sub-contracting occupations

hopeinafghanistan5

i find it disturbing that there are people who seem to think that there was something new or who were impressed by obama’s speech because he used the word “occupation.” here is the paragraph in which obama used that word:

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive.

the word i want to hear him utter is “nakba.” i want him to acknowledge the root of the problem and the only roadmap that will fix it, united nations resolution 194 that mandates palestinian refugees have a right to return to their land under international law. i find it increasingly problematic to use the word “occupation” because the word automatically signals the false notion that only land stolen by the zionist entity 42 years ago is “occupied.” but the entirety of palestine is occupied. is colonized. not just what is called the west bank and gaza strip. there is little difference between those zionist colonizers who occupy palestinian land whether in haifa or in khalil. and no the two people do not have equal legitimate aspirations.

there was an interesting debate on the speech on the pbs newshour, surprisingly enough, that featured abderrahim foukara from al jazeera, as’ad abukhalil, rami khoury, and some woman named sumaya hamdani whose reading of the speech was rightfully critiqued by the other panelists. this discussion was far more sophisticated and specific than anything i heard on al jazeera english because unlike al jazeera english, the newshour seemed to not make it a priority to find arabs and muslims who were salivating over the speech. you can also hear two good interviews nora barrows-friedman did with ali abunimah and robert knight with sami husseini yesterday on flashpoints that put the speech into its proper context.

helena cobban interviewed hamas leader khaled mesh’al yesterday for ips news in which mesh’al rightly states that palestinians want to see actions not words:

“We need two things from Obama, Mitchell, the Quartet, and the rest of the international community. Firstly, pressure on Israel to acknowledge and grant these rights. The obstacle to this is completely on the Israeli side. Secondly, we need the international actors to refrain from intervening in internal Palestinian affairs. You should leave it to the Palestinians to resolve our differences peacefully. You should respect Palestinian democracy and its results,” he said.

This latter was a reference to the hard-hitting campaign that Israel, the U.S. and its allies have maintained against Hamas ever since its candidates won a strong victory in the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s parliamentary elections in January 2006.

That campaign has included sustained efforts to delegitimise the Hamas-led government that emerged from the elections, attempts by Israel to assassinate the government’s leaders, including during Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, and the mission that U.S. Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton has led in the West Bank to arm and train an anti-Hamas fighting force loyal to the U.S.-supported Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

In his reaction to Obama’s speech, Meshaal referred to the U.S.’s role in this intervention, saying, “Rather than sweet words from President Obama on democratisation, we’d rather see the United States start to respect the results of democratic elections that have already been held. And rather than talk about democratisation and human rights in the Arab world, we’d rather see the removal of Gen. Dayton, who’s building a police state there in the West Bank.”

this issue of american-zionist forces collaborating with the palestinian authority came to a head yesterday as obama delivered his speech. ghassan bannoura reported the events as follows for imemc:

Four Palestinians were reported dead and numbers injured as Palestinian security forces announced that clashes with Hamas fighters ended in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia on Thursday midday.

The clashes started early morning and lasted till midday, The security forces and the gunmen exchanged fire after the gunmen opened fire at a vehicle that belongs to the Palestinian security forces, officials reported.

A security official in Qalqilia stated that the Hamas fighters hurled a grenade at the security patrol killing one officer and wounding several others. The security forces surrounded a building where three fighters of Hamas barracked themselves. Witnesses speaking under conditions of immunity told IMEMC that security forces stormed the building after heavy exchange of fire and found the three fighters dead.

Tension was high in Qalqilia since the start of the week. On Sunday a group of Hamas fighters clashed with the Fatah controlled security forces in the city. The clash left two fighters, one civilian and three security officers dead.

Meanwhile Fatah security forces in the West Bank and Hamas forces in Gaza arrested members of each other’s factions all week.

here is some footage from the associated press of the gun battle yesterday in qalqilia:

nora barrows-friedman’s interview with diana buttu the other day reveals the important details about these events and its relationship to larger concerns among palestinians more generally. here is nora’s post on her blog and below that is a partial transcript that i typed up from the interview.

Listen to my interview with former PLO advisor Diana Buttu earlier this week about the Palestinian Authority’s moves to:

1) accept “counter-terrorism” training from a US military colonialist-orientalist, Lt. Keith Dayton;

2) use that training to turn against Palestinians trying to resist the illegal occupation and apartheid regime of Israel;

3) further fractionalizing any national unity coalition to fight occupation and subjugation by Israel and the US.

here is a partial transcript of the interview with some revealing and insightful analysis and questioning (the link below is to the actual interview, which i highly recommend listening to):

Nora Barrows Friedman: …The PA placed the entire city of Qalqilia under curfew, which is reminiscent of Israeli tactics as they did their search and seizure mission. Can you give us your assessment of this in the current climate of the Occupied West Bank at this point?

Diana Buttu: Certainly, one of the interesting things about this case is that one of the individuals with Hamas who ended up being killed is somebody who was being sought after by the Israelis and who had gone under cover for a period of nearly 7 years. Rather than–so the irony is that instead of Israel person, the body that assassinates, it ended up that it’s the Palestinian Authority that has killed this man. And so it points to the direction that the Palestinian Authority is heading into: that is being the security sub-contractor to the Israeli Occupation.

NBF: And this also comes just three days after Israel assassinated another Hamas leader, Abed Al-Majid Dudin, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. You know, let’s talk about the timing of all of this. The PA security services have been ramping up their suppression of the civilian population, within the West Bank, and more and more Palestinian civilians are unimpressed, you could say, with the PA’s involvement with the Israeli government and the United States. You know, after this meeting with Obama, what’s the significance really of the timing of all of this under the Abbas leadership?

DB: It’s very significant. The significance of it is that President Abbas wants to demonstrate to the Americans that he is the address, particularly since his mandate expired in January 2009. And the only way he can demonstrate he is the address is–and Salam Fayyad being the prime minister who has now twice been appointed and not been confirmed by the PLC–the only way that they can that is by showing that they can take control of security. In other words, it’s become very clear that the equation is that the Palestinian Authority has to crack down on Hamas and demonstrate that it can actually take control and take charge of security in the West Bank. And in exchange for that there may, perhaps, be some pressure brought to bear on Israel–not to dismantle settlements, but just to simply freeze settlements. It’s becoming clear that this is the equation. Especially in light of the fact that President Abbas’ mandate expired in January of this year.

NBF: Diana, let’s talk also about the training of the PA services by the U.S. contra-style military commander Lieutenant Keith Dayton. Dayton has been employed in the West Bank for a couple of years. His contract was just renewed for another two years. And he’s been tasked to train Palestinian Authority forces in so-called “counter-terrorism tactics,” not against the illegal israeli occupiers, but against their own people in the Hamas movement. What are your thoughts on the appointment and employment of Dayton?

DB: Well this is, again, part of the long-term strategy and the long-term thinking when it comes to this region. Nobody–and certainly not the United States–they do not recognize that this is an occupation. They do not realize that this is a political issue that has some security ramifications. But instead they view it as a lack of security and security only, thinking that this is a security problem and that if we address the security side of things, in other words, approach Israel’s security first, then somehow the political ducks will line themselves up. But that’s clearly not been–that’s proven to be false in the past and, of course, it will be proven to be false in the future. What’s interesting about Dayton and the forces that he’s been training in the West Bank is that when Dayton thought to give his first interview to an Israeli paper, one of the key sentences and one of the messages that he sent to the Israelis was the following: what they were doing is that they were training the Palestinian Authority forces not to combat Israel’s occupation or even to resist Israel’s occupation, but instead they were training the security forces to undermine those very individuals who at any point in time believe that it is alright to resist Israel’s military occupation. In other words: pit Palestinian against Palestinian rather than ensure that the Palestinians are able to resist Israel’s military rule.

NBF: And, Diana, how does this kind of Iran-contra style tactic play out in the Palestinian street?. How are Palestinians looking at what’s going on here?

DB: Well Palestinians are looking at it with a lot of horror and a lot of disgust. I actually remember 15 years ago, when the Palestinian Authority first came into the area. This is an Authority that was greeted with candy, with flowers, people were throwing rice–with a lot of jubilation thinking that somehow there was going to be a Palestinian presence, a Palestinian entity that was going to rule over their lives rather than being an Israeli entity, an Israeli force. You have to contrast that with the demonstration that happened yesterday where people were cursing the Palestinian Authority. People were chanting slogans against the Palestinian Authority–the same slogans that Palestinians once chanted against Israeli Occupation Forces. So you can see the connection that is being made, that people are making between Israel’s occupying forces soldiers and those of the Palestinian Authority. And unless this equation gets broken somehow, unless the Palestinian Authority re-gears itself or re-directs itself, which I don’t think is likely, then you’re going to see a much higher level of cynicism along with much more acts of a police state, which the West Bank is now turning into being.

perhaps it is in this context that you can see why some palestinians call the palestinian authority collaborationist. for instance the palestinian information center reported that the zionist entity is rather pleased with its subcontracted army here in the west bank:

The Israeli occupation authority has expressed extreme satisfaction at the success of Abbas’s security men in assassinating Qassam resistance fighters wanted by the IOF for a number of years.

Occupation military sources described the assassination of Muhammad Atteya and Eyad al-Abtali and the wounding of Ala’ Deyab in the city of Qalqilya as an important operation carried out successfully by Abbas’s security men, especially that this operation comes only two days after the assassination of Qassam commander Muhammad al-Samman and his assistant Muhammd Yassin after a 6-year pursuit by the IOF.

The Israeli occupation army radio said that Abbas’s forces besieged the hiding place of the Qassam fighters, which was in the cellar of a house, and when they failed to make them surrender they poured large quantities of water into the cellar drowning two of them and wounding and arresting the third.

it should come as no surprise, then, that resistance is now promising to turn its guns on the collaborationist authority as imemc reports:

The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, issued a statement on Thursday calling on all fighters in the West Bank to defend themselves against the security forces of president Mahmoud Abbas, the same way the fighters counter the Israeli occupation.

In a press conference in Gaza, Abu Obaida, spokesperson of the Al Qassam, said that the brigades will prevail in the West Bank “in spite of the aggression of the occupation and its tails”, and that if the security forces think that the Al Qassam is vanishing in the West Bank, “they should know we are here, and here we will prevail, God willing”.

He added that the Brigades considers the security forces of Abbas as “outlawed militias, that violate the morals of the people and the country”, and added that “the only way to deal with them is by resistance; we call on our fighters to fight the gangs of Abbas the same way they fight the occupation”.

He held Abbas and his Prime Minister, Dr. Salaam Fayyad, responsible for the events in Qalqilia, and added that “no talks or future agreements would pardon them or grant them security”.

in spite of all this kenneth bazinet reported in the daily news that obama had to send out an email assuring american jews that he still supports the zionist entity in all its destruction and war crimes that they commit on a daily basis with the help of the palestinian authority and the united states:

The White House tried to ease Israeli concerns over President Obama’s fence-mending speech Thursday to the Muslim world, insisting he remains loyal to the strong U.S. relationship with the Jewish state.

In an e-mail sent to some Jewish groups and the U.S.-based lobby for Israel, the White House insisted Obama’s outreach to the mainstream Muslim majority is no threat to relations with its key Mideast ally.

“The President’s commitment to Israel’s security is as firm as ever, which he has emphasized many times,” the e-mail said.

it seems that they do need reassuring because all one needs to do is take one look at joseph dana and max blumenthal’s video of zionist terrorist colonists in al quds last night after the speech (one view of this video and you’ll see what i mean by terrorists):

oddly enough, in spite of all the racist ranting in the above video, there is a newish restaurant i pass by in between beit lahem and al quds just before you reach the old city that seems to pay homage to the new american president:

zionist terrorist colonist pizza restaurant in al quds
zionist terrorist colonist pizza restaurant in al quds

and today a brand new colony is being built on palestinian land named after barack obama:

Israeli settlers established a new illegal West Bank outpost on Thursday, dedicating it partly to US President Barack Obama.

The settlers, calling themselves the “Land of Israel Loyalists,” named the outpost Oz Yehonatan, near Binyamin, but were calling part of it the “Obama Hut,” according to the Israeli news agency Ynet.

And according to a report from Israel’s Arutz Sheva news agency, the outpost was named “in recognition of the president’s actions, which have led to a dramatic increase in the number of outposts being built throughout Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].”

of course in spite of what those zio-nazis say in the above video, the united states, and obama are firmly supporting only jewish suffering and a jewish state. obama confirmed this today when instead of traveling to nearby gaza to see the damage created by american weapons in the hands of the israeli terrorist army he chose to look back and history to see what europeans did to jews, and in his comments there he reinforced the deeply flawed logic that palestinians should pay the price for european sins as mark smith reported in the star tribune:

President Barack Obama witnessed the Nazi ovens of the Buchenwald concentration camp Friday, its clock tower frozen at the time of liberation, and said the leaders of today must not rest against the spread of evil.

The president called the camp where an estimated 56,000 people died the “ultimate rebuke” to Holocaust deniers and skeptics. And he bluntly challenged one of them, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, to visit Buchenwald.

“These sites have not lost their horror with the passage of time,” Obama said after seeing crematory ovens, barbed-wire fences, guard towers and the clock set at 3:15, marking the camp’s liberation in the afternoon of April 11, 1945. “More than half a century later, our grief and our outrage over what happened have not diminished.”

Buchenwald “teaches us that we must be ever-vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time, that we must reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not our problem, and commit ourselves to resisting those who would subjugate others to serve their own interests,” Obama said.

He also said he saw, reflected in the horrors, Israel’s capacity to empathize with the suffering of others, which he said gave him hope Israel and the Palestinians can achieving a lasting peace.

this point of view is why most people in this region will never believe the rhetoric coming out of the united states even if the president’s middle name is hussein. zeina khodr’s report for al jazeera on the afghan response to obama’s speech is indicative of this sentiment:

egyptian blogger hossam el hamalawy also spoke out against the obama speech eloquently in an interview with al jazeera’s james bays, although there is some vapid woman sitting next to him who i wish would shut up to enable hossam to have more time to explain his important points:

and natalie abou shakra kindly translated khaled saghiyyeh’s article in al akhbar today on the speech:

People, let’s hear it out for Mr Obama who has just recognized Islam as a religion! Not only so, but he also recited Koranic passages at his University of Cairo speech!

And we, the “colonized” overwhelmed by permissiveness, did not stop clapping every time we heard a sura recited in English. But, frankly, despite this harmonious wonder between cultures and religions, it is worthy to note that the problem with the American administration was never cultural to begin with, and has not been merely a difference in political perspectives.

The difference lies in the bloodshed of hundreds of thousands that were killed in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan…. either by American-made weapons, American support, or by Americans themselves as is the case with war on Iraq for the so-called struggle for democracy, and the war on Lebanon as a passage to a New Middle East.

However, there’s no use crying over spilt milk, for Mr. Obama has thus spoken and has asked us to start over a new beginning. Simply, in a snap of his fingers he asks us to put aside all that without the need for an apology to the victims of these wars. We do not mean to waste the precious time of this new emperor, but is he asking us to be his partners? And, are we supposed to believe him? But, wait a minute… we have a lot to learn from our “big brother.” Not only shall he impose on us his democracy, but also imposed on us what he thinks of human rights… O, Mr. Obama, thank you for reshaping the etiquette.

More so, as the first step to this new recipe, Obama asks of the Lebanese Maronites to look onto themselves as minorities, just as the Copts, and he shall be the one who will defend their rights. As for “Hamas”, who was democratically elected by the way, he thinks they “represent, maybe, some of the Palestinians.” And based on his account of human rights, he emphasized the wrongness of the “violent” resistance. And what is the alternative? The same old talk about the two-state solution and the road map in Palestine, completely ignoring the right of return and the issue of the refugees. As for Iran, it should [according to Obama] abandon its nuclear dreams in the purpose of preventing an arms race in the Middle East- as if Iran was the one who begun the race! Hello Mr. Obama!!

Imperialism did not always come in the form of violent speeches. But, rather, it usually came in with a stronger sense of allure. Well, it seems that “development” rates will hit the ceilings again. Prepare yourselves for more bloodshed and victims to fall… this time in the name of humanity and progress.

and for those readers questioning me yesterday when i doubted the sincereity of obama in reference to his promises about iraq and guantanamo, just click on these recent news stories by jeremy scahill and you will start to understand what i mean:

IN FOCUS: “Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama” (AlterNet): The ‘Black Shirts’ of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and ‘dousing’ them with chemicals.

WORLD VIEW: UN Human Rights Council Blasts US for Killing Civilians, Drone Attacks and Using Mercenaries: The UN group is also calling on the US to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate crimes by US officials.

HMMM: Obama Wants $736 Million Colonial Fortress in Pakistan: Critics say the White House wants to use the new “embassy” for “pushing the American agenda in Central Asia.”

SAY WHAT??: Mastercard-istan: Ex-Bush Henchman Wants to be “CEO of Afghanistan” (Literally): Obama may allow famed neocon Zalmay Khalilzad to become the unelected shadow leader of Afghanistan to “push American interests.”

and as for obama and all his words of supporting muslims in the united states one only needs to remember the holy land 5, most recently, or check out this story by cath turner on al jazeera about an egyptian man, youssef megahed, who was found innocent of “terrorism” charges, but who is still being targeted by the american authorities:

welcome to amrika and its empire. oh, and by the way, check out this article on the bbc yesterday that wrote up a piece on those tweeting about obama’s speech. my tweets seemed to have made it onto their radar screen:

Mr Obama also came in for some sharp comments on his treatment of democracy: “How about Mubarak and his ruthless suppressing the rights of others?” tweeted Marcy Newman, who describes herself as a teacher, writer and activist in Palestine.

And “Obama does this mean you will be recognizing Hamas given they were democratically elected?”

palestinian emirates and two-state conflicts

in an article in the australian today john lyons writes that “most israelis want a two-state conflict.” here are a few recent examples of how the zionist entity perpetuates this conflict. first, in beit ummar witness how palestinians are taunted:

A group of Israeli settler youth standing on a hillside near the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar got Israeli soldiers stationed nearby to prevent a group of Palestinian farmers, accompanied by international and Israeli human rights activists, from accessing their farmland.

The farmers, residents of the village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron in the southern West Bank, own farmland near the illegal Israeli settlement of Bet Ayin, which was constructed on illegally-confiscated Palestinian land.

The settlement continues to expand further and further onto Palestinian land, and the Palestinian farmers whose land lies nearby the expanding settlement have experienced increasing harassment over the last several months.

As the children stood on the hillside chanting “Death to all Arabs”, the Israeli soldiers showed the farmers and human rights observers a military order declaring their farmland to be a “closed military zone”, and forced them off their land at gunpoint.

This incident comes on the heels of a violent attack by a gang of masked Israeli settlers against two elderly Palestinian farmers, who were badly beaten on April 26th. One of them, Abdullah Soleiby, age 80, suffered severe head injuries when 30 Israeli soldiers held him down and hit him on the head with rocks.

second, on new palestinian political prisoners:

Palestinian researcher, specialist in detainees’ affairs, former detainee Abdul-Nasser Farawna, stated Monday that the Israeli forces kidnapped since the beginning of this year until the end of April more than 2350 Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He stated that some of the kidnapped residents were released later on while hundreds of them remained imprisoned in different detention and interrogation centers.

Farawna added that the army kidnapped 1220 Palestinians in January, including 1000 who were kidnapped during the latest offensive on Gaza, and that dozens of the kidnapped residents are still detained.

