Saturday, June 7, 2008

New revelations in attack on American spy ship USS Liberty

Anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots -- communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

No, I Can't!

BARACK STAR OF DAVID: Barack Obama sports a US/Israel flag pin (he never wears an American flag pin) in DC after addressing AIPAC and saying, "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."

By Uri Avnery

"......And what was the first thing he did after his astounding victory? He ran to the conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC, and made a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning.

That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked.

IT WAS a triumphalist conference. Even this powerful organization had never seen anything like it. 7000 Jewish functionaries from all over the United States came together to accept the obeisance of the entire Washington elite, which came to kowtow at their feet. All the three presidential hopefuls made speeches, trying to outdo each other in flattery. 300 Senators and Members of Congress crowded the hallways. Everybody who wants to be elected or reelected to any office, indeed everybody who has any political ambitions at all, came to see and be seen.........

The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety. On the eve of their visit to Israel, this coming Thursday, the Israel Lobby stood at the center of political life in the US and the world at large.......

........ In some exemplary cases (which were indeed meant to be seen as examples) the lobby has defeated popular politicians by lending its political and financial clout to the election campaign of a practically unknown rival.

But in a presidential race?

THE TRANSPARENT fawning of Obama on the Israel lobby stands out more than similar efforts by the other candidates. Why? Because his dizzying success in the primaries was entirely due to his promise to bring about a change, to put an end to the rotten practices of Washington and to replace the old cynics with a young, brave person who does not compromise his principles. And lo and behold, the very first thing he does after securing the nomination of his party is to compromise his principles. And how! .......

And here comes Obama to crawl in the dust at the feet of AIPAC and go out of his way to justify a policy that completely negates his own ideas........

But his declaration about Jerusalem breaks all bounds. It is no exaggeration to call it scandalous. NO PALESTINIAN, no Arab, no Muslim will make peace with Israel if the Haram-al-Sharif compound (also called the Temple Mount), one of the three holiest places of Islam and the most outstanding symbol of Palestinian nationalism, is not transferred to Palestinian sovereignty. That is one of the core issues of the conflict. On that very issue, the Camp David conference of 2000 broke up, even though the then Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, was willing to divide Jerusalem in some manner.

Along comes Obama and retrieves from the junkyard the outworn slogan "Undivided Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel for all Eternity". Since Camp David, all Israeli governments have understood that this mantra constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to any peace process. It has disappeared - quietly, almost secretly - from the arsenal of official slogans. Only the Israeli (and American-Jewish) Right sticks to it, and for the same reason: to smother at birth any chance for a peace that would necessitate the dismantling of the settlements........

Obama went much further. Quite possibly, this was only lip service and he was telling himself: OK, I must say this in order to get elected. After that, God is great.

But even so the fact cannot be ignored: the fear of AIPAC is so terrible, that even this candidate, who promises change in all matters, does not dare. In this matter he accepts the worst old-style Washington routine. He is prepared to sacrifice the most basic American interests.......

The more I think about this wondrous phenomenon, the stronger becomes my conviction (about which I have already written in the past) that what really matters is the similarity between the American enterprise and the Zionist one, both in the spiritual and the practical sphere. Israel is a small America, the USA is a huge Israel.

The Mayflower passengers, much as the Zionists of the first and second aliya (immigration wave), fled from Europe, carrying in their hearts a messianic vision, either religious or utopian. (True, the early Zionists were mostly atheists, but religious traditions had a powerful influence on their vision.) The founders of American society were "pilgrims", the Zionists immigrants called themselves "olim" - short for olim beregel, pilgrims. Both sailed to a "promised land", believing themselves to be God's chosen people.

Both suffered a great deal in their new country. Both saw themselves as "pioneers", who make the wilderness bloom, a "people without land in a land without people". Both completely ignored the rights of the indigenous people, whom they considered sub-human savages and murderers. Both saw the natural resistance of the local peoples as evidence of their innate murderous character, which justified even the worst atrocities. Both expelled the natives and took possession of their land as the most natural thing to do, settling on every hill and under every tree, with one hand on the plow and the Bible in the other.

True, Israel did not commit anything approaching the genocide performed against the Native Americans, nor anything like the slavery that persisted for many generations in the US. But since the Americans have repressed these atrocities in their consciousness, there is nothing to prevent them from comparing themselves to the Israelis. It seems that in the unconscious mind of both nations there is a ferment of suppressed guilt feelings that express themselves in the denial of their past misdeeds, in aggressiveness and the worship of power.

HOW IS it that a man like Obama, the son of an African father, identifies so completely with the actions of former generations of American whites? It shows again the power of a myth to become rooted in the consciousness of a person, so that he identifies 100% with the imagined national narrative. To this may be added the unconscious urge to belong to the victors, if possible.

Therefore, I do not accept without reservation the speculation: "Well, he must talk like this in order to get elected. Once in the White House, he will return to himself." I am not so sure about that. It may well turn out that these things have a surprisingly strong hold on his mental world.

Of one thing I am certain: Obama's declarations at the AIPAC conference are very, very bad for peace. And what is bad for peace is bad for Israel, bad for the world and bad for the Palestinian people.

If he sticks to them, once elected, he will be obliged to say, as far as peace between the two peoples of this country is concerned: "No, I can't!""

Israel’s nuclear bombs are the problem in the Middle East

By Khalid Amayreh in Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem

"Once again, Israel is pushing the Middle East to the brink of war, with predictably disastrous consequences. In recent days, Israeli leaders markedly escalated their war of words against Iran. A leading Israeli cabinet minister was quoted on Friday, 6 June as saying, “attacking Iran will be unavoidable.”

Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, just back from a meeting with George W. Bush in Washington, sounded almost euphoric when he spoke of an “American-Israeli consensus on the need to stop Iran’s nuclear program by whatever means necessary.”.....

Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This is exactly the maxim being adopted by Zionist leaders who are spreading lies, disinformation and half-truths about Iran in order to get the madman in Washington D.C. and his gang of neocons and war criminals to attack another Muslim country on Israel’s behalf.......

Nonetheless, the main Israeli motive behind its hostility to Iran stems from Israeli worries that a technologically advanced and militarily strong Iran might pose a credible challenge to Israel’s strategic supremacy in the region.

Israel is believed to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads, ready with delivery systems, in addition to a huge arsenal of state-of-the-art of American weapons of death. Israel also tightly controls American politics, policies, political parties and media, especially the so-called agenda-setters.......

The recent speech by the Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama during AIPAC’s convention last week is very telling. It proves once again that the international Zionist cartel, of which AIPAC constitutes the American chapter, tightly controls the American political discourse and that any American politician who dares speak his or her mind about Israel’s slow-motion genocide of Palestinians or more recently about America’s relations with the Muslim world, will be committing political suicide......."

Celebrate! Palestinian "Unity" Begins in........Senegal!

Khater: Dakkar talks between Fatah and Hamas still at early stage

"DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- Sami Khater, the Hamas Movement's political bureau member, has revealed that two delegations of Fatah and Hamas movements were negotiating under Senegalese auspices in Dakkar over means of resolving their differences......."

The Land, Not the People

The Occupation and the Politics of Death


"......One cannot fully understand the occupation and the reason it has become more violent without taking into account the separation between the dowry (i.e., the land that Israel occupied in June 1967) and the bride (the Palestinian population). This principle is the propelling force behind the massive settlement project, the by-pass roads, the expropriation of Palestinian water and the erection of the separation barrier deep inside Palestinian territory. And it is precisely these latter Israeli actions that have precipitated the intensification of violence in the Occupied Territories and, one might even argue, the rise of Hamas.

The occupation’s guiding principle has consequently produced the very conditions that are now impeding a peace agreement based on the two-state solution. Recognizing the full ramifications of this principle is crucial since it allows us to see beyond the smoke screen of political proclamations and statements, and to improve our understanding of why the acrimonious conflict has developed in the way that it has. Just as importantly, the principle sheds light on how the conflict can be resolved, since the key to reaching a just and peaceful solution involves reuniting the Palestinian people and their land and offering them full sovereignty over the land. So long as the guiding principle is ignored, blood will continue to be spilled."

