Saturday, July 5, 2008

Syria 'would break links with Iran' if America steps in to help it

The Sunday Telegraph

"Syria is ready to break off its close links with Iran if America gives it financial and military backing, a former Israeli diplomat involved in unofficial peace talks has revealed to The Sunday Telegraph.

According to the official, who has been engaged in low-key "second track" discussions with Syrian representatives for many months, Syria's President Bashar Assad is increasingly open to a deal which would greatly weaken Iranian influence in the region.

Alon Liel, a former director of Israel's foreign ministry, said the prospect of a peace agreement with Syria was growing, though it might require a new American president before a deal could be agreed......."

Shalit is not more important than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

"One of the most repulsive expressions of Israeli racism is the firmly-held belief that a Jew is superior to and more important than a non-Jew.

According to this unholy principle, which most Israeli Jews see as an unquestionable truism, a Jewish life is more important than a non-Jewish life, and a Jewish blood is far more important than a non-Jewish blood.

Unfortunately, it is upon this manifestly racist concept that the entire Israeli justice system is based......

In truth, Shalit, a prisoner of war, could have been released from the very inception had Israel shown any modicum of good will, respect and above all some justice toward her Palestinian victims.

However, as always, and consistent with the Chosen People complex, the Israeli government acted arrogantly and impetuously on the racist premise that a Jew’s right to freedom exceeds and overrides the entire Palestinian people’s right to life and freedom......

Today, as many as 10,000 Palestinians (or untermenschen) are detained in Israeli detention camps in obviously inhuman conditions, many of them because of their thoughts, views and non-violent political activities......

This writer knows academics and college professors whose originally unjust prison terms ended six years ago, but are non the less still languishing in Israeli jails and detention camps due to the mood of the “judge” who with a strike of a pen can extend the incarceration of a given detainee for six more months or even six more years......

Then Sarmad asked the prisoner: “do you go to the Mosque?”
The Prisoner answered “Yes, I do.” Then Sarmad told the prisoner rather unhesitatingly “that is it…you are guilty of going to the mosque and praying there. This is why you are here.”

Needless to say, entrusting Jewish settlers, who are inculcated with indescribable hatred for non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular, is very much like entrusting Nazi judges with the administration of justice for Jews......

Israel can get Shalit released from Hamas’s custody the moment it realizes that Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody are as human as Shalit, and have beloved ones awaiting their release from jail.

But then such a realization would contradict and even undo Zionism, an evil ideology that is based on racism and brutality.

Hence, the problem. "

Flashpoints Monday, June 30th, 2008

You Have to Listen to This Audio

"Award-winning journalist and Flashpoints contributor Mohammed Omer beaten and tortured by Israeli secret police, we speak to him in his hospital bed; also, Ali Abunimah responds to the attack and speaks about the anti-Palestinian stance of the major presidential candidates; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges talks about the administration's plans for war against Iran; and the Knight Report."

Click Here to Listen

He Lacks Privilege

By Dahr Jamail
Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

"On June 16 I was the co-recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism with Mohammed Omer in London. Omer is a 24 year-old Palestinian with whom I felt, and feel, honored to have shared this award. During my brief talk while accepting the award, I told the audience I could not think of anyone else I would rather share the award with. Omer's work from his Gaza homeland has been a beacon of humanitarian reportage; his work serves as a model of peace and attempted reconciliation with Israel for the youth in his occupied territory......

Former Dutch ambassador Jan Wijenberg said of what happened to Omer: "This is by no means an isolated incident, but part of a long-term strategy to demolish Palestinian social, economic and cultural life ... I am aware of the possibility that Mohammed Omer might be murdered by Israeli snipers or bomb attack in the near future."

Janet McMahon, managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs with whom Omer files stories, just told me he is still in hospital. "He may go home, or have an operation. He's still in a lot of pain -- and it's hard for him to swallow, or to breathe deeply. He's being fed intravenously."

As Omer's colleague, I cannot reconcile the disparity in our experiences. How can we reconcile something that is irreconcilable in the absence of all justice? "

Journalistic Imperatives

Saying What Others Might Not


".....While many would find that alternative forms of media are the answer to such growing problems as these, current media trends testify to the fact that more is not always better and that advanced technologies, while they may advance certain aspects of communications and allow disadvantaged groups greater access, also create useless competition and misinformation. But for the most part, today's media -- those outlets particularly manifested through large media conglomerates -- are establishments with clear political agendas, explicit or subtle, but unmistakable.

In a recent article I wrote, "Managing consent: the art of war, democracy and public relations", I tried to trace the history of that relationship between the state, the corporation and the media. In a more recent article, "Media language and war: manufacturing convenient realities", I attempted to further refashion the discussion to more contemporary periods, using Iraq as the centrepiece. Generally, I think that the media is willingly used -- or allows itself to be used -- for political agendas and for state propaganda, a role that can only be described as fraudulent. Nonetheless, the huge gap left open by subservient corporate media called and allowed for the development of alternative means of communication, some with their own agenda but widespread enough to balance out......."

Can Nasrallah Unite Lebanon?

Hope and Despair in the Air


"........The reaction to Nasrallah’s speech from among those who have opposed him most, including Siniora and Walid Jumblatt, was refreshingly positive.

Siniora hailed the imminent return of the Lebanese detainees, declaring it a “national success.” He vowed to attend the ceremony marking their return and make it a national holiday. Jumblatt described Nasrallah’s statements as “encouraging” and also planned on greeting Kantar and the others remarking, “This issue goes beyond any security or political considerations." Unfortunately, but quite predictably, Future Movement head Saad Hariri failed to comment but indicated his party would participate in the welcoming ceremonies as well.

Whether the outreach found in Nasrallah’s words or the upcoming return of Lebanon’s captured and fallen will be enough to unite this fractured country remains to be seen. The initials signs are hopeful. But as Lebanon’s political future has always been a risky one to predict, it is probably best to say this is a chapter yet to be written."

Democracy Now Video: Academic Freedom of Speech

A Very Good Video

Contributed by v.

The One-Word Solution

How Israel Uses the Word "Terrorist"


"On Wednesday the 2nd of July, a “Palestinian from East Jerusalem deliberately plowed a bulldozer he was driving into a passenger bus on Jaffa Street in the capital shortly after noon, killing three people and wounding dozens more […] the bulldozer left a nearby construction site, drove against the direction of traffic on Jaffa Street, hitting the Egged bus, which turned over, along with other vehicles and pedestrians along the way.” (1)

The driver of the bulldozer was then shot by the police and died at the scene.

Israel immediate reaction was to say that this was a terrorist attack and started looking for which terrorist organization the driver was “working”. The Israeli media duly followed and the word terrorist was used in every single report issued by the Israeli press during the following hours.

The battle was won.

Reactions started to pour down on TV, newspapers and websites from “experts”, politicians, commentators and the public. Once more this terrorist attack proved that the Palestinians were monsters, blood thirsty animals and only wanted Israel ’s destruction. This also showed to the world that Israeli Jews had to fear attacks from the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank but also from ungrateful Palestinians living in Israel itself (usually called Israeli Arabs by the Israeli Jews)......."

Israel Flexes Its Muscles

Do You Have Love in Your Culture?


"“[The Israeli security man] took his gun out, pressing it to my head . . . Another man, who was laughing, said: “Why are you bringing perfumes?” I replied: “They are gifts for people I love.” He said: “Oh, do you have love in your culture?”

Palestinian journalist Mohammad Omar, June 26, 2008

That sums it up. It encapsulates the disrespect, the utter contempt for Palestinians – indeed for all Arabs – felt and displayed by vicious and spiteful Israeli buffoons. This tiny but significant cameo explains the entire ethos of the Israeli regime as concerns colonially-suppressed Arab serfs who have been for sixty horrible years without help or hope in their destitution and despair. This incident, which was not made known by the mainstream media (“Your search - Mohammad Omar - did not match any documents” – New York Times), became public only because non-mainstream editors, not subject to pressure or to energetically held personal beliefs, have nothing to fear from media moguls with financial or personal axes to grind.

The journalist Mohammad Omar was trying to return home from attending a function in London to mark his award of a journalistic distinction, the Martha Gellhorn Prize, for his reporting. His journey back to Gaza was assisted by the Dutch Embassy, which deserves great credit for trying – albeit unsuccessfully – to have his return free of harassment and the normal casual barbarity of Israeli officials. (The Dutch and the Scandinavian countries do a great deal, quietly and usually effectively, in support of decency and world-wide human rights. Official Washington laughs at them.) But the Israelis pay no attention to diplomatic custom and civilized traditions when these do not suit them, although they insist on them when it seems that someone might be so indelicate as to make it clear that Israel is behaving illegally and disgustingly, which it does a lot of the time......