The army kidnapped 365 Palestinians in February, 395 in March and 370 in April. This includes 13 women and dozens of children in addition to hundreds of workers who were detained in Israeli for “not having the required work permits”.

third, more news of ethnic cleansing in al quds:

While the Pope is visiting the Holy Land, and started his visit to Bethlehem on Wednesday with a call for peace and reconciliation, Israeli occupation authorities continued their violations against the Palestinians and issued more orders to demolish Palestinian apartments in East Jerusalem.

The orders target 31 apartments providing shelter to more than 300 Palestinians.

The office of Hatim Abdul-Qader, Jerusalem Affairs advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas, stated that the Jerusalem municipality decided on Tuesday at night to demolish nine more homes in Al Thoury neighborhood, near Silwan town, south of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

The homes belong to the families of Zayyad, Al Bardaweel, and Aseela, and are providing shelter to more than seventy residents.

The office added that the orders include demolishing old homes and additions to them, and said that it would file a legal appeal at the Israeli High Court of Justice.

Furthermore, the Jerusalem municipality handed an owner of an apartment building an order to demolish his building which includes 22 apartments, and was constructed in 1999. The apartment building provides housing to 250 residents.

of course for anyone who knows about palestine it is obvious that all the zionists have ever wanted is war, conflict; that is all we have seen from them since pre-statehood. meanwhile an israeli terrorist colonist professor offered a different plan, which would, of course, continue the conflict, though maybe it would be an eight-state conflict if he had his way:

An Israeli researcher specializing in Arab-Israeli affairs at Bar-Ilan University, Dr Motti Kedar, asserted on Monday that he would submit to the Israeli Knesset this week a proposal suggesting the establishment of a “Palestinian emirate state.”

Kedar told local Palestinian radio station “Ar-Raya FM,” which is based in Ramallah, that several Knesset members and party leaders welcomed his idea that he has worked on for some ten years studying the nature of Palestinian-Israeli relations.

“Today I promise both peoples that their complicated question will be solved through this proposal. My proposal suggests the appointment of a king or emir or caliph in each Palestinian city or village, which will have its own systems and its own army. These emirates could become richer than the Gulf states if the Palestinians wake up and invest in the gas reserve near the Gaza beaches.”

However, Kedar rejected a withdrawal from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He said Israel would not allow these hilltops to become bases for Hizbullah.

As for Jerusalem, he said it would never be negotiable, and that if any Israeli prime minister were to seriously negotiate over Jerusalem, he would be assassinated immediately because Jerusalem is a red line “burning anyone who comes close to it.”

and what do palestinians want? ali abunimah’s article in electronic intifada makes that abundantly clear:

The Fafo survey of more than 1,800 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and almost 1,500 in the West Bank offers some real insights into the state of Palestinian public opinion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (international funders never sponsor surveys of all Palestinians, which would include those inside Israel as well as those in the Diaspora).

Fafo found that just 35 percent of Palestinians still support a two-state solution. One third preferred an Islamic state throughout Palestine, and 20 percent wanted “one state with equal rights for all,” in Palestine/Israel.

Palestinians did not even agree with the common claim that the two-state solution is clearly the more “pragmatic” and “achievable” one. In the West Bank, 64 percent thought the two-state solution was “very” or “somewhat” realistic, as against 55 percent for a single democratic state. In Gaza, 80 percent considered a single democratic state to be “very” or “somewhat” realistic as against 71 percent for a two-state state solution. This is a moment when no vision carries a consensus among Palestinians, underscoring the urgent need for an inclusive debate about all possible democratic outcomes.

The American effort, started by the Bush Administration with European and Arab accomplices, and continued by US President Barack Obama, to impose an Israeli-friendly Palestinian leadership has failed. The Fafo survey indicates that Hamas emerged from Israel’s attack on Gaza with enhanced support and legitimacy.

Palestinian Authority leaders in Ramallah and their Arab, Israeli and Western allies, did all they could to portray the Israeli attack on Gaza as the result of “recklessness” and provocation by Hamas and other resistance factions. This narrative has taken hold among a minority: 19 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip viewed Hamas as having “great” responsibility for the attack on Gaza (this rose to 40 percent among Fatah supporters). Overall, 51 percent agreed that Hamas had no responsibility at all for the attack (48 percent in the West Bank, 58 percent in Gaza). Just over half of those polled agreed with the statement “All Palestinian factions must stop firing rockets at Israel.”

All the financial, diplomatic and armed support given by the West to Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader whose term as Palestinian Authority president expired in January, has done little to shore up his standing among Palestinians. Only 44 percent of respondents overall (41 percent in the West Bank) considered him the “legitimate” president of the Palestinians, while 56 percent did not.

Near universal dissatisfaction with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is reflected in the finding that 87 percent of respondents agreed that it was time for Fatah to change its leadership. Unsurprisingly, 93 percent of Hamas supporters wanted change, but so did 78 percent of Fatah supporters.

Palestinians expressed very low confidence in institutions (by far the most trusted were UNRWA — the UN agency for Palestine refugees — and the satellite channel Al-Jazeera). But a plurality in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — 32 percent overall — considered Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s Western-boycotted Hamas-led government in Gaza to be the legitimate Palestinian government. Only a quarter overall (31 percent in Gaza, 22 percent in the West Bank) thought the Ramallah-based “emergency” government headed by Abbas’s appointed and US-backed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was the legitimate one.

Hamas leaders performed well during and after Israel’s attack on Gaza. Haniyeh had an overall positive rating of 58 percent while Abbas’s was only 41 percent. But among Palestinians who said they would vote in an election, 41 percent would support Fatah against 31 percent for Hamas. If that was out of step with the rest of the survey, there is a clear trend: support for Fatah was down sharply from a year earlier and Hamas doubled its support in the West Bank from 16 to 29 percent, according to Fafo.

There were some issues on which there was a strong consensus. Ninety-three percent of respondents wanted to see a “national unity government” formed, and the vast majority (85 percent) rejected maintaining the West Bank and Gaza Strip as “independent regions” if efforts to form one foundered.

Palestinians still overwhelmingly support a negotiated settlement, but the “peace process” and its sponsors have lost all credibility. Just one percent thought the US had a “great deal” of concern for the Palestinian cause, and 77 percent thought it had none at all. The “Quartet,” the self-appointed ad hoc grouping of US, EU, UN and Russian representatives that monopolizes peace efforts earns the trust of just 13 percent of Palestinians.

Post-Gaza, Palestinians hold jaundiced views of all Western countries and the Arab states aligned with them. Iran and Turkey, which took strong public stands in solidarity with Palestinians, have seen support surge.

If the Fafo poll confirms that the Western-backed effort to destroy Hamas, impose quisling leaders, and blockade and punish Palestinians until they submit to Israel’s demands has failed, a useful conclusion from the One Voice survey is that given a free choice, Israelis reject all solutions requiring them to give up their monopoly on power and to respect Palestinian rights and international law.

The right response to such findings is to support the growing international solidarity campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to abandon its illegal, supremacist and colonial practices, and to build a vision of a democratic future for all the people in the country.

how about no voice!

here is a group i would love to silence. it is called “one voice.” i say: how about no voice! apparently it is old, but someone tweeted it today so i just learned about it. this group is quite skilled in masking who they really are about (this is the first clue that it is a hardcore zionist organization dedicated to preserving the racist, zionist, colonist, terrorist state). to start with the term “one voice” is a sort of euphemism, i think, for some sort of unified solution and masks their goal of continuing the zionist colonization of palestinian land. you can get some idea of who they are from their faq page:

How is OneVoice different from other ‘peace’ groups?

We are dedicated to conflict resolution. Israelis and Palestinians at a grassroots level want to find a resolution to this conflict and agree in broad terms on the parameters for that resolution. They do not necessarily like or love each other, but they recognize that to guarantee their own freedom, security, and viability, they have to assure the same for the other side. We are committed to mobilizing people behind this belief to effect real change. We are a grassroots, non-partisan, joint Israeli-Palestinian organization – not imposing ideas from above, but helping people on the ground to find and frame their own answers.

Why do you believe in a two-state solution?

OneVoice does not have its own views on how a peace agreement should look – we are simply codifying the views of the masses, and building off of the groundwork laid by past agreements and proposals, which are accepted by the majority of Israelis & Palestinians as the basis for negotiating a two-state solution. The vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, according to all major polls, agree that a two-state solution is the only way to end this conflict.

Is it really a parallel movement? Are both sides really represented?

This is the most commonly asked question by people on both sides. Each side perceives that the other lacks a contingent of moderates willing to lead their people to compromise. Exactly the same amount of money goes into programming in Israel as it does in Palestine.

What many people are unable to see, which we uniquely can, is that whether on the left or on the right, Israeli or Palestinian, the overwhelming majority on each side would choose co-existence and mutual respect over co-extermination and mutual ruination. In spite of any apprehension or skepticism they share, they ultimately express a commitment and desire to participate with us.

Is this an attempt to impose a Western solution on a uniquely Middle Eastern problem?

The OneVoice solution is coming from the Middle East; it is not being imposed on anyone. Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis were involved in its inception and now more than 600,000 are members. OneVoice is shaped according to what people who live in the region believe will work. In this regard, we provide a neutral gateway towards consensus that is not linked to any existing entrenched power. OneVoice is a non-biased, grassroots platform that derives its legitimacy from popular participation.

first of all, the notion that this is some sort of grassroots movement that palestinians support is 100% hooey. sure, maybe they have a few collaborators on board (read: those who support american-zionist colonialism here), but that does not mean that the majority of palestinians support this initiative. i can tell you point blank: they do not. there is no clear position on the most important issues, like the right of return, for instance, and they treat palestinians here as if these are only people who live in the west bank–not in 1948 palestine, not in refugee camps in lebanon, jordan, syria, not in the diaspora. of course they cannot because if they were to do so they would have to deal with the right of return. and they do not.

but what is most telling, i think, is the page that lists the board members. the “honorary board” lists palestinians who normalize and who are completely discredited and disrespected among palestinians like saeb erakat. he is as bad as his cohorts on this list like zionnazis martin indyk and dennis ross. it also lists jim zogby who, like ziad asali who sits on the trustees advisory council, do a great job promoting the zionist agenda in the u.s. the rest of the names, one can safely assume, are there to do the zionists’ bidding to ensure that palestinian refugees never have the right of return and that their bantustan situation will continue to increase. make no mistake about it: if indyk and ross are on board we can expect a disastrous outcome for palestinians. period.

then you look at their “parners” page you will notice that they have all sorts of organizations that masquerade as “neutral,” but are really fronts for zionist propaganda–organizations like middle east web as well as arab american organizations that are complicit with the zionist agenda in the u.s. like american task force on palestine. and, perhaps, the real clue is in the organizations that promote normalization (read: force palestinians to be as submissive as possible in their own oppression so zionists can steal more land and murder more palestinians); these groups include: the geneva initiative and ipcri.

how these groups got on the website is another question–whether they support its work or not, for instance. apparently, when the organization began they just put various groups on the website without asking for permission first. they did this with the middle east children’s alliance (meca), and as soon as people at meca found out and requested that they remove their name and logo. apparently, they did not understand that meant meca was not interested in their so-called “peace” initiative and someone at this “one voice” group asked them to send out some email to meca’s list. when they said no, meca got this email, which i quote with permission:

Dear XXXX,

Thank you for your elaborated answer. I find it hard to understand why would you choose not to support an organization that calls for a non violent solution based on 2 states and rapid negotiations, but I guess it is your choice.

PS. Children not living under occupation are also bedwetting and have nightmares, whether it is because of missiles flying over their heads and on their houses for the last 7 years or because of suicide bombers and terrorism. Life and the reality in the Middle east is not as one sided as you portray. The apartheid analogy is nothing more then a propaganda tool, that has nothing to do with reality, and is used to take advantage of peace-seeking people, with historical guilt, by demonizing Israel and the Israelis. What you see in the media is only the bloody stories that sell. They are not always true, and more importantly they are far from being all the story or even a big part of it.

Yours,
Sefi Kedmi

typical zionist answer: the think that the bias is against the them. yet another way of deflecting attention from the reality of their daily thieving and murderous colonial project. ben white had an excellent critique of this pseudo-“peace” initiative in the guardian two years ago, which is worth reading:

We’ve had Live 8 and Live Earth, and this week, albeit on a smaller scale, we almost had One Million Voices. Organised by the OneVoice group, the declared aim was to bring together Palestinians and Israelis in simultaneous events in Tel Aviv, Jericho, London, Washington and Ottawa to voice support for the “moderates” and call for a negotiated two-state solution.

The plans fell through, amid bitter claim and counter-claim, as artists lined up for the Jericho event cancelled, and the Tel Aviv concert followed suit. This followed grassroots pressure by Palestinians who objected to what they see as yet another attempt to promote a false peace that fails to address the structural injustices driving the conflict.

Indeed, despite the peace rhetoric – and the claim that they represent a unique popular call – OneVoice’s approach suffers from the same flaws that have bedevilled official “peace” efforts from Oslo to the Quartet. Such errors were amply demonstrated in Seth Freedman’s column, which implied that the main obstacle to peace is the “extremism” that exists on both sides.

This interpretation of the situation in Palestine/Israel is only possible through a heavy airbrushing of history and a fundamental misreading of the present. Strikingly, the Tel Aviv concert was scheduled to take place in Hayarkon Park – the same location where, almost 60 years ago, the Palestinian village of Jarisha was wiped off the map by Jewish armed forces.

Its residents shared the same fate as almost 800,000 other Palestinians, expelled from what became Israel and prevented to this day from returning home, their land confiscated. Yet official OneVoice material gives the impression that the conflict only began 40 years ago, when Israel occupied the rest of Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).

Condemning the “extremist minority” of both sides sounds laudable. Of course, “both sides” use violence, and of course, there is hatred and religious extremism among both Palestinians and Israelis. The crucial point, however, is that Israel has all the power. Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, not the other way round. Palestinian cities are besieged by a modern, hi-tech Israeli army and subjected to closure, raids and bombardment – not the other way round.

Zionist colonisation is not the preserve of a fanatical fringe in Israel – it is fundamental to the state’s identity and practice. As Martin Luther King said: “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Since Israel continues to show no intention of relinquishing its role as colonial overlord, it’s no good to condemn “both sides”, as if there is equality between occupier and occupied.

Unsurprisingly, those with intimate firsthand experience of this apartheid are under no illusions about the usefulness of toothless “peace processes”. Earlier this week, the UN human rights envoy for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, John Dugard, condemned the Quartet for failing to safeguard Palestinian rights. The BBC’s Tim Franks noted that many diplomats and officials based in the region “would agree with Mr Dugard’s political analysis” yet refrain from agreeing publicly.

The language of moderation is all the rage, from OneVoice to Condoleezza Rice, from the aborted peace concerts to the forthcoming November peace conference. It’s a seductive dichotomy; on the one side are those who light the flame of peace, who strive for a “mass awakening” to the “forces of light and friendship and love”. On the other side are the extremists who threaten, smear and mislead; they are wickedly intransigent – they stifle, snuff out hope and burn flags.

But what is a “moderate”? In recent times, “moderate” has been applied to some rather unlikely characters in the Middle East. For the US, UK and Israeli governments, these include states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. None of these permit much genuine freedom of expression; all of them oppress opposition movements. In fact, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most repressive regimes.

It seems “moderation” has nothing to do with whether you refrain from the torture of political activists or the flogging of “deviants”, and everything to do with your obedience to US policies and Israeli interests. That is what unites the Saudi royals, the Egyptian president and the Jordanian king.

Meanwhile, groups like ISM, and Another Voice are condemned by Freedman and OneVoice as “extremists” out to “eradicate the other side”, and accused of making unnamed and unspecified threats. Yet these groups are committed to the defence of human rights and international law, and are made up of tireless Israelis, Palestinians and internationals. Their categorisation as “extremists” then, is actually a reflection of their refusal to accept sugar-coated apartheid or well-meaning platitudes that serve the status quo.

It may be an uncomfortable truth, but peace for both peoples comes no closer if the fundamental power disparity between Israel and the stateless, occupied and dispossessed Palestinians is obscured. Confronting the vested interests that perpetuate Palestine’s conquest may not win you awards from Jordanian monarchs or praise from the US state department; but it ultimately brings you a lot closer to peace.

as for kedmi thinking that apartheid does not apply, i think we would do well to look at omar barghouti’s recent article on the subject, which i quote from, in part, below:

Israel’s repressive and racist policies in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory have been recognized as constituting apartheid by a host of opinion leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president, Jimmy Carter, and former UN Special Rapporteur for human rights, Prof. John Dugard, among others. In the same vein, former Israeli Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair, wrote in a 2002 article in Ha’aretz describing Israel’s regime in the OPT, “We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. … In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories….” [36]

However, the applicability of the crime of apartheid as defined in UN conventions to Israel itself has, for the most part, been either inadvertently glossed over or intentionally ignored as an explosive subject that has every potential to invite the vengeful wrath of powerful pro-Israel lobbies. Regardless, one cannot but examine the facts and analyze Israel’s system of governance accordingly.

The strongest argument given by — sometimes well-meaning — experts who dismiss the apartheid label for Israel is that the analogy between Israel and South Africa is not exact and, in many respects, Israel’s oppression is even more severe, demanding a different designation altogether. The problem with this argument is that it assumes, quite incorrectly, that apartheid is a South African trademark and, therefore, that every regime accused of practicing apartheid must be shown to be identical to South Africa’s apartheid regime of yesteryear. Apartheid, however, although brought to world attention and given its name by the racist regime in South Africa, has been recognized by the UN for decades as a generalized crime with a universal definition.

The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1976 defines apartheid [37] as “similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa” which have “the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them, in particular by means such as segregation, expropriation of land, and denial of the right to leave and return to their country, the right to a nationality and the right to freedom of movement and residence” (Article II). The similarity to South Africa is cited not as a condition but in recognition of its status as a historic precedent.

As a recent in-depth strategic position paper [38] published by the Palestinian BDS National Committee states, Israel’s origins, laws and policies against the Palestinian people fit to a large extent the definition of apartheid. The conceptual origins of Israel’s unique form of apartheid are found in Zionism, a racist European ideology that was adopted by the dominant stream of the Zionist movement (World Zionist Organization, Jewish Agency, Jewish National Fund, among others) in order to justify and recruit political support for its colonial project of establishing an exclusive Jewish state in historic Palestine. Political Zionists dismissed the indigenous population of Palestine as non-existent in the famous Zionist slogan of “a land without a people;” making this a self-fulfilling prophecy, Zionist forces forcibly displaced 750,000-900,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroyed hundreds of the depopulated Palestinian villages in an operation termed “cleaning the landscape” that lasted until 1960. [39]

Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people amounts to apartheid precisely because it displays many of the main features of the crime as defined by international law:

1. Racial discrimination against the indigenous Palestinian people who became citizens of the State of Israel was formalized and institutionalized through the creation by law of a “Jewish nationality”, which is distinct from Israeli citizenship. No “Israeli” nationality exists in Israel, and the Supreme Court has persistently refused to recognize one as it would end the system of Jewish supremacy in Israel. The 1950 Law of Return entitles all Jews — and only Jews — to the rights of nationals, namely the right to enter “Eretz Yisrael” (Israel and the OPT) and immediately enjoy full legal and political rights. “Jewish nationality” under the Law of Return is extraterritorial in contravention of international public law norms pertaining to nationality. It includes Jewish citizens of other countries, irrespective of whether they wish to be part of the collective of “Jewish nationals,” and excludes “non-Jews” (i.e., Palestinians) from nationality rights in Israel.

