Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mahmoud Darwish Audio

Contributed by v.

1. Edward Said
2. In Jerusalem
3. Lessons from Kamasutra in the art of waiting
4. The pine tree has broken
5. The beauties are the beauties
6. The violins
7. A man and a deer in the garden
8. On this earth is what is worth living
9. Elated with something of the sorts…
11. I don’t sleep lest I dream
12. A Café, and you with the newspaper
15. He, none other
16. She/He
17. Sunday
18. State of Siege
19. Passers by in Passing words

Beyond Chutzpah

Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied West Bank

"Israel is very much behaving like a whore who urges her town’s folks to erect a great memorial plaque to celebrate and glorify her chastity.

This week, some Zionist pundits both in Israel and North America have urged the Israeli government to boycott the Olympic Games in China to protest that country’s dismal human rights record.....

There is no doubt that China is a prominent violator of human rights (Is the US any better)!!! But the more important question in this context is really whether Israel, a state that has been murdering, enslaving and tormenting another people for the past sixty years, is in a position to lecture or criticize China or any other country on the subject of human rights.

One can argue with little exaggeration that Israel itself is a crime against humanity since its very creation in Palestine in 1948 entailed the extirpation and dispersion of 90% of Palestine’s indigenous inhabitants......

The brazen depravity of Zionist thinking had another morbid expression this week. The Israeli government reportedly protested to Turkey a planed visit to Ankara by Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Israeli officials have called on Turkish leaders to cancel the visit to protest the Iranian nuclear program and Ahmadinejad’s rejection of Zionism.

Again, the odor of hypocrisy is wafting all over the place.....

Six decades ago, Nazi leaders in Europe spread the message “kill the Jews, don’t let them take over Europe, don’t let them destroy Christianity, don’t let them destroy mother Germany.”! Today the chorus of hate from Jerusalem to New York to Sydney is spreading a similar message: “Islam is taking over Europe!!, kill the Muslims, kill the terrorists, wipe Islam off from the face of earth.!!”......"

Report: Israel coerces medical patients into collaboration

Report, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, 8 August 2008

"....Whereas this process raises urgent questions regarding the responsibility of the state of Israel, as Occupying Power, to ensure the health and welfare of the civilian population of Gaza, the present report focuses rather on the mechanisms of denial of access to medical care, on the increasingly central role played by the Israeli General Security Service (GSS, shabak) [1] within this mechanism, and on the coercion of patients in the course of this process.

The report first provides a detailed description of the permits mechanism instituted by Israel at Erez Crossing and of the growing restrictions placed by this mechanism on the access of patients to medical care unavailable in Gaza. Statistical data is provided, based on Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel)'s January 2007 and April 2008.

The central part of the report describes the policy employed over the past year by the GSS, whereby patients are detained for interrogation at Erez Crossing, and requested either to provide information or to act as collaborators on a regular basis as a condition for permission to exit Gaza for medical treatment. Over the past year, more than 30 testimonies have been received by PHR-Israel, demonstrating this procedure. The methods of coercion employed by the GSS are examined in detail and a description of the growing formalization of the interrogation process is provided, including an attempt by the GSS to coerce PHR-Israel into cooperation with the mechanism described.

The legal implications of the policy and practice of the GSS at Erez Crossing are next explored, employing the definitions of coercion and extortion, the provisions of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, and obligations pertaining to the right to health.

Following a discussion of the medical-ethical repercussions of GSS policy and a description of the responses of the Israeli High Court of Justice, the Israel Medical Association and PHR-Israel itself to this policy, the report concludes with PHR-Israel's deamnd that GSS immediately cease exploiting the medical needs of Gaza patients for purposes of intelligence-gathering; that the GSS and the army desist from their attempt to coerce PHR-Israel to coordinate patients' and that the Israeli medical community and the Israel Medical Association exercise their influence to bring about an end to the coercive policies of the GSS at Erez Crossing.

Finally, an extensive appendix provides 11 detailed first-person testimonies by patients who underwent interrogation at Erez Crossing, an expert opinion issued by Dr. Bob Brecher of Brighton University, and the responses of the GSS itself and of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Operations in the Occupied Territories to the report."

Click Here for the Full Report (pdf)

Report: Israeli violence enjoys impunity

Israeli soldiers stand guard as settlers shout slogans after attacking international peace activists at an evacuated Israeli military camp on the edge of the town of Beit Sahour near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, 6 August 2008.

Mel Frykberg, The Electronic Intifada, 8 August 2008

"RAMALLAH, West Bank (IPS) - Only six percent of probes into offenses allegedly committed by Israeli soldiers and settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank yield indictments, a new report says.

The report "Justice for All" released last week by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din examined 205 cases of alleged assault by Israeli settlers that were reported over the years. Only in 13 cases were indictments filed, while 163 cases were closed.

"Conviction rates of Israeli settlers and soldiers involved in violence against Palestinians are around six percent of cases opened due to what we consider unprofessional investigations," Yesh Din's research director Lior Yavne told IPS.

"In many instances the paperwork is either 'lost' or the police or military personnel involved in the investigations claim they are 'unable to identify the perpetrator,'" said Yavne.......

Joel Gullege, a member of the Christian Peacemaking Team (CPT) based in the Old City of Hebron, was taken to hospital a couple of weeks ago where he received stitches after he was stoned and attacked by Israeli settlers.

The attack took place near the village of al-Tuwani, 20 kilometers south of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, as he tried to escort Palestinian children to a school summer camp. The settlers also stole his video camera as he tried to film the attack......."

Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish Dies at Age of 67

The great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish died at the age of 67 following a heart operation in Houston, Texas.

He underwent heart operations in 1984 and 1998. He was beloved by millions and some considered him the greatest Arab poet of modern time.

These lines in Arabic are from a poem he wrote about defeating death:

هزمتك يا موت

الفنون الجميلة جميعها هزمتك

يا موت الأغاني في بلاد الرافدين

مسلة المصري مقبرة الفراعنة

النقوش على حجارة معبد هزمتك

وأنت انتصرت

Rep. Ron Paul: The US is heading into an illegal attack on Iran

by Attorney Harold H. Burbank II
Global Research, August 9, 2008

"Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has warned millions of radio listeners that the United States is heading into an illegal attack on Iran, stating his amazement at members of Congress who have openly voiced support for a criminal nuclear strike.

"If we do (attack) it is going to be a disaster," the congressman told the Alex Jones radio show. "I was astounded to see on one of the networks the other day that the debate was not are we going to attack, but are we going to attack before or after the election?" Paul continued.

Paul recently voiced concern over House Congressional Resolution 362 which he has dubbed a "virtual Iran war resolution."

"If that comes up it is demanding that the president [put in place] an absolute blockade of the entire country of Iran, and punish any country or any business group around the world if they trade with Iran," Paul told listeners.

Experts have predicted gas will rise to $6 per gallon if the resolution passes. Paul believes that may happen anyway, just by anticipation.

"The frightening thing is they say they are taking no options off the table, even nuclear first strike," Paul said. Paul believes from talking with his contacts in and around Congress that a strike on Iran has already been green-lighted."