The Israeli lobby in Washington has a stranglehold on US foreign policy. There is no US politician of any party who dare criticize Israel. Such impudence would lead to a campaign for their political extinction, funded by rich and vindictive zealots who are single-minded in their support of a foreign country to which they owe unconditional loyalty. So the stage is set for a strike on Iran, after which the world will reel from the effects of Israel’s lunacy.

There is not much love in their culture."

Aoun Warns Gathering of Resettling Palestinians


"05/07/2008 The first National Christian Forum was launched on Friday with a gathering that saw leading Christian figures attending, including former Phalange and Lebanese Forces members.

210 political, syndical, economic, intellectual and cultural figures took part in the meeting that was held in Dbayye, Beirut after months of preparations.

MP General Michel Aoun who initiated the gathering addressed the conferees, warning that Lebanon was still running the risk of Palestinian resettlement as Israel had denied them their right to return. "Lebanon is caught between the East and the West due to its pluralist composition. Its national unity is threatened, and its decision-making power is being taken to other capitals,” Aoun warned, adding that national unity could only be fostered through dialogue among all confessions. Aoun also called for a "joint conduct that would reassure the various sects," labeling Christians in Lebanon as "pioneers." "Christians should achieve solidarity with other sects," Aoun said, urging Christians to "heal their body from cancerous tumors."......"

Q&A: What the Most Seen Photographs Say

Interview with film director Errol Morris

Photos courtesy of

"BRUSSELS, Jul 4 (IPS) - No matter how familiar they become, the photographs depicting abuse at Abu Ghraib prison never seem to lose their ability to shock.

These images of humiliation, torture and death -- which first came to public light in 2004 -- have become a potent symbol of how international law has been sidelined by the U.S. during its occupation of Iraq and its wider 'war on terror'. Even defenders of U.S. foreign policy have had to admit that the pictures have caused immense harm to the reputation of a country where the political elite routinely claims to cherish democratic values such as respect for human rights.

'Standard Operating Procedure', the new film by veteran director Errol Morris, is the fruit of meticulous research into the ill-treatment of Iraqi detainees. Featuring numerous interviews with military personnel who served at Abu Ghraib, it leaves the viewer in little doubt that the cruelty captured on the camera of often inexperienced soldiers was authorised at the highest levels in Washington. Nevertheless, no officer above the rank of staff sergeant has served time as a result of the scandal.

Morris, who won an Oscar in 2004 for his documentary 'The Fog of War' (about Robert McNamara, the U.S. defence secretary in the 1960s) spoke to IPS Brussels correspondent David Cronin......."

This is Zionism: 'Police called us smelly Bedouin, then they started to beat us'

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"Sabri al-Jarjawi, a 25-year-old resident of the Negev town of Segev Shalom who was severely beaten by police in Ashkelon three months ago, died of his wounds last weekend.

Al-Jarjawi's family claims that two detectives from the Lachish district brutally beat him after calling him a "smelly Bedouin." The family has petitioned the High Court, requesting that both detectives be suspended from duty and that the investigation into al-Jarjawi's death be quickly concluded......"

Palestinian Journalist Abused, Stripped

By Nora Barrows-Friedman and Dennis Bernstein
July 5, 2008

"......Below is a commentary expressing the outrage of two of Omer’s colleagues at the radio program, “Flashpoints,” followed by an interview with Omer about his ordeal:

The U.S.-supported occupation violence against Palestine continues unchecked. The failure of major Western politicians and the Big Press to cover the story has given Israel an absolute free hand to prosecute its program of ethnic cleansing.

It is nearly impossible these days to get substantial, unbiased information out on punishing Israeli policies. The few reporters who have chosen to take on the story head-on oftentimes risk their life and their limbs to do their work.

A week ago Thursday, the Israeli occupation violence hit close to home as award-winning reporter and Flashpoints correspondent Mohammed Omer was detained and tortured trying to return back to his home in Gaza through Jordan......."

'Dozens killed' in Syrian jail riot


"At least 25 inmates of a jail near the Syrian capital Damascus have been killed by security forces during a prison riot, a human rights group has said.

"Islamist prisoners started a riot inside the prison this morning," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement on Saturday, citing a conversation with a political prisoner in Saydnaya jail.

"Shooting is continuing against the prisoners," the group said, adding that some prisoners fled to the roof of the military prison to escape the violence.

The group initially said 10 prisoners had died, but a spokesman later put the toll at 25.

The group said it had received phone calls from relatives of prisoners asking Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president, to help bring an end to the violence.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian authorities.

"Based on what my staff saw, the administration of the prison has cancelled visits today," Muhanad al-Hasni of the Syrian Human Rights Organisation, told Al Jazeera.

"We could see columns of smoke from inside the prison. We can't tell if it is gas bombs or fire. We were denied access into the prison."

Dissidents held

The Saydnaya jail holds political prisoners including dissident intellectuals besides ordinary criminals.

Syria has recently faced criticism from the West for its crackdown against political dissidents.

Most of the arrests have been carried out under 45-year-old emergency laws.

At least 14 signatories of a December petition calling for democratic change in Syria are in dentention, including Riad Seif, a former member of parliament.

Saydnaya prison was built in 1987 and can hold up to 10,000 prisoners, according to the Syrian Human Rights Committee.

In 2004, the jail held several hundred members of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as left wing activists, Palestinians and detained Syrian army soldiers, the rights group says."

Military action 'would destabilise Iraq'

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Saturday, 5 July 2008

"Iraq will be plunged into a new war if Israel or the US launches an attack on Iran, Iraqi leaders have warned. Iranian retaliation would take place in Iraq, said Dr Mahmoud Othman, the influential Iraqi MP.

The Iraqi government's main allies are the US and Iran, whose governments openly detest each other. The Iraqi government may be militarily dependent on the 140,000 US troops in the country, but its Shia and Kurdish leaders have long been allied to Iran. Iraqi leaders have to continually perform a balancing act in which they seek to avoid alienating either country.

The balancing act has become more difficult for Iraq since George Bush successfully requested $400m (£200m) from Congress last year to fund covert operations aimed at destabilising the Iranian leadership. Some of these operations are likely to be launched from Iraqi territory with the help of Iranian militants opposed to Tehran. The most effective of these opponent groups is the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which enraged the Iraqi government by staging a conference last month at Camp Ashraf, north-east of Baghdad. It demanded the closure of the Iranian embassy and the expulsion of all Iranian agents in Iraq. "It was a huge meeting" said Dr Othman. "All the tribes and political leaders who are against Iran, but are also against the Iraqi government, were there." He said the anti-Iranian meeting could not have taken place without US permission.

The Americans disarmed the 3,700 MEK militants, who had long been allied to Saddam Hussein, at Camp Ashraf in 2003, but they remain well-organised and well-financed. The extent of their support within Iran remains unknown, but they are extremely effective as an intelligence and propaganda organisation.

Though the MEK is on the State Department's list of terrorist groups, the Pentagon and other US institutions have been periodically friendly to it. The US task force charged by Mr Bush with destabilising the Iranian government is likely to co-operate with it.

In reaction to the conference, the Iraqi government, the US and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have started secret talks on the future of the MEK with the Iraqi government pressing for their expulsion from Iraq. Dr Othman, who speaks to the MEK frequently by phone, said: "I pressed them to get out of Iraq voluntarily because they are a card in the hands of the Americans."

An embarrassing aspect of the American pin-prick war against Iran is that many of its instruments were previously on the payroll of Saddam Hussein. The MEK even played a role in 1991 in helping to crush the uprising against the Baathist regime at the end of the Gulf war. The dissidents from Arab districts in southern Iran around Ahwaz were funded by Saddam Hussein's intelligence organisations, which orchestrated the seizure of the Iranian embassy in London in 1980 which was supposedly carried out by Arab nationalists from Iran........"

حماس تطالب الوسطاء بإلزام إسرائيل باستحقاقات التهدئة

Al-Jazeera (Arabic)

Two interesting and revealing comments from readers of this piece:

"محمود نايف خليل

نقطة على السطر : علينا أن نفهم جيدا أن العدر يدرك حاجتنا للتهدئة وهي نقطة ضعفنا ولا شيء أدل على ذلك من عدم شمول التهدئة للضفة من هنا تأتي مراوغة العدو أما النظام المصري فهو إن لم يكن أخطر من العدو فهو نسخة منه مع إدراكي لحاجتنا للتعامل معه بهدف الإطلاع على أفكاره والعدو مع عدم التعويل عليه لخدمة قضيتنا فمن باع أرضه وشعبه بعد بيع فلسطين للصهاينة لا يعول عليه مع تقديري للشعب المصري المقهور . وفي ظل هذا الوضع تصبح العمليات الفردية للمقاومة في كل فلسطين من أنجع الوسائل لردع العدو وتحقيق الأهداف "

الوسيط المصري غير معني اصلا بالتهديئة و لا باطلاق شاليط بل يحاول اقناع اسرائيل ان لا حل مع حماس الا الاجتياح و هي يعمل بجهد في هذا الاتجاه و ينتظر اليوم الذي يحتفل به بالقضاء على حماس. على المجاهدين بدئ التفكير بالنظام المصري كعدو و تحصين مواقعهم لان الاجتياح قادم و قد يشارك فيه النظام المصري المحتل فيه."