2. The 1952 Citizenship Law [40] has created a discriminatory two-tier legal system whereby Jews hold nationality and citizenship, while the remaining indigenous Palestinian citizens hold only citizenship. [41] Under Israeli law the status of Jewish nationality is accompanied with first-class rights and benefits which are not granted to Palestinian citizens.

3. The Israeli Status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries, including the Jewish National Fund, to control most of the land in Israel, for the exclusive benefit of Jews. In 1998, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, CESCR, expressed [42] grave concern about this law and stated that large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination, because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties to non-Jewish citizens of the State.

4. Return of Palestinian refugees and Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs), as required by international law, has been prevented by means of force and legislation on racist grounds. Simply because they are not Jews, Palestinian refugees were excluded from entitlement to citizenship in the State of Israel under the 1952 Citizenship Law. They were “denationalized” and turned into stateless refugees in violation of the law of state succession. Their land and other property were confiscated by the State. The approximately 150,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel after the 1948 Nakba were placed under a military regime (1948 – 1966) similar to the regime currently in place in the OPT.

For decades, racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel in every vital aspect of life has been the norm. From land ownership to education to health to jobs to housing, the indigenous Palestinians have been denied equality by the State’s laws and policies. For instance, they are not allowed, to buy or rent land in about 93% of the state lands of Israel. [43] To this date, polls consistently show overwhelming majorities of Israeli Jews standing in opposition to full equality with the indigenous Palestinians in the state. [44] So the fact those Palestinians can vote, unlike their black African counterpart under South African apartheid, becomes almost a formality, a tokenism of sorts, clearly designed to project a deceptive image of democracy and fend off well-justified accusations of apartheid. [45]

Even in cancer research [46], Israeli apartheid is strongly present. In June 2001, the Health Ministry published a map of the geographical distribution of malignant diseases in Israel during the years 1984-1999. The report did not include a single Palestinian community in Israel, with the exception of Rahat, ostensibly due to “budgetary problems.” This research is particularly important because, in Israel, only when a correlation is shown between the presence of polluting sites and the incidence of malignant disease is it possible to prevent installation of new hazards, or demand tighter environmental standards. By intentionally omitting Palestinian towns in its extensive cancer mapping, the Health Ministry has indirectly given a green light to polluters to relocate to Palestinian towns inside Israel — not to mention in the OPT. The results of such health apartheid are ominous. In the past three decades the rate of malignant diseases in the Palestinian population in Israel has risen 3 to 4 times higher than among the Jewish population. A spokesperson for the Israeli Center against Racism commented, “The report has produced two different groups. One, an overprivileged group, whose lives are dear to the state and to the Health Ministry; a second, whose lives are of no importance to the state.”

This discrimination must be seen in the wider context of Israel’s perception of Palestinians by leading Israeli politicians, intellectuals, academics and mass media outlets as a “demographic threat” that needs to be dealt with resolutely; thus the rise of openly fascist parties in the recent parliamentary elections. Echoing a popular view in Israel, a ranking academic, Major General (reserve) Shlomo Gazit from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, preaches: “Democracy has to be subordinated to demography.”[47] And now, the fanatic right Israeli leader, Avigdor Lieberman, and his supporters are saying democracy has to be subordinated to loyalty to Jewish supremacy.

The complicity of Western governments in all this horrific violation of international law and basic human rights has led many analysts to view the role of the West as profoundly flawed, both morally and legally. The comprehensive impunity enjoyed by Israel has allowed it to project itself and to act as an uncontrollable “mad dog” — an image advocated by Moshe Dayan decades ago and endorsed most recently by Israeli military historian, Martin Van Creveld [48] — in an attempt to make the Palestinians submit to its colonial will, to accept slavery as fate.

This criminal impunity and categorical denial of rights, more than anything else, were the main motivation behind the Palestinian BDS campaign.

Since 9 July 2005, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions have been advocated by virtually the entire Palestinian civil society everywhere as an effective form of solidarity that has a real potential to bring about an end to Western complicity with Israel and, therefore, to Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid. During and ever since Israel’s criminal war on Gaza, Palestinian civil society has stood more united than ever in urging people of conscience all over the world to hold Israel accountable for its crimes by treating it as South Africa was under apartheid rule. In response, unions, academic groups, faith-based organizations, political parties, social movements and others have adopted creative, context-sensitive and sustainable BDS campaigns, from South Africa to Norway, from Australia to Canada, from Britain to Venezuela, and even from the podium of the President of the UN General Assembly. [49]

Israel’s state terrorism in Gaza, enabled by virtually unlimited support from the US and Western governments in general, was a key catalyst in spreading and deepening BDS around the world, prompting advocates of Palestinian rights to feel that our South Africa moment has finally arrived. Israel is now widely perceived, at a grassroots level, as an international pariah that commits war crimes with impunity and that needs to be held accountable to international law and basic principles of human rights.

for readers who are too racist to take the word of a palestinian, how about a jewish south african man who lived through apartheid in south africa and who has witnessed it in palestine as well? ronnie kasrils also published a piece this week comparing the two regimes:

It is by no means difficult to recognize from afar, as Verwoerd had been able to do, that Israel is indeed an apartheid state. Verwoerd’s successor, Balthazar John Vorster visited Israel after the 1973 October War, when Egypt in a rare victory regained the Suez Canal and Sinai from Israel. After that Israel and South Africa were virtually twinned as military allies for Pretoria helped supply Israel militarily in the immediacy of its 1973 setback and Israel came to support apartheid South Africa at the height of sanctions with weaponry and technology – from naval ships and the conversion of supersonic fighter planes to assistance in building six nuclear bombs and the creation of an arms industry.

For the liberation movements of southern Africa, Israel and apartheid South Africa represented a racist, colonial axis. It was noted that people like Vorster had been Nazi sympathizers, interned during World War II – yet feted as heroes in Israel and incidentally never again referred to by South African Zionists as an anti-Semite!. This did not surprise those that came to understand the true racist nature and character of Zionist Israel.

Time and space does not allow further elaboration, but it is instructive to add that in its conduct and methods of repression, Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid South Africa at its zenith – even surpassing its brutality, house demolitions, removal of communities, targeted assassinations, massacres, imprisonment and torture of its opponents, collective punishment and the aggression against neighboring states.

Certainly we South Africans can identify the pathological cause, fuelling the hate, of Israel’s political-military elite and public in general. Neither is this difficult for anyone acquainted with colonial history to understand the way in which deliberately cultivated race hate inculcates a justification for the most atrocious and inhumane actions against even defenseless civilians – women, children, the elderly amongst them. In fact was this not the pathological racist ideology that fuelled Hitler’s war lust and implementation of the Holocaust?

I will state clearly, without exaggeration, that any South African, whether involved in the freedom struggle, or motivated by basic human decency, who visits the Occupied Palestinian Territories are shocked to the core at the situation they encounter and agree with Archbishop Tutu’s comment that what the Palestinians are experiencing is far worse than what happened in South Africa, where the Sharpeville massacre of 69 civilians in 1960 became international symbol of apartheid cruelty.

for those of you who want to know what palestinians want and what serves their interests you can check out these websites:

one state democratic group

and

global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement

PS: i meant to post this last night but it slipped my mind. the reason this old organization is on my mind now is because it is in the news:

Sir Paul McCartney officially joined the International Board of Advisors of the OneVoice movement, a grassroots organization aiming at broadcasting the views of what it calls the “overwhelming majority” of moderates in both Israel and Palestine.

The Board of Directors already includes actors Danny DeVito and Jason Alexander, as well as international dignitaries and political figures like Dennis Ross.

McCartney met with OneVoice Israel Chairwoman Irit Admoni Perlman during his visit to the region in September and was later asked to join the board, according to the statement.

“They told me that the vast majority of people in both societies are moderates and simply want a better life for their families and themselves,” a statement from the organization quoted McCartney as saying, “This gave me great hope that, one day, people like them will help to bring about a peaceful resolution to the troubles in the area. I am, therefore, happy to lend my support in this way to the cause of peace.”

notice that not only did mccartney ignore the boycott and come to the israeli terrorist state, but he also ONLY met with an israeli terrorist, not any palestinians. but his group represents both sides–as if there can be two sides when you have the colonizer and the colonized.

focus on gaza’s blockade

new episode of al jazeera’s “focus on gaza” with imran garda” this week shows the limitations of these international efforts to “break the siege.” they also report on the continuing siege and its effect on the fishermen of gaza. these gaza fishermen have not been allowed to work as a result of the seige as reported by irin:

A combination of damage to fishing resources caused by the Israeli offensive, and a restriction on the zone in which Gazans are allowed to fish is reducing catches and adversely affecting people’s diets in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In January 2009 the Israeli authorities reduced the area in which fishermen can fish from six to three nautical miles from Gaza’s coastline.

In Rafah (southern Gaza) fishing has almost completely stopped due to the damage inflicted on fishing gear and boats during the 22-day war which ended on 18 January.

here is the episode:

of course the savagery directed against gaza by israeli terrorists is not over. not by a long shot. adam morrow and khaled moussa al-omrani detail the ongoing siege and bombing of gaza in recent weeks:

Almost two months after the war on the Gaza Strip, the border area between the battered coastal enclave and Egypt continues to come under frequent Israeli aerial bombardment. Israeli officials say the strikes target cross-border tunnels used to smuggle weapons to Palestinian resistance factions.

“Israel is still regularly launching air strikes on the border area,” Ibrahim Mansour, political analyst and executive editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Dustour told IPS. “Such attacks represent a violation of all international rules and agreements, including the Egypt-Israel Camp David peace agreement.”

Throughout the course of Israel’s recent assault on the Gaza Strip (Dec. 27 to Jan. 17), the border zone between Egypt and Gaza was pummelled by hundreds of Israeli air strikes. Sources in the area also say that Egyptian airspace was repeatedly violated by Israeli aircraft during the campaign.

The onslaught officially ended with a unilateral ceasefire announcement by Israel. Since then, however, Israel has continued to strike at targets both inside the Gaza Strip – governed by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas – and along the strip’s 14-kilometre border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

“Air strikes on the border zone have continued on and off since the end of Israel’s war on Gaza,” Hatem Al-Bulk, local journalist and political activist told IPS. “Some weeks see as many as three or four strikes on the area.”

The last week has been no exception. According to Israeli daily Haaretz, Israeli aircraft bombed alleged smuggling tunnels on Sunday (Mar. 8 ) in retaliation against three rockets fired into Israel earlier the same day by Gaza-based resistance factions. On Wednesday (Mar. 11) Israeli warplanes again bombed the border area, injuring two Palestinians, according to Palestinian Health Ministry sources.

Local sources near Rafah, which straddles the border between Egyptian Sinai and the Gaza Strip, say the effects of the blasts are frequently felt on the Egyptian side of the divided town.

“Israel is using earth-penetrating munitions against targets in the border zone, explosions from which cause damage on the Egyptian side,” said Al- Bulk, a resident of Al-Arish, located some 40 kilometres west of the border. “Since the beginning of Israel’s assault on Gaza until now, hundreds of homes in Egyptian Rafah have been damaged as a result of Israeli bombardments.

“There are also suspicions that Israel might be using depleted uranium in some of these munitions, which could have a catastrophic effect on the local environment,” added Al-Bulk.

On Jan. 16 – a day before Israel’s unilateral ceasefire – the U.S. and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding with the ostensible aim of combating alleged arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. In general terms, the accord commits Washington to “accelerate its efforts to provide logistical and technical assistance and to train and equip regional security forces in counter-smuggling tactics.”

and yet the united states of terrorism wants to put conditions on aid that palestinians recognize the zionist entity on its palestinian usurped land (let me count the ways i loathe hillary clinton…):

Some $900 million pledged by the United States to the Palestinians will be withdrawn if the expected Palestinian Authority coalition government between Fatah and Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, Western and Israeli diplomats said Wednesday.

During her visit to the region last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against forming a coalition with Hamas that will not meet the expectations of the Quartet.

Clinton told Abbas that Congress will not approve funding of a Palestinian government that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence. She added that if those requirements are not met the U.S.-funded program under the supervision of General Keith Dayton training PA security forces would be the first to be axed.

A combination of damage to fishing resources caused by the Israeli offensive, and a restriction on the zone in which Gazans are allowed to fish is reducing catches and adversely affecting people’s diets in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In January 2009 the Israeli authorities reduced the area in which fishermen can fish from six to three nautical miles from Gaza’s coastline.

In Rafah (southern Gaza) fishing has almost completely stopped due to the damage inflicted on fishing gear and boats during the 22-day war which ended on 18 January.

on the ongoing nakba and promises of new palestinian refugees

fishdevouring5

we have a language problem. i really think that we need to shift how we talk about the zionist entity. more and more i feel like we need to do things to move away from how we speak about zionist colonialism in order to make connections between colonialism in palestine and elsewhere in the world. for instance, the word colonialism itself helps us to make the link to colonialism from india to algeria to mexico to south africa. certainly there are differences in terms of how colonialism played out depending on which nation did the colonizing, but there are some patterns they all share: building of schools, use of media and oftentimes religious institutions to entrench internalized colonialism or the view that the colonizer is superior, should be emulated, is civilized and of course for the creation of collaborators; building of prisons; theft of land and natural resources; killing massive numbers of indigenous people and forcibly removing them from their land; destroying homes; converting people to the colonizer’s religion. give or take one or two of these items colonialism all looks the same. zionist colonialism really is not that different. and the use of this word, as opposed to “occupation” makes it clear that we are talking about every square inch of palestine, not just the west bank and gaza strip.

dsc00045

the main difference that i notice among the various historical colonial contexts and the current one in palestine is technology as well as the fact that this conolization of palestine is ongoing. it has been with us for 122 years now and it has never stopped. not for a single day. my friend said he would wassef take me to witness one of the more recent colonial projects in al quds. wassef is from the old city, but he has been going to the solidarity tent in al bustan, in the silwan area of al quds because the families there are staying in their homes and neighborhood to resist this most recent land grab. as we drove down to the valley where al bustan lies, most of the roads were closed off by israeli terrorist border police. on most roads in the west bank israeli terrorists distinguish between palestinian and israeli cars by the license plates (yellow for israeli, white for palestinian). of course palestinians in 1948 and in al quds also have yellow plates so they can usually drive on these roads, except for the fact that there are checkpoints that restrict the entrance of any yellow plated car (nablus, for instance). but now in the silwan area they are checking to see who is jewish and who is not. jews may drive into the valley and palestinians may not. fortunately, wassef found a way to drive down there by sneaking around the israeli terrorists.

dsc00046

the houses that are slated for demolition so that israeli colonists can take over the land–both for tourist projects and for their terrorist families–keep increasing in number and location every day. donald macintyre reports on the specific tourist project that will be built on stolen palestinian land for the independent:

But Mr Qafishi – who walks most Fridays from his house in the Old City’s historic basin to the Al Aqsa mosque 10 minutes to pray – is not alone. His house is one of 88 in Silwan’s crowded Bustan neighbourhood to have been served with similar orders, to make way for an archaeological park and tourist site – or what one of the plan’s opponents, the Israeli lawyer Daniel Seidemann, calls “something with the trappings of a Jewish evangelical theme park of the religious-nationalist right … an ersatz biblical village.”

This is no mere local zoning row. The largest planned demolition operation in Jerusalem since the Six Day War in 1967, it would trigger the eviction of 1,500 residents in what Palestinian officials say amounts to ethnic cleansing.

The project by the government, Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, and the settler organisations has become a potential flashpoint and the most imminent test of whether Arab East Jerusalem can ever become the capital of a future Palestinian state or remain entrenched in Israel, as the Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants it to be.

thus, the land confiscation is not just about al bustan. it’s not just about silwan. saed bannoura reports on this expanding land grab:

Palestinian sources in Jerusalem reported that the number of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem to whom Israel officially handed eviction notices for demolition has reached 179. On Thursday, the Jerusalem Municipality handed down 36 new orders to evict families in al-Abasiyya neighborhood, in Silwan area.

The 36 families are living in two apartment buildings in “al-Sheikh Project”. A total of 230 Palestinians, mainly women and children, will lose their homes should the demolition orders be implemented.

On Wednesday, the Israeli Authorities handed eviction orders to 55 Palestinian families in Shu’fat refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, after claiming that the properties were constructed without permits.

88 similar orders were handed to families in al-Bustan neighborhood in Silwan.

A report prepared by the research department of the al-Quds Center for Social and Economic Rights revealed that the number of homes threatened with demolition since the beginning of this year is over 200.

The report explains that 88 of these homes are located inside the al-Bustan neighborhood; 55 homes in Shu’fat refugee camp (500 residents); 35 homes for Bedouin families on the Jerusalem-Jericho Road and Arr al-Beik area of the Anata town, north east of Jerusalem, along with 66 flats in al-Esawiyya town.

55 families from al-Esawiyya received eviction notices in November and December 2008.

The report states that the number of homes demolished by Israel since the beginning of the year now stands at 30 in different neighborhoods and towns in the Jerusalem area.

Human rights groups stated that Israel’s policy of home demolitions will cause the displacement of thousands of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, which will be the largest mass expulsion of Palestinians since 1967.

Meanwhile, as Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes, the Israeli Authorities and the Jerusalem Municipality have stepped up the incentives for settlers, settlement construction and expansion.

The Israeli Peace Now Movement stated in a press release on Tuesday that the Israeli Housing Ministry is planning to build more than 73,000 units for Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The movement warned that the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank will be doubled if the upcoming Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, implements these plans.

these numbers have increased quite a bit since hillary clinton was in ramallah and called this colonial/ethnic cleansing project “unhelpful.” apparently, she also promised to tell the israeli terrorists to stop (for those who believed her i’ve got a bridge i can sell you…). her unwillingness to do anything to help palestinians–EVER!–is evident in the fact that even though the residents of silwan sent her a letter appealing to her she ignored them (i mean, i can understand why one would want to ignore the former president mahmoud abbas, but not a letter from the people, which you can read if you click here.) of course that was never going to happen as mark landler reports in the new york times today:

In Israel, Mrs. Clinton did not publicly broach settlements at all. And she only gingerly raised the issue of border crossings to Gaza, which Israel has mostly kept closed, drawing criticism from European leaders and human rights groups.

because these “settlements,” as the new york times calls them are not being challenged or questioned by anyone in the international community, palestinians are yet again left to their own devices when it comes to resisting colonialism. and because these so-called illegal “settlements” are what colonists build on stolen land where they intend to live we must use a different sort of language to name them in a more descriptive way: in other words these are colonies. and not just because they are within the so-called 1967 borders. these are colonies like every israeli terrorist house that dots the landscape of palestine. every last one of them. what was done, and what continues to be done in 1948 palestine is the same as what is done here in al quds and elsewhere around the west bank. (for those who want to know more about this, read badil’s most recent issue of al majdal magazine on palestine’s ongoing nakba for lots of thoroughly researched material on the subject.)

dsc00048

and the increase in promises of house demolition, eviction notices, and the overall ethnic cleansing part of the zionist colonization project is not limited to al quds, of course. just this week alone there have been a number of new such papers delivered by israeli terrorists to palestinians. for instance, near nablus there will be land confiscated and palestinians turned into refugees as saed bannoura reports:

The Israeli Authorities handed on Wednesday fifteen Palestinian residents of Aqraba town, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, military orders to demolish 15 homes, barns, tin-houses for the sheep, and water wells located in Khirbit Al Taweel, which belong to Aqraba village.

Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers and members of the so-called Civil Administration Office, which is controlled by the Israeli army, invaded the village on Wednesday morning and handed the orders to the residents.

The Israeli Authorities informed the residents that they have until March 26 to evacuate the properties in question.

Khirbit Al Taweel is a Palestinian village known as one of the best grazing areas. Its inhabitants own livestock, especially sheep, and depend on their sheep as the main source of livelihood especially after the village lost thousands of Dunams for Israeli settlements and military camps in the eastern part of the village.

It is worth mentioning that some of the homes Israel intends to demolish were built before Israel occupied the West Bank during the 1967 war.

israeli colonists often try to rationalize the theft of palestinian land and their forceful eviction of palestinians by saying they had no building permits (palestinians are not allowed to get such permits to build on land that they own). so oftentimes such statements are made about if a home was built before 1967 or not in order to state that homes built at any point in time on palestinian land are “illegal,” a reversal of the truth when it is the illegal israeli colonist terrorists whose very presence on this land is illegal. in the village of al bustan, where all of the photographs posted here were taken on saturday, there were a variety of homes, some dating back to 1870 as you can see in the ottoman style architecture in one of the shots. others were built later as people’s families expanded. but every last one of them was built on palestinian-owned land, land that has been passed down from generation to generation.

of course it does not matter who owns the land to israeli colonists and it never has mattered. if it had there would have been no nakba in the first place. instead, we have an ongoing nakba here. in khalil here are new house demolition orders and land confiscation as well:

Dozens of residents of al-Baq’a village, east of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, are on the verge of losing their homes as the Israeli Army intends to demolish the homes under the pretext of being built without a construction permit.

The residents, who received notices from the Israeli Army on Wednesday, stated that they are determined to remain in their homes. The military orders include demolishing water containers.

One of the residents told the Maan News Agency that the residents in this area are surrounded by settlements and bypass roads only used by the settlers.

“We will not leave our homes and lands no matter what it takes,” he said, “they stole our lands for settlements and bypass roads, now they want to take our homes and remove us from the area.”

He called on various human rights groups to intervene before the residents are displaced and expelled from their own lands and homes.

The new military orders are particularly concerned with eight homes and four pools used for irrigation. The owners of these properties were identified as Azmi Jaber, Bilal Azmi Jaber, Nader Abdul-Aziz Jaber, Motee’ Jaber, Ayyad Jaber, Hasan Jaber, Abdul-Wahab Jaber, Sa’id Jaber, Faraj Jaber, Ziad Jaber and Badawi Abdul-Latif Al Rajabi.

Hebron governor, Dr. Hussein al-A’raj, said that the Israeli policy of demolishing homes in Hebron is part of Israel’s policy to remove Palestinians from their lands, similar to the ongoing attacks against Palestinians and their homes in East Jerusalem.

“The new extremist right government in Israel is starting a new policy of ending the peace process,” the governor said. “This violates the Road Map peace plan; it proves that Israel was not serious in implementing it”

al-A’raj demanded the Palestinian negotiators freeze all talks with Israel, and called on the Quartet committee for peace in the Middle East, and President Barrack Obama, to act on their vows to resolve the Palestinian issue.

dsc00050

land is now being confiscated in villages around ramallah as well, as was reported today as ghassan bannoura reports:

The Israeli army decided on Monday to confiscate 35.5 acres of land owned by farmers from the village of Ni’lin near the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The villagers said that they found the military order at the gate of the Wall Israel is building of the villagers land.

The popular committee of Nil’in reported that they have contacted the village layer to raise the case at the Israeli court, they added that in the 80s the army tried to take over the same area but the villagers won case and stop the army from taking the land.

The village of Nil’in is the scene of weekly nonviolent protests against the Israeli illegal wall since over a year.

and back up in the north here, near qalqilia, in the village of wadi rasha, israeli terrorists invaded, arrested solidarity activists, and chopped down palestinian olive trees (notice the caterpillar bulldozer razing palestinian farm land at the end of the video):

adam horowitz of the blog mondoweiss offers some insight into the above video showing how ethnic cleansing happens:

While the world looks elsewhere, Israel continues its methodical assault on the West Bank. The video above was shot yesterday in the Palestinian village Wadi Rasha. The village is located north of Jerusalem and caught in the area between the green line (Israel’s internationally recognized border) and the separation barrier. This area is called the seam zone and has been the site of the most intense ethnic cleansing in the West Bank as Israel is colonizing the area with the expectation that the barrier will become its new border if it is forced into a two state agreement….

The resident of Wadi Rasha says it better than any commentator could:

The industrial area of Alfe Menashe was built on land stolen from us. Now they steal the land that you see here. We have no other income but through our land.

This village has been here since about 150-200 years ago. Givat Tal has been there for 3.5 or 4 years. Alfe Menashe has been there for 25 years. I am 38 years old, older than it. I was born in this village. I am not allowed to build houses. I am not allowed to pass (into Israel) to go to work. I am not even allowed to pass to my own land. As you see, they stole from me everything. They left all the village 33 dunams from 1500.

dsc00061

the bulldozers have not yet arrived in al quds, but palestinians are preparing. they are steadfast. they told me that they refuse to leave, that they learned from history and they will not allow israeli terrorist colonists to steal their land, even if it means that only their blood remains on their land, they told me they will not leave. in fact, even the children are not going to school because the families i spoke with are afraid that if the send their children to school that their houses will be confiscated while their children are gone. apparently those children who are attending school are doing so in a context of great trauma as this ma’an news report reveals:

Israeli authorities at the moment say they have no plans to raze the neighborhood. In the meantime, the inhabitants of Bustan wait for the bulldozers. On Monday two more houses were destroyed. Their owners said that they received no warning.

Mazen Abu Diab, a member of a local committee set up to protest the demolitions, described the sense of anxiety that the pending demolition orders creates: “Yesterday I saw a little boy walking home from school, and he was carrying a backpack that was much too large for him, and when I asked him why, I found that he had put his most treasured possessions in the bag, his family photos – he was afraid that his house would be destroyed while he was not there.”

there are other palestinians who resort to a more tragic reaction to the house demolition orders, as mohammed assadi reports for reuters:

When Palestinian Sharif Attoun asked bulldozer driver Ziad Dabash to flatten his home in Arab East Jerusalem, his friend was heartbroken.

But for Attoun, watching his 13-year-old house being demolished by a friend was a lesser evil: If Dabash wouldn’t do it, Israeli authorities would have, a move that comes with some $20,000 in demolition fees and possible imprisonment.

Attoun’s ordeal is not uncommon among some 260,000 Palestinians living in Arab East Jerusalem who say Israeli municipal authorities in the city often deny them building permits.

“I never thought of razing my own home and paying rent,” said Attoun, a 36-year-old elevator technician, waving a copy of the Israeli demolition order.

dsc00064

there are so many articles, even in the mainstream western media, especially about silwan, likely because this is the largest zionist terrorist land theft since 1967. and yet no one does anything. here is some of the context to this long-term terrorist activity by the zionist entity as reported by richard boudreaux for the los angeles times:

If carried out, the plan would cause the largest swath of demolitions in East Jerusalem since its postwar annexation by Israel, which has not been internationally recognized.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat called Clinton’s criticism “a lot of hot air” and said the U.S. was trying to interfere with his authority to control zoning and his plans to promote tourism.

“If you build illegal houses, you pay the consequences,” he told a group of American correspondents, saying he had expressed that view personally to Clinton. “I expect people to obey the law.”

The experience of three generations of Jalajels, however, sheds light on the complex and volatile realities that make any Israeli-Palestinian turf battle here much more than a legal issue. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of an independent state for them; the mayor and the right-wing Likud party, which is expected to lead the next government, insist on keeping all of Jerusalem under Israeli control.

Jalajel, a retired Jordanian army officer and construction worker, has four sons. When they married and started families, they began applying in the 1970s for permits to build new homes on their half-acre plot.

By then Israeli authorities had become concerned about the rise in Arab population, perceived as a threat to their rule, and had set a goal to limit the number of Arabs in Jerusalem to about one-fourth of the city’s population. Jalajel’s building requests were denied.

He built anyway, adding a floor to the original structure and erecting two other buildings on the property. When his grandchildren married and started families, some of them, too, applied for building permits and were rejected. And like their grandfather and fathers, they built anyway, adding a third floor to the original house and a second floor to one of the others.

The family says it has paid more than $17,000 in fines to stave off demolition of the three buildings, carved into nine apartments for 48 Jalajels.

The same thing has happened elsewhere across East Jerusalem. City Hall made it almost impossible for Arabs to build legally, so they built illegally. Today Arabs make up a bit more than one-third of the city’s 752,000 residents.

dsc00074

no one is doing anything, although rory mccarthy, in a report for the guardian, discloses that there is evidence that this has been planned for quite some time and for particular reasons:

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

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

The report, obtained by the Guardian, is dated 15 December 2008. It acknowledges Israel’s legitimate security concerns in Jerusalem, but adds: “Many of its current illegal actions in and around the city have limited security justifications.”

mccarthy also has a powerful audio slideshow on the guardian’s website about mahmoud al abassi from silwan that documents the first of these house demolitions in silwan. now mahmoud and his 7 family members are homeless. are idps. are refugees living in a tent.

this is one of the many reasons so many solidarity tents are popping up all over al quds so people can try to prevent the fate of mahmoud al abassi’s family in their neighborhoods. at the same time, people in al bustan told me that they feel like the way in which these new orders for land confiscation keep coming up every day in new places are meant to divide the people. when each day a new neighborhood is alerted to the fact that they are next, how is it that people can resist? their resistance becomes staying in their homes to keep their community from being razed like the 531 palestinian villages destroyed by zionists in order to create their colonies all over 1948 palestine. still, there are solidarity tents popping up all over al quds:

Palestinians from Ras Khamis neighborhood, near Jerusalem’s old city, set up a protest camp near their homes in protest against Israel’s decision to demolish their neighborhood.

The Israeli municipality says that there are 55 homes in the Palestinian Ras Khamis neighborhood that are built without the required permissions.

and in jebel zeitoun:

Palestinian residents of al-Sahl area, in the Mount of Olives, al-Tour area of East Jerusalem, installed a protest camp on the rubble of a home that was demolished by Israel two weeks ago.

these tents are sent up in their palestinian neighborhoods, which in the silwan area are already surrounded by israeli colonists as you can see in one of the photographs i have–it is of an enormous israeli terrorist flag that is 7 stories tall. that was a palestinian building, as this report on al arabiya explains:

conn hallinan’s article for counterpunch this week demonstrates how mainstream such policies of ethnic cleansing and jewish supremacy are in the zionist entity’s regime:

One of the more disturbing developments in the Middle East is a growing consensus among Israelis that it would acceptable to expel—in the words of advocates “transfer”—its Arab citizens to either a yet as unformed Palestinian state or the neighboring countries of Jordan and Egypt.

Such sentiment is hardly new among Israeli extremists, and it has long been advocated by racist Jewish organizations like Kach, the party of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, as well as groups like the National Union, which doubled its Knesset representation in the last election.

But “transfer” is no longer the exclusive policy of extremists, as it has increasingly become a part of mainstream political dialogue. “My solution for maintaining a Jewish and democratic state of Israel is to have two nation-states with certain concessions and with clear red lines,” Kadima leader and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a group of Tel Aviv high school students last December, “and among other things, I will be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, ‘ your national solution lies elsewhere.’”

Such talk has consequences.

According to the Israeli Association for Civil Rights, anti-Arab incidents have risen sharply. “Israeli society is reaching new heights of racism that damages freedom of expression and privacy,” says Sami Michael, the organization’s president. Among the Association’s findings:

* Some 55 percent of Jewish Israelis say that the state should encourage Arab emigration;

* 78 percent of Jewish Israelis oppose including Arab parties in the government;

* 56 percent agree with the statement that “Arabs cannot attain the Jewish level of cultural development”;

* 75 percent agree that Arabs are inclined to be violent. Among Arab-Israelis, 54 percent feel the same way about Jews.

* 75 percent of Israeli Jews say they would not live in the same building as Arabs.

dsc00080

perhaps part of the thinking about this renewed attempt to steal more land from palestinians in al quds is religiously motivated. though i am not one who believes the bible is a real estate guidebook. but this is how zionists view not only religion but also history and archaeology, always distorting it to serve their own colonial terrorist interests. yigal bronner and neve gordon explain the reason why israeli terrorists are stealing the land using a religious rationale:

According to the Old Testament, King David established Jerusalem as his capital, but the Jews were later conquered and expelled. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War four decades ago, and ever since Israeli archaeologists have been trying (unsuccessfully) to produce proof of David’s presence in that area. Occasionally they have even refrained from documenting the long Muslim presence, which is the cultural heritage of the Palestinian inhabitants. And, at any rate, the fact that not a single Muslim structure has been preserved in the entire national park that has been set up in Silwan is a clear indication of this erasure strategy. By concentrating almost entirely on unearthing the remains of the Judean kingdom, while ignoring the subsequent 3,000 years, archaeologists have violated several ethical rules as stipulated by the World Archaeological Congress. Those include the acknowledgment of the “indigenous cultural heritage, including sites, places, objects, artifacts, human remains” as well as establishing “equitable partnerships and relationships” between archaeologists and indigenous peoples whose cultural heritage is being investigated.

of course for me i always come back to those ten commandments: didn’t it say thou shalt not steal? thou shalt not kill? and yet the entire israeli colonial project is based upon this premise. this is what they practice, what they teach, how they live. today israeli terrorist settler colonists decided to invade the al aqsa mosque grounds:

A group of 30 Israeli extremists’ settlers stormed the courtyard of the Al Aqsa mosque in the old city of Jerusalem at midday on Monday.

Palestinian worshipers said that the group were disguised as tourists and as soon as they were at the main courtyard they started to conduct prayers for the Jewish holiday Purim.

Local sources said that Israeli troops and police arrived at the location and moved the settlers away.

Al Aqsa mosque is the third holiest place for Muslims; Jewish extremists say that the mosque was built on top of the Suleiman Temple, a claim that was not proven by archeologists.

In related news, the Israeli military announced a total closure on the Palestinian areas because of the Jewish holiday Purim. The army announced that the closure will be implemented from Monday till Wednesday.

ah, yes, another jewish holiday, another period in which those of us living here will be imprisoned under a “closure.” funny how the fact that today is the prophet mohammed’s birthday and yet the israeli terrorists just invade one of the holiest places for muslims and nothing happens. however, the other day sheikh ikrima sabri stated that he thinks a third intifada could be sparked by such triggers:

Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, Head of the Higher Islamic Committee, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said that a third Palestinian Intifada in defense of Jerusalem and its holy sites, combined with resisting Israel’s transfer policies against the Palestinians, is not a far stretch.

unfortunately, there seems to be little to no resistance here. and i always find it disturbing that people claim or promise to have an intifada because of a religious site and not when thousands of palestinians are threatened with losing their homes and becoming refugees.

dsc00082

there was one lone act of resistance this week, though there are relatively few describing it as such. if only this became a massive, orchestrated effort–i love the idea of taking the tool of the colonizer and turning it into a weapon against them as sana abdullah reports:

It has been speculated that the attack by a 26-year-old Palestinian man ramming a bulldozer into an Israeli police car in Jerusalem was linked to Israeli plans to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, widely believed to be part of the Jewish state’s strategy to change the face of the holy city by expelling its Arab residents.

Palestinian sources said that the man who attacked the police car on Thursday, Mirii al-Radaydeh, was a resident of East Jerusalem and married with one child. He had no history of militancy and acted alone, suggesting that he was responding in rage against escalating Israeli policies against Arab Jerusalemites.

Radaydeh was the fourth Palestinian driver of a construction vehicle to go on the rampage against Israelis in West Jerusalem since last July.

Palestinian officials are warning that protests against evictions, demolitions, expanding Jewish settlements and attempts to consolidate the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem will turn more violent if these measures are not reversed.

Thursday’s attack, which the Israelis called a “terrorist” act, slightly injured the two policemen in their police car before the Palestinian was shot dead by a nearby policeman and a passing taxi driver.

here is some video footage of this act of resistance from no comment tv:

other ways to resist: boycott of course! just think of how many shekels you spend every day on israeli products and just think of all the ways they use that profit to further colonize palestine:

Palestinians consume 2.6 billion shekels worth of Israeli goods each year. According to official Palestinian statistics, 28 percent of this money goes towards the purchase of Israeli cement.

Palestinians consume 30 million shekels worth of medicines produced in Israel every year, and 10 million worth of gold manufactured in Israel.

and, finally, dam and abeer’s (sabreena da witch) amazing rap song “born here” is worth watching and remembering about how this is done in 1948 palestine, too. this song was written and the video was performed a few years back in response to such a demolition, which occurs there regularly as well:

hillary thinks colonization & ethnic cleansing is “unhelpful”

so says hillary clinton. here is exactly what she said (with my interjections in bold in between paragraphs):

The United States supports the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. As a partner on the road to a comprehensive peace, which includes a two-state solution, our support comes with more than words. As I pledged in Sharm el-Sheikh, we will work with President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and the government of the Palestinian Authority to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.

um, okay, i don’t know how many times this needs to be said, but the democratically-elected government in palestine is not fatah, it is hamas. and because of you and your government, hillary, and its work over the years, with your israeli terrorist friends, to use the old-fashioned divide and conquer scheme, there is a huge rift between fatah and hamas. moreover, your pressure on fatah has made those in power in the pa do the dirty work of the americans and israeli terrorists. their work does nothing but censor dissent, imprison those who dissent.

As I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, healthcare or an education, has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in any country. That a mother and a father here in the West Bank, struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children, have the same right as parents anywhere else to have a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity.

really, hillary? so what of the american-made weapons that israeli terrorists used to bomb over 200 schools–including the american international school–in gaza? and the unrwa schools, including those where palestinians made refugees yet again sought shelter: those were bombed too with weapons from your regime. do they have these rights, too? no, of course, not. because if they did, or if you thought they did, for one thing you’d be in gaza. you’d see this destruction you helped to create in gaza.

The United States aims to foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized, a state that can provide these opportunities, a state that is a responsible partner, is at peace with Israel and its Arab neighbors, and is accountable to its people. That is the state that this government is attempting to build.

I met with Prime Minister Fayyad this morning and I expressed to him the appreciation we had for his presentation at Sharm el-Sheikh, which outlined the specific needs of the people in Gaza. I also believe that it is imperative we continue to do the reform work that the president is leading in order to bolster the credibility of the government and to serve the needs of the people.

ah, ok, i see you’re lying again. as with the report i posted the other day. not one damn dime of the $900 million you pledged is going to gaza. it’s all going to your corrupt collaborator friends in ramallah. and, a reminder, hillary: abbas has not been president since january 9th. i know, as an american, you enjoy bolstering puppet leaders and controlling governments around the world to aid your dirty work, but he is not the president. moreover, the people of palestine do not want a west bank state. the people of palestine, whether they are here, or refugees around the world, want the right of return to their homes. this is what they want and what is their right and what they deserve. not this busywork you want to help with–constantly giving money to the pa to build this and that and then giving more military aid to the israeli terrorists to destroy it. this is not a state. and there cannot be a true state under colonialism. and all that you do with your israeli terrorist friends is to create more colonial impediments to prevent palestinians from ever having a state.

