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Normalization with “Israel” a stab in the back of Palestine

{Normalization} by Hasan Idelbi

{Normalization} by Hasan Idelbi

By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine, PIC

September 12, 2009

There is no doubt that any form of Arab normalization with Israel, especially under current circumstances, constitutes a brazen betrayal of the Palestinian people and their enduring just cause for justice and freedom from the cruel Israeli occupation.

In recent weeks, there have been consistent reports indicating that a number of Arab regimes are voicing a willingness to normalize relations with the extremist Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu.

According to these reports, some unspecified Arab regimes signaled to the Obama administration that they would be willing to take a number of “gestures” and “overtures” toward Israel, including allowing Israeli planes to fly over their territories, land and refuel at their airports as well as issue entry visas for Israeli officials, business people and ordinary citizens.

The “gestures” and “overtures” are supposedly meant to encourage the apartheid state to walk in the path of peace and give American-led efforts a chance to succeed.

The latest development in this unethical morass has been a secret visit by Netanyahu to an unspecified Arab state, probably in the Gulf region. Some of these former British protectorates, now American satellite princedoms, have informed the Obama administration of their readiness to take daring steps toward normalizing with the Jewish state.

However, it has been amply clear that all Arab “goodwill efforts” are having the opposite effect on Israeli government behaviors, especially with regard to Jewish settlement expansion and land theft in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Indeed, in the past few days, the Israeli government has issued tenders for building hundreds of settler units all over the occupied territories, further corroding any chances for the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

The decision is viewed not only as a flagrant defiance of the Obama administration but also as a naked contempt for Arab normalization “gestures and overtures.”

Well, the normalizing Arabs seem to deserve all the scorn they are getting from Israel. After all, people who don’t respect themselves and their peoples don’t deserve to be respected.

Nonetheless, it seems that the slave-minded Arab regimes wouldn’t alter their scandalously disgraceful behavior vis-à-vis Zionist insolence no matter how much scorn and indignity is smacked onto their shameless faces.

This is because these decadent self-worshipers relate to the US government, irrespective of the political color of the incumbent administration, as the ultimate pimp whose instructions and directions must be heeded without the slightest deviation.

What else can be said of Arab leaders who claim to be followers of the Prophet Muhammed but rewards Israel generously every time the Nazi-like entity steps up its oppression and persecution of the Palestinian people.

Even whores are mindful of their interests, which shows that those Arab despots harrowing to normalize with the Judeo-Nazi state don’t even have the morality of a whore.

I don’t have the slightest doubt that these Kings, princes and presidents-for-life realize well that whatever they do to appease and please Israel will not make the criminal entity opt for peace and therefore put an end to decades of its Nazi-like occupation of Palestine.

But, if so, why do they still blindly heed American orders to cheapen themselves and their respective countries and peoples when they know quite well that Israel will ignore them with utter contempt.

The answer is clear. These ignorant Arab tyrants are unelected by their people, don’t feel answerable or even responsible to the masses and, therefore, feel they can behave according to their wild whims without having to worry about the consequences of their misrule and abuse of power, even including treason.

Besides, we all know that “normalization with Israel,” which itself is skewed term lacking logical consistency, had been thoroughly tried during the Clinton administration’s reign when Arab states from the Maghreb to Sheikdoms of the Gulf were herded like meek sheep to normalize with Israel. And what was the outcome of this silly game?

Did Israel stop killing the Palestinians? Did Israel stop building colonies on stolen Arab land? Did Israel stop demolishing Arab homes? Did Israel stop narrowing Palestinian horizons?

We know too well the answers to these questions. Israel actually stepped up its oppression and repression of the Palestinian people, which culminated in the genocidal blitz in Gaza earlier this year, destroying the coastal enclave and mercilessly slaughtering, incinerating and maiming thousands of innocent people whose only crime was their “helplessness” and the non-existence of a powerful state that would shield them from the savagery of the Nazis of our time.

Another point. We all know that Israel views the entire issue of normalization with the Arab world as a diversionary tactic to divert attention from and have ample time for effecting more settlement expansion.

Hence, it is just pointless that Arabs must always harrow aimlessly after Zionist illusions.

Indeed, one wouldn’t exaggerate much by stating that even if the 300 million Arabs were to become willing weavers of skullcaps for religious Jews, Israel would continue to reject peace and look down on them as scum, vermin and dirty animals that ought to be exterminated.

We, who have been living under the Israeli occupation rule for decades, know Israel like no other people do. Hence it would be a futile exercise in stupidity and vacuity for these late-day descendants of Omar Ibn al Khattab and Salahuddin to try that which has been tried ad nauseam, but to no avail.

Israel is a combination of Nazi brutality and Zionist racism and, as such, respects only power and force. Hence, it is imperative that these so-called leaders realize that their stupid “gestures” and “overtures” won’t take them anywhere and that they will continue to be viewed by Israel as stupid imbeciles who have no will of their own and who are bereft of human dignity.

Well, I don’t blame Israel for viewing you this way.

When we went to elementary school, we learned that a wolf shouldn’t be blamed for attacking the sheep if the shepherd is the flock’s enemy.

“Israel’s” laws of persecution

Israel is using the country’s legal system to segregate and penalise its Palestinian citizens and prohibit Arab dissent

by Nimer Sultany,

Two cases brought before Israeli courts last week revealed the attitude of the establishment towards Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. One shows how Palestinian citizens are treated as victims of police brutality, and the second shows how they are regularly victimised because of their opposition to injustice.

In the first, a policeman who shot and killed an Arab citizen in 2006 was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. The unbearable leniency of the sentence is more evidence of the total disregard for Arab life inside Israel, where ethnicity of the victim is a de facto mitigating circumstance in the case of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Indeed, this was the only case in which any policeman or soldier was indicted since the mass protests of October 2000, in spite of the fact that about 40 citizens were killed during this period.

The second case involved an indictment against Rawi Sultani, a 23-year-old law student, for “contact with a foreign agent” and “delivering information to the enemy”; two flawed articles in Israel’s laws comparable in their application to use of “national security” laws by authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the world. The young student is a political activist of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), a party that calls for the transformation of Israel from a Jewish state into a state for all its citizens. Rawi is also the son of a well-known leader of the party. He is accused of having contact with another youth, who allegedly turned out to be a Hezbollah member, during a national Arab youth conference in Morocco. Allegedly, Rawi disclosed information regarding the Israeli army’s chief of staff, given their membership in the same gym. Yet the case is based on a tendentious account of one statement of a publicly known fact regarding the chief’s membership in that gym made by the accused.

The identity of the accused, the identity of his father, the party to which they both belong, the timing of the case and the kind of charges chosen cannot be easily overlooked and give grounds to questioning the political incentives behind the indictment and the message behind it. One would be hard put to explain the extensive surveillance against leaders and activists of the NDA as revealed by this case.

Indeed, since the emergence of the NDA in the mid 1990s, it faced mounting legal and public attacks. These attacks took a stronger turn since October 2000 and culminated in the forced exile of Azmi Bishara, the leader of the NDA, who was accused with similar charges in 2007. What was supposed to be a fatal blow to the NDA and its legitimacy within the Arab minority has failed, with the party’s success in the Israeli parliamentary elections in February. However, this did not deter the establishment from mounting further attacks on the cadres of the party. Thus, we have witnessed in the last month show-arrests and interrogations of many young activists of the NDA that are reminiscent of crackdowns on pro-democracy activists in authoritarian regimes.

Its connections with the Arab world is a recurring theme of the persecution of the NDA as a party challenging the Jewishness of the state, and is the real incentive behind Rawi’s case. The NDA has, since its inception, challenged the iron cage surrounding Arab citizens following 1948. Israel has detached Arab citizens from their familial, historical, cultural and sociopolitical milieu. The legislation preventing family unification and the naturalisation of spouses of Arab citizens if they were residents of the occupied territories or other Arab countries surrounding Israel is only the most draconian example of this policy of segregation. Israeli law also defines a long list of Arab states as enemy states and prohibits Arab citizens from visiting them, and prohibits political parties from expressing support of Arab liberation struggles. In short, “national security” is broadly defined to fit the dominant ideology of the state rather than the security of citizens, regardless of their national affiliation.

Yet, as Rawi’s father correctly argues, the Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot be expected to treat the Arab world as an enemy and they cannot be held accountable for the political views or affiliations of other Arabs they meet in their travels outside Israel. Indictments such as Rawi’s aim at forcing Palestinian citizens to adopt the Zionist newspeak and refrain from connections with the Arab world and from identifying with its legitimate cause against Israel’s continuing occupation of Arab lands.

Criminalising dissent is not unique to Israel. Many oppressive states, such as apartheid South Africa, have used it to de-legitimise parties, ideas and activities disliked by ruling elites and security apparatuses.

Furthermore, persecution on grounds of “security” creates an immediate divide between Arab and Jewish citizens. In 2007, the head of Shabak, the Israeli general security agency, stated that struggles against the Jewishness of the state, even if lawful and democratic, would be deemed subversive. The current right-wing government is seeking to condition citizenship on loyalty to Zionist ideology, a demand unparalleled in any democracy and contrary to the most basic of human rights. With this kind of attitude, it is no wonder that young Arab men and women inside Israel are victimised because of their noble aspirations to equality and freedom.

My Torturous Journey to Jerusalem: Religious Rights Denied Even During Ramadan

by Umayah Jiha

by Umayah Jiha

By Khalid Amayreh, IOL

September 7, 2009

Normally, the trip from al-Khalil (Hebron) to al-Quds (Jerusalem) shouldn’t take more than 30 to 40 minutes. However, for most Palestinians in the West Bank, and thanks to the chronically harsh Israeli restrictions, the trip becomes a torturous episode of physical and mental suffering. With the start of the Holy month of Ramadan, the Israeli occupation authorities announced that Palestinians over the age of 50 would be allowed to enter Jerusalem but only for Friday’s congregational prayers at al Masjidul Aqsa (the Aqsa Mosque). The Mosque, with its large and beautiful esplanade, is considered the third holiest Islamic place in the world, coming directly after the Sacred Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina, peace and blessings be upon him (PBUH).

According to traditions, the heavenly reward for a single Raka’a (one unit of ritual prayer posturing) at al-Masjidul Aqsa is worth 500 times more than a regular place.

Al-Masjidul Aqsa is also the place to which the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) made his night journey from Makkah and then was immediately afterward taken by the archangel Gabriel to the throne of God in the seventh heaven. The miraculous event is recorded in a special chapter in the Qur’an bearing the name of al-Isra’a, meaning “The Night Journey”

This explains the paramount importance Muslims in general and Palestinians in particular attach to the place. It also explains why hundreds of thousands of believers make sure that they access the Jerusalem sanctuary for prayer and supplication to the Almighty especially during the month of Ramadan, during which good deeds motivated by sincere intentions are rewarded (in the hereafter).

Having just passed the 50-year mark, I decided to make the trip to the “First Qibla and Third Holiest sanctuary,’ armed with a believer’s hope for spiritual serenity and also a journalist’s instinct to see directly how Israel is metamorphosing the city of timeless beauty into “the capital of Israel,” by employing every conceivable means of oppression and ethnic cleansing against the constantly hounded Palestinian citizens of the city.

Shin Beth; Misery

Palestinians from the West Bank are not allowed to access Jerusalem with their own cars unless they have a special permit from the Shin Beth, that is Israel’s notorious domestic security agency. Normally, only “good guys” are granted such privileges, e.g. those viewed as “peaceable” or “collaborators.” This means that over 99% of ordinary Palestinians living in the West Bank (Gazans cannot even dream of reaching Jerusalem these days) must use public transport to reach Jerusalem. This is, of course, in case they pass the usually meticulous “security check.”

I set off my journey soon after dawn, around 4:20 local time. After nearly 30 minutes, we arrived at the dreadful “border crossing” at Bethlehem’s northern edge. There we disembarked, preparing ourselves mentally for the nightmarish experience we were just about to face.

The Bethlehem “border crossing” is a jungle of corrugated roofs, narrow steel corridors, metal railings, revolving gates, remote-controlled turnstiles as well as metal detectors.

The place is also a de facto military fort, crowded with onerous-looking soldiers and Shin Beth functionaries. The Shin Beth, one can safely claim, controls nearly every aspect of Palestinian lives, from receiving a work permit to obtaining a travel permit.

No Palestinian, such as this writer, is allowed to travel outside the West Bank unless okayed by the Shin Beth. Normally, the ban is motivated by non-substantive considerations, like indulging in non-violent opposition to the Israeli occupation. The message here is clear: Palestinians will only receive human treatment (if) they are politically passive.

