Saturday, March 7, 2009

Obama and Israel's Military: Still Arm-in-Arm

By Stephen Zunes 
Source: Foreign Policy In Focus 

However, in a notable departure from previous administrations, Obama made no mention of any military aid to Israel in his outline of the FY 2010 budget, announced last week. This notable absence may indicate that pressure from human rights activists and others concerned about massive U.S. military aid to Israel is now strong enough that the White House feels a need to downplay the assistance rather than emphasize it.

Currently, Obama is on record supporting sending up to $30 billion in unconditional military aid to Israel over the next 10 years. Such a total would represent a 25% increase in the already large-scale arms shipments to Israeli forces under the Bush administration.


Obama has thus far failed to realize that the problem in the Middle East is that there are too many deadly weapons in the region, not too few. Instead of simply wanting Israel to have an adequate deterrent against potential military threats, Obama insists the United States should guarantee that Israel maintain a qualitative military advantage. Thanks to this overwhelming advantage over its neighbors, Israeli forces were able to launch devastating wars against Israel's Palestinian and Lebanese neighbors in recent years.

Following the 2006 conflict between Israeli armed forces and the Hezbollah militia, in which both sides committed war crimes by engaging in attacks against populated civilian areas, then-Senator Obama defended Israel's actions and criticized Hezbollah, even though Israel was actually responsible for far more civilian deaths. In an apparent attempt to justify Israeli bombing of civilian population centers, Obama claimed Hezbollah had used "innocent people as shields."

The $30 billion in taxpayer funds to support Israeli militarism isn't a huge amount of money compared with what has already been wasted in the Iraq War, bailouts for big banks, and various Pentagon boondoggles. Still, this money could more profitably go toward needs at home, such as health care, education, housing, and public transportation.


It's therefore profoundly disappointing that there has been so little public opposition to Obama's dismissal of Amnesty International's calls to suspend aid to Israel. Some activists I contacted appear to have fallen into a fatalistic view that the "Zionist lobby" is too powerful to challenge and that Obama is nothing but a helpless pawn of powerful Jewish interests. Not only does this simplistic perspective border on anti-Semitism, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Any right-wing militaristic lobby will appear all-powerful if there isn't a concerted effort from the left to challenge it.




Gaza homes destruction 'wanton'


"Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in "wanton destruction" of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza.

Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes.

Israel's military said buildings were destroyed because of military "operational needs". The Israeli Defense Forces said they operated in accordance with international law during the conflict.

However, the use of mines to destroy homes contradicted this claim, the head of the Amnesty International fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, Donatella Rovera, has argued. Israeli troops had to leave their vehicles to plant the mines, indicating that they faced no danger and that there was no military or operational justification, she said.

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group that gathers and circulates the testimonies of Israeli soldiers, has also told the BBC News website that its findings from the Gaza war suggested many demolitions had been carried out when there was no immediate threat........."

Al-Jazeera Video: Focus on Gaza - Rebuilding Gaza - 6 Mar 09

Part 1:

Part 2:

"Israel's war on Gaza left 4,000 homes destroyed and 17,000 damaged, not to mention a state infrastructure in ruins. The international community has pledged $5bn to fund reconstruction but the Israeli government will not allow even the most basic building materials to cross into Gaza. In this week's Focus on Gaza, correspondent Todd Baer reports on how this is hampering reconstruction efforts. "

Viva Palestine News

Friday, 06 March 2009 17:17

Written by Edith Lutz

"We are internationals (GB, I, F, USA, CH, Jap, D...) waiting at the Rafah checkpoint with strong intention to get in to Gaza, but we are equally determined to break the siege.We need your help - either by coming here or by reporting on our mission (press photos available). Today we are forty, tomorrow we will be more than hundred (the Rachel Corrie family will also be among them). The convoy is expected to arrive tomorrow, Saturday evening (the website says Sunday).There are plans to act in a triangle: activists also demonstrating at Erez and boats coming from Cyprus.Here at Rafah we ask for more people to come to take the place of those who have to leave. Even as we or some of us can get in (as we are "promised"), our demonstration should continue until the border will be opened.We have already succeeded so far as we have not been sent away. Some of us are staying here day and night, others are spending the nights at a nearby hotel.For further questions please contact:Amal (in close contact to vivapalestina, Egyptian and Palestinian authorities): ++20177543411I will have internet access during evenings. You can also phone me: ++15204519740 "

Feltman: Syria Can Play 'Constructive' Role in the Mideast


"07/03/2009 Syria can play "an important and constructive role" in the Middle East! Believe it or not, this testimony was not given by any of Damascus’s allies, however it was given by its long-time foe, USA.

Senior US envoys and top Syrian officials met in Damascus Saturday about how to defuse past tension. Jeffrey Feltman [COMMENT: Feltman is the former detested US ambassador to Lebanon, who effectively was telling Saniora what to do, day by day! He was acting as a US high commissioner to Lebanon.] said that he and fellow envoy Daniel Shapiro held the "view that Syria can play an important and constructive role in the region," after their talks with Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and other Syrian officials........."

حتى مع نتنياهو.. كلهم يريدون استمرار المفاوضات

ياسر الزعاترة

"الذين توقعوا أو يتوقعون لهذه اللعبة التي تسمى مفاوضات سلام أن تتوقف في ظل تسلم نتنياهو للسلطة لا يعرفون أسرار السياسة في هذه المنطقة، فهنا أطراف كثيرة ليس من بينها من يريد لها أن تتوقف، وتذكروا أن بعض هذا الجدل الذي ثار خلال الأسابيع الأخيرة قد تكرر من قبل عندما وصل ذات الرجل إلى السلطة عام 1996، لكن الرجل الذي عرف بتشدده لم يوقف المسيرة "الأوسلوية" التي سبق أن عارضها، بل استمر في التعامل معها حتى خروجه من السلطة عام 1999، ولو بقدر من المماحكة والتعطيل.

A Christian painter who could not see the light in Palestine

Holman Hunt appears to have been blind to the divisions within Jewish society

By Robert Fisk

".....For old Hunt – and by God, he looked old with his huge fluffy white beard in his 83rd year – turns out to have been a committed secular Zionist. By dying in 1910, he missed out on the First World War and the joy of Lloyd George when British, Canadian and other empire troops entered Jerusalem in 1917. "How thrilling was their (singing?) entry into Palestine!" Hunt's widow Edith – sister of his first wife Fanny who died in Italy en route to the Holy Land – trilled. "Will the Jews return think you? How the 'Master' would have rejoiced. I think he does."

