. Above all, the Nakba is the most salient embodiment of fragmentation, discord and other forces that have obstructed Arab unity......

The Arabs pursued Arab nationalism and then democracy not so much as valid political philosophies in their own right but as ideological instruments for confronting the realities created by the Nakba in 1948 and, subsequently, by the defeat in June 1967.....

It never occurred to the Arabs that Israel developed its nationalist ideology not as a weapon to wield against the Arabs but because that was the only way to forge a modern state. This was the aim of the Zionist movement. The state was simultaneously an aim and a means; it was a process of nation building. It escaped the Arabs too that Israel did not plump for the rule of law and democratic processes as its internal means of government because these were the best tools to use against the Arabs. It went the democratic route because this political-cultural mode for the management of the relationship between the individual and society and the state was the one that the political and intellectual elite believed would best produce the type of people and the type of society that would best serve their state, this being the state for Jews. The Arabs had nothing to do with this decision.....

The Arabs should ask themselves what Arab nationalism and the process of nation building, democracy and the rule of law, human dignity and citizenship mean in their own right. They should simultaneously contemplate the meanings of tribalism, family dynasties and corruption and how all these conflict with modernism and modernisation, with contemporary institutionalised government and the principle of the right person for the right job, and with a decision-making process founded upon properly relevant considerations. These are questions we should ask ourselves, not as derivatives of the Arab-Israeli conflict or as causes of or answers to the Nakba, but as questions that need to be asked for their own sake and for our own sake. Even if there is a historical connection between such questions and the Nakba, we must structurally separate the two so as to alter our functional relationship with them. There is no necessary link between the questions regarding modernism and the will to resist occupation and reject Israel, and to insist upon one is to convert such questions into political and ideological instruments.....

In like manner, the attempt to understand the direct concrete causes of the Nakba does not necessarily demand all that probing and analysis of the modernity gap between the Zionist movement and Arab societies. The Arabs could have nipped the Zionist project in the bud if they had had the political will. It would therefore be more appropriate to ask whether the Arab countries and peoples, as their societies stood at the time, could have fought better in 1948 and 1967 if they had had the political will. After all, were not these the same countries and peoples that actually did fight better in the War of Attrition in 1968-1969, in the 1973 War, and in 2000 and 2006? They fought better in those years without taking into account the remarks and recommendations of analysts and commentaries pertaining to structural and societal impediments and general backwardness. They did not fight well in 1948 because the political will did not exist and in 1967 they did not have the opportunity to put their will to the test. In fact, in 1948, the Arab regimes were fighting more against each other than against the Zionist state.

Modernisation and building the institutions of a modern state are important both as a goal and as a means to an end. Defeat was not inevitable because of the condition of Arab society at the time. Countries and peoples more backwards than the Arabs were then long since succeeded in their drives to resist colonial occupation and win national liberation. The Zionist project before 1967 was not an irrevocable guaranteed success. If the Arabs had had the will, they could have accomplished much. In this sense, the Arab question is the crux of the Palestinian question and not the reverse."

Back to before

Lebanon's sigh of relief was short-lived, but why

By Hanady Salman
Al-Ahram Weekly

".....Why then, on Monday, was Hassan Nasrallah angry in the speech he gave to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Lebanon's liberation? Instead of the expected calm tone and calls for reconciliation, he gave a speech in which warnings were sent in more than one direction. Why? No one yet has the answer.

The next day, the 14 Marsh group went back to the "old" political discourse. Then they decided, after close consultations with Riyadh, to nominate Fouad Siniora to head the government, again.

People were expecting Saad Hariri to be nominated as a sign of real partnership between the different parties. The nomination of Siniora was a signal in the wrong direction.

On Wednesday, Damascus and Riyadh went back to mutual accusations, the Saudis and the emirates were attacking the Iranians. The Qataris, who had just got home after touring the region to thank all the parties concerned for making the Lebanon deal possible, are probably wondering today whether they were too fast in declaring that the region could sort out its own problems when given a chance to do so.

So what is it that happened between Sunday 25 May at 5pm (the election of the president) and Monday 26 May at 6pm (Nasrallah's speech) that changed things so dramatically? What is it that made the French, who had warmly supported the Doha agreement, take a step back on Wednesday and suddenly decide it needed to be fine-tuned?

Could it be that the 14th of Marchpeope gave the opposition in Doha what they had asked for, implying that they agree on a settlement, and then when they guaranteed the opposition was out of the streets, they went back to "business as usual", waiting to see how the Saudi-Syrian affair was going to develop........"

أكاديمي أميركي: اللوبي الإسرائيلي يضر إسرائيل وأميركا

Contributed by Fatima

"أكد أستاذ السياسة الدولية الأميركي بجامعة هارفارد ستيفن والت إن السياسات التي ينتهجها اللوبي الإسرائيلي في الضغط على الإدارة الأميركية تضر بمصالح إسرائيل قبل أن تضر أميركا ذاتها، مشيرا إلى أنها أفضت لـ"تكريس الصراع، وتغذية الإرهاب، وجعل الفلسطينيين أكثر راديكالية".