التهدئة واستمرار الحصار

التهدئة واستمرار الحصار

عبد الباري عطوان

"أوقفت حركة حماس مشاركتها في المفاوضات حول إطلاق الجندي الإسرائيلي الأسير جلعاد شليط بسبب إقدام الحكومة الإسرائيلية علي إغلاق المعابر مجددا تحت ذريعة سقوط صاروخ يوم أمس الأول في منطقة النقب، ولكن هذه الخطوة لا تكفي، بل يجب أن تذهب الحركة إلي ما هو أبعد من ذلك، أي تعطي إسرائيل والوسيط المصري مهلة لعدة أيام يتم خلالها إعادة فتح المعابر جميعا دون أي إغلاق أو الانسحاب من اتفاق التهدئة كليا.
المسألة الخطيرة التي تغيب حاليا عن أذهان قادة حماس الذين تفاوضوا علي هذا الاتفاق، ووقعوا في مصيدة الضغوط المصرية بحسن نية، هي أن إسرائيل أصبحت تغلق المعابر كرد علي إطلاق الصواريخ، بمعني أنها تتهم الجانب الفلسطيني بعدم الالتزام بالاتفاق، بينما واقع الحال ليس كذلك علي الإطلاق. فالنوايا الإسرائيلية كانت واضحة بتخريب هذا الاتفاق، وخلق الحجج والذرائع للتملص من أي التزام به.
مفاوضو حركة حماس ارتكبوا خطأين أساسيين، الأول هو التنازل عن مطالبهم بربط التهدئة في قطاع غزة بتهدئة موازية في الضفة الغربية، والثاني هو عدم الإصرار علي فتح معبر رفح بشكل دائم كشرط لوقف إطلاق الصواريخ.
ندرك جيدا حجم الضغوط الواقعة علي حركة حماس وحكومتها في قطاع غزة جراء الحصار، وإغلاق المعابر، والنقص الكامل في كل الاحتياجات الضرورية لمليون ونصف المليون فلسطيني، ولكن هذا لا يعني تقديم تهدئة شبه مجانية، غير مرتبطة بأي ضمانات أو مرجعية صلبة توفر الحد الأدني من الالتزام بشروطها.
فالوساطة المصرية لم تكن ضرورية علي الإطلاق طالما أن التهدئة لم تؤد إلي فتح المعابر جميعا دون استثناء. وكان يمكن أن تصل حركة حماس إلي النتيجة الحالية دون الحاجة إلي تدخل الحكومة المصرية من خلال إيقافها إطلاق الصواريخ من طرف واحد. فإسرائيل كانت تطالب بذلك، وتعرض استعدادها لتخفيف الحصار، واستئناف إرسال البضائع دون اتفاق، ودون وساطة مصرية أو غيرها.

لا نقبل أن تكون الحكومة المصرية وسيطا بين الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين، لأنها يجب أن تقف في الخندق الفلسطيني، وتضغط علي الإسرائيليين لإنهاء الحصار وإعادة فتح المعابر، لأن قطاع غزة وقع تحت الاحتلال الإسرائيلي عندما كان خاضــــعا للإدارة المصـــرية. وطالما أنها قبــــلت أن تكون وســــيطا، فــــإن من أبرز مواصفات الوسيط أن يكون نزيها، ومن المؤسف أنها لم تكن كذلك علي الإطلاق، فقد قامت بدور ساعي البريد لنقل الشروط الإسرائيلية إلي الطرف الفلسطيني، وفرضها عليه فرضا، مستغلة ظروفه الصعبة تحت الحصار.
كان منظرا مؤسفا أن نري قوات الأمن المصرية تنهال بالضرب علي المنتظرين علي جانبي معبر رفح، وكان مؤسفا أكثر تصريحات السيد أحمد أبو الغيط التي كرر فيها تهديداته للفلسطينيين بعواقب خطيرة إذا ما أقدموا علي اقتحام المعبر مرة أخري.
الحكومة المصرية تعهدت بفتح المعبر بصورة دائمة عندما تدفق مئات الآلاف من المحاصرين الفلسطينيين إلي الحدود المصرية قبل أربعة أشهر، ولكنها لم تلتزم بأي من هذه التعهدات. وحتي فتحها هذا المعبر لثلاثة أيام أمام المرضي وحملة الإقامات في الدول العربية لأسباب إنسانية غير كاف علي الإطلاق، لأن وضع أبناء القطاع جميعا هو وضع غير إنساني علي الإطلاق.

من الواضح أن التصريحات التي أدلي بها مسؤولون إسرائيليون رافقوا إيهود أولمرت رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي أثناء زيارته الأخيرة لمصر، وقالوا فيها إن الرئيس مبارك تعهد بإبقاء المعبر مغلقا حتي الإفراج عن الجندي الأسير شليط هي تصريحات صحيحة رغم النفي المصري الرسمي لها. فالمعبر ما زال مغلقا، وكذلك المعابر الأخري.
مصير مليون ونصف مليون فلسطيني أصبح معلقا بمصير هذا الجندي الإسرائيلي، وكأنه من أنبياء بني إسرائيل! إنه ابتزاز غير مسبوق، ولا يجب الرضوخ له، والاستسلام لشروطه مهما كانت الضغوط والنتائج.
الفصائل الأخري التي تطلق الصواريخ تفعل ما فعلته حركة حماس وأجهزتها العسكرية أثناء خضوع قطاع غزة لسلطة رام الله، باعتبار المقاومة حقا مشروعا طالما أن هناك احتلالا وعدوانا إسرائيليين، وليس من حق سلطة حماس أن تخوّن مثل هذا الفعل، رغم وجود الكثير من المنطق في مطالبها بالالتزام بالتهدئة لتخفيف معاناة أبناء القطاع، وتوفير فسحة من الوقت لالتقاط الأنفاس، والاستعداد لجولة جديدة من المواجهات في وقت لاحق.
وربما يفيد التذكير بأنه في التهدئة الأولي التي انبثقت عن قمة شرم الشيخ الرباعية، التزمت حماس بشروطها التزاما كليا، وأوقفت إطلاق الصواريخ، ولكن حركة الجهاد الإسلامي، ولجان المقاومة الشعبية اعتبرت نفسها في حل من هذا الاتفاق وواصلت إطلاق الصواريخ، ومع ذلك ظلت المعابر مفتوحة، وإن كانت عمليات الاغتيال الإسرائيلية اقتصرت فقط علي ناشطي الفصائل التي لم تلتزم بالتهدئة، ولم تستهدف أيا من عناصر الجناح العسكري لحركة حماس إلا في فترة لاحقة عندما قررت الحركة عدم الالتزام بهذا الاتفاق.
حركة حماس تعرضت لخديعة كبري في تقديرنا برضوخها للضغوط المصرية، ووجدت نفسها تتفاوض من أجل شحنة دقيق، أو حمولة مازوت، أو عبور بعض المرضي إلي مصر من أجل العلاج، وهي أمور هامشية بالنسبة إلي أهدافها الكبري كحركة مقاومة نجحت باستراتيجيتها الجهادية في كسب قلوب غالبية أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني، وانعكس ذلك بوضوح في انتخابات المجلس التشريعي ونتائجها المفاجئة التي أكدت زعامتها بوضوح.
وفي غمرة انشغال حماس بالتهدئة والتفاوض علي إعادة فتح المعابر، بادرت سلطة رام الله إلي إصدار فتوي بالتمديد للرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس لمدة عامين في السلطة، وربط انتخابات الرئاسة المقبلة بانتخابات المجلس التشريعي.
الرئيس عباس والمجموعة المحيطة به ما كانوا ليقدموا علي مثل هذه الخطوة لو كانت حركة حماس تطلق صواريخها كالمعتاد وتضرب العمق الإسرائيلي، أو حتي لو أن اتفاق التهدئة الذي توصلت إليه جري الالتزام به وبما ينعكس إيجابيا علي الظروف المعيشية اليومية لأبناء القطاع.
ندرك أن التعديلات هذه ليست قانونية، لأن السلطة كلها تحت الاحتلال غير شرعية وكل ما يتفرع عنها من وزارات ومؤسسات. فحكومة سلام فياض تحولت من حكومة طوارئ مدتها شهر وفق النظام الأساسي للحكم إلي حكومة دائمة. ولكن وجود حركة مقاومة موازية وقوية ستمنع أي خطوات تهدف إلي خرق الدستور والنظام الأساسي.
حركة حماس يجب أن تتخذ موقفا صلبا، وتضع الوسيط المصري أمام مسؤولياته، فإما الالتزام الإسرائيلي بالتهدئة وفتح المعابر بشكل دائم، وإما العودة إلي مرحلة ما قبلها، خاصة أن أضرار التهدئة أصبحت أخطر بكثير من فوائدها

From Real News Video: July 4th: State of the Nation

ANP: On White House lawn, people are asked about deepest hopes and worries for the country's future

"American News Project: Despite the rise in gas prices, many Americans made the traditional pilgrimage to the nation's capital for July 4. At the White House we asked about people's deepest hopes and worries about the country's future after Independence Day."