I’m very grateful that President Abbas has remained firm in his commitment to move forward on a comprehensive peace and a two-state solution. President Abbas is offering the Palestinian people the chance, finally, to fulfill the aspirations to be free, independent, prosperous, and peaceful, flourishing in a state of your own. And the only way to achieve that goal is through negotiations. All who believe in this comprehensive peace, we urge you to work with the Palestinian Authority and with us, because we are determined to move forward.

Time is of the essence. We cannot afford more delays or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made in the past. The Obama Administration will be vigorously engaged in efforts to forge a lasting peace between Israel, the Palestinians, and all of the Arab neighbors. I will remain personally engaged. As I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, this is a commitment that I carry in my heart, not just in my portfolio as Secretary of State….

the “peace process” which you refer to, what those of us who live her know and refer to as the “war process,” is made possible by american and israeli terrorist endless “negotiations.” what do negotiations mean for palestinians? more broken promises, more facts on the ground, more land confiscation, more political prisoners, more checkpoints, and more repression. and as for what is in your heart, i don’t think that you have one. you who refuses to go to gaza. you who continue to create problems for palestinians as you have since your husband was president. you who support terrorism here against palestinians and all over the world against people from the congo to iraq to afghanistan. such a person has no heart. period.

MR. WOOD: The next question is Glenn Kessler from The Washington Post.

QUESTION: Yes. Madame Secretary, Israel last week approved the demolition of 88 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem and, as you arrived, another 55 homes were slated for demolition, the largest number in one area since 1967. Will you, as James Baker did in 1991, urge a halt to such unilateral actions?

And President Abbas, what do you think of these demolitions, and has the U.S. been too silent on this issue?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Glenn, clearly, this kind of activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the roadmap. It is an issue that we intend to raise with the government of Israel and the Government at the municipal level in Jerusalem, because it is clearly a matter of deep concern to those who are directly affected.

But the ramifications go far beyond the individuals and the families that have received the notices you referenced. Yes, this will be taken up with the Israeli government.

ah, yes, here is the quote: that illegal, colonial, settlements that continue unabated as they have for over 61 years, really over 122 years, are, as you say, “unhelpful.” what is really “unhelpful” is the united states. in general. in every way. even when the u.s. pretends to “help,” it is always to further its own interests, always involving murder, massacre, repression, torture. the u.s., a country, which has never done anything to protect or further the best interests of palestinians. because if you wanted to be helpful you would sanction the israeli terrorist regime. you would stop giving them money, weapons. you would demand that palestinians have the right of return. short of that you have never helped and do not help. ever.

todd baer gives some context to clinton’s first trip to palestine, which at the time included a trip to gaza on al jazeera today:

i also find it interesting that none of the reports on hillary’s visit to ramallah today said nothing of the fact that at the precise time she was meeting with abbas and co. that israeli terrorists were busy bombing rafah with american f-16s and bombs (and, in fact, we heard those planes overhead in nablus and i am sure she could hear them in ramallah as well) as ma’an news reported:

Israeli warplanes on Wednesday morning bombed the tunnel area at the Gaza-Egypt border in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiya Hassanein told Ma’an that there were no casualties amongst Palestinian citizens.

Meanwhile, Palestinian medical sources at Abu Yousif An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah said 12 Palestinians were injured in Tuesday’s shelling of the same tunnel area.

and those children that hillary claims to care so much about–what of those who are murdered by israeli terrorists with u.s. tax dollars? or the men and women who are murdered? maram isid & ghassan bannoura for imemc news report on last month’s casualties of israeli terrorism with american weapons:

The International Relations Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization issued on Wednesday a report documenting the Israeli military attacks on Palestinians during the month of February 2009.

The report shows that 17 Palestinian including 4 children were killed last month by the Israeli military fire in the West Bank and Gaza.

In addition there was 320 Palestinian who have been kidnapped by the Israeli troops and 8 Palestinian-owned homes demolished by the Israeli Authorities in Jerusalem, the PLO reported.

The report also shows that the Israeli army continued to siege the Gaza strip for the 19th month by the end of February; moreover the report documented a number of cases where the army did not allow patients to leave Gaza for treatment outside bringing the number of those who died due to the siege to 300 patients.

and back to hillary’s idea about what is “unhelpful” with israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing…here is some context from rory mccarthy in the guardian on those “unhelpful” colonies in al quds:

On Monday, the Israeli group Peace Now reported that the Israeli housing ministry was planning to build at least 73,000 housing units in West Bank settlements.

The organisation said 15,000 units had already been approved and another 58,000 were awaiting approval.

Almost 500,000 settlers now live in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. All settlements are illegal under international law.

jer-builtup

hillary likes to talk about rights. but she rarely does so with respect to international law and on the few occasions when she does, those rights are always for the white folks, the rich folks, the people of the global north. certainly never for palestinians. i’ve written about the new ethnic cleansing in silwan in al quds before, but there is some important context in international law that the project for monitoring israeli colonization activities posted a report that gives insight to al bustan and silwan, but also to the legal aspects, which of course, hillary chose not to speak about when she opted instead to say merely that they are “unhelpful”:

House demolition in light of human rights, international covenants and treaties

Adequate housing is one of the basic needs and rights of each person, where ‘the right to adequate housing is the right of every woman, man and child to a place to live in security and dignity.'[6] In the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel as an occupier should abide by the international human rights treaties to which it is a state party including: The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,. As an occupier Israel should also abide by the international humanitarian law including: The Hague Regulations and the Forth Geneva Convention. The demolition of houses in Al Bustan neighborhood would be a stark violation of these rights and covenants. Israel should be held accountable for its acts in occupied East Jerusalem and the other Palestinian Territory; should comply with the international legitimacy, laws treaties and United Nations’ resolutions; and Israel’s long time apathy of the international community’s wills must come to an end.

Following is a synopsis of Articles within these covenants, conventions and laws that address the issue of house demolitions and forced evictions under these articles:

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Article 11 (1): ‘The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions’.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965)

Article 5: ‘States’ Parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: … (e) in particular … (iii) the right to housing’.

Universal declaration of human rights, Article 17:

1. ‘Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.’
2. ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’

Article 25:

1. ‘Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.’

The Fourth Geneva Convention

Article 53: ‘Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.’

Article 47: ‘Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territory and the Occupying power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.’

Article 147: ‘Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts … extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.’

Hague Regulations 1907

Section II Article 23: ‘it is especially forbidden- to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.’

Section III Article 46: ‘Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.’

Agenda 21 (UNCED, 1992)

Chapter 7.6 : ‘Access to safe and healthy shelter is essential to a person’s physical, psychological, social and economic well-being and should be a fundamental part of national and international action. The right to adequate housing as a basic human right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Despite this, it is estimated that at the present time, at least one billion people do not have access to safe and healthy shelter and that if appropriate action is not taken, this number will increase dramatically by the end of the century and beyond.’

‘People should be protected by law against unfair eviction from their homes or land’.

all of the above is in relation to the ethnic cleansing and colonization project in the silwan and al bustan areas of al quds, and indeed can be applied to all of historic palestine. here is a report on sky news from dominic waghorn on the forced removal of palestinians from their homes:

there are palestinians in al quds who have set up protest camps where hundreds of people are staging a sit-in every day, all day, around the clock. my friend wassef, from al quds, came up to nablus today for work and we went out to lunch. he has been going to the protest at the tents and told me about it. he says that everyone is too afraid of resisting this in ways beyond this vigil-like sit-in. wassef, who spent 10 years in an israeli terrorist prison for his resistance work feels that everyone, especially since gaza, sees how easy it is for palestinians to be slaughtered, imprisoned and so they feel helpless. but, of course, they want to do something. here is a story on the protest from imemc’s ghassan bannoura:

Palestinians from Ras Khamis neighborhood, near Jerusalem’s old city, set up a protest camp near their homes in protest against Israel’s decision to demolish their neighborhood.

The Israeli municipality says that there are 55 homes in the Palestinian Ras Khamis neighborhood that are built without the required permissions.

Hatem Abdel al-Qader, the Palestinian Prime Minister’s advisor for Jerusalem affairs, stated that lawyers managed to stop the demolition until March 10th, by court order . He added that the camp is one in a number of actions that home owners and local activists are organizing to counter the Israeli plans. Abdel al-Qader said that there will be public and popular events of solidarity with the home owners, stressing that the Israeli plans will displace hundreds of Palestinian families.

Since Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, it has rarely given Palestinian residents permission to build homes, while continuing to expand Jewish settlements, illegal under international law, in and around the city.

Since the beginning of this year, Israel has issued orders to demolish nearly 700 Palestinian-owned homes and other structures in the city of Jerusalem, local activists reported. 88 of the homes are located in the al-Bustan neighborhood, located immediately south of the al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s old city.

Many of the homes were built before 1967. According to Israel’s plans, registered with the Jerusalem municipality, this traditionally Palestinian neighborhood is to become a park with flowers, trees and cafe’s.

there is another way in which hillary herself is more than “unhelpful,” but rather destructive with respect to being an agent of the u.s. and its never ending efforts to participate in divide and rule schemes around the world. i will close with a brilliant analysis by ali abunimah and hasan abu nimah on electronic intifada today so you can see precisely how hillary is helping to foment more division already:

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

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

On Friday 27 February, the leaders of 13 Palestinian factions, principal among them Hamas and Fatah, announced they had set out a framework for reconciliation. In talks chaired by Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, the Palestinians established committees to discuss forming a “national unity government,” reforming the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to include all factions, legislative and presidential elections, reorganizing security forces on a nonpolitical basis, and a steering group comprised of all faction leaders. Amid a jubilant mood, the talks were adjourned until 10 March.

Then the blows began to strike the fragile Palestinian body politic. The first came from Clinton just before she boarded her plane to attend a summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh ostensibly about pledging billions in aid to rebuild Gaza.

Clinton was asked by Voice of America (VOA) whether she was encouraged by the Cairo unity talks. She responded that in any reconciliation or “move toward a unified [Palestinian] Authority,” Hamas must be bound by “the conditions that have been set forth by the Quartet,” the self-appointed group comprising representatives of the US, EU, UN and Russia. These conditions, Clinton stated, require that Hamas “must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous commitments.” Otherwise, the secretary warned, “I don’t think it will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace that leads to a Palestinian state.”

The next strikes came from Ramallah. With the EU’s top diplomat Solana standing next to him, Abbas insisted that any national unity government would have to adhere to the “two-state vision” and abide by “international conditions and signed agreements.” He then demanded that Gaza reconstruction aid be channeled exclusively through the Western-backed, but financially bankrupt and politically depleted PA. Solana affirmed, “I would like to insist in agreement with [Abbas] that the mechanism used to deploy the money is the one that represents the Palestinian Authority.” Solana fully endorsed the campaign waged by Abbas ever since the destruction of Gaza that the PA, plagued by endemic corruption, and which only pays salaries of workers deemed politically loyal, be in sole charge of the funds, rather than neutral international organizations as Hamas and others have suggested.

Was the Sharm al-Sheikh summit then really about helping the people of Gaza or was it about exploiting their suffering to continue the long war against Hamas by other means? Indeed, Clinton had already confirmed the politicization of reconstruction aid when she told VOA, “We want to strengthen a Palestinian partner willing to accept the conditions outlined by the Quartet,” and, “our aid dollars will flow based on these principles.”

Hamas warned that Clinton’s and Abbas’s statements set Palestinian reconciliation efforts back to square one. “Hamas will not recognize Israel or the Quartet’s conditions,” said one spokesman Ismail Radwan, while another, Ayman Taha, said Hamas would “reject any preconditions in the formation of the unity government.” Khaled Meshal, head of the movement’s political bureau, insisted that the basis for national unity must remain “protecting the resistance and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Such statements will of course be used to paint Hamas as extremist, intransigent and anti-peace. After all, what could be more reasonable than demanding that any party involved in a peace process commit itself to renouncing violence, recognizing its enemy, and abiding by pre-existing agreements? The problem is that the Quartet conditions are designed to eliminate the Palestinians’ few bargaining chips and render them defenseless before continuous Israeli occupation, colonization, blockade and armed attacks.

None of the Western diplomats imposing conditions on Hamas have demanded that Israel renounce its aggressive violence. Indeed, as Amnesty International reported on 20 February, the weapons Israel used to kill, wound and incinerate 7,000 persons in Gaza, half of them women and children, were largely supplied by Western countries, mainly the US. In a vivid illustration, Amnesty reported that its field researchers “found fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli army — including many that are US-made — littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes.”

For Palestinians to “renounce violence” under these conditions is to renounce the right to self-defense, something no occupied people can do. Palestinians will certainly note that while Abbas stands impotently by, neither the US nor the EU have rushed to the defense of the peaceful, unarmed Palestinians shot at daily by Israeli occupation forces as they try to protect their land from seizure in the West Bank. Nor has Abbas’ renunciation of resistance helped the 1,500 residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan whose homes Israeli occupation authorities recently confirmed their intention to demolish in order to make way for a Jewish-themed park. A cessation of violence must be mutual, total and reciprocal — something Hamas has repeatedly offered and Israel has stubbornly rejected.

While Israeli violence is tolerated or applauded, Israel’s leaders are not held to any political preconditions. Prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu emphatically rejects a sovereign Palestinian state and — like his predecessors — rejects all other Palestinian rights enshrined in international law and UN resolutions. When told to stop building illegal settlements on occupied land, Israel responds simply that this is a matter for negotiation and to prove the point it revealed plans in February to add thousands of Jewish-only homes to its West Bank colonies.

Yet Quartet envoy Tony Blair, asked by Al-Jazeera International on 1 March how his masters would deal with a rejectionist Israeli government, said, “We have to work with whoever the Israeli people elect, let’s test it out not just assume it won’t work.” Unless Palestinians are considered an inferior race, the same logic ought to apply to their elected leaders, but they were never given a chance.

It is ludicrous to demand that the stateless Palestinian people unconditionally recognize the legitimacy of the entity that dispossessed them and occupies them, that itself has no declared borders and that continues to violently expand its territory at their expense. If Palestinians are ever to recognize Israel in any form, that can only be an outcome of negotiations in which Palestinian rights are fully recognized, not a precondition for them.

During last year’s US election campaign, Clinton claimed she helped bring peace to Northern Ireland during her husband’s administration. Yet the conditions she now imposes on Hamas are exactly like those that the British long imposed on the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, thereby blocking peace negotiations. President Bill Clinton — against strenuous British objections — helped overturn these obstacles by among other things granting a US visa to Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, whose party the British once demonized as Israel now demonizes Hamas. Like Tony Blair, who as British prime minister first authorized public talks with Sinn Fein, Hillary Clinton knows that the negotiations in Ireland could not have succeeded if any party had been forced to submit to the political preconditions of its adversaries.

Former British and Irish peace negotiators including Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, and former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami made similar points in a 26 February letter they co-signed in The Times of London. “Whether we like it or not,” the letter states, “Hamas will not go away. Since its victory in democratic elections in 2006, Hamas has sustained its support in Palestinian society despite attempts to destroy it through economic blockades, political boycotts and military incursions.” The signatories called for engagement with the movement, affirming that “The Quartet conditions imposed on Hamas set an unworkable threshold from which to commence negotiations.”

Those who claim to be peacemakers should heed this advice. They should allow Palestinians to form a national consensus without external interference and blackmail. They should respect democratic mandates. They should stop imposing grossly unfair conditions on the weaker side while cowering in fear of offending the strong, and they should stop the cynical exploitation of humanitarian aid for political manipulation and subversion.

There are many in the region who were encouraged by US President Barack Obama’s appointment of former Northern Ireland mediator Senator George Mitchell as Middle East envoy. But in all other respects the new president has continued the Bush administration’s disastrous policies. It is not too late to change course, for persisting in these errors will guarantee only more failure and bloodshed.

hillary’s rules for gaza

Reuters / Suhaib Salem
Reuters / Suhaib Salem

i know i have been complaining about the weather. so i suppose a bit of perspective is in order. yes, it is very cold here (there was even some snow in ramallah yesterday morning). but it is also cold and wet in gaza. and the palestinians in gaza who lost their homes are now living in tents. tents that are in the mud now. and who knows if they have heaters. i should be grateful that i have a little gaz heater sunburn and all.

and what of the palestinian refugees made internally displaced people? how will they rebuild their homes? ilene prusher of the christian science monitor reports on the newly-made homeless in gaza due to israeli-american terrorism:

According to the most recent figures from the International Committee for the Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, the conflict destroyed more than 2,800 homes completely, and 1,900 partially, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. In addition to that, many symbols of government were damaged, from the parliament building to ministries to police stations.

None of those figures include losses to private businesses.

Khozendar says that his businesses alone suffered $2 million in direct losses. This includes a petroleum station in northern Gaza that got hit by a missile and a marble factory that was reduced to rubble by bulldozers. He says he doesn’t count the 100 dunams of farm land destroyed in the fighting; bulldozers were used extensively by the Israeli army to “clean out” area where Hamas guerrillas were based.

“In my own home, I have plastic and nylon sheets on the windows, because all the glass broke in the bombing, and from where should I get glass?” asks Khozendar.

He says that what does come in is brought through the tunnels from Egypt, a system that financially benefits Hamas, which collects taxes on the goods.

“We need glass for 5,000 houses,” says Khozendar. Small quantities exist, but because of the extreme shortages, the prices are prohibitive for most. A meter of glass was 45 shekels a few years ago; now it’s 300 to 350 shekels. “The amount needed doesn’t exist here, and this is one of the critical points to address if we are to rebuild and rehabilitate,” he says.

“We’re giving people hammers to break the cement and iron to break up the ruins and reuse it. From the rubbish, we can get maybe 40 percent of our needs. The other 60 percent has to be brought in,” he adds.

it is not just that rebuilding material is expensive, it is that it is unavailable. the zionist blockade on the gaza strip makes it impossible to get concrete, glass, and steel. todd baer shows us what it means to have these raw materials banned for the people of gaza on his report on al jazeera today:

and these are not the only items that israeli terrorists keep palestinians in gaza from obtaining as anne penketh in the independent reports:

Members of the highest-ranking American delegation to tour Gaza were shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade against the Hamas-ruled territory included such food staples as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.

“When have lentil bombs been going off lately? Is someone going to kill you with a piece of macaroni?” asked Congressman Brian Laird. It was only after Senator John Kerry, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised the issue with Defence Minister Ehud Barak after their trip last month that Israel allowed the pasta in. Macaroni was considered a luxury item, not a humanitarian necessity, they were told. The total number of products blacklisted by Israel remains a mystery for UN officials and the relief agencies which face long delays in bringing in supplies. For security reasons such items as cement and steel rods are banned as they could be used by Hamas to build bunkers or the rockets used to target Israeli civilians. Hearing aids have been banned in case the mercury in their batteries could be used to produce chemical weapons.

Yet since the end of the war in January, according to non-government organisations, five truckloads of school notebooks were turned back at the crossing at Kerem Shalom where goods are subject to a $1,000 (£700) per truck “handling fee”.

Paper to print new textbooks for Palestinian schools was stopped, as were freezer appliances, generators and water pumps, cooking gas and chickpeas. And the French government was incensed when an entire water purification system was denied entry. Christopher Gunness, the spokesman for the UN agency UNRWA responsible for Palestinian refugees, said: “One of the big problems is that the ‘banned list’ is a moving target so we discover things are banned on a ‘case by case’, ‘day by day’ basis.”