Soon, we found ourselves thoroughly packed in that long and narrow path which took us to the Shin Beth booths 100-150 meters away where ID cards are checked. The experience was particularly nightmarish, as hundreds of people were being sandwiched between two steel railings, and moving at a snail’s pace. The women walked through a different path and were subjected to considerably lesser scrutiny.

After nearly one hour of squeezing nightmare, we finally joined another long queue for the frustrating security check. I saw some fairly elderly Palestinians, people over sixty years of age being turned back for “security reasons”. I couldn’t understand how these elderly people would pose a threat to Israel’s security. But this is the mantra whose invocation justifies anything as far as Israel is concerned.

Some of the people turned back were visibly saddened at their misfortune. Others standing in the queue would comfort them by assuring them that the Almighty would reward them for making the trial.

I, too, had “my hand at my heart”, worried that I would be turned back for “security reasons”. But this time, I was obviously lucky as the Shin Beth computer must have decided to give me the benefit of the doubt.

Al-Quds is Muslim

I was thoroughly relieved that I would finally be able to enter the Old Town of Jerusalem and join other Muslims for this huge gathering at one of Islam’s holiest places. As I walked in the exit corridor (corridors are ubiquitous in this place!!), I immediately boarded an awaiting bus en route to al-Quds. After 15 minutes, we were outside Bab El-Amud (the Gate of the Pillar), also known as the Damascus Gate, which is one of the main nine entrances into the Old Town.

So we walked through the hustling bustling streets and alleyways of this ancient city where every stone and every corner has the smell of history.

On our way, we saw a number of buildings taken over or expropriated through “legal” tricks by Jewish settler interests. Israel has been making strenuous and nearly rabid efforts to confiscate and Judaize as much of East Jerusalem as possible, employing every conceivable act of deception and manipulation.

The buildings are heavily guarded by armed soldiers and guardsmen who try to create physical as well as mental “security zones” in the vicinity of the buildings, apparently in order to intimidate Palestinians, all for the purpose of Judaizing the city, building by building, corner by corner, even stone by stone.

We arrived at the Haram al-Sharif (the Aqsa Mosque esplanade) early in the morning, probably half an hour after sunrise to find thousands of people roaming the spacious arena or sitting down immersed in contemplation. Most of the worshipers came from across the West Bank, but many came from Arab towns and villages across the Green Line inside Israel.

The Supreme Muslim Council, which cares for the huge compound, seems to do a particularly good job, keeping up the place in the best of conditions. This is particularly apparent during the month of Ramadan when tens of thousands come for the Friday and night (tarawih) prayers.

The council also employs dozens of unarmed guards whose main job is to watch over possible attempts by extremist Jewish groups, and also by evangelical Christian Zionists, to attack and vandalize the place.

Indeed, many Jewish groups, some affiliated with the Israeli government, say openly that their goal is ultimately to destroy al-Masjidul Aqsa and its other twin mosque, the Dome of the Rock, in order to build a Jewish Temple in the area.

Some messianic Jews believe the destruction of Islamic shrines in Jerusalem would speed up the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, or Redeemer, who would subjugate the entire world and bring about “redemption” for Jews.

Such designs are taken seriously by the Muslim authorities. Muslim Waqf (endowment) officials argue convincingly that Israel is trying rather progressively to take over the Haram al-Sharif or see it destroyed as a result of a series of subterranean tunnels opened in recent years.

Adnan al Husseini, head of the Supreme Muslim Council, describes Israeli measures as “parts of a dangerous plan to demolish the Aqsa Mosque.”

“If we are to call things by their name, we must view the Israeli designs and plots against al-Masjidul Aqsa as deliberate and well-planned acts of terror aimed at demolishing the mosques and Judaizing this Islamic edifice”.

Many of the worshipers were simply sitting down on rugs they brought with them, reciting the Qur’an or performing prayers. Others were scouring the place, inspecting the numerous historical sites many of which date hundreds of years back.

All in all, as many as a quarter of a million people made it to the Haram al Sharif, Waqf officials said the number would have doubled had the Israelis allowed younger people to enter the city.

Above our heads an Israeli police helicopter was hovering provocatively as if it wanted to tell us that “we are in control”. This is in addition to a huge balloon fitted with a large camera monitoring the place and the movement of worshipers.

Soon, the time for the Friday Khutba (sermon) started, and Dr. Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, a veteran Muslim scholar, thanked the fasting worshipers, telling them that their very presence constituted an important message to Israel, namely that this place was, is and will always be Islamic.

Sheikh Sabri pointed out that the Islamic faith was growing all over the world, not because of the military or economic might of Muslims, but rather because of Islam’s internal strength, cohesion and consistency.

The Sheikh strongly castigated those who would recognize Israel as a “Jewish state”, saying that doing so amounted to passing a death penalty against the large Palestinian community in Israel.

Sabri also reiterated an earlier fatwa or religious edict, ruling that any Muslim selling land or property to Jewish settler interests was “no longer considered a member of the Muslim Ummah, wouldn’t undergo the final rites upon death, nor would they be buried in a Muslim cemetery”.

After ending the Khutba and performing the brief prayer, most of the worshipers dispersed throughout the Old Town, shopping or just simply making the journey back home.

For my part, I wasn’t particularly too homesick to leave and decided to tarry for a while, unsure if I could make it again.

The next Friday, I shall see.

Zionism for Dummies

by Carlos Latuff

by Carlos Latuff

By William James Martin, counter punch

In pondering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I have found that very few people actually have a basic understanding of the conflict nor could they define it in even rough approximating terms.

Thus one sometines hears that it is all about Arab/Palestinian ‘terrorism’ and suicide bombings and the ultimate goal of the terrorists-Palestinians is to ‘push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive” and that their motives are those of anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews. Those who hold this view see the conflict as one of the survival of the Jewish state amid a sea of irrational hatred.

That is the view of the Zionists, and the one they would like for the world to accept.

One also hears that the conflict is a religious one between Jews and Arabs and that it has been continuous for ‘thousands of years’.

Neither is correct.

The first Palestinian suicide bombing occurred in 1994, 40 days after the massacre by the Brooklyn native Baruch Goldstein of 29 praying Muslims at the Al Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The ’67 War and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip was 25 years old at that time. Thus an entire generation of Palestinians had grown to maturity knowing nothing but occupation before the first suicide bomber struck.

The phrase, “push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive”, can be traced to a 1961 speech to the Knesset delivered by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. This apparently was the first use of this phrase by a significant political personality, and thus, for all intents and purposes, the phrase has a Jewish and not an Arab origin. The propagation of this emotional phrase throughout the Israeli-Palestinian debate has its source the Israeli Prime Minister himself. (See “Who is Pushing Whom into the Sea”?)

The view that the conflict is religious and that it has been ongoing for thousands of years is inaccurate. For approximately 2000 years Jews and Arabs enjoyed a harmonious relation, and for four hundred years up until World War II, as citizens of the Ottoman empire with equal rights. Indeed, Jews enjoyed high government position within the Ottoman Empire.

Change occurred in 1896 with the publication of Theodore Herzl’s book, The Jewish State, in which Herzl propounded the idea of inevitability, immutability, permanence, and omnipresence of anti-Semitism and argued that the only solution was a separate state for Jews.

Herzl’s understanding of the inevitability of anti-Semitism was possibly self fulfilling, for rather that opposing anti-Semitism in the first half of the 20th century, the Zionists found common cause with Hitler, Eichmann and the Nazis and used anti-Semitism and Nazism as a means of achieving their end which was the establishment of a Jewish state. The two reactionary movements shared the view that German Jews were living there as a ‘foreign race’ and that the racial divide was essential to maintain. (Historian Lenny Brenner has written three excellent books on the Zionists-Nazi collaboration.) The Zionist’s use of Nazism involved, among other things, the blocking of avenues of escape to other countries of Europe’s Jews and diverting them to Palestine, even as the death trains began to roll in Europe. The rise of Nazism and Hitler to power was never, or almost never, opposed by the Zionist prior to the establishment of Israel.

History might have been very different had the Zionists component of Jewry opposed Nazism and there might never have been a Holocaust. And there might never have been a state of Israel, as many of the Zionists well understood.

Lenni Brenner puts it:

‘… of all of the active Jewish opponents of the boycott idea [of Nazi Germany], the most important was the world Zionists Organization (WZO). It not only bought German wares; it sold them, and even sought out new customers for Hitler and his industrialist backers.

The WZO saw Hitler’s victory in much the same way as its German affiliate, the ZVfD [the German Zionist Organization]: not primarily as a defeat for all Jewry, but as positive proof of the bankruptcy of assimilation and liberalism.’ [Brenner, Zionism in the Age of Dictators] Zionist collaboration with the Nazis, as well as with the Fascists and Mussolini is a deep and extensive topic and must be abandoned here.

Though a region of Argentina as well as Ethiopia were considered by Herzl, Palestine was the site for which there was the greatest consensus. Of the indigenous Palestinians, of which there were about a million at the time living in Palestine, he said:

“[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”
Thus the concept of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionism was introduced.

It is not rocket science. If you want to create a state exclusively of European Jews in the heart of the Middle East, you must first get rid of the Arabs.

Herzl went on the found the World Zionists Organization, whose intent was to establish a Jewish state in Palestine and to make itself into proto-government from which the actual state government would seamlessly emerge upon the establishment of the Jewish state.

Though the world seems not to understand the intent of the Zionist program, there was no misunderstanding among the Zionists themselves.

In his 1923 book, The Iron Wall, Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder to the “Revisionists” wing of Zionism, wrote:
“There can be no discussion of voluntary reconciliation between the Arabs, not now and not in the foreseeable future. All well-meaning people, with the exception of those blind from birth, understood long ago the complete impossibility of arriving at a voluntary agreement with the Arabs of Palestine for the transformation of Palestine from an Arab country to a country with a Jewish majority.

“Any native people view their country as their national home, of which they will be the complete masters. They will never voluntarily allow a new master. So it is for the Arabs. Compromisers among us try to convince us that the Arabs are some kind of fools who can be tricked with hidden formulations of our basic goals. I flatly refuse to accept this view of the Palestinian Arabs.

“The Palestinians will struggle in this way until there is hardly a spark of hope….it matters not what kind of words we use to explain our colonization. Colonization has its own integral and inescapable meaning understood by every Jew and every Arab. Colonization has only one goal. This is in the nature of things. To change that nature is impossible. It has been necessary to carry on colonization against the will of the Palestinian Arabs and the same conditions exist now.

“A voluntary agreement is inconceivable. All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population. Therefore, it can continue and develop only under the shield of force which comprises an Iron Wall which the local population can never break through. This is our Arab policy. To formulate it any other way would be hypocrisy.

“Whether through the Balfour Declaration or the Mandate, external force is a necessity for the establishing in the country conditions of rule and defense through which the local population, regardless of what it wishes, will be deprived of the possibility of impeding our colonization, administratively or physically. Force must play its role – with strength and without indulgence. In this, there are no meaningful differences between our militarists and our vegetarians. One prefers an Iron Wall of Jewish bayonets; the other an Iron Wall of English bayonets.

“If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for that land,… . Or else? Or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible. Zionism is a colonization adventure and there fore it stands or it falls by the question of armed force. It is important to speak Hebrew but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonization.

“To the hackneyed reproach that this point is unethical, I answer – absolutely untrue. This is our ethic. There is no other ethic. As long as there is the faintest spark of hope for the Arabs to impede us, they will not sell these hopes – not for any sweet words not for any tasty morsel. Because this (the Palestinians) is not a rabble but a people, a living people. And no people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions, except when there is no hope left, until we have removed every opening visible in the Iron Wall.”

The ‘Revisionists’ advocated the revision of the British Mandate for Palestine to include the east bank of the Jordan, now the state of Jordan, as well as the west bank, the Jordan River forming the eastern boundary of the mandate at that time. The ‘Revisionist’ transformed over time into the present day Lukud party, the right wing party of Menachem Begin, who regarded Zabotinsky as his model and philosophical father, of Yitzchak Shamir, who became the leader of the Revisionists at the time of Zabotinsky’s death, of Ariel Sharon, and of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thus in 1937, Ben Gurion stated:

“The compulsory transfer of Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own feet during the days of the First and Second Temple.”

And in a letter to his son, also in 1937, he stated:

“We must expel the Arabs and take their places and if we have to use force, to guarantee our own right to settle in those places then we have force at our disposal.”

And in early 1948 Ben Gurion wrote in his War Diary,

“During the assault we must be ready to strike the decisive blow; that is, either to destroy the towns or expel its inhabitants so our people can replace them.”

