Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sayyed Khamenei to Palestinian Leaders: Resistance Is the Key. However, US Occupation of Iraq Should NOT be Resisted, but Welcomed!


"27/02/2010 The Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei told Palestinian resistance chiefs on Saturday that sustained resistance was the key to liberating their land.

"Palestine, surely and definitely, will be freed by sustained resistance from the people of Palestine and by maintaining unity among jihadist groups," Khamenei said.

He met Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdullah, and the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) Ahmed Jibril, all of whom live in exile....."

Palestinians Excluded From Bulk of West Bank

By Mel Frykberg

"IDNA, Occupied West Bank, Feb 27, 2010 (IPS) - Israel’s illegal occupation and continued expropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank has left 2.5 million Palestinians living there with effectively less than 40 percent of the territory.....

According to the report Palestinian farming and construction is effectively prohibited in 70 percent of Area C, or approximately 44 percent of the West Bank, which is reserved mainly for the benefit of Israeli settlements.

The restrictions in the remaining 30 percent of Area C make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain the requisite permits necessary to build there. Only about one percent of Area C is left for Palestinians to farm or build on and that area is already built up.

A further 18 percent of the West Bank has been declared a closed military zone by the IDF for military training. This does not include the closed military areas around Israeli settlements.

Another 10 percent of the West Bank, overlapping with closed military zones, has been declared nature reserves by the ICA.

The restrictions in Area C adversely effect Palestinians living in Areas B and C too. Over 400 Palestinian communities have land in Area C. The majority are mixed between Area C and either Area A or B, or both.

The building restrictions have prevented Palestinian communities from expanding and being able to build new homes, hospitals and schools in parts of the West Bank falling under Area C. Many have, therefore, built "illegally".

As a result nearly 3,000 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C have been demolished by the ICA in the last 12 years with hundreds more under threat of demolition......"

With 1000 US Soldiers Dead in Afghanistan, Time to Revive the Anti-War Agenda

by Medea Benjamin

".....Unfortunately, the anti-war sentiment lacks visibility. Gone are the days when the peace movement could turn out hundreds of thousands of people. The Obama administration not only led to a surge in Afghanistan, but it sucked the air out of the anti-war movement. United for Peace and Justice, once a vibrant coalition of over 1,300 groups with large offices in New York and a dozen staff, has become a network based on volunteers, and grassroots peace groups across the country have folded.

But March promises to be a revival of sorts. The ANSWER coalition is gearing up for the first significant anti-war marches since Obama took office, planned for the March 20 anniversary of the Iraq war. Progressive Democrats of America, along with groups like CODEPINK, have been encouraging people to gather for a brown bag lunch at congressional offices in districts across the country. With the message of Healthcare not Warfare, there are now over a hundred monthly lunches outside congressional offices. And a group called Peace of the Action is organizing a campout on the DC mall starting March 13.

As the fighting surges, the spending on war surges and the deaths surge, it's time for the U.S. peace movement to regather its energy and push the anti-war agenda back onto the national scene."

This is Funny: Khalfan to Dagan: Act like a man and confess the crime. So, if You are a Secret Agent, Then You are Not a Man??


This gives us a window on the traditional Arab view of the world. It is a world of chivalry and "manhood." Words are everything and results count for nothing. Defeats are "victories" if you use the right words.

To the Israelis (and Dagan in particular) the results are what count. He got "his man," so why should he "act like a man," and incriminate Mossad? This is nonsense!

"DUBAI, (PIC)-- Dhahi Khalfan, the Dubai police chief, has called on Israeli foreign intelligence (Mossad) chief Meir Dagan to act like a man and declare his responsibility for planning and executing the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month.

Khalfan told UAE daily Al-Jazeera published on Saturday that the Dubai police had many other facts incriminating the suspects including the DNA of one of the suspects and the fingerprints of others.

Most of those wanted for suspicion of involvement in the murder crime are currently in Israel, which necessitate the formation of an international team comprising the five countries whose passports were used in the crime to prosecute the culprits, the Dubai police chief elaborated.

He affirmed that both Dagan and his premier Benjamin Netanyahu would top the list of wanted persons in the event it was proven beyond doubt that the Mossad was the party that carried out the crime."

Hamas: Mabhouh was long-time target


By Ahmed Janabi

"....Al Jazeera interviewed Osama Hamdan, Hamas' representative in Lebanon, and asked him about the al-Mabhouh's assassination and other issues.....

Do you think it would be more beneficial if some other mediator steps in and helps Egypt in its efforts to bring Hamas and Fatah to reconciliation?

Definitely. The thing is, the more Arab countries are involved the stronger they get in resisting pressure. The other thing is, those countries as a league can be more effective [still counting on that totally discredited and impotent League?]in supervising and overseeing the implementation of the reconciliation agreement's terms when it takes place.

At the end of the day, if a mediator cannot achieve a mission for almost a year, then some aid should be seriously considered......

But do you not think that your strong ties with Iran are blocking stronger bonds between you and many Arab states?

I think the Palestinian cause needs support, from Arabs, Muslims and maybe the whole world. The Iranian support should be a motive for Arabs to provide even greater support.

The Iranian role in Iraq was not very pleasant, many Arabs have become cynical about Iran; How can Iran be supportive to some Arabs like Palestinians and aggressive against others like Iraqis?

It is at the core of our principles that we reject any threat to the national security of any Arab country. Supporting Palestinians should not justify wrongdoing to any other Arab country.

It has been more than a year since Barack Obama took over as US president. Has there been any change in the US approach toward the Palestinian cause?

Obama’s approach was positive in the beginning. Many were under the impression that he would bring some sort of change. Speaking now, Obama has failed to bring any sort of change and that led to a state of depression among Palestinians and parties involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The big disappointment is that Obama's administration has started to follow George Bush’s approach."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This is a brand new poll and it asks:

Do you support Gaddafi's call for Jihad against Switzerland?

It is quite early in the polling cycle, but with about 300 responding so far, 69% said no.

“The One State Solution” ...One state, two peoples

By Elie Elhadj
For a durable solution to the Arab Israeli conflict, a single democratic and secular state for Jews and Palestinians needs to evolve. A single state promises a more durable long-term solution than the two-state solution, currently in vogue. The two-state solution is inherently unstable for four reasons:
1. First, demographically, a purely Jewish state is impossible to attain. Had Palestine been uninhabited at the time of Israel’s creation a refugee problem would not have arisen and a purely Jewish state could have been possible. However, around the time of Israel’s creation Palestine was a home to around 1.4 million Palestinian Arabs.
The Zionist dream of creating an exclusive state for the Jewish people in Palestine is unsustainable in the long-term. Presently, 1.4 million Palestinians are estimated to be citizens of Israel, or a quarter of Israel’s Jewish population. Due to their high population growth rates the Palestinian-Israelis will eventually become the majority. The Palestinian-Israelis are in addition to the 4.2 million Palestinians who live under Israel’s occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Outside Palestine, 2.6 millions are registered in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, plus 1.5 million scattered worldwide.