Hunt would have rejoiced three decades later. He and his rather mad Canadian friend, Henry Wentworth Monk, were among those Christians who thought that a Jewish homeland could be established in Palestine and that their "return" would inaugurate a thousand years of peace on earth. Both men would have regarded themselves as Christian Zionists of the spiritual rather than imperialist kind.....Long before Lawrence of Arabia was born, Hunt was agitating for a British intervention in Ottoman Palestine......

It gets worse. In a letter to the Daily Chronicle, Hunt explained that he wanted the Turks out of Palestine and the creation of a Jewish state to "the full extent of the promised land as indicated to Moses. Only it need not stop there, for ultimately adjacent country might also come under the sway of the Jews". The existing Arab population – which dwarfed the original Jewish inhabitants in the 1850s – had no ambition to be landowners, Hunt decided so could not be called dispossessed by new settlers; the Arabs would remain as labourers, the "hewers of wood and drawers of water" of the Book of Joshua.....

But in Palestine, as one reviewer put it in Canada, "he seems to have regarded the Arabs as transients who would gladly step aside".

True, Hunt blathered on a lot about world peace, blissfully unaware of the conflicts which would consume his painted Palestine. I fear it all puts The Light of the World into a different context....."

My Candidate, Barney, Has a Much Better Prospect to Head the PA Now!

Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad submits resignation


Just look at the two: Who has more charisma? Who would do a better job as head of the PA? Who would you vote for, honestly?


"Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad submitted his resignation today in a move that could help usher in a power-sharing deal between Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas and his rivals in the militant group Hamas.

Fayyad's resignation was meant to be a goodwill gesture toward the militant group. However Hamas officials dismissed his resignation, arguing his appointment has been unconstitutional....."

Hillary in the Holy Land

Clinton's toothless proclamations were not backed with any concrete sanctions to punish Israel's misdeeds

Seth Freedman, Saturday 7 March 2009

"Hillary Clinton's Middle East visit this week was hailed by many as the latest manifestation of America's new get-tough stance towards Israel. Still left in a starry-eyed daze by the effect of Obama's ascent to power, pundits took the view that the world would never again be the same since his victory, hence anything he or his entourage touched would turn inevitably and immediately to gold.......

However, now that she's been and gone and the fanfares have died down somewhat, it is clear that – as far as the Israeli government are concerned – it's business as usual, regardless of who's calling the shots in the halls of US power. One example of the new reality mirroring the old was Clinton's feeble outburst against the demolition of Palestinian homes, in which she described the actions as simply "unhelpful", a charge which was immediately rejected out of hand by Jerusalem's mayor, who scoffed at her pronouncement with all the petulance of a child complaining that mum and dad "just don't get it"......

Clinton's toothless proclamations were not backed with any concrete sanctions to punish Israel's misdeeds, instead falling back on the standard American formula of expressing mild annoyance at the Israeli government in public, while privately soothing Israeli politicians, patting them on the head and sending them out to play with another year's pocket money to spend on arms, roadblocks and concrete slabs of separation wall......."

House Demolitions Unto the Nations

Israel annexing East Jerusalem, says EU

• Confidential report attacks 'illegal' house demolitions
• Government accused of damaging peace prospects

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Guardian, Saturday 7 March 2009

40-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud al-Abbasi stands amid the rubble of his home after it was demolished by the Jerusalem municipality in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

"A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of "actively pursuing the illegal annexation" of East Jerusalem.

The document says Israel has accelerated its plans for East Jerusalem, and is undermining the Palestinian Authority's credibility and weakening support for peace talks. "Israel's actions in and around Jerusalem constitute one of the most acute challenges to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making," says the document, EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem.

The report, obtained by the Guardian, is dated 15 December 2008......."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Manic beat preacher

Between his firebrand political outbursts and his blistering live gigs, Gilad Atzmon has somehow found time to pay homage to his heroes. He talks to John Lewis

John Lewis
The Guardian, Friday 6 March 2009

"A few days before I meet Gilad Atzmon, he finds himself at the centre of an international storm. The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan, has approvingly cited Atzmon during a debate with Israeli president Shimon Peres. "Atzmon, a Jew himself," said Erdoǧan, "says that Israeli barbarity is far beyond even ordinary cruelty." Ever since, Atzmon has been getting 200 emails a day, his BlackBerry is constantly buzzing and his words are being debated by hundreds of bloggers around the world. Atzmon is revelling in the attention.

"A world leader quoting an artist?" he laughs. "Isn't that incredible? Not a singer, not even a fucking pianist, but a stupid fucking saxophonist! Ha!".....

It is Atzmon's blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read. (He favours a one-state solution in Palestine; he concedes that it will probably be controlled by Islamists, but says, "That's their business.") It has also made him many enemies, even among some former allies. Some Palestinian activists see his provocatively anti-Jewish rhetoric as discrediting their cause, while the Socialist Workers party, which once proudly paraded him at conferences, has distanced itself from him.

"I don't give a shit, really," he says with a shrug. "The Palestinian cause doesn't belong to any one person. And I don't identify with any political party. That's the advantage the artist has over the politician. The politician, like the scientist or the academic, looks at the world and tries to tell us things about ourselves. I am an artist. I look into myself and try to tell you things about the world. We push envelopes because we look into ourselves. You don't have to listen to me. You can take it or leave it. But it's my truth.""

The Big Dither

by Paul Krugman
(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

"......So why has this zombie idea - it keeps being killed, but it keeps coming back - taken such a powerful grip? The answer, I fear, is that officials still aren't willing to face the facts. They don't want to face up to the dire state of major financial institutions because it's very hard to rescue an essentially insolvent bank without, at least temporarily, taking it over. And temporary nationalization is still, apparently, considered unthinkable.

But this refusal to face the facts means, in practice, an absence of action. And I share the president's fears: inaction could result in an economy that sputters along, not for months or years, but for a decade or more. "

عريقات يلتقي رئيس إتحاد البرلمان الدولي ويدعو لإلزام إسرائيل بوقف الاعتداءات

عريقات يلتقي رئيس إتحاد البرلمان الدولي ويدعو لإلزام إسرائيل بوقف الاعتداءات

"رام الله- دعا رئيس دائرة شؤون المفاوضات في منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية صائب عريقات الجمعة المجتمع الدولي لضمان عدم إقدام إسرائيل على تكرار الاعتداءات التي تدمر من خلالها مؤسسات الشعب الفلسطيني والبنى التحتية.