واستبعد في محاضرة نظمتها مؤسسة هيكل للصحافة مساء الخميس بالجامعة الأميركية بالقاهرة أن يكون لفوز المرشح الديمقراطي باراك أوباما بمنصب الرئاسة تأثير على العلاقات الأميركية الإسرائيلية.

وأوضح بالقول إن كل الرؤساء الأميركيين ينتقدون التوسع الاستيطاني لكن لم يقم أحد منهم بممارسة أي ضغط يذكر.

تجدر الإشارة إلى أن الدكتور ستيفن والت شارك في تأليف الكتاب المثير للجدل عن "اللوبي الإسرائيلي والسياسة الخارجية الأميركية" الصادر في 2007 وكذلك هو صاحب النظرية السياسية الشهيرة "توازن التهديد".

وحمّل الدكتور والت اللوبي الإسرائيلي مسؤولية الدعم الأميركي "غير المشروط" لإسرائيل، لأنه لا يوجد رئيس يريد أن يتحمل "التكلفة السياسية للضغط على إسرائيل".

وقال إن تبرير ذلك الدعم بأن إسرائيل تمثل فائدة إستراتيجية هامة للولايات المتحدة لم يعد مقبولا بعد انتهاء الحرب الباردة، كما رفض تبرير الدعم بأن إسرائيل ديمقراطية، لأن "هناك العديد من الديمقراطيات التي لا تحصل على نفس الدعم من أميركا".

Fischer: US, Israel will attack Iran

"Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer says Israel is planning to attack Iran in the near future over its nuclear program.

He wrote a piece that appeared in today's Daily Star, an English-language Lebanese newspaper, arguing that President Bush's recent visit to the Middle East was a precursor to a war against Iran.

"The Middle East is drifting toward a new great confrontation in 2008. Iran must understand that without a diplomatic solution in the coming months, a dangerous military conflict is very likely to erupt. It is high time for serious negotiations to begin," he said.

Fischer said Bush's speech during his address to the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, this month indicated a coming Israeli-US attack on Iran's nuclear program.

"He (Bush) seemed to be planning, together with Israel, to end the Iranian nuclear program -- and to do so by military, rather than by diplomatic, means.... Although it is acknowledged in Israel that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would involve grave and hard-to-assess risks, the choice between acceptance of a nuclear Iran and an attempt at its military destruction, with all the attendant consequences, is clear. Israel won't stand by and wait for matters to take their course," Fischer said.

Fischer was German's top diplomat from 1998 to 2005 and is a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. "

Link to original opinion piece by Joschka Fischer:

As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon

McClellan: Bush's Iran rhetoric serious

Press TV

"Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan says the Bush administration's war rhetoric against Iran should be taken 'very seriously'.

In a Friday interview with MSNBC, McClellan said the Bush administration intends to wage war on Iran by applying the same 'permanent campaign' which manipulated the 'public opinion to the president's advantage' and led to Iraq's invasion.

"They are still in this permanent campaign mode. They haven't backed away from that. … I think that you would need to take [the administration's] comments [on Iran] very seriously and be skeptical," he said.

Washington's longstanding attempts to demonize Iran are aimed at preparing the World for another war in the already volatile Middle East.

The hawkish US rhetoric and recent military build-up in the Persian Gulf is reminiscent of the preparations for other US wars, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

Iran Urges Iraqis to Resist US Military Pact


"30/05/2008 Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has urged Iraqis to resist a pact under discussion to extend the US occupation troop presence there beyond 2008, the official IRNA news agency reported on Friday.

"The Iraqi nation should courageously resist the US security pact just as they have so far resisted the occupiers," Larijani said in a speech in the religious city of Qom on Thursday.

"The occupiers' withdrawal is the only way to implementing security in Iraq," he said, describing the military agreement as a "challenge threatening the Iraqi people and government."
Meanwhile, a senior Iraqi official has said that negotiations between the US and Iraqi government over a security agreement to extend US troops presence in Iraq beyond 2008 has hit snag.......

Qandil said: "What is important at this stage is discussion over the principles and codes determining the details of the agreement." "These principles include respect to the Iraqi government's sovereignty, safeguarding the country's independence, removing the country from the UN charter's Chapter Seven, attempts to end the foreigners' presence in the country and taking from them the entire responsibility for establishing security, transparency regarding the items of the agreement, and making it public for the people's knowledge," he said.

The Iraqi official said that "rejecting the idea of establishing any US military base in the country is one of the crucial conditions of the agreement which has been defined by the Iraqi National Security Council, and the US forces continue their presence in the country as long as the Iraqi forces need them in their security missions."

Qandil also said: "All that has been said and raised about the agreement are merely the media comments and viewpoints; nothing has been formally released of the agreement yet; the agreement is now a draft and can be modified or changed." The advisor to the Iraqi vice president further said: "Once the agreement is signed, it would be decided on by the Iraqi parliament and political parties and, finally, it would be put to a plebiscite." Qandil also said that his country will never be used for launching attacks against other countries, "for this would be against the Iraqi Constitutions.""