Iran threatens to close Hormuz Strait

Press TV

"Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces says Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz if the country's interests are jeopardized.

"The Strait of Hormuz is a strategic waterway and it is very important for us to keep it open," Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said on Sunday.

"All other countries must be aware that we will not allow anyone to pass through the waterway, if Iran's regional interests are undermined," he added.

Firouzabadi's remarks come amid growing speculation about a possible Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

These speculations stem from a military maneuver Israel conducted in the Mediterranean last month, which was an apparent rehearsal for an attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

The General was speaking a day after the 20th anniversary of the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by the US Navy in the Strait of Hormuz.

On Sunday July 3, 1988, the US Navy's guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing all the 290 passengers onboard, including 66 children.

The commander of USS Vincennes, Captain William C. Rogers III, with this action registered his name on 'humanity's list of war criminals', said Firouzabadi, urging all US troops stationed in the region not to do the same by risking their lives for US President George Bush and his lies.

He also said that the US government was 'trapped in the jaws of global Zionism', adding that the American people and their military do not deserve to be 'sacrificed for undeserving rulers who serve Zionists'. "

Putting The Lion-Hearted to Work: Sarkozy Vows to Press Syria to Help Free Shalit


"05/07/2008 French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday he would press his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad to use "all the power" of his country to free Israeli occupation soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured by Hamas in June 2006.

Sarkozy has invited Assad to Paris along with some 40 foreign leaders for a summit on July 13 to launch a new "Mediterranean Union", aimed at boosting cooperation between European Union and north African and Middle Eastern rim states.

"I will have the opportunity, when I see ... President Bashar Al-Assad, to ask him to use all Syria's power so that the soldier Shalit is freed," said Sarkozy, who is to meet separately
with Assad on the eve of the summit

He made his comments in a speech welcoming the Colombian former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, a joint French national who was released this week after six years as a hostage of rebels in the Colombian jungle."

Friday, July 4, 2008

The "Tribe" Has Spoken: Anand Will Be Banned

A majority (60%) of those who voted in the current poll were in favor of banning at least one of the trio: Anand/Iraqi Mojo/Mafish Falastin.

We will start by banning Anand and see how it goes.

Mohammed Omer's True Israeli Horror Story

by Jim Lobe

"As you may know, the IPS correspondent in Gaza, Mohammed Omer, was detained last Thursday by Israeli authorities on his return from Europe where he received the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism and went on a brief speaking tour. He is currently in a hospital back in Gaza recovering from the physical wounds incurred during his interrogation. His experience resulted in an official protest by the Dutch government and some attention in the British press, especially The Guardian and The Independent, as well as in the IPS cast itself. The Israeli government’s explanation Mohammed’s wounds, as recounted by IPS correspondent Mel Frykberg, seems somehow unconvincing, although hopefully a thorough investigation, as promised by Israeli’s ambassador to The Hague, will shed some additional light on the matter.

Earlier this week, colleagues sent me a lengthy — but quite eloquent — statement by Mohammed about his experience that, with his permission, I am posting on the blog. I found his thoughts about Shylock’s appeals in the “Merchant of Venice” to his Christian persecutors as Mohammed himself was undergoing what must have been a very traumatic and deeply disillusioning experience at the hands of his fellow human beings to be particularly compelling. You can judge for yourself......"

Iran: War or Privatization: All-Out War or "Economic Conquest"?

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, July 4, 2008

"Is the war on hold?

Tehran is to allow foreign investors, in what might be interpreted as an overture to the West, to acquire full ownership of Iran's State enterprises in the context of a far-reaching "free market" style privatization program.

The Iranian State is not in a financial straighjacket as in the case of most indebted developing countries. What are the political motivations underlying this measure?

Several Western companies have already been approached. Tehran will allow foreign capital "to purchase unlimited shares of state-run enterprises which are in the process of being sold off".

While Iran's privatization program was launched during the government of Mohammed Khatami in the late 1990s, the recent sell-off of shares in key state enterprises points to a new economic design. The underlying measure is far-reaching. It goes beyond the prevailing privatization framework applied in many developing countries within the American sphere of influence......

War and Financial Manipulation

The Bush administration has opted for an all out war on Iran in alliance with Israel, with a view to establishing an exclusive America's sphere of influence in the Middle East.

A US-Israel sponsored military operation directed against Iran, would largely backlash on the economic and financial interests of America's allies, including Germany, Italy, France, and Japan.
More broadly speaking, a war on Iran would hit corporate interests involved in the civilian economy as opposed to those more directly linked to the military industrial complex. It would undermine local and regional economies, the consumer manufacturing and services economy, the automobile industry, the airlines, the tourist and leisure economy, etc.

Moreover, an all out war feeds the profit driven agenda of global banking, including the institutional speculators in the energy market, the powerful Anglo-American oil giants and America's weapons producers, the big five defense contractors plus British Aerospace Systrems Corporation which play a major role in the formulation of US foreign policy and the Pentagon's military agenda, not to mention the gamut of mercenary companies and military contractors......

The pro-Israeli lobby in the US indirectly serves these powerful financial interests. In the current context, Israel is an ally with significant military capabilities which serves America's broader objective in the Middle East. Washington, however, has little concern for the security of Israel, which in the case of a war on Iran would be the first target of retaliatory military action by Tehran.

The broader US objective consists in establishing, through military and economic means, an exclusive US sphere of influence throughout the Middle East."

Wall slices off al-Khader's famous vineyards

Adri Nieuwhof writing from al-Khader, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 4 July 2008

A Palestinian man participates in a demonstration against the wall at al-Khader, February 2008.

"Since early January the Palestinian village of al-Khader located near Bethlehem in the West Bank has protested against Israel's construction of the Apartheid Wall and Jewish-only settlements built on village land every week. Al-Khader is known in the region for its vineyards which produce excellent-quality grapes. In the past they were sold all over the West Bank and Israel but farmers can no longer get their produce to the market. I traveled to al-Khader to witness the impact of the wall on the village at the invitation of Samer Jaber of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements......"

President Chavez and the FARC: State and Revolution

When President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela called on the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, to end their armed struggle and declared the ‘guerrilla war is history’, he was following a path taken by many revolutionary leaders in the past.

By Professor James Petras

"As far back as the early 1920’s, Lenin urged the nascent Turkish communist to sacrifice their revolutionary independence and to support Attaturk; his successor, Joseph Stalin encouraged the Chinese communists to subordinate their revolutionary movement to the nationalist party led by Chiang Kai Chek. Mao Tse Tung prioritized coalitions in which the Communist Party of Indonesia submitted to the leadership of the nationalist leader General Sukarno......


The dilemmas of revolutionary governments revolves around the problem of managing the state, which involves maximizing international economic and diplomatic relations to develop the economy and defending its security in an imperial world order, while living up to its revolutionary ideology and solidarity with popular movements in the capitalist world. The risks of solidarity are lessened when new leftist regimes come to power or popular movements are in the ascent. The risks are greater when the resurgent right is in ascendancy. The dilemma is especially acute because the revolutionary state and the revolutionary party are tightly integrated – and identified as such: The party is led by the President of the State and there is overlap at all levels between government office holders and the party and the latter’s activities reflect the priorities of the government. In the case where there is no independent space between Party and State, diplomatic moves, necessary for everyday policy, undermine the possibility that the Party based in its internal deliberations and principles could act independently in support of their international counterparts. In contrast, the existence of an independent revolutionary party – supportive of the state but with its own internal life – could resolve the dilemma by making overseas class solidarity central to its ‘foreign policy’. By rejecting the role of being a government foreign policy transmission belt, the revolutionary party would operate parallel to the state, conveying their opposition to imperialism and internal class enemies but independent in choosing overseas allies and tactics. Given the different composition of the foreign affairs bureaucracy and diplomatic corps and the radical mass base of a revolutionary party, such a separation of state and movements would reflect the class-political differences inherent between a diplomatic corps developed under previous reactionary regimes and accustomed to conventional modes of operation and newly radicalized popular activists, tested in class struggle and accustomed to exchanging ideas in international forums with overseas revolutionaries.