وشدد عريقات خلال لقائه في أريحا بالضفة الغربية رئيس اتحاد البرلمان الدولي ثيو بن غوريب ووفد مرافق له على وجوب إلزام الحكومة الإسرائيلية المقبلة بوقف النشاطات الاستيطانية وقبول مبدأ الدولتين والاتفاقات الموقعة ورفع الحصار والإغلاق.

وأضاف أن إلزام إسرائيل بهذه الالتزامات ضرورة كي يستطيع المجتمع الدولي صناعة السلام الشامل في المنطقة على أساس قرارات الشرعية الدولية ذات العلاقة، وبما يضمن إقامة دولة فلسطينية مستقلة بعاصمتها القدس الشرقية

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: The key to the Taliban riddle Pt2

Veteran Afghan jihadis have the US administration puzzled, Pt 2 of 2

"In the second part of this report Pepe Escobar examines how the key to the Taliban riddle may lie on how the US decides to deal with a notorious jihadi with a long CV. But there's also the matter of how to deal with the mysterious Taliban leader Mullah Omar who, from his hideout in Quetta, Pakistan, now seem to be more than ever in charge of the upcoming Taliban spring offensive in Afghanistan. The Obama administration's bet on counterinsurgency may backfire badly. Or maybe the reason is because Washington plans to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely."

Terror Onto the Nations

Lieberman; most likely to become Israel's new foreign minister

"Avigdor Lieberman, of the Yisrael Beiteinu ultra right-wing party in Israel, has become the most likely candidate for foreign minister in Israel's forthcoming right-wing government, headed by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Lieberman intends to demand “full autonomy” in his new post.

Lieberman's party, known for extremist views against Arabs and Palestinians, and for exposing agendas of massive deportation, has become the third most popular party in Israel.

On Thursday, Lieberman and Netanyahu met at the Knesset, but contents of their meeting were not made public.

Haaretz stated from a source involved in the talks that Lieberman is poised to become foreign minister, but he does not simply want to just be foreign minster; he wants full autonomy, and for this to be included in any coalition agreement with the Likud party.

Lieberman, Haaretz stated, does not want Silvan Shalom, a former foreign minister, to be in charge of talks with Syria......."

Iraq's Palestinian refugees back at square one

Anaheed Al-Hardan writing from Syria, Live from Palestine, 5 March 2009

"Word is that the Palestinians will be hosted in tent-camps in the afterlife,"

"When images and news of the new border tent-camps that the Palestinian refugees from Iraq fled to after the US invasion began to spread through Arabic-language media, a concurrent anecdote began to circulate: "Word is that the Palestinians will even be hosted in tent-camps in the afterlife." The nightmare of the approximately 25,000 to 30,000 Palestinians whose families sought refuge in Iraq in 1948 is but the latest manifestation of the ongoing tragedy of Palestinian stateless refugeehood. This is a story of multiple uprootings and dispossessions since 1948 by both Israel as well as Arab host states that have turned what is known as the Nakba of 1948 into a persistent and ever-present condition that has led to, and allowed for, multiple post-1948 Nakbas......"

Suddenly, Home Was Gone

By Eva Bartlett

"BEIT HANOUN, Gaza, Mar 6 (IPS) - Dates in the calendar to mark the rights of women mean little to Manwa Tarrabin (56) and her two daughters. They have lost home, and any rights to it.

Until Jan. 17, they were living in a small bungalow in the Al-Amal quarter of Beit Hanoun, within 200 metres of Gaza's eastern border, in a region declared by the Israeli authorities a 'closed military zone'.

Prior to the three weeks of Israeli air, sea and land attacks on Gaza it had been a tidy home at the top of a slight rise, surrounded by open fields and a smattering of olive and fruit trees. Following the withdrawal of Israeli troops, the house is a pancake of angles and debris, one of 80 homes demolished in the Beit Hanoun border area.....

Among the crimes of war Israel is being accused of are the intentional destruction of civilian property, illegal under international human rights law and humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention. Such destruction has been common also in areas outside Beit Hanoun, such as the Abed Rabbo region east of Jabaliya and the Attatra region in the north-west of Gaza, besides Gaza City itself.

The organisation Save the Children estimates that 100,000 people (56 percent of them children) are homeless following the attacks......."

US Military Dominance in Mideast Proven a Costly Myth

by Gareth Porter

"The arguments for maintaining a major U.S. combat force in Iraq at least through 2011, escalating U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and assuming a confrontational stance toward Iran appear to assume that the United States remains the dominant military power in the region.

But the pattern of recent history and current developments in the region has not supported that assumption. Not only has the United States been unable to prevail over stubborn nationalist and sectarian forces determined to resist U.S. influence, but it has not been able to use its military supremacy to wage successful coercive diplomacy against Iran......."

Obama's War

Liberal interventionism in the age of Obama

By Justin Raimondo

"Illusions die hard. Especially the ideological kind. When the illusion of Barack Obama, the peacemaker, is finally dispelled, we are going to wake up and find ourselves waist-deep in a war that will soon threaten to dwarf the disastrous invasion of Iraq, both in human and material cost.

We know this from what he has said he will do, and what he has already done. He's already announced he's sending 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, bringing the total to nearly 40,000. Not that this comes as any surprise: his entire critique of the Bushian foreign policy during the campaign was that we've been fighting the wrong war: that we had to get out of Iraq so we could occupy and pacify Afghanistan, and make a proper job of it. He advocated going into Pakistan, and outflanked the Republicans on the right.....

This sort of imperialism is a perfect fit for the new age we are living in: Obama's war will be fought in the name of moral and material uplift, whilst taking hundreds of thousands of unemployed out of the labor market....."

By Dave Brown, The Independent

Game on in the Middle East

During her tour, Hillary Clinton has made clear that the grand US-Iran battle for strategic control of the region has been joined

Simon Tisdall, Thursday 5 March 2009

"The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's quasi-regal progress through the Middle East this week seems to have been too much for Iran's Supreme Leader to bear. Speaking publicly about the new US administration for the first time since Barack Obama took power, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was by turns angry and dismissive.