Unless the Palestinian-Israelis somehow vanish, Israel’s Jewish population will eventually become the minority and the Palestinian-Israelis the majority; the population growth rate of the Palestinian-Israelis is much greater than that of Israeli Jews. The number of Palestinians in Israel in 1948 was about 150,000. If Israel would allow the future Palestinian-Israeli majority full citizenship rights, they’ll control the government. If Israel subjects the majority to an apartheid regime, the system will eventually unravel. Apartheid regimes have short lives: Witness Rhodesia and South Africa.
2. Secondly, intractable issues stand in the way of a two-state solution: Jerusalem, borders, security for Israel and for Palestine, water rights, settlements, and the refugees’ right-of-return. Since the signing of the Oslo Agreement on September 13, 1993, none of the thorny issues has been resolved. When Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak, and Yasser Arafat attempted in July 2000 to tackle these issues at Camp David, the negotiations collapsed, leading to the second intifada and to Hamas’ gains in the 2006 parliamentary elections, which culminated by the take-over by Hamas of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, and Israel’s devastating war against Hamas eighteen months later.
3. Thirdly, even if a miracle patches up a two-state agreement the extremists on both sides would undermine the agreement. The extremists believe that they are divinely ordained to keep-up the struggle until they control the entirety of the land.
4. Fourthly, the Arab masses w ill shun a Zionist state. Judging from Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt (March 26, 1979) and Jordan (October 26, 1994), relations among the Egyptian and Jordanian masses and Israelis failed to develop beyond small diplomatic missions.

Western democratic and secular ideals should inspire the development of a single, democratic, and secular state for Palestinians and Jews. There are three reasons in support of such a development:

1. First, the intractable obstacles that have bedeviled the two-state solution would disappear.

2. Secondly, a single state will commingle Palestinians and Jews into an inseparable mix. The Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, estimated at about half a million in more than 125 settlements, could become instruments of integration between Palestinians and Jews, not segregation; a mixture of Jews among Arabs as difficult to unscramble as removing the Palestinian Israelis from Israel. A single state would lead the Arab governments to recognize the new state. Muslims everywhere, Arabs especially, would no longer have an excuse to boycott their Jewish “cousins.” Economic, cultural, educational, and social interaction would follow. The two sides would quickly learn=2 0how much they could benefit from one other.

3. Thirdly, a single state solution would allow Arabs and Jews full access to the entirety of Palestine.

The secular democratic one-state solution has been gathering pace. A well attended conference by Arabs and Israelis at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) was held on November 17-18, 2007 to address the various aspects of this concept.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Eitan Bronstein – Response to Nakba Law

The Nakba law is coming up again for consideration in the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, in a more moderate version than before but with the same motivation: to frighten everyone who wishes to commemorate the human and political tragedy that occurred in 1948, in which the Zionists expelled most of the Palestinian inhabitants of the country and the state of Israel destroyed most of the localities in which they lived. Those proposing the law hope to mobilize Zionist patriotism by threatening to forbid commemorating Independence Day as a day of mourning. They are blind, of course, to the historical context, and the development of that tradition among the displaced Palestinians who remained in Israeli territory. Let us not forget that Arab localities in Israel were ruled by a military government until 1966. Palestinian citizens were forbidden to travel “beyond the pale” without a permit from the military governor. On Independence Day all the residents had a vacation, even the Arabs! The most important place for them to visit was the one where they had lived, to which they were forbidden to return. As the years went by, and they understood that the Jewish state would never allow them to return home, this event took on a national-political aspect, and in recent years it is celebrated with a “March home” to the remains of one of the localities captured during the nakba. “Their independence; our Nakba,” became the main slogan of these events.
Palestine Think Tank

“Arab Democracy is Fantasy,”

Democratic ideology cannot defeat Islamic theology
By Elie Elhadj

"Notwithstanding that Arab rule is tribal, corrupt, and mired in favoritism and nepotism it is significant that Arab rulers typically stay in office until death, be it natural or resulting from a military coup. No Arab king or president, however, spares an opportunity, to display the loyalty of his subjects. While the presidents conduct stage-managed referendums in which they consistently manage to achieve near 100% approvals, the monarchs draw mile-long queues of happy-looking men on every national and religious occasion to demonstrate their people’s allegiance.

Regardless of the contrived appearance of these demonstrations, a degree of real support for Arab rulers does exist. It is impossible to falsify every ballot and force every subject to hail the king. When the presidents of Egypt and Yemen allowed contested presidential elections on September 7, 2005 and September 20, 2006; respectively, the former gained a fifth term with 88.6% of the votes cast, hardly different from his four previous uncontested referendums, and the latter won 77.2% majority, after 28 years of rule.

Representative democracy is not a natural choice for most Arabs. Obedience to hierarchical Islamic authority is. Obedience is at the heart of ulama’s teaching. In the Arab home, school, mosque, work place, and the nation at large a culture of blind obedience to autocracy prevails. Poverty, illiteracy, and ill health, together with a fatalistic belief in predestination make the masses politically quietest, save for small minorities of Jihadists on the one hand and Western influenced professional activists on the other. It should be noted that the Shiite partisans of Ali have been rebellious against the religious and temporal order of Sunni rulers since the early Islamic state. Obedience here, therefore, refers to the obedience of the adherents of a specific sect to the rulers of their own sect.

Curiously, Muslim, but non-Arab countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey, together representing almost two thirds of world Muslims, conduct democratic elections and allow female prime ministers and presidents. Obviously, these non-Arab Muslims have a more relaxed attitude towards Islamic dogma than Arabs do. Why is the political persona of the Arab masses quietest?"
Syria Comment blog

A "Good" Terrorist Captured by Iran

Destabilizing Iran?


"The Iranian government is celebrating the capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of a violent group called Jundullah (Arabic for Soldiers of God), which Tehran says is a terrorist organization supported by the United States, Great Britain and Israel.

Jundullah is one of several groups that have been conducting bombings and other violent attacks against Iran’s Islamic regime with the aim of knocking it off balance.

In a July 7, 2008, article for The New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh quoted Robert Baer, a former CIA clandestine officer who worked in South Asia and the Middle East for nearly two decades, as saying that Jundullah was one of the militant groups in Iran benefiting from U.S. support.....

Iraq Redux......

The message? Disregard the intelligence that doubts the Iranians are building a nuclear bomb: no, better still, “fix” it to suggest that they are.

Then, turn loose the Jundullahs to worsen tensions and to strengthen the hands of Iran’s hardliners who will cite violent provocations as proof that the United States is not acting in good faith; that will add to the impression of a gathering threat; next institute crippling sanctions to further ramp up the anger.

And be ready, in case Netanyahu starts something the United States will have to finish.

If this kind of scenario is allowed to play out, hostilities with Iran will make the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan look like volleyball games between Mount Saint Ursula and Holy Name high schools. Can President Obama be so naïve as to be unaware of the stakes here?"

All in the Family

Media Reporting on Israel


"....Times management at first refused to confirm Bronner’s situation, then refused to comment on it. Finally, public outcry forced Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt to confront the problem in a February 7th column....

Bronner is far from alone

As it turns out, Bronner’s ties to the Israeli military are not the rarity one might expect.

• A previous Times bureau chief, Joel Greenberg, before he was bureau chief but after he was already publishing in the Times from Israel, actually served in the Israeli army.

• Media pundit and Atlantic staffer Jeffrey Goldberg also served in the Israeli military; it's unclear when, how, or even if his military service ended.

Richard Chesnoff, who has been covering Mideast events for more than 40 years, had a son serving in the Israeli military while Chesnoff covered Israel as US News & World Report's senior foreign correspondent.

NPR's Linda Gradstein’s husband was an Israeli sniper and may still be in the Israeli reserves. NPR refuses to disclose whether Gradstein herself is also an Israeli citizen, as are her children and husband.

Mitch Weinstock, national editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune, served in the Israeli military.

The New York Times’ other correspondent from the region, Isabel Kershner, is an Israeli citizen. Israel has universal compulsory military service, which suggests that Kershner herself and/or family members may have military connections. The Times refuses to answer questions about whether she and/or family members have served or are currently serving in the Israeli military. Is it possible that Times Foreign Editor Susan Chira herself has such connections? The Times refuses to answer.

• Many Associated Press writers and editors are Israeli citizens or have Israeli families. AP will not reveal how many of the journalists in its control bureau for the region currently serve in the Israeli military, how many have served in the past, and how many have family members with this connection.

• Similarly, many TV correspondents such as Martin Fletcher have been Israeli citizens and/or have Israeli families. Do they have family connections to the Israeli military?

Time Magazine's bureau chief several years ago became an Israeli citizen after he had assumed his post. Does he have relatives in the military?

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, while not an Israeli citizen, was based in Israel for many years, wrote a book whitewashing Israeli spying on the US, and used to work for the Israel lobby in the US. None of this is divulged to CNN viewers.

Canada's neoconservative turn

Yves Engler, The Electronic Intifada, 26 February 2010

"An attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada."
- Peter Kent, Junior Foreign minister, 12 February 2010

"In my new book Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid I argue that the trajectory of this country's foreign policy has been clear. The culmination of six decades of one-sided support, and four years into the government of Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Canada is (at least diplomatically) the most pro-Israel country in the world.

Since the book went to print a couple of months ago the Conservatives have launched a more extreme phase of Israel advocacy. Groups in any way associated with the Palestinian cause have been openly attacked and Ottawa has taken a more belligerent tone towards Iran....."

Egypt's Nuclear Option

President ElBaradei?


"....In stark contrast to the conditions imposed on presidential candidates described above, ElBaradei stipulated that any bid of his would be contingent on guarantees of independent judicial review and international oversight of the election by the United Nations. Many believe that is extremely unlikely to happen....

The strategy of Mubarak’s regime has always been to make people believe they have only two choices: the NDP (re: Mubarak) or the Muslim Brotherhood (which is banned). The last independent challenger to Mubarak, Ayman Nour, was thrown in jail on trumped up charges of forgery after he garnered seven percent of the vote in the 2005 election. Framing themselves as representing stability and continuity, Mubarak and the NDP have effectively left citizens with no real alternative.

With this in mind, ElBaradei recognized he could well be regarded as a type of “savior” and has wisely cautioned against it:

“I am worried that people have reached such a level of despair that they are waiting for one person to save them, but I would like for Egypt to save itself.”......"

US Using Iraqi Political Discord to Justify Continuance of Occupation

by Dahr Jamail
Global Research, February 26, 2010
Truthout - 2010-02-25

"As Iraqi national elections on March 7 approach, violence and political discord in the country have escalated dramatically.

On February 22, Gen. Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, announced that the US was preparing contingency plans to delay the withdrawal of all combat forces from Iraq if violence or political instability increases after the national elections scheduled for March 7......

As a result of all of this, international observers of the upcoming elections in Iraq have lowered their expectations for the poll. Few diplomats in Baghdad now talk of "free and fair elections." Instead, the new publicly stated goal is to have a "credible election"; yet, even that seems doubtful at this point......."

"The ground is shifting": An interview with comedian Ivor Dembina

Sarah Irving, The Electronic Intifada, 26 February 2010

"......Dembina is also convinced that opinions really are shifting in the British Jewish community, and that the combined force of protests, cultural contributions and public debate are genuinely affecting public feeling on Palestine. What he calls the "ruse" of accusing any critic of the State of Israel of being anti-Semitic has been "burnt out.".....

But, Dembina warns, this can also make the Zionist lobby all the more dangerous. "You're left with a rump of very angry people who are used to getting their own way. Things have to be handled very carefully in the months and years ahead," he says, noting the State of Israel's skill at playing a "long game," thinking in cycles of "30, 50, 100 years," quietly carving out one piece of land after another.

Despite that potentially gloomy assessment, Dembina is optimistic, citing the decades over which a global consensus developed that "something was wrong and it had to change" in South Africa. "In the anti-Zionist camp, we are winning," he insists, "Just slowly.""

Freedom Flotilla to add boats from Europe and Indonesia

The Free Gaza Movement

"Special announcement to our supporters

Responding to a call from Free Gaza organizers, two more groups have stepped forward to add their boats to the flotilla. When we sent out a call to organizations to join us, we were hoping that one or two would be able to find the funds and come with us to Gaza. We are now delighted to report that boats from organizations in Turkey, Belgium, Greece, Malaysia and Indonesia [notice the absence of any Arab countries!]are coming with us in April.

One humanitarian group in Indonesia will sail with Free Gaza and bring in medical supplies for a hospital. As soon as they finish purchasing the boat, they will make a formal announcement of their plans. In addition, another group from Europe is in the process of buying a boat, answering our call to join the flotilla. They intend to bring MPs from around Europe to witness the devastation in Gaza. To date, we have two cargo ships and now are planning on 10 passenger boats, and we are hoping there will still be time for other organizations to find boats and sail with us.

Stay tuned as plans become finalized, then watch this space for more announcements as other organizations step up and come on board the Freedom Flotilla."

Gaza not a charity case

"KUALA LUMPUR: Palestinians in Gaza want the world to come together to end the Israeli siege instead of just looking at them as a charity case.

Free Gaza Movement leader Huwaida Arraf said that while Palestinians appreciated the aid, their main concern was for the siege to end and their suffering to cease.

“A lot of people think that Gaza is a charity case. If we just keep giving aid, it (the suffering) will go on forever. We must address the root cause.

Israel has placed a complete blockade of Gaza Strip and no one is doing anything to stop it. We need political solidarity and hope more people will challenge Israel’s policy,” she said recently during a brief visit here to talk about their next Gaza boat mission in April.

The Palestinian-American activist has met former prime minister and Perdana Global Peace Organisation chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who spearheaded the Humanitarian Appeal Fund for Gaza war victims. The fund, of which Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor is the patron, has pledged to donate RM1.5mil......."

Challenging History: Why the Oppressed Must Tell Their Own Story

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

".....Touring with My Father was a Freedom Fighter in South Africa, in a recent visit, was a most intense experience. It was in this country that freedom fighters once rose to fight oppression, challenging and eventually defeating Apartheid. My father, the refugee of Gaza has suddenly been accepted unconditionally by a people of a land thousands of miles away. The notion of ‘people’s history’ can be powerful because it extends beyond boundaries, and expands beyond ideologies and prejudices. In that narrative, Palestinians, South Africans, Native Americans and many others find themselves the sons and daughters of one collective history, one oppressive legacy, but also part of an active community of numerous freedom fighters, who dared to challenge and sometimes even change the face of history. "

Fortress America?

By Stephen M. Walt
Foreign Policy

".....What troubles me is what this tells us about America's place in the contemporary world, and the tensions between its global ambitions and its willingness to accept the consequences of them. On the one hand, the United States defines its own interests in global terms: there are no regions and few policy issues where we don't want to have a significant voice, and there are many places and issues where we insist on having the loudest one. But on the other hand, we don't think we should get our hair mussed while we tell the world what to do. It's tolerable for the United States to fire drones virtually anywhere (provided the states in question can't retaliate, of course), and Americans don't seem to have much of a problem with our running covert programs to destabilize other regimes that we've decided to dislike. We also aid, comfort and diplomatic support to assorted other states whose governments often act in deeply objectionable ways. But then we face the obvious problem that some people are going to object to these policies, hold us responsible, and try to do what they can to hit back......"

The Jihad Starts From.......Switzerland! Gaddafi calls for jihad against Switzerland

Libyan leader labels Switzerland an infidel state, escalating vendetta against country whose police once arrested his son

Mark Tran
The Guardian, Friday 26 February 2010

"Libya's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, ­yesterday called for a jihad, or holy war, against Switzerland, in an escalation of his vendetta against the country where police once arrested his son.

At a meeting in the city of Benghazi to mark the prophet Muhammad's birthday, Gaddafi described the country as an infidel state that was "destroying" mosques. Last year he urged the UN to abolish Switzerland and divide it between Germany, France and Italy......."

Video: Israeli forces injure protesters in Al-Khalil clashes

Press TV

Israeli forces injure protesters in Al-Khalil clashes

قراءة في احتمالات الحرب: في ثلاث ملاحظات

"....إسرائيل هي الدولة الأكثر حزما ووضوحا في طلب استخدام كافة الوسائل لمنع إيران من الوصول إلى القدرة على إنتاج سلاح نووي
يتراوح الهامش الإيراني بين تجنب العقوبات لأطول فترة ممكنة، وطرح المبادرات في فترات تقدّم التخصيب تحديدا، والحفاظ على العلاقات مع دول تهمها مصالحها الاقتصادية
الغارات على مواقع معينة في إيران قد تتحول إلى حرب شاملة. هذا يتوقف على نوع الرد الإيراني


الجزء الثاني: حالتا غزة ولبنان وسوريا

Peres shown bowing to Erdogan

Paul Wooward
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais, published on Monday, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Davos incident in which he clashed with Israel’s President Shimon Peres a year ago soon after Israel’s war on Gaza, led to a new Turkish approach to foreign policy.

“That opened a new approach to foreign relations,” he said. “We have a philosophy of strength. It is a foreign policy with a backbone.”
War in Context

Thursday, February 25, 2010

EU: West Bank goods aren't Israeli

In a ruling touching on the status of the West Bank, the European Union high court said Thursday the disputed area is not part of Israel and Israeli goods made there are subject to EU import duties.

The ruling has no immediate bearing on the Mideast peace process.
But for trade purposes, it argues Israel has no standing in the area where it has built settlements and where its companies make such products as cookies, pretzels, wines, cosmetics and computer equipment.

The ruling opens the door to EU import duties on Israeli goods from the West Bank rendering those products less competitive.

Burston (Haaretz): Israel is De-legitimizing Itself

I envy the people who hate Israel
By Bradley Burston
"Without asking its people, without a second thought, Israel, at its highest level, has taken an executive decision. Unable to beat the forces who want to see Israel as one of the world’s primary pariah states, it has resolved to join them.

Determined to take our fate into its own hands. Israel, at its highest level, has decided that the job of delegitimizing the Jewish state must not be left to foreigners and amateurs. Showing itself desperate to be a pariah state, Israel will now get it done on its own. “
BTW, Burston is a fervent Zionist but for the ultra-nationalistic, fascistic mob in power today, he's a "self-hating Jew"..Have a look at the comments on that article in Haaretz and see why Israel is beyond repair..Their goose-stepping march to self-destructiveness looks unstoppable!

The Mossad hit and Israel's path of self-destruction

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 25 February 2010

"The assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a Hamas official in Dubai, almost certainly by a death squad dispatched by Israel's Mossad, is by no means the first such aggression against the sovereignty of another state. While Israel has literally gotten away with murder thousands of times, was this one killing too far? Hasan Abu Nimah comments...."

The Assault on Illhem

Misplaced Anger


".......How many Western citizens have any real idea of what the Enlightenment really was? French philosophers undoubtedly took humanity forward by recognizing no external authority of any kind, but there was a darker side. Voltaire: "Blacks are inferior to Europeans, but superior to apes." Hume: "The black might develop certain attributes of human beings, the way the parrot manages to speak a few words." There is much more in a similar vein from their colleagues. It is this aspect of the Enlightenment that appears to be more in tune with some of the Islamophobic ravings in sections of the global media.

Marx famously wrote of religion as the ‘opium of the people’, but the sentence that followed is forgotten. Religion was also ‘the sigh of the oppressed creature’ and this partially explains the rise of religiosity in every community since the collapse of Communism. Compare the young Normaliens trooping in to say Mass today to the horror of their parents. My women friends in the Muslim world complain bitterly when their daughters wear the hijab as a protest against familial norms. It was always thus. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - tensions rise over holy sites

"Palestinians are angered by Israel's plan to restore two sites in the West Bank."

German Jews prepare solidarity aid ship to Gaza

"As groups and organizations across Europe plan for a solidarity flotilla of aid ships to Gaza, the organizing includes a group of Jews in Germany, some of them Holocaust survivors, who hope to show their support for the people of Gaza with their humanitarian aid ship.

In their press release, the group states, “We are a group of German Jews who want to send a ship with goods and musical instruments to Gaza. We intend to cooperate with a European project that is sending supplies in the spring of 2010. We are acquiring a ship, loading it up in Germany, then picking up passengers (Jewish and non-Jewish, German and non-German) at a Mediterranean port.”

They say that among the goods being shipped will be urgently needed things like medicines, baby food, bedding, children’s clothes, school materials; also painting equipment and especially musical instruments.

In addition, the ad-hoc group of German Jews working to bring solidarity aid to Gaza say they believe cement is not the only thing necessary for rebuilding, writing in their statement, “we call on our politicians to provide these urgently needed building materials! – but also things to help cure the soul.

“We hope our musical instruments will contribute a little towards this. Our schools can also make a very significant contribution: Children in Gaza are prevented from studying through lack of materials. This is why we are looking for schools to donate school material. Later perhaps we can work on twinning schools or classes.”

The German Jewish ship is part of several dozen solidarity aid boats being planned as part of a flotilla to break the nearly 3-year long siege of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt. The siege has prevented the entry of nearly all basic medical supplies, construction supplies, fuel and food supplies."

Viva Palestina To Send Convoy To Gaza

"British Legislator, George Galloway, stated that Viva Palestina is preparing to send another convoy filled with humanitarian aid to the impoverished Gaza Strip. Convoy members from different countries around the world, will be sailing in June.

Galloway added that Viva Palestina will establish a summer school for international activists, and all activists working for the Palestinian cause. The school will start its work next July.

His statement came during an activity held by the Palestinian Forum of Britain (PFB) , Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) , and the Islamic Unity Forum (IUF)....."

Not As Dumb As He Looks, by Mike Luckovich

NYT, Ethan Bronner and Conflicts of Interest

By Jonathan Cook
Palestine Chronicle

"A recent assignment of mine covering Israel's presumed links to the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh provoked some more thoughts about the New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner. He is the Jerusalem bureau chief who has been at the centre of a controversy since it was revealed last month that his son is serving in the Israeli army. Despite mounting pressure to replace Bronner, the NYT’s editors have so far refused to consider that he might be facing a conflict of interest or that it would be wiser to post him elsewhere.

Last week, when suspicion for the assassination in Dubai started to fall on the Mossad, a newspaper editor emailed to ask if I could ring up my “Israeli security contacts” for fresh leads. It was a reminder that Western correspondents in Israel are expected to have such contacts. The point was underlined later the same day when I spoke with a leftwing Israeli academic to get his take on Mabhouh’s killing. I had turned to this Ashkenazi professor because he counts many veterans of the security services as friends. At the end of the interview, I asked him if he had any suggestions for people in the security services I might speak with. He replied: “Talk to Eitan Bronner. He has excellent contacts.” Naively, I asked how I could reach this expert on the veiled world of the Israeli security establishment. Was he employed at the professor’s university? “No, ring the New York Times bureau,” he responded increduously. Oh, that “Eitan”!......

And so it is with Israel. Like the crime reporter, our Jerusalem bureau chief needs his “access” more than he needs the occasional scoop that would sabotage his relationship with official sources. But more so than the crime reporter, many of these bureau chiefs also identify with Israel and its goals because they have an Israeli spouse and children. They not only live on one side of a bitter national conflict but actively participate in defending that side through service in its military.

This is a conflict of interest of the highest order. It is also the reason why they are there in the first place."

What’s In a Name?

by Philip Giraldi, February 25, 2010

"The public has become so accustomed to extrajudicial killings and kidnappings by the United States and Israel that such activities most often receive little media coverage and are hardly noticed. The recent massive assassination operation carried out by Israel’s Mossad in Dubai has been an exception, however. It has attracted considerable media attention in Europe though relatively little in the United States, possibly because any American outcry would be the pot calling the kettle black. Europeans have mostly been outraged by the Israeli cloning of genuine European passports to carry out their dirty work, less so by the killing itself......

The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai was meaningless as he will presumably soon be replaced. That ill-conceived and poorly executed operations to kill and kidnap even when the target is not worth pursuing are mounted reveals above all that the intelligence services in Israel and the US are out of control. Unfortunately, there is nothing to suggest that either President Barack Obama or Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will do anything about it."

Listen to the Heroes of Israel

by John Pilger, February 25, 2010

"........"Our children," said Nurit at a rally last December to mark the anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, "have learned this year that all the disgusting qualities which anti-Semites attribute to Jews are actually manifested among our leaders: deceit, greed, and the murder of children … What values of beauty and goodness can we squeeze into such a sophisticated apparatus of brainwashing and reality distortion?"

Rami now tells me the High Court has decided to investigate the case of Abir Aramin after all. This is not normal: it is a victory.

"Where are the other victories?" I asked him.

"In America last year, a Palestinian and I spoke five times a day in front of thousands. There is a big shift in American public opinion, and that’s where the hope lies. It’s only pressure from outside Israel – from Jews especially – that will end this nightmare. People in the West must know that while there is a silence, this looking away, this profane abuse of Israel’s critics as anti-Jew, they are no different from those who stood aside during the days of the Holocaust."....."

A Pathetic Response by the Mouthpiece of the Collaborationist and Traitorous PA to Jesse Rosenfeld’s Comment, Posted Here (2/23).

Palestine's strongest weapon is peace

We cannot pretend occupation doesn't exist, but we can continue to build the institutions of state without violence

Ghassan Khatib
(director of government media for the Palestinian Authority), Thursday 25 February 2010

"....The question is the choice of weapons. In the view of the Palestinian Authority and of the majority of Palestinians, the weapon of choice is to build the institutions of our state while using all legal and peaceful means to end the occupation.....

But more serious than Rosenfeld's one-sided reporting is his underlying assumption that the lives and prospects of Palestinians would be improved by pretending the occupation does not exist. If our [Dayton-supplied and trained] security forces were to cease policing our streets, providing our own people with improved law and order, the result would be the re-imposition of total Israeli control –[so, we are doing the job for the IOF; we are the surrogate occupiers!] the opposite of ending the occupation......

Rosenfeld fails to understand that the approach he advocates is exactly what the Israeli government wants. It understands that the biggest threat to its occupation of our territory is the universal international support for a Palestinian state [a state of mind?]. And we understand that this is our strongest weapon."

Jesse Rosenfeld's comment was posted here:

How the PA helps Israel occupy

Iranian President in Syria to Discuss the 'Zionist Threats'


"25/02/2010 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Damascus Thursday morning for talks with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad amid rising tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors and US efforts to break up Syria' alliance with Tehran.

Thursday's visit comes after Walid Mouallem, Syria's foreign minister, said Damascus was eager to help Iran and the West engage in a "constructive" dialogue over Tehran's nuclear program. "Sanctions are not a solution [to the problem] between Iran and the West," Mouallem said on Saturday.

"We are trying to engage a constructive dialogue between the two parties in order to reach a peaceful solution.".[Ahh...blessed are the peace makers! Amen!]..........."

Empty Promises?

Obama's Hesitant Embrace of Human Rights

"....When it comes to promoting human rights at home and abroad, there has undoubtedly been a marked improvement in presidential rhetoric. However, the translation of those words into deeds remains incomplete.....

But it is not enough for the government to stop using torture; perpetrators must also be punished. The Obama administration has so far refused to investigate and prosecute those who ordered or committed torture -- a necessary step to prevent future administrations from committing the crime. While in office, as he did during the campaign, Obama has repeatedly spoken of wanting to "look forward, not back." And although Attorney General Eric Holder has launched a "preliminary review" of interrogators who exceeded orders, he has until now refrained from prosecuting those who ordered torture or wrote the legal memos justifying it. This lets senior officials -- arguably those who are most culpable -- off the hook.

Meanwhile, Obama's one-year deadline for closing Guantánamo has slipped because of congressional opposition and the complexity of deciding how to handle the cases of more than 200 detainees. The real issue, however, is less when Guantánamo will close than how. Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have urged the administration to prosecute detainees in regular federal courts, repatriate them, or resettle them in safe countries willing to accept them. However, the White House has insisted on maintaining two other options: prosecuting suspects before military commissions or continuing to hold them indefinitely without charge or trial......

The challenge remains to translate poetic speeches into prosaic policy -- and live up to the principles he has so impressively articulated. Making that shift will not be easy, but the consistent application of human rights principles is essential if Washington is to redeem its reputation......"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Video: مصعب حسن يوسف ابن القيادي في حماس 1

Video: Hamas Leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef's Son Renounces Islam 6/6

غزل امريكي متسارع لسورية

غزل امريكي متسارع لسورية
رأي القدس

"تتبادل الولايات المتحدة الامريكية واسرائيل سياسة تبادل الادوار مع سورية، بهدف ابعادها عن ايران بكل الطرق والوسائل، وبما يؤدي في نهاية المطاف الى عزل الاخيرة والتفرد بها حصارا او حربا.
اسرائيل تمارس 'سياسة العصا' مع سورية من خلال توجيه تهديدات مباشرة بالعدوان عليها، مثلما جاء على لسان افيغدور ليبرمان وزير الخارجية الاسرائيلي الذي لوح 'بتغيير الرئيس بشار الاسد وعائلته' في حال المشاركة في اي هجوم على اسرائيل.
اما الولايات المتحدة، فتفضل استخدام 'سياسة الجزرة' اي محاولة التقرب الى سورية من خلال بعض العروض المغرية، مثل استئناف العلاقات الدبلوماسية الكاملة مع دمشق، وارسال سفير الى العاصمة السورية للمرة الاولى من سنوات، والتلويح باعادة فتح قناة مفاوضات حول هضبة الجولان المحتلة بين الطرفين السوري والاسرائيلي برعاية واشنطن.
السيدة هيلاري كلينتون وزيرة الخارجية الامريكية عبرت عن هذه السياسة الجديدة يوم امس عندما اعترفت اثناء ادلائها بشهادتها امام لجنة الموازنة بمجلس الشيوخ، بان ادارتها ترغب بان تبدأ دمشق في الابتعاد في علاقاتها عن ايران 'التي تتسبب في اضطرابات للمنطقة والولايات المتحدة' وان تتعاون بشكل افضل مع الولايات المتحدة في العراق، وفي لبنان من حيث وقف وصول شحنات الاسلحة الى حزب الله. علاوة على المساعدة في استئناف المفاوضات الفلسطينية ـ الاسرائيلية.
اما ما هو المقابل او التعويض الذي تعرضه السيدة كلينتون مقابل تلبية سورية لكل هذه المطالب والشروط، فان الجواب وباختصار شديد هو رعاية امريكية لمفاوضات اسرائيلية ـ سورية حول هضبة الجولان.
الحكومة السورية طالبت دائما باجراء المفاوضات تحت مظلة امريكية، ويبدو ان السيدة كلينتون مستعدة لتلبية هذا الطلب السوري اخيرا، وذلك عندما وعدت، اي السيدة كلينتون، بالنظر في اقتراح قدمه احد اعضاء مجلس الشيوخ الامريكي بتوجيه دعوة الى كل من الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد، ورئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو لزيارة واشنطن تمهيدا لاعادة اطلاق المباحثات بين الطرفين حول هضبة الجولان السورية المحتلة.
السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة هو حول طبيعة الرد السوري على هذه 'الجزرات' الامريكية، ومدى استعدادها بالتالي للقبول بالشروط المرتبطة بها.
من الصعب اعطاء اجابة قاطعة في هذا الصدد، فالدبلوماسية السورية لا تكشف اوراقها بسهولة، وغالباً ما تظهر ما لا تبطن، وما يمكن قوله حتى الآن هو وجود حالة من التجاوب السوري مع الغزل الامريكي، واتباع سياسة مرنة في هذا الخصوص شجعت واشنطن على ارسال مبعوثين الى العاصمة السورية تكللت في نهاية المطاف بعودة السفير الامريكي الى دمشق بعد انقطاع دام سنوات.
وربما ليس من قبيل الصدفة، أن يقرر السيد محمود احمدي نجاد رئيس ايران زيارة سورية على وجه السرعة (يصل دمشق اليوم)، لاستطلاع مواقف القيادة السورية حول طبيعة هذه الهجمة الدبلوماسية الامريكية، وفرص نجاحها في تحقيق اهدافها بالتالي.
ايران استثمرت الكثير من السياسة والمال والسلاح في سورية على مدى السنوات الثلاثين الماضية، ومن العبث القول ان هذا الاستثمار الكبير كان مجانياً أو خالياً من الاهداف والطموحات الاستراتيجية. ولذلك فاننا الآن امام عملية 'شد الحبل' بين ايران وامريكا حيث يحاول كل طرف جذب سورية الى ملعبه.
سورية تقف امام خيارات صعبة، وهامش مناورتها يتقلص، لان مرحلة حسم البرنامج النووي الايراني حصاراً أو حرباً باتت وشيكة، ولم يبق امامها الكثير من الوقت لكي تقرر في أي معسكر ستقف، مع التذكير ان سياسة مسك العصا من الوسط قد لا تكون مسموحاً بها في الاسابيع او الاشهر المقبلة.

Dubai Assassination, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Palestinian "Unity" Last! By Emad Hajjaj

Fatah and Hamas Don't Dare to Criticize Each Other....
Both Are Penetrated by the Mossad!

Top-level informer affair embarrasses Hamas

Report of top-level informer embarrasses Hamas, undermines image of secrecy, discipline


"Claims by the son of a Hamas founder Wednesday that he was a long-term spy for Israel exposed a new side of the Islamic militant group's vulnerability and punched a hole in its meticulously groomed image of secrecy and discipline.

The spy affair comes at a time when Hamas is still reeling from suspicions that Hamas informants helped Israel assassinate a top Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel. The back-to-back scandals were sure to leave Hamas leaders fearful of their own and ever more painfully aware of how capable Israel is of reaching the inner circles of their organization.

At the center of the latest affair is 32-year-old Mosab Yousef, a son of Sheik Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder serving a six-year term in an Israeli prison.....

The younger Yousef, who moved to California in 2007, declined an interview request by The Associated Press.

His memoir, "Son of Hamas," is being published in the United States next week. His publicist confirmed that the information presented by Haaretz is described in the book. The author wrote on his Facebook page that his memoir "will blow your minds away, it is going to be like a tsunami in the Middle East."

Mosab Yousef was considered one of the Shin Bet's most valuable assets.....

Hamas is no longer a small organization which is easily controlled by any leadership," said Khaled Hroub, a Hamas expert at Cambridge University.

The al-Mabhouh assassination undermined Hamas' image as a coherent, organized group, and the exposure of Mosab Yousef as an informer was even more damaging, he added.

"There have been a number of stories of having some collaborators on the margins and fringes (of Hamas), but not the son of a leader," he said. "It will leave a stain on Hamas' image.""

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

This new poll asks:

Do you see a new Intifada as the appropriate response to Israel's usurping al-Ibrahimi mosque and Rachel's Tomb (in Bethlehem)?

With over 1,700 responding so far, 89% said yes.

Hamas's founder Son worked for Shin Bet

(Left: Sheikh Hassan Yousef)

JERUSALEM - The son of a leading Hamas figure, who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service's most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership, Haaretz has learned.
Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.
The exclusive story will appear in this Friday's Haaretz Magazine, and Yousef's memoir, "Son of Hamas" (written with Ron Brackin) will be released next week in the United States. Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.
Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname "the Green Prince" - using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders.
During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel's plan to assassinate his father.

Syria Apprehends A Close Friend OF Al Madbouh

"The Syrian security forces apprehended Mohammad Nassar, a close associate of the assassinated Hamas leader Mohmoud Al Madbouh, on suspicion that he worked for the Israeli Mossad and provided them with vital information that led to his assassination in Dubai......

The Syrian security believes that Nassar provided Israel with detailed information on every movement Al Madbouh made, and his future plans. The statements are coherent with the statements of Dahi Khalfan Al Tamimi in charge of the investigation of Al Madbouh in Dubai, who said several days ago that members of Hamas are responsible for the assassination of Al Madbouh as they provided Israel with detailed information......"

No Banker Left Behind

By Robert Scheer

"They do have a license to steal. There is no other way to read Tuesday’s report from the New York state comptroller that bonuses for Wall Street financiers rose 17 percent to $20.3 billion in 2009. Of course that is less than the $32.9 billion for bonus rewards back in 2007, when those hotshots could still pretend that they were running sound businesses......"

Up against the wall: challenging Israel's impunity

(Israeli soldiers guarding a settlement built on the land of the West Bank village of Nilin)

Jamal Juma', The Electronic Intifada, 24 February 2010

"Six years ago, we were busy preparing for the start of the hearings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The world's highest court was to decide on the legal consequences of Israel's wall in the occupied West Bank, which together with the network of settlements, military zones and Jewish-only roads annexes around 46 percent of Palestinian West Bank land. The court's decision, months later, was clear: Israel's wall is illegal, it needs to be torn down and the international community has an obligation to ensure that it is dismantled.

A victory? Not quite. Until today, neither foreign governments nor the UN have joined the Palestinian communities who have been destroyed by Israel's wall in their efforts to dismantle it. Still, Palestinian villages show incredible perseverance and creativity in protesting the theft of their land and tearing down pieces of the cement blocks or iron fencing. They do so in the face of overwhelming repression.........

Member states of the EU have given valuable support to the campaign to release Mohammed Othman and myself. Yet far more decisive pressure from Europe needs to be forthcoming, not just from governments but also from European civil society, to force Israel to change its policies. As long as the EU member states uphold their cooperation agreements with Israel, hide the 2004 International Court of Justice decision against the wall under the carpet, and are unwilling to implement the recommendations of the Goldstone report -- even at risk of losing their own credibility -- more Palestinian human rights activists will be arrested, detained, tortured, or killed.

An active civil society is a key component of any democratic society and without it justice in Palestine and the rest of the region will remain as elusive as ever."

NYT’s Kershner, Bronner, Brooks and Friedman are listed as authors by ‘Israel Hasbara Committee’

"Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner, the two Jerusalem correspondents for the New York Times, are named on a long list of authors for the "Israel Hasbara Committee." David Frum, Krauthammer, Caroline Glick, David Horowitz and Bob Dylan are also on the list. Mostly rightwingers. Dennis Prager, Efraim Karsh. Ed Lasky. The hits go on and on.

Kershner is an Israeli. She and Bronner are married to Israelis. Bronner’s son is in the Israeli army. Funny that some organization would say they put out hasbara!

The committee says it’s a voluntary organization, established in 2001, and that it’s dedicated to "disseminating truth about Israel and the Jewish people."
Also listed, the BBC and the BBC News!

Here is the list in full: EDIFYING!

RIGHTS-EGYPT: Families Uprooted as Sphinxes Revive

By Cam McGrath

(Left: Luxor resident evicted to make way for tourism.)

"LUXOR, Feb 24, 2010 (IPS) - Hajj Khodari lifts a defiant fist at the demolition machinery now just meters away from his front door.

"I will not be forced out of my home without fair compensation," the village elder vows as a hydraulic hammer reduces his neighbor’s brick home to rubble. "If they try to destroy my house I will lock myself inside it."

Khodari is the patriarch of an extended family of 14 who live in the two-storey house, its exterior walls adorned with paintings of his pilgrimage to Mecca four years ago. He has defied a municipal eviction order and demands "equitable compensation" before vacating the home he claims is built on land his family has occupied for over 200 years.

"For the past month the government has cut off our water and electricity during the day to pressure us to leave," he says. "Then they came a week ago and told us we must go. Go where? Into the streets, the desert… to Israel?".

Hundreds of low-income families have lost their homes since Luxor city officials approved a controversial plan to excavate an ancient processional route and develop it as a key tourist attraction. Buried for centuries under soil and houses, the 2.7-kilometer ‘Avenue of Sphinxes’ once connected the temples of Luxor and Karnak in what was then the ancient city of Thebes.......

There is also concern that the master plan will result in the ‘Disneyfication’ of the ancient Egyptian city. Tourism developers are mulling plans for pharaonic-themed tourist villages and the reenactment of ancient processions along the sphinx avenue. Officials even flirted with the idea of a monorail to ferry around tourists......

When completed, the sphinx avenue will generate tourism revenue through ticket sales, tour fees and increased hotel guest spending. While officials are reluctant to put a figure on it, one tourism expert estimates the new attraction should bring in at least 50 million dollars a year.

By contrast, the government has allocated just over 5 million dollars for one-time compensations to relocated families. "It really makes the government’s compensation package look pathetic," says one man whose home is slated for demolition. "

Marjah Offensive Aimed to Shape US Opinion on War

by Gareth Porter, February 24, 2010

"Senior military officials decided to launch the current U.S.-British military campaign to seize Marjah in large part to influence domestic U.S. opinion on the war in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The Post report, by Greg Jaffe and Craig Whitlock, both of whom cover military affairs, said the town of Marjah would not have been chosen as a target for a U.S. military operation had the criterion been military significance instead of impact on domestic public opinion......

"This is all a war of perceptions," McChrystal said. "This is not a physical war in terms of how many people you kill or how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up. This is all in the minds of the participants."

McChrystal went on to include U.S. citizens as well as Afghans among those who needed to be convinced. "Part of what we’ve had to do is convince ourselves and our Afghan partners that we can do this," he said.

The decision to launch a military campaign primarily to shape public opinion is not unprecedented in U.S. military history. When President Richard M. Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger launched a major bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese capital in late December 1972, they were consciously seeking to influence public opinion to view their policy as much tougher in the final phase of peace negotiations with Hanoi....."

War is Peace, Damn it! Why Can't the Europeans Get This From the Man They Gave the Nobel "Peace" Prize?

'Pacification' of Europe is threat to security, US tells Nato

Obama administration accused Europe's leaders of endangering peace because of reluctance to foot bill for adequate defence

"The Obama administration accused Europe's leaders of endangering peace today because of their growing ­pacifism and reluctance to foot the bill for adequate defence.

In a withering attack on what Washington sees as European complacency in the face of new security threats, Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, demanded root-and-branch reform of the transatlantic alliance, voiced exasperation with Nato bureaucracy and said it was becoming increasingly difficult for the US and Europe "to operate and fight together".

Gates told a Washington meeting of Nato officials and security experts "the pacification of Europe" had gone too far......."

Family of US Activist Killed by Bulldozer to Sue Israel

Rachel Corrie Before She Was Crushed to Death by an IOF D9 Bulldozer


"24/02/2010 The family of US activist Rachel Corrie, run over by an Israeli bulldozer during a demonstration in Gaza in 2003, will sue Israel over her death, their lawyer said on Wednesday. The 23-year-old killed at the height of the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising, became a symbol of foreign support for the Palestinian cause and the subject of a 2005 play based on her emails and diary.

"The state should take responsibility for the death of Rachel Corrie. We believe her killing was done intentionally or at least out of negligence and wrongdoing," Hussein Abu Hussein, the family's lawyer, told AFP. The family will be travelling to Tel Aviv for the trial, which will start March 10, Abu Hussein said.

Israel has allowed four activists who witnessed the incident to return to testify. The Palestinian doctor who pronounced Corrie dead has been summoned by the court but has not yet been given a permit to leave Gaza, he added.

Activists who witnessed Corrie's death said she and others were acting as human shields to prevent a house demolition in the Gaza border town of Rafah for more than two hours and were clearly visible to the bulldozer driver. "The whole time she was wearing a fluorescent jacket, as were her friends, and she had a megaphone," Abu Hussein said......."

Also, see this:

Rachel Corrie's family bring civil suit over human shield's death in GazaParents want case to highlight events that led to American activist's death under Israeli army bulldozer
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Tuesday 23 February 2010

Al-Jazeera Cartoon

The Puppet Arab Regimes Pursuing US Agenda in Considering Iran as the Enemy.

مؤتمر صحفى للبرادعى بعد لقاء مع النشطاء والسياسيين: تشكيل جمعية وطنية للتغيير تضم كافة القوى السياسية بهدف تحقيق العدالة الاجتماعية والديمقراطية

أعلن الدكتور محمد البرادعى المدير السابق للوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية عن تشكيل جمعية وطنية للتغيير تضم كافة القوى السياسية برئاسته، تهدف لإصلاح سياسى ودستورى لتحقيق العدالة الاجتماعية والديمقراطية على أن تضم كافة القوى السياسية المشاركة اليوم، مشيرا إلى أن الجمعية مفتوحة لجميع أفراد المجتمع المصرى.
جاء ذلك فى المؤتمر الصحفى الذى عقده مساء اليوم فى منزله الخاص بمزرعة جرانة بطريق مصر الإسكندرية الصحراوى، مع عدد من النشطاء والسياسيين فى مقدمتهم ممدوح قناوى، رئيس الحزب الدستورى، وعصام سلطان القيادى بحزب الوسط تحت التأسيس، وسعد الكتاتنى، رئيس كتلة الإخوان البرلمانية، وأيمن نور، مؤسس حزب الغد، ود. أسامة الغزالى، رئيس حزب الجبهة، وحمدين صباحى، رئيس حزب الكرامة تحت التأسيس.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

إطلاق هيئة فلسطينية جديدة


"تشهد العاصمة اللبنانية الأربعاء إطلاق هيئة فلسطينية جديدة يتوقع أن تشكل حدثا معارضا للسلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله في تعبير واضح عن حالة الغضب السائدة داخل الأوساط الشعبية الفلسطينية، التي تطالب بسياسات وقيادات جديدة.

وسيتولى إطلاق الهيئة الجديدة عشر شخصيات فلسطينية سياسية وثقافية لها مكانتها في الأوساط الفلسطينية، جاءت من دول مختلفة لتمثيل أكثر من سبعين شخصية فلسطينية مقيمة في دول عربية وأوروبية وتقود التحركات الفلسطينية في تلك الدول، لاسيما الأنشطة الداعية للتمسك بحق العودة.

وفي حديث مع الجزيرة نت قال القائمون على هذا التحرك إن الهدف الأول لإطلاق الهيئة هو إبراز أهمية بناء ثقافة فلسطينية جديدة، وخاصة في أوساط الأجيال الشابة، التي لم تعد تسمع سوى كلمات الخلاف والانقسام والمصالحات والمفاوضات والتنازلات.

الحقوق الثابتة
يضاف إلى ذلك، السعي لترسيخ ثقافة تؤكد على حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني الثابتة، وعلى النضال المطلوب للوصول إلى تلك الحقوق عبر التأكيد على الخطر الذي تمثله الحركة الصهيونية وإسرائيل ليس على الفلسطينيين فقط بل على العرب أيضا، وإعادة قضية فلسطين إلى إطارها العربي الحقيقي وصولاً إلى تلاحم فلسطيني عربي في مواجهة العدوانية الإسرائيلية.

ومن المنتظر أن يؤكد المتحدثون في المؤتمر الصحفي الأربعاء بمناسبة إطلاق الهيئة على أن تحركهم سيكون على أساس ديمومة النضال الفكري والسياسي والاجتماعي الذي يتبنى ضرورة إعادة بناء منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، والحفاظ على مؤسساتها التي جرى إلغاؤها أو تفريغها من مضمونها في أماكن وجود الشعب الفلسطيني، وذلك استنادًا إلى الميثاق الوطني الفلسطيني.

وقد أعلنت أسماء عشر شخصيات ستتحدث في المؤتمر بالنيابة عن آخرين وهم عزمي بشارة، ومنير شفيق، وبلال الحسن، وبيان نويهض الحوت، وجورج مشحور، وحلمي البلبيسي، ورزان أكرم زعيتر، وسليمان السهلي، وماجد الزير، ومحمد أبو ميزر.

This is an important development and not one minute too soon. Most Palestinians are looking for a new leadership and perhaps this is the beginning!