The risks of diplomatic dependence on unreliable capitalist allies and even riskier fragile temporary accommodations need to be balanced with the gains from solidarity and support from reliable, principled class-based opposition mass parties and movements engaged in extra-parliamentary politics. "

Invading the Middle East: Napolean to Bush

An interview with Juan Cole

By David Barsamian

"Juan Cole, a widely respected expert on the Middle East, teaches history at the University of Michigan. He is a guest on major news programs. He is the author of many books including Sacred Space and Holy War. His latest is Napoleon's Egypt. I talked with him at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

BARSAMIAN: Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness writes, "They were conquerors and for that you want only brute force. They grabbed what they could for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a grand scale, and men going at it blind." Talk about Conrad's observations about conquest and the notion of an idea and Napoleon's Egypt.

COLE: Napoleon's Egypt may have been the first non-European country to have been conquered in the name of liberty because the French and American Revolutions had invented this rhetoric. It occurred to Bonaparte—he had done this in Italy—that elections and a certain amount of personal freedom could be installed by foreign military conquest. So you have this mixture of generals ruling, but then holding elections and trying to endow everything with some sense of popular sovereignty......."

No Kidding? You Mean Unlike the Syrians?

Iran: Attacking our N-sites means war

Press TV

"The top Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commander warns that any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would lead to the outbreak of war.

"Any action against Iran will be interpreted as the start of a war," Major General Mohammad-Ali Jafari told reporters Thursday.

He made the remarks when asked about increasing rumors of a potential US or Israeli attack on Iran, IRNA reported.

The IRGC commander warned that Iran's response to any act of aggression would make the invaders 'regret' their decision.

Washington has never ruled out the possibility of resorting to the use of force against Iran over its nuclear program and reports suggest that the Israeli regime is preparing for a unilateral strike on Iran's nuclear sites.

This is while Washington and Tel Aviv, which accuse Tehran of seeking a military nuclear program, claim they favor a diplomatic solution to the standoff......"

Journalist Charges Censorship by U.S. Military in Fallujah

By Dahr Jamail

"SAN FRANCISCO, Jul 3 (IPS) - U.S. journalist Zoriah Miller says he was censored by the U.S. military in the Iraqi city of Fallujah after photographing Marines who died in a suicide bombing.

On Jun. 26, a suicide bomber attacked a city council meeting in Fallujah, 69 kms west of Baghdad, between local tribal sheikhs and military officials......."

Rice 'proud' of Iraq invasion, thinks world is safer

"Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells Judy Woodruff that she remains "proud" of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, although it has been "tougher than any of us really dreamed.''

"And we can never replace the people who have been lost; we can never do anything to soothe the pain of the family and friends that they have left behind," Rice said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "But we are seeing a change in Iraq for the better. And when we talk about Iran, there is no greater barrier to Iranian influence in the region, negative Iran influences in the region, than a strong Iraq that has a strong Arab identity [the bitch has discovered Iraq's Arab identity!], that is at peace with its neighbors, and that has a good relationship with the United States."

Rice also dismissed the perception that the world is a more dangerous place since President Bush took office....."

Condi Said, "Normalize With Israel Now, or Else!" So, Saudis Invite Israeli to Madrid Parley

"Saudi Arabia invited an Israeli rabbi on Thursday to attend an interfaith conference to be held in Madrid.

Rabbi David Rosen, president of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, is the only rabbi who lives in Israel who was invited by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the World Muslim League to the conference that is slated for July 16 to 18.

Other rabbis representing Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism have also been invited.

Rosen said that the conference was the Saudis' first initiative to reach out to other religions in this way......"

Hamas suspends prisoner swap talks


"Hamas says it has suspended negotiations on the release of Gilad Shalit, a captured Israeli soldier, because Israel was not respecting the terms of a truce with the group.

"It makes no sense for us to begin negotiating on the matter of Shalit's release when Israel is not committed to the calm," Moussa Abu-Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said on Friday.

Israel sealed off the Gaza crossings again on Thursday in retaliation for a Palestinian rocket attack. It was the sixth incident of rocket fire since a fragile Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal came in force in Gaza.

Tenuous truce

The truce was supposed to lead to the easing of a crippling blockade Israel imposed after Hamas seized power in Gaza more than a year ago, but the military said the crossings would stay closed until at least Sunday.

In an interview with Al-Hayyat, a London based newspaper, Abu-Marzouk, chief negotatior on the fate of Shalit, accused rival Palestinian group Fatah of orchestrating the rocket attacks in order to sabotage Hamas.

Abu-Marzouk also called on Egypt to intervene to ensure that the rocket fire stops [??].

Israel has hinged its adherence to the ceasefire on negotiations for the release of Shalit, who was kidnapped by Gaza fighters in a cross-border raid in June 2006....."

Real News Video: The most radical President in history

Seymour Hersh: The secret war in Iran (3 of 3)

"Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military intelligence and congressional sources. In his recent article "Preparing the Battlefield," Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist and famed author for The New Yorker, says that the leadership of the Democratic Party has authorized spending over $400 million in support of a presidential finding that greatly expands the use of secret operations inside Iran, including perhaps the use of lethal force. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program. "This president has read it this way: anything that has to do with the military, even if it's intelligence collection by the military, is part of warfare, preparing the battlefield," Hersh tells The Real News Network. "And they don't have to tell Congress anything." In this three part interview with Paul Jay, Hersh says that a Gallup poll suggests that most Americans would rather the nation talk to Iran rather than go to war, in light of the current conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The problem lies in getting more public support. "So one of the things the special operations troops are doing is trying to escalate the amount of incidents inside Iran, trying to get more stuff going, more terrorism, more bombings, more internal disturbances, and hopes, maybe, in the fantasy football world in the vice president's office, in hopes that the Iranian government would crack down on the minorities big time" which would not only mean bad press for them, but give America a vehicle for going in."

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)
By Mike Luckovich

Muslims feel like 'Jews of Europe'

Minister's shock warning on rise of anti-Islamic prejudice

The Independent

"Britain's first Muslim minister has attacked the growing culture of hostility against Muslims in the United Kingdom, saying that many feel targeted like "the Jews of Europe".

Shahid Malik, who was appointed as a minister in the Department for International Development (Dfid) by Gordon Brown last summer, said it has become legitimate to target Muslims in the media and society at large in a way that would be unacceptable for any other minority.

Mr Malik made clear that he was not equating the situation with the Holocaust but warned that many British Muslims now felt like "aliens in their own country". He said he himself had been the target of a string of racist incidents, including the firebombing of his family car and an attempt to run him down at a petrol station......."

Big Oil's Iraq deals are the greatest stick-up in history

The country's invaders should be paying billions in reparations not using the war as a reason to pillage its richest resource

Naomi Klein
The Guardian, Friday July 4, 2008

"..... "We've invested $650bn to liberate a nation of 25 million people, shouldn't we just demand that they give us oil? There should be tankers after tankers backed up like a traffic jam getting into the Lincoln Tunnel, the stinkin' Lincoln, at rush-hour with thank-you notes from the Iraqi government ... Why don't we just take the oil? We've invested it liberating a country. I can have the problem solved of gas prices coming down in 10 days, not 10 years.".....

Invading countries to seize their natural resources is illegal under the Geneva conventions. That means the huge task of rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure - including its oil infrastructure - is the financial responsibility of Iraq's invaders. They should be forced to pay reparations, just as Saddam Hussein's regime paid $9bn to Kuwait in reparations for its 1990 invasion. Instead, Iraq is being forced to sell 75% of its national patrimony to pay the bills for its own illegal invasion and occupation."

التهدئة الحمساوية الإسرائيلية

عبد الستار قاسم

ما هو الاتفاق؟
المصالح في التهدئة
حماس وإسرائيل بين نارين
الاعتراف بحماس
التزام الفصائل ومستقبل التهدئة

هناك عيب كبير على الساحة الفلسطينية يتمثل في أن العمل خاطئ ما دام غيري هو الذي يقوم به، وهو صحيح ما دمت أنا الذي أقوم به. هذا عيب موجود في سلوك كل الفصائل الفلسطينية وعلى رأسها فتح وحماس.