Meet Abbas' and Fayyad's Immediate Boss

The "Troops" Dayton Trained

Three-star middleman

"If a Palestinian state is ever established in the West Bank, Gen. Keith Dayton will want to be remembered for playing a significant role in its establishment, as the person who helped the Palestinians to create a modern, effective and properly equipped security force. Like British officer Orde Wingate, who taught the Jewish soldiers of pre-state Israel what an army is and how to fight terror, Dayton is also laying the foundations for the "state in the making" - for the Palestinians. He feels a deep sense of mission and is confident his endeavor will succeed.

This week Dayton left on a home visit to the United States, after completing three missions: The first battalion of the rebuilt Palestinian National Security Forces, numbering 500 soldiers from the West Bank, completed four months of training in Jordan; a Presidential Guard training college is being constructed outside Jericho; and a strategic-planning department has been created in the Palestinian Authority's Interior Ministry in Ramallah, to establish decision-making and work processes. On the eve of his departure, Dayton finalized plans for a second Palestinian battalion to leave for training in Jordan, and after lengthy delays, obtained the approval of the Israeli Defense Ministry to equip the Palestinian forces with protective vests and new jeeps......."

The Pharaoh Ehud Mubarak in the Service of Zion

Egypt squeezes Gaza's fuel supply

"Egyptian police have discovered a network of 20 underground tunnels leading into Gaza and detained four people attempting to lay a 800-metre fuel pipeline. During the ensuing gunfire three smugglers and one policemen were injured.

According to a senior Egyptian security official, authorities seized thousands of gallons of fuel from under the Egypt-Gaza border as the population grows increasingly desperate under the Israeli-imposed blockade......"

New evidence suggests Ron Suskind is right

What was an Iraqi politician doing at CIA headquarters just days before he distributed a fake memo incriminating Saddam Hussein in 9/11?

By Joe Conason

"Aug. 8, 2008 If Ron Suskind's sensational charge that the White House and CIA colluded in forging evidence to justify the Iraq invasion isn't proved conclusively in his new book, "The Way of the World," then the sorry record of the Bush administration offers no basis to dismiss his allegation. Setting aside the relative credibility of the author and the government, the relevant question is whether the available facts demand a full investigation by a congressional committee, with testimony under oath.

When we look back at the events surrounding the emergence of the faked letter that is at the center of this controversy, a strong circumstantial case certainly can be made in support of Suskind's story......

On Dec. 14, 2003, the Sunday Telegraph hyped the phony Habbush memo as a front-page exclusive over the byline of Con Coughlin, the paper's foreign editor and chief Mideast correspondent, who has earned a reputation for promoting neoconservative claptrap. As I explained in a Salon blog post on Dec. 18, the story's sudden appearance in London was the harbinger of a disinformation campaign that quickly blew back to the United States.......

But the credulous Telegraph coverage is still significant now, because Coughlin identified the source of his amazing scoop as Ayad Allawi. For those who have forgotten the ambitious Allawi, he is a former Baathist who rebelled against Saddam, formed the Iraqi National Accord movement to fight the dictator, and was appointed to Iraq's interim Governing Council by the U.S. occupation authorities after the invasion.......

So Allawi was at the CIA during the week before Coughlin got that wonderful scoop. That may not be proof of anything, either, but a picture is beginning to form.

That picture becomes sharper in the months that followed Allawi's release of the Habbush forgery, when he suddenly returned to favor in Baghdad and eclipsed Chalabi, at least for a while....."

Democrats on edge as Obama's high profile fails to deliver big poll lead

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
The Guardian, Saturday August 9 2008

"......He may have good reason to worry. He leaves behind a Democratic party that over the past fortnight has been showing signs for the first time of nervousness about the November 4 election.

For them, this is supposed to be the Democrats' year, an inevitable march towards the White House after the catastrophic defeats of 2000 and 2004. Almost everything seems to be going their way: unpopular president, disenchantment with the Iraq war, a faltering economy and an inspirational Democratic candidate.

What is worrying the Democrats, in spite of all these pluses, is that Obama's poll lead has remained stubbornly small. A tracking poll by RealClearPolitics published yesterday has Obama on 46.9% compared with John McCain's 43.3%......."

Guardian Video: Russian tanks enter South Ossetia

Helen Womack reports from Moscow as the Kremlin sends in its forces over Georgia's attack on the breakaway region

Real News Video with Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein on China and the Olympics

"Security, central planning, surveillance state is an ideal cocoon for global capitalism"

"Naomi Klein: "I think this is an incredibly efficient, actually, a scarily efficient way of organizing society that's actually being celebrated here, which is a hybrid of some of the worst elements of authoritarian communism—mass surveillance of the population, total lack of civil liberties, lack of a free press, lack of democratic rights, authoritarian central planning, all harnessed not to advance the goals of social justice, even in name, although there may be some lip service still paid to that, but to advance the goals of global capitalism. So it is Stalinism meets global capitalism.... There are 100,000 security officers just on Olympic duty. And to put that into perspective, the stadium itself, the Bird's Nest Stadium holds 90,000. So there's 90,000 spectators and 100,000 secret police keeping control of things in Beijing. So this is an incredible operation. But when you hear people like Lou Dobbs and other commentators talking about the problems in China, it's always red China, communist China, or the Chi-coms. And it's really this blast from the past of—you know, it's almost as if the Cold War never ended.""

ANP Video: Israel, Iran and the New Neocons

"ANP: Neocons say Bush should let Israel attack Iran after Election Day before new president takes office

American News Project: Washington's neocons are alive and well, advising both John McCain and President Bush. Now many are saying Bush should permit Israel to attack Iran's nuclear facilities after Election Day before the new president takes office. ANP investigates as we chase down John Bolton, Bill Kristol and Frank Gaffney to see how far ahead these hawks are thinking. And a new report says the whole plan could backfire."

Israel Faces Spanish Arrest Warrants over War Crimes


"09/08/2008 Israel is battling hard to overturn a Spanish court's decision to issue arrest warrants against six current and former politicians and senior military officials, a source in the Attorney-General's Office told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Late last month, Audiencia Nacional, the National Court of Spain (the highest Spanish judicial council), issued arrest warrants against the six - Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Doron Almog, Moshe Ya'alon, Dan Halutz, Giora Eiland and Mike Herzog - accepting a petition from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that suggested they were guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2002.

At that time, Ben-Eliezer was serving as a defense minister; Ya'alon was army chief of General Staff; Eiland headed the National Security Council; Halutz was commander of the IAF, Almog was OC Southern Command and Herzog was a senior Defense Ministry official.

The plaintiffs claimed that Ben-Eliezer personally oversaw the killing of Hamas commander Salah Shehadeh in which 14 civilians also died.

The Foreign Ministry has said only that the matter is being taken care of. However, the Post quoted a source in the Attorney-General's Office as saying that active negotiations between Madrid and Jerusalem are taking place to overturn the warrants.

This is not the first time that PCHR has filed suit against high-ranking Israeli military commanders, but if the court's decision is not reversed it will set a disturbing precedent in international law, said Ofer Zalzberg, co-chairman of YIFC (Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation), an organization that promotes relations between Israel and the European Union.

Zalzberg recalled a 2005 incident in which Almog, travelling to London, stayed in his plane upon arrival in London rather than risk arrest. Shortly thereafter, a British warrant for his arrest was revoked.

"This time," Zalzberg said, "we are talking about several people and a very significant and drastic step. It might also cause a shower of law suits from various groups and individuals in Europe against various Israeli officials."