الانفجار القادم من غزة

الانفجار القادم من غزة

عبد الباري عطوان

"نتمني ان يقرأ الزعماء العرب، والرئيس المصري حسني مبارك علي وجه التحديد، التصريحات التي ادلي بها الأسقف الجنوب افريقي ديزموند توتو الفائز بجائزة نوبل للسلام اثناء ختام جولة تفقد الحقائق في قطاع غزة، ووصف الاوضاع فيها بانها جريمة ضد الانسانية، وعار علي المجتمع الدولي المتواطيء مع هذه الجريمة.المجتمع الدولي ليس وحده المتواطئ مع جريمة قتل مليون ونصف المليون انسان جوعا وإذلالا، وانما ايضا القادة العرب جميعا، ومعهم ثلاثمئة مليون مواطن عربي يشاركون في مؤامرة الصمت هذه، ولا يحركون ساكنا.
قطاع غزة بلا طعام ولا وقود، ولا بضائع ولا مستشفيات ولا ادوية، فقط موت بطيء يزحف علي ابنائه الصابرين الصامدين في وجه اشرس استعمار نازي في التاريخ الحديث.

لا نستغرب ان يتواطأ الرئيس بوش مع اسرائيل وجرائمها، فهو الرئيس الاكثر مساندة لها فيولكن ما نستغربه هو تواطؤ الزعماء العرب، وقادة محور الاعتدال علي وجه الخصوص، الذين نصبوا من انفسهم مدافعين عن العرب السنة في المنطقة.
المحاصرون في قطاع غزة انتظروا اكثر من اربعة اشهر تنفيذ الحكومة المصرية لوعودها بفتح المعبر، واكمال اتصالاتها مع الطرف الاسرائيلي، ولكنها لم تفعل شيئا، وصعّدت تهديداتها وتحذيراتها، وعززت من اعداد قواتها الامنية في الجانب المصري من المعبر، وامرت هؤلاء باطلاق النار تحت عنوان حماية السيادة المصرية ومنع انتهاكها من الفلسطينيين.
اللواء عمر سليمان رئيس جهاز الاستخبارات المصري المكلف بالملف الفلسطيني، تعهد لوفد من حركة حماس بفتح معبر رفح من جانب مصر في حال رفض الحكومة الاسرائيلية للوساطة المصرية في التهدئة. ممثلو حركة المقاومة الفلسطينية في القطاع قبلوا بالوساطة المصرية وبنودها كاملة من اجل انجاحها، بما في ذلك البند المتعلق بوقف اطلاق الصواريخ، وحتي هذه اللحظة لم تقدم الحكومة المصرية علي اي اجراء بشأن فتح المعبر، والسماح للمعتقلين في القطاع بالحصول علي حاجاتهم الانسانية الأبسط من الغذاء والدواء.
نتمني ان تقدم الحكومة المصرية علي تنفيذ وعودها بفتح معبر رفح، وتجنب نفسها، والشعب المصري، والأمة العربية بأسرها كارثة كبيرة نراها واقعة لا محالة في حال استمرار الاغلاق. فاسود غزة عقدوا العزم علي كسر اقفاص الجوع والحصار مرة اخري، وباتت تحضيراتهم للزحف الكبير، علي وشك الاكتمال.
نحن امام مجزرة كبيرة ولكنها قد تكون علي ايدي الاشقاء، وبين الاشقاء، وهنا تكمن المصيبة الكبري التي لا يتمناها او يريدها احد. والامر مناط بحكمة العقلاء في الحكومة المصرية، للتحرك بسرعة ونزع فتيل الأزمة، قبل حدوث الانفجار الكبير

A Great Video (5-Star Rating): American Radical

Contributed by v

""American Radical" is a probing documentary about the life and work of American academic Norman Finkelstein. A son of holocaust survivors and ardent critic of Israel's policies towards Palestinians, Finkelstein has been the center of many controversies up to very recently when he was denied tenure at Depaul University.The film interviews critics and supporters of Dr.Finkelstein."

Friday, May 30, 2008

Israeli Fire Wounds Six Pal. at Gaza Border Protest


"Six Palestinians were wounded on Friday when Israeli occupation troops opened fire on demonstrators in the Gaza Strip as they neared the border fence, medics in the besieged territory said.

Thousands of people joined the demonstration called by Hamas to demand that Israel lift its crippling blockade of the impoverished enclave. The protesters marched from the cities of Rafah and Khan Yunes in southern Gaza towards the Sufa border crossing, waving banners calling for the end of the "Holocaust" they say Israel is committing in Gaza.

They also chanted praise for Hamas, the Islamic movement that seized control of the Strip last June. Gaza emergency services said six people were wounded when Israeli occupation forces fired on the protesters who approached the frontier fence.

An Israeli military spokesman said occupation forces would "operate in all strength to prevent anybody from damaging the fence or the crossing or entering" the country. "

Thoughts Are Free, Entry Is Not

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

By Joharah Baker
Palestine Chronicle

".....Norman Finkelstein is probably the least surprised of us all, having learned early on that his positions would come with a high price. Last year, Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago after his positions regarding the Holocaust came under attack by faculty members, who said they were “inconsistent with DePaul’s values.”