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said: “Israel’s blockade policy can be summed up in one word and it is punishment, not security.”

of course at the big donor conference in sharm al shaykh today hillary clinton proved that she and the obama administration will continue the policies of george bush by refusing to even speak about or acknowledge that all the money being pledged for gaza will do nothing if palestinians have no control over their borders as human rights watch’s latest statement argues:

“All the pledges of aid this conference is expected to produce will be worth next to nothing if the donors do not demand that Israel open the borders to commercial goods as well as humanitarian essentials,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “This unlawful blockade is the primary impediment to reconstruction and to the economic activity that is essential to any society.”

Israel effectively controls Gaza’s borders and airspace. Human Rights Watch said that the blockade, which has been in place since June 2007, after Hamas took control of Gaza, amounts to collective punishment of the civilian population, a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Israeli restrictions on the entry of goods should be strictly limited to weapons and items whose direct military potential clearly outweigh their civilian usage.

According to the United Nations, Gaza needs a minimum of 500 truckloads of humanitarian aid and commercial goods every day. Israeli authorities have told humanitarian agencies that they would allow up to 150 truckloads a day. However, the actual number has not exceeded 120, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The average in February has only been between 88 and 104, including grain shipped by conveyor belt at the Karni crossing.

hillary proved further that she is going to help maintain the siege with a bizarre comment at the press conference today about hamas. what is especially fascinating here (as dave reminded me of on twitter just now–thank you!) is that the u.s. is recognizing likud as the legitimate government of the israeli terrorist state even though they lost the election and yet hamas, which won in a democratic election in 2006, continues to be shunned by the u.s. here is what she said on al jazeera:

But speaking at the donor conference, Clinton called on Hamas to abide by a series of rules.

Hamas is a not a country; it is an entity that has to understand what the principles for any engagement are – not just with the United States,” she said.

“The Quartet – the United Nations, Russia the European Union and the United States – as well as the Arab League – are in agreement that there are certain principles that Hamas would have to adopt in order for any of us to engage with Hamas: recognise Israel, renounce violence and agree to abide by prior agreements.”

of course, clinton did not state what those “rules” are. clearly there are rules for hamas and not for israeli terrorists who terrorize palestinians every day. i suspect that one of them is to get on board with the bogus two-state solution. thankfully hamas still has enough resolve to reject such ideas that necessarily negate palestinian refugees’ right of return:

The Hamas Movement on Sunday strongly criticized ex-PA chief Mahmoud Abbas for demanding any future Palestinian government to recognize the two-state solution, considering it a dictate imposed by one party on other Palestinian parties.

in any case, the u.s. with its pledge of $900 million to rebuild gaza is going to do anything but rebuild gaza. apparently, it is all going to the collaborator regime in ramallah instead. where is the logic? paul richter in the los angeles times today reveals where this money is actually going:

The Obama administration intends to spend most of a $900-million Palestinian aid package on support for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, rather than in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip communities that were badly damaged in the recent weeks-long Israeli offensive, a State Department official said Sunday.

Robert A. Wood, the department’s chief spokesman, said that about $300 million of the money would be spent on humanitarian relief for Gaza, and the remainder would help offset the Palestinian Authority’s budget shortfall and fund its economic development, security and other projects in the West Bank. The authority is run by the more moderate Palestinian faction Fatah.

None of the money will go to rebuilding Gaza, even though the aid is to be announced today at an international donors conference convened by Egypt for reconstruction in the war-scarred seaside enclave.

U.S. officials who declined to be identified disclosed last week, with some fanfare, that a full $900 million would be earmarked for Gaza. But the State Department’s decision reflects the political complexities of rebuilding an area controlled by a militant group that the United States, Israel and the European Union consider a terrorist organization. Hamas took control of Gaza after the collapse of a unity government with rival Fatah in June 2007. Israel said it launched its assault after years of rocket fire from Gaza.

U.S. officials are opposed to spending any money on reconstruction aid to Gaza that might fall into the hands of Hamas and help strengthen the group’s standing among the enclave’s 1.5 million residents. Though the Palestinian Authority has declared its intention to help rebuild, Hamas is barring authority personnel from entering to help.

“We cannot funnel money through Hamas,” Wood said.

in any case, i continue to be horrified by the fact that every year the u.s. sends billions of dollars to the zionist entity to enable them to terrorize palestinians and lebanese. the u.s. campaign to end the occupation’s campaign to make sure that the new budget proposal does not include the almost $3 billion in military aid to an israeli terrorist regime (click on the link below to send a letter to obama to make sure he does not!) :

Last Tuesday, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to explain his budget outline. His only reference to Israel was a reiteration of his Administration’s priority “To seek progress toward a secure and lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors”…. Does this mean that President Obama will not include $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel when he delivers his actual detailed budget request to Congress in April as expected? That’s highly doubtful.

but am i the only one who finds it deeply disturbing that the u.s. taxpayers spend almost $3 billion a year on military aid to israeli terorrists who use it to destroy lebanon and palestine, most recently gaza of course, and then the u.s. pledges $900 million to rebuild it? is this not psychotic? of course, the money is not even going to gaza, but that is beside the point. the money will go to the palestinian authority in the west bank to enable them to further repress palestinians here who object to their normalization with israel, to their willingness to sell refugee rights down the river.

and will hillary, when she comes here tomorrow, do anything about palestinian political prisoners? about the nightly invasions in which they kidnap palestinians? here are the figures for february alone:

The Palestinian Political Detainees Society issued a report on Monday stating that the Israeli military have kidnapped 292 Palestinians during the month of February.

Of those 292 kidnapped, 35 were sick and 59 were children, in addition to four women, the report said.

According to the Society report, the number kidnapped from different cities were:

Bethlehem: 24;

Hebron: 90;

Ramallah: 68;

Nablus: 35;

Qalqilia: 22;

Jenin: 25;

Tulkarem: 13;

Jericho: 8;

Tubas: 6; and

Salfet: 1.

and there were a few more kidnapped last night in nablus as well as some attacks by israeli colonists near nablus:

On Monday morning, Israeli troops kidnapped three Palestinian civilians during a pre-dawn invasion, targeting the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Local Palestinian sources reported that Israeli Army forces invaded Nablus city, searched a number of homes and took three men to unknown detention camps.

Also on Monday near Nablus, a local doctor, Amer Mansour, received treatment after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops in the village of Kafer Qaliel. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers stormed the village in the morning, and fired tear gas at homes.

In related news, Palestinian farmers from the Jordan Valley reported on Monday that a Palestinian farmer was attacked by wild pigs. The farmers said that Ayman Ibraheem was attacked while working on his land, and was taken to a hospital in Nablus for treatment.

The farmers blame settlers for such attacks, saying that the Israeli settlers release wild pigs in an attempt to drive Palestinian farmers away from their lands so that the settlers can take them over.

will she say anything about the brazen act of destroying more palestinian homes in al quds as they did today?:

Israeli forces stormed the house of Mahmoud Al-Abbasi in the Ein Al-Loza area of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday morning.

Al-Abbasi told Ma’an that a large Israeli police force surrounded the area where the house is located and stormed inside, forcing the family to leave and throwing furniture out.

But no clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police were immediately reported.

Al-Abbasi added that bulldozers demolished his house, in which 11 people lived, including nine children, and claiming that he had received no prior notice of the demolition beforehand.

The house was located in a neighborhood 500 meters from the Al-Bustan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where Israeli officials say 88 homes of 1,500 Palestinians are slated for demolition.

will she say anything about the numerous war crimes committed by israeli terrorists? war crimes detailed in an important interview that the ever fabulous nora barrows-friedman did with norweigan doctor mads gilbert on flashpoints last week. it is a very important interview that i encourage people to listen to by clicking the above link. will she say anything about the court cases gaining steam as the spanish judge agreeing to hear this case?:

A Spanish judge has decided to go ahead with a probe into alleged crimes against humanity by top Israeli military figures after studying documents received from Israel, judicial sources said Friday.

The documents, received by Judge Fernando Abreu after translation by the Israeli embassy, show the Jewish state has not launched any legal procedure concerning a 2002 bombing of Gaza, the sources said.

Andreu agreed last month to pursue a complaint of crimes against humanity against seven senior Israeli military figures over the bombing.

the international criminal court has received numerous complaints, most recently from the international committee for the red cross, which i’m sure hillary will ignore too. here is peter beaumont’s report on this for the guardian:

The latest moves in The Hague come amid mounting international pressure on Israel and a growing recognition in Israeli government circles that it may eventually have to defend itself against war crimes allegations. The Guardian has also learned that a confidential inquiry by the International Committee of the Red Cross into the actions of Israel and Hamas during the recent conflict in Gaza is expected to accuse Israel of using “excessive force” – prohibited under the fourth Geneva convention.

The Red Cross has been collecting information for two parallel inquiries, one into the conduct of Israel and a second into Hamas, both of which will be presented in private to the parties involved.

In the case of Israel, the Red Cross is expected to highlight three areas of concern: the Israeli Defence Forces’ “use and choice of weapons in a complex and densely populated environment”; the issue of “proportionality”; and concerns over the IDF’s lack of distinction between combatants and non-combatants during Operation Cast Lead. Hamas is likely to be challenged over its use of civilian facilities as cover for its fighters; its summary executions and kneecappings of Palestinians during the campaign; and its indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian areas.

Meanwhile, sources at the ICC say it is considering two potential tracks that would permit it to investigate what happened in Gaza. As well as determining whether the PA is recognised internationally as a sufficiently state-like entity, the head of jurisdictions in the office of the international criminal court’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is looking at whether the court can consider war crimes allegations on the basis of the dual nationality of either victims or alleged perpetrators whose second passport is with a country party to the court.

The court’s deliberations follow more than 220 complaints about Israel’s actions in Gaza. “It does not matter necessarily whether the Palestinian National Authority is in charge of its own borders,” said a source at the court. “Right now the court is looking at everything from agreements it has signed on education to the constitution of its legal system.”

what concerns me the most about what hillary will or won’t do (because she will be like all the other american leaders who come here and lend all her support to israeli terrorists in their ongoing ethnic cleansing project). what concerns me is what the fallout of gaza will be with respect to hamas resistance (yet another reason why i loathe resistance movements that join governments). ramzy baroud’s article in the palestine chronicle today about the lessons of what happened with the palestine liberation organization are instructive here:

The more the PLO of the 1970’s met conditions, the more Yasser Arafat rose to prominence. In June 1974, Fatah-led PLO revised and approved a political program that adopted a ‘phased’ political strategy which agreed to establishing a Palestinian state “over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated,” as opposed to Fatah’s own previous commitment to a “democratic state on all (of) Palestine.” The phased strategy split the somewhat unified PLO between ‘moderate’ and ‘rejectionist’ fronts, but allowed for political gains, such as the Arab designation of the PLO, in Rabat as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”. More, Arafat was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly, where the PLO received the status of an “observer”. In his speech on November 13, 1974, Arafat uttered his most famous statement: “Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

Let historians contend on whether Arafat was tricked by a peace ploy, which saw the softening of the PLO’s position, while the Israeli position continued to harden unchecked. The fact is, however, the seeds of Palestinian division were planted during these years and Palestinians were compartmentalized – between moderates, extremists, maximalists, minimalists, pragmatists, rejectionists and so on. However, the political gains of the PLO of those years were made irrelevant, and were later used exclusively for personal gains, starting in 1974, passing through Oslo, the subsequent ‘peace process’, and finally reaching today’s dead-end.

World Media are now reporting that European countries are in direct contact with Hamas leaders, although officials are insisting that this contact is independent and not linked to larger government initiatives. More, several US congressmen visited Gaza, again with similar disclaimers. US Senator John Kerry, who led the US delegation, claimed that the US position regarding Hamas has not changed, and repeated the conditions that Hamas must meet before any engagement is possible.

One has to be wary of the history that rendered the once influential PLO, the trivial organization that it is today. History often repeats itself, true, but it doesn’t have to if one remembers such historical lessons. Peace is not a ‘process’ – at least not in the Kissinger sense – and true dialogue and positive engagement require no stipulations and conditions. Hamas is now in the same precarious position that the PLO was in earlier years. Its future decisions shall influence the coming stage of this conflict, thus the fate of the Palestinian people in inconceivable ways.

one final note: if you are american and you like the al jazeera news items i post here regularly, i encourage you to go to the i want al jazeera english website. click that link in the last sentence and sign up to put pressure on u.s. cable providers to make it available to americans.

embargo & sanction

yesterday amnesty international released a statement that was almost perfect. if someone could just teach these human rights workers to stick to focusing on the colonizing occupiers, to see that there are not equal parties involved their work would be so much more powerful and significant. in any case, the implications for the united states here are important, though i’m sure nothing will be done about it:

Both Israel and Hamas used foreign-supplied weapons to attack civilians according to fresh evidence released by Amnesty International.

Munitions from the USA, Israel’s main foreign arms supplier, were used by Israel forces during three-week conflict in Gaza and southern Israel. Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups fired hundreds of rockets that had been smuggled in or made of components from abroad at civilian areas in Israel.

Amnesty International has called on the UN to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on the parties to the conflict.

“Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes,” said Donatella Rovera, who headed Amnesty International’s fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza.

“Their attacks resulted in the killing of hundreds of children and other civilians and massive destruction of homes and infrastructure. At the same time, the firing of rockets by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, though far less lethal than the weaponry used by Israel, also caused several civilian deaths and constitute a war crime.”

For many years, the USA has been the major supplier of conventional arms to Israel. Under a 10-year agreement to 2017, the USA is due to provide $30 billion in military aid to Israel, a 25% increase compared to the period preceding the Bush administration.

“To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers’ money,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East.

In Gaza, as the fighting ended, Amnesty International researchers found fragments and components from munitions used by the Israeli Army – including many that are US-made – littering school playgrounds, in hospitals and in people’s homes. They included artillery and tank shells, mortar fins and remnants from Hellfire and other airborne missiles and large F-16 delivered bombs, as well as still smouldering highly incendiary white phosphorus remains.

They also found remnants of a new type of missile, seemingly launched from unmanned drones, which explodes large numbers of tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2mm and 4mm square in size. These lethal purpose-made shrapnel had penetrated thick metal doors and were embedded deep in concrete walls, and are clearly designed to maximize injury.

In southern Israel, Amnesty International also saw the remains of “Qassam”, Grad and other indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups against civilian areas. These unsophisticated weapons cannot be aimed accurately and stand no comparison with the weaponry deployed by Israel but they have caused several deaths of Israeli civilians, injuries to others and damage to civilian property.

Even before the three week conflict, those who armed the two sides will have been aware of the pattern of repeated misuse of weapons by the parties.

“As the major supplier of weapons to Israel, the USA has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,” said Malcolm Smart. “The Obama Administration should immediately suspend US military aid to Israel.

“We urge the UN Security Council to impose an immediate and comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are found to ensure that munitions and other military equipment are not used to commit serious violations of international law.

“In addition all states should suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk of human rights violations. There must be no return to business as usual, with the predictably devastating consequences for civilians in Gaza and Israel.”

there is also a petition you can sign on amnesty international’s website asking for an investigation into the misuse of american weapons against palestinians in gaza.

and the u.s. campaign to end the occupation also has a new petition to get obama to sanction the zionist entity:

On February 24th, 2009, President Obama is expected to address a joint session of Congress and deliver a “blueprint” for his FY2010 budget.

According to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the United States and Israel in 2007 and made public by the US Campaign, the President is expected to request $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel in FY2010.

However, there are growing indications that the Obama Administration is considering sanctioning Israel. According to a senior Israeli security official in a Feb. 17 article in Ma’ariv, Israel fears that Special Envoy George Mitchell will convince the White House to cut military aid as a response to Israel’s ongoing settlement activities in the occupied West Bank. A Feb. 15 Ha’aretz article speculated that amounts available for U.S. loan guarantees to Israel would be cut for the same reason.

to take action and sign the petition follow these instructions (they also are asking people to thank congressmen baird and elison, which you can do if you click the link above. i think it is a lost cause and i fail to see what is so great that they somehow acknowledge palestinian humanity when their votes and actions in washington dc have historically been different than what they say about palestine in public.)

1. Encourage President Obama to sanction Israel for its misuse of U.S.weapons. Send a letter to the President today asking him to investigate Israel’s prior misuses of U.S. weapons against Palestinians and to reconsider his anticipated request for additional weapons in his upcoming budget. To send your letter, please click here.

back to that amnesty international report…on the delusional claims that hamas is somehow an equal player, or somehow responsible for “war crimes,” of course hamas responded to this statement today:

In a press statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum underlined that there is no single country exporting arms to the Movement, while weapons are being exported to Israel in abundance from powerful countries and arms deals are publicly concluded with Israel by these countries.

Barhoum added that Israel uses its deadly weapons of mass destruction against the Palestinian people who in turn use simple weapons only to defend themselves as a legitimate right guaranteed by all international laws

The spokesman expressed his Movement’s concern that the statement of AI could mislead the public opinion and be used as a pretext by Israel to escalate its aggression and siege on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

He urged AI to reconsider its unbalanced stands which lay the blame unjustly on the Palestinian people.

jacky rowland reported on this story today on al jazeera, though she gives the israeli terrorist propagandist machine too much air time to repeat their lies and she doesn’t bother to challenge them directly:

a few weeks ago haidar eid wrote quite a brilliant article for electronic intifada about palestinian resistance. he speaks of various forms of resistance in it, but i think what he says is applicable to the way that amnesty international tries to pretend like there are two equal sides here, like there was a war here. no: this is decidedly a fabrication. in a war each side has an army. each side fights more or less on equal grounds. here in gaza we had one captive population terrorized by the 4th largest military in the world, aided by the largest–the american–military in the world. this is terrorism. this is decidedly not a war. it was an aggression, an invasion, terrorism, but not a war. and, yes, thankfully, there was and is resistance. here is what eid says:

The war on Gaza has emerged as a political tsunami that has not only put an end to the fiction of the two-state solution and brought liberation rather than independence back to the agenda, but it has also created a new Palestinian political map given the intellectual debate vis-a-vis the outcome of the war. This new classification of the Palestinian intelligentsia and ruling classes has led to many ex-leftists joining the right-wing anthem of Oslo and its culture of defeatism. Not unlike the Oslo intelligentsia, the new pragmatic left is characterized by demagogy, opportunism and short-sightedness. The conduct of these NGOized intellectuals (those emerging from western-funded “nongovernmental organizations” — NGOs) does not show any commitment to their national and historical responsibility.

Michel Foucault’s famous formulation, “where there is power, there is resistance,” helps us to theorize the political and, hence, the cultural resistance, represented in some of the (post)war discourse. Within the context of resistance, it is worth quoting Frantz Fanon’s definitions of the role of the “native intellectual” during the “fighting phase”: “[T]he native, after having tried to lose himself in the people and with the people, will … shake the people … [H]e turns himself into an awakener of the people; hence comes a fighting literature, and a national literature.”

On the other hand, there are intellectuals who, according to Fanon’s theorization, “give proof that [they] [have] assimilated the culture of the occupying power. [Their] writings correspond point by point with those of [their] opposite numbers in the mother country. [Their] inspiration is European [i.e. Western] …” Hence the adoption of the Israeli narrative by some intellectual sections, including NGOized leftists, whereby Israel was exonerated of its crimes: “we are to blame for what happened;” “we were not consulted when Hamas started the war!” and “the people are paying the price, not the resistance movement;” “Hamas should have renewed the truce;” “we cannot afford to lose so many lives; Hamas should have understood this;” “there was no resistance at all on the streets of Gaza; resistance men ran away as soon as they saw the first tank.”