And in February 1948, Ben Gurion told Yoseph Weitz, director of the settlement of the Jewish National Fund and head of the official Transfer Committee of 1948:

“The war will give us land. The concept of ‘ours’ and ‘not ours’ are peace concepts, only, in war they lose their whole meaning.”

And in 1940, Joseph Weitz, who was head of land purchasing for the World Jewish Organization, and head of one of several ‘transfer committees’ (committees to study ways of transferring the Arabs from Palestine) wrote:

“Between ourselves it must be clear that here is no room for both peoples together in this country. We shall not achieve our goal if the Arabs are in this country. There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighboring countries – all of them. Not one village, not one tribe, should be left.”

And in 1983, Raphael Eytan, then chief of staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, said,

“We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel …Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours….When we have settled the land, all the Arab will be able to do will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”

Exactly why the indigenous people of Palestine do not have right to live on the land of their and their ancestors births, or why the colonial European Jews have this right, Mr. Eytan is silent.

And in 2002. Moshe Yaalon, chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force, said,

“The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

Between the time that Israel declared itself a state in May of 1948 and the summer of 2005, Israel killed 50,000 Palestinians, according to Israeli Historian Ilan Pappe. And since October of 2000, Israel has killed 6348 Palestinians, according to the web site, “If American Knew”. The latter figure averages to about 2 Palestinians killed per day by Israel (1.932, by my calculation.)

One thing is certain: Israel is not the victim, as it is constantly screaming, but the victimizer.

What then is the conflict all about? What is the theme that runs through the entire history of Zionism?

It is about the ongoing program of Zionism to destroy the Palestinians as a people and to assume possession of their ancestral land.

There are Zionists who would settle for a two state solution and a withdrawal of the Israel presence to the 1967 borders allowing a mini-Palestinian state on the remaining 22% of Palestine. But the reality on the ground is that Israel has expanded beyond the point of retreat with 300,000 settlers in the West Bank, 183,000 in East Jerusalem, as of this writing, with 200 or more settlements in the West Bank some twice the size of Manhattan containing their own, schools, universities, shopping malls and the billions of dollars of invested infrastructure, both private and public, and a segregated, for-Jews-only, highway system, 300 miles long, cutting up the West Bank with Palestinians imprisoned between these disjoint concrete and asphalt barriers.

But whatever the views of these moderate Zionists, who call for contraction to the ’67 borders, the dynamics of Israel is and has always been expansion. The centrifugal forces pushing the expansion are multivaried and complicated. They are religious, they are military, they are for want of security, they are from want of power for its own sake, but they are persistent and they have an entire century of momentum and a century of Zionism on the move.

What the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is all about then is the destruction of the Palestinian people and their evacuation and the complete takeover of Palestine to the Jordan River by the Jewish state. And what hangs win the balance is whether or not the Palestinians will be destroyed and eliminated as a people with a distinct culture and history and with an attachment to the land of their birth and their parent’s and ancestor’s births.

William James Martin teaches in the Department of Mathematics at the University of New Orleans.

US Hypocrisy Astonishes the World: Indefensible Nation

Friday, August 14, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard was hit by by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight in the village of Dahaneh, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Flown by helicopter to "Camp Leatherneck," Bernard died of his injuries.

Friday, August 14, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard was hit by by a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight in the village of Dahaneh, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Flown by helicopter to "Camp Leatherneck," Bernard died of his injuries.

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, counter punch

Americans have lost their ability for introspection, thereby revealing their astounding hypocrisy to the world.

US War Secretary Robert Gates has condemned the Associated Press and a reporter, Julie Jacobson, embedded with US troops in Afghanistan, for taking and releasing a photo of a US Marine who was wounded in action and died from his injury.

The photographer was on patrol with the Marines when they came under fire. She found the courage and presence of mind to do her job. Her reward is to be condemned by the warmonger Gates as “insensitive.” Gates says her employer, the Associated Press, lacks “judgment and common decency.”

The American Legion jumped in and denounced the Associated Press for a “stunning lack of compassion and common decency.”

To stem opposition to its wars, the War Department hides signs of American casualties from the public. Angry that evidence escaped the censor, the War Secretary and the American Legion attacked with politically correct jargon: “insensitive,” “offended,” and the “anguish,” “pain and suffering” inflicted upon the Marine’s family. The War Department sounds like it is preparing a harassment tort.

Isn’t this passing the buck? The Marine lost his life not because of the Associated Press and a photographer, but because of the war criminals–Gates, Bush, Cheney, Obama, and the US Congress that supports wars of naked aggression that serve no American purpose, but which keeps campaign coffers filled with contributions from the armaments companies.

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard is dead because the US government and a significant percentage of the US population believe that the US has the right to invade, bomb, and occupy other peoples who have raised no hand against us but are demonized with lies and propaganda.

For the American War Secretary it is a photo that is insensitive, not America’s assertion of the right to determine the fate of Afghanistan with bombs and soldiers.

The exceptional “virtuous nation” does not think it is insensitive for America’s bombs to blow innocent villagers to pieces. On September 4, the day before Gates’ outburst over the “insensitive” photo, Agence France Presse reported from Afghanistan that a US/Nato air strike had killed large numbers of villagers who had come to get fuel from two tankers that had been hijacked from negligent and inattentive occupation forces:

“‘Nobody was in one piece. Hands, legs and body parts were scattered everywhere. Those who were away from the fuel tanker were badly burnt,’ said 32-year-old Mohammad Daud, depicting a scene from hell. The burned-out shells of the tankers, still smoking in marooned wrecks on the riverbank, were surrounded by the charred-meat remains of villagers from Chahar Dara district in Kunduz province, near the Tajik border. Dr. Farid Rahid, a spokesperson in Kabul for the ministry of health, said up to 250 villagers had been near the tankers when the air strike was called in.”

What does the world think of the United States? The American War Secretary and a US military veterans association think a photo of an injured and dying American soldier is insensitive, but not the wipeout of an Afghan village that came to get needed fuel.

The US government is like a criminal who accuses the police of his crime when he is arrested or a sociopathic abuser who blames the victim. It is a known fact that the CIA has violated US law and international law with its assassinations, kidnappings and torture. But it is not this criminal agency that will be held accountable. Instead, those who will be punished will be those moral beings who, appalled at the illegality and inhumanity of the CIA, leaked the evidence of the agency’s crimes. The CIA has asked the US Justice (sic) Department to investigate what the CIA alleges is the “criminal disclosure” of its secret program to murder suspected foreign terrorist leaders abroad. As we learned from Gitmo, those suspected by America are overwhelmingly innocent.

The CIA program is so indefensible that when CIA director Leon Panetta found out about it six months after being in office, he cancelled the program (assuming those running the program obeyed) and informed Congress.

Yet, the CIA wants the person who revealed its crime to be punished for revealing secret information. A secret agency this unmoored from moral and legal standards is a greater threat to our country than are terrorists. Who knows what false flag operation it will pull off in order to provide justification and support for its agenda. An agency that is more liability than benefit should be abolished.

The agency’s program of assassinating terrorist leaders is itself fraught with contradictions and dangers. The hatred created by the US and Israel is independent of any leader. If one is killed, others take his place. The most likely outcome of the CIA assassination program is that the agency will be manipulated by rivals, just as the FBI was used by one mafia family to eliminate another. In order to establish credibility with groups that they are attempting to penetrate, CIA agents will be drawn into participating in violent acts against the US and its allies.

Accusing the truth-teller instead of the evil-doer is the position that the neoconservatives took against the New York Times when after one year’s delay, which gave George W. Bush time to get reelected, the Times published the NSA leak that revealed that the Bush administration was committing felonies by violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The neocons, especially those associated with Commentary magazine, wanted the New York Times indicted for treason. To the evil neocon mind, anything that interferes with their diabolical agenda is treason.

This is the way many Americans think. America uber alles! No one counts but us (and Israel). The deaths we inflict and the pain and suffering we bring to others are merely collateral damage on the bloody path to American hegemony.

The attitude of the “freedom and democracy” US government is that anyone who complains of illegality or immorality or inhumanity is a traitor. The Republican Senator Christopher S. Bond is a recent example. Bond got on his high horse about “irreparable damage” to the CIA from the disclosures of its criminal activities. Bond wants those “back stabbers” who revealed the CIA’s wrongdoings to be held accountable. Bond is unable to grasp that it is the criminal activities, not their disclosure, that is the source of the problem. Obviously, the whistleblower protection act has no support from Senator Bond, who sees it as just another law to plough under.

This is where the US government stands today: Ignoring and covering up government crimes is the patriotic thing to do. To reveal the government’s crimes is an act of treason. Many Americans on both sides of the aisle agree.

Yet, they still think that they are The Virtuous Nation, the exceptional nation, the salt of the earth.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

Our Gift of Silence

by Umayah Jiha

by Umayah Jiha

By Ahmed Barqawi, source

The lack of subtlety in Israel’s policy of aggression and land theft towards the Palestinians can only be attributed to our gift of silence, one for which the Israelis’ are appreciative and fully exploitive of.

AFP -Agence France-Presse- reported last Monday that French President Nicolas Sarkozy had sent a letter to the family of Israeli captive Gilad Shalit on the occasion of the soldier’s twenty-third birthday which coincided late last month.

In his letter; Sarkozy vowed France’s relentless efforts for the freedom of the Shalits’ son, expressing that his thoughts are with them and their son especially on his fourth birthday spent in captivity.

How heartwarming it must be for Gilad’s parents, Aviva and Noam, to have on their side the unyielding support of the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world today, the chief resident of the Elysse palace himself, one can imagine the sort of comfort and consolation that they feel to have renowned world leaders carrying their son’s “cause” around, campaigning for it on every possible international platform that there is, and why won’t they feel that way; their son garners a great deal of media attention (including Arabic ones), receiving honorary citizenships left and right from the cities of Paris, Rome and Miami, and his “problem” is actually talked about and discussed incessantly in the same hallways and corridors that hold talks of major international issues like the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.

Candle vigils are held for him all over the world, gatherings are routinely organized in Israel and in various parts of Europe, and extensive diplomatic efforts are tirelessly exerted all the time to figure out a way to bring one Israeli soldier back to his home (read military base) safe and sound notwithstanding the fact that he was captured during a hostile military operation, fully outfitted with his military uniform and artillery; and chances are had he not been captured; he would’ve probably been facing charges of war crimes right about now for shelling white phosphorous on civilian targets in Gaza.

And given all of that; you’d think with more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails including a number of elected members of parliament; several confirmed cases of torture, psychological abuse (and evidently organ theft) of adult as well as underage Palestinian detainees not to mention 1.5 million imprisoned in the huge solitary confinement that is Gaza with no food, proper medical care or in many cases; with no roofs on top of their heads; you’d think the whole world should be on fire; outraged and mobilized on all levels –political as well as civil- towards salvaging the waning remains of human rights and civil liberties in the occupied territories; but alas we stand in silence; turning our heads the other way as if everything there is as it should be and going according to the plan.

Does Gilad Shalit’s case seriously symbolize the absolute worst of the worst cases of injustice to befallen upon a human being and for which world leaders should reserve their compassion and concern?

Nonetheless, Sarkozy’s stance towards resolving Shalit’s issue is in a way quiet understandable; after all Gilad Shalit is a French citizen; but what’s not comprehensible and even inexcusable; is the ruthless indifference that Arab regimes patently and systematically practice towards the plight of Palestinian people; our rich oil producers are conveniently sidetracked with bailing out western economies (and they’re always dependable when it comes to that); while other countries are too busy supplying ridiculously exorbitant amounts of Gas to Tel Aviv; and for the Palestinians what do we have? Aid conferences of course to pacify the public with, the last of which was in Sharm Al-Shaikh following the catastrophic outcome of the December/January Operation Cast Lead in Gaza; and now five months later; we know for a fact that it was as much of a frivolous conference as it was deceitful, it merely acted as a band-aid for a fatal bullet wound, and I am mystified that some of these very same regimes even seem to think a “band-aid” is always more than enough when it comes to Palestine.

How completely desensitized and uncaring we have become to the sheer horrors the Palestinians face each and every day in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, the whole world literally sat and watched ever so idly -in the comfort of its own double standards- how two Palestinian families were forcibly driven out of their houses at gunpoint in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood in Jerusalem and into the streets in some sort of a public display of Israel’s colonialist agenda and expansionism policies notoriously for all the world to see.