"Even the new American president, who came to office with the slogan of bringing change in the policies of the Bush administration, avows unconditional commitment to Israel's security," Khamenei said. "This commitment means the defence of state terrorism, injustice, and oppression ... of Palestinians.".....

Khamenei's rant should not be considered Iran's final word on Washington's so far non-specific offers of bilateral dialogue. Rather it reflects an uneasy realisation in Tehran that Obama and Clinton are in the process of launching a multi-pronged strategic offensive across the Middle East that directly challenges recent Iranian gains.....

Washington's decision to send senior US envoys to Damascus after a four-year rift has opened another anti-Tehran front. This move, apparently orchestrated with Saudi Arabia, may augur resumed Israeli-Syrian peace talks, part of Clinton's "many front" approach. But equally it affords an opportunity to weaken Syria's alliance with Iran - and with Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon....."

International Criminal Court "Justice"
By Emad Hajjaj

The United States of Israel

By Khalid Amayreh

"It seems that one doesn’t have to wait four years to find out that Hillary Clinton is just a fraud, very much like her predecessor in the job, Condoleezza Rice.

The infamous Rice paid 24 visits to Occupied Ramallah and Occupied Jerusalem, babbling about the “peace process” and George Bush’s vision of two states living side by side in peace, Israel and Palestine. Eventually, however, it was proven beyond any doubt that she was a lying emissary representing even a more lying boss.

So one may really wonder if Hillary Clinton will be re-enacting the same absurd show, same lies, and same deception.

In her recent visit to Occupied Palestine, the former NY senator, who had proven herself a submissive pawn in the service of Zionist circles, reiterated the same old platitudes about US commitment to the “two-state” solution......"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Suing for war crimes

Any recourse to international law in seeking to bring Israeli officials to book must be carefully considered

By Azmi Bishara
Al-Ahram Weekly

".......No one expects the official Arab order to contribute seriously to the drive to seek redress for war crimes, including those perpetrated against Arab citizens in other Arab countries. When there was a state of war Arab governments thought that apart from the routine of going to the Security Council, war meant taking revenge through warfare, not through wailing and laments. Later, after Arab states turned to the negotiating process and peace initiatives, they succumbed to a general impression that there was a contradiction between accusing
Israeli rulers of being war criminals and making peace with them
. For this reason, when Arab officials refer to war crimes at all, they do so timidly and in Arabic, and then take the matter no further. This inconsistency in Arab behaviour does little to help in the arena of litigation. It somehow jars to hear Arab officials levelling charges of war crimes against Israeli officials and then having to watch one news report after another of the same officials flying off to peace conferences and shaking hands and exchanging visits with the person they accused. The world is not stupid. It is always on the lookout for those who vouch for Israel."

Helping the Great Satan in Afghanistan......for a Price??

US, EU seek Iran help on Afghanistan

Press TV

"The new US administration reportedly plans to invite Iran to an international conference to discuss the worsening Afghan security situation. "Iran will be invited to attend," Reuters quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Washington was looking to engage Tehran on Afghanistan. Clinton also unveiled that there had been consultations between Iran and the US ambassador on a daily basis regarding Afghanistan just after the US military toppled the Taliban in 2001.

Following seven years of occupation and the failure of some 70,000 US and NATO-led troops to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, Washington has called on the war-ravaged country's neighbors to help deal with the situation......"

U.S. Military Aid to Israel

The Ultimate Earmark


"In these days of economic crisis, budget overruns, earmarks, and multi-billion dollar bailouts, when Americans are being forced to tighten their own belts, one of the most automatic earmarks—a bailout by any measure—goes to a foreign government but is little understood by most Americans. U.S. military aid to Israel is doled out in annual increments of billions of dollars but remains virtually unchallenged while other fiscal outlays are drastically cut......"

This Time It's Mrs. Clinton's Turn

One More Farcical Tour of the Middle East by a Secretary of State


"It was almost dreamlike, watching Secretary of State Clinton make her visit to Israel, one that can be called the first of many trips pretending to encourage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s a dream I’ve had several times over; one needs only to simply fill in the names of the various U.S. Secretaries of State, say that they’ve met with the Israeli leadership and with Mahmoud Abbas, (who is about as popular with the Palestinians as Rush Limbaugh is with Democrats), and that no progress was made......

I have said this before, but it bears repeating—there will be no peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians unless and until the President of the United States tells Israel that they must remove the settlers from the West Bank, thereby allowing a Palestinian state to be formed. If he does not do that, Mrs. Clinton and George Mitchell will tire themselves out traveling to the Middle East under the pretense that they are sponsoring peace talks. "

Abu Mahjoob

(Click on cartoon by Emad Hajjaj to enlarge)

Al-Jazeera Video: Changing the face of East Jerusalem - 03 Mar 09

Real News Video with Gareth Porter: The geopolitical fact of Iraq

Porter: The US will have to leave Iraq to a government that tilts more to Iran than to the US

"Speaking of President Obama's withdrawal plan from Iraq, Paul Jay talks to Gareth Porter, investigative historian and journalist on Iran-Iraq relations. Porter says that in spite of the U.S. efforts to create a U.S. - friendly regime, "Iraq is going to be under a Shi'ite government which leans more towards Iran than towards the United States. That's a geopolitical fact that all the U.S. troops in the world are not going to change.""

Real News Video with Pepe Escobar: The Taliban riddle

Pepe Escobar: Everybody is making a mess out of the AfPak theatre, including Washington

"In the first part of this report Pepe Escobar examines how the Obama administration is fed up with corrupt, inefficient Afghan President Hamid Karzai. And how the Obama administration is also fed up with his neighbor, corrupt Pakistani President Asif Zardari, who keeps making deals with the Taliban. To make matters worse, Pakistani Taliban groups have now formed an alliance to better fight the Americans. And to top it all "Taliban" means a lot of groups with different agendas. What remains constant is Washington's strategy to talk only to "good" Taliban."

Was Hamas the work of the Israeli Mossad?

By Ramzy Baroud
Asia Times

"The accusation that the Palestinian movement Hamas was the brainchild of Israeli intelligence has become so commonplace it often requires no substantiation. The claim is hogwash, of course, and sullies the history of a popular movement that has given many occupied Palestinians a sense of empowerment and self-respect......