Slow death in Gaza

Palestinians in Gaza take cover during clashes with Israeli troops during demonstrations marking 60 years of Palestinian dispossession from their homeland, 15 May 2008.

Margaret Kimberley, The Electronic Intifada, 6 June 2008

"Each American claim to moral authority becomes a foul excretion in light of US complicity in Israel's barbaric and illegal treatment of the Palestinians. Washington deploys its superpower apparatus to smother dissent against its Middle East policy in Europe and elsewhere, leaving former president Jimmy Carter and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu as lonely defenders of Palestinian human rights. No change in American policy is on the horizon, as "the rot in America goes beyond this administration, and so does the rot in Israel." The "abomination," as Desmond Tutu describes it, against 1.6 million people in Palestine shows the hypocrisy of American and Israeli pretenses to civilization........"

An award for the voiceless in Gaza

Mohammed Omer, The Electronic Intifada, 7 June 2008

"....... Recently I returned from fieldwork to find cheerful news from John Pilger: that I have won the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, along with my respected colleague Dahr Jamail. This is the best news I have received for many months.

As I write, I am still thrilled and honored at such recognition. But since those first minutes during which it was explained that I would have to be in London by 16 June to receive my award, my thoughts have been racing, seeking a way to get out of Gaza. How can I get out at a time when Israel is not allowing even the most urgent medical cases to leave for treatment, a policy that, according to Gaza's ministry of health, has led to the deaths of more than 165 people? ..........

Life forced me, from an early age, to face in justice and oppression. I witnessed the killing of innocents and the demolition of houses in Rafah. And so, aged 17, I felt I had to become a journalist. Initially, I could do little more than observe. I had no camera, no computer, only a small notebook in which I wrote down what was happening. I would write articles and keep them as records, for myself. That notebook lies buried beneath the rubble of our demolished house.

One day in March 2003, I returned home to the debris of what had been my home, ravaged by Israeli bulldozers. They were making room for Israel's Iron Wall dividing Gaza from Egypt...... Two things remained: memory and hope. Memory of the past, and hope for the future.

Most of my brothers have been injured by Israeli forces during invasions. One was killed. Our house sits near the Gaza border. Until 2005, when Israeli troops technically withdrew from Gaza, our neighbors were Israeli tanks and bulldozers. We lived under occupation, and so I went on writing, reaching international newspapers and magazines around the world. To my amazement and dismay, not even local media reported the reality. The international press gave no coverage to daily demolitions and killings in Gaza. Instead, these injustices were met with deaf ears or had blatantly false reports.

My ambition was to get the truth out, not as pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, but as an independent voice and witness, posing questions and challenging international understanding. I wanted to give a voice to the silenced dead and to ordinary people still struggling: students, farmers, teachers, children, patients, refugees, etc......

Last year, I was invited to the Netherlands for a speaking tour. Incredibly, I was able to get out of Gaza, through Israel and over Jordan's Allenby Bridge, rather than through the Rafah crossing, which, though minutes from my home, was impossible to cross. I managed this with the help of Hans van Ballen, a Dutch member of parliament.

Now receiving the Martha Gellhorn award, an immense honor, is an additional reason to try to get out of Gaza once more. However, I fear that it may be impossible to voice my gratitude to the organizers and those who have supported me in person. But, prize or no prize, I will continue to tell the truth from Gaza, in the hope that one day we will be free of this deadly siege and be able to travel like any human being. "

Generation intifada

By Neve Gordon

"......Some of the changes; the most damaging of which are the ongoing expansion of the settlements and the hermetic closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both of which have, in many respects, led to the rise of Hamas; are often discussed in the media and are rightly understood as hindering the possibility of Israelis and Palestinians reaching a peace agreement based on the two-state solution. The change that is hardly ever mentioned is the current lack of contact between ordinary Israelis (as opposed to soldiers and settlers) and Palestinians.

The separation barrier built deep inside Palestinian territories best symbolizes this change. One of its many devastating effects is the severance of practically all day-to-day contact between the two peoples. The younger generation on both sides of the Green Line no longer sees the 'other' as living, breathing beings but rather in stereotypical terms, which are often informed by prejudice and racist assumptions.

The alienation between Israeli Jews and Palestinians consequently serves the interests of all those who would like to portray the other side as a perpetual and mortal enemy.

The effects of this change should not be underestimated. Simply put, it seems that the younger (Jewish) generation within Israel is less likely than ever to support a leader who would have the courage to initiate a just peace agreement based on the full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, including the return of East Jerusalem, and some kind of creative solution for the Palestinian refugees.

Tragically, after 41 years of occupation the two-state solution seems to be more remote than ever before. Peace within the existing context, as Israeli peace activist and former Knesset member, Uri Avnery, has convincingly argued, is like surmounting an abyss. One cannot achieve it with short strides but only with a great leap. My students' reactions suggest that the gulf between the two peoples is only growing wider. "

U.S. Presidential Contest? I Am A Better Whore of Israel Than You Are!

McCain calls for moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

"Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain on Friday said that he believes the American embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem is undivided, Jerusalem is the capital and we should move the embassy to Jerusalem before anything happens," McCain said while campaigning in Miami.

McCain stressed, however, that the "subject of Jerusalem itself will be addressed in negotiations by the Israeli government and people."

The presidential hopeful was responding to comments made by Democratic rival Barack Obama, who told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Wednesday that he would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear arms, and that Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel.

"Let me be clear," Obama said, "Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper. But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," he added, in efforts to secure the Jewish vote........"

Treason Knows No Time Limits!

Abbas to stand again for president

"Despite having said in past he would not seek additional term, top Fatah official says Palestinian President Abbas intends to run in 2010 elections.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has said he would not seek another term, will stand in presidential elections scheduled for 2010, a senior official said on Saturday.

"President Abbas is Fatah's candidate for the Palestinian presidency," said chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia, a member of Abbas' Fatah group.

Fatah officials have said they would press Abbas, who has also reportedly threatened to resign unless Israel and Palestinian officials reach a peace agreement by the end of the year, to run again because they had no better alternative.

The long-dominant Fatah faction was defeated by Hamas, its Islamist rival, in 2006 parliamentary elections, ending more than 40 years of Fatah ascendancy. Hamas later routed Fatah forces to take over the Gaza Strip in June 2007, leaving Abbas' authority to the West Bank.

Younger members of Fatah have said the Hamas's victory reflected dissatisfaction over the monopoly of power and corruption with some of the older guard. They have demanded internal elections to inject new blood into the movement......."

Tony: This tends to strengthen the view that the puppet's announcement about dialog with Hamas is nothing but a cynical political move to polish up Fatah's and his own image ahead of yet another election.

Fearing Escalation, Pentagon Fought Cheney Plan

Analysis by Gareth Porter

"WASHINGTON, Jun 6 (IPS) - Pentagon officials firmly opposed a proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney last summer for airstrikes against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bases by insisting that the administration would have to make clear decisions about how far the United States would go in escalating the conflict with Iran, according to a former George W. Bush administration official.

J. Scott Carpenter, who was then deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, recalled in an interview that senior Defence Department (DoD) officials and the Joint Chiefs used the escalation issue as the main argument against the Cheney proposal.......

Although the Pentagon bottled up the Cheney proposal in inter-agency discussions, Cheney had a strategic asset which he could use to try to overcome that obstacle: his alliance with Gen. David Petraeus.

As IPS reported earlier this week, Cheney had already used Gen. David Petraeus' takeover as the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq in early February 2007 to do an end run about the Washington national security bureaucracy to establish the propaganda line that Iran was manufacturing EFPs and shipping them to the Mahdi Army militiamen.