In 2000, Finkelstein published a book entitled “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish Suffering” in which he said Jewish activists, including the well-known Elie Wesiel were “exploiting the memory of the Holocaust as an “ideological weapon,” so that Israel, “one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, [can] cast itself as a victim state” in order to garner "immunity to criticism.”

Subsequently, in his 2005 book, “Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history”, Finkelstein basically charges Israel with exploiting anti-Semitism to steer international criticism away from it. The book also counters claims made in “The Case for Israel” by Alan Dershowitz, on Israel’s human rights record, recounting the daily practices of the occupation and the multitude of human rights violations its carries out against Palestinians.

No doubt, Israel was looking for an excuse to keep this man out of Israel and the Palestinian territories. The truth about the Palestinians is hardly coveted, especially since the majority of the Israeli public has already swallowed the bulk of Israel’s propaganda. In this case, Hizballah was the perfect scapegoat and one which Israel’s public would be sure to accept. While there may be a small minority of politically-aware Israelis who question Israel’s policies against the Palestinians, it is doubtful that many will show sympathy to Hizballah or those who recognize it.

Even Israeli Jews are not immune to Israel’s discriminatory policies if they are perceived as threatening. The best case in point is Ilan Pappe. Author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” among other books, Pappe has caused a major stir within Israeli society, given that he recounts Israeli policy in 1948 and the massacres perpetrated by Jewish gangs against Palestinians. He is one of the few Israelis who support the right of return for Palestinian refugees, something all Israeli governments and the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people adamantly refuse to recognize. This has hardly made him popular among Israelis, with some hardliners even calling him a “traitor” and the “the most hated Israeli in Israel.”

The last straw for Pappe was in 2007 after expressing his support for the academic boycott of Israel. At the time, he was a political science professor at the University of Haifa and justified his position by saying the boycott would be the best means to pressure Israel into ending the “worst occupation in recent history.” This did not go down well with the university’s administration and culminated in the university president asking Pappe to resign......."

John Hagee's Not-So-Bright Vision

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"The recent uproar surrounding Pastor John Hagee is only remarkable in the sense that it took so long in coming. The fundamentalist pastor of the 19,000-member Cornerstone "mega-church" in San Antonio, Texas has long shown himself to be not just anti-Semitic, but also anti-Islamic and anti-Catholic.

It doesn't take much probing to find ample examples of racism, bigotry and justification of violent tragedy in the words of the man once described by Senator Joe Lieberman as 'Ish Elokim' — 'Man of God'.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain severed his ties with the pastor after the recent publicising of a sermon in which Hagee seemed to rationalise the Holocaust. Hagee's suggested that the Holocaust fulfilled biblical prophecies because it 'enabled' the return of Jews to Palestine. According to this logic, Hitler was doing God's work......

Hagee was allowed to foment hateful, dark views of Muslims, Catholics, and others, while still being welcomed into the fold of politicians and statesmen. He was only criticised when his madness touched on the Holocaust. But isn't it true that his book and speeches help promote a regional Holocaust in the Middle East, one which would actually encompass numerous nations? Shouldn't the vow of 'never again' include the many millions that Hagee wants to see incinerated in his quest for Armageddon?

Hagee is not just an anti-Semite; his views are largely anti-human. Still, he is an invaluable asset to a select few who have managed to streamline the beliefs of millions of people into active political and financial advocacy for Israel. As far as Israel is concerned, Hagee is and will always be an Ish Elokim — perhaps until another war is realised. "

Too Little, Too Late...

By Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues

".....So this proverb is used when someone comes along with either an admission, an apology, or to rectify some wrong after colossal damage has been inflicted...
So you tell the person in Iraqi "What's the use, after the destruction of Basra?!"

In the same vein, the latest admissions from Mc Lellan ex-press spokesman for the White House and from other media voices like this CNN reporter, who both finally admitted that their reporting on Iraq, was "less than candid". In other words they fucking lied...The CNN reporter added that they were "forced" to report in a particular fashion that was not detrimental to your government's image.

Excuse me, but am I supposed to feel better now or what ?

For 5 fucking years, no for 18 years, you've been buying the lies and suddenly you admit that it was "less than candid" and am supposed to feel OK with it ?

Like what do you expect me to do? Rush and embrace you for your "honesty"? Or maybe you expect me to forget our ruined lives and our filled to the brim graves ?

Or maybe being the fucking hypocrites that you are, you expect me to say "well after all, there are some good people left in America. It's not their fault really, they were forced..."

Oh, the bullshit! Oh, your bullshit that knows no limits. Oh, you compulsive liars, bad faith, deceitful, dishonest lot !

You did the same thing in Vietnam. After over 10 years of murder and mayhem, you took to the streets with your flowers and peace signs and cried about "poor" Vietnam.

It took you 10 fucking years. And you only moved your big fat asses after your brave boys came back in body bags and you could not stop the counting.