فمثلا أصبحت المفاوضات غير المباشرة جائزة عند حماس الآن، أما المقاومة فأصبحت عنوانا لدى حركة فتح وهي الموقعة على اتفاق مع إسرائيل يلزم السلطة الفلسطينية بملاحقة المقاومين.
التهدئة لن تصمد طويلا لأن غايات وأهداف طرفيها تتطلب عدم الاستمرار، فإسرائيل بحاجة إلى نوع من الهدوء أساسا لعزل المشاكل عن بعضها، وحماس تريد أن تثبت للناس أنها تتمتع بمرونة سياسية فترد بذلك على خصومها في الداخل الفلسطيني، وعلى متهميها في الساحة الدولية.

إسرائيل لن تكون جادة مع فصيل إسلامي إلا إذا أعلن بوضوح وصراحة اعترافه بإسرائيل، وحماس ليست مستعدة للقيام بذلك لأنها ستفقد مصداقيتها الإسلامية.

تصب التهدئة ضمن رؤية كل طرف للتجاذبات والمشادات في المنطقة العربية الإسلامية والتي هي مستعرة ومصاحبة لتهديد ووعيد وحشد قوات وقدرات عسكرية.

المنطقة تهتز، وكل طرف يعتبر نفسه طرفا يستعد لما هو آت، والتهدئة توفر فرصة لكل من إسرائيل وحماس للعض على النواجذ مؤقتا، عسى أن تهب الرياح وفق ما تشتهيه السفن، أي أن التهدئة عبارة عن التقاط أنفاس لا يبدو أنها ستنطلق نحو جو مفتوح من الهواء الطلق.

الوضع النهائي.. مسلسل صهيوني آخر

توجان فيصل

"بعد أن ثبت كذب كل وعود الإدارة الأميركية بإقامة دولة فلسطينية بما لا يقبل إعادة الترويج تحت أي ذريعة, فإن تدخل تلك الإدارة السافر في إملاء كل شيء على الفلسطينيين, وحتى في رفض المصالحة بين حماس والسلطة, يصبح بلا معنى من الناحية المنطقية.

ومع ذلك تشترط وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية كوندوليزا رايس على السلطة الفلسطينية ألا تتصالح مع حماس إلا إذا التزمت الأخيرة بما سمي شروط الرباعية.

ونفهم أن السلطة العالقة في قعر جيب إدارة بوش والرباعية وحكام الكيان الصهيوني، تحتاج لرافعة حماس لتستعيد بعضا من مبررات وجودها الذي انتهى منذ سنوات. ولكن السؤال الذي ينبغي على حماس أن تطرحه على نفسها هو: ما الذي تستفيده هي من مثل هذا الالتزام الذي يورثها بجرة قلم وزر ما لم تقترفه؟

سنتناول هنا جزئية واحدة من تلك الشروط، وهي اعتراف حماس بالاتفاقيات المعقودة مع الجانب الإسرائيلي، لنقول لها إياك أن تفعلي. فهذا تفريط أكثر من مجاني في الحقوق الفلسطينية، بل خطوة أخرى على طريق تصفية تلك الحقوق كاملة.
وحل محل النضال -بالبندقية أو بغصن الزيتون- التهالك على مصافحة وحَضن و"تبويس" قادة الكيان الصهيوني، مما يوحي للعالم بإسقاط الحقوق وانتفاء المظالم.

ولكن حماس لم تعترف ولم تشارك في أي من هذا بعد. والآن، بعد خمسة عشر عاما من أوسلو, وبعد حوالي اثني عشر عاما من بداية زعم الخوض في "الوضع النهائي"، وبعد جدار الفصل العنصري وحملات إبادة واستيطان وتهجير لم تنقطع، وغير ذلك مما لا تتسع مجلدات لذكره. تجري محاولة جر الشعب الفلسطيني مرة أخرى إلى ما يقال إنه, ليس حتى "الوضع النهائي"، بل "اتفاق إطار للوضع النهائي" تستثنى منه مرة أخرى كل الحقوق الأساسية: الدولة وصورتها والحدود والقدس واللاجئون والنازحون.

ولكن ليس بالضبط, بل بما هو أسوا. فالدولة كما تطرحها إسرائيل كيان مؤقت لإدارة ذاتية سيصبح -بعد استكمال صورة "الأمر الواقع الاستيطاني" على الأرض وبعد قصقصة تجري بذريعة تبادل أراض وأراض لا يمكن تبادلها- أمرا واقعا هو الآخر.

والحدود -كما تصرح إسرائيل منذ قيامها وكما أكد الأميركان مؤخرا وألقوا بثقلهم فيه- هي حدود العراق شرقا, وغربا "حدود إسرائيل" التي وحدها في العالم كله لم ولا ولن تعرف حدودا. لسبب جلي وهو أن أمنها هو هاجسها، وهي لا يمكن أن تشعر بالأمن إذا كان لها حدود خلفها عرب لا تستطيع أن تتدخل في شؤونهم بيد مطلقة.

حماس وحدها لم تتورط بعد في أي من هذا الذي أسس "لأوضاع نهائية" لم تعلن ولم تتبد كلها بعد، رغم فداحة كل ما أعلن أو تبدى.

وحماس انتقلت من فصيل غير عضو في منظمة التحرير, إلى شريك في الحكم، إلى الوحيد الذي يملك ما يمكن أن يسمى سلطة حكم مهما صغرت أو اتسعت الرقعة التي تحكمها. وهذا ما بدأ العالم يعترف به.

وفي ضوء ما يتجاوز الشك إلى ما يشبه اليقين في انتفاء قدرة ما تبقى من "السلطة"، بما آلت إليه وجرت معها إليه فتح ثم المنظمة, على استعادة أي حق أو حتى الاستناد لأية شرعية تبرر للطرف الثاني التفكير في إعطائها أي شيء.

في ضوء هذا فإن حماس بما أنجزته لحينه ورغم ما خسرته, إن هي عرفت واعترفت بحدود "برنامجها الاجتماعي" (ونظن أنها فعلت نتيجة تجاربها وتجارب أحزاب وأنظمة حكم إسلامية في المنطقة) الذي لا يجدي في غير كسب الأعداء لها حتى بين خيرة الوطنيين الفلسطينيين والقوميين العرب. وإن لم تقبل وراثة أوزار الاتفاقيات المبرمة، فإن فرصتها كبيرة في إمكانية بناء أو إعادة بناء جسم شرعي فلسطيني بالتنسيق مع من يرغب من الفصائل, ومع من يمثل الفلسطينيين ممن لا يصنفون في فصائل.

فكل ما أراده الفلسطينيون ابتداء هو "موطئ قدم" لا يمن عليهم به أحد، وكل ما يريدونه الآن هو قيادة لم تفرط ولم تعط شرعية لغير الحقوق التاريخية الوطنية الثابتة.

المهم أن تثبت حماس على موقفها وألا تعترف باتفاقيات لم تزد على أن أسست "لنهايات" تلك الحقوق"

Haneyya calls on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing once and for all

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haneyya said on Thursday that what took place on Wednesday at the Rafah crossing was spontaneous and not planed, calling on Egypt to hasten the opening of the border crossing officially [ As if the Pharaoh can control anything. Hell, he needs Israel's permission to send Egyptian police to his own Sinai! He was ordered to give away Egyptian gas to Israel at half the market price while Egypt has serious shortages!].
Haneyya's comments were made during a speech to police officers at their headquarters in Gaza city where he stressed that frustration and the pressures of the siege were to blame for the people's attempt to storm the gates of the crossing [Why don't you have a plan, Mr. Prime Minister??].

Haneyya stressed that the Rafah crossing should be officially opened once and for all after reaching an agreement between different parties concerned and called for accelerating the process [Egypt, coordinating with USrael, is playing with you like a cat playing with a mouse; and you have no clue!] so as not to keep the Palestinian people hostage to the siege and closure.

He said that these pressure cause some young people to get out of line and cause problems [Say what??] and added that the Egyptian brothers were informed of the keenness of the Palestinian government and people to protect the brotherly relations with Egypt which has been and will always be the strategic depth for the Palestinian people [I am glad you are enjoying your "brotherly" relations with the gutless, eunuch pharaoh].

He also blamed behind the back arrangements which the Gaza government is not aware of [Gee, it finally dawned on you, Mr. Prime Minister?] that confuses matters at the Rafah crossing, calling on Egypt to directly coordinate with the Interior Ministry of the Gaza government to ensure the smooth operation of the crossing and prevent problems.

On Wednesday, hundreds of stranded passengers tried to break into the Egyptian side of the crossing out of frustration as only very limited numbers of passengers have been allowed through.

Some stranded students lost the academic year, some lost their work abroad and many patients lost their life due to travel restrictions."

Iran Setting up 'Passive Defense' Plan


"04/07/2008 Although Iran's leaders are dismissing the notion that the West, including Israel, would dare attack its nuclear facilities and/or other targets, they are actually profoundly concerned by the prospect of a strike designed to achieve regime change, Israeli daily JPost reported on Thursday.