Almog told the Post that he believes the warrants issued against him, first by the British and now by Spanish courts, are not directed at him personally, ‘but at Israel and its right to defend itself.’

"I don't think the decision of the Spanish court indicates a crisis in Israel-EU relations, but it seems that these elements exploit the law in these countries to act against the State of Israel."

PCHR head Raji Sorani, welcoming the decision of the Spanish court to issue the warrants, said, "We believe that these persons are criminals and that they committed horrible crimes against humanity. A one-ton bomb was thrown at a civilian neighborhood in Gaza and 15 people died.""

Friday, August 8, 2008

'2 US aircraft carriers headed for Gulf'

"Two additional United States naval aircraft carriers are heading to the Gulf and the Red Sea, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Kuwait Times.

Kuwait began finalizing its "emergency war plan" on being told the vessels were bound for the region.

The US Navy would neither confirm nor deny that carriers were en route.....

While the Kuwaiti daily did not name the ships it believed were heading for the Middle East, The Media Line's defense analyst said they could be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan. "

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Military Junta in Mauritania promised "early elections!"
By the great cartoonist Ali Farzat
(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

After the military coup which ended the Arab world's only relative democracy (Mauritania), the poll asks:

Do you believe that the coup in Mauritania was to correct the democratic path (the ironic claim by the military there)?

Early response showed that 85% said no (I should hope so!).

Movie director acquitted of 'incitement' charges

"Mohammed Bakri, the Israeli-born director of the film 'Jenin, Jenin', has been acquitted of all charges by an Israeli judge. Bakri had been sued by Israeli soldiers who said his account of a 2002 Israeli invasion of Jenin refugee camp was 'inaccurate', and that the movie was 'incitement'.

Bakri is a well known Palestinian-Israeli director and actor, who performed in many Israeli films. After producing the documentary film 'Jenin Jenin', in which he interviewed Palestinians who experienced the 2002 Israeli invasion, Bakri has been blacklisted by the movie industry in Israel and sued by a group of Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli judge who ruled in the case stated that the individual soldiers could not sue Bakri, because his movie did not specifically name them, or any soldiers, but talked about the Israeli military as a whole.....

Bakri stated after the ruling that the movie was an attempt to give voice to the residents of Jenin, to allow them to speak about the assault on the camp.

The soldiers who sued Bakri claimed that they were just trying to defend their homeland, not to assault a refuge camp. But Bakri, in an interview, responded that, “They are not fighting for their homeland. They are fighting for the settlements. They are fighting to defend the occupation. They mustn’t be there. They mustn’t be in the West Bank. They mustn’t be in Gaza. This land was occupied in 1967” and that “this is not the right way also to fight the terrorists, by this, by demolishing houses and by that very cruel invasion.”

Bakri has recently finished another movie called 'Since you Left'. The movie is a personal documentary describing the harassment that Bakri has experienced since making 'Jenin Jenin'. "

Rights group: Deaths of two Nilin boys "willful killing"

Yousef Amira (bottom right) at the funeral of 10-year-old Ahmed Mousa who was shot in the head and killed by an Israeli soldier. After the funeral, Israeli soldiers fired at a group of young men hitting Amira twice in the head. Amira immediately fell into a coma and died hours later, 30 July. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)

Report, Al-Haq, 7 August 2008

"As a Palestinian human rights organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq is deeply disturbed by the excessive and disproportionate use of force employed by Israeli Border Police in the village of Nilin last week, resulting in the willful killing of two Palestinian children. Nilin has become a flashpoint for the excessive use of force by Israeli military forces against Palestinian civilians, and Israeli and international human rights activists demonstrating against the illegal construction of the Annexation Wall inside the OPT......

Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, Israel's rules of engagement have promoted the arbitrary deprivation of life in that the regulations allow soldiers to open fire on Palestinian civilians even where their life is not threatened. Hence, the death of both of these children resulted from Israel's refusal to reconcile its rules of engagement with its international law obligations.

International law also requires impartial and independent investigations when there is prima facie evidence or credible allegations of unlawful killings. Despite the facts as presented above, an investigation by Israeli military authorities into Ahmad Musa's death resulted merely in the house arrest of a Border Policeman for five days. Israel has not yet seen fit to launch an investigation into Yousef Amira's death. The failure to hold the Border Police officers in question criminally accountable for the willful killing of these two children is reflective of Israel's policy since 2000 to not automatically launch independent, impartial investigations into Palestinian civilian deaths. The result, if not the intention, of this policy, is the cultivation of culture of rampant impunity amongst Israeli military forces. In this light, the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are legally obliged under Article 147 to search for and prosecute the officers responsible for the willful killings of Ahmad Musa and Yousef Amira."

Meet the Next US President, John McCain

Old Wrinkly's Roverian cancer

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"NEW YORK - How mud-wallowingly deep may a multi-millionaire US presidential campaign go? Way deep - deeper and deeper. And this is only early August.

Republican Senator John McCain's presidential campaign's strategic decision is now all too obvious. Swift-boating Democratic Senator Barack Obama is the only way to go.

The McCain-painted Obama is emerging as a US-hating, terrorist-friendly, deeply suspicious, radical, vapid black celeb - Puff Daddy with a Harvard degree. This "new bogeyman" picture travels well in those vast swathes of flyover US territory where urban hipness not only evokes envy and contempt but is regarded as a mortal sin.

The McCain campaign knows that is the only chance in heaven and hell for their candidate in November. What can a strategist do when US voters desperately want change and reject the Republican brand in droves, your candidate is senile and insufferably boring, knows absolutely zilch about the economy, and supports a mega-unpopular war?

So abandon all hope those who yearn for a serious political debate in the US. And it gets worse: signs are the McCain campaign "strategy" is working......

The fact is the Rovian way is working. McCain is on the way up in key swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the latest polls. Obama holds just a slight national lead over McCain. One of this week's polls showed 53% believed Obama himself had played the race card......"

War with Iran - On, Off or Undecided?

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, August 7, 2008

".....Whatever's ahead, it appears high-level opposition figures have surfaced with practical (past and present) trilateralists among them. Figures like Brzezinski, Jim Baker, Henry Kissinger, George Tenet, Paul Volker, Jimmy Carter, George Soros, David Rockefeller, many other top business executives, and even GHW Bush. Their concern over present policy is having an effect, but there's no certainty about which side will prevail. However, with Congress out until September, things are on hold, and time is fast running out on a lamer-than-lame duck administration, according to some......

Looking Ahead

More good news for what it's worth. On August 2, tens of thousands across the US and Canada protested against a possible attack on Iran. On the bad side, unprecedented numbers, in vain, did as well ahead of the Iraq war, but this time influential Washington figures support them.

With Congress on recess, it's too soon to know what's ahead, but one thing's for sure. Neocons still run things. Dick Cheney leads them, and he claims Iran intends to destroy Israel, is developing nuclear weapons, and is a "darkening cloud....right at the top of the list" of world trouble spots and needs to be addressed (along with Syria) as the next phase of "the road map to war." With five months to go and heavy firepower to call on, he and George Bush have plenty of time left (as this writer said earlier) to incinerate Iran and end the republic if that's what they have in mind. Better hope they don't or that cooler heads win out for a different way."

The Latest Twist and Turn by Muqtada: The Mahdi Army "Cultural" Wing!

Sadr to Disarm if US Withdraws on Timetable


"08/08/2008 Muslim Shi'ite cleric Sayed Moqtada al-Sadr would dissolve his Mahdi Army militia if the United States starts withdrawing troops according to a set timetable, a spokesman said.

Spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi was speaking before Friday prayers at which he said the cleric would announce a new cultural wing of his movement. A ceasefire imposed by Sadr on his army a year ago has been a key factor in a drop in violence in Iraq to four-year lows. Sadr, whose political movement controls 10 percent of seats in parliament, has long demanded US occupation troops leave Iraq.

US President George W. Bush has refused to set a firm timetable for withdrawing 144,000 American troops from Iraq, but spoke last month of a general "time horizon" for a pullout. "We feel there's a serious intention by the American forces for a withdrawal timetable at the very least," [how dumb can you get!] Ubaidi said.

"It should not be considered an end to the Mahdi army, but it's a halfway step to dissolving the Mahdi Army. If the US began to implement a withdrawal timetable we shall complete the path to dissolution." The Mahdi Army would largely be turned into a cultural organization, but would still maintain armed cells, Ubaidi said.

Ubaidi said the resistance would not end [what resistance??] until US troops left Iraq but the cleric was ready to take positive steps if Washington moved in the right direction. "If we find (this does not happen) and the U.S. forces change their stance over the timetable, we can change direction also," he said. "This will not mean ending the ceasefire, it will depend on what's going on on the ground."

Baghdad and Washington are negotiating a new security pact that will provide a legal basis for US occupation troops to operate in Iraq when a U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year. Iraqi government officials say an agreement is close. But the White House says it is too soon to say when it can withdraw the forces, which have been in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

The issue is politically sensitive in the United States, where Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama has pledged to withdraw all combat troops by mid-2010, while his Republican opponent John McCain refuses to set a date."
Will the "Mahdi Army" Singing Choir, with a baritone Muqtada, be announced Next? That ought to scare the US occupation troops and force them to leave!
Go....... Muqtada! Encore, ......encore!

Report: Fleeing Gazans interrogated on Shalit

"Egyptian sources tell Al-Hayat Israel questioned Fatah men who escaped Strip following fierce clashes with Hamas on whereabouts of captive soldier. 'Hamas trying to break IDF's morale,' one of them says

Israel interrogated dozens of Fatah-affiliated Palestinians who fled Gaza following clashes with Hamas last week on the whereabouts of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, Egyptian sources were quoted as saying Friday by the London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat.

The sources said most of those questioned were residents of Gaza City's Sajaiyeh neighborhood, where clashes between Hamas security personnel and members of the Fatah-affiliated Hilles-clan on Saturday left at least 11 people dead and dozens more wounded.

Hamas security forces eventually asserted control in the Fatah stronghold, prompting residents with ties to Mahmoud Abbas' faction to flee the Strip. Many of them made their way to the Nahal Oz terminal at the Israel-Gaza border, where they were rescued by IDF forces and taken into Israel under mortar and machine gun fire......

Meanwhile, the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzouk told Al-Hayat "every time Israel further delays the implementation of a prisoner exchange deal, Hamas raises its demands. The deal's implementation is in Israel's hands, as Hamas has presented its demands and will never budge.""

The World's Worst Nightmare by Carlos Latuff

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Fury after Israeli officer in charge of prisoner's shooting is 'reassigned'

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
The Independent

"Outraged Israeli human rights organisations have united in challenging the military's decision to invoke only minor penalties against a senior officer over the shooting of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner by a soldier under his command.

Lt-Col Omri Burberg has been "reassigned" and was indicted yesterday on the limited charge of "unworthy conduct" after the incident last month in which he held the Palestinian as the soldier shot him at close range in the foot with a rubber-coated bullet. The offence does not carry a custodial sentence.......

Meanwhile an investigation is already underway after a later incident in which a 10-year-old boy, Ahmed Moussa, was shot dead with a live bullet after another demonstration at Ni'ilin [any wild guess how this other "investigation" is going to turn out?]."

Real News Video: Will next Israeli leader attack Iran?

After Olmert decision to step down, candidates for Israeli PM leave 'all options on the table' on Iran

"The decision by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down amid corruption allegations has left many questions in Israel and in the region. There are two main contenders to replace Olmert as leader of the Kadima party. The frontrunner Tzipi Livni, is a former Mossad operative and current Foreign Minister. She was a protégé of Ariel Sharon in the Likud and jumped with him to Kadima when it was formed. Her main Kadima rival is Shaul Mofaz, a hawkish former general and current Transportation Minister. The Iranian born Mofaz is famous for his ruthless crushing of the Palestinian uprising in Jenin and other West Bank towns in 2000, first as military chief of staff and later Defence Minister. Livni is favoured in opinion polls by 8 to 18 percent to win the Kadima leadership. Calls have come from Israeli opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu of Likud for a general election. The elections would probably come in February or March, which would see Olmert remain Prime Minister till then. Netanyahu was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999, a hardliner who does not believe in land for peace, He is in favour of more west bank settlements and calls Israel’s recent meetings with Syria “groveling”. Ehud Barak, leader of the Israeli Labour Party, part of the ruling coalition with Kadima, will also be in the running. Barak is a former General and was Prime Minister from 1999-2001. As the current defence minister Barak said that Israel will return to its pattern of air stikes to crush in Gaza despite the month long truce. A recent poll by Israel’s Channel 10 shows Netanyahu as the most preferred leader with 36 per cent, Tzipi Livni with 24.6, Ehud Barak with 11.9 and none of the above with 19 percent. When Livni was replaced in the poll, by her Kadima rival Shaul Mofaz, Netanyahu garnered 36.6, Barak 14.4, Mofaz 12 and None of the above 27.4. What this could mean for the stalled peace process with the Palestinians will depend mostly on the next US president whether Barack Obama or John McCain. But on the question of Iran, there is still the fear that Israel might act unilaterally. Recent comments from the 4 possible future Israeli prime ministers might seem to reinforce what investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker last month, that an attack on Iran could come before the end of US President George W. Bush’s term next January."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

International heart specialist concludes successful visit to Gaza

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The well-known heart surgeon Raed Al-Abdullah has concluded a visit to Gaza Strip where he examined 95 Palestinian children suffering heart problems in a number of Palestinian hospitals and health centers in the Strip.

Suhail Fleefel, the director of the Palestinian children relief foundation, which is based in the USA, revealed that the visit was successful, adding that the surgeon who is an American citizen of Iraqi origin examined 95 cases and found out that at least 35 cases of them need urgent heart surgeries, and the rest of the patients were in need of intensified, close, and continuous medical attention and treatment.

According to Fleefel, the foundation would arrange for the transfer of the 35 Palestinian children who need surgery to Al-Maqased hospital in the occupied city of Jerusalem to receive medical treatment based on the recommendation of Al-Abdullah.

The Israeli occupation government deny sick Palestinian citizens in Gaza Strip exit permits to leave the besieged Gaza Strip and go abroad for appropriate medical treatment.

At least 230 sick Palestinian citizens had passed away as a result of the oppressive siege the USA, EU, and the Israeli occupation impose on the Palestinian people for over two years now.

He added that once everything pertaining to transferring those sick Palestinians to the hospital, the foundation would invite heart surgeon Dr. Aland of New Zealand to carry out the surgical operations.

Abdullah is currently in the West Bank city of Ramallah to examine similar cases."

Information Clearing House Publisher Threatened

By Mike Whitney

"My friend Tom Feeley is in Big trouble. He runs the web site which updates "news you won't find in the corporate media" every day. The site is strongly anti-war.

Tom has gotten his share of death threats over the years, but what happened this week is a lot more serious.

Two days ago, Tom's wife found three well dressed men in their kitchen. The man who did all the talking, told Tom's wife (I won't give her name) that Tom must "Stop what he is doing on the Internet, NOW!" As crazy as it sounds, he pulled back his lapel and showed her a gun of some kind which she could not identify. Like I said, Tom has been threatened before, but nothing like this. 4 years ago, he was in a parking lot at Long's Drug store in Southern California and when he tried to open his door to get out, a man in a car next to him opened his door at precisely the same time which prevented Tom from getting out. Then, a 40-ish year old man got out of the passenger side of the vehicle and approached Tom saying, "You need to stop what you are doing on the web"......

I talked to Tom this morning and he is getting by, but he's clearly upset. I do not know his plans, but I know he is ditching his cell phone and (I assume) will have to go underground as much as possible. He plans to keep publishing.

I'll tell you this about Tom Feeley; he is no bullshitter. He is the "real deal" and completely committed to exposing the mob that is presently running our country. He does not understand why, (as he says) "They are reaching down SO far to get someone who just runs web site". But, the truth is, they are. Someone wants him to "shut up" and they apparently have the muscle to do it. He knows he is in danger........"

Racism and Genocide: Lies of Our Times

One of the hallmarks of totalitarian ideologues is the use of the big lie: a virulent attack on a defenseless group and then a categorical denial turning victims into executioners and executioners into victims.

By Professor James Petras

"Zionist genocide promoter, Benny Morris practices the Big Lie1. He claims, “I have never supported the brutal expulsion of all Palestinians…I have said, repeatedly, that the expulsion of the Palestinians is immoral and impracticable.”

In a recent interview in Israel, Morris states, “Under some circumstances, expulsion is not a war crime. I don’t think that the expulsions of 1948 (of nearly a million Palestinians) were war crimes. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands. Moreover, if he (Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion) was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleaned the whole country – the whole land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.” In its extremism, Morris’ promotion of Judeo-fascist ethnocide of Palestine/Jordan exceeds that of any expressed by a secular public Jewish figure in Israel.

Uprooting, massacring and driving 3 million Palestinians from their homes, land and communities, according to Morris, lessens suffering – for Jews – and promises a quieter life for Israeli Jews! This is the same rationale that Hitler pronounced in his project to ‘purify’ Nazi Germany........"

US sources hint that by rejecting Iran sanctions, Moscow opens door to Israeli attack

"Sources in Washington commented Wednesday night, Aug. 6, that, while it is unlikely that Israel would attack Iran without US approval, this might change if tough sanctions were taken off the table. They reported Israel was building up its strike capabilities for an attack, had purchased 90 F-16I planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran and would receive another 11 by the end of next year. The Jewish state had also bought two new Dolphin submarines from Germany capable of firing nuclear-armed warheads, in addition to the three already in service with its navy.

According to foreign media, Israel is active inside Iranian territory.

DEBKAfile reports that this information was leaked by Washington sources, apparently to warn Moscow that by closing the door to sanctions, it was opening the door to an Israeli attack......"

Obama Up Against the Middle East 'Berlin Wall'

By Robert Weitzel
Palestine Chronicle

"People of the world -- look at Berlin, where a wall came down . . . and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one" -- Barak Obama.

On July 24, Barak Obama stood where a 96-mile-long wall of barbed wire and concrete once separated the ideologies and lives of East and West Berlin. He told a crowd of 200,000 that “history reminds us that walls can be torn down” and that the “greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us one from another.”

He reminded the crowd that sixty years ago this summer, the Soviet Union “cut off food and supplies to more than two million Germans in an effort to extinguish the last flame of freedom in Berlin. That [was] when . . . the largest and most unlikely rescue in history brought food and hope to the people of this city.”.....

Dov Weisglas, a senior Israeli government advisor, was candid, if not boastful, regarding Israel’s unconscionable policy of cutting off food and supplies to the walled areas, “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” Anyone with an unblinkered view of the Zionist vision will understand Weisglas to mean, “The idea is to make their lives so intolerable that they lose hope and “choose” to go somewhere . . . anywhere . . . else.”

If ever there was a need for an airlift to breech a wall and succor a desperate people it is now. It is Palestine......"

Palestinian activists are hounded

Jonathan Cook, Foreign Correspondent

"NAZARETH // Niveen Abu Rahmoun appears an unlikely target for the interest of Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet. The quietly spoken 26-year-old from the village of Reine, near Nazareth, is a civics teacher in a local high school......

Ms Abu Rahmoun is a senior activist in the National Democratic Assembly, one of the main parties representing Israel’s 1.2 million Palestinian citizens. The party is fully registered and currently has three representatives sitting in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.

But it is also led by Azmi Bishara, a Knesset member himself until last year when he was forced into exile in Jordan accused by the Shin Bet of being a “foreign agent” on behalf of Hizbollah during the 2006 Lebanon war.

Though no evidence has yet been produced to support Shin Bet’s claims, the party fears Mr Bishara would be subjected to a secret trial on treason charges if he returned and would be denied the chance to defend himself properly. Several Israeli commentators have ridiculed the idea that Mr Bishara was ever in a position to help Hizbollah......

The Shin Bet tried a different approach with Ms Abu Rahmoun, who works to recruit young people to the party. She was warned by an official known as “Karmi” to stop her youth meetings. “Karmi told me he had a list of people who had once been ‘quiet’ but who were now politically active because of me,” she said. “Then he said he was concerned for my welfare and that I might lose my reputation if I carried on working with the party.”.....

The party’s allegations against the secret police are apparently confirmed by a strange correspondence between Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet, and human rights groups over the past 18 months. In a series of letters, Mr Diskin has warned that the secret police regard it as their job tothwart the subversive activity of entities seeking to harm the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, even if their activity is conducted through democratic means”.......

There is a long history to the Shin Bet’s pursuit of Mr Bishara, who began popularising the idea of a “state of all its citizens” more than a decade ago. He has twice been put on trial by state prosecutors, though both cases ended in his favour; he has been warned by a state commission of inquiry; and he was banned from running in the 2006 general election, though the decision was narrowly overturned on appeal to the courts......

Mr Fattah also argued that the threats to his party’s members are evidence of a wider campaign being organised by the Shin Bet and sections of the Knesset to silence all dissent from the country’s Palestinian citizens and their elected representatives.

Last month, the Knesset passed a law giving the courts sweeping powers to revoke the citizenship of anyone suspected of a “breach of trust” with the state, including by living in any of several Arab states. Mr Bishara is expected to be an early victim of the legislation."

قلق خليجي مبرر ومفهوم

قلق خليجي مبرر ومفهوم

Al-Quds Al-Arabi

فالوزير الكويتي استغرب هذه التهديدات لان دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي قد عبرت عن موقفها بتأييد حق ايران في استخدام الطاقة النووية للاغراض السلمية، ولكن هذا لا يكفي، وهو كلام دبلوماسي عادي لا يعكس الواقع على الارض، ومدى التزام معظم، ان لم يكن كل الدول الخليجية، باي مخططات عسكرية امريكية لضرب ايران تماما مثلما حدث بالنسبة الى العراق.
بمعنى آخر يمكن القول ان الاساطيل الامريكية التي تزدحم بها مياه الخليج جاءت بدعوة من هذه الدول التي تستضيف قواعد جوية وبحرية وبرية امريكية في عواصمها، علاوة على عشرات الآلاف من الجنود والخبراء والمعدات العسكرية المتنوعة
اغلاق مضيق هرمز امر مستنكر ويلحق الاذى بدول عربية، بل والعالم بأسره، لان اسعار النفط ربما تقفز الى اكثر من ثلاثمائة دولار للبرميل، ولذلك على هذا العالم ان يتحرك لمنع اي حرب جديدة تقدم عليها ادارة الرئيس بوش على امل انقاذ ارثها السياسي والاقتصادي والعسكري الحافل بالفشل وخيبات الامل.
فمن سيلوم ايران اذا قررت الدفاع عن نفسها بكل الطرق والوسائل اذا افاقت فجر يوم من الايام والقاذفات الاسرائيلية والامريكية تلقي حممها فوق رؤوس ابنائها لانها تجرأت ان تحذو حذو خمس دول في المنطقة المحيطة بها تملك برامج نووية عسكرية، على رأسها اسرائيل.
دول الخليج ستكون ضحية لتحالفها مع ادارة امريكية شريرة لا تعرف غير الحروب ومستعدة لتدمير العالم بأسره من اجل ان تبقى اسرائيل قوة اقليمية كبرى مهيمنة على المنطقة ومحتلة لاراضي شعوبها فيها في انتهاك كامل لكل الشرائع الدولية

The tragic last moments of Margaret Hassan

When a renowned British aid worker was kidnapped in Iraq, the world was horrified. Herbody was never recovered, but her execution was captured on video and sent to Al Jazeera,the Arab satellite channel. Robert Fisk watched it and reveals why it has never been broadcast

".....It was Margaret who took leukaemia medicines donated by readers of The Independent to the child cancer victims of Iraq back in 1998 after we discovered that hundreds of infants were dying in those areas where Western forces used depleted uranium munitions in the 1991 Gulf War. She was a proverbial tower of strength, and it was she – and she alone – who managed to persuade Saddam Hussein's bureaucrats to let us bring the medicine into Iraq. The United Nations sanctions authorities had been our first hurdle, Saddam Hussein our second. It is all history. Like Margaret, all the children died......

So who did murder Margaret Hassan? On the video of her apparent execution, there are no Islamic banners, no Muslim chants, no claim of responsibility, just the killer and the fatal shot. After her kidnap, Margaret – who once worked as an English-language newsreader on Saddam's government television station in Baghdad – even found support among the anti-American insurgents; they issued a joint appeal for her release. Even Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al-Qa'ida leader in Iraq who was later killed by the Americans, joined in the appeal. Margaret had worked in Palestinian camps in the 1960s and fought tirelessly for those thousands of Iraqis under her care in Iraq. If her husband's suspicions were correct, then whose "foreign" hand took her away?
The tape leaves no clue. In Al Jazeera's archives, it is difficult to escape this repository of death. The Americans fired a cruise missile at Al Jazeera's Kabul office in 2001 after it had forwarded Osama bin Laden's tapes to Doha. Then an American aircraft fired a missile at the station's Baghdad office in 2003. That time, the Americans killed the bureau chief, Tareq Ayoub. His jacket and his last notes are today on the wall of Al Jazeera's Doha head office. His staff had – for their own protection – earlier given the map coordinates of their Baghdad office to the US State Department. Reporters asked Tony Blair – on a post-prime-ministerial tour of the Doha offices – if Bush had really planned to bomb them. "Blair said something about 'the need to move on'" one of them told me. "So we knew it was true."......

One suggested that 11 years of UN-imposed sanctions had somehow changed the mentality of Iraqis. And I do recall, back in 1998 – when Saddam still ruled Baghdad – an NGO official tried to explain to me what was happening to Iraqis. The Americans and British "want us to rebel against Saddam," the official said. "They think we will be so broken, so shattered by this suffering that we will do anything – even give our own lives – to get rid of Saddam. The uprising against the Baath party failed in 1991 so now they are using cruder methods. But they are wrong. These people have been reduced to penury. They live in shit. And when you have no money and no food, you don't worry about democracy or who your leaders are."

That official was Margaret Hassan. "

Israel's front-line thugs

Consistent stands against the depravity of the West Bank's lawless settlers are the only way to put an end to their crimes

Seth Freedman, Thursday August 07 2008

"News that leftwing activists are facing increased pressure to stay out of the West Bank is a worrying development in local politics, especially at a time when settler attacks on Palestinians are on the increase. Rather than clamp down on the settlers perpetrating the violence, the authorities are pursuing a path of locking the doors to the outside world and pretending that nothing at all is amiss.......

The security forces are, of course, by no means scared to act when it suits them. Palestinian demonstrations are routinely put down with excessive force: rocks flung by pre-teens are countered with rubber bullets, tear gas, and – often – live and indiscriminate fire. But when it comes to clamping down on violence emanating from the settler community, a different set of rules apply, and the authorities' reeking hypocrisy is exposed as endemic to the way in which they view the different strands of Israeli society........"

The New Fox News (Formerly Known as Al-Jazeera) Caves in to Israeli Blackmail

Al-Jazeera apologizes for 'unethical' coverage of Kuntar release

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"The Al Jazeera television station admitted Wednesday that its coverage of Israel's release of convicted Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar violated the station's own code of ethics. The admission came in response to a threat by Israel's Government Press Office to boycott the satellite channel unless it apologized.

In an official letter, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz, Al Jazeera's general director, Khanfar Wadah, wrote that "elements of the program" broadcast in Kuntar's honor on the night of Saturday, July 19, "violated [the station's] Code of Ethics," and he "regards these violations as very serious."

He also said he had ordered the channel's programming director to take steps to ensure that such an incident does not recur.

The boycott threat was issued by the director of the GPO, Danny Seaman, in response to a program broadcast from Lebanon that covered the welcome-home festivities for Kuntar. In it, the head of Al Jazeera's Beirut office, Ghassan bin Jiddo, heaped praises on Kuntar, for instance by calling him a "pan-Arab hero.".......

Bin Jiddo is known to be sympathetic to Hezbollah, and he was even awarded Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's first interview of the Second Lebanon War. A few weeks ago, he was interviewed on a Syrian television station and said that he would never agree to interview Israelis, even though he knows that Al Jazeera's official policy is to interview Israelis.

This is not the first time Israel has protested Al Jazeera's coverage, but for its protests to result in an apology is unusual."

Noam Shalit is wrong

By Khalid Amayreh in the Occupied West Bank

".....Interestingly, Shalit argued that it was his son’s captivity that was holding thousands of Palestinian civilians hostage, people who he said were “uninvolved” and suffering from abject poverty and acute shortage of basic consumer goods.

Well, thank you Mr. Shalit for recognizing the innocence of your state’s victims. Thank you for admitting, though indirectly and probably inadvertently, that Israel is a terrorist state that murders, starves and torments innocent civilians for political reasons.

But if they are innocent people, and they indeed are, then why don’t you tell your leaders that blockading, harming and starving innocent people is wrong and incompatible with moral and religious ethics? Do Jewish ethics condone tormenting innocent people who committed no wrong?....."

Hamas warns of opinion polls against it paving way for something illegal

"GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement warned of opinion polls conducted by some suspicious institutions which give it low popularity rates versus the Fatah faction, considering such polls carefully planned to create public opinion and pave the way for doing something illegal.

This warning came after a company called the near east consulting group alleged that it carried out a survey of Palestinian public opinion following the recent events in Gaza showing that the majority of Palestinians prefer the strategy of Fatah to achieve the higher Palestinian interests.

Dr. Ismail Radwan, a Hamas spokesman, told the Quds Press that his Movement does not care for such polls because they are inaccurate and fabricated, recalling that the sweeping victory of Hamas in the last legislative elections proved the opposite of similar polls conducted in favor of Fatah then.

Dr. Radwan also pointed out that Hamas won most of the professional and vocational unions' elections in Gaza and the West Bank, adding that many leaders of the Palestinian factions admitted that there is no faction in the Palestinian arena able to mobilize the masses like Hamas.
The spokesman rhetorically questioned that since the popularity of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas is high as some polls allege, why does he not call for holding presidential elections on schedule in January rather than resorting to unconstitutional decisions to prolong his term in office? "

Cabinet: Israel to End Hezbollah Arms Smuggling


"07/08/2008 Israel said Wednesday it intended to put an end to the “arms smuggling” into Lebanon adding that Hezbollah is using the arms to bolster its position domestically and as a “strategic threat on behalf of Iran.”

During a meeting Wednesday of the political-security cabinet on Hezbollah, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said "Israel will not acquiesce to the continued smuggling of arms."

According to Haaretz, the ministers were updated on what it said was continued Syrian transfers of advanced military hardware to Hezbollah, including air defense systems, in an effort to limit the freedom of operations of the Israeli air force in Lebanon, particularly in reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

The daily added that the ministers were briefed on intelligence assessments, which hold that Hezbollah is interested in a confrontation with Israel over the air force overflights, “which will allow the organization to carry on with claims it serves as a shield against Israeli aggression.”

The cabinet agreed that Israel could not reconcile with the transfer of advanced systems and said the entry of such weapons into Lebanon must be stopped.
Israel has warned that any such transfers would be perceived in Jerusalem as "a violation of the strategic balance" in the region."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Video: The IOF Attacks the Shahid Yusuf Ahmad Amira's funeral - Ni'lin 4-8-08

"Yusuf Ahmad Yunes Amira, 18 years old, was shot by a border police officer last Wednesday in Ni'lin and died of his injuries today. After the end of the funeral procession of Ahmad Mousa, the 10 year old who was murdered the previous day at a demonstration against the wall, border police troops invaded the center of the village shooting rubber coated metal bullets everywhere. A border police officer shot Amira in the head with two bullets from a distance of less than 10 meters while he was in his driveway. Amira was pronounced brain dead when he reached the hospital and died this morning.

Yusef Amira is the 13th casualty of the popular struggle against the wall which has also included thousands of injured. This struggle has been met from its beginning with unprecedented repression which keeps escalating every day. The soldiers use lethal means to attack demonstrations of Women Men and children who protest together the theft of their lands.

The escalation by the army in Ni'lin is the direct responsibility of Brigadier General Aviv Reshef. All war criminals from policy makers to those who carry it out should be held responsible. "

Audio: Crossing the Line focuses on Obama's trip to the Middle East

Podcast, Crossing the Line, 6 August 2008

"This week on Crossing The Line: Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama recently wrapped up a tour of the Middle East during which he assured Israelis that the United States will always be their friend and reaffirmed the "special relationship" between the two countries. But as Obama made visits to Jerusalem, the southern Israeli town of Sderot and a brief stop in Ramallah, he neglected to mention Israel's ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories. Host Naji Ali speaks with Bruce Dixon, investigative journalist and managing editor of Black Agenda Report, about Obama's tour and his blindness to Israeli apartheid.

Also this week, as Obama stood before a cheering crowd in Berlin an spoke about the need to "tear down walls," referring to the Soviet-built Berlin wall, he made no mention of the wall that Israel has erected on Palestinian land and the siege on Gaza. Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor, author, activist and lecturer joins Ali to talk about the Obama's policy towards Israel, and the upcoming action in which she will take part to break the siege on Gaza by sea.

And as always, Crossing the Line begins with "This week in Palestine," a service provided by The International Middle East Media Center."

Click Here to Listen

Take This!

By Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland, Germany

An Israeli Jew in Gaza

Only We Can End the Conflict


"In another few days, I will sail on one of the Free Gaza movement boats from Cyprus to Gaza. The mission is to break the Israeli siege, an absolutely illegal siege which has plunged a million and a half Palestinians into wretched conditions: imprisoned in their own homes, exposed to extreme military violence, deprived of the basic necessities of life, stripped of their most fundamental human rights and dignity. The siege violates the most fundamental principle of international law: the inadmissibility of harming civilian populations. Our voyage also exposes Israel’s attempt to absolve itself of responsibility for what is happening in Gaza. Israel’s claim that there is no Occupation, or that the Occupation ended with “disengagement,” is patently false. Occupation is defined in international law as having effective control over a territory. If Israel intercepts our boats, it is clear that it is the Occupying Power exercising effective control over Gaza......"

Because the Pharaoh Has No Balls: Palestinians stranded at Rafah terminal go on hunger strike

"RAFAH, (PIC)-- Palestinians trapped at the Rafah border terminal between Gaza Strip and Egypt have gone on hunger strike to protest the Egyptian authority's continued refusal to open the border for them.

They said in an urgent appeal sent to the PIC on Wednesday that they have been suffering for the past few months on the border terminal and have been sleeping in the desert in the open. They said that out of their total number of 150 persons they group old people and women who suffer chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments.

Many of the young men suffer from skin and other diseases, they said, adding that they did not have any medication except sedatives and other simple medicines.

They also said that many suffer malnutrition and scarcity of potable water, and appealed to human rights groups to end their ordeal.

They asked local and foreign media to shed light on their plight in a bid to solve their problem."

IOA and settlers turn Muslim and Christian cemeteries into animal pens

"OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- The Israeli prosecution and fanatic Israeli settlers have insisted on Tuesday to desecrate sanctity of Muslim and Christian graveyards at the Barwa village in the 1948-occupeid Palestinian lands, and to turn them into animal stockades.

They alleged that there were no graves in the area, but the Aqsa foundation that caters for Muslim and Christian holy shrines in occupied Palestine affirmed that the area was full of graves of Muslims and Christians, presenting "definitive" documents and evidence confirming its claims.

Tens of the village's indigenous inhabitants who were displaced and coercively relocated by the Israeli occupation government in nearby villages, participated in sit-in in front of the Israeli Supreme Court that looks into the case, protesting the Israeli procedures.

Few months ago the Aqsa foundation succeeded in obtaining a temporary restraining order form the court, banning any excavation works and constructions on the graveyards' site.

"It is unfortunate that the Israeli prosecution insisted to turn those Muslim and Christian cemeteries into pens for cows although it contradicts all heavenly laws and international and local statutes", said Mohammed Suleiman, the foundation's lawyer, after he walked out of the court room.

But he highlighted that although the foundation presented clear evidence on the presence of the graves in the site supported by drawings of the burial grounds and names of the buried persons there, it doesn’t expect the court to be fair and just in the case, disclosing a number of previous situations in which the court was biased to the Israeli side.

"This is a very sensitive matter that insults human dignity and desecrates sanctity of the dead people, and we shouldn’t remain arms-folded vis-à-vis those heinous crimes", asserted priest Romanos Redwan Saks, one of the displaced inhabitants of the village as he participated in the sit-in."

UN Doesn't Categorically Deny Saving Israeli Pilots


"06/08/2008 The report published Tuesday on UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) commander General General Claudio Graziano's ordering his troops to save any Israeli pilot whose plane may be brought down gave impetus to discussions, clarifications and statements.

Lebanese Army interim commander General Shawki Masri met Tuesday with Graziano, who tried to explain the issue. Lebanese Army sources told Al-Manar that they asked for an official clarification from the UNIFIL, noting that, according to article 9 in the accord signed between both parties, the international forces must hand in any person they detain to the Lebanese army even if this person was not invading the country as in the case of Israeli pilots.

The UNIFIL also issued a statement to deny giving orders to save Israeli pilots. However, the statement seemed to be ambiguous saying that the published report by Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar does not accurately represent the way UNIFIL operates. It also said that the activities of UNIFIL are defined by UN Security Council Resolution 1701 "and are carried out in close cooperation and coordination with the Lebanese Army, which has primary responsibility for security and law and order in the area of operations."

However, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Farhan Haq refused to "assert categorically that UNIFIL will not hand over any Israeli pilot it may come to hold to the Israeli army."......"

Iraqi Resistance; What Iraqi Resistance?

New Operation Gets Surprise Support

By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail

"BAQUBA, Aug 5 (IPS) - A massive military operation in Diyala province has underscored the military and political gains by the Sahwa militia, despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's earlier attempts to thwart them. Maliki has now apparently come around to involving the Sahwa rather than opposing them.

The Sahwa are the 'Awakening Forces' created and paid by the U.S. military to co-opt militants and to fight al-Qaeda, but which have become a force of their own parallel to the military and the police.

They are a mostly Sunni militia of about 90,000 comprising mostly former anti-occupation resistance fighters and even al-Qaeda members. Each member is paid 300 dollars monthly......"

COMMENT: I hate to admit it, but the US strategy to destroy and fragment Iraq, including the use of the "Salvador option," has been successful so far. I will not change this opinion until I see a real national liberation movement, representing all Iraqis, fighting the occupation and its puppets. So far, I don't see this happening, due to the influence of both the occupation and Iran.

Why McCain May Well Win

By Robert Parry
August 6, 2008

"It might seem unlikely that the United States would elect John McCain to succeed George W. Bush when that would ensure continuation of many unpopular Bush policies: an ill-defined war with the Muslim world, right-wing consolidation of the U.S. Supreme Court, a drill-oriented energy strategy, tax cuts creating massive federal deficits, etc., etc.

But there are reasons – beyond understandable concerns about Barack Obama’s limited experience – that make a McCain victory possible, indeed maybe probable.

Here is one of the big ones: The U.S. news media is as bad as ever, arguably worse......."

COMMENT: It has been my prediction that John McCain will be the next president, since way back at the start of the primaries. A good crystal ball? Hardly; just a simple analysis of the available candidates from both parties and the power structures in this country, including the enormously effective media.

Just observe the changing attitude of the US public towards the Iraq occupation. Through media spin and manipulation, the "surge" has been sold as a great success. This has been McCain's theme all along. Iraq is no longer the story.

To ensure a McCain win, Iran will probably be attacked before the election.

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar

"There will be other wars"
How the surge has energized McCain

"Senator John McCain's presidential campaign runs on a single theme: the US surge in Iraq has succeeded. Part 2 of this report examines how the alleged success of the surge energized not only McCain but all proponents of the Iraq war, and asks whether McCain really understands the complex situation in Iraq."

The world's media: pulling out of Israel?

The Jerusalem Post's readers may have reacted with glee, but no news on Palestine is bad news for Israelis

Seth Freedman, Tuesday August 05 2008

"The news that media interest in Israel is on the wane was devoured gleefully by Jerusalem Post readers over the weekend. Under the banner "Nothing to see here folks", the paper reported that foreign media were pulling their journalists from the country in droves and replacing them with local stringers, apparently as a result of the decrease in "spectacular" violence over the last few years.......

The olive trees are still falling to make way for the security wall, and just because there is no one from the world media around to hear does not mean it makes no impact on the Palestinian people. Similarly, the day to day effects of the all-encompassing occupation are no less severely felt just because the international press is packing up its cameras and decamping to other hotspots around the world.

What would truly be in the best interests of Israelis' security is for the focus of the international media to continue at the pace of previous years, since by doing so it would help keep a lid on the militants' cauldron and prevent it bubbling over out of frustration at their cause being ignored. If this doesn't happen, then no one should be surprised if the dam bursts once more, and the clock is rewound to the bloody beginning of the second intifada."

The lies of Hiroshima live on, props in the war crimes of the 20th century

The 1945 attack was murder on an epic scale. In its victims' names, we must not allow a nuclear repeat in the Middle East

John Pilger
The Guardian, Wednesday August 6 2008

"When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of August 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, then walked down to the river and met a man called Yukio, whose chest was still etched with the pattern of the shirt he was wearing when the atomic bomb was dropped......

In the New York Times on July 18, the Israeli historian Benny Morris, once considered a liberal and now a consultant to his country's political and military establishment, threatened "an Iran turned into a nuclear wasteland". This would be mass murder. For a Jew, the irony cries out.

The question begs: are the rest of us to be mere bystanders, claiming, as good Germans did, that "we did not know"? Do we hide ever more behind what Richard Falk has called "a self-righteous, one-way, legal/moral screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted violence"? Catching war criminals is fashionable again. Radovan Karadzic stands in the dock, but Sharon and Olmert, Bush and Blair do not. Why not? The memory of Hiroshima requires an answer."

Olmert's departure: The perfect alibi

(left cartoon by Ben Heine) A Goodbye Kiss

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 6 August 2008

"......While some of his lieutenants lamented the departure of yet another Israeli "man of peace," Abbas put on a brave face saying negotiations would continue no matter what. Yet the mood was one of mourning and despair.

The truth is that there is not a peace process to mourn. Yes, there have been constant meetings, including between Abbas and Olmert, but these never produced even modest progress on any of the "final status" issues. On the contrary, there were repeated admissions from both sides that chances of an agreement were close to nil.

Abbas concluded his last visit to Washington in April with emphatic statements that there was no hope, and no political will in Washington to make real progress, not least to pressure Israel to halt colony construction on occupied land. Ahmed Qureia, Abbas' chief negotiator similarly declared that a "miracle" would be needed to overcome these obstacles.

The role of Olmert, for most of his career a "Greater Israel" hardliner, has been to guarantee from the Israeli side the absence of any progress. He has been no less a supporter for the continued colonization program than his mentor Ariel Sharon......."