No other place in Palestine was as qualified to spawn a major Islamic movement as was the Gaza Strip. The Strip was desperately poor, its population mostly composed of refugees and their descendants. Islamist leaders were themselves refugees and were mostly refugee camp dwellers........ "

UK gov't boycotts settlement financier Leviev

Press release, Adalah-NY, 4 March 2009

"The government of the United Kingdom has decided to boycott Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev over his companies' construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported today. The decision by the UK government followed a coordinated advocacy campaign by human rights advocates in New York, the UK, Palestine and Israel demanding that the UK government end plans to rent the new UK Embassy in Tel Aviv from Leviev's company Africa-Israel......"

Obama to Strengthen His Dayton "Army" in Ramallah

Obama to bolster PA military might

Press TV

"The Obama administration has plans to boost the security forces of acting Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

The assistance, which includes funding for training at a base near Amman, is planned to boost by up to 70 percent, from USD 75 million in fiscal year 2008 to as much as USD 130m, US and Western officials said on the condition of anonymity.

Israel has already supported the plan as a 'test of Abbas' ability to control members of Hamas resistance movement'....."

Gaza Reconstruction Has a Political Price-Tag

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Mar 5 (IPS) - A conference held this week in Cairo devoted to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip succeeded in raising more than 5 billion dollars from international donors. But some critics say the issue is being used as a means of isolating Gaza-based resistance faction Hamas.

"Reconstruction efforts are being exploited to further weaken Hamas and coerce it into changing its position vis-à-vis the Zionist occupation," Essam Al-Arian, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition movement, told IPS.....

In Sharm el-Sheikh, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Washington's pledge of 900 million dollars in economic aid to the PA, with 300 million dollars earmarked for rebuilding the Gaza Strip. But she stressed that none of these funds were to go to Hamas, which the U.S. and the EU describe as a "terrorist organisation". "We have worked with the PA to install safeguards that will ensure our funding is only used where and for whom it is intended and does not end up in the wrong hands," she declared. [Clinton trusts only the Ramallah Mafia, of course.]

"There are pre-existing mechanisms in place" to distribute aid and funds to the Palestinians, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki was quoted as saying the following day in independent daily Al-Dustour. "All of these mechanisms coordinate with the PA."......"

Iran in the Crosshairs

By Gareth Porter and Ray McGovern
March 4, 2009

"......But now the specter of an Israeli strike has reappeared. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s incoming prime minister, is far more committed to an attack on Iran than his predecessors.

Remember when Joe Biden told supporters of Barack Obama last October that Obama would be tested in his first six months in office?

There is good reason to believe he was referring to the likelihood that Netanyahu would become prime minister after the February 2009 Israeli election, and that he would waste little time finding a pretext to attack Iran.

Netanyahu has been laying the groundwork for such an attack for years, constantly repeating that Tehran is “preparing another Holocaust” a la Germany in the Thirties.......

Unfortunately, it is far from clear that President Obama understands that he must draw a hard line against an Israeli attack. Some of his old-think advisers believe the threat of an attack should be part of his overall strategy........"

War Comes Home to Britain

As Usual, A Great Comment
by John Pilger

"Freedom is being lost in Britain. The land of Magna Carta is now the land of secret gagging orders, secret trials and imprisonment. The government will soon know about every phone call, every email, every text message. Police can willfully shoot to death an innocent man, lie and expect to get away with it. Whole communities now fear the state. The foreign secretary routinely covers up allegations of torture; the justice secretary routinely prevents the release of critical cabinet minutes taken when Iraq was illegally invaded. The litany is cursory; there is much more.....

Freedoms are being lost in Britain because of the rapid growth of the "national security state." This form of militarism was imported from the United States by New Labour. Totalitarian in essence, it relies upon fear mongering to entrench the executive with venal legal mechanisms that progressively diminish democracy and justice. "Security" is all, as is propaganda promoting rapacious colonial wars, even as honest mistakes. Take away this propaganda, and the wars are exposed for what they are, and fear evaporates. Take away the obeisance of many in Britain's liberal elite to American power and you demote a profound colonial and crusader mentality that covers for epic criminals like Blair. Prosecute these criminals and change the system that breeds them and you have freedom."

If this becomes Obama's war, it will poison his presidency

Pakistan is being ripped apart by the fallout from the Afghan occupation. If the US escalates, the impact will be devastating

Seumas Milne
The Guardian, Thursday 5 March 2009

"The armed assault on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore has been a brutal demonstration, if any more were needed, that the war on terror is devouring itself and the states that have been sucked into its slipstream. Pakistan is both victim and protagonist of the conflict in Afghanistan, its western and northern fringes devastated by a US-driven counter-insurgency campaign, its heartlands wracked by growing violence and deepening poverty. The country now shows every sign of slipping out of the control of its dysfunctional civilian government - and even the military that has held it together for 60 years.......

The grip of conservative Islamism on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is the legacy not just of George Bush, of course, but decades of US meddling in the region, and its sponsorship of the anti-Soviet mujahideen in the 1980s in particular. What Obama has inherited from Bush's war on terror is an arc of US and western-backed occupation from Palestine to Pakistan. If the administration's current review of "Afpak" policy were to lead to the negotiations with the Taliban Obama has hinted at and a wind-down of the occupation, that would cut the ground from under Pakistan's own insurgency. But if Afghanistan becomes Obama's war, it risks poisoning his presidency - just as Vietnam did for Lyndon Johnson more than 40 years ago."

UK ready for talks with Hezbollah

• Overtures to political wing of militant Shia group
• Officials deny precedent set for contact with Hamas

Ian Black, Middle East editor
The Guardian, Thursday 5 March 2009

"Britain overturned its policy on a key Middle East issue yesterday by agreeing to talk to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia movement which fights Israel and is banned as a terrorist organisation by the US.

Bill Rammell, the Foreign Office minister, told MPs the government would authorise "carefully selected" contacts with the political wing of Hezbollah, which is represented in the Lebanese parliament. Other EU countries, including France, already deal with the group.

The move, urged privately by British diplomats for some time, may be partially intended to encourage the US to follow suit as Barack Obama's administration pursues a fresh approach of engagement with parties shunned by George Bush.