To ensure their continued hold on power in the event of such an attack, therefore, they have been gradually introducing a comprehensive emergency plan, called "Passive Defense," according to a report issued Thursday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

MEMRI said the "Passive Defense" plan has been drawn up on the orders of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and its provisions indicate "that the regime's main fear is of an attack on Iran's vital infrastructures which would ultimately lead to its downfall."

"Passive Defense" seems to constitute the kind of homeland security program that was notably lacking in Israel during the Second Lebanon War. It places prime responsibility for managing the home front in the event of a war on Iran's Basij army - which comprises some 12.5 million volunteers - operating via a "region-based apparatus" that has already been set up in coordination with the country's Interior Ministry, the report says.

Overseeing the plan is Gholam Reza Jalali, the former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Jalali, now the chairman of the Passive Defense Organization, has described in several recent interviews how work groups are being established in the various Iranian provinces to deal with everything from "intelligence [to] crisis management, sanitation [and] health care."

Jalali said the "Passive Defense" plan aims to utilize all non-military strategies that could minimize the danger to the regime and its stability. This would include, he said, efforts to "conceal and protect the country's important and sensitive facilities, [which] would minimize their vulnerability [to attack] and allow the continued administration of the country in times of crisis..."

"It is clear that the [war] on Iran cannot end with a [single] surprise attack," MEMRI quotes Jalali as saying, "and the aim of Passive Defense is to make sure that this [does not happen]."

The MEMRI report, titled "Iranian Preparations and Deployment to Withstand Possible Western Attack," said Jalali had expressed concern that the West would attack Iran from the sea and air with the aim of destroying vital infrastructure and ultimately bringing about the downfall of the regime.

"With military bases and forces around [Iran], America has access to the entire territory of the country," MEMRI quotes him as saying. "The Islamic Republic of Iran is a political regime that relies upon the [Iranian] people... If the enemy aims to change the regime, it can achieve this by disrupting the [ability of the regime] to administer the population. To this end, the enemy will try to paralyze infrastructures and the vital institutions of the regime, in order to sow dissatisfaction among the people."

Via destruction of infrastructure and psychological warfare, Jalali elaborated, "[they] will instigate a popular uprising against the government."

To confront this kind of threat, he said, Iran "must employ all [our] defense strategies and abilities. This is asymmetrical warfare, since our military capabilities are not on par with those of the US. Hence, if we want to stand up [to the US], we must employ 'passive defense' along with 'active defense' [i.e. military warfare], striving to achieve a 'combined defense' [strategy].""

COMMENT: A similar strategy was obviously not implemented in Iraq before the invasion and that is why when the regime collapsed, the state collapsed.

Peres: No Chance of Peace with Palestinians


"04/07/2008 Israeli President Shimon Peres believes there is no chance of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Peres, the one-time proponent of a "new Middle East" made this statement last Saturday at a dinner with the Jordanian and French ambassadors in Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Tel Aviv apartment.

At the end of the meal an argument erupted between the Jordanian envoy, Ali Ayed, and a well-known "dovish" attorney, who said Israel had no chance of reaching an agreement with the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas' leadership. Barak supported his guest's hawkish stance.

At a certain point, Peres intervened, surprising the participants by joining the attorney's prediction. "It would be very hard to reach an agreement," Peres said, due to the Hamas-Fatah split.

He said Abbas had no support among his people, no power to carry out security agreements and that any agreement Israel and the PA made crumbled a day later due to the PA's weakness. Therefore there is no chance of agreement, he summed."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

10-year-old subjected to torture by Israeli soldiers

A 10-year-old boy was subjected to physical abuse amounting to torture for 2.5 hours by Israeli soldiers who stormed his family’s shop on 11 June, seeking information on the location of a handgun. The boy was repeatedly beaten, slapped and punched in the head and stomach, forced to hold a stress position for half and hour, and threatened. He was deeply shocked and lost two molar teeth as a result of the assault.

Breaking Into a Prison

This August, the Free Gaza Movement will set sail from Cyprus to Gaza on a ship carrying needed medical supplies. We will not be asking Israel for permission.

We are students and teachers, human rights observers and aid workers, lawyers, medics, activists - parents and grandparents. We are Americans and Europeans, Israelis and Palestinians, Australians, South Africans, and more. We are of all ages and backgrounds. Collectively, we have years of experience volunteering in Gaza and the West Bank. Because of our human rights work, the state of Israel has banned many of us from re-entering Palestinian areas. Because of the ongoing blockade, the rest of us find it almost impossible to enter Gaza at all. Despite deteriorating conditions, the great need for international assistance, and the invitations of our Palestinian partners - the Israeli Government will not allow us into Gaza to help. Will you help?

For over two years the state of Israel has severely restricted the Gaza Strip’s ability to import fuel, spare parts, and other necessary materials. Israel maintains complete control over Gaza's air space and territorial waters, near complete control over travel into or out of Gaza, near complete control over Gaza's imports and exports, and near complete control over Gaza's own tax revenues. Little is allowed in. As a result, Gaza’s economy has completely collapsed. [1]

Running water is now available to most households for only four to six hours a day. Sewage treatment centers no longer function properly. Millions of liters of raw sewage have been pumped into heavily populated neighborhoods, and in order to avoid being forced to literally flood these residential areas with even more raw sewage, the Mediterranean Sea has been turned into a toilet. Since January of this year over 10 billion liters of untreated and only partially treated sewage have been released into the Mediterranean. Gaza's fishermen state that the sewage has killed off most of the sea life in the immediate vicinity. [6]

The humanitarian condition of the one and a half million men, women, and children illegally incarcerated in Gaza is now at its worst point in the last forty years of Israeli occupation.

Israel still stealing water

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says the West Bank is facing grave water shortages largely because Israel's "discriminatory" policies. The group criticises the distribution of joint water resources and limits placed by Israel on the Palestinian Authority's ability to drill new wells. "It will have serious repercussions on the economy and health," B'Tselem said. Per capita water consumption by Israeli settlers in the West Bank is 3.5 times that of Palestinians, B'Tselem says.

Crossing the Line focuses on a possible Israeli strike on Iran

Podcast, Crossing the Line, 2 July 2008

"This week on Crossing The Line: The Israeli Air Force recently conducted long-range exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, a move that US intelligence officials say might be a prelude to a strike on Iran. Is Israel being used as a proxy by the US to attack Iran? Or is Israel, which has struck sites it alleged to be nuclear in Iraq and Syria in the past, planning to strike Iran on its own? Bill Christison, a former CIA intelligence officer, will join host Naji Ali to discuss a possible Israeli strike on Iran.

Also this week, the Israeli army assassinated two Palestinians in the West Bank while a tense cease-fire went into effect in the Gaza Strip on 19 June. With the ceasefire Israel has promised to ease restrictions on gas, and allow an increase of goods into Gaza. But how has the ceasefire improved life for Palestinians in Gaza? Are Gazans now receiving their basic necessities denied to them since the total closure began in June 2007? Palestinian journalist Rami Almeghari speaks with Ali on the new developments in Gaza."

Click Here to Listen

Breaking Iraq and Blaming Iran

British Black Ops and the Terror Campaign in Basra

by Andrew G. Marshall

Global Research, July 3, 2008

"British Black Ops in Basra

In September of 2005, the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra, under British occupation since the 2003 invasion, was the scene of an extraordinarily controversial incident, which has since exposed the anatomy of the Anglo-American "dirty war" in Iraq, and in fact, the relevance to the wider "War on Terror".

On September 19, 2005, two white men, dressed as Arabs, obviously suspicious to the British-trained Iraqi police, were pulled over in their car as they approached the city center of Basra. As the Independent reported, "the two men had been driving in an unmarked car when they arrived at a checkpoint in the city." What followed was a confrontation between the two men and the Iraqi police, with shots fired and an Iraqi police officer killed and another wounded.[1] The men were then detained by the Iraqi police and taken to the central jail. As it turned out, the two men were members of the British elite SAS Special Forces.[2]......."

Vice Premier: We Need A Lot More Walls; A Wall Around Each Palestinian!

Vice Premier: Parts of East Jerusalem should be severed from capital

"Vice Premier Haim Ramon (Kadima) told Army Radio on Thursday morning that Israel should treat the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Jabel Mukaber and Zur Baher as Palestinian villages, and revoke the permanent residency status of their residents.

Ramon spoke the day after a resident of Zur Baher took a bulldozer on a rampage in downtown Jerusalem, ramming into a bus, cars and pedestrians, killing three and wounding dozens.

In March, a resident of Jabel Mukaber gunned down eight people at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem. In the aftermath of both attacks, Ramon called for the two neighborhoods to be entirely cut off from Jerusalem........"