Petraeus was also a supporter of Cheney's proposal for striking IRGC targets in Iran, going so far as to hint in an interview with Fox News last September that he had passed on to the White House his desire to do something about alleged Iranian assistance to Shiites that would require U.S. forces beyond his control.

At that point, Adm. Fallon was in a position to deter any effort to go around DoD and military opposition to such a strike because he controlled all military access to the region as a whole. But Fallon's forced resignation in March and the subsequent promotion of Petraeus to become CENTCOM chief later this year gives Cheney a possible option to ignore the position of his opponents in Washington once more in the final months of the administration. "

Have A Nice Day!

تهديدات موفاز بضرب ايران

تهديدات موفاز بضرب ايران

"تزايدت حدة التهديدات الاسرائيلية بضرب ايران في الفترة الاخيرة، وبلغت ذروتها في التصريحات التي ادلي بها شاؤول موفاز وزير النقل الاسرائيلي لصحيفة يديعوت احرونوت وقال فيها ان شن هجوم علي ايران اصبح امرا لا مناص منه في ظل الاخفاق الواضح للعقوبات الاقتصادية .
أهمية هذه التهديدات تأتي من صدورها عن جنرال اسرائيلي سابق، تولي رئاسة اركان الجيش الاسرائيلي، ثم بعد ذلك وزارة الدفاع، ويشغل حاليا موقعا مهما في الحكومة الامنية المصغرة، ويتولي مسؤولية الملف النووي الايراني تحديدا، والتنسيق بين الحكومتين الامريكية والاسرائيلية بشأنه.
وهذه هي المرة الاولي التي يذهب مسؤول اسرائيلي بوزن موفاز الي اطلاق تهديدات بهذا الوضوح، الامر الذي يجعلنا نتوقف كثيرا عند تحذيرات ديفيد وولش وكيل وزارة الخارجية الامريكية من ان الصيف اللبناني المقبل سيكون ساخنا. فلبنان سيكون حتما احد أسخن جبهات المواجهة في حال بدء العدوان الاسرائيلي علي ايران.
من المؤكد، ومثلما يبدو واضحا من مواقف المسؤولين الايرانيين علي كل المستويات، ان الحكومة الايرانية ليست في وارد وقف عمليات تخصيب اليورانيوم، بل ما يحدث هو العكس تماما، اي تسريع عمليات التخصيب هذه من خلال زيادة اجهزة الطرد المركزي اللازمة في هذا الخصوص، وهذا يعني ان الشرط الذي يمكن ان يمنع توجيه ضربة عسكرية اسرائيلية قد سقط.
وربما ليس من قبيل الصدفة ان تتزامن تهديدات موفاز هذه مع عودة ايهود اولمرت رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي من زيارة قـصيرة الي واشنطن، التقي خلالها الرئيس الامريكي جورج بوش. فهناك اعتقاد راسخ ان السبب الرئيسي لهذه الزيارة هو بحث مسألة البرنامج النووي الايراني، ووضع اللمسات الاخيرة علي خطط عسكرية مشتركة لتحييده.
الاجواء في العاصمة الامريكية هي اجواء حرب، والآلتان الاعلامية والسياسية تلعبان دورا رئيسيا في شيطنة ايران، تماما مثلما شيطنت العراق ونظام الرئيس العراقي صدام حسين، فقد تسابق المرشحان المتنافسان في انتخابات الرئاسة الامريكية، اي جون ماكين وباراك اوباما علي ارضاء اللوبي اليهودي (ايباك) اثناء مشاركتهما في مؤتمره السنوي، من خلال التهديد بضرب ايران.
اوباما فاجأ الجميع عندما تعهد بانهاء ما سمّاه بالخطر النووي الايراني، وهو الذي كان يقول بانه سيتفاوض مع ايران حول ملفي العراق وبرنامجها النووي. اي انه ذهب الي ما هو ابعد من منافسته هيلاري كلينتون التي قالت انها ستمحو ايران من الخريطة اذا هاجمت اسرائيل.
المتحدث باسم البيت الابيض تجنب يوم امس التعليق علي تهديدات موفاز لايران، وقال انه ملتزم بالتعامل مع طهران من خلال الديبلوماسية متعددة الاطراف دون ان يستبعد ايا من الخيارات الاخري ومن بينها الخيار العسكري.
الهجوم الاسرائيلي علي ايران لتدمير برامجها النووية قد يلحق اضرارا كبيرة بهذه البرامج ومشاريع البني التحتية الاقتصادية، ولكن الضرر الذي سيلحق باسرائيل من جراء اي عمل انتقامي ايراني قد يكون اكبر بكثير."

"Peace" is a Blast! Tickle Me Pink!
By Emad Hajjaj

The West's weapon of self-delusion

By Robert Fisk

"So they are it again, the great and the good of American democracy, grovelling and fawning to the Israeli lobbyists of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), repeatedly allying themselves to the cause of another country and one that is continuing to steal Arab land.

Will this ever end? Even Barack Obama – or "Mr Baracka" as an Irish friend of mine innocently and wonderfully described him – found time to tell his Jewish audience that Jerusalem is the one undivided capital of Israel, which is not the view of the rest of the world which continues to regard the annexation of Arab East Jerusalem as illegal. The security of Israel. Say it again a thousand times: the security of Israel – and threaten Iran, for good measure.

Yes, Israelis deserve security. But so do Palestinians. So do Iraqis and Lebanese and the people of the wider Muslim world. Now even Condoleezza Rice admits – and she was also talking to Aipac, of course – that there won't be a Palestinian state by the end of the year. That promise of George Bush – which no-one believed anyway – has gone. In Rice's pathetic words, "The goal itself will endure beyond the current US leadership."

Of course it will. And the siege of Gaza will endure beyond the current US leadership. And the Israeli wall. And the illegal Israeli settlement building. And deaths in Iraq will endure beyond "the current US leadership" – though "leadership" is pushing the definition of the word a bit when the gutless Bush is involved – and deaths in Afghanistan and, I fear, deaths in Lebanon too.......

Thus there will be no disarming of Hizbollah and thus – again, I fear this – there will be another Hizbollah-Israeli proxy war to take up the slack of America's long-standing hatred of Iran........

And Bush and his cohorts go on saying that they will never speak to "terrorists". And what has happened meanwhile? Why, their Israeli friends – Mr Baracka's Israeli friends – are doing just that........

And so our dementia continues. In front of us this week was Blair with his increasingly maniacal eyes, poncing on about faith and God and religion.....Because Blair, like a lot of devious politicians, plays God himself. For there are two Gods out there. The Blair God and the infinite being which blesses his every word, so obliging that He doesn't even tell Him to go to Gaza........"

Real News Video: Part 2/3 of Interview With Wilkerson

Iranian influence is a fact, negotiations a must
Powell's former Chief of Staff Wilkerson: War with Iran would reinforce strategic failure in Gulf (2/3)

"“For 26-years we recognized, funded, fueled and helped Iran be the hegemond of the Persian Gulf when it was under the Shah. Demographically, militarily, every way you want to measure hegemony Iran is the dominant power in the Persian Gulf. Reality says that therefore we have to come to recognize that, we have to deal with that and hope we can shape that to a responsible role, ultimately, in the world. The only way you do that is through diplomacy, you don’t do that by attacking Tehran or by bombing facilities”."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Name That Terrorist

It was only slightly amusing recently when one of the television news networks did a short segment on Nelson Mandela visiting George W. Bush in the White House. The newsperson describing the meeting happened to mention that Mandela was on America’s terrorist watch list. There was no explanation of how this heroic figure from South Africa was able to fly to Washington, D.C. in order to meet with our President. Normally, being on the terrorist watch list would prevent anyone from boarding a passenger plane, to say nothing of being barred from entering the White House. That actually happened to Senator Ted Kennedy a couple of years ago—he was barred from flying from Boston back to his work in Washington, D.C.

The newsperson also explained the reason that Mandela was on the terrorist honor roll because the apartheid government of South Africa had labeled him as such, and the United States simply went along with that designation.

I found myself wishing that the newsperson would go on to explain exactly how Hizbollah, or Hamas, made the American list of terrorist organizations. But we know how that happened, don’t we? Israel wanted them labeled as terrorists, so the United States went along with it, as accommodating today to apartheid Israel as it was to apartheid South Africa back in the days before South Africa went straight.

I’ve often wondered what would happen if, say, Syria, would ask the U.S. to place Israel on its terrorist list. But that’s digressing.

What the American public doesn’t hear about from any mainstream news source is the history of Jewish terrorism from the 1940s when the Zionist movement methodically went about ethnically cleansing Palestine of Palestinians through present day, when Israel and its people commit daily acts of terrorism against the Palestinians.

From the early days of Zionism, two of the vilest Jewish terrorists went on to become prime ministers of Israel. Menachem Begin, no ordinary run-of-the-mill terrorist, but the actual head of the Irgun, one of two vicious Jewish terrorist groups that who worked hard to chase Palestinians out of their homeland to make room for Zionists intent on creating an exclusive Jewish state. The other was former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who was one of a three member troika that comprised the leadership triad of the Stern Gang, which was even more vicious, if that’s possible, than the Irgun.

An Interview with Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky


Barat: Thanks for accepting this interview. Firstly I would like to ask if you are working on something at the moment that you would like to let us know about?

Ilan Pappé: I am completing several books. The first is a concise history of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the other is on the Palestinian minority in Israel and one on the Arab Jews. I am completing an edited volume comparing the South Africa situation to that of Palestine

Noam Chomsky: The usual range of articles, talks, etc. No time for major projects right now.

Barat: A British M.P recently said that he had felt a change in the last 5 years regarding Israel. British M.Ps nowadays sign E.D.M (Early Day Motions) condemning Israel in bigger number than ever before and he told us that it was now easier to express criticism towards Israel even when talking on U.S campuses.

Also, in the last few weeks, John Dugard, independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the U.N Human Right Council said that "Palestinian terror 'inevitable' result of occupation", the European parliament adopted a resolution saying that "policy of isolation of the Gaza strip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level" and the U.N and the E.U have condemned Israel use of excessive and disproportionate force in the Gaza strip.

Could we interpret that as a general shift in attitude towards Israel?

Ilan Pappé: The two examples indicate a significant shift in public opinion and in the civil society. However, the problem remained what it had been in the last sixty years: these impulses and energies are not translated, and are not likely to be translated in the near future, into actual policies on the ground. And thus the only way of enhancing this transition from support from below to actual policies is by developing the idea of sanctions and boycott. This can give a clear orientation and direction to the many individuals and ngos that have shown for years solidarity with the Palestine cause.

Noam Chomsky: There has been a very clear shift in recent years. On US campuses and with general audiences as well. It was not long ago that police protection was a standard feature of talks at all critical of Israeli policies, meetings were broken up, audiences very hostile and abusive. By now it is sharply different, with scattered exceptions. Apologists for Israeli violence now tend often to be defensive and desperate, rather than arrogant and overbearing. But the critique of Israeli actions is thin, because the basic facts are systematically suppressed. That is particularly true of the decisive US role in barring diplomatic options, undermining democracy, and supporting Israel's systematic program of undermining the possibility for an eventual political settlement. But portrayal of the US as an "honest broker," somehow unable to pursue its benign objectives, is characteristic, not only in this domain.

Barat: The word apartheid is more and more often used by NGO's and charities to describe Israel's actions towards the Palestinians (in Gaza, the OPT but also in Israel itself). Is the situation in Palestine and Israel comparable to Apartheid South Africa?

Obama retracts Jerusalem comments, sort of

"Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama declared Wednesday, to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference.

But a campaign adviser clarified Thursday that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with."

"Two principles should apply to any outcome," which the adviser gave as: "Jerusalem remains Israel's capital and it's not going to be divided by barbed wire and checkpoints as it was in 1948-1967."

He refused, however, to rule out other configurations, such as the city also serving as the capital of a Palestinian state or Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods.

U.S. Calls a Straw Poll in Iraq: It May Not Like the Result

By Tony Karon

"Outside of the Kurds, the U.S. has no strategic allies of any significance in Iraq, much less principled allies. Whether it’s Prime Minister Maliki or the Supreme Council or the Sunni “Awakening” movement, each of the Iraqi power centers that works with the U.S. does so in order to improve its own position against that of its rivals, not because they share U.S. objectives. A new move by Washington to force Iraq’s government to sign on to an agreement for an open-ended U.S. presence in their country on Washington’s terms pushes all of these Iraqi factions beyond where they’re able to go, since a long-term U.S. presence is opposed not only by Iran and by Moqtada Sadr, but also by the Sunni nationalists in government and the key moderate Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani. It’s almost as if Washington has called for a test of its own political strength in Iraq: If the fate of the oil law he tried to get the Iraqis to pass against their better judgement is any indicator, Bush is unlikely to get an outcome to his liking......"

Real News Video: Has Obama moved to the right?

At the AIPAC conference Barack Obama shows that on foreign policy he has moved closer to McCain and Bush

"In Part 1 of his commentary, The Real News Network Senior News Analyst Aijaz Ahmad tells us that when Senator Barack Obama finished his speech at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC, he got an applause more thunderous than there had been for McCain on the first day . Obama has come along way from the days when Karl Rove called him a man of the far left. He no longer speaks of the "tragic plight of the Palestinians" and adds that postponing elections would have been the best way to deal with Hamas as they were sure to win a majority in free elections."

Real News Video: Cheney blocked talks with Iran

Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Larry Wilkerson on how Cheney turned down talks with Iran

"Wilkerson says what Dr. Rice has been saying is fairly consistent with what the administration‘s position has been and that is, that Iran must stop enrichment before talks can happen. I think that’s absurd. Setting such conditions is a route to no talks at all, which is why Cheney advocates such a policy. Iran made a serious approach in 2003 to talk, Cheney made the State department turn it down. The plan was for regime change throughout the Middle East."

JPost Analyzes 'Realistic' Undetectable Route to Iran


"06/06/2008 "Ten fighter jets take off from a base in northern Israel, fly over Jordan, Iraq and into Iran to bomb air-defense missile systems, radar stations and nuclear facilities. They then leave Iranian airspace safely without sustaining any enemy fire:" this is, basically, the "undetectable route to Iran," found by Israeli journalist Yaakov Katz to be "realistic in the near future."

In an analysis published in the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post, Katz noted that the key for that route was the F-22 single-seater, double-engine aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. "Through a combination of its shape, composite materials, color and other integrated systems, it can fly in enemy airspace without being detected," he said.

To date, the US government has clamped an embargo on the sale of the aircraft to foreign countries. But on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly raised the issue with President George Bush in Washington according to the analysis. Other talks have taken place in recent months at the Defense Ministry-Pentagon level......"

Gaza's Imminent Explosion

By Dr. Elias Akleh
Palestine Chronicle

"Gaza has been turned into a ticking bomb ready to explode any day. This started with US/Israel/Abbas trio conspiracy, according to Vanity Fair magazine, to topple the democratically elected Hamas-led Palestinian government. This resulted into Palestinian division and the isolation of Gaza Strip. To finish off Hamas leadership Israel had borrowed Nazi siege tactics of Warsaw Ghetto, and implemented a stricter version of it against Gaza Strip. Israel had gradually decreased the imports of all vital substances to Gaza, and since June 2007 had completely closed Gaza’s five border crossings, leaving all 1.5 million Palestinians to die from starvation, thirst, pollution, and lack of medicine. Israel had cut off all fuel supplies to Gaza including all UN agencies such as UNRWA; the agency devoted to provide health, education and food supplies to poor families........

Like Egyptian president other Arab leaders had joined in the blockade against Gaza. Their main goal is to keep their own citizens subdued and obedient. They do not want any national movement to wake up their sleepy citizens. As for their Palestinian brothers, they consider them citizens of another country. Some of the leaders lack the political will to help, others are under the mercy of foreign hostile pressures, while others are just as Zionist as the Israeli government.
Hamas orchestrated protests and marches towards border crossings demanding end of blockade but Israeli army met the peaceful marchers with live ammunitions and tear gas killing and wounding scores of them.

Worst from death itself is watching your young children, your old parents, and your siblings die of starvation, lack of medicine, and on the hands of Israeli terrorist army. Abandoned and pushed to die in a corner without any alternative Gaza Palestinians will not take it silently. They prefer to die struggling for their rights and for their freedom. This is the only choice left for them. So we have seen lately some military operations against Israeli occupation forces on border crossings. Soon every body in Gaza will join in and we could witness an armed Intifada. The imminent Gaza explosion is coming, and its effects will touch everybody; Israelis, Arabs, and internationals."

U.S. to Iraq: Sign or Pay!

US issues threat to Iraq's $50bn foreign reserves in military deal

By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 6 June 2008

"The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.

US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday......."

Arming our own enemies in Iraq

Bush officials claim that Iran has supplied grenade launchers to Iraqi militants -- but the real source of the weapons is U.S. negligence.

By Gareth Porter

"June 6, 2008 In recent months, Gen. David Petraeus charged that Iran has supplied powerful rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Shiite militias in Iraq. But according to the U.S. government's own reports, there is no evidence to support that charge. In fact, the vast majority of RPGs in the hands of Shiite militants have come from either U.S.-purchased weapons intended for Iraq's new security forces, or from Saddam Hussein's old stockpiles, which the U.S. failed to secure when it took control of the country.

The Bush administration has long sought to create the impression that Iran has been playing a major military role in Iraq by supplying arms to Shiite militias, including the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's powerful Mahdi army. But to date, U.S. military officials have offered scant or even dubious evidence of Iranian military involvement in Iraq -- and Petraeus' allegation about the RPGs is a clear-cut case of unsubstantiated charges........

The Mahdi army had abundant opportunities to gain access to the U.S.-supplied weapons. During 2005 and 2006, the Shiite militants successfully infiltrated the Iraqi police as well as parts of the Iraqi military and government. The police in Sadr City were effectively controlled by the Mahdi army, and the militants had also penetrated several Iraqi army units stationed there. In Basra, the Mahdi army was part of a consortium of Shiite militias that used their control over a key police office to get access to various kinds of weapons.

The military official responsible for the decision to rush ahead with massive arms transfers to the Iraqi Security Forces in 2004 and 2005 -- despite the absence of a dependable tracking system and the wide reach of the Shiite militias -- was the man in charge of training and equipping those Iraqi forces: Gen. David Petraeus."

Obama Capitulates

– to the Israel lobby

By Justin Raimondo

"Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to the U.S. is part of a concerted effort, by the Israeli government and its American lobbyists, to convince U.S. lawmakers – and, most of all, President George W. Bush – that the time to attack Iran is now. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot reports that Olmert will tell Bush "time is running out" on diplomacy and that he'd better launch an attack.

In his speech to the AIPAC conference, Olmert's message was harsh and unrelenting: Iran, he said, "must be stopped by all possible means" from acquiring a nuclear capability. Yes, sanctions must be tightened, but these are only "initial steps": what's needed, he averred, are "more drastic and robust measures" – and that can only mean one thing........."

The land, not the people

Israel's problem, since its 1967 victory, is that it wants Palestinian land but not the people who live on it

By Neve Gordon
(Neve Gordon teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel), Friday June 6 2008

"......The occupation's guiding principle has consequently produced the very conditions that are now impeding a peace agreement based on the two-state solution. Recognising the full ramifications of this principle is crucial since it allows us to see beyond the smoke screen of political proclamations and statements, and to improve our understanding of why the acrimonious conflict has developed in the way that it has. Just as importantly, the principle sheds light on how the conflict can be resolved, since the key to reaching a just and peaceful solution involves reuniting the Palestinian people and their land and offering them full sovereignty over the land. So long as the guiding principle is ignored, blood will continue to be spilled."

Bottomless basket

The Judaisation of occupied Jerusalem continues apace while the hapless Palestinian president refuses to quit "peace talks"

By Khaled Amayreh in East Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......."The meeting," said Barhoum, "provides Olmert with a lifeboat. These meetings don't serve the national interests of the Palestinian people and only give Israel cover under which it can continue to grab more Palestinian land and murder more Palestinian civilians while at the same time claiming to be involved in a peace process with the Palestinian leadership."

Olmert is reported to have told Abbas that he remained committed to efforts to reach a draft peace agreement with the Palestinians before the end of 2008, despite the difficulties he is facing. He also suggested that the Palestinians should moderate their demands by taking "various realities" into account.

Palestinian political analyst Hani Al-Masri dismisses Olmert's assurances as "no more than diplomatic niceties".

"Olmert and Abbas and everyone else, save the stupid and dishonest, know deep in their hearts that the talks are hopeless."

Al-Masri told Al-Ahram Weekly that Israel is now in a pre- electioneering phase and that neither Olmert nor any other Israeli leader is able to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians under current political circumstances.

"I think Abbas should have concluded that these peace talks are futile a long time ago. The fact that he didn't and is not about to do is undermining his stature as well as that of Fatah in the eyes of the Palestinian people."

Abbas, he added, has placed all his eggs in the bottomless American-Israeli basket. "So what is he going to tell the Palestinian masses six months from now, when his term as president of the PA expires?""

Losing ground

The agenda of US-Israeli hawks appears mired, for the time being

By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Ahram Weekly

"......There are a few reasons for the apparent "cooling-off" in US-Israeli strategy. The failure to completely marginalise Hamas led to immense human suffering among Palestinians, but actually strengthened the democratically elected group. Every attempt at eradicating Hizbullah yielded the exact opposite outcome, and the group is now stronger than ever. The burning Israeli desire to ignite another US war against Iran is being met with little enthusiasm in the US as Bush's days in office are numbered. It is unlikely that the remaining eight months in Bush's regime will lead to the long- aspired geopolitical reconfiguration in the Middle East that neo-conservatives were once so obsessed by........"

The ongoing Arab grief

Until now, Arab denial of the reasons for the 1948 catastrophe leaves its meaning locked in echoes and beyond reach

Another, Very Good Piece

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

".......The Arab regimes were defeated in 1948 because they did not take part in the fighting or because their engagement was governed by their conflicts with and conspiracies against one another. The Palestinians were defeated because they miscalculated their own timing and the strength of their enemy. Israel won for an endless number of reasons, from which we select the following: Arab armies did not actually engage Israel in battle and did not possess the will to combat; the Zionist project was the offshoot of a colonialist project, having been adopted as one of the missions of the British mandate over Palestine; waves of European anti-Semitism had reached unprecedented proportions in the form of the Nazi holocaust; the Zionist leadership had succeeded in building political, economic and military state structures in Palestine under the British mandate, long before the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Because it was a pragmatic and rational leadership, it assessed its own strength vis- à-vis that of its enemy and it planned and timed its moves accordingly.

Arab memory of the Nakba denied or ignored these causes instead of confronting them. Early denial was manifested in the claim that Britain had failed to understand where its true interests lay, or in the claim that the catastrophe was the result of a British-Zionist-reactionary Arab conspiracy (we still hear strong echoes of this today in the attempt on the part of some Arabs to convince the US, supplanting Great Britain, where its true interests lie)......

Like the first three causes of the Zionist victory, it would be of little avail to deny the fourth and to pretend, for example, that Zionism was purely a colonial myth concocted to mask an imperialist spearhead into the region and that the Zionists' democratic practices and the institutions they created in the course of a successful colonisation process were no more than a figment of propaganda about an oasis of democracy in the Middle East. This is where Arab imagination that seeks to "understand" the meaning of the Nakba could suddenly leap to the belief that the Zionist establishment is truly a divine miracle that will crush everyone that does not bow down and efface himself before it. If put on the spot, the Arab who is keen to "understand" the meaning of the Nakba will tell you that he favours peace with Israel even without realising justice for the Palestinians and the Arabs. This, he will insist, is not because of his admiration for Israel, but because what unites Israel is war. So with peace, Israel would soon implode under the weight of its internal disputes and contradictions."

Al-Jazeera Cartoon: Jerusalem

Contributed by Fatima

The Official Arab Position: Jerusalem is Ours!

Well, Well.. Palestinian Euphoria Has Lasted a Total of One Day! The Stooge Has Now Been Scolded And The Princess of Darkness Has Corrected His Course

عباس يطمئن رايس بتمسكه بشروطه لمحاورة حماس

"أكد المتحدث باسم الخارجية الأميركية أن الوزيرة حصلت أمس الخميس على تأكيد من الرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس بأنه لن يتخلى عن أي من الشروط المسبقة للحوار مع حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس).

وقال المصدر نفسه إن كوندوليزا رايس بحثت في خطاب عباس الذي دعا فيه لحوار بين حركة التحرير الوطني الفلسطيني (فتح) وحماس.

وأضاف ماكورماك "باختصار، يجب أن تعود حماس عن انقلابها في غزة وأن تعترف بأن فتح هي التي تدير الحكومة الفلسطينية وأن تحترم الاتفاقات التي وقعتها منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية".

وجاءت تلك التصريحات رغم أن دعوة عباس لإجراء محادثات مصالحة مع حماس لم تتضمن تكرار مطالب سابقة بضرورة تخلي الحركة أولا عن السيطرة على قطاع غزة، مما أثار حالة من التفاؤل في الشارع الفلسطيني باحتمال حلحلة الأزمة القائمة بين الطرفين.

من جانبه رفض كبير المفاوضين الفلسطينيين صائب عريقات القول إن عباس وضع شروطا للعودة للحوار مع حماس، وقال إن ما جاء في خطاب الرئيس الذي ألقاه الأربعاء "عبارة عن دعوة للدول العربية خاصة مصر والسعودية وسوريا بصفتها رئيسة القمة العربية الأخيرة، للتحرك لتطبيق المبادرة اليمنية لحل الخلاف بين فتح وحماس، انسجاما مع توصيات القمة العربية" التي عقدت بدمشق في مارس/ آذار الماضي.

وقال عريقات في اتصال هاتفي مع الجزيرة، إنه لا يمكن البدء بالحوار الذي دعا إليه عباس قبل أن تنهي حماس ما أسماه "انقلابها" في غزة. وأوضح أن المبادرة اليمنية تدعو لإنهاء سيطرة تلك الحركة على القطاع.

Crocker: Iran hinders US-Iraq talks

Press TV

"The US ambassador to Baghdad has claimed Iran is complicating American military negotiations over finalizing a security pact with Iraq.

"In terms of criticism from the neighbors, Iran in particular, I think this is deliberately intended to make the negotiations difficult," said Ryan Crocker in Washington DC on Thursday, in an apparent acknowledgment of the difficulties in the negotiations for the so-called Status of Forces Agreement.

Crocker voiced hoped that the US would settle its security deal with Iraq despite criticism from Iraq's neighbors and that Washington and Baghdad have set the end of July as a possible date for concluding their agreement.

"We are certainly going to try meet that date," he added.

The mandate of US troops in Iraq will expire in December 2008 and the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki is under US pressure to sign the controversial 'mutual security agreement', which would allow for the long-term presence of US troops in Iraq.

"There has been a lot of debate. Certainly one of the indicators that this is a new Iraq was Iraqis across the political spectrum expressing views on the negotiations and the agreement," the US envoy to Baghdad continued.

The Iraqi government, which has vowed not to compromise national sovereignty, said on Tuesday that its vision of the deployment of American troops beyond 2008 is different from that of the US.

A host of Iraqi religious and political leaders have also objected to the deal, describing it as a 'shame'......."

Mofaz Says Alternatives to Attack on Iran Running out


"06/06/2008 Israeli deputy prime minister Shaoul Mofazon Friday warned that Iran would face attack if it pursues what he said was its nuclear weapons program. "If Iran continues its nuclear weapons program, we will attack it," Mofaz said , who is also transportation minister. "Other options are disappearing. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear program," Mofaz told the Yediot Aharonot daily.

He stressed such an operation could only be conducted with US support.
A former defense minister and armed forces chief of staff [and an Iranian Jew], Mofaz hopes to replace embattled Ehud Olmert as prime minister and at the helm of the Kadima party."

Olmert, Barak Say Israel Close to Launching Gaza Op


"06/06/2008 "Israel is close to launching an operation in Gaza," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told reporters moments before lifting off the tarmac in Washington en route back to Israel on Thursday evening.

Olmert said he sees eye to eye with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the latter's assessment of the probable necessity at hand to launch a wide-scale operation in the Gaza Strip.

"We're nearing a crossroads in Gaza, both in terms of setting a timetable and the exacerbation of the problem," Olmert said. During a tour of the kibbutz factory hit by a Hamas mortar barrage earlier in the day, Barak said such a military operation would likely precede any ceasefire agreement with Palestinian armed groups.

"There's a genuine problem here, one that I have spoken at great lengths about during my visit here," said Olmert. "We aren't gung-ho about a possible military operation, but we certainly are not afraid of one.

"This isn't a question of mediation efforts opposite Hamas. There are negotiations, via mediators, but there are also discussions with the Egyptians on the stipulations without which Israel will not commit to certain clauses," he said.

"Military action is closer than even, it appears likely there will be an operation prior to the calm (truce)," [War is Peace!] Barak said in the afternoon as he met with municipal leaders of Gaza-vicinity communities under constant bombardment........"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Week!

Next Week?
There We Go Again; All is Forgiven, Stooge!

Israel forces Gaza to pollute the Mediterranean

...There are 1.5 million people living in the Gaza strip,” the utility’s director explains. That’s more than 100 million cubic meters of sewage produced each year.

“Every day, I have to pump 50 or 60 million liters of raw sewage into the Mediterranean Sea. We would like to treat it of course, but the wastewater-treatment plant we have can’t cope with that much at the best of times. And like everything else it depends on fuel. Last month — throughout the whole month of April — I did not receive a single liter of fuel from the authorities because of this conflict. So what choice do I have?”

“We’re planning to build a new plant, the money from the World Bank is already there — but because of the Israeli blockade against Gaza, construction has stalled. It’s the same for all of the development projects — nothing can go ahead without parts and materials, and we’ve been waiting for almost a year for most of our parts to come in.”

Towards the end of the day, a colleague takes me down to “Beach Camp” where one of the utility’s large round pipes spews a gushing stream of raw sewage into the blue-green sea near a Palestinian refugee camp. Around 30 meters away, kids are swimming and splashing in the water as the sun sets behind them. I’m guessing it’s a scene that would leave even the beachgoers further afield — in Tel Aviv, the Greek Islands, Italy or Monaco — just a little bit uncomfortable.

From a humanitarian perspective, it’s no less of a problem — and one that international diplomats, senior UN officials and Israeli human rights groups call “collective punishment” (which, in the simple terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention refers to punishing someone “for an offense he or she has not personally committed”). Whichever side of the conflict you’re standing on, it’s not hard to see which category the splashing children, who represent around 54% of the Palestinian population, fall into...

60 Years of Nakba, 41 Years of Occupation ...


"The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger,” said Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s closest advisor, a few years ago. Today, Israel is slowly choking occupied Gaza, indeed bringing its civilian population to the brink of starvation and a planned humanitarian catastrophe.

If the US government is an obvious accomplice in financing, justifying and covering up Israel’s occupation and other forms of oppression, the European Union, Israel's largest trade partner in the world, is not any less complicit in perpetuating Israel’s colonial oppression and special form of apartheid. At a time when Israel is cruelly besieging Gaza, collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians, condemning them to devastation, and visiting imminent death upon hundreds of patients, prematurely born babies, and others, the EU is extending an invitation to Israel to open negotiations to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), instead of ending the EU-Israel association agreement due to Israel’s grave violation of its human rights clause. The US and European governments are not only providing Israel with massive economic aid and open markets, they are supplying it with weapons, diplomatic immunity and unlimited political support, and upgrading their relations with it specifically at a time when it is committing acts of genocide.

By frequently freezing fuel and electric power supplies to Gaza for long periods, Israel, the occupying power, is essentially guaranteeing that "clean" water is not being pumped out and properly distributed to homes and institutions; hospitals are no longer able to function adequately, leading to the death of many, particularly the most vulnerable – already more than 180 patients, mainly children and senior citizens have died in Gaza as a direct result of the latest siege; whatever factories that are still working despite the blockade will soon be forced to close, pushing the already extremely high unemployment rate even higher; sewage treatment is grinding to a halt, further polluting Gaza's precious little water supply; academic institutions and schools are largely unable to provide their usual services; and lives of all civilians is severely disrupted, if not irreversibly damaged.

Beyond the make-believe of negotiations

Arjan El Fassed and Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 4 June 2008

"Just days before heading off to the United States this week, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert approved the construction of an additional 900 Jewish-only homes in occupied Jerusalem. Indeed, barely a week has passed since last November's gala relaunch of peace talks at Annapolis without Israel announcing new colony projects on occupied land. Since the media handshake orchestrated by the Bush Administration, construction continues in a hundred settlements across the West Bank and settler caravans have been transported to sites east of Israel's illegal West Bank wall.......

The post-two-state solution era compels us to recognize the fundamental incompatibility of Zionism with universal human rights. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert knows this all too well, stating recently that the notion of Israel becoming "a state of all its citizens" -- in other words a civic democracy -- was gaining support among US elites. He warned that "this is a very dangerous process that endangers the continuation of our existence as a Jewish state." It could not be more plain than that. From the mouth of Israel's own leader: Zionism and democracy cannot mix in Palestine-Israel, just as apartheid and democracy could not in South Africa. The sooner we absorb this and begin to act on it, the shorter will be the path to peace."

Olmert: We're Close to Stopping Iran's Nuclear Program


"05/06/2008 Once again the so-called “Iranian threat” on Israel was the main plate on the US-Israeli table.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is currently on a four-day visit to Washington to raise several issues, on top of which is the “Iranian threat”. After his meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington on Wednesday, Olmert said that the end of Iran's nuclear program was approaching. "With every day that passes, we are getting closer to stopping Iran's nuclear program," he said, adding that substantial steps were being taken to handle the Iranian threat in "a more effective manner."

Olmert added that, as a result of the hour-long meeting with Bush, there were fewer question marks between the two allies concerning the means, the time constraints, and the level of American determination in dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.

"I do not think it is appropriate for Iran to know what we are doing," Olmert said.

Bush told Olmert that Iran was an "existential threat to peace" and said the world must take that threat seriously. The Washington talks came a day after Olmert issued his toughest warning yet to Tehran, saying Iran's nuclear program must be stopped by "all possible means."

Amidst such reports, the US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell paid a rare visit to Israel Tuesday for talks on possible strikes against Iran with heads of the Israeli intelligence community. McConnell was scheduled to meet with head of Israeli Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

McConnell's office published the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report late last year, which said that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 even though it had renewed its enrichment of uranium in 2005.

The publication of the report raised Israeli ire and delegations from the Mossad and Military Intelligence traveled several times to the US in recent months to present the Americans with Israel's estimates concerning Iran's race towards nuclear power.

Defense officials said that McConnell's visit to Israel was part of the ongoing intelligence dialogue between the two governments and that he would be presented with the most updated Mossad and MI assessments regarding Iran's nuclear program. MI recently moved up its assessment and now believes that Iran will master centrifuge technology by the end of the year, meaning that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade.

Earlier reports said that Bush intends to attack Iran in the upcoming months, before the end of his term. An official was quoted as saying that a senior member of the president's entourage said during a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action was called for...... "

U.S. Urged to Push Israel Harder on Gaza Students

By Jim Lobe

"WASHINGTON, Jun 4 (IPS) - While seven Palestinian Fulbright scholars now appear more likely to get their chance to study in the United States, hundreds of other university students who have received invitations to study abroad remain trapped at home by Israeli security restrictions, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and two national academic associations......"

Hamas 'will win Palestinian polls'

Hamas says it retains the support of the Palestinian people despite facing an Israeli blockade on Gaza and an international boycott.


""If elections were to occur tomorrow, we would win," Mahmoud Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas, the largest Palestinian Islamist resistance movement, told journalists.

"Support for Hamas is much greater than most people think.".....

By June 2007, hundreds of Palestinians had been killed in months of factional street fighting. "Last year was the first time for Palestinians to get themselves involved in civil battle," Zahar said of the street battles.

He blames Fatah for allowing US foreign policy to steer their control over the West Bank. In April 2008, Vanity Fair ran The Gaza Bombshells, an article that exposed a US plot to overthrow the elected Palestinian government based on leaked documents and interviews with key players in the Bush administration.

Leaning forward in his chair, Zahar said: "What came out from Vanity Fair was a perfect example of how regressive and harmful Fatah was in hurting the Palestinian cause."

"So, we are not ready to meet with Fatah because such meetings should be fruitful and constructive for the Palestinian people."........

Zahar explains that the acts of aggression carried out by Fatah in Palestinian cities such as Ramallah went as far as the "killing of innocent people ... or they shoot at students in university".

"So, I can see how the Palestinian people in the West Bank would not vote for Fatah because of their co-operation with Israel"......

Addressing Arab leaders in a recent meeting in Qatar, Tipsivi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, said that Israel was ready for a two-state solution. But Zahar believes Israel's "solution" is a trick.

"Livni thinks we are ready to except two states- but where are the borders? Who is the citizen? We don't trust statements made by Israeli officials," he said.

"I have travelled through the tunnel of the Oslo Accords, the peace negotiations in Madrid, conferences in Paris, Sharm El Sheikh, Taba, everywhere you can think of. What two state solution is she be talking about?" he said......"

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

By Patrick Cockburn
Thursday, 5 June 2008

"A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal........"

Obama is Europe's dream candidate, but we may have to settle for McSame

We'd like the Democratic victor in charge but must still prepare for a hawkish McCain presidency, and advance our own agenda

Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, Thursday June 5 2008

"To say that Europeans will welcome President George Bush on his farewell visit to Europe next week would invite a charge of verb-abuse. Welcome is hardly the word. But they will be glad to see the back of him. His two terms have been a bad time for relations between Europe and the United States. The question now is how much better those relations will get under a President Barack Obama or John McCain. My guess is: with Obama, it will be very different and an exciting ride, but still not easy; with McCain, a little better than with Bush at the outset, but could rapidly get stormy again......."

Real News Video: AIPAC, Israel, Iran and the candidates

Bernard Avishai: Presidential candidates spoke from a position of accepted consensus

"With the end of the AIPAC conference on Wednesday, US foreign policy and the geopolitics of the middle east were drawn into the spotlight. Delivering speeches were all three major presidential candidates Senator John McCain, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. The Real News Senior News Analyst Aijaz Ahmad spoke to Bernard Avishai contributing editor of the Harvard Business Review and author of the recently published book, The Hebrew Republic."

Real News Video: Obama courts Israel lobby

He sounds hawkish on Hamas and Iran but he's open to negotiations

"Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, addressing the AIPAC conference in Washington DC, made sure to express his unconditional support of Israel and took great pains to clarify his position on Iran: tough negotiations as leverage."

Israel Lobby: Its influence on US foreign policy

London Review of Books debate on article published March 2006, panel of authors and analysts

"In March 2006, the London Review of Books published an article by John Mearscheimer and Stephen Walt titled “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy”.
The article caused an uproar and was called anti-Semitic in many US newspapers and magazines. The London Review of Books debate took place at Cooper Union in New York City and was captured by ScribeMedia on their behalf. The panelists were John Mearscheimer, Shlomo Ben-Ami, Martin Indyk, Tony Judt, Rashid Khalidi and Dennis Ross. The moderator was Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs."

Reflections on the 1967-war anniversary

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

"Today marks the passage of 41 years since the outbreak of the 1967 war, or the Six-day war, as it is known in the Israeli political phraseology. However, despite overwhelming Israeli military and political advantages, mainly due to Zionist influence and predominance in the West, particularly the United States, it is amply clear that the Palestinian people are keeping up the struggle for freedom and justice and self-determination.

This struggle, everyone must understand, will never come to an end, until racism and oppression come to an end.

In this somewhat lengthy article, I will present some of my personal recollections in relation to life under the sinister Israeli occupation. Interestingly, the nightmares of the occupation have only become more ghoulish. Now Israel’s Nazi face is exposed to all and Sundry......."

Israel uses term "unlawful combatant" to justify detention without charges

"GAZA, (PIC)- The ministry of detainees and ex-detainees in Gaza stated Wednesday that the Israeli intelligence apparatus started using the term "unlawful combatant", which has no basis in international law, to justify the detention of Palestinian prisoners for an indefinite period without charge.

Riyadh Al-Ashqar, the director of the ministry's information office, underlined that the use of such a term incurs serious legal and human rights consequences where the IOA uses it to continue detaining Palestinian prisoners without pressing any charges or indictment against them or granting them a fair trial at the pretext that there are secret files which prove that they are "unlawful combatants".

Ashqar pointed out that this decision is a gross violation of the minimum standards of human rights and international humanitarian law especially the fourth Geneva convention on the protection of the civilian population because it deprives the detained from their right to defend themselves before the courts.

The Palestinian official appealed to the international community to stop Israel from continuing to violate international law and to impose sanctions on it for violating the laws it signed.

In a related development, the Palestinian official strongly denounced the Israeli military court for extending arbitrarily the four-year imprisonment term of Sheikh Hasan Yousef, a member of the Hamas parliamentary bloc, to six years at the pretext of the secret file.

Meanwhile, the IOF troops at the Container checkpoint in northern Bethlehem detained at noon Wednesday MP Samira Al-Halaiqa, a member of the Hamas parliamentary bloc, and kidnapped journalist Mohamed Al-Qiq who was present with her......."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Now?

An Analysis by Tony Sayegh

Most observers were surprised today when Mahmoud Abbas read a pre-prepared short statement on his TV station in Ramallah in which he addressed the Palestinian people. He took no questions to help clarify his statement and this has added to the speculation about the purpose and the timing of this statement.

In the statement Abbas offered unconditional talks with Hamas and other Palestinian factions to “implement the previously agreed-upon document signed in Yemen” intended to “restore Palestinian national unity.” This is the same Abbas who until today had placed pre-conditions which he had known all along that Hamas could not accept. The chief “condition” has been that Hamas should restore the status quo in the Gaza Strip to before June 2007. In other words, the thug Dahlan and the Palestinian Contras armed and financed by Elliott Abrams and instructed to mount a coup against the elected Hamas government and start a Palestinian civil war, were to be restored to continue their Abrams’ mission in Gaza!

Curiously Abbas made no mention of this repeated demand this time and instead he stressed “unifying the Palestinian nation.”

Knowing the emotional nature of our people and the deep desire to heal this deep and festering wound, it is tempting to jump at this offer by Abbas and to let bygones be bygones. Hamas, which has been repeatedly offering an unconditional dialog with Abbas and what is left of his Fatah, jumped at the offer and praised it. While this makes political sense (on the part of Hamas), one has to ask why did Abbas change course, and why now?

Instead of being swept by emotions, the Palestinians have to be very wary of Abbas and are well advised to be very suspicious of his motives. I do not believe for one minute that the apparent change of course is because Abbas has suddenly turned into a Palestinian patriot; far from it. This is the same Abbas who met with Ehud Olmert just two days ago before Olmert left to the US for probably his last meeting with Bush and to address AIPAC urging a blockade and a declaration of war on Iran.

This is the same Abbas whose Dayton puppet forces are still coordinating the arrest of Palestinian activists with the IOF and who are still closing down Islamic charities and orphanages in the West Bank. Just two days ago, another Palestinian prisoner died under torture in Abbas’ dungeon in Al-Khalil (Hebron). This is the second confirmed death of a Palestinian under torture at the hands of Abbas’ “Preventative Security” thugs, and this happened after Abbas supposedly issued a decree ordering the stopping of torture!

Again, why the change of course and why now? There are several possibilities.

One can jump to the conclusion that this is further proof of the collapse of the Bush doctrine in the Middle East. This, after all, has come soon after the Hizbullah political and military victory in Lebanon and the routing of US-backed forces there. It is no secret that the so-called peace process launched just seven months ago in Annapolis, and described by Abbas as the greatest opportunity in two generations to establish a Palestinian state, has reached its predicted dead end. None other than Condoleezza Rice declared today that a peace agreement is not likely to be reached by the designated deadline, which is the end of this year. Jewish colonization of Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank are proceeding at a feverish pace and a new law has been introduced in the Knesset declaring Jerusalem as the eternal capital of all Jews, around the world!

Did it take Abbas this long to realize that this is the end? One possibility is that he sees not just the demise of the “peace process” but the PA itself and he is trying to salvage anything of his tattered reputation as the Palestinian leader who has done more damage to the cause than any other Palestinian in three generations.

USrael has repeatedly warned Abbas that dialog and unity with Hamas will lead to the cutoff of the PA itself. Is it credible that Abbas and Fayyad can now do without the US and EU hush money? Not likely. And how about Abbas’ cronies and the hundred thousand PA employees whom Abbas controls by power of the purse? In short Abbas can not be serious in this reconciliation attempt.

Another thought is that after his meeting with Olmert on Monday, Abbas was told that Israel will conduct the long threatened big sweep of Gaza to topple Hamas and end the resistance. It is possible that such attack on Gaza will be a part of a bigger campaign against Hizbullah and Iran in addition, as the parting shot of both Bush and Olmert? In that case Abbas must have decided to rebuild his bridges towards Hamas so that he would not be seen as a traitor and a collaborator with Israel, when the big attack comes. He probably thinks that USrael will get rid of Hamas and restore him anyway, so why openly appear as a willing collaborator?

On May 28, his negotiator Erekat said this:

"Reaching an agreement this year was "critical," adding that the negotiations were at the point "where we were in Taba in 2001, and even beyond that." He did not describe the scope of the prospective agreement, but said, "there's no need for a 1,000-page agreement, but a document that includes parameters for the establishment of two states. Such an agreement will pass in a national referendum and will remove Hamas from power."

Another thought is that Abbas is planning presidential and early PLC elections. His standing and the standing of Fatah with the Palestinian public is lower than Bush’s standing with the American people. So, this attempted reconciliation with Hamas could be seen as an attempt to improve Fatah’s dismal chances.

A possible scenario is the big invasion of Gaza to topple Hamas, to be followed by manipulated elections, greased with US funds, which would restore Fatah to power. Abbas is trying to recast himself and Fatah as patriots and unifiers, in preparation for these events.

At any rate, Hamas should be very careful dealing with this stooge and to demand full accounting for all of his acts. A new course and a new liberation framework should then be rebuilt which involves most Palestinians, including those in the Diaspora, to involve them in the liberation struggle. This would be the right time to administer the coup de grace to the PA; it would not be one minute too soon.