But Foreign Office officials said the decision would not create a precedent for talking to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement in control of the Gaza Strip, although calls have increased recently for the government to do just that......."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

التدخل الايراني 'المحرم' فلسطينيا

التدخل الايراني 'المحرم' فلسطينيا

رأي القدس

بالأمس دعا السيد عباس في مؤتمر صحافي عقده في رام الله أثناء استقباله السيدة هيلاري كلينتون وزيرة الخارجية الأمريكية، دعا ايران إلى عدم التدخل في الشؤون الفلسطينية، ووصف هذا التدخل بأنه يهدف فقط إلى تعميق الانقسام بين الفلسطينيين.
السيد عباس لم يتحدث بالتفصيل في هذه المسألة، ولكن ما فهم من كلامه ان دعم ايران لحركات المقاومة الفلسطينية مثل 'حماس' و'الجهاد' مالياً وربما عسكرياً، هو خطيئة كبرى يجب ان تتوقف حتى يظل الصف الفلسطيني متماسكاً أو أقل تشرذماً.
هذا الكلام، أو بالأحرى الاتهام، يوحي بأن التدخل الأمريكي في الشأن الفلسطيني الداخلي أمر مسموح به، بل ومحلل، اما أي تدخل آخر فهو محرم وممنوع ولا يجب القبول به، أي أن امريكا هي الدولة الصديقة الداعمة للشعب الفلسطيني وحقه في المقاومة والتحرير واستعادة حقوقه المشروعة، بينما ايران هي العدو المحظور عليها التدخل او الاقتراب لانها تريد للشعب الفلسطيني البقاء تحت الاحتلال الاسرائيلي.
الأموال التي تقدمها الولايات المتحدة للشعب الفلسطيني 'حلال' بينما أي أموال ايرانية تذهب إلى حركات المقاومة هي 'حرام' وغير اسلامية، ونوع من التدخل الهادف إلى التخريب، وربما توصف في خانة 'الرشوة' و'الفساد' لانها ستذهب إلى أسر الشهداء وأطفالهم، وربما تساهم في إعادة اعمار قطاع غزة جزئياً أو كلياً.
اللافت ان تصريحات الرئيس عباس هذه صدرت قبل أقل من ثلاث ساعات من تصريحات أو تحذيرات مماثلة للسيدة كلينتون، مما يعني ان هناك تنسيقاً وثيقاً بين الجانبين، يدفعنا للاعتقاد بأن وزيرة الخارجية هي التي أملت على الرئيس الفلسطيني اطلاق هذه الاتهامات لايران التي تستضيف حالياً مؤتمراً ضخماً لنصرة قطاع غزة وللتضامن مع ابنائه
جميع الدول مسموح لها ان تتدخل في الشأن الفلسطيني، بما في ذلك اسرائيل التي تنسق أمنياً مع السلطة في رام الله، الا ايران لانها ترتكب خطيئة كبرى اسمها دعم حركات المقاومة الفلسطينية، وتعتبر اتفاقات أوسلو تفريطاً في الحقوق الفلسطينية وتطبيعاً مع الدولة العبرية

Grumbles as Lebanon Heads into the Elections

"What's Hezbollah Done for Us Lately?"


Haret Hreik, South Beirut.

"......It appears that Lebanon may be cascading deeper into the abyss of deadly sectarianism.

Lebanon, sad to say, remains an oligarchy more than a democracy, much of it locked in a choke hold by tribal chiefs, mafia like leaders, and a primogeniture system wherein defective sons are often handed the reins of power by flawed fathers or grieving widows. Not much of a place to raise your children as more and more realize, and many who can, leave for opportunities elsewhere. Absent a political tsunami to churn up new matrix political strata, whence healthy growth could spring, Lebanon’s immediate political future looks bleak with formation of the next parliament perhaps eerily similar to the current one under the existing electoral framework.

The country appears to be glancing backward at beckoning Cyrenes from the 1975-90 civil war, not forward to a future as a real country for its people, gifted as they are, in so many ways. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Clinton skips Gaza on first Mideast tour 04 Mar 09

"Gaza's international airport, which Hillary Clinton opened in 1998, today is in ruins.
Now Clinton is back in the region as US secretary of state but a visit to Gaza is not on the agenda.
Will her new position in the US administration mean a change in US policy when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?....."

Real News Video: Taking on the banking cabal Pt 2

Engdahl: Investment in infrastructure not enough; Obama must take on the banks

Nazzal: Some Arab and Palestinian leaders asked Israel not to release Barghouthi

"Mohammad Nazzal, member of the Political Bureau of the Hamas movement, stated on Tuesday night that some Palestinian and Arab officials asked Israeli officials not to release Marwan Barghouthi, a former legislator and Fatah official.

According to Nazzal, the officials said that releasing Barghouthi, a Fatah strong man, will weaken the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and boost the political and popular power of Hamas.

In a speech during a Hamas celebration in al-Yarmoul refugee camp in Syria on Tuesday night, Nazzal stated that, “it is weird, obnoxious and unbelievable to know that Arab and Palestinian leaders are asking Israel not to release Barghouthi”.

He added that the officials claimed that Abbas’ power would be hindered by the release of Barghouthi, and they believe that Barghouthi’s release would boost the power of Hamas.

Nazzal stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if those officials denied these claims, and added that the wife of Barghouthi, his lawyers and friends know the officials who are uttering these statements and “know more facts on the issue than we do.” ......."

Human Rights in Israel and Occupied Palestine

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, March 4, 2009

"The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) publishes annual reports on "The State of Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories." This article reviews its December 2008 one as human rights activists commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10.

ACRI is Israel's leading human and civil rights organization and the only one addressing all liberty and rights issues. It was founded in 1972, is independent and nonpartisan, believes human and civil rights are universal, and leads the struggle for these issues in Israel and Occupied Palestine (OPT) through litigation, legal advocacy, education, and public outreach......

For nearly 61 years and over 41 in the OPT, Israel has willfully and systematically defiled all of the above, so far with impunity. When will the world community take notice? When will it enforce this Declaration for the Palestinian people and Israeli Arabs? When will such gross injustice end?"

The Two-State Solution and the Ruin in Gaza

by Virginia Tilley
Global Research, March 3, 2009

"For several years, those of us warning that we already face a one-state solution in Israel-Palestine have been regularly dismissed as nay-sayers, ivory-tower intellectuals, and/or utopian crackpots. So it’s noticeable when these dismissive comments begin to falter and flicker out......

This new struggle will convey tremendous political strength to the liberation movement. In Palestine we see indeed a real chance to create one of those rare shining moments when humanity briefly transcends itself, such as when Nelson Mandela stood before the Union Buildings in Pretoria and took the oath as president of a new South Africa. But let us not waste more time and energy longing for some ‘great man’ to come act the part of Mandela in Palestine and lead everyone to national reconciliation. We all carry little Mandelas inside us – that is why we wept when watching that historic moment in South Africa, because it resonated inside us with something universal. Let us all find within ourselves those deeper resources of moral courage to pitch in and help steer Israel-Palestine to a second global triumph against apartheid and lay a foundation for real democracy and justice in the Middle East. God knows the world must defeat this old ogre of the last century, racial nationalism, in order to confront collectively the great challenges facing us in the next one. "

The Obama-Medvedev turbo shuffle

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"US President Barack Obama won't ever play chess like the Russian masters, but a solid knowledge of Francis Coppola's Godfather flicks could carry the day with his Kremlin counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev. If Washington intends to lure Russia to the anti-Iran train, Obama had better leave the gun at home and call on Moscow with some cannoli....."

Did Clinton sabotage a Palestinian reconciliation?

Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 4 March 2009

"Still reeling from the Israeli massacres in the occupied Gaza Strip, Palestinians have lately had little to celebrate. So the strong start to intra-Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo last week provided a glimmer of hope.

An end to the schism between the resistance and the elected but internationally-boycotted Hamas government on the one hand, and the Western-backed Fatah faction on the other, seemed within reach. But the good feeling came to a sudden end after what looked like a coordinated assault by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Union High Representative Javier Solana, and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas whose term as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) expired on 9 January......"

Sustaining global solidarity after Gaza

Jamal Juma', The Electronic Intifada, 3 March 2009
(Jamal Juma' is the coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (

"....Israel has lost this most recent war on all fronts. In addition to failing to crush the resistance within Gaza, it was unable to control dissent in any of the territories under its military control. This defeat was mirrored on the international level, despite a massive public relations effort coupled with an attempt to control the flow of images and information coming out of Gaza, Israel was unable to shape public understanding and discourse. A growing majority has openly condemned the operation for what it was -- a massacre -- and joined the BDS movement. The most recent victories of the movement have shown that the global struggle for genuine democracy and justice is not only a common ground on which the support for Palestinian rights is based, but a crucial precondition for effective solidarity. Our task now is to channel popular outrage into coordinated, collective action."

As Dangerous as Netanyahu

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan
Palestine Chronicle

"The Palestinians in the occupied lands and the refugee camps must have been puzzled by those Palestinian leaders’ declarations and commentators’ peppy articles lamenting the loss of the butchers of Gaza, Kadima-Labor coalition, to the Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition. Have the Palestinian leaders in the West Bank established mystical bonds with the butchers of Gaza who became their only accepted partners for peace? I can’t see the teensiest difference between the policies of the two camps. If there is any difference, it is that unlike Kadima and Labour leaders, Netanyahu practices what he preaches. Netanyahu is a dangerous leader but Olmert, Livni, Peres and Barak are no less dangerous. The only competition among these leaders is the level of the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians and the blood wantonly spilled under their leaderships..... "

The monumental folly at Sharm el-Sheikh

By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star staff

"The international pledges at Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday of some $4.5 billion in aid to the Palestinians to rebuild the Gaza Strip and promote the development of the West Bank seem like a monumental folly in view of the surrounding political context of this gesture. The financial generosity of the donors was largely offset by their political cowardice on two fronts: in challenging Israel to live according to the norms of law in its treatment of the Palestinians under its occupation; and in coming to grips with Palestinian political realities, especially the legitimacy and role of Hamas.

On both counts, the generous donors seem unwilling to admit that they are perpetuating a wasteful cycle of Palestinian and international construction in Palestine that is being set back by repeated Israeli destruction through war, followed by repeated rounds of reconstruction. This recurring cycle is striking for its sheer waste, but also for what it reveals about the willingness of the international community to use reconstruction aid as a political tool - a failed tool that should be abandoned in favor of a more productive approach....."

So Karl Marx was right after all

Maybe the Mail will be yelling, ‘Smash the bosses, get the worker’s Mail’

By Mark Steel
The Independent

"The sudden change is disconcerting. For years I might suggest society would be improved if we sacked these vastly overpaid bankers, and the response would be some variety of "Here he goes again".

Now if you say the same thing the response is "SACK them? I'll tell you what we should do, we should cover them in marmalade and lock them in a greenhouse full of wasps, then scour the stings with a Brillo pad. Then prick them with hedgehog spikes, smear them with fish paste and dip them in Sydney Harbour, then glue them to a pig and send them into an al-Qa'ida training camp with a letter announcing they're a work of art, never mind sack them."......

Sales of Marx's Capital are at an all-time high, and this can't just be due to the current rage against characters such as Fred Goodwin and his merry bonus. It must also be because Marx fathomed that under capitalism, boom and slump would remain a perpetual cycle, as opposed to those such as Gordon Brown, who said once an hour for five years, "We have abolished boom and bust", a theory which is now in need of a minor tweak......

But he might also dispute the idea attributed to him, that slumps make the collapse of capitalism inevitable. Because while he said SLUMPS were inevitable, he also said the outcome wasn't inevitable at all, but depended on whether the poor allow the rich to make them pay for it......"

Israelis react with fury to British boycott call

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
The Independent

"Israeli scientists and officials reacted angrily yesterday to calls by more than 400 British academics for the Science Museum to cancel educational workshops planned to promote Israeli science tomorrow.

The cancellation call and claims that Israeli universities are "complicit" in the occupation of Palestinian territories and this year's "disastrous" offensive in Gaza, reported in The Independent yesterday.....

The British academics, among them 40 professors, include many of those behind the eventually unsuccessful campaign to impose a full-scale boycott of Israeli academics. The "educational seminars" – in Manchester yesterday and at the Science Museum in London tomorrow – are being run by the UK Zionist Federation....."

Aid as a weapon

International donors' approach to the Palestinian people lacks consistency, courage, and plain common sense

Ben White, Tuesday 3 March 2009

"Ever since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000, there has been a familiar pattern in the Occupied Territories: Israel destroys Palestinian civilian infrastructure, and the international community foots the bill.