All throughout the 10 years, the pictures of the napalm burned kids did not move you, oh no they did were too busy singing in Woodstock thinking you're so fucking cool...when you were and are nothing but a screwed up bunch of mental retards and morons...

And do you think you learned anything ? Nothing. You learned nothing and you will never learn. You only learn the hard way, when you get your asses kicked big time and people start talking your language. This is when you open those rotten ears of yours and listen.

The problem with you people and I've experienced over and over, you mistake the words and demeanor of basic human civility for weakness. You know nothing about civility or civilization, you understand only one language - violence. Because that is the only language you are proficient at.

And I being a "good Muslim", I follow the saying of our Prophet who said "talk to people in the language they understand".

So you come now and tell us that the whole thing was dishonest? "After Kharab Al-Basra"? Ya awlad al Kalb - sons of dogs. But dogs are too noble to be compared to you. You are less than dogs. Less than animals. Less...much less. You are scum and vermin. God, I fucking hate your hypocrisy ya awlad al sharmoota - you sons of whores.

You sons of a thousand whores, will your fucking Mc Lellan or your CNN marry the 3 million widows ? Or feed the 5 million orphans ? or bring back the 5 million refugees home ? Or heal our cancer patients from your criminal weapons of mass destruction? Or grow a limb and an eye back from your bombs? Or maybe your admission will revive the dead ? Or restore our 7'000 years old archaeological sites, homes, buildings, fields, infrastructure, electricity and water? Or maybe you short lived fake, phony meaculpa will disarm the sectarian pathological turbaned shits who are ruling us now-thanks to you ?

I am too angry to finish this post...and there is nothing left to bastards. I hate your fucking guts all of you."

British academic union (UCU) overwhelmingly passes all three pro-Palestinian motions

British academic union

"The final wording of the motions passed ...

25 - Composite: Palestine and the occupation University of Brighton -
Eastbourne, University of Brighton - Grand Parade, University of East London Docklands, National Executive Committee

Congress notes the

1. continuation of illegal settlement, killing of civilians and the impossibility of civil life, including education
2. humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel and the EU
3. apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy
4. legal attempts to prevent UCU debating boycott of Israeli academic institutions; and legal advice that such debates are lawful Congress affirms that
5. criticism of Israel or Israeli policy are not, as such, anti-semitic;
6. pursuit and dissemination of knowledge are not uniquely immune from their moral and political consequences;

Congress resolves that

7. colleagues be asked to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating;
8. UCU widely disseminate the personal testimonies of UCU and PFUUPE delegations to Palestine and the UK, respectively;
9. the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions;
10. UCU facilitate and encourage twinning arrangements and other direct solidarity with Palestinian institutions;
11. Ariel College, an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank, be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.


26 - Gaza emergency University College London
Congress notes

1. The humanitarian catastrophe that developed in Gaza in March 2008, following a long siege and military bombardment, during which over 100 people died.
2. The call by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) to international trade unions to put pressure on their own governments to take action to stop the escalation of violence and relieve the humanitarian crisis.
3. Students and academics have been among those trapped in Gaza.

Congress resolves:

To organise a fact-finding delegation to Gaza after the bombing stops and to send delegates on future TUC-sponsored visits.


27 - Palestine National Executive Committee Congress notes the report of the Trade Union Delegation to Palestine in January 2008, facilitated by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in which 4 representatives of UCU took part.

Congress notes that the delegation was generously hosted in Nablus by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions.

Congress deplores the failure of the Israeli Histadrut to pay the approximately 2.5 million Euros owed to the PGFTU since 1995, representing 50% of the official organisational dues of Palestinian workers working in Israel, under the terms of the Framework Agreement of March 1995 following the Oslo Accords of 1993.

Congress calls on the Histadrut to pay the dues owed to the PGFTU; to call for an end to the siege of Gaza; and to call for an end to the occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory.


Real News Video: Carter says Israel has 150 nukes

"Former US President Jimmy Carter has again come under fire in the US mainstream media, since publicly saying that Israel has 150 or more nuclear weapons in its arsenal.

Details about Israel’s nuclear weapons programme started emerging in 1986.

International nuclear experts now believe that Israel maintains a cache of between 100 and 300 nuclear weapons, though Israel, backed by the US, maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity.

The Real News Network's Senior News Analyst Aijaz Ahmad looks at the story behind the spin."

Quiet, Please!
By Abdullah Darqawi

By Mike Luckovich

UAE Representatives Affirm Boycott of Leviev

By Adalah-NY
Palestine Chronicle

"Officials at the United Arab Emirates Mission to the UN affirmed their government's commitment to boycotting the businesses of Israeli settlement-builder Lev Leviev in a meeting Tuesday afternoon with representatives from Adalah-NY and Jews Against the Occupation (JATO).

Leviev is attempting to open jewelry stores in the Emirate of Dubai and to sell his diamonds there. The UAE officials promised to pass on to their government photos from Dubai, one taken Tuesday, showing that Leviev's local partner Arif Ben Khadra is currently advertising and selling Leviev's products in Dubai in defiance of the Emirate boycott policy. As the meeting took place, twelve New Yorker human rights advocates held signs and distributed flyers in the street below in support of the boycott.