And to that end; early last month; a group of cyclists were banned by Egyptian authorities from crossing the Rafah border into the Gaza Strip after what certainly has been a physically excruciating journey biking all the way from Ireland, these cyclists subjected their bodies to tremendous pain for a good cause in solidarity with Palestinians just for Egyptian authorities to dismiss their honorable mission on a whim without even the courtesy of a logical explanationg, and did that even make the news? Of course it didn’t.

It seems that we have caved in to the indoctrination of the mainstream media when we’d only have the briefest of moments to sympathize before that now famous and fleeting timeline for our sympathy ends turning it into complete apathy and disregard for a continuous human tragedy that’s only worsening by the minute especially in Gaza; and most of us –as human beings- do not even realize that in doing so we immediately become a huge part of their incalculable measure of suffering, loss and daily torment, let’s face it; we do inhabit an informative and over-communicative world today; thus our silence can only be construed as either consent or lack of interest, and I don’t know which is worse.

The fact that we stand hushed and lulled is an overpowering indictment of our selves and it’s simply inhumane; that is why we don’t just owe it to the Palestinians -for whom we are certainly duty-bound to support-; but most importantly we owe it to our own moral integrity which constitutes the backbone of our humanity, but now and thanks to a methodical and well-organized indoctrination by the mainstream media, our moral integrity is thinning and it’s thinning fast and lest we shake the cobwebs of fear and ignorance off of our eyes and rise to the challenge, our own sense of humanity will completely erode soon, possibly even before Shalit’s next birthday.

Stench of death hangs over Afghan riverbank

by Ameen Salarzai, ANGOR BAGH, AFGHANISTAN – Sep 04 2009, source

The stench of burnt flesh hung over the banks of the Kunduz river in the early hours of Friday, the ground scattered with the body parts of villagers who just wanted something for free.

Helping yourself to the spoils of hijacked military convoys is nothing new in Afghanistan and the payload of two fuel tankers destined for Nato-led forces seemed as good as any.

But the overnight bonanza soon turned to horror when Nato jets launched an airstrike before 3am (22.30GMT), strafing the tankers and igniting an inferno that officials said killed between 50 and 90 people.

“Nobody was in one piece. Hands, legs and body parts were scattered everywhere. Those who were away from the fuel tanker were badly burnt,” said 32-year-old Mohammad Daud, depicting a scene from hell.

The burned-out shells of the tankers, still smoking in marooned wrecks on the riverbank, were surrounded by the charred-meat remains of villagers from Chahar Dara district in Kunduz province, near the Tajik border.

Dr Farid Rahid, a spokesperson in Kabul for the ministry of health, said up to 250 villagers had been near the tankers when the airstrike was called in.

Officials said about 55 Taliban were killed and more than 10 wounded, but witness accounts of civilian deaths are yet to be officially confirmed.

Witnesses told Agence France-Presse that villagers, including children, gathered around one of the tankers that had stalled in the shallows of the river to help themselves to fuel.

Taliban insurgents hijacked the trucks late Thursday, the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) under Nato said, and were trying to drive them across the river when one got bogged down.

Witnesses said the insurgents called on villagers living nearby to help themselves to the fuel — probably to lighten the load and make the stranded truck easier to move.

“Villagers rushed to the fuel tanker with any available container that they had, including water buckets and pots for cooking oil,” said Daud.

Some farmers even brought their tractors to fill up, he said, and as they did, 10 to 15 Taliban gunmen stood on top of the tanker watching the free-for-all.

“This was when they were bombed,” Daud said. “Everyone around the fuel tanker died.”

Shoes, an AK-47 rifle, swatches of burned clothing, the carcass of a donkey with a woven saddle cloth still tied across its flanks, yellow plastic jerry cans with red screwtops — all lay scattered across the pebbled banks.

Turbaned men, one holding a GI doll in a blue uniform, and Afghan security forces in desert boots and green berets strode around the tankers as dawn segued into a blue-sky day.

At a funeral ceremony, village men and boys stood silent along the edge of a mass grave as a tractor opposite shoved earth over the shrouded bodies below.

And at a hospital in Kunduz city, the provincial capital, the wounded were brought in on carpet-covered stretchers, their skin burned away from red-raw wounds, many too dazed and in too much pain to even cry, witnesses said.

Around eight bodies were in a terrible condition — the skin burnt black and peeling off to expose raw red muscle. Others arrived with their clothes burnt on to their skin.

The hospital was filled with the smell of burnt flesh, with even the corridors occupied by the wounded, said an Agence France-Presse reporter. — AFP

Hard times in Gaza

by Nidal Al Khairy-Palestine

by Nidal Al Khairy-Palestine

by Saleh Al-Naami, source

Saleh Al-Naami finds that economic deprivation reigns in the streets of Gaza this Ramadan

September 4, 2009

Since the early hours of the morning, Marwan Abd Rabbu has been standing in line waiting for the Al-Salah Society to open its doors. Al-Salah is a charity organisation that helps the poor, and Marwan, who lives in Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp in Gaza, needs assistance to support his family.

Assistance from Al-Salah would help Marwan, 42 and currently unemployed, see his family of 10 through the month of Ramadan. “They give us packages of food, and without their assistance I don’t know what I would have done. I wouldn’t be able to feed my family come Iftar [the sunset meal] time,” Marwan says.

Charity, especially that provided through organisations with Islamic leanings, as well as by the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has become a main source of income in Gaza, where 80 per cent of the population are believed to be living under the poverty line.

Some families depend on relatives who have a job with a monthly salary. Those with jobs also try to help their extended families. In Ramadan, a package containing cheese, dates and sweets can go a long way.

Families try to help each other the best they can. At the beginning of the holy month, Majed Ibrahim, a college professor, bought food products, wrapped them as a gift, and gave them to his four married sisters, for example.

However, in general hard times reign in Gaza this Ramadan. The shops are nearly empty of customers, and even those that do show up often leave empty handed if they can’t find anything they can afford.

Gamal Alyan owns one of the largest food stores in central Gaza. Sweating profusely on a hot August day, he wipes his forehead with a handkerchief and looks around. His shop is one of the few that are full of customers, but he still says that many leave without buying anything, mostly because prices have gone up.

“Customers have less money to spend than they used to,” Alyan says. “Most prefer to buy smuggled Egyptian products, as prices are cheaper than for those that come from Israel. High rates of tax also make much of the merchandise coming from Israel too expensive for the poor inhabitants of Gaza.”

Price differences between Egyptian products and products coming from Israel can be considerable, with a kilo of Dutch cheese imported via Israel costing more than double the Egyptian equivalent.

In addition, not everyone can go shopping. Only 20 per cent of the population have regular salaries, and these people, mostly working for the government or civil society organisations, are considered the lucky ones.

The price of vegetables has also gone up this Ramadan, with shoppers in the vegetables markets complaining about the high prices of onions at six shekels a kilo ($1.7) and tomatoes at four shekels ($1.2).

The electricity in Gaza goes off every day since Israel no longer supplies the only power station with its complete fuel needs, and the company running the station is obliged to cut the power to various neighbourhoods for a few hours each day.

Abdel-Rahman Oudah, 49, who lives in Birkat Al-Wezz west of the Al-Maghazi Camp in central Gaza, says that his wife now bakes bread early in the morning before the electricity goes off. She would prefer to bake at sunset, but that would be too risky given the irregularity of the power supply.

“The electricity can go off at any time,” Abdel-Rahman says. “In the morning there is usually electricity, but after 11 or 12 o’clock you never know.”

Such power cuts affect the rhythm of religious life during Ramadan. While the pious naturally still go to the mosque after dusk for tarawih, a long form of prayers performed only in the holy month, because of the outages imams tend to cut the tarawih short, breaking with tradition.

However, Gaza’s economic situation not only affects everyday life in Ramadan, but it also poses a problem for families preparing their children for the new school year. Children need clothes, school bags and stationary, but most of these items have become unaffordable.

Abdel-Karim Rawafaah, 41, has been all over the market at the Al-Nuseirat Camp in Central Gaza with his seven children looking for supplies, but he still goes back to the Al-Maghazi Camp where he lives empty handed. Schools open in two weeks, but he is not sure he can buy the supplies his children need.

One pair of trousers now costs 70 shekels ($20), up from 40 shekels ($12) last year, he says. Abdel-Karim, who earns around 1,000 shekels ($300) from his job with the local council, says he would need almost twice his monthly salary just to clothe his children. For now, he’s hoping he’ll find cheaper clothes on a later shopping expedition. Otherwise, the children will just have to wear last year’s clothes, he says.

Many people in Gaza are in Abdel-Karim’s situation. Because of the Israeli blockade, basic goods are often exorbitantly priced, with shopkeepers barely expecting people to buy. Walking down Omar Al-Mokhtar Street, Gaza’s main thoroughfare, the shopkeepers are often to be seen chatting together or simply reading the newspapers.

Yet, the shopkeepers, too, are despondent. According to Salim Rajab, a shopkeeper, “this time of year used to be the best for us, as parents come out to buy new clothes for their children at the beginning of the school year. But this year’s much-awaited boom hasn’t happened.”

Other shopkeepers say that clothes have become more expensive because of the many intermediaries involved in smuggling them into the Strip to beat the blockade. As every middleman takes a cut, the final product can become very expensive.

Finally, in recognition of the hard times reigning in Gaza this Ramadan, in an extraordinary move the government of Ismail Haniyeh has decided to deduct 30 per cent or more from the pay of salaried employees to give to the poor, with some ministers and top officials giving their entire pay during the holy month.

Some non-governmental organisations have done the same. The Islamic Universities Board of Trustees, for example, has deducted 50 per cent from the salaries of professors and 100 per cent from the salaries of college presidents during the month of Ramadan and distributed the money to the poor.

Sectarianism, a Weapon Against Islam

Taken from Al manar

Taken from Al manar

By Yusuf Fernandez, source

September 3, 2009

On 25 May, Hezbollah Secretary General warned that “the last arrow in the quiver of the US-Zionist project to confront resistance movements was founding an Arab-Iranian and a Sunni-Shiite conflict. They do not have anything else. This is their last straw.”

Some days earlier, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei also urged Iranians and Muslims in general to resist enemy efforts to fuel sectarianism. “Those who try to sow discord among Shiites and Sunnis are mercenaries of the enemy, whether they realize it or not,” Ayatollah Khamenei told the large crowd gathered for the speech. “The miserable Wahhabi groups are fed by petro-dollars to carry out terrorist acts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, although many of them are not aware that they are mercenaries of the enemy.” Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei added that the enemy viewed Muslim unity and the growing interest of Muslim nations in the Islamic Revolution as a threat and therefore was making every effort to foment discord among Shiites and Sunnis.

An example of this reality is Iraq, where the fall of Saddam’s Hussein regime, led to a resurgence of the Islamic movement in the country. A Shiite-led coalition won the 2005 election and it meant the birth of a new balance in the Middle East. Some media in the West wrote that “Hezbollah’s spirit”, which had been “dormant” since the 1980s, was again on the rise. All this alarmed some in the US Administration and several Arab regimes, which went back to old tactics that were used in the eighties against the Shiites, Iran and the Soviet Union: the use of extremist Wahhabi groups.

Iraqi lawmakers have increased their criticism at Saudi Arabia for funding efforts to destabilize Iraq and inciting its Sunni Muslim community against Baghdad. “There are regional powers that pay billions of dollars … to push for the failure of Iraq’s democracy,” a senior lawmaker Haidar al-Ibadi, of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki´s Dawa party, told Press TV.

Ibadi blamed “a multi-billion dollar plan by Saudi Arabia and other states” for a hike in terrorist attacks across the country, aimed at shaking people’s confidence in the Shiite-led government ahead of the January polls. A member of parliament’s foreign relations panel, citing intelligence reports, accused Saudi Arabia of making efforts to incite insurgents and to wield political influence by financing Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians and tribal leaders. “Saudi Arabia is not happy that Shiites lead this country,” said Sami al-Askari to Press TV, adding that other Arab countries were also meddling in Iraq’s affairs.

Maliki said has accused some foreign country of spending money to weaken Iraq and claimed that those plans would fail. The comments followed an previous report published by Nahrainnet website, which said that Saudi Arabia was employing Baathists and al-Qaeda terrorist groups to carry out terror acts in Iraq to eliminate Shiite school of thought in the country. Unlike other Arab states, Saudi Arabia has so far refrained from opening an embassy in Iraq.

“There is no indication Saudi Arabia will open an embassy in Baghdad anytime soon. The Saudis think Maliki is too close to Iran,” a diplomat in Saudi Arabia told Reuters on condition of anonymity. According to Iraqi security officials, many foreign insurgents caught in Iraq are Saudi nationals.