This has been reproduced once more, on a grand scale, as billions of dollars were promised this week at the Egypt-hosted donor conference for devastated Gaza, far exceeding the Palestinian Authority's initial target.

It remains to be seen how much of this aid will actually get through to the Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza, who continue to live in the rubble of thousands of homes, and hundreds of businesses, factories and schools. Two-thirds of the US contribution of $900 million, for example, is not even earmarked for Gaza......

Unfortunately, the donor conference is another sign that as yet there still has been no fundamental shift in policy, three years on from Hamas's success in the Palestinian elections. You shouldn't have to live in Gaza to work out that "open borders, not handouts" are the way forward. Whether subsiding the heavily colonised West Bank, or paying for what Israel destroyed in Gaza, the international community in its approach to the Palestinian people continues to display a lack of consistency, courage, and plain common sense."

Leader questions 'pragmatic' approach to Israel

Press TV

"The Leader of the Islamic Revolution says those who advocate a "pragmatic" approach toward Israel should have learned to think twice.

"By now those who advocated a pragmatic approach under the illusion of the invincibility of the Zionist regime and who succumbed to surrender and compromise with the usurpers should have realized their mistake," Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday.

Addressing an international conference in support of the Palestinians in Tehran, the Leader was referring to "those who entertained hopes of a peaceful coexistence with the Zionist". [COMMENT: Does this apply to your "ally", the Rabbit of Syria, Seyyed Khamenei? How about your own "pragmatic" co-existence with the Great Satan, the protector and enabler of the Zionist state, next door in Iraq? You don't seem to mind the Great Satan next door, as part of a "pragmatic" calculation, to get rid of Saddam and to bring to power sectarian Shiites in Iraq.]

Some Arab leaders provoked outrage among the people of the Middle East by either remaining silent on the plight of the Palestinians or aiding and abetting Israel in its 60-year oppression of the Palestinian population..... "

Ayatollah Khamenei speaks out at Palestine confab

Press TV

"The following is the inaugural speech of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, at a two-day conference on the war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by Israel during its three-week military campaign in the Gaza Strip......"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

نزّال: مسؤولون فلسطينيون وعرب طلبوا عدم الإفراج عن مروان البرغوثي

"دمشق - المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام

كشف محمد نزّال عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية "حماس" أن بعض المسؤولين الفلسطينيين والعرب طلبوا من المسؤولين الصهاينة عدم الإفراج عن مروان البرغوثي؛ بحجة أنَّ الإفراجَ عنه يُضْعِفُ محمود عباس ويقوِّي حركة "حماس" سياسيًّا وشعبيًّا.

وقال نزال في كلمة حركة "حماس" التي ألقاها خلال فعالية "أسبوع الانتصار في معركة الفرقان"، التي أقامتها الحركة ليلة الثلاثاء (3-3) في مخيم اليرموك بدمشق: "أودُّ أن أكشف هنا عن أمرٍ يثيرُ الاستغرابَ والاستهجانَ والاستياءَ، وهو أنَّ مسؤولين فلسطينيين وعربًا طلبوا من المسؤولين "الإسرائيليين" عدم الإفراج عن المناضل الفتحاوي مروان البرغوثي، تارةً بحجة أنَّ الإفراجَ عنه يُضْعِفُ محمود عباس في هذه المرحلة، وتارةً أخرى بحجَّةِ أنَّ الإفراج عنه يقوِّي حركة حماس سياسيًّا وشعبيًّا؛ باعتبار أنَّه يُبْرِزُ حسَّها الوطني العالي".

كما توقَّع القيادي الفلسطيني البارز أن يسارع بعض المسؤولين الفلسطينيين إلى إنكار هذا الأمر، محيلاً الأمر إلى المقرّبين من البرغوثي نفسه؛ حيث قال "قد يسارع بعض المسؤولين الفلسطينيين إلى إنكار ذلك، ولكنَّني أُحِيلكُم إلى زوجة المناضل مروان البرغوثي ومحاميه وأصدقائه؛ فهم يعرفون الأسماءَ والوقائعَ مثلُنا أو أكثرَ منَّا".

Palestinian Astrophysicist in US Reunited with Wife & Three Remaining Children After Story of His 11-Year-Old Son’s Death in Israeli Air Strike Broadc

Democracy Now!
With Amy Goodman

"Suleiman Baraka is a Palestinian astrophysicist working at Virginia Tech with NASA. His eleven-year-old son Ibrahim was killed in an air strike during Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza. After he first told his story on Democracy Now!, the US consulate in Jerusalem contacted him and got his surviving family members out of Gaza. This weekend, at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles Airport, he was reunited with his wife and three remaining children. We take you to the bittersweet reunion....."

Real News Video: Why is Obama leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq?

Gareth Porter: Number of troops left in Iraq after Aug '10 throws into doubt the withdrawal itself

"Gareth Porter says Obama's speech at Camp Lejeaune, which was supposed to explain the Presidents' plan to end the war in Iraq is "not doing what it said it's doing." Porter says the speech creates the, "rationale for a longer term U.S. engagement in Iraq." Responding to Obama pledging a residual force of 35,000-50,000 non-combat troops, Porter says that, "they are combat troops to a great extent... What we're really talking about is what has been referred to as a "rapid reaction force," says Porter, explaining it will consist of, "one, maybe two or more combat brigade teams.""

Gaza Reconstruction ?!

By Mazin Qumsiyeh
Palestine Think Tank

"A donor conference is underway in Sharm Alshaikh in Egypt is “to raise funding” for Gaza but is turning out to be similar to all previous conferences: lots of huff, puff and posturing. For the US administration, it is a way to prop the government of Mahmoud Abbas (whose term ended January 9).....

The posturing, speeches, and “pledges” thus distracts from what is really needed to achieve peace: pressure on the occupiers/colonizers not on the occupied/colonized. Israel must be told by the outside world to a) not only freeze all settlement construction but actually reverse it by returning the lands to their owners and removing the settlers from all areas occupied in 1967, and b) Israel must pay for the damage it inflicted on Gaza and comply with International law on the damages of the apartheid wall it is building, c) Israel must allow Palestinians including all refugees the choice of return to their homes and lands or to be compensated if they chose not to return (and compensate them for their suffering), and d) Israel must allow the right of self determination for all the Palestinian people (a referendum on what we want would be a good beginning) and for full equality for all residents regardless of their religion. "