Noting that some Dubai sources had indicated that Leviev may still try to open the stores under Leviev or a local partner's name, Adalah-NY's Ethan Heitner explained, "we were glad to learn that officials in the Emirates plan to be diligent in enforcing their ban on Leviev, and not allow their citizens to be deceived by a company that seems intent upon thumbing its nose at both local UAE and international law."

In mid-April, immediately after Leviev announced plans to open two new jewelry stores in Dubai, Adalah-NY called on the government and the people of the Emirate of Dubai to boycott Leviev because of his businesses' involvement in human right abuses and violations of international law in Palestine, Angola and New York City. On April 30, Ali Ebrahim, Deputy Director General for Executive Affairs in Dubai, was quoted in Gulf News saying that authorities had "not granted a trade license to any business of this name" and would not approve the application should one be made. According to Gulf News, Ebrahim "added that Israeli businesses would be prevented from operating in Dubai through non-Israeli partners."......."

Taliban capture Afghan district


"Taliban fighters have captured a remote district in central Afghanistan, taking prisoner the police and administration chiefs, officials and the Taliban have said.

The fighters attacked the district of Rashidan in the central province of Ghazni in a night attack, the provincial governor and a Taliban spokesman told the AFP news agency on Friday......

Teresa Bo, reporting for Al Jazeera in Afghanistan, said Ghazni - located along a major highway from Kabul, the capital, to the south - is one of the most complicated areas where fighting between Afghan, US and Taliban forces takes place almost everyday.

She said the Taliban hold power in strategic locations, adding: "Some of the police officers working here say they are afraid they will be the next target.

"Security is one of the major concerns for every one in the area; the soldiers know they can be attacked any minute."......"

The road to peace in Iraq runs directly through Tehran

Hysteria over this week's arms report is misplaced, and US attempts to cast Iran as the villain of the region can only backfire

By Jonathan Steele
The Guardian, Friday May 30 2008

".....On the other hand, in order to minimise anti-occupation resistance from Iraq's Sunni nationalists, Washington is financing new Sunni militias and encouraging anti-Shia and anti-Iranian prejudice among them. On the international stage it pursues the same strategy by trying to create an anti-Iranian alliance of Sunni-led Arab states. If Iran can be portrayed as a regional threat, it will be easier - so the thinking goes - for the US to pose as the indispensable policeman in the Gulf.

A new US approach is urgently needed. Peace and stability can only be reached in Iraq with Iran's cooperation, and this will not happen until the US president announces a timetable for leaving Iraq. As for stability in the region, this will not be decided by a few adjectives in an IAEA report, nor by UN security council sanctions. Whatever one's view of Iranian intentions, even the most sceptical analyst does not believe Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it for several years.

The more immediate danger is that the Gulf becomes a theatre for artificial Sunni-versus-Shia tensions, deliberately stoked by outsiders. There is no axis of evil. There is no arc of crisis. There is just a series of states which need sovereignty and mutual respect, and the chance to trade and work together."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Break The Siege On Gaza! Action postponed until 27th June

"Put Your Body Where Your Heart Is - Break The Siege On Gaza!

There is still time to get involved! People of conscience from around the world are gathering in Egypt now. The demonstration has been changed to June 27th to accommodate people continually arriving. People will attempt to enter Gaza in an act to break the murderous siege and to stand in solidarity with those inside.

The siege, brutally imposed by the Israeli government in June 2007, following over a year of sanctions has resulted in lethal denial of medical access, shortages of food, fuel and electricity, and stands as a grave act of collective punishment.

It is time to stand up and shout, “No more!” It is time to show that we will not simply stand by while this atrocity is carried out, as our governments do nothing. It is time to use our bodies to prove what we believe is just in this world.

Our governments have backtracked on their responsibility, as stipulated in past agreements, to facilitate and oversee the flow of people through the Rafah border crossing, making us complicit with the murderous acts of the Israeli government.

We call on international human right activists and lawmakers to join us in breaking the siege, entering Gaza, and standing in solidarity with the people imprisoned there. Join us in Egypt, come with us to Gaza and put your body where your heart is.

What you can do?

1. Join us in this act of solidarity with the people of Gaza, come to Egypt before the end of May, preferably as early as possible to help with preparations.

2. Have your organization endorse and circulate this call

3. Support this initiative financially - email for more information

Signed: The International Solidarity Movement - Palestine "

Al-Jazeera Video: The uncertain life for Palestinian detainees - 29 May 08

"About 11,000 Palestinians are being held by Israel, many of whom have never been charged.

They are know as "administrative detainees", arrested because Israel deems them a threat to state security.

They and their families do not know when or if they will ever see their loved ones again......"

UN's Tutu feels ashamed of international silence towards Gaza conditions

"Chairman of the United Nations probe panel on the Israeli army killing of 19 Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza in November2006, former South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu expressed shame over the deteriorating conditions in Gaza.

Tutu was speaking during a press conference in Gaza city on Thursday morning, after concluding a two-day mission in Gaza.

" its shame that we remain silent over what is going in Gaza, which needs external help and support, so the population there can enjoy legitimate humanitarian rights".

" the situation in Gaza is extremely miserable, we have not seen a passerby or any aspect of normal life as same as in many parts of the world. We have not seen children who smile or play, we have not either seen cars carrying passengers due to lack of fuel".

As for the purpose of his mission Gaza, Tutu explained that his three-member panel, heard testimonies from survivors of the Israeli army massacre in 2006, saying that he was shocked of a woman's testimony.

" I rushed to my wounded son, who was trying to collect his abdomen's contents, after he was hit in the Israeli shelling", the Nobel prize winner quoted the woman as saying.

He also called for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza, stopping Palestinian homemade shells fire onto nearby Israeli towns, as well as resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks for achieving peace in the region.

Christine Jenkiz, a panel member and international law expert, said that preliminary investigations revealed that Israel was proved involved in a war crime against humanity, when its army killed 19 civilians , most of them from the Atamna family in November2006.

Tutu's visit to Gaza was delayed in late 2006, after the Israeli government denied him access to the Gaza Strip, and he eventually could make his way to Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah crossing terminal in southern Gaza Strip.

In November19, the Israeli army artilery shelled four residential houses in Beit Hanoun city in northern Gaza Strip, causing the death of 19 Palestinian women and children, many of whom were same family members. Israel then claimed the shelling resulted from a fatal technical problem of its artilery. "

Middle East Still At War: The U.S. Is Losing But The Winners Are Unclear

By Phyllis Bennis

"28 May 2008--This is a period of rapid and dramatic decline of American economic power around the world, and that, along with massive anger directed at U.S. policies around the world, has resulted in a precipitous drop in U.S. diplomatic and political influence. As a result, for those committed to maintaining Washington's superpower status, choosing military force to assert U.S. global reach becomes more, not less likely. Forcing a real end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq is more difficult than ever. U.S. military support to Israel is higher than ever. And the danger of a U.S. military strike on Iran remains as high as ever......"

Syrian talks offer more than hot air

A Good Piece

By Sami Moubayed
Asia Times

".....Second is to free himself from the burden of talking peace with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, a man who clearly can no longer deliver. Abbas is no Yasser Arafat (former Palestinian Liberation Organization leader) and cannot pull through with a peace treaty, nor can he control, appease, silence or crush Hamas. Wasting more time and effort on the Palestinian track (as Bush has been urging Olmert to do) is a great turn-off for the Israeli premier.

Engaging the Syrians - even if it doesn't work - is a great excuse to temporarily disengage from the Palestinian track, which is too complicated, with a bundle of thorny issues still unresolved.

Why did Bush transform from "red light" to "orange" without turning on the green light for Olmert? One of the reasons why the US changed course is Syria's participation in the November 2007 Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland. Syria's willingness to walk that extra mile to Maryland, despite objection from its main ally, Iran, was noted by the Americans. So were a bundle of other Syrian gestures, such as greater security on the Iraqi border, more concrete steps towards supporting the political process in Baghdad, and major steps at combating Islamic fundamentalism in the region......

Shortly after the Syrian-Israeli talks started this time, indirectly though through the Turks, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, met with Khaled Meshaal, the head of the political office of Hamas. Khamenei said, which some observers claim was a message intended for Syria to hear, "The only way to liberate Palestine is through brave resistance. Those who choose another path will be abandoned by God."

Many speculated that if Syrian-Israeli peace ever materializes, left in the dark would be former allies like Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas. The Syrians have strongly stressed, however, that they will not abandon their allies, although logic states that if and when a peace treaty materializes, Syria will have to cease its support for Hamas and Hezbollah.......

The Syrians are now walking a tight rope with the Iranians, wanting to prove that their friendship remains intact but also, stating loud and clear, that all options are still on the table for the Syrians. Iran is not the only ally for Damascus and isolation of the Syrian government has failed. There are the Turks, who are playing a newfound role in the region under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There are the Qataris, who have emerged as Syria's new "best friend" and who brokered the latest consensus between the Lebanese, through around-the-clock consultations with the Syrians.

And regardless of how tense things have been under Bush, there remains a door open to Washington once a new administration comes into power next January.

Many believe that although these latest talks between Syria and Israel will not lead to anything today, since Bush is not interested, they will nevertheless give something to whomever succeeds him at the White House to build on in his (or her) dealings with Damascus.

The peace talks will also help end the isolation imposed on Syria by the Bush White House since 2003. It would drown the nuclear issue, raised recently by the US Central Intelligence Agency, claiming that the Syrians are developing a nuclear reactor with the help of North Korea, prompting the International Atomic Energy Agency to interfere.

Additionally, the peace talks reduce any kind of tension that has been boiling on the Syrian-Israeli front, especially in April when the Israeli Defense Forces carried out its largest maneuver ever on the Golan Heights.

Finally, the talks create a feeling of security both within Syria and in the Arab investment community, where people will be more encouraged to pump money into the Syrian market, anticipating a boom once peace is signed. The Syrians are badly in need of money since the economy is suffering from a shortage of revenue......"

Dichter: Syria Peace Could Change Area


"29/05/2008 In his first response to indirect peace talks with Syria, Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter gave a cautious welcome to the prospect of peace with Damascus on Thursday, saying it "could change the reality in the whole area."

Speaking during a 'Challenges to Homeland Security' international conference in Jerusalem, Dichter added that Syria must disband the headquarters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

"For 10 years, Syria has hosted the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. A peace process with Syria is undoubtedly a strategic maneuver which can lead to a different reality in Lebanon, and for the entire area," Dichter claimed, addressing security chiefs and ministers from nine countries.

"[But] the headquarters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad cannot be tolerated by Israel, and cannot accompany peace talks. They must be gotten rid of as a condition for effective talks," he said, in an apparent reference to preconditions for direct negotiations.

During his speech, Dichter said Iran was the last remaining state sponsor of what he called “terror”, calling on the world community "to harm" the Islamic Republic. "Today, Iran is pushing regimes like Lebanon to host on its soil terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, which is the largest terrorist organizations in the world. It is a terrorist army. Iran has used and still uses Hezbollah as a proxy to carry out attacks," Dichter said.

"The development of nuclear weapons by a state with terrorist thinking is a lethal development," he added. "

Tutu wraps up investigation of Gaza deaths

Archbishop concludes Israeli acceptance of responsibility for errant shell that killed 18 Palestinian civilians 'falls short of accountability,' urges world to end Gaza blockade

"UN envoy Archbishop Desmond Tutu, concluding a fact-finding mission to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Thursday, condemned as a "massacre" the killing of 18 members of a Palestinian family by Israeli shelling in 2006.

At a news conference, Tutu said Israel's contention that a technical fault caused the shells to hit two homes in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, a border area where militants fire rockets at southern Israel, "fell short of accountability".

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate planned to present a report about the incident to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva at a session in September.

"We are at the stage of shock... by what we subsequently heard from the survivors of the November (2006) Beit Hanoun massacre," Tutu said.

The South African cleric said a main aim of the visit was to "make recommendations to protect Palestinian civilians from further Israeli assaults"......

Tutu called on Israel to end a blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying the international community's "silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shame us all". "

Cluster Bomb Ban Passed Over U.S. Objections

"UNITED NATIONS, May 28 (IPS) - After more than a year of contentious negotiations, diplomats from 109 countries meeting in Dublin agreed Wednesday on a treaty that would outlaw the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions, which have killed and injured thousands of civilians over the last four decades.

There are 28 countries known to manufacture cluster munitions, and at least 14 have deployed them in conflicts. At least 76 countries have stockpiles of the weapon.

Six of the world's leading users and producers -- Russia, China, the United States, Israel, India and Pakistan -- did not attend the conference, and have said they would not sign any ban.

However, on Wednesday, in an unexpected reversal of its earlier position, Britain agreed to almost every provision in the treaty. "We have decided we will take all our types of cluster bombs out of service," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in London......."

Surprise, Surprise: Bush Lied

By Robert Parry

"Some may view ex-White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s new book as vindication for those who took grief – accused of “derangement,” “treason” and a bunch of less-printable things – for calling George W. Bush a liar over the past eight years.

But the more troubling point is that there has been little improvement in the Washington political/media structure that failed to call Bush out on his lies in a timely fashion.....

Indeed, McClellan calls the U.S. news media “complicit enablers” in the White House’s “carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval” for invading Iraq, according to a New York Times preview of McClellan’s book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

It’s significant, too, that McClellan’s title cites “Washington’s Culture of Deception” because the problem is truly broader than just Bush and his inner circle. The “culture of deception” both preceded and will surely outlast the current residents in the White House.......

However, even the Iraq disaster – in which major news organizations disgraced themselves, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to network and cable TV news – has done little to change matters......

Learning the Lie

Prominent Washington journalists eventually began repeating Bush’s lie as their own. In a July 2004 interview, ABC’s veteran newsman Ted Koppel used it to explain why he – Koppel – thought the invasion of Iraq was justified......

The new book also adds details about how Bush intentionally led the nation into war by shading the truth and manipulating events.

McClellan writes that Bush “managed the crisis in a way that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible option.” The sales campaign was laid out by Bush advisers in summer 2002, McClellan said.

Top Bush aides had outlined a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell the war,” McClellan writes. “In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating sources of public opinion to the President’s advantage.”

However, McClellan remains unwilling to use direct language in addressing Bush’s long pattern of dishonesty. The former press secretary lays some of the blame for Bush's falsehoods on his “lack of inquisitiveness” or a tendency toward “self-deception.”

But the evidence is clear: Bush is liar.......

It would seem to be long past the time for anyone to be making excuses for George W. Bush – or the elite U.S. press corps – not with the horrendous price paid by the Iraqi people, American soldiers and U.S. taxpayers."