On June 25, Maliki strongly condemned a decree by a Wahhabi Saudi cleric who sought to incite insurgent attacks against Shiite Muslims across the globe. “We have observed that many governments have been suspiciously silent on the fatwa provoking the killing of Shiites,” AFP quoted Maliki as saying in a statement. The remarks came after Mecca´s Mufti Sheikh Adil al-Kalbani told the BBC that “Shiite clerics are definitely infidels, without question”. The Saudi Mufti has also encouraged the Saudi government to repress Shiite communities across the Kingdom. “The Shiites have no right to be represented in the (Saudi) senior scholarly committee,” he said.

Maliki’s response to the remarks come one day after several massive bombings in the predominantly Shiite regions across the country killed dozens of innocent people. “We call upon the international community, Arab and Islamic countries in particular, to declare a clear position about these horrific crimes,” Maliki emphasized. {RB note: I don’t see him asking for an internnational court like he is doing with Syria with no evidence, the puppet} 

In Iran, another terrorist group Jundallah (Soldiers of God) has been launching terror attacks in the Islamic Republic. Abdul Hamid Rigi, who is brother of the leader of the group Abdul Malik Rigi, said that the latter had been an Al-Qaeda point man in Iran and accused the US to create and fund the group in order to destabilize the Islamic Republic. “The United States created and supported Jundallah and we received orders from them,” Rigi said.

“They (US officials) told us whom to shoot and whom not to. All orders came from them. They told us that they would provide us with everything we need like money and equipment.” Iran has in the past blamed US and British agents based in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan for launching attacks on border provinces with significant ethnic minority populations. Sistan-Baluchestan, where Jundullah operates, has a large ethnic Sunni Baluch minority. The group claimed a May 28 bomb attack on the Shiite Amir al-Momenin mosque in Zahedan in which more than 20 people were killed and 50 wounded.

The situation is similar in Lebanon. During the 2006 war, Wahhabi sheikhs bowed to Saudi pressure and issued fatwas attacking the Shiites. However, the stupid nature of this position, especially at a time where Hezbollah was engaged in a decisive war with the Zionist entity was a blow for the promoters of the fatwa, because even some important Saudi religious leaders, such as Sheikh Salman al-Auda, came out in support of Hezbollah, which also enjoys huge grassroots support among the Saudi population.

Shortly after the Lebanon war, some extremist groups, such as Fatah al Islam and Al-Qaeda fi Bilad as Sham (Al-Qaeda in the land of Levant), emerged with an anti-Hezbollah and anti-Shiite message. In an interview on CNN International’s “Your World Today” on 22 May 2007, famous US journalist Seymour Hersh explained that there were US clandestine operations in Iran, Lebanon and Syria. These operations would be aimed at strengthening Saudi-supported Islamic groups and weakening Iran-backed Shiites at any cost, even if it meant backing extremist Wahhabi jihadists.

According to Seymour Hersh, these operations would have been guided by Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy National Security Advisor neocon Elliot Abrams and Saudi Arabia’s national security advisor, former ambassador to Washington and old CIA-collaborator Prince Bandar bin Sultan. He said that the operation included generous and active support to Al-Qaeda-linked groups, such as Fatah al Islam and Usbat al Ansar.

Hersh said that “a by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al-Qaeda.” “The “redirection,” as some inside the White House called “the new strategy”, sought to “promote a sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.” And he described the scheme of funding Wahhabi radical groups as “a covert programme we joined in with the Saudis as part of a bigger, broader program of doing everything we could to stop the spread of the Shiite world.”

“We are spreading the money around as much as we can,” a former senior intelligence official told Hersh. “In this process, we are financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. … It is a very high-risk venture.” In some cases, the clandestine operations relied on Saudi Arabia and Bandar to provide the funding so that they remain secret. Bandar and the Saudi government would have assured Washington that they would keep any dangerous groups potentially strengthened by the new policy “under control”.

In this sense, Hersh pointed out that the current situation is “much like that during the conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980s –which gave rise to Al-Qaeda– with the same people involved in both the US and Saudi Arabia and the “same pattern” of the US using jihadists –in that case against the Soviet Union- that the Saudis assured us they could control.” When the CNN asked Hersh why the Administration would be acting in a way that appears to run counter to US interests, he says that, since the Israelis lost to them in the July 2006 war, “the fear of Hezbollah in Washington, particularly in the White House, is acute.”

Hersh´s findings were confirmed by the Reuters reporter David Morgan. “There is Saudi money coming in to Wahhabi extremist groups with the specific intention of confronting the Shiites and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” a former senior intelligence official who closely monitors the Middle East told him. “Experts said significant sums have also been given to militant groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley and Palestinian refugee camps. In the latest influx, contributions have gone to Wahhabi-run charities and institutions. The recipients included Osbat al-Ansar, which the State Department describes as a terrorist group linked to Osama bin Laden´s Al-Qaeda network, according to former intelligence officials and independent analysts,” Reuters said. He said that money had also gone to Fatah al-Islam, which fought the Lebanese army in May 2007.

Similar plans were also denounced in Pakistan. On June 22, Liaqat Baloch, SecretaryGeneral of the Jamat-e- Islami (JI) party, told reporters in the southern port city of Karachi that the US and Israel were fomenting sectarian strife in the country in order to destabilize the country and accused the extremist groups of pursuing and US-Israeli agenda. His comments come after a string of sectarian attacks on Shiite Muslims in recent months undermined the already deteriorating security of the country, Press TV reported.

Countless incidents have taken place in Dera Ismail Khan and Kurram Agency over the past few months. Taliban-linked Wahhabi groups in Parachinar, Hangu district and much of the Kurram tribal agency have committed a series of massacres on Shiite Muslims. Some local sources say more than 2,000 Shiite community members have been killed in the region since 2007. He concluded the religious parties will have to rise to fight the conspiracies waged against Islam under the current circumstances.

Shiite Muslims in Pakistan’s Kurram and Hangu agencies have been facing a serious humanitarian crisis since November 2007 when pro-Taliban, Wahhabi militants cut off the areas from the rest of the country, imposing a crippling blockade on the Shiites communities in the region. Many trucks carrying much-needed medical supplies for the beleaguered Shiites have been attacked and destroyed.

Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province has also witnessed several instances of violence directed against the Hazara Shiite community in recent months. Several Shiite religious gatherings have also been targeted in central province of Punjab over the past some months.

Iran has repeatedly cautioned Islamabad over the “silent massacre” of its Shiite community by the Taliban in the country. “The incidents that have occurred against Pakistan’s Shiite community are a plot to create conflict between the region’s Sunni and Shiite population,” said Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

In Gaza, the Islamic resistance movement Hamas was militarily challenged last August by another Al-Qaeda-linked extremist group, Jund Ansar Allah (the Soldiers of God), which barricaded inside a mosque and declared an Islamic emirate independent of the Hamas government. Hamas security men took over the mosque and put an end to the rebellion. Ten extremists and six Hamas men were killed in the gunfire. Jund Ansar Allah had been behind some bombing attacks against Internet cafes and other sites and kidnappings. This and other similar groups have used the blockade of Gaza to gain recruits and influence.

Another Al-Qaeda-linked group, Gelgelt, whose ideas are also based on Wahhabism, has also been operating in Gaza against the Hamas government. This group was responsible for a bombing attack on a wedding party in Khan Younis (Gaza) last July, which injured more than 60 people. It has also kidnapped some foreign journalists as well as humanitarian relief workers in Palestine.

According to the Egyptian publication Al-Ahram, these groups have been “used in the past by Hamas’s opponents to embarrass and demonize Hamas’s political movement.” A source told Al-Ahram that “Mohammed Dahlan, a key Fatah leader, succeeded in recruiting some of these groups to work against Hamas during the period between the parliamentary elections in January 2006 and Hamas taking control of Gaza in mid-June 2007. The source noted that Dahlan managed to use the leaders of Gelgelt groups to destabilize Hamas’s rule. During that period, Gelgelt groups abducted a large number of foreigners, including British journalist Alan Johnston. The Palestinian security source added that Hamas’s takeover in Gaza eroded the power of Gelgelt groups, and Hamas security forces freed Johnston. However, the last six months have witnessed a number of bombings, which confirms Gelgelt’s resurgence.” The Hamas government in Gaza has also revealed documents proving that Al-Qaeda loyalists who clashed with the Islamic resistance group’s security forces were backed by a number of Arab countries in order to destabilize Gaza.

Hamas and its government have decided to wage an “intellectual war” on the followers of Gelgelt organizations, along with security measures. A source from the Hamas movement told the Al-Ahram that “many of the Hamas clergy had begun to visit members of Gelgelt organizations, and those who show sympathy with their ideas, inviting them to a private forum to persuade them to alter their ideas. According to the source, this move by the Hamas clergy has achieved great success, as dozens of young people had withdrawn from the ranks of Gelgelt organizations.”

In Yemen, a lawmaker, Yahya al-Houthi, denounced in an interview with Press TV que Saudi Arabia and Al-Qaeda were helping the Yemeni government in its crackdown on Houthis, a dissident Shiite group. “In recent months (Yemeni President) Ali Abdullah Saleh has taken many recruits of Al-Qaeda who were afraid of falling into the hands of their regimes in countries like Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. His plan was to use these fighters from Al-Qaeda to battle the Houthis in Saada,” he said.

According the Yemeni dissident, Saudi Arabia is propagating Wahhabi ideology in Yemen and the country is used as a base for Al-Qaeda operatives. He said a training camp had also been set up for Al-Qaeda members in the Waila region. “The areas of Malahit and Hasana which the Houthis have taken control over were also the areas where weapons were transferred from Saudi Arabia to the terrorists,” the lawmaker added. Yemen, which has long been in conflict with the Zaidi Shiites, launched its “Operation Scorched Earth” in August to root out the group.

Dream as Nightmare

by Hasan Idelbi- Al Bayan newspaper-UAE

by Hasan Idelbi- Al Bayan newspaper-UAE

By Jeremy Salt, source

In the Guardian recently , Carlo Strenger launched yet another defence of Israel as the democracy in the Middle East. His defence of himself is that he opposes ‘many of Israel’s policies’ and fights the occupation ‘day by day’ but this is only the occupation of land seized and plundered in 1967 and not the land seized and plundered in 1948. Much of this land was never allocated to the state of Israel in the first place and the sovereignty conferred on Israel gave the Zionists no right to take it from its owners. Had they remained, a different kind of democracy would have developed in Palestine, one in which the indigenous people would have retained control of their land through the ballot box. That was why they had to go.

Nothing less democratic can be imagined than the denial of the right even to live in the land of one’s birth. The Palestinian ‘refugees’ did not ‘emigrate’. They were not fleeing an oppressive political system. They were the majority and they were hounded out of their country because only without them could the ‘democracy’ known as Israel come into existence.

Mr Strenger implies that Palestinian Muslim or Christian citizens of Israel enjoy the same rights as Jewish citizens. Of course they don’t. Free speech and the right to vote are not the sum total of democracy. Institutional and structural racist discrimination against ‘the Arabs’ extends from the top to the bottom of Israeli society. It applies to land use and is reflected in health, welfare and education statistics and municipal grants and services provided to local communities. It is consecrated in the laws of the land and the rulings of the courts.

On the West Bank the settlers continue to create ‘facts on the ground’ confident in the knowledge that God and the state is behind them. They are certainly right on the second count. On the first no God worthy of worship could possibly countenance what the state of Israel has done to the Palestinians over the past six decades. From time to time the government tries to distance itself from settler ‘extremism’. In fact the settlers have been the instruments of government policy for more than four decades. The racism of the settlers is the racism of the state. The two are intertwined and inseparable. Occupation and settlement are inherently racist. It is no wonder that this country is filled with blind hatred of ‘the Arabs’.

In occupied Jerusalem the ‘democracy’ which Mr Strenger defends is waging a brazenly racist war on the Palestinians. Under international law the entire city is occupied. Apart from the question of sovereignty, 70 per cent of the buildings in the western half of the city were owned by Palestinian Muslims and Christians up till 1948. .In the eastern half they owned all but about two per cent of all property. The fine stone houses eagerly sought by Israeli politicians and wealthy American Zionists belong to Palestinians. These usurpers are living in stolen property. Time does not efface the rights of ownership. Albert Hourani has described Jerusalem as one of the best examples of a medieval Islamic city. Jerusalem does not belong to Israel and Israel needs reminding of that at every opportunity. The city was built over centuries by Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Its wall, streets, markets, mosques and madrasas were paid for with their taxes and their philanthropy. Yet since 1948 the city which is their collective heritage has been living through the blackest period in its history since the Crusades. The tolerance that marked Arab, Mamluk and Ottoman rule over the city for almost a millennium has been all but destroyed in the past four decades by an unholy combination of secular and religious fanatics. They want the Palestinians out of the way whatever it takes. What is good for the Jews is all that counts. They are unable to see that what is bad for ‘the Arabs’ cannot possibly be good for the Jews.