By the same token, one would also condemn the Algerian, South African, French, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Egyptian resistance to occupation. The same logic was used by the Bantustan chiefs of South Africa against the anti-apartheid movement, by the Vichy government of France, the South Vietnamese government, the reactionary Egyptian Forces against the progressive regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956, and even by the Siniora-Jumblatt-Geagea-Hariri March 14 coalition in Lebanon in 2006.

Obviously, these intellectuals’ assimilation of the Western mentality, through a process of NGOization, and hence Osloization, makes them look down upon the culture of resistance as useless, futile and hopeless. Resistance, broadly speaking, is not only the ability to fight back against a militarily more powerful enemy, but also an ability to creatively resist the occupation of one’s land. The Oslo defeatists and the neo-left camp fail to use people power creatively or even to see that it exists. They are defeated because they want to fight the battle on Israel’s terms — through the adoption of an Israel-Hamas dichotomy, rather than apartheid Israel vs. the Palestinian people — instead of looking at their strengths: that they are the natives of the land, they have international law supporting their claims, they have the moral high ground, the support of international civil society, etc.

One good lesson from the South African struggle is the way it tried to define resistance and its adoption of what it referred to as “the four pillars of the struggle” to achieve victory over the apartheid regime: armed struggle, internal mass mobilization, international solidarity, and the political underground. Alas, none of these pillars seem to fit within the paradigm of the Palestinian neo-left.

The principled critical legacy of the likes of Ghassan Kanafani, Edward Said and Frantz Fanon is no longer the guiding torch of the NGOized left — the secular democratic left which is supposed to be, as Said would argue, “someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations [or donors], and whose raison d’etre is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug.” A fascinating, and timely, remark by Hungarian philosopher George Lukacs points the way that the NGOized left should be talking right now: “When the intellectual’s society reaches a historical crossroads in its fight for a clear definition of its identity, the intellectual should be involved in the whole sociopolitical process and leave his ivory tower.”

Decolonizing cultural resistance insists on the right to view Palestinian history as a holistic entity, both coherent and integral. It also reflects a national and historical consciousness that Palestinians are able to be agents of change in their present and future regardless of the agendas of western donors, the Quartet and other official “international” bodies. Yet we see that the neo-democrats of Palestine are unable to acknowledge Palestinian agency because they refuse to respect the will of the people as expressed through the ballot box. This position is meant to synergize with that of their donors and international bodies who have worked hard over the last two years to delegitimize Palestinian agency.

one palestinian group–which i suppose could be classified as an ngo, though one that i think does important work–is exercising their agency in response to the war crimes committed in gaza: al haq has teamed up with the uk’s human rights legal aid trust to hold the united kingdom accountable (note to al haq: when you are done here, can you please file a similar suit in the united states?):

Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental organisation will tomorrow, Tuesday 24 February 2009 begin historical legal proceedings against the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Milliband, Defence Secretary, John Hutton and Trade & Industry (now the Secretary of State for Business Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform), Peter Mandelson.

Al Haq are making an application for judicial review of a policy decision by the three Secretaries of State that they will not change their position with respect to the UK’s relations with Israel so that the UK Government is fully compliant with international law.

The UK’s international obligations insofar as the attacks on civilians in Gaza are concerned include not rendering aid or assistance to Israel or recognising the illegal situation it has created in Gaza, and to co-operating with other states using all lawful means to bring the situation to an end.

In relation to the UK’s obligation not to render aid or assistance is concerned it should be noted that in the first quarter of 2008 there was a huge increase in the amount of arms related products to Israel approved through the UK arms export licensing system. The amount approved was £20m. By way of comparison, the amount approved for the whole of 2004 was £12m.

The papers on an application for judicial review are being lodged on 24 February in the High Court of Justice by Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers prior to the press conference being held that morning at 11.00am.

Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq, which works to protect human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories says,

“Considering the UK’s historical role in the region and its continued arms sales to Israel, Al-Haq has come to the UK with the belief that the judicial system of the UK will provide, at the very least, hope for the Palestinian people and again provide meaning to the principle of justice and international law. The time for hiding behind words has ended.”

Phil Shiner (Public Interest Lawyers) who is leading the case on behalf of Al-Haq says,

“The UK has clear international law obligations to do something effective to stop Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians. It must cooperate with other states using all lawful means to bring the situation to an end and it must stop giving aid and assistance to Israel. This means that the UK’s continuing policy of arms trading with Israel is completely out of bounds, as is our role in continuing with the EU preferential trading agreement. The point of this case is to make the Government focus on what it is legally obliged to do, beyond ineffective hand-wringing pleas for Israel to behave properly, which, to date, have fallen on deaf ears.”

Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Human Rights Legal Aid Trust which launched the Gaza Legal Aid Fund to fund legal actions by Palestinian civilians says:

“We have been very encouraged by the global support for the Gaza Legal Aid Fund which seeks to provide Palestinians with the much needed financial assistance to be able to access international courts of justice. Israel and its allies must be sent a clear message that they are not above the law; that they are not immune; and that they will be held accountable.”

of course the fact that these legal cases and reports are coming out of gaza means that the continued siege against palestinians in gaza also affects human rights workers who wish to access the area and investigate the numerous war crimes. but, of course, there are many things they don’t want people to see and so people remain cut off from gaza:

Israel is preventing independent human rights monitors from entering Gaza, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem said Sunday.

“Israel continues to obstruct independent investigations into allegations of laws of war violations by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas military forces in Gaza,” the groups said in a joint statement to Ma’an.

After submitting applications for permission to enter via the Erez crossing in January 2009, the groups faced continued delays from the military unit reviewing the applications. In February, the army told Human Rights Watch that it had rejected its application. The Israeli military denied B’Tselem’s first request to enter Gaza and has failed to respond to a second.

“Israel’s refusal to allow human rights groups access to Gaza raises a strong suspicion that there are things it doesn’t want us to see or the world to know about its military operation there,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “If Israel has nothing to hide, why is it refusing to allow us in?”

do they not want people to see and hear about children afraid to go to school, for instance? children who know all too well that israeli terrorists target schools?:

Many parents and children say they were afraid to return to school after the war. The first attack hit Gaza on a morning while school was in session.

“I was afraid to return to school after the war,” said 15-year-old Fatin Na’im, a 10th grader at Ahmed Shawqi Secondary School in the Rimal section of Gaza City. Her two brothers, a 20-year-old university student and a 25-year-old accountant, were killed by Israeli tank fire while trying to evacuate their home in Tal A’hawa.

After suffering nightmares Na’im sought psychological help. Educators and local and international NGOs are making psycho-social services for children and adolescents a priority.

jonah hull also reports on this today for al jazeera about the psychological trauma affecting youth in gaza:

and just a reminder the siege does not end at gaza’s borders. it just looks different. in that so-called “democracy” otherwise known as the terrorist state of israel, its own citizens–those who are palestinian and who don’t have the special rights of jews–continue to face various forms of oppression and repression and racism at the hands of the state. samih jabbrin is just one reminder of that oppression:

A letter from Israeli Prison

Monday, 23 February 2009

Samih Jabbarin is a member of the Palestinian movement Abnaa-El-Balad. He was arrested on February 10th on the backgrounds of the protests against the nomination of the known racist Baruch Marzel, by the national election committee to be head of one of the election centers in he Arab city of Um elFahm.

Comrades,

We, in Abnaa elBalad, always denied the democratic pretensions of this occupation entity. For long decades we put a lot of effort to expose this fake mask before our Arab Palestinian masses. But the majority of our masses became victim to political positions that try to convince them that this democracy is possible and hence we should participate in this “democratic” game in order to “serve” our steadfasting Arab Palestinian masses.

The bearers of those positions never stop trying to convince our masses that the fact that this entity is “democratic” allows us to change it from within, through its own mechanisms, to make it better.

In some stroke of destination, came the 10th of February, the election’s day, the most symbolic day for any bourgeois democracy, to hit those false claims and expose it in front of the reality which proves exactly its contrary.

The Israeli authorities decided to allow the fascist Marzel and his partner in fascism Eldad to enter Um elFahm, in a clear provocation, exactly in the election’s day, the “festival of democracy”. This is a clear indication that this entity knows no shame, but it shows contempt and stamps on the feelings and dignity of a million and a half Palestinians, women and men, which are nominally regarded, and only nominally, a part of this fake democracy.

This permission proves that the Zionist authorities as a whole not only allow the development of fascist ideology, as the ideologies openly displayed by Marzel and Eldad, but those authorities stand beyond the fascist ideologies and clearly strengthen them. All the proceedings around the state’s attempt to bring the criminal Marzel as “election overseer” to one of the voting centers in Um elFahm can’t be explained simply as “political openness” in “lawful state”. There is no place to doubt that this attempt is another step in the chain of systematic steps taken by the Zionists to terrorize and expel our steadfasting people from their land.

This is proved by the political background to this attempt. Only about two months ago, Tsipi Livni (Israel’s foreign minister and leader of its biggest party – Kadima) spoke about the possibility of distancing our steadfasting Palestinian people from within to the future Palestinian “state”, as she claimed to care for “solving” the national problem of this people. This was followed by another declaration by Bibi Netanyahu (the designated next Prime Minister from Likud) claiming that the internal Palestinian demographic problem is more dangerous from Hamas, Hisballah and even Iran. This was followed by a new law, proposed by Limor Livnat (Likud) to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language.

Beyond that, as we have witnessed on the election day, Israeli “security” forces were protecting the fascists and terrorize, beat and arrest those that made an effort to stop fascism. Those who resist fascism are criminals and whoever is fascist or support fascism receives all the protection.

We do not believe in such a fake democracy. Our first patriotic obligation is to expose it and than boycott it on principled grounds. By taking part in this game we give it some sort of legitimacy and help it to fix it fake mask. Even more dangerous, taking part in this game will inevitably lead to ignoring and forgetting other means of mass struggle that proved as effective and honorable in peoples’ revolutions over the years.

Throwing us in your cold detention centers, your attempt to isolate and terrorize us will not succeed. On the contrary, it will deepen the roots of our convictions and our resolve to carry on our struggle till victory. You have your fake democracy and we have our honorable struggle and our steadfastness.

My Comrades, thank you for your support and solidarity.

We will not surrender.

Ma’an ‘Ala edDarb – Together on the road

Your Comrade Samieh Jabbarin

Jelemeh Prison

(Middle of February, 2009)

and here in nablus israeli terrorists invaded the city this morning:

Palestinian security sources reported on Monday that dozens of Israeli settlers backed by the army stormed the tomb of Prophet Joseph near Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus.

Eyewitnesses told Ma’an’s correspondent in Nablus that the settlers who came to the area were backed by Israeli soldiers late on Sunday, around midnight. The settlers, as reported; entered the tomb under the pretext of performing religious rituals.

The witnesses added that a number of Israeli military vehicles accompanied the buses by which settlers arrived to the area and waited two hours until they finished their rituals.

gaza “cease-fire”

according to my oxford english dictionary cease-fire means:

cease-fire:
noun
a temporary suspension of fighting, typically one during which peace talks take place; a truce.
• an order or signal to stop fighting

yesterday, of course, the united nations security council voted for a “cease-fire.” 14 voted in favor of this. 0 voted against it. 1 abstained (u.s.) un sc resolution 1860 reads:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling all of its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008),

“Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be a part of the Palestinian state,

“Emphasising the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians,

“Expressing grave concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation, in particular the resulting heavy civilian casualties since the refusal to extend the period of calm; and emphasising that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected,

“Expressing grave concern also at the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza,

“Emphasising the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings,

“Recognising the vital role played by UNRWA in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza,

“Recalling that a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means,

“Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,

“1. Stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;

“2. Calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment;

“3. Welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid;

“4. Calls on Member States to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNRWA and through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee;

“5. Condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism;

“6. Calls upon Member States to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the sustained re‑opening of the crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel; and in this regard, welcomes the Egyptian initiative, and other regional and international efforts that are under way;

“7. Encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation including in support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States as expressed in the 26 November 2008 resolution, and consistent with Security Council resolution 1850 (2008 ) and other relevant resolutions;

“8. Calls for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognised borders, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008), and recalls also the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative;

“9. Welcomes the Quartet’s consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009;

“10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Statements before Vote

BERNARD KOUCHNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, speaking in his national capacity, said the Council was meeting in the common cause of achieving a ceasefire. In Gaza, there was an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. He said he was moved and distressed by the plight of the victims and families on both sides. The immediate end to hostilities was something the European Union and President Nicolas Sarkozy had been committed to.

He said the draft called for the end to the firing of rockets, the end to the Israeli operations, the opening of the border crossings and an end to arms smuggling. Those parameters were something the President of France had brought up with the leaders of the region and President Hosni Mubarak had drawn up a proposal. That plan was the only way to peace. He expressed regret that it had not been possible to give a little more time to reconcile different views or to endorse the results of negotiations now under way. The message of hope needed to be heeded without delay and negotiation under way needed to achieve prompt results.

Action

The Council then adopted resolution 1860 (2009) by a vote of 14 in favour with 1 abstention (United States).

there are many problems with this un resolution, number one being that there is no reference, of course, to the united nations’ role in creating this problem by going against its own charter and partitioning and colonizing palestine in the first place via un resolution 181. there is no reference to un resolution 194 codifying palestinians’ right of return, although un resolution 242, which is referred to, reaffirms that legal right for all palestinian refugees. like many un resolutions, palestinians and israeli terrorists are treated as equal entities, which they are not: palestinians are not equal to palestinians as they are colonized by israeli terrorists. moreover, this resolution names hamas and not palestinians as if all palestinians–indeed the world if you see the protests in the streets–are not behind the people of gaza. this war is against the people of gaza, not hamas. the resistance fighters in gaza cannot be reduced to hamas: dflp, al aqsa martyrs brigades, these are all resistance fighters from a wide range of ideological perspectives. in any case this un resolution once again shows the united nations’ impotence with respect to protecting the rights of palestinians to live in their land free from alien settler colonist terrorists or to return to their original villages. moreover, as could be expected israeli terrorists live according to their own rules and not only have not acted according to this agreement, during the voting i watched a split screen on al jazeera that showed the voting and speeches on one side of the screen and the increased intensity of the bombing on the other side. here is what the israeli terrorist regime had to say:

A few hours after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1860 calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the limited cabinet including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak convened Friday morning to decide whether Operation Cast Lead should be expanded, or if fire should be held.

Israel has shown a certain level of apathy to the resolution, and Hamas has also stated it is not bound by and will not accept the decision.

“Israel has acted, is acting, and will continue to act only according to its calculations, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its right to self defense,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said.

here is an account of what happened as the voting was taking place in new york city:

A series of explosions has rocked the Gaza Strip despite the UN Security Council passing a resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” there.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad, reporting from the Israel-Gaza border, said air raids, tank shelling and gunfire had continued in the early hours of Friday, moments after the resolution had passed.

About half a dozen explosions were heard in Gaza as council members at the UN building in New York were extolling the virtues of the resolution that came after days of diplomatic wrangling.

And there was no sign that either Israel would stop its offensive in the Palestinian territory – now in its 14th day – or Hamas would stop its rocket attacks.

The Israeli military said air raids hit 50 targets in Gaza overnight.

israeli terrorist actions over the past 24 hours since un sc 1860 was passed is indicative of what happened in the last 72 hours of the july 2006 israeli terrorist invasion of lebanon when they littered the whole of south lebanon with american-made cluster bombs in violation of the u.s. arms export control act. it is worth taking another look at un sc 1701, which “ended” that summer’s war of colonial, expansionist violence by israeli terrorists; like un sc 1860 palestinians are forced into submission by this resolution just as lebanese were forced into submission via 1701.

here is the al jazeera footage of the united nations meeting approving the resolution:

it is worth remembering the last time there was a so-called “cease-fire” and who broke that “cease-fire” given that israeli terrorists like to repeat the lie that it was hamas. it was not:

On Nov. 4 — just when the ceasefire was most effective — the IDF carried out an attack against a house in Gaza in which six members of Hamas’s military wing were killed, including two commanders, and several more were wounded. The IDF explanation for the operation was that it had received intelligence that a tunnel was being dug near the Israeli security fence for the purpose of abducting Israeli soldiers.

Hamas officials asserted, however, that the tunnel was being dug for defensive purposes, not to capture IDF personnel, according to Pastor, and one IDF official confirmed that fact to him.

After that Israeli attack, the ceasefire completely fell apart, as Hamas began openly firing rockets into Israel, the IDF continued to carry out military operations inside Gaza, and the border crossings were “closed most of the time”, according to the ITIC account.

meanwhile israeli terrorists stepped up their attacks today on palestinians in gaza on a number of fronts as the number of murdered palestinians rose to 801. this is what “cease-fire” looks like to israeli terrorists:

Less than twelve hours after the UN resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza was passed another 29 Palestinians were confirmed dead as a result of the Israeli air and artillery strikes.

By mid-afternoon the Israeli cabinet adjourned and announced that the operation in Gaza would be “widened.”

Director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry Muawiyah Hassanain said that the death toll over two weeks of the Israeli offensive in Gaza is 781 with more than 3,300 injured.

The latest victim to be identified was a woman, Nareman Abu Au’da, who was killed by the shrapnel of an artillery shell that hit her house in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Medical officials identified her on Friday evening.

Three Family homes targeted

As the news of the Israeli rejection of the ceasefire came out shelling was reported in northern Gaza, which targeted the home of the Sa’id family, killing 42-year-old Fatima Sa’eed Sa’id, 25-year-old Sumeya , and 12-year-old Ata Jamil, in an air strike on the home in Al-Qarem in northern Gaza.

When strikes targeted the Abu Hasna home in Old Gaza City Friday morning one of the Abu Hasna boys was killed and several others killed. He was taken to the nearby Kamal Udwan hospital where he was identified as 15-year-old Muhammad Atef Abu Al-Husna and pronounced dead.

Seven Palestinians from the Salha family were killed by an Israeli tank shelling at 4am that leveled their home in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Among the dead were 60-year-old Mohammad Mubarak Saleh, his wife Halima Saleh. Another son was also injured.

Air raids level empty houses

Israeli airstrikes demolished ten homes overnight, including the residence of the chief of police in Gaza Abu Obeida Al-Jarrah, in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City.

Warplanes also destroyed the house of the head of Palestinian security in the southern city of Rafah, a man who is said to be affiliated to Hamas’ armed wing.

A police station in the Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza was also demolished, along with the Ar-Rebat Mosque in Khan Younis and an office linked to Islamic Jihad.

Israeli Navy attacks central Gaza

In the town of Al-Zawaydah, in the central Gaza Strip, three were killed and seven injured by shelling from Israeli gunboats. The victims were taken to Al-Aqsa Hospital.

Tanks pushing across Khan Younis district

Also at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, nine corpses and 40 injured people arrived overnight, victims of an attempt by Israeli tanks to cut across the middle of the Gaza Strip to the sea. Israeli tanks have already cut across in one place farther north.

Among those killed in the central Gaza incursion is a member of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. The movement said Jihad Abu Mudif died after being seriously wounded in fighting with Israeli troops near the city of Khan Younis.

and of course, americans are not only supplying the weapons to israeli terrorists: they are also supplying the manpower:

The US Army Corps of Engineers has been helping the Egyptian government detect tunnels used to move weapons and other contraband into Gaza, the Pentagon said Thursday.

A small number of US civilians with the Corps have been providing technical advice to the Egyptians over a period of months, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

“There has been a concerted effort for some time by the Egyptians to go after some of these tunnels — detect them, block them, eliminate them — and I think the Army Corps of Engineers has provided some technical advice on how to do so,” Morrell said.

in addition to these terrorist activities listed above they attacked the media just like their american terrorist counterparts like to do in iraq:

Israeli airstrikes hit the Jawwara building in Gaza City on Friday afternoon.

The building was home to more than 20 local, national and international press offices.

No injuries were reported, but the already limited information coming out of Gaza, given Israel’s decision to bar international journalists from the area, will be further compromised.

there were chinese, turkish, arab, and iranian foreign journalists in that building. and rafah was razed today as this video footage from the guardian/international solidarity movement shows:

so israeli terrorism persists. but it would persist with or without a united resolution. it will persist with or without global protests, although there have been many all around the world from kenya to jordan:

perhaps as a result of some of this protesting–the likes of which we did not even see in the summer of 2006 when israeli terrorists were invading lebanon and gaza at the same time–there is some important movement with respect to boycott, divestment and sanctions. here is a sampling of some of those important developments:

A coalition of major humanitarian, human rights and development organizations called on the European Union today [7 January 2009] to immediately suspend any further enhancement of its relations with Israel, known as an “upgrade,” until it agrees to a comprehensive ceasefire and provides unimpeded humanitarian access. Both Israel’s offensive in Gaza and Hamas rocket attacks into Israel have caused unacceptable civilian casualties.

A Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Sunday called on both the United Nations secretary-general and UN General Assembly president to “seriously consider” trying Israel for war crimes.

Ma’an learned that Laureate Mairead Maguire is insisting the UN establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI), according to a letter sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and General Assembly President Father Miguel D’Escoto on Sunday.

Maguire called on UN leaders to add their voices “to the many calls from international jurists, human rights organizations and individuals” calling for trying Israel for “atrocities against the people of Gaza and Palestine.”

Canadian Response to Gaza Situation

Dear Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon: We the undersigned [300] academics and educators express our condemnation of Israel’s attack on Gaza. With over 600 dead, including 100 children, we call on the Canadian government to demand an immediate cessation of Israeli hostilities.

As per the position of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Palestine, Richard Falk, the attack constitutes a war crime in that it is completely disproportionate to the threat posed, and violates international humanitarian law on at least three grounds: Collective punishment, Targeting Civilians, Disproportionate military response.

We call on the Canadian government to implement sanctions against the Israeli government until it ceases its attack against the people of Gaza and fully complies with international law.

In Malaysia and Italy, critics of Israel’s Gaza assault have called for a boycott of Israeli and US goods.

“We cannot remain silent about what is happening in Gaza. We had thought of drawing up a list of businessmen who have links with Tel Aviv because people do not know who they are,” Giancarlo Desiderati, a member of a small group of Italian traders who called for the boycott on its website, said.

At least 5,000 people protested outside the US embassy in Malaysia on Friday, and around 300 held a noisy protest outside the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur to urge Arab countries to cut off oil supplies to the US and boycott goods from Coca-Cola, Colgate and Starbucks.

Addressing the crowd, Mahathir Mohamed, a former prime minister, told Malaysians that they “will not die if they do not use the US goods” and urged those working for US companies such as fast-food giant McDonalds to quit their jobs.

“I hope Starbucks and McDonald’s employees will stop working there,” he said.

Survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims protested in front of the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo on Thursday to call on Washington to stop Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Munira Subasic, who lost her son and husband when Bosnian Serbs took over the eastern town of Srebrenica, said she felt solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“In 2009, Palestinian mothers are going through ordeals we experienced in 1995 and we are raising our voice because we know about pain and suffering. We know how it feels to lose a child or husband,” said Subasic.

Protesters said they felt they had to react to killings of more than 660 Palestinians and the suffering of refugees in the 13-day-old offensive launched by Israel.

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest of the IDF’s offensive in Gaza, Ynet learned Friday evening.

Ambassador Ali al-Ayed was summoned to Amman by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and was instructed by the government to remain in the Hashemite Kingdom.

After Hugo Chavez expelled Israel’s Ambassador to Venezuela earlier this week, Jordanians left flowers by the Venezuelan embassy in Amman on Thursday, January 8th, as a show of respect.

A number of prominent South Africans have condemned the brutal attacks currently being perpetrated by the Israeli army in Gaza, and have called for diplomatic sanctions as a response. Among those who have voiced their condemnation are Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches; former government Minister Ronnie Kasrils; Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven; and University of Johannesburg academic Professor Steven Friedman.

and, finally, i quote naomi klein’s article from the nation telling us that now is FINALLY! the time to call for, participate in, push for boycott:

It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause, and talk of cease-fires is doing little to slow the momentum. Support is even emerging among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It calls for “the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions” and draws a clear parallel with the antiapartheid struggle. “The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves…. This international backing must stop.”

Yet many still can’t go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. And they simply aren’t good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the nonviolent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counterarguments.

1. Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis. The world has tried what used to be called “constructive engagement.” It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures–quite the opposite. The weapons and $3 billion in annual aid that the US sends to Israel is only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free-trade deal with Mercosur. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45 percent. A new trade deal with the European Union is set to double Israel’s exports of processed food. And on December 8, European ministers “upgraded” the EU-Israel Association Agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s flagship index actually went up 10.7 percent. When carrots don’t work, sticks are needed.

2. Israel is not South Africa. Of course it isn’t. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves that BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, back-room lobbying) have failed. And there are indeed deeply distressing echoes: the color-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza in 2007 was “infinitely worse than apartheid.”

3. Why single out Israel when the United States, Britain and other Western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan? Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the BDS strategy should be tried against Israel is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

4. Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less. This one I’ll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus’s work, and none to me. In other words, I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Coming up with this plan required dozens of phone calls, e-mails and instant messages, stretching from Tel Aviv to Ramallah to Paris to Toronto to Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start implementing a boycott strategy, dialogue increases dramatically. And why wouldn’t it? Building a movement requires endless communicating, as many in the antiapartheid struggle well recall. The argument that supporting boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at one another across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don’t I know that many of those very high-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel’s Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, the managing director of a British telecom company, sent an e-mail to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax. “As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company.”

When contacted by The Nation, Ramsey said his decision wasn’t political. “We can’t afford to lose any of our clients, so it was purely commercially defensive.”

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it’s precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

30 years…

…this is the sentence for ahmad sa’adat. this is what the zionist regime does: it spends its christmas holiday (mind you it is not their holiday) sentencing a freedom fighter to 30 years in an israeli jail:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongly denounced the appalling lengthy sentence meted out to General Secretary of the PFLP, Comrade Leader Ahmad Sa’adat, on December 25, 2008, by the occupation military court at Ofer prison. The occupation court, an illegitimate institution meant to impose the occupier upon our people, sentenced Comrade Sa’adat to 30 years inside the Zionist prisons.

why is he in jail? that is a good question. the zionist regime originally sentenced him to one charge and when they couldn’t find any evidence they changed the charge to some ambiguous, vague charge:

“Ahmed Saadat is guilty … because of his position and activities within the (PFLP) terrorist movement,” an Israeli army statement said on Thursday.

“Given the status of the accused within this terrorist organisation, given the actions put in place to develop the movement’s military structures and given that … the fighters (of the organisation) were under his command, the court sentences him to 30 years in prison,” the statement said.

When Israeli forces seized Saadat in March 2006 in a controversial raid on a Palestinian-run prison in Jericho, he stood accused of planning the 2001 murder of Rehavam Zeevi, Israel’s tourism minister at the time.

Prosecutors later decided not to pursue this case against Saadat, instead pressing the charges against four PFLP fighters who were seized along with him in Jericho.

here is background on sa’adat and the bogus nature of the case itself, including american and british involvement in his kidnapping:

Born in 1953, Sa’adat is the child of refugees expelled from their home in the village of Deir Tarif, near Ramleh, in 1948. A math teacher by training, he is married to Abla Sa’adat, herself a noted activist, and is the father of four children. Abla Sa’adat was herself arrested and detained for four months, and prevented from leaving Palestine to speak about Palestinian rights at an international conference. He has been involved in the Palestinian national movement since 1967, when he became active in the student movement. Prior to his abduction from Jericho in 2006, he had been held at various times as a political prisoner in Israeli jails, for a total of ten years. Sa’adat was elected General Secretary of the PFLP in 2001, following the Israeli assassination of then-General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa in his office in Ramallah on August 27, 2001.

Sa’adat had been held in a Palestinian Authority prison for over four years, and, in January 2006, elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on the Abu Ali Mustafa slate, when on March 14, 2006, the Israeli military stormed that prison at Jericho, abducting Sa’adat and five fellow prisoners and taking them to Israeli military prisons. For the entire period of Sa’adat’s imprisonment in Israeli and PA jails, he has been convicted of no crime; his trial – in an illegitimate military court of occupation – is beginning only now, after a combined total of over five years of detention.

This trial is, of course, a military trial, as are the trials of nearly all Palestinian political prisoners, presided over by three military judges, two of which are not required to have any legal background. These trials are based on military law, including military regulations that may be issued at any time by the Israeli military commander over the area. This military rule under occupation dates from the era of the British occupation of Palestine, in which these “emergency” military rules were adopted in order to suppress the Palestinian national movement for independence and self-determination. These military laws continue today for the same purpose – to continue a military occupation and suppress the indigenous people of Palestine’s struggle for liberation and self-determination. Such military trials generally fail to uphold international standards for fair trials. At a more basic level, they are an illegitimate manifestation of an illegitimate system – trials that, by their very nature, can never be fair or legitimate.

Sa’adat is the child of 1948 refugees who, with six million others in Palestine, in the camps outside Palestine and in exile around the world, are denied their right to return to their homes, lands and properties and denied their right to organize, struggle and act to obtain their freedom, their return and their liberation.

JERICHO ASSAULT AND ABDUCTION

On March 14, 2006, the Israeli army laid siege for twelve hours to the Palestinian prison at Jericho holding six political prisoners. Israeli bulldozers and tanks attacked the prison while the Israeli military issued threats of assassination against the prisoners. This military assault caused the death of two Palestinians, the injury of twenty-three more, and the abduction of Ahmad Sa’adat and five other political prisoners from Jericho to Zionist prisons.

For over four years, these men had been held in the Palestinian Authority prison at Jericho, under U.S. and British guards. Immediately prior to the Israeli assault on the prison, these U.S. and British guards abandoned their posts, clearing the way for the military attack. The U.S. State Department blamed Palestinians for the siege, stating that the democratically-elected Palestinian Legislative Council leadership had indicated its willingness to release these illegally-held political prisoners. Said Sa’adat in a letter to the Palestinian people after his abduction, “The Quartet [US, EU, Russia and UN] provide a cover for occupation. What happened in Jericho Prison has made the British and US governments an integral part of the conflict and forever buried any illusions in their neutrality.”

Since his abduction – a blatant violation of Palestinian sovereignty – Sa’adat’s trial has been repeatedly postponed and delayed. Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz admitted shortly following the abduction that there was insufficient evidence to indict Sa’adat in the assassination of extreme racist Israeli minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, an act of retaliation for the August 2001 Israeli murder of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa. Instead, Sa’adat was indicted on a wide array of political charges in a hearing on March 28, 2006 at Ofer Military Base in Ramallah.

Sa’adat has consistently and repeatedly refused to recognize the legitimacy of the illegitimate court; his lawyers have petitioned for the charges to be dropped, as they are clearly politically motivated and the court itself is illegitimate. His trial has been repeatedly postponed, from May 2006, to September 2006, to January 2007, to May 2007, and now to July/August 2008. With each hearing, Sa’adat’s courageous refusal to recognize in any way the illegitimate court – refusing to stand for the military judges, issuing statements exposing this mockery of justice, and refusing to deal with the military courts or interrogators – stand in clear contrast to the system of occupation and oppression represented by the military courts, exposing its bankruptcy and illegitimacy.

PA/BRITISH/US IMPRISONMENT

On August 27, 2001, PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa was assassinated by a missile shot from an Apache helicopter by the Israeli military as he worked in his office in Ramallah. This assassination was the latest in a long line of assassinations by the Israeli state of Palestinian political leaders, a policy that continues to this day. Following the murder of Abu Ali Mustafa, Ahmad Sa’adat was elected General Secretary of the PFLP.

Rehavam Ze’evi, the tourism minister in Ariel Sharon’s Israeli government, represented the Moledet party, an extreme racist party whose program is based on the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from all of Palestine. Ze’evi, whose long military career included involvement in the war of 1948 and the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinian refugees from their homes and lands, continued his quest to uproot the Palestinian people through the Israeli military and political system throughout his career, referring to Palestinians as “a cancer” and “lice.” In retaliation for the murder of Abu Ali Mustafa, on October 17, 2001, fighters from the PFLP’s armed wing assassinated Ze’evi in the Hyatt hotel in Jerusalem.

Israel continued its campaign of mass terror against the Palestinian people, attacking Palestinian cities and towns, including the town of Beit Rima, where the Israeli military killed nine Palestinians while purportedly searching for Sa’adat. Israel repeatedly demanded that the Palestinian Authority crack down on the PFLP and arrest its leaders and members, threatening the PA leadership if it refused to act on behalf of the Israeli military to repress the Palestinian resistance. Nonetheless, yielding to the demands of Israel, the U.S. and Britain, on January 15, 2002, Sa’adat attended a meeting with PA security under false pretenses, from which he was abducted and taken to the Muqata’a compound in Ramallah, then-Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s headquarters. In February 2002, four of Sa’adat’s comrades in the PFLP, Ahmed Ghoulmi, Majdi Rimawi, Hamdi Qu’ran and Basel al-Asmar, were also arrested by PA security services and brought to the Muqata’a.

In March and April of 2002, Israeli military forces laid siege to the Muqata’a, and as demanded by the United States and Great Britain as a condition for the end of Israel’s siege of the Muqata’a, Sa’adat, Ghoulmi, Rimawi, Qu’ran, al-Asmar and Fuad Shoubaki would be transferred to the PA’s prison at Jericho to be held as political prisoners.

On April 25, 2002, Ghoulmi, Rimawi, Qu’ran and al-Asmar were tried in an impromptu military court of the Palestinian Authority inside the besieged Muqata’a. With Israeli tanks directly outside the Muqata’a, Quran, Al-Asmar, Rimawi and Gholmi were tried and sentenced for the Ze’evi assassination. Despite their civilian status, the four were tried before a military court presided over by Brigadier-General Ribhi Arafat, who had no legal standing to act as a judge. They were not allowed to have attorneys or proper legal defense in a trial that took a total of two hours. No evidence, no confessions and no statements were received in order to convict the four; all were found guilty and the verdicts immediately ratified by PA President Yasser Arafat, and the four were given no right to appeal the verdicts.

Ahmad Sa’adat was never charged nor tried for any crime. After the sentencing, the four were transferred on May 1, 2002, with the uncharged and untried Sa’adat, to Jericho Prison, ostensibly under the control of the PA, but subject to the guardianship of United States and British forces. On May 2, 2002, Israeli forces withdrew from the Muqata’a. The director of the US/British “supervision” of the prisoners at Jericho Prison formerly ran the infamous Maze Detention Center for Britain in the occupied North of Ireland. The prisoners were not subject to Palestinian sovereignty and authority, but rather to the conditions and demands of the United States and Great Britain. Sa’adat and his comrades were held under difficult conditions in Jericho prison, often secluded from one another and not allowed to communicate, denied access to newspapers, books, recreation and family and other visits. Water and electricity in their cells have been turned off, and numerous other punitive measures were implemented against them by the British and U.S. guards “monitoring” the prison. In response, Sa’adat and his comrades have engaged in two hunger strikes, demanding an end to inhumane treatment and their immediate release.

The Palestinian High Court of Justice, the highest Palestinian judicial body, ruled on June 3, 2002 that Sa’adat should be released immediately. Numerous Palestinian and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, called for the release of Sa’adat and the implementation of Palestinian and international law. Nevertheless, Sa’adat was never released; the PA refused to comply with the orders of its own judiciary, the U.S., Britain, and Israel demanded he remain held as a political prisoner, and the PA complied with their demands. While Sa’adat was imprisoned in Jericho, on August 20, 2002, the Israeli military assassinated his brother Mohammed, illustrating the continuing campaign of assassination and murder on the part of the Israeli regime. Sa’adat – and his fellow political prisoners – remained in Jericho prison in 2006, until the Israeli siege on the prison.

and here is sa’adat’s statement given today at the time of his sentencing:

At the outset, I do not stand to defend myself in front of your court has already confirmed that I do not recognize the legitimacy of this court as an extension of the illegal occupation under international law, and as well as the legitimacy of our people’s right to resist occupation, and that this court is based on the British emergency laws of 1945 about which one of one of the leaders of the Zionist Labor Party said after their approval, It is one of the worst of the Nazi laws. He added, “It is true that the Nazi crimes committed did not reach the degree of crime of this legislation.

So I stand to defend my people and their legitimate right to national independence and self-determination and return. These rights are guaranteed by international law and humanitarian law and the resolutions of the United Nations, as well as the most recent recommendations of the Hague Tribunal on the wall.

I defend the right of our people to peace and stability not only in this region, but also in the whole world. Security and stability can never be achieved in Palestine or in the region and the world as long as there is a policy based on the logic of the occupation and imposition of things on people, whether by force through military invasion or occupation, as in Palestine.

I stand before this court again today, as a mechanism for the suppression of our people and a tool of oppression, that is unable to end the resistance and is an example of the inability of the occupation and its policies imposed on the peoples to do so. If you review the files of the prisoners of the Zionist occupation of Palestine, you will find that many of the prisoners are held a second time or a third time, because this mechanism has failed to deter our people or our activists fighting for our rights.

This, like many other examples of the failure of the occupation and its tools to suppress of our people and abolish our resistance, and these courts, will remain as long as the occupation exists and will also remain in the resistance of our people.

The existing policy of the occupation and the logic of imposing by force will not bring security to Israel or other countries engaged in occupation. The main route to achieve security, stability and peace in the region is to end the occupation and the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy for the Palestinian cause, to provide a climate in which a democratic, peaceful and humane solution to the Palestinian crisis and the Arab-Zionist conflict is established from the roots is the only way to end violence and bloodshed.

Finally, I have already stressed in my previous statements from the so-called indictment, to the trial that has been formulated, and now reiterate the same position after your court concluded, that this is one-sided and farcical way to achieve its resolution under a mere image of a “court.” The convictions were known in advance, and pre-determined by the terms of the political and security mechanism, which is made “legitimate” by the court.

The essence of my position is that I am proud of the Palestinian people and their political and national resistance and their just struggle to achieve their national rights and also I am proud of the trust given me by the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, by electing me as Secretary-General, and I’m sorry that I have not yet been able to fully perform my duties, first: because of the detention of the Palestinian Authority and the loss of my freedoms to work for more than four years, and second because of this abduction, in which more than one party – the U.S., Britain and the Palestinian Authority – were complicit; and notwithstanding anything that could hamper you or force you, you cannot stop the struggle, along with my people, in whatever space of movement.

Long live the struggle of the Palestinian people!

Ahmad Sa’adat
December 25, 2008

click here for more information about how you can help fight for justice for ahmad sa’adat.