When You Shoot the Messenger

By Mel Frykberg

"GAZA CITY, Jul 3 (IPS) - The assault of IPS Gaza correspondent Mohammed Omer has left Israeli security personnel with a lot of explaining to do. And they are not doing a very good job of it.

Omer was abused and assaulted by Israeli security personnel at the Allenby border crossing into Israel from Jordan as he tried to return to his home last week in the Gaza Strip.

Omer was returning from Europe where he had addressed European parliamentarians on the situation on the ground in Gaza. In London he picked up a prize as joint winner of the 2008 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism (along with IPS correspondent Dahr Jamail).

Omer, who also reports for The Washington Report, told IPS he was verbally abused, strip-searched at gunpoint and physically beaten. He was later hospitalised with broken ribs and related trauma......."

Iraq Oil Deals Fulfill Cheney's Goals

By Jason Leopold

"Two years before the invasion of Iraq, oil executives and foreign policy advisers told the Bush administration that the United States would remain “a prisoner of its energy dilemma” as long as Saddam Hussein was in power.

That April 2001 report, “Strategic Policy Challenges for the 21st Century,” was prepared by the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy and the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations at the request of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In retrospect, it appears that the report helped focus administration thinking on why it made geopolitical sense to oust Hussein, whose country sat on the world’s second largest oil reserves.
“Iraq remains a de-stabilizing influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East,” the report said......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

The question is:

What is your position regarding the Iraqi president shaking hands with the Israeli war minister?

With about 1,000 responding so far, 92% were opposed to the handshake.

Al-Jazeera Cartoon: Israeli Security

Revenge of the Bulldozer??

The Necessary War?

by William S. Lind

"Pat Buchanan's new book, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, is causing a stir, which is a good thing. Buchanan argues that both World War I and World War II were unnecessary wars; that Britain bears at least as much responsibility for both as Germany; that Winston Churchill was "the indispensable man" in reducing Britain from a world-encircling empire to "a cottage by the sea­to live out her declining years;" and that the consequence of the Western civil war that encompassed both World Wars (I would add the Cold War as well) has been the fall of the West.

Buchanan is correct on all counts. His book represents a counterattack in the necessary war, the war to introduce Americans to genuine history. At present, most Americans know only a comic-book version of history, one in which Germany deliberately started both World Wars as part of a drive to conquer the world, a drive stopped when valiant American armies defeated the German army. And, oh yes, some Brit named Churchill beat the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. Thanks to the victories of the freedom-loving allies, we now live in the best of all possible worlds, where everyone can be a "democracy."

Nothing of the comic-book version of history is true, not even the Battle of Britain bit.....

Buchanan's historical revisionism is welcome on several counts. The neocons have elevated an unhistorical Churchill into the patron of interventionism, selling him in Washington and elsewhere like saints' bones. It is a snare for the simple, with George W. Bush numbered among them.

Debunking comic-book history and replacing it with the real thing is vital if America is to avoid the dual trap of cultural Marxism and Brave New World. As ideologues and totalitarians everywhere have long known, if you can cut a people off from their past, you can do whatever you want with them. We need a similar debunking of the comic book history of the Civil War now fed to Americans, in which it was all about slavery.

Buchanan's relevance comes from the sad fact that America is now duplicating Churchill's central error, imprudence. We have entered into two wars with little thought for their long-term consequences. Washington hands out guarantees, similar to Britain's to Poland, all over the world like penny candy, with no consideration of where they may lead. We give less thought to the potential future consequences of our actions than the average Mayfly. All that matters is receiving the applause of dunces and pleasing the SMEC.

Britain did the same thing twice, in 1914 and 1939. It is perhaps not too much to infer that Little England will be followed by Little America."

Real News Video: Cheney and manufacturing consent on Iran

Symour Hersh: The secret war in Iran (Part 2 of 3)

"Symour Hersh writing in The New Yorker: A Gallup poll taken last November, before the N.I.E. was made public, found that seventy-three per cent of those surveyed thought that the United States should use economic action and diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program, while only eighteen per cent favored direct military action. Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats to endorse a military strike. Weariness with the war in Iraq has undoubtedly affected the public’s tolerance for an attack on Iran. This mood could change quickly, however. The potential for escalation became clear in early January, when five Iranian patrol boats, believed to be under the command of the Revolutionary Guard, made a series of aggressive moves toward three Navy warships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz. Initial reports of the incident made public by the Pentagon press office said that the Iranians had transmitted threats, over ship-to-ship radio, to “explode” the American ships. At a White House news conference, the President, on the day he left for an eight-day trip to the Middle East, called the incident “provocative” and “dangerous,” and there was, very briefly, a sense of crisis and of outrage at Iran. “TWO MINUTES FROM WAR” was the headline in one British newspaper. The crisis was quickly defused by Vice-Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the region. No warning shots were fired, the Admiral told the Pentagon press corps on January 7th, via teleconference from his headquarters, in Bahrain. “Yes, it’s more serious than we have seen, but, to put it in context, we do interact with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and their Navy regularly,” Cosgriff said. “I didn’t get the sense from the reports I was receiving that there was a sense of being afraid of these five boats.” Admiral Cosgriff’s caution was well founded: within a week, the Pentagon acknowledged that it could not positively identify the Iranian boats as the source of the ominous radio transmission, and press reports suggested that it had instead come from a prankster long known for sending fake messages in the region. Nonetheless, Cosgriff’s demeanor angered Cheney, according to the former senior intelligence official. But a lesson was learned in the incident: The public had supported the idea of retaliation, and was even asking why the U.S. didn’t do more. The former official said that, a few weeks later, a meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. “The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,” he said."

Israeli Lecture on Various Future War Scenarios


"03/07/2008 Israeli daily Haaretz reported on its website Thursday that the commander of the Israeli Air Force from 1996 to 2000 discussed in a lecture the various future war scenarios.

How many missiles will be fired from Iran, Syria and Lebanon against Israel in the next war? This question, as well as the war scenarios, was the subject of an enlightening lecture early in the week by the Israeli Major General (res.) Eitan Ben Eliahu.

His lecture surveyed the changes in Israel's national security doctrine amid the changing nature of wars, technology and the threats posed by “the country's enemies”. The lecture was initiated by an organization established after the Second Lebanon War, when the Israeli home front was hit by thousands of Hezbollah rockets.

Eitan Ben Eliahu began his speech by defining the national security doctrine and the changes it has undergone. Since it was formulated in the early 1950s, the concept on exercising military force has advocated the following:

* An initiated war (a preventive strike). But if that is impossible then at least:
* A preemptive strike to disrupt the enemy's war preparations. But if war does break out, the Israeli occupation army must conduct a holding operation after which it will go over to Aerial superiority.
* A breakthrough in order to achieve final lines and a defeat of the enemy.

This doctrine outlined a scenario in which Israel would find itself at war on two or three familiar fronts (Egypt, Syria and Jordan).

According to the Israeli security doctrine, the process of defeating the enemy was based on weapons systems that would enable surprise, movement and initiative on the ground. In the air it was based on weapons that would make it possible to attack and destroy airfields and win aerial battles, and on the development of precise weaponry that would destroy ground-to-air missiles.

But from the end of the 1980s, and particularly after the 1991 Gulf War, during which Iraq launched 40 Scud missiles, Israel found itself facing new and additional threats.......

In his estimation, Israel must prepare for the next war according to the following script:

* One to three fronts
* Crush the enemy on one front
* Containing the Palestinian front
* Long-range punishment or response (Iran)

On the basis of the precedent of the Gulf War, Ben Eliahu estimates that in the next war, Syria and Iran might launch between 250 and 300 long-range missiles at Israel (Shihab and Scud missiles) and another 5,000 short-range missiles (mainly from Lebanon).

To intercept a single long-range missile, one needs an average of two intercepting missiles and between 500 and 700 missiles in all. In addition, Israel must keep another 200 intercepting missiles in reserve. To destroy the short-range missiles, Israel will need mainly ground forces.

Israel must prepare for a war that will last up to 20 days. Vis-a-vis Syria it must attain aerial superiority and embark on a ground attack for a strategic purpose, attack the missile and launcher sites and attack strategic targets.

Vis-a-vis Lebanon, Israel has aerial superiority and will therefore have to focus only on an aerial attack against medium-range missiles and carry out a ground attack against short-range missiles.

On the Gaza front, the threat of Qassam rockets and mortar shells is, according to this analysis, "limited, exhausting and indirect," and the response must consist mainly of providing shelters for the civilians, developing more efficient warning and alarm systems - which will be able to identify launched missiles - and launching a ground offensive against the Palestinian guerrillas. And above all Israel must grant high priority to development methods for confronting the chemical and nuclear threat. "