“Netanyahu’s remarks have sabotaged all initiatives, paralysed all efforts being made and challenges the Palestinian, Arab and American positions,” said Nabil Abu Rdainah, noting Mr Netanyahu’s demand that Jerusalem be the undivided capital of Israel and that Palestinian refugees not be allowed into Israel.
Israel would not accept any situation in which it was forced to exist beside a “terrorist” state. Every withdrawal from settlement territories would contribute to such “terror”, said Netanyahu. He stressed that Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state.
4. no to the right of palestinians to defend themselves or resist foreign colonists occupying their land
“Any peace settlement must have a demilitarised zone controlled by Palestinians.”
on al jazeera diana buttu called this a “dictation of peace” and a “surrender agreement.”
my response: remember the 3 no’s of khartoum after the 1967 war:
coming home today through the palestinian village of khader i noticed some new posters at the entrance of the zionist terrorist colony of efrat’s checkpoint. the close up of the image is below. while i believe that the united states president–whoever s/he is–represents the interests of the hegemonic white power structures, he is still obviously a target for racist and islamophobes around the world as this image shows. but this image also illustrates the mentality of zionist terrorist colonists in palestine.
i spent the afternoon at the bet gemal monastary in palestine. it is a lovely monastary with an amazing byzantine era church filled with palestinian mosaics that were discovered in 1917. the current church (see below) was built in 1932 on the ruins of the original one. there is an amazing view from the church grounds where one can see palestinian villages belonging to palestinians who now live in refugee camps in the west bank as well as zionist terrorist colonies dotting the landscape with their typical red roof tract houses (see photograph below).
i was thinking about this view of these colonies and the way that most people in the world, even activists who work in solidarity with palestinians, don’t view them as colonies or settlements. but they are every bit as much colonies. and they exist on every bit as much of stolen land as those in the west bank. they may not be “illegal” under international law, but they are the one thing that is the obstacle to so-called “peace” initiatives given the fact that their existence blocks palestinian refugees right of return. in any case, all these colonies exist on stolen land; some was stolen a hundred years ago, some stolen today. but the fact of when it is stolen makes no difference. stolen is stolen.
unfortunately, most people don’t get this. or if the get it, the don’t say it. jerrold kessel and pierre klochendler’s ips article this week is case in point. commenting on the upcoming benjamin netanahu speech they make a distinction between “settlerland” in the west bank and fail to mention the setterland that exists all over historic palestine:
If he wants to create a counter momentum with his own university address, Netanyahu will have to do what, in his vision, would be ‘fantastic’: Instead of continuing to transform the West Bank into ‘Settlerland’, an extension of Israel, he will finally have to agree with the President’s vision – transform Israel itself by transforming the West Bank into ‘Palestineland’.
and this past week saw many more palestinians ethnically cleansed from their land to make way for an ever-increasing settlerland as is the case in beit hanina, a palestinian neighborhood in al quds:
Muhammad Ghosheh said police and a demolition crew from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem arrived at his house in the morning, threatening him with a 100,000 Israeli shekel (25,125 US dollar) fine if he did not destroy the house.
palestinians in silwan continue to resist the ethnic cleansing of their neighborhood:
The demolition orders were served to the owners of the 88 homes earlier threatened with destruction under Israeli law 212, which allows homes to be demolished or evacuated without any formal legal charges being brought forth or any party convicted of an alleged violation of the Israeli Planning and Building Law.
This law was also used in 1967 to erase the Palestinian Al-Mugharbi neighborhood inside the Old City to form the plaza in front of the Western Wall, believed to be the site of the third temple in Judaism. The neighborhood was razed and is now an open compound for Jews to pray near the wall.
Residents clashed fiercely with police, who are said to have been forced to retreat to the entrance of the neighborhood, a subsection of the Silwan area, which lies next to Jerusalem’s Old City.
there was another group of palestinians who resisted the theft of their land this week in al quds as well:
The land, of 1,75 acres, is owned by two Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.
Witnesses told the Palestine News Agency WAFA that the settlers arrived at the locations along with Israeli city planners but the residents were at their lands and stopped the process.
The Israeli municipality plans to use the land to expand the nearby Israeli illegal settlement of Beit Oret. Hateem Abed Al Qader, the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, was at the location and said that the residents will keep a 24-hour presence on the land to protect it.
nour odeh reported on the continuing land grab by zionist terrorists occupying palestine on al jazeera earlier this week:
you can also see a couple of good news reports on the continuing land confiscation and home demolition in this clip from mosaic tv as well, which also shows ghosheh having to demolish his home:
ironically, the zionist terrorist entity stated this week that palestinians have too many rights when it comes to construction on their land:
The master plan was intended to outline the city’s development over the next few decades and to remedy a situation in which, since 1959, the capital has not been developed according to a comprehensive agenda.
but it is not just the land confiscation and home demolition either. i call the predominantly european people who have stolen and live on palestinian land terrorists because they are. even one of their own organizations reported a rise in terrorist attacks against palestinians this week:
The group stated that “the settlers are trying to achieve political goals by committing acts of terror against the Palestinians and their lands”.
It said that the farmers in Palestine are the ones who are paying the price for the government’s attempts to evacuate some illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank.
The group added the recent weeks witnessed a significant increase of attacks and attempts to uproot trees, and that such attacked escalating due to the lack of action by the army against the assailants.
Yesh Din sent a letter to Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, the Central Command Chief of the Israeli Army, Gadi Shamni, and the Chief of the Israeli Police in the West Bank, Hagai Dotan, informing them that the settlers sawed and uprooted more than 300 trees, mostly olive trees, in the West Bank since the end of April until the end of May.
The group demanded the Israeli officials to prevent these attacks, and to prevent the acts of vengeance that the settlers carry out after the evacuation of illegal outposts.
Yesh Din attorney, Michael Sfard, stated that his group repeatedly warned the Israeli police and army that the settlers and extremist Jewish groups are carrying “systematic, organized and large-scale terrorist attacks against Palestinian civilians”.
there have been numerous such attacks and here is one of the latest near khalil and nablus this week:
Local sources reported that the attacks took place near the southern city of Hebron and the northern city of Nablus.
Scores of olive trees were damaged when Israeli settlers set them on fire near Hebron city. The owners told media that the settlers came from the nearby Kharsina settlement. Witnesses said that Palestinian firefighters managed to stop the fire but at least two dozen trees were destroyed.
Meanwhile another group of Israeli settlers set fire to farm lands that belong to Palestinians from the villages of Aqraba and Yanoon near Nablus city.
The farmers said that settlers set fire to their crops while being protected by the Israeli military. The fire destroyed two acres of farm lands before the farmers were able to stop the fire.
near nablus in a new zionist colonist terrorist outpost set up this week the colonists terrorized people with their target practice:
The sources added that five Israeli vehicles arrived near the village carrying the settlers and their equipment, and that the settlers immediately installed the tens and set the “parameter” of their new outpost.
The settlers then transformed a piece of land into a military training zone, placed targets and started firing at them.
The Israeli army did not attempt to intervene.
dan nolan reported on al jazeera that one such zionist terrorist colonist who was responsible for some of these attacks was released without charges this week:
even human rights watch, with its predictable soft language, is condemning the house demolition policy, though i’m so sick of people who are in a position of power condemning and doing nothing:
Israeli authorities destroyed the homes and property of 18 shepherd families in the northern Jordan Valley on June 4, 2009, displacing approximately 130 people, after ordering them on May 31 to evacuate because they were living in a “closed military zone.” Some of the families whose homes and property were destroyed had been living in their village since at least the 1950s.
“Giving families less than a week to evacuate their homes, without any opportunity for review or appeal, is as heartless as it is unfair,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Israel should have given these people due process to contest their displacement.”
um, no: that is not the worst of it and it’s far more egregious than just “unfair.” one needs a sense of the repetitious nature of history here in palestine if you really want to understand the outrageousness of whitson’s quote above. if you read the full report by clicking on the link above you will see that oftentimes palestinians forcibly removed from their homes and their land often undergo this experience multiple times. multiple displacements. this is one of the many reasons i think we need to frame everything here in terms of an anti-colonial struggle, regardless of what part of palestine that ethnic cleansing occurs on. this is why two-states is = to no state as far as palestinian refugees are concerned. and yet the drum beat for this failed policy continues. exhibit a consists of the statements made by george mitchell when he was here this week:
Mitchell also said that the Unites States position on settlements never changed since 40 years; which is the same period in which settlement were built and expanded on Palestinian lands under direct and indirect US support
As for the Gaza Strip, Mitchell said that crossings to should opened under direct cooperation with the government of Salam Fayyad in the West Bank. He also said that the US wants to make sure that if construction materials are allowed into Gaza, they won’t be used by Hamas for manufacturing combat materials.