On the West Bank the centre of Hebron has been gutted and ethnically cleansed with the backing of the state. The Ibrahimi mosque has been taken over by soldiers and settlers. Racist fanatics protected by the Israeli military roam the streets. Elderly Palestinians are too frightened to venture outside their front doors. The young are stoned and cursed on their way to school. The state does nothing to stop them and in fact is outraged when the obvious parallels are drawn between these thugs and the National Socialists who humiliated Jews on the streets of Berlin in the 1930s. In East Jerusalem the fate of Hebron is now being imposed on Silwan by settlers funded and protected by the state. One should not leave out the Golan Heights, emptied of 90,000 Syrians in 1967 to make way for settlers, vineyards and day excursions for Jewish tourists. This is the brutal, ugly, racist reality of what Carlo Strenger derides as ‘the self-righteous left’s simplistic world’.

Every day brings a new offence. Israel’s lobbyists in the US are now arguing that Barack Obama’s insistence that settlement growth should be frozen amounts to ethnic cleansing of Jews. Unfortunately there are no signs that Obama has the backbone to stand his ground and take the fight straight back to Netanyahu and his arrogant confreres. What is emerging from ‘discussions’ between the two governments is a ‘compromise’ that will allow Israel to maintain ‘natural growth’ while ‘freezing’ settlement expansion for a limited period of time. As each settlement is set within a large area of expropriated land, the growth of existing settlements will continue as before. The number of settlers will continue to rise. In the case of Jerusalem Netanyahu has refused to accept even these restrictions. The ‘international community’ wrings its hands helplessly as though there is nothing it can do. Travelling to Britain and Germany, Netanyahu is given a red carpet welcome.

Israel is a powerful state living in the grip of a deep moral crisis which is the inevitable outcome of Zionist ideology. It could lead nowhere else. Herzl’s plan to drive the indigenous population of Palestine from their homes to make way for European settlers was deeply and intrinsically immoral if no more than typical of the European mindset at the end of the 19th century. His ‘dream’ was partly realized in 1948. The decision of the Israeli Minister of Education to remove the nakba from school textbooks is an attempt to bury the past. If it can be denied then it did not happen. Having embarked on a life of crime the state has simply followed generation after generation. The obliteration of Palestine meant the destruction of close to 500 villages and the calculated oppression of the Palestinians who remained within the borders of the new state in the name of ‘security’. It meant the theft of their land. It meant breaking anyone – organizations, individuals and states – who threatened to wrest the proceeds of this massive historical smash and grab from Israel’s hands. It led to war after war, the seizure of more land and the destruction of the basic human rights of more people as soon as the opportunity came up. It led to the construction of a wall and fences penning in the Palestinians as if they were wild animals (a metaphor indeed used by Benny Morris). It led to massacres and the steady growth of a deeply racist society which is at the same time aggressive, paranoid and undoubtedly deeply fearful at some subconscious level that one day it will have to pay for its crimes. This is the blind moral alley into which Israel has backed itself by putting an atavistic ideology ahead of humanity and universal values.

Israel has had its chances of peace and has rejected all of them. It has done nothing to come to terms with its enemies and everything to antagonize them. ‘Negotiations’ with Palestinian puppets and the heads of corrupt Arab regimes do not fall into the category of coming to terms with the enemy. With its conventional military forces, nuclear weapons and the apparently open-ended support of the US Israel may feel adequately insured against any challenge by the state surrounding it. Yet the danger signals have been flashing for years. Israel’s capacity to impose its will on the surrounding states by military means probably reached its peak in 1967. In 1973 Israel would have been defeated by the combination of the Egyptian and Syrian armies had Anwar Sadat actually wanted to defeat it.

In Lebanon – traditionally the weakest Arab state of all – Israel has suffered a series of strategic defeats at the hands of Hizbullah. It forced out of the occupied south after two decades of occupation and when it sought to teach Hizbullah a lesson in 2006 it was itself taught a lesson. Its ground forces could not even capture villages a few kilometers north of the armistice line. It was the air force that saved them from further humiliation. Now even Israel’s air superiority is being threatened. Since the end of the 2006 war Hizbullah has been augmenting its defences with ground to air missiles. Only a small number of Israeli aircraft (presently overflying Lebanon whenever they want) would have to be shot down for Hizbullah to clock up another psychological victory if Israel attacks Lebanon again.

Now Iran has moved into position as the next Middle East state to face attack by Israel. The prospect of the world’s first military attack on active nuclear installations do not disturb the dream-like somnolence of the ‘international community’. Israel is confident that it can attack Iran and get away with it but Iran has had five years of threats to work out how it is going to strike back. Israel has succeeded in setting up a trade between Iran and Palestine. The US has agreed to ratchet up the pressure on Iran and in return Israel will settle for ‘natural growth’ of its West Bank colonies. But if Iran does not respond to threats and sanctions Israel reserves its so-called right under its understanding with the US to go to war against Iran. There is no telling where such a war would lead and how it would end.

The ‘zionist dream’ is a nightmare. The Palestinians wake up to it every morning and it is still there. It is a succubus clinging to their backs and destroying their past, their present and their future but this is the role Israel has chosen for itself in the Middle East. This is where it wanted to be and apparently this is how the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ wants to be.

– Jeremy Salt is associate professor in Middle Eastern History and Politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Previously, he taught at Bosporus University in Istanbul and the University of Melbourne in the Departments of Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science. Professor Salt has written many articles on Middle East issues, particularly Palestine, and was a journalist for The Age newspaper when he lived in Melbourne.

Liberation, not a fictitious Palestinian “state”

by Hasan Idelbi- Al Bayan newspaper-UAE

by Hasan Idelbi- Al Bayan newspaper-UAE

by Hasan Abu Nimah and Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 2 September 2009

Late last month, Salam Fayyad, the appointed Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister in Ramallah, made a surprise announcement: he declared his intention to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip before the end of 2011 regardless of the outcome of negotiations with Israel.

Fayyad told the London Times that he would work to build “facts on the ground, consistent with having our state emerge as a fact that cannot be denied.” His plan was further elaborated in a lengthy document grandly titled “Program of the Thirteenth Government of the Palestinian National Authority.”

The plan contains all sorts of ambitious ideas: an international airport in the Jordan Valley, new rail links to neighboring states, generous tax incentives to attract foreign investment, and of course strengthening the “security forces.” It also speaks boldly of liberating the Palestinian economy from its dependence on Israel, and reducing dependence on foreign aid.

This may sound attractive to some, but Fayyad has neither the political clout nor the financial means to propose such far-reaching plans without a green light from Washington or Tel Aviv.

Fayyad aims to project an image of a competent Palestinian administration already mastering the craft of running a state. He boasts, for instance, that the PA he heads has worked to “develop effective institutions of government based on the principles of good governance, accountability and transparency.”

But what is really taking shape in the West Bank today is a police state, where all sources of opposition or resistance — real or suspected — to either the PA regime, or the Israeli occupation are being systematically repressed by US-funded and trained Palestinian “security forces” in full coordination with Israel. Gaza remains under tight siege because of its refusal to submit to this regime.

In describing the Palestinian utopia he hopes to create, Fayyad’s plan declares that “Palestine will be a stable democratic state with a multi-party political system. Transfer of governing authority is smooth, peaceful and regular in accordance with the will of the people, expressed through free and fair elections conducted in accordance with the law.”

A perfect opportunity to demonstrate such an exemplary transfer would have been right after the January 2006 election which as the entire world knows Hamas won fairly and cleanly. Instead, those who monopolize the PA leadership today colluded with outside powers first to cripple and overthrow the elected Hamas government, and then the “national unity government” formed by the Mecca Agreement in early 2007, entrenching the current internal Palestinian division. (Fayyad’s own party won just two percent at the 2006 election, and his appointment as prime minister by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas was never — as required by law — approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council, dozens of whose elected members remain behind Israeli prison bars.)

From 1994 to 2006, more than eight billion US dollars were pumped into the Palestinian economy, making Palestinians the most aid-dependent people on earth, as Anne Le More showed in her important book International Assistance to the Palestinians after Oslo: Political Guilt; Wasted Money (London, Routledge, 2008). The PA received this aid ostensibly to build Palestinian institutions, improve socioeconomic development and support the creation of an independent state. The result however is that Palestinians are more destitute and aid-dependent than ever before, their institutions are totally dysfunctional, and their state remains a distant fantasy.

PA corruption and mismanagement played a big part in squandering this wealth, but by far the largest wealth destroyer was and remains the Israeli occupation. Contrary to what Fayyad imagines, you cannot “end the occupation, despite the occupation.”

A telling fact Le More reveals is that the previous “programs” of the PA (except those offered by the Hamas-led governments) were written and approved by international donor agencies and officials and then given to the PA to present back to the same donors who wrote them as if they were actually written by the PA!

Everything we see suggests Fayyad’s latest scheme follows exactly the same pattern. What is particularly troubling this time is that the plan appears to coincide with a number of other initiatives and trial balloons that present a real danger to the prospects for Palestinian liberation from permanent Israeli subjugation.

Recently, the International Middle East Media Center, an independent Palestinian news organization, published what it said was the leaked outline of a peace plan to be presented by US President Barack Obama.

That plan included international armed forces in most of the Palestinian “state”; Israeli annexation of large parts of East Jerusalem; that “All Palestinian factions would be dissolved and transformed into political parties”; all large Israeli settlements would remain under permanent Israeli control; the Palestinian state would be largely demilitarized and Israel would retain control of its airspace; intensified Palestinian-Israeli “security coordination”; and the entity would not be permitted to have military alliances with other regional countries.

On the central issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the alleged Obama plan allows only an agreed number of refugees to return, not to their original homes, but only to the West Bank, particularly to the cities of Ramallah and Nablus.

It is impossible to confirm that this leaked document actually originates with the Obama administration. What gives that claim credibility, however, is the plan’s very close resemblance to a published proposal sent to Obama last November by a bipartisan group of US elder statesmen headed by former US national security advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Moreover, recent press reports indicate a lively debate within the Obama Administration about whether the US should itself publish specific proposals for a final settlement once negotiations resume; so there is little doubt that concrete proposals are circulating.

Indeed there is little of substance to distinguish these various plans from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s concept of “economic peace” and a demilitarized Palestinian statelet under overall Israeli control, with no right of return for refugees. And, since all seem to agree that the Jordan Valley — land and sky — would remain under indefinite Israeli control, so would Fayyad’s airport.

Similar gimmicks have been tried before: who remembers all the early Oslo years’ hullabaloo about the Gaza International Airport that operated briefly under strict Israeli control before Israel destroyed it, and the promised Gaza seaport whose construction Israel forbade?

There are two linked explanations for why Fayyad’s plan was launched now. US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has repeatedly defined his goal as a “prompt resumption and early conclusion” of negotiations. If the kinds of recycled ideas coming from the alleged Obama plan, the Scowcroft-Brzezinski document, or Netanyahu, are to have any chance, they need to look as if there is a Palestinian constituency for them. It is Fayyad’s role to provide this.

The second explanation relates to the ongoing struggle over who will succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president of the PA. It has become clear that Fayyad, a former World Bank official unknown to Palestinians before he was boosted by the George W. Bush Administration, appears to be the current favorite of the US and other PA sponsors. Channeling more aid through Fayyad may be these donors’ way of strengthening Fayyad against challengers from Abbas’ Fatah faction (Fayyad is not a member of Fatah) who have no intention of relinquishing their chokehold on the PA patronage machine.

Many in the region and beyond hoped the Obama Administration would be a real honest broker, at last bringing American pressure to bear on Israel, so that Palestinians might be liberated. But instead, the new administration is acting as an efficient laundry service for Israeli ideas; first they become American ones, and then a Palestinian puppet is brought in to wear them.

This is not the first scheme aimed at extinguishing Palestinian rights under the guise of a “peace process,” though it is most disappointing that the Obama Administration seems to have learned nothing from the failures of its predecessors. But just as before, the Palestinian people in their country and in the Diaspora will stand stubbornly in the way of these efforts. They know that real justice, not symbolic and fictitious statehood, remains the only pillar on which peace can be built.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah is author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (Metropolitan Books, 2006).

Don’t Criticize Israel, You Anti-Semite

by Carlos Latuff

by Carlos Latuff

by Joharah Baker, source

September 1, 2009

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the definition of anti-Semitism is, “hostility towards or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group.” This should strike everyone as odd, since Jews are hardly the only Semitic people roaming this earth. Most oddly enough, we Arabs are also a Semitic people who speak a Semitic language, unlike many Jews who do not.

Still, over the years, for whatever reason, the term “anti-Semitic” has been reserved exclusively for attacks on Jews, the range of which has become dangerously broad. While this is an age-old issue, so to speak, the recent Swedish-Israeli crisis has brought it back to the fore like never before.

It all started with a seemingly innocuous yet human interest story in a large Swedish newspaper. The author, Donald Bostrum, entitled his back-page article “They plunder the organs of our sons” in reference to Palestinian claims that as far back as 1992, the Israeli army has been harvesting the organs of young Palestinians it killed. Bostrum gives testimonies from Palestinians and some first hand accounts from when he was in Palestine of young men killed by the Israeli army, their bodies returned to the families days later cut open and stitched back from stomach to neck.

The details of the article are unimportant at this point. The gist of the piece is that there are those out there who believe their sons’ organs were taken for harvesting without their consent.

Whether the claims are true, accurate or biased is secondary to this argument. This was an article in a newspaper, written by a journalist who took full responsibility for what he said and what he wrote. Israelis, who were clearly outraged, could have easily done what most of us do when we are unhappy with something in the media – we write to the editor or the author airing our complaints. We may even get our comments published and read, thus making our grievances clear to all those interested.

But, in traditional Israeli custom, instead of approaching this issue with professionalism and appropriate criticism, protests and screams of anti-Semitism and blood libel were heard around the world. Israel, which unsurprisingly, did not react to Bostrum’s first mention of the issue in his 2001 book, “Inshallah: The conflict between Israel and Palestine”, went into a tirade of accusations against the article, the newspaper, the writer and, yes, the Swedish government for not immediately condemning the article. Swedish government sources maintained that freedom of expression was an inalienable right in Sweden, which could not be compromised.

That was certainly not the answer Israel wanted to hear. Its Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Sweden of not intervening in “the blood libel against Jews.” In true Israeli form, the past was dredged up as a means of putting others on the defensive. “The affair is reminiscent of the state’s [Sweden] stand during World War II, when it also did not intervene,” Lieberman charged

The crisis only heightened with Sweden’s continued refusal to condemn the article publicly and what Israel viewed as its failure to denounce the article’s clearly anti-Semitic messages. Sweden, on the other hand, said it was a fierce defender of its constitutional rights and would not trample on the freedom of expression and freedom of speech regardless of government officials’ personal opinions.

What is so amazing really, is the fact that Israel gets away with this stuff time and again. The hackneyed Israeli litany of anti-Semitism seems to hook the world no matter how ridiculous the claim. The article in mention may or may not have been accurate, but how many thousands of articles out there each day do we read and then question their credibility? Countless. Besides, Bostrum’s article was not attacking Jews. He was questioning foul play by a “democratic” country’s army, which so happens to be Israel. It was not a criticism of Jews, their past, their history or their religion. If it were, if Bostrum had made glaring racist comments against the “Jews” in the Israeli army, perhaps the accusation of anti-Semitism or blood libel or whatever else Lieberman could think of, would be a bit closer to the truth.

The truth however, is that Israel has created a backup defense for those times when its arguments are not based on solid ground, or simply when all other arguments fail. In this case, instead of the Israeli government demanding there be a thorough investigation into these grave allegations, it has turned its wrath on Sweden. Even IKEA has been dealt a blow, with a petition reportedly circulating in Israel to boycott the Swedish furniture giant.

As a result, it looks as if the EU foreign ministers meeting to be held this week will push for a resolution asserting that the EU, under Swedish presidency, strongly condemns anti-Semitism and will take action against it, in a bid to end the Israel-Sweden crisis. But again, Israel is just not satisfied.

“Every initiative against anti-Semitism is welcome,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. “But if the declaration is general and does not specifically relate to the article in Aftonbladet, it will not resolve anything.”

With all the hype about anti-Semitism and blood libel, it looks as if the subject in question has blown right out the window. Supporters of Israel will not even consider the possibility that their beloved friend would ever commit such heinous acts and therefore insist that Bostrum’s article is a bunch of hullabaloo, packaged of course in a nice anti-Semitic wrapper.

Isn’t it about time people see though the smokescreen? The history of the Jews is full of misfortune and suffering. But so is the history of so many other peoples, including the Palestinians, who have been made to pay the ultimate price for the Jews’ persecution. Pulling out the anti-Semitism card whenever Israel is pushed into a corner, rather than examine its own lack of morality in dealing with the Palestinians, should be a losing strategy, simply because it is such a shaky argument. However, guilt-tripping the world into apologizing yet again to the Jews for the sins of the past has worked for Israel for many years, unlike other peoples whose injustices have gone unrecognized. It has been able to maintain a military occupation, build illegal settlements and subjugate an entire people all in the name of its own security and as a safeguard from further persecution.

Israel could have easily disregarded Donald Bostrum’s article and let the whole incident blow over. It would have brought way less attention than the article has received now. Besides, if the Israeli army has nothing to fear, why doesn’t it open an investigation and put the case to rest once and for all? The answer is simple. Screaming anti-Semitism yields better results.

Gross Violations of Human Rights: Why Not Sanctions for “Israel”?

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, counter punch

In Israel, a country stolen from the Palestinians, fanatics control the government. One of the fanatics is the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week Netanyahu called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran.

The kind of blockade that Netanyahu wants qualifies as an act of war. Israel has long threatened to attack Iran on its own but prefers to draw in the US and NATO.

Why does Israel want to initiate a war between the United States and Iran?

Is Iran attacking other countries, bombing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure?

No. These are crimes committed by Israel and the US.

Is Iran evicting peoples from lands they have occupied for centuries and herding them into ghettoes?
No, that’s what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians for 60 years.

What is Iran doing?

Iran is developing nuclear energy, which is its right as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran’s nuclear energy program is subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which consistently reports that its inspections find no diversion of enriched uranium to a weapons program.
The position taken by Israel, and by Israel’s puppet in Washington, is that Iran must not be allowed to have the rights as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that every other signatory has, because Iran might divert enriched uranium to a weapons program.

In other words, Israel and the US claim the right to abrogate Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy. The Israeli/US position has no basis in international law or in anything other than the arrogance of Israel and the United States.

The hypocrisy is extreme. Israel is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and developed its nuclear weapons illegally on the sly, with, as far as we know, US help.

As Israel is an illegal possessor of nuclear weapons and has a fanatical government that is capable of using them, crippling sanctions should be applied to Israel to force it to disarm.

Israel qualifies for crippling sanctions for another reason. It is an apartheid state, as former US President Jimmy Carter demonstrated in his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The US led the imposition of sanctions against South Africa because of South Africa’s apartheid practices. The sanctions forced the white government to hand over political power to the black population. Israel practices a worse form of apartheid than did the white South African government. Yet, Israel maintains that it is “anti-semitic” to criticize Israel for a practice that the world regards as abhorrent.

What remains of the Palestinian West Bank that has not been stolen by Israel consists of isolated ghettoes. Palestinians are cut off from hospitals, schools, their farms, and from one another. They cannot travel from one ghetto to another without Israeli permission enforced at checkpoints.

The Israeli government’s explanation for its gross violation of human rights comprises one of the greatest collection of lies in world history. No one, with the exception of American “christian zionists,” believes one word of it.

The United States also qualifies for crippling sanctions. Indeed, the US is over-qualified. On the basis of lies and intentional deception of the US Congress, the US public, the UN and NATO, the US government invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and used the “war on terror” that Washington orchestrated to overturn US civil liberties enshrined in the US Constitution. One million Iraqis have paid with their lives for America’s crimes and four million are displaced. Iraq and its infrastructure are in ruins, and Iraq’s professional elites, necessary to a modern organized society, are dead or dispersed. The US government has committed a war crime on a grand scale. If Iran qualifies for sanctions, the US qualifies a thousand times over.

No one knows how many women, children, and village elders have been murdered by the US in Afghanistan. However, the American war of aggression against the Afghan people is now in its ninth year. According to the US military, an American victory is still a long ways away. Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in August that the military situation in Afghanistan is “serious and deteriorating.”

Older Americans can look forward to the continuation of this war for the rest of their lives, while their Social Security and Medicare rights are reduced in order to free up funds for the US armaments industry. Bush/Cheney and Obama/Biden have made munitions the only safe stock investment in the United States.

What is the purpose of the war of aggression against Afghanistan? Soon after his inauguration, President Obama promised to provide an answer but did not. Instead, Obama quickly escalated the war in Afghanistan and launched a new one in Pakistan that has already displaced 2 million Pakistanis. Obama has sent 21,000 more US troops into Afghanistan and already the US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is requesting 20,000 more.

Obama is escalating America’s war of aggression against the Afghanistan people despite three high profile opinion polls that show that the American public is firmly opposed to the continuation of the war against Afghanistan.

Sadly, the ironclad agreement between Israel and Washington to war against Muslim peoples is far stronger than the connection between the American public and the American government. At a farewell dinner party last Thursday for Israel’s military attache in Washington, who is returning to Israel to become deputy chief of staff of the Israeli military, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, and and Dan Shapiro, who is in charge of Middle East affairs on the National Security Council, were present to pay their respects. Admiral Mullen declared that the US will always stand with Israel. No matter how many war crimes Israel commits. No matter how many women and children Israel murders. No many how many Palestinians Israel drives from their homes, villages, and lands. If truth could be told, the true axis-of-evil is the United States and Israel.

Millions of Americans are now homeless because of foreclosures. Millions more have lost their jobs, and even more millions have no access to health care. Yet, the US government continues to squander hundreds of billions of dollars on wars that serve no US purpose. President Obama and General McChrystal have taken the position that they know best, the American public be damned.

It could not be made any clearer that the President of the United States and the US military have no regard whatsoever for democracy, human rights, and international law. This is yet another reason to apply crippling sanctions against Washington, a government that has emerged under Bush/Obama as a brownshirt state that deals in lies, torture, murder, war crimes, and deception.

Many governments are complicit in America’s war crimes. With Obama’s budget deep in the red, Washington’s wars of naked aggression are dependent on financing by the Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Saudis, South Koreans, Indians, Canadians and Europeans. The second this foreign financing of American war crimes stops, America’s wars of aggression against Muslims stop.

The US is not a forever “superpower” that can indefinitely ignore its own laws and international law. The US will eventually fall as a result of its hubris, arrogance, and imperial overreach. When the American Empire collapses, will its enablers also be held accountable in the war crimes court?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at:

The Crisis Provocateurs: Israel’s Sabotaging of U.S. Negotiations with “Evil” North Korea

by Maidhc Ó Cathail, source

August 31, 2009

“You confront evil, you do not negotiate with it.”

– Natan Sharansky

While it may be a long way from Tel Aviv to Pyongyang, Israel bears considerable responsibility for North Korea’s increasingly fraught relations with the world. Indeed, through its small but influential support network in the United States, the self-styled Jewish state has played a rarely acknowledged but arguably decisive role in undermining progress towards a peaceful resolution of America’s longest running conflict. Though totally oblivious to this unwarranted intervention by a seemingly distant and irrelevant power, hundreds of millions of Koreans, Chinese and Japanese could have paid, and may yet pay, a terrible price for Israel’s covert meddling in East Asian politics.

In his State of the Union Address delivered on 29 January, 2002, George W. Bush called Iraq, Iran and North Korea an “Axis of Evil” that was allegedly supporting terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction. It later emerged that the provocative phrase which arbitrarily linked Pyongyang to Israel’s two greatest regional rivals had been written by David Frum, Bush’s Canadian speechwriter. An ardent Zionist, Frum recently said that the occupied West Bank belongs to Israel but that Palestinians living there shouldn’t have the vote. He is also the co-author with Richard Perle of An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, inwhich the Likudnik neo-conservatives advocated a confrontational approach to North Korea.

Even more threatening from a North Korean perspective than being officially designated “evil” was the National Security Strategy of the United States announced by Bush in September 2002. Charles Krauthammer, a neo-conservative columnist for the Washington Post, coined the phrase “Bush doctrine” to describe the policy of preemptive strikes, which specifically targeted Iraq, Iran and North Korea. However, Philip Shenon, a New York Times reporter, claims in his book The Commission that it was Philip Zelikow, a neo-conservative member of Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board later appointed executive director of the 9/11 Commission, who wrote the policy that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq on the pretext that its supposed “weapons of mass destruction” posed a threat to the United States.

Yet, on the eve of the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia, “I’ll tell you what I think the real threat is, and actually has been since 1990. It’s the threat against Israel.” No doubt because this would not be, as Zelikow admitted, a “popular sell” to the American people, the grandiose words given Bush to read were somewhat less candid: “Our responsibility to history is clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.”

The “Zelikow doctrine” had an immediate, and probably foreseeable, catalysing effect on an already fearful North Korean regime. As Bruce Cumings, a specialist in modern Korean history, wrote, “From October 2002 onward they acted as if their only deterrent to this irresponsible administration was a nuclear one, a decision that any general sitting in Pyongyang (or Tehran) would have made.” Writing in 2004, Cumings predicted that if North Korea were to develop a nuclear deterrent, it would be known as “Bush’s bomb.” But since it was the Israel-centred neo-conservatives in the Bush administration that scuttled the 1994 Agreed Framework which had frozen Pyongyang’s nuclear developments for eight years, perhaps it might be more accurate to call it “the neo-con bomb.”

If the North Koreans really had the capacity to hit America with a missile — and if Kim Jong-Il were sufficiently “crazy” (as the pro-Israeli media portrays him) to start a war with a global superpower that has up to 5,000 nuclear warheads in its arsenal — they may have considered their own preemptive strike against one particular target in Washington D.C. For the building at 1150 17th Street, home to such neo-con strongholds as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the now defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and The Weekly Standard, is the source of much of Washington’s apparent animus toward Pyongyang.

It was there on November 22, 2004, for example, that William Kristol, the editor of the Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard, wrote a PNAC memo to “opinion leaders” entitled “Toward Regime Change in North Korea.” In the memo, Kristol praised an article in The Weekly Standard by Nicholas Eberstadt, “one of AEI’s in-house hawks on North Korea.” In “Tear Down This Tyranny,” Eberstadt had called for the ouster of Kim Jong-Il, to be achieved in part by “working around the pro-appeasement crowd in the South Korean government.”

For neo-cons like Kristol and Eberstadt, it is seemingly preferable to risk provoking war with North Korea than to “appease” an “evil tyrant” like Kim Jong-Il — as if Kim were another genocidal Hitler and the then South Korean leader Roh another naive Chamberlain. Such “moral clarity” presumably comes easier to those who live at a comfortably safe distance from the firing zone.

Eberstadt is also the author of The End of North Korea, whose title summed up the Bush administration’s policy toward Pyongyang, as a New York Times reporter was once told by Eberstadt’s AEI colleague John Bolton, Bush’s Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, whose hawkishness did much to wreck arms control. Bolton, described by the Zionist Organization of America as “one of Israel’s truest friends in the world,” sabotaged Secretary of State Colin Powell’s attempts to start nuclear disarmament negotiations with North Korea.

Project for the New Israeli Humanitarianism

While the infamous militarist policies of the pro-Israel neo-conservatives undoubtedly intimidated Pyongyang, the Israel lobby’s lesser known “humanitarian” activism played a complementary role in provoking the North Korean nuclear crisis.

The appointment of Bill Kristol’s friend and fellow neo-con Jay Lefkowitz as special envoy for human rights was one of the Bush administration’s more provocative acts toward North Korea. Lefkowitz, who considers legitimate criticism of Israel to be “anti-Semitism,” was not slow to criticize Pyongyang’s abuses, however. In January 2008, speaking at the AEI, he said, “The way the North Korean government treats its own people is inhumane and therefore deeply offensive to us. It should also offend free people around the world.” Leaving aside the hypocrisy of Lefkowitz’s selective condemnation, his undiplomatic language was hardly calculated to promote a smooth dialogue with the North Koreans.

Drawing on a study entitled “The Hidden Gulag: Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps,” Lefkowitz advocated linking humanitarian aid to human rights issues, a counterproductive strategy opposed by career diplomats in the State Department. As chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill put it, “We have no interest in weaponizing human rights.” The same, however, could not be said for Lefkowitz. As Suzy Kim and John Feffer wrote in Foreign Policy in Focus, “Lefkowitz deliberately overstepped his bounds to undermine the nuclear talks by linking them to human rights.”

“The Hidden Gulag” report had been published by the U.S. Committee on Human Rights in North Korea, an NGO which has among its officers and directors more than a fair share of pro-Israelis. It should, of course, strike people as a little odd to see the likes of Nicholas Eberstadt, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Congressmen Stephen Solarz and Gary Ackerman, and Carl Gershman, the president of the National Endowment for Democracy, championing North Koreans’ human rights while at the same time condoning Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Lefkowitz’s appointment as human rights envoy came about as a result of the U.S. Congress passing the North Korea Human Rights Act in 2004, legislation which his cousin, Michael Horowitz, played a key role in instigating. Horowitz, a senior fellow at the hawkishly pro-Israel Hudson Institute, hailed the passing of the bill as a “miracle” in an interview with Christianity Today. As director of Hudson’s Project for International Religious Liberty, he had mobilized Christian evangelicals to support the legislation based on the religious persecution of North Korea’s approximately 10,000 Christians.

Meanwhile, the plight of the rapidly dwindling Christian population in Israel and occupied Palestine, down from 350,000 in 1948 to about 175,000 today, goes unheeded by Horowitz’s evangelicals, many of whom are misled by Christian Zionist leaders like John Hagee to believe that the Bible endorses the modern state of Israel’s appropriation of Palestinian land.

But the prize for chutzpah in Israel’s human rights advocacy for North Koreans must surely go to Natan Sharansky. In 2005, the “acclaimed human rights activist” told a Freedom House sponsored symposium advocating regime change in North Korea, “The people of North Korea must be free!” That same year Sharansky resigned from the Israeli cabinet in protest over then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s removal of Jewish settlers from Gaza. As Housing Minister, Sharansky had, according to Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, “systematically enlarged the settlements on expropriated Arab land in the West Bank, trampling on the human and national rights of the Palestinians.”

Nevertheless, Sharansky was such a major influence on George W. Bush’s foreign policy that he has been dubbed “Bush’s guru.” The thought that someone more extreme than Sharon helped shape the worldview of the world’s once most powerful leader is, as Avnery put it, “rather frightening.”

“You confront evil,” Sharansky told the Freedom House symposium, “you do not negotiate with it.” And that in a nutshell is the policy prescription pushed by Frum, Perle, Zelikow, Kristol, Eberstadt, Bolton (proof that you don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist), Lefkowitz, Horowitz, et al. on the Bush administration in its dealings with “evil” North Korea. The result of heeding that dangerously simplistic advice — a nuclear North Korea — has been an unmitigated failure for American diplomacy in East Asia.

But does Israel’s American lobby see its efforts to undermine negotiations with Pyongyang as a failure? Or to put it another way, does Israel actually benefit from the North Korean nuclear crisis?

With the U.S. having been induced by neo-con lies about weapons of mass destruction to eliminate the Iraqi threat to Israel, the focus of Israeli security concerns has shifted to the alleged Iranian threat. And the threat that an “unpredictable” nuclear-armed North Korea now supposedly poses to the United States is invariably cited by pro-Israelis in their efforts to push Washington toward war with Iran before its “mad Mullahs” too acquire nuclear weapons.

The real threat to Israel, however, is not that Iran is going to “wipe it off the map” (a mistranslation endlessly repeated by the media), but that its monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East might end. For without that monopoly on the ultimate weapons of mass destruction, not only would Israel’s regional hegemonic ambitions be forestalled, but the apartheid Jewish state might be forced to pay a little more attention to the egregious human rights abuses closer to home.

US Audacity of Hope Falters

from Al

{Obama} from Al

By Ramzy Baroud, source

The US has decided to be ‘flexible’ regarding its once touted call for a total Israeli freeze on the expansion of its occupied territories’ settlements, all illegal under international law.

A senior official spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity on August 27. “It was more important that the scope of a settlement freeze was acceptable to the Israelis and the Palestinians than to the United States,” Reuters reported, citing the senior official. This means that peace negotiations can resume while Israeli bulldozers are carving up Palestinian land, demolishing homes and cutting down trees.

It also means that the Israeli rejection of the only US demand, which has thus far defined President Barack Obama’s relations to the Middle East conflict, has prevailed over the supposed American persistence. In other words, the US has officially succumbed to Israeli and pro-Israeli pressures, in Tel Aviv and Washington.

Those not familiar with the connotation of certain terminology in this conflict may not appreciate what it truly means that the US will no longer demand an Israeli halt of the ‘natural growth’ of its settlements, especially in the occupied Jerusalem area where tens of thousands of Palestinians are vulnerable to Israeli ethnic cleansing. Families like the Hanoun and Ghawi family have been evicted from their homes and thrown out on the street before sunrise. “The police came for them at dawn on a Sunday, heavily armed, wearing helmets and riot shields as they broke down the metal doors of the houses and dragged the two Palestinian families out onto the streets,” reported the Guardian on August 24.

The heart-wrenching episodes of innocent people being thrown into the street for no fault of their own, only for the need to make room for more Jewish inhabitants took place before TV cameras and barely required more than a few words of bashful disapproval. That was in fact a political message, sent by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US administration and anyone else who dares to question US settlement policy. It took place when Obama’s call for settlement freeze was at its pinnacle. Now, just imagine how Israel will behave, now that the US’s lonely demand is officially retracted. The rightwing Israeli government will likely expedite its settlement program to preclude any future demands for freeze. Many more Hanouns and Ghawis, and their children, will find themselves on the pavement for simply not being Jews, even if they are the rightful owners of the land.

The Israeli logic, however, is uncompromisingly clear. Two weeks before the evictions took place, Netanyahu addressed his cabinet, saying that Jerusalem (including occupied East Jerusalem) is “the capital of the Jewish people and of the state of Israel” and that “our sovereignty over it cannot be challenged.” He continued, “We cannot accept the idea that Jews will not have the right to live and purchase in all parts of Jerusalem.”

Aside from her unusually ‘harsh’ statement that the evictions were “deeply regrettable”, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had no answer to the Jerusalemite families pleading for their stolen homes. And now this, more American flexibility.

While Palestinians, and those who support and sympathize with their rightful struggle, are accustomed to Israel’s belligerent violations of international and humanitarian law, and direct and indirect US support of Israeli behavior, many had the ‘audacity’ to hope that things might change under the new US presidency. Obama’s speech in Cairo, despite its many flaws, was seen as a promising sign that the US will play a more conducive role in finding a just solution to the conflict and the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinians. It was thought that Obama was planning to start simple, by merely demanding a freeze of the settlement expansion. It’s anything but demanding full rights for Palestinians, or even allowing cement, food and medicine to starving Gaza, but it’s a start, nonetheless.

And as Palestinians, Israelis, the entire region and world media awaited the outcome of the Obama-Netanyahu battle of wills, Israel carried out all sorts of harms, that also went unnoticed.

Externally, Israel capitalized on the supposed US pressure, to place counter pressure on the US to impose dilapidating sanctions on Iran, provide a timeline for the end of diplomacy aimed at diffusing the hyped tension over Iran’s nuclear program, and more. That too was the message that Netanyahu carried with him to the meeting with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell in London, last week.

Still, Israel expected more, demanding – with the blessing of the US – Arab normalization with Israel, in reciprocation for the never actualized willingness to temporarily halt the expansion of settlements. Mitchell was too of the opinion that “Arab states (should) offer some gestures toward normalization of ties with Israel,” according to Reuters.

Internally, things took a dramatic turn for the worse. It started with a bill in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) that would jail Arabs who would commemorate the Palestinian Nakba or Catastrophe of 1948, which saw the expulsion of nearly 800,000 Palestinians from their land. Then, there was the new law that enforces the replacement of Arabic lettering on road signs referring to various locations with their Hebrew equivalent, even if these locations have been known by their Arabic names for millennia. These are neither the first nor the last of such fascist roles aimed at denying any trace of a Palestinian (Muslim or Christian) identity to co-exist along with the exclusively ‘Jewish character’ of Israel.

But that, and much more, was taking place as Palestinians and hopeful others held their breath, waiting for Obama to deliver, until the most recent expression of American flexibility. Now, Palestinians are left with one of two options: to continue to subscribe to the illusion that the US is capable, or even willing to rein in Israel’s transgression and exact justice and human rights on their behalf, or to cleanse their midst of self-seeking and corrupt leaders, unify their ranks and continue their struggle for an uncompromisingly free and independent Palestine.

– Ramzy Baroud ( is an author of several books and editor of His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, “The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle” (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London), which is now available for pre-orders at Amazon.