Meanwhile, Israeli media sources reported that the Mitchell’s statements were moderate regardless of the “tension between Israel and the US on settlements”, and that Mitchell confirmed in every meeting that the United States is committed to Israel’s security.
yes, the united states is committed to the security of the zionist colonist terrorist entity, but not the security or the rights or the just cause of the palestinian people. and yet journalists like mel frykberg think that palestinians are “hopeful” as he repeats the empty words of collaborator saeb erekat:
There also appears to be growing consensus and confidence in both Palestinian and Arab circles that the U.S. administration could be offering more than just lip-service to Palestinian independence aspirations this time around.
In the past the Arabs, and the Palestinians in particular, have accused the U.S. of being biased towards Israel.
Previous peace deals and agreements signed over the years, supporting a two-state solution, and an end to illegal Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, came to naught.
Instead, Israel raced ahead with building new settlements, and enlarging hundreds of existing settlements and outposts on Palestinian land in the occupied territory.
“The time for playing games is over. No more delaying tactics, no more stalling, no more excuses. It is time for action. Ceasing settlement building is not a Palestinian pre-condition; it is an Israeli obligation. These are terms that Israel has previously committed to,” Erekat told IPS.
“We have been assured by (U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George) Mitchell that the U.S. administration will support the legitimate rights of the Palestinians,” Erekat said. “(U.S. President Barack) Obama too has reiterated his commitment to a two-state solution and a halt to settlement building.”
i do not doubt that erekat is hopeful of his ability to continue to profit off of the “peace process” industry on the backs of 7.2 million palestinian refugees who suffer as much at his hands as they do from the american and zionist collaborators. pulse media posted something about the council for the national interest’s ongoing campaign to get americans to protest the use of their tax dollars to build colonies (though only in the west bank, not in the rest of palestine). the postcard pictured above can be sent from their website.
but in spite of all this american financial, military, and political support the u.s. gives to the zionist entity, there are still zionist terrorist colonists who are whining because they fear they will stop getting their way (don’t worry, they will). pulse media also reported this week that some zionist terrorist colonists are so upset they want regime change in the united states:
Peled is calling for the Israeli government to seek to influence American elections and cutting trade ties with America. This, let’s remember, is coming from a minister of the country that has received more aid from the US than all of Sub-Saharan Africa combined. Israeli politicians are now so comfortable with their relationship with America they talk about America in the same way America talks about minor Latin American rogue states.
but the change is not going to come from sites of power. it is going to come from the grassroots. and change is coming from there, but unfortunately most grassroots organizations seem to target those zionist colonies in the west bank. it is a start, but certainly not where the finish line needs to be. nevertheless, there is good news to report that dexia is no longer going to finance zionist terrorist colonies in the west bank:
In 2001 Dexia Group buys the Israeli bank Otzar Hashilton Hamekomi and renames the bank Dexia Public Finance Israel. Just like other Dexia subsidiaries, Dexia Israel is specialised in financing municipalities and other local authorities.
It takes until October 2008 for a few Belgian solidarity groups to discover that Dexia Israel is not only financing regular Israeli municipalities but is also granting loans to illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories. In a document of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), the director of Dexia Israel, Mr. David Kapah, confirms that the bank has indeed granted credits to seven settlements and three regional authorities in the occupied West Bank between 2003 and 2007.
This ‘smoking gun’ evidence entails the start of a fast growing campaign in Belgium. United under the slogan ‘Israel colonises, Dexia finances’, the campaign knows its first successes. In the following months petitions are being launched, MP’s are being questioned and local actions are being started up. Very important is the support of local Belgian authorities such as municipalities and provinces, as they hold a vast amount of shares in Dexia Group.
The army said that that there had been several complaints by the soldiers against members of the Machsom Watch (Checkpoint Watch) organization.
The army added that this decision applies to all Israeli citizens regardless of their ideology.
The decision was slammed by the Human Rights Organization “Yish Din”. The group said that only totalitarian countries bar human rights organizations from entering areas of conflict between the military and the civilian population.
The group added that such acts are meant to cover-up “criminal activities carried out by the soldiers at the roadblocks”, and added that “it won’t be surprised of Israel starts acting like China, by barring certain internet sites”.
what this means is that security in the prison that is nablus is even tighter than normal and travel in and out of nablus is going to be even more challenging than it already is on a daily basis. of course it is beyond ironic that it is palestinians in nablus being locked up when the terrorizing israeli colonists are on the loose and actively attacking innocent palestinians as saed bannoura reported earlier this week:
Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of the settlements file at the Palestinian Authority, stated that approximately at 5:30 a.m. the four Palestinians were on their way to work when they were attacked by a group of extremist Israeli settlers.
Palestinian medical sources stated that resident Ali Al Sidda, 44, from Jeet village near Nablus, was seriously wounded in his head and was moved to Al Arabi Specialized Hospital in Nablus.
Resident Mohammad Khalid, 32, suffered moderate wounds, while residents Shaker Sidda, and Ahmad Sidda suffered minor wounds. All are from Jayyous village near Qalqilia.
Daghlas demanded the international community and international human rights groups to intervene and put an end to the ongoing attacks carried out by the settlers and the solders.
it seems as if they are following the orders of american jewish rabbi manis friedman, in st. paul minnesota, calling on jewish colonists in palestine to murder with impunity:
yet another one of friedman’s likely pupils of terrorism unleashed his wrath in al quds yesterday–of course this will never be named terrorism by the zionist or international media, though its effect is the same and is in line with such zionist acts through the course of its colonizing history:
while palestinians are imprisoned in nablus, this week israeli terrorist colonists have been busy destroying palestinian farm land in the farmland surrounding the city as palestine news network reported:
Planted with grain, Raja, or Abu Amar, is protecting his harvest.
However, at 2:30 am fire engines rushed to his defense. Israelis from the Itshar Settlement, built in the West Bank in contravention to international law, attacked the fields.
Itshar Settlement is routinely in the news as one of the most violent of Israeli settlements.
Fire fighters were able to save some of Abu Amar’s harvest, the rest of which was destroyed in the fire set by Itshar settlers.
“They have set fire to my home and land over the past three days, leading to total destruction. The barley is gone and with it the cattle feed,” said Abu Amar.
On the same day Israeli settlers attacked the citizens of the town Aurev in southern Nablus. Palestinians were working on their land not far from the center of town when a group of settlers rushed in. “We were attacked,” a farmer named Ghassan said. These assaults come after repeated attacks on southern Nablus.
Yitzhar is another settlement imposed on the Nablus Governorate in the northern West Bank known as strongholds of extremist settlers who launch these attacks under the protection of the occupying Israeli army.
After the fires on Abu Amar’s land settlers then torched crops in Burin just 12 hours later. “Dozens of dunams of barley crops planted in the eastern region of the town were burned,” the head of the Burin town council said.
Last year Israeli settlers burned 3,500 olive trees belonging to the same town.
Khaled Mansour is with the Public Action Committee of Agricultural Relief and said, “The burning of crops, the destruction of crops, the uprooting of trees and the attacks on famers are familiar behavior and are an organized policy each season.”
Not only do Israeli settlers target Palestinian plants and crops for the summer, but also employ a similar policy in the late fall’s olive harvest. Mansour said in a statement to the press today that such a strategy is used by the Israeli administration to force Palestinians to flee their land and send them to work in settlement factories.
of course, nablus is not the only village subjected to israeli terrorist colonialism. in the southern west bank, too, palestinian farmers and farmland is also under attack as katherine orwell reported for imemc:
A group of internationals and Israelis went along with the villagers to help harvest the land. In the past few weeks there have continuously been problems with the army and settlers from the settlement of Beit Ayn, preventing the people of Safa to access and harvest their land.
During this time of year the people in Safa harvest the grape leaves, an important source of income for the village.
After the harvest started, the army arrived and ordered everyone to leave the lands, as they claimed the land, belonging to the Soleiby family, to be a closed military zone. The army gave the harvesters a ten minutes notice, then proceeded to push the group out by kicking and beating them. Two Israelis, that had joined the harvest, were arrested and taken away by the army.
The army told the people that the settlers were gathering and they were afraid that there might be problems. People in the group responded that the army had to take its responsibility and remove the ones creating the problems, not the ones suffering from it.
Instead soldiers turned up with batons, literally pushing the people off the land with their sticks.
During all that time settlers were watching on top of the hill, screaming racist slogans, such as: “Death to all the Arabs”. After some time the settlers came down the hill into the fields that belong to the village and started throwing stones. A group of 16 settlers attacked three old women and one child that were harvesting the grape leaves. Other settlers took the camera of an Israeli.
it is amidst this sort of zionist colonist terrorism that the words of some of these colonists are calling the u.s. terrorists, albeit ironically in this context, for asking the zionist colonial project to “freeze” its settlement expansion:
“The Americans are employing political terrorism against the State of Israel,” said Danny Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council settler organization, according to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.
“Not only is the Obama administration renouncing the commitments made by President George W. Bush in April 2004 – it’s looking as if they regret President Truman’s decision on May 14th 1948 to recognize Israel’s independence.”
In an interview with National Public Radio on Monday, Obama reiterated his view that settlement construction should come to a complete stop. “Part of being a good friend is being honest,” Obama said.
of course it does not matter what the u.s. says, as long as american taxpayers continue to fund these colonies full of terrorist colonists they will continue to destroy palestinian land, homes, and people. today there is a new structure to be built in wadi joz on the land where there is now a palestinian kindergarten:
The plan for the hotel, in the Wadi Joz neighborhood near the Old City, was given a green light by the Jerusalem planning and building committee, which submitted the proposal for public comment, according to the newspaper Haaretz.
the zionist colonists will continue to build illegal colonies as they please as they always have. but they will also continue with their rhetoric about promises and laws when it suits them as donald macintyre reports for the independent about netanyahu’s latest claims:
The rift between Mr Netanyahu’s government and the US appeared to deepen yesterday, with a clear declaration by President Barack Obama that a freeze – including on “natural growth” of West Bank settlements – was among Israeli “obligations”.
there is an interesting documentary on al jazeera’s “people and power” this week called “courtroom intifada” that addresses so many of these issues. juliana ruhfus travels to the palestinian village of bil’in where she shows us the on-going, four-year long struggle of the people in this village have been engaged in as the zionist terrorist colony of modi’in ilit continues to confiscate bil’in’s land. ruhfus takes you on a tour of their weekly protests and their land with mohammad khatib and his mother zahia khatib where an apartheid wall, here in the form of an electronic fence, separates zahia from her 1,000 year old olive trees. she takes you through the zionist terrorist colony where about 41,000 of them live; she takes you there with an israeli colonist named nir shalev who seems to think that before 1967 bil’in was jordan (yes, it was controlled by the hashemite regime, but this land never belonged to jordan). you’ll also see the israeli colonist who is helping people in bil’in with a court case that challenges the corporations profiting from the building of this colony.
the video packs in quite a bit. bottom line, as is made clear in ruhfus’ interviews: these are war crimes. the colonists, the corporations, and the governments funding this will one day receive retribution.
max bluementhal reported on more american complicity in zionist terrorist colonialism this week on the mondoweiss blog showing an american casino in hawaiian gardens (los angeles) that funds these zionist terrorist colonialist activities. here is his report and the video accompanying it, though i continue to have issues with the fact that mondoweiss thinks that 1948 palestine is an entity called “israel.” i, of course, refuse to acknowledge that it has a right to exist on stolen palestinian land. colonies are colonies, period.
In 1996, Moskowitz convinced Netanyahu, in his first round as prime minister, to open a tunnel adjacent to the Temple Mount, a controversial act that led to several days of rioting and 70 deaths. Four years later, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the tunnel set off the so-called Al-Aqsa uprising, the opening salvo of the Second Intifada. Now, Moskowitz’s imprint on the West Bank’s landscape is most clearly reflected in the expansion of the settlement called Kiryat Arba, a hotbed of Orthodox Jewish radicalism located high above the occupied city of Hebron.
Kiryat Arba founder Noam Arnon is the recipient of the 2009 Moskowitz Prize, an honor that included $50,000 in cash. After receiving his prize before a cheering crowd of two thousand settlers, Arnon complained to me, “We think that somehow the Arabs have taken over the international media and the international mood, and they convinced the world to believe that there is a Palestinian people and these people deserve to have a Palestinian state — which is totally untrue.”
Despite the fanaticism of Arnon and his followers, who routinely rampage through Hebron, vandalizing Palestinian homes and attacking local residents (often under the watch of the Israeli army), they are not isolated as a rogue element in Netanyahu’s political world. Indeed, several of notables stood on stage to present Arnon with his prize. They included Professor Moshe Aumann, who won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for his work on understanding conflict through game theory, and Uzi Landau, the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure. (Landau’s party, Yisrael Beiteynu, has introduced bills that would compel Arab citizens of Israel to take loyalty oaths and which would criminalize open discussion of what the Palestinians call “Nakbah,” or “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding). Also in attendance was Benny Begin, a leading Likud member of Knesset and the son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the first Likud prime minister.
After the ceremony, Landau mingled easily with settlement leaders, who beseeched him for support. Though Landau’s bodyguard attempted to prevent journalists from approaching him, my journalistic colleague Jesse Rosenfeld managed to ask him about Obama’s call for freeze on settlement construction. Visibly irritated by the mention of Obama’s demand, Landau issued an unequivocal statement. “Those who say, or are trying to suggest that Arabs can build anywhere and everywhere, and Jews can’t –it’s something that should be totally rejected.”
Since arriving in Israel, I have observed the battle over settlement expansion from an on-the-ground perspective. On May 16, I traveled with the Israeli peace group Ta’ayush to Hilltop 26, an illegal hilltop outpost constructed by settlers from Kiryat Arba – not an aspect of “natural growth.” Four angry settler youths confronted us upon our arrival; within minutes, a squadron of Israeli border police officers, soldiers and a Kiryat Arba security team were on the scene. The army swiftly issued a “closed military zone order,” ordering us to leave within five minutes or be arrested. While the soldiers initially allowed the settler youth to stay, the presence of international media apparently prompted them to briefly remove the teenagers while allowing their outpost to remain – an act that underscored the army’s collaboration with settlers to stifle the activities of peace groups. (See the confrontation in my exclusive Daily Beast video report here.)
if you saw my photographs from khalil the other day you would know that this zionist terrorist colonist speaking in the video–responsible for the attacks on palestinians and their homes–including setting fire to them–that he and his cohorts are clearly terrorists. and yet in this video notice how he says, “we are the most moderate people.” yes, perhaps, but in my book moderate has become the new dirty word.
i’m wondering what the first two turning points were. the last few days i’ve heard war games in the sky above beit lahem. all day long i’ve heard ominous war planes testing out the zionist entity’s doomsday scenario. here is an al jazeera report on the “defense” strategy it is testing, though for those of us here we know better; this is clearly a test for its next offensive strike:
Israel believes Iran is developing nuclear weapons and has not ruled out a military strike on the country in response.
Iran says its nuclear programme is only for energy production.
Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem correspondent, said that while Israel claims that the drill has “no special significance”, it is likely to be seen in the context of “Israel’s sabre-rattling towards Iran and also towards other neighbouring Arab countries”.
“It was only a couple of weeks ago that Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu was in Washington and he was really pushing the question of Iran and its perceived nuclear threat really to the top of the agenda of his talks with President [Barack] Obama,” she said.
“So, although Israel is saying that this is a defensive drill and it is really practising its ability to defend its civilians against attack from outside, inevitably it has to be interpreted by Israel’s Arab neighbours – and indeed the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank – as a warning, a not so subtle warning of Israel’s offensive capacities to strike should these circumstances arise.”
al jazeera’s “inside story” with kamahl santamaria had a discussion of this series of tests this week and its effect on the various regional players who will be subjected to these weapons in the zionist entity’s next attack:
of course any such impending war must be understood as a joint u.s.-zionist war on the palestinians, lebanese, syrians, iranians in the region given that the obama administration promises to continue funding and supplying the zionist terrorist army as saed bannoura reports:
Wood stated that President Barack Obama and his administration are clear in their stance that all parties involved in the Middle East Peace Process should maintain their obligations to ensure successful peace talks.
He also said that the United States has long worked to ensure that Israel receives what he described as “fair treatment” in the United Nations, and that his country will continue doing so.
Wood further said that Israel is a close friend and ally to the United States, and that the US will remain committed to Israel’s security.
ghassan bannoura reported that there were war sirens going off in 1948 palestine, although here in beit sahour we can only hear the planes overhead. while the zionist entity maintains that this is about “defense” there are many of us who see this as aggression:
“The People In Israel after the war in Lebanon and in Gaza don’t buy so much anymore the question that there is a real threat on Israel, there is a big discussion over how much the army should be budgeted, the objective of this drill is for internal propaganda to make people feel that Israel is in a situation of war, we can’t exclude a possible attack on Lebanon or Gaza in the near future this is a permanent question.” Sergio Yanni said.
The exercise comes in the midst of increasing Israeli rhetoric against Iran, and a statement just last week by the Israeli military that the Lebanese Hezbollah group now has possession of more rockets than it did before the 2006 war- although that statement was not backed up with any evidence.
The drill also includes training in how to repress the Palestinian population in the West Bank, Gaza and inside Israel during the three-front scenario. Faouzi Barhum, spokesman of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza told IMEMC via phone that the exercise is a form of attack.
“At first this military exercise could be considered as an attack, because it is to show the military criminal machine that killed children in Gaza and Lebanon, those drills could become a war at any time, because we expect everything from the occupation, it is clear that the division and state of salience among the Arabs have encouraged the Zionist regime of doing this military exercise.” Barhum told IMEMC.
al jazeera reports how this is perceived by others in the region as the zionist entity rationalizes its desire for perpetual justification for war and aggression:
“They say it is all part of the militarisation of Israeli society and a way to perpetuate the idea of an ongoing war and ongoing fight that Israel is carrying out against the rest of the world,” she said.
“This has been subject to a lot of criticism because it in some way justifies Israel’s brutal force and the security measures it takes against the Palestinians.”
Israel began its national drills in the aftermath of the July-August 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which revealed major weaknesses in how Israel dealt with the rocket attacks on its territory.
This year’s exercise comes just days before Lebanon holds a closely-fought election that could see the Hezbollah-led opposition become the new government.
The drills will also coincide with a regional tour by Barack Obama, the US president.
Israel is under pressure from the US to accept a Palestinian state, but it has also voiced fears of a strong Hezbollah in Lebanon and a strong Hamas in Gaza.
Alastair Crooke, director of the Conflict Forum in Beirut, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that there is a sense in the Arab world that Israel is looking toward the right for new solutions to its security concerns.
“It’s the sense of unwillingness for many Israeli leaders to see a Palestinian state pushed on it, at a time when Hamas is strong and when Hezbollah may be getting stronger, When America may be talking to Syria and talking to Iran at the same time,” he said.
“This leaves policy makers in Israel quite nervous and looking for ways to change the political paradigm in a way that will advance the Israeli sense of security.”
and, of course, given that the zionist entity is an apartheid regime, it is the colonists have access to bomb shelters and sirens; palestinians in 1948 palestine, for the most part, do not as saed bannoura reports:
The reported also revealed that 80% of the Arab villages in Israel are not equipped to handle any crisis situation; this includes any sort of military escalation, missile strikes or even a natural disaster Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported.
Haaretz added that 75% of the residents of Nazareth, the largest Arab city in the country, have no access to private shelters, and the 99% of the residents of the Arava area do not have any access to shelters.
The report found that in many of the Arab communities included in the study, the safest places were schools, although they are not built to function as shelters.
It also revealed that in most of the mixed cities, where Arabs and Israelis live, Arab neighborhoods are not equipped to face emergency situations.
The study was conducted as Israel’s so-called Home Front Command of the Israeli military conducted a nation-wide week-long drill to test Israel’s readiness for war or catastrophe.
Part of the drill was testing 2300 sirens and also included requesting to citizens to hide in secure rooms for 10 minutes.
and, of course, it is not just the planning for its next war that is in our midst. it is the ongoing war, particularly the zionist terrorist army’s war against palestinians in gaza as saed bannoura reports about palestinian injuries today:
The brigades added that the two injured fighters were moved to a local hospital.
It stated that its fighters clashes with Israeli forces operating in northern Gaza, and added that the fighters will counter all Israeli assaults and will retaliate to “the ongoing Israeli crimes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”.
The brigades also claimed responsibility for firing thee RPG shells, on Tuesday evening, at a number of Israeli tanks located near the Gaza border.
it is not only palestinian people who are attacked with american-made weapons in the hands of zionist terrorist colonists. it is also palestinian land which is under attack, land which under normal circumstances would provide the food to sustain palestinian people in gaza. erin cunningham’s report in the christian science monitor on the ever-enlarging so-called “buffer zone” inside the gaza strip affects palestinian farmers from producing food and is a part of the on-going savaging of gaza:
“We haven’t been able to visit this area. No organization has,” says Mohammed al-Shattali, project manager for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in the Gaza Strip.
“The war increased the amount of land destroyed, particularly in the border areas, and the farmers can’t replant anything because it’s too dangerous,” he says. “The Israeli soldiers, they shoot at everything – dogs, sheep. They are very tense.”
An Israeli-imposed buffer zone in the already narrow enclave was established more than a decade ago to thwart attacks by Palestinian militants, who use the border areas to launch homemade rockets at Israeli towns or dig tunnels to carry out attacks against IDF troops stationed at the border.
But what was previously just a sliver of fortified land on the strip’s northern and eastern perimeters now, in the aftermath of Israel’s January offensive in the territory, swallows roughly 30 percent of Gaza’s arable farmland, according to the FAO.
It stretches as deep as 1.25 miles inside Gaza’s territory in the north and half a mile in the east, despite the 300-meter figure declared on the leaflets, the organization says. Gaza is just 25 miles long and slightly more than six miles wide.
you can see how this affects palestinian farmers on the blog farming under fire and here is a video encapsulating the experience of palestinians under attack by zionist terrorists every day:
but of course these war planes flying above our head, creating a kind of psychological terrorism for people living in palestine who have to hear this throughout the day, are not yet flying over our neighbors in lebanon and syria. nevertheless the fact that the last month or so has seen an extraordinary number of zionist spies in lebanon raises questions about things to come. al jazeera reported on more spies arrested this week:
Lebanon’s National News Agency reported on Tuesday that military prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged the nine with collaboration and giving information to Israel about military and civilian installations and political figures, according to AP.
Separately, an Egyptian man and a Lebanese have been arrested for spying, security sources told AP.
everything you ever wanted to know about zionist colonialism and terrorism in palestine can in many ways be encapsulated by visiting khalil: from refugees (new and old) to martyrs, to house demolitions, to political prisoners, to military and colonist terrorism all within a few square kilometers.
my friend and i went to khalil today to do some shopping–she wanted to visit a pottery factory to order plaques for her parents’ graves and i wanted to continue my quest for palestinian-made kuffiyas, which are only made in one palestinian factory now. and it is in khalil. (for those in the united states who wish to buy palestinian-made kuffiyas please click this link for the kufiyeh project–and they also have a video on their site about the last palestinian kuffiya factory.) everywhere else in palestine if you really ask and look closely you will find they are all made in china now. and we finally found them at the palestinian women’s cooperative in the old city. but we wandered around the old city of khalil first and along the way met some interesting families. the first family who invited us into their home live at the end of a street because it has been boarded up because israeli terrorists colonized the entire area on the other side. he wanted us to come up to see his home which has been taken over, on one side, by the colonists, and on top of his roof is an israeli terrorist sniper tower. the room on the top floor of his house was set on fire by these israeli terrorists and two of his brothers were murdered by them as well. he gave us an overview of his neighborhood from the roof of his house. for instance, he showed us where some families had cows, but israeli terrorists poisoned them.
as we walked around the city we saw dozens of israeli terrorist soldiers’ jeeps patrolling the streets and terrorizing the palestinian residents. we saw dozens of israeli terrorist colonists in full prayer gear with m-16s strapped around their back. we saw palestinian homes demolished. we saw dozens of checkpoints compacted into a tiny area. i’ve been here before, but not for at least three years–not in this area where the streets are blocked off and where many palestinians cannot walk down the street (we actually got stopped at a checkpoint for walking the wrong way today). we also met another man who lives across the small valley separating his street and the israeli terrorist colony known as kiryat arba. he gave us tea and some respite from the sun and showed us film footage of his neighbor’s home in the valley below that was set on fire last december by israeli terrorist colonists (i blogged about this here). the photographs i took today that you will find below are pretty much self explanatory, but important with respect to showing the ongoing nakba of khalil. this is, of course, no different than the ongoing nakbas in al quds or aqraba or the naqab, but the difference here is that it is tightly packed into such a small space. below you will see many israeli terrorist colonists and their settlements, including a new one that is merely a tent right now. rory mccarthy’s report in the guardian the other day makes it clear that there is increasingly stronger rhetoric from the u.s. about israeli terrorist colonies. however, in electronic intifada ali abunimah reminds us of the fact that words mean nothing unless followed by action:
yesterday on my drive down from nablus to ramallah i encountered an extraordinary number of checkpoints and delays resulting from them. here are some of my checkpoint photographs. the first two checkpoint photographs are within 1 km of the other. i made it through the first one without having to show my passport at the huwara dco, but 1 km later, right after the israeli terrorist forces army/jail, i was stopped by a soldier who kept me waiting for 30 minutes. the following one was a flying checkpoint where a huge line of cars was held for at least an hour in the middle of the highway. then it was on to beit el dco, which is there because of an enormous colony on the land of al bireh. there i was turned away even though i normally use this checkpoint when i’m driving in this particular direction. i had to head down through jaba’ checkpoint and then through qalandia checkpoint in order to reach ramallah (essentially drive all the way to the southern end of ramallah when i was trying to enter from the north).
all of these checkpoints are there to terrorize palestinians, to force them into submission, and to provide cover for israeli terrorist colonists who steal palestinian land and build their settlements. nour odeh reported on al jazeera yesterday about the expansion of these settlements which are expanding every day. it is aptly put in this video that the occasional outpost dismantling is no more than a media event for the west to see and think that the zionist entity is doing something about its colonial expansionism when it never does:
meanwhile netanyahu makes no attempt to hide his plans for further expansion:
The Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) reported that F-16 fighter-jets shelled an area near the cars market, at the Salah Ed Deen Street, east of Gaza’s Al Zeitoun neighborhood. Two residents were wounded and were moved to a local hospital.
The air force also shelled a blacksmith workshop in Al Zeitoun neighborhood, completely leveling it and causing damage to a number of nearby homes.
Shortly afterwards, the air force shelled another blacksmith shop on Yaffa street, north east of Gaza City; one resident was wounded and several homes and structures were damaged.
Furthermore, the Israeli Air Force shelled a number of areas in the town of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Navy opened automatic fire and fired several shells at areas across the Gaza shore.
The air force also shelled a chicken farm in Rafah completely damaging it.
On Tuesday night, the air force shelled the “Tunnels Area” in Rafah, wounding one woman and one child. Both were moved to Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital.
The shelling came shortly after the Air Force shelled an area close to Al Barazil neighborhood, south of Rafah.
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli Navy fired several shells at areas across the coasts of Gaza and Khan Younis.
this time, however, the egyptian army joined forces to intensify the damage against palestinians, sealing their fate that this egyptian regime is every bit as zionist as the one occupying palestine:
Sources in Gaza reported that the six workers sustained moderate wounds and were moved to a hospital in Rafah city for treatment. Since Israel sealed-off the coastal strip in June 2007, the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt have become the main sources of supplies to Gaza.
no comment tv has footage of some of the damage done to gaza from these new assaults:
this newest assault comes at a time when the twenty-three day savagery has been unable to recover given the ongoing zionist-egyptian siege imposed on palestinians in gaza. anera has a short video of the damage done to a palestinian ice cream factory and its inability to recoup its losses:
eva bartlett’s article in electronic intifada yesterday illustrates how the ongoing savagery and siege continue to plague palestinians, particularly farmers:
Local farmers report that the blaze carried over a four-kilometer stretch on the Palestinian side of the eastern border land. Ibrahim Hassan Safadi, 49, from one of the farming families whose crops were destroyed by the blaze, said that the fires were smoldering until early evening, despite efforts by the fire brigades to extinguish them.
Safadi says he was present when Israeli soldiers fired small bombs into his field, which soon after caught ablaze. He explained that “The Israeli soldiers fired from their jeeps, causing a fire to break out on the land. They burned the wheat, burned the pomegranate trees … The fire spread across the valley. We called the fire brigades. They came to the area and put out the fire. But in some places the fire started again.” According to Safadi, he lost 30,000 square meters to the blaze, including 300 pomegranate trees, 150 olive trees, and wheat.
In the border areas it has long since become nearly impossible to work on the land due to almost daily shooting from the Israeli soldiers. The crops that were burned on 4 May were dried and ready to harvest, meaning that they were extremely flammable.
“It took only three minutes for the fire to destroy 65,000 square meters,” said Nahed Jaber Abu Said, whose farmland lies a few kilometers down the road from Safadi. He added that “It was nearly 9am. I was here when the Israeli jeeps came. An Israeli soldier at the fence shot an explosive into our field of wheat. It went up in flames immediately.”
Safadi said that the arson attack was the third major time his farm has suffered from an Israeli attack. In previous attacks over the last decade, he explained, Israeli soldiers bulldozed his land, razing his lemon, olive and clementine trees as well as demolishing greenhouses.
“We’ve suffered great losses. The Israeli soldiers have destroyed so much of our land, trees and equipment. They’ve cost us a lot of money,” he said, citing cumulative losses of $330,000 since 2000 when the heightened invasions began. In the last attack, Safadi said that $130,000 worth of crops, trees and irrigation piping was destroyed.
and the losses are multiple and varied and all encompassing. due to the siege, this week, yet another child was murdered in gaza:
Ribhi Jindiyeh suffered from lymphoma, and underwent chemotherapy last year. In March, however, his condition worsened, and, because of the lack of medical supplies in Gaza due to the Israeli closure, his parents consulted with a doctor in Israel to get the needed medical treatment.
Ribhi’s father applied to the Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. According to the Associated Press, a staff member at the hospital told their reporter that a fax machine at the hospital may have been broken, and the request was not answered for weeks. Finally, the child was accepted into a treatment program in the Israeli hospital, but the Israeli government refused to issue the boy the permit needed to cross the closed border into Israel.
Palestinian medical sources report that over 300 patients have died since June 2007, when the elected Hamas government began its administration in Gaza, and the Israeli government implemented a full closure on the Strip. Virtually no one has been able to enter or leave the besieged coastal Strip, and supplies of needed medicines and equipment are dwindling to near nothing in Gaza’s hospitals and clinics.
Israeli authorities say the siege is a way to “choke” the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority in Gaza, to try to force the elected government out of power. But human rights groups from around the world have called the siege collective punishment of an entire population, which is a violation of international law and of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
A recent report found that Israeli forces have routinely tried to force patients to work for the Israeli intelligence services as informants in order to leave Gaza to receive needed medical care.
the siege is not just about who and what are trapped inside gaza, but also who and what is forbidden from entering gaza. amira hass’ article this week in ha’aretz detailed some of the forbidden items:
The few items merchants are allowed to trade in are divided into three categories: food, medicine and detergent. Everything else is forbidden – including building materials (which are necessary to rehabilitate Gaza’s ruins and rebuild its infrastructure), electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines, spare machine and car parts, fabrics, threads, needles, light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, cutlery, crockery, cups, glasses and animals. Many of the banned products are imported through the tunnels and can be found in Gaza’s markets.
Pasta, which had been forbidden in the past, is now allowed, after U.S. Senator John Kerry expressed his astonishment at the ban during a visit to Gaza in February. But tea, coffee, sausages, semolina, milk products in large packages and most baking products are forbidden. So are industrial commodities for manufacturing food products, chocolate, sesame seeds and nuts. Israel does allow importing fruit, milk products in small packages and frozen food products as well as limited amounts of industrial fuel.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that during the first week of May, 2.2 million liters of industrial fuel – some 70 percent of the weekly supply required to operate the power station – was allowed into Gaza. UNRWA receives petrol and diesel supplies separately. A daily 270-300 tons of cooking gas – 54 percent of the required amount – is allowed.
Petrol and diesel for private cars and public transportation have not been imported from Israel since November 2, 2008, except for a small amount for UNRWA. The union of Gaza’s gas station owners estimates that some 100,000 liters of diesel and 70,000 liters of petrol are brought through the tunnels daily.
Egypt, which in the past two months has been restricting the trade movement through the tunnels, does not limit the supply of gas and fuel. But since Egyptian fuel is heavier than Israeli fuel, it damages the newer cars in Gaza and causes malfunctions.
In the past, Israel allowed wood for home furnishings to be brought into Gaza for some time, but not wood for windows and doors. Now Israel has resumed the ban on wood for furniture.
The ban on toilet paper, diapers and sanitary napkins was lifted three months ago. A little more than a month ago, following a long ban, Israel permitted the import of detergents and soaps into Gaza. Even shampoo was allowed. But one merchant discovered that the bottles of shampoo he had ordered were sent back because they included conditioner, which was not on the list.
Five weeks ago Israel allowed margarine, salt and artificial sweetener to be brought into Gaza. Legumes have been allowed for the past two months and yeast for the past two weeks. Contrary to rumors, Israel has not banned sugar.
in addition to these bans on various material items that are banned, there are other daily reminders of the ongoing siege and the massacres that palestinians in gaza have to live with every day. eman mohammed’s article in electronic intifada this week highlights one family who is literally living among the dead:
The six-member Jilu family are all jammed together in a tiny house with one bedroom and a small space for the kitchen with a tomb next to it. For Afaf Jilu, 30 years old, the mother of three boys and one girl, it’s not the surrounding view of graves that upsets her the most but the cramped environment that forces her to live in one room with her husband and four kids.
“Not having privacy is what makes this life unbearable,” Afaf said. “When I try to sleep, my children want to watch TV and they are only kids. I can’t make it worse for them by denying them what they want to.”
Afaf added, “I keep reminding myself that we’ll get our own house once the economic situation in the country is better and then I can plant lots of trees around the house instead of having a cemetery strangle us from all around. We all hang on our small dreams that we have in mind to achieve. That’s the best thing we learned from living here; the more we see people dying, leaving their dreams behind, the more we hold on to ours. It’s the only way to break through!”
For 13-year-old Muhammad, the equation is different since he never brings any of his friends over to play or study, because of his feeling of being the “odd one out” since he lives in a cemetery. “My friends aren’t familiar with the idea of living between dead people. It can be used to make a silly joke and not just a reality of life. Sometimes I feel ashamed of this place,” he said.
and there are other reminders as well. the village of khuzaa, which experienced a ground invasion during the savagery of israeli terrorism is still dealing with the trauma of the war crimes that were committed there as erin cunningham writes in electronic intifada:
“This assault was the worst thing to ever happen to us,” says Khuzaa’s mayor, Abu Ayman. “It is worse than when the village was divided in 1948.”
Khuzaa saw little fighting in the first two weeks of the attacks. But on 10 January, a barrage of white phosphorus shells landed deep into residential areas, locals and a March report by Human Rights Watch say.
The next two days saw an onslaught of rockets and missiles fired from fighter jets, unmanned drones and Apache helicopters — a precursor to a ground invasion of tanks, bulldozers and soldiers at midnight 13 January.
The men and boys of the village were blindfolded and detained in a massive hole dug by Israeli bulldozers, locals say. Terrified residents whose homes were bulldozed or occupied by the Israeli military fled to the safety of an open courtyard at Khuzaa’s center.
“Many of the villagers who were taking refuge in the courtyard had moved there from the outer parts of Khuzaa because of the previous attacks,” Amnesty International’s head researcher for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Donatella Rovera, told IPS on telephone from London.
“These attacks happened where they thought they would be safe,” Rovera said.
When the courtyard where villagers had taken refuge also came under attack — an Israeli bulldozer began to demolish one of the courtyard walls, locals say — Rawhiyya al-Najjar, a female resident of Khuzaa, decided they had no choice but to evacuate.
Carrying a white flag, Rawhiyya led a group of women and children out of the compound and into the village in the early hours of 13 January, according to residents and human rights groups.
She was shot in the head with a single bullet, independent testimonies confirm, and took 12 hours to die after a medic who tried to reach her also came under fire from Israeli forces.
Rovera says that Rawhiyya’s murder, the reckless use of white phosphorus, and systematic destruction of homes by the Israeli military in Khuzaa constitute war crimes.
“The patterns of attacks as they happened in Khuzaa are consistent with the broader patterns throughout the war, which constitute grave breaches of international law, including war crimes,” Rovera told IPS.
so far spain has been one of the few bright spots with respect to investigating, and hopefully, prosecuting israeli terrorists for their war crimes. but it seems that zionists have been interfering with spanish politics and this potential may soon be negated:
Spain’s Socialist government said earlier this year it would change the law after protests from Israel over the High Court’s decision in January to launch a war crimes probe into seven Israelis including former defense minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer for a 2002 attack in the Gaza Strip that killed 14 civilians and a Hamas leader.
If translated into a law, the resolution would restrict Spain, which had been praised by international campaigners, to only investigating cases in which the accused is in Spain or Spaniards are victims.
yesterday on al jazeera nour odeh reported on zaytoun olive oil, a fair trade palestinian olive oil company that is exported to the west. buying palestinian olive oil is an important way to buycott, meaning making conscious choices not to support major companies that support the zionist entity while also supporting palestinians here is her report:
i have a section of links to the right with various methods of buycott that you can learn about, including zaytoun olive oil.
odeh’s report mentions that last year over one million palestinian olive trees were uprooted, destroyed by israeli terrorists. sometimes the uprooting is malicious, and other times it is to steal more land to build jewish-only roads and colonies on palestinian land. one of the reasons for the increase of olive trees destroyed–an essential aspect of palestinian livelihood–is because illegal colony construction has increased as ha’aretz reports:
A new outpost, new roads, and other building projects have raced ahead in and around the settlements, often without legal permits, producing the biggest construction drive since 2003, according to Dror Etkes of the Israeli advocacy group Yesh Din. That group monitors construction in the West Bank.
The construction, which has sped up even more since Benjamin Netanyahu’s government took office this spring, is to be a main issues in U.S. President Barack Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu at mid-month.
Vice President Joe Biden called on Israel on Tuesday to stop building in the settlements and to dismantle existing illegal outposts. However, left-wing groups monitoring events in the territories say the construction has accelerated in recent months, not halted.
Examples include the following:
Construction in outposts: Between Talmon and Nahliel, west of Ramallah, a stone house and another structure have been built without a permit, next to a vineyard set up by settlers a year and a half ago. The Israel Defense Forces’ civil administration has recently issued an order to stop the project.
Illegal construction has been carried out on Palestinian land at the outposts Mitzpeh Ahiya and Adei-Ad, north of Ramallah. A mobile home has been set in an outpost near Susia south of Hebron. An outpost that was vacated near Hebron has been reinstated.
Construction east of the separation fence: New houses have been built in the Eli settlement, Rechelim, Ma’aleh Michmash and Kochav Hashahar (north and east of Ramallah). In addition, a neighborhood has been built in Na’ale, and there are at least 10 houses in Halamish and new houses in Talmon (all west of Ramallah).
Construction west of the planned fence route: Land has been prepared for building in the Kedar settlement, and 30 houses have been built in Ma’aleh Shomron. There is also a new neighborhood in both the Elkana and Zofim settlements.
Road construction and farmland: This has gone on near the Bracha settlement south of Nablus, near Tapuach, in the Eli and Shiloh area and in the Amona and Elazar settlements.
The accelerated construction stems mainly from the reduced supervision of events in the territories in the last stages of the Olmert government, while Netanyahu’s right-wing government, part of which supports the construction, hasn’t begun to address the issue.
The settlers also took advantage of the public and media attention’s focus on Gaza during the IDF offensive in January to continue the settlements and outposts’ expansion in the territories.
Israel is officially committed to the promise made by former prime minister Ariel Sharon to the Bush administration to evacuate all illegal outposts built after March 2001. But evacuations have been carried out languidly and with long intervals.
and in al quds a secret report was just released and ha’aretz reported on it showing the ways in which colonists and the israeli terrorist government act as one body to steal land and ethnically cleanse palestinians from their land:
In a report presented to former prime minister Ehud Olmert on September 11 last year, the JDA described the purpose of the project as “to create a sequence of parks surrounding the Old City,” all in the aspiration “to strengthen Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”
The program, sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Office and the mayor of Jerusalem, is secret and did not engage in any form of public discussion.
According to an analysis by Ir Amim, a non-profit organization dedicated to Jerusalem issues that impact on Israeli and Palestinians which exposed this detailed, confidential government plan, the motivation is to create Israeli hegemony over the area around the Old City, “inspired by extreme right-wing ideology.”
“This program integrates with statutory program 11555, approved by the Jerusalem municipality in November 2007, designed to accelerate development [to six housing units per dunam, or some 24 units per acre] in one of the most important archaeological sites in Israel. The array of escalators, cable cars and tunnels included in the plan portend blatant signs of a biblical playground populated by settler organizations,” which the organization says will be carried out by ousting Palestinian residents.
Ir Amim charges that by exposing the existence of the program the public is granted, “for the first time, a comprehensive view of how the government and settlers, working as one body, are creating a “biblical” territorial reign which connects Armon Hanatziv and Silwan in the south, Ras al-Amud and the Mount of Olives in the east, and Sheikh Jarra in the north, by connecting all of the land east of E-1.”
while these colonies go up at an alarming pace, palestinians in gaza cannot build homes because basic items like cement continue to be banned. but once again palestinians in gaza are proving how steadfast and resourceful they are by building houses with mud (zeina awad had an awesome bit on this on al jazeera the other day, but it looks like they are not going to post it on youtube). eva bartlett reported on this for electronic intifada:
“My wife and our four daughters and I were living with family, but it was overcrowded, impossible. We knew we had to build a home of our own,” Shaar said. “We waited over two years for cement but because of the siege there is none available. What could we do, wait forever?”
So he decided to do it with mud.
Building earthen structures like bread ovens and small animal pens is a technique many Palestinians are familiar with, but extending the method to houses isn’t a notion that has taken hold in Gaza.
Jihad al-Shaar got the idea from his travels in Asia and the Middle East. “I traveled in Bangladesh, India, Yemen, Turkey … they all use some similar technique of building houses from earth. All you need is clay, sand and some straw.” These he mixed with water, and poured into brick moulds that were left in the sun to dry for three days. Good enough to build a fine house with.
While some Gaza residents speak of shame at the way life has “gone backwards” with the siege — using cooking oil in cars, wood fires for cooking, and horse and donkey carts for transportation — Shaar is proud of his clay home.
“In the winter it is warm, and in the summer it will be cool. There’s no problem with leaking, and this type of house will last a lifetime,” he says. “And it was cheap to build. A house this size made of cement would cost around $16,000 at least. This one, because it was made with simple, local materials cost just $3,000.”
Prior to Israel’s crippling siege on Gaza cement would have cost 20 shekels (about $5) a bag. Now, with cement among the many banned items, what does make it into Gaza through tunnels under the Egypt border costs ten times as much.
The $3,000 Shaar spent was mostly on support metal and on the flakes of straw used in the mud bricks as a strengthening agent. The metal bits, formerly just over 1,000 shekels a ton, are now quadrupled in price, which contribute to making an otherwise cheap building process still somewhat pricey.
Straw abounds, but due to the siege it is more often used as animal fodder, rendering it more precious and driving the price up. Clay and sand, found all over Gaza, must still be transported to the building site.
more on the zionist too ban ki-moon. in an interview with al jazeera’s ghida fakhry below richard falk makes a couple of points clear:
1. there will still be a united nations full investigation led by richard goldstone, which as falk makes clear is necessary because the ban report released yesterday only covers the violations in relation to the united nations itself in gaza and not the hundreds of savage violations of international humanitarian law against palestinian people in gaza.
2. fakhry points falk to the important question of ban’s statement about not calling for a further investigation as is the norm in the united nations (she names the former yugoslavia, lebanon, sierra leone as a few such examples). falk exposes ban’s zionist misleading statement (see he’s a good zionist tool–he knows how to deceive the public).
my problem remains that it is not only an investigation that is needed, but an investigation that leads to full criminal prosecution of the israeli terrorist war criminals. though there is not a punishment in the world that would be sufficient for them or any of their predecessors.
• a mandate to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation of all allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict; it should not be limited only to attacks on UN facilities;
• act in accordance with the strictest international standards governing such investigations;
• if it finds sufficient evidence, it should provide recommendations as to the appropriate prosecution of those responsible for gross violations of the law by the relevant authorities.
The events in Gaza have shocked us to the core. Relief and reconstruction are desperately needed but, for the real wounds to heal, we must also establish the truth about crimes perpetuated against civilians on both sides.
List of signatories:
Prof. Dr. M. Cherif Bassiouni (USA) – Chairman of the UN Commission of Experts to Investigate Violations of International Humanitarian Law in the Former Yugoslavia (1992-1994) and Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the UN Diplomatic Conference on the International Criminal Court (1998). He is currently Professor of International Law and President Emeritus of the International Human Rights Law Institute.
Prof. Dr. Alex Boraine (South Africa) – Vice-chairman of the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-1998). He is currently Chairman of the International Center for Transitional Justice and Professor of Law at the New York University.
Prof. Dr. Antonio Cassese (Italy) – First President (1993-1997) and Judge (1993-2000) of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1993-1997) and Head of the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (2004). He is currently Professor of International Law at the University of Florence.
Mr. Luc Côté (Canada) – Former Executive Director of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste (2006) and Director of Prosecutions of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (2003-2005). Currently Director of a Justice Mapping Project in the DRC.
Justice Richard J. Goldstone (South Africa) – Chairman of the South Africa Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation (1991-1994), Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda (1994-1996), Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (1996-2003) and Chairman of the UN Independent Inquiry Commission on Kosovo (1999). He is currently a visiting professor of international law.
Ms. Hina Jilani (Pakistan) – Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders (2000-2008) and Member of the Darfur Commission of Inquiry (2006).
Prof. Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres (Peru) – Chairman of the Peru Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2001-2003). He is currently Rector Emeritus of the Catholic University of Peru and President of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights.
Mr. Dumisa Ntsebeza (South Africa) – Member of the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-1998) and of the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (2004).
Prof. Dr. Stelios Perrakis (Greece) – Member of the UN Commission of Inquiry to Lebanon (2006). He is currently Professor of International and European Institutions at the Pantheion University and Member of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.
Prof. Dr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (Brazil) – UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burundi (1995-1998) and in Myanmar (2000-2008) and Chairman of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste (2006). He is currently Commissioner and Rapporteur on Children at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Ms. Mary Robinson (Ireland) – President of Ireland (1990-1997) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). She is currently Chancellor of the University of Dublin.
Prof. William A. Schabas (Canada) – Member of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2002-2004). He is currently Professor of Human Rights Law at the National University of Ireland and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights.
Ms. Yasmin Sooka (South Africa) – Member of the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-1998) and of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2002-2007). She is currently Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights.
Mr. Desmond Travers (Ireland) – Former Colonel of the Army of the Irish Defence Forces, he is currently Director at the Institute for International Criminal Investigations.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (South Africa) – Chairman of the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1995-1998) and Noble Peace Prize winner (1984).
Mr. Ralph Zacklin (United Kingdom) – United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs (1998-2005), Member of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor Leste (2006), Chairman of the United Nations Independent Panel on Accountability (2008).
so far news from the aipac (american israel public affairs committee) conference is as banal as can be. it’s the same old propaganda. you can probably just replay past speeches, just change a few names here and there, but insert the same words. mondoweiss has been tweeting and blogging about it, but here is the most interesting part of what they tweeted in the screen shot below:
the things that seem to be new are the increased fear they have of boycott, divestment, and sanctions in the united states as can be seen in the tweets above. and this is great news! but it seems as though there are those–like shimon peres–who fail to mention palestinians altogether and see iran as the proverbial obstacle to peace.
what i think is the bigger piece of news today is the release of the united nations report on israeli terrorist war crimes in the gaza strip. here is rory mccarthy and ed pilkington’s report on this investigation’s findings:
The first investigation into the three-week war by anyone other than human rights researchers and journalists held the Israeli government responsible in seven separate cases in which UN property was damaged and UN staff and other civilians were hurt or killed.
Israel rejected the inquiry’s findings, even before the summary was released, as “tendentious” and “patently biased”.
The board of inquiry, led by Ian Martin, a Briton who is a former head of Amnesty International and a former UN special envoy to East Timor and Nepal, had limited scope, looking only at cases of death, injury or damage involving UN property and staff. But its conclusions amount to a major challenge to Israel.
It found the Israeli military’s actions “involved varying degrees of negligence or recklessness”, and that the military took “inadequate” precautions towards UN premises. It said the deaths of civilians should be investigated under the rules of international humanitarian law.
The UN should take action “to seek accountability and pursue claims to secure reparation or reimbursement” for UN expenses and payments over deaths or injury to UN staff and damage to UN property where the responsibility lay with Israel, Hamas or any other party, the report added. In total, more than $11m worth of damage was caused to UN premises.
The inquiry looked in detail at nine incidents, in which several Palestinians died. It found the Israeli military responsible in seven cases where it had “breached the inviolability” of the UN. In one other case, Palestinian militants, probably from Hamas, were held responsible; in a final case, responsibility was unclear.
The report summary will now go to the UN security council. In a later press conference , Ban confirmed that he would be seeking no further official inquiry into the Gaza events. But he did say he would be looking for reparations from Israel on a “case-by-case” basis.
The secretary general was asked whether his decision not to publish the full report amounted to a watering down of the inquiry’s findings. He categorically denied the suggestion: the inquiry was independent, and he was powerless to edit its conclusions.
Israel’s foreign ministry said the Israeli military had already investigated its own conduct during the war and “proved beyond doubt” that it had not fired intentionally at UN buildings. It dismissed the UN inquiry.
“The state of Israel rejects the criticism in the committee’s summary report and determines that in both spirit and language the report is tendentious, patently biased and ignores the facts presented to the committee,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It said the inquiry had “preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organisation, and by doing so has misled the world”.
The most serious incident investigated took place on 6 January, near a UN boys’ preparatory school in Jabaliya that was being used as a shelter for hundreds of Palestinians who had fled their homes to escape the fighting. The Israeli military had fired several 120mm mortar rounds in the “immediate vicinity” of the school, killing between 30 and 40 Palestinians, the inquiry found.
Although Israel at the time said Hamas had fired mortars from within the school, the inquiry found this as not true: there had been no firing from within the compound and there were no explosives in the school.
It held Israel responsible for the attack and said the deaths of civilians should be “assessed in accordance with … international humanitarian law.” It also called for a formal acknowledgement from Israel that its allegations about Palestinian militants being present in the school were untrue.
[UPDATE]: here is nick spicer’s report on al jazeera that gives us a little dose of reality on the situation:
and just in case you think that the savagery of gaza is over imagine what palestinian medical patients who survived that savagery who need medical care have to go through when they are faced with the choice between collaboration with the zionist enemy or no medical treatment:
Data and 30 testimonies collected by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) and presented at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva, indicates a rise in the number of Palestinian patients interrogated and forced to provide information, usually at the Erez border crossing into Israel.
According to PHR-I, Israel’s General Security Service (GSS, known as Shabak) interrogated minors; photographed patients against their will; harassed, accused, cursed and intimidated patients during interrogations.
Patients that did not cooperate were returned to Gaza without receiving a permit to exit for medical treatment, the report said.
Between January 2008 and March 2009, at least 438 patients have been summoned for GSS interrogations at Erez Crossing, as a precondition for a review of their applications to access medical treatment outside the Strip.
The data points to an increase in the ratio of the number of interrogations to the total number of applications submitted to the authorities at Erez Crossing: from 1.45% in January 2008 to 17% in January 2009.
The following is one of the testimonies that was submitted to the UN committee:
“R., a 17-year-old cancer patient who is being treated at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, arrived at the Erez Crossing after having been informed by PHR-Israel that her departure, accompanied by her mother, had been approved. When they reached the crossing point at 9 a.m they were told to sit and wait in the departure hall. At around 11.30 three GSS men in civilian dress came over and asked R. to follow them for interrogation.
“Despite the girl’s tears and pleading, one of the GSS men threatened that if she did not accompany him, he would send her back to Gaza. R. was separated from her mother and taken for interrogation. All this time, her mother was locked in the adjacent room and told to wait for her daughter.
“The interrogation lasted an hour, and in its course, the girl’s cell phone was taken, she was questioned about her uncle and her father, their place of employment etc. On conclusion of the interrogation, the girl was taken back to her mother, and at the end of the day, around 17.00 she was permitted to leave for Israel
“R. … who was interrogated on 29.1.09. Testimony submitted to PHR-Israel on the same day. The patient suffers from a malignant tumor on the leg and is being treated at Shiba Medical Center in Israel.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is one of at least eight organizations that have submitted testimony to the Committee Against Torture, which this week is reviewing Israel’s record. This year the UN is examining Israel as well as Chad, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Philippines as part of periodic reviews that it does of all nations.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Mark Regev responded to the Physicians for Human Rights report saying, in remarks quoted by the Jerusalem Post, “There are unfortunately countless examples of people who have asked to come into Israel for medical reasons, and who have been exploited by terrorists,” Regev said.
of course war crimes and ethnic cleansing are business as usual in the rest of palestine as well. first is the news that the “loyalty oath” policy of avigdor lieberman is becoming a reality as a means of ethnically cleansing palestinians from 1948 historic palestine:
Ynet has learned that the four are Arabs from northern Israel, who left the country in the 1970s and were involved in activities on behalf of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and other terror groups.
According to Israeli suspicions, the men were involved in the recruiting and training of terrorists. The four sought to return to Israel through Jordan and asked for passports. One of them even asked to bring his children along.
Yaakov Ganot, head of the National Immigration Authority, asked Minister Yishai to look into the possibility of revoking the four men’s citizenship. According to the information presented by Ganot, the four left Israel many years ago and resided in countries defined by law as enemy states, including Lebanon and Tunisia.
israeli terrorist colonists destroyed palestinian trees and land, in other words their livelihood yesterday:
Sinjil’s Mayor Imad Abdullah Masalmeh explained that the settlers cut the trees owned by the sick father of four disabled children, Shawqi Hussein Ghafari.
The settlers also cut down olive trees owned by Ali Hussein Fuqaha, Adib Ali Fuqaha, Hussein Farhan Dar Khalil, and the family of Muhammad Yousef Khalil.
The mayor explained that this village is frequently attacked by settlers, pointing that five settlements and outposts encircle the community.
He added that the municipality formed a committee to defend the land from settlers and the expansion of settlements. He said large swaths of the town are threatened with confiscation as a result of settlement expansion.
He appealed for the Palestinian Authority and rights-related organizations to support the farmers and put a stop to such practices.
and americans are getting in on the ethnic cleansing of palestine action, too! it seems that they have decided to occupy a stolen palestinian home to set up its “american corner” in akka:
On April 1, 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv opened the newest, and possibly most beautiful, American Corner in the world. This Corner is housed in the newly restored medieval structure at the A-Saraya, and is perhaps the first of the hundreds of American Corners in the world to be located in a UNESCO World Heritage site. On hand for the gala opening were U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunnigham, Akko Mayor Shimon Lankri, and over 150 community leaders, educators, and business people from Akko and surrounding areas. Peter Yarrow of the American folk group “Peter, Paul, and Mary” and Israeli music legend David Broza headlined the gala opening.
if you’re wondering why this is a unesco heritage site it is because it predates the zionist colonization of akka. this medieval structure is a palestinian one, though of course they fail to mention this.
the american colonists can fool themselves about the stolen palestinian space they are occupying just as much as those who believe that the mayor of al quds is actually creating some green space when he is stealing land, bulldozing palestinian homes, and covering it up with a park (sound familiar? read ilan pappe’s the ethnic cleansing of palestine if you don’t recognize this pattern.):
Jerusalem municipal Mayor Nir Barkat revealed his “master plan” for the city on Monday, which includes the ominous pledge for the “Development of eastern Jerusalem,” where most of the Palestinian population lives.
Also of concern to Palestinian residents is his intention to create five new metropolitan parks, particularly given the current demolition orders on nearly 100 Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood of the city to make way for the construction of green space.
Equally distressing is the issue of Israeli “Conservation and preservation of historic buildings,” since this often means the judization of Islamic or ancient historic sites.
In his explanation of “Developing Eastern Jerusalem,” Barakat said “An additional 13,550 housing units will be made available for construction for the residents of eastern Jerusalem,” which means the expansion of illegal East Jerusalem Israeli settlements. These settlements will be constructed on the land Palestinians will establish their capital city on under the Road Map and Arab Peace Initiative.
The mayor said he intended to build most of the new housing in the Palestinian A-Tur neighborhood (1,500 units), the Palestinian Beit Hanina- Shuafat neighborhoods (2,500 units), Tel Adesa (2,000 units), Jabel Mukabar (2,500 units), and the eastern Jerusalem city center (750 units). These areas house the highest number of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.
Barakat outlined his plans for the revitalization of tourism in Jerusalem, saying efforts would be concentrated on the Old City, again an area of high-concentration Palestinian homes.
According to reports, “The plan affixes the borders of the historical city to include the neighborhoods and buildings built until 1948,” which will annex even more Palestinian land.
and, of course, the kidnapping of palestinians continues, including university faculty and students as in the latest political prisoners